Thursday 31 December 2020

2020 wrap up, resolutions and good riddance

 So... it's the last day. It would be stupid to pretend that the nightmare is over, but symbolically it's great to see the back of this godforsaken year. 2020 has been awful to everybody, some much worse than others, and I'm so sorry for all the losses we've collectively suffered. I hope everyone who is able to gets vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, and that we're able to hold the shitty governments of this world to account for how inexcusably they've let their people down this year. In many, many ways. 

But for now, let's not. Fighting the populist menace can wait two days. 

Obviously, my success rate with last year's resolutions was... low. I put all the energy I had into making sure I was sewing at all, and even that didn't work half the time. I did reasonably well in clearing out fabric - I only have 7.5m of what I bought in 2019 left (plus three or four older pieces) and about 15m of what I bought this year. In 2020 I bought less than half of what I bought in 2019. Everything else fell a bit by the wayside. I could not persuade myself to make a swimsuit or a ballgown or anything else that would have to languish in storage for a year or more. 

This year I'm planning five resolutions. None of them will depend on Covid going away, none of them will rely on me becoming a fundamentally different person, only one of them is a specific project. 

1. I will set up my new sewing area to give me the best chance of keeping organised and on top of things.

Patrick and I will probably move into our new house sometime in January. We definitely won't have sofas and might not even have a bed, but we want out of this flat and will most likely book a moving van as soon as the decorating is done. To begin with the second bedroom will be a combined sewing room/office, but eventually Patrick wants to build a garden office so he can work at home without having to keep work in the house. So I'm going to end up with an entire - small, but entire - sewing room, which is amazing but I really need to set it up so it doesn't get out of control. I am incredibly disorganised (just generally, as a human), and sometimes the barrier between me and a productive sewing day is a giant pile of stuff. Basically I need it to be easier to put things away than to leave them out. This is my number one priority for the year and I think its success is key to whether or not I succeed at anything else. I'm thinking I might make a couple of posts about my progress and how I've tried to overcome my massive executive function problems. Niche, but I hope it might be useful to some people. 

2. I will find a way to catalogue my patterns and notions.

In a way this is part of the previous resolution, but it's such a big job that I wanted to make it a point by itself. I already keep a pretty good up-to-date record of what fabric I have, but I really need to expand that to notions too. I keep being surprised by what I do and don't have (e.g. somehow always every length of black zip except the one I need right now). I haven't worked out what format is the best for storing this kind of information, but I want something that's fairly easy to update and to sort through. My plan is to work on this as I move, at the same time as reorganising my storage. 

3. I will watch all of, and complete some of, the Suzy Furrer Craftsy classes.

My 2019 resolutions included making my own sloper, and early this year pre-lockdown I went to a couple of classes claiming to teach just that. They... didn't really. It was very noticeable that the people in the room who got the best fit were the people who were more likely to have success with a standardised draft. I might be able to work with the trouser draft but the bodice draft is basically nonsense. There was a lot of "you'll get a number between X and Y... you got Z? No, nobody's Z, let me measure you... oh, you are Z. Well, just put Y" which I didn't think was really the point. Having got the cheap Craftsy premium deal I'm planning to walk through the Suzy Furrer classes and see if I can come up with something better. My main goal is to get a better idea of how to tweak things; I don't want to try making all my own patterns but knowing how to alter necklines and armscyes and crotch curves and so forth would help me out a lot. 

4. At least once this year, I will make several items that could be considered a collection or a capsule.

A couple of years ago I was very into the idea of having seasonal themes, managed it really well once, then got a bit stymied by actually having to come up with a new theme every few months. I ended up reverting to "a couple of random colours" which wasn't really enough. I don't expect myself to suddenly find enough inspiration to do this four times in 2021, but I reckon I can do it once. I will come up with a theme that suggests a few colours and also a print, silhouette or technique, and I'll do my fabric shopping with that in mind. I don't want to go back to buying masses and masses of fabric, and this might be a good way to keep me focused. 

5. I will make a corset.

So this is something I've always wanted to try but thought would forever be outside my reasonably attainable skill set. It's clearly not, though, and in 2021 I am going to try and make the Ralph Pink Laila waspie (which seems like a good beginner starting point) and if that goes well, a slightly more involved one too. My waist is inside but my hips are outside the Ralph Pink size range, so the waspie will be fine but I'll need to learn to grade corset patterns if I want to make a full one. 

I haven't made a sewing plan for winter and I'm not going to. I still have some stuff from autumn to catch up on, and as my sewing space is being transplanted it feels like a fool's errand to make a list now. I'm going to use the next couple of months to get my UFOs done and my room set up, so hopefully come March I'll be ready to go and full of ideas for the eternally-difficult spring plan. 

Here's to a stronger year. Cheers. 


  1. I always look forward to your posts- love your sense of humor about sewing and life in general. Congrats on the new house! you had some fabulous makes this year (that blue silky wrap dress!) Wonder if you've seen Scroop Patterns? More of a historical pattern maker but she has several corset patterns and I know size inclusivity is important to her, although i don't know if she's been able to update all her patterns to inclusive sizing. Interested to see the capsule approach as I've been wanting to try that approach also.

    1. The blue Trina was my favourite too! I have seen the Scroop corsets but I'm looking for more a vintage burlesque type of corset rather than a historical one. I've found a couple of sites claiming to offer free corset patterns in larger sizes, so I might give one of those a go too!

  2. Good luck on your move and building your new room!!

    I have a small room and lifesavers for the room has been:
    a corner desk from IKEA for my machine. (I have a small drafting table big & sturdy enough for my serger and coverstitch to sit side by side).

    I have an IKEA raskog cart for my pressing station,several Sterilite 3-drawer carts that fit under my cutting table and/or in slim spaces. I have a narrow and shallow IKEA bookcase that I store my notions and sewing books on. BUT I also have the ability to store my fabric and pattern stash in the basement so I'm not using up space for that. My knitting machine and Cricut stuff take up a lot of space and I'm thinking I could have my storage in there without those things.

    Can't wait to see what you work up this year. Continue to take it as easy as you can!

    1. This is really helpful, thank you! Space for sewing books is something I hadn't considered (mine currently live on our regular bookcase and that's not going to be much help in the new place). Things like a new sewing desk and a cutting table will have to wait until we're a bit less broke from buying our main furniture, but I've made notes of your recs for when the time comes!