Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sewing Resolutions: 2016

Hello everyone! 

With 2015 drawing to a close and a brand new year fast approaching, I thought I'd take a moment to note down my sewing resolutions for 2016. 

1. Make a pair of trousers. Specifically, the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over It. This project should hopefully stretch my sewing abilities and allow me to pick up some new skills along the way.

2. Use satin to create a dress. I've never worked with a slippery fabric like satin before, but I'd love to be able to get to grips with it. Making a pretty party dress seems like a good way to learn! 

3. Use at least three of the decorative stitches on my machine to embellish my garments. This year I got a super fancy, super awesome digital sewing machine that came with a range of decorative stitches. Whilst I've been loving making use of the automatic buttonhole feature, I've not yet used the decorative stitches on anything. In 2016, I'm definitely aiming to put them to good use. 

4. Add embroidery to one of my finished garments. Yes, I am aiming to get to grips with hand-sewing this year! I've always leaned more towards machine sewing than hand stitching, but I love the effect embroidery can add to a garment, so I'm willing to give it a try. 

5. Sew a professional looking bag - pockets, zips, straps. So far in my sewing journey I've made a few simple handbags, but they didn't even have a button to close them. This year I'd like to make a proper, professional looking bag (I'm leaning towards either a tote or a rucksack at the moment) that will allow me to really develop my sewing skills. 

And that's all! Five sewing resolutions to complete throughout 2016 that I hope will help me to continue to grow as a sewist. 

Have you set yourself any sewing resolutions for the new year? Do leave a comment below! 

Have a wonderful new year everyone. 

Much love, 

Beth x

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 in Review

Hey everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and a well earned break. Has anyone found themselves any selfish sewing time?

With 2015 drawing to a close, I thought I'd take some time to reflect on what an amazing year I've had. There are so many people who look on New Years as a way to start again and improve themselves, whilst we should be using the change of date to look back and celebrate all the good times we've already had.

First up, my sewing resolutions for 2015!

1. Create a type of garment from a type of fabric I have never used before - COMPLETE! Yes, this year I have branched out and sewn with not just one new-to-me fabric type, but four! These are sweatshirt knit, chambray, broderie anglaise and cotton lawn.

2. Make two items of clothing which are not dresses - COMPLETE! This is most definitely a completed resolution. This year, I've made twenty-four items of clothing that aren't dresses. These are: 10 tops, 5 skirts, 4 sweatshirts, 2 cardigans, 1 pair of shorts, 1 waistcoat and 1 jumpsuit! Not all the pieces are blogged yet (there are 3 skirts, 3 tops, 1 waistcoat, 1 cardigan and 1 sweatshirt still waiting to be documented) and linking to everything would take all day, but you can check out my Pinterest board if you want to check! I've also knitted two cardigans, but since this is my sewing resolution list I've not included them in the total.

3. Try at least three new sewing techniques - buttonholes, tucks and princess seams - 2/3 COMPLETE. Since getting a new sewing machine with an automatic buttonhole feature earlier this year, I've been putting buttonholes on absolutely everything, including my Holly Jumpsuit Hack. I also got to try out princess seams for the first time when I made my BHL Kim Dress. As for the tucks, I have actually completed the tucks themselves as I started sewing up a Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse, but as this is currently stuck in the bottom of my sewing box as a UFO, I'm not counting this as a completed resolution. Oops! Someone please remind me to finish off that blouse in 2016.

4. Make at least three garments from vintage patterns - NOT COMPLETED. This was a total fail of a resolution; I didn't even make up one of the vintage garments I was planning on completing. I have no good reason for not being able to tick off this resolution, other than that I just never really got round to it. Much earlier in the year, I ordered an absolutely gorgeous 50's dress and overcoat pattern from Etsy and even went so far as to cut into my fabric, but then completely abandoned the project for other ideas. Hopefully I'll have the patience to go back to this project in the new year and finish it off.

5. Sew with a pattern from an Indie Designer I have never used before - COMPLETE. This is definitely something I can tick off my list. So far this year I've made garments from Muse Patterns (my Jenna Cardi), Seamwork/Colette Patterns (my Astoria sweatshirts), Sew Caroline (a Sugar Pop Top yet to be blogged) and Made By Rae (a Geranium Dress for my god-daughter's christening present), none of which I'd sewn with before. I've also bought patterns from indie designers I haven't used before like Megan Nielsen, Christine Haynes and Kate and Rose, but haven't included them as part of the resolution as I've yet to actually sew with the patterns.

In total, I've completed in full three of my five resolutions, and nearly completed a fourth. One does remain fully incomplete, but despite this, I'm really pleased with the sewing progress I've made this year.

Favourite Makes of 2015

Colour Blocked Colette Astoria - one of the most professional looking garments I've made as a sewist, super cosy and gets worn all the time.

Broderie Anglaise Belcarra Blouse - This top was a lifesaver this summer, cool to wear and the colour meant it matched all my funky patterned shorts!

BHL Elisalex Skirt Hack - I have four of these in my wardrobe now, all in needlecord. They're super easy to wear and feel really stylish.

Tilly and the Buttons Arielle - This is possibly also my favourite blog picture of the year as well. A really classy looking skirt, I'm so proud of myself over the quality of this make.

By Hand London Kim - Yes, it may have a wonky hem, but look at how pretty that border print is! This is my favourite dress of the year (bar my Christmas Day dress which is yet to be blogged...)

Misses (they help us to learn!)

BHL Holly Jumpsuit - The biggest fail of the year and also some of my most embarrassing blog photos! My Holly was definitely a mistake, it saw absolutely no wear this year and, on reflection, I just got swept along in the online trend. Ah well, it's all a learning curve.

Chambray Pinafore - This make was inspired by a picture I'd seen on Pinterest, but the finished garment just didn't reach my expectations. I did get some lovely comments off readers though, so perhaps it's not as bad as I first thought.

Personal Life

Prior to 2015, the favourite year of my life had been 2012. A lot of wonderful things happened, including finishing high school, passing my GCSEs, starting sixth form, following the route of the Tour de France and getting to see the Olympics. However, I think 2015 was sufficiently amazing to knock 2012 off the top spot. It has been my first full year spent at university, where I have a wonderful set of friends and love living independently. Being the Publicity Officer of my uni's Craft and Sewing Society is also something I take great pride and pleasure in, and this year have set up a blog to document our activities. I also had an amazing, four month long summer which was filled with sunny weather, seeing friends and sewing. There have also been a few changes in my relationships, as I broke up with my boyfriend of three years, but this turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened as it allowed another amazing person who I've grown to love to walk into my life. I also got to go on holiday to the beautiful Isles of Scilly, visit Gardeners World Live, see Wales play rugby at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and had several trips down to London where I saw the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and got to go shopping on Oxford Street!

All in all, I've had a truly amazing year and I hope 2016 is just as wonderful.

Finally, all there is left to say is a HUGE thank you to all my lovely readers, for continuing to read your way through my rambling thoughts, bearing with me during my long absences and leaving your thoughtful comments. I hope that this year has been kind to you and that 2016 brings everything you're hoping for.

Much love to you all,

Beth x