2012 Reflections/Inspiration

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about 2012 by now, but don’t fear– this is my last wrap-up post!  For the 100th time (but I sincerely mean it!), thank you, Gillian!

2012’s handmade gifts


1.) I’m not a newbie?

2012 marked the year that I began to feel comfortable thinking of myself as a sewist and a blogger.  2011 was my first year sewing, and I felt afraid to try new things (and when I did, I had mixed results at best).  I’m starting to feel more confident now, knowing that I have so much to learn, but I can and will learn!  I feel much less fearful and much more excited about what my future holds.  Becoming a member of the Mood Sewing Network this year encouraged me to push myself and to work with new fabrics, techniques, and styles (but really, how could I not push myself?  Have you SEEN the other sewists Mood chose?  They make me quake in my boots!).

2012’s knitted garments (some of them are gifts)

2.) Strive for excellence, not perfection.

There’s a poster in my mother-in-law’s guest bedroom full of instructions for how to live a good life (“Call your mother” is underlined in Sharpie, just to drive that point home).  These words jumped out at me– try your hardest, do a good job, seek to improve… but let go of small imperfections!  Perfectionism can suck all the joy out of making.  This is a lesson that I’ve tried hard to absorb this year, and I hope to carry it into 2013.

2012’s tops

3.) Relationships enrich the act of creating.

I love holing up at home and spending the weekend at the sewing machine, but as an outgoing, chatty extrovert, I’ve come to realize how much joy I draw from the communal aspects of the blogosphere.  I love cheering on and commiserating with you guys, keeping tabs on the projects you’re working on, snooping new patterns, and giggling at photos of your pets on Instagram.  2012 was filled with sewalongs, swaps, and meetups, and it was so fun to get to know some of you better!  Heck, I even met in person: Mika, Kerry, Liz, Kelli, Janice, Cindy, Marina, Inna, Peter, Nettie, Christine, Devra, Tricia, Rachel, and Oona!  I honestly believe that my fellow sewing bloggers are among the coolest people on earth.  Meeting up with other people to sew, learn, shop, and hang out is something that I really treasure.

2012’s Grainline patterns (plus a pair of Simplicity pajama pants)!

4.) Take time BEFORE you start sewing to save time AFTER you start.

I made some successful projects this year when I:

  • measured pattern pieces and compared the measurements to similar garments that fit well
  • made muslins and carefully altered them
  • read others’ reviews of patterns
  • paired patterns and fabrics carefully
  • selected projects that would fill holes in my wardrobe
  • didn’t start sewing at midnight

Any failures I had could usually be chalked up to disregarding one (or more!) of these steps.

2012’s indie dresses

5.) My eyes are bigger than my stomach!

I have so many ideas, goals, and self-imposed deadlines, but I rarely have a good handle on how much I can reasonably accomplish.  In 2013, I’ll try to be more realistic about what I can get done, how quickly I can get it done, and how much fabric (and patterns, oh, no!) I actually need and will use.  I spent most of 2012 feeling like I was buried under UFO’s, to-makes, and piles of fabric!

2012’s Big 4 dresses


It goes without saying that I’m inspired by all of you every time I attack my blogroll!  I’m really not into Pinterest, I don’t read style blogs, I haven’t bought a fashion magazine since I was in my teens, but the sight of a gorgeous dress on one of you has me clicking “buy” on a new pattern before my wallet has a chance to let out a whimper of protest!  That said, my official sources of inspiration have to be the indie designers that had me wiping drool off my keyboard all year long– Kristiann, Megan, Jen, Sarai, Tasia, Charlotte and Elisalex, Cindy, Dixie, Zo, and Katie.  Thanks, gals, for following your dreams and giving me sweet patterns to make up (so I don’t have to draft my own… we all know I fear math!)!  I will gladly shell out my cash to you– since the feeling you get when you wear a brand-new, super cool, unique dress is basically PRICELESS.  Those of you that give your patterns away for free… holy cow, I could smooch ya smack-dab on the lips!

2012’s vintage pattern makes

Final Tally:

I felt like I had a pretty unproductive year, since I’m a pretty slow sewist and my knitting output was greatly reduced by my sewing mania.  But when I counted up my makes this year, I found that I had hand-made 33 items this year!  That broke down as follows:

  • 9 knitted items
  • 24 sewn items
  • 11 handmade gifts
  • 1 skirt
  • 9 dresses
  • 11 tops
  • 4 unblogged items (2 are gifts that haven’t been delivered, 1 is a FO I hate, and 1 I just realized I never blogged!)
  • 14 garments from indie sewing patterns
  • 6 garments from big 4 patterns
  • 3 garments from vintage patterns
  • 3 Tiny Pocket Tanks
  • 3 Renfrews

How do your 2012 makes compare to mine?  What did you make the most of?  What did you wear the most?  And what lessons did you take away from 2012?

Most importantly, Happy New Year!  I sincerely hope that 2013 brings you joy, good health, and adventure!

83 responses

  1. Woah you seriously started only sewing in 2011?? My mind has been blown, I figured you’d been sewing for ages! I can’t believe how talented you are as it is, let alone the fact that you’ve only been at it for a couple years.

    I need to take your pre-sewing tips and post them above my sewing machine or something. ha because I am the worst at taking those steps. I completely agree though, they make SUCH a difference.

    Here’s to a great sewing-filled 2013. 🙂


    • You are TOO sweet! Don’t look too closely at my stuff or you’ll see that I haven’t been sewing too long! 🙂

      I really hope you have a lovely 2013! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


  2. Okay #5 applies to me too and I’ve been sewing longer than you’ve lived! 🙂 You had a remarkable year and please your sewing fits in with the rest of us at MSN just fine. It’s about the love of the craft and you definitely have that! Can’t wait to see what comes out of your sewing machine and your needles in 2013!


  3. Number 4 is EXCELLENT advice! I had a couple of “duh” moments that most definitely could have been avoided if I just took some time to set myself up for success! Here’s to smart sewing in 2013 😉


  4. A really thoughtful post. I enjoyed reading your reflections. That’s a good idea to measure the pattern pieces against your own measurements before you start. I haven’t been doing this but I should definitely start. That way I could avoid complete time wasting on the first muslin, where say the waistband is too tight.


  5. You’re so right, meeting others or even just following progress via a blog is so fun and really gives a sense of community. Lovely to meet you this year – come to Glasgow! 🙂


  6. Happy New Year! Same as you, I am a slow seamstress but I don’t see it as disadvantage. I prefer making fewer garments of higher quality rather then sewing one garment a week. And it was so cool to meet you and few other bloggers in person! Maybe this year we can meet again in Tokyo!


  7. Wow and wow, that is a serious amount of FOs for an unproductive year! I really like your point about taking time at the beginning to save later. It’s so true, but so tempting to avoid in the excitement of wanting to get on with it! I talked about accepting my perfectionist tendencies in my reflections but I really like your focus on excellence. In reality, I guess that’s what mine is, because there’s no way I’m ever perfect, but I really like that simple mantra – excellence, not perfection.

    And finally, on the newbie thing, I still feel like a newbie but the last few of projects I’ve made (two of which I haven’t blogged yet because I am bad!!) I’ve been much happier with. It was as though I woke up one day and could actually sew a lot better. Sounds weird, but everything from more accurate cutting to sewing straighter seams and finishing more neatly just seemed to click. I was waiting for the day when all my cursing and frustration paid off! 🙂


    • It’s amazing how sometimes everything suddenly clicks into place and you sail through a project! Sometimes it’s hard to see the baby steps that we take as we’re learning, but then suddenly we realize how much we’ve learned! Here’s hoping that you have a great 2013!


  8. This is a thoughtful and interesting wrap-up! Sounds like a great year to me – I hope you think so, too! (That “vintage-style” dress is red is my favorite!)


  9. I knew you’d been amazing this year! Don’t worry about speed, I’m not fast either, I just enjoy it! I can’t wait to see what you get up to this year, I’m looking forward to joining you for the ride, I hope it’s going to be a great year for us all!


  10. I absolutely adore reading your blog. You make such beautiful clothes – and I love that they all suit your style so well and you get so much use out of them. I always get sucked in to making beautiful things that just do not work in my daily life, so they sit in my closet. I’m inspired by your work! And thank you SO much for listing these wonderful indie pattern designers. I love seeing the unique designs that they create. You’re awesome!!


    • Thank you SO much for your sweet words! I’ve really made an effort lately to try to balance fun things with everyday things. And I’m so grateful to all the indie designers for offering us such fun patterns!


  11. I think I need to keep all of these things in mind too. Especially the one about not just jumping in and taking the time to set up everything correctly before starting to save time later. Oh, and not letting that pesky perfectionism get in the way of creativity. Can’t wait to see what you make up in 2013!


  12. Wow, I was impressed by how much you made! I mean, that is a lot- don’t you dare call yourself unproductive!
    The message you put forth about not being too perfectionistic is one I need to learn and relearn. It’s so true though that it sucks the joy right out!
    Happy New Year 🙂


    • I guess every project always takes so much longer than it seems like it will! That makes it seem like I’m not accomplishing much. It’s probably good that I can’t sew any faster or I would have way too many clothes! 🙂


  13. Woah girl!! I knew you had an great creative 2012 b/c I saw all your projects as you posted but seeing them all lined up is super impressive! I love the part of this post about giggling at instagram pets, your puggy photos crack me up and now that I only have an ex-pug (yeah, I lost her in the split) I’m going to need those puggies to keep on coming, hahaha! Can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2013.


  14. What a fabulous and insightful post. You had a great year and created some wonderful garments. I really like you in those bright colours they really suit your coloring and bubbly personality. Wishing you a great and productive 2013! Happy New Year


  15. Lovely list! I’ve been wondering about the line between beginner and intermediate myself… There are tons of techniques I haven’t tried, but I feel pretty confident with lots of others! ALways more to learn though! 🙂

    Happy New Year!!!


  16. great post, ginger! i look forward to following you (and, i hope, seeing you again IN PERSON!) in 2013. 🙂 i felt the same way re: productivity, and realized i also had more than 30 makes this year…i completely relate to the idea of eyes getting bigger than my stomach 🙂


  17. I love how you organized your photo mosaics 🙂 And I had the same reaction when I counted up my FOs for the year (sewing only) – I was astounded! And like you, the increase in sewing led to a decrease in knitting productivity. I’m going to look for more balance this year!


  18. Great tips for successful projects! I really need to start making an effort with some of those, cutting corners is too tempting but I know it’ll be worth it in the end!
    Seeing all your pics together has made me realise how many GORGEOUS things you’ve made this year, not that I didn’t know that already! You are one skilled seamstress and I love your style!


  19. Wow – that’s all I can say in response to your makes of 2012. Some gorgeous things in there especially the dresses. I am looking forward to seeing what you make in 2013. I was happy to have just been able to make a few thing s in 2012 as it was a chaotic year for me. My lesson for 2013 is that I am going to have to try work harder on the fit of my homemade clothes. I am too lazy and sloppy about getting the sizing right. And consider my fabric choices more carefully. 🙂 xx


  20. in the 5th picture down, the navy & cream (i think) dress – i love it! what is the pattern? did you blog about that one? link? thanks from a new reader. 🙂


  21. It looks to me like you had a very productive year! I agree sometimes it’s hard to hole yourself up for a whole weekend to finish something, but girl you have a lot to show for it! Happy 2013 to you!


    • Thanks, girl! I’m always so mad at myself when I skip them! It’s always because I decide at the last minute that I HAVE TO HAVE A NEW DRESS for a wedding or something. Working on either making something early or not at all! 🙂


  22. aww, reading your reflection really made me smile. you’ve made some of my fave sewn garments i’ve seen last year and you seem like a really fun person! i like your goals, i can totally relate. i think realizing how much i can actually make vs how much i want to make and being ok with that difference is going to be the hardest goal for me to meet this year.


    • Thanks, Dixie! I feel the same way about your garments this year– you just had such a successful year! It’s just SO hard to whittle down the list of things you’d like to make into a doable list.


  23. You’re such an inspiration to a newb like me! 🙂 I’m so glad I found your page on the mood sewing network. I’m excited to see what’s in store for you in 2013.


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