Happy mid-January-in-2016 everyone! I hope your sewing year is going fabulously so far?!
Mine has been off to a bit of a slow start. I’m currently working on the Sylvie dress by Christine Haynes, and also making a pair of pyjama shorts (in minions fabric!) for the Little Dude. I’ve also started work on the next Muse pattern. Pretty much all of which I’ve started in the past few days.😉
Sylvie dress in progress
2015 was an interesting year. Lots of changes in the first year of a new baby – changing body, changing requirements for clothes (nursing access, yep yep). I started out 2015 with a small baby, on maternity leave. Then finished the year with a fully mobile fast-walking one year old, and back at my full time job.
There were a lot less sewing failures in 2015 than in previous years. I’ve always had a bad tendency to experiment with fabric types and patterns, which has naturally led to some poor decisions. I’ve been a lot more successful in curbing those “lets match this with that and see what happens, even though it probably won’t work” impulses recently!
Shards of Hope dress (Colette Hawthorn)
As with 2014, what I made last year was very much dictated by the having-a-baby thing, and the changing body that results from that. I focused a lot on garments that had “easy access” down the centre front (because tiny people get very impatient when they’re hungry!), and would also work with my changing waistline. So that meant lots of dresses, as they don’t have waistbands that are a lot harder to take in! I picked styles where I could sew up the side-seam last, to make it easy to take them in later on. And I avoided styles with too much detailing around the waist or bust, due to changing fit needs (and very little sewing time!).
Mushrooms dress (Deer & Doe Bleuet)
So all that meant – a lot of sewing with indie patterns, and very little sewing from vintage patterns! I only sewed four vintage patterns last year – two dresses, a slip, and a toddler dress.
Gothic Mystery dress (vintage 1950’s pattern)
(And I’ll be honest – I’ve been missing working with vintage patterns the last couple of years. Now that fit-wise things have settled down a lot, I’m planning lots of makes with vintage styles for 2016. So excited!! But more about that later….)
Shirt dresses were definitely a staple of my 2015 sewing – easy to adjust at the side seam later, and easy access. Later in the year, the Littlest Dude decided he wasn’t interested in anything except solid food any more, so I’ve started on the non-button-front dresses again. Variety! It’s a good thing!!
Not a huge amount on the knitting front during 2015. It started off well – lots of knitting-while-nursing-a-baby time! My Marion cardigan was finished right at the very start of the year, and I finally got my cropped jumper done around the middle of the year. (Not too sure about that cropped jumper on me though – I’ll make a call on whether it stays or gets frogged next winter.)
I cast on two other projects – both Andi Satterlund ones. The Agatha cardigan in a gorgeous orange tweedy yarn, and the Sunshower cardigan in a dark purple. I’ve finished the body of both of them and am onto the sleeves – one is a knit-at-home project, the other is a knit-at-work project. Both are lucky to get any attention at the moment!
I started out 2015 with lots of things planned for Muse patterns. Heaps of pattern ideas going through my head (most of which were already sketched up, variations thought out, and even named!), plans for producing paper patterns, and blogging/tutorials/social things too.
And then life happened.
Two little dudes, May 2015
Which meant, far less Muse things were done than I had planned. But hey, that’s ok – I got lots of baby cuddles, and there are plenty of plans for 2016 instead!😉
I’m happy with what I did do with Muse though. Four patterns were released – the Melissa dress (first woven pattern!), the Sophie cardigan, the Tahi skirt and shrug, and the knit sleeve pack (the first mini-pattern, designed to provide even more options to existing patterns). All of which have been well received, and there have been some lovely creations appearing online. It always gives me such a buzz when I see someone has made one of the patterns!
Melissa pattern – blouse variation
Muse became more well known, and is now stocked by three online stores – Pattern Review, Indiesew, and Girl Charlee.
I took part in Sewing Indie Month, with the Melissa pattern included as part of the first pattern bundle. And through that, I made connections with a couple of other amazing designers – it’s so nice to be able to talk about all that stuff with people who are going experiencing it and figuring it all out at roughly the same time.
And work started on paper patterns – there’s still a fair amount of progress to be made, but I can say, it is progressing! I really want to create a physical product that is beautiful and makes people happy, and I’ve been working with an amazing designer on the packaging. Hopefully in another couple of months, I’ll be able to show it all to you!
Sophie cardigan pattern
Online collaboration things
Mel and I kept on doing our thing with The Monthly Stitch. Which just keeps on getting bigger and bigger! It’s great seeing so many enthusiastic, talented people. We ran Indie Pattern Month for the third year in a row, and it was a huge success – heaps of people joined in, we interviewed heaps of designers, and everyone had a lot of fun.
It’s probably pretty obvious to those who know me, but I love patterns. Love, love love them! So I decided to help make them easier to access for New Zealand based sewing people, and started up Sew Indie NZ in early December. Bringing in a bunch of indie designers, and making them cheaper and easier for New Zealand customers to buy (because international postage costs can be rather crazy to our corner of the world!)
I tried dabbling with some of the other online sewing communities. I joined Kollaborra, uploaded a couple of projects, got confused about the purpose of it all, and wandered off again. I also joined The Foldline, read and posted in a bunch of groups, followed some people, and once again got a bit confused, lost interest, and wandered off. Maybe there’s something I’m missing with all of these…? (Or maybe I don’t really need one, since I’m a part of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) and that fills pretty much all my sewing-chat-related needs.😉
Another new thing for 2015 – I joined the Minerva Craft Bloggers Network! I’ve had a lot of fun with this – I come up with a project each month, and they send me the supplies for it, then I write about it for on their blog. Every time I go to choose projects, I consider stopping it – I have so much fabric and patterns stashed anyway that are crying out to be used! But I’ve found it really works for me – it means I have to make something every month (prioritising sewing can only be a good thing, right?!), it doesn’t add to my stash (as it all gets used pretty much immediately), and it’s given me access to things I would normally struggle to get here in New Zealand. (Liberty lawn! Hello Kitty printed poplin!! William Morris fabric!!!) Also, I’ve found that my Minerva projects have been a lot of my favourite garments to wear since I made them. So yes, I’ll continue on with that for a bit longer. (And I must admit, it’s a heck of a lot of fun “shopping” for a specific project! My usual sewing-supplies acquisition habit goes more along the lines of “ooh pretty fabric! I’ll have some!”, “shiny lovely new pattern, I must has it too!”. (Hence the aforementioned large stash. *ahem*)
British Affair dress (Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress)
Other life things
And aside from sewing, what else happened in 2015?
I was off work on maternity leave for the first few months, enjoying baby cuddles (and lots of long walks, since the Littlest Dude was a non-sleeper, so if he hadn’t had a daytime nap by 4pm I’d go for a walk to try and make him sleep for 20 minutes. A good way to enjoy some sunshine and get a bit fitter, as it turns out!). I started back at work part-time in March, with my partner cutting his work hours to part-time so we could alternate days at home with the little one. Then I went back to work full-time before the middle of the year. Going part-time for two months first definitely made for an easier transition this time!
Back at the little baby stage in late 2015. Awww….
In other work-related stuff, I presented at a couple of conferences – the Customer Experience conference in Auckland, and the UX NZ conference in Wellington. I gave two presentations at the first conference – one on the importance of aligning internal corporate culture with customer experience and brand. And the other at how qualitative and quantitative insights can work together to be more effective for organisations. The second of these was also given (in an updated form) for the UX NZ conference later in the year. Lots of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and improving my speaking skills, which was great! (I always feel so awkward doing that sort of thing. Or telling people that I’ve done it. Even mentioning it here is pushing me out of my comfort zone. Hah!) I also got interviewed for a “women in digital” blog post after the Customer Experience conference.
Later in the year, I went over to Melbourne for a work project, and I got to meet some of the Melbourne based sewing bloggers, who kindly invited me out to dinner. So much fun! Sewing people are awesome. (Naturally, I also got in some sewing related shopping. Because when travelling, one must acquire sewing “souvenirs” for the stash, right?!)
In September, my sister and I went to meet the Red Pandas at Wellington Zoo for our birthdays. They are so cute and cuddly and gorgeous! I got to meet the Lemurs early in the year as well, with Mel. Again – cute and cuddly and gorgeous!
And towards the end of the year, I finally started climbing out of the extremely sleep-deprived state I was in for twelve months. Yep, the Littlest Dude was a non-sleeper. As in, waking up around 12 times each night, and very very few (and very short!) naps during the day. I really wish I had his energy!! His sleep is finally settling down now – we figure he’s got a super fast metabolism, as he wakes up hungry a lot and eats a lot of snacks during the day. Crazy crazy. He eats more than me most days! He’s up and walking about lots now, which is super cute.
Little Dudes sharing an ice-cream, Jan 2016
So, there we have it! 2015.
It was a fun year in a lot of ways. A very difficult year in some ways (non-sleeping-baby and surviving on about 4-5 hours of extremely broken sleep a night for months on end. Ugh). And now it’s 2016!
And it finished off with my partner and I building a set of kit set drawers in our lounge on New Years Eve, after the kids were in bed. Finish with creating – perfect! (Especially when paired with a good glass of cider.)
Building kit set drawers on New Years Eve!
I have lots of thoughts/ideas/goals for 2016. But I’ll talk about them another day.😉
Happy New Year, everyone!
Summer Dreaming dress (vintage 1950’s pattern)