Top 5 Reflections and Goals for 2015

Top 5 of 2015

In a very enjoyable way, I feel like I’ve found my groove with sewing. That means I don’t have any huge insights into my last year of sewing, nor do I want to set any lofty goals! That said, there are some things I’ve been thinking about…

Reflections: 

  1. I love my wardrobe. I have more clothes than I can wear in a month, but I love them all.
  2. I’m sticking with my colour palette. I chose these colours (the ones at the top of my blog header) a few years back, and they are still the colours I feel best in. I’ve added a bit more red this year, and enjoyed it!
  3. I’ve picked up some new skills. This year I learned how to use my coverstitch with confidence (a post about that someday soon). I’ve stepped up my photography game, and learned to use Lightroom (also, more on that soon!).
  4. I tend to think “Oh buttons/coatmaking/etc sound too hard – I won’t try!” but I know in my heart I’m just holding myself back. This summer,  I took a bra-making class in person and discovered I actually quite like classes for learning new “scary” skills. Following on that, my Christmas gift from Jamie was working with Emerald Erin draft me a custom bra pattern (You know it – more on that soon!) I’d really like to continue the tradition of getting classes/tutoring as a gift each year.
  5. Community is the best. I organized Lingerie month on the Sewcialists blog, and I joined the Curvy Sewing Collective editor team. I loved every minute of the Better Pictures Project, Sewing Dares, and the Top 5 lists! I love seeing people get excited to learn and challenge themselves, and it’s the best motivation to keep learning and improving myself!

 

So what are my goals?

Last year I said I’d learn to use my coverstitch, make more pants, don’t promise to make things just because I feel like I should, keep experimenting with photography, and stick with the kind of clothes and sewing that I love! I accomplished ALL of those things – the power of achievable goals!😉

In 2016, I would like to:

  1. Make a simple coat. I’m thinking Clare, because I would feel more confident with Heather Lou holding my hand all the way!  I remember Jenny from Cashmerette writing at one point (and I paraphrase) “How can I learn to make a cashmere coat without making a cashmere coat?” My goal is to make a first coat, not aim for perfection!
  2. Make more menswear. I’ve got a stash of fabric for Jamie, but I haven’t sewn him anything in almost a year. Me-mades I’ve made him in the past are starting to spring holes, and that’s just a sad state of affairs. He deserves better!
  3. Keep experimenting. I’m all about the TNT patterns – How many coatigans and shift dresses have I sewn in the last 2 months?  I feel like I’ve gained confidence this past year in hacking/changing patterns, and I’d like to keep playing with that. 
  4. Take a class. I’m not particularly inspired by the current classes on Craftsy, or the “sew your first dress” classes that are offered locally… but if I can find a class/tutor who could teach me some specific intermediate skills like shirtmaking, coatmaking, jacketmaking, I’d be thrilled! (Ok, I just found a local class for sewing an Archer that is just $60 for tw0 3-hour sessions… that seems really cheap, and not enough time? I’ll think about it though!) 
  5. And finally, not a sewing goal, but related, slightly… I’d like to learn to get rid of things! I still have every quilting cotton dress I’ve ever sewn, bags of clothes that don’t fit, about 20 big tote boxes of school stuff that needs sorting and purging, and far too much stuff over all that isn’t precious but I just can’t get rid of. I’d love to move in the next year, so now is the time to pare back!

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the #sewingtop5 this year – I get a little thrill every time I see someone’s post pop up, and I enjoy reading them all. I hope you’ve found some new-to-you bloggers by looking through the participants! Every year I debate whether the blogiverse is too crowded for me to justify hosting yet another theme/challenge… but every year, I’m glad I do!

Happy 2016, everyone!


51 thoughts on “Top 5 Reflections and Goals for 2015

    1. Thank you! Given that the Better Pictures Project literally started as a distraction tactic while I waiting to hear if I got that job I eventually got, it’s turned out surprisingly well!😛

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  1. The top 5 series is the best! I have a little time to kick back and read them ALL. Where are you going to take a class locally? Yeah for classes!! I am thrilled to take another class at the Workroom starting Tuesday. I am thinking of working on the Jalie City Coat. What a great way to enjoy January. I look forward to seeing your sewing projects. I can picture the Clare coat on you already! Enjoy.

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    1. What class are you doing at the Workroom? The class i’m looking at is in guelph at the Greenwood Quiltery… they do mostly quilting stuff and basic apparel, but the prices are way lower than I expected relative to Toronto/Hamilton prices!

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  2. What a super year you’ve had. I think your best goal is learning how to shed the things you no longer need. That is an incomparable skill, IMO. But then, I have OCD🙂

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    1. I don’t really know where to start! I mean, I bagged up clothes to donate in the summer, and then gradually took out several things that i’ve loved wearing after alterations. Konmari doesn’t work for me, because EVERYTHING has memories that bring joy. I just don’t know how to pare down! Help!

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  3. I love the Top 5 series. I look forward to it, even though I couldn’t get my own act together this year to participate. Your photography has definitely improved and inspired me to step it up myself. I know I need to sew more for my hubs this year too. Simplicity 2780 (Project Runway) vest pattern that is perfect to sew for him. Cheers to the new year and making new things!

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    1. I”m so glad you’ve enjoyed the Better Pictures Project! It’s been fun! I need to look at Big 4 menswear patterns – got any good suggestions? I need large sizes…

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  4. That does seem super cheap to me for that class. And slightly pushed for time – but I have sewn shirts in less than 6 hours. Maybe it’s broken into two slots so you can do the simpler stuff like sew up side seams etc in between, as ‘homework’? I wonder if it’s something like, people in your area won’t pay more than about $60, so the teacher has to make it shorter to justify the low cost.

    I would really like to look for classes in my area too. I usually go away for a craft retreat with friends three times a year and this year I’m only going to manage one, I think. I really love the act of making in a room of other makers, so maybe I need to find that feeling elsewhere, and I might even make some more local friends!

    I just got rid of two big garbage bags of finished-with muslins, and unuseably small scraps. Last month I got rid of some nice makes that I liked but weren’t my style. But you know what? It was scary, but it felt really good! And now there’s room for the stuff I DO want to wear and sew!

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    1. Cheap and quick – I’m glad you agree about that class! I think you are right, there just isn’t much demand. Still think I might a take it though – there are precious few garment classes in my city, and I need a kick in the ass to try shirtmaking…

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  5. Its hard to get rid of the things we’ve made isn’t it? I think I spent so many years very rarely finding clothes that fit, that I would cling to things even if they didn’t look great or were worn out. Have to keep reminding myself that it can go, theres always another garment to make!
    I actually did a huge clean out over the xmas break and dropped a few bags off to the salvos (thrift shop) and when I was last in there a lady was buying one of my me-made dresses!! She was telling the lady at the counter that someone had spent a lot of time handsewing the dress (meanwhile I kept on poking my husband/daughter and wiggling my eyebrows at the counter, lol). So just remember there is someone out there who might love it more than you do!

    Looking forward to what you make in the new year!

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    1. That is so cool!!!! I would feel much better giving stuff away if I thought someone would actually buy and enjoy it. Thanks for the motivation to pass things on!

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  6. Congrats on your achievements!

    I too hold myself back thinking something will be too hard and then surprise myself when I get it (this has happened more in knitting since I haven’t ventured out too much with sewing yet!)
    and I’ve enjoyed reading the top5’s and plan to join in for it this year.

    Happy new year! 😀

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    1. LOL – Hope I paraphrased you well enough!😉 You are right, Future Me is gonna say, “Girl, what were you so afraid of?”

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  7. It is SO hard to get rid of the things you’ve made, isn’t it? I made myself get rid of most of my non-knit dresses this summer, since everything’s shifted around and I didn’t think they’d fit again. I’m so glad I have the blog posts and pictures to look back on, because I really did love several of them! It looks like you’ve got some really good goals this year. I bet any coat you make is going to look really happy on a cold, blah day!

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      1. I think the one that hurt the most was my Sewaholic Lonsdale. Even though it was already a bit snug in the waist before I got pregnant, I was really proud of the internal bra structure that I built in. Of course, the cups were way too small now, too. And I liked the tropical fabric! I am strongly considering seeing if I can grade the pattern up sometime and make a new one, since I do still like the style.

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  8. I find it hard to get rid of stuff too but I am a hoarder lady when it comes to anything fabric. One of my goals this year is to also make a coat and to tackle tailoring. My first Saturday job while I was at school was as a hand for a tailoress so I don’t know why I am finding the thought so daunting. I am looking forward to following what you make. Xx

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  9. I think the Clare coat will suit you very nicely! I spent a ton of time obsessing over my coat early last year, and in retrospect I was most daunted by all the interfacing choices and the lining insertion. But Heather’s sew-alongs tend to be awesome and the supplies well-researched! Excited to read more, if you decide to make a coat. Very, very excited to hear more about your bra-making class, too, and happy 2016!

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    1. I find interfacing so confusing, too! One of the things I like about the Clare sewalong is that Heather mentioned several options specifically from the Canadian chain fabric store, so I feel more confident that I’ll actually buy the right thing!

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  10. The great thing about the Clare is that ~40% of it is prep work, which is difficult to screw up. I remember that when we were testing, Heather promised us that once we got everything interfaced, the rest of the coat would go together quickly, which it really did. I think that the Clare is a GREAT choice for someone’s first coat.

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  11. Ahh, the art of letting go. It’s a hard skill to learn, but so freeing! I’m pretty good at shedding old clothes, whether RTW or me-made, but those sentimental projects are so hard to part with. I too wish to purge some relics in 2016. Best of luck to you, hopefully you can show us how it’s done.

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  12. I love this post, Gillian! And I think you and Jenny Cashmerette have it exactly right – I’m going to make this my mantra: “how am I going to learn to make a ___ without making a ___”. Sounds a bit less dramatic with blanks, but you get my drift 😉

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  13. Dude! You can totally make a coat! Plus, you NEED to make a coat! 1.) You live in Canada. 2.) What’s not to love about a me-made that you can wear every single day without looking like a crazy person? Coats give, by far, the best return-on-investment of time! Plus they’re super fun.😀

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  14. Your post was so thought provoking I don’t know where to begin! One of my goals this year too is to make a jacket (bought a gorgeous stretch, faintly flowered Liberty of London burning a hole in stash pocket!) and like try new things! I’ve discovered the best way to deal with TOO MUCH STUFF is to have to toss something every time I buy something (easy to get behind on that but I keep notes of how many things I have to toss to balance it out). We live in an apartment and space is limited – no basements or attics to stuff things – and I refuse to move into a larger space to accommodate stuff🙂

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    1. OOoh, floral stretch Liberty denim? That is a magical-sounding fabric! I”m also an apartment dweller, but I haven’t managed the balance of stuff yet… Wish me luck! And hello, fellow Canuck!😉

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  15. I forgot to say that it’s a Liberty of London stretch denim! Also I live in Canada – Victoria BC – love your blog!🙂

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  16. I love reading your top fives. Taking a class is at the top of my list as well, so I guess it’s time to save up for one (I have the luxury of living in NYC – I have my eye on a pants-making workshop, which terrifies me and thrills me all at once.) I guess the other main thing I want is to actually push myself to participate in the community this year – I’ve been a shy shut-in for too long!

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    1. But being a shy shut-in is so FUN! I dearly love it myself, but I do probably need a bit more balance… Good luck to us both!😉

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  17. I am so jealous of your Emerald Erin time–that sounds amazing! I think that taking classes is a great idea, especially if you can find something that challenges you. I surprised myself in 2015 by taking a leap and signing up for a patternmaking class at my local Cultural Arts Center, and I loved it! I hope you have the same awesome kind of experience with your bra-making lessons, and any other classes you might take this year. I know that the classes I took changed my life in so many ways, and all I had to do was put myself out there and save a little money for the fees. WORTH IT to the max!!

    I have also enjoyed all the Top 5 posts in my feed, so thank you for starting something! =) And obviously the Better Pictures Project was a big deal to me, and I am looking forward to more on that. Happy (Belated) New Year!

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  18. I think you could easily sew an Archer in about 6 hours. You should totally take that class, but I think if you just followed a long with the sew along you could easily do it. You have lots of skills Gillian. You can do it!!
    I am so looking forward to your Clare coat and I think you’ve set some really great goals for yourself!

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  19. I know I’m a bit late for adding to this conversation, but just saw Heather Lou at Closet Case Files’ post from 2nd Jan about just getting on and making that thing you’re worried about making, and thought of you and your coat, Gillian! Do read it, it’s amazing!

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