Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Instead of a Christmas tree, this was my ode to the holidays.

This is the first week that I've had the week between Christmas and New Year's off since 1998 and it is AMAZING.   Utter joy, I tell you.  I have taken other weeks off and not traveled, but there is something about staying home this week that is totally decadent.  Less commitments and no routine.

Happy New Year everyone!!!  Or almost-New-Year, depending on where you are located and when you read this.  It's still New Year's Eve for me as I write this.

I won't forget 2014.  It was a huge surprise when my mother suddenly passed away on April 5. One of the many lessons I learned from her death is this:  Is there something you want to tell someone, something you've never told them or haven't told them enough?  Don't assume that they know.  Tell them now.  Mom was always big on reiterating that point with me and those around her, but I had saved up items to tell her between Christmas (the last time I saw her) and Easter, but she didn't make it to Easter.

Another big event was that the huge software project I'm on at work went live on July 1 and is still stabilizing.  I'm still learning more about the software every single work day.

If you're a long time reader, you know that in Jan of 2009 my chronic back pain started, along with a variety of other health issues.  I'm happy to say that 2014 was my most pain-free year since before my chronic pain started.  Something hurts in some way every day, but it's not as intense, long lasting or as terrifying as it was in 2009.  I have many days now without any back pain at all and it is AMAZING.  Totally, utterly grateful.

Enough of all of that; let's get to my personal performance evaluation on my sewing!

Items Sewn/Stitched
Oliver + S Valentine Hearts

So that's 21 garments total, plus 1 bag, 1 pillow, 10 hearts and 6 sashiko items and the CTGBS dress.  The 2 items labelled "and a half" means I started them but have not finished them...they will be finished up in 2015.


One of my favorite "action shots" ever!  Thank you Anna Christina for taking this class with me, and taking the picture!
  • PR weekend, Austin in April (5th year in a row)
  • MPB Day, NYC in August (3rd year in a row)
  • NYC with ATP in September
  • American Sewing Expo, Michigan, in Sept (5th year in a row)
  • PR Day, NYC in November (2nd year in a row) where we toured the McCalls Pattern Company
  • Not really a meetup per-see, but I also participated in the "Around the World Blog Hop" in Sept.
New sewing tools
  • The Ikea Groland kitchen island for my Elna Press  (that press is a miracle worker and deserves its own post about how amazing it is)
  • My BabyLock Enlighten serger --with it I was able to do my first ever rolled hem on a serger.  I was serging on it again just last night and it is pure JOY to have the right tool for the job, seriously.
  • Not a tool per-see but I did redesign my blog in May so now it looks like 1995 instead of 1965 
  • I never blogged it but I am using the Nancy Zeiman sewing gauge and it is pretty nifty. It's better than the regular standard issue sewing gauge because the plastic gauge part is much longer so it makes marking hems faster for me.

Hits/Favorite Items
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
I think my very most favorite thing sewn this year is my Maria Denmark Lotta Lady bag.  It is absolutely perfect for work.  I just love it 

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag

This is my favorite skirt--New Look 6843 with the darts pleated out for knits and elastic waistband sewn on that looks like a belt--I wear it at least once a week and sometimes twice a week.


I love this red Vogue 8571 dress but I don't know how to style it for winter.  

Vogue 8571

I also love this Vogue 1351 dress--I solved the "poly stretch lining clings to my tights" issue by wearing a nylon slip; problem solved.

And I love the McCalls 6559 polka dot dress too

McCall's 6559 done

And I love the "Can This Garment Be Saved" Simplicity 1609 dress--I've been wearing it pretty much once a week since I "saved" it.

Simplicity 1609
And I adore the Muppetlicious Sewaholic Renfrew.    Cute story:  On Christmas Day the neighbor who sews came over.  I told her I made the shirt I was wearing.  After, Dad said he didn't realize I had made that shirt; "it looks like something you bought in a store".  Bingo!

My third Sewaholic Renfrew:  fuzzy!
The underwear makes me pretty happy too.  I showed it to my friend who said "this really should be a bikini bottom because it deserves to be seen!" 

I am also loving stitching sashiko and want to continue with it in 2015
Olympus sashiko #240 dragonflies

Misses/Least Worn

New Look 6843 view C
This skirt; I feel like somehow the shape is not right and it's too big.  I should have made my usual A-line skirt from it but I thought the fabric was more suitable for a pencil-skirt shape.  Now I don't have any more of this fabric and I bought it years ago.   Maybe someone has it in their stash and would be willing to sell the fabric to me?

Simplicity 1314
This Simplicity dress; I spent a lot of time and effort on it but I should NOT have quilted the bottom panel.  It feels a bit like armor wearing the dress, and guess what?  All that time I spent getting that front wrinkles out of the front bottom half of the dress?  After wearing it, the wrinkles have popped up!  I wonder if they are there because the panel is much heavier than the rest of the dress?  

StyleArc cardi;  This really isn't my style.  Since I have hips, I don't need any extra fabric at my hips.  I might chop it off.  Hmm....

StyleArc Laura cardi

Looking back at last year's recap, I completed ~half of my goals.

My goals for 2015 are to sew up the denim jacket and get real about fit. Fit is still my nemesis, and by "get real"  I mean, pick a system for helping me fit my clothes, stick to it and see if it works for me.  It's not a coincidence that many of the items I made this year were remakes where I already had perfected the fit because I did not feel like dealing with fit on new garments.   I think I am going to use Joi Mahon's method this year with new patterns I sew up and see what happens.    I need to relax a bit and not get so emotional about fit.

I also want to watch more of my online class stash, but now that I am stitching sashiko, I can watch classes and stitch at the same time.

Overall evaluation
I am getting better at matching fabric to pattern and also knowing what styles look best for me.  

I still get sucked into the fitting drama of every wrinkle.  I think I need to "let go" a little more.  (Hmmmm...does that conflict with my fitting goal?)  

I still think that I should be able to sew up a shirt or dress "in a few hours" and am surprised when it takes me 20 or more.  It takes however long it takes.

I still compare myself to other bloggers who sew garment after perfect garment in the time it takes me to make just one (or none!); I have to keep reminding myself it's not a race.

One of the consultants on my work project said she understood why I was such a perfectionist on the project, because I am a perfectionist when it comes to my clothing.    Hmmm.....

My wish to you:
A happy, healthy pain-free year filled with successful stitches.
Thank you for reading and for all of your comments!!!

Be well!


  1. 2014 has indeed been a big year for you. I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. I remember you telling me you recently lost your mom but I did not realize it was this year. I understand how difficult it is, having lost my mom 3 years ago. I too suffer from back pains! You have certainly been productive this year with your sewing. Those little hearts you made are the cutest! Thanks by the way for your friendship and blogging inspiration. You are fabulous. Here's to 2015! May it bring you much sewing, health and happiness!

    1. Thanks for all your kind words Tomasa! Wishing you all the best in 2015 too!

  2. Wishing you lots of happiness (painfree days) and success in 2015. Even the 'misses' in your list have been great to see you create.
    All the best for your Dad too this year.

    1. Thanks Maria! Wishing you all the best in 2015!

  3. Kyle I'm very sorry about the loss of your mother. You had a very successful sewing/traveling year. Looking forward to seeing more of your GREAT sewing in the new year.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Faye! I look fwd to seeing your great 2015 sewing too!

  4. Happy New Year Kyle and thanks for the 2014 review. You sewed some amazing clothes.
    Am very sorry about the loss of your mother. Sending thoughts of comfort.
    Looking forward to seeing your wonderful makes in 2015!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Cynthia, and for the comfort. Here's to 2015!

  5. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing all of the different things you make. I generally make clothes and get extremely frustrated with home dec/bag/non-clothes projects, so I always admire how beautifully all of your projects turn out. Best wishes to you and your father for a happy 2015!

    1. You make such amazing garments, Jean that I'm surprised you get frustrated with non-clothes projects. Best wishes to you too for 2015!

  6. Thanks for the great inspiration !!! I've loved reading the honesty of your sewing adventures . I hope your first Christmas without your mom brought some good memories to the surface . This is my 3rd year without my mom , she was my biggest sewing cheerleader .
    Looking forward to following you in 2015

    1. I know what you mean, MaryEllen. My mom was a big sewing cheerleader for me too.

  7. So sorry about losing your mom; I can't even begin to imagine Kyle.

    I am super jealous of your sewing related travels. So fun :) You are such a great seamstress that I love, love, LOVE seeing what's next!

    oh and that bag! I stink at sewing any sort of bag so I will just live vicariously!

    1. Thanks Nakisha! I'm super jealous of all the garments you make!

  8. Happy New Year! I truly enjoy all that you make, thank you for sharing!

  9. What a great and organized overview. Lots accomplished in 2014! I hope that 2015 is even more satisfying, and pain free! Happy New Year!

  10. Aloha Kyle! I enjoyed reading your recap of 2014 and seeing all that you created. I love the laser cut bag. It is just gorgeous! Sending you warm wishes for a very Happy New Year!

  11. That bag has to be my favorite of all your bag makes. Everything about it is just fantastic.

    It's a shame S1314 isn't working out. I know how much time you spent on the dress.

    It's so nice to know you and I am always looking forward to see what you create. =) Happy belated new year!


Thank you for reading! I love hearing from you! Because I've been getting lots of spam comments, I'm changing the settings to moderated comments.