Looking Backward Before Looking Forward

Retrospection is a good thing, I think, when it comes to sewing (or many things, actually!)  When I think back on 2022 and what I accomplished of my sewing goals for the year, I am surprised by how much I actually marked off my list.  I seem to have started the year with a lot of momentum, but by the end of the year, that momentum, both sewing and blogging, fizzled out, for one reason or another.   My theme for the year was so, so easy for me to remember – PINK  – as in my favorite color.  It was so easy, in fact that I almost shied away from any projects which did not keep with the theme. 

Here is what I made, in no particular order:

  • 2 Spring/Summer cotton blouses, one pink and one red (the red one is a sleeveless gingham, no blog post and not even any photos.)  
I think this blouse may have been Readers’ Choice for 2022!
  • 1 deep pink silk blouse, made from one of my favorite vintage patterns.
  • A short cape to match it to match a pair of slacks I made in late 2021.
  • 6 dresses for my granddaughters (three each), none of which are detailed in a blog post.  I have found most of my reading audience isn’t really interested in sewing for children, so when I do post the dresses I make for them, it is on Instagram   (and I could do a better job of documenting them there …) 
  • 1 chicken potholder.  Made as a topper for a bridal shower gift, this cutie pie is one of many I have made over the years.  
Just for fun, here is that chicken potholder…
  • 1 pink silk gingham Spring coat, with a Trench coat vibe to it.  
  • 1 tunic top for easy Summer wearing.
  • 1 lightweight cotton shirtwaist dress, feminine and breezy.
  • 1 wool/silk blend floral printed skirt, no photos, no blog post, no pink, but heavy on the compliments when I wear it.  I took apart a midi-length skirt I purchased once upon a time from the J. Peterman catalog and remade it into a short, straight-skirt style.  
  • 5 aprons, three of which were gifts to friends. 
  • Home decorator sewing (6 seat cushions) for our western (second) home in Wyoming (NOT pink!) 

When doing a retrospective such as this, I like to ask myself, “What would I have done differently with certain items?”   It seems there is frequently something that should have been tweaked a bit, and so it was this year, with three pieces. 

  1. If I make the cape pattern again, I will add about 2 inches onto the length.  I did not pick this up in the muslin, unfortunately. 
  2. I mentioned this in my blog post, but the cuffs of the pink gingham Spring coat should be roomier. I must unbutton them to slip my hands through them, which is a bit of a nuisance.  I neglected checking this measurement/fit in my muslin/toile, which was a good reminder to me for the future: every aspect of a garment matters.
  3. I used my go-to shirtwaist blouse pattern for the sleeveless gingham blouse I made, and I had to redo the cut of the armscye twice to get the fit correct.  It was easily done, but a bit time-consuming.  The result is a comfortable blouse which now fits well.
Here is that blouse pattern I have used over and over. After I adjusted the sleeveless armscye twice to perfect the fit, I finished the edge with a bias strip seamed on the edge, turned in and stitched by hand as discreetly as possible.

PINK was not only my 2022 theme, but it set guidelines for my approach to sewing as well, such as “P“ for perseverance and perspective.  Keeping perspective, especially toward year’s end when life set me up for some turmoil, helped me through a few rough spots and sewing droughts.  

“I” for indulgence and inspiration were easy guidelines.  Indulge in another coat or two? Why, yes, one can never have too many coats.  And “I” for inspiration was everywhere, from ready-to-wear, to fellow bloggers, to sewing friends, to gorgeous fabrics, to vintage buttons.  The list goes on….

“N” for new endeavors, not necessarily sewing related, added new dimensions to my life this year, to be continued in 2023.  “N” was also for Not feeling guilty.  Not once did I feel guilty for all the hours I spent in my sewing room!  

“K” was for keeping focus.  My lists and planning help me with this.  And “K” is always for kindness, a good goal at any time in any aspect of life. 

How perfect is this image to welcome in a New Year? (From a post by Midcentury Fashion on Facebook). And now is the time to look forward with anticipation and hope and a bit of fun.  Happy New Year! To be continued….


Filed under Love of sewing, Uncategorized

22 responses to “Looking Backward Before Looking Forward

  1. Helen McCleneghen

    Do you have a pattern for the adorable pot holder? Helen

  2. Just wanted to say: your sewn items are beautiful and your hair is really really nice 🙂

  3. Thank you for your detailed posts! I look forward to them and enjoy and learn from them. I hope going forward, you have no turmoil, and life is joyous and sweet – and full of happy sewing.😊

  4. Mery

    You made a lot this year, and I thoroughly enjoy each and every one. If I join Instagram, your makes for your granddaughters wilp be among the first things I follow.
    Life has so many see-saw things like sunshine and rain, ups and downs. . May your new year overflow with blessings and joy.

  5. Elizabeth

    You are such an inspiration, absolutely adore your style and learn so much from your detailed posts . Thank you , much appreciated.

  6. Janet Thornton

    Happy New Year to you and yours Karen! I am not someone who can wear pink easily, but I loved your PINK theme, and your elegant makes. Thank you for your inspiring posts! It is indeed a time of my life where I also feel no guilt for the many hours spent in my sewing room. I hope 2023 brings sewing joy to all!

  7. Karen, your variety of projects is amazing. You are my sewing guru. I hope 2023 is filled with joy, prosperity for your family and productivity in your sewing room.

  8. Carol in Texas

    I hope you will keep us posted on all your sewing endeavors this year. I look forward to each of your blog entries and read every detail of your beautiful projects. I once sewed clothing for myself and took classes from a couple of excellent seamstresses. That desire has waned, but I can enjoy it vicariously in your blog!!!!!!

    • I think once one has done a fair amount of fashion sewing, the fascination with it never vanishes – maybe the hands-on involvement, but not the interest. Thanks so much for following along with my sewing endeavors!

  9. Donna

    Love you sharing your sewing projects over the year which has inspired me to get out my own vintage patterns. The chicken potholder is so cute. Can you direct me to the pattern please.

    • The vintage patterns are worth their weight in gold! So glad you’ve jumped in! The chicken potholder is one I designed myself, based on a very old one I have used for ages. So – no commercial pattern is available.

  10. Even though I’m a menswear only sewist, I’m always excited to see that there’s a new blog post. Your intentional, thoughtful approach to sewing is so inspirational. I’m sure 2023 will be filled with even more great projects. Happy New Year!

  11. deborah

    Dear Karen
    Thank you so much for this fabulous post. You have inspired me to just sit for a while and summarise what I achieved in 2022! I particularly love the pink gingham blouse, it looks stunning on you.

    • Thank you, Debbie. I rarely do very much reflection on the past year, but I should. I surprised myself with how much I accomplished – and feel good about! And the pink gingham blouse was the biggest surprise of all – I wasn’t sure it was “me” – but it turns out it is “me!” Happy New Sewing Year to you!

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