Each year I like to take the first of January to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So while this post is a celebration of the new year, it also helps me to put into perspective the year that has just gone. Somehow I always think the year has been a bit low on finished makes until I put everything together for the year’s collage!
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 top menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way! (Though a few of the makes in the bottom row I haven’t blogged about yet!)
The Year in Stats
In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:
- 25 FehrTrade patterns (I put my money where my mouth is I guess!?),
- 9 Seamwork magazine,
- 6 Self-drafted (including traced from RTW),
- 4 Jalie (well, the same sports bra pattern four times!),
- 3 from the Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion in Fabric book,
- 2 Burda Style magazine,
- 2 Style Arc,
- 2 Orange Lingerie,
- and 1 each from La Maison Victor magazine, Named, Paprika Patterns, Imagine Gnats, Simple Sew, and Kwik Sew.
By my count, I made: 21 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts), 2 jumpsuits,
2 dresses, 10 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 1 bikini, 2 jackets/coats/cardigans and zero skirts (!). I made presents for my mom, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew, and James also received four tops and a pair of lounging bottoms this year, the lucky guy!
I think the biggest surprise for me in the above tally is that I only made two garments from all my Burda magazines (and neither of those were from 2015 issues, eep!) and nothing from Manequim magazine, either. Also surprising is that I only sewed two dresses this year, and not a single skirt – but that’s more down to my wearing ones I’d already made in previous years, and not really feeling the need to sew any more. The only Big Four showing this year is a pair of Kwik Sew leggings, if Kwik Sew even counts these days? I did buy and cut out that McCalls vintage reissue gown to sew for the Gala Dinner in Argentina, but time got away from me and the muslin pieces are still waiting to be assembled (but this is my only UFO of the year!).
I like to pick a theme for each year, and for me, 2015 was The Year of Doing Everything. That’s not necessarily a good thing, mind – I definitely think I can do more in my head than the number of hours I have in each day, so I’m continuously disappointed in myself. This year I also worked four days a week in an office job, which meant I had only 20% of the time I had last year to devote to the pattern business. In that perspective, I feel I did a pretty good job, releasing the Steeplechase Leggings pattern in March and the Kimono Sweat pattern in August, along with a future pattern which I completed for a December deadline and which will be released in January. I also wrote no less than five articles for Seamwork magazine, which has been a really inspiring project to contribute towards.
In terms of athletic achievements, this year was all about the World Transplant Games in Argentina, where I added the titles “World Champion” and “World Record Holder” to my list of achievements, earning six gold medals for Great Britain after a long eight months of solid training with my coach. But I also ran London marathon in April, two half marathons, several 10k races, and countless hours on the track. I cycled my first ever sportives this year, as well as discovering how much fun bouldering (climbing) can be, so I’ve got lots of variety to look forward to in the coming year.
Picking out a few of my favourite garments is always a difficult task, but this year I’m particularly fond of…
My birthday jeans – All my previous pairs of jeans became too baggy over time, and the perfect “skinny fit” seriously eluded me, until I had the Eureka! moment that I should be sewing them fit like just-washed jeans in order to make them fit like I wanted after loosening on the body. And this pair are just the way I love them, and I’m still wearing them at least twice a week.
Circuitboard Steeplechase leggings – It was difficult to narrow it down to just one pair of Steeplechase Leggings since I’ve made so many of them this year, but this pair was special because I’d wanted to buy the circuitboard lycra for years, and then to wear them round Cambridge half marathon with all the geeks shouting their love, well, it was just perfect. And they’re one of those pairs that continues to get compliments every time I wear them.
The technical Jasper – I seriously love the design and fit of this sweatshirt by Paprika Patterns, and I’m really pleased with the way I incorporated little bits of lime green tech lycra from a cheap RTW top to really make all the features stand out. I love all the little features like my hidden pocket and headphone hook, but also that the hood is big enough to go over my cycling helmet, too!
My green Kimono Sweat sweatshirt – After wearing my grey version so much after exercising, I wasn’t actually sure whether there’d be room in my wardrobe for a full-on casualwear version of View A, but I soon found myself wearing this version over and over again, several times a week, quickly becoming my favourite top to throw on over jeans and a vest (tank) top in the summer. It didn’t hurt that it’s in my favourite shade of green, either!
Other highlights of 2015
After 8 years in a temporary space, we finally finished building my new sewing room! It’s still a very small space, but it’s hidden behind a bookcase door at the end of the boat, and it’s got everything exactly where I want it to be. Spending hours in the space simply makes me happy.
Though I did most of the work in 2014, this year saw the release of the Great British Sewing Bee book that I did so much work on, as well as watching the third season and seeing some of my pattern illustrations up on screen and my name in the credits! All very exciting stuff. I also taught so many ladies the joy of sewing with stretch fabrics on the leggings, Breton tee, and panty classes at the Thriftystitcher studio, and I had two sewing dates with friends, too, helping Harriet make the sequin jumpsuit of her Halloween dreams, and showing Sanchia the joy of me-made leggings that actually fit!
I also did a fair bit of traveling in 2015 – first a bit of an unexpected trip back to Pennsylvania in January for my grandmother’s funeral, then a happier trip to New York in March where James and I drank cocktails with Oonabaloona and Ginger in amoungst drowning ourselves thoroughly in immersive theater. Then of course was the big Argentina trip in August for the World Transplant Games, where we stayed on afterwards to see the Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires, and less than a month after arriving back home we drove down to southern France for a friend’s wedding, with a stop at our favourite chocolate factory on the way.
So it’s probably no wonder that I’m starting the new year feeling a bit overstretched. 2015 was a big struggle to fit the pattern business (let alone Fun Sewing!) in around my office job and my training for international athletics competition. It really feels like I’m still expecting myself to do more than is physically possible sometimes, and I’m really not one for resolutions, but I think I really must be kinder to myself in future and learn to say no as well as stop to take rests, both physical and mental.
January is already shaping up to be a very busy month indeed, so I will certainly be putting this to the test very soon.