Friday, December 31, 2010

The requisite year-end wrap-up

It's the time of year for taking stock.  I always enjoy reading other folks' summaries of what they've accomplished over a year of sewing: it puts things in perspective.  However, when I started to try and count up how many of what I sewed, I realized that I don't know exactly what I made when before I started this blog in April.  Plus, I need some clarity on the definition of "finished":  I completed some stuff that I considered a failure.  But I also completed some stuff I wouldn't count as a loss, but don't wear.  And there's plenty of not-so-successful stuff I really enjoyed making, and that has a value of its own.   So screw counting.   Let's say I made in the neighborhood of two dozen things, some of which sucked less than others.

This skirt has been worn a lot this year.
Even the dog doesn't like this dress.

I didn't particularly try to pick up new skills this year  (though reading the many awesome sewing blogs out there, I might have accidentally learned a few things).   However, I got better at fitting (thanks in part to helpful input from other sewists), and I am a ton more confident about what I can do than I was a year ago.  I rarely have to rip out and re-do (no doubt I just jinxed myself) and generally things come together as I expect.   I'm still sticking to "easy" cottons and rayons, but those are what I like to wear, too.   I also wear a lot of knits, and thought I'd jump into sewing those once I got a serger.   And while I've made a few tops which see a lot of use, I haven't enjoyed sewing knits the way I do wovens.  Yet, anyhow.  I think part of it is the learning curve.   Something to work on in the coming year?  Maybe, we'll see.

1960s shirtdress -- yay!
1950s sundress, and first fitting success.

For some reason, who knows why, I like to sew things that do not fit my personal style as I understand it.  I'm a pretty plain dresser in real life ... bordering on a sloppy dresser, to be honest.  And I prefer not to stand out in a crowd.   I know the dresses I've made would blend in fine with many people's wardrobes, but they're a bit of a statement for me, and for my workplace full of engineers.   For now, I've decided that I don't need a reason and I'm just gonna make what I want.  Sometimes it'll be practical, and sometimes maybe not so much.    Maybe I'll get more comfortable with dressing differently, especially as the quality of what I sew improves.   At any rate, expect more, and perhaps kookier, vintage dresses from me in 2011.  Maybe they'll never leave the house, but I'll have fun making them!  I also want to focus more on adding interesting detail to what I sew,  be it use of trim, addition of small design elements, or choice of finishing technique.  

I have other 2011 goals for myself outside of sewing, but they're not particularly revelatory: eat healthier (I have the palate of a six year old and could live on bread, cake and candy), keep the house tidier, etc.  I want to do these things every year, and rarely succeed.  For despite the wisdom of such goals, they don't make life feel richer or more interesting.  As I mentioned in my Christmas post, I also want to get back into drawing regularly.  To do that, I have to make time somewhere, so I also plan to do less photography.  And while I'm at it, sell some of my 300+ cameras.  At work, I want to be a more active contributor to the many knowledge-sharing communities that exist in the large organization I work for.  I am always reluctant to put myself out there, but I'm at a point in my career where I need to start doing it if I want to move forward.  

One final thought, on blogging ... thank you all for reading my posts!  I doubt I'll ever be a wildly successful blogger, if for no other reason than that there's clearly a social networking aspect of it which goes right over my extra-introverted head.   Sometimes I still feel unsure about what to write and how.   But I am thrilled to participate in a larger sewing world, in my own somewhat disconnected way.  Though I'm not a good commenter  (something I should try to work on in the coming year), I enjoy reading the many great sewing blogs out there, and am always looking for more.   Whether you realize it or not, y'all are great sewing instructors!

Happy New Year to you all, and I hope 2011 brings you great things!


  1. I think you did great this year. Everybody has successes and learning oportunities - notice I didn't say failures? :) Keep up the good work in 2011.

    Also, just keep writing about whatever strikes your fancy. I always enjoy the bloggers (like you) that allow their personality to come through in their posts, regardless of the post topic.

  2. I think you had a great year! I love your sewing projects and think you should wear them because you love them! You look great and there's nothing wrong with being a quirky (you're talking to the Queen here - LOL!).

    Looking forward to your 2011 projects. I'm tackling knits this year - eek!!

  3. I enjoy reading your blog. I like your 'quiet' style, your not competing or showing off. I think you have a good eye too for what has worked and what hasnt, both the dresses you have shown as successes look really good on you (my favourite would be the sundress). It's interesting to hear you say you enjoy making the dresses whether they work for you or not. That is an interesting and healthy attitude to take and has really made me think. I don't post a comment often - unless I feel I have something in particular to say - but I meant to comment on your two Pendrell blouses both of which are really nice but particularly the red one. That simple touch of the small bow is just perfect - and the placement of the pattern. I shall look forward to following your blog in 2011 - which I hope will be a good year for you.

  4. I really enjoy reading your blog Andrea, because you come across as being your self with no pretences at all. Your projects have inspired me and I love how in 2011 you will aim to sew whatever takes your fancy. I look forward to following your progress!

  5. I think the last dress looks stunning on you! Best wishes for 2011.

  6. Andrea, if anybody ought to understand taking a flat surface and shaping it, it's a bunch of engineers! They are totally able to dig what you sew!
    I say go for it!
    Thank you for a great year, Happy Sewing!

  7. Wow y'all, thanks for the kind comments! It is great to meet folks who "get" sewing. I wish you all the best in 2011!

  8. Doh! I'm sorry I missed this post earlier. I wasn't online very much over Christmas and New Years because we had houseguests.

    I'm a terrible dresser in real life: I wear the same, like, six pieces of clothing over and over, and they're mostly black or gray and shapeless. Weekends are worse--old black skirt, T-shirt or henley, wool overshirt in cold weather. I look like a lumberjack in a dress.

    I was feeling self-conscious about sewing and wearing so many of my very-pointedly-vintage patterns there for awhile, but then I decided that it didn't matter. I shouldn't worry about standing out a little. I'm not hurting anyone. I'm not really even showing off since I'd be sewing anyway, even if nobody else ever saw the results.

    Sewing makes my life better. It makes me happy. Seeing old patterns "come to life" makes me happy. Being able to make something that I like and that fits me makes me happy. Not wasting time and money shopping for clothes and then wishing I could change things about them makes me happy.

    I've never really gotten a negative reaction, even to my most obviously vintage dresses. Older ladies sometimes tell me they made something similar when they were young, and younger women constantly ask me where I got that awesome dress! Teenagers look at me funny, but I'm not going to be intimidated by a 17-year-old with "brat" printed across the back of her shorts, anyway. I mean, who's the bigger fashion fail there?

    (Oops. Sorry that came out so long!)