Top 5 Goals

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Top 5 Goals for the New Year

1. Accessible Sewing

This goal covers quite a bit actually. I spoke a bit about accessible sewing earlier in the fall, but I didn’t go into much detail about what that specifically meant for me. There are a few issues with mobility for me. A big one is my shoulders. My left shoulder dislocates and my right shoulder is beginning to have instability. I also find buttons a bit more difficult these days since my fingers are having a tough time with fine work. I can still do a lot, but I think snaps or other things would be a good addition to my wardrobe for the just in case future. Unless it is stretchy, I have trouble pulling things over my head and I can’t do a centre back zipper with my shoulder issues. I need to figure out a way to step out of a dress with a side zipper. That likely means snaps at the shoulders and no sleeves. Sleeves in wovens are also difficult for me to get out of so I need more room there. I think sleeves will also be reserved for wrap dresses or shirt dresses that I can open completely in the front and not pull over my head. My bras need to switch to front closure. As for pants, I can’t seem to take too tight jeans, which is why my floral Misty jeans never worked out for me. My knee doesn’t like the compression or the restricted movement. I think trying out looser pants or going with leggings is best. I’d love to make palazzo pants or culottes. I actually have a UFO of Winslow culottes that I need to finish. I have a few other patterns for loose pants, too. I also think they would be good for when I get a knee brace sometime in the new year since I could wear the brace under the pants. With leggings, it would be a little difficult, but I think I can wear it over the leggings. I’ll talk more about this in the new year as I approach each challenge. Some will be easier than others for sure, but with each win I will feel like a Wonder Woman.

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2. Burda Patterns

I have tons of these and am challenging myself to sew at least 6 new patterns. That is one every other month. I want to break the stigma attached to Burda patterns and show how they work for someone of my size. I have really liked the few I have used already. I’m excited to start this adventure.

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3. Blazers

I really want to make blazers (I have so many patterns!) and keep putting it off. 2017 is the year of the blazer for me!

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4. Party dresses

Recently, I’ve been feeling like my wardrobe needs some more party dresses. Not that I have a lot of places to wear snazzy dresses, but I sure do love them! I have a LBD already cut out and ready to make. I also have a few other in my head as plans with some lush fabric that I’ve been hoarding like crazy.

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5. Stashbusting & Getting Rid of UFOs

Speaking of hoarding fabrics, I have a large stash that recently grew far too large from a bunz trade and another friend dropping some lovely fabrics off at my place (although one of those got used for a Christmas present!). I’d like to focus on getting my stash down to a manageable size. I’ve been getting rid of the clutter in my house and making sure that what I have is usable or that it doesn’t contribute to poor health with dust accumulation. Unfortunately, most of my books are leaving the house because of dust. The ones I keep will be my favourites. A smaller amount should be easier to clean. I’d like to document more of my stashbusting. I took part in the sewalong this year, but didn’t do a lot of documenting on my blog. I’ll be keeping track each month of what I buy and what I sew from my stash. I’m not going to be super strict about it, but I really would like to reduce the fabric clutter. I will be also do monthly theme sewing when I can.

I’ve also had a lot of UFOs this year or projects that I cut out but didn’t complete. This is not my usual habit! I need to get more of those out of the way and reduce the clutter in my sewing space.

For whatever you celebrate, I hope you are warm and cozy or cool and out of the sun for the southern hemisphere people and surrounded by people you love.

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Top 5 Reflections and Goals

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This is the last entry in this series. I really enjoy writing them! Thanks to Gillian for leading the series.

Top 5 Reflections

1.

Positive thinking

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I looked back over last year’s reflections and goals. I think I have done well in achieving all the goals I set out, except for dancing. I would have loved to be in a healthy position to take some dance classes, but sadly that was not to be. I did recently go to a Grimes concert and dance my butt off there. It was exhilarating. Although, it took a week to recover! I think this year I have been dancing internally a lot. While I’ve had my ups and downs, I tend to keep a positive and hopeful attitude. I know the dangers of not doing that and how depression can easily take hold. I think I’ve done a lot to not get discouraged and remain hopeful. With difficult sewing projects, I’ve also learned to be positive. Sometimes it’s better to set them aside and work on something else and come back to them when you are ready.

2.

Upped my skills

 

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I spent the year increasing my skills even with “simple” projects. I can really see the difference when comparing garments from 2014 with this year or even from earlier in the year. My serger has really helped with that as well.

3.

Sewing my stash

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I’m not one of those people who will ever stop buying to sew through their stash. I have no self control in that respect! In the summer, I moved my sewing space into our bedroom and seriously organized everything. It’s been great being so organized! It’s also been great not having my stash all over the place. I can easily access it and grab things for projects. The brown corduroy from my Misty Jeans was forgotten about for a while. I got it for Halloween stuff years ago and never used it. Lots of presents in the past while have been from my stash. I’ve been “shopping” there first to check if there is a suitable fabric and then going out for fabric as needed. I managed to get it down a bit to make room for the new stuff. 😉

4.

Organization

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I know I just mentioned this above, but damn…it’s been great. I know exactly how many notions and supplies I have and exactly where to find things as I need them. While the top of my cutting table can get disorganized when I am between projects, it’s a lot easier to clear things out. My pdf pattern organization has also been great. I need another crate for it, though, since it’s getting packed with recent additions. Black Friday was good for my pdf stash. 😉 Since the room is also my bedroom, I’ve made a point of trying to be as neat as possible and it’s been working really well.

5.

Fabric quality

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I’ve learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t this year. Like Gillian notes in her Top 5 2015 Misses entry, polyester quilted knits are not really working out. The fabric for my blue dress above is pretty low in quality and already pulling and pilling. It’s also kind of scratchy. Of course, not all polyester is the same. The polyester knit I use for the Star Trek shirts is a lot better quality. Although, they do make for really warm stage wear! I find I am getting a lot pickier with fabric quality. I’ve left things behind in the thrift store in spite of them only be $5 for several yards, because of low quality. $5 for garbage is not a bargain!

Top 5 Goals

1.

Pushing my boundaries

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I swear I get scared of things for no reason and convince myself I am not skilled enough to try it. Well, I call bullshit on that! Your skills can’t get better unless you continue to push the boundaries. All this year, I wanted to make blazers. Well, 2016 will become the year of the blazer… and pants. Man, I never thought I would say I want to wear pants.

2.

Participation

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My goal for 2016 is to participate in my two favourite sewing communities a lot more next year. Plan is to submit reviews to the Curvy Sewing Collective and try to participate in the Monthly Stitch Challenges every month.

3.

Sewing for others

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It’s been great making the Star Trek shirts and also sewing presents for others. I have plans for 2016 to make a bunch of stuff for my husband. He deserves custom clothes, too! 🙂

4.

Geek out

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I really enjoyed adding geeky elements to some of my garments this year. I want to continue to find ways to do that in 2016.

5.

It’s all in the details!

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One of the things I have learned this year is that I really love adding personal touches to my garments like a line of machine embroidery stitches or a little hand-embroidered element. I definitely want to continue that in 2016 and make it a goal to personalize with little details. I’d love to get custom clothing labels as well for a personal touch!

Top 5 Hits and Misses and 2015 Summary

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Now that I’ve covered the non-sewing highlights, it’s all about sewing from now on!

Top 5 Misses

Let’s start with the fails first and then end on a positive note. 😉

1.

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The Seamwork Florence Bra was the most horrible miss of the year. I never modeled it, because it was a hot mess. I even tried making it in a better fabric than all stretch lace, but it just didn’t work. It’s definitely not made for people with larger chests. The only way I could wear it is over another bra.

2.

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My Bronte top in white was a bit of a miss. I still wear it all the time, but the neckline was way too big for me. In the picture of me wearing it, it looks all stretched out, but it really is just too wide across the top. Even hanging on the hanger above the neckline drops down pretty far because of all the fabric across the top. My other three versions of the top are okay and my first version I had larger seam allowances than in the other ones so it worked out fine. But I do wear it occasionally and still like the style. This is the top, though, that made me realize how very narrow my shoulders are in comparison to my bust and that causes fit issues in stretchy shirts. I have been doing some cheater FBAs in other knit tops by grading to a smaller size at the shoulders, but sometimes it doesn’t always work…

3.

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Which brings me to my Simplicity 1812 top… I tried to grade down at the shoulders, but still sewed it twice to fix the issues with that yoke…

I wear the top, but I am more prone to wear it with a scarf to mitigate any yoke-revealing disasters.

4.

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This isn’t really a fail, because I ADORE THIS DRESS… but it is a fail, because I haven’t worn it at all. It’s my Muse Patterns Melissa dress and, in spite of the diner waitress look, I love the dress a ton. The problem is that the sleeves are too tight. I have been meaning to take them out, recut wider sleeves, and then put them back in… But shiny! I haven’t done it yet. I should make it a goal before the end of the year and then I can wear it a ton in the Spring again. This was the tester version and I know she did some sleeve alterations for the pattern version. I have some mint floral fabric that is dying to become a Melisssa dress in the Spring.

Gosh, I love this dress.

5.

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My Hello Kitty hoodie is a win from the perspective of my alterations of it, but a miss from the pattern’s perspective. M6614 has a few issues. Other than being enormous, the envelope says to buy a far shorter zipper than you should for the bigger sizes. I had to alter the neckline because I had a perfect zipper for it and then I had to make some massive cuts to the sides to make it fit right. I love it now and wear it when I am sitting around at home or this Spring I wore it for walks. Shame to the pattern, but win for me! And I adore my little embroidered Hello Kitty:

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Top 5 Hits

1.

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My wedding dress is my number 1 hit of 2015. You can read about it in these entries. There are definitely some things about it that are not perfect, but I love it and think it worked well for me.

2.

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My Sailor Mercury bra is by far my favourite bra I’ve made. It fits really well and hits my geeky side. I should have made more bras this year with the Bra-a-Week Challenge, but never quite got enough done. I hope Erin continues the challenge in some form for 2016, because I hope to rock it with all my bra plans.

The one thing I will say about the bras I have made this year is that the band elastic really irritates my skin and has a tendency to fold. I have some new stuff bought that will hopefully help. It’s actually strap elastic, but in my RTW bras, they use the thicker strap elastic. I think that will work better than the band elastic I have used previously. I’m hoping to report on the soon with my long overdue Desert Sunset bra that I cut out in August right after the Sailor Mercury bra. Ooooopsie….

3.

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I’ve made Simplicity 1459 twice now and I just love it with or without the collar and with or without the massive skirt. I have a polkadot version planned eventually!

4.

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I made two versions of the M7100 bomber jacket and just really love it. My floral denim version wasn’t worn as much as the houndstooth version, but they were both heavily in rotation this year from Spring to Fall…and into some of our very mild Winter so far. I really want to make a colder weather version using Cation Design’s idea of lining it in fleece (we had the same fabric for our versions! Isn’t that awesome!). She also had a great idea of going back and adding it to the houndstooth version, but I really want to make another. 😉

5.

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I haven’t even blogged about these yet! But my Style Arc Misty Jeans are a WIN! They got me a sewalong win! The day before my Gryffindor cardi won the Muse love Merino knits category! (I’m sew lucky!)

These are my my first pair of pants sewn (that weren’t pjs or leggings). They fit pretty well without any alterations, but there will be some for my next versions. I will be making tons of these. They are so comfortable and wonderful. I can’t even. I am wearing them right now. I no longer fear making pants which is the real win of the sewalong. Thanks so much to Alicia for hosting the sewalong and her great instructions for the pants. It’s also made me a Style Arc fan, because damn they fit pretty well without alterations! I have a bunch of Style Arc patterns planned for the future, including some shorts for the Summer next year! Shorts!

2015 Summary

My summary from last year was such a useful task that I wanted to do the same for this year. Even though I have some end of the year plans for tons of selfish sewing, I have decided to do my summary now since the blogging part will not happen until 2016.

2015 sewing

My year has had lots of ups and downs in sewing. Some months I was working on one project (wedding dress or cloning a bra) or just wasn’t up for it due to post-wedding exhaustion or Trinity passing. I’ve made a total of 54 things this year though! 21 more than last year. That’s a huge thing. I’ve also bought very little RTW this year. Mostly just leggings, underwear, and socks.

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I decided to include unselfish sewing in this chart unlike last year. Last year, knit dresses won this category, but I’ve been going away from knit dresses lately. They are great for casual wear, but I spend most of my time at work and really gravitate more toward separates than dresses this year. This year has definitely taught me some things about my personal style. I’ve made more in the “presents” category than any other this year, but in terms of selfish sewing skirts win with 7 made! I’ve seen my style evolve into a skirt/top look rather than wearing dresses. This theme is definitely continuing for 2016, but with pants as well!

2015 patterns

These patterns are only for selfish sewing. Last year, Colette patterns won this category, but I’ve not been a fan girl this year. I do have an unblogged Myrtle dress, but the only other thing I made from them was the Florence bra failure. Self-drafted in my chart this year is just a label, but not really accurate. The category includes dirndl skirts (which are just gathered rectangles and a waistband) and my cloned bras. No real “drafting” happening there, but it was a way to say differently patterned garments, which sounds odd. I went with self-drafted instead. Outside of that, McCall’s patterns are definitely my top with Simplicity coming in second and Muse Patterns third. I think next year we will see a lot more Style Arc, Burda, and continue my love affair with Muse Patterns. McCall’s and Simplicity will still be there in the top, though. I have so many of those patterns that I haven’t made up yet and lots of plans for them. There’s also another pattern company, Cashmerette, that will likely emerge as a top pick next year.

 

Top 5 Highlights

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FYI: I have some projects that need to be photographed and a ton of projects that were gifts and I can’t talk about until after Christmas. D’oh. When I have time, I will post about things!

Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 series again this year. I had a great time doing it last year and emailed her excitedly asking if she was doing it again.

I want to start off with highlights. This entry is not about sewing. It’s my highlights of the year.

1.

Wedding.

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I’ve reflected on this day a lot this year. It was perfect from start to finish. I am so happy.

2.

Minimoon!

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We had such a wicked time being dorky tourists in Niagara Falls. A heart-shaped whirlpool tub in the room. Visited a wax museum. Saw exotic birds. Rode the boat under the falls. Got our pictures taken in an old school saloon. It was the best time.

3.

My husband.

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Okay, I will switch gears from gushing over love, but the highlight of the year is my husband. Since getting married, I’ve never been more in love with him. We have grown so much as a couple this year and every day I find myself more and more in love. How is that even possible? Well, with such a wonderful guy as your partner, it’s easy! I love you, Dale. Sew very much.

4. My job.

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I don’t talk about it that much here, but I’ve been enjoying learning a lot this year as a project manager on several corporate initiatives. I have been taking a lot of pride in that. For Halloween, I went to work as the Super Project Manager, which inspired a coworker to create the comic book cover above.

5. My Health.

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I talk about it occasionally, but I live with chronic pain and it’s often the reason for large gaps in posting even when I have tons sewn. It takes so much energy out of me and makes it very difficult to do daily tasks let alone extracurricular tasks. I will often put my energy toward sewing rather than taking garment photos and writing blog entries.

I was “diagnosed” with fibromyalgia earlier this year. I say diagnosed because the rheumatologist did his tests in finding the pain centers and ruled out several things and then said “it’s probably fibromyalgia. Talk to your family doctor about these medications.” Then he handed me a list and I talked to my family doctor who wasn’t very helpful and hasn’t ever really been helpful for me.

Then I switched family doctors. My current doctor is amazing and sent me for a second opinion about the fibromyalgia due to joint dislocation I experience on a daily basis and the cause for the majority of my pain. I discussed that issue with the previous rheumatologist and my previous family doctor and they both saw that “as no issue.” Okay…

I have a bunch of specialist appointments booked and MRIs. I’ve seen another rheumatologist. I’ve had a ton of x-rays. It’s all been pretty painful to go through the tests and x-rays, because of the way they locate your pain, prode it to cause pain, and then manipulate your body to find the perfect angle for the x-rays.

I know this journey will lead me to a more definitive diagnosis. This is a highlight for me because I am finally on the right track and making my health a top priority. This is something I set as a goal this year and I am glad to finally be getting somewhere. I may never be cured, but I hope to have an actual treatment plan in place some day soon. I feel pretty hopeful!