Wrapping up 2019: Sewing, Birbs and a tree

Hello blog friends, and hello 2020!

Happy new year! May 2020 be what you need it to be. So far it has been off to a heavy start, and this after 2019 proved to not have been exactly a grand year either. I know it gets tiring saying that, but pretending it’s different is more tired. I don’t tend to make any fixed resolutions at the beginning of a year, but I do however always take some time to reflect on the year gone by. I’d almost considered to skip it this year, what good would that do to anyone, least of all myself?
So, what I’m going to try to do here is look back first at the sewing I did this year, as well as at some other aspects of my year that brought me happiness. If you’re interested in my knitting in 2019, I will follow up with a post about that in a few days in which I will talk about a new creative outlet I picked up in 2019 as well.
Community

2019 was certainly a spectacular year in terms of being disappointed in public figures, and if your life has in any way been influenced by a certain School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the year ended with a bang on that front. The making world was certainly not excluded from this. My making as well as my blogging and social presence in general was slow at the start of the year for that reason.

 In the sewing world, a lot of discussion focussed on size inclusion and cultural appropriation, of which the latter in itself mostly focussed on the appropriation of Japanese culture and terms. In the area of size inclusion things have definitely been moving. A considerable amount of indie companies have stated their intention to include a greater size range in the future, and a few are currently working through their backlog of older patterns and reworking that in a more inclusive size range. Additionally this has translated to a greater diversity in models and it’s great to see this change happen.

In terms of appropriation and anti racism I have mixed feelings. Certainly in some cases there have been improvements and I’m glad there have been, but not all companies handled criticism as gracefully as others and it went with quite some pain and fragility. The only companies who I feel handled it admirably are Helen’s Closet and to an extend Wiksten. I feel that, possibly even more than in the knitting sphere, a lot of discussion was smothered with a blanket of positivity. I sometimes wonder if when something appropriative isn’t explicitly naming the source its stealing from, it is recognized as such- as appropriation. I’m glad to see the progress that has been made though, and I hope it will continue this year.

What I have been sewing:
 I didn’t sew much at the start of the year, mostly because what had been happening in the making community as a whole, and partly because my move at the start of the year. I’m a slow maker in general though and my end of the year highlight reel will probably never shine in the quantitative output department. Indeed looking back at last year’s review post I think I didn’t make that much more. While I don’t think being a slower maker necessarily instantly makes the quality of my output better, I have made some things this year that I really love and that have been worn a lot.
So let’s have a look:
The most worn:

I made these two driftless cardigans at the start of the year, and they have been hands down my most worn sewn make this year. To be honest, if I had to make a list of all time most worn clothing that I sewed these two would be on top, and the podium would be rounded out by the first driftless I made in a funky-er colour. This piece of lighter clothing just works really well in my wardrobe for layering. I remember making them one after the other within the span of  week and that is a huge rarity for me (It usually takes me a couple of sewing sessions over the span of a few weeks to finish things). That is testimony to it being a speedy sew sure, but it also is a enjoyable and intuitive pattern that rewards you with huge pockets. I read in the recent Grainline newsletter that this is one of the patterns from their backlog that they are going to republish in a greater size range later this year so that is excellent news!

I wore the charcoal version to go vote in the European elections in the summer. A right wing fascist party was poised to win in my neck of the woods, however it got unexpectedly bested by the labour party! Of course me wearing whatever has nothing to do with the election result, but it now forever gets an honourable mention whenever I talk about this cardigan.

 The Favourite:

My favourite make of the year was the Myosotis dress and it would have been the most worn had the driftless’ not existed. A dress in a rust colour orange had long been on my list of things to make and I felt that colour-wise it would fill a huge gap in my wardrobe. It has since been in almost weekly rotation and it made it to the blog in combination with two other makes, Love note and Heart so I think it is fair to conclude it indeed did fill a gap in my wardrobe.

It is decidedly more a warm weather dress though, and once the weather really got chillier it hasn’t been worn that much, so perhaps I’ll make a long sleeved dress in this colour at some point as well.
The Skill Developers:

I started my bra making journey at the end of 2018, but I feel that this year I really took the time to develop my skills in this area. I made the red bra first, and the purple later in the year. I fine tuned the Harriet bra, and worked on a different bra pattern and getting that one to fit. I’m super proud of the bras that I made this year and really feel that I pushed my bramaking skills to a new level. I also think I worked out what style of bras I favour. In a practical sense that means I figured out better what stylelines and cup styles are a good fit for me and on a more superficial level it means that I have a better idea of what fabric and colours I prefer.

 

That being said, in the second half of the year my bra size changed. Not by a lot but enough to matter. This is a fairly common thing, bodies are not stagnant and bust size changes, big or small, happen pretty regularly. It does mean though that I have to figure out and make tweaks to my bras again, just when I thought I had figured the sizing all out. I don’t start from scratch or anything, but I’m going to have to make some adjustments on my future handmade bras this year (until it of course changes again and again…ahahaha). So it looks like my adventures in bramaking are far from over and that it is something that will keep me busy for some time yet.

The Unexpected:

To round out the year I made the Reggie wrap dress, which was a surprising choice for me. Wrap dresses were never something I gravitated towards, and Reggie is the first one I’ve worn in my adult life. On first viewing I quite like it, but admittedly I haven’t had much opportunity to truly test it’s place in my wardrobe since making it in early autumn. It’s a mild weather dress, and we are currently in winter here so it’s not exactly an extraordinary state of events. I’m excited to wear it later in the year though and see what I make of it then. In the meantime enjoy this well coordinated outfit post.

Growing

So as I had a bit of trouble finding joy in crafting in the first half of the year I thought I would talk a bit about the things that brought me joy instead.

I moved at the start of the year to an apartment with a balcony. This is my first time living anywhere on my own where I have my own outside space. I know it’s tiny compared to a garden but it’s been of a huge influence.

I have enjoyed doing a bit of (balcony) gardening, and growing some of my own stuff and caring for plants has been rewarding. I planted some insect friendly greens and it has been cool to see my balcony, which at the heart of it is just a concrete platform, so alive. At the end of the summer I got a (smallish) tree for my balcony, which took that a step further as I now have birds regularly visit my balcony. Haha, it’s a tiny thing, but it’s the pride of my apartment. It also ties in with another thing…

Cause I like…Birds

One of the things that brought me the greatest comfort and delight this year is getting into birds more than ever before. Like, I always enjoyed seeing them, but this year I more actively seek them out, and try to find out more about different species etc. I mean I wouldn’t call myself birdspotter to the letter though because I don’t plan trips specifically, and I don’t make spotting rare birds a goal, more like a leisurely low key way of looking out for them more when I’m on my bike or taking walks. It’s been cool to see them in forests and around the various ponds, channels and waterways around here, but I have equally enjoyed seeing the city birds surrounding my daily life.

For the autumn and winter months I also put up bird feed around my place and it’s been neat to see the type of birds attracted to that and getting to know the preferences of regular visitors.

One foot in front of the other

Despite moving only a relatively short distance, moving house has changed -and you might have noticed this from my project photo’s- the nature in the immediate vicinity vastly! I had a lot of fun exploring the fenlands, and seeing its colours change throughout the seasons. The vegetation has a lot in common with the Veluwe heaths that I also visited a couple of times this year, but the entire area has a lot more water and a lot less denivelation and thick woodland. It’s been nice slowly exploring these differences, and seeing the seasonal changes in my new area. I found even more contrast when I visited the moody pine forests of the Ardennes in spring – they’re relatively close-by, but if only they were close enough to visit them every change of season!

Thanks for taking the time to read this! So this was a look back at my sewing this year, as well as at some other aspects that I have been entertaining myself with. In my next post I’ll talk about my knitting as well as a new creative outlet I picked up in 2019. So if that sounds like something that will interest you I’ll probably have that post up somewhere in the coming days!

See you then!

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