Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Sewing Year-in-Review Recap

Do you know what these are?

It's that time of year again for personal performance reviews:  The Sewing Blogger Year-End Recap,
2015 edition.  So, self, how did I do????

Machine Sewing

In 2015 I made:
  • 9 shrugs (1 not blogged, but on IG)
  • 5 bags (1 not blogged)
  • 4.5 tops (the half is a UFO)
  • 4 dresses
  • 4 tanks for the gym
  • 2 skorts for the gym
  • 2 skirts 
  • 2 pants
  • 2 zipper pouches (1 not blogged, but you've seen it before)
  • 2 pillow covers
  • 1 costume
  • 1 sweatshirt (not yet blogged, but on IG)
  • 1/2 of a sweatshirt dress (not finished yet, but on IG)
Grand total:  39 items.  Out of the above, 4 were gifts (two zipper pouches and 2 tote bags) and if you know me, you know I don't usually sew for others!

Machine Sewn Favorites
Hands-down, my favorite item from this year is my Butterick 6072 backpack.  It is definitely the best item I have ever sewn....which leads to my favorite comment, from a non-sewing friend, upon seeing the backpack, "Are you sure you didn't buy this?"
I *love* the shrugs.   Since I make a lot of sleeveless dresses, they are the perfect complement when I just need some sleeves and don't want to cover up the dress.

Here's my collection of them so far (9 of them sewn; just 1--the white one--is a dud; see lesson below)
I also loved the costume I made for my birthday
And I loved this tank for the gym:
S9776 tank + Jalie 3025 skirt + Jalie 2796 shorts

My favorite dress, even though I cut out a size too small in the bust, is the Lady Skater. I really want to make this dress again soon!

And I love the Mimi G 1283 pants.
Simplicity 1283 View C Mimi G pants in black ponte

These MimiG pants, yes, same pattern as above, but a miss because of poor fabric choice.  The fabric is gray, sparkly, beefy and appeared stable, and start out looking great, but it grows throughout the day, UGH.  After washing, it shrinks back up and then grows once more.  UGH UGH.
Gray Simplicity 1283 view C Mimi G pants in Gray
The fabric for this dress.  The pattern is fine, but somehow the dress really highlights my bra, even if my bra is black, even if I wear a full black slip underneath.  After taking your comments into consideration, I have a plan to save this dress.
Also, two of the gym tanks (that I made for the PR activewear contest in February) weren't so great.  Overall, not too many misses this year.

Hand Sewing and Sashiko Stitching
I really got into hand sewing and sashiko stitching this year, for reasons I outlined in this post.

I started getting into sashiko at the end of last year.  13 kits completed (one not pictured as I have given away) and 1 sashikoed zipper pouch (I think only one of these below--the blue with hot pink dragonflies--was actually completed last year; the rest are from this year).

The blue kits are much more striking in pictures
But in person, the white kits are pretty too!
Mollie Makes
I saw the constellation kit on twitter this summer and never looked back.  I bought a big lot of 33 Mollie Makes mags on eBay and have been enjoying leisurely reading through them and making some of the kits.
3 Mollie Makes kits completed

Heidi Boyd handstitching kits
I saw my first Heidi Boyd kit in August and have not looked back.
4 hoop kits and 1 and a third softie kits complete.  (Still have one more squirrel and the acorn they live in to go for the Scampering Squirrels kit!!)

New Machine
Dad bought me the Baby Lock Soprano at the ASE in September.  Thanks Dad!  I'm still getting used to it because it has so many buttons, but I love love love the sheer power it has and also love the sewing bed extension table.  It easily sews through thick junctures, no problem.

action drama....
There were a lot of sewing-related meeting up this year!

  • PR Weekend in LA in April
  • Tomasa from Sew Much Fashion visited me in May
  • ATP in NYC in July and in Austin in Nov
  • Lynn of You Sew Girl visited  my home in early August
  • Anne of Sewing to Soothe My Soul also visited my home in early August
  • MPB Day in August
  • American Sewing Expo in Sept, featuring a raid of Lynn's closet.
  • Velosewer in NYC in Oct
  • Leslie of The Seasoned Homemaker in Austin in Nov

I joined Pinterest last year and never got hooked into it.  I just don't use it.  However, I joined IG at the end of August and I am totally addicted!!!   I have met more new-to-me sewists on IG in the last 4 months on IG than in 5 years on Twitter, thanks in part to participating in #bpsewvember and #sewphotohop.

Follow me on Instagram at VacuumingTheLawn.

My old camera is barely clinging to life support, so I've been using my phone almost exclusively for taking pictures.  When I used my camera, I was diligent about labeling the pictures and putting them into albums (such as Sewing 2015) as I uploaded them, via an old-fashioned cable, to Flickr.  However, now that I use my phone, the phone auto uploads them to Flickr for me, and I have abandoned labeling them and putting them in albums.  This makes it easy for me in the moment, but more difficult for me to find later.

Lessons Learned
I feel like the Elna Press is my miracle worker, and corrects many of my wonky seams, but I really overdid it using it on *certain* sweater knits (like the white failed shrug).  Not every sweater knit likes the EP.   Always make a sample that is large enough to be half pressed and half unpressed, so it is easy and clear to see exactly what the press is doing to the fabric!!

Also, the fabric has to be right for the pattern and vice versa.  That lesson never gets old.  ;)

Goal Review from 2015 / Accomplishments
Last year I stated my goals for 2015 were to make a denim jacket (still hasn't happened, but I think it will happen by spring) and to get real about fit (I am tracing all my patterns onto Swedish tracing paper first and doing some basting/fitting that way, which helps.  My Lady Skater is actually a wearable muslin!)
I had not stated it as a goal, but I feel like I finally know how to finish armhole and neckline bindings on knits properly, and have a method that is working well for me.  I feel proud of the interior finishes of my dresses now.  It took about 5 years from the time I decided I wanted to get the insides to look as good as the outsides to accomplish that goal.

Goals for 2016
Honestly, the number 1 goal, in my sewing and my life, is to have more fun and rest more.  I don't know exactly how I'm going to accomplish that, but, I need both.

Also I'm kind of surprised I didn't make any underwear this year.  I definitely need to get back into that.  Speaking of which, I would like to organize my collection of underwear elastic.  It's a hot mess.

And, I need a new phone, one with more storage that takes better pictures for IG.

That all sounds accomplishable!

Thank you!!
Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to comment!!  This year I tried to reply to almost every comment on almost every post.   Thanks also for meeting up with me, taking me on a tour of your sewing room, and fabric shopping with me.

Here's to a 2016 filled with fabulous makes!  Rock on with your fabulous selves!!

And, of course, be well!


  1. You had a phenomenal year... Wow. Looking forward to what you will do in 2016 !!! wishing You and Yours a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year.

    1. Thank you so much Sheila! Same to you too! Happy New Year!

  2. What a fabulous 2015 for you Kyle! I am shocked you didn't make underwear, too, but what you did make was awesome--especially your costume! Wow!! You've got great 2016 goals. I am right there with you when it comes to resting and enjoying life more. Happy New Year!!!

    1. Thanks so much Vanessa! Glad to see you are back! Happy New Year to you too!

  3. You had a wonderful sewing year Kyle and I enjoyed watching it and thank you for watching me too!

  4. Happy New Year Kyle! That backpack IS amazing. Lots of great seeing projects out of your studio in 2015. It's been fun to watch (even if I've been a bad commenter). Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2016.

    1. Thanks Debbie! Happy New Year to you too!!

  5. Happy New Year Kyle! That backpack IS amazing. Lots of great seeing projects out of your studio in 2015. It's been fun to watch (even if I've been a bad commenter). Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2016.

  6. One of my goals is to have a meetup with you in 2016!

    1. Oooh! That's a fun goal! I like it! Happy New Year!

  7. Were you wearing the Lady Skater at MPB Day? I love it.

    (Also love the backpack: Amazing!)

    1. I wasn't; I was wearing a Vogue dress at MPB Day this year. Thanks for your kind words about the backpack; I love it too!

  8. Give yourself a pat on the back for a year of well-sewn projects!!! Looking forward to bring inspired by your new year's sewing plans!

    1. Thank you Pencil Girl! I'm excited for the year ahead! :) Thanks for all your comments! Happy New Year!

  9. Happy New Year Kyle. I think you have had a terrific sewing year and I love your costume and your bag is so professional. I look forward to see what you make this year.

    1. Thanks Summer Flies!! Happy New Year to you! Thanks for all your comments!

  10. Happy new year Kyle! You knocked it out of the park with the backpack. I can't wait to see what you make this year!

    1. Thanks L! I don't know if I will ever be able to top that backpack!! Happy New Year to you!!

  11. Wow! You were certainly quite productive in 2015! I love everything you made and look forward to seeing your upcoming creations.

    1. Thanks so much Tomasa! I forgot our meetup in May; I have added it to the post. Happy New Year!


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