2019 in the Rearview

When I was going to work everyday I actually needed things to wear.  I was making most of my 'working wardrobe' AND working, so the time I had to spend was quite limited as I think about it now.  Having the chance to slow down the process and really take some time with each project feels quite luxurious.  I don't really "need" anything to wear so my garments are really a way to keep my creative...engineering brain happy.  Being able to connect to other sewers through this venue is very special and keeps my social brain happy, too.

I was skeptical 4 years ago when my kids set up "Trial Balloons" and I was surprised when I realized that since then I have made 135 posts!  It hadn't occurred to me that I would enjoy writing about my sewing projects as much as actually doing them.  But I have really liked having this record of my work.  The way I approach my sewing has really changed since I retired and the kind of things I am enjoying making is also very different in this phase of my life.  Being able to look back over the past few years and see the progression is interesting and again, unexpected.

At the end of each year, I find myself looking back over the past year's posts and taking note of trends and lessons.  I don't necessarily notice them as the year is evolving, but taking them in all together usually points out a few trends, some new some continuing, and always uncovers some lessons to incorporate into my new year.  so....in 2019...

Keep on Knitting!
I continue to enjoy knitting projects.  This year I found myself gravitating to smaller needle sizes.  I used to never even think about anything smaller than a size 8, but one of my favorite projects this past year was knit on a size 3!!! 😳 I really enjoy the projects that happen when I have 'leftovers.'  I seem to be less worried if they turn out since the yarn is basically a 'freebee.'  I'm also getting better at getting things to fit, so I wear my knitting more than I used to.


Two for One Garments
I am totally fascinated by double faced fabrics.  I really love figuring out how to use them in reversible garments.  What kind of seam finish will work on both sides.  How to get pockets on both sides.  What to do for hems and facings and collars.  It's pretty geeky I know, but I like it.


"It sounded like a good idea at the time...."
There are always a few things that I make that just miss the mark.  They are usually sewn pretty well, they often fit OK, they just don't bring me joy at the end of the day.  I haven't figured out how to completely avoid these mishaps, but I have found that I am more willing to just let them go!  I used to hang them in my closet for several seasons waiting for them to, I don't know, get better?  Now, if something doesn't work I am grateful for the fun of making it and happy to set it free.  

Too much going on......                             Too cute for its own good......


Not really very comfortable......

Unintended Fabric Sources
I made several things last year from fabric that started out as something else.  Once again, I think it's the engineering challenge of figuring out how to make it work.  This year saw a summer top made of linen napkins, a cozy funnel neck top made out of a bedspread, a tote bag and skirt refashioned from a pair of denim overalls...and of course, a few tea towel T-shirts!


My on going love affair with Merchant and Mills 
I have a full on crush on M&M patterns, fabrics and notions.  Several of my favorite projects this year started with their patterns.  The simple, elegant silhouettes fit easily into my wardrobe and the clever details and well written instructions make them a pleasure to sew.  I will definitely need to try some more in 2020.


It's all about comfortable
The garments that become my 'go-tos' are those that feel great, and are easy to wear.  Sounds pretty obvious, but I remember lots of things that required fussing to keep them straight, or were a bit too scratchy, or didn't fit as well as I would like.  Not anymore.  If it doesn't work for my life...bu-bye!


Wow, no one is more surprised then I am about my obsession with backpacks!  If you have seen my posts about them you are probably shaking your head and thinking..."again with the backpacks already!?"  Yep!  I just keep finding new pocket ideas, goofy hardware, better strap arrangements....not sure how long it will last, but if it continues for too much longer I am going to have to figure out how to get rid of the dang things!  For now, it's all fun.

I always love to find ways to share things that are handmade....



It is always exciting to start a new year, so much potential, so much unknown.  I saw a greeting card recently that I really liked, it just said, "I like where this is going."  Yeah, that feels right.  All the best in the New Year!