Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top 5 Reflections & Goals

First of all, Happy New Year, everyone! :) Hope you all had a nice and relaxing start. Mine was just a bit exciting, since I started my new job on Jan. 2 (as an assistant doctor in a shared cardiologist and GP practice), and it was still a bit chaotic (mostly because there's quite a few new people working there, including the GP), but I'm sure it'll be interesting once we work out a routine.

So, on we go with the Sewing Reflections! Is this a good place to sneak in my statistics? I love me some figures and pie charts...

Sewing Reflections 2013: 
1. I made quite a few things. 18 dresses, 6 tops (I counted my blazer as a top, too), 6 bottoms (including two pairs of leggings), 6 home dec items (chair covers and cushions) and 6 "others" (namely, 5 pairs of knickers and one pyjama). That's 42 items in total! I didn't even realize I was that prolific!

2. I didn't reach my stashbusting goal of making 3 in 4 garments from stash fabric. More like... slightly more than half. I also bought way more fabric than was my goal, 27 lengths of fabric in total! Since I used 15 of them right away, I ended up with 12 new lengths of fabric still in stash. I used up 15 lengths of fabric from stash. That means I still ended up with a stash that's 3 pieces smaller! ;)
Actually, I should admit that I also bought 8 garments second hand for refashioning and only used 2. And I have some larger scraps left over from some of the used stash fabric. So... yes, my stash did grow a bit during 2013. Wait - I also gave away 6 lengths of fabric! So let's call it a balance. ;)

3. I sew a lot of dresses! Then again, I wear a lot of dresses, too. Of the bottoms I made, three were skirts, but only one is really for every day wear. The third, actually, is still unblogged and needs some alterations. I need to make more skirts in 2014!

some of the dresses of 2013

4. There are still some gaps in my me-made wardrobe. Actually, I think almost all of my me-made garments fall either into the category of "Sunday Picnic dress" or are pretty casual, so now and then I acutely miss some going-out-for-dinner-and-drinks clothes. And now I also need some office clothes!
 the skirts of 2013

5. Overall, I think I'm happy with my sewing in 2013. While some garments get worn more often than others, there weren't too many outright misses. Two things that still challenge me are a good fit in the bust and (sometimes) matching the right fabric to a pattern - or at least not buying crap fabric. ;)
the tops of 2013 (though there are  two more unblogged)

In non-sewing reflections, of course, it also was an exciting year. I crammed knowledge into my head for almost 6 months out of 12, ending with my board exams, so now after 7 years of studies, I'm a qualified physician! Looking for a job took a pretty long time, before I was accepted as an assistant doctor in a GP/cardiology practice, where I interned a couple of mornings every week for the past two months, and finally started a full-time position last week. I also started on a doctoral thesis (I know that in a lot of countries, the "M.D." is awarded upon completion of studies, but in Germany you have to do actual scientific research and write a thesis - which I'm now doing, with my focal point being gender differences in prevention medicine), so there will be a lot less free time than last year. Still, my working hours are such that I have two afternoons and don't work on weekends, so there should still time for some relaxing sewing and knitting, and all that other stuff I do to relax. :)

Goals for 2014:
1. I'd like to do something to close my wardrobe gaps. Sew a couple of slinky tops and maybe a lacy dress for fancy occasions. Make some fun denim skirts, and maybe even a pair of shorts or two. And there's definitely room for a few more basics like undies and tank tops, too!

2. This year, I'll be wearing office clothes 5 days out of 7! In the colder months, this will definitely mean black trousers and white collared tops under a solid coloured pullover or vest, though I may be branching out into white jeans and short-sleeved blouses in summer. So that'll be well-fitting trousers (I'm thinking Thurlows) and collars on my to-conquer list!

3. Work on getting a better fit. This is an ongoing project really. ;) I like a close-but-not-tight fit in the bodice, and while that's pretty easy with knits, I still find it challenging to get a fit I really like in my woven dresses. So I guess that either means buying more stretch wovens, or taking the time to make a well fitting sloper/muslin...? We'll see.

4. Another ongoing project, of course, is the status of my fabric stash. I actually like the amount of fabric that is on my shelves, but I know that there are still some fabrics in bags and bins and drawers, some that I know I'm probably not going to use, some I just don't know what to do with. So my big goal this year is to reduce my stash to only the size of my shelves, where I can see it, plan with it and sew with it. The rest is going to be used or given away.
The Stash
5. Try out new patterns. You may have noticed that I re-use my patterns a lot, and I love doing that! Partly because the tracing and cutting process isn't my favorite, and because with second and third makes, I know what to expect. But it also means that I haven't used about two thirds of my patterns yet, and that isn't counting the ones in my Burda/Ottobre magazines! So, let's make this a concrete goal: I'm going to use at least five new stash patterns in 2014. I can also think about at least five patterns that came out in the last year, which I haven't bought yet but would love to try... But we'll see how that fits in with my other goals. :)

So, quick question: what is the one pattern that you definitely want to sew in 2014?


  1. Hey Alessa! I made my first Lola, and I love it! Second one is already cut out, and I'm sure there will be more soon! It's so good!
    For a going-out look how about the Maria of Denmark cowl? It's pretty cute, and dressy in the right fabric!

  2. Lacy dresses are really fun. I have a few yards of black lace in my stash that I keep saying I'm going to sew up into a party dress soonish. :) And I think the one pattern I really want to get to is Sewaholic's Thurlow trousers. I've seen so many great versions out there and it would be a useful pattern to have fitted.

  3. The Thurlows are on my to-buy-and-make-soon list! I'm still a bit scared of pants fitting, but I realized a couple of weeks ago that my one pair of trousers fits pretty well, so maybe they'll work as a guide once I get to that. Any ideas for a nice lace dress pattern yet?

  4. Yay, Lola! I can't wait to see your version(s)! I've seen a few cute Day to Night tops, but I'm not quite sure if it's the right style for me... Oh, but it might work with some lace and a tube underlay!

  5. Ooh, it's so nice to have a good excuse to make a pretty lace dress! I can't wait to see what you make!

  6. If we're going with new-to-me patterns, I'm pretty excited to give the Sewaholic Robson coat a try. I have the pattern and recently acquired the fabric for it. So I'm hoping to tackle that one next month--this month is all about trying to finish the rest of my Thurlow pants that I've had queued for months! (It's a really nice pattern to put together, once you get the fitting done--good luck with it!)

  7. Mmm, that's a good question. I think I want to give the Ninot coat a try. It seems like a nice intro into coat making. But, I also can't wait to make a Lola. In fact, I have some fabric lined up for my first "muslin" (but in knit, not real muslin fabric).

  8. I like all the fabric rolled on your shelves. Good stash busting goal as well. Your stats for last year were pretty interesting. :)
    I got a Japanese sewing magazine for Christmas and I really want to sew up several of the designs in there.

  9. I can leave a comment!!!! Thank you Alessa!
    You have very interesting goals this year. To sew a more fitted garment is a difficult question... I have sewn the Ninot jacket and it can be the perfect work garment in a solid colour with a pair of Clovers for example ;-)

  10. I love that you're going to make things for your work wardrobe! Fitting pants, at least for me, is more of "journey" than a "destination", but with each pair the fit gets better, and as long as they are all wearable, it's a good road to be on! I guess what I'm trying to say is that my way of working on fit is not to obsess about getting it perfect in one garment (although sometimes I do try) but to let there be lessons from one garment that carry over to the next one.

  11. Oh, I forgot, the patterns I want to make in 2014 are Cake Espresso leggings, and a version of the Cabarita top. :)

  12. What a great sewing year you had! A work wardrobe will be an interesting challenge I think. The one pattern I will sew definitely is Lola as I bought it as a Christmas present to myself! The fabric I bought to use is too thin and see through though which is very frustrating. xx
    PS Good luck with the new job:)

  13. Oooh, what a great year it was for you! Congratulations again on the job, I hope the first week went well! So interesting to see your reflections. Thurlows are on my list for this year, too - the office where I just started is pretty casual, many people wear jeans ... and I have to admit, I've got exactly TWO pairs of jeans, 1 of which is beginning to develop non-repairable holes, and the other is 1 size too small (hehe, I wriggle like crazy in them when they get out of the wash, so that they stretch enough to be comfortable when sitting). I'm used to wearing a lot of pencil skirts and blouses to work, so this is a bit of an adjustment for me. I don't suppose you could refashion any mens button downs? I muslin'd the Archer out of one to test the fit, and really like wearing that around (plus: salvaged button holes and bottom hem!) To make in 2014? Well, I've cut way back on crafting, but I'm currently making a coat and enjoying the process - I think the Minoru would be fun to try. And Lola! Ooh. Ali gifted me one of hers, I wear that quite often and love, love, love it! Perhaps we shall both come up with Thurlows this year :-). Happy new year!