I'm sitting in our cozy airbnb in Lille and taking stock of the past year. This was the first vacation I've taken in the last year and a half where I really and truly unplugged; I actually managed to avoid checking email for 6 whole days at Christmastime, which felt subversive and wonderful. Granted, half that time I was recovering from the worst case of food poisoning of all time, but still! 6 days!
Lille is charming and I've been walking around every day watching what people are wearing, going in and out of little shops, filled to bursting with ideas and plans for 2016. I can't wait to get home and turn a fresh page. In the meantime, here's what happened in the passing year.
I'm definitely finding it more challenging to carve out time to sew with a busy pattern schedule. Sometimes you're doing so many tests and muslins its hard to muster the energy to make anything for yourself, and this fall I definitely felt like my wardrobe was a little sad, in a "the shoemaker's children have no shoes" sort of way. I did manage to make a few well loved garments this year from other designer's patterns; the following were my personal favourites (and I still have a half dozen or so I've yet to share.....)
CLOSET CORE PATTERNS
This was a huge year for my small business. I released 3 patterns and finally went to print after a year of research and planning. I also released an ebook on Sewing Your Own Jeans. 2015 has been amazing and I am so grateful to all of you; I wake up everyday filled with so much gratitude that I get to work for such an inspiring, smart and supportive community.
My first pattern this year was the Carolyn Pajamas. They have been popular all year long, and I've seen so many amazing versions out in the wild (you can check out the Pinterest page here). It's a great pattern to really have fun with fabric and details. I broke down some of the trickier bits in a few posts like How to sew a notched collar, How to sew piping and Sewing knit piping.
In the early summer I released the Sallie Jumpsuit & Maxidress. It was a culmination of ideas I had for the perfect #secretjamas; a chic one-piece that was so comfortable you could sleep in them or dance all night. Lots of wonderful versions on our Pinterest page. Looking forward to making a bunch more this spring since it's pretty much all I wore all summer long.
Of course this November it was all about Clare, my 60's inspired coat with two major variations. This pattern has done very well, far exceeding my expectations; I am so happy to see that you guys are interested in so-called "challenging" patterns, since they are my favourite kind to design. We had an in-depth sewalong, and I've started to collect the Clare Coats I've seen on our Pinterest page.
I have at least 4 patterns planned for 2016 that I hope will continue to bridge the gap between chic, sophisticated designs and the sorts of things you just plain want to wear every day. And I'm looking forward to collaborating more with Sallie Oh, who of course does the beautiful illustrations on our pattern covers.
This year I tried to post 2-3 times a week. I love blogging and getting the opportunity to write and tell visual stories is one of the best things about my day. Here are some highlights.
- Easy DIY napkin and tea towel DIY
- How to sew Hong Kong and Bias bound seams
- Hand-sewing tips & techniques
- Sallie Jumpsuit Romper hack
- Ankle zipper ginger jeans hack
- Off the shoulder Nettie dress hack
I started writing about creative entrepreneurship this year. I still have a giant list of topics I hope to get to in 2016.
- Choosing an e-commerce platform
- How to monetize your blog
- Accounting for creative businesses
- Transitioning to full-time creative
This was also the year I started writing in places other than this here blog, mostly for Seamwork magazine. I researched the fabric industry, talked exhaustively about denim and interviewed Gretchen Jones. It was fun to have the time to really get in depth with subjects close to my heart.
Thank you again for reading, commenting and supporting this year. I hope you have a fantastic 2016. Happy New Year!