Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 In Review: Wardrobe Outcomes (inc. What I Made And How It Lasted)

Overall, I think 2016 was a successful year as far as my wardrobe is concerned. I don't think my data & spreadsheet intensive way of keeping track and planning a wardrobe would work for everyone -- or maybe even for anyone who isn't me! -- but I feel like it really worked for me this year.

Above all I am really happy with how my wardrobe planning helped me pick things to make/buy and put together something resembling a coherent set of clothes. I didn't make or buy a single thing that went unworn because it didn't fit into my wardrobe -- everything slotted neatly into one or more outfits as soon as I finished/bought it. Some things of course got worn less than others, but if something was neglected it was really never because I couldn't find a way to wear it. This feels like a big improvement on my past wardrobe history when I always had a lot of orphans, often felt like I only had one way to wear specific garments and that I only wore a small percentage of my wardrobe. I also don't have any unnecessary duplicates, which was something I was very prone to doing before. Over the last three years my wardrobe has decreased in size every year, but it feels both more diverse in colour and design than it ever has previously. So, eccentric though my wardrobe planning efforts might be, they are working well enough for me to feel very enthusiastic about continuing to pursue them in 2017.

Another couple of wardrobe goals for 2016 were to make about two-thirds of my wardrobe additions this year, with only one third coming from shops, and to thrift about half of what I bought. By the end of the year I'd made about 57% of the new additions to my wardrobe, which is close enough for me.  On the other hand, I didn't thrift as much as I had planned. However, I did plan my RTW shopping really carefully to take maximum advantage of sales and discounts. I feel like I actually did a really good job managing my RTW expenditure so I'm not concerned that I bought new rather than thrift. 

Numbers: Garments sewn

This year, I attempted to make 49 garments. Of these, 4 were immediate wadders and another 5 I discarded after relatively few wears. As of today, I therefore have 40 garments in my wardrobe that I made in 2016.

Including the wadders etc, I used 40 different patterns in total, of which 9 were repeats from a previous year. My pattern sources run true to previous years, which is to say just about 60% magazines, mainly Ottobre and Burda, and then the remainder from all kinds of other brands and companies from across the spectrum from Big4 envelopes to a PDF from a teeny tiny blogger/pattern maker. More specifically, this is my breakdown:

Magazines: 24 in total, split between Burda (12); Ottobre (10) and Knipmode (2)
Big4 envelopes: 9 in total, split between New Look (4), Butterick (3), Simplicity (1) and Burda (1).
Indies: 7 in total. StyleArc (3), Silhouette (1), Grainline (1), Cozy Little World (1) and Jalie (1)

Numbers: Garments purchased

This year I also bought 36 items of clothing, of which 5 didn't make it to the end of the year (mainly my discards shrank in the wash, which is my personal pet peeve with RTW). My purchases fall entirely in three categories: trousers/jeans; t-shirts; and knitwear. I am working on making more of my own trousers, but there are some kinds of t-shirts, sweaters and cardigans that I am very unlikely to make, and I am fine with that. I have no intention of (or really even interest in) going 100% handmade.

Numbers: Discards

I discarded a hideous amount of clothes this year, as part of my long-running campaign to "right-size" my wardrobe. Over the last few months I've finally gotten rid of the things that were basically useless as clothes but in which I had some kind of strange emotional investment. On the minus side, so much waste this year -- I discarded 105 garments in total! On the plus side, I think that's it for the big numbers of discards as I think I am now more or less "right-sized". I'm for sure not a minimalist (and I don't want to be) but I think I have a very well-sized wardrobe just now. Overall, my wardrobe is about 10% smaller than at the start of the year, but the number of clothes in daily wear hasn't changed much. The 10% decrease really just came from shedding things I had packed up into storage for one reason or another.

Garment/Sewing Technique Goals

I had a little list of garments and techniques I wanted to try in my set of goals for 2016, and I did manage a good number of them:

Garments etc: I made two woven dresses and had several attempts at woven trousers. I made a piece of outerwear (mentioned further below!). The only thing I didn't have a go at this year that was on my goal list is a lined, tailored blazer. Knitting-wise, although I didn't do quite as much knitting as I'd hoped I'm particularly pleased with my Wanderling sweater. I also made a few tote bags, which isn't quite the bag-making outcome I was looking for, although the ones I made are nice enough.

Techniques: I did some contrast top-stitching (on a polka dot skirt) and several attempts of varying success at fly fronts. On the other hand I didn't try either bound button-holes or welt pockets mainly just because I didn't really make the kind of garments that called for either. I also wanted to try out some Alabama Chanin embellishment but only managed a stencilled scarf.

The Verdict On The Things I Made

In previous years, I've categorized everything I've made at the end of the year. I made too many things to do that this year, and a lot of them just fell into the category of "fine!". Really, they're fine -- those garments were competently made, I like them, I wore them, it's all good, and I have nothing more to say about them. You can see them all on my Completed Projects 2016 page, which has every garment I made this year and links to the relevant blog post.

However, I have picked out 5 each of: the best things (for various definitions of 'best') I made this year; my "if only!" garments -- things I almost love, if only they didn't have one or more problems; the serious workhorse patterns/garments; and selected disasters. 

Category #1: The Best Things Since Sliced Bread

Best of 2016
  1. Burda 02-2009-133 Red raincoat. The fit is not perfect. Also, the fabric creases like CRAZY in wear. I'm still super impressed with myself for making this coat and love & wear it a lot.
  2. Jalie 2908 Bootcut Jeans in cobalt blue twill. I love the pattern, I love the colour. I don't love how the fly turned out and I wish they were just a tiny bit bigger, but these are still by far the most successful of my (mostly sad) attempts at trousers in 2016.
  3. Cozy Little World Jasmin in navy polka dot viscose/lycra. This is a simple pattern that cost 3 Euro and was worth every penny. This polka dot version is my favourite and I wore it constantly this summer. I just really like the shape and the fit, and also the fabric.
  4. Burda 07-2011-116 (a.k.a. the flying squirrel top) in floral viscose. I have a perverse love of Burda's wackier patterns and this one is just great. It was a fun sew being both weird and well-constructed. I didn't wear it a million times because it's too distinctive to have massive wear frequency, but I loved it every time.
  5. Grainline Linden striped sweatshirt. I am no great fan of Grainline, whose patterns I mostly find boring and boxy. Somehow, though, the Linden has become a TNT. This stripy cotton pique version in particular, but also a black version with a crochet overlay I made later in the year, have both been in heavy rotation ever since I made them.
Category #2: If Only!

Almost the best, but not quite of 2016
  1. Burda 03-2016-104 polka dot double gauze woven tee. Love the fabric. Love the shape of the hemline and of the top as a whole. Love the way it looks with half my summer wardrobe. It should have been my favourite garment of the year, but it's weirdly tight at the upper back. I can't even do the obvious and release the pleat at the back because the (fragile) double gauze fabric pulled a little at the stitching line of the pleat and would show marks. So frustrating!
  2. Knipmode 02-2013-35 grey/white checked viscose popover shirt. I wanted this to be a favourite so much, but a combination of irritating user error when making it (two left sleeves=cuffs upside down on one arm, problems with the collar) and then weirdly late-in-the-day shrinkage in the laundry have left it a lot less loved than I think it should have been.
  3. Butterick 6388 knit dress with lapped collar. Love the distinctive collar of this knit dress/tunic, and I wear it a lot. I made the wrong size though and despite trying to fix it it's just that little bit wrong, fit-wise. It'll still get plenty of wear I am sure.
  4. Simplicity 2209 blue/green jacket. This is a lesson in why I should make a muslin. I love the fabric and the style of this jacket but the fit is just that bit off. I didn't wear it as much as I thought as a result. But I still love the idea and I'm glad I rescued the ugly fabric with a box of dye to make it.
  5. Butterick 6270, tunic in black and ivory checked viscose. I would 100% love this tunic top, which has been in very high rotation since I made it in September, if only I didn't hate the facings! As it is, I wear it really regularly and every time I do I curse the way the neckline is constructed.

Category #3: Let's Hear It For Workhorses

Workhorses of 2016

  1. StyleArc Barb black knit trousers. I was dubious when I made these trousers, and there's no doubt that from the back there are some definite fit issues, but wow, they are comfortable and ultra easy to wear. I'm thinking about how to fix the back fit issues so I can make more. I've worn this pair almost to the point of death -- the fabric is lasting less well than my enthusiasm for the trousers.
  2. New Look 6150 in black and white stripe. This is my workhorse, much adapted t-shirt pattern. I've made a ton of them over the last three years and it's just consistently worked. This is my favourite of the 5(!) I've made this year.
  3. StyleArc Estelle in black jacquard. One of these days the waterfall cardigan trend will end, but it is not that day yet. This is my third Estelle and I've worn it, and the two previous versions I made in late 2015, in very high rotation. For sure they're going to get too tatty to wear long before I am ready to get rid of them.
  4. Ottobre 05-2015-01 dress in black and white bark pattern. This is my favourite of the knit tunics/dresses I made this autumn/early winter. I've worn this version in high rotation so far. I have a real appreciation for a simple pattern that really works. It looks like nothing in the technical drawing, but so great in person.
  5. Butterick 5704/Burda 8271/Ottobre 05-2011-02 Various PJs. (not pictured) These are all my workhorse PJ patterns and they're, in themselves, boring as anything. But they're also great, easy basics that I'm happy to make over and over. I LOVE my hand-made PJs all year every year.

Category #4: Disaster, Darling!

Disasters of 2016
  1. Ottobre 05-2012-07 navy viscose shirt. I really wanted a drapey blue button front shirt. Instead I got a mess. I couldn't sew this fabric together in a straight line for love or money due to shifty fabric that I cut badly. Then the fit, despite this being a shirt pattern I had made successfully twice before, was horrendously awful. I tried taking the sleeves down to short sleeves, and then down to sleeveless, and then I gave up and abandoned it after wearing it only once.
  2. Burda 06-2016-101 t-shirt in fuschia knit. I liked this wacky looking Burda pattern a lot! But I made it from the worst fabric in the world, a very thin viscose knit that ripped along half the seam lines the second time I washed it. Sorry, t-shirt, you were a great idea but my execution didn't work out.
  3. Silhouette 511, Angie's blouse. I made this with gorgeous, expensive white double gauze. I picked the wrong size using the (STUPID) sizing method Silhouette insist on, had to cut the sleeves off to get it on at all. I wore it once but although it's a nice idea, especially that unique collar detail, I hated everything else about it. I am still furious every time I think about the waste of my nice fabric and I got rid of all three Silhouette patterns I owned as a result.
  4. Burda 06-2012-130 dress in navy/star print viscose. Nothing about this worked for me in the end. I wore it once and it fit so horribly, looked so grim on me, and had so many sewing problems that I'd half-assedly tried to fix, I felt awful in it all day. Bye-bye, dress!
  5. Burda 03-2016-118 'the trashbag top'. Not all wacky Burda patterns work out, though to be fair this one is the fault of my fabric. It was a crinkle viscose and between making it and the following morning it uncrinkled in such a way as to make it closely resemble a hospital gown designed by someone in a high fever. Nope! Straight in the recycling. 
In conclusion: Overall, I think my wardrobe had a good year, and I definitely sewed a lot of things I am pleased with and proud of. I have Grand Plans for what I make in 2017, of course, of which more in my third and final post on this topic. :D

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

2016 In Review: How I Spent My Money

Previous years: 2014; 2015

Although this post is ostensibly about my sewing budget for 2016, there's a big overlap between my money management and how I manage my fabric stash. These, therefore, were my three money and fabric stash related goals for 2016:
  • Stick to my 2016 budget and reduce my spending on patterns compared to 2015:
  • Reduce garment stash to less than 150m (from ~193m at the end of 2015).
  • Use at least two thirds of 2016 fabric purchases within 2016.
Tragically, this is a post full of how I failed to realize any of these goals! /o\

In both previous years of reviewing how I spent my sewing budget I started out by patting myself on the back for being at or very near what I'd planned to spend for the year. Not so much in 2016 -- I went over budget by a pretty epic 18%! D: I gave myself the same amount of money as last year, so that's a big overspend. I should note that it's not really a problem, exactly. My budget in this case is self-imposed rather than being about hitting the limits of my resources -- I'm not over here choosing between buying food and buying buttons or anything! However, I know that when I overspend compared to the (generous) budget I set myself it often turns out I've bought things I didn't really need, which is indeed the case this year.

Here's how my spending broke down:

Major purchases: 0%

My sewing set up didn't change this year and I made no major purchases like machines or other hardware of that type. I'm not really expecting to make any in 2017 either -- all my machines are in good shape and do everything I need. The only possible big ticket item is a tailor's dummy. Flossie (my tailor's dummy that my mum bought (and named) when she started teacher training college in the late 1960s and that she has passed on to me) will need to be replaced at some point as she's ever more rickety, but I don't think her demise is quite imminent.

Fabric: 40%

I'm over budget this year because, frankly, I bought entirely too much fabric. In 2016, I bought 120m of fabric, which, to put it into context, is my second highest total ever and just over twice what I bought in 2015. (The only year I bought more was 2012, or, as I like to think of it, that year when I didn't know what I was doing and sent my credit card into melt-down buying mostly the wrong things.) In the out-going column, this year I've used 98m of fabric, just under half of which (47m) was purchased during 2016. That's probably the most I've ever used in a year, so at least I had that going for me to counterbalance my over-purchasing. I finished the year on 217.8m in stash, so absolutely nowhere near my 150m goal. :(

Some thoughts on my fabric buying this year:
1. I did a lot of stress fabric buying this year. I did a lot of stress everything this year -- stress eating, stress fabric buying, stress cleaning, you name it. 2016 was just a really stressful year. On the whole I'm not a big believer in distracting myself from stress by buying stuff, as much as anything because I don't think it works, so I'm kind of peeved that I did so this year. I apparently don't make terribly good decisions when I stress buy either, though on the whole I don't think I bought anything too outlandish in the way of fabric. What I did do was did buy some quantity of things that are not duplicates, precisely, but are certainly no more than variations on a theme. Apparently in times of stress I particularly like to buy navy/blue patterned shirting fabrics.

2. I had a goal this year to buy-to-use rather than buy-to-stash, and I legitimately did use, by my standards, a lot of fabric that I had just recently bought in the course of the year. However, because I bought so MUCH fabric, the numbers didn't really work out overall. Last year I used about 32% of the fabric I bought in 2015. This year I used about 40% of the fabric I bought in 2016. So, a small improvement, but not quite as much of one as I'd hoped.

3. On the other hand, I did do a better job this year of buying fabrics that are suitable for my current lifestyle. Almost all of the fabric 'left over' from 2016 is the sort of thing I could easily use tomorrow rather than being useful only in some fantasy life when I need a lot of work or going out clothes.

4. Obviously, I failed at my goal to reduce my overall stash, since I bought more fabric than I used. This is my third year in a row where I haven't managed any significant reduction in overall stash size. Maybe I am not made to have a small(er) stash. Every time I make a deliberate attempt to reduce the size of my stash, I seem to end up back where I started. However, I'm pretty much at the limit of my storage space and comfort level with what I have right now. I definitely need the general 2017 stash trend to be downwards, or at worst neutral.

5. I have a real 'keep this in stash because it is too nice to use' problem. This isn't a case of owning fabric that is too fancy for the easy-to-launder casual/smart-casual clothes that make up most of my wardrobe right now. I mean, I have some of that too, but it's not the main problem. The bulk of my issue is owning fabric that I have arbitrarily decided is somehow too good for me. One of the reasons I have so many navy/blue shirting fabrics is that I keep buying it, and then going oh this is so great .... I can't possibly use it! and then buying more in the hope I find one I am willing to use. This is ridiculous, so I'm going to have to get over it.
Pattern magazines: 25%

This year I had subscriptions to Burda, Knipmode and Ottobre.

I am not someone who gets great "return" from magazines, in the sense that I have a lot of magazines and most of them I've never made anything from and have no definite plans to make anything from either. However, I find the magazines to be a source of constant interest and inspiration, and, especially with Burda, it's amazing how many times I come back to an issue months/years after it was published and suddenly want to make a pattern from it. I'm therefore fine with having a large collection of magazines and continue to feel like they are a good investment. However, I did sell many of my issues of Patrones from 2013-2014 this year as I decided I wasn't ever going to use them and wanted to free up some space on my shelves.
As far as actual 2016 subscriptions are concerned, I thought Burda in particular had a GREAT year with loads of patterns that I picked out to make at some point soon as well as a good number that went on the back burner for when I am working again and need a more diverse wardrobe. On the other hand, my picks from Knipmode seem to skew heavily towards their more smart/smart-casual patterns and so very few are making it into my "make it soon" list, which is a bit disappointing.

I feel like Ottobre is probably the weakest of my subscriptions at the moment -- I wasn't wild about either of the 2016 issues. On the other hand, I wasn't wild about the 2015 issues and several of the patterns have grown on me since, so there's definitely a sleeper effect. Plus, when I look at the patterns I've used over the course of my sewing lifetime so far, Ottobre has by far the best 'return' per issue -- I come back to those magazines over and over for good quality basic patterns. Overall, for the price they charge and for a subscription of just a couple of issues per year, I still feel I get enough long-term value from Ottobre to keep it up.

Other than my three subscriptions, I also bought a handful of Burda back issues (I'm now down to just 5 back issues that I want that I don't have), as well as Burda Plus A/W 2016, which was a stand-out issue with no re-prints from the main magazine for a change. It was also, apparently the last English language Burda Plus, which is a shame. I'll have to buy the German or French edition if they release more good issues. I also bought Burda Vintage (1970s), but as much just to read/be amused by as for the patterns as I was kind of indifferent to them.

Patterns (envelope and PDF): 10%

Some of the envelope patterns I bought this year
I had very specific ideas about buying envelope and PDF patterns this year. I gave myself a very limited budget, for one thing, which I stuck to like glue (hurray for having ONE success on the budgeting front!). Mainly, however, I wanted to be very deliberate about what I bought and only get patterns that really added something new and different to my pattern collection. I also tried hard not to buy patterns for a fantasy life I don't have, so I didn't buy very many dress patterns or patterns for clothes for the career I don't have right now. I bought Big4 only in the (relatively infrequent) half prices sales to save money. I also sold (or have listed on eBay) a lot of envelope patterns I bought right back when I started garment sewing before I really had a good handle on what I want to make. My overall paper/envelope pattern stash therefore actually decreased in size, even though I did buy patterns throughout the year.

Some of the PDFs I bought this year
Overall, I am really pleased with how my pattern stash shaped up this year. I don't think there's anything left in there I don't want to make at some point. Apart from one random maxi skirt envelope pattern I bought while in the grip of fierce insomnia, I think all my purchases this year were either interesting, different, or usefully filled a gap in my pattern collection. If I can repeat this trick next year, that would be great.

Notions (14%), Knitting (5%), Books (5%), Other (2%)

The rest of my spending is split between four minor categories, and I'm pretty happy with what I bought and how much I spent in each. I did spend more on notions this year than usual because (a) I bought a huge bulk purchase of interfacing in September and (b) it seemed like I had to replace all kinds of little things (like overlocker blades) at various points in the year and over the course of 12 months all those small purchases added up. That said, there's nothing really in these numbers that concerns me or that I think I need to address next year.

In conclusion: I need to calm the hell down on the fabric buying side of things next year. I have pleeeeeenty of fabric to start sewing up as 2017 gets under way, especially if I can get myself over my mental block about the 'too nice for me' fabric. I also need to make sure I keep up the discipline on the pattern buying front, because I feel like it worked out very nicely for me this year overall. Everything else I think is ticking along nicely at about the right level of spend.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Crafts

I hope that everyone who is celebrating the holidays this week is having an enjoyable time of it so far! I managed to have a minor flare of my chronic illness right in time for Christmas, which is just typical. Luckily, as this confined me more or less to my house and sofa, I had some projects to kept me occupied. Here is a very quick roundup:

Gap-tastic Cowl in Universal Yarns Felicity
 1. This cowl I knitted as a gift for my sister-in-law, whose birthday is few days before Christmas. The (novelty) yarn is quite weird in that it's almost like a ribbon, but it actually made up beautifully into this really simple seed stitch cowl. The pattern is the Gap-tastic Cowl, a free pattern that I have used several times before. I ordered the yarn in a last-minute rush, somehow got the quantities totally wrong and ended up with exactly twice as much as I needed. Since my SIL lives in Australia, I might well make a second, identical one for myself as at least we will never get them confused or wear them at the same time!

"Fungus" scarf in Plymouth Yarn Joy Rainbow

2. The last couple of years I've picked out a super-easy scarf project that I could start and finish on Christmas Day, and I did the same this year. This one uses another novelty yarn that makes up into a sort of ruffly scarf thing when you use the "pattern" on the label. I use scare quotes because the pattern is basically doing 6 stitches per row of garter stitch. It took less than two hours to knit from start to finish. My mother said it looked like some kind of fungus or seaweed or something as I was knitting it, and so now in my head it will always be the fungus scarf.

Completed Vervaco "Cheerful Santas" cross-stitch kit
3. Continuing my infatuation with cross-stitch, this insanely adorable little kit I'd bought turned up on December 19th. I felt so rotten at that time I actually more or less stayed in bed sick the following couple of days, and since being in bed is very boring I got started stitching early on the 20th and worked on it quite extensively every day (and mainlined Person Of Interest on Netflix at the same time!). I finished it up this morning, the 27th, exactly 7 days later, which I think was pretty good going. There are a couple of little mistakes in my stitching, but nothing that I think is too obvious. The kit, if you're interested, is Vervaco's Cheerful Santas, and I bought it on Amazon. It's rated Easy, which I think is a fair rating, and there are relatively few colours to juggle. I really loved the extra-large chart that Vervaco supply as well. I was amused to discover that although they are called Santas in the English packaging, in the original language (Vervaco is a Belgian company) they are actually Christmas Gnomes! I know nothing of Belgian Christmas traditions, but their gnomes are cute. I'm going to frame my finished stitching and use it as a Christmas decoration in future years. :D

There are very few days left in the year. I'm going to post my reviews of 2016 this week some time, and I'm also chugging as quickly as I can through the sleeves of my Il Grande Favorito jumper, which has been lurking, sleeveless, in my knitting bag for months now. I've been making myself work on it a bit and I'm actually making pretty good progress -- I'm just a little under halfway through the first sleeve and it really hasn't taken as long as I thought it would. If I am very disciplined I might even get it finished before the start of 2017!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

So far, in December

Over the last couple of weeks I have:

So many miles of curtain and lining hems. SO MANY.
1. Hemmed all of the curtains in the world, and all of the linings. It took an unbelievably long time to get them all done, but my mum was pleased to have them finished and hung before the Hordes of House-guests arrived. (The Hordes have now arrived and are occupying a great deal of everyone's time.)

New PJs in black cotton with a ditsy floral pattern

2. Made a pair of PJs, more to get myself going again making things than because I was desperately in need of more winter PJs. The fabric is the remains of a large piece black cotton with a tiny floral that I bought 3 years ago, and which I once used to make a horribly unsuccessful dress. The print is, I realize now, really not me at all but it was a great fabric for PJs. I had exactly the right amount left to make a pair of my old faithful PJ pattern, Butterick 5704. An ideal use of resources all round!

New Look 6303 (View C) in blue floral viscose
3. Made a New Look 6303 blouse in a blue floral viscose. This is one of those draped cross-front/faux-wrap blouses everyone has been wearing for about 2 years and I've been meaning to make at least as long. I have an extended family meet-up to attend this weekend and I made this blouse in anticipation of it. On the one hand, it came out beautifully as far as the sewing and the fabric/pattern match-up are concerned. I was a little concerned that the way you construct the front would mean the flowers on one half of the bodice were visibly upside down and on the bias. Well, I mean, they ARE upside down and sideways, but I don't think really noticeable unless you know to look for it and I don't think it's visually distracting even if you know about it.

However, I didn't make a muslin and the fit is all wrong. It's tighter than I like across the upper back and shoulders. I could live with this (as I frequently do with RTW) but while the front looks actually great if I stand still, if I move my arms around at all it all pulls completely open. I experimented with safety pins but that looks worse. To get it to fit properly I probably needed to go up at least one size through the bodice and/or do an FBA.

The basic problem is that my fluctuating weight (caused mainly by changes in my medication at the moment) has shot up over the last couple of months and it was very difficult to decide what size to make as a result. I thought I'd be OK with a New Look 16 even at my current weight based on the finished measurements but I didn't make a muslin and frankly have no idea how I'd have altered this pattern anyway given the pattern pieces. So, blah, not only do I have a perfectly nice blouse that I can't wear unless/until my weight wanders downwards again, but I also have to figure out something different to wear to my family event this weekend now. This is a depressing outcome. I try very hard not to let my weight/weight changes bother me, both because it's not important compared to my overall health situation and also for Serious Feminist Reasons about body acceptance and the importance of not making weight a factor in our moral judgement of people (especially women) starting with myself. However, I do think it would be easier to achieve body acceptance if I could have more or less the same body for more than a couple of months at a time. It's very frustrating when you sew to try to fit a constantly moving target and I tend to transfer that to frustration with my body rather than with sewing.

Cross-stitch kit: Ho Ho Ho ornament
4. Since making clothes is annoying at the moment, I have been having an intense flirtation with doing cross-stitch, which is a form of embroidery I have not done much of since my very early teens. I don't have very many Christmas ornaments at all because I normally spend most of the holiday period with my family and I tend not to decorate my own house. This year I put out the tiny collection of Christmas decorations I had and was struck by the desire to have a few more. Rather than buy some finished ornaments though, I decided I wanted to make some. I started with this little Ho Ho Ho placard using an inexpensive kit. For something I haven't done in years I thought the actual cross-stitch came out quite well and I really enjoyed making it. I got a couple of other kits to play with as a result - some more Christmas ornament type things, but also a larger kit that I want to stitch starting in January.

5. Other things I have been doing: knitting up a storm (some of it Secret Gift Knitting, so I shall do a knitting round-up once the gift giving season is done); writing my end-of-year review posts for this blog (so boring for everyone to read but I love writing them so, whatever, be prepared to skip them); and thinking about what I want to do sewing-wise in 2017 and coming up with all sorts of fun ideas for myself. :D