Some thoughts on 2014

I typed this title and started blankly at the text field for awhile. How do you sum up a year?

Maybe it’s best to consider how it began. I started this year blissfully unemployed. Then I went back to full-time work as a contractor. It was a rough transition, but it happened at the right time. I’d done all the reflecting and rejuvenating I possibly could, and I needed to hatch from my cocoon before I started stagnating. There’s a part of me that feels like if I’d just stuck with those feelings a little longer I might have found the perfect balance of employment, free time and 100% fulfilling work but that’s probably untrue. Being at home for so long was starting to shake my confidence in my ability to interact with other humans, which has never been that strong.

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Hiding from my office party

So I went back to work and my sewing changed. The “thinking” part of sewing lessened in favor of the “making” part. I spent the early part of this year working on my bodice sloper and adapting a pleated pants pattern into a jeans pattern, but my spring and summer was full of dresses and tops and wearing the jeans enough to realize that a) they would need future improvements and b) they should be given to my sister.

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Unblogged V.2 jeans

Now that I’ve become re-accustomed to working, my desire for longer projects is increasing again. I made a jacket. I fitted and sewed a button-down for one of our best friends who doesn’t fit RTW. After a year of talking about it, I’m sewing a coat that should be done by the end of this month. It’s been a slow process, with the construction interspersed with lots of book flipping and internet scrolling, but to me that signals I’m learning something.

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Next year, I’m slated to sew a wedding dress for my sister and I’d like to renew my quest for awesome pants. The quickest way for me to develop an aversion to something is to set a hard goal to complete it, so (aside from the wedding dress) I’m not going to do that. I’ll just say this: I’m excited for another year with you people, shared through the magical lens of sewing and creating.

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48 thoughts on “Some thoughts on 2014

  1. Ah, pants. I’m excited to see what you do. I made another pair this summer, not blogged, and made lots of tweaks thinking I had figured it out. They were terrible. I’m also excited to see your coat! Happy 2015 to you!

    1. Pants, indeed! I’m starting to wonder if I need to bite the bullet and make a pants sloper… anyway, that’s a problem for next year, maybe 😉 Happy New Year!

  2. The work-life balance is so unique for each of us. Glad you’re happy with your big decisions, and I look forward to the lovely thoughtful garments you will produce next year, especially your sister’s dress. Such a labour of love!

    1. It sure is – one of my best friends is working crazy long days in government relations after a more relaxed job and I swear that she’s invigorated by it! I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed after the first week. Thanks for the kind words, Sarah!

  3. Finding that delicate work/life balance is always such a challenge and (for me) is in a constant state of flux. Which is both exciting and trying 😀 Wishing you a 2015 full of enjoyment, fun challenges and cake!

  4. I hear ya. It’s really tough for me to squeeze challenging projects into the little bits of free time I have outside of work, especially when most of those times are at night when I’m exhausted. I’m glad to hear you’re finding your balance again, and it sounds like the upcoming year will be even better. The wedding dress sounds like such a fun project!

    1. I think so you’re right – I’m looking forward to 2015! The light will slowly come back, which always helps with motivation. I’m nervous and excited all at once for the wedding dress!

  5. 2014 has been lovely, but I always look forward to a new year 🙂 Like you, as soon as I say I will commit to sewing a particular something… all of a sudden everything but is calling out to be sewn up. You’ve made some really beautiful and ‘true’ pieces this year, and I look forward to seeing what you create in 2015 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melanie 🙂 I too love a new year, more than Christmas. It just feels so exciting.

      Glad I’m not the only one who fights their goals tooth and nail!

  6. A thoughtful summary like always. I find that my sewing and day job workload go in asymmetry too – when work is busy I want quick sewing wins! I should also add that it’s taken me almost three years to (nearly) perfect the old freelance work-life balance, so maybe have another crack some time. Those jeans and the coat progress look exciting, can’t wait to follow more of your sewing next year.

    1. That’s interesting! I guess it makes sense that it would take awhile to achieve that balance. I think what I struggle with more than anything is self-promotion – I’ve found it difficult to start looking for clients outside of my current professional circle! If you have any tips, please do share – I would love to try again soon.

  7. I can’t wait to see your progress on the coat! And any further adventures in pant fitting. I wear my handmade jeans all the time, but I’m ready to ditch them and sew up a couple better fitting pairs. Best wishes for the new year!

  8. I just started working again in September after over a year being (also relatively blissfully) unemployed. It’s not my dream job and sometimes I come home too tired to think about sewing, but I know from experience that being financially comfortable relieves some creativity-killing anxiety. So paradoxically I have less time to be creative but more creativity.
    Love reading your blog btw. Gott nytt år (happy new year) from Stockholm. Catherine

    1. I can relate to what you’re saying – at the end of my free time, I just didn’t have the same joy in sewing. Thanks so much for your kind words (and lucky you to be living in Stockholm!)

  9. Happy new year to you! “Being at home for so long was starting to shake my confidence in my ability to interact with other humans, which has never been that strong.” Oh man, I really hear you on this one – and I’ve had a number of bouts of unemployment to shore up that feeling. I’ve loved seeing your projects this year, but even more than that, I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts. It always impresses me when bloggers who are also employed full-time can make the brain space to think about the larger issues that touch our crafting worlds. Anyways, here’s to a good 2015, pants if you feel like it, and a wedding dress! (I finally tried to make pants, and can I just say that they don’t quite fit, but thanks to the magic of spandex, they sort of do … but that I will likely make another pair in the exact same fabric, in hopes of tweaking the pattern to fit better).

  10. Love your reflections on your year. I always enjoy when a blogger writes a frank post; not the normal “it was/is wonderful” You’ve done well to keep sewing while working full time,,,and at such “big” projects! Hurray for you. (In your quest for pants–I hear Cake ( http://sewingcake.com ) has a pants pattern in the works.)

    1. Thanks, Mary! I’m probably going to keep slaving away at my almost-good jeans pattern (or scrap the whole thing and draft a pants sloper), but it’s nice to know there are more options on the horizon. 🙂

  11. What a challenging year! Job stuff can really get in the way of creativity, and I’m so glad you are feeling better balanced now. Happy new year!

    1. Happy New Year, Kelly! It was a challenging but altogether very good year. I think of sewing as my personal growth laboratory – I’m such a navel-gazer! 😉

  12. Try Ginger. *cough cough* And I hear you on dealing with other humans. When I’m on, I’m ON. When I’m off, good sweet lord, I’m basically an awkward troll in a corner. It’s easier to just hang with the cats all day, though I realize this is probably not very healthy, haha.

    1. You know I’ve got the booty for it… but I am going to see if I can’t fix my jeans pattern first and perhaps make a pants sloper. I like knowing there’s an awesome alternative to those more labor-intensive methods, however!

      Oh, kitties… ❤ ❤ ❤

  13. You’ve got such a lovely thoughtful and reflective process! I think making your sister’s wedding dress might just be the perfect project for you – something that should be done well and not rushed! Hope you enjoy the process!

  14. I love reading your blog. It’s great that you ‘keep it real’ – your honesty resonates with others going through the same doubts and challenges. I wish you all the happiness and sewing ops you deserve. Cheers, Kath.

  15. I’m excited to see what you’ll make next! Sewing up a wedding dress sounds exciting and I can’t wait to see your coat progress. You’ve made such lovely things this year! Good luck in the new job! I can totally relate to losing the ability to interact socially. I know as an introvert that’s been my biggest struggle staying home with my kids. Wishing you a fabulous New Year!

    1. Hanging out with your kiddos has to count for some social interaction (although I’m sure adult time is nice for variety’s sake!) The coat is getting close, although I’m in the middle of a rather harrowing, last-minute addition of welt pockets after I’ve sewn the facings and linings in – eek! It should be done soon, though. Happy 2015 to you as well!

  16. Oh, I’m so excited that you’ll be making a wedding dress!!! How special! Your sister is so lucky! Also, I can definitely relate to the whole work/life in flux thing… I’m going through that right now as I’m trying to change careers without much clarity. It’s really not easy to find a good balance, but I hope that 2015 leaves you feeling like you’re in the right place. Health and happiness to you and yours in the new year!

    1. Thanks, Sonja! My sis busted her ass to make my wedding truly special – she took our photos even though she was a bridesmaid, organized the best bachelorette party possible, and let me sob on her when I got stressed over my absurd crafting agenda – so I feel lucky to be able to return the favor in a small way! I know you’ll find the career that suits your needs and dreams. 🙂

  17. Ah, life/work balance! Has anyone got it right?! It’s been all work for me recently (due to completely retraining and new job). I want to get back to more creative pursuits in 2015 as well as all the other stuff, including as much refashioning/reuse as possible. I have really enjoyed your blog this year, there have been many thoughtful posts as well as things you have made. It is a lovely mix. Happy sewing and blogging next year x

    1. Hee hee, I sure haven’t yet! Congratulations on your big career change and I was excited to see your post today about your sewing focuses this year. Happy 2015!

  18. I’m starting to think that my quest for a pair of RTW boyfriend jeans in my size/length that are actually anything closer to “boyfriend” than a relaxed fit might be a bust and I may just have to draft my own…. a harrowing thought as I have a UFO pair of jeans from 2 years ago that languishes at only 20% complete. Maybe this is the year.

    1. I have been thrifting various incarnations of boyfriend jeans for years now, with no luck! You’ve got the skills, so I vote for drafting your own. Maybe you could use your 20% finished pair to experiment with finishes and fit along the way? (PS I am going to be scouring your wedding dress posts this year!)

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