Friday, January 8, 2021

Goodbye 2020 a quick review

For the last week or so I have been trying to sit down and write a blog post with little success. It just seems odd to focus on a sewing roundup when my thoughts are so scattered. Like my blog name, my outlook is almost always sunny and positive but this last month has been tough. I would be happy with warm and sunny twelve months of the year so this season of late fall and the start of winter are certainly not my favorites, plus we here in N. California have been in some form of stay-at-home order and social distancing since March. Despite this things are quite dire in some parts of the state now. I have read several articles recently (like this one) that outlined how the SF bay area has actually had a relatively good response to the pandemic. 

I appreciate that and yet it means that we have been participating in a strict scenario with most schools closed, people working at home if possible, no parties, no gatherings, no funerals, no visiting family who happen to be in the hospital for whatever reason. It has been tough and the holidays were glum. I am thankful that my family and friends are all well but it seems interminable and at times I'm filled with rage at people who don't abide by health recommendations and thus continue to spread the virus. I guess all that justifies stepping away from posting here or on IG for a while. But a new year has arrived and we are all eager to turn the page. Although so far January has been more of the same dismal news, magnified by shocking events although the Senate race results in Georgia were a moment I celebrated, 

Now I will try to get back to blogging, and sewing some interesting things that keep me occupied during this weird time. I started a project back in November that has turned out to be taking me a long while. I thought it would be fun to make a blazer jacket in a traditional way, with pad stitched lapels and hand sewn pockets. It was fun and entertaining at first  - and then I realized how much I like using a mix of modern tailoring methods. Fusible interfacing forever! So this is my once every 20 years project. I will definitely do some blog posts about it as I've taken plenty of pictures. Here's a little sneak peek. 


So what did I sew in 2020? Mostly stuff just for the fun of it, or things that caught my eye and I wanted to try as the months went by.   

Here's my top nine as compiled by Instagram. I don't like how they put the numbers in the corner of the images, that seems unnecessary and spoils the look of the grid. 


Also I don't agree with those being in the top - they are missing two of my favorites. I was so suprised that two things I sewed that came out just to my liking weren't pictured there.

First up, something that I had in mind and it came out even better than I had imagined. My crazy speckled denim suit. Which I finished right as the summer heat started and I have not worn this once. 
You can be that when we are again out and about I will wear this at any opportunity. This one had three blog posts, so the first one is here  and then there are two more with further sewing details. 

Denim suit front view with sunglasses

The other one not appearing in my top nine grid yet making into my personal favorites is this red dress.
I used a lovely vintage-ish Vogue pattern, one of many DKNY designs I've had such good results with. Sometimes when I feel the need for some retail therapy I scroll through eBay looking for other Vogue Donna Karan patterns. There are so many I would love to make. 
Plus this photo reminds me that spring will be here soon and I need to get out and trim the roses this weekend if we're to have lovely blooms in April. Now if only we could get some more rain! So far this winter things are looking like another drought year which just one more thing to worry about. 
Here's the blog post link for this red dress, with some fitting details. 

Red sateen dress 2

That's a belated wrap on 2020 sewing. I've been quite busy lately as I've started doing live online sewing classes via Hello Stitch Studio and now in our third month they are really filling up. It's so gratifying to see everyone again, even if through a computer screen and I'm so impressed with the garments everyone is making. The classes are twice a week, Tuesdays are techniques, construction, how-to's and anything else I can fit into the format. Thursdays are kind of an office hour/happy hour combo, a time to ask questions, check in on how the garment is coming along, and chat with fellow sewing enthusiasts. Classes for the upcoming 3 months are being listed now so check back in the next few days on the Hello Stitch website under online classes.  This month's class has already started, we are making chore coats and a couple of very intrepid students are participating from the east coast and dealing with the 3 hour time change. What is time anyway now that we are mostly stuck at home? 😉
That being noted - we are adding some classes in the next months that start earlier so I will post about those soon.  

Up next on the blog, I will start 2021 with some detailed posts about constructing that tweed blazer shown above. And I've made the whole outfit, silk blouse complete with 70's oversize collar and the pleated trousers. 

Happy New Year and happy sewing. Wishing everyone wellness and everything positive for 2021.

I watched this guy flying around one day when out walking and he stopped to let me take this picture. I think it's a Gulf fritillary which is not a native Calif. species but has been colonizing here for quite a few decades. It was perfectly coordinated with the autumn leaves.



  1. You are fabulous in that red dress as is your beautiful garden behind you. Have a safe and Happy New Year filled with successful sewing!

  2. I loved that denim suit so much! In fact I still go back to your blog posts on it - I really enjoyed the process too. I have been on a search for a demin with a similar speckled look, but none seem to look just right. I am pondering a "denim with geometric jacquard" at Promenade but I'm not convinced that I like the angular look of it. Anyway, congratulations on an incredibly creative and productive year! I sewed exactly one thing in 2020 - in January! Oh well.

    I keep tabs on the virus situation in your area since my parents live in Marin, and it is indeed very restrictive. However I saw the terrible statistics for Southern CA yesterday, and can only hope that the northern part of the state continues with its strict cautionary measures. Here in Arizona we seem to break a record almost every day, and definitely not in a good way.

    Thank you for your blog and your positive outlook - it's a wonderful antidote to the unpleasantness we're all dealing with.

    1. Long time lurker entering to say - that denim suit was EVERYTHING!! I can't wait to see you wear it.

      Erika Otter

  3. Looking forward to see how the tweed was managed! It’s a gorgeous fabric. Wishing you all the best for this new year!

  4. Beth, you’re always an inspiration, and your thoughtful posts this challenging year we’re very much appreciated. Your superb garments have been icing on the cake. The Burda magazine and Patrones App guides were amazing, and so very helpful. Who does that?! Thank you.

    1. Would have be “were”, we’re it not for autocorrect, ha, ha!

  5. Oh I’m feeling the same way as you - very stuck at home! I do love that suit you made though and wishing for a brighter new year!

  6. In spite of the weird pandemic times, you've had a great sewing year! It's an impressive roundup!
    I am with you on the modern tailoring techniques issue ;). it's fun to try the traditional techniques and I also sew traditional tailored garments at times but I've been gravitating more and more to modern tailoring techniques, industrial sewing techniques, etc... Plus, modern fashion doesn't feature as much heavy structured garments as it used to...

  7. You look fabulous in everything you make Beth! ♥