I normally start the year with a short list of things I want to make pencilled in to whichever month makes sense. The list naturally gets longer and longer, things get crossed off and things added, and I end up looking at it daily on my commute figuring out what I should make next. 2019 was the year that I really wanted to make things I could wear lots; dresses that I can wash and wear again and again, year after year. I didn’t have many patterns in mind, only the Deer and Doe magnolia which I only ended up making late in November. For most of my makes I hacked favourite patterns together.
I did have some time off after getting made redundant, about 6 weeks, where I mainly made the bridesmaids dresses for my brother’s wedding. Aside from that, I sewed mainly in the evenings after work and sometimes at the weekend. I ended up making TWENTY SEVEN DRESSES – yes like the film with Katharine Heigl. I know it’s not a numbers game and I should favour quality over quantity but I even impressed myself a bit when I counted them up. I also made some other garments like PJs, a sweatshirt, shirts and ties.
I had a few New Year Resewlutions for 2019 on top of my list, and here they are:
1. Make things for other people. I’m really bad at this in general, as a blanket rule I say no to everyone because I know that sewing is a bit of a precious hobby to me and I’m aware it could become inadvertently overwhelming. However, many of my friends had their 30th birthdays and I thought I could squeeze out some simple makes. I ended up making some small things like an eye mask and scrunchie, some reusable make up pads, baby hats, baby dungarees, a silk Ogden cami, a sweatshirt, two shirts – one for my bro and one for my boyfriend and a bow tie. Oh and then there was the not-so-small matter of making the bridesmaids dresses for my brother’s wedding along with 14 ties for the groomsmen. I’d say it was a pretty selfless year looking at that list!
2. Make at least 4 new patterns. I’m a creature of habit. I have over 30 By Hand London Floras. I don’t like making new patterns because I like to think about the making process from start to finish first and I’m not one for reading instructions. So I thought I’d set myself a concrete goal of making four new patterns that I hadn’t tried before. First up I tested the By Hand London Jenna dress, then the BHL Eloise. I also made the Hackney shirt by Sew Over It, the London dress by Selkie Patterns, Tilly and the Buttons Seren, TATB Indigo and Deer and Doe Magnolia. Once I’d tackled one new pattern I got out of my comfort zone and enjoyed trying new patterns, making sure I allowed some time to play around with fit or make a toile.
Fix Thread my Overlocker. Yes I’ve had an overlocker for years and no I never used it before this year. I hate threading it so much and I used to store it away so I just never mustered the motivation to get it out. I figured that this was silly and I should spend a bit of time learning how to thread it and not be so scared of it. I did that in January and now I leave it out so I don’t need to worry about setting everything up, but I’m no longer terrified if it unthreads itself, I just get a glass of wine and take a few minutes!
4. Take more time on finish. This one really goes with the above, fixing my overlocker. After I did that I also got some labels printed and did a lot more hand sewn linings. Although I don’t massively enjoy those bits because I’m impatient at heart, I do like admiring it when I’m ironing, so that’s my motivation.
I have a short list so far that I want to make in 2020 and I’m not sharing it here because I don’t want to hold myself to it. I like the natural evolution that comes with sitting on your ideas for a while. One thing I will aim for though is to make a bit less and take more time, those 27 dresses really crept up on me and I probably didn’t need them all. I’m going to focus my time on some new patterns and new challenges instead and hopefully I’ll be able to tick them off my list like 2019!