lessons learned, garments made, and all of that end-of-the-year stuff

friends, i am not sure i have ever been so excited to see the end of a year than i am now.  it was a hell of a year, and i hated most of it.  it’s really only looking back that i truly understand how unhappy-and-trying-not-to-be i was, even before it became clear (around july) that we were going to lose my mom.  thank goodness i had my house, my crafts, and my sewing friends to help me see it through.  i expect a lot of next year is going to be about re-learning old habits from before my mom’s illness:  little things like being social, going out with friends, going on vacations, eating normally (something i’ve only just re-discovered) and, most of all, relaxing as much as every day allows and always, always being grateful for small happinesses.

so, before i tear up, let’s count it off.


without question, my best make of 2012 was my chanel french couture jacket.  i learned a lot, really came out with a great product, and just got a lot of satisfaction from having completed the task.  i think one of my major goals of 2013 will be to make more of these.  i want to focus more on the occasional large project, with lovely little simple ones thrown in there more regularly–tailored shirts, for example, are a project i am keen to master.


i think my promaballoona dress gets most unexpected/most awesome/MVP for the year.  it is such a crazy dress and yet it is my go-to when i need something formal but want to keep a sense of whimsy and self-expression.  i am so, so happy that i went back and did it properly. this was a big year in terms of re-using or refashioning old pieces to save fabric or to improve on a mistake.  i think that was important for me and i’m really thrilled i had so many successes.  it really taught me to focus on what i am doing and commit to a task.


hello, pattern drafting!  i am so proud that i was able to draft this completely from scratch in addition to reusing an old dress that wasn’t working for me.  i love that i now have that in my sewing toolbox for when i don’t want to use a pattern or need something a pattern isn’t providing, but i also don’t like to reinvent the wheel when an existing pattern will do just fine.  it’s wonderful to have those options.

this pink top was one of my bigger disappointments.  i spent a lot of time adjusting the pattern for fit, adding details that i liked, and trying to finish it properly.  but at the end of the day, the weight of the cotton is completely wrong for the top, making it awkward to wear, and i shortened the waist too much.  i had so many plans for this pink top!  i love cotton, i think it is easy to sew and easy to wear, but i really need to be more realistic about what my goals are when i am using cotton.


red jacket of awesomeness.  major lesson here, aside from the ones i’ve already discussed.  turns out that i love the idea of making a jacket.  i have the skills to make a jacket.  but when push comes to shove, a blazer is an item i would rather buy than make.  i am really proud of the jackets i have made, but none of them give me the thrill of my vintage chanel blazer or my tailored beauty from the row, and none of them make me feel as chic or special as one of these RTW pieces styled with a good mix of me-made separates.  on the other hand, some of the really wild ones, like my capes, are something i would never buy, but love that i can make.  so clearly i need to find a balance here.  (watson jacket, i am looking at you.)


speaking of styling…turns out i enjoy the outfit styling as much as i enjoy the outfit making.  i’ve really struggled to fit my me-mades into my already-existing sense of style, but it’s only been in the last 2 or 3 months that i have finally felt a sense of symbiosis between what i make and what i had previously bought.  i didn’t go on an actual RTW-shopping fast this year, but for all intents and purposes, i did.  (the clothes just don’t thrill me anymore now that i know how to make my own)  that doesn’t mean i don’t still love my old RTW collection, full of my favorite designers and nostalgia classics.  part of the satisfaction of making things has to be (for me at least) not feeling like a split personality when i am trying to decide what to wear.


finally, i love that i indulged in some genuine crafting this year.  it kept me going when nothing else could, and i am so happy to have that experience and sense of fun to keep in mind for garments in the future.

happy new year, everyone.



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