Kicking off 2013

The end of 2012 was a bit quiet on the blogging front – what energy I had was poured into work during the day and then sewing in the evenings to keep me sane. Despite a ruptured Baker’s cyst (ouch!) in my sewing-foot-pedal-leg, I bravely soldiered on and made some favourite things. In hindsight I should have ignored the doctor’s (lack of) advice and rested a lot more :-/

My green Tiramisu was my go-to Christmas dress – comfortable, fab colour and too easy to wear. The fabric came from TJ in a surprise parcel in the One Cool Thing, One Strange Thing swap. I like to think of this as my sewing blogger dress. I’ve since made Tira#2 using two sorts of stripes. More Photos to come once I get them both clean and ironed at the same time.
Eight Pieces of the best kind of Cake!

A highlight of October’s trip to Melbourne was meeting up with TJ in person at Latrobe Uni when I was there for work. Some great tips from her about Darn Cheap Fabrics led to another super useful dress – the black and white dots for NL6097 which my husband said was ‘a bit airline hostess’, little does he know this is a specific, valid genre in the sewing blogosphere. See Scruffy Badger’s NL6000 Frock Fest for evidence.

On Christmas Eve I rustled up some ickle bodysuits for the tiniest niece. I used both Lumi Inkodye printing, and some fabric-specific Sharpies for a bird and an elephant on some simple white cotton. Maybe one day I will learn to take a photo before gifting things.

2012 in review
The highlights:
Connecting with fabulous sewing bloggers and making some super useful, comfortable, fun and Kirsty-like clothing. And some sewing for my favourite people too – husband, son and tiniest niece all got a look in. And starting my collection of vintage Elnas. I need to do a separate update post on that front thanks to a birthday surprise.

Top patterns:
These would have to be Renfrews (merino versions saved my life during winter in the iceblock they call our work building), Cambies (for work, I’ve swiped SewSquirrel’s moniker of “Corporate Cambie” for my grey A-line version; my elephant version takes itself less seriously), Almas (a simple solution to work tops in late Spring), Thurlows (only one pair so far but Dressember distracted me, I’m wearing them today, Hello? no muslin needed!), Crescent skirts are weekend staples. Minoru Jacket – If only it would rain then I could wear it more. Seriously, I had been holding off on buying the latest Cordova Jacket and Hollyburn skirt patterns but have just placed my order. It’s silly to resist.

Fave Fabric:
all of it? Erm, 2012 could perhaps be dubbed the year of stash building. I spent a day after Christmas getting my fabric cupboard(s) in order. I *think* I have enough to keep me going for a while. My collection of elephant prints is growing :-)

Part of the stash

Failures?
I made a dress in the week before Christmas and it’s too meh to wear. It’s the wrong combo of neckline, lack of waist definition, wrong fabric choice and was annoying to make. So it will go off to the charity bin and perhaps find a home that appreciates it more. The pattern will go in the giveaway pile methinks.

Plans for 2013?
I’ve thought about some sewing goals, and I’m not quite ready to commit to anything major, other than a freeze on fabric buying for January and then I will reassess. Notions, thread etc are OK to get a project finished. I have a wee pile of various linings already, but probably not enough zips.

Year of the Belt
The Almas reminded me that I used to wear belts a lot. And that I feel far more dressed when I do wear one. So 2013 will be the Year of the Belt. I’d like to make a leather one or two, some more self fabric ones. That’s enough of a goal.

What I learnt in 2012
In spring I thought I’d be clever and cut out a big batch of projects – some baby jumpsuits for the tiniest niece, Thurlow trousers, underpants, two shirts for Zac and something else which I can’t remember. And you know what? Rather than feeling all empowered and ready to sew, it nagged me. They loitered in the cupboard and on the sewing table and glowered at me “we’re not finished, we’re not started” and it really annoyed the beejeezus out of me. What has worked best in planning my sewing has been playing in my fabric cupboard and lining up patterns and fabric for a mini wardrobe or sewing sprint. That worked really well in Autumn/Winter and I made most of the planned ideas. So that is what I might do tonight. Or I might not. I cut out a shirt this morning before work…

Elephant Dress no#3 & 4 & 5?

When I spotted this elephant fabric I knew I needed some.

Elephant Plans

You see, when I was about 19 or so I made a favourite elephant dress out of some lovely soft rayon. Which I wore until it was well past its best. It was white elephants on black background – the sketch is a rough approximation of the design. At Spotlight’s 40%-off sale I saw the white on navy first, then the blue on cream cotton. Also there was a cream on pink on the mountain of stuff waiting to be put away near the counter. I was feeling restrained so only the navy was carted about the store while I made some other selections. While standing in the queue (for about 7 years, I think) my enabler dear friend J agreed that the pink was a good idea (building on a past New Year’s Resolution to “wear more pink”), so I went off to get that. Her visit to the “waiting to be put away mountain of bolts” netted a polar fleece with rabbits printed on it to make a throw rug for her sister. After finally making it to a counter and paying for my treasures, I realised that it would be sensible to also get some blue, just in case. After all, how often have I seen elephant fabric in the intervening years?

Over dinner with my parents I mentioned the excitement of finding fabric to replicate the elephant dress of my late teens and early twenties and Mum looked a bit bemused at my description of colour and fabric. Because, it turns out she was remembering the elephant dress as I had one when I was a lot, lot shorter, probably on a teal background she thinks. Obviously I need an elephant dress in my standard wardrobe!

Now I am well equipped for the next few years. In good company too – Karen of DidYouMakeThat made a Burda elephant top, Winnie of ScruffyBadgerTime has a pink elephant Violet and Roobedoo¬† made a Lisette elephant¬† tunic = They’ve all already been wearing their elephant adorned garments!

Lately, my aforementioned friend and fabric purchasing pusher and I have been getting together for Crafternoons to work on sewing projects. J has been working on a present for her sister, a shoulder bag with applique rabbits – a different rabbit and fabric on each side. I learnt that I pin my fabric way less thoroughly than she was taught, and she learnt that pattern tissue won’t burn if you iron it. It’s fun doing stuff together.

Rabbit Bags