#SewingTop5 Goals for 2018!

Top 5 
of 2017! (6)

  1. Continue being more badass. This was one of my goals last year, and I am still working on it. One of my coworkers and I talk about being a “cat” or a “dog” in life – cats are confident and take no BS, and dogs are desperate for approval. I’m naturally a dog (yes, I know how that sounds!) and I’d like to incorporate just enough cat-ishness that I’m taken seriously and dare to accomplish my dreams in all walks of life, without coming across as aloof or cold!
  2. Sew a Big 4 pattern each season. In 6 years of sewing, I’ve only sewn two Big 4 patterns… one became a TNT, and one was an oversized waste of fabric! I’d like to give them a better chance, so I’m aiming to make at least 4 over the year. I’m all ears for suggestions on great patterns that I might like, and how to pick the right sizing! I’ll do a whole post on that at some point, because it’s a huge topic.
  3. Learn about environmentally-responsible sewing. Confession: having a pile of “maybe I’ll use this for kids clothes someday” scraps stresses me out, so I’ve gotten in the habit of throwing out all my scraps from every project. At the very least, I’d like to start donating them to H&M recycling. I’d also like to learn more about reducing my carbon footprint without letting go of the fast and prolific sewing that I love!
  4. Put my money where my mouth is. I’ve got a post about this coming up on the Sewcialists, and another one on my blog next week. In short, this year I want to support fabric stores and pattern companies that align with my ideals of an inclusive sewing community! I’ve become more outspoken this year about the way I think the sewing community should be, and it feels good… so watch out for more of that in 2018 too!
  5. Have fun! I think this is one of my goals almost every single year. This is the year where I don’t promise to make a quilt or a coat or whatever I think is supposed to be my next step. (Yes, I’m reneging on that #sewingdare!) I am going to sew what makes me happy.

My final goal for 2018 is that you enjoy reading this corner of the blogosphere, and you find it open, fun, and inspiring! I try to be honest, and not pretend I’m perfect at anything. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and follows me on Instagram – I appreciate you all so much!

Thank you also to everyone to participated in the Top 5 this year – don’t forget to go check out the links to other people’s Top 5 here!


34 thoughts on “#SewingTop5 Goals for 2018!

  1. I always enjoy stopping by and read about your sewing adventures. I need to be a bit more cat-like, too. I am such a dog personality. I have a list of things I want to sew but without pressure – if I manage, great. If not, there is always next year. A coat is definitely on my list (I have made one before). I have never sewn a Big4 pattern and I’ll be looking for inspiration here. Happy New Year (and have lots of fun!)! I hope your sciatica pain is firmly in the past. x

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  2. These sound like great goals – doable yet challenging. I have taken the environmentally responsible goal to heart also by trying more upcycling projects and keeping scraps that are “good enough” to make small items, such as winter hats and baby clothes for charity.

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  3. I was stunned to read you had only sewn 2 of the big four patterns in 6 years! How did you ever manage that?? All those sales 🙂 I’ve sewn several – some have been a total success (in general my favourites are Sandra Betzina and Custom Fit at Vogue, Liesl Gibson and Custom Cup Sizes at Butterick, Nancy Zieman and the Palmer/Pletsch at McCalls) I like a few Simplicity patterns as well – one in particular is the 8529 which is another variation on my favourite Toaster Sweater. All of these, I’ve achieved a great fit without too much fuss and there are some patterns in this group that are so great I’ve ironed cheap interfacing to the back of them to make them sturdy. I think women (warning! huge generalization coming but I’ve been involved in feminist research projects, I’m long in the tooth and I’ve been working intimately with women for over 40 years so I’m allowed :)) ) have struggles with being more “doglike” than “catlike” – I really loved writing this for obvious juxtaposition reasons 🙂 Women are pressured to smile, be nice, nurturing, soft – watch that bitch voice and face – whatever you do don’t get comfortable with THAT. It takes women (EEK more generalizations) I would say into their ’40’s to start caring significantly less about what people think of them, period. Aging for women is a wonder. On the one hand it’s freeing – dancing in the rain freeing – on the other it’s terrifying because much of what you believed was valued in you is slipping away (fertility, sexuality, innocence) which is why you’re free too. When I read your post I thought, “Gillian is hearing the call of 40” – not that you’re there obviously but like a siren’s call from the shore, you can already hear her song in the distance 🙂

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    1. Wait, I thought of two more Big four patterns – that’s 4 in 6 years! 😛

      I love your explanation of the siren call of 40! I’m 35, and my husband turns 38 in a month… and I’ve definitely been thinking what it means to no longer be the youngest one in the workplace, or the most junior person on the team. The odd thing about teaching elementary is that 95% of my colleagues are women… but about 50% of my superiors are men. It’s this really cosy, safe, supportive environment as a teacher, but if you want to climb the ladder (which I sometimes think I do, and sometimes don’t) then at some point, a mindset shift seems to be needed.

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      1. Ug – that is such an education problem – female dominated profession and then senior levels all men 😦

        I actually had someone tell me he thought we did really well on the gender balance stuff the other day – I pointed out our senior leadership team is only 30% female. Turns out that’s what he thought was a good achievement!!! *Facepalm*

        I say climb that ladder!!!

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  4. New Threads magazine has an article on boro stitched jacket which could be a use for your scraps…It also uses Simplicity 8467 which would also cover your Big 4 goal…

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    1. Ooh, thanks for bringing that article to my attention! What I really need is some version of boro that works with my knits scraps instead of wovens! 😉

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      1. Same issue is how to use knits for woven patterns…
        Create your own version of knit “boro”!…perhaps using some of the techniques developed for making T shirt quilts
        …one other thought-something “Alabama Chanin”-like instead of backing or underlining with a solid piece, use scraps to ‘spot underline’
        Perhaps a TNT T-shirt with a contrast interior yoke with the Chanin style reverse appliques stitching…Hope that makes sense…

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  5. Your blog is always such a pleasure to read. I don’t comment nearly enough, but I just wanted to say that I always really enjoy reading what you have to say, and I appreciate your hard work for the community.

    As far as the whole BIg 4 thing, one of the “best” things I always hear from advocates of the Big 4 is that you always know what fitting changes you’ll need to make. I don’t understand that at all, but it might be because of variations of designers for the Big 4 that I end up trying out or something. For instance, a Gertie pattern will need different adjustments for me than a Rachel Comey, and both are different from a New Look pattern, and a Suede Says pattern is completely different from any of the others, etc. I don’t know, I don’t hear anyone else saying this, so maybe it’s just me.

    I also think that with your style seeming to veer more towards knits, I think you’ll find the Big 4 more annoying than someone who prefers wovens. Big 4 patterns build at least as much ease/general over-sized-ness into their knits as their wovens, and then they have stupid instructions like to fold under a neckline and straight stitch it. Having said that, with as much experience as you have, I think you’ll be fine at ignoring directions and just know that you’ll need to size down a size or 2 or even 3. I personally really loved NL6000 & M6696, but both were wovens, so I’m not sure they’re your style.

    Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my blog, and for your long comment! I tend to agree with all your comments about Big 4, and that’s why I’ve avoided them for so long… but I feel like i should give them a fair shot just to see. Maybe I’ve been missing out on fantastic options! (Although yeah, turning and stitching a neckline is a recipe for disaster!!! 😛 )

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  6. Gillian, may I add to your Goals for 2018? Here’s one that you haven’t listed in past years, and yet it’s always been part of you: “Sew love into my projects”.
    From your early teens, you’ve sewn gifts for your friends. More recently you’ve made favourite dresses, tops, leggings for Anne and me, and easy-wear outfits for your nieces, and your husband too! This Christmas, you surprised me with a cute bonded-lace knit jacket. Lucky for me that you’re also an inspiring sew-along partner, adding cat-like “spring” to my more reticent approach.
    Sewing clothing really is your personal expression of love. Happy 2018. 😘Mom

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    1. Thank you so much, Mom! It really is a joy to be able to make things for other people – Maybe we should schedule an “dreaming of spring” sewing day for February for your birthday? Start thinking of ideas!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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  7. I’m so glad you’re going to keep blogging, you’re one of my all time favourites! Also I just can’t get into vlogs, often my only time to look at them is after work in the evening when the kids are in bed and hubby is watching TV so it would be intrusive to play them then and headphones excludes me from being “with him” if you know what I mean. Your goals are great and kind to yourself as well as the environment. As for cats and dogs, I used to be a dog but have learnt with age to be more of a cat, I have fewer superficial acquaintances but really great close friends and I’m fine with that, the hardest part for me was learning to say “no” to people who want to be your friend for 5 minutes so you can be of use to them! I think you’re fabulous X

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    1. Thank you so much, Alison!! I’m really honoured. I feel the same about vlogs… somehow I love watching makeup videos, but watching sewing videos doesn’t do it for me! Maybe because one is soothing and low-pressure, and one is making me wish I was sewing myself?

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  8. I was going to recommend m6844 to you but it looks like it’s out of print. If you can get your hands on a copy, it seems like it would be your style and I don’t think I needed to make any fitting adjustments to it (I can’t remember if I made a medium or large). I’ve had a bout the same amount of luck sewing big 4 and indie, but find myself sewing more indie than big 4 because I don’t like their styling/illustrations. But once I get over that and make the garment, I like the results.

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  9. Just love the message your Mum (oops uk spelling!!) how lucky you both are. Thanks for being a great inspiration for me this last year. Looking forward to hearing the pattern suggestions.

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  10. So much to look forward to!! #3 is also on my list. I’m thinking about writing a little serie of posts on my blog to force myself to research properly how sewing and sustainability intersect!

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  11. Oh Gillian, you’ve only tackled 2 Big 4 patterns ever? You’ve learn SO MUCH since 2012 and I think if you apply your current skill set to the Big 4 patterns you’ll be happier. I don’t use them a ton (because I hate JoAnn’s), but they can do together really well. You just need to look out for finished garment measurements and heck in knits you probably won’t even need the plus sizes.

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  12. I need to start donating my scraps and old textiles to H&M, too. I’ve tried to reduce my carbon footprint in 2017 by shopping locally or within Canada only. I find I choose much more carefully where to spend my crafting dollars. There are some amazing Canadian resources out there, both online and in person. 🙂

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  13. I am also really interested in the environmentally conscious part. Sewing my own seems more socially responsible, but environmentally it seems very hard to discern anything about how the fabric was made and the potential impact. Plus the shipping if you live somewhere far flung like Australia…

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  14. Excellent goals – esp being as bad as your ass can be! What the last year has taught me is that everything is achievable – even with no clear path. Even with serious challenges. (I say this without resolution, as yet, but if you do not take serious risks, you will not accomplish serious things, except entirely by accident :-))

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  15. Good luck on the sewing adventures in 2018! While I’m sad to see you give up the coat idea, i definitely support sewing what’s fun for you!

    So make sure the Big 4 experiment is fun, too! I sew a lot of M/V/B as it’s easiest for my work projects. It’s not terrible. I do pick size based on the finished measurements, which often but not always means sizing down. Also be aware of the designer—if it’s just a regular pattern it will use that pattern line’s standard block, but if it’s a particular designer (eg Sandra Betzina) it may use that designer’s blocks so it may fit differently. Though that probably won’t matter right off the hop. Have fun!

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  16. I suggest that you try one pattern from each brand. The Big 4 with a B is the only company that fits me without much modification. I’ve been been known to switch sleeves between their patterns. You may find a Big 4 company that will fit your form.

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  17. I’ve just googled sewing blogs to find more inspiration and get to know more people who love sewing. I think your blog is great and the way you write is so natural. I’ve recently started my blog (very amateurish but I do it mostly to relax and store all my ideas) and I feel that sewing community is very supportive and open for new inspirations. This is the right place for me 🙂 You’re doing a great job!

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  18. Wow – the cat and the dog is a great comparison. I think I’m on the dog side too. And good luck with the Big 4 – I’ve not tried one yet, but have quite a few that I’ve received as free gifts with magazines. I was taught to sew with Indie patterns, and on the few occasions I’ve thought about sewing a big 4 pattern, I’ve been put off by the poor instructions. Looking forward to seeing how you get on with them

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  19. Have you ever asked any of the teachers you work with if they’d want your scraps? I donated my last pile to an elementary art teacher in the neighborhood (after asking!). She was psyched!

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