Top 5 Reflections and Goals

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The lovely Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 of 2014. You can read about my highlights here.

This post is all about my reflections and goals. Reflect on 2015 and list my goals for 2015.

Reflections

1. Testing the waters

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In 2014, I did my first pattern testing with Muse Pattern‘s Gillian dress and then with the Natalie dress. I found the experience extremely rewarding. It meant taking my time with the patterns and making notes along the way. I feel like Kat really listens to the feedback of her testers and is great at incorporating it into all her patterns. It was a great experience testing for her and I will likely say yes to any other pattern testing she asks me to do. It’s not my plan to go out and volunteer for all of it, though. I feel like being a tester for one pattern company is probably enough for me.

2. Learning new things

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I learned a new skill with bra making and took my first sewing class. I’d love to take all the classes now. In Toronto, we have such a wealth of classes in all areas of sewing through the universities and colleges and companies. Learning bra making was so much fun and now that I am on vacation for the holidays, I will be making my second bra. I can’t wait to show you!

3. Reducing the chaos

Before:

After:

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There is still some work to be done to make the space better and better, but it really made a difference in how much I sew now. I can go into my space and I have everything accessible and easy to reach. It was very difficult to work in my space before and I’d often sew on the dining room table instead of dealing with the mess and disorganization. I’m a lot happier with this space. I even got cutting mats and a rotary cutter since then.

4. Taking pride in my work

One of my favourite things is to make french seams on woven garments and make the insides pretty. I love being proud of the insides. Even though no one will see them, I love looking at them and knowing my garment is top notch in the construction department.

5. Pushing my boundaries

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I started off the year thinking I only liked making dresses and have branched off into cardigans and skirts and pajama pants and a coat! I love pushing my supposed boundaries with sewing and trying out new things.

Goals

1. Upping my skills

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One of the goals I have for myself is to continue to increase my sewing skills and push my boundaries. I plan on trying more advanced patterns with more unique and interesting details. I can’t wait to see what I’ve made this time next year.

2. Sewing my wedding dress

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You’ll be hearing lots of posts about this process from now until the wedding date in July. Sorry in advance. :P

3. Self-care

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One of the realities of my recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia is the reality of self-care and how important it has to be in my life. Routine, reducing stress, not overdoing things, asking for help, and making sure I am caring for myself have to be top goals for me in 2015. I am not the kind of person to ask for help and find it extremely difficult. I tend to bend over backwards to help out everyone I love in my life and leave myself for last. Next year, I have to reconcile that making myself a priority isn’t selfish and it doesn’t mean I don’t care about others. It’s a tough thing for me to admit.

4. Doing what I love

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Paired with self-care is the reality that I have to do what I love and surround myself with people I love. Of course, that means my wonderful family and sewing!

5. Dance

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I love dancing. I must dance more. It’s great for my mind and my body and ties into #3 & #4.

Dotty Parisian Top

After my Parisian top cardigan hack (say that five times fast!), I knew I wanted to try out the pattern as it was drafted. I loved the style of it as a top, but found it didn’t translate well to a cardigan in spite of the other version that inspired it at Lemon Squeezy Home.

The Parisian top is from Go To Patterns, which has patterns for both women and children, etc. I got the pattern from the Just Add Jeans collection and basically bought the collection for that pattern alone. I liked the other patterns, too, but definitely wanted to make up the Parisian top immediately.

I am definitely a fan of the pattern.

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I made it with a reversible double knit from Joann’s for the main pattern and a thick knit from a local shop for the contrasts. The second I saw this double knit in Joann’s during a trip to the states, I knew it was destined to be a Parisian top. It didn’t disappoint at all. It’s a nice thick sweater with cute details. I walked around work when wearing this on Friday with a smile on my face and pretty pleased with my wonderful sewing job. It also helps that the top took me no time to construct. I basically sewed it about two hours. The only issue I had was with the cuffs on the sleeve. One moved while I was sewing and had to be ripped out. But that’s because the dotty fabric was rather slippery.

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I used the dotty fabric for the sleeve cuffs. You can see them a little better in these pics as I threaten you with snowballs! :P I also love how the thick knit on the sleeves makes the puffs even more pronounced and amazing, which of course means I need this pic:

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I wore the top with my Cake pattern’s Pavlova skirt and my Andi Satterlund Cable Brim Beret. It’s snowed like crazy on Thursday and made for a lovely photo session. Lovely, but cold. Rosy cheeks do mean I don’t need blush, though! Bright side!

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I had to make a snow angel, too. :)

Not much else to say, except that I will be wearing this top frequently and looking adorable.

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I’m cold now! Time to run back inside…

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….to warm up with some tequila and orange juice….shhhh…..

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Santa approves….the nutcrackers…not so much….

 

Top 5 Highlights

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The lovely Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 for the third year in a row. The categories range from Hits, Misses, Highlights, Reflections, to Goals. I want to make an entry on each one. Although, I will group Hits and Misses together and likely Reflections and Goals.

Top 5 Highlights asks you to go over non-sewing highlights of your year. I don’t mind if you skip past some of this, but I think it is worth it to list these out.

Trigger Warning: There is lots of schmoopiness in this post. It’s the schmoopiest. Also, gifs. Tons of schmoopy/silly gifs.

1. Realizing how resilient I am. This is a pretty recent re-discovery of myself as I struggle with health issues and pain associated with fibromyalgia. I always manage to smile or laugh. Although on bad days I’m not as positive, but I am always hopeful of the future. I can always look on the bright side of life.

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2. Being interviewed by Morgan Hoffman of InnerSpace. It just happened, but it was awesome.

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3. Rediscovering my passion for sewing. I know these highlights are supposed to be about non-sewing things, but this is a huge thing for me. I started sewing in 2008 and have felt like a beginner sewist since then until now! Since I started sewing again in April, I have noticed my sewing skills skyrocket. Before I wouldn’t have confidently tackled making a coat or a bra, but now I soldier on and am impressed with my ever-growing skills. I’m always happy when I sew.

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4. My family. There are always highlights with my lovely little family. My fiance and my two step-kids are wonderful people and I always find more and more reasons why I love them throughout the year. I love giggling with them and being silly and having serious conversations. I can’t wait to marry my fiance. I never grew up with dreams of my wedding day (I thought more about books and art), but I honestly can’t wait to express that love in front of everyone. :)

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5. You! I love when people comment on my silly blog entries and engage in conversations with me. I appreciate all of you and the highlight of the year has been virtually meeting all sorts of lovely sewists through social media and blogging. You are just wonderful people.

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Going To Space Tonight

Andie L.:

My fiance, Dale, and I were featured in a segment on the Space Channels’ InnerSpace (a geeky news show) for our monthly Star Trek comedy variety show, Holodeck Follies. The link to the segment is in the update section. It aired nationally here in Canada.

Originally posted on The Dandies:

Morgan Hoffman, courtesy of Innerspace, The Space Channel

The Dandies make their cable television debut tonight on the Space Channel!

Morgan Hoffman, one of Innerspace‘s co-hosts, interviewed us before joining us for some silly Star Trek improv. The program airs tonight at 6 p.m. ET!

In the meantime, read the exciting review, of our season finale Holodeck Follies, from John K. Kirk for Pop Mythology.

pop-mythology-logo“Holodeck Follies is more than just a comedy – it’s a skillful demonstration of that most difficult of comedic arts: the parody. It not only pokes good-natured fun at the media it is inspired from but it also elevates it by showing a detailed knowledge of the subject matter at the same time. Such detailed information can only come from a true lover of Star Trek in all its various incarnations.” – John K. Kirk, Dec. 5, 2014

For those who cannot watch the episode live, I will post the…

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Beginner Bra Making Workshop at the Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton, ON

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November 28/29, I took a beginner bra making course at Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton, ON, Canada. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class there or anywhere with Beverly Johnson, I suggest that you take it!

Beverly Johnson is called the Fairy Bra Mother and she is definitely that. She fits bras so perfectly that you can get a perfect bra on almost the first try, if not the first try. Not only does the class price include the pattern, but it also includes fabric/notions for one bra, a personal fitting and custom pattern by Beverly, as well as an alterations needed after you make your first bra and a wicked pink pen:

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Did you know I like the colour pink? Did you!?!

The amazing thing about the workshop are all the sample bras available for us to inspect for various parts of the construction with either the main pattern or other patterns by Beverly through Pin Up Girl patterns. I found it incredibly useful to inspect these and see the pretty variations on the patterns to get fun ideas for future versions.

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Our main instructor for the class was Denise. Beverly was available for the fittings and any questions we had along the way.

Denise is a wonderful instructor. She’s very clear in her explanations and was always available for questions or one-on-one coaching, as well as trouble-shooting machine issues and comfort/tea in hand when a machine was deemed broken. Not mine, luckily. My wonderful machine, Jane Eyre, was a trooper and didn’t have an issue with the transportation or the fabrics for the bras. Go Jane Eyre! Reader, I love my machine!

I’m going to take you through the class and tell you about all the wonderful things I learned.

Off the bat, we’re taken into the fitting room one by one to determine alterations to the pattern and try on some mock-ups that have no underwire in them. This allows Bev and Denise to see how the cup fit is and how much to add to the band width.

You will be naked on top during parts of the fitting. Don’t be squeamish about that. It’s just like getting an exam in a doctor’s office. All Beverly and Denise see are what to to with the bra pattern. The pattern used for the class is the Classic Full Band Bra.

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They make all sorts of notes on the alterations needed to get the perfect fit.

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I had a ton of alterations. Also, as you can see, my size is a 48F. Crazy!

The fittings actually take a while to get through. As soon as you are fitted, you then begin tracing your pattern pieces: Upper cup, lower cup, back band, strap, and front frame. The basic pattern pieces are shown below.

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Then Denise and Beverly run around cutting up the tissue that you lovingly traced, slashing out bits and adding in others and making your custom pattern based on the alterations.

This all takes until about noon or 1pm, depending on where you were in the fitting line-up. Cutting out the actual fabric didn’t happen until the afternoon for me and then the sewing began after that.

My alterations for my first bra included cutting my lower cup into two (centre lower cup and armhole side lower cup), extending the back band by one inch (which was later removed after fitting), and all sorts of other things listed on the above page.

As soon as the sewing began, I was in my own world. When at home, this often means my fiance doesn’t get listened to for long periods of time and I forget to eat. Of course, in a class, I have to listen to the instructor and I need to eat for sewing fuel. I was pretty bad about eating during the two-day course.

The seams for the bra have to be a perfect 1/4 inch seam and Denise had a wonderful tip for making sure you stick to the perfect 1/4 inch seam.

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Measure 1/4 inch from where your needle hits and stick a chunk of painter’s tape there. It has to be rather thick (cut into the thin painter’s tape while it’s on the roll). Then you are just running your fabric along that to get the right seam. Worked perfectly for me.

The seams also all need to be pressed to the appropriate side (the patterns tells you how to press the seam). Of course, my pattern had the split lower cup, so I had additional steps and pressed the seams slightly differently for the lower cup to make them sit correctly.

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The neat pressing blocks they have!

 

Here are some pictures as I sewed:

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The last photo shows how far I got. I did not get very far by the end of the first day.

The second day began and I was the last to arrive (although, first on the first day). We just went straight into sewing and sewed away for the rest of the day with short lessons by Denise throughout.

Check out my cute little corner of the workshop:

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I don’t actually have a picture of the bra when I finished sewing. I have a picture of the bra after the final alterations with the fitting.

Everyone’s final fitting was different. Some had very little or nothing at all to change for the next bra. I, however, was not so lucky. I had multiple alterations. I tried on the bra and there were plenty of things to make better. The only issue with bra making is that you can’t fit along the way as you can with other garments. It’s only the complete garment that gives you the full picture. My first bra wasn’t lost. As I write this, I am wearing it. It is not perfect, though. We had to add in darts in the cups and the bridge, as well as shorten the band. Beverly also made changes to my tissue pattern and ensured that I had some extra white fabric to try another bra to check the fit. She also said that I should come in to see if there was anything further that needed to be done. I’ll head back once I make another bra.

Let’s take a look at my first bra:

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Those blue dots are from fabric markers. The thread is in a pale pink so that we can rip out stitches, if necessary. And all the bras were in white fabric. You can see the darts in the bottom pictures. The shortened band was simple to change and not have anyone be the wiser. A wider hook and eye piece was added and the ends of the band with the previous hook and eye cut off. My pattern pieces were also altered by Beverly to make the lower cup horizonal rather than diagonal. I’m interested to see how this makes the fit better. Beverly said this type of cup is better for a large bust, as it provides a better shape/support.

Since then, I have added some hot pink ribbons at the centre and at the part where the upper cup and strap meet on both sides, as well as weaved the ribbon in the upper elastic. I haven’t taken a picture of that yet, since I’ve been wearing it pretty consistently since. I will try to take a picture when I show you my next bra.

Upon wearing your first bra, you’ll notice what needs to change. I will be shortening the fabric portions of the strap for the next one, as I find that I wear it on the smallest elastic setting and still find it too long. I will shorten by an inch and adjust the elastic appropriately. I also think the back band should be snugger. I’ve considered shortening that as well, but it could be remedied by doubling the power mesh, as Beverly recommended. My underwires are also not the right size, as they hit me in an awkward spot. I will ask Beverly about that when I go back for another fitting with the next bra and ask for a replacement of the other wires I bought.

It was also my birthday during the course. I celebrated turning 34 appropriately by buying lots of sewing things:

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I got a beginner quilter’s kit, which comes with a rotary cutter, square ruler, small cutting mat, chalk pencils, thimbles, pins, and safety pins at Walmart. Yeay, first rotary! I have two more large cutting mats on their way from Joann’s as part of their cyber monday sale. I bought notions, lace, and fabric for two more bras: turquoise and fushia, as well as the notions for my next test bra.

Unfortunately between a long commute to Hamilton and not eating properly for two days, I have been unwell since. I have fibromyalgia (chronic pain and fatigue are the main symptoms among other things), as well as many food sensitivities, which means I wasn’t able to really carry a lot with me without being in horrible pain and didn’t have many options for food while there. The second day I did manage to eat more, but find that any changes in my eating schedule or just my schedule in general tend to set off fibro flare-ups like crazy. I didn’t get home until 8pm and was up at 6am both days. I felt pretty defeated all last week (I cried a lot and stayed off social media for the most part…pain makes for an emotional and reclusive Andie), but did manage to put pdf patterns together towards the end of last week and then cut out a bunch of things on Saturday (although, I regret doing too much of that as I was very sick that evening). I am starting to feel a little less horrible in the fibro department. All of this is to say that it was difficult to find the energy to write this entry until now and I feel like it wasn’t as fresh in my mind, but I am definitely a fan of the class. I will answer anyone’s questions if you feel like there are gaps in my retelling.

I can’t recommend the class more and will definitely be taking more classes there in the future. There is a swimwear class and various others that are right up my ally. Of course, that will all have to be after the wedding! I also purchased the Craftsy class Beverly teaches called “Sewing Bras” during Craftsy’s Black Friday sale. I wanted to make sure I had a back up to reference when my foggy memory failed.

If you’ve ever been afraid of trying out bra making, but always wanted to, take the plunge. Seriously, the actual sewing is relatively simple and fitting can be worked out over several test bras. As long as you go into bra making with the understanding that your first bra will likely not be perfect, you will be okay. Beverly says, if you can set a sleeve, you can make a bra. That statement is very true.

Have you ever thought of making a bra?

#bpsewvember Round up

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have seen all of these posts before, but I like the idea of creating a round up of them for me to look through later and for my non-Instagram followers.

Bimble + Pimble made a sewing photo a day challenge called Sewvember for November. The concept was to loosely follow the theme for each day. Everyone had a different interpretation for the theme and tagged #bpsewvember to follow along with the group.

The great thing about the whole challenge was the sense of community it created. I followed so many new and wonderful people from it, started conversations, learned new things, bonded with fellow geeky sewists, and just felt really great about the whole experience.

The sewing community is a very supportive community and great for encouraging all sewists.

Here were the themes for each day and below is a gallery of my photos with my descriptions. Thanks for reading!

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FESA 2014 round up

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Back on September 12th, I planned out all my sewing from then until November 30th (today!). I’m actually really pleased with how it went and it’s shaped some plans for my winter sewing. There are some things that didn’t work and some things that I tossed out the window in favour of the newest shiny thing and one thing I am still working on.

I’ll address each FESA 2014 category and then show you what I made or talk about the fail in that category.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather: Two Fails, but a bonus win!

Leggings:

I made two pairs of Espresso leggings and both were utter failures. I just was not able to fit the top of the leggings. The fit for the legs was fine, but the top never fit correctly. I hate wasting jersey so much, because it’s really tough to find cheap jersey that makes a decent muslin. I’ve decided to scrap it and just make leggings from existing RTW leggings that fit me perfectly. I will do that in December and write up a tutorial, if you are interested. :) I wish I could show you a picture of the fails, but it would just be me with the leggings at my knees and I am not ready to break the internet with that horrible sight.

Pencil Skirt:

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Another fail for this category with Lekala #5088. I just hated it so much. I am planning on continuing my lovely search for a perfect pattern. Next up will be Tenterhook’s Snapdragon and Bluegingerdoll’s Betsy. Both are high waisted skirts and will be more flattering on me than this one, which I pulled up to my high waist and then clipped at the back (which is why it looks better in the pic than in real life).

Bonus Skirt:

I didn’t plan another Pavlova out, but I did make it and twirl in it:

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And I love it so much.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates: Three Wins!

Cardigans:

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Talk about two wonderful wins in this category! I adore my hacked Parisian cardigan and my Jenna Cardi so much. I have plans to make a ton more Jenna Cardis before the year is done.

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I didn’t plan it, but I also had a great win with my Muse Pattern’s Gillian wrap top! I wear it pretty regularly and love the colour so much. I plan on making the dress up soon.

Fabulous Frocks: Three wins and one not made!

Wrapalong:

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My wrapalong dress was a huge success. I adore this Burda faux wrap tunic so much. I wear it once a week and find it incredible comfortable and warm.

Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses:

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I am super proud of this cat lady shirt dress. It’s definitely my favourite make of the year and my best make of all time. I highly recommend using McCall’s 6696, if you love shirt dresses or cute dresses. It’s a really great pattern and fits most people out of the envelope due to the smart bust sized pieces. I will be doing a full bust adjustment for a future version due to the pulling in the bodice, but it worked for me straight out of the envelope and that is very rare for me. I plan on making a ton more during my two weeks off at Christmas.

Lekala #4155:

Well, that dress never happened. Perhaps a bit ambitious of me. I also wasn’t feeling it after the Lekala pencil skirt didn’t work out.

Colette Moneta:

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I love this fall Moneta. However, I have rarely worn it at all this fall. It doesn’t help that it sat in my sewing room for two months waiting for elastic at the waist. I’m a horrible procrastinator. I love the Moneta, but I think it’s my last one for a little bit.

Tender Tootsies: A whole lot of nope!

Since the espresso leggings never happened, my idea to make espresso tights never happened. I think I might try out Rose Hip tights someday in the future, though, especially after seeing the lovely Lauren’s version at Lladybird.

I also never cut the knit tights I had into socks. It would be perfect right now to do that, though, since all my socks are filling with holes and I need to get new ones as of two months ago. I’m a horrible procrastinator! Or I am always drawn into the shiny things. ;)

Underneath it All: A Win and a not made!

Underwear was never made, sadly. Like the socks, I kept procrastinating with them. I will try my hand at it soon.

BRA!

I was at the Bra Maker’s Supply on the 28th and 29th this month for a beginner bra making class. Which was absolutely perfect, because the 28th is my birthday! I am just going to give you a preview here of the first bra and I will write up a whole post about this experience and the alterations for the next version.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside: In progress!

My First Coat!

I decided to not use any of the patterns in my planning post, because I looked at View A of Vogue 8346 and saw that they used a similar print to the wool I had. I finished the muslin and have the coat cut out, but it won’t be done for a little while longer. I’m so pleased with it so far!

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Colour/Pattern Palette:

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Well, I didn’t stick with my intended palette much. My fall Moneta was orange, but more on the burnt orange side. I didn’t get around to making anything in plaid or pink. I have yellow accents in my Jenna cardi, though. I did purchase a few pink fabrics, including a pink plaid that looks even better than the one above. More pink will emerge in my wardrobe in the future.

All in all, more successes than fails or not doing anything at all. I’m pretty pleased with how FESA 2014 went for me this year.