Looking forward, looking back (a.k.a. 2011 and 2012)

It’s 2012! (Crazy-futuristic-looking year, that one.)

As many of us tend to do when a new year rolls around, I’ve been looking back over 2011 at what I’ve done, what I’ve learnt, what went well. And looking forward to what I want to achieve in 2012. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts with you all (around the sewing/vintage/home making/crafting theme – I figure you’re probably not interested in career goals and the like).

Firstly, a look back over 2011.

Last year was quite a turning point for me with my sewing. While I’ve been sewing for around 15 years now, and started dabbling with vintage reproduction patterns a couple of years back, through the Sew Weekly website and community this year I discovered a wonderful world full of lovely ladies (and some lads) around the world who are passionate about vintage styles. Through reading about their wonderful creations and styles, I got inspired to collect and sew with true vintage patterns, which has been a wonderful experience. I’ve now fallen completely in love with the 1940’s, 1930’s and vintage style thanks largely to girls such as Debi, Charlotte, Solanah, Karen and Adey and their gorgeous blogs.

I joined in with the Sew Weekly sewing circle, and completed every challenge this year. (Admittedly a couple of them were a few days late, but still – I figure this is a decent achievement!) Which meant I sewed 61 new garments for myself this year. Yes – you read that right. 61!! Some were successes, a few were failures, some were happy surprises. I’ve been wanting to get back into sewing regularly for a long time. It turns out that having a weekly deadline and a theme to sew within works really well for me.

The Failures

These four garments were my biggest failures this year.

  • Imitation is Flattery top – I underestimated the amount of lycra in this fabric, and the result was a far too tight top. It’s never been worn and is sitting in my to-refashion pile.
  • Spring Floral bloomers – bad choice of fabric for these (a bit nana-like, no?), and this was one challenge where I probably shouldn’t have participated. I knew before I started that I’d never wear this style, but I made them anyway. Heck knows what I’m going to do with them now…..
  • Purple and houndstooth tshirt – it’s just too big. I think I gave it away at a clothes swap party…..
  • My Mother’s Style tshirt – it’s just not my style. I’ve never worn it, and I doubt I ever will. It’s going into a clothes swap giveaway pile some day very soon.

The May-Still-Works

These ones haven’t quite worked, but I am determined to rescue them somehow.

  • Pink Kitty blouse – yes, it looks a bit like pajamas, but that won’t stop me wearing it. The fit just isn’t right though, and needs some serious alterations.
  • Summer Dress that Wasn’t – I have a bit of the yellow floral fabric left, enough to re-do the bust. I am determined to make this one work – the pattern is just too pretty. Fingers crossed it’ll go better next time….
  • Spring Rain trousers – they’re just too big.
  • Green is Green dress – a bad choice of fabric (far too heavy for this pattern) means this dress doesn’t hang right. I have plans to turn it into a skirt. Which should also tone down the extreme green-ness somewhat.

The Surprises

Several things I made I only did because of the weekly challenges and the themes. I took a chance a few times, and made something I would probably never have made otherwise. And some of these garments were a happy surprise!

  • Mod Ascot dress – I was unsure about the pattern, and also the dress itself when it was made. And yet, this has become one of my go-to dresses. I loves it.
  • Christmas Down Under shorts – I’m not a shorts type of girl, but I rather like these. And I’m even going to make the pattern up again. Success!
  • Oriental 60’s dress – this one was from the ‘ugly pattern’ challenge. I was pleasantly surprised to end up with something that I actually quite like wearing.

Biggest Successes

While these may not be my most-worn garments, they’re the ones I’m most proud of. They make me smile when I look at them. I learnt a lot when making them, and they inspire me to learn even more.

  • Romantic Tulips dress – the very first garment I made from a vintage (non-reproduced) pattern. This dress started my new love affair (*cough*obsession*cough*) with vintage patterns.
  • Coco Chanel inspired LBD – combining fabrics and textures, getting inspiration from history, and a bunch of hand sewing. I’m rather proud of this dress.
  • Floral Forties dress – a hand-stitched blind hem (and sleeves), hand-tacked lining, fully lined as well. Because of this dress, I now take hand-finishing with me on planes. Turns out it’s a perfect time to get that kind of finishing done.
  • Urban Forest dress – I’m not entirely sure why I’m so proud of this dress, but I am. Perhaps it’s the bright pink full lining. Whatever it is, it makes me smile.

Most Worn

  • Sandra Dee skirt – work, casual, any time of year. It’s a wardrobe staple.
  • Hummingbird skirt – same pattern as the Sandra Dee skirt, and worn just as often. Chances are very high that at least two more variations of this skirt make it into my wardrobe in 2012.
  • Sweetheart Red dress – even though the fit could be improved on the bodice, this dress is still a go-to piece, all year round. Perfect for occasions where you want to be slightly more dressed up such as family BBQ’s and baby showers.
  • Bookish Willow dress – once again, good all year round as it’s easy to layer. Pockets are awesome. The fabric print makes me smile.

Looking forward to 2012
As for this next year, I have a few goals around sewing/crafting/vintage style.

  • Continue sewing at least one garment a week. These may not all be for me this year though – after a year focusing on my own wardrobe, I think it’s time I spread the love
  • Building up a wardrobe of 1940’s garments. I am currently loving this era a lot.
  • Start using vintage styling more – hair, make up, accessories. I don’t know why I’m a bit nervous about this, fear of the unknown perhaps?
  • Finish garments better, and include more advanced techniques as part of this. After all, the garments I’m most proud of are the ones I’ve put a bit more time and effort into. I want every garment to make me smile when I look at it.
  • Make at least one surprise gift for a friend every month. Time to share the crafting love.
  • Knit a 1940’s style sweater. I’m not a good knitter, not at all. Time to work on that this year.
  • Host short 7-day challenges, focusing around a variety of things, such as home, sewing, crafting, etc. 7 days is long enough to achieve a decent amount of things, and short enough so I don’t procrastinate.
  • Carrying on from the last two years, to buy no new clothes. If I can make it myself, it doesn’t get bought new. Acquisitions from op shops and clothes swaps are fine, however.
  • To buy no new fabric. At all. I have far too much, and I *really* need to work my way thorough it.

What are your goals for this year?

Happy 2012 everyone! 🙂

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One response to “Looking forward, looking back (a.k.a. 2011 and 2012)

  1. Great recap and CONGRATS on finishing every challenge!!! woot, woot!!! My favourite may still be your halloween suit…that was just fantastic but I also love your tulips dress, coco LBD and the green dress!! Love your goals for 2012 and I look forward to following along! Happy New Year!!! xoxoxo

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