Another Year in Review

With only seven posts in a whole year, you’d think I wouldn’t dare coming back here for a yearly review, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong! 😀

The fact that I haven’t blogged a lot doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing and knitting, and because I have documented most of what I’ve made on Instagram, I even had most of the pictures ready for my little annual collage:

I’ve made 35 things total this year, which is awesome since I haven’t been forcing myself to do anything, so 35 entirely fun sewing and knitting projects! But I do feel obligated to point out that a lot of these were quick sewing projects such as tees, panties and other easy jersey garments! And yes, I do count each pair of panties as a finished object, just because.

Let’s bring back the pie charts (made here) and have a look at the techniques used in the 2017 projects:

I’ve clearly been more into knits this year than last year! And a bit more productive knitting-wise, too. But no more millinery (the only hat I’ve made was knit), and still no shoes.

What kind of garments have I been making then?

Dresses and tops are once again the winners, closely followed by a new category, dancewear, and then another new category, underwear! I’ve also finally delved into the world of sock knitting and sewing loungewear. I was surprised to see that I’ve only sewn one skirt though (against five last year).

As for the brands:

How did I only sew one Deer&Doe pattern in a year?! Other than that, nothing surprising: a lot of Andi Satterlund and a little bit of everything else! And the beginning of a new love story with Ohhh Lulu apparently. Oh, and please don’t be fooled by the 3 “no pattern” projects: a pair of curtains, a knitted scarf and a sewn one; all three literal rectangles!

Looking back at the collage, I can see that I haven’t made a lot of technically difficult items, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been challenging myself into trying new things: before 2017 I had never knit a sock, nor sewn dancewear. Also, I had sewn a pair of panties in 2015, but never a bra.

One thing that makes me really happy is that I’ve FINALLY finished three of my UFOs! The curtains had been started years ago, as had this hoodie and this knitted top, so it feels really good to cross them off my list.

Another positive is that only one thing I’ve made has been a fail: this Dunbar sports bra, too loose to be wearable for its intended purpose. But all the rest has been loved and worn, a new record for me. It’s become a reflex for me to think about how I’ll wear something and whether I’d buy it in a shop, but also to prioritise projects I know I need (or really really want!), which seems to be working quite well.

The big negative is clearly… the blog! Seven posts in a year, how did that happen? I mean, this wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have an interest or find any pleasure in it anymore, but I do, and so I find it quite sad to have neglected it so much this past year, watching the list of unblogged projects get longer and longer (in case you’re wondering, yes, I do have a list). There are of course things I don’t intend on blogging about, such as the boring bathroom curtains and even more boring bandana scarf, for which the blog post would be “I hemmed a piece of fabric. That’s it.”, but I feel like all the rest does have its place here. I know I wrote a few years back that I wouldn’t take New Year’s resolutions anymore, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so here’s my one and only resolution for 2018: I will blog on the regular again. By “on the regular”, I mean weekly(ish): unless I have a real reason not to (true lack of time, illness…), I will publish one blog post a week until I have caught up on my backlog. So watch this space!

Advertisements

‘Tis the Season!

fa122015Wait… How is it the end of the year already?

So apparently there were a few things I wanted to improve on at the end of last year, namely restricting my fabric stash to the number of cards my swatch album can contain, finishing some UFOs and blogging more regularly. I am very proud to say that I did not achieve even one of these goals-not-resolutions! 😂

I bought more fabric than I sewed, I added one UFO to the box of shame and I let my blog sleep at about the same periods as last year. But I’ve been blogging on the (sort of) regular again since September, so there’s that!

Contrary to last year, I didn’t try and cram everything I’ve made before the end of the year. I still have to blog 8 things I made (two tops, two skirts, two cardigans and two jackets). You can get a peek of them at the bottom of the photo montage below of everything I made in 2016, and I’ll blog them in the next year. Some of them (Ondée sweaters, gathered skirt, probably the Chardon skirt, too) don’t deserve a post of their own, but I’ll make sure to include them in posts about other garments when the occasion presents itself. I’ll also make sure to edit this post with links to the future blog posts as I publish them: Gato Morado cardigan, Bronze Brynja cardigan, Enfin Lupin jacket

Here are all the garments I made in 2016 then:review2016I made 36 items this year, isn’t that crazy? Okay, one or two may be cheating: I finished knitting this cardigan in 2015 and only wove in the ends, blocked it and added the buttons in 2016. And I first finished the first dress of 2016 at the very end of 2015, only in January I made it much more wearable by lengthening it, changing the buttons and adding snap closures. Still, I’m pretty impressed with myself here! 😉

Just for fun, I’ve made some pie charts (on this website)! The first one shows the techniques (sewing, knitting, millinery – still no shoes this year) I’ve used:techniques

The second one shows the distribution of garment types:garmenttype

I’ve actually made four jackets, not two, but I included Monsieur’s and my goddaughter’s in the gift category. Also, I was surprised at how many tops I’d made, but then I remembered, five of them are Ondée sweaters. Not that surprising then! 😜

And the last pie chart is about the brands of sewing/knitting patterns I used:brands

I don’t think that blue chunk at the bottom will surprise anyone! 😉

leastwornI am really happy about how much I’ve been wearing most of what I’ve made. This playsuit is the only piece I haven’t worn at all, but I still find it very pretty so I’m not getting rid of it anytime soon. These culottes and tank on the other hand I’ve worn… but might end up donating nonetheless because I’m a bit meh about them. We’ll see how I feel about them come summer.

Other than these three, I think I’ve become really good at knowing not only what I like, but also what I like wearing. I almost always ask myself two questions before embarking on a sewing or knitting project: “What will I wear it with?” and “Would I buy it in a shop?” and this has proved to be very effective.

mostwornThe pieces I’ve worn even more than the rest are my swallow print Sureau and my star print Cardamome, which are such nice replacements for my first Sureau, and this yellow rain jacket, so perfect for the Belgian climate! I’ve also worn my grey Lupin jacket a lot when the weather still allowed for a light jacket, but for now it’s waiting for Spring. All of my knits have been in heavy rotation, too. Even the last one I completed has been worn quite a few times already.

Before I let you go, I want to keep track of two non-sewing/knitting highlights of 2016. The first one is actually sewing related: I was lucky enough to fly to Toulouse and meet Eléonore and Camille to take part in a photo shoot for Deer&Doe, which was So. Much. Fun!

patron-robe-aubepine

Source: Deer&Doe website

The second one has nothing to do with sewing: during our annual trip to Spain, Monsieur and I fell in love with a stray cat… and brought him back with us to Brussels (on a 12-hour journey of buses + plane, woohoo!)! Fernando was the most pathetic little thing; we gave him something to eat every day but he didn’t let us get closer than a metre without hissing and/or running away. Then one day I managed to get close enough and pet his head… and all of a sudden he became very affectionate with us and literally did not leave the front terrace of the house until we left! Pathetic skinny black and grey Fernando has now become a gorgeous black and white cat and, despite an estimated two years of living on the streets, seems to have perfectly adjusted to apartment dwelling. I was afraid he and Olivine, my first cat (who hates everyone but me – yes, even Monsieur!), would not get along at all, but they’ve been much more civil than what I expected. Olivine tolerates him, which is more than what I had hoped for!

fernandopasaporte

The day after he arrived home!

To get back to the subject of this blog, this time I won’t take any resolutions nor talk about any goals, sewing or otherwise, and just wish you, just like I did for 2016, a happy, creative 2017!

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Happy New Year!

GelukkigNieuwjaarI love little traditions like this one, so here’s the 2015 Rue des Renards retrospective!

In 2015 I made 30 pieces of clothing! If you had asked me, I would have told you I had sewn/knit a little bit less than in 2013 and 2014, but it turns out it was only my erratic blogging that gave me that impression.

Review2015Out of these 30 pieces, there are:

– 5 knitted ones: 3 cardigans, 1 sweater and 1 summer top.

– 25 sewn ones: 10 tops, 6 skirts, 6 dresses, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of panties, 1 coat.

– No hats or shoes! My work schedule didn’t allow me to continue my shoemaking course, and I didn’t feel up to going on on my own (maybe in the future?). As for the hats, no real reason there, 2015 was probably just not a hat year for me.

MarinettePiedDePouleI’m glad to report I have been wearing an impressive proportion of my 2015 clothes on the regular! The only ones I’d consider fails would be my nautical dress (I loved it, but the fabric – which I had prewashed, thank you very much – shrank in the wash) and my houndstooth one, although there’s still hope for this one: Sarah suggested that a slip might help the dress feeling less tight at the hips, and I’m going to try that! Now to sew a slip! 😀

TricotsI’m particularly happy with my knitting projects since I’d consider all of them big successes. They’ve all been worn a lot, depending on the weather, and I’d have trouble picking a favourite, but the black Zinnia has clearly been worn even more than the rest (purple Owls, orange Marion, mustard Tambourine and yellow summer top) since it goes with about everything and it even served as a jacket between seasons. What’s weird is how long it’s been since I completed a knit: the last one was in May! I have since almost completed two projects that only lack a few finishing touches (weaving in the ends, adding buttons…), but I have been putting off finishing them, I don’t know why… :-/

QuartEncinaEmeryNancyMy favourite sewing project has to be my Quart coat, I don’t think I need to explain why. I also love my Encina dress for summer, and my Mimi blouse, Nancy Drew outfit and Ondée twinset for all year round. Oh, and my Emery dress of course! And the rest of my Ondées. These are the garments that make me feel most like myself when I wear them.

TopsI didn’t make any resolutions at the start of the year, but finally, I sewed the skirt I had promised my friend! She seems to genuinely like it and I’ve seen her wear it on several occasions, so I’d count that as a big win, too!

Another thing I’m glad about is that I finally feel like I have taken the reins of my fabric stash. It’s still pretty huge, but I have donated everything I didn’t absolutely love and nothing spills out of the cupboard where I store it anymore (I used to have fabric everywhere!). I now think twice before buying and know exactly what I need or not thanks to my swatch album. My next aim is to never have more fabric pieces than the number of cards that my album can contain. Slow and steady, I think I’m getting there…

There’s another thing I would like to improve on in 2016: I have amassed UFOs to the point that I now have a UFO box! So it would be really nice if I could, if not get rid of it, at least finish some of those UFOs and definitely not add anything to the box of shame!

And finally, it goes without saying that I don’t intend on blogging as sporadically as in 2015.

This is all starting to look an awful lot like New Year’s resolutions, so I’m going to stop right there and wish you a Happy, Creative New Year!

And a Cosy New Year!

MoutonAlpagaNo New Year’s resolutions this time; I have finally learnt my lesson: I hardly ever keep them and then I feel like a looser all year long…

Out of last year’s four resolutions, I only kept one, which was to make a drawing of each of my sewing projects. I filled my whole sketchbook (that’s 15 pages, glad I didn’t buy a thicker one!) and this was really fun to do, but I was still relieved when I reached the last page because this meant that at last I could focus on other drawings, and other drawing media!

I said I only kept one resolution, but one could say I kept one resolution and a half: remember my Stash Diet? I held on for six months, so there’s that! 😀 But after six months it started not being fun anymore and I started to feel like it impeded my creativity instead of boosting it, so I decided to let go! Still, if there’s one thing this resolution brought me, it’s the fact that I took the time to count how much fabric I own and especially to make a record of each piece in a very useful swatch album! Now at least I know exactly what I own and I don’t run the risk of buying something I already have (unless it’s totally intentional like those striped jersey knits I keep amassing – you never have enough striped jersey!). It’s also really easy to match a pattern with a fabric now that I only need to open my album to check the meterage!

The last two resolutions I didn’t keep were making the skirt I had promised to sew for a friend (shame on me!) and… increasing my sewing/knitting production! Why did I even want such a thing anyway?! I have no idea what possessed me at the time, because I don’t see how 26 sewn/knitted items in 2013 (that’s one every two weeks!) were not enough! 😀

Anyway, I almost reached the same number this year! Here’s a compilation of my 25 creations of 2014:

2014

That’s:

– 15 sewing projects ( 8 dresses, 3 tops, 2 skirts, 1 hoodie, 1 elephant!);

– 7 knitting projects (4 sweaters, 3 cardigans);

– 2 hats (I only included those I made just for myself, not the ones I made for my collection);

– 1 pair of shoes (almost two, my second pair just needs a tiny finishing touch which I have been postponing for months! – and by finishing touch, I mean fixing a mistake :-/ ).

Antoine2The creation I have been wearing most often is without question my pair of shoes! They really go with everything, to the point that I’m starting to question the relevance of my extensive collection of shoes, and that’s saying something!

MostWornI’ve also been wearing my Renfrew dresses, Winter Heather sweater, Sureau shirtdress, Polka Dot skirt, Watercolour skirt, self-drafted summer sweater and Adelfa cardigan a lot. Oh, and my poor boyfriend’s hoodie, too: it turned out the sleeve bands were in fact too tight for him to roll up his sleeves past his elbows, so he kindly gave it to me and I’ve been wearing it non stop at home!

HollyburnHat5Those are the pieces I’ve been wearing most, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been wearing the rest: the only one I haven’t worn at all is my Hollyburn hat, which I kind of foresaw when I made it but you know, I had to make my vision come to life! 😉

SmockCoronisDirndlAnd the things I made after the summer haven’t been included in the “most worn” category just because I have had less time to wear them than things I’ve made before, but both my Japanese plaid dress and the last sweater I knit have been worn quite a bit since I made them! And I’m pretty sure the dirndl blouse will get a lot more wear come spring!

Aubépine5The only garment I’m not happy about, even though I’ve worn it, is my Aubépine dress. I still love the pattern, but it’s now official: I HATE the fabric! I hate its shiny quality (it doesn’t show in the pictures, but trust me!), I hate the fact that the front bodice piece got distorted and now has all those creases and I hate the sweat marks (sorry!) that appear within five minutes of wearing because it’s a synthetic blend!!! I’m almost certain I won’t wear the dress anymore, but I’m still hesitating between two options: salvaging the silk lining for another project and throwing the main fabric away, or donating the whole dress…

I guess only one fail in a whole year is not too bad… I also have three UFOs though: these two and what’s more of a WIP than a UFO, a burda skirt I put aside because I wanted to sew myself an outfit for Christmas Eve (the dress and cropped sweater you can see at the bottom right of the picture compilation) but which shouldn’t wait too long for me to finish it.

I won’t make any promises though, because you know how it works! 😉

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

1943:1944I love reading stuff like that, so here’s my review of 2013 sewing and knitting wise!

I sewed 15 items and I knit 11, which sums up to a grand total of 26 projects in a year. That’s one project every two weeks, which I know is not the most impressive compared to what some others have achieved, but to me it’s a HUGE progress compared to my ten projects of 2012 and who knows how (not) many of 2011 and before! I’m quite sure starting a blog played a big part in my productivity, as did meeting friends who sew and knit of course!

2013

The 26 projects in chronological order

Out of the 26, only one was not for me. What can I say? I like sewing/knitting for ME and I’m not even sorry. Ok, I’m just sorry that one of my best friends is still waiting for the skirt I promised to sew for her birthday, which was in May, oops!

Miette+Hollyburn+Chuck+Sureau+Chardon+BagI’m pretty proud of how much I’ve been wearing my 2013 garments. The most worn are definitely my Miette cardigan, my Chuck sweater, my Hollyburn and Chardon skirts and my Sureau dress. I wear those so much they barely know the inside of my closet: I wear them then wash them then wear them ALL THE TIME! Oh, and I almost forgot about my refashioned bag, which I’ve been carrying with me everywhere, too.BlueStone+RefashionFive of my 2013 projects have been worn either never or rarely and/or reluctantly. I haven’t been able to wear my last refashioned dress yet, nor my blue short-sleeved sweater, even though I LOVE them and I can’t wait to wear them… because I don’t have anything to wear with them. The sweater needs a black skirt or black trousers or shorts (my attempt at sewing said black skirt was scuppered, to say the least), and the dress, because of the thickness of its three collars (which creates an unsightly lump under any of my cardigans), needs a cardigan with a back low enough to stay under the collars instead of on top of them.

July21.7Also, I loved wearing my playsuit in Brussels, so I packed it to Spain. But when I took it out of my luggage to wear it, I realised the seams of the shoulder straps hadn’t survived their last wash, so I wouldn’t be able to wear the playsuit again until I fix the straps. I cried. Still haven’t fixed it.

Menthe+DulcineaThen there are two projects I simply don’t like all that much: my mint cardigan, still too big for my liking, and my Kelly skirt, that kind of duplicates this older skirt I wear a lot. I hadn’t realised that until I put it in the closet and saw the two skirts right against each other, but knowing the second skirt has a few issues, it means I usually (more like, always!) prefer wearing the first one. So I’m pretty sure I’ll be donating both the skirt and the cardigan in the foreseeable future. I’m especially sad about the cardigan because I still love its colour so much. Ah well, I’ll knit another one someday!

Anyway, I’m definitely happy with the outcome of my sewing and knitting this year. I was convinced I had completed about half what I actually completed, and with twenty items I wear regularly and only two I would call failures I’d say firstly, it seems like I’m not as slow as I thought I was, and secondly, I really know what I like, what I wear and what suits/doesn’t suit me.

Now, there are still things I would like to improve on in 2014. First and foremost, I would like to stop amassing so much fabric and to sew more from my (gigantic!) stash. Teaming up with Ms Mimolette, I’ve decided I’m only allowed to buy some fabric every five pieces I use from my stash.

Then, even though I’m happy enough with the outcome of my sewing/knitting in 2013, I would like to sew/knit more projects in 2014. I don’t want to decide on a number I would have to attain, that would be too stressful, but I would like to be more productive. I think using up my stash might provide a great motivation towards that goal, too.

And lastly, as I wrote in this post, I’ve started a sketchbook where I draw each sewing project I begin. So I would really really like to keep up with it so that I’m more confident with my drawing skills at the end of 2014.

Oh, and maybe I should add “sew my friend’s skirt already!” to my resolutions! Preferably before her next birthday!

Thanks for reading and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!