Friday, October 12, 2012

happy one year, me olde blogge

Can you believe my blog turned one-year-old today? My baby's growing up so fast.

It started out rocky... a lot of late nights, bad template designs and grainy head-cropped photos. I felt like I hadn't done enough research on how to be a good blog mom until it was too late. For example, I started out thinking this would be a DIY decor blog -- ha ha ha. ha. -- but all too suddenly I switched to apparel sewing. That's a bloggy no-no: to begin without a clear focus and to choose a blog name that ends up being unrelated to the content. Ah well. But despite that, I quickly became obsessed with my new role, and I was obsessed with my new hobby, so I coddled this baby until I no longer felt like it was just spitting up all over the Internet.

Of course there's still a lot of whining going on, but my blog is one of my biggest joys and I'm so grateful for all I've learned and everyone I've "met" through it. As you know, the sewing community is top-notch; my fellow bloggers and readers are freakin' ANGELS. I really don't think I would have sewn as many garments, or put as much care and thought into the process, or gained the confidence to keep trying new techniques, if it weren't for this blog, the people who follow and support it, and the other bloggers I follow who share the same passion.

So, thank you for an amazing year! Here's to many more. Or, as many as the world can tolerate.

I know most bloggers do end-of-calendar-year wrap-up posts about their sewing. But I started my blog right around the time I became re-acquainted with my sewing machine, so it's really been a year exactly since I started sewing maniacally regularly. Good enough time for some reflections, right? I wish I could say I've had a wildly successful year in sewing, but that's not exactly true. When I look through my project gallery from top to bottom, I'm pretty appalled that I don't even wear or use half of the stuff I've made. But I guess I'm proud of how far I've come, and I love that there's still so much to learn. Sewing is a hobby that almost has no limits (aside from... budgetary limits), which is one of the best kinds of hobbies.
Let's talk numbers first. Above is a breakdown of the categories of stuff I've sewn. I'm surprised I made so many tops because I feel that's what's lacking in my wardrobe -- but my self-stitched tops are some of my least favorite items. All in all, since October 2011 I've made give-or-take 52 garments for myself, plus some accessories, stuff for other people and for my home. Good job! Oh, but of the things I made for myself, I regularly wear only 10 of them (ahhh!), hardly wear 14 of them (ahhh!), simply never wear 17 of them (ahhh!), and have thrown away, given away or taken apart the rest. Ahhh! But I realize that the items I actually wear are some of the most recent items on my sewing resume, so I feel that I am improving my technical skills and learning more about my style and what I actually enjoy wearing.
SO SAD AND WASTEFUL. Ah well, enough pie charts. Onto the happier superlatives...

Most Worn: Minoru Jacket. It's a jacket; of course it gets worn the most! I was happy to pull it out from storage this past weekend, and I've already worn it three times since then. I want another one with some design tweaks, as I'm not 100% switten with the floppy collar, elastic cuffs and the weirdly-shaped pockets that were an accident on my part. Still, I like it and am proud of it.

Least Worn: Red Leaf Shirt, made from a bedsheet. My first blouse ever! My first buttonholes ever! Aw, sweet little blurry headless girl. I didn't know how to ease in sleeves so I left them gathered/puckered because I thought that's how they were supposed to be. I have not wore this blouse once, as it's an unattractive beige color and I don't know what to wear it with. But it still hangs loyally in my closet waiting for its time to shine when I score some catering gig or something.

Most Complimented: Cambie dress. Hey, don't pretend you don't covet those unsolicited compliments on your handmade items. It kinda helps to validate your hard work. Maybe it's the sweetheart neckline or sleeves, but people are always super surprised/impressed that this dress is handmade. I also think it's one of my best me-makes in terms of fit and finish, so you know, yay me.

Cutest in Photos, but Not in Real Life: Colorblocked dress. It makes me sad to look at this dress here and know that it has since been gutted to death. This thing was even featured on McCalls' Facebook page! How could I kill it? Seriously, I made it out of the cheapest broadcloth and polyester lining in the store, the skirt lining had a huge iron fry-hole that scratched my skin, the top buttonhole was completely crooked (I tried to straighten it for photos), the collar stuck out like bonkers in the back, and the bust had enough room to carry around two Chihahuas. The dress had to die. I saved its zipper and buttons and used the fabric to line some baby dresses.

Favorite Fabric: Chevron Pleated Skirt. I loved the fabric then and I love it now, but unfortunately I don't wear this skirt very much because I simply don't know what to wear it with. A ribbed white tank top doesn't cut it. I've been trying to use this as a starting point  for Sunni's "Everyday Wardobe" challenge -- where you pick something you love but never wear, and find a way to make it more wearable, whether that's altering it or making something that will complement it. It's a great idea, but I don't even know what to make that will "complete" this skirt.  While I love the saturated colors of the skirt, I somehow can't decide what color tights/shoes/belts to wear it with. Black? Brown? Gray?!

Most Visited Blog Post: Round Pintuck Pillow Tutorial. Huh? This is from back in my DIY Decor days that lasted a few...days. I made an Urban Outfitters pillow knock-off, and it's my top-visited post by a long shot (like 7,000 more views than the next most visited). Who woulda thought?

Best Use of an Old Sheet: Blue Check Dress. I made several garments from bedsheets and tablecloths throughout the year, but this dress is the most successful I guess. It has a lot of technical problems, but I wear it sometimes just so I can tell people it's made from a thrifted bedsheet. It provokes a reaction that is equal parts amazement and disgust.

Best Spam Comment: see above. I don't use word verification on my blog comments so sometimes I get robot spam. Google always catches it right as it goes through, though, so it's never published for anyone else to see. I love getting the e-mail notifications that contain the spam comments because they're hilarious. The one above is a personal favorite. There are plenty of other good ones, and I'm considering featuring them in their own blog post just to share the LOLs. 

Best Fit: Plaid Shirt for Corey. I know you must be distracted by the USA-themed tiki torch in the photo, but unfortunately I'm just talking about the boy here. I haven't blogged about this shirt, though I worked really hard on it and he loves it. My boyf has a strange body (sorry babe) and he likes a slim cut, so shirts and pants never fit him right off the rack. I made him a short-sleeve shirt before, but apparently the fit is still too loose and he isn't thrilled with the button placement. Men. SO, I set out to create him a perfect long-sleeve shirt, diligently creating a rub-off pattern from another shirt that fits him well in the body but not in the sleeves. I even made flat-felled seams, which I HATE sewing. He rolled his sleeves up high here in the photo, but believe me that they are actually long enough for his freak wonderful arms. Rad.


The end. What have I learned in this reflection post on my first blogoversary? Uh, that I shouldn't keep up the pace of sewing 50+ garments a year because I end up with a wardrobe I half-hate? Maybe. But also that I've made some decent stuff and I still love sewing with all my heart. I'm confident that this next year of sewing will be more focused, intentional and informed, which in turn will lead to more focused, intentional and informed blogging. Yaaaay!

Andy throwing confetti

Anyway, happy blogoversary to me and it's a happy day indeed. How do you feel at this point of your sewing and/or blogging journey?