Top 5 of 2015!

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Hi, everyone, and happy 2016! Do you guys like doing end-of-year roundups? Because I tend to be pretty active, I’m not the most introspective person, but it’s nice to force myself to stop for a minute and think a bit about the year that’s closing. So I’m pausing a moment to think through my year in crafting!

Hits:

5.) Ondawa sweater

I’ve knitted for a while now, but this year was one in which I really saw a lot of growth in both my interest and skills. I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and love the final product.

Michele Wang Ondawa | Ginger Makes

4.) Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

I never thought I would enjoy quilting, but I loved making this! It was for one of my oldest friends in New York, so I got a huge kick out of picking out sweet prints for it. Seeing a photo of the baby smiling on his quilt seriously pumped me up!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

3.) Southport Dress

I didn’t think it was possible to feel pretty when you’re sweating until I made this dress. It’s magical- a swishy maxi dress that just makes you feel put-together, even on the stickiest of days.

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

2.) Marimekko x Xerea Dress

When I wasn’t wearing this, I wished that I was! It’s so bright and cheerful, and it just makes me smile! I love this dress so much it should be illegal!

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

1.) The “I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum, You Know?” Gerard Coat

I’d wished for a coat like this for YEARS before I finally made one. It’s silly and over-the-top and romantic and warm and really, really fun to wear. Plus, this was a really happy sewing experience– I got to use new skills from my day job to make this, so it was a really satisfying project.

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Misses:

4.) Neoprene Morris Blazer

Ughhhh… I love the color and style of this, but the fabric is just too disgusting to wear. Neoprene is just too clammy and gross for me… or maybe I’m too clammy and gross for it? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

2&3.) Steeplechase Leggings

These look baggy and frumpy, so I never wear them. Unfortunately, I made two pairs at once, so both pairs fit poorly! D’oh!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

1.) Franรงoise Dress

Let’s not talk about this. JUST AVERT YOUR EYES AND SCROLL DOWN!


Highlights:

1.) Change:

After years of feeling panicked and paralyzed every time I thought about a career change, I’m really grateful to have a new goal to move towards!

2.) Challenges

It’s been strange and scary and weird, but having to stretch myself this year has been really good for me. Going to class and having to re-learn how to write papers and take tests, forcing myself to pull the trigger on my online shop, starting a new job where I really didn’t know how to do anything… it’s been tough, but in the way where you can feel yourself growing, if you know what I mean.

3.) Time in the Great Outdoors!

This city kid doesn’t get much time in nature, but I treasure every opportunity I get to play outside. I’m also a huge nerd about the National Parks system, so our trip to Acadia National Park this summer was a huge highlight of the year. We hiked and kayaked and even saw dozens of seals snoozing on rocks! Amazing!

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4.) Friends

This was a fun year walking alongside friends through different life events. A massive highlight was planning a fun girls’ weekend in upstate New York to celebrate a dear friend’s upcoming marriage. Autumn in New York + dear friends = a time you’ll remember always. ๐Ÿ™‚

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5.) Family

Love these dudes so much! Here are my three amigos in Quebec City this summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Reflections:

I didn’t do as much garment sewing this year as I wanted to, but I don’t think it was just because I was busy. I am in a bit of a strange lifestyle now, working in a dusty workshop or at home, and going to fashion school in the evening. It’s sort of hard to know how to dress for that! So I think I was unsure what to sew after I started my upholstery job in May!

Sock knitting is super fun! But collecting sock yarn is even more fun. Don’t believe me? Check out Spun Right Round! I *dare* you not to buy anything! ๐Ÿ™‚

I never thought I’d get any joy from quilting, but it’s oddly soothing. Take big pieces of fabric, cut them into small pieces, sew small pieces into increasingly-larger pieces… it shouldn’t be fun, but it is!

I didn’t have as much time to sew this year, so one strategy that worked was to sew patterns multiple times, or even multiple garments at the same time. I was able to make more homemade gifts this Christmas than I ever have using this strategy, which was nice.

You may have already noticed, but I found a lot of joy this year doing things that I never thought I’d do, or had even said I’d never do- quilting, knitting socks, even starting a business! So, friends, never say never! You might be surprised by what you enjoy!

Goals:

I don’t want to make things too structured in 2016, but one thing that I would like to do is revamp my bedroom a bit. Towards that purpose, I’d like to make some curtains and a new quilt. I also think it would be fun to put my new upholstery skills to use in my apartment. I’d love to jazz up a piece for my home. But that’s about it!

Well, friends, I’m wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016! Thanks for reading and for always inspiring me! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures in the new year!

66 responses

  1. It’s not just you: scuba fabric loves no one. It is, however, FABULOUS for diving and waterskiing gear, a sitch where being warm and clammy is just perfect. Who’da thunk?
    Keep the good stuff going (that sweater is faboo!) and have an excellent new year.

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    • Haha– makes sense! I’ve never done any diving as I’m a truly terrible swimmer, but I’m glad to hear that it’s functional in its intended use! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a wonderful 26, Ernie!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Happy 2016! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hah oh yeah I’m totally with you on not liking scuba. I’ve tried, but it just feels yuck ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Sounds like 2015 was a pretty cool year for you – lots of changes, lots of challenges, lots of growing. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you have a super awesome 2016 – I’m looking forward to hearing what you get up to.

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    • I haven’t actually worn the coat much– we were well into the winter when I finished it up, so I only had a few chances to wear it last year, and it was such a warm December that I haven’t pulled out anything heavier than a jacket yet!

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  3. Some awesome makes here Sonja – my fav is the Marimekko dress – I have a serious weakness for their designs!
    Looking forward to seeing your creative adventures in 2016!

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    • Isn’t Marimekko awesome? Unfortunately I’ve just laid eyes on a new print that I’m desperate to have… gotta save my pennies!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you have a wonderful 2016!!!!

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  4. Happy new year! You’ve had such an exciting year, changing your career path, opening a shop, coming to Montreal to see ME (That was the whole purpose, right? Mmhmm, thought so. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now I’ll be watching for your bedroom inspiration pinterest board and some fab home dec sewing! A bed quilt? an upholstered headboard? Pillowcases? (That’s where my own home dec sewing taps out.) Have fun!

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    • Man, that was such a happy day!!! Let’s meet up again this year, OK?

      I wish I could do an upholstered headboard, but our small and strange bedroom only fits the bed if it’s up against two windows. But I’m thinking about a small bench or something like that to offer a bit more seating in the living room without taking up tons of space. Whenever we have friends over, we’re always dragging an office chair over, and that’s not very elegant! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. It looks like a great year for you! I’m a bit of a National Parks nerd as well– one of the best trips of my life was a road trip I took with one of my best friends, where we hiked around seven national parks in two weeks. I haven’t made it to Acadia, but I’ve heard that it’s gorgeous. I’d also love to see what you do with your bedroom, especially if you can bring some of your new upholstery skills into it. Your job sounds so interesting, based on what I’ve seen on Instagram, and I’d love to read more about what you do with it! Happy New year!

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      • On that trip, we went to Olympic, Redwoods, Yosemite, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain. And we also stopped at some sea lion caves in Oregon, and the state redwoods park that they filmed part of Star Wars in, because we’re geeks like that. ๐Ÿ˜€

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          • On that trip, we went to Olympic, Redwoods, Yosemite, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain. And we also stopped at some sea lion caves in Oregon, and the state redwoods park that they filmed part of Star Wars in, because we’re geeks like that. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  6. Love your 2015 retrospective. I couldn’t hope for a more positively inspiring post to start the new year! I too want to get rid of this paralyzing fear when I just *think* about moving on to a more satisfying job… my main goal for the new year.

    As for wonderful places to visit and hikes, here’s a suggestion for next summer: Lubec, Maine. This little seacoast village is a hidden gem, very secluded and welcoming. You can walk for miles on the deserted beach and unleash the dogs. There are lots of enchanting hiking trails on cliffs and forests by the sea โ€“ just ask the visitor center for access points. Plus, you cross a small bridge and you’re in Canada, on Campobello Island. The place is also magical. Wishing you the best for 2016!

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    • Ahh, that’s too kind, Karen! To be honest, 2014 was one of those years that you’d rather just close the books on, so in 2015 I really felt compelled to change things up. I hope that 2016 is a happy, healthy year for you!

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  7. Happy New Year! All your 2015 hits are beautiful, but I especially love your Ondawa sweater (knitting goals!!). It sounds like you had a really interesting and moving-forward year! I’m sure the new year will bring even more awesome things! Here’s to a creative new year!

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  8. Is your darling eating a peanut-butter filled pretzel from Trader Joe’s in photo #3???? Resolved: stop eating them this year; Unresolved: seeing this photo makes me want to run to TJ’s.

    I love love love your hits this year and glad you got to do some traveling with your boys. They are all incredibly adorable. As are you!

    OMG, that Gerard coat is a dream of mine. Happy new year!

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  9. What a great round-up! I particularly love the ondawa sweater and the margot tenenbaum coat, but all your makes are pretty great TBH. Loved watching you do new things and love your upholstery posts on Instagram. Happy new year and looking forward to seeing more new stuff and chatting in 2016 xxxxx

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    • Thanks, Marilla! I’m hoping to do more upholstery on the side and for friends and family now, and I’ll be sure to blog about it (it feels weird to blog about stuff I’m doing for work!).

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  10. Ooh you’ve just reminded me I need to make a Southport dress in the summer, yours is perfect! Really looking forward to seeing what you get up to on the sewing front in 2016 Sonja, I’ve loved reading your blog this year. xx

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  11. Sounds like a year of big changes! Good for you to actually take the initiative to make those needed life improvements. Very inspiring! Cheers to a great 2016!

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  12. Your marimekko dress is so, so fantastic. And scuba— ugh. I fell for the hype, too. I think it’s really a pretty awful fabric to wear. Maybe the thinner stuff is better but I tried to make a top from thick, wetsuit type scuba and it was horrible. Also, your shop??? How did I miss that?? Going to go browse. Happy new year to you!

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    • Ughhh, it just doesn’t hang right for garments! I dunno… I’ve never really seen a scuba garment, even RTW, and thought, “well, that looks comfortable”!

      Happy 2016 to you and yours, Liza Jane!

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  13. Happy New Year, Sonja! I love all your top 5 pieces, but that sweater – swoon! You did go through a lot of changes this year, and as always, it was fun to be along for the ride here. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!

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  14. although all the top 5 makes are simply wow makes … I just looove that Gerard … whaaaat that is a Gerard … it’s incredible, shows what a great sewist can do with a pattern … see beyond the package pictures. Have a great 2016!
    xx
    ps. there are some fabrics in the shop that really make me drool like Pavlov’s dog …

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    • Thanks for your kind words, Sasha! Gerard is such a lovely pattern and it’s hard not to feel chic when you’re wearing it! Also, I have to confess that sometimes I just grab a bolt of shop fabric and pet it… it’s a perk of the job! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. Oh, my gosh, I adore your roundup pics. That baby is so lucky to get that artfully fun quilt from you, and I’m positively swooning over your Marimekko + Xerea dress. And I’ve been dreaming of visiting Quebec City for years–never been. Your pic is calling out to me. . .

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    • You should go to QC! I bet it’s a fun driving trip from your neck of the woods! It’s funny, it doesn’t feel North American at all– much more European than any other city I’ve been to in the US or Canada.

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  16. I think I might have missed that sweater somehow, and it is utterly beautiful! Congratulations on your spectacular year. I think a year in which you surprise yourself tends to be a good one ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Good luck with the curtains! I have been putting them off for almost four years– terrible, isn’t it? But they’ll be a huge improvement on the broken blinds that are currently in my bedroom!

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  17. I love reading everyone’s round up posts! You’ve made some fantastic things in 2015 Sonja. It’s so lovely to read you talking so positively about embracing change too, it kind of terrifies me but I’m determined to go with the flow and embrace it too this year! Wishing you a wonderful 2015!

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  18. I always love reading your blog and this post is no different; you’re such a fabulously positive lady and I find you very inspiring! ๐Ÿ™‚ all the best for 2016!

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