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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 my sewing year in review

Whoa, it's nearly New Year's Eve again already.

I spent the day down in my sewing workroom (I have decided to call my sewing space, now nearly an entire lower floor of my house my workroom - because I am hoping it sounds more like a place where I am not going to be interrupted and because, let's face it, sewing is the real work of my life) cutting stuff out and thinking about my sewing year.

Like some years this one had a few unexpected turns and this affected my sewing.

This was the year when I really got into sewing for other people, my immediate family, in a big way. 

Looking back I understand things I did now better than I did at the time.

Being a person who is alive I had some challenges/adaptations to work through this year.

My two sons were both living in the US and I felt the distance. My dear DIL became pregnant and there were more than a few days when I wished I could just drive over and see her and I couldn't. My daughter was hit quite suddenly with a neurological condition that changed her life. 

So this year I was a person who sat in her house and thought well what am I going to do about all of this?

Well what I did was decide to sew for them.

I made my daughter soft and comfortable clothes, my boys shirts, my daughter-in-law maternity clothes and the exciting new baby nightgowns, sleepers, car seat covers and pretty much every thing else I could think of. I made the grandchildren here bathing suits in the summer, Halloween costumes in the fall, and Christmas outfits this month.

In my own crazy way I sort of tried to keep my family connected and together with pretty much the only tool I had which was my sewing machine. I mothered the best I could with seams. Because I really had to find a way to keep mothering this year.

Of course this kind of sewing didn't serve the blog or my communication all that well. I couldn't post surprises and it wasn't always possible to get pictures taken so I really sewed far more this year than you saw here.

But I have a lot of faith in my blog readers and I sort of felt you understood.

My connection to the sewing community really strengthened this year and that was one of the best parts of 2018. My funny and interesting friends at the local sewing guild, those of you who left comments here on the blog and on Instagram, and even folks who read my book and took time to write and tell me their own stories all meant a lot.

I also was able to get to know new members of the sewing community better. I managed to keep my one resolution to sew more Indie patterns and that really opened up a new world to me. The young digital designers, the mom entrepreneurs in particular, really inspired me. Some of my favourite patterns of the year came from small designers and I intend to sew more from these sources.

So what am I going to sew in 2019?

I am going to be open to whatever flies in through the open window but right now here are my thoughts:


  • I will continue to sew a lot for my family. I really got to know everyone's preferences better this year and sort of understand what their different wardrobes look like - I want to build on that, sort of collaboratively. I really enjoyed making people I love, clothes they love.
  • I am probably going to continue to find ways to reach out with my random handy hints on sewing and share more of that - if I have made a mistake and fixed it or found a less stress way of doing something I like to communicate that. Not sure what that looks like though, more blogging, some tech sheets, Youtube, I will have to figure that out.
  • I am going to work on my own style. My own wardrobe didn't really develop much this year and I feel a need to do some taking care of myself that way right now. Sort of confused because some of the current trends and things I see other folks make I like, don't always work for me. Seems like a good year to define my own style more. Putting a lot of new things in the closet seem overdue too.
Not that's enough about me.

What I want to hear now are your plans.

What do you want to sew this coming year?

Where do you want your sewing to take you in the new 12 months?

Maybe even not what you actually should do, but what do you want to do, what are your sewing wishes for 2019?

That's it.

Let's make sewing wishes.



19 comments:

Maryellensews said...

Although I have t commented much this year - I have read every single post you wrote. I so admire how you just jumped in & sewed for everyone in your family as a way to connect them & connect with you . I need to try to do this more often even with difficult family members .
I love your book & enjoy just picking it up & “reading” . Thanks for all the inspiration you provide - I hope you know how you bring a smile & thoughtfulness to all of us - Happy New Year

Unknown said...

First of all,love your book and your blog and thank you for your common sense and wit. I really want to just sew this year. Not planning, not analysing, not agonizing over having to add width to my patterns due to some weight gain. Measure, cut and sew, and if it works, great, if it doesn't I will learn something. I am getting a coverstitch machine, and am looking forward to playing with it and perhaps upping my knitwear finishes. I want to sew using patterns and fabric I have, and hone my craft and end up with patterns that fit my body the way it is now, and work for the life I have now. For 2019, more doing and less dreaming about what could be.

Annette said...

My plan for 2019 is to keep reading your wonderful blog. I have done so for years now, and I love, LOVE, your writing.
In my own sewing life, I will continue my search for TNT patterns, embracing all the "meh" and disastrous garments I make during this quest.
Wishing you a wonderful 2019!

Anonymous said...

Hello from a long time followerand first time commenter.
Thank you for your blog I have enjoyed reading everything you have posted as I can identify with your love of sewing both for yourself and for your family.
I have sewn for many years making all my clothes and recently working on clothing for the severely handicapped daughter of friends of ours.
This year I was privileged to be asked by my daughter to sew her wedding dress. And I also helped my elder daughter sewthe 3 Bridesmaids dresses.
Such a special time.
Sadly a couple of months after the wedding I was diagnosed with cancer and for the last 6 months have spent most of my time in hospital.
So no sewing for me at the present time.
I look at blogs like yours and it brings me a connection to sewing even if I can't do any myself.
Thank you

Jacq C said...

I totally understand your drive to sew for your family to stay connected and put love into those garments. I’m nowhere near as prolific but, with some challenges of our own this year, I’ve made a few things for people as the only way I knew how to convey my feelings for them.
Thank you for your blog posts this year, I really look forward to them. I just received your book for Christmas and it’s a joy.
I hope 2019 is kind to you and yours x

Alison G said...

I don't comment but enjoy reading your blog. I have some very difficult family members and I'm always surprised by how much love you seem able to give to your various in-laws! Maybe you just got lucky with them! I also love to see for those I love, including special friends. My sewing dreams are to make perfect fitting trousers, a fabulous leopard print winter coat and organise a beautiful sewing space... let's see how it goes!

Debbie said...

I plan to get to know my serger better and, hopefully, to buy a coverstitch machine. Also, you've inspired me to take my sewing machine on the road. I did a bit of camping sewing in 2018 and will be expanding on that in 2019.

Jodie said...

Happy New Year, Barb! Best to you and your family. I always enjoy your blog and reading about your adventures. As a full time teacher I don't have lots of time to sew but I want to get back to sewing the majority of my wardrobe. I had a bit of a fall off that wagon but want to get back to that. And figure out how to sew well fitting pants. I have TnTs for most other garments but pants....they intimidate me. And from there, I'd like to sew jeans. Not sure I"ll get there in 2019 but would like to get on that path.

Anonymous said...

For 2019, I plan to sew more than I did in 2018. Life got in the way this past year and I only managed to sew 8 items. I wear my handmade clothes everyday and some items are in need of replacement. In the coming year, I want to set aside time every week to sew. Like many sewists, I have a long list of patterns I would like to make. :)

Barbara, I enjoy reading your blog very much. I hope 2019 brings you and your family many wonderful things.

~Your new fan in Cali

Catherine p said...

First of all, I love your blog. Reading it is a priority, especially flypaper thoughts. Your posts keep sewing real, grounded, and attainable. Among my plans are to sew from my stash more and purchase less-- I have lots of great fabric to use already. I also need to fill in some gaps in my wardrobe to make it more cohesive and workable. Indie patterns are something I need to try, too. I've taken up quilting and hope this endeavor goes well.

Julie Culshaw said...

Well, thankfully, I have a large stash because since we moved, the closest fabric store is an hour away. And no place local to get good thread or zips or buttons.
I have been buying some Indie patterns as well, but am surprised at the price of some of them. One Aussie company is selling a coat pattern for $35!
I think you posted once that many indie patterns are redoing basic styles with extensive instructions for people new to the craft. It does seem a bit much to charge $18 for a basic sweatshirt. Especially when Jalie provides all sizes for $13.
I don't like to see the big four overly criticized when they have provided the meat and bones for most of us for many years.

Anna Stanley said...

Happy New Year to you Barbara. I love your posts, they always make me smile and having heard your voice on the Clothes Making Mavins I can hear you speaking the words. In 2019 I have to STOP buying fabric, it’s an obsession and patterns, despite many are from charity and support good causes. I need to make some summer clothes during the winter as I can’t bear to be inside when the weather is nice. I also need to make a few interesting basics, if these exist. Beyond that, I am rtw fasting again. Wishing you all the best in 2019

Nicky, UK said...

In common with one of your other commenters, I want to stop dreaming and procrastinating and actually get sewing! I'm coming back to sewing after not doing much for a 10+ years and I seem to have lost my nerve. I made my first quilt and now some Christmas cushions and napkins but I can't quite get on with the tartan pyjamas I've got planned. Tonight's the night though, I'm going to get them pinned and cut tonight!

Best wishes for the New Year for you and your family. Thank you so much for your humour, humanity and good advice.

sallygardens said...

Thank you for writing! I love your blog. I want to continue to improve my skills, become a bit more careful in my sewing and improve so that I can sew more successfully for others in my family. My children and grandchild live way too far away and I think sewing for them is a way to be with them when I cannot.

Alison Garnett said...

Love your blog, by far the best sewing blog on the web. My list for this year includes a wedding dress for my daughter out of some thrift shop cotton, and mother of the bride outfit made from my old dress, dyed and refashioned from the original 80's style. Yes, she'd rather wear thrift shop cotton than her mother's dress but peach and cream stripes don't really do it for her, or me these days! Also two dresses for the pre-wedding party and one for an 85th birthday (all the same guests!), the curtains for my son's new house and mine and my husband's new house, and I also want to re-find my style and sort out a wardrobe that's individual, stylish, smart, comfortable and handmade rather than home-made. Should be a doddle! Seriously, we have a need to sew and you communicate it beautifully. I hope everyone's next year of sewing goes well, even if we're all re-making plans as we go along.

Carolyn F. said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog for a while now but can't remember if I have commented before. I hope to do more for myself, my husband, and the grandchildren this new year than I got done in 2018. Life got in the way for me too this year. I participated in the RTW Fast and will continue that. I hope to make use of several of the Craftsy classes I have and that I was given for Christmas. I've been sewing all my life but it is always good to learn new things. I'll be teaching several sewing classes this year and hope to encourage my daughter and a granddaughter to sew more. Happy New year to you and your readers.

jsews said...

I found your blog last year when I heard you on the Clothes Making Mavens podcast and loved it and laughed! For Christmas this year I decided I wanted to work on my sewing skills so gave each of my family members a card offering go sew them any garment of their choice-hope I can do This! Also I am trying to finish up UFO's before beginning new ones. Look forward to more inspiration and tips from you!

Taja said...

Happy New Year, Barb!

The seams you have sewn in 2018 have stitched your family together across the distances. Corny, but true! Even better, your loved ones value your efforts. :-)

My sewing goals for 2019 are to finish alterations to my pattern blocks and return to sewing after a three-year involuntary moratorium. Now that I have developed a reasonable balance between sitting (most of the work day) and moving/exercising, I should be able to sew two or three hours weekly in 30-minute segments. My limited wardrobe has become rather shabby during the moratorium.

As soon as my cardigan-style jacket pattern is fitted, I plan to make three of them! Living in a warm climate, I wear a light weight jacket all year. They look a bit more professional than knitted cardigans, which also tend to be too warm most of the year. My last jacket is on its last legs. lol

Beyond that, I need to add some tops and office appropriate slacks to the mix and retire a few existing garments. I really do not need special occasion garments at this time. I lean toward a wardrobe of related separated that can be mixed, matched and dressed up or down with a few special garments and jewelry when necessary.

Talk about a lazy wardrobe! :-)

Laceflower said...

Last August I got a new studio and a long arm quilting machine. I've quilted 18 quilts, mostly for charity and plan to do more of that this year. I love Style Arc patterns and have made the Toni, Adaline, Barb pant, Cher, and Daisy. I am planning to change up the Toni's upper bodice to add sleeves and make that up again in some fab red crushed velour I purchased yesterday. I plan to slipcover the livingroom couch. A leather purse has been on the list for some time, maybe this year. A Tilton coat has moved up the list too. I am also a Fibre Artist and do art quilts, a few ideas are percolating and I'm quite active in our guild. I'm quite busy and also am on top of the 'self care' aspect of my senior life.
Love your blog. Wishing you and family the best for the new year.