I love an end-of-year round-up and judging by the recent posts popping up in my blog reader, so do lots of you! 2013 has felt hectic in so many ways for me, so I'll start my round-up by borrowing Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 of 2013 idea, but will add a few more elements as I go along. First, a quick look at my 2013 handmade wardrobe in numbers:
Total Makes - 21
Dresses - 8 (38%)
Skirts - 3 (14%)
Tops - 10 (48%)
Jersey / Knit Fabric - 4 (19%)
Woven Fabric - 17 (81%)
Top 5 HITS of 2013
1. Peter Pan Collar Blouse - Simple Sew. Despite the basic pattern this blouse is adorable, super easy to wear and a perfect fit for my lifestyle.
2. Hawthorn Blouse - Colette Patterns. So chic and elegant. It's easier to wear in warmer weather, but I love it nonetheless.
3. Elisalex Dress - By Hand London. Not exactly an everyday dress, but I took great care over the making of it and it really shows in the details. It's a show-stopped every time I wear it.
4. Armistice Blouse - Folkwear Patterns. Not in regular rotation due to its delicate nature, but I'm so proud of this blouse as it's made from silk hand-spun and woven by my great grandmother.
5. Hawthorn Dress - Colette Patterns. Once again more of a summery number, but I love the fit and style of this dress. It would probably also look good with tights, a cardigan and boots...something I must try.
Top 5 MISSES of 2013
1. Ballet Dress - Dixie DIY. Love the pattern and my fabric, but I wish I hadn't drafted tulip sleeves as my jersey wasn't really stable enough to hold their shape. I still wear it, but with a cardigan mostly.
2. Summery Mathilde - Tilly and the Buttons. Unlike my first rendition of this pattern, this silhouette just wasn't flattering, so I ended up giving it to a very grateful and Liberty-loving friend.
3. Macaron - Colette Patterns. Although this looks pretty in the pictures, the fit isn't quite right and I made an error in fabric-weight judgement.
4. Laurie Striped Tee - Named. I do enjoy wearing this a lot, but I ended up shortening it a tad too much. Next time I'll also lower the neckline.
5. Anna Dress - By Hand London. I really want to love and wear this dress more, but I can't escape the fact that it makes me feel self-conscious about my tummy. I'm inspired by all the beautiful skirt variations I've seen online, so I will try again and with a less clingy fabric too.
SEWING FOR BABIES IN 2013
Aside from selfish sewing, I also made my mum a rather large patchwork tablecloth and a number of cute little things for friends' babies. Some of the above I've yet to blog about, but I've surprised myself by how much I've enjoyed sewing for little ones. I swear there's something in the water because a handful of babies 'arrived' this year and there's three more on the way for 2014...so expect to see more titchy sewing!
WATCH THIS LACE
2013 definitely started with an exciting bang for this blog! After coming across a large amount of delicate vintage lace, I somehow managed to convince eight talented and beautiful bloggers to join me in sewing up something wonderful with it. If you missed it at the time, you can still read all about Watch This Lace and explore each of the creations.
There's never enough time in a day / week / month to take part in all the exciting sewalongs out there, but I'm so happy that I managed to squeeze in a few super special ones and thankful that in some instances I was asked to participate in the first place.
1. One Pattern, Seven Bloggers...the sequel.
2. Sewing the Trends Summer 2013 - organised by Sew Country Chic.
3. Sew for Victory - organised by Lucky Lucille.
4. The Refashioners - organised by Miss P.
5. Archer Appreciation Month - organised by Miss Crayola Creepy and Lucky Lucille.
September, October and November was when 2013 really got really crazy for me. Amidst buying a first home with the boyfriend and proceeding to renovate parts of it, Rachel from House of Pinheiro and I co-hosted the Dakota Sewalong. The sewalong was a first for us both and I'm immensely proud of what we achieved and the quality guest bloggers we had on board. However, I'd do a few things differently next time. First and foremost, I wouldn't buy a house and renovate at the same time...this was a hugely stressful time for me already. I would also never host a winter sewalong again, whilst holding down a 9-5 job. Due to poor lighting in the early mornings and afternoons, I was limited to photographing tutorials at weekends, meaning I was often working too close to deadlines for comfort. A great experience overall though!
OTHER 2013 HIGHLIGHTS & OBSERVATIONS
1. Having this blog feature on The Guardian online (in a blog by Karen from Did you make that?) and in Sewing World Magazine.
2. Meeting and catching up with so many of your lovely selves at Rachel's epic London meet-up and at another big meet-up in Birmingham organised by Krafty Kat, Sew, Incidentally... and I. I was also fortunate enough to spend some quality time with some of you during smaller gatherings.
3. After an enthusiastic start with knitting, 2013 was the second year running I didn't finish a single project.
4. Despite an incredible year overall, I often felt over-stretched in 2013. I sometimes took on more than I could sanely handle and I think this compromised my own stitching agenda at times.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2014?
I gave up on setting myself specific goals a couple of years ago, which has suited me much better. Some would say I have commitment issues, but I say I just like my freedom! There is one stipulation for 2014 though: I want to try and slow down my stitching a little, focus on quality and enjoy the process. I know this sounds boring, but by not spreading myself too thin I'll have a greater chance of fulfilling my own stitching agenda (whatever that may be at any given time) with better results. That's the theory anyway!
If you got to the end of this self-indulgent post, well done and thank you! I hope 2013's treated you well and that 2014 brings each and everyone of you plenty of good health and happiness.
I'll see you on the other side with a great giveaway to celebrate the New Year!