Made by Me!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Year That Was....A Look Back At 2014

So I guess you have all had enough of the 'look back' posts popping up all over the place but I hope you don't mind one more! I think it's a nice thing to take stock and look back at what you have achieved and to then look forward to a new year with some fresh inspiration.

For me the last year has been an interesting one. I started writing this blog in early January so its been almost a full 12 months online!! I can't quite believe it. Like many other bloggers I felt that I wanted a platform to showcase the sewing projects I make, hoping that I would be able to share my passion for sewing with like minded people, whilst also using it as a means to push myself to sew more and challenge myself to learn new skills and take more classes. The need to regularly post something is a wonderful kick up the butt to get your creative juices going!! And as you will see from the pictures throughout this post I really think that I have progressed in my attempts at sewing my own clothes and am steadily attempting more complicated items. I do need to ramp up the output though! I realised I have only made 15 items this year which seems in retrospect very tardy!

                                                                                                                                   The blog has been a learning curve for me and I have definitely had my ups and downs with it.  It is an understatement to say that it is hard to put yourself out there in the first place. It is daunting to think about people reading what you write, looking at what you make and generally making opinions about you, good or bad. I have had moments at the beginning of my blog journey where I found it really stressful to post regularly because like most bloggers we have a life and busy job to deal with at the same time and you need to find the correct balance. I had read so many bloggers say a regular post date is enormously important for keeping readers coming back for more and although I wasn't sure people were actually reading what I was writing at the start, let alone coming back again and again, I felt a huge pressure to produce something - by which I mean its easy to put something out there that can be seen as half hearted in an attempt to fill space and that's not what I wanted to do.  I took some time off of the blog in the summer to gather my thoughts, not because I didn't want to write it but because I needed to make sure I was doing it because I enjoyed it rather than it somehow taking over my life and becoming a burden - and if it feels like that then whats the point right? When I came back to it I had renewed interest and I wrote when I felt I had something to say or a sewing project to share with you all. So it may not be completely regular but I enjoy writing it now. Personally I don't think you need to post on a specific day each week to make sure people look at your blog as long as you do post at least once a week but it is something I would like to be better at. It would be interesting to know if a specific publish day for posts is important to you or not? If you are anything like me you may not read blogs in that regular fashion and just pick and choose what you are looking for based on what you are making - so maybe for advice and how to's - or for a break from work, life, on a commute or to pass the time for a few minutes so not necessarily when every post is published. We are much more piecemeal with our information download now. Not to say I don't like to keep up with my favourite bloggers but I don't necessarily read their posts on the day they are published or in chronological order.

              

This year has been a great opportunity to shape and mould my blog slowly over time. I have loved seeing my readership gradually increase bit by bit and yelped for joy when someone commented for the the first time! It may sound silly but it was just great to know someone thought enough about what you wrote to share their thoughts with you.

One major change for me and this blog is that what I wrote about at the start of this journey is different to what I write about now (its still about sewing though obviously!!). I thought I may want to pass on techniques and how to's to others but I realise at present that this isn't what I should focus on - others do it much better than I can and I think until I have something unique to offer then there is not much point in me doing it unless its linked specifically to something I have learnt on a project. I prefer to talk about my projects, any classes I have taken and doing book reviews. It seems you love reviews too as they seem to be one of the most popular blog posts. I think this year my emphasis will change again slowly and by the end of next year the blog will most likely look very different to how it does now (including style wise as I am changing the chaotic background soon to something much simpler so watch this space!). I am definitely enjoying constantly evolving and finding my feet with this blog. Trying to learn what works and what doesn't on this platform is something that has taken a little while for me but I hope to produce something more streamlined in the next year.

                           

It is also nice to be involved in the sewing blog world and now that I feel a little more comfortable with the platform I really want to get to know other bloggers out there as it is after all a huge part of why I started writing my blog. This year has been more about creating a space I feel happy to share and getting used to being in the blogshere. To expand my sewing circle of friends would be fantastic. I have found that my friends in general are not very interested in my passion for sewing other than to applaud the fact I can make something and to say that its lovely, but it doesn't satisfy the need to be around others that really get what you love. In an attempt to branch out and meet more like minded people I have joined a London dressmakers group and although I have only been to one meeting so far it was a really welcoming environment and I hope to get to know some of the members better over time. This year I will also become involved in the blog wide sewing challenges and sew-alongs that help create the community that we all love.

            

Lastly I wanted to reflect on the pieces I have made and what I have loved, disliked and what I will do differently next year.

I have loved wearing my Miette skirt from Tilly and the Buttons, my Raspberry Mohair Coat, Liesl + Co Cape and my Capital Chic sweatshirt the most I think. They have fitted so well in to my existing wardrobe without me even trying. The item I have to admit to never wearing past photographing it is the Megan dress - I love it but I realise its too tight fitting and I think that's my fault, the Cynthia Rowley trousers were a one time wear due to the really high waist - it just doesn't feel quite my style which I am gutted about as I envisaged them so differently, and then there is the Burda folk skirt - an epic fail of mammoth proportions! It cost loads and due to rushing it its a mess!!

                    

This year I think I made some inroads into my 2014 sewing resolutions. I definitely did a number of courses to help further my sewing skills and have also used my stash a lot more! I am still attempting to work my way towards thoroughly thinking out my wardrobe before putting scissors to cloth and plan to be much better at it in the future. This year thinking before sewing will be my new mantra! My sewing and blog resolutions below highlight what I want to focus on during this coming year whilst in turn hopefully making this blog more organised and more thematic.


1 - Resolution one is to make more use of the pattern cutting blocks I made this year and attempt to make more of my own patterns. I think I got a little scared I wasn't good enough to do this and have shied away from it this year but I realise my sewing has come a long way since the beginning of the year and I am more ready to attempt self drafting a few things. I just have to push myself a little harder and not be put off if things don't work out first time. So expect a blog post every other month about me self drafting patterns - whether they go right or wrong!!

2 - Resolution two is to try and make more high street copies of things I like with readily available sewing patterns. I realise I don't take enough inspiration from the high street and I should go window shopping more often to get more inspiration. If you have seen my recent coat blog you will know I have already started down this route! Maybe this can become a more regular type of post.

3 - Resolution three is to take part in more sewing activities in the blogosphere like Me Made May, Sew September and Indie Sewing Month as well as partaking in more sew-alongs. As I mentioned before I really want to get more involved and participating in these things is a great way to get yourself out there and to get to know other people in the blogsphere.

4 - Resolution four is a list of sewing techniques I want to achieve and specific garments or fabrics that I want to try my hand at this year. I got inspiration to hone my skills in this way after reading a techniques check list by Fiona from Diary of a Chainstitcher who has done a brilliant tick list on her blog. I think it will be a great way to help keep check of whether I am learning new skills and constantly progressing with my sewing.

Bound Buttonholes
Welt pockets
A fly zip
A lapped zip
A rolled hem
Sewing my man a shirt which includes the need to sew plackets
Piping
Tackling vintage patterns - I recently purchased my first one so hope to sew this up soon.
Sewing velvet
Sewing silk
Sewing with lace
Sewing chiffon
Sewing leather - I plan on making some clutch bags in the New Year
Sewing an underwired bra and knickers
Sewing swimwear
Sewing my first pair of jeans - I have my eye on Closet Case Files lovely skinnies...

5 - Resolution five is simple....to service my poor overworked machine. It's just so hard as I always want to use it!!


What are your resolutions and are you planning to start a blog this year? If you do let me know it would be great to see your work online.

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog during the past year. I hope to get to know some of you over time so please do feel free to make a comment or make suggestions on my posts as its a great way to share.

Happy New Year to you all!! And most importantly Happy Sewing!! 

2 comments:

  1. This was the first post of yours I have read an I will definitely be working my way through all your others! You have made some gorgeous things over the last year. Can I ask what pattern the very top blouse photo is? I love it!! Happy new year!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ami. Happy New Year to you too and thank you for popping by and for the lovely compliments! The blouse is made from Liberty tana lawn and is a Burda Style peplum top pattern from August 2013 - http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/pleated-peplum-top-082013 - I just changed the sleeves to a tulip sleeve. Would totally recommend it as its very flattering on. Happy sewing!

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