Category Archives: New Years Resolutions

Sewalutions 2013 – I’m in the jar, how about you?

Have you been bitten by the wave of sewing resolutions that’s sweeping the blogosphere at the moment? As with many great trends, it was kicked off by Karen from Did You Make That. She challenged us all to put our money where our mouth is and go public with a sewing resolution for 2013 – putting it in a jar, and being called up at the end of the year to account for our ability to stick to it.

How could I resist a challenge like that?! Wanna see my resolution? It’s my biggest one, and lets face it, it’s going to be one heck of a struggle to keep it. (I tried last year and failed miserably.)

To buy no fabric, patterns or notions.

(Unless it’s something very specific that I need to complete a project and don’t have in my stash, such as interfacing).

Yep, stash busting is the name of the game this year. (And probably next year. And the year after that. And…. Yeah, well, you get the picture.)

A small part of my stash.  The boxes hold vintage patterns - one box each for 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

A small part of my stash. The boxes hold vintage patterns – one box each for 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

And guess what? So far, the very fact that Karen’s going to be holding me accountable to this at the end of the year has stopped not one but two fabric purchases so far this year!! And about three pattern purchases!!! (Yikes!!!) (And yes, I’m still day-dreaming about one of those fabric purchases I didn’t make….. *sigh*)

All hail the Power of the Jar!

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! 🙂

Stash busting

Way back when at the start of the year, I made me a New Years Resolution to not purchase any new fabric. Turns out I’m not the only one – there’s a whole Stash Busting challenge going on over at So, Zo….! Sounds pretty perfect to me – after all, I have so much fabric there literally isn’t room for it in the house. (Sad, but true. I have a small storage unit which is half-filled with the overflow of my stash. *sigh*) Clearly, I need to use some of it up. And constantly giving in to the temptation of the sales at Arthur Toyes (the local fabric store I walk past on my way to work in the mornings) isn’t helping reduce that stash any, no siree.

So here we go, to keep myself motivated, I’m jumping on board with the Stash Busting challenge!

I’m a bit late in finding this challenge – Zoe started it all off back in January. But better late than never, right? And I’ve kinda been doing it anyway, what with that no-new-fabric New Years resolution, combined with the weekly challenges over at The Sew Weekly. (Although I must admit that despite the amount that I’ve sewn this year, it hardly feels as though I’ve made a dent in my stash at all! Oh dear…..)

Those of you who read this blog may have noticed that I fell off the fabric band-wagon (so to speak) on the trip over to Beijing. Well, I have decided to allow myself two exceptions to the no-new-fabric rule – if I go overseas and encounter things I could never get here in New Zealand, I’m allowed to buy them (within reasonable quantities – no going overboard with it, though!). And if I find awesome stuff second-hand I’m allowed to buy that as well, since that hardly ever happens and I love the idea of using thrifted fabrics to make up vintage patterns.

So there we have it – onwards with the resolution! No new fabric, no sir, no way, no how!

(And yes, all of the items I’ve made for the Sew Weekly challenges have been from my stash. Just in case you were wondering. 🙂 )

Happy New Year everyone!

Wow, hard to believe we’re at the end of the last day of 2010 already! Yikes!

Which means…. it’s New Years Resolutions time! (I’m not sure why, but I get quite a lot of joy out of making New Years Resolutions.)

I’ve got a few crafty resolutions in the mix this year, as well as a couple of others. And to make them public so I have to follow them, here they are….

  • Continue with the 12 Months of Dresses project, and make a new dress for myself every month
  • Buy no new fabric (this one will be hard!)
  • Sew at least one thing a week (some for me, some for friends)
  • Make every present I give people (nothing bought!)
  • Continue with the no-new-clothes challenge (for the third year in a row).  No new clothes unless I make them myself, or get them second-hand.  (With the exception of socks and hosiery, since I can’t make those.  Yet.  And any of those that I buy have to be made in New Zealand, to keep things as local as possible.)
  • Run a half marathon
  • Try at least one new recipe each week (must get better/braver at cooking!)
  • Hmmm. Turns out most of those involve crafty type stuff. Figures.

    So, what are your New Years Resolutions? Got any crafty/creative ones in there?

    Have a great New Years, everyone! 🙂

    Blog inspiration

    Yes, it’s true. I have been very negligent with this blog. Terribly so, in fact. And now I know why! It started out with me feeling like I should have a place where friends/family can find out what I’ve been up to, since I am terrible at keeping in touch with people at times. But, I never really want to post about what I’ve been doing. I mean, who really wants to hear about gigs I’ve been to, what I’ve been doing at work, what I did over the weekend, and that sort of stuff? Boring, right?

    So, I ended up posting about stuff I’d been making. Which is what I did feel like writing about.

    This created a bit of a quandary, though. After all, I didn’t start this blog to talk about what I’d been making, did I? Hmmm. Bit of a dilemma. Not quite sure what to do about that – what I’m writing about clashes with the supposed purpose of this blog. So, I ran away from it. Oops.

    But last week, this awesome site I go to sometimes,, did this great thing where they gathered together this list of a whole bunch of awesome crafty blogs who were hosting giveaways. Curious, I went and had a look at a whole lot of them. And got all inspired (after all, they’re the sort of blogs I like to look at!) and realised – why on earth am I trying to force this blog to be something that it doesn’t want to be? Why don’t I just go with the flow, and let it be about crafty stuff? After all, it’s kinda dumb to force yourself to write stuff you don’t want to write, just because you feel you should, isn’t it? too much like work, I say! (And not fun type work, either. More job-you-hate-but-have-to-pay-the-bills type work. Ugh.)

    And so, I have now decided to reinvent this blog. No longer will it be about what I’ve been up to! Sorry, friends and family, but you’re going to have to continue to not know what I’ve been doing. (Or, you could phone me to find out, if you really want to know.) Instead, this is now going to be a story about what I’ve been making. Lots of crafty goodness! Yay!

    And I have lots to post about, even. 🙂 So, watch this space – more posts (with real content, instead of this sort of waffle) will be coming this way very very soon!

    It’s 2010! Resolution time…..

    Ok, so it turns out I suck at keeping a blog just as much as I suck at emailing people. Or remembering birthdays. Or getting up on time in the mornings. Hmmm. Clearly, despite my Virgo nature, I am not the most organised of people….

    But anyways, here I am, blogging again! Largely due to one of my New Year’s resolutions. And seeing a link to someone else’s blog where they’re blogging about their resolutions, so I reckon I’ll do the same for one of mine. 🙂

    And so, without further ado, here’s my resolutions for the year. (Not that most of you care, but I still haven’t written them down anywhere, so here’s the place, yes indeed it is.)

    1 – Buy no new clothes (except for socks and tights, coz I can’t make those myself)
    1.a – When buying the few allowed clothing items, only buy NZ-made stuff.
    2 – Buy no new shoes (aside from running shoes, without which I won’t be able to do…)
    3 – Run a half-marathon (eek!)
    4 – Make myself at least one new dress every month

    Now, resolution number 4 is the one I’m gonna blog about. And I’m feeling kinda proud of myself, as I finished a dress the other day that I’ve had sitting around, all cut out and ready to be sewn, for about six months now. Oops! Photo coming soon, I promise….!

    Here we go again….

    It occurred to me this morning that it’s been a couple of weeks now since I posted anything on here. Oops.

    It also occurred to me that it’s been a couple of months since I posted anything new to my ‘stuff I’ve made’ album on Facebook. Oops once again.

    So, time to do something about this, methinks.

    After thinking about it a bit, I have concluded that a (possibly) good thing to do will be to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and issue myself (yet another) challenge. (Coz really, that’s what I’m all about at times. Crazy, but true. *sigh*) Therefore, I am going to set myself a challenge for the next 6 weeks (at least) to make at least one new thing a week, and post it on here every Sunday evening, thus holding the internet community accountable for my crafting (and hopefully therefore actually doing what I plan to do, rather than just getting caught up with other stuff and realising two months down the track that once again I haven’t been sewing and I haven’t been blogging). Yes indeed.

    And hey, if you’re all bored with that, then just don’t read about it, and I’ll never know. 😉

    So there we have it, folks – for the next six weeks, every Sunday evening I’ll post something I’ve made that week. (Crafting-type making, that is. Baking cupcakes doesn’t really count, cute and tasty though they are.)

    Onwards and dress-making-wards…….