Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking ahead to 2012

Before I look ahead, I'd like to very briefly look back.  In terms of making my own clothes, 2011 far surpassed my expectations.  From an initial optimistic list of just over half a dozen garments at the beginning of the year, I ended up making:

Seven dresses
Ten tops
Two pairs of trousers
Five skirts
One jacket
Total: 25 garments!  

I blogged recently about the five items in my wardrobe that I turn to again and again, which seem to sum up my personal style.  However, the item that wasn't on that list, probably because it was a bit too special-occasion, was my Oolong dress and I think it deserves a mention.
I struggled with both the silk lining (soon abandoned for a muslin underlining) and the bias cut on this dress.  But on both counts, I received amazing feedback and advice from my readers, enabling me to finish the dress and giving me a much needed lesson in patience.  I've worn it on three occasions, and every time I've known that it's the most perfect dress I could have chosen.  Praise indeed!  

So what else has been going on this year?  Well, the main change I've made is to have kept to my initial six month Wardrobe Refashion pledge for virtually the whole year.  The exceptions being a few items of knitwear and one pair of trousers I bought with a birthday voucher (does that count?)  As a result, the distance between the items in my wardrobe which are handmade and those that are shop-bought has narrowed considerably.  I'm also pretty ruthless about throwing out shop bought garments that don't make the grade. I'd really like to continue in this vein for 2012, so here's a rough list of plans (not resolutions!) for the coming year:

To use as much of my stash as I can
A no brainer really but perhaps writing it down will actually help me keep to it!

To refashion the handmade garments that haven't quite worked
There are one or two things that haven't been a success for one reason or another, so if I can, I'll be refashioning them to get them to work.

To give away the garments that I've never worn
In a few rare instances, the item I've made is just wrong for me and will never be worn (I'm thinking of my ladylike dress here) so I'll be giving them away.  Far better to let somebody else get some use out of it, than have it sadly neglected in the wardrobe, never seeing the light of day.  So watch out for a New Year giveaway along these lines.  
To treat my vintage patterns with a bit more care and respect  
Ahem. Yes I really need to work on this one.  Buying them all nice new plastic covers would be a good start.  I'd also like to try to date the elusive ones.  

To try a few new sewing techniques  
I'm thinking specifically of piping here though I'll try anything that takes my fancy.

To get to grips with my overlocker
This really should be top of my list as it's non-negotiable!  The lovely Lauren recommended this book which is FAB - it goes through all the basics, as well as demonstrating all the other uses an overlocker has.  It's perfect and I'm hoping it will help me to use my overlocker for more than just neatening seams. 

To really think about what I want to make and what I'm likely to wear  
This will almost certainly result in me making fewer garments, but I'd like to really take my time with them, perfecting the fit and finish as much as I possibly can.  In terms of what I make, I'll be keeping the faith with Colette patterns and fully intend to dabble with vintage patterns again.  I'll choose carefully next year though - only making the garments I really lust after.  Like this Economy Print dress on the right hand side.  
And this McCall's 6245 top, which Roobeedoo very kindly let me borrow and copy. Don't you just love sewing bloggers?!  

To make more dresses  
Yes, I know I made seven last year, but I do love dresses, and having met Roisin from Dolly Clackett and swapped dress notes, I feel that a few more than seven is a mere drop in the ocean.....!

So there you have my plans, they're a bit all over the place but I think that makes them a little more attainable.  Thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read my blog and to comment or correspond with me during the past year - I really have loved every minute of it.  I'd like to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.  Enjoy your new sewing year, wherever you are. x


  1. I do just love sewing bloggers! Like you!!!! What a fabulous round-up. And some great resolutions (I particularly like the caring for vintage patterns and using up the fabric stash!) Looking forward to much more fun sewing adventures in 2012!! There isn't any chance I could convince of you of a short jaunt up North in January?? (I'm evil, I know) ;)

  2. Wooh! Love the new look of your blog - and that cherry brooch is gorgeous; from here they almost look real!

    If I might make one tiny suggestion (hope you won't mind!) - maybe the header could be ever so slightly smaller so that it's possible to see the top post title at the same time. I don't do the blogger update thingie which I find too much of an information overload, instead I rely on visiting my favourite blogs regularly (including yours) to see whether they have been updated. The size of the new header means having to scroll down to see this now where before it was instant view. Maybe it's just the size of my screen and nobody else will have this... still I thought I'd raise it. Do feel free to ignore!

    On a more interesting note, I've really enjoyed all your projects this year. You have a great eye for matching fabrics and patterns, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what you make in 2012. Keep up the fabulous work and all the best for a Happy New Year!

  3. You have done a great job with your sewing in 2011, how do you have all that time? I wish I had. And I wish you a great 2012 as well!

  4. Oh Debi, I'd do anything to join you for the Crafter's Ceilidh but I'd already committed to a trip up north in January (the week before in fact) and very, very sadly, time and finances won't stretch to another one. Maybe I can come up later in the year?
    Nathalie, I've reduced it as small as I'm prepared to go! After a year of having a little tiny pile of fabric as my blog header, I'm now very fond of it being big and in your face! x

  5. I've set myself a challenge to make more dresses next year 12in12 and while its not as ambitious as other bloggers its a nice steady challenge. I'd love it if you joined me in it as it would spur me on to finish it!

  6. such a great wrap up of your sewing year! I do love reading about what you are making and because of your inspiration, Jane, I will be making my first Collette patterns in 2012!

  7. What a productive year you've had! I think your resolutions are great, i have a couple of similar ones (for example stash-busting...doesn't everyone!) although funnily enough another of mine is to make LESS dresses...i really need to concentrate on garments that i will wear regularly, rather than pretty dresses which are sadly not work-appropriate! Let's see how long i stick to that...!! Also, i love your new blog header :)

  8. Thank you so much Jane, the title now appears on first view!

  9. So many things to say about this post!

    1) I absolutely love your Oolong - it's my favorite of all the versions I've seen out there, and even prompted me to buy the pattern!

    2) I bought that 1940s pattern a couple months ago for the blouse, but now that I've realized you made the trousers and they are fantastic, I may have to give them a go as well!

    3) I've been thinking along the same lines for my 2012 sewing, re: thinking more carefully about what I want to make, and taking more time and care in the making.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what you do in 2012! Happy New Year!

  10. What a productive year of sewing. I hit 25 too - it must be the magic number. Look forward to seeing your makes of 2012 :)

  11. Jane, I'm loving your blog's new look! It's just gorgeous and reflects the kind of blog you write very well I think.

    I've adored following you this year and your productivity and quality of finished garments leaves me very inspired. You 2012 plans sound brilliant and very doable...I'm excited to keep following your journey!

  12. I'm tired just reading that list! And what great accomplishments in 2011. I'm sure you will make many more beautiful and wearable dresses in the coming year.

  13. A big YES to your Oolong! It's just so... you!

    Loving your plans for the year and I think it's really going to be interesting watching what impact the Colette Sewing Handbook has on the sewing community as it spreads (just reminded by your plan to "To really think about what I want to make and what I'm likely to wear").

    It was fantastic meeting you this year and hopefully we'll all get together again soon. Happy New Year, Jane!

    xo Alana

  14. I love crafty bloggers, too! Your list is great, Jane! I am a skirt and dress lover, too, and I plan to sew many more in 2012. :)

    I'm so looking forward to seeing what you get up to in the new year!

  15. you are an inspiration, happy new year Jane!

  16. Such a great round-up, I am always inspired by your blog as you make such beautiful things and the fact you wear them (I am one of those guilty of making but then not wearing things I make) and they now form such a large part of your wardrobe really is fabulous. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you get up to in 2012. Happy New Year! Beth (the linen cat) xx

  17. Great list! I especially look forward to seeing your version of the 50's blouse and the other vintage patterns you show :)
    Happy New Year!

  18. Happy new Year to you too :)

  19. Great resolutions Jane! I'm with you on the 'sorting out the ones that didn't work' - I've got so many makes that just need little adjustments to make them truly wearable. It takes discipline to go back instead of making something new though doesn't it? Looking forward to seeing more gorgeous dresses :)

  20. I've loved everything you made in 2011 and I cannot WAIT to see what you make this year!!!

  21. What a huge number of fabulous items of clothing you made Jane - I love your style & choice of fabrics & it's always inspiring & "oooo" inducing to see what you make. Also so great to see how you've progressd making lined jackets, lining bias dresses... I don't know- awesome! And thank you also for your lovely comments to me - I would echo how absolutely wonderful it has been to meet you & I can't wait for the next time!! 2012 here we come!

  22. I have just found your blog via Roisin and am so excited to add you to my list of blogs for 2012! I'm a newbie at sewing and have spent the last six months trying out my skills on circle skirts and fixer uppers. Next step: My first dress. And I have a feeling you going to be a big help!

  23. Hi! I'm a new follower, I'm inspired that you just started sewing 18 months ago. I want to learn so badly...I look forward to browsing your blog and all future posts :)



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