Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!

I really love reading these kinds of round up posts, but when I first saw the #sewingtop5 prompt over on Crafting a Rainbow I thought I had no business taking part as I’ve only sewn about a dozen things in 2016. Okay, I’ve sewn more than that, but only about that many garments for myself, so a list of my top 5 hits and top 5 misses would cover just about everything I’ve made.

But then I thought how much I love year-end navel gazing, so I’m doing some of the challenge anyway 😛

Actually, this is replacing my rather long winded yearly round up posts, so it’s got to be a good thing all round. Less waffle.



Top 5 Reflections

  • I actually managed pretty will with most of the goals I set myself last year as I’d kept them much more realistic. I do best when I keep things more chilled and don’t set myself crazy targets. This is meant to be a fun hobby, after all.
  • 25 minutes a day spent on sewing might not sound like all that much, but it stacks up quickly and I’ve managed to make way more for myself than I thought I would. The trick is in being organised and not spending too much time faffing.
  • Leading on from the last point, there’s really no use in comparing my productivity (whether in sewing or writing) to that of others. When I read about yet another wonderful make on someone’s blog and bemoan the fact it’s taken me weeks to make a simple t-shirt, I need to remember that their situations are entirely different to mine. Perhaps they don’t have kids, or have older kids who look after themselves, or can afford to pay someone to look after their kids or do their housework for them. Perhaps they don’t need to work and have heaps of money to take fun sewing classes and buy the best fabric. Whatever. My situation is mine alone, and I love my family and wouldn’t trade them for more sewing time. Most of the time I wouldn’t, anyway. I do have my moments when I could happily swap them all for a half hour spent on my beloved Bernina!
  • Although at first I balked at the idea of having to seriously limit my sewing budget, I’ve found the challenge of making things from stash (patterns and fabric) to be really stimulating. I’m now finding it much easier to resist buying new fabric, and have made a pact with myself to only buy if I know exactly what I’m making with it, that it fits into my capsule wardrobe plans, and that it’s something I’m going to make within the next few months. I’ve also realised that the main reason I have such a large fabric stash is that I bought it when I was unhappy. It was a way of helping me to dream about a better future (sewing nice things!) when my marriage was slowly falling apart. I don’t need to buy things to cheer me up anymore as I’m happy with life. Yay!
  • I have way more sewing experience than I realise, and have now made a great variety of different garments in different fabrics. If pushed I’d categorise myself as advanced intermediate level (whatever that means–sounds good, anway) and I’d like to push myself to try out new techniques and fabrics to widen my experience. I really don’t need to be scared of making more complicated patterns. So what if they don’t work out perfectly first time? Which neatly leads on to my top five goals…


Top 5 Goals

  • Make a pair of jeans. Seriously, I really need a well-fitting pair of skinny jeans, and since I have an abnormally long crotch depth it’s really difficult to find anything that fits right in the shops other than jeggings. I’ve been contemplating the Ginger jeans for a while now, and I think I’m almost ready to start looking around for fabric and supplies. But a few knit dresses and tops first to round out my wardrobe, methinks.
  • Make a proper button up shirt. Possibly with poppers rather than buttons, but you get the picture. A real collar with a collar stand. Maybe. Actually, I quite like those minimal collars too… Let’s just say a woven shirt with some kind of front fastening, shall we? I’m sure there’ll be some new skills involved. Plackets and cuffs and what have you. That burrito yoke thingie sounds interesting.
  • Get more creative and experimental with knit fabrics, including making alterations to bought items. I always have ideas for things I’d like to try, but then chicken out saying I don’t have enough time. I just need to get on with doing stuff. Knits are so quick to sew I have no excuses.
  • Plan my makes much more carefully, making sure they’ll fit in with the rest of my wardrobe and that they’re the kind of things I really want to wear.
  • Get my own sewing room again, and make it really cute and practical. This is totally dependent on Andy getting the garage converted into a bedroom so in many ways is out of my hands, but it’s a goal anyway. I really want to have a space of my own where I can leave things out without worrying about a toddler manhandling them or a cat using them as a bed. So sick of cat fur on my mini ironing board!

custom-fit_medTop 5 Non-Sewing Highlights

  • Finally finished Custom Fit, the sequel to a book I’ve been promising one for about 5 years now. And it’s kind of sewing related too, as the plot revolves around a dress Andrew is making for his boyfriend, Felix. Cue lots of cross-dressing shenanigans!
  • Gave up carbs. Well, kind of. I cut right down on them, anyway, and am now no longer at the mercy of my constant “hangry” craving for more food. I feel and look better than ever. Yay! If anyone’s interested in finding out more, I’m loosely following the guidelines in the Primal Blueprint, and not being too anal about it. I mean, I ate three mince pies today. It is Christmas, after all!
  • Bought a house with my man! We may not be married, but we own property together so that’s even more of a commitment, methinks. Also, it’s the coolest 60s bungalow I’ve ever seen. Lots of 70s feature stone walls and a bathroom that looks like a 70s porn set. Also one huge main room that makes the house feel huge, even though the bedrooms are pretty small. And let’s not forget the awesome courtyard garden! This is a really lovely family house and the neighbours are great too. We’re already really happy here, and after years of moving house at the drop of a hat I feel like I’ve finally found somewhere I want to settle, and more importantly, a man I want to settle with 🙂
  • Discovering what minimalism means for me. This was the year I finally really got the whole KonMari principle of keeping only the things that bring you joy. I think I hadn’t been quite rigorous enough when attempting to follow her decluttering method the first time. So far this time around I’ve only done my clothes, but I’m feeling much more positive about getting on with the rest of it next year. It’s so much easier to see what you have and lay your hands on what you need when you don’t have as much clutter, and it helps me to be much more creative.


  • Bringing up two awesome children. This is me saving the best till last. Every time I whinge to myself about not having much me time anymore I need to remember this. Daisy and Gabriel are both loving, (mostly) well-behaved kids with generous spirits, and I think part of the reason they got this way is because I’ve given them lots of my time. I’m getting much better at just enjoying being in the moment with them and not getting distracted by other things.

So there we go. Those are my top fives for 2016. Actually, maybe I will do a post for my sewing hits and misses too. Watch this space…

9 thoughts on “Top 5 of 2016: Reflections, goals and even some non-sewing stuff!”

  1. I”m glad you joined in! I so agree with your comments about how it’s easy to measure our own accomplishments against other sewists… but it not a useful mindset! Sounds like you set some really great habit this year (like budgeting, making time for sewing, choosing fabrics carefully etc), and I hope you have a wonderful 2017!


    1. Thanks, Gillian! I really appreciated the prompts as they helped me to focus on what I’m doing well with the sewing, and areas I’d like to focus on in future.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  2. I was going to say the same as Gillian regarding ‘compare and dispair’. It’s all too easy to with highly curated social media feeds, but you’re right – everyone has their own reality.


  3. I just came to your site for the first time from Gillian’s page and lots of your comments chime with me too – never enough hours in the day (and when do the prolific sewing people ever actually wear all the thinsg they make??) I want to find regular small chunks of time for sewing next year, stop buying fabric at random and make some jeans too – maybe it will happen! Good luck..


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louise! I hope you manage to set aside some time for yourself. I’m working on not thinking of it as “selfish”, but as essential for my health and happiness 🙂

      Fingers crossed on you avoiding the random purchases. It does get easier with time, I promise!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just to say … I really enjoyed reading your post. I used to be an avid blog reader but now I just tend to focus on IG so have missed all the end of year round ups. Much of what you said struck a chord with me. Good luck with your goals!


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Clarinda! I haven’t quite got the hang of Instagram networking and like to read longer posts, so am still reading lots of blogs. So hard to make time to comment, though, so I really appreciate it when people stop by 😀


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