Hello 2011!

Ok, so I’m a little late but who’s counting? I’ve actually, truly, 100% no lie been completely unplugged from the Internet for 18 days while on honeymoon in the South Island of New Zealand, but more on that soon enough. To be honest, being disconnected for so long was quite liberating. But now I’m back and I did miss my blog, my sewing machines and my sewing girlfriends. I’m really looking forward to blogging more this year and I have so many things I can’t wait to write about: I know there are several sewing magazines awaiting pick-up my at the post office which is exciting, there’s my most epic sewing project so far – my wedding dress to share, continuing the Trans-Tasman Battle of the Fabric Stores in Perth, a heap of projects I haven’t yet posted about plus all my 2011 sewing projects (hopefully including some for this little lady) and much more ‘Sewing a Foreign Language’, as promised.

But first up I thought I should have a quick reflect on my 2010 sewing year and think about some goals (ok, New Years Resolutions) for 2011.

Farewell 2010:

My favourite Blog Post – I really enjoyed writing Sewing a Foreign Language and properly blogging the making of that dress. When I started this blog I said I didn’t intend to fully document each of my sewing projects like some bloggers do but a lot of readers said they really liked the post and that more would help them feel they can tackle patterns sans-instructions. So I’d really like to try and help you out in 2011 and expand on my blog topics (I’ve already added it as  a category)

Most popular blog post – Small wonder that it’s Patrones 296 (September 2010). All the Patrones magazine posts are really popular but this issue was particularly great.

Favourite project – This is pretty hard, I’ve made some great things this year but based on what I wear the most often and get the most compliments for it has to be my Strawberry JJ. I LOVE this blouse, the pattern (which is FREE btw, go get it!) is a great fit and just a great blouse base pattern in general and I also love the fabric, an amazing quality Japanese cotton I got from Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney (I never have to iron it, bonus!).

Most Popular Project (based on BurdaStyle views) – My Strawberry Shopping Bag has 7163 views and counting but the BSC Perth Reversible Apron wins the pattern download vote with a current tally of 5258. Its a basic pattern and I used it for our first BSC meet. I posted this project and then the pattern for it for 2 reasons: Firstly (and obviously) to share with other sewers, encourage beginners and see if I could produce a pattern that others could download and follow and secondly (and shamelessly) to promote and gain more members for our Perth based BSC. And I’m proud to say it worked. Sandra and I have worked hard to build up our little sewing group and we’ve also had help from many of our equally passionate members. We currently have a member count of 55, recently celebrated our 1st birthday and we are one of the largest and most active groups internationally. The best part of being a member of BSC Perth? All the amazing new sewing friends, learning s0 much off each other and generally having a great time.

Current UFO Count – This will be fun to look at again at the end of 2011! It’s currently at 6 and that’s the biggest I’d like to see it. I’m quite proud of keeping my UFO pile under control and I’d like to keep it that way…hehe, we’ll see aye? I do have grand intentions of hitting this hard this half of the year, keep an eye out for the completed items and feel free to jab at me in early 2012 if I fail at this task 🙂

Biggest Sewing Fail – I LOVED this Burda blouse 117 when I saw it in the 08/2009 magazine, it went straight to the top of my list.  If you aren’t convinced just look at how many amazing versions of this top are on BurdaStyle and what happens when I have a go? Big. Fat. Fail. It looks awful on me which is terrible since I was so excited about using the rolled edge finish on my overlocker for the first time and I spent ages finding the perfect coloured thread for it too. But a fail isn’t truly a fail if you can learn something from it right? Well my lesson was to remember to look for blouse & top patterns with shaping elements like darts and princess seams, they suit my body shape much better. I’ve not totally given up on it yet, one day I’ll pull it out and either fix it or transform it into something else becasue I really love the fabric.

Best Purchase – I thought this would be an easy one! I was going to say my Bernina 1150 MDA overlocker, but to be honest I can’t for the life of me remember if I got it early 2010 or near the end of 2009. I use it so often and love it to death that it feels like I’ve had it forever! An overlocker definitely takes your sewing to that next level. So to keep this honest I’ll instead say my Singer 150 dress form, but that’s also a bit of a white lie since it was a birthday present from my Husband…although I did chose it…so since I’m writing this I’ve decided it does count 🙂 Another great sewing tool that really improved my fitting skills and my understanding of patterns and sizing.

Favourite Gadget – I love sewing gadgets, actually I love gadgets full stop. In sewing there are a lot of chose fr0m, some good, some bad, some useless. This last year I got myself a few new ones but I’d like to think I do use the ones I bought regularly, as in then are out on my table and in reach. It’s quite hard to chose a single favourite so I’m going to list the most used three.

  • First up the Simflex Expanding Gauge is fantastic for even spaced buttons, button holes, pleats…just about anything and I find a new way to use it each time I pick it up.
  • Next up, marking tools. Different sewing tasks sometimes require a different type of marking tool and I own them all but my favourites are my Chalk Cartridge Set, because I can have any colour I like (and after I bought it I spotted someone using it on Project Runway, so it must be good) and my Chaco Liner Pen Style Combo because, again, go0d colour choice, but also they’re so easy to use! I’ve linked these last few items to Nancy’s site and indeed that’s where I bought them, she has better prices (as if half or even a third the cost in the shops here in Australia) and a great selection.
  • My last gadget is a bit embarrassing, I considered getting one of these ages ago but held out for fear of looking like a bit of a sewing n00b. I figured it was kind of like training wheels for your first two-wheeled bike but when I saw my sewing expert friend using one and extolling it’s virtues I decided to give in and I haven’t looked back. It’s a magnetic seam guide and it is AMAZING! I got a Birch one from Spotlight. So simple and so cheap, go and get yourself one now! Go on…

Best New Sewing Skill I Learnt – Welt Pockets. These stem from a project that I haven’t posted properly  yet but I mentioned it during Self-stitched September, my husband’s Stinchcomb Jacket, which I will post soon, promise. I followed this welt pocket tutorial on BurdaStyle and because I was initially sceptical my first try was in calico but it worked a treat! I was completely amazed and blown away my my own accidental skill. They worked just as well on the real jacket, and I had to make 5 of them, so I’m feeling like a bit of an expert now. Seriously, give them a try, they aren’t so scary.

Biggest Sewing Revelation – “If you don’t give it a go, how do you know you can’t do it?” that’s my new sewing motto and I’ll share more of that with you soon when I post “How to make your own wedding dress” (or a similarly named post). Intrigued? Good, sign up for new posts via email or to the RSS feed and all will be revealed soon 🙂

Hello 2011:

I’m not a huge fan of setting New Years Resolutions with time-frames, like “sew a new item each week” or “post to my blog every day” etc, they just stress me out.Last year I endeavoured to just sew more clothes that went together, create outfits and boost my “basics” for my everyday wardrobe and it worked pretty well.

For 2011 I will continue with that goal along with the basics of just generally sewing more and blogging more. I also want to have a go at drafting my own pattern, even if it’s just a few basic blocks, I just want to get my head around the mathematics. I also need to seriously eat into my fabric stash, but who doesn’t right? I’ve promised my boy a few clothing items too but we’ll see how that goes.

I think the most important thing I want to do this year is really learn a lot more about fabrics. My fabric knowledge is truly, shockingly bad. I already have a plan in place and I’ll share a bit more of it with you when I get it properly started. Basically I bought a hard cover book and I’m going to fill it up with all the fabric types, definitions,  swatches and anything else I can learn about that particular fabric (care instructions, what it’s best used for, a bit of history etc). When I buy new fabric I’m going to make sure I note down the fabric type/content/origin to help me learn. I’m a visual person and therefore a visual learner so I’ll be writing this all out by hand, trying to keep it neat and colourful, that’s how it will stick inside my head.

Lastly, in 2011, I want to learn to love my body, don’t we all need that? Sewing helps me do this but like any woman my positive feelings come and go. This year is the year to make a proper effort, learn what looks good on my body, what flatters me, achieve the best fit I can possibly achieve and just love ME.

Right that’s enough thinking for a brain that’s currently operating with a 5 hour time difference, happy sewing for 2011 everyone xx

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2 thoughts on “Hello 2011!

  1. With the magnetic sewing guide are you able to use it on computerised machines? Someone told me that I couldnt use as it would do something to the machines computer.

    • Interesting and a good point. I know you do have to be careful with magnets around computers and other electronic devices. For example on a computer it can corrupt your hard drive and once I blanked by eftpos card with my cell phone. My machine is not electronic. In your case I think it is better to see if you can find an adjustable guide to fit your machine like this one

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