Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year and a look back at 2016

Happy New Year to all!  But I can say it doesn't really feel like New Year's Day to me - what, no Rose Parade? No Rose Bowl today? It seems they have a never on Sunday rule but with leap years etc. it actually doesn't happen that often. So I can't recall one however today was one such day. It is an odd New Year's day here. Probably not so odd to the rest of you but strange to us. And don't even get me started on the college playoff system. I like the old version of the Rose Bowl. Oh well - not that important in the scheme of things.
And while 2016 was a strange year who knows what the next will bring. Not going to think about that now - let's talk about sewing instead. A topic that I am always able to talk about with anyone!

As usual I didn't have any particular theme or goal - just went where my whims and pattern inspiration took me. Though it was definitely the year of the shirt - I made a lot of them. More on that in a minute.

For now I have to say 💗 Thank You  💗 for all the very nice words on my last post of 2016, the Vogue 1526 Paco Peralta jacket in holiday red. I was bowled over with all the compliments, here and on Instagram and I really appreciate it. Also thank you for mentioning how much you like the sewing details, on all my posts. I enjoy doing them and it is so interesting to see what sparks some comments or conversation. Plus it gives me ideas for future posts. Here's a picture I didn't use on the previous post - where I am dreamily looking skyward (actually trying to not be such a dork when my photo is being taken, haha).  And I have to note I had a comment from Paco, the pattern designer who said he loved my version so that was quite a thrill.

red jacket walking 2 edited

In fact I am looking at this pattern with fresh eyes and wondering if I can create a pattern piece to make it a long sleeve. One of these days I will give that some attention.

Since my sewing was, as usual, wherever my mood or whim took me during 2016, my stats don't really tell much.

For myself I sewed 33 garments, which include one or two items that I made as example items for my Craftsy blog posts. Wearable but more for experimentation or working out some technique. By far the biggest category was woven tops - due entirely to the fact that I made a number of shirts including silk blouses. This is the year that I decided to not treat anything as too nice to wear - and if I ruin a silk blouse with a drop of salad dressing or some such thing, well then I will just let it go and sew up another one :)
pie chart 2016 garment sewing

Here's the breakdown on pattern brands that I used. Simplicity for the win because I used my trusty Simplicity 2339 to both make long sleeve shirts and as a basis for any other shirt, including designing a popover version.  

Pie chart sewing by pattern brand2016

There is no doubt that I have become a fan of Burda patterns as I sewed up a few of those - both envelope patterns and PDF downloads from the BurdaStyle website of the magazine patterns. I almost put a subscription to Burda Magazine on my Christmas wish list but then gave a good hard look at those pattern tracing sheets and decided that despite hating the PDF taping process it was far better than trying to trace. It is a bit like knitting for me, I just can't get the hang of it. Thank goodness for regular envelope sewing patterns printed on the tissue paper. I prefer them and if my favorite companies discontinue them someday then I will do all my sewing from vintage (and recent vintage) patterns that I will scour the listings of eBay for. Because as I have said many times - there are no new patterns!   (based on some of the indie releases recently that is a fact you could carve in stone! Seen it, sewn it, either wore it in high school or hated it when in style the previous time). Eek, I have been sewing a long time but I will remind you I started when in about 3rd grade so that is a good while for styles to cycle around. That is my story and I am sticking to it!

My absolute favorite pattern of the year was one of those not vintage but not new patterns that I stumbled upon, New Look 6677 which is a simple yet elegant tunic top I have used 4 times and will probably make more versions next spring. It works in a lot of different fabrics and has no closures so super quick to sew. Pattern Love !  I also used New Look 6374 which is a new pattern and that one will see some repeats as well.

blue eyelet top front viewpurple silk top on form 2

I tried to limit my coat sewing this year and succeeded which is great because I already have way too many wool coats that I love and a girl can only wear one at a time, right?
Another pattern repeat, this is Simplicity 2311 which is a great basic pattern and just right for this lovely green wool coating. And I have had more than a few strangers comment on how much they like the coat and color when I am out and about. Those are always a jolt of pure happiness, right?

green coat view2edit

So jewel tones, lots of tops, and pattern repeats (including this Vogue dress which I always wanted to sew again and finally did this past summer.) Emerald green, purple, royal blue, bright coral, and a smattering of denim. Those are my hues and I am sticking with them! A few striped items, including a striped dress in predominately black which I am sincerely meh about, although I love the pattern. (A lot of readers liked it so I will give it another try when the weather warms up) Maybe it will go to a friend of mine and I will remake it in a fabric I like better.

I have to mention my Random Threads posts - it appears I wrote nine of those this past year and they are some of my most popular posts with people who don't ordinarily comment doing so. I love that! It's great to have found a way to get a bunch of topics (and nitpicks) off my chest and into a discussion. Or at least know that things strike the same chord with so many of us. If you think of some other topics I can include in a Random Threads post send 'em my way - I can produce an opinion on most any sewing topic (oh who can't, right?).

This past year I have had the pleasure of teaching sewing to more individuals and I look forward to meeting more of you in 2017. Plus it's great when I hear from some of my previous students - send pictures - I love to see what you are sewing.

And of course a big highlight was my trip to New York - which was 5 days of pure fun, fantastic shopping and great food. Getting the opportunity to meet people who I knew were already my friends  - although we had not met in person previously - proved the power of the internet and all our various ways to connect. It was more fun than I could have imagined and I will definitely be back.

As I have said every year, the very best part of writing this blog is getting to know other people who sew, and in fact meeting people from all corners of the globe who share my passion for the art. 

If you had told little 3rd grade me way back when I was sitting in front of my Singer sewing machine, struggling to put in a zipper that someday I would make friends all over the world because of what I was doing at that very moment it would have been hard to imagine. I'm so glad that I figured out how to put in that zipper and I'm so glad to meet all of you, whether in person or on the blog. 

Wishing everyone happiness, health and good fabric finds for 2017!

Happy New Year,


  1. Happy New Year! Best wishes for lots of fun and fabric for 2017 (from way, way across the other under side of the world).

  2. Happy New Year Beth! I don't comment often but I always enjoy reading your blog. What a great sewing year you had in 2016 - keep up the good work!

  3. Happy new year! I love your blog and receive so much knowledge and inspiration from it! I think about sewing more than I sew, and I sew for others more than I do for me. My goal for 2017 is to make myself something wearable each month! I am sure I will be referring to your blog and Craftsy posts often as I sew!

  4. I am always inspired by your sewing. My favorites this year were your favorites. That blue tunic top is on my list for this spring. Keep on reviewing those patterns. I love it. Happy New Year to you.

  5. LOVE that teal coat! Happy New Year to you!

  6. Happy New Year! I always feel a bit of joy when you pop up in the reader, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you make in 2017!

  7. Happy New Year! Thank you for all that you share on your terrific blog. I am always so pleased to read your posts. I don't often comment, and I should. I'll try to do so more I future.

  8. It was so great to get to meet my internet friend in person this year too! You and Alice picking fabrics at Kashi's during #wineandcheesewithkashi was the best. So looking forward to your sewing adventures in 2017!

  9. Beth, warmest wishes for the coming year! I always look forward to your posts, as they are very informative and you make such polished and professional garments, both inside and out. Mine do not look like that, yet, but it makes me try harder!
    Have fun and keep posting.
    Than you.

  10. This looks so sharp the way you have styled it!

  11. Oh Beth you have made me need to sew up the Paco jacket. I want a orangish red. Mmmm.

    Happy 2017! Sew allllll the things!

  12. I so love your blog along with your mad sewing skills! Random thoughts are the best. You know you've made it in the sewing world when Paco sends you a praise email! Karen

  13. Happy New Year, Beth! I'm loving those pie graphs ( retired teacher!). It certainly puts what you sew into perspective. Your projects are really an inspiration both with construction and color. My favorite is the teal coat. I'm partial to coats and jackets so being able to watch the construction of that was great. And to see it in action during your NYC trip was even better. I'm only 3 hours from NYC so I may have to get into the city when there's another meet up. I have been to Kashi's and have a nice camel wool aging in my stash from him. Time to pull it out.
    That Paco P jacket is stunning. What a thrill to have him contact you. I can understand it!
    Funny but I'm with you 100% on the multi size patterns. When I pull out a vintage one size, I just love that big black cutting line! My last thought....sorry to be so long winded here...I learned to sew at 8 yrs old myself. In fact, my teacher, my aunt Jen, just passed away last month at the age of 100! Sewed until 95! So I guess it's a pretty healthy way to spend your life!

  14. I am glad to have found your blog in 2016! Your sewing skill is exceptional! Happy New Year!

  15. Very nice 2016 wrap up Beth! You definitely were a very busy lady and created some beautiful clothing! It's been great reading your blog and look forward to what challenges you have for yourself in 2017. Happy New Year!

  16. I love following you & seeing all the items you make -such an inspiration!
    Happy New Year