‘Tis the season for introspection and reflection and looking back on the year. Not really my forte, but I have a wee bit more time on my hands than previous year-ends, and maybe this will distract me enough to slow down my rampant Christmas chocolate binging.
A lot changed this year, and not much. We live in the same house (our first full year as homeowners. My husband has not left me over it. Yet.) with the same kids and the same cats. Tyo graduated high school and got her driver’s license and a job. Syo struggled through grade 9, had a summer of epic highs and lows, but dove into grade 10 with a determination and involvement that makes me feel like she’s figuring things out. Teenagers are wonderful but also exhausting.
Midway through the year, I lost my Fabricland job when my store was closed down, which was a big personal and financial adjustment. While I’ve enjoyed having more time to devote to my health and my family and mainly to just existing, financially it’s been tricky, and I desperately miss many of the people I worked with. I was incredibly lucky to have been able to ramp up my teaching at Periwinkle Quilting once my evenings were no longer full of Fabricland—it’s much more fun than just selling fabric, and I THINK it’s exactly what I want to do in terms of my sewing “career”—but there are pretty firm limits to how much they can fit me in to their schedule, so it will never be the kind of second income Fabricland was. Which is okay, too. It’s been really nice having some time to just… be. I’ve been trying to let myself enjoy it.
As for my sewing this year… it wasn’t exactly exploring brave new frontiers, but there were some highlights.
The obvious one is Tyo’s grad dress, which I’m inordinately proud of. Because it fit her so well, and had all the features she wanted (including removable overskirt and pockets), and also because I made my own lace for the short skirt.
With my sewing no longer dominated by Fabricland projects, I got to dip my toes into sewing more indie patterns. Some for fun, like the York Pinafore above, others for teaching purposes, like the Merchant and Mills Trapeze Dress.
I struggle a bit with the teaching samples. The patterns I choose to teach are not necessarily things I really want to wear—many patterns are picked for simplicity or popularity, and while I try to stick with things that can be made from fabrics available at Periwinkle, it’s still a quilting store and the range of fabrics I’m interested in is just, um, smaller. Especially since I’m not the biggest prints person.
I made the third in a trilogy of progressively larger little coats for my best friend’s daughter. Everything about it felt pretty epic, from the mysterious vintage pattern to the quilted lining. I had a lot of fun with that.
And I have to go off about my print-matching on my Hallowe’en dress, because it was epic.
Even if you can’t actually see it in this picture.
Just before Christmas, in between annoying present sewing, I indulged in some serious velvet, making a slip and stockings and a few other quick and luxurious pieces. Velvet is on trend this year and I’m all over that.
The biggest fail of the year was these gorgeous black linen cargo pants I made for my husband.
I failed to fit them properly (standard changes for my husband I should’ve known to make but didn’t) and then compounded that by hemming them too short. The construction was awesome. I could attempt some alterations, but most of my topstitching was done with a triple stitch, and I haven’t been able to face the hours and hours of unpicking any alterations will require.
Looking toward the future, I’ll be making a blazer for my uncle, hopefully in time for Robbie Burns Day. I’m thinking I should make myself something similarly tailored in parallel, so I feel more excited about the project, because right now I’m dreading it.
I’m also tempted to make a walking skirt, a long wrap-skirt of coating to keep my legs warmer than my winter coat does. Yes, I’m still thinking winter sewing. I’ve got at least three months to go, though it hasn’t been a hard winter here so far.
I’m in a bit of a transition with my style and sewing, I think. Body changing (even as I’m hoping to reverse some of that with some more time for exercise next year) and the twilight of my 30s, plus my work being less outward-facing (except for teaching) has me thinking differently about both what’s flattering and what I want to project. I’m not feeling the silly, girly retro dresses as much as I was, nor the “sexy secretary ” stuff. I kind of hate to even admit that, because I love those styles.
On the other hand, I know even long before sewing I would wax and wane in my over-dressing, going through periods of wearing eveningwear to work, and other periods that were strictly jeans-and-T-shirts. And that’s ok too.
So bring it on, 2019—we’ll see what you got!
8 responses to “Cogitation”
You made some beautiful items last year! My local Fabricland closed down also, so now I have to drive to the next city to shop unfortunately. I worked at Fabricland back in 2000- 2005 or so. I made tons of shop samples for them as well back then and burned myself out on sewing for a while. I’m back at it now. I’ve been thinking about making a heavy victorian walking skirt as well!
Thank you! Yeah, work projects are great but they can sure be exhausting! That sucks that you have to drive to another town! I think it’s bad just having to go across town. 😭
You are so productive – and so diverse in your sewing projects. And I hear ya on the body change. 40 was a tipping point for me. On the plus side, if you give up everything that’s fun to eat, you can retain your svelteness. Not sure it’s worth it. (Constant nausea also helps but I don’t recommend it.) Take it from me – it ain’t exercise that will take the weight off (though it’s so healthy and important for all kinds of reasons, including metabolic rate – so definitely prioritize it). It’s diet that’s implicated in weight gain. I basically stopped moving (hyperbole) at the exact time that I got rid of all fun foods and I lost a lot of weight. I actually went back to my pre-weight gain weight (if not shape – cuz tone calls for exercise). All my exercise didn’t make a dent. I’ve heard as much from 8 out of 10 40 somethings in the same boat. Of course, YMMV. Fortunately, you are gorgeous at any weight.
Yeah, that’s the general wisdom I’ve heard as well. Right now, I’d say the lack of tone is more of an issue than the weight—I figure if I get to a place where I’m comfortable with my fitness, then I’ll start worrying about diet. To the extent that I can because I work with a lot of women who like to bake, and I have no willpower when stuff is put in front of me. 😂
Just admit it you really wanted those cargos for yourself. It isn’t really a fail because they look good on you. Great abs by the way.
I’ve thought about that. I haven’t worn pants like this since the 90s, though. Hmm….
I hadn’t realized Fabricland had closed down stores in so many places.
I really like your idea of a walking skirt. I have a fairly long DND surplus greatcoat that is warm and windproof and while it comes to the tops of my boots there is that horrible gap where the above-the-knee wool socks end and the freezing cold begins. Your skirt might just do the trick; thank you for the idea.
All the best in the New Year!
Yeah, they’ve definitely been reducing their density—I think a lot of places that had two or three stores in a city are down to one. I tested the skirt earlier this week and it seems promising!