Saturday, January 5, 2013

Top Fives of 2012, Resewlutions for 2013

It took me long enough to get this together, but I'll blame the going-back-to-school doldrums. Last year, I did a wrap up of everything I'd sewn in 2011, but the thought of doing so for 2012 is way too overwhelming. Summary lists sound doable, an image map not so much. Many thanks to Gillian for the idea of making a top fives list instead!



Top Five Creations:
  1. I think #1 has to be my dolman sleeve top pattern: the first time I've had a multi-size pattern that other people found useful! And of course, I've made up multiple versions myself, all of which get worn regularly. 
  2. My not-a-Renfrew tee pattern: it's been the basis of so many tops and dresses, it's ridiculous.  
  3. For most-worn me-made item that's not a top, my bias-cut Spiderman dress wins. It's comfortable, it's geeky, it's fairly subtle as superhero dresses go, and it fits nicely under my favorite cardigan. I also love my Roaring Twenties dress, which is made from the same pattern, but that one is less versatile because it doesn't go with any of my shoes or cardigans. 
  4. My one and only pair of me-made pants: that one make gave me so much confidence, but for some reason I haven't tackled pants again. Time to remedy that in 2013!
  5. I resolved to make outerwear in 2012, and I finally squeezed it in near the end of the year with my fleece toggle jacket. Like pants, a jacket is one of those things where I didn't know if I'd be able to pull it off in a more-or-less professional-looking manner; I was horribly afraid that it would turn out like a bad home-ec project, but I totally love my jacket and wear it all the time!
  6. Okay, I know I was only supposed to choose five, but can I give a shout out to my two complete costumes of 2012? I love my steampunk outfit and hobbit maid outfit and am so proud of myself for making complete ensembles. 
  7. It's only the first list, and I'm already breaking the rules -- I want to give a grand prize to my Girl on Fire dress, which was featured in a stylized photo shoot and for which I won a costume contest. Is it silly to give a grand prize to myself?
Top Five Sewing Fails:
  1. The springy sheath: at least it died a good death, as it contributed to my hobbit maid costume!
  2. The too-successful Peggy dress: still lingering in the closet, unworn. I suppose I should cut off the skirt and make something else out of it, but I just feel so meh about it. I guess I should just admit I'll never get around to it and donate it...
  3. This green top: never worn, too ugly to even donate, just ick. At least I spent relatively little time on it and the fabric didn't cost me anything?
  4. This 1930s top: unflattering, and I spent quite a bit of time on it and it seems a pity that I used up a fabric I liked on a top that doesn't get worn. 
  5. Unfortunately, once I was really honest with myself, this giraffe dress had to be included. There was just too much fabric being gathered into too little elastic, and the heavy polyester made it unsuitable for hot weather. It was well-made enough that I didn't feel bad about donating it, though, so at least it's not taking up space in my closet!
Thankfully, none of my costuming pieces ended up as fails!

Top Five Lessons Learned:
  1. Choose the right fabric for the right project: Four of my five fails were due to poor fabric choice, and most of my just middling makes are classified as such due to fabric choice. They still get worn, but they could've been better. Although sewing with bed sheets is a noble endeavour, I think I need to be real with myself and admit that there are some projects where I need to use "real" fabric. 
  2. Knit dresses have a much better chance of being worn. Even though I love my fitted bodice woven dresses, it's hard to beat the comfort of stretchy fabrics. 
  3. Even though dresses are supposedly complete outfits, they're still unlikely to be worn if they don't go with any of my cardigans. I get cold too easily for sleeveless dresses to be standalone items. With that said, I need to either invest in cropped cardigans, or make less full-skirted dresses, since they look pretty silly with cardigans that end at the hip. 
  4. Let's get real here -- I don't wear cotton sundresses in the winter. If I want to be able to wear me-made when it's cold, I need to spend more sewing time on pants and outerwear. 
  5. Making costumes is one of the most gratifying uses of my sewing time, even if they only get one outing. When I consider the amount of pure pleasure produced from a finished garment, it's the costumes that have the highest yield. I used to feel guilty about spending time on impractical things, but thanks to Stephanie's insightful spin on costume sewing, I feel much better about this. 
Top Five Blogs/Bloggers That Inspire (in no particular order):
  1. Tanit-Isis Sews: She was the second blog I ever followed, and it's largely thanks to her that I started my own blog! Taran always has such helpful things to say, and honestly, it's her writing about her daughters that makes me feel like having a SHB isn't the world's worst thing. Also, she remains the only sewing blogger friend that I've dreamt about. Is that creepy or what?
  2. Four Square Walls: I'll keep it simple...everything Andrea makes, I want to steal from her. I can't even count the number of times I've said something along the lines of "I never used to like ____, but now that I've seen your version I'm rethinking everything." I probably sound like a broken record to her!
  3. The Dreamstress: Leimomi makes me feel like I might actually be able to tackle historical costuming, but she also inspires me not to compromise on accuracy. Of course, nothing I've done so far has been remotely accurate, but she makes me feel like I at least want to try!
  4. My Happy Sewing Place: Debi was the one who made me feel like the sewing community really was a community, a place where one could make virtual friends that would encourage and support one another. It doesn't hurt, either, that she's a huge Tolkien fan too!
  5. EPBOT: Jen of CakeWrecks fame writes another blog about girliness, geekiness, and goofing off, which are some of my favorite things. She blogs honestly about being a geek girl, books, steampunk, craftiness, etc. Not sewing-related, but still excellent stuff! She's a crusader for the acceptance of geek girls, and she inspires me to reach out to my nerdy students. 
Top Five Goals for the New Year:
  1. Not buy new fabric or patterns at least until we move. Meg the Grand's resolution reminds me of how much stash I need to bust, and if I don't want Mr. Cation to be totally exasperated when we move, I need to get cracking. My exceptions: necessary notions in order to complete a project (buttons, zippers, elastic, etc.), and something for a Regency gown. I've got a Jane Austen ball to go to at the end of January, but I legitimately have nothing suitable in my stash. 
  2. Make pants! Specifically, at least one pair of jeans, one pair of work trousers, and one other pair. 
  3. Participate in the Historical Sew Fortnightly. I've got plenty of modern clothes, minus the pants situation, so I can concentrate of costuming. Besides a Regency gown, I've got dreams of more Downton-esque outfits, something for the Gatsby picnic, a chintz 18th century gown, a Victorian bustle dress, and something appropriate for Dickens Fair. 
  4. Sew for Mr. Cation. I want to perfect a button-up shirt pattern, and maybe tackle pants for him? MakeMyPattern has what looks like a good starting place for that. 
  5. Continue not buying RTW. I did really well on that in 2012, only buying one pair of pants, one cardigan, one long-sleeved shirt, and two pairs of tights: five pieces, which was my allotment for the year! I'm going to stick with a five RTW piece quota, since that seems to be a reasonable compromise. I don't think I could go with none at all, to be perfectly frank. Maybe that's blasphemy for the hardcore sewists out there, but I guess I'm just not that hardcore!
I actually did decently with my 2012 resolutions. Even though I didn't make the historical costume or bias cut dress I originally had in mind, I think I got close enough to the spirit of the resolutions. And while I didn't clean out my fabric stash, I made a good faith effort on my knit fabric stash!

To wrap up this post, I'll close out with a couple of pictures of my first sewing project for 2013: Squidnetto, made out of the fabric remnants leftover from making Squidney. Squidnetto is only a yard long (as opposed to four yards!) and is a gift for Squidney's owner's girlfriend.
Squidnetto's got the normal stuffed animals eyes and unstuffed tentacles. After the difficulty of trying to turn such narrow tubes, there was no way I was going to try squeezing in stuffing too! The rest of him was much easier to sew, though, since I wasn't trying to wrangle so much fabric. Even though he was only here for a short time, he made good friends out of the cat sprites, and they were sad to see him go. 

Thank you to all of you who had such nice things to say about Squidney...and here I was wondering if I should even bother posting all of his posed photos! 

28 comments:

  1. Aww, Squidnetto is cute too! =)

    And btw, one of my favorite quotes from one of my sewing books from 1952 says that more sewing projects are failures because of bad fabric choices than for any other reason.

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    1. *sigh* It is so true...even the projects that aren't outright fails are mediocre because of fabric choice!

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  2. These are such fun goals! You had such a great goal!

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    1. Let's hope I still think they're fun in two months when I see some gorgeous piece of fabric I must buy!

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  3. What a nice recap. I've been cruising around your blog this afternoon and continue to be delighted by what I find. I loved your "You know you're a Sewasaurous Rex When" post. I'm afraid I identify with some of your points. I'm also getting ready to make your collapsable bag if I ever get off the computer...

    I can't wait to see what you do in 2013! Keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks Em! Hope that bag works out for you!

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  4. I do love your squiddy creations :-)

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    1. I love them too, so it's too bad I keep making them to be given away...

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  5. Ahhh you're the BEST! Thanks so much for the mention. I'm glad my initially questionable pattern choices have turned out to be inspirations for others, ha! You will never sound like a broken record to me, because I admire your style so much and appreciate your opinion on all my makes. Good luck with all your goals this year and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more from you (and Walnut, too, o' course) in 2013. Thanks again!

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    1. Oh good, I'm glad I don't sound like I'm copy-pasting generic comments, because I really do feel strongly about your makes!

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  6. Ok - you've got me stumped - just WHAT is a 'SHB'?

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    1. hehe, it's her science geek version for kid/child - "small human being". =)

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    2. Haha thanks for clarifying for me, Brooke! Maybe that's something I should put in my FAQs...

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  7. Knit dresses have really taken over my wardrobe too! I love the wovens, but the knit is what gets worn! I'm very in love with your squids... Are you going to make yourself one?
    Thanks for playing along with the Top 5! :)

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    1. I feel slightly guilty sometimes for making knit dresses, maybe because I see them as being less challenging than wovens? But like you, knit is what gets worn, so I continue...

      Much as I love Squidney and Squidnetto, I must be honest...I don't have room in my life (or space in my husband's views of the apartment as a stuffed animal repository) for my own! Thanks for the idea of making a Top 5s post!

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  8. Awwww.. Thanks for the shout out! I had so much fun when you came to visit.....we'll have to resume our hobbit plans for movie number two!! I love all your makes especially the sic fi/fantasy related outfits.... And I loved the 'put a cat on it' week!

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    1. Thanks Debi, and I will try really hard to get something going for either hobbit movie #2 or 3!

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  9. Yes you deserve a self awarded grand prize! I started reading your blog bc of the Girl on Fire dress! I also love you spidey dress! Happy sewing in 2013!

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  10. What an awesome wrap-up! I clicked almost every single link. Congratulations on an amazing year of sewing!

    I am so pleased and flattered that I am one of your favourite bloggers (especially in such company!), and am thrilled to bits that you are doing the Historical Sew Fortnightly. If you break up your costume wish-list into the different components you could pretty much do every single challenge based on it!

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    1. Oh, and if you ever decide you don't want that 1930s blouse, send it my way! I will trade you for awesome vintage NZ sheets and/or chocolate and licorice and patterns.

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    2. Are you sure you want that sad blouse? I'm actually kind of embarrassed at the thought of sending it to you, but if you're serious...I'll email you about it :)

      I think the HSF is exactly what I need to kick my non-modern sewing into high gear, so I'm thrilled to be part of it!

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  11. I can imagine doing a roundup post of everything 2012 would have been pretty overwhelming for you - you're so productive! :) Squidnetto is awesome, as was his big brother lol :) Looking forward to seeing the rest of your makes for 2013! :)

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    1. Haha after I saw your comment I couldn't stop thinking about a round up, so I did do one!

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  12. Aww!!! Totally blushing here---thankooo! If I had anything like enough concentration right now to make top fives, you'd totally be on my list!

    As for sweaters with full-skirted dresses, may I self-servingly suggest my shrug pattern? ;) or any shrug, really. There's a reason they were popular in the 50s... ;) just make it sufficiently small---I think they're nicer when closely fitted. ;)

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    1. Oooh, I had totally forgotten about your shrug pattern! Next time I locate a sweater knit, I'm totally on it!

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  13. I'm amazed that you managed to limit yourself to only 7 best makes - you do such glorious stuff! Cropped cardis are awesome - I realised from ogling Lladybird's amazing styling that cardis that finish at the natural waist are what I need and I've since acquired 3 RTW and knitted one from scratch, and they make the world of difference to how things look, they work with my figure and my style and especially the full skirts! Try them out, you'll be delighted. And I'm a huuuge EPBOT fan - one of the few non-sewing blogs I follow! Actually, the two of you have a lot in common you know, your natural creativity being the most obvious.

    And Squidnetto is very sweet :)

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  14. Hey, nice of you to point to makemypattern :) I'm improving the men trousers pattern for the moment, it hope to have an update somewhere later this week :)

    love
    joost

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