Tuesday, December 26, 2023

2023 - The Year in Review

I haven't posted much this year because I haven't sewn much this year.  I haven't even purchased a lot of fabric...probably the first year in a long time that I haven't worried about my yardage in/yardage out counts. I just haven't had a great desire to sew or a need.  Years and years of sewing so many garments have paid off with a very full wardrobe.

So what did I make this year?

I started the year with my last make as a Janome Maker.  It's the Athena Blouse made from quilting jelly rolls. Read about it here.

The other items are...

My first Hope Dress which I made as a Funeral Dress and sadly wore twice this year for that reason.

McCalls 7969 in a black and white border print.

A MimiG Katie tunic in a Julia Allison Cost bold sunflower print.

Two Knit Wexford Tops from the Cashmerette Club

I had one failed Wexford top that inspired the next two.  And I have three unfinished items...The Woodland Jacket, a border print Myosotis dress, and a 1/2 finished Hope dress that I don't think I even documented here. My goal is to finish them in 2024.  The Myosotis dress just needs buttons and buttonholes.  The Woodland Jacket is halfway done so I'm sure it will be finished in time to wear this winter.  The third Hope dress is a spring/summer dress so I will bring it back out for spring/summer sewing.

That's the extent of my sewing in 2023.  Which is amazing in how few pieces it is since for years I've churned out garment after garment. However, this year I've never felt like I didn't have something to wear because my closet is very full.

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To my unbelievable honor I had two amazing things happen in the sewing community:

First a conversation with the Threads team...

Second I was named one of the Top 5 Innovators of 2023 by Sew News.

Both of these honors were unexpected.  Both definitely made me feel very seen in the Sewing Community.  Both were a culmination of years of sewing, years of sharing and years of developing relationships with other sewists.  So I thank you for ALL of you who continue to follow me and root for me in all of the rooms where these discussions take place.

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What I did do this year is READ!  
I read to hide from the issues of the world. The incidents that have sucked the creativity right out of my body because there is nowhere to escape the horrible things that we as human beings do to each other.  

So I read ALOT...at last count 240 books. I started reading a new genre - romance books. I read from a lot of the substrates and found a few that I really loved.  Contemporary Romance Novels and Dark Mafia Romance are my new jams.  I found authors that I enjoyed and read as much of their back catalogs as I could cram in this year.  More of those back catalogs will be read in 2024.  I've read some popular authors but a whole lot of less promoted authors, often times finding their books more interesting than the "popular" authors.

A few stats...

Final thoughts...
I really want to make some new crocheted lap blankets for the couch in 2024.  My grandchildren and I use them often and the originals are looking a little ragged.

I'm planning to revamp "The Sewing Room/Office" because it's junky and hard for me to sew in now. I've plans to do that this week while I'm on vacation.  The new furniture is here.  I've roped in my daughter and granddaughters because I'm hoping that by giving myself a better space it will jumpstart some of my creativity.

I will sew in 2024.  Sewing is the essence of who I am and while I haven't watered it that much this year, a seed of it still remains in me. However, I'm sure that I'm not going to turn out tens of garments anymore because that stage of my life is gone.  It will be on a need basis - both a creative and wear based need.

I will keep blogging.  I can't promise how frequently it will be. I'm not ready to stop documenting my sewing journeys even though they've become fewer and farther between.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have followed my sewing journeys all these years.  You are appreciated more than you know.  Thank you for continuing to hang with me. 

I'm wishing you all a very happy and joyous Holiday season.  May 2024 bring you peace, joy, contentment and many hours to sew, create, craft or read!

...as always more later!



  1. I do enjoy reading your blog and am glad to hear that you plan to continue. Your year of “not sewing” and your reading list is impressive! I, like you, have reached a time of my life that I don’t need a huge wardrobe and my sewing clothes has diminished somewhat. A few oversized hoodies for the grandkids from my stash is all I’ve sewn this year. I’ve quilted, knitted for charity and always reading, seems I always have to “do” something to be whole! Wishing you a happy and successful 2024.

  2. I can totally relate to not sewing as much due to less need for clothes - my problem is that the stuff I sew lasts so long. I like to sew for my daughter and now will start sewing for a brand new granddaughter. I read 65 books this year and thought that was pretty good but WOW - 241 books! Glad that you will continue your blog - I enjoy seeing what you create. My favorite is that sunflower top. Nancy

  3. Thanks for sharing your authors read. I’m finding myself reading more these days.

  4. I always enjoy reading your blogs no matter the subject. I am grateful that your work has been recognized for its' contribution to the sewing world and look forward to hearing your thoughts in the future. Happiest of New Years to you.

  5. Congratulations on your sewing awards, and so well deserved. You have inspired so many of us around the world. I only sewed two dresses in 2023, the least I have sewed in my entire life. It is a sign of the times, I agree. Your Athena blouse is particularly lovely, and so clever. But Wow! so many books read in one year. Amazing! If I read one book a month I think I am going well, he he. Hope you had a very happy Christmas, and all the best for the New Year.

  6. I've often wondered, over the years, how big your closet is. I really enjoy your posts, and was amazed at the number of garments you made! I am sort of like that with knitting. These days, I'm starting to think I'm going to knit and donate. I'm wondering if you have considered sewing more for the granddaughters (or daughter)? Myself, I love process more than product, so I knit on...
    And Congratulations on the awards.

  7. I always enjoy reading your blog and thank you for taking me along on your sewing journey

  8. Blessing for the New Year. Congratulations on your awards - so deserved. I continue to enjoy your posts as they come. I look forward to seeing what your creativity brings forth. Jacqui from New Zealand.

  9. You really plowed through books this year :) God bless you and yours!

  10. Sue Updike YoungerDecember 28, 2023 11:52 AM

    I have missed you and was so relieved to read your recent post. It sounds as if you have been busy and perusing different interests. Reading, whatever you choose, is such an important part of my life as I age and am less involved in the bigger world. Thank you for your encouraging thoughts and congratulations on your well deserved awards.

  11. I have missed reading your blog. Today I was surprised to see your update. I am a quilter and love reading. Please continue to give an update whenever you can.
    Valda Perry

  12. So happy to hear that you will continue blogging, it is such a joy to read about your sewing adventures. Happy New Year!

  13. Happy New Year! and I am glad you have been recognized for all of your contributions to the sewing community - you are an inspiration! I understand not needing more clothes, and I look forward to seeing what inspires you as you sew only for the joy of sewing. Best wishes, Maureen

  14. Wow, so many books! I thought I did well with about 30. I didn’t sew much. Just a couple of tops and a dress. Hoping 2024 will be more productive. Wishing you all the best for the new year.

  15. Congratulations on the well deserved recognition. You bring so much to the sewing community. And you bring that, dear Caroline, Community! It is great seeing your review here. Your reading is quite impressive, as much as your sewing, for sure! I wish you the best in the New Year and look forward to future blogging, no matter the subject matter! Happy New Year!

  16. Always good to see a new post from The Sewing Fanatic pop up in my feed! Congratulations on the recognition you well deserve! Looking forward to seeing your creative efforts in 2024!

  17. Thank you so much for what you have shared on your blog over the years! I love reading what comes from you😊

  18. Congratulations on everything! In my heyday of blog reading, yours was always at the top of my list, and it still is Like others who commented, my wardrobe isn't as varied as it used to be now that I've retired, including from volunteer work with several organizations (limiting to just a couple). I've loved seeing what you've sewn and getting the occasional glimpse of those quickly growling grandkids.

  19. Hi Carolyn, just wanted to congratulate you on the wonderful accomplishments and awards. I vaguely remember that you have gotten interested in quilting lately? I may be way off... (would not be the first time). But, if so I would like to recommend an author that has written a great bunch of books that involve quilting. Fiction, some intrigue and lots of family stories. The writer is Jennifer Chiaverini. There are quit a few in this group of books that she has written, and in another month or so there will be another one; (she hasn't written anything in this group/series in years). Just a thought. Lots of other good writers also Traci Hunter Abramson used to work for the CIA and writes some suspenseful books, Anita Stansfield, Sara M. Eden, Betsy Cannon Green. The books are good some are more action packed then others... nice thing is they are clean. My granddaughters have started reading some of them. Take care. Jean

  20. While I've long lived by the motto - if Carolyn bought it I should too, as it applies to fabric and often times patterns, I now apply that to books. Because of you, I'm reading more and reading lesser known authors. I want to dive deep into your list of authors - I've read or listened to almost all of Taylor Jenkins Reed and loved everything I've read. Such deep thoughts on normal topics. Thank you. g

  21. I have fo llowed your blog since I first discovered it years ago! I hadn't known that people sewed and published. I just sewed because I needed clothes. I was in need becayse I had come from California A and was large and tall for my new country, Scotland. I taught full time and had a family, so I had only made lined wool skirts, cheap and fast, and long sleeved shirts. I knitted some sweaters, too. I never had a "stash". But there you were, all stylish and prolific! I particularly followed your construction notes and bought books on how to do certain clever skills. I retired at age 61 , and all went well until age 69 when I started having autoimmune problems. At 79 Covid struck and my husbsnd fell ill and could not get good care. He later died, but not of Covid This year I got Covid for the second time and have been totally unable to sew for about 3 years. I really miss it. Im glad I dont have a large stash to dispose of! My machine is ready , just in case i get better! I guess we have to take it as it comes. I have certainly enjoyed reading your blogs, so illuminating! Nancy B

  22. Carolyn, your blog has been so important to me. I just started sewing c2018-2019. You had sewn lots of linen dresses, and I was starting my journey with linen since it was the one affordable fabric I liked. Still do. I wouldn't be a sexist [darn autocorrect!] if I hadn't had you to look up to. Congratulations on your awards. I would like to see you new sewing room re-do. I like to see the workspaces of others to get ideas on storage.


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