Top 5 2018 and #2019MakeNine

Every year, Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow hosts a Top 5 blog series for bloggers to reflect on their top 5 hits, misses, highlights, reflections, and goals. It’s a fun blog series and I’ve done it now for a few years.

In years past, I had a bunch of charts showing what I made and the breakdown of patterns companies and types. I started off this year logging that in a chart, but abandoned it in March because I realized that I didn’t need to make as much as I had previously. I’ve sort of reached a point with my wardrobe where I don’t need a lot and can slow down in sewing for myself. I know for sure that I didn’t make as much this year as previous years, but for good reasons.

I did manage to not add a bunch of new fabric this year. I did keep track of my fabric stash. I started the year off with 416 yards of fabric and ended the year with 376. Might not sound like a huge difference, but let’s compare that with the difference in 2017: started with 236 and ended with 416. WTF, dude?! No wonder my husband started looking at me like I had a problem. After organizing and going through my stash, I also managed to purge about 4 more yards to make it 372 yards in my stash. My best month for stashbusting was March for a total of 40 yards busted! My worst month was July where I did sew up 13 yards, but also bought or acquired through trades…. 25 yards of fabric. Most months, though, I did use up more than I bought. Win!

Top 5 Hits

Cashmerette Cedar Dolman with Long sleeves and Hem band

Simplicity 8096 crop top and pleated skirt set

Simplicity 8344 bodysuit

DIBY Club Gabriela Onesie

Simplicity 8140

It’s so difficult to choose just 5 hits. I loved them all. Over the year, though, I’ve grabbed these so many times and been sad when they were in the laundry hamper waiting to be cleaned. I’m even wearing Simplicity 8140 right now and have another version of the Cedar Dolman with long sleeves planned as well as another Gabriela Onesie cut out.

Top 5 Misses

Simplicity 8084: This one is just a tragic story of being in Cuba and getting it caught on a cup holder on a bus and ripping it asunder. I almost cried. I do have fabric to fix it, though, so I am hoping it will have a happy ending.

Cedar Dolman Long ruffled sleeves: The fabric just didn’t hold up for this one. I wear it around the house now.

McCall’s 7624: This is a failure of interfacing. There are ripples in the interfacing on the coral bands after one wash so it doesn’t look as crisp and neatย  as it should.

Burda Knit Blazer: It’s a failure of fit here. I like it, but find that the proportions are just too long on me.

Cedar Dolman dress: OMG can I please stop spilling a million things on my dresses? I just wear this around the house now, but even without the stains (yes, multiple….lol) the skirt should be wider for this and overall I don’t really like the shape of these sorts of dresses, I’ve decided, after wearing several that became around the house dresses.

Top 5 Highlights

The Festival of Wizardry was so much fun! I loved making all the things for it and it was such a blast being there!

Drafting a bralette from scratch was a great highlight. Expect more of these soon for an exciting new adventure for me this year!

Perfecting the fit of my bra and redrafting it to have front and back closure was a huge game changer!

Getting a new and super amazing sewing machine! It has no issue with tons of layers of fabric!

Getting back into reading! Since I dropped out of my PhD in 2013, I had found reading really emotionally painful. My PhD was in English Lit and reading turned from a source of joy to a reminder of a really painful experience academically. I didn’t drop out without thinking it over a lot and weighing the options. There isn’t really a choice of picking up where you left off with a PhD so I knew it was the end of academia for me. It was a great choice for my mental and physical health to not have that in addition to working full time, though, but the heartbreak was real and it cut deep. I spent the year with a goal to read 15 books and I achieved it. I also found joy in reading again. I also bought a kindle since reading physical books was painful for my hands. Reading brings me such pleasure now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Top 5 Reflections

  • I made it through the year without a single Emergency Room visit! This is huge for me! I have had at least one ER visit for the past several years, but this year was zero. I’ve spent the year really listening to my body, being careful with my joints, and getting better care for my breathing issues. I had a respirologist appointment recently where we celebrated a good year of getting my chronic cough under control with medication. I am so happy I switched respirologists last year because I am honestly doing so much better than last year at this time.
  • I haven’t been constantly sewing for myself like previous years. I got paid to sew for a few people as well as creating costumes for my troupe. I’ve also made gifts for people. I’m pleased with this balance! I love creating for myself and getting the confidence from clothes that fit, but I don’t need a huge wardrobe so creating for others is a great way of still being able to sew. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Having a community is a huge thing. I am so pleased with how @chronicallysewn has grown and where I see it going in the next year. I really treasure the friendships I have made through it, too! โค
  • The QAPD Collective is also a great community locally for LGBTQ people in Toronto who love to laugh either as an audience member or a comedian. My husband introduced me to it and I have been grateful to be a part of it. I’m actually even performing standup now! My next show is at the Up + Comers at the Rivoli on Jan 29th!
  • I stopped using the term “hack” as much as possible since it started to get to me with it’s connotations. I design pattern changes… I don’t hack things apart with an ax and I am not a hack or faking it. Design not hack.

Top 5 Goals

  • I am spending the next few months learning how to draft lingerie patterns! I’m excited for this new venture and it’s been something I have wanted to do for a long time. My bralette was drafted by just sort of winging it, but I don’t want to do that going forward. I am learning the technical aspects of creating patterns and grading them. However, because of my chronic illness, I decided to do this not in the classroom but from books and online courses. I’m used to self-directed learning since graduate school is all about that. Yes, you have courses, but your own research is directed by your own self. I’m good at keeping on track for that kind of learning so I expect this will go well. I’ll be posting about this over the next while so you will be able to see how it goes!
  • Get paid. I once said that I never wanted this hobby to turn into a job. Well…. that has changed. I’m at a point where I would prefer to work from home rather than deal with a 9-5. This would fit much better with my chronic illness. The previous goal is a bit related since pattern companies often restrict use of their patterns for objects for sale. Not all are like that, but I’d rather not breach that. Quite frankly, I also prefer designing my own things and would love to be able to create things from measurements rather than make the pattern fit the person.
  • Learn more about wholesale fabric in Canada. If anyone knows about this, let me know. I’d like to understand the wholesale costs of fabric here rather than the retail costs to really be able to cost out anything I sell.
  • Share my experiences with you! Maybe I will lose the interest of some of my readers with this, but some might be fascinated by all this like I am. I also want to make the blog a bit more of a priority. I have fun writing so I want to do more of it.
  • Be more creative. I really want to go nuts this year with super creative projects and learn more skills like dyeing fabric or beading. I plan on having fun this year with my personal projects and creating some amazing statement pieces.

#2019MakeNine

  1. Ottobre coat Autumn/Winter 2017: I plan on adding a fake fur trimmed hood to it (possibly detachable). I have some lovely light blue wool to use. I will interline it with thinsulate to make it super warm.
  2. Cashmerette Chilton Trenchcoat: When my sewing machine died earlier this year, I was actually testing this pattern. I have it cut out already and the lining sewn up in the tester version. I just need to compare to the final version and make some changes.
  3. McCall’s 7726: I have some raspberry tencel twill already purchased for view D of this pattern.
  4. Burda Off the Shoulder Sweater: I plan on making this ASAP in some hacci knit. If I like it, I will probably make two versions in different colours.
  5. Burda Oversized Blouse: I just love this blouse!
  6. Burda Spencer Jacket: This jacket rocks and totally fits in with my goals of making some statement pieces.
  7. Decades of Style Dorothy Lara dress: I will need to grade this pattern up, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. I love the style of it and hope it looks as cute on me as it does on Tanya. I have some watermelon fabric that I plan on using for it.
  8. Blank Slate Patterns Marigold dress: This pattern was recently expanded for larger sizes and I love it. I have some red floral fabric for it.
  9. Seamwork Magazine Arden dress: I plan on shortening this into a top and using some sheer red poly crepe with white polkadots for it. I will need a camisole for underneath it, too.

For my #2018MakeNine, I only got 3/9 finished and the year before I think I got 1 or 2 done. I hope to get at least 5 done this year if I can’t achieve it all.

 

Top 5 Reflections and Goals

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The lovely Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 of 2014. You can read about my highlights here.

This post is all about my reflections and goals. Reflect on 2015 and list my goals for 2015.

Reflections

1.ย Testing the waters

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In 2014, I did my first pattern testing with Muse Pattern‘s Gillian dress and then with the Natalie dress. I found the experience extremely rewarding. It meant taking my time with the patterns and making notes along the way. I feel like Kat really listens to the feedback of her testers and is great at incorporating it into all her patterns. It was a great experience testing for her and I will likely say yes to any other pattern testing she asks me to do. It’s not my plan to go out and volunteer for all of it, though. I feel like being a tester for one pattern company is probably enough for me.

2. Learning new things

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I learned a new skill with bra making and took my first sewing class. I’d love to take all the classes now. In Toronto, we have such a wealth of classes in all areas of sewing through the universities and colleges and companies. Learning bra making was so much fun and now that I am on vacation for the holidays, I will be making my second bra. I can’t wait to show you!

3. Reducing the chaos

Before:

After:

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There is still some work to be done to make the space better and better, but it really made a difference in how much I sew now. I can go into my space and I have everything accessible and easy to reach. It was very difficult to work in my space before and I’d often sew on the dining room table instead of dealing with the mess and disorganization. I’m a lot happier with this space. I even got cutting mats and a rotary cutter since then.

4.ย Taking pride in my work

One of my favourite things is to make french seams on woven garments and make the insides pretty. I love being proud of the insides. Even though no one will see them, I love looking at them and knowing my garment is top notch in the construction department.

5. Pushing my boundaries

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I started off the year thinking I only liked making dresses and have branched off into cardigans and skirts and pajama pants and a coat! I love pushing my supposed boundaries with sewing and trying out new things.

Goals

1. Upping my skills

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One of the goals I have for myself is to continue to increase my sewing skills and push my boundaries. I plan on trying more advanced patterns with more unique and interesting details. I can’t wait to see what I’ve made this time next year.

2. Sewing my wedding dress

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You’ll be hearing lots of posts about this process from now until the wedding date in July. Sorry in advance. ๐Ÿ˜›

3. Self-care

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One of the realities of my recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia is the reality of self-care and how important it has to be in my life. Routine, reducing stress, not overdoing things, asking for help, and making sure I am caring for myself have to be top goals for me in 2015. I am not the kind of person to ask for help and find it extremely difficult. I tend to bend over backwards to help out everyone I love in my life and leave myself for last. Next year, I have to reconcile that making myself a priority isn’t selfish and it doesn’t mean I don’t care about others. It’s a tough thing for me to admit.

4. Doing what I love

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Paired with self-care is the reality that I have to do what I love and surround myself with people I love. Of course, that means my wonderful family and sewing!

5. Dance

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I love dancing. I must dance more. It’s great for my mind and my body and ties into #3 & #4.