2010 – The Year in Sewing

I didn’t expect to learn to sew this year. I think I fought the idea for a long time. Who needs yet another way to not have enough time to do stuff, I thought. I’d watched others around me sew beautifully for a long time and while I admired it, I didn’t think I had the patience or time.

But, it’s as they say really. You find ways to make time. In July Sean bought me my first sewing machine for my birthday and I still wasn’t sure it was for me. It seemed a gamble. I had this deep-seated anxiety that I was going to disappoint him after he spent so much money on me, that it would end up in a cupboard ignored and forgotten. So I committed to not letting that happen, to giving it a good, honest go. I got books, read tutorials online, asked questions and in essence, just threw myself headlong into it. I dived right in and when I came up for air, I knew I was going to love this new world, not least of all because of its sheer practicality. I can make things. Real, every day items that can be used and can be beautiful. My head spins at the thought of this when it strikes me. It’s as great as knitting in that sense – creative and practical – just faster, for the most part. All my handmade christmas gifts this year were sewn and I loved that they didn’t take months!

Below is a retrospective of my six months of sewing. It’s just a selection of items since I’ve made the same things over and over – several versions of the same bag, the same coasters, the same dresses. Missing are shorts I’ve made for Willem as PJ bottoms and a few extra pairs of shorts for Alice. But it’s pretty much all there – evidence that I have indeed been learning to sew and enjoying it. 2011 is shaping up to be a great year, creatively speaking. There’s so much ahead of me and if there’s one thing I need on December 31 it’s the sense that there is good stuff ahead.

2010 Sewing Retrospective

1. cupcake bag, 2. simple bag, 3. Eithne’s spotty dress, 4. alice – purple dress & my red skirt, 5. Alice’s yellow dress, 6. Reversible Shorts – Pink side, 7. wollmeise socks and matching bag, 8. alice on the ladder, 9. Quilted Coasters, 10. tissue pockets, 11. Purple Pinny, 12. Lizzy Pinny – Pink Side, 13. cotton dress, 14. Iphone Pouch, 15. Wrap skirt hem, 16. Russian Doll Dress, 17. pincushion, 18. Red ‘Two Kates’ Bag, 19. Rose bag, 20. The 2 Kates Bag, 21. russian dolls bag, 22. sunflower bag, 23. mum’s bag, 24. First ever sewn bag.

To finish off, here is something I’m both surprised about and proud of. My first quilt! It’s just a little thing and I’m not really calling it a quilt. It’s a table runner.

First Quilt

I made it from Moda Charm Squares I bought from Retromummy – Corrie has a lovely fabric shop. If you don’t know her stuff, check it out. Great range of fabrics. I bought the squares not really knowing what I’d do with them and one day, I sat down at the machine and started piecing the squares, making some of the half square triangles. Two months later after much prodding from my mum, I got the courage to figure out the quilting part. I gave myself permission to make all the mistakes in the world and just see what happened. The result makes me smile.

I can’t see myself becoming an obsessive quilter (although I did say I probably wouldn’t ever quilt!) but I did enjoy the process very much and found the results so very pleasing. I think I just wanted to know how to do it – to learn the techniques and see how else they could be applied. I learned a lot about seaming, about binding (for eg: I’ll do the binding by hand next time – anyone with an eye can see my binding is sewn on by machine and doesn’t do the binding justice). But now I have a table piece that I think is attractive and lovely. So who knows, those other charm square packs I’ve squirreled away in my stash like a guilty secret might amount to other fun things!

Thanks to various sewing friends for the encouragement, for the donated stash, for the answers to newbie questions and especially to my mum who is, I think, just a little bit proud. Also special thanks to Sean for the fabulous gift and to Alice who has been a special and wonderful model for so much of my sewing stuff these past six months – having a little girl to sew for has really spurred me on and the amount of wear she gets out of her stuff makes me feel like it’s all truly worthwhile.

So, finally – happy new year everyone! Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing this year. It’s been great and it means a lot to me.

New Year’s Day marks the first anniversary of the move to my new blog and to celebrate I’ll be holding a giveaway. Come back in 2011 for more information!

Speaking of giveaways, Corrie, who I mentioned above, is having a giveaway for some amazingly beautiful fabric on her blog. Hundreds of entries, but I still like to think I’m in with a chance! You could be too, if you’re keen.



23 thoughts on “2010 – The Year in Sewing

  1. Pingback: Ugly Sewing and Contest Winner « Bellsknits

  2. Happy new year to you!

    It is so cool to see your year in sewing. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what you’ve made this year, discussing books and exchanging project ideas. It has been such an inspiration to keep trying new things and I’ve felt a little bit of competition to keep up with you (in a very healthy kind of way). Now you see you’ve done that fab quilt and I now have to get on and finish the quilt I tried to start months ago.

    Keep making beautiful things (and I’ll try to keep up!).

  3. Happy New Year, Bells! You’ve shown me that sewing can be a lot more fun than the endless (and often frumpy!) dresses that my mother used to make. Thank you for your inspiration to start knitting; I understand the pure elation of succeeding with something entirely new!

  4. Am so envious of your sewing prowess. Your stuff is just lovely! And on top of all your knitting and crocheting? Wow! Well done Bells. πŸ™‚

    All the best for 2011 – hope it all just gets better…

  5. happy new year, bells! and what a creative and productive one the last one has been for you. and you made a quilt! it looks wonderful! looking forward to more bellsknits (and -sews) in 2011.

  6. You must feel a wonderful sense of achievement for all your made this year
    sewing and knitting
    You are an inspiration to many women out in blog land, I wish I could get myself
    organised more I tend to but off things
    Maybe I should make a NY resolution LOL

  7. wow, all so impressive for your first year of sewing. I find there is a craft for different times. A saturday afternoon and you can whip up a dress, sunday night you can knit on the couch and so on.

    and I love your quilt/table runner. Once you have the basics you can go bigger and before you know it you’ve done a single bed quilt plus it’s a great way to use your stash!

    and of course your gorgeous little blonde model!

    well done and thanks for the mention;)


  8. Beautiful quilt!! I like the relative quickness of sewing, too, but despite all that I have a hard time making time with an active toddler my constant companion. It’s so much easier to pick up and put down the knitting versus trying to sew. But I have big hopes for the future. πŸ˜‰

    Happy 2011, Bells!

  9. You totally rock! I knew you had been sewing up a storm, but what a treat to have it presented so beautifully. Lucky Alice!

    And your quilt is brilliant. Bravo! the only difference between a table cover and a bedcover is square yardage. Make Alice a drag-around quilt for playing in the yard, flopping on the floor, creating a tent . . . Not an heirloom, just a quick and easy blankie to use and abuse. Then everyone else in the family will be wanting one too, and you will discover the addictive joys of strip-piecing.

    Mwahahahaha – another convert!

  10. You’ve come a long way with your sewing this year, congratulations! It’s a great effort and a skill, like knitting, that will give you lots of joy. Here’s to another year of knitting and sewing ahead. Oh and chickens!!!

  11. I look forward to making time to sew at some point – maybe when I’ve got some of the knitting wips done!! And overcome my fear of zippers (which is silly, as I’ve actually put zippers in in the past – just a long time ago!)

    I think you will one day make at least one actual bed sized QUILT! And I look forward to that day!

  12. Very productive indeed, I am too scared to even look at new crafts for fear of losing knitting time, but it must feel great to be able make your own clothes. And the things you’ve made for Alice in particular are just lovely. Yay for trying new things! Here’s to more new things in 2011.

  13. Hoorah sewing! This makes me wish I had more of an attention span for crafting Things.

    Btw internets, in case you were wondering those coasters are way more rad in real life.

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