2014 reflections; 2015 plans!

Hello dudes! It is only a few short days since I last posted, yet much has happened. I moved into a new flat, as the leases changed over at the new year, and that is going really well for me. I had started to get lonely in my old one; I currently have only one flatmate, but that is a big change from none. The only hitch is that I had a couple of days where my computer wouldn’t talk to the internet thingy, but a friend sorted that out last night. Which is why this post didn’t happen on the New Year, as planned.

However, today is the continuation of my Top 5 of 2014, as started last week. The title says it all; reflections on the whole of 2014, plus my goals and plans for the new year. We’ll start with reflections, because these naturally influence my plans.

Looking back on 2014, a few significant trends stand out.

1: Colour.

Turns out, in the winter I like bright and bold colours – not so much darks, and the one black dress I made I always felt uncomfortable in just because I felt boring and uncolourful, but jewel tones. I have always felt that I look best in these colours, so that’s not so much of a surprise. What was more surprising is that my favourite colour, hands down, for summer is pale blue. I have so many blue dresses it’s ridiculous, and in the shops the blue fabrics draw me most intensely. And I think maybe I doubt whether other pale colours will look good with my skin tone?

Some good colours:

IMG_1719IMG_1779IMG_1558

Some bad:

IMG_1572IMG_1629

2: Styles

2014 was the Year of the Dress. Before then, I wore almost exclusively skirts and t-shirts, with the odd dress in the mix in summer. I started the year thinking I wanted to make one or two dresses that could be layered in winter – that is where this dress originated:

jn 14 dress 2

but I thought I only needed a couple. It didn’t take me long to realise that these were what I wanted to wear all day every day, and I needed a few more… So that was more or less all I sewed this year. Also, turns out I love fit-and-flare styles in winter, but in summer I like an empire waistline – still some shape definition, but a little more free and flowing. That surprised me, a month or so ago, when I realised.

3. Confidence
I started the year needing a lot of hand-holding to get through anything. I ended it attempting not only velvet but silk chiffon; while the chiffon was terrifying, the dress was rather lovely. (I was going to use the word “serviceable”, but I decided that was unfair. Sure, the seams don’t all sit straight, and it has sewing issues, but it is a very nice dress all up.)

4. Skills/Techniques

It seems only fair to include this. The confidence has grown because the skills have also, in a pretty steep learning curve. I’ve especially enjoyed a few new techniques – notably bias binding edges and piping, though I’ve only done piping once and it is as yet unblogged. I love having wee peeps of solid colour in my highly patterned makes, and I feel it makes things look way more professional.

5. Sewing for Others

I really enjoy unselfish sewing – on one condition. The person I am sewing for must appreciate it appropriately for me to feel that the effort is worth it. So, I will make things for other people, but only if I feel I have a sufficiently good grasp of their taste to make something they will like and wear. This year that has been three gifts for friends and four for family; and all have been appreciated, so that’s ok (only one has made it onto the blog, due to the near-impossibility of convincing other people to take photos of them in any timely fashion). I am also more likely to sew weird fancy things for others (witness Arwen dress. I toyed with the idea of making this for myself, but decided I shouldn’t spend time and energy making something I’d never wear. For my sister, on the other hand, this seemed like a brilliant idea).

And my 2015 goals:

1. Hospital sewing

In 2016 I will be moving into the hospitals, as a fourth-year medical student (it would be 2015, but I’m taking a year off for various reasons). We don’t have a uniform, but there is a requirement for professional appearance, and I only have a few suitable outfits. Also, I’d quite like to keep hospital clothes and life clothes at least somewhat separate, because there’s a risk of spreading infection if you don’t. So: by the end of the year, I want at least two or three hospital-appropriate outfits.

2. Shirts/Shirtdresses

I realised a while back I would quite like to make a shirtdress. And then very recently – within the last week – that I also have a hankering for button-down shirts, to wear with skirts. It’s a little premature to declare this the year of the shirt, because I’ve never made either before and there is the risk I will hate them, but for now, that’s on the cards. I’ve bought the Hawthorn pattern and some gorgeous fabric to make it with, so that will be my next project – as soon as I find a printer and put the pattern together…

3. New techniques

I am still only beginning sewing, and as such I want to learn more and more. I’d like to build up an arsenal of techniques I can use when it seems appropriate, to pick and choose from, which is really not the stage I’m at now. I’m not going to put a specific number on it – I’d just like to improve here.

4. Community building

I rather like the sewing community but I haven’t been much of a part of it so far. I’ve participated in the odd thing, and I think for next year I’d like to join more – not so much posting more here, as that depends on how much I’m making, but in interacting more in other places. We’ll see.

5. More of the same

As well as trying out new things, I am very happy to continue doing what I’m doing. Sewing when I feel like it, what I feel like, challenging sometimes and others simple, fitted-waist dresses too, blogging when I have something to say – basically, it’s worked so far, it should work in future too. That’s the hope, anyway.

And that’s all from me! I’ll be back shortly with a made-but-not-blogged item (I have two of these from December alone, although only photos of one). Happy new year guys! I hope your 2015 plans all come to pass.

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