Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Another year down, another year ahead of us! I cannot believe how quickly time seems to just be flying by. My daughter will be 20 this year, my son will be 18. It doesn't feel like I've been a parent for 20 years but I guess the calendar doesn't lie! :)

Other personal milestones this year include taking (and passing!) a certification exam this month and applying for graduate school in the fall. Also, I have been the same weight for almost all of 2017. I did not lose any weight (well I did when I had the flu but that hardly counts!)  and while it isn't something that is super important to me, I know my knees will benefit! I have absolutely perfect numbers across the board. You name it, it is pretty near perfect - blood pressure, A1C and blood sugar, cholesterol, etc etc. Okay, except Vitamin D because 1) I'm brown 2) I'm a tundra dweller 3) I only spend time outside when it's absolutely necessary! But otherwise I'm in good shape and I'm happy with my body and that makes it HARD to find motivation to do anything differently. But my knees!!

I was so enjoying that fitness bootcamp but I'm certain now that it did not do my damaged hand any favors. Sigh. I'm coming up with a plan! ((And no, my hand is still not fully healed.))

On to sewing!!!!

I have a lot of clothes. Oh my gosh, you're SO shocked and amazed, right?!? :-p

As a tundra dweller, the seasons are more winter/early spring, spring/summer, summer/early fall and fall/winter. Aside from winter, none of the seasons are 'true'. There's some serious bleeding of one into the other. Like, there may be a couple of weeks in summer where it's actually hot enough to NEED sleeveless tops/dresses for work. Spring arrives long after the calendar says so but my desire to shed dark clothing comes much sooner. So I'm always trying to maintain a balance there.

I don't really need much more for the cold season. I have to make this black dress, finishing off my basic work capsule, and then I need to temporarily divert my attention because my closet overflows. I am just ecstatic with my loungewear collection (reviews are coming as soon as I finish the hoodie!!) and now I want some sleepwear items. By the way, these are two different things for me. Since I pretty much dress on the cusp of business casual & business professional, I tend to change clothes as soon as I come home from work. This is where the loungewear comes in for me. And for those days when I'm staying in all day (and binging movies or binging sewing!).

For sleepwear, I would like 2 nightgowns and 2 pair of sleep shorts. I have plenty tees and tanks and can't sleep in pants unless it's REALLY cold. And that hasn't happened yet even with temps at -15 and windchills of -35. I just run too hot to sleep in pants.

I also want the few outerwear pieces I discussed previously - Closet Case Clare in black wool coating, Burda 8/2017 short coat in navy melton and pattern tbd trench coat in a khaki/tan color.

I'm making this view in black with black lining, 'gold' piping(!) and a 'gold' zipper.
This jacket in navy with navy lining. Maybe I'll add red or hot pink piping.
Oh! I need buttons for this!
This vintage Simplicity was on my radar for all of it's trench details. But now, I am not so sure.
1) It's a raglan. I believe that, as much as I love my S2508, I don't care much for raglans and I don't wear it nearly as much as my coats with set-in sleeves
2) It doesn't have much shaping at all; that's done with the belt
3) It doesn't have a collar stand. Easy to say just add it, but there's a reason I have never been interested in any sort of pattern drafting ;)
So as much as the idea of tracing this makes me want to cry...I think this Burda 11/2012 pattern is the one, sans piping. It really has everything I want. If Burda had copy-shop printing I would just buy it and print it!!
I don't mind the angled gunflaps in front but don't really like it in back. That I will change. The other view from the mag has more traditional versions of these pieces and I'll use those:
Again, I'm hoping to make the ever elusive "perfect" summer wardrobe. I'm just not good with sewing up work or casual summer clothes. I am never fully satisfied. I probably need to figure out if it's a case of my vision of 'summer clothes' not matching my reality and adjust. This year I may use RTW pieces as inspiration and do a copy-cat capsule.

To round up...for the first four months of the year I'll be quite focused (the 2018 SWAP may or may not pan out. I don't want to focus on that and the site may be going paid subscription only). Also we KNOW that something 'shiny' will slip in. e.g. the green Burda wrap top was 'shiny' but it was so worth it!

-complete black work wear wardrobe (1 more item-in progress)
-complete loungewear wardrobe (2 more items)
-complete sleepwear wardrobe (4 items)
-complete 3 outerwear items
-complete a replacement pair of Birkin flare jeans
-sew a silk slip in a nude-to-me color (I got some swatches from Mood for this recently!)
-participate in PR Red Carpet contest in March

Now, I have absolutely no need at this moment for anything 'red carpet'. But I think it will be a nice challenge and fun to do. And because I don't need it, less pressure. I'm hoping I can enjoy the process and learn something new along the way! I'm thinking of this pattern from 11/2014:

I think it's gorgeous and have thought about this pattern since that issue was released! I already have 4 yards of charmeuse in a lovely jade color! :-D

2018 Sewing Resolutions:
  • No new fabric prior to May 1 except the silk for the slip.
I have everything in stash for the above projects including lining fabrics. I will need some notions (e.g. tons of buttons for the trench) but my stash is at that slightly overwhelming point right now. And I go in and look for something and come across something else that I completely forgot about! I want to WEAR those pieces not pet them in the stash!!!

  • Very few new patterns
I just culled 70+ patterns from the stash. I will tell you that is slightly less than 10% of my stash (doh!). I can add 18 new patterns to stash this year (about 25% of what I culled). I am getting to the point that a) not many details are new compared to what I have b) I can start to add some design details to existing patterns vs buying new c) my Burda stash is nice and deep (almost 5 years worth of mags).

The new McCall's release did not entice AT ALL. Blergh.

  • Tracking. 
I want to track:
    • What patterns I use e.g., TNT vs used before vs new
    • Success/failure throughout the year vs at year end
    • What I'm wearing. I plan to take a photo-a-day. I will NOT share my daily outfit pics - don't worry! :-p I may do summaries here and there.
    • Fabric in/out. I missed it this year. I didn't think I was really paying as much attention but I suppose I was!
    • Spending; fabrics, notions, other (marking tools, cutting tools, Wonder Tape :p )

  • Burdastyle Magazine:
I am still doing the Burda challenge. I want to challenge myself to sew at least 18 Burda magazine patterns in this year. They may or may not be from the current issue.

  • Sewing Community engagement:
I love the community as a whole. Sewing is a solitary hobby and it is nice to share the love. But for 2018 I have got to stop engaging in these "Big4=bad; Indie=good" debates. It makes me all spazzy and ragey. I honestly don't care if anyone never, ever, ever touches a Big4 pattern. I really don't. Don't like them? Don't sew them!! There are tons of Indie patterns I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole and others I love! But why on earth must the Big4 always(!!!) be denigrated to discuss how much one likes Indies? WHY IS THIS A THING?!

There is a reason that Butterick has been around since 1863, McCall's since 1870, Vogue since 1899 and Simplicity since 1927. I've only been sewing for 5 years and have seen a couple decent Indie companies come and go. Sewaholic was around for less than 7 years and those were solid patterns with great instructions and she had a huge following!

So I'd like it if people stopped pretending like Indie companies are going to wipe Big4 off the map because of their presumed superiority. Can't we just let them coexist?? Can't you primarily sew your Indies and love it while I primarily sew my Big4 and Burdas and love it? That can work, right? We can do that, RIGHT?!?!? :-p

Aside from that specific goal, I want to continue being more positive. I have done so much better with exiting conversations that feel purposeless (yeah, yeah, except for the above! LOL!). I've gotten back to focusing on being encouraging and engaging with the more positive aspects of the community and will continue to do so.

  • Blogging:
I love to blog my sewing and I love to read blogs about sewing. I re-joined Instagram to provide more of an audience to Cricut for my projects but my heart isn't in it thus far. So for the foreseeable future, I'll be here, blogging my projects.

January Sewing Plans:
  • Black Burda 6853 (WIP)
  • Grey Burda 1/2018 hoodie
thoughts on zipper choice?:

  • Black S8424 leggings (I love this legging pattern)
  • Butterick 6247 in cream jersey (official Cricut project)
  • Finish NL6530 skirt (just needs elastic and  hemming)
  • Review the tons of things I've finished!
Happy New Year!!! Let's make 2018 GREAT!


  1. Loved reading about your plans! Happy New year! Yes, lets make 2018 GREAT!

  2. Happy New Year to you also. I think I like the darker zipper for the new hoodie. It just seems to blend a bit better in the photos.
    And I SO agree about Big 4 vs Indie patterns. They've all had wildly varying degrees of pattern quality in both drafting, styles, and size range. And I think non-US sewers have a good amount of envy about the pricing of Big 4 patterns and sales in the US. I know I'd be envious if I lived elsewhere and kept reading of the US sale prices on forums.

  3. What about the wool Melton Burdastyle trench I made like seven years ago. I'd be happy to loan you the magazine and or send the pattern I already traced.

    1. I second this recommendation. I made my navy trench coat using the same pattern Renee used for her wool coat. It's from the 9-2006 issue and is a solid pattern.

  4. You are such a good planner - I never plan my sewing and am fascinated by those who do. Ooo the tundra - you are a tough cookie to survive. Yes for Vogue patterns etc. they are so good! I will agree I don't understand the fascination with a lot of the indies - the instructions are often so wordy and not helpful. You and a few other Burda stitchers got me to finally subscribe and I am glad I did - so I will try to use it monthly. not sure I could sew 18 things in a year. tracing 1 per month is probably my limit:) HAPPY NEW YEAR and stay warm :) Beth

  5. Your blog is one of my favourites. I love your srwing and how real and genuine you are. Here's to a great 2018!

  6. I love how you are so analytical about what you make- I guess that is the scientist side of you that we get to see! That trench coat looks like a very challenging project- but I know that you will breeze through it. Have a great 2018!

  7. Happy New Year! So many good things on the horizon for you as I read your post!! :) And I like the light gray zipper. I love that you talked about letting Indie and Big 4 patterns coexist--I think that is the way it should be, and didn't know about the two being pitted against each other. I will always sew what I love without discrimination, lol! The Clare Coat is lovely, and PR red carpet contest looks awesome. I am so sorry your hand is not completely healed. Mine would still hurt off and on, but has been in good condition for the past month. Lots of healing vibes being sent your way!

  8. I loved everything about this post. I really enjoy your blog.
    I live in the opposite climate as you. Winter is a mere suggestion. Summer exists from March through November and is really noticeable in July-September. Current daytime temps in the 70s, but nighttime temps in the 30s. What's a person to do? Layer layer layer.
    Congrats on your new certification and Happy New Year!

  9. I like your seasons description.
    Living in an even more tundra-like city (Winterpeg) I describe the seasons here as winter, early spring, spring, late spring early summer, summer, late summer early fall, fall, late fall early winter. One can usually wear the same clothes for early spring/late fall there is different footwear and jacket requirements for spring and fall (one being wet, the other usually dry). People usually think I'm nuts when I try to explain this.
    I'm glad blogging is still a big part of your plans for 2018.

  10. Love reading your blog and seeing what you've made. Happy New Year

  11. Love your blog and so glad you want to continue. I don't like taking pictures or writing so having a blog would just be drudgery for me. Hard to tell on the zipper, what with weird colors on the screen, but the darker one looks good tucked under the fabric. Your Clare coat sounds wonderful. I will be making one too but it will be a red raincoat. I live across the water from Seattle so I can never have too many! I totally agree about indie and Big 4. I think we are blessed to have all those choices and who can resist those amazing Big 4 sales!! I sew from many companies, it just depends on what I want. Oh true confession - I have already bought fabric this year with some great gift cards at Christmas and some great sales. I sew mostly from the stash and life is too short to stress about all the fabric which makes me happy and is cheaper than therapy!

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  13. I agree with your comments regarding the pattern companies! Thank you for continuing to blog. Your production is inspiring!

  14. Happy new year! I love reading your blog and seeing your makes, so I'm kinda glad this won over Instagram. I think the light zipper works best. I just can't wait to see the coats your planning on making!

  15. Okay I could actually hear you saying all that about patterns and I understand how you feel about it. But what made my heart race was when you said that you were going to start altering patterns. Yes!!! BTW, I like the lighter zipper for the hoodie.

    Your 2018 is shaping up to be pretty interesting - guess I will hang around to see what you've got going on! 😘

  16. I love reading about all your sewing plans and then my jaw drops because you manage to get things done. You've gotta share your secret. Congrats on the certification and best of luck with your future grad studies, it sounds like you're going to have a pretty exciting year! I agree with you on the pattern debate, go with whatever floats your boat, we're all different shapes, sizes and skill levels and thankfully we have a choice, one isn't necessarily better than the other. And minus thirty something windchill, sadly, I understand what that feels like (also from Winterpeg). Stay warm!

  17. I'm with you on the Big4 vs. Indie battle. Why is this a thing? Sew what works for you and keep it moving. Done and done. =)

    I love reading your blog and am glad that you continue with it.

  18. Hi--I found your blog via Pattern Review and have really enjoyed seeing all your completed projects. You seem to have a real knack for choosing patterns and fabric that suit you well--you look fabulous in your clothes! My efforts are far more hit or miss, but I certainly enjoy the process. I agree with you on the Indie vs. Big 4. I tend to stick with the Big 4 (Burda and Vogue) simply because their patterns require the least amount of alterations for my body shape. And now that I've been sewing for a few years, I'm better able to adapt or Frankenpattern to get what I want. Anyway--Happy New Year and happy sewing to all! Here's wishing you a successful 2018.

  19. I agree with the Big4 vs. Indie question - just why are we debating this topic? We should be sewing! Does it really matter which patterns are best/better? It's all a matter of perspective anyways IMHO. I personally have over 700 patterns and the vast majority of them are Big4!

    I thoroughly enjoy your honestly on your blog and please, keep up the sewing projects! I like your idea of tracking your fabric inflows/outflows. I already track how much yardage I sew per year and will add in the dreaded "how much do I really buy per year" to the tracking spreadsheet - EEK!!! That could be scary! One of my other goals is to add all of my current stash to the "Cora" app to see how much I really have as I have no idea. After adding only one small stack of cottons, I've already rediscovered two fabrics I had completely forgotten about!

    Happy New Year to you and here's to a year of fabulous projects!

  20. Hi, of all the blogs out there I read yours consistently! Love seeing your creations, it gives me some inspiration to get in my stash and get sewing, lol! A plan for the year is a great idea, I have alot of fabric in my stash that is " what were you thinking" fabric that I've been using for muslins. Question; what is the pattern # for the Jean jacket? I've been wanting to make one, I like the details on the one in your blog. Thanks, happy new year!

  21. I sooooo agree with your opinion on the Indie vs. Big 4. Why does it have to be an argument? Why can't people use what they like and let others do the same? I am a die-hard fan of the Big 4. It's what I learned on , and I still use them about 90% of the time. You are so right....they have been around for 100+ years for a reason. As for the zipper, I like the white one. I look forward to your blog in the coming year. Yours is one of my favorites.

  22. White zipper. I have loved reading your tracking posts in the past and I'm planning to track my fabric in/out this year as well. It's all well and good to say I'm not trying to buy more fabric than I need, but I have no accountability.

    I could not survive in your temperatures. When it gets below 30 I'm wearing fleece pants, a teeshirt, a cardigan and socks to bed (and we have a down comforter!).

    As far as Indie/Big 4, I saw a blogger the other day talk about how she was afraid of Big 4 patterns and I thought to myself how much money she could save if she didn't buy five million basic t-shirt patterns for $10+ a pop. I sew both Indie and Big 4 patterns, and I get how people can find them intimidating in the beginning (indie seemed a lot more approachable to me when I started) - but at some point if you are able to make jeans from an indie pattern, I think you can probably sew most Big 4 stuff.

  23. Im so glad you said that about the new McCalls patterns. Everyone was gushing about how much they loved everything...and I wondered if they were looking at the same patterns I was! Absolutely nothing new, fresh, or appealing in any way. Every single one of those designs already exists in every indie company and their own companies(since they now own Simplicity)

  24. Also on the tundra (Canadian border)(high today, minus 11) and spending my life in jeans and tees. My "working wardrobe" hangs in the overstuffed closet. Re the "cheaper than therapy" comment, you haven't seen my stash. I suspect therapy would have been the thrifty answer!

  25. Big4 patterns and other established patterns are wonderful. And you are right, there are great indie patterns too but much like anything in life, I always tell people to choose what is best for them. For me, it is a combo of Big4 and Indie. I have yet to venture to Burda.

  26. 100% in agreement about the indie vs. Big4 debate - I tried my first Indie this year and I liked it, but I also sewed a ton of Burda and Big4 and I liked them too. Burda is my go-to and likely will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

    Also, I’ve been eying that same Burda trench since it came out! I’m so excited to see your version!

    I vote the lighter zip, but it might just be the colors on my screen.

    Cant’t wait to see everything you’ve planned out, there are going to be some amazing projects!

  27. Love your season descriptions. Up here the seasons are winter and summer. Spring is only a spasm of mud and leafless trees that exists when snow melts and go immediately after. Fall is far too fleeting but it provides spectacular glory for a few days amidst cold and rain, again, way too brief. Summer (the best summers anywhere are in the Adirondacks of NY and I've been through a bunch in different places) and Winter (feels like it never ends) are our seasons. Period. But all are so beautiful in their own way.

    Wonderful thoughts on the pattern landscape. Happy New Year to you!

  28. Your productivity is always so inspiring. It's truly amazing how much you accomplish each year. I totally agree on the indie vs. big4 debate. At the end of the day we all sew for the love of the craft. Which pattern one chooses to use is irrelevant. Happy 2018!

  29. I use the Big 4 for probably two thirds of my sewing. I like Style Arc too, they have interesting tops. What I like about them ~ A LOT ~ is that they do all their testing in-house. Using volunteers to test a commercial product does not sit well with me.

    All the best for your uni stuff - what are you looking at studying?

  30. applying for graduate school in the fall." WHAT??? How awesome is that!!! I wish you all the luck. I enjoyed graduate school so much I went back for a second masters :) I'm that weird nerd that loves learning. Honestly I don't enjoy school, just the learning part.

    I loved reading all about your plans. we have many similar ideas for this year. I lean more toward burda, jalie, ottobre, but I also sew some big 4 and lots of indie patterns. I think people need to open their minds more. If a pattern looks great, sew it. Who cares who made it :)
    I'm so excited to see what you make this year!!

  31. Inspiring post, thanks for continuing all the effort it takes to produce such a good blog. I vote for the darker zipper.

  32. The black Burda dress is everything. Can't wait to see your 2018 makes.


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