My #SewingTop5 of 2017: reflections on a busy year

This year I’m taking part in the lovely Gillian’s #SewingTop5 challenge again, as I found it a really good way to summarise my year last time, and it replaces longer, waffley navel-gazing posts. You can find last year’s posts here (goals, reflections and other highlights) and here (hits and misses).

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 reflections on my sewing year:

1: Knit Fabric Mastery

2017 really was the year I attained total confidence sewing knit fabrics. I’ve tackled a range of different types of fabric, and figured out the best ways to sew tricky knits. I’ve also got much more happy with hacking patterns to get what I want out of them and have built up a few TNT patterns for knits, which is great. I’m really happy I’ve persevered with knits as they’re so quick and easy to sew, and so comfy to wear. I really am wearing me-made pretty much every day now!

2: The Curated Closet

The most life-changing book of 2017 for me. That sounds a bit shallow, somehow, but honestly, figuring out my personal style preferences was a lightbulb moment and it’s made my subsequent sewing planning so much more fun. I now know that I’m pretty much guaranteed to love what I make so long as I stick to my style guidelines. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reviewing those every year, or occasionally trying new things, though. Life would get boring if I didn’t do a bit of experimentation!

3: Sewing Journals Rule!

Okay, so maybe this was actually the most life-changing book for me: my humble sewing journal. At some point in early 2017 I started keeping a sewing journal, in which I make notes of future projects I might want to make, blogs I want to write, and detailed sheets with swatches for every garment I actually sew. In the summer I discovered bullet journaling and my journal belatedly acquired a proper index, which made it much easier to use. I will write a blog post about my journalling habits at some point soon, as I’d definitely encourage anyone hesitating about keeping one to give it a go. I’m so much more organised about my sewing now and I swear that journal has helped make me so much more productive. I’m now on journal #2, and it’s a habit I intend to keep up long-term.

4: Instagram and challenges FAIL!

One thing I started doing this year was lots of challenges–I had the idea that they’d be a great way to make new sewing friends and gain blog followers. However, the vast majority of them ended up falling by the wayside as I want to be able to sew what I want to sew. The challenges that I kept up with and really enjoyed were Me Made May and #2017MakeNine, largely because they were the kind of challenge where I set my own goals. I think I’m just too rebellious to follow someone elses rules! I’ll aim to do both again this next year, although with a baby due in early May, the Me Made May participation could be somewhat patchy…

I’ve also realised that microblogging on Instagram is not my favourite thing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots I love about Instagram and I won’t be leaving anytime soon–I was one of the really early adopters and I’ve had my account for years–but I’m not into giving loads of details about what I’m sewing and in-progress shots. Kudos to those of you who do, but it’s not really for me. I prefer wordy blog posts I can write on a proper keyboard 🙂

5: The Unintended RTW Fast

I’ve heard about sewists going on RTW (ready to wear, ie, shop-bought clothing) fasts before, but it’s not something I’ve ever felt a need for myself. I’m not a big consumer of fast fashion at the best of times, and I could never see the point in banning myself from the occasional purchase if it was something I didn’t want to make myself.

However, this year I’ve been absolutely strapped for cash so when needing new clothing, faced with a choice of buying something cheap and nasty from a supermarket or buying fabric and making it myself, I’ve chosen the latter. It’s definitely worked out cheaper (especially when using stash fabric or free fabric in return for reviews) and is much more fun than traipsing round shops trying and failing to find what I’m after.

So, I realised at some point this summer that the only things I’d bought, clothing-wise, in 2017 were footwear and a couple of bras–not something I felt confident making at the time. I still didn’t give myself a RTW ban and have since bought a winter coat (no time to make one) and had the present of a jumper from my mum, but that’s been it for the whole year. Woohoo! I feel really good about what I’ve acheived and it was all the more fun for being my choice each time, rather than the result of a self-imposed rule.

Last year’s goals

I also wanted to reflect a little on how well I met last year’s goals:

Make a pair of jeans – I didn’t exactly make a pair of jeans, but I made a pair of pedal pushers in stretch denim, so that’s almost there. Partially achieved, and I think the only thing that stopped me moving onto jeans proper was getting pregnant!

Make a proper button-up shirt – again, I’ve been working up to this by making some woven blouses with buttons and poppers at the front. Partially achieved for pretty much the same reason as above!

Get more creative and experimental with knit fabrics – Definitely achieved! See knit fabric point above.

Plan my makes much more carefully, making sure they’ll fit in with the rest of my wardrobe and that they’re the kind of things I really want to wear – Also definitely achieved. See journalling point above.

Get my own sewing room again, and make it really cute and practical – I’m still waiting for this one. Andy is making good headway on the new bedroom and promises me it will be ready by the time the baby comes, but I won’t be able to create the sewing room straight away as Gabriel’s current room will probably need to be a nursery for a while. Unless the baby sleeps so well it can go straight from sharing with me and Andy to sharing with Gabriel, that is. I can but hope! For the moment, though, I’m making my space at the end of the living room work for me, and I’ve vowed to keep it tidier and less cluttered this year.

Anyone else taking part in the #SewingTop5 challenge? Or are you doing your own kind of yearly round-up? Please do share your links in the comments so I can come and have a gander!

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