Category Archives: End of Year Recap

Goodbye 2010

Ah 2010, you went by so quickly.  Is it just my age or having a child that makes time run past me without looking back?  Man, it was just two weeks ago that it was 2009 and now it’s two more days until 2011.  How did that happen???

Anyhoo, here’s a recap of what I was able to accomplish the year that happened in the blink of an eye. 

SEWING – Garments

  • 2 kids knit pj’s
  • 1 boy flannel pj
  • 1 girl flannel nightgown
  • 1 baby sleepsack
  • 1 turtleneck
  • 3.5 Butterick 5147 sheath dresses (my 2nd TNT)*
  • 1 Fall coat
  • 1 shirred skirt
  • 3 Simplicity 2452 pencil skirts (my first TNT)
  • 1 Burda skirt
  • 1 Burda dress
  • 1 shirred bodice girl’s dress
  • 1 drape neck knit top
  • 1 wrap dress
  • 1 boy’s camp shirt
  • 1 border print knit dress from quasi-TNT S3678
  • 1 girl’s dress
  • 1 Burda tweed skirt

TOTAL: 23.5

* The .5 refers to the tweed version which was almost completed until I figured out I had gained too much weight to wear it.  It now lays crumpled on my table taunting me with its svelte, plummish, crumpled tweediness.

SEWING – Accessories

  • 1 woven infinity scarf (not yet blogged)
  • 8 totebags (1 for me, the rest were Xmas gifts)
  • 1 ruffle scarf
  • 1 silk hemmed scarf
  • 21 bibs (4 were sold**, the rest gifts)


** The bibs sold is part of the super secret surprise which will be revealed in 2011.  🙂


  • 1 kid’s scarf
  • 2 kid’s hats
  • 1 boy’s sweater vest



  • The Knip Mode skirt that would not drape/pleat correctly and made me look 20 lbs heavier.  I was attracted to its architectural qualities with nary a thought as to how it would look on a middle-aged body.  *sigh*  I love you Knip Mode skirt but you would look good only on the circa 1996-1997 Elizabeth.  RIP Knip Mode skirt.
  • The almost 4th version of the B5147 sheath dress in the most beautiful shade of plum tweed you ever saw.  But alas, I discovered too late that I had gained weight and set it aside for when I lost said weight or when Armageddon came, whichever came first (probably Armageddon at the rate I’m eating and drinking).
  • The Simplicity 2337 ponte knit dress which I set aside in favor of actually finishing my Xmas sewing on time.  It waits patiently for me on my sewing table (aka the dining room table) to come back to it as soon as I am able.  I. can’t. wait.


In no particular order, the highlights of this year were plentiful and varied.

My son Jack entered his wonderful 3’s and I saw him blossom as he discovered and interacted more with the world.  His new-found autonomy was a little challenging, but amazing to watch.  I can’t believe I was left in charge of someone’s life, but I hope I’m doing an ok job of it, because it is just jaw-dropping how much his own person Jack is already.  It doesn’t hurt that he loves when I sew for him either.  😉   He wore his Xmas jammies 3 days in a row!

Photography by Jennifer Weisbord - 212.267.4828


It will come as no surprise to you, I’m sure, that my favorite sewn item is my purple Fall coat, Simplicity 2311.  I wear it on all but the coldest of days.  Not to rub it in Carolyn’s face, but I live only one block from my office, so my commute is negligible.  I almost don’t feel the cold before I am already inside my office building.  Sorry Carolyn!  😉  

One of my greatest pleasures, besides the actual act of sewing, is talking about sewing with my far-flung friends around the world who share this same passion/obsession.  I organized a New York City shopping day in August with Robin and was blown away by the response and attendance that day.  The fact that I have met fellow sewists from London, Hong Kong, Philly, Chicago, etc. just amazes me. 

At Elliott Berman (image stolen from Robin's blog,

Let’s not forget the PR Philly weekend that Karen put together in May.  So amazing to meet all those sewists in one place and reconnect with others.  We saw some incredible garments at the museum, showed off some beautifully made garments, and Kenneth King was a real show stopper.  Karen put together a fantastic event.  Kudos!  Oh and let’s not forget that I had 1.5 days of kid-free, sewing-inspired time alone with at least 50 other sewists.  😉  

Kenneth King at PR Philly Weekend May 2010


And last, but not least, I adopted a Singer Featherweight machine.  I haven’t sewn much with her yet, just a totebag, but 2011 promises to be the year of the Featherweight.  Just you wait!

My beloved Singer Featherweight


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some major housecleaning to do before 2011 bustles in. 

Happy new year my fellow sewists!


After professing my love for natural fibers, I came home to sew last night and found myself paralyzed with fear, unable to sew.  I think I talked myself out of finishing my silk twill dress.  Not because I don’t think the fabric won’t be a good boyfriend and behave itself; I think it will.  But because I started thinking about the zipper.  I’ve noticed that the bottom of the zipper in my black and white bamboo skirt and in the stretch cotton chambray version of B5147 protrude a little.  I’m just not sure why.  I can’t figure it out.  And if that happens with this dress I will be very upset.  I don’t want any major flaws.  Little ones I can take because I doubt a non-sewist would notice those, but a pokey zipper?  I think everyone will notice that. 


I think I just have to get over this.  It doesn’t help that I’ve lost momentum on this dress since I last worked on it.  That stupid birthday week and my friend visiting put some distance between me and my dress.  In this case, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.  😉  

I have a work event tonight, so I won’t be able to work on the dress until Thursday night.  Oh, and Robin just reminded me of the natural fibers contest going on now at PatternReview.  Doing a PR contest was one of my goals for 2010.  I’m pretty excited about entering this dress into this particular contest.  The deadline is August 10th.  I definitely can make that.  Maybe this is just the kick in the pants that I need to finish this dress.  Yeah!

In other sewing news, I finally picked out my pattern for the Trench Sew Along!  The new Simplicity Fall line came out and there was a great lined coat in the line up.  I love it!!!  Check out my post at the Trench Sew Along to see the coat.  And if you’re considering making a trench or any kind of coat, please join us (just let me know in the comments and I’ll send you an invite).

Happy fearless sewing everyone!

2010 Check Up

We’re nearing the end of June and I thought I would see how I am doing with my 2010 goals.  Not so good in some respects and right on target for others.  Here’s my list…

  • sheath dress – not yet attempted
  • blazer/jacket – not yet attempted
  • use sweater knits for a cardigan sweater set – not yet attempted
  • welt pockets – not yet attempted (sensing a trend here)
  • find some TNT’s like Carolyn – attempted and successful with the pencil skirt only so far
  • perfect my invisible zipper – I’ve done two or three and so far with dubious perfection
  • more lined skirts – I’m lining all my skirts, but have plans to make unlined skirts for the summer soon.
  • a tailored shirt – I made the camp shirt for Thor which had some tailoring, but have not yet attempted one for myself.
  • make a charmeuse or chiffon blouse – too scared to work with the fabric so far
  • participate in at least 1 Pattern Review contest – maybe the LBD contest???
  • make at least 25 garments (one of which should be a complex pattern like the trench coat) – I’ve made 13 garments so far this year.  Yippee!!!!


With my sister’s “lemonade” skirt to be completed this week,  I am on track for completing 25 garments by the end of the year.  I can’t believe it almost.   I really want to make a sheath dress for my cousin’s wedding this summer but am still dithering about which pattern to use.  The blazer/jacket will be taken care of in the Trench Sew Along II; I am making a fall coat out of some purple wool I bought last year.  I am dying to make cardigans, so hopefully that will get knocked off the list.  And as you all know, I am really trying to find some TNT patterns for my work wardrobe, so I hope to definitely accomplish that this year. 

So, all in all, I think I am doing ok with my plans for the rest of the year.  This list was a wish list.  If I don’t get to everything, so be it.  I’m not going to whine about it later.  Ok, maybe I will but it won’t last long I promise. 

Anyhoo, how are you doing with your goals for the year (if you had any)?  Tell me!

Happy sewing!

It’s my Blogiversary!!!

I am in sheer disbelief that it’s been a year since I started this blog.  Since I just did a review of the last year and a post about my goals for 2010, I won’t repeat myself here.  But I think this anniversary is worth at least a little mention and hope you will indulge me.  

I have met so many wonderful people on line in my sewing research, through reading tons of sewing blogs (you don’t want to know how many, trust me), and through Pattern Review.  I’ve even met some people IRL (in real life): Carolyn, Karen, Lindsay T, Cidell, Trena, Wendy, Dishmey, Barbara, Mica…  to name just a few.   To the last, all are wonderful and talented women.  And did I mention helpful?  Carolyn and Karen have both patiently fielded late night panicky questions and Karen was even a guest blogger on my Trench Coat Sew Along

This online and IRL community has been a godsend to me as I muddled my way through this past year learning to sew and I would like to acknowledge what a great resource you all are.  I may not have the fanciest blog on the block, but I thank you for visiting me nonetheless.  As ever, your comments, feedback and advice are most welcome.


Sewing Chops (Goals for 2010)

Now that I have been sewing in earnest for a year, I am finally starting to have confidence.  Not in the traditional sense, meaning I feel confident, but rather I am no longer frozen in fear with new projects.  I guess a trench coat will do that to you.  😉  

Here’s what I learned this past year.  I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s a long list and in no particular order!

  • sewing on buttons
  • making buttonholes
  • blind hems
  • putting on eyelets
  • hand stitches, like slip stitching
  • adding a lining
  • patch pockets
  • different kinds of machine stitching, like top stitching, edge stitching, stay stitching, stitching in the ditch, etc.
  • making notched collars
  • how to use my walking foot
  • sewing on suit closures
  • hemming pants
  • muslins are your friends
  • rolled hems
  • sewing with chiffon is a bitch (but I learned some tricks for this fabric)
  • every fabric is different and sews differently (sounds really stupid until you find out that not all knits are alike)
  • always practice your stitching on scraps of the fashion fabric before you start your project
  • DON’T SEW when tired
  • DON’T SEW late at night (still need to learn this lesson and the previous one)
  • it always takes longer than you think it will
  • pleating
  • gathering
  • pin tucks
  • basting is your friend
  • proper pinning
  • invisible zippers (I’m ok with this, but still need to improve)
  • how to use single fold bias tape
  • darts
  • sashiko embroidery
  • quilting (use longer stitches, be sure to use quilter’s thread, binding, and decorative stitches)

Ok, I’m pretty impressed with myself right now.  😉

Of course, I know I haven’t mastered any of these skills.  It will take me years, I assume, for my garments to look really professional, but I am pleased so far. 

So what’s in the works for 2010?  Well, here’s a very cursory list…

  • sheath dress
  • blazer/jacket
  • use sweater knits for a cardigan sweater set
  • welt pockets
  • find some TNT’s like Carolyn
  • perfect my invisible zipper
  • more lined skirts
  • a tailored shirt
  • make a charmeuse or chiffon blouse
  • participate in at least 1 Pattern Review contest
  • make at least 25 garments (one of which should be a complex pattern like the trench coat)

Am I nuts here?  Is this a doable list?

I am so excited about 2010.  I feel a sense of great anticipation and that this year will be very productive for me.  I can’t wait to sew.  Tonight I am tracing off a new Burda pattern.

Burda 11-2009-120

Happy sewing everyone.

Giving in to peer pressure – 2009 Recap

I wasn’t going to do an end of year recap at all as I thought I had not completed enough projects this year to merit a recap.  But after reading so many thought provoking posts about it, I changed my mind…  It might be a worthwhile exercise after all.  Let’s see…  My tally is:


1 quilt

1 child’s apron

1 scarf

2 dresses

3 skirts

1 pair of pants

1 trench coat

1 child’s top

4 children’s PJ’s


1 child’s sweater vest

5 children’s hats

3  pairs of children’s mittens


1 blouse (the HP blouse that I only made a muslin of and decided not to proceed with as I didn’t like the style on me AT ALL)

2 sweaters (one which I have not mentioned at all on this blog, and the Whisper cardigan which will be completed someday, but not soon)


I am quite surprised that my total sewing output for the year is 14 garments and 1 quilt.  The trench coat took so long to complete, especially since I was only working on it with my teacher once a week, that it seemed as if the whole project took eons.  I had completely forgotten about my pants (can you believe that?  I can’t).  I also forgot about the wrap skirt I made at the beginning of the year.  So I am very proud of what I have completed and how much.  And let’s not forget how much I have learned!  Wow!  It’s a lot, but I am saving that topic for the next 2010 goals post I will write soon.

2009 Highlights

So what was my favorite thing that I made?  I think you’ll be surprised.

It’s the purple rain dress.  I love this dress. It’s my favorite color.  I love the print and the drape/hand of the knit.  It does not look home-made but rather well-made.  And I feel beautiful wearing it every time.  Beautiful.  And that’s saying a lot for this lumpy post baby body.  🙂

However, that does not mean I am not proud of my trench coat.  There were so many firsts on this project.  I am still in a state of disbelief that I actually made this coat.

And the final highlight of 2009 would be attempting my first Burda garment.  I had been very scared to work with Burda before this but I just fell in love with this skirt the moment I first saw it in the magazine.  I was able to understand the directions (shocking to me actually because of Burda’s notoriety and also because I am a mite challenged in the reading directions area).  Also, I made this skirt almost completely on my own, with my teacher instructing me on the finishing details only.

as worn at work

So, can I say it again?  I’m proud of myself.  I may not be the fastest or most prolific sewist in the East, but I have come a long way.  I look forward to sewing a lot more in the next year.  I can’t wait for 2010.  Bring it!

Happy New Year everyone!  May you be filled to bursting with sewing mojo and may fabric fairies gift you with bounteous yardage.