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Happy 2021! (My year in review)

What. A. Year! I’m not even going to attempt to sugar-coat things, and any attempt to try and put things into perspective just sounds like a cliché after all this. But for a year where I was essentially under house arrest since March, it’s surprisingly not all bad. Above all else, I’m grateful to have spent the time with my husband and that we both were able to continue our office jobs from home at full pay and remarkable support. My sewing was both a welcome distraction and a balm in this year of chaos and uncertainty.

I’m going to try to use my usual year-end format again, though this was clearly a year that broke all attempts to contain it so let’s do what we can (clearly a motto for the year!)…

A striped bamboo lingerie set

Yes, another lingerie set! I’ve been wearing the other sets I made this year (the polka dot, the black mesh, and the painterly) pretty much nonstop so when Discovery Fabrics asked if I’d be interested in trying one of their panty packs (for the price of postage since Canada to the UK isn’t cheap!) I was all over it. They stock a ton of great technical activewear fabrics so I knew these would be fabulous, and I was not disappointed!

My pack has seven fabrics at the full width but only 12in long – which is absolutely fine for panties and most bras, but in order to fit my favourite Sophie Hines Axis Tank into my yardage I had to get a little creative and cut some new design lines on the front piece. For this one I cut off the bottom with a curve (bottom right in the photo below) but I might change things up for the next one and cut off the straps instead!

Doggy gifts for a very good girl

I didn’t make many in-person gifts this year, but when the Jalie Galaxie 4 pattern aimed at pets was announced, and I looked at my recent Spoonflower purchases from their BOGOF sale, I knew I had to make something for my bestie’s pooch!

You already saw the cat bed I sewed for Nishi from this pattern, but there are a bunch of other treats in this pattern, too!

First up, I made the “Johnny” collapsible bowl in the largest size (Freya is only just over a year old but she is a BIG girl with a big appetite!).

A monochrome striped rib knit top

Back in May I bought some irregular striped rib knit jersey from Like Sew Amazing (now sold out) at the same time as I bought the fabric for my Burda jumpsuit. I didn’t really have a plan for it, but I could tell it was high quality and a steal at £15 for 1.5m, so I kept hold of it in my stash until a plan presented itself back in early November when I thought to myself – I should definitely make a long sleeved top with it.

I’d been meaning to sew more from the excellent Named Patterns “Breaking the Pattern” book (since everything I’ve made so far has been incredible!), and having most recently made the Ruska knot dress back in March for my birthday, the other Ruska variations were already printed and cut to size. Even though it’s all one pattern, you actually get two fit choices – a looser cut through the body (used by the teeshirt, tunic, and outer layer of the knot dress) or a more slim-fit version (used by the dress and inner layer of the knot dress). Since I already liked the fit of the knot dress, I opted for the slim-fit with long sleeves and a taller collar similar to the dress in the book (I’ll get to that in a second though).

A new cave for Nishi

For the last few years, Jalie Patterns have released a “Galaxie” pattern around the holidays that is usually gift-themed. One year it was cooking-focused, another on travel, but this year the focus was on pets, and, reader, I bought it immediately! Galaxie 4 contains several little projects for pets – collapsible bowls, zippered pouches, a poo-bag dispenser, and a pet bed – and one for humans, too – a bum bag. My Instagram followers will know that I made some of the other views of this pattern literally the next day, but as those are presents you’ll need to wait to see those!

Today we’re talking all about the “Coquette”, a pet padded bed/cave/house/etc. It comes in a range of sizes that would be suitable for a guinea pig, rabbit, cat, or small dog, but you could likely scale it up for larger dogs if you really wanted to. After some deliberation, I ended up using the second-to-largest size, 35cm, and I think this is the right size for an average sized cat, though you could probably go down one size further in a pinch if you had to, too.

Another skylight cover for the boat

You might mistake me for someone who actually enjoys sewing home dec for the sheer amount of it I’ve been doing this year. But considering the amount of time we’ve spent at home (ie: every waking moment for the past 8 months) it’s probably not surprising that we keep seeing ways to improve things.

The latest in my home improvements was sewing a new cover for the smaller, bedroom skylight in the back cabin. Unlike the skylights in the main part of the boat which are flat, these older covers over the original 1930s captains cabin are peaked, triangular wooden framed skylights which need custom shaping. The last one I made for this particular skylight was made in Jan 2011 so it nearly lasted ten years! But you’ll see further down how badly it needed replacing…

Perfect Pandemic trousers – for her!

After the success of James’s pandemic trousers (he’s barely taken them off since I gave them to him!), I decided that I needed some elastic-waisted joys of my own to wear while working from home (and relaxing from home, and eating from home, and socialising from home, and everything else from home!). And then I realised that I actually already had a casual woven trouser pattern (complete with separate drawstring waistband!) that I had printed onto A0 a few years back and never sewn – Seamwork Moji!

The perfect pandemic trousers – for him!

I was encouraged by the effect that sewing for my mom had had on my own sewing mojo, so I decided to stick with the theme of sewing for others and I turned my attention to my husband instead.

I’d bought La Maison Victor‘s special Menswear issue back in 2018 (which I bought first in French when it was originally released, and then, later, again when it was finally released in English). There were so many good menswear patterns in this issue – lots of interesting and different (but still wearable!) designs, but I thought that the “Jeff Trousers” in particular would be perfect for J’s new work from home lifestyle.

A Tie-Sleeve Top to Cheer Up My Mom

Our family have had a rough 2020, and my mom especially. We’ve had three family members die this year, and the enforced separation during these times makes the distance between us feel even greater. I feel thankful that I was able to fly over in February when my dad was in hospital (which actually feels like a lifetime ago), but it’s been impossible for a multitude of reasons to visit since then.

So I wanted to do what I can to both give her a boost, and to make the distance between us feel a little less severe. I’d sent over a few care packages full of face masks but as practical as they are, they’re not particularly cheery. Back in February I’d I made her (and myself) this tie-sleeved top from the June 2019 Burda magazine, and she really loved that we had “twin shirts”. You can see more about the shape of the sleeve pieces and the general construction notes in this post, so I won’t repeat it here. She really loved that one so much that she picked out some fabric at JoAnn for another version and I brought it home in my suitcase to sew up at some point.