Saturday, 2 January 2016

Review of 2015 and Grand Plans and 'Resewlutions' for 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

You must be able to tell I've had a pretty relaxed festive season given the amount of blogging I've done recently...I've enjoyed reading other peoples' round-ups for the year and making plans for 2016, so here's my hat in the ring. I've also noticed that a lot of people are talking about reducing or giving up blogging in favour of instagram- for all of those that are thinking IG is the way forward- please reconsider!

Call me an old fart, but personally I find all the 'quick fix' forms of social media unsatisfying. I much prefer reading a blog post with thoughtful writing and curated photographs. In fact, it's weird to think about now, but I used to occasionally buy magazines and now I don't feel the need at all- I have a far healthier and more inspirational selection of articles from all the bloggers whose style I admire and writing I enjoy, and who represent realistic role models. You are a genuine inspiration - please don't stop blogging just because IG gives you bigger stats!

Anyway, here's my review of 2015 to draw conclusions from my hits and misses over the year and shape plans for 2016. I had a major plan for 2015's sewing which was inspired by all the sewing books I received for Christmas and my birthday, and although I had a healthy go at it I didn't get anywhere near finishing all the projects I had in mind. In a massively geeky move at one point I even made a googledoc of all the patterns I wanted to make, what notions where required and what season they were appropriate for. While it wasn't that inspiring to look at it was actually quite helpful to bring up when out fabric shopping to make sure I got the right amount of fabric and the correct notions, but was also a bit of a nagging reminder of all the projects that I abandoned when they no longer inspired!

So, what did I manage to make? 

I managed to graduate from Tilly's Love at First Stitch which felt like a satisfying achievement! I made a metallic wintry Delphine, a floaty polka dot Clemence, two Mimis, and a gift Lilou. The other patterns I had tackled in 2014. I'm not done with the book yet though!

I also quickly met my goals from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book. I wasn't very ambitious but I love the easy knit pencil skirt- it's a quick fix between more complex projects and is so easy to wear, and although the first version of the Sweetheart Top didn't work out so well because of fabric choice I definitely have plans to make more.

I made trousers! My Ultimate Trouser plans were a failure, but my Ginger jeans have worked out wearable if not perfect and I definitely intend to make more.

I made the Anna and the Elisalex I had planned and both look nice and get lots of wear, although there are fitting adjustments I'd make for this year's versions of both dresses.

I fulfilled the two Vintage Pledge items I'd decided on, a pencil skirt and '70s knit dress, both of which will easily fit into my everyday style, but I never decided on a third piece for the pledge so fell a little short.

What didn't I make?

I never got around to pyjamas, but I do have loads of elephant-print cotton that I bought to do so, it's just I'm rather tempted to use it for a shirtdress now instead.

I didn't make anything at all from the Colette Sewing Handbook or the DIY Couture book (for the second year running!) but I do use the Colette book as a reference all the time and have plans to get going with it this year (although I have been warned about fitting issues with some of the patterns- so I'll be working with muslins and my dressmaker's dummy to avoid frustration!).

I still haven't made the Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress- this year it will happen!

I didn't make any of the things I'd planned from the Great British Sewing Bee Book, but I did make the men's short-sleeved shirt, and after my nightmarish experience with the poorly drafted armholes and sleeves I'm not that keen to return to it!

What did I make outside of the plan?

Because of some really hot weather this summer I whipped up a quick and floaty Staple Dress to cope in the heatwave, and was pleased to finally make up a sheath dress pattern that my mother had bought me a while ago in some cute calaveras print fabric (even if it does need some fitting tweaks). I also wanted to make another Lady Skater but didn't have quite enough fabric, especially when I made a cutting error, so mashed together a pencil dress which is destined for the charity shop I'm afraid. Oh well, it was fun experimenting!

I also made several gifts, none of which were in my Grand Sewing Plans for 2015, so of course this affected productivity for my selfish plans! I made a Gertie Sews Vintage Casual Two-Piece, a men's shirt from the Great British Sewing Bee's Book Two, the aforementioned Mimi and Lilou, and a Jorna dress. Because not everything I made was a fitting success, I think I'll calm down on gift sewing for this coming year- it's just too discouraging to have worked hard on something that the recipient can't wear!


I'm pleased to say that although there are things I haven't managed to make, I'm still excited to make them. While this may mean my style isn't very cutting edge and certainly isn't trendy, it's good to have an enduring sense of what I like and for this coming year I plan to work harder on getting fit right so I can do justice to the garments I plan to produce. I received Chinelo Bally's Freehand Fashion for Christmas and I'm keen to have a go at some of her techniques to work up a more personalised fit, and see if I can apply this to other patterns I'm keen on. I have some leftover wax cotton that I'd like to make up the pencil skirt and box top up in.

As I mentioned in my post about the Vintage Pattern Pledge, I also plan to use up the fabric I have on design ideas that I've come up with but not yet got around to instead of thinking of the pattern first and buying new fabric to match it. I'm coming up with a less rigid plan than last year's, but below are a few fabric and pattern combinations that I've had in mind for a while that I plan to start with, and I do also have plenty of denim for more jeans-making, as well as a few unallocated printed cottons and jerseys for the odd day dress or t-shirt project- or maybe even this year's Vintage Pattern Pledge if I go in for it again...

So, here are my Fabric + Pattern Plans for 2016, in no particular order...

Colette Dahlia Version 1 in dotty Turkish cotton

By Hand London Pattern plans L-R: Liberty Tana Lawn Anna Dress (probably slash neck, knee length and 3/4 sleeves); Liberty silk Anna Dress (probably slash neck, cap sleeves, and as long as I can make it!); Leopard scuba Sophia Dress (Variation 2 sheath version); Elisalex Dress in Ikea furnishing fabric (knee length with 3/4 length sleeves)

I told you I wasn't done with this book! Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch Plans- Liberty Corduroy Megan Dress, and possibly steampunk print cotton Mimi (although I'm now thinking perhaps this cotton needs a sharper shirt style...)

Gertie Plans: New Book for Better Sewing Wiggle Dress in scuba; Vintage Casual Cigarette Pants in stretch cotton; Vintage Casual Flared Skirt in polka dot mediumweight cotton

And finally... Colette Licorice in green silk (using the matte side), although I am quite tempted to make up a Dahlia in this, just like the model's wearing! And the long-awaited Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress in Gingham.

I think that's a pretty good start- wish me luck with my stashbusting year! Do you have set plans or resolutions for 2016?

NorseOtter xx


  1. Looks like you're going to have some lovely dresses this year!

    1. Thanks Anushka, I'm excited to make them! Have you planned out your sewing for 2016? X

  2. Love your picks of patterns and fabrics, looking forward to seeing them. Happy new year ;o)