Happy 2015! (My year in review)

As I do every year, I like to spend the first of a new year to take the opportunity to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So without further ado, here’s a visual reminder of 2014!

Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the upper left menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way!

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:

  • 29 FehrTrade patterns (no surprise, really!),
  • 7 Burda magazine (aka Burda Style),
  • 5 Self-drafted (including traced from RTW),
  • 4 KwikSew (well, the same one pattern four times!),
  • 3 Manequim magazine,
  • 3 Cake Patterns,
  • 2 Style Arc,
  • 2 Vogue,
  • 2 Orange Lingerie,
  • and 1 each from Simplicity, McCalls, ThriftyStitcher, Christine Jonson, Seamster, Named, Sinbad & Sailor, Drape Drape, House of Pinhiero, and Jalie.

By my count, I made: 31 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts),
5 dresses, 4 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 3 skirts, 3 jackets/coats/cardigans, and 4 bags. James also did well this year, being made a winter coat, 2 shirts, 2 cycling tops, and a dop-kit bag.

And I realise I’ve been sewing a lot of running gear but the total number even surprised me – 34 of the above were for running (though not all for me)!

The above may sound like a lot of sewing, but even this is only a fraction of what I’ve actually sewn – I couldn’t really include all the garments sewn for the Great British Sewing Bee, for example, or those made for custom clients (of which there’s been a LOT!), or for the book I’ve been working on, either. In all honesty, I think you could probably double the amount shown above and it’d be closer to the total output!


I like to pick a theme for each year, and for me, 2014 was The Year of the Business. In this year I released five(!) digital sewing patterns – the Duathlon Shorts in March, the VNA Top in June, the Threshold Shorts in September, the Running Armband Pocket in October, and finally, the Surf to Summit Top for men and women in December. These are by far my proudest achievements for the whole year, and something I’ll continue to be proud of in future years, just as I am with the XYT Workout Top and PB Jam Leggings patterns which were released at the tail end of 2013.

But to pick out a few of my favourite garments…

The Sherlock Coat – This one was a true labour of love, self-drafted to recreate the coat Benedict Cumberbatch wears in Sherlock. Sewn in wool, underlined in flannel for warmth, and with a collar that wants to stay up of its own accord – these were the brief. But unexpectedly, the shape is really flattering on James, and he both looks fantastic and feels toasty warm in it. Hard work well spent.

Yellow Lace Marlborough Bra – After years of sewing bras, I finally, finally sewed one that fits properly, and is comfortable enough to wear all day. I didn’t even have to alter the pattern, which just boggles my mind. This was a huge success for me. I even managed to sew up another while I’ve been sick over the holidays, but more on that soon enough.

Lavender Threshold Shorts – I spent months perfecting the fit and motion control of the Threshold Shorts pattern, making muslin after muslin trying to get them to stop that horrible inner-thigh creep when you run, and eventually, I cracked the problem and ended up with a really flattering pair of shorts (not words I say lightly, either!). This was one of those drafts that would be a triumph for me even if I was the only person who wanted to wear them. Luckily, I wasn’t, but I wanted to show the world my confidence in the design, and so ran Berlin marathon in this lavender pair. I can’t think back to this marathon without a huge smile on my face, as it was the most wonderful day (More on this here).

My light-up, twinkling running jacket – The jacket itself may have been a *#%$^# to sew and in reality, a bit too tight to actually run in, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing it before and after exercise all the time (yes, even in daylight!). Like a well-fitting bra, sewing electronics has been something I’ve wanted to do for years and I am so proud that I finally sat down and did it. Like most things, it wasn’t anywhere near as complicated as I thought it’d be, and it has the singular ability to impress absolutely everyone who sees it.

My Digital-print cowl neck top – This one really is a triumph of matching amazing designer fabric to a very simple but suitable pattern. One of my friends tells me this is his favourite of anything I’ve ever made, and it’s certainly one I find myself reaching for more often than I should. The print is far busier than I usually prefer to wear for non-exercise, but the trompe l’oiel print just gets me every time.

Argh, it was tougher than I thought to pick out only a few makes! I tend to have my fair share of duds but this year was particularly strong.

Other highlights of 2014
Ooh, too many to list, really, but I’ll try! Working on the Great British Sewing Bee, releasing five exercise patterns, running two marathons, winning four gold medals and one silver at the British Transplant Games, teaching so many ladies to sew with stretch fabrics at all my classes, collaborating on fabric designs with Laurie King, sewing so many interesting custom garments for clients, speaking at the House of Commons and visiting Downing Street in my own dresses, and getting you all motivated with sweat and sew with the Spring Race Challenge!

I’ve got lots of ideas for 2015 – some things are changing, and some are staying the same. Priorities will shift and no doubt new things will appear to take the place of the old. We’ll look forward to the great things, and endure the not-so-great. Here’s to a new year, full of hope.

If you’re curious to see how 2014 stacked up to previous years, you can have a look at previous roundups here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

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