Monday, January 12, 2015

Goooooooals! Looking back (2014) and looking ahead (2015)

If you can stand one more self-reflective post from me, I want to go over how I did on the sewing goals that I set for myself back at the beginning of 2014 and set a few new goals for myself for 2015. If you can't stand one more post of this nature, go ahead and mark this as "read" in your blog reader; I won't be offended. Like my hits and misses post, I'm writing my goals post mainly for myself to help assess my sewing journey.

Let's start with how I did last year.


Let's face it--I got a bit carried away with the goal stuff last year, so much so that it took me several posts to write about all of the goals that I was setting for myself and the convoluted systems that I was using to track those goals.

Here are those posts:
Gee, with so many rigid goals that I set for myself, how ever did I lose interest? 

I did manage to do one re-assessment (when I was still sort of on track) back at the end of Q1 of 2014:

2014 Q1 Sewing Goals check-in

And then I pretty much gave up. But let's see what I accomplished, anyway.

Stash goals

The following statement gives my "stash goals" for 2014:

"I, Michelle of happilycaffeinated, commit to using at least 15 patterns from the candidate pattern stash and using at least 20 pieces of stash fabric in 2014. Stash includes any fabric or patterns on hand/purchased prior to the date of this pledge, 8 Jan 2013."

And then I had a spreadsheet (of course) of "candidate patterns" to choose from. Here are the ones that I actually sewed from that list:
  1. Mr. HotPatterns Nice & Easy t-shirt (I sewed 2 of these for my husband.)
  2. HotPatterns 4 Season Kimono Jacket
  3. HotPatterns Tailored Trackpant
  4. Oliver + S Playtime Tunic and Leggings (sewn for my daughter)
  5. StyleArc Slip-on Suzie dress
  6. StyleArc Olive Spliced tee
  7. StyleArc Amber top
 So, 7 out of 15. Meh. My use of stash patterns really dropped off as the year progressed and more new patterns came out because "Ooooh! Shiney!" I need to be more realistic about my tendencies to get distracted and just go with them instead of trying to fight them. So no pattern stash goals for 2015.

Yes, the Colette Hawthorn was on that "candidate" list, and no that never did get sewn this year.

I did track whether the fabric that I used for a given project came from stash or not, as well. "Stash" fabric was any fabric that I owned prior to January 8, 2014.

By my count, I used 23 pieces of stash fabric, so yay, me on that one!

Non-stash goals

Here are the more interesting (I'd imagine) goals that I set for myself, based on my blog post:

  • Sew a water-resistant jacket with a hood. This didn't happen in 2014, but I still very much need one of these. This will be one of my few carry-over goals, which I'll discuss later in this post.
  •  Sew a winter coat.

    Well, we all know how that is going. This is still very much in-progress. I will finish at some point this month (January). Can I ask for an extension on this one or get partial credit for a coat that's about 2/3 of the way finished?
  •  Sew my daughter's Halloween costume.Done. You remember my daughter, Queen Elsa?

    Queen Elsa trick-or-treats at my office.
  • Sew a capsule wardrobe.Well, I did sew a capsule wardrobe, although it was 4 pieces and not 12, and it certainly wasn't the wardrobe that I spent an entire post rambling on about.  Partial credit.
  • Get over my fear of fly zippers.

    A weird thing happened with this one. I did sew a number of zippers this year, albeit none were fly zippers since I didn't sew a single pair of fly front pants. But you know what? I don't feel any sort of dread of sewing fly zippers any more, either. I can't give myself credit for this one, though. We'll talk more about fly fronts and pants in my 2015 goals.
  •  Execute a wearable set of welt pockets.

    I did this! But you all don't know about it because it was on that pattern that I tested. It's a single welt, inseam pocket. By funny coincidence, I'm actually wearing this top today. So yeah, it's wearable. Here's photographic evidence that doesn't give away the pattern before it's released.

    Welt pocket
    Not perfect, but certainly wearable. Especially when not viewed in an overexposed photo at close range.
  • Fabric out for the year should be 50% greater than fabric in.Hahahahahahahaha!

    I stopped keeping track of my purchases back in June, when a work deadline caused a few stress-related online shopping binges. I did, however, track that I sewed 77.5 yards this year (including 4 yards for the coat that's still not finished) and donated another 50 yards. I don't want to think about the "fabric in" portion of that, though.
  • Explore the functionality of my Babylock Evolve.I definitely played around with a lot of stitches on my Evolve.  I think we can count this one as "accomplished".

Non-goal: RTW fast

I didn't actually set out to do a RTW fast this year, but looking back, the only RTW that I purchased in 2014 was underwear, socks, bras, and a couple of souvenir t-shirts. I'm kind of amused that I accomplished what is sometimes a major goal for us sewists without even trying, but that I didn't achieve some of my easier sewing goals. That's life, I guess.

2015 Goals

In 2014,  I did better on the more general goals than the more rigid goals. I'm not sure that having rigid goals really accomplished anything for me beyond stealing my sewjo. In any case, 2014 is over. It was a crappy year for a number of personal reasons that I haven't blogged about (mostly family and pet health-related issues).

To quote the Counting Crows, "Maybe this year will be better than the last."

I'm going to keep my goals more project-based this year, for the most part. I am interested in stretching my sewing and fitting skills a bit, but I don't want to take on more than I can realistically handle.

In general, I want to be more thoughtful in my sewing this year (it seems like everyone has been saying that as a goal, doesn't it?) and also concentrate more on woven wardrobe staples and not just sew quick knit tops and dresses.

Here are the things that I want to accomplish:

Finish that damn winter coat.

I will finish it, and I will finish it while the weather still allows me to wear it. And then I'll have a nice, warm winter coat for next fall/winter, too. I finished inserting the lining at the facings/hem over the weekend. Currently, I'm trying to figure out the instructions for attaching the sleeve hem/sleeve lining hem. With the coat turned right-side-out, you're supposed to pull the sleeve and sleeve lining through the neck opening, anchor the armscye seam allowances together, and stitch the hems together. I couldn't wrap my head around how this would work. I'll google and see if I can figure it out, but if not, I'll just hand stitch everything like I've done in the past.

Bathroom mirror selfie verifying my coat's progress
 I'm really, really hoping to have the whole thing done in the next week or two.

Pattern stash goal: none

One thing that I learned about myself last year is that I really do enjoy picking up a pattern on a whim and diving right into it. Trying to deny the "Oooh, shiney!" nature of choosing my sewing projects sucks some of the fun out of it. In general, though, I am going to try to avoid jumping on bandwagons and buying a certain pattern just because it's the hot new indie pattern that everyone is sewing. I might do that, but only if I truly see myself sewing up and wearing the pattern.

Fabric stash goal: Shop my stash first, shop local for wovens, and quality over quantity

One thing that I learned this past year in semi-tracking my fabric purchases and comprehensively tracking my fabric usage is that knits, especially knit prints, don't stay in my stash for long. I probably have fewer than 10 cuts of better-than-muslin quality knit prints in my stash and another 10 of good quality solid knits. Wovens, on the other hand, are another story since I sew those a lot less frequently.

I really want to stop my impulse buying at FabricMart sales where a big box of 6 cuts of fabric arrives on my doorstep, and I sew 2 cuts right away, and the other 4 go into the stash for god knows how long. In fact, I have one those boxes sitting at my desk at work because I was embarrassed to have it sent to my house and didn't want to have to deal with the "More fabric?" from my husband. I am keeping this box at my desk as a reminder to myself to not order more fabric, unless it's for a specific project and fabric that I can't find locally. (We do have a pretty decent assortment of apparel fabric stores in Seattle.) I know that doing a total fabric fast is unrealistic for myself, but I do want to hold myself to shopping my stash first, then shopping locally, and then shopping online (where the real shopping danger for me lies) if I can't find the "right" fabric at home or locally.

I will continue to track my fabric usage, if only because I like seeing the yardage number go up throughout the year.

Sew a water-resistant jacket with a hood.

Here's that hold-over goal from last year. I still need this. Ideally, I'll sew two of these--one lightweight for spring/early fall, and another, heavier version for colder, rainy weather. Part of why I've stalled on this goal is that there really hasn't been hooded jacket pattern that's spoken to me. I want something with a hood and a zipper--something like the Sewaholic Minoru, but not drafted for the completely opposite figure type of mine and actually available in my size range without grading up. I also really like HotPatterns Mr. HP Hemingway Windcheater, but it's a mens' pattern--those details are perfect for Seattle. I am really tempted to at least muslin it and see how much of a stretch it would be to feminize the fit.

Jeans! Jeans! Jeans!

I've been wearing the same three pairs of RTW jeans for the past year and a half, and two of the pairs are looking pretty worn. I really want a go-to jeans pattern. I'm looking at muslining the StyleArc Sandra narrow leg jean and Closet Case Files Ginger jeans (the non-skinny version) and going with whichever one has the more promising muslin.

Fit and sew a button-down blouse.

A button-down blouse that fits without gaping is pretty much the unicorn of the uber-busty, isn't it? I really like the yoke and details of the Grainline Archer and have had the pattern forever, so that's probably what I'll go with. I'll need an FBA and will leave the bust dart in mine for shaping. There's also a McCall's pattern (with shoulder princess seams and cup sizes!) that's really similar to the Deer & Doe Bruyere shirt that I really want to make, so that's another candidate for this goal. Maybe I'll even use two button-down blouse patterns this year!

Watch and complete the relevant projects for at least two of my Craftsy classes.

I know that my Craftsy class stash isn't as bad as some people's, but I do have a handful of classes that I've paid for and never watched. In particular, I'd like to watch/take the two sloper classes (skirt and bodice) that I bought for $19.99 each when they were on sale a little while back.

Final thoughts

So that's it--seven goals for myself for the year, and nothing tying me to a specific pattern or anything like that, beyond finishing my winter coat.

With me planning to fit and sew more wovens this year, expect to see a lot more "muslin" and "in progress" posts from me. I'm sure that those bore some people, but I'm personally fascinated with the evolution of people's muslins to their finished garments, so I'll be posting mine. If you haven't figured it out, I tend to post the same types of posts that I enjoy reading on other blogs. Plus, I think that muslin posts are helpful for people who find your blog via googling a pattern that they're working on or planning to make--you learn that "Oh, she had that fitting issue, too?"

Happy 2015 sewing, everyone!


  1. Well although you didn't hit all of your goals you got quite a bit accomplished. I am not setting any goals this year. Never reach them.

    1. Thanks. I did leave off any pattern stash related goals because I knew I'd never stick to them.

  2. "A button-down blouse that fits without gaping is pretty much the unicorn of the uber-busty, isn't it?" That made me laugh out loud and nod all at once. That's pretty much it for me.

    1. And this is another reason why I wish some pattern designer would specialize in a drafting block for large busted women. Can you imagine how great it would be if someone designed a shirt like the new Granville, but for cup sizes DDD-F or G?

  3. ah. So much goodness in this post!

    As I was reading I was gonna try to entice you to go on a Minoru journey with me! :-p I have water resistant linen that has decided it shall be a Minoru!

    And I had that McCall's pattern in queue to emulate the cute but out of my price range Bruyere.

    I've been waiting impatiently to see your finished coat so, hurry up! :-p

    What an amazing job donating 50 yards of fabric! That's mind boggling!!!!

    1. Also, I want to live next door to Tina Fey and be her bff...

    2. *I* want my coat done! Granted, we've got a forecast with temps in the 50's for the next week, so it'll be too warm to wear it.

      BTW--I'm reading Amy Poehler's book right now, and I'm totally convinced that she and I would be total BFF's in real life if we ever met. :P

  4. Love your blog, was going through some old Burda magazines and found a pattern for an all weather jacket with hood. It is plus size. It is from Burda Pattern Magazine April 2001, pattern number 139. Princess seams, long with a a hood and separating zipper. I would be happy to mail it to you. E-mail address is, if you are interested, kick me an e-mail.
    I was reviewing the old Burda looking for sewing inspiration, your blog post put me to shame, if you have any left over sewing. mojo, send it to me, I could really use it.

    1. Thanks--I might be interested. I sent you an email. :)