Hello all and Happy New Year! I know, I am late but it’s still January right?
This was actually a double rainbow but the rest disappeared in camera!
This year Derek and I whisked away to a very special Christmas with some friends in Portugal. We’re fond of spending the holidays in Europe but this was our first time visiting this beautiful country. The Algarve is reminiscent of our fair Texas climate, with a bit more rain and streets lined with orange groves in season. And the Atlantic smashing against cliffs.
We spent most of the holidays indoors storytelling, catching up on summer blockbuster movies and eating. Boy did I eat. Our friends and their children are marvelous cooks. Clams and mussels (the size of those mussels–gorgeous) drowned in broth… homemade pizza… lots of dairy… pork with plums on Christmas day, with a little bit of Port to finish of course. Yum!
Since coming home, I got ambushed by a nasty strain of flu so it has taken me forever to catch up with myself. But I love doing year-end reviews, so here we go…
The year started off with a bang when I hosted the Bra-making Sew Along. This was a huge challenge for me, both in time and in organization, but Im so glad I pushed myself to try something like it, and it is still the most-visited section of my site. I really love teaching and I want to improve my skills in this area–helping others become better at sewing and fitting.
Most of my year after that was completely lingerie obsessed. I drafted at least ten different lingerie patterns, taught myself several patternmaking approaches, proper grading techniques, and thought way more about the physics of elastic than I care to admit. These were some of my favorite personal projects:
Over the summer I also explored starting a business making custom lingerie. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve been able to fit and design bras for a few friends. Here’s a sneak peak at one of them, my own nursing bra design:
This and many of my bras were hand-dyed in some way, and my experiments in dyeing lingerie fabrics opened up a new world of creativity with dyes and color mixing. During a few trips to Dharma Trading in San Rafael this year I loaded up on enough dye supplies to warrant a need for a separate dyeing studio!
My top five of everything else:
1. My most-worn item was my Cascade skirt. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect hot Texas weather piece.
2. My 2nd most worn were both pairs of my Maritime shorts. I probably should’ve made 5 pairs.
3. I ended the year a little obsessed with pants which gave me the confidence to conquer the Clover pattern. Look out guys, I’m going on pants-making foray this year.
4. I drafted and made my first pair of jeans! After years of swearing them off…
5. My first project of last year, a wool and cashmere red cape, was definitely my most labor-intensive project, and even now a year later I wish I would’ve gotten more detailed shots. I spent hours handstitching and testing out every bound buttonhole method known to dressmakers. It’s so pretty that I wish I had more opportunities to wear it!
My continuing goals for this year include going deeper into the study of patternmaking and the fundamentals of fit. I still like working with home patterns but these days tend to buy them more for style ideas than for their techniques. Sewing techniques in themselves don’t challenge me enough anymore, but drafting really tickles my brain! That will probably mean that I’ll be sharing more in-process posts since my projects will go a bit more slowly. I love to share what I’m learning about patterns and fitting.
On the blogging front, I don’t have any major plans other than Stay True to Thyself. I have to admit that by the end of the year I started to suffer a bit from internet burnout. My internet/blog-reading habits were overtaking my ability to keep in touch with my closest friends, and that’s never a good thing. This year I”m going to work at keeping a healthy balance with my online life…
I hope you all had a fantastic New Year, and that 2014 brings more sewing pleasure and beautiful fabrics!