Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year! (Plus 2013 In Review)

Happy New Year! I won't lie and say that I'm a big fan of New Year's or New Year's resolutions, but I think it's good to reflect on and review the past year. It's been an exciting one!

It's been a while (over a month) since I last posted, so I'll quickly sum up the past month (or so) before moving on to summing up the past year.

I haven't been posting or sewing at all much because I've had tendinitis from my right hand up to my elbow. Being right handed, it makes it pretty difficult to do pretty much everything that I do a lot: writing, typing, sewing, playing the saxophone, dancing, yoga... you get the idea.

Unfortunately, the only way for it to really get better is rest. Honestly, though, how am I supposed to not use my right arm for a few weeks? Um, not going to happen.

Anyways, the project that I was working on got pushed aside for a while, and my plans for Knit for Victory were thrown out the window, which was a bummer because I have a 1940's knitting magazine and I was really looking forward to it.

On the bright side, since I couldn't sew, I reverted to planning for my grad dress (or prom dress, for my American readers). I'll post about that soon!

Oh, my computer also had a meltdown. It froze all of a sudden, which is pretty normal, so I shut it off. When I turned it back on, it told me it didn't have a hard drive. I'll skip the details, but none of my files could be recovered, and now it's sitting in the corner of my room, dead and useless. I really have no idea what to do with it. I also lost pretty much all the photos I've taken since starting this blog, since I last backed up around the end of August.

This also explains why this is a little late... I meant to get it out in 2013. I'm using my dad's old laptop, which is about nine years old, but is surprisingly still faster than mine that just crashed. Its only weakness, I discovered yesterday, is photo editing. I don't know if it just doesn't have the RAM or what, but the Gimp kept crashing whenever I would try to do very basic things... like moving a toolbar to better see the picture I was editing. Anyways, I didn't get the photos ready on time so here's the post now.

It's been a pretty busy year - I turned 17, started grade 12, and got my driver's license (a big highlight)! I'm in the process of applying for universities and scholarships, and it's really starting to sink in that I'll have a lot more independence after June. It's a bit scary, thinking that I'll be on my own pretty soon, but it's exciting too!

Anyways, enough about my personal life. Here's a list I've compiled of some of my sewing/crafty/thrifty highlights of 2013:

Sewing/Crafty Projects:

This doesn't include all of them, just the most notable ones, including some that were never blogged. You can see all of my blogged projects on my Sewn page.

Most-worn: Sewaholic Alma blouse

I practically lived in this blouse all summer because I burn like crazy, so shirts with a little more coverage than the average tank top are great (note to self: make more cotton blouses with sleeves for next summer). It's flattering, comfortable, and overall a great blouse. I'll definitely make another!

Least-worn: Simplicity 7148 Culottes

I really love these culottes, but I still have yet to wear them since I finished them right at the end of the summer. There were some days in the fall when it was hot enough that I could have worn them, but since they're linen, I wanted to save them for days when I would be standing more than sitting to avoid too much wrinkling. Lesson learned: next year, I won't wait until the end of summer to make shorts.

Most challenging: Bombshell swimsuit

Yes, you read that right - I finished a bombshell swimsuit! Here's a sneak peak - the full post will be out soon.

Biggest mistake: My second Pendrell blouse (pre-blog)

Ignore the bright blue tape on my arm. It was the only colour my physiotherapist had in stock when I needed some.
I like how this blouse, the Sewaholic Pendrell, turned out, but I seriously regret the fabric choice. It's 100% polyester and feels plastic-y and awful to wear. Since I was only just getting back into sewing when I made this, I didn't really know much about different fabrics and picked it because I liked the print. Looking back, it's amazing how much I've learned in a few months about sewing and fabric. Overall though, I don't regret making this blouse. We all make mistakes, and I learned from this one. Hey, if I hadn't learned to dislike polyester with this blouse, I might be planning to make my grad dress out of polyester! *shudder*.

Most likely to make again: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt (pre-blog)

You may recognize this from my post about my knit Pendrell blouse (and from above). It's the Hollyburn Skirt from Sewaholic, made in a cheap rayon-poly-nylon blend. I wear it quite a bit, so I kind of regret not buying something a little nicer (again, this was before I knew all that much about fabric). I was stupid and didn't pay any attention to the finished measurements, thinking "I'm short, so if it says it hits just above the knee then it probably hits somewhere below the knee on me", and made view C, the shortest one (but with the button tabs from view B). It ended up too short even before hemming, so I added some wide lace hem binding so that I could turn up as little of the fabric as possible. I also put in an invisible zipper (my first ever) which broke after two wearings, so I replaced it with my first ever hand-picked zipper. I keep meaning to redo it because it wasn't actually very well done, but haven't bothered.

Anyways, there's my mini-post about that particular skirt. I seriously love the pattern, though, and really want to make more in cute quilting cottons in the spring (I love it when a pattern will work with quilting fabric). It's fast and easy to make, and it doesn't require any fitting, yet it's really flattering. I only wish mine were a little longer!

Took the longest: Pseudo Shibori Scarf

I worked on this for over a year... which is insane. My next knitting project will be more manageable (once my hand is better). Still, I love this scarf and I've worn it a lot! It's really cozy but still very delicate-looking, and it goes really well with my new favourite hat that I bought at the Circle Craft Fair (a huge craft fair in Vancouver) this fall.

Farthest out of my comfort zone: Nuno felted scarf

I have a post half-finished about this scarf that I will post someday, so I won't post too many details here - just a sneak peak!

Best thrift store find: My cashmere cardigan

I think I need to come up with a new pose...
I bought this 100% cashmere cardigan at a thrift store for $6.99, can you believe it? It had a strange fake leather buckle on the front but I unpicked it and then blocked where it had been because it had stretched a little, and it was as good as new! This cardigan is so soft and so warm that I practically live in it. Although you can't really see it in the pictures, it has a subtle diamond lace design. I used to wear it open, but more recently I've been pinning it shut with a cute pin that used to be my mom's, or tucking it in like in the photo.

Second place would probably go to the I'm wearing above. They're vintage pumps and made of red suede with black trim. I bought them at a thrift store for $7 or $8.

Favourite overall: The duvet dress (my second Sewaholic Cambie dress)

Hands-down, this is my favourite piece I've ever made. True, the fit isn't perfect but nothing I sew ever fits perfectly. Still, I absolutely love this dress and can't wait for the spring so that I can wear it again. (This was also the post with the most hits on my blog.)

A Few Highlights:

1. I started my blog!

I know, duh. But this was really exciting for me, and I'm so very thankful to everyone who reads it. I wanted to be able to share my passion with people who would appreciate all the work I put into it. At the moment, I have 6375 pageviews - I know, that's barely anything on the scale of the internet, but it's definitely a start. The fact that people care about what I have to say enough to visit 6375 times is wonderful! 

2. I won a prize

I entered in the Super Online Sewing Match Community Match just for fun, but actually won something! I entered my duvet dress and won a $50 gift card to Pink Castle Fabrics. I had been blogging for less than a month when I won, so this was really exciting for me!

3. I joined The Monthly Stitch

For those of you that don't know, The Monthly Stich is a community blog that began in August this year and has a different challenge every month. So far, I've only participated in one - the Frocktober challenge - but I really like the idea and the sense of community. January's challenge is New Year = New Skill which I'll try to contribute to (even if I don't have a finished product yet) because I'm starting on my grad dress soon, and there's lots of new skills I'll be learning with it.

4. I participated in "Concours d'art oratoire" talking about sweatshops and cheap clothing

This is an annual competition run by CPF, the Canadian Parents for French, where kids and teens (grades 6 to 12) prepare their own short speech in French and perform it in front of judges. They can really be about anything, but many students write them about something about which they hold a strong opinion. I wrote mine about sweatshops, the environmental cost of cheap clothing, and alternatives to fast fashion. I only made it to the district level, but it was a really great opportunity to learn more about something that I was interested in, and re-kindled my interest in sewing - it was right around then that I picked it up again.

5. I became much more independent while sewing

I used to be so unsure of myself with everything I was doing when I was sewing, and relied entirely on my mom's help. Since starting to blog, and reading other people's blogs, I've become much more independent and able to problem-solve while sewing. For instance, I did the fitting on my Ceylon dress entirely on my own, whereas with my Cambie dresses (here and here), I made the muslin, but my mom did all the fitting for me.

Overall, this has been a great year for me in terms of sewing, thrifting, and other crafty pursuits. I don't really do New Year's resolutions, so I won't formally make any to do with sewing. My most important project this year will be my grad dress, and I think that's enough of a goal for me.

Happy New Year! 


  1. Hi! Its so nice to see you "on line" again:) Hope your arm is doing better!
    I must say; You have quite a few highlights ttrough 2013! And what a progress! I am impresses! *and i bit jealous*.
    I am really looking forward to see your bombshell bading suit and your grade dress:D
    I hope you got my answer to your email! I know that you are very busy and un top of all that have a lot of problem whit your arm. So I didnt want to bother you to much;)
    CIncearly, Tone

    1. Thanks! My arm isn't completely better but is good enough that I can type, so I'll get started (again) on that post (I had already started it when my computer crashed). I got your response, I just never replied. Sorry - I'm terrible at replying to emails!

  2. It's great to read a summary of your 'sewing year', especially to hear which projects got the most/least wear. You have made some really sweet garments and I am loving the look of that watermelon bombshell! Best wishes for 2014.

    1. Thank you! I'll try to have more pictures of my swimsuit up soon.

  3. Must be really frustrating for you! Great projects. I do like the above knee length on you and that skirt looks fab. Very impressed you've made the bombshell that's one I haven't been brave enough to make! Happy new year.

  4. Congratulations on your achievements this year. We all made clothes that we are not proud about, but I see that you have great projects. I really hope you recover soon from your tendinitis :)