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Reflecting on 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but jump on Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow‘s “Top 5” craze that’s going around the sewing internets.  Unfortunately, one of the things that has been impacted the most by this pregnancy in the last two months is my grasp on creative writing.  Seriously, these days when I sit down to write a post, I stare at a blank screen for far longer than I’d like to admit.  I often just have to start typing something – anything – and then make sure to edit, edit, edit before I hit publish.  The same is even true with emails.  Pregnancy is weird!  So, while I’d love to wax poetic about the year, I’m not sure I have it in me right now!

Top 5 of 2013

First, I’d like to start with an overview of the year as a whole, particularly since 2013 has been a pretty crazy year for me outside of the sewing blogging universe.  My husband and I moved from the San Francisco area to Seattle, and I went from being a fully-employed-and-stressed-out scientist to a working-mostly-for-free-but-at-my-own-relaxed-pace pregnant scientist and tutor.  While the change was hard at times, I’m so very thankful for it.  As I mentioned in a much earlier post, I’d had two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy, and while I don’t chalk those misfortunes up to the stressful job I had at the time, it still means a lot to me that I could go through this pregnancy working at whatever pace my body deemed comfortable.

The funny thing is that I actually also thought my current state of near unemployment would be a boon for my sewing.  I thought I’d have so much time to focus on building my skills while completing my monthly MSN projects and finishing the many other projects that are currently languishing as uncut patterns and stash fabric.  What I found instead was that my sewing still came in fits and spurts, just as it had before.  I’d get really focused on a scientific writing project or something else that needed to get done, and my sewing would slow.  Other times, I would wake up and my thoughts would fly to the sewing project that I was so excited to start, and after finishing my responsibilities for the day, you couldn’t pull me away from the sewing machine. Maybe I’ll just always be one of those people who’s interests and hobbies ebb and flow?  At least it means I’m likely really excited about whatever I’m currently working on, whether it’s science, sewing, or something else!

Even with the crazy changes that highlighted 2013, I did manage to accomplish quite a lot of my personal sewing goals this year.  The one that I’m most proud of is starting to learn more about fitting thanks to the online Craftsy classes I took:  Pant Fitting Techniques, Jean-ius, and Sew the Perfect Fit.  I also managed to make many favorite garments this year. Here are my “Top 5 Hits” in mostly chronological order.

Sew Well:  Gold Plaid Archer

First up is my gold plaid Grainline Archer.  I can’t tell you how many times I wore this shirt this year.  But, it was a lot.  I had wild plans to make a ton more of these button up shirts, but my belly outgrew my ambition, and I used the shirting for my husband instead.  Sadly, I should have pre-washed this gold plaid fabric at least once more before cutting out the shirt because the sleeves have now shrunk to the point where they mostly look fine but I feel more comfortable with them rolled up.  Thankfully, the sheerness of the fabric meant I took the time to French seam everything, so I can still be proud of the garment even when the sleeves are rolled up and the insides are on display.

Sew Well - Saltspring in LibertySew Well - Blooming Blues Saltspring Maxi Dress

Next up would be my Sewaholic Saltspring dresses (first and second).  I like the neckline and the skinny straps, and the elasticized waist was just what I needed with my transitioning baby belly this past summer.  I like the tie-less straps of the maxi better, but I may prefer the shorter length.  I’d love to make another next summer in the shorter length with fixed straps and a border print.

Sew Well - Twist Maxi Dress in Silk JerseySew Well - Twist Dress in Silk Jersey

In my opinion my biggest hits this year were my BurdaStyle twist dresses (first and second).  While this pattern isn’t meant to be a maternity pattern, it’s looked great at every stage of my pregnancy.  And, the cherry on top is that I think these dresses will be something I wear often post-pregnancy without any modifications needed.  Just like the Saltspring, I hope to make another in a border print, probably in the shorter length but without sleeves.  Can you tell I’m looking forward to summer dresses already?!

Sew Well - Sewaholic Alma

It seems my love for Sewaholic Patterns runs deep.  I was curious to try the Alma blouse since I hadn’t had much luck making woven garments with comfortable sleeves, but I’d had a lot of luck with Sewaholic Patterns in general and wanted to see how Tasia’s woven sleeve would fit me.  And, of course, she didn’t let me down.  The sleeves fit and wear beautifully.  And, I got a blouse I love out of the process!  Next, I need to figure out how the armscye and sleeve from this pattern (and from the Grainline Archer pattern, which, now that I’m writing this post, I realize is another woven sleeve that I’m also comfortable wearing) compare to the woven patterns with sleeves I have tried in the past, so that I can learn a bit more about what works and what doesn’t work for me.

Sew Well - Ombre Striped Shingle Dress

Finally, my ombre striped shingle dress also makes my list of hits from this year.  I outgrew this dress pretty quickly, so I’m looking forward to being able to pull it out again whenever I trust that my belly won’t stretch it terribly out of shape!

Though the “Top 5” posts typically continue on to list misses, reflections, inspirations, and goals, I’m inclined to follow in Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic‘s footsteps and just focus on the hits so that I can end 2013 on a note of joy.  I do want to mention a few of my 2014 goals though since it will also likely be another crazy year, what with a little one arriving in the next few weeks or so, and I’m hopeful that writing some of these things down might encourage me to make them happen.

Next year my biggest goal is to just keep sewing.  People keep telling me that it’s going to be hard to sew with a little one around, but I’m going to stay optimistic that it’ll be possible until life proves otherwise.

If I am able to sew, even if only a little bit, a follow up goal will be to be more conscious of sewing with fabrics and patterns that flatter and fit my lifestyle.  I really enjoyed this post on color and this post on body type by Thewallinna as she geared up for her Little French Jacket Sew-Along, and I’m curious to figure out whether thinking about these sorts of guidelines can increase the chances that a garment becomes a closet staple that truly flatters.

If I’m fortunate enough to discover that sewing and blogging continue next year just as they have this year, then another goal will be to look into moving to my own dot com.  My husband has been sitting on sew-well.com for two years now, but I haven’t had the courage or allowed myself the time to look into what it means to transfer.  It’s easiest to just keep on keeping on.  But, the WordPress ads at the bottom of these posts drive me crazy.  Wordpress doesn’t let me see them, but my husband shows me the most ridiculous ones.  Yesterday there was one that involved a popular model eating a microwavable late night snack while a famous rapper and someone wielding pepperoni nunchucks argued over whether its being baked (their being “baked”?) or filled with meat made said microwave late night snack so delicious.  Ummm, what?  If WordPress wants to make money off my using their platform, I wish they’d at least try to find appropriate ads!

Another thing I hope to have time for this coming year is to get better connected with the Seattle sewing community.  But, I think I’ll save my thoughts and plans for another post since this one is already getting much longer than I thought it would when I sat down to write.

Anyway, here’s to being thankful for everything that 2013 had to offer – the positive life changes, the promise of a little one, the sewing lessons, the successful garments…  And, here’s to hoping that 2014 will be filled with even more love, laughter, joy… and sewing!

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18 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2013

  1. Happy New Year to you, Amy! I’ve been really enjoying all the top 5 posts (and actually, the misses as well!) and I think it’s lovely to get a birds eye view of what everyone’s been sewing this year. You’ve certainly got some gorgeous and very flattering makes here… I’ll admit you’re definitely going to be inspiration when it comes to sewing ones-self a wardrobe for pregnancy! Wishing you and your little family a fabulous and healthy new year 🙂 x

  2. Here’s to a healthy mom and baby and wishing you an easy delivery. Hope I get to meet you–I just purchased some double gauze Nani Iro from your After Xmas Fabric Sales post 🙂 Would love some advice on an appropriate pattern–Best–Claire B in Madrona

  3. Your sewing might come in spurts, but you did a whole lot more of it this year than I did! =) We really enjoyed seeing your family over the weekend, and we missed ya’ll being there. But we’re so excited about hearing baby news soon. =) Happy New Year!

  4. I’ve loved reading these reflective posts popping up everywhere & yours is very inspiring! I love those burda twist dresses & am also very tempted by the saltspring pattern after seeing your versions. Happy new year when it comes and wishing you well with the baby. I’m hoping to get back to some sewing after the new year (my wee one is 8 weeks old) so fingers crossed. I’m sure with your productivity levels you’ll manage no bother!

  5. You always make such beautiful things! I’m interested in what you say about the Alma. I’d given up on woven tops because I don’t find them comfortable. Will give Alma a try!

  6. You have some beautiful makes from this year. I didn’t start sewing until after my second was born and just had my third back in September. It is definitely harder to find the time and energy (mostly energy) to sew with a newborn in the house but I do it anyway! I think we make the time to do the things we love. I sew almost exclusively at night after the kids are in bed. I must admit though that I envy the seamstresses without kids or whose kids are older and can spend a whole day or weekend working nonstop on a project. I’ve never been able to do that and sometimes I really want to! Good luck with baby! Wishing you a smooth delivery!

  7. these are great reflections! i fully believe you can sew with a baby in tow, just set realistic expectations. i have four kids (my youngest being almost 5) and i just fit sewing in when i can. it’s amazing how those stolen moments (and a few hrs when hubby keeps them entertained…) add up! oh, and you might want to try the scout tee–i’ve had great luck with that sleeve. plus it sews up fast! happy 2014 🙂

  8. Those are all my favorites, too, your sewing is amazing and you always look incredible in your garments. You will be amazed at the sewing you can get done with a little one, stolen moments during a nap or late at night. Moms learn to get by on very little sleep!

  9. You know I think that if you want to keep sewing you will! Maybe not in the same amounts of finished garments or the amount of time you devoted prior to Baby SewWell but enough to keep you creatively happy. So I think that’s a goal worth working towards!

  10. Happy New Year! Great Favorites. I am enjoying reading everyone’s reflections as I do some planning for 2014.

    1. Oh! It’s great to know not everyone sees them. They’re posted as videos on the bottoms of many posts in WordPress.com blogs. I’m assuming most people just gloss over them, but the concept is still a little funny to me, especially since they have nothing at all to do with sewing!

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