Happy new year and new decade, dear readers!
Pretty much as last year, I decided to give myself a long break over December and the holiday season and I just did not blog or engage in social media too much. I haven’t even done too much sewing either, it’s been a very lazy winter break. I feel a bit bad for being so unproductive (I’m sure there is a post in there somewhere about the pressure of being creative), but clearly my body and my mind were saying that I need to stop for a little while.
However, even if just for recording purposes, I do want to start writing down a bit a 2019 in review. Planning wise, as the years go by, I feel less and less inclined to set goals and just go with the flow. I mean, I don’t really stick to my plans anyway, so probably better off like this.
Header Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash
2019 really evaporated, not sure if I’m the only one feeling this way… It may be that I’m getting older and have less patience with the hectic rhythm of life or life in the fast lane of living in London and on social media is indeed getting harder and harder.
I was reading back my 2018 review post and I had this weird feeling that half those things actually happened in 2019. They are all blurring together…
Let’s try to extract what really did take place in 2019 though…
2019 saw my first paid collaborations on the blog, with Ann Normandy in January and How to Do Fashion in June (top and trousers). It was a great experience and I got to work with some awesome indie designers. Plus ended up with some awesome garments (but more on that in a bit).
I also achieved 5 years of bogging (without major hiatuses) o the 31st Dec. Sorry, no giveaway this year.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL MY OLD AND NEW READERS IN 2019!
2019 was a very feast and famine year for sewing. I did a bit of sewing at the beginning of the year (for the Ann Normandy collaboration) and some quick casual bottoms for my Costa Rica holiday. But then I sewed nothing for some good 3 months, down with a terrible case of sewjo loss. I got back on the horse with another collaboration in May-June and then went completely crazy in August/Sept when I discovered Fibre Mood magazine and got completely obsessed. Then, not a lot of sewing at the end of the year again. I have a feeling this might be the pattern for 2020 as well, as I seem to have acquired some new creative hobbies that are all new and shiny, so sewing has taken a bit of a step back. I am also changing my job in March and there will be a lot of travelling, so I foresee even less time to sew than before. Maybe this will make me more inclined to do it, I don’t know.
Anyway, back to what I sewed this year…
I realised that I sewed quite a few garments that never made on the blog or even Instagram, so I will probably share them in future posts (loads of them are already photographed).
I made 18 garments for me this year:
- 3 dresses (Ann Normandy Maxi dress, Fibre Mood Mira, Fibre Mood Rosalie)
- 2 skirts (Burda pleated asymmetric midi skirt in grey suiting – unblogged; Fibre Mood Jutta )
- 2 sweatshirt (Fibre Mood Nara inspired and Fibre Mood Rosalie hack – unblogged)
- 1 t-shirt (Secondo Piana Basic InstincT with screen printed detail)
- 1 jumpsuit (self-drafted)
- 4 trouser (How to Do Fashion Madrid, Papercut Patterns Anima, Spit up and Stilettoes Mathilda leggings, a pair of Burda joggers)
- 4 tops (How to do Fashion Vanlose, Fibre Mood Sara, Fibre Mood Frances, Seamwork Astoria top)
- 1 coat (Thrifty Stitcher Dawson Coatigan)
2019 was also the year of footwear! I made my first pair of trainers which I loved and wore like mad all year. Plus a pair of espadrilles.
I also restarted knitting again after 20 years, and I made a woollen hat (I lost my old one in the Hague in March). Currently in the process of making a jumper, but that will probably end up on next year’s list.
I also tried to tackle my mending pile and was partially successful in 2019, having fixed two jumpers with pleather sleeves that were falling apart which came back into the wardrobe. I also refashioned a pair of denim shorts from a gifted Levi’s.
A total of 21 items incl. shoemaking and knitting (vs 16 last year), but they were all for me! In my Fibre Mood madness, I had gone a bit mental over the summer… However, two items were from fabric scavenged from other garments already in my wardrobe, so I feel a bit less guilty, and the espadrilles were made from leftovers from the denim shorts.
My rule of thumb is 12 garments per year – one a month. So like last year, I am a bit off. I feel a bit better than more than half of the garments I made in 2019 were in super heavy rotation this year (and now I have the data to prove it).
The trainers were definitely in my top 10 most worn items. I also wore the jumpsuit, Mira dress, the sweatshirt, the t-shirt, the Rosalie top and the pink trousers quite a lot. The Frances top went to the charity, unfortunately, because I had dyed the fabric and only realised after I made the top that it had dye stains that were too bad to wear. But it’s a great pattern and I want to definitely make another one in the summer.
My favourite make(s) of the year:
My trainers. Btw, if you’d like to make your own, I’m teaching trainer making in 3 locations and dates in Q1 2020: 19th Jan at Tea & Crafting, 1st Feb at Green Lab, 28th March at Village Haberdashery.
And this self-drafted jumpsuit:
Biggest sewing take-away of 2019: Creativity flows, so I should not feel bad if I don’t feel like sewing. However, I need to manage when it comes back, as I tend to sew all the things. I was a bit disappointed with how much I ended up sewing this year. There were some more complex projects, like the Dawson coat, but mostly I sewed quick and easy projects, some of which I ended up not wearing that much.
In 2019, I continued to develop my personal style, though I only ended up doing one 10×10 challenge – the Green one in Spring. But it still is a great exercise to get new ideas and creativity into my wardrobe.
2019 was also the year of seriously tracking my wardrobe. I completed a year of daily tracking at the end of September – you can read about the results here. And started on a new year, which is going even better.
My colours of the year were definitely grey, pink and navy. But especially grey. I can’t get enough of it!
I did some serious purging this summer, especially in the handmade category. A lot of the garments from my earlier sewing years are no longer in line with my style, so they went to better homes, I hope. I also started letting more second-hand items into my life, some gifted, some from a swap (come and join us on the 12th Jan at the Village Haberdashery).
My favourite outfits of the year:
Biggest style take-away of 2019: Minimalism continues to be the operative word. However, must continue the purging, the numbers from the wardrobe count were staggering!
2019 continued to be a year of sustainability for me personally and also, in the sewing community. The conversations increased and more and more people in the sewing community became aware and started making changes in their sewing practices and lives to live more sustainably. I am glad that sustainability topics on the blog continue to do well and they get a lot of shares on social media.
Biggest sustainability take-away of 2019: finding ways to talk about sustainability to help people make changes without being preachy and depressing.
OTHER CREATIVE HOBBIES
I don’t want to let the year in review pass by without talking about a new creative hobby I acquired this year (other than shoemaking). Inspired by Saki Jane on Instagram I discovered the possibilities of making jewellery with polymer clay, especially earrings. You might have noticed that I am obsessed with big earrings, especially since I cut my hair short. So this autumn has been extremely hectic in this space. I made loads of earrings and pretty much all my friends got some. My husband is worried as to where I’m going to put them all, but I’ve got a pasta machine and I’m not afraid to use it :).
So feel free to get in touch if you fancy a pair, happy to make stuff to order, or I can start listing stuff in IG to dig into my ever-increasing collection.
PLANS FOR 2020
I still have loads of stuff that I was planning to sew in 2019 that I did not get a chance to do. Having said that, just these past few days I managed to tick off two repair projects, including replacing the zipper of a pair of jeans that I made in March 2017 and never wore (the zipper broke the first time I put them on) and taking in a nice Seamwork Ida dress. Feeling productive already!
Also, looking at last year’s plans, I realised I did manage to tick off three projects: another midi skirt and a pair of joggers which just squeezed in in the last weeks of 2019. Plus the pink trousers that I made in the summer.
So, the list for 2020:
- a tailored jacket, preferably some sort of colour – I already have the fabric and pattern, just need to get going (it’s a Fibre Mood Kai jacket)
- a pair of Morgan Jeans that I am making with fabric recovered from an old pair of men’s jeans from a charity shop
- everyday trousers or culottes – I definitely need more bottoms in my life, preferably something other than black; I have some awesome navy and grey fabric in my stash that I can’t wait to use
- a long cardigan to replace this one that I gifted to my sister
I know that I will end up sewing on a whim as I did this year, but I would very much like to keep that to a low and sew from the stash as much as possible. I have approx. 80 pieces of fabric currently in my stash (and that’s after a serious purge in autumn). I’d really like to do a proper inventory at some point… Here’s a good goal right there :).
Other than that, I really don’t want to put any more pressure on myself. I’m starting a new job in March, after 10 years with my current company, so I foresee a lot of mental and physical challenges (it’s part-time based in Nottingham, so a lot of time on trains), with little time to sew. However, I will probably get more time to blog, so hoping to get a better publishing record than this year, where I slacked off seriously towards the end of the year.
On that note, I’d love to hear from you what you’d like to read more about this year.
Right, this is it, let’s get this show on the road and have a smashing 2020 and a great decade ahead!
WHAT ARE YOUR 2019 HIGHLIGHTS? AND WHAT ARE YOU HOPING/PLANNING FOR 2020?
I love the earrings, Alex! I’ve been making some large drop earrings with leather scraps which is also fun…and bonus points for being very lightweight.
Yeah, that’s exactly it! I love my really big earrings and they usually kill my ears. Have you posted about yours? I’d love to see them.
Leather is the solution! You can see some that I made in this post: https://frivolousatlast.com/2017/06/29/named-sointu-kimono-tee-diy-leather-earrings/
and in this one: https://frivolousatlast.com/2019/11/05/literary-sewing-circle-project-jalie-rachel-top/
I could picture a version of the earrings you made in leather…it would totally work.
And BTW, if you happen make ‘too many’ earrings and need to get rid of any, I would be so delighted to take a pair off your hands. 🙂
Lori, I so love these! Especially the teardrop ones! I’ll post some pics of what I have on IG and I’ll tag you. I’d love for you to have some!! And I can make some new ones as well!!
LOVE LOVE LOVE your earrings. I also wanted to vote about the sustainability blog content too (I voted styling) as that’s what attracted me to your blog in the first place.
I love your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more in 2020. Glad you said about your fabric stash, I have currently got 13 so have worked out a project per month, so now don’t feel too guilty…!
I love the earrings too and was coming to suggest some other lighter materials. I am nickel allergic, so stopped being able to wear most metals, and have had to give up most of my earring collection (it’s the findings). The lightweight material I loved for the colour and movement that can be created using it is Friendly Plastic – try googling Friendly Plastic strips. You can either melt it in boiling water or in the oven. I had a pair of leaves that swirled in copper colours, a pair of white pearly shells I’d moulded over real shells, bright red poppies and a massive fish brooch from the stripy blues and greens. It’s so much lighter than FIMO.
And you can use aluminium cans – Coke cans give you a bright red with silver back maybe with white details, Lilt gives you yellow and green, special anniversaries produce different colours. I had some amazing spirals made from the metal strips coiled around a pen. Decent scissors or tin snips cut them, you just need to sand the edges smooth and rounded. Punch through with a nail to make the hole for the findings..