05 January 2017

2016 Sewing Year in Review

This is my second attempt at writing this post.  Blogger had a major meltdown and deleted EVERYTHING I wrote...pictures and all.  I was one sentence away from publishing and then poof.  Gone.  I save religiously too.  Anyway.

Last year, I dubbed my sewing adventures as the "Year of the Turtle."  What's slower than a turtle? 

I sewed a total of 27 wearable garments, one accessory, and a few wadders (not blogged).  I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself.  Last year I sewed 21 garments, so maybe this turtle was slightly caffeinated.

The Stats (wearable only)

By garment:
  • 10 skirts
  • 7 tops/cardigans
  • 3 dresses
  • 2 coats
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 2 jackets
  • 1 messenger bag 
By company:
  • 6 Simplicity
  • 5 New Look
  • 4 McCall's
  • 3 Jalie
  • 2 Burda
  • 1 each of Style Arc, Kwik Sew, BWOF, Hot Patterns, Knipmode, Jamie Christina
  • 1 online tutorial 


Abbey Coat by Jamie Christina:  This is the third year in a row where a coat topped the list of my favorite garments.

I got a chance to wear the coat several times before it turned arctic and I absolutely love it.  Whether worn with jeans, a skirt, or dress, this coat has grace and movement.  My only regret is making functional buttonholes on the front.  The fabric is just too thick which makes buttoning the coat difficult.  Plus, two buttons have already fallen off.  Oops.

McCall's 6884:  Although I made two versions of this pattern toward the end of the year, this is a high favorite.  The fit is fantastic and the style is timeless. I added a 1" band along the neckline of the second version for coverage and to prevent gaping.  I will definitely make more versions in the future.



Simplicity 2447-2365 hybrid:  I had high hopes for this pattern because of my success with Simplicity 2365.  I thought I could use the ruffled front from 2447 with the princess-seamed back of 2365.  In theory, this should work.  But in practice, it didn't.  My fabric (stretch cotton poplin) was too stiff and made sewing it unpleasant.  See the armhole puckers?  Yuck.

Simplicity 1199:  This was a fail mostly due to fabric choice.  The under layer really needs to be made in something light-weight like mesh.  I don't think this style suits my full bust either.

Simplicity 8019:  Every time I look at this skirt hanging in Area 51, I think "you tried it." Something went wrong with the fit and I don't have any desire to fix it.  There are other button-front skirt patterns I can try.

Vogue 1411:  This pattern showed promise, but I stopped working on it because my topstitches started to ravel and I don't know why.  Plus the fabric was too shiny and made too much noise when I walked.  I would show a picture, but I have no idea what I did with the pants.

UFOs carried into 2017
The McCall's trench coat is still not finished and honestly, I should just let it go.  But I can't.  It's going on three years now and I can't bring myself to chucking it.  

Stashbusting Challenge 2016
Last year, I pledged to use 30 pieces of stash and 1o new patterns.  I used 19 pieces of stash totaling 37.625 yards and 11 new patterns.  Half womp?  I'll set the same goal for this year and work hard to meet it.

2016 Sewing Intentions Results
  • make two wool coats:  I made one.  That's half the battle.  Literally.
  • just sew it:  Yaaaaas.  I embraced this intention the most.  Making muslins can be tiring and I don't always have the energy - especially when doing so can zap the sewjo.  I also am getting more comfortable with the adjustments I need to make for certain garments, so muslins aren't always needed.
  • curb the fabric buying:  Yeah wellMy fabric buying is still way down, but it could use more reining in.  Last year, I recorded every inch of fabric purchased and its cost.  I bought 243.806 yards of fabric at a cost that shocked me. I know a lot of it was retail therapy, but still. 
  • use more stash:  Yep.
  • sew the 6PAC:  Did this too.  The last several garments I made were parts of mini wardrobes:  red/black/white and navy/red/fuschia.  
2017 Sewing Intentions
  •  set fabric budget:  I am limiting myself to $600 to purchase on fabric.  Let's see how this goes.
  • use more stash:  This is an ongoing sewing intention.  I have plenty of nice fabric and it's a shame to let it sit.
  • just sew it:  This worked well last year and I'm going to keep at it.  I'll make muslins when I am not sure about fit/adjustments or the design is complicated.
  • Burda a month:  I tried this a couple of years ago and only made it for two or three months.  I have many magazines plus a subscription.  I need to use them!
That's my sewing year for 2016.  I didn't blog as much and can't say that that will change any time soon.  My energy level is all over the place at times and when I finally have some, I use it to sew, do pottery, or go to the gym. 

Thanks to all who continue to read my ramblings.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and peaceful new year.


  1. Stinking Blogger. Ugh.

    You had a great year! I forgot about your bedazzled jeans but I love 'em! And your sparkly top and those awesome skirts! Ahhhh.

    I had a good chuckle at the MIA Vogue pants and I can't believe it's been 3 years that the trench has been in progress. Wow does time fly!

    You will totally kick 2017s butt! Can't wait to see what you make this year.

    1. Haha, yeah, I have no idea where those Vogue pants are and the trench coat languishes on. =)

  2. Year of the Turtle? I don't think so! I think it is a matter of perspective. It may seem like it to you because you wanted to do more but look at it this way, you created over 3 times the amount of garments than I did! I only created 8 garments in 2016. Are snails slower than turtles? Maybe that makes me a snail! I think you were quite productive. I look forward to seeing what you make in 2017.

    1. Thank you Tomasa. =) Perspective is everything; you're right. I just felt I sewed much slower this year even though I made about the same number of clothes.

  3. Remember it's the slow but steady turtle that wins the race. :)

    Don't beat up yourself. You did great inspite of the circumstances. That's what amazes me. That coat is stunning!!! I think I missed reading about it. Will go read up on that after I hit publish.

    Your sewing intentions for 2017 sounds great!!! I look forward to reading your blog, as always.

    1. "Remember it's the slow but steady turtle that wins the race."

      I'm missing quite a few trophies then. LOL Thank you for the compliment on my coat. I adore it and feel so good wearing it. I need to fix that button though. =)

  4. If you call yourself a turtle I do not know what I am, a snail perhaps....I do a lot less than that but have a wardrobe full of things which do not get worn that often. Also, whenever I look at my (very reasonable) stash I feel like slowing down even more. However, having said that you are making great looking things and I always enjoy visiting your blog! Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you so much.

      Sometimes my stash slows me down too. There are so many things that I want to make that I end up stalled because I can't decide. Adopting the 'just sew it' mantra has helped a little bit.

  5. Oh, something else. I just read that you are doing pottery as well,just like me I am a seasoned potter and have been for the last 20 years. That explains a lot, don't you think? As we know pottery cannot just be started and then left for ever but needs to be finished with handles etc etc. Would be great to see a few pictures of what you are doing!?!

    1. Another sewing potter, how great! I will definitely take pictures of some of my pieces and write a post. I used to keep a separate page with a few pictures, but I rarely updated it.

  6. Such a nice review of 2016! You created a lot of nice garments, and a lot more than I ended up with. I agree you shouldn't be hard on yourself. I look forward what 2017 will bring for you!!!

  7. A turtle in full gear (and your can interpret that to mean speed or clothing) if you ask me. A great years output, considering the other parts of your life that you have to work around. Looking good, and maybe that trench will see itself worn in 2017. Happy New Year to you, a lovely sewing friend.

    1. Happy new year to you as well my friend. =)

      That other part of life is what zaps so much of my energy. I don't see it resolving to a less-stressful situation any time soon either. =/

      I will try to do my best and not get too down about it.

  8. L, 27 garments you are happy with is pretty darn good! Love the fuchsia coat and the knit dresses and I enjoy reading your blog. Had to laugh about Area 51. My wadders go to the Twilight Zone otherwise known as the charity shop. Have a good 2017! p.s. I'd love to see some of your pottery too!

    1. Haha, perhaps our wadders will meet in some weird space-time warp between Area 51 and the Twilight Zone. =)

      I hope you have a good 2017 as well!

  9. I agree with the other commenters, I'd love to see the pottery too!!
    For the purple shirt, what if you just made it sleeveless and bound the armholes?
    Happy New Year my friend!

    1. Happy near year dear Kyle!

      I will take some pictures of my pottery today and post soon.

      I think that's what I will do with the purple shirt because the sleeves are just a mess and I really, really like the front.

  10. Wow -you are the most productive turtle I've ever seen !!! Love your wrap dresses -trying to master a wrap dress . Great post

    1. Aww, thank you MaryEllen. I really like McCall's 6884 because it's simple and a great alternative to the traditional wrap dress. It is a pull-over style and the wrap completes to the other side so there is no risk of an accidental flash.

  11. You speak about "turtle"...then I agree with others, I am at a "snails" pace! You've made some gorgeous pieces during 2106, especially your beautiful pink coat! It's interesting though, when I look at your overall collection photo above, how much you have sewn that is denim or a denim look chambray. Is that intentional? I wonder what a photo like this of my collections would show? LOL!

    1. LOL I really like denim! Denim is my sewing comfort food. It's washable, easy to press, and seemingly always available. =)

      I love the pink coat! Thank you. =)

  12. ohmygosh!! that McCalls 6884!! it reminds me of a dress I bought off the sale rack at Talbot's and I could wear it everyday. .it gaps the way the pattern sews, too, and I'd love to make it and add the extra fabric like you did. .truly inspired. .about fabric. .this may sound like a weird question, but how do you develop a stash of fabric? I've always just bought as I sewed and have a good many scraps but no truly usable lengths of fabric. .do you have a plan or do you buy on whim? how much DO you buy when you don't have a specific garment in mind?

    1. Thanks Melinda. Binding the neckline is definitely the way to go with this pattern. I didn't do anything special either. I cut a strip a generous 2.5 inches wide (finished width 1" with about 0.25" seam allowance) and gently stretched it to fit around the neckline. I didn't pull too hard because I didn't want the fabric to pucker. It worked perfectly. I got the idea from Kisha at Dressmaking Debacles.

      As for my fabric stash, well, a lot of it was retail therapy. I sort of buy on a planned whim. Hah. I have ideas of patterns in mind, but nothing concrete. I know that it usually takes me about 1.75-2 yards of 60" fabric for pants and the same for shirts. Simple skirts are a yard and jackets 2.5 yards. If I have a specific garment in mind, I buy what is suggested on the envelope - unless the fabric is plaid or has a directional print.

  13. HI LYNN! How are you? Where are you? Missing you!


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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