Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year! And a little discussion of the inevitable Goals For The Year

Happy New Year! Hope everyone isn't too hung over today. :D

This is my very last post with any kind of reflection on 2014, I promise. However, I did set some goals for 2014 (and updated mid-year) that I'll just whizz through before talking about 2015:
  • Stick to a budget for all my sewing/knitting/related endeavours. Result: A+ budgeting, self.  :D \o/
  • Use more fabric than I bought. Result: I bought a lot of fabric in 2014 (over 70m) but I also used a lot of fabric (and gave a little bit away) so I managed to finish the year overall with just about 18.5m less in stash that I started with. Not the biggest reduction, but a reduction all the same. \o/
  • Make bags. Result: Nope. I mean, yes, I made various tote bags, but nothing like the nifty, complex bags I had in mind at the beginning of the year. No real reason for this, my bag project plans just never made it to the top of the sewing queue.
  • Make a collared blouse. Result: Yes, two of them, and one of them is my favourite thing I made in 2014 (my chambray shirt). \o/
  • Develop a TNT woven dress. Result: Nope. Some of this is about my continued ambivalence about wearing dresses, some of it about how my lifestyle changed mid-year and a related lack of need for a formal work wardrobe.
  • Make a lined jacket or coat. Result: Nope. I planned this in over and over, and as late as October I really thought I would get to work on it through the last six to eight weeks of the year. However, in the end for most of this year I wasn't well enough for a long enough period to really get going on this rather daunting project.
  • Make a pair of trousers. Result: I'm going to give myself a sort of qualified \o/ for this. I did not make the kind of woven, fly-fronted, formal trousers that I meant when I set this goal. However, I did try out an awful lot of the constituent parts of making them, and always with the thought in mind that it was practice for making woven trousers. I made two fly-fronted skirts. I fitted and then made some woven shorts. I made multiple pairs of knit full-length trousers. I've done many of the pieces of this, in other words, and next year I just need to bring them all together.
  • Finish 6 knitted objects. Result: I finished 8 knitted objects. \o/
  • Other. I also wanted to work on the World's Slowest Quilt (Result: I made a tiny amount of progress at the very last minute in December); improve my photographs on this blog (Result: probably not MUCH of an improvement, but I did make an effort not to post anything actively blurry or too horribly dark this year); and to work on my wardrobe plan (Result: I definitely did!) Overall, I'm going to call it a \o/.
And now, thinking ahead to 2015:

  • Stick to my 2015 budget. This includes a resolution to spend less on patterns as a % of total than in 2014.
  • Use more fabric that I buy, and reduce my overall garment stash by 50m and my bag stash by 20m by the end of the year.
  • Reduce my yarn stash by at least half.
  • Maintain and stick to my wardrobe plan, which, practically speaking, means continuing to aim to sew clothes in the right colours, proportions and styles to match my "ideal wardrobe" and which will get a suitable amount of wear.

If I have an over-arching ambition for 2015 it is to increase the complexity of my sewing. I really enjoyed sewing the clothes that I made in 2014 and I did wear a great many of them on a regular basis. I definitely consider that a great outcome from a year of sewing. However, from a sewing skill perspective I fully admit that at least 90% of them were very simple garments even by my undemanding "advanced beginner" standards, with very few pattern pieces or sewing processes involved.

On the one hand, I definitely still want/need to make simple garments like knit tops because I want them in my wardrobe and wear them all the time, so I'm certainly not looking to swing the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction. On the other hand, I've always worn a lot of structured, tailored clothes because that's my aesthetic preference, especially in work attire. If I'm going to develop the wardrobe I want for work in particular (and I am determinedly assuming I am going to get well and go back to work this year) I'm going to need to start making those more complicated sorts of clothes as well.

This year, therefore, I'm aiming to shift the balance a little towards more complex, time-consuming and slow-to-make projects. A lot of my ambitions are therefore about making more complicated garments and/or trying out some more complicated details on clothes.

My other over-arching ambition is just to continue to find sewing, knitting and blogging about it fun and entertaining. Life is too short and complicated already for my hobbies to be a source of stress rather than pleasure.

Some more specific ambitions, subject to change:
  • Make 2-3 complex, awesome bags for my own use.
  • Make at least one Alabama Chanin style embellished garment.
  • Make at least one fitted woven dress.
  • Make at least one pair of woven, fly-fronted formal trousers.
  • Make a piece of outerwear.
  • Make a lined, tailored blazer.
  • Try out/improve on the following sewing techniques: welt pocket; fly-front (again); bound button-hole; make something with contrast top stitching.
I also want to:
  • Finish the Slowest Quilt In The World.
  • Make 6 knitted items (1 sock = 1 item) and increase the complexity of patterns I'm using (but in baby steps)
A couple of little blog plans:
  • Continue to try to improve my photos.
  • Finish the wardrobe planning series of posts.

And finally, I am planning to kick off 2015 with exactly the sort of mix I want to pursue this year. In my plan for January: some quick things, mainly easy knit garments to fill some deepest-winter layering wardrobe gaps; a muslin and hopefully a first proper version of an older (late 70s) Vogue shirt pattern with some fun little details; ordering some quilting fabric and getting started on the World's Slowest Quilt; casting on my first knitting project of the year; and last but not least, finishing up writing/editing my next Wardrobe Planning post. Phew. Just a bit going on then!


  1. You made a lot of progress this past year, and I think you've set a number of reasonable goals to continue to stretch yourself next year. I love goals posts like these, BTW.

    1. Thanks! I feel like I made progress as well! I am so excited to start sewing for 2015!

  2. Fantastic westmoon! Like Michelle, I think your goals are very attainable and look forward to 2015 with you!

    1. Yay! Can't WAIT to see what you sew in 2015 -- I can't get over your output in 2014!

  3. Lovely set of goals, I'm sure you'll also find many unplanned but awesome things to do in 2015. I have also been meaning to, but putting off making a jacket for months now. Why does it seem like such a huge undertaking? If you decide you need a jacket sewing buddy, count me in!

    1. Oh, definitely be my jacket sewing buddy! My biggest fears are FIT (as always, ugh, upper body fitting issues) and then I keep really worrying about stuff like interfacing and buttonholes etc. Still, the only way to conquer these fears it to actually TRY to make a jacket, right?

  4. I love sewing and I love budgets! It's great to read that they can coexist peacefully!