Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: The Year in Review

It's that time of year again. It's time to look back and evaluate my sewing performance and set goals for the future. This year, rather than simply counting finished garments, I chose a few projects that had the most potential for learning and rated them on a five-star scale. The star rating is based on my satisfaction with the finished project. Then, I identified a plan of action based on how well I learned the lesson the project had to teach.

#1: The Ugly Blouse
In 2009, I tried to break away from the pattern instructions and make design changes. I learned I am not a designer. This blouse (BWOF 08-09-129) didn't know if it wanted to be a feminine blouse or a man-tailored shirt. My big idea was to change the elastic sleeves to cuffs. Bad idea. The cuffs were at war with the tucks in the sleeve cap and the result was a very confused blouse.

#2: The Better-Looking Dress
On the other hand, not every design change has to be a disaster. BWOF designers saw 04-07-133 as a long blouse. I saw it as a dress. The change was minor - I just added a few inches to the bottom and changed the shirttail bottom to a straight hem. The fabric used for this dress was not cheap. In fact, it was way more than I'm comfortable spending. But it was a delight to work with and I love wearing the dress.

#3: Quilting Is Fun
One of my goals for 2009 was to make a quilt. I made TWO! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed quilting. I wasn’t sure if I could finish a quilt on my own without the benefit and motivation of a weekly class. But I did, and I think I gained a new hobby.

#4: A Clean Sewing Room is a Happy Sewing Room
I took a major step toward a permanently organized sewing room when I assembled a thread storage cabinet. It holds up to 800 spools of thread and each spool is visible! My thread collection is now sorted by color and I won’t waste money buying the same color over and over again.

#5: Love Your Fabric
I don't understand why I continue to make poor fabric choices. I don’t like plaids. I have never liked plaids. So, I bought this fabric because
  1. I was under duress
  2. I was bullied into the purchase
  3. I gave in to bad judgement
  4. All of the above
I did a good job matching the plaid and that is what saved this project from earning only one star. But, from now on, I’m only buying fabric I love … or at least like a whole lot.

#6: Muslins Are Friends
I used a muslin the way it is supposed to be used. I made of muslin of Vogue 7903, assessed the problems (and there were many), made the necessary adjustments and ended up with better fitting blouse. I still don’t like muslins, though, and I don’t make them as often as I should.

2009 was a good sewing year because it wasn't about the number of garments I produced or whether I achieved all the goals I set for myself at this time last year. It was a good year because I learned a little more about my passion and what I need to to do get better.


  1. Great review. I love the way you have drawn conclusions from your projects.

  2. I LOVE how beautifully organized you are. Also the way you organize the BWOF photos & schematics that you showed in your previous post. Happy New Year!

  3. Nice round up of your sewing year. I like the star rating system.

    Isn't it funny that most of the things we don't like about our projects can be traced back to doubts we had at the start? I have learned to listen to that nagging feeling (usually - I still manage to screw up royally sometimes, though) and save myself a lot of grief in the long run.

  4. What a well-thought-out year in review. Very corporate-looking (a compliment, actually). You offer some good advice here. I hope 2010 is the year I make a quilt.

  5. I love the pictures of the ladies with your quilts! They made me smile today. I, too, have embraced the muslin this year and am on my way to a good collection of TNT patterns now. I also did a total clean out of my sewing room last night and it feels good. I think you've made some lovely garments. Wishing you a safe and happy new year.

  6. What a wonderfully informative year in review. I actually learned from your review.

  7. These are wonderful reflections , and it has been great to watch your year in sewing this year.

    All the best for 2010!

  8. I loved reading this post - and I'm definitely going to take your excellent advice on board!

  9. Happy New Year! Excellent thoughts about all aspects of your sewing. Looking forward to new things in the new year!

  10. Great wrap up and it looks like your year is off to a good start. I will have to look over my last year's goals and see how I did. Happy New Year!