Looking backward and forward

I finally completed my archiving project – you can now see (almost) all of my projects organized by year in the top nav tab “Sewing Projects”.  I’ve already delved into how I started sewing and some of my pre-Crab&Bee projects, but the galleries by year helped me to see my evolution clearly. And my ombre hair.


When I look back at the 2010 and 2011 projects, I’m overtaken by memories – quirks of the fabric, specific techniques I struggled with, the fit of the finished garment. I’m struck by how much time I spent sewing but how much longer each piece took me to finish. I can see how much my style has changed. I’m impressed with my chutzpah, blundering through difficult patterns as well as beginner ones. Most pieces from those years have been sold, donated or raided for fabric, but some are still with me (like this blue Simplicity 2451 skirt).

Some, like this magenta tunic made out of a poly-cotton thrift-store sheet, are not.


Archiving my old projects also reminded me how I learned new skills – by first-hand (occasionally painful) experience. Trying and doing. I’ve attained a skill level that allows me to fulfill a good chunk of my daily wardrobe needs, and sewing up something useful but not unusually challenging often sounds best. I probably won’t make a ball gown anytime soon, as I get the highest satisfaction out of regularly wearing my creations, but there are some useful garments missing from my wardrobe that would also require me to elevate my sewing game.

Such as…

Simplicity 1759
Simplicity 1759
Simplicity 2508
Simplicity 2508

…a winter coat! I’ve purchased two patterns from Etsy – both Simplicity patterns “inspired by Project Runway” – and plan on beginning the muslin process soon. I’m leaning towards the coat on the right for 1759 or Since I don’t do well with deadline sewing, I’m not giving myself one. A cold winter on the Seamless Pledge might motivate me to finish sooner, however. Fabric-wise, I’m hoping to use some leftover black velveteen and a quilted slippery lining.

If you have any suggestions or resources on sewing up coats, please share! And I’d love to hear if you’re setting your sights on any new challenging garments or techniques!


39 thoughts on “Looking backward and forward

  1. Blogging is a wonderful way to document progress! You are so organized too. I am coming back to admire your many projects when I have time to enjoy. I always look forward to see what you have created!

  2. How fun! I hope I can see such evolution in my sewing/blogging in a few years. I feel I’m still searching for my style.
    Good luck on your coat. I really like the double breasted one. I need/want to tackle one of them soon too. I’ll be interested in seeing how these patterns work out for you.

    1. Ooh thanks! I had run across a few posts from there researching patterns, but didn’t really understand the premise. I’ll take a deeper look.

  3. I’m so glad that I you have documented everythig – so looking forward to popping back for a good look. I quite like that magenta dress – pity you don’t have it anymore. I love your coat options. No plans for me to sew anything tricky – but you never know!

    1. Thanks, Kirsty! It was a fun project and has yielded loads of introspection. The magenta dress looked good in this one pic (thanks to my sister) but was pretty unwieldy to wear on account of being so stiff! I may have to recreate it some day in a lovely drape-y fabric of the same color.

  4. I love that high neck jacket in the second photo (third from left) but with the regular button sleeves. I have a RTW like that and it’s perfect for blustery weather!

    1. Good to know! That collar or the C collar are my favorites for that pattern. The wrist plackets look like a good bit of work, but they’re really cute.

  5. Wish I had some resources to point you to, but I can’t think of one. Instead I will just cheer-lead and say, coats are not hard and you can do it! It’s a slightly larger project but your sewing skill will are up to it. In my opinion the Project Runway patterns are well drafted, other than not giving you two piece sleeves. It’s a great place to start.

  6. how organized of you to get all your projects archived! i started doing that for this year’s makes and i petered out a few months ago… keep meaning to go back and finish up! I have no doubt you’ll be able to conquer the winter coat. i made one a year ago and wrote up a load of posts with links to resources i found useful. (if you’re interested, i have a very sparse “tips and tutorials” page with a link to all my coat posts.) it was a very satisfying project to complete and i’d love to make another!

    1. It’s there! Just disguised as a top in the lower-left corner of the summer 2013 projects. I’m glad you like it! And nobody documents like you 🙂

  7. I’m definitely not brave enough to tackle a winter coat yet. I think I might still be in the process of learning the occasionally painful lessons of quality construction and fit. I love reading your reflections on your projects though! You inspired me to pick up Simplicity 2451 and give it a try! 🙂

  8. I feel as though you are on the same road as me, just much further ahead! I found it really encouraging that you kept going and have built on your skills and wardrobe even though not all of your early clothes made the grade long term (this is definitely where I am now!). So I can’t share any coat making tips and I need to improve at almost everything…but I can still thank you for sharing! It’s great to see how far you’ve come x

    1. I agree, I think we have similar sewing goals. I thought my early projects were all treasures when I made them, which helped me persevere. One of my favorite things about sewing is that you improve automatically through doing – which you are!

  9. Your archives look so nice! It’s inspiring me to change mine up a bit. It is fun to see how much you change over the years. And yes, ombre hair. I would still have mine, but now I’m cheap and love henna.

  10. Ah, archiving my projects in gallery format has been on my to-do list forever! So impressed you got it done and so excited for your coat! We have to get together for a joint sewing session one of these days….:-)

    1. I did it by year working backwards, which made it easier. That way I always felt like I had something to show for my efforts! I would love a joint sewing session!

  11. What an awesome handmade wardrobe you have. I love the plaid dress you made back in 2011. I’m still finding my sewing style. I would not make now some of the things I made when I first started sewing.

  12. Would you be interested in an informal coat “sew-along”. I’m sure many other sewing gals would be into this. I need a big excuse to finally make myself a coat.

    1. Hi Margaret! Sorry for the late response! I’m pretty bad at any kind of scheduled sewing, but I would love to follow your progress on a coat sew-along if you go ahead with it! I have a lot to learn. 🙂

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