looking forward to sewing in 2019

Happy new year, faithful readers, assorted spambots, & random women who somehow stumbled across this blog from the BabyCenter TTC forums! 2018 is behind us, as are the smoldering ashes of the grand plans I had for this blog last year. 2018 was going to be the year that I really Doubled Down & Made An Effort. I was going to improve my photography & meticulously document each make. I was going to Provide a Resource To The Larger Sewing Community. I was going to be a Real Sewing Blogger.

Well, best-laid plans & all that. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I had aspirations in lieu of plans. Last year really didn’t shake out the way I expected at all. I started the year still recovering from my broken foot, expecting to move back to Massachusetts before the year was through. I ended the year sick in bed with the flu & living in Portland, Oregon.

With the cross-country move, 2018 was a bit of a slow sewing year for me. I assiduously kept track, but only completed sixty projects this year. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but some of them were, like, a tea towel, or an element of Ramona’s Halloween costume.

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 1.40.38 PM

This pie chart breaks down the types of projects I sewed in 2018. Homewares was big because I made a lot of curtains for our new house in Portland. Accessories was also a surprisingly robust category. I made two bags (though one was a catastrophe–more on that in my next post), a headband, a pair of tights, two pairs of embellished fingerless gloves, swim bottoms (didn’t know how to categorize those, so I went with “accessory”), & a pair of sandals.



Th slightly less beautiful chart below shows what pattern companies I used in 2018. Go ahead & pick your jaw up off the floor, I’m not actually a magical pattern-drafting wizard. I just made a lot of things like curtains & tea towels this year, which are just hemmed rectangles. I categorized them as “self-drafted” because I didn’t use any particular pattern. I also draft my panties from scratch, but I need to tweak my basic pattern because I lost some weight this year & now all my panties are too big. You just haven’t lived until you’re walking up the street in a cute dress & you’re like, “Are my panties about to fall off?”

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 8.29.01 AM

My sewing-related goals in 2019 include:
1) Sew MORE! I do, after all, pay for a dedicated sewing studio. I’m moving spaces soon, still within the same warehouse, but I’m going to have a slightly larger, more private space. It’s at the end of a very quiet, private hallway, & it’s about 130 square feet! (Same as this tiny house!) The walls are all pre-framed. I went to Home Depot last week & picked up drywall to finish them properly. I’m going to paint them “Piggy Bank” pink, save for the far wall, which will stay white. I might do a quick whitewash of the concrete floor as well, just to brighten it up. The walls go up about nine feet, but then open, & the ceiling is a warehouse ceiling, so–you know. It’s like 25 feet or something. I’m thinking about doing a lattice of white Christmas lights above my space for more dedicated light, in addition to my various lamps & wall-mounted spotlights & whatnot. Jared got me some daylight bulbs for Christmas because I get kind of crazy from too much artificial light.


“Piggy Bank” pink

I’ll share some photos once this is all underway. I have all the supplies & it would have been done by now if not for this damn flu. I did get a flu shot, so I know I wasn’t nearly as sick as I would have been without it. But it did disrupt my schedule. Once the new space is ready, I’m hoping to get in at least 15 hours of studio time every week, on average.

2) Participate in challenges. I actually make a big effort to keep track of sewing challenges because I want to include them in the Monthly Stitch newsletter. I write them down, I imagine what I will make for them, sometimes I even follow through & complete a project before the deadline! & then I don’t photograph or share it. I really want to change that. I’m pretty happy just sewing for myself & I get a lot of satisfaction from the simple fact of wearing the clothes I make. But who doesn’t like those sweet social media affirmations?!


To wit, here’s my #makenine2019. Top row, L-R: Closet Case Patterns Jenny overalls, Alice & Co Intrepid Boiler Suit, Simplicity 8342 knit top. Middle row, L-R: Cloth Habit Watson bra, Laughing Crowe internal stitchdown work boots, Digital Pattern Library Belted Sweater. Bottom row, L-R: McCall’s 7682 shirtdress, Sew House Seven Nehalem pants, Butterick 6318 dress.

3) Sew the perfect make. This is a long-standing dream. I think I came really close with a few things I made in 2018, but I haven’t quite managed it yet. My definition of the “perfect make” is a completed garment that is absolutely flawless in every respect. Not only is the construction perfect, with nary a wobbly stitch or loose thread, but I also wouldn’t change a thing about the finish, substrate, or fit. This is less about perfectionism run amok than just my constant quest to keep pushing my skills forward as they naturally improve with practice. I accept that I may never achieve the perfect make, but I legitimately enjoy trying.

4) Draft my own designs. This is something else I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while. I often have ideas for what I want to wear, but I can’t find just the right pattern to make it happen–even with hacks & alterations. For example, right now I’m dreaming of a heavyweight coccoon cardigan with a deep shawl collar & some kind of closure. I haven’t been able to find exactly the silhouette I want with just the right details. So I’m thinking about figuring out how to draft it myself. I’m thinking about setting a personal challenge to draft one design for myself each month.

The source material & the mask I made for Ramona’s Halloween costume. She wanted to dress up as her favorite vampire stuffie, Vanique.

5) Blog! & document! I absolutely failed to share most of my 2018 sewing here. I hope to change that in 2019. One of my goals for 2018 was to become more involved in the online sewing community, & that worked out better than I expected when I became a volunteer editor for the Monthly Stitch. I’m the content editor, which means that I post the monthly announcements.I’m also a moderator of the FB group & am going to be taking on the Monthly Stitch Instagram account in 2019. I also introduced the idea of having a monthly sponsor to give away sewing-related prizes to contributers, & I’ve resurrected the Monthly Stitch email newsletter (which is really good! You should subscribe!). Somehow, I survived my first Indie Pattern Month as a coordinator, which was WAY more work than you’d think! There are five of us volunteers, so I’m definitely not carrying the load alone, by any stretch of the imagination. But it still takes a lot of time & energy, & it’s time & energy that has come at the expense of my own personal blog.

newsletter-button_2019This is the button to sign up for the Monthly Stitch newsletter! It’s good! I busted my ass curating some really interesting links & compiling an exhaustive list of sewing challenges & contests!

I’m hoping to find a better balance in 2019. Part of what made the Monthly Stitch so much work in the last few months was the learning curve, but as I get more familiar & comfortable with how everything works, it gets easier. & I’ve actually learned some stuff that might actually make this blog better too! I just bought a new phone, which will make Instagram a lot easier to use. (My old phone has a glitch where it just starts cycling through apps on its own, which makes sitting down & writing a simple Instagram caption akin to capturing smoke in your bare hands.)

I did a little guest-blogging in 2018. I did a Pattern Throwdown for the Curvy Sewing Collective, I wrote about print-mixing for the Sewcialists blog, & I did something on fashion drawing for MyBodyModel. I’d love to do some more guest-blogging, if the right opportunities present themselves in 2019. But my top priorities will be my own blog & the Monthly Stitch.

What about you? What are your big sewing goals for 2019?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “looking forward to sewing in 2019

  1. I am thrilled you are bringing back the Monthly Stitch e-mail! Yes, I’ve signed up! I too would like more balance in my sewing year! I’ve done a lot of thinking about ways to accomplish that! I wish us all well in that department!
    More sewing challenges…Yes Please! ❤

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