welcome 2014 and a review of 2013

(日本語は英文のあとに続きます。Text in Japanese will follow English)

Happy New Year! I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2014.

I love reading everyone’s posts on their successes, failures and reflections in 2013 in terms of me-mades and have been looking forward to reviewing my own progress in 2013.

I started to sew at the end of 2012 and back then my very ambitious 2013 New Year Resolution was to not buy any clothes and make them all myself!

Let’s see how I did…


Total number of items made = 13

6 dresses
2 skirts
2 knitwear
1 pair of pants
2 bags (for presents)

I did stick to the not buying clothes resolution (except for several t-shirts) until the last month of 2013 when I bought a down jacket for a trip (I did try to google a pattern for a down jacket!) and also got a pair of pants and a top using a gift certificate which I received for Christmas (guess I had to:-)

Sticking so relatively stubbornly to my resolution despite my snail sewing pace meant that I was running out of things to wear for work (clothes were looking worn due to heavy rotation, clothing from years back which should stay in the closet until the “style/cut” comes back were prematurely put back into the rotation…)

Anyway, let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t:



(from left: Belladone dress, Wing dress, Cheongsam #2, Alpengluehen cardigan, Laurel dress)

In the summer I rotated heavily between the Belladone and the Laurel (to the point I cut down on wearing the Belladone because it was looking overworn due to the delicate double-gauze fabric). The Wing Dress was one of the first things I made but due to super clear instructions it was well-made and endured a year of frequently being worn underneath suit jackets, etc. I am surprised to say this, but one of my most worn dresses year-round turned out to be the cheongsam which I was initially hesitant to wear out. In the summer I wore it on its own or with a thin cardi, and in the winter I wear it under sweaters and cardigans.  Lastly, the Alpengluehen cardigan is super warm and comfy, and I love the way it looks. I have been wearing it excessively since I made it.



(from left: Alpengluehen cardigan, Belladone dress, Laurel dress)

The Alpengluehen received many compliments from family and friends – perhaps one of the reasons is that I wear it out so often?! The Laurel was definitely the garment which looked the most like a non-handmade item and hence that was probably why it got paid compliments. Finally, my Belladone didn’t look as well-finished, but yet owing to the interesting design I got asked where I bought it:-)



(from left: Sudoku dress, Alpengluehen cardigan, airplane messenger bag)

The Sudoku dress required a lot of thinking since I had to alter the pattern quite a bit, I patiently finished a muslin, and the inside is also finished nicely…where did that patience of mine I had back then go??  The Alpengluehen: I love the color of yarn and buttons I chose. The airplane messenger bag was the first time I worked without any pattern/instructions and made something on my own!



(from left: Chardon skirtlacey sweater, skirt #2)

Nothing wrong with them, but I just rarely reach for them in the closet. The Chardon skirt would be more worn if it was not in linen (and hence wrinkled less) and of a slightly shorter length. The lacey sweater and the elasticated waist skirt #2 are just not very me I guess…



(from left: Editorial pants, Danielle dress)

I received very kind compliments on the Editorial pants from my wonderful fellow hobby seamstresses when I posted it. However, I have only worn them twice and think I will not wear them again. The gabardine material does not hold the crease, the buttonholes are fraying and there is a awkward bunching up at the crotch. I really need to buy of those pant patterns with super detailed instructions (ie. from Colette) to master how to sew a pant with zipper fly before challenging a Burdastyle pant pattern again). The Danielle dress was one of my first makes. I still like the silhouette but it is too tight across the bust and waist, the zipper pulled at the fabric at the back, not to mention that the tweed material is super itchy despite being lined.  Back then, fresh off the sewing machine I had proudly worn it to a work event… it was really an unforgettable experience to wear itchy fabric during a (already not so relaxing) work event!

**these are only the completed failures… there were also quite a few undocumented, unfinished failures which are somewhere in my closet…


It was my first complete year of sewing and my skills sharpened a lot in the year. Towards the end of the year, I became comfortable sewing without first using Chako-paper and a tracing wheel to trace the exact sewing lines onto the wrong side of each fabric piece first! This saves a LOOOTTT of preparation time and I am hoping that my sewing speed for 2014 would increase as a result!

Other learnings: I can now also line garments, make my own bias tape…


1) LESS THAN 100% is OKAY: I will continue to sew/knit as much of my own clothes as possible but will buy the things which I am not good at making yet (ie. pants) so that I can still look well-presented for professional situations.

2) PLANNING THE FABRICS: You know that stash I was talking about busting in a previous post? Well, it is almost 98% still there (horror!) Now I know the reason for this – I had bought most of these fabrics when I first started sewing – when I never thought about what my style is, what kind of fabric would make the garment look more professional, etc. I just bought a load every time I come across a fabric store/fabric online shop! Now a lot of the fabric are very nice and not cheap at all, but there are many which I don’t know how I can make into a garment I will wear. So my goal would be to plan more carefully, using a sketchbook to plan my projects and taping a piece of the planned fabric to it as inspired by Katie at What Katie Sews.  I have already bought a sketchbook and made some sketches… it is fun! I will also allow myself to acquire a bit of new fabric if necessary (gasp!) but only if I have a clear plan and pattern to make in mind!

3) MAKE 1 – 2 ITEMS FOR LOVED ONES: My Mom and husband are so supportive of my handmade quest so I have been feeling guilty I have yet to make them something (the only unselfish makes in 2013 were the mini messenger and airplane messenger for my sister-in-law’s kids).

4) MAKE A COMPLETE MUSLIN: I did that when I was relatively new to sewing, but it just took so much time and after I made the muslin I was too lazy to change small imperfections anyway… Recently I only do it half-way until I give up – making a muslin half-way does not really give one a picture of the fit of the garment and is actually a huge waste of time and resources.  In The Colette Sewing Handbook, Sarai Mitnick mentions that we should think of ourselves as both a custom clothier and the client – that we should spend as much time working to get the right fit as we do sewing. I will keep this in mind next time I am trying to cut corners with muslin-making!

On a side note, my sister-in-law who gave me the Burdastyle Handbook for Christmas last year (it was on my wish list and I was so happy!) gave me the Colette Sewing Handbook for Christmas this year! I had wanted it for awhile but was hesitant to buy it myself since I thought I already know the things that beginners – which the book is aimed towards – should know. I am so happy I got it since it actually contains a lot of tips and easy-to-understand advice on pattern alteration which are new to me!

Thank you for reading this long post and for reading my blog in 2013. I look forward to reading your posts in 2014!





2013年の私の目標は、洋服はもう買わないで全部手作りするというハードルの高い目標だったが、結局ワンピース6着とスカート2着、ニット2着、パンツ1着、バッグ2個と合計13点作り上げましたので、新しい洋服が少なく作ったアイテムをかなりヘビロテしてしまいました。また、職場で着れるものも少なかったので、昔に買った( 形が少し古臭い)パンツスーツをヘビロテする「羽目」に・・・2013年購入したのは、Tシャツ数枚と旅行用のダウンジャケット、クリスマスプレゼントとしてもらったギフト券で買ったパンツとカットソーのみだった。




(左側から:  Belladone /Wing dress / Cheongsam #2 / Alpengluehen / Laurel)

夏はワンピースのBelladoneLaurelをかなりヘビロテしていました。日本の洋裁本を参考して作ったWing Dressは、洋裁を始めたばかりの頃に作りましたが、本の説明がよかったので、丈夫にできたので一年のヘビロテに難なく耐えられました。Cheongsamは最初、外に着るのが恥ずかしかったが2013年は本当によく着ていました。最後は、Alpengluehenはあたたかく、肌触りがとてもよいので、寒くなってから毎日着たいぐらいよく着ていました。



左側から: Alpengluehen /Belladone /Laurel)




(左側から: SudokuAlpengluehenairplane messenger)

ワンピースのSudokuが、型紙をいじったりして手を加えないといけなかったので一番大変なプロジェクトでした。Alpengluehenは、2回目の大きな編み物なのによくできたと我ながら誇りを持っている作品です。Airplane messenger bagは初めて型紙なしで自分で考えて作ったものです。



(左側から: Chardon skirtlacey sweaterskirt #2)

スカートのChardonはもう少し短ければ(さらにリネンのようなしわができやすい素材でなければ)出番が増えると思います。Lacey sweater とskirt #2は特に何か問題があるというわけではないが、どうしても着る気にならないのは、私の好みでないだからかな。



(左側から: Editorial pants/Danielle dress)






1) 100%じゃなくても大丈夫:  なるべく手作りを続きますが、少し妥協します。パンツなど自分でうまく作れないものは買う。

2)計画を持った上で生地を買う:洋裁をはじめてから生地を大量手に入れて、その生地を使わなきゃ!と思いながらまた新しい生地を買ったりしました。その理由は、洋裁を始めた頃に買った生地が、計画性のないまま買ったもので実際に私の好みの服にはなれないものが多かったです。今後は、集めた生地をなるべく使うよう、What Katie SewsのKatieさんのようにスケッチブックに作りたい服をスケッチして、その服に使う予定の生地を貼ってきちんと計画することにチャレンジしてみます。これで少し成功したらご褒美としてまた少し新しい生地を♪

3)周りの人にも手作りアイテムを:義理の姉の子どもにはmini messengerairplane messengerをプレゼントしましたが、一番私の手作り「活動」を応援してくれている母親&旦那にはまだ何も作ってあげてません。今年こそ何か素敵なものを作ってプレゼントしたい。

4) 仮縫いは最後まで:いつも仮縫い用の生地を買って途中まで作ってからめんどくさくなって、そのまま本番に。仮縫いを途中までしか完成してないからフィット感も何もわかりませんし、時間と仮縫い用の生地代の無駄だけ。今年はより素敵なお洋服が作れるようこの大事なステップを完璧にしたいです。


2014もTomatoes and Jasmineをよろしくお願いいたします♪

にほんブログ村 ハンドメイドブログ ソーイング(縫い物)へ
にほんブログ村 ハンドメイドブログ 洋服(洋裁)へ


11 thoughts on “welcome 2014 and a review of 2013

  1. A great year of makes, well done! I think we are a similar stage in learning what suits us and we wear the most now, so I look forward to ‘slowing down’ next year and being more thoughtful in my projects. I hope you love using the sewing journal, I find it very helpful in planning. Happy new year!

    1. Thanks Katie! I do love sketching in my new sketchbook – hope this will continue throughout the year. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy New Year:-)

  2. Congrats’ for your sewing successes in 2013! You’re quite new at sewing and so talented already! I’m surprised that your beige pants fall among your “failures” because they look so good on you. Same for your little flowered skirt (in your meh…). Anyway, I understand that this is all about finding out what is your personal style: I’ve been sewing for years (on and off) and still I often pick style/pattern/fabric that looks good on someone else, just to finally realize it is not me at all and I’m not feeling confortable wearing it! But I take that as a learning process. And you seem to learn faster than me! Keep on the good work and thanks for all your inspiring posts! Happy new sewing year!

    1. Thanks for your kind message, Hélène! I agree with you, part of the challenge (and the fun!) about sewing is learning about our own style, let’s look forward to another year of discovery and hopefully many successes:-) Happy New Year!

  3. Very impressive set of beautifully made items! I especially like your sudoku dress (I think I even have this issue of Burda..), great pattern, beautiful fabric and looks so nice on you! Have a happy creative New Year!

    1. Thanks a lot Julia! Feb 2013 was one of my favorite issues of Burda and I still have a couple of things I want to make from it:) Wish you a great 2014 as well and looking forward to reading up on your projects!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s