Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 - A Retrospective

I've been thinking about my 2008 recap for the last couple of weeks...especially since LindseyT posted her amazing graphics filled retrospective! However, my review will be considerably lower tech! In 2008 there were five categories that I believe captured the essence of my sewing.

I started the year off making a dress and hopefully I will end the year making a dress. The fabric and pattern are laying on the cutting table waiting for me right now.

As I've stated previously, I LOVE a good dress! Dresses work so well in my professional life and make getting dressed in the morning a breeze. This year I made 15 dresses and even I'm amazed at this accomplishment!

I fell in love with 60's modern and Jackie Kennedy style vintage patterns this year. I fell in love with the details in the garments, the instruction sheets that were full of sewing information and techniques and with the sophisticated styling. I know I did a post a couple of days ago about my vintage pattern collection but after digging around some more I realize that I have over 80 patterns!!!

I managed to use them - two of my garments were inspired by vintage patterns. I captured the details of the pattern by using my TNT patterns for the construction. The two garments were my Easter Suit

and the pleated polka dot dress

I even made a dress using one of my vintage Simplicity patterns...a modern interpretation of a 60s style.

One of my goals for 2009 is to use more of them...especially since I've amassed a pretty respectable collection of plus size vintage patterns.

3. Completing the June Capsule Contest
Last spring Stitchers Guild sponsored a contest to make a mini wardrobe in 30 days. Now I've done SWAP contests before but what intrigued me about this contest was that you had to make the 4 pieces that worked together in 30 days...EXACTLY 30 days! Now there were prizes awarded but I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could actually plan, sew and put together a wearable mini-wardrobe that would fit into my corporate lifestyle. After a month of frantic sewing...I did meet the challenge and got some wonderful new pieces out of the deal!

Items 4 and 5 are very similar...

4. I used New Look patterns
Now this might not seem like a big deal but New Look's pattern line typically only goes up to a size 18. But last spring they issued several patterns in the plus size range. New Look has some very cute and trendy styles but I didn't look at them much because of their lack of size it was really kewl to get a dress and a pantsuit from these patterns.

5. Use more new patterns
My main goal for 2008 was to use more new patterns instead of relying so heavily upon my TNT patterns. This was a huge commitment for me because each new pattern pulled out of the envelope must have major alterations performed on it to fit my body! It is one of the main challenges of plus size sewing...and many times the deterrent to plus size women sewing more! It is also the reason why after a pattern becomes a TNT that I work it so hard!

The list of new patterns used:
Butterick ~ 5194, 5179, 5247, 5399 (OOP)
New Look ~ 6779, 6788
Simplicity ~ 8160 (vintage)
Vogue ~ 7433, 7994 (OOP) 8137, 8209, 9904 (OOP)

I think I met this goal handily!!!!

Finally, as of today, I've finished 47 garments and used 90 yards of fabric. I even managed not to purchase fabric during two 1-month spans...but I definitely stimulated the economy by purchasing 231 yards of add to my fabric collection.

Now there have been quite a few year end reviews written by other bloggers and it has been interesting to read about each sewist's progress, likes and dislikes and goals for 2009.

I will address my goals for 2009 in another post. However, I am crowning 2008 the "Year of the Dress" because that's what I sewed the most!


  1. I must say a longggg and loud, BRAVOOOO to you! You really ought to feel pretty happy with yourself for all that you accomplished this year! Ha! And that's only sewing part time and working full time! I would take my hat off to you... if I had one on! And believe me as cold as it is outside, if I was outside... I would have one on! LoL... Way to go Carolyn! Hmmmm another year is coming... it will be interesting to see what your up to this next year!

  2. Wow, what an accomplishment!

  3. OK, that's IT - I'm going to have to pull out everything from the closet and look at things to plan out for 2009. I get so distracted that I really am not very productive at the machine and I do want some nice new things for this coming year. I am trying to upgrade my look at work, so this is my opportunity. What you get DONE!!!

  4. Yeah, you definitely have some good stuff here, Carolyn. I do like that pantsuit you made; seeing you in jeans today I know you can really rock the pants look too.

  5. @LindseyT - Gawd I was a hot mess today! *LOL* Casual is just sooooo not me!

  6. Wow!!! You definitely had a great year. You have made some very beautiful pieces. What a feeling of accomplishment you deserve for all that you did this year. I love the pant suit. You have motivated me to make a plan and get productive in the next year. Thank you for sharing your year with us.

  7. Carolyn-
    You are a true inspiration! I read your blog regularly and am inspired as often. I know that I do not comment much, but this is not indicative of the impact that you have on this reader. Please know that your impact is wide reaching and much appreciated!!! Happy New Year-

  8. Great pieces! You have really inspired me for 2009!

  9. You have to feel super proud of all your work, you did amazing! I can already image all the awesome things you'll create in the upcoming year.

    Happy sewing and hugs,

  10. You do such wonderful work, and you have been extremely productive in 2008! I can't wait to see what you do during the coming year! I love your dresses, they are so flattering on you. I am not nearly as prolific a sewer as you are, but I think I'm slow because everything is so new to me. I often have to take seams out and re-do them to get it just right. But I'm learning, and when I get discouraged I just come over here and look at some of the wonderful things you do. I just tell myself that one day, if I persevere, I'll sew like you do, God willing!

  11. You have really produced some beautiful garments! I can't wait to see what 2009 brings!

  12. Girl you have really inspired me! I know I did not sew anywhere near that many items. And you work fulltime! I don't! LOL Congratulations on accomplishing so much this year and I look forward to see what is to come for 2009! Happy New Year!

  13. Wow, you had a great 2008. I like all your garments, especially the New Look dress and the casual top. Can't wait to see what 2009 holds for you.

  14. Wow! You had quite a sewing year! Beautiful dresses!

  15. Carolyn, I'm getting old 'cause I could have sworn I left a comment on this post. What a wonderful year. You are one productive woman. Everything looks great! Be blessed and have a great New Year!

  16. What a fantastic year you have created! I just have been reading your blog the last few months and did not realize how much you had completed during 2008.

  17. Carolyn, thanks for saying out loud how much work it is to alter patterns to accommodate the plus-size figure. I spend more time altering a pattern than actually sewing.

    I looked up the Butterick numbers you tried to see if I should suggest something to you.

    My ASG chapter had Connie Crawford in for a two-day seminar this fall. I wasn't going to go because I don't really like the style lines of her Butterick patterns.

    But I did go, as did 70+ of my sewing sisters in Cental Iowa.

    I cannot convey the amazement and buzz in the room as we tried on her samples. THEY FIT! Women who have altered every pattern in major ways for years were trying on samples that looked like they were made for us.

    I still don't really care for the style-lines, but the patterns fit so well that I can spend my time designing the details rather than altering for fit. I have sewn more in the last few months than I have in the last few years.

    Do give them a try. One tip, pick your top size using the full-bust measurement, not the high-bust measurement.

  18. Excellent year!

    And look at you, using so many new patterns! Just when you have me convinced that TNT is not a dirty word, you go and turn my world upside down!

    I cannot wait to see what 2009 holds in store for us...

  19. Congratulations on a wonderful wardrobe!

  20. What a wonderful year of sewing you've accomplished. I've been so inspired reading your posts. Even your TNT's are diverse enough that they don't show like TNT's because of your creative use of fabrics and that's great. I'm usually stumped by having to alter patterns for my plus size so that is going to be my primary goal this year, to get better & quicker at alterations. This was my first year back to steady sewing so, I look forward to seeing what you come up with for 2009 and I hope to join you with lots more sewing of my own for 2009. Keep up the good work. Happy New Year & Happy Sewing!

  21. Carolyn - I am another reader that doesn't comment much, but I echo Corrine's post above. You are such an inspiration! I am so impressed by your skills and your output.

    Reading here always makes me want to sew MORE. Can't wait to see what 2009 has in store. And I'm happy that you are returning to good health. Happy New Year!

    Joyce in Wisconsin

  22. Wow! How in the world do you get all that done and work full time?'ve done an outstanding job...I'm so impressed.

  23. Wow, what a year! 47 garments! That is awesome and very inspiring.

  24. Awesome - it was fun seeing some of your outfits again! You've done a marvelous job and I know 2009 will be even better.

  25. Ooh I love your recap!! You did some amazing garments this year!

  26. You do amazing work. Your garments are fabulous. And, you are inspiring!

  27. BRAVO, Carolyn!!! Following your sewing adventures has been a pleasure to me!! Keep up the good work!

    (PS: one of my goals for 2009 is trying out a few vintage patterns!)


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