miscellaneous · musings

top 5 reflections, inspirations and goals

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

I thoroughly suspect that this might be the last “top 5” post to hit the blogosphere – after all, it is the 10th of January!  I thought that I’d roll reflections, inspirations and goals into one, and be back again later with some plans that are already under way.


I really love sewing,  Really, really love sewing.  I love collecting fabric, trims, patterns, sewing tools, notions and sewing information and then putting them into practice.  My “to-sew” list is always much, much longer than could ever be completed – and I am okay with that.  Everyone has a hobby, don’t they?  Well, sewing is mine, and the fact that it keep me and my children clothed is a bonus.  I do love sewing.

A garment doesn’t work unless you get the right fabric for the pattern.  Sounds obvious really, but getting the perfect combination can sometimes be elusive!

It doesn’t matter how cute a pattern looks on someone else or how much you like the style lines or how much it might suit your body shape.  The big question is – will you wear it?  Will it produce a garment that will actually fit in with your lifestyle?  A garment that you will feel good in?  That will go to the places that you like to go?  That will be comfortable?  Because if it isn’t, the finished garment will possibly only get as far as blog photos, and you’ll never wear it.

When you are a sewist who blogs, it is VERY easy to get sucked into the vortex of sewalongs, the next new pattern, the latest thing that others are making.  For me, this has resulted in the purchase of patterns that I realise I will NEVER actually wear – see the above paragraph.  I can on-sell them or use them to make garments for someone else, but luckily over the past year I have become much better and not getting pulled in by the attraction of “the latest thing”.  Grainline Archer shirt, I’m looking at you!  It’s a great example of this and the point above.  A gorgeous shirt, well drafted, that looks great on many people.  And many would say that everyone needs a button up shirt in their wardrobe.  Um, I’m not part of that everyone.  I just don’t wear them.  All the button up shirts that I have made/bought over the years left my wardrobe a long, long time ago.  Stick to what you know works for you.

That said, when you sew, you can also experiment!  Try out some different styles, colours and patterns.  Try the same pattern in different lengths, or with different details.  And if it doesn’t work out?  Well, it’s not only about the product – it’s definitely about the process as well.  And the time that you have spent on it isn’t a waste – it’s time spent on your hobby, learning new things and enjoying yourself.

I haven’t crocheted as much this year.  I was getting quite a lot of pain in my right neck/arm/shoulder, and have found that slowing down the amount of crochet I was doing has helped it.  But it’s still happening, but more in the background.

Overall I have been very happy with what I’ve made during 2013.  It has pretty much coped with my weight gain, and I’ve done a number of wardrobe culls to make space for new garments.  I am quite happy with what is in there at the moment.  However, that’s not going to stop me from sewing!


I have been lucky enough to get to know a wonderful group of local sewists in real life.  I don’t know what I’d do without them!  So I want to say out loud and proud that you, my Sewjourning friends, are absolutely inspirational to me.  Yes, that is you Karen, Tanya, Megan, Nikki, Jodie, Rachel, Kathryn, Annie,Wendy, Leith, Rachel and Anna.  I love your passion for what you make and your advice, your creativity and your general wonderfulness.


I should SLOW DOWN a little with my sewing.  Take the time to hand-sew down bias neckline binding rather than stitch in the ditch (which I did do last night).  Take the time to do the stay-stitching – when I deem that it could be helpful.  Take the time to try on the garment during the construction process, rather than at the end of it.  I’m not a slap-dash sewist, and will happily unpick things and re-do them in order to get them right, but sometimes things would work out better and the whole process go more smoothly if I slowed down.  Maybe 2014 will be the year of sewing a little more slowly.

Watch those Craftsy classes!  I have realised that this will be easier if I take the old work lap-top up to my sewing room and I watch them in there rather than on the general household computer (located in the middle of the house) that the whole family uses.

Mostly say no.  No to pattern testing, no to sewalongs, no to other blog related commitments.  Except for those that I have thought VERY carefully about, that I’m inspired by and feel passionate about, and would fit into my schedule and not compromise other commitments or my family time.

To sew more mindfully, mostly from stash.  So many people are saying that they are not going to buy any more fabric, patterns, etc.  I’m not going to say that – it would just be setting myself up for failure, and who needs to do that?  But I will shop the stash before I shop elsewhere.  Except for the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 per metre table.  That is always exempt from any self-imposed fabric shopping bans.

Actually sew some of those items that I have been thinking about and collecting supplies for.  I have patterns, fabric and notions ready to go so there are no reasons not to make a start.  Undies, bras, bathers for me.  And a winter coat!

But that’s it.  My main sewing and blogging goals are to continue to do what I have been doing!  I really enjoy the sewing blogging community, and want to also say a massive thank you to the people who take the time to comment on my blog and to contact me.  I have learned a great deal from all of you, and your support keeps me going at my main hobby too.  Reading blogs and comments on my mobile phone means that it is often difficult for me to comment on other blogs or to respond to comments on mine, and I think that is the case for many people, but I know that we are all there as a group, cheering one another on!

Roll on another wonderful sewing year!


9 thoughts on “top 5 reflections, inspirations and goals

  1. Happy New Year to you and your family and I do hope you can slow down too. Life is so hectic with a family, work and other committements. I am sure sewing is not only your beloved hobby but your stress release. I know it was when my children were your children’s age. I have to agree with you about the sew alongs and the latest must have patterns; all very time consuming and not necesarily what is best for you or me. But I do hope you can continue with your wonderful blogs on StyleArc patterns because you and ‘the ClothingEngineer’ are so generous and informative about these great patterns. You both really inspire me and I am very grateful. I now very rarely buy a pattern without checking your blog. I have bought a few ‘must have the latest patterns’ and have really been disappointed, so no more of that for me in 2014. My greatest finds have been Merchant and Mills, StyleArc and Tessuti and I really have to thank you and all the wonderful girls who take the time to blog.

  2. These are some sensible thoughts! I have fallen off the blog wagon this past couple of months, primarily because my everyday life is taking up so much time. But that is okay. I think it is easy to get caught up in the sewing or blogging vortex and begin to feel frantic and put imaginary pressure on ourselves. I really enjoy seeing what you make and also appreciate your positive outlook on things. Happy (late) 2014!

  3. Pattern- fabric-lifestyle match is the hardest but when you get it right it is fabulous! Good on you for the saying ‘no’ thing too. Sometimes you need to prioritse. Have a great sewing 2014!

  4. Thoughtful post Lara, and thanks for the mention. I get inspired by you too, and I was tempted with the Eva – even to the point of having a go – total disaster as I looked like a sack of potatoes, but as I was home with mum, she helped me modify it, and I kept the bodice, and changed the skirt to an A Line. Was such a success that I made a second one. I will model them and put them on my blog. BTW I loved your Mum’s pants too. Was at Spotlight and bought some of that linen cotton

  5. I’m with you on sewing more mindfully. I’m at the point now where I have so much in my stash that it just doesn’t make sense to buy unless it is something special in one of “my” colors or a ridiculously good deal.

  6. This post chimed with me a lot, especially your example of the Grainline Archer shirt as a pattern that has taken blogland by storm but really doesn’t do it for you. I bought this pattern mostly because there are so many nice examples in blogland, so yes, I was taken in. Although I do wear button up shirts, on reflection the Archer won’t suit me at all – I need shape through the waist, otherwise I look like a block. Fine for the teenager though so all is not lost!
    Happy sewing in 2014!

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