2018! Here we go! (+ 3 years bloggoversary giveaway)

Hello, hello, darlings! Freshly returned from the virtually internet-less Cuba, where I enjoyed the most wonderful 3 weeks of relaxation, you will pardon the delay in presenting you with the customary year review + goals and resolutions New Year post.

In fact, please pardon the lack of customary reviews and goals (though I will put down a few reflections, just for records’ sake).

On the plus side, I have just about celebrated my 3-year bloggoversary, on the 31st Dec, but I was too deep in the clutches of jet lag to be coherent enough to write about it. However, as it is customary, I have a little giveaway for you, courtesy of Simplicity patterns.

Enter the giveaway to win this pattern, which I will send directly to the lucky winner at the end of next week.


Here’s a little something for you:

New Look Pattern 6452 Misses’ Tops with Bodice and Hemline Variations, sizes from 8-20.



To participate, simply follow me on Instagram and ‘Like’ my latest post. If you already do, you can ‘Like’ my Facebook page instead. Or do both for more chances to win! Shortcuts can be easily accessed from the right side menu.

Giveaway entries close on 15th Jan.

Righty ho…

So, as I was saying, the planning part of this post will be very shot.

My sewing plans for this year is to have NO PLANS AT ALL!

I have realised over the years that trying to stick to a plan generates a lot of stress and guilt that frankly, I don’t need in my life right now.

However, I do want to slow down my sewing, and tackle more complicated projects, like coats and tailored jackets, and definitely another pair of jeans. And maybe, shock-horror, sew more for other people. And make a bag with all the trimmings.

And that’s it!

Now… Back to the reflections bit…

2017 was a better year than I thought. Nothing major happened, but there were a lot of fun firsts, though not as much sewing as I would have liked.

This year I visited two of my favourite places ever: South Africa in February and Cuba in December, plus a fabulous Italian adventure in May. I absolutely ticked three of my bucket list destinations so 2018 will have a lot to live up to!

And I also managed to tick off an amazing list of activities:

  • climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town
  • swimming with sharks in Gaansbai (albeit in a cage)
  • seeing a leopard in the wild in Krueger National Park
  • drinking chianti in a vineyard in Chianti
  • scuba diving to see a coral reef
  • dancing salsa in Havana

Now, on the sewing front…

Yet another year without making a proper coat, but not for lack of trying. There were attenuating circumstances. My sewing room was in disarray for almost a month before we left for Cuba, so really ran out of time. But I have chosen a pattern, I have the fabric (from the stash, which is even better) and I’m rearing to go.

I love that again I have sewed some of my favourite items for the second year in a row. I feel that my style is beginning to crystallise more and more, resulting in a wardrobe that is me-made and makes me feel amazing about myself. I have sewn a bit less this year, for various reasons, but I feel they have been more meaningful garments, that reflect my style and that get worn a lot, even if perhaps not the most complex ones.

In no particular order:

Esplanade bra hack

DIY fashion Strapless dress with high-low hem

Burda sheath dress

Burda Mag 2015-11-114 Green Rib (2017) #04

Sew Sew Def Katie dress

Sew Sew Def Katie Dress #01

McCalls M7444 Jumpsuit

M7444 Red Knit (2017) #12

McCalls 7542 bell sleeve blouse

M7542 BW Stripes (2017) #03

I feel I have cemented some techniques and feel more confident to tackle any pattern or fabric. I also feel quite chuffed with my fitting, I have had no major fitting disasters this year and no items ended up in the recycling bin.

I also have a new sewing room that I love (big reveal coming soon), which was a really long time in the making for various reasons, but which feel almost perfect for my sewing needs.

For the third year in a row, I have continued my RTW fast, with absolutely no clothes bought this year (except tights). I also have toned down my fabric shopping as well, bar the 3 visits to Abakhan, and ditto for patterns. I have also tried to sew as much as possible from the stash, it’s large enough, so I don’t really have issues finding something that would work.

2017 has definitely been the Burda Year, as I have sewn loads of awesome garments based on their patterns. I do have a bit of a Burda Magazine habit, I must confess, and I bought almost all the issues in 2017, plus a few back issues that I really liked. I feel I do get a lot more for my money, so many patterns to access, and I feel their style really appeals to me and where I want to take my wardrobe.

Burda Oversized Jumper

Oversize V-Neck Sweater Burda Style 12-2015 #118A-2

On the blogging side, I have invested a lot in learning more about the science of it, how to optimise my SEO, how to write better, as well as dedicating a lot of time to promoting my posts on a multitude of social media platforms. And it definitely worked. I posted less than in previous years but got more traffic and more engagement. For the first time, I introduced a blogging schedule (which I may or may not stick to all the time), and I reached out to the community for guest bloggers. I have been balancing my makes posts with more musings/opinion posts and I loved starting a dialogue with the community, like in the post about sewing guilt.

But perhaps my most exciting project of this year was launching the #FabricShoppingOnTour project, which is my way of giving something back to the sewing community, in this case, a directory for fabric shopping in different cities of the world. Please let me know if you want to make a contribution, either by writing a guide for your city or by sending me a guide that you wrote (or have come across), or by requesting a guide for a city that I haven’t included yet. And of course, by spreading the word.

Fabric shops reviews guides sewing blogs

And that’s it.

Now bring on that 2018!



  1. You know, it never would have occurred to me that you feeling like you are still figuring out your style – from where I stand, you definitely have it nailed! Dramatic, modern, and strong, I’d say. I heard the Love to Sew podcast talking about your Fabric Shopping on Tour project in their most recent episode, and I’m excited to write a guide to my area sometime soon! Happy 2018!


    1. Thank you, Gillian! Let’s just say that it’s an ongoing process to transition my wardrobe from what it is to what I have in my mind so that it reflects the look I think I have now decided on if that makes sense. And so it still feels like I’m not wearing something that truly represents my style every day, and definitely, it’s not all me-made.

      I haven’t heard the podcast yet, as I was away without internet, so just catching up. I bet I will end up squealing when I hear Helen & Carolyn talking about it. Really looking forward to your contribution.

      Have a fabulous 2018!


  2. You’ve had a fabulous year and I’ve enjoyed reading along with you! I love all of your makes, but love the bell sleeve blouse as it’s been a year of sleeves for me! Here’s to a fun filled 2018 with more trips and sewing.


    1. Thank you! I am surprised I did not make more fab sleeves this year, when I made the top and the dress I was convinced I will just be making loads of them.
      Have a fab 2018!


  3. Congrats on 3 years Alex! Love your pick of favourites and it was fun to read about your travels too. What fun! It was so wonderful to meet you in person last year and to chinwag about blogging and style. I wish you all the best for 2018 xxx


    1. Thank you, Diane! Meeting you at the GBSB live was definitely a highlight of the year for me! I am really looking forward to more in-person catch-ups this year.


  4. Happy New Year! I’m with you on not setting specific goals for sewing – I can never stick to them for one reason or the other. Most people seem to be committed to sewing from their stash this year which is a good plan and one I’m aiming to follow, although I have just bought two new patterns!!


    1. Thank you, Janet, happy New Year to you too! I will also try to Sew from the stash as much as possible (and try to limit my visits to Abakhan, that’s the one place I can’t resist). Goodness knows I have enough of it! And Burda mags to last me for the next 20 years!! 😬 What patterns did you get?


  5. I enjoyed reading how you’re tackling the whole “goal” issue. I’ve joined the RTW 2018 Fast for the first time realizing this should be an easy one for me! I only purchased 5 RTW last year and 2 were outer wear (this year I’m definitely making a coat like you – I’ve fallen in love with the Hemisferic Coat by Pauline Alice!) and a couple were pull-on jeans (which I will master this year) Already this challenge has nudged me to consider more carefully what I own and need so I like it! Happy New Year to you and thank you for producing such a helpful and thought provoking blog 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen, and for your lovely, thoughtful comments all year long. I have joined the Rtw fast as well, though feel a bit like I’m cheating, as I am already doing it anyway. I’m going to check that coat out, though I don’t need more inspiration, I have (finally decided on the coat pattern).


      1. I was literally talking to my husband yesterday about how Kathleen is EVERYONE’S personal cheerleader! Kathleen, you leave the most thoughtful comments, and I can’t count how many times I’ve scrolled to the bottom of my favourite blogs, and see you there, cheering them on. I think you deserve a “Best Commentor” award! ❤ Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Esplanade is a really amazing pattern. I don’t sew lingerie, but I hear all other patterns by Orange Lingerie are great too. I am planning on using that hack on a stretch denim wiggle dress at some point this year. Very excited about that (see, and I say no plans, ha ha!).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on your blogiversary and what a terrific round up post. I’ve been seeing jumpsuits like yours all over the place, and would love one except for the whole bathroom issue!


    1. Thank you, Sue for all your wonderful comments all last year. You are one of my favourite people in the sewosphere and I can only hope we will get to meet face to face in 2018.
      P.S. Bathroom issues are true indeed, but with me it’s always style over practicality when it comes to jumpsuits 😬.

      Liked by 1 person

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