A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 in Review

I've never done a year-in-review post here before, despite having kept this blog for nearly four years.  But this year I tallied up all my sewing and crunched some numbers so that I could make a fun chart. The results surprised me!

Surprise #1: I sewed more for others than I did for myself.  I was under the impression that I've sewed overwhelmingly for myself for the last two years, but it's not true.  In 2017, I sewed 46 garments for myself (43 percent) and 62 garments for others - mostly my kids (57 percent).  I would have guessed that the proportion of selfish vs. unselfish sewing was more like 75/25 percent.  In 2016, I sewed 40 garments for myself (37 percent) and 58 for others, again, mostly my kids (63 percent).

Here's a graphic breakdown of my selfish sewing for the year:

As I was thinking about this post, I realized that this year's sewing has enabled me to wear me-made every single day.  I have only been shopping once this entire year for clothing that was not underwear or swimwear.  (And I only bought two things, one of which I ended up returning).  Not only that, but I haven't really had the urge to shop - for clothing, that is.  Fabric is another matter entirely.  Every time I have wanted something, I have just sewn it.

As a result, I have built a very satisfying me-made wardrobe without many holes.  

Surprise #2: My 2017 selfish sewing was more successful - by far - than my 2016 sewing.  I didn't tally up my 2016 sewing last year, but I went through my blog and my memory and made some lists while writing up this post.  Here is what I found:

In 2016, I made myself 1 dress, 9 skirts, 1 pair of pants, 4 pairs of shorts, 7 woven tops, 13 knit tops and 5 cardigans. But of those makes, I would call 16 of them fails.  Either they didn't fit right from the beginning, they were too uncomfortable to wear, they fell apart or wore out more quickly than they should have, or I just plain didn't like them.  Most of them aren't in my closet any longer, and the ones that are left have been relegated to scrubby clothes that I wear when I need to be able to get messy.  So I've calculated my 2016 selfish sewing success rate at a mere 60 percent.

This year, my success rate is 87 percent.  Of 46 garments, only six were outright fails.  My fails were due to bad-quality fabric; fitting mistakes due mostly to my own laziness in documenting pattern alterations; and mistakes during the cutting stage.  I'll get more into this when I post my Top 5 Misses later on.

I think my greater success rate is due to more practice fitting my body, and greater attention paid to fabric purchases.  I've cut down a lot on aimless fabric purchases this year - since March, I've made a concerted effort to only buy fabric that I have concrete plans to use within two or three months.  This means that I have fewer "guilty" cuts of fabric in my stash  - the type that I previously would have sewn just to use them up, and not because they were the best pairing for the pattern.

But enough about last year.  Here is what I made THIS year:

Left to right: Velvet Alberta Street skirt, gray knit pencil skirthoundstooth Alberta Street Skirttwo Tillery Skirts.  All but one of these skirts were made using long-stashed fabric.  The remaining skirt, the knit pencil, was sewn up within a couple of weeks of my buying the fabric for it.

Left to right: Appleton 1; Appleton 2; unblogged Kirsten Kimono tee dress; unblogged McCalls 7353; unblogged McCalls 7353.  Most of the fabric in these makes was stashed, but not for necessarily that long.  The blue floral fabric was bought expressly to make an Appleton dress, which I did within a few months of the purchase.

Pants: Ginger Jeans 1; Ginger 2; linen pants. This fabric was all purpose-bought and, with the exception of the first pair of jeans, used quickly.

These are my short sleeve and tank knit tops from left to right. 

Top row: my navy and orange Kirsten Kimono tees and an unblogged green one that can be seen in this post. All of the fabric was bought to become these tees.
Middle row:  three short-sleeved v-neck Renfrews, all from stash.
Bottom row: Pony Tanks, blogged here and here.  I gave the first one to my mother-in-law after she admired it.  The two prints were bought from Joann's expressly to become Pony Tanks, and the black was from stash.

From left to right, my Appleton top, and two new Renfrew tops, all sewn from stashed fabrics.  Not pictured: two failed Renfrews, also made from stash.

Woven tops:

Top row, L-R: Gray check Bonn (stash); Seersucker Bonn (stash); Blue Bonn (fabric bought for this purpose and used quickly)
Middle row, L-R: Floral Josephine (deep stash); Gallery Tunic (purpose-bought(; Gingham Josephine (stash)
Bottom row, L-R: Yellow Bonn (purpose-bought); Gallery Tunic button-down (stash); Flannel Bonn tunic (purpose-bought and cut into within a week!).


Blackwood 1 (stash); Blackwood 2 (not blogged, purpose-bought); Blackwood 3 (purpose-bought).

Outerwear: Poncho (stash); Self-drafted Coat (purpose-bought).

Underwear: 5 pairs from the Ohhh Lulu Celeste bikini pattern, not blogged, and unphotographed.

I'm not doing photos of my unselfish sewing, but here is the tally:

Girls' dresses: 7
Girls' leggings: 4
Girl's button-down shirt: 1
Boys' tees and tanks: 8
Boys' pants: 5
Baby boy's romper: 1
Children's swimsuit separates: 11
Children's pj separates: 14
Children's nightgowns: 3
Child's outerwear: 1
Woman's skirt: 1
Man's pj pants: 1
Mens' button-down shirts: 5

WHEW! I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted from typing all that out.  I know I'll be glad to have it to refer to in the future, but this post was quite a job.  It's possible I may squeeze in one or two more projects before January, but I wanted to get this post out.  Stay tuned this week and next for my Top 5 Hits and Misses of 2017.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!


  1. In prior years I maintained a spreadsheet throughout the year. This year I didn't. This year putting together my list wa HARD! LOL!

    You had a great year. I especially love your dress and woven top section. That McCall's dress is awesome on you!

    1. I was definitely inspired by your monthly and yearly review posts. It's so eye-opening to take stock after a year; I will definitely do it again. I think I might even start a spreadsheet!

  2. That's a great tally! I love doing these sorts of posts at the end of the year--it really helps me to refine what worked, what didn't, what I liked to sew/wear, what I didn't, and why.

    1. It really is helpful! I will definitely be doing it again.

  3. Crazy awesome year for you!!!! Love it! This year I'm going to keep a master list of all makes in my bullet journal so that I can do a better job of knowing what I'm sewing over a year. I love all your pie charts!


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