Sewing Lessons

As I sit outside enjoying the warm breeze and gorgeous sunshine of Key West, I am thinking about next week when I will be plunged back into the reality of Michigan winteršŸ˜«....the saving grace is that I will have plenty of studio time!  

One of the things that I have enjoyed about keeping my blog is that I have a record of my sewing projects and can look back over the year and evaluate what has been successful and what was...well...not all that great.  As I have been wanting to be more intentional about sewing things that I actually enjoy wearing, I have found this review to be very helpful.  So what have I learned in 2017....

My fascination with bags continues...

I really enjoy figuring out all the pockets and the straps and hunting down the notions that go into making bags.  The broken needles and pins imbedded into my fingers are not so much fun, but part of the process working with heavier fabrics and sewing over 8 layers at a time!!!  Even with all of the different bags I have played around with, what do I take when I go traveling?  Yep, the ratty ol' nylon, fold up backpack!!  Hmmmm...a lesson?

Knitting has also been more part of my creating in the past few years.  I think as I have been traveling more often and spending weeks at a time away from my sewing studio, I have found the portability of knitting a great asset.  I do have to spend time 'finishing' when I am at home.  As projects near completion it is more difficult to take them along, so I seem to end up with several almost finished projects at some point in the year.

I am getting better at figuring out how to read a pattern and actually alter it to fit me...but I think my most successful (measured by how often they come out of the closet) knitted garments are those that I make with my own patterns.  And often the ones that start in one direction and take several twists and turns along the way...like my current project, which has morphed at least twice since I started it. 

I think the biggest "wake up call" this year was realizing that, just because I can doesn't mean I should!  Working with Carol Lee Shanks in Ashland this past spring I found myself working on a project that felt comfortable and familiar to me and ended up being exactly what I didn't want to be doing!  Carol's intriguingly simple shapes out of luscious fabrics really captured my imagination and sent me in a new direction...I am still trying to figure out where Carol ends and Becky begins and how to blend the ideas into an authentic voice.  I am planning another DOL adventure in Taos this summer and will have another chance to work with Carol.  Hmmmm....more lessons?

One of my favorite garments this past summer was the simple striped cotton dress that I made using Carol's ideas.  I wear it often and always feel just right when I have it on.  I think there will be more exploration in this neighborhood in 2018.

When I look at travel photos I realize that what I am most often wearing is a Smartwool 1/4 zip, long sleeved shirt, or some version of a "T" shaped garment!  These are my 'go-to' garments.  So it's no surprise that two of my favorite garments of 2017 are the boiled wool vest and the 1/4 zip dress.  

Hmmmm....more lessons?

As I bid goodbye to lovely Key West and make the transition back to winter I am looking forward to incorporating some of the lessons from 2017...

- More bags...maybe in nylon!
- Keep on knitting!
- K.I.S.S.  (keep it simple, stupid!)

Thanks for indulging my habit and sending your thoughts.  Let's see what we can create in 2018!!!


  1. Hey Becky! What yarn is the neutral/rosey shawl made from? Looks fabulous!

  2. You are right that at this point it looks like a shawl (and may very well end up there!) but the original idea was to knit 2 'shawls' and connect them into a tankish top. So far I have realized that I don't have enough of the chosen yarn so the morphing has begun...we'll see what I end up with! The yarn is called Feza by Alp Natural it is a series of different yarns tied together to make the long 'variegations.' Cotton and rayon.

  3. Hi Becky,
    Would you share more information on your vest - the last picture at the bottom in greys and lavenders?
    Thank you,

    1. Hey Sue! The vest is the subject of a longer post called "Traveling in Style" from last March, 3/11/2017. There are several other photos and a description of the design process. Let me know if you have more questions about it. Cheers!