Top 5 of 2017: Goals

Happy new year folks!

via GIPHY

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive season. I’ve had a lovely Christmas and Betwixtmas. It was mine and the manfriend’s 5th Christmas together and we’re finding our stride and traditions. Christmas Eve now features watching Arthur Christmas – I cry every time – and some veg prep. Christmas day my mum, nan, their dogs and sometimes my uncle come to us. There’s presents, booze, food, silly games and joy. Then on Boxing Day we go to the Manfriend’s parents’ house for more of the same with his giant family – he’s the youngest of five so if everyone is there I think there’s about 20 people.

Betwistmas is then spent hardly getting dressed, snaffling crisps, nuts and chocolate and watching TV, reading or pootling about. It’s wonderful. I’ve had a cold and a chesty cough so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed just being able to laze around and recuperate. We watched series 2 of Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix this year and that was a fun addition to Christmas. I got the same sort of joy from watching that as I do from watching World’s Strongest Man – there’s just something I like about watching athletic feats whilst I’m stuffing crap food into my face and barely moving from the sofa.

I also got a pretty fantastic new sewing machine for Christmas. It’s a Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0 was a Black Friday bargain (nearly half price!) that I bought myself and then Aled and my mum gave me some money towards it so it got wrapped up for Christmas.

Anyway, goals. Let’s start by looking at how I did with last year’s goals. 

2017 Goals

  1. Stashbust! – Big old fail. The stash grew again. Sigh.
  2. Make a shirt – I made two Sew Over It Alex shirt dresses (one for me and one as a Christmas present for my mum) so I suppose that counts but it’s not what I intended when I set the goal. I intended a collar stand and sleeve placket. So this is a half success.
  3. Become a wrinkle whisperer –  Nope.
  4. Jeans! – I tried.
  5. Sew something with silk – Nope.

2018 Goals

1. Make things that bring me joy

The most important goal I think. I want to make more things that make me grin every time I put them on. It might be because I love the fabric, because I got a good fit or because I enjoyed the making. It doesn’t matter as long as wearing it makes me happy. (I made a festive sloth t-shirt on boxing day that definitely fulfils this brief.)

2. Put less pressure on myself

I didn’t have a great year with my mental health in 2017 and putting a load of pressure on myself with my sewing (touched on in my Reflections post) probably didn’t exactly help. So this year I’m going to make far more realistic plans and be kinder to myself about meeting them. No more lists of 28 things I want to make in three months.

Ooh, less “all or nothing” YouTubing too. It’s better to do one video every couple of weeks than get hung up on getting a video up every week and then falling off the face off the world for months when I burn out.

3. Try out a few new techniques

Maybe I’ll make a list like Fiona from Diary of a Chainstitcher of techniques I’d like to try so I can check them off as I go. I definitely still want to have a go at a shirt with sleeve plackets and a stand collar. I want to sew something with godets too and maybe I’ll brave a welt pocket this year.

4. Stashbust

I can’t not put this one on the list even though I’ve never managed it. I have started to be a lot more conscious with my fabric choices and I’m trying harder to only buy fabric when I have immediate plans to sew it.

5. Be a better blogger

Be a better photographer might be a more apt goal here as I’m fine with the writing bits, it’s the making myself presentable and taking photos of my makes that I’ve struggled with. I have so many unblogged makes now. I’d like to stay on top of that a bit better this year. I should probably start by taking photos of my top 5 hits and misses like I threatened to in my Reflections post…

So those are my goals. They’re a bit less SMART and a bit more fluffy this year but I’m cool with that as I generally seem to fail the SMART ones. Have you made goals this year? Have you gone SMART or more general like me this year?

Top 5 of 2017: Reflections

It’s top 5 time! Woooo! I love lists so I always enjoy writing these posts and reading other people’s top 5 and round-up posts. I’m doing things slightly differently this year and starting with reflections because I’ve been such a terrible blogger this year I don’t have photos of my hits or misses. They’ll have to follow once I’ve taken some photos. I’ve taken a bit of pre-Christmas leave so I’m already off work (whoop!) and I’m planning to have a bumper photoshoot at some point. Though I have been struck down by the lurgy so who knows if I’ll actually make good on that particular plan.

Anyway, my reflections:

1. I’ve gotten good at pattern tetris

This hasn’t really helped my stashbusting as I can usually get patterns out of much less fabric and I always end up with left over fabric – sometimes usable and sometimes in the annoying middle ground of being too big to get rid of but too small to actually be useful. I enjoy the sport of trying to use as little fabric as possible though. Some layplans can be so wasteful and I really appreciate it when a designer has put a fabric saving layout. Kitschy Coo’s Lady Skater dress is a good one for that. I also find it really baffling when the fabric requirements say that you’ll need more fabric if your print is directional and then the layplan has all the pattern pieces facing the same way. But I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent there. Single layer cutting and pattern puzzles are my jam.

2. I still don’t know how to fit properly

I tried to make a fitted dress for Halloween and the whole fitting process just went so badly I abandoned the plan. I’ve definitely learned things about my preferred fit and some of my body’s quirks but I still feel really clueless about how to fit. It was one of my goals this year to become a wrinkle whisperer and I don’t think I’ve made any progress with that one. This is the aspect of sewing that makes me wish I had a sewing relative who could take me under their wing.

3. I over plan

I always have really long lists of things I want to make. Far more than I ever actually make and then I end up putting loads of pressure on myself to make all the things and feel disappointed in myself, or worse, guilty, when I don’t make them. Which is stupid because this is my hobby. I am under no obligation to make anything at all.

I just did a quick count and my summer sewing wishlist had 28 things on it. Autumn had 24. To put that into a little bit of perspective: I made 26 things in the whole of last year and the most items I’ve ever made in one month is 7. So the most garments I could make in a season is 21. And that would only be if I was neglecting everything else in my life or if they were all simple things, which a lot of items on those lists were not. So that’s something to work on next year.

4. I suck the fun out of challenges

This one is very much linked to the over planning one. I want to take part in all the challenges and I constantly add more and more things I want to make to my list and then it all becomes something I have to do instead of something I want to do. Which goes completely against what the organisers are intending and what the hobby is supposed to be about. I still want to take part in challenges but I need to try to be a bit more laid back about them and not heap unnecessary pressure on myself. I’m already working on this one and it’s why I’m not doing the Little Red Dress Project this year even though I would have liked to.

5. It’s okay to buy clothes

I bought two pairs of jeans this year and that’s fine. I would still like to make jeans but trying to fit and sew jeans as quickly as possible because you’ve torn your only pair that fit isn’t a great plan. So I bought two pairs. I don’t particularly like the fit on either of them though. Jeanuary anyone?

There we go, that’s some of the things I’ve learned about me and myself and my sewing this year. I’ve been giving a bit of thought to next year’s goals already and I’ll probably write that post next. I’m doing this all backwards! Hope you’re all well and I’ll be back soon.

Top 5 of 2016: Goals for 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve. Me and Aled went to my mum’s and we had a good old fashioned fondue (an oil one, where you deep fry meat and vegetables, not a cheese one) and some drinks and silly games.

We had Guess Who crackers for Christmas and my mum is now slightly obsessed with Guess Who so mainly that and charades – which I hate. But my nan was hilarious. She wanted to play but then couldn’t do any of her goes so she just kept having hysterical laughing fits and my mum did hers as well as her own.

But anyway I’m waffling. Let’s talk goals.

1. Stashbust!

I seriously seriously need to reduce the stash this year. It is getting seriously out of control and I don’t have the space for it all. It’s taken over my whole sewing room and it’s now spreading throughout the house. I had to put it back into the sewing room because we were having guests over Christmas and there isn’t room for both me and it in there so I simply have to use it this year. I am a spreadsheet nerd so I’ve got a spreadsheet of my fabric (though I’m sure there’s some I’ve missed) and I have 133.8 metres of fabric over 67 different fabrics. That’s appalling isn’t it? That’s enough fabric to not need to buy any for 2 years.

2. Make a shirt

I’ve got a few shirt patterns now and I want to dig in and actually get some made. My most recent purchase is the Sewaholic Granville shirt because I love all of Hila from Saturday Night Stitch‘s versions and it has a proper tower sleeve placket thingy, which I want to have a go at.

So I’ve now got a little stash of shirt patterns* and I don’t know whether to work through them in order of complexity or just dive straight in to a hard one. I’ll probably start with the Alex shirtdress as I’ve got some lovely plum viscose earmarked for it and I put it on my #2017makenine on instagram.

*My collection:

3. Become a wrinkle whisperer

I want to be able to read fabric and diagnose fit problems. I got Fitting and Pattern Alteration for Christmas from my mum (by request, she’s not that good at guessing) and just from flicking through I think it is going to be oh so helpful. It goes through 88 body quirks, how to diagnose them and how to alter a pattern for them. My problems seem to boil down to my “slumped” posture.

4. Jeans!

This is next up on the list. I think with jeans and trousers in general you seen to benefit from making a load of them in a row, ironing out a different little fitting quirk each time. So that’s what I’m hoping to do in January. Or Jeanuary if you will? Who’s up for joining me? We can make it a hashtag.

5. Sew something with silk

I want to start challenging myself with trickier fabrics. I’ve been sewing slippery fabrics like viscose and poly crepe de chine for ages so I don’t know why I’m so scared of silk. Probably the price tag. Fiona from Diary of Chain Stitcher and Lauren of Lladybird sew with silk a lot and their makes always look amazing. Even if it’s just something as simple as scout tee, silk elevates it. So at some point this year I want to buy some silk. I’m thinking sandwashed silk but I don’t really know anything about silk so I’m open to suggestions. As well as recommendations of where to buy it.

So that’s my five but I did just think of a teeny supplementary one of learning how to maintain my sewing machine after seeing someone on instagram mention giving theirs a DIY service.

Here’s to a productive and fun year of sewing! 

Top 5 of 2016: 2016’s goals and reflections

I’m combining posts today to squeeze them into this year and so I can post 2017’s goals tomorrow. Not that looking back at 2016’s goals is an official Top 5 post but I like to do it.

Looking back at this year’s goals

I’m just going to put the headings here but you can read more about this year’s goals here if you like.

1. Make trousers

Sort of. I’ve made 3 pairs of trousers but none of the type that I’d intended to make. I’d wanted to make some slim fitting skinny jean type trousers to wear to work and got stuck at the fitting stage of both Ginger jeans and Ultimate Trousers. Here’s what I did make though:

Sneak peak – we were both looking at different photographers

2. Make time for sewing

I’ve definitely sewn more this year so we’ll count this one as a success. Other things have definitely been neglected though and I haven’t exercised as much as I’d like. I’m in awe of people who manage to fit everything in. It’s probably because I go to bed too early. 10 o’clock on the dot, I’m in bed.

3. Stop buying fabric

Big time no. I failed this one so dismally. I kept track in a spreadsheet and I bought 87 metres of fabric this year and used 60 metres of fabric so I’ve increased the stash by 27 metres when I really need to be decreasing it. My sewing room is very small and I don’t have the storage space for such a huge stash. Plus what good is it doing sitting in boxes?

4. Hackity hack

I’ve made quite a few hacks and pattern love children this year:

5. Join in more

Yes! I’ve managed this one. I went to a real life meet-up! In Cambridge no less, which is about 250 miles away from where I live. I’ve taken part in photo challenges and tried to comment on blogs more but I can still do better with that. Making my YouTube channel more active this year has definitely led to more interaction with other sewing peeps, which has been really lovely. More of that in 2017!

Reflections

Time for the navel gazing!

1. I need to make things tighter

This is a big one. The advice on patterns is always to choose the bigger size if you’re in between sizes but I’ve started to notice that that leads to things being a little bit too big. I guess I’m used to wearing RTW with less ease built in? Who knows. Something to bear in mind when choosing pattern sizes next year.

2. I quite like watching things while I sew

Nothing earth shattering here but I did quite a bit of sewing with a TV show on the laptop or iPad this year and I quite enjoyed it. I don’t think it’ll replace the radio or podcasts for me but it made a nice change. I watched most of iZombie while sewing, the new Gilmore Girls episodes (still have the last one to go though) and Home Alone while making Christmas presents. I’m open to suggestions for things that are good but don’t need full attention. I mainly like silly things. I was thinking maybe Love, or Orphan Black but I don’t know if they need to be properly watched.

3. Cut out multiple projects

Whenever I take the time to cut out a couple of projects in advance I always feel like I whizz through the sewing and feel so productive. Especially if they’re things that I can use the same colour thread for. I’ve got two projects using the same mustard jersey cut out waiting to be sewn up. And I’ve still got just under two metres of it left so I’m hoping to get another cardigan and maybe a tee cut out and then I’ll have a mammoth mustard sewing session in the new year.

4. Comparison is the thief of joy

I’m a bugger for comparing myself to other people and finding myself lacking. Whether it’s their productivity, fitting or just general skills. And I need to cut it out. We’re all on our own journey and other people being faster or better at sewing than me doesn’t affect my sewing in the slightest.

5. Perfection is the enemy of good

I’m just going for it with the twee expressions this year. Basically what I mean is that waiting to be “good enough” to use the good fabric is dumb. *Glances at the sloth and dinosaur fabric*  And so is obsessing over crotch wrinkles that you wouldn’t give a second thought to in RTW jeans. *Pointed look to the Gingers that have been on hold since March* Having something finished is better than having fabric sitting in a drawer bringing no one any joy.

So those are the some of the things I’ve learned in 2016, as well as specific fitting issues I’ve started to work out – basically I have terrible posture and need to do more yoga or pilates in 2017. Hope you all have a lovely New Year’s Eve, thank you all for the support and kind words in 2016 and I’ll see you again in 2017.

Top 5 of 2016: misses

My brain seems to be in holiday/powersaving mode as I completely forgot to say anything about the Top 5 lists and link to Gillian’s blog in my last post. Here’s her post explaining it. But basically it is as it sounds, a series of posts on sewing hits, misses, reflections, goals and non-sewing highlights. I tend to do them all but you can do as many or few as you want.

Right, lets dive into the misses shall we?

Black and grey Datura

I’ve banged on about this failure a few times before so it’s probably not a surprise to see it here. Difficult fabric leading to some bad sewing and possibly the wrong size means I haven’t worn it except for photos. Such a shame because I love the colours and style of it. The fabric feels lovely too, it’s a dreadful creaser though.

Southport dress

I feel mean putting this one in because there’s nothing wrong with it, I’ve just barely worn it. Entirely the slit’s fault. I tend to avoid shaving my legs (I prefer the torture that is epilating) and that’s one of the reasons I like maxi things – still nice and cool when I’m a bit fuzzy. The slit negates that benefit so I hardly wore it.

I’ve used the Southport dress in three pattern hacks though so the pattern is definitely a hit, it’s just this version that isn’t.

Carrie trousers

These just aren’t something I feel comfortable in. I knew they were a risk as they’re well out of my usual style comfort zone. I struggle to know what to wear with them and I don’t really like the elastic at the side/front, it pulls weird and I’d rather it ended at the side seams and the whole front was flat.

Green New Look 6217 tee

This is the only photo I have of it, but it’s in this video if want a better look.

I haven’t blogged this one yet because it’s sat in the sewing room awaiting repair. Which is the main reason it’s a miss really. The first time I washed it the hem frayed horribly so I need to redo it and I haven’t been bothered yet because I’m so lazy with fixing things – always distracted by the new and shiny.

And I can’t pick a 5th. I’ve only worn my (unblogged) Sew Over It Doris dress once but I wouldn’t call it a miss, it was made for a night out and it was a big success. I haven’t worn my other Datura blouse that much either because it’s still waiting for me to sew the buttons on the back but I wouldn’t call that a miss either. There are few toiles and WIPs sitting in the sewing room too, which is the biggest kind of miss really as there’s nothing to show for the work.

I definitely think struggling to choose a Top 5 misses is a good sign though. Hopefully it means my sewing is improving. Plus nothing is a true miss is it? We learn something with every success and probably even more with every failure.

Top 5 of 2016: hits

Hey dudes! How are you all? Hope you had a lovely Christmas or any other festivity you celebrate at this time of year. Our Christmas was lovely. It’s become our tradition that my mum and nan come to us for Christmas dinner and we go to Aled’s parents’ for Boxing Day. We’ve done some high quality lounging since then, including starting watching Trollhunters* on Netflix and eating some excellent leftover sandwiches.

*I get very emotionally invested in cartoons.

Anyway, it’s Top 5 time again. How does it get here so quickly? I’ve started a bit late this year and will run out of days in 2016. So let’s get started.

5. Seamwork magazine Oslo cardigan

This one has been chosen based on just how much I’ve worn it. I reach for it all the time because it’s cosy and I seem to believe that green goes with everything.

4. Newport maxi dress hack

I wasn’t sure whether to include this one because I made it so close to the end of the summer I haven’t actually worn worn it that much but I was still really happy with how it turned out and I know I’ll wear it a lot next spring and summer.

3. Floral viscose Grainline Scout tee

Grainline Scout tee

I have worn this a lot and I really need to get round to making some more. I really love my off the shoulder hack version I made this year too (pictured below) and once I’ve tweaked it a bit I hope to make more of them next year as well.

2. Wedding Cambie

cambie-dress

While this isn’t something I’ll get a lot of wear out of I really really like it and I’m very proud of it. I think it fits great and I learnt new techniques while I was making it. It’s definitely one of my favourite things I’ve made so far.

And the winner is…

1. Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes

winslow-culottes

I love love love my Helen’s Closet Winslow palazzo pants. I wore them loads over the summer (and got loads of compliments every time I did). It’s a fab, quick and versatile pattern. I made another pair of the palazzo pant length to wear to a wedding at the beginning of December and I’ve got a shorts version cut out and waiting to be sewn up.

So that’s my hits for the year. Here’s to lots more in 2016. I’ll be back tomorrow with the misses.

A mid year look at my sewing goals

Evening guys. I haven’t got a finished garment post for you tonight sorry as I haven’t got round to taking any photos this week. But as we’re half way through the year now – HOW?! – I thought I’d take a look at the goals I set myself back in January and see how I’m doing with them. That way if I’m failing dismally I can reassess them, think about why and change them if needed. Rather than just ignoring them entirely until Top 5 time like I did last year.

Okay, let’s go!

1. Make trousers

I’ve made one whole pair and two halves! Woot! I bought the new Sew Over It online trouser making course when it was released and have made the Carrie trousers that come with it. (They are second on my list to be blogged.) And today has been spent working on my toile of the Ultimate Trousers, which are currently the most ugly trousers to ever walk the face of the earth. Bad fit + khaki fabric  = *shudder* So that’s one of my halves, the other one is my Ginger jeans, which I still haven’t finished. But I’m hoping that lessons I learn from the ultimate trousers will inspire me to go back to the Gingers.

2. Make time for sewing

Ish. I haven’t really done this one in the same way I had intended. I had planned to make a particular day a week my sewing night but that hasn’t happened. I have been sewing more though so I must be making more time for it.

3. Stop buying fabric

I’m failing pretty dismally one this one. I set myself the plucked from the air figure of only buying 10m this year and I’ve already bought 25m. So I’m thinking of altering this goal slightly to make it a stashbusting goal instead of a fabric diet goal. I’ve started a spreadsheet where I log the fabric I buy and the fabric I use, with the goal to use more fabric than I buy. I need a figure really don’t I? Shall we stick with 10m? Yep, I’ll go with that. So the new goal is to reduce the stash by 10m.

4. Hackity hack

I’ve done a couple of sort of hacks but nothing too impressive yet. I’ve made a Southport dress tank top and I’ve toiled a (very basic) hack of the Seamwork Mesa dress but it’s destined to be Autumn/Winter clothing so it’s on hold for the moment. I’ve got a New Look 6217-Southport dress lovechild planned but I want to check the fit changes I’ve made to New Look 6217 before I can start on that.

5. Join in more

I’ve definitely been trying to work on this one, I’ve been taking part in online challenges like #MIYMarch and Me Made May, both of which were fab ways to meet new online sewing people.

I’ve also booked my place on the Foldline Sewing Weekender in August, which I’m simultaneously excited and terrified about. I’m going to make an admission that’s going to make me look really dumb now but I didn’t know where Cambridge was. For some reason I thought it was near Oxford. Because of the rivalry I suppose. So I booked my place thinking it was great that it was closer to me than London. Doh! It’s loads further. So now I’m really worried about the logistics as well as it taking me out of my comfort zone with the whole social awkwardness thing. But I’m sure it will all work out and it’ll be fab to meet other sewing people in real life.

Question bombardment time! Did you make any sewing goals for this year? How are they going? Are you going to the Sewing Weekender?

Top 5 of 2015: Goals for 2016 and a look back at 2015’s goals

Top 5 of 2015

2015 Goals

I fancied filming a video look back at how well I did with last year’s goals instead of just writing about it so here it is. You can’t really see it but the bedding on the spare bed is Christmassy puppies because I have a super stylish, grown-up home…

If videos aren’t really your thing and you prefer to read, this is basically what I say in it about last year’s goals.

1. Tackle fitting

Ish. I’ve got slightly better at fitting, I bought Fit for Real People last year and Create the Perfect Fit by Joi Mahon. I think they’ve both been helpful in different ways and I am planning to eventually do a review post/video of Create the Perfect Fit. I think reading sewing blogs as a complete beginner can be a bit overwhelming when we all throw around terms like FBA, swayback adjustment and countless other flat pattern adjustments without really explaining what they are. I’ve become guilty of it myself – I quite like the idea of making a “WTF is…” page with explanations of terms but I’m not very good at explaining things so that rules that out a bit.

But anyway, I’m veering off track a tad. Fit for Real People was great for finding out what all those terms mean without having to do a trillion google searches. I’ve learnt about my proportions and the adjustments I should make but of course my new found love of knits has made fitting a lot easier.

2. Draft my bodice sloper

Nope. (In the video I make a fail sound and pull an extremely attractive face here). I haven’t made the time for this and I’ve been a bit reluctant because my measurements aren’t stable at the moment. I’ve been getting bigger throughout most of 2015 but I lost a bit of weight towards the end and I’m still trying to shrink a bit more (once I’m back at work and the cheese is all done anyway) so it feels a bit silly to make a block that I’ll just have to redo in a few weeks.

3. Learn to sew with knits

Boom times! Totally did this one. 8 out of the 14 things that I’ve sewn this year have been made with knit fabrics and I can see that continuing into next year.

4. Make a coat

Another fail. I have the pattern (Deer and Doe Pavot), fabric (royal blue gabardine) and calico for a toile but this hasn’t happened. Hopefully I will get it done before spring. I’d like to add some welt pockets to it as I’ve seen a few other people do but I don’t have any patterns with welt pockets I can use the pattern pieces from so I’d have to try to draft them, gulp!

5. Sew things I wear

Thanks to starting to sew with knits I have definitely managed this one and I wear the things I’ve made this year far more than I did the things I made last year (though my two maxi dresses still get a lot of wear in the warmer months). So I just need to carry this on into 2016, with many more knit dresses and floaty tops.

Sneaky additional goal – knit a miette cardigan

I managed this one, and I also knitted a vianne cardigan and I’m as far as the sleeves on a second miette, which has been on hold since around April. Ooops.

2016 goals

Right, onto my goals for next year.

1. Make trousers

I have a few pairs of of black twill skinny trouser things that I wear to work a lot and I’d like to have a go at making something similar. They’re basically non-denim jeans without the topstitching so I’m going to use the Ginger jeans pattern that I bought last year.

2. Make time for sewing

This is kind of a big one I think. In my life I seem to struggle to maintain different hobbies at once, I’m quite all or nothing and something always gets pushed aside. If I’m sewing, I’m not exercising. If I’m reading, I’m not sewing. I’m not sure what happened last year because almost everything I enjoy has gotten a bit neglected. So in 2016 I’m going to schedule myself time for all of my hobbies.

3. Stop buying fabric

My stash is getting bigger than I have room for so I’m going on a fabric diet this year. I am allowed to buy fabric for special occasion makes but no more than 10 metres over the year. I just plucked that number out of the air as I’m writing this but it seems fair.

4. Hackity hack

I really admire people who hack patterns and end up with something completely different and fabulous to what they started with. I’ve got a few ideas of hacks I want to try and I want to work on my hacking skills this year.

5. Join in more

One of the main reasons I started my blog was because I wanted to join in with the sewing community and I’m still quite wimpy about that. So this year I’m going to comment on blogs more and maybe join in with more challenges, though I don’t tend to do that well with challenges. I hope to do Me Made May this year though.

I’d also like to improve my photography but I think my goals are probably enough to be getting on with for now.

Happy New Year everyone and good luck with all your 2016 sewing goals.

Top 5 of 2015: Non-sewing Highlights

Top 5 of 2015

I was in two minds whether or not to do the highlights top 5 as I’m bombarding you a bit with the Top 5s but it’s nice to look back and remember the good things so here goes.

1. In February my lovely Manfriend moved in with me and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never lived with a dudebro before but I like this one very much. He is sweet and thoughtful, does the majority of our laundry and irons my clothes when he irons his own. We have fun and he makes me laugh every day. Doing a conga of two around the kitchen to Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte stands out as a particular highlight.

2. Again in February we had a long weekend in London to go see Book of Mormon, which was utterly brilliant. It was so good and I would really like to go see it again. Trying Chipotle for the first time while we there was also lovely but going to Dishoom for breakfast before catching our train home was even better. I had the Akuri (spiced scrambled egg) and have been trying to recreate it at home ever since. Manfriend had the sausage and egg naan, which was also delicious. I think we need to find an excuse to go to London again just to go back to Dishoom. My family live just outside Uxbridge, which is the last stop on the Metropolitan line so I think next time I visit my Nan I’m going to drag them into London for breakfast.

3. Another food related highlight has to be discovering The Spicery. I am aware that it’s a really sad thing to choose as a highlight of my year but I really love food.

3. I went to Latitude this year, which does have some negatives surrounding it (spending 6 hours stuck in traffic, taking our journey up to 12 hours long is the main one) but it’s such a bloody lovely place for a festival, so picturesque. We had lovely weather for it and saw some fabulous bands. Personal highlights were sitting on a hill in the woods watching Leon Bridges and Nadine Shah, Public Service Broadcasting’s set and some of the comedy we watched – Katherine Ryan, Aisling Bea and The Last Leg Live in particular.

4. In October my best friend Ross, who now lives in Somerset and I don’t see very often came to visit me and I met his lovely fiancee. It was wonderful to see him and nice to entertain in my very own house.

5. And we have a late entry from Christmas. Christmas has been really nice this year. It was nice having my mum, nan and the dogs here on Christmas day and Boxing Day with Manfriend’s family was really good fun too. I got permission to make a dress out of Alexander Henry hunks fabric to wear to Manfriend’s brother’s wedding next September. There has also been a lot of lounging about and recharging the old batteries. I read The Humans by Matt Haig yesterday (highly recommended) and started Ready Player One by Ernest Cline today, I’m still miles behind on my blog reading though. A task for the weekend perhaps.

So that’s my highlights, I will be back tomorrow with my goals for 2016. Have a fabulous New Year’s Eve.

Top 5 of 2015: Reflections

Top 5 of 2015

Time to get thoughtful and maybe a bit introspective with my top 5 reflections on my sewing over the last year.

Okay, let’s go.

1. I love sewing with knit fabric and I love wearing it even more. I am so grateful that Manfriend’s mum gave me her overlocker this year and I started sewing with stretch fabrics. It’s quicker, more comfortable to wear and easier to fit. Love.

2. I rarely give myself enough time. A lot of my sewing seems to have deadlines and as with everything else in life I always bloody procrastinate and then I’m left sewing right up until the last minute. My By Hand London Flora being a case in point. If I’d made it sooner I could have done something about the fit issues.

3. Having a sewing room is great but it does make me feel a bit shut off and unsociable. Of course the manfriend doesn’t especially care, he gets to read comics in peace or watch silly cartoons on Netflix. Though I like cartoons now (I have binge watched a lot of Archer over the Christmas break) so he doesn’t need to wait until I’m elsewhere to watch them. I think in our forever house I would like my sewing room to be downstairs.

4. I hate zips. I hate wearing things with them in and don’t particularly like sewing them. This is probably one of the main reasons I like knits so much. I’m really inflexible and struggle with doing zips up by myself, it’s an exercise in contortion and Manfriend leaves for work before I do. I cope much better with side zips so I think I have to start moving the zip to a side seam when I sew woven dresses with them in.

5. I also hate sleeves. Woven ones anyway. I’ve said before but the whole concept of “easing” is alien to me and I just can’t do non gathered sleeves, puckers all over the place. Practice practice practice I guess.