I *almost* didn’t didn’t get this post written in time for the end of the year! But I feel like it’s not a true end-of-the-year celebration without a proper write-up, so here’s my review of 2018!
2018 was another kind of weird year for me. It was definitely an upswing of a year compared to 2017, but I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t have to navigate some bullshit and heartache throughout the year. Sewing-wise, I’ve been on a constant path of slooooowing down, which has continued into 2018. A big part of this is due to less frequent blogging – I don’t feel compelled to post so frequently, which means I also didn’t feel compelled to constantly be making stuff. I also am just really over the idea of having multiples of the same thing. Not to judge anyone who lives and breathes having the same dress made in every color of the rainbow, I just realized it really isn’t for me. Especially considering I have a quite limited palette of colors I prefer to wear – something else that I’ve been really honing in on this year. It makes for a less exciting fabric stash, but the result is more garments that I will wear and truly love – rather than sewing just to sew, then blog, then never wear again.
Another really big change for me this year that drastically affected my sewing output was a big bump in my teaching commitments! I really put myself out there and offered loads of Sew Your Own Jeans workshops – and holy shit, y’all had me FLOORED by the response! All in all, I taught 16 workshops – in various cities across the US & Canada. Nearly all my workshops sold out, and some had to add on a second date to keep up with student demand. I really, really love teaching these workshops, too! Over the course of the year, I have really tweaked and perfected how I run my classes, and they really just get better with each new one I lead. For 2019, I am keeping up with a similar schedule with an emphasis on more West Coast classes – about 3/4 of next year is already listed, so take a look at my upcoming classes if you are interested in attending one!
It’s still a bit shocking to me that this is what I do to earn my living and pay my bills. It is something I never ever take for granted, something I am thankful for every single day. I cannot thank you guys enough for your endless support – whether you’ve taken a class with me, joined a meet-up, or just encouraged me in some way across the internet. This community is so amazing and I am thankful for every single wonderful person who is part of it!
Anyway, I want to talk about some of my sewing hits and misses of 2018! There are sooo many things I made this year that didn’t get blogged (sorry!), but I made an effort to post at least a small shot of it on Instagram so I could count up a talley at the end of the year (which I believe I only missed maybe 3 things, so, not too bad!). You can view the entire hashtag #lladybird2018 here on Instagram. And, of course, to see the stuff that did make it on my blog, you can always Lurk My Closet!
Without further ado, my top makes of 2018:
Ginger Jeans + Hemlock Tee
I think this outfit should win the prize for being worn the most! These are the jeans I made to promote my jeans workshops for this year (using the same Robert Kaufman Super Stretch denim that my samples are made with) and they are probably my favorite part of jeans I’ve made to date! The stretch denim is incredibly comfortable, which makes them ideal for traveling. This denim holds its shape well between washings, which again is wonderful when you are living out of a suitcase. I wore that hemlock tee almost as much throughout the year – again, it’s great for traveling! You’re basically looking at my unofficial flight outfit for nearly every trip I took this year
Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt
No lie, I’m kind of surprised this shirt only came of age this last year! I have worn it to DEATH, like, I think people are sick of seeing me in it haha. I love that this shirt is reasonably basic/plain without being boring, and the color is one I’ve really been digging a lot this year. It works equally well dressed up with jeans and a collared shirt, or to stay warm while lounging on the couch in my PJs.
Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt
This shirt was a lot of fun to wear during the summer! I love the oversized, boxy shape combined with the rumply linen, and while white isn’t necessarily a color that I gravitate to very often – I sure did when it came to this shirt!
Popover Tank + Navy Lander Pants
As much as I love those Robert Kaufman Ginger jeans that I mentioned earlier, I’m not so keen on wearing them when it is crazy hot outside. These navy tencel Lander pants were the perfect sub for keeping my legs covered while not making me sweat to death. Again, this was an outfit I wore a LOT while traveling. And I’m so happy I finally found a good pattern to use with my treasured fabric from Egypt!
Tropical Seren Dress
Y’all. I wore this dress to SO MANY fancy dinners, cocktail hours, first dates, art crawls, and sometimes even when I just needed a little pick-me-up on an otherwise boring/shitty day. It’s an attention-grabbing dress that is easy and comfortable to wear, looks pulled together, and goes with most of the shoes in my closet (this is important).
Be Strong Backpack
Ok, so this is a more recent make that I’ve only been able to use for a couple of months – but it has been SUPER useful! I’ve all but retired my old backpack in favor of this new one. The slightly smaller size has been perfect for my needs (without giving me an option to overpack) and I really love the way it looks.
Alexander McQueen Quart Coat
I know I just posted this so I’ll try to keep the gushing to a minimum. But! I love this coat! I feel so pretty and pulled together when I’m wearing it, it’s super warm, and it gets me more compliments than anything else I made this year. I am of course proud of the construction and how it turned out, but I also really love it because it reminds me of my friend Anokhee, who gave me the amazing fabric!
And now for some favorites that didn’t make it to the blog:
I made this with rayon from the OG Workroom Social line, and it certainly saw a lot of wear this year! I actually hated the dress until it was finished – sewing it was basically one huge mistake/problem after another – and I was really unsure how it would look on me until I had sewed the buttons on. But it love it now, so all is well!
Rayon Hudson Pants
These were really fun to sew, used up some of the cool fabric I bought in Egypt, and are great for warding off an a/c chill in the summer.
After years of complaining that I needed some new denim shorts, I finally made a pair hahaha
Burberry Scarf Blanket
Probably the simplest thing I made this year, but I LOVE THIS SCARF. It’s basically a fashionable blanket, which is perfect for someone like me who is always cold.
Dolce & Gabbana party dress
More on this in a future blog post!! But, to brief – this may be my favorite fabric ever (a matelasse from Dolce & Gabbana), and I’m so delighted how the dress turned out! I made it to wear to a good friend’s wedding.
Grey Knit Hudsons
Another pair of Hudsons haha, this time specifically for the cold. This is an incredibly boring thing to write about, but I wear them as frequently as I think I can get away with and am legitimately sad when they have to go in the wash. After years of being a die-hard PJ Set kinda gal, I’m definitely veering in a new direction when it comes to loungewear.
Misses for 2018:
Workout Tank + Shirt
Despite my best intentions, these pieces just did not turn out the way I had hoped – I think due to fabric choice. I never wore them and ended up donating both of the tops. The yoga pants, however, are FABULOUS and I wear them often! So there is that!
Stella Hoodie Dress
I don’t know! I think this dress is so cute but I really only wore it once! It is really short, and makes me feel a bit exposed (and while the leggings + sneakers is cute, I don’t feel like it’s my “look” and it feels weird to wear). I may cut this into a top and see if it gets more mileage that way.
Jenny Overall Shorts
Despite a hoard of people reassuring me that I should wear these forever and another hoard of people trying to tell me how to fix them so I would, I really just don’t like these at all. The waist is tight, and I just don’t like the way I look in overalls. And even though they are shorts, they are too hot to wear in the summer! I may try a pair with full length legs in the future, but these are not my jam.
Watermelon popover tank
Looks super cute, but I absolutely hated this fabric. It’s a super tight weave with no give, which is vaguely uncomfortable to wear and also incredibly unflattering. Big ol’ no on this one.
Snap front denim skirt
I started with a pattern that had a different fit than what I ultimately wanted (the waist was lower than I realized), and I overfit this so much it doesn’t really sit right on me. Also, front snaps really are not ideal for a skirt. I have had many wardrobe malfunctions with this one haha. All it takes is one tiiiiiny snag and it’s WHY HELLO UNDERWEAR lol
There is so, so, SO much more I could say about all my makes this year, but these were the really major hits and misses! Honestly, I love most of what I made (it was hard to narrow down my list to what I’ve shown here – which is still admittedly a lot!) which is a pretty great feeling! I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with my style and the colors I like to wear – which means there are less pieces that go unloved. Really zeroing in on WHY I don’t like a certain garment (color, shape, fabric, etc) has helped me avoid making that mistake again in the future.
Other notable things to happen this year:
- As I mentioned – I led a lot of workshops this year! Starting in Nashville, and then traveling to Brooklyn NY, Durham NC, Alexandria VA, Ottawa Canada, New York City, North Hampton NH, Biddeford MA, Claryville NY, Berkeley CA, and Paducah KY! WHEW!
- While most of my workshops are held in sewing shops or studios, there were 2 that ended up in very different environments! The first one was in Durham, where I taught an Archer Shirt workshop at Spoonflower Headquarters (and that is where the above photo was taken. No one told me the print I chose was also the wallpaper in the Greenroom haha). Then in July, I went to NYC to teach a Jeans Workshop at Google! Yes, THAT Google and yes you better believe I brag about that shit all the time BECAUSE IT’S RAD AS HELL.
- In addition, I was lucky to have a few opportunities to take day / weekend trips to some of the cities near where I was teaching. I spent some time in Washington DC, Baltimore MD, Montreal Canada, Hartford CT, Boston MA, and Long Island NY (just this past week with my mom, for Christmas!). I really wanted to take a *real* vacation somewhere outside of the US, but by the time I had planned my class calendar there wasn’t time left to leave the country! Oh well, maybe next year haha
- Oh, and I finally led my first intensive at Camp Workroom Social! For the past couple of years, I’ve worked as an assistant to Amy in the Bra Making class, which is always so much fun – but this year, I was offered my own class teaching jeans! I had 14 students (!!!), two amazing assistants (Kelli & Gabriela), and overall it was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to come back next year for another class!
- Because of all this traveling, I’m happy to announce that I am officially Silver status with Delta Airlines. ha! I know that’s like the tiniest shitty baby status to have (so many of my friends are Gold, Platinum, or even Diamond) but Y’ALL let me have this moment, ok. I’ve never earned airline status before haha.
- I took a class with Gertie when she was here in Nashville! Gertie’s original Blog for Better Sewing was the first sewing blog I really fell in love with, and after years of following her from across the internet like a damn creeper, I was really excited that we were hosting her for a workshop at Craft South! We ended up with an empty seat in the class, which I took advantage of (#workperks). It was so interesting to be in a class from a student’s perspective, and she is truly a wonderful teacher and just an amazing person in general. Not to mention, she really does look like a porcelain doll in real life. It would be maddening if she wasn’t such a nice person haha.
- My side work as a professional seamstress for photoshoots/private clients (mainly celebrities and/or modeling agencies) picked up a bit this year, too! I had a few big shoots and some really cool clients, and a few of the pieces I worked on ended up on the red carpet for some of the award ceremonies that happen here in Nashville – the CMAs, Sesac, and the BMI awards. I can also officially say that 2018 was the year I got to touch a celebrity’s butt.
- I was pretty excited to be featured on the Love to Sew podcast earlier this year! I had sooo much fun chatting with Helen & Caroline and I think you can tell by the length of the episode – it’s one of their longer ones! (what can I say – once you get me talking, I never shut up lol). Here is my episode if you want to listen to it.
- I paid off my car this year! After 2.5 years of payments, that felt pretty good! Next up – I want to buy a house! I got pre-approved for a mortgage and now i’m currently shopping around
In my personal life, it has been a difficult year. I’m still grappling with all the shit that comes when you lose a loved one, and I’ve also had to deal with loss in other ways this year – loss of friendships, people moving away, and also a pretty traumatic breakup that knocked me flat on my ass when I was least expecting it. For me, this year has been all about growth, patience, letting go of things I can’t control, and taking control of the things that I have power over. I still have a lot to work through and a lot of ways in which I can grow, but things get a little bit better every day.
Anyway, I don’t want to end this on a sad note, so here’s a photo of Amelia sitting like an absolute lady next to my sewing machines.
Happy New Year, everyone! Here is to a bright and beautiful 2019!