First of all thank you all so much for your comments & objectivity, support & sympathy about my “Young” Burdas in my last post. I felt so vindicated when you left honest feedback that supported my own feelings! It was like a sigh of relief. No pleats for me next time! Anyway, I will be responding to comments more specifically later on…but need to get this post out – at last…continuing my Top 5s of 2014, (hosted by Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow) here is the review & look forward.
I needed time to think about this post, afterall it’s the kind of thing that could be reaaaaallllly long & navel gazing had I written it before I’d come to the end of my own conclusions. Thankfully for you I drafted something that acted as a kind of purge, that then enabled me to do my own real review to end up with my own personal headlines. Much more useful & interesting I hope!
So let’s get nerdy. Fancy seeing some sewing stats?
I made 97 garments / accessories for me in 2014. That is *rather a lot* even by my own rating, considering a mere handful were made in December as that is when I was concentrating on sewing gifts for Christmas. In bullet form then, I made (some are yet to be blogged):
- 10 skirts
- 19 dresses
- 10 pairs of trousers
- 1 pair of shorts (but by golly I love em)
- 2 bikinis
- 14 tops/ shirts/ blouses
- 7 cardigans/ jumpers/ hoodies
- 5 pairs of knickers
- 21 things for running in ( from leggings/ shorts/ tops…bras)
- 3 coats/ jackets
- 1 pair of PJs
- 7 accessories (scarves, hats, bags)
On top of this I also made 20 gifts for others including 5 shirts for my men boys, 5 ties & a cardigan & skirt for my Mum. That has reached new levels of unselfish sewing. (For me) Now that is an achievement !!
How did this compare to previous years? Well in 2012 I made 59 things and 2013, 66. Oh, alright, you want to see that in a fancy chart?
Is this reaching danger levels? Fear not. As part of my sewing over the last year, believe it or not I am getting a lot better at making every day wearables, although, some might say that the number of dresses has once again reached levels of frivolity, & they might be right! I do not wear all my dresses a lot, but some are in pretty solid rotation (particularly knit dresses). And some of my makes from earlier years are worn lots – still. Others seem to reside in my “ironing pile”. Hahahaha!!
Another comparison between years…..because I like charts …
New category this year – running clothes, previous years I would have recorded them amongst leggings & tops, but there are so many that I thought they deserved their own space this year. It looks like the only things I made more of the previous year was skirts & PJs …
So what surprises me about 2014 productivity levels is that it felt like a non stop year for me in all ways. Doh! That’s an average of 2.25 makes per week (albeit different levels of complexity). So it seems sewing was part of that non-stop merry-go-round.
And alongside this I tried to keep my running ticking over, with 4 half marathons, a 10 mile race and a 10k with 674 miles underfoot. Now that’s not nearly as much as the previous year, in part due to there being no marathons in the mix. However, running became overshadowed by too many other lovely things to do. Seriously though, 2014 started intentionally & ended as my *party year* – in that it was a year of fun & friends with lots of trips away & so many more to London than usual that I feel it’s become my second home ;-).
However, as a result I reached the end of the year burnt out. And it affected my running – it meant that I put in the bare minimum (& sometimes not even that) resulting in 3 half marathons that were just so hard (far less enjoyable when it is such a struggle) & so much slower than I am usually able to run. My learning from this – you only get out what you put in. So true for me.
My biggest running achievements in 2014 therefore were not speed related, but the races I enjoyed the most. I loved running the Great North Run again but with my friend this time. He was totally lapping up the atmosphere and my abiding memory is his delight at the crowds and the things they did to cheer people on (my fave is the Elvis singer stationed about a mile and a half away from the end). It was also a particularly awesome last mile, turning to run along the coast and being played “chariots of fire” music and the recorded commentary from an hour or so earlier letting us know that this year Mo Farrar won the race!
My other top race experience this year has to be the Weymouth 10 miler. I ran with my running ladies, who had trained hard over the September to get their mileage up from the usual 6 miles or so. The race route was brilliant – lots of sea views, and even the hills were not as bad as we were imagining. But what was best was running to support our group achievement, (we are the Run Ragged Runners !) helping each other along and keeping the motivation going. I usually run races on my own, (just because no one else is foolish enough to do them with me) so this was the best kind of novelty for me.
So I can apply this learning to my sewing too. I have had a whirlwind year & 2015 is all about slowing down & putting more effort in. I can see I have become more confident at tackling harder projects, requiring greater levels of precision and skill. Yes, I need quick makes, I love racing things up in an evening on my overlocker, but the things I am most proud of are those that look special and have taken more time You don’t know yet that my last make of 2014 is my most proudest make- ever. I shall be able to show it off next week. It’s my Anise jacket & I sewed it after Christmas over a number of days.
So my focus this year? I feel strongly about going down the quality route – spend on quality not volume. Take fabrics that scare me and make a much higher proportion of garments that are “high hitters“, that is things sewn from expensive fabric that involve more careful planning, thinking and sewing perfection. I saw a programme on TV recently – the finalist of British Portrait Artist of the year, Christian Hook (who was incredible- super talented, creating the most incredible paintings and for the show I watched, painted a portrait of Alan Cumming). And I noted the two things he said he brought to every portrait – “risk and learn” – this resonated with me. I shall try to incorporate that more into this year.
And slow down. This applies to sewing and running as I have done something crazy. I have a ballot place for the London marathon! Funnily enough I hold nostalgic memories about marathon training. Good job too as one of my running friends shocked us by announcing that she was going to run in the first Bristol Bath marathon in October! We were all so shocked! And I just couldn’t let her train alone – so have signed up for it myself!! I am still in shock after my first & only marathon experience.
And of course more wigs and even more fun.
So that’s 2015 planned out for me!
I hope it’s a great year for everyone x