2013 Year In Review: Reflections

Top 5 of 2013

Continuing with Gillian’s year in review series, today I’ll share my sewing reflections.  I’ve chosen overarching statements that sum up the “lessons learned” from my hits and misses posts, and hopefully they’ll serve as guidelines for my sewing in 2014 (and beyond).  If I had to sum it all up in one sentence, I’d say that 2013 has made me realize that my handmade garments should be fashionable and functional and well-made.  And really, who wouldn’t agree with that?  : )

Before I dive in, here are my 2013 sewing totals:

  • 9 knit tops (1 not yet blogged)
  • 7 skirts (4 summer, 3 winter)
  • 5 sleeveless dresses
  • 1 blazer
  • 1 man’s button-down shirt
  • 1 slip
  • 1 infinity scarf (not yet blogged)

Somehow I thought there’d be more garments, but that’s all I managed to squeeze out!  I was sewing pretty much non-stop the entire year, so I guess this is what I can manage with the sewing time I have available.  Not bad though – I’m happy with it.  Ok, onto the reflections!

Top 7 Sewing Reflections of 2013:

1 – My ideal wardrobe doesn’t fit into my actual lifestyle.

Sad but true.  This is a big one for me, and I can’t really say that I’m content with it.  I’d really love to wear fabulous dresses, suits, and stilettos everyday of my life, but my job in the lab and carless lifestyle require comfortable clothing that protects me from whatever crazy weather and bumpy sidewalks Boston throws at me.  Translating this to sewing means that I should be making casual, comfortable, washable, and warm separates instead of form-fitting dresses and silk blouses.  I am crying a single tear.

This outfit is awesome

This look is pretty awesome… but so impractical!


2 – Wardrobe planning results in functional garments that actually get worn.

This is kind of a corollary to #1.  I’ve realized that when I take the time to identify holes in my wardrobe and sew garments specifically to fill them, the finished garments get a lot of wear.  I’ve started to identify color families that my individual garments fit into, and I’m trying to choose new fabrics based on whether they’d fit in with that I already own.  This means that the crazy beautiful print that I really really want to buy is probably not a great idea… because what the hell am I going to wear it with?

Handmade outfit - Renfrew and Beignet

Comfortable, functional, and they all match!

3 – Pair the right fabric with the right pattern.

I’ve been learning so much about different fabrics this year (with a huge wealth of knowledge still to absorb), and I’m trying to choose fabrics, colors, and prints that will work well with the pattern I have in mind.  I always (always!) choose a pattern first and THEN buy the fabric, which hopefully ensures that I make a good match.  I also want to expand my fabric repertoire while still meeting my warmth and function requirements.  Sorry silk, I just don’t think we’re going to be friends.

Sewaholic Renfrew 7 red zebra - fashion fail

I got sucked in by this crazy print… oops.

4 – I tend to like more modern and close-fitting silhouettes, and less “poufy” and vintage styles.

It’s a little hard to pair close-fitting silhouettes with comfort, warmth, and functionality, but I really want to make a conscious effort to make this happen more in my wardrobe.  I’m naturally tall and lean (all genetics, based on the number of cookies I eat each day!), which lends itself to long and slim silhouettes.  Something to keep in mind when pattern-hunting.

Yellow polka dot dress - Butterick 5353 - kick

Can you tell I’m happy in this slim-fitting dress?

5 – Taking the time to make well-constructed garments always pays off.

Sometimes I want a quick fix, but I’ve noticed that the projects I breeze through are the ones that I’m generally not as happy with.  Besides, I want to be wearing my handmade garments for years to come!  Gotta take the time do things right.

Blue polka dot blazer - Simplicity 2446 - close up of lapels

This blazer took forever but MAN is it awesome.

6 – Line all future garments with Bemberg rayon.

This shit is the bomb.  Period.

Colette Beignet caramel twill - inside out front

Static-free and totally breathable.

7 – Pre-wash all jersey twice.

Why oh why does jersey shrink so much?  I should really pre-wash all my fabric twice, just in case.  One day when I don’t have to pay for laundry I’ll probably be less annoyed about this.  : )

Phew, lots of reflections to chew on there!  This past year of sewing has been such a great learning experience in so many ways, both in terms of sewing techniques and learning about my body type and clothing preferences.  Here’s to another productive year in 2014!

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