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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review of 2012

Is it really 2013 already? Why is it that when you were a kid waiting for your birthday, Christmas, or something else exciting to arrive, time seemed so slow. My nan always used to warn me not to wish my life away whenever I'd declare I couldn't wait until whatever it was I was waiting for to happen, and now I am a grown up (even if I don't always feel grown up) I can see what she was trying to tell me. Time seems to fly by.

So, I thought I'd look back over the year that was, and pick out some of my favourite sewing bits. Here they are!

Brown dress
This dress was and still is one of my favourite items of clothing I have made for myself. I initially made it to wear for a wedding, but have since started dressing it down with boots and wearing it as an every day thing for those days when I feel like having a change from jeans.

If this dress teaches me anything about my sewing, it is that sometimes it is worth investing time in making something trickier - the satisfaction of wearing a dress that fits beautifully, that I made myself (for under £30), is huge. I need to remember this for 2013, and treat myself to a few more utterly selfish makes like this one.

Nellie the Elephant Tee
This is probably my favourite child related make of the year. T shirts are so cheap and easy to come by - I decided I would only bother making one at home if what I produced was going to be something completely unique and worth the effort. This fantastic print from Kitschy Coo is what tempted me into making one in the end. And, gratifyingly for me, is also one of the elephant loving middle girl's favourite things to wear. I used Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee - which was a surprisingly gentle way into sewing something stretchy. No special sewing machine needed - just a ball point needle. If you have never tried sewing with jersey, go for it!

This year also saw the introduction of several big brooches into my wardrobe. I love `em! Here is the one currently on my winter coat - I wore it for a winter wedding recently, but decided I liked it so much that I'd keep it on there.

Liberty Tunic
The Liberty Tunic left me feeling gleeful when I first made it. It was my first attempt at changing a pattern by adding a Peter Pan collar. I spent ages mulling over the details of this tunic, and was really happy with the end result. And then, having worn it a few times, I must confess, it hasn't left the wardrobe in months. Why? Not sure, to be honest! It needs to be worn with leggings, not jeans, and, is a pain to iron. Plus, the fabric doesn't really have enough give for my liking for everyday comfort when chasing around after little ones. A lesson to learn for next time round.

First day of Me Made May '12 - wearing my favourite red skirt outside my favourite cafe in town
I couldn't do a review of my sewing year without mentioning the fun that was Me Made May. Inspired by `So, Zo', I took a pledge along with loads of others to try and wear something handmade every day for a month. The challenge kick started me into wearing the things I make a lot more regularly than I had done up until then, and, inspired me loads by introducing me to lots of other bloggers via the glorious photo pool that got updated each day.

The latest Wonky Wilma elephants - made by Erica Roffe
The autumn onwards became all about an elephant called Wilma. I've no doubt already bored the socks off everyone by going on and on about this. Thank you to everyone who made a Wonky Wilma elephant. So far, your donations have raised a lovely £542.50 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. We didn't make it to the magical £1000 by Christmas, but it was fun anyway! By far the most fun part for me was seeing all the brilliant quirky creations people were making based on my pattern. And, I'll be keeping the charity giving page open a bit longer, so that anyone who is searching for a new year sewing project can look no further. £5 does it...

The Ric Rac Skirt
The Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen was my favourite new pattern discovery. I will definitely be making more versions of this skirt - and, given my new year's resolution to be a bit more selfish with my sewing, I'll probably be treating myself to one or two more of her patterns to try. Have you seen them? They are lovely...

And, as for the discovery of jumbo ric rac. Well, I think I have shared my joy at this on more than one occasion already. Love. It. That is all.

Making party bags with mum
This year just gone has seen plenty of sewing with others - be it my mum, my friends, or, on the little courses I do from home. It has all been thoroughly enjoyable - and if you have been a part of any of it, a sincere thank you. May 2013 contain plenty more sociable sewing!

And finally, the knitting. After a break of a couple of decades, this was the year that saw a return to knitting. After initial success at making a scarf or two, I thought it was time to tackle something more challenging. Sock. Why not, I thought. I triumphed over the first (with much telephone support from my god mother), and then, well - the second sock is still about 5 centimetres long. The run up to Christmas kind of killed that project - there just weren't enough hours in the day for me to make the presents I wanted to and knit a sock at a painfully slow rate! Now that I am experiencing post Christmas makes induced reluctance to sew, I might casually swap over to some knitting for a bit. This is made all the more appealing because of the location in which most of my knitting takes place (sofa, fire/blanket/TV on).

So, any new year's sewing resolutions for me? Well, as I have already heavily hinted, a bit more selfish sewing. I think the last little while has been mainly made up of sewing that I have somehow felt I have needed to do, rather than wanted to. That isn't to say I haven't enjoyed it, but it has left me wanting to do something purely for me, and without any time pressures attached so that I can just do it when the mood takes me. I'd like to say I'll be challenging myself to make something really impressive (like a coat, maybe), but, realistically, I'm going to settle with what I've already said - one or two new patterns for clothes for me. Maybe, even one of them to be in jersey. We'll see. Oh, and a few more spontaneous sewing nights with friends. Definitely more of that.

Here's wishing everyone reading this a happy new year - I hope you have fun.


  1. Happy new year! I find your crafty postings inspirational. I'm hoping to do much more craft in 2013, perhaps by alternating unfinished projects with new quick and easy makes, so that I don't feel bogged down with finishing off things that have been on the go for ages (more than a decade to knit a jumper, anyone?)

    1. Wow. Now I feel better about that unfinished sock. I've got years to let it fester! I am toying with a finish what's on the go type rule too. But then again there are so many shiny new projects to distract... Happy new year, Alison!

  2. Hi Janet, you have made some fabulous things this past year, I'm sure 2013 will be full of more magical makes from you. Dressmaking for yourself is not selfish though, please don't consider it so xx

  3. Happy New Year Janet, great blog post as always x