Top 5 of 2012 – lessons learnt

Top 5 of 2012

Following on with the Top 5 of 2012 series created by Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow, here are the top 5 lessons (about sewing) I’ve learnt in 2012, in no particular order.

Lesson one – Read pattern instructions. Seriously. Two of my failures this year were because I didn’t bother reading the pattern instructions first. It’s not like it would have taken a lot of time to read them, either. Must. Slow. Down.


Lesson two – What works for pregnancy and breastfeeding. (Breastfeeding was the hardest one to get my head around, surprisingly!) My conclusions – the 1970’s had it pretty good when it came to preggy patterns, with those loose shift dresses. Although I preferred to wear them belted above-bump to add a little bit of shape to them! And as for breastfeeding? Centre-front zips are awesome.


Lesson three – I can’t believe it took me so long to learn about these, but pattern weights and a rotary-cutter-and-board combo are awesome. Fact. They must have saved me so much time this year, and they’re so easy (and fun!) to use. I used to hate cutting out fabric – it was my most-hated part of the sewing process. (Well, to be fair, my absolutely most-hated part is cutting out the pattern. All that easily-torn paper. Gah. That’s actually one of the reasons I use vintage patterns – they’re often pre-cut! And if they’re not, I put them in the too-hard basket and find something else to make instead. Yes, I hate cutting pattern pieces that much. *hangs head in shame*.) Anyway, now that I have a rotary cutter and cutting mat, I don’t hate the cutting-out process any more – so much better than pins and scissors! If you haven’t tried it (and using pattern weights, too), I very strongly encourage you to give it a go. It’ll change your life. True story.

Lesson four – While I got into vintage styles through the allure of the 1950’s, I’m now more and more attracted to the tailoring of the 1940’s. Expect to see more of this in the future. (Is this a sign I’m “growing up”??)

Lesson five – I hate ironing. (This, however, is something I’ve known for quite some time now.)  My ironing pile grows and grows, until I have no choice but to iron a small part of it. Then it grows some more. But, I’m happy enough to break out the iron to press while sewing. So I’ve learnt to incorporate chores into fun times – now when I need to press something I’m working on, I have to iron one item from my ironing pile before I can press. Sure, I never quite get rid of that ironing pile, but it no longer threatens to topple over and suffocate me whenever I open the wardrobe door. Progress!

Lesson six – What works and what doesn’t with babies clothing (and gifts for baby showers etc). I’ve never really know what to make people – what would they find useful? Now, I know. (Knit fabric trousers, cardigans, burp cloths, play mats and sleeping bags, in case you’re interested.)

Sure, there are six lessons there, but I couldn’t decide which one to take out. 😉

13 responses to “Top 5 of 2012 – lessons learnt

  1. These are great lessons! Thanks for sharing what people appreciate as baby gifts– I’m a bit clueless about that sort of thing, but so many of my friends are having babies and it’s nice to know what people will actually use!

  2. Hello! I like your lessons… Mine are quite similar, especially ironing while pressing for sewing (I also do a batch of ironing when ironing my fabric for cutting). Tip for hating cutting patterns and pattern paper (me too, me too!): trace, using cheap fusible interfacing (but remember to never iron your interfacing pattern pieces…). More durable, easy to work with and a gem with pattern weights and the rotary cutter. Sometimes, I’m super lazy and cut the interfacing together with my fabric. Has halved my cutting time!

  3. Great idea for the ironing pile – must remember that! I think I’m addicted to the 50s at the moment. Guess I’ll have to grow up soon! 🙂

  4. I love your idea about ironing, I really should adopt that too as I iron so rarely despite having the board out for sewing all the time!

    • Haha, I’m glad not the only one! I have to look at my ironing pile/mountain every time I pull out the ironing board while sewing – nothing quite like a bit of housework-related guilt while indulging in one’s hobby, is there?! :-/

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  6. I hate ironing too so I do the same thing as you do – squeeze it in there when I’m pressing for a sewing project lol 🙂

    I too was a convert of pattern weights over pins but I still use shears a lot, because I do enjoy cutting 😛 That and I feel I can cut into corners more accurately, although I do use my rotary blade when I feel the need to just get ‘er done lol

    • It’s funny – now whenever I look at my ironing pile (aka The Mountain of Doom) I just think to myself “must sew more!” :-p

    • I sometimes do a combo of the two, using the rotary cutter for the big lines of things and the shears for corners and details. I’ll rough cut the corners with the cutter, to detach it from the bulk of the fabric, then use my shears to make sure everything’s perfect.

      • I’m the same, always have the shears handy just in case, although I try not to use them as they take longer. 🙂

  7. Good tips on the baby presents – I have a bunch of them to make!

    • Same here! I’m planning a big baby-present-making mission this week – I foresee lots of bibs, burp cloths and change table mats being made in preparation for lots of baby showers…..

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