My SewingTop5 of 2020 (aka good riddance, foul year)

Nobody needs me to tell them that 2020 didn’t turn out the way I imagined it would this time last year. I’m guessing we’re all in the same boat in that respect. Like many sewists, I found it tough to get motivated to sew for a while and I’ve been really missing the chance to get an occasional break from the kids to get stuck into a project without interruptions. My parents have been unable to do any childcare for us as Mum has a serious lung condition and none of us want to risk it. Sewing in my house with everyone home can be challenging as my sewing space is in the main living area.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad stuff, though. There have been some unexpected pleasures to be found in 2020, and I’ve mostly been pretty happy with life (having a wonderful family really helps–even if I can’t get away from them!). Anyway, to “celebrate” the year here’s my take on the SewingTop5 meme that’s doing the rounds. (I haven’t managed to blog it every year but I’ve certainly made lists and managed to post some years)

And some quick stats: I finished 19 garments in 2020. 9 were for me (1 dress, 1 apron, 3 tops, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of dungarees and 2 pairs of trousers) and 10 were for others (1 for Mum, 1 for my sister, Bek, 2 for Daisy, 2 for Lauren and 4 for Gabriel). These were mostly cardigans and PJs.

I’ve also, like many, made a fair few face masks for the family and some scrubs for our local NHS trust. Here I am modelling some scrubs that are clearly too small for me!

Top 5 Hits:

These aren’t all blogged yet, but these are my favourites from the garments I made for me. Shown above from left to right (probably–there’s a new post editor and I’m not really sure how all the image functions work!)

Seamwork Nantucket Shorts – these were made out of some double gauze rescued from a Grainline Scout Tee I made a couple of summers ago and wore about twice. I’m so much happier with this fabric as shorts. They were great for the really hot days we had this year! Will blog these soon.

Jalie Eleonore Pull on Jeans in dark floral linen-look cotton. I’ll be blogging these tomorrow (hopefully) so for now I’ll just say they had loads of wear on cooler summer days and this autumn.

Tessuti Apron. I blogged this a month or so ago. It gets used every day!

Closet Core Jenny Overalls in a fab leaf print canvas. I love these so much, even if they’re not the most practical for going to the loo! To be blogged soon.

Green ribbed turtleneck top (shown with Jennys). Again, to be blogged soon. A really successful mash up of two of my favourite knit top patterns.

Top 5 Misses:

There weren’t any absolutely terrible fails. Just stuff that I’m not sure suits me all that well. Shown L-R (probably):

Stella Hoodie Dress from Tilly’s Stretch book. I wear this fairly regularly but it didn’t turn out to be quite the comfy lounge wear I was expecting (needed more stretchy fabric) and I’m not 100% sure it suits me.

Boucle Oslo Cardigan which is a great garment. Just… not for me! Too baggy and formless for my style.

Grainline Scout Tee in black viscose (not yet blogged). I think I should stop making this top as I’m just not happy with the way it looks on me! This gets worn as sleep/loungewear in hot weather.

Jalie polo shirt in wool pique (not yet blogged). Love the fabric. Love the fit. Just couldn’t seem to find a way of wearing it that looked me. It felt too… middle aged? Too much like golfing wear? I’ll give it another chance next summer and see.

And not pictured (or finished): a Megan Nielsen Rowan tee with the turtleneck in striped fabric. Turns out this is the wrong kind of turtleneck for me. I’m going to cut a different neckline and finish it off as a summer top at some point in 2021.

Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights: 

  • My birthday trip to Totnes in February with Andy. Normally we go somewhere abroad together in the February half term but this year we thought we’d leave that till the summer. Yeah, maybe not the best idea in hindsight, but at least we had a nice night away down in Devon.
  • Setting up some no dig vegetable beds in our back garden. I used to grow a lot of veg on allotments back before Daisy was born but nothing much since she was a baby. It’s been great to get back to growing some of our own food! I’m still cropping salad leaves, kale and plenty of herbs. These three pictures show the amazing growth over the month of June:
  • Getting fit again. I started running again during the spring lockdown but after a few months my hip and knees were hurting, so I decided to concentrate on strength training instead. I’ve now got in a really good routine of short but intense lifting workouts and the occasional high intensity boxercise routine. I’m feeling so much stronger, pain free and starting to look in much better shape too. Yay!
  • Starting up a childminding business. I used to childmind when Daisy was little but took a long break. While 2020 wasn’t the best year to get set up (lockdown really threw a spanner in the works), I’ve now managed to build up a profitable little business which works well with having Lauren at home. I’m really enjoying the work and not having to penny pinch anymore. I’m hoping we can get lots more improvements done around the house and garden now we’ve got a bit more spare cash.
  • Exploring the great outdoors. Yes, like many, we’ve done a lot more walking this year. There haven’t been many other activities available! It’s been great, though, as we’ve discovered a couple of lovely waterfalls in nearby woods, as well as some lovely Dorset beaches that are a bit more off the beaten track. We also took a day trip to Avebury which we’ve never visited before. Here’s some eye candy:

Top 5 Reflections: 

  • Beware of accepting too much free fabric in return for reviews! I took on a bit too much this year and it started to feel stressful. Now I’m nearly caught up with the blogging I’m considering taking more on, but only if it’s for something I’m really keen to make NOW.
  • Dark colours always suits me best! I knew this already, but I still need reminding sometimes.
  • Sewing things that get used/worn loads is really satisfying. Sometimes those aren’t always the most exciting sews, but I definitely appreciate them more in the long term than some of those interesting makes that only get pulled out for special occasions.
  • It’s best to sew for the size I am and stop putting off things like trousers in case I lose weight in the future. It’s inevitable that my body will change shape over time, but I shouldn’t let that stop me making clothes I can enjoy right now!
  • I need to make more time for organising and tidying my sewing area on a regular basis. I’m definitely much better at getting on with stuff when it’s tidy, but the mess does build up quickly and I need to keep on top of it to really enjoy my hobby.

Top 5 Goals: 

  • To declutter all my sewing and textile craft supplies and organise them so they are a pleasure to use. This will include either finishing off or getting rid of all the UFOs!
  • To keep a positive attitude about the time I have available and make sure I set aside some time to sew (or at least knit/crochet) every day. I’m worth it!
  • To be more mindful about sustainability when buying new fabric, and only buying polyester/synthetics when there’s a really good reason to.
  • To give some serious thought to my wardrobe (going through The Curated Closet again) and create some “uniforms” for my new work life.
  • To have a go at fashion sketching (either with the help of a book or an online course) and use this to help with wardrobe planning. I used to love drawing but I’m so rusty!

So there we have it, my SewingTop5. It’s been an interesting year but filled with good things if I made the effort to get on with them. 2020 has definitely taught me that it’s my attitude that makes all the difference to whether I enjoy life.

I can’t begin to express how much I long for life to return to normal. I’m a pretty sociable person and I miss nights out and parties, travelling abroad, as well as the simple pleasures of visiting cafes or just popping into my parents’ house for a coffee. Here’s hoping that vaccination can help us return to normality (or something like it) in 2021.

Has anyone else done a Top Five post? If so, please leave me a link so I can read yours.

I’m looking forward to a cosy night in with Andy. It’s got to be better than the New Years Eve we had two years ago. Then we were in a single room in Ronald McDonald House when Daisy was in hospital recovering from her heart surgery. The two youngest were asleep on the floor and Andy and I had to huddle in bed and watch Netflix on the iPad really quietly so as not to wake them. At least this year I can sit on a sofa! I might even dress up 🙂

See you all in 2021!

Love and hugs,

Anna x

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