Sunday, 11 January 2015


I was planning on doing one of those in-depth wrap-up posts, the kind that picks out the blogger's Top 5 and Bottom 5 for the year, ending with thoughtful conclusions and interesting resolutions BUT the New Year blitzed past and I realised I didn't have anything particularly interesting to say about 2014.  Sorry Gillian!

Instead I think I'll just summarise what I made last year, and revisit last year's resolutions. Knowing me I'll then start rabbiting on and this will turn into an ultra long post - we'll see, maybe it'll end up being a proper end-of-year post after all.

2014, Month by Month

In January I blogged a denim Grainline Moss Mini (I visited Indie land!), a rashie top for myself, and a vintage sundress for my daughter. I also went to an excellent pants fitting workshop (I didn't end up making the pants I'd fitted because my weight was fluctuating like crazy) and made some very basic resolutions. I'm hardly wearing the denim skirt (turns out I'm not a denim skirt person - that explains why I haven't owned one since I was a teenager) and I keep forgetting to wear the rashie, but my daughter's little dress gets a lot of wear.

January 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

In February I shared with you a button down shirt I made my dad for his birthday, a cool t-shirt, a self-drafted silk top, and a fully lined (!!!) doll's dress. Assuming my dad wears his shirt, all of these were pretty successful makes...

February 2014 sewing - UpsewLate

In March I blogged a couple of beautiful Vogue tops my mum made and donated to me and then another top I made for myself from the same pattern. The silk top my mum made is one I wear heaps (the black and white top on the left, below), but I don't wear the t-shirt (top right) she made from the same pattern very much. And I wear the pink silk top less often than the black and white one because it's just not as nicely made... On the social front, I met up in town with Kristy for blog photos and general sewing chat, which was lovely!

March 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

In April it looked like I wasn't doing much sewing - I sewed up an OTT Pink Panther dress for the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge (I don't wear the dress much, but more often than you might imagine - the fit is just spot on), and organised my wardrobe in preparation for Me Made May. I also sewed my daughter an extravagant sequinned silk chiffon and dupion silk dress for her cousins's bat mitzvah - a big success, but I didn't get around to blogging it...

April 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

In May I participated in my fourth Me Made May, and as usual there was heaps of inspiration from around the world, but the effort involved in documenting what I was wearing and participating in the Flickr and Instagram groups overwhelmed me - there were so many photos to look at! After sewing for several years I have plenty of me mades to choose from for both workdays and weekends, but this year I got the sense that the group's character had tilted towards newer sewists for whom wearing me made is a bigger challenge. That's fine, but that group shift combined with the effort it takes to participate are probably going to keep me joining in for 2015.

In June I blogged a dress I made from an amazing digital print ponti, and my entry to Tessuti's Jaywalk competition - an ill-considered shirtdress made using a vintage pattern. The ponti dress doesn't get worn too often because I feel self-conscious wearing something so fitted, and the Jaywalk dress doesn't get worn too often because the stretchy fabric is really too heavy for the style. I wouldn't call these failures though because I like them both very much!

June 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

In July I blogged a lot for me - 5 garments! There was the silver twist midi skirt (chambray and silver - looked good in the photos, but the silver is scratchy on the inside so I haven't really worn the skirt since), the Papercut pleated pants in denim (which I now like, but am now sure how to wear), a Danni dress in blue ponti which I wear for work and a striped Danni which I just don't wear due to the cling factor. And there were two fleece hoodies for my daughter which she has worn heaps!

July 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

August was one of those months where it didn't look like I was sewing much. I blogged a couple of self-drafted tops, and I like them both but only really wear the one (pictured on the right below) with the angled stripes.  The other (on the left) is really poorly made - no finishing on the insides - and feels too cropped. I also sewed myself a pair of swimmers, but I didn't particularly like them when I tried them on, so I made lots of changes to them (lowered the back into a deep curve, reduced the voluminous cups etc) and they now feel too skimpy on the bust unless I keep absolutely still - I feel like such an idiot! Anyway, those swimmers made a brief (geddit) appearance on Instagram, and won't be blogged any time soon.

August 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

And September? Well I went on a big overseas trip to Europe with my family from late August to early October, and there were 6.5 weeks where I was nowhere near a sewing machine... Luckily I'd whipped up a few things in August that I could blog in September, right?  In September I blogged about going to Paris (three pairs of kids' PJ pants, a Paris meetup and some fabric shopping with Busy Lizzie) and Spain (two pairs of swimmers for my daughter). My son wore the greenish PJs occasionally, and the blue ones only once, but my daughter wore her striped leggings constantly. The multicoloured swimmers have been worn heaps over the past months and are now starting to pill from their excessive use, but the cute blue and white swimmers were a bit snug so have only been worn a couple of times when the other swimmers were soaking wet.

September 2014 sewing - UpSewLate
About a third of the way through October we arrived back in Sydney, and returned to work and school. I hit the sewing machines hard - I think I made 4 tops within about a week of getting back - but didn't manage to blog anything! Apart from sewing like mad, I also went along to an awesome shibori workshop organised by Susan. Shibori is great fun, and it was terrific to meet up with old pals and make some new ones too :). I still haven't sewn my indigo-ed fabric though...

In November I was still sewing, and I blogged a couple of the things I'd made in October and earlier. I took part in Amanda's #bpsewvember on Instagram (go check it out if you haven't already - she had some great daily challenges), and caught up with Steff, Emma and Kristy in town for lunch.  I blogged a purple Burda top that ended up fitting my mum better than me, a stripey Burda top that I'm definitely keeping, a crazy bunnies cool t-shirt (yes, that's a keeper too), a boxy hibiscus-print top that looks terrible on (already donated to charity), and a pale pink midi skirt that I'm wearing lots despite a bit of a fitting blip on my backside.

November 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

Nearly there!

December was another productive month on the blog... I wrote about a StyleArc Philippa top, a Papercut Undercover hood and a Papercut Undercover hoodless top, a blue neoprene top from my dodgy "pattern", a vintage dress for my daughter, a sequinned Christmas dress for her, and a coral linen Eva dress. The Philippa top was a definite failure and quickly left the house, and the neoprene top would be a success were it not for the fabric pilling straight away (thank you Spotlight!), but the other clothes look to be successes so far. Because the weather in Sydney has been really muggy I haven't had the opportunity to wear the two Undercover tops, and I know the fit wasn't perfect but I think I'll be wearing these a lot when the weather cools down. My daughter is wearing her vintage pattern dress frequently, and loves her sequinned dress to bits and wears it whenever she can argue the case for sequins. And the coral Eva dress is my favourite garment of the year, and I'd like to wear it every day.  I guess December was a good month for sewing and blogging for me.

December 2014 sewing - UpSewLate

Throughout the year I think there were 5 garments I didn't get around to blogging: the swimsuit and the sequinned silk chiffon dress I mentioned already, a kimono sleeve jacket made to test a new pattern, a white broderie anglaise / linen boxy top, and a different boxy top made from one of the fabrics I bought in Paris - I'll try to blog these soon - and several started but unfinished garments (there are 3 or 4 unfinished dresses hanging off the door near where I'm typing this!). 


Thinking back on the year, I had thought it was all dresses and tops, and mostly Big 4 patterns, but here's how my blogged sewing for the year really breaks down:

Not only dresses and tops
A healthy mix of pattern companies
By mainstream I mean Burda and KwikSew - the bigger pattern companies that aren't included when I talk about the Big 4.  I'm ignoring company structures and who owns what though - each brand still looks to have its own designers and distinct aesthetic!

Vogue patterns are still my favourite for their fit and instructions, although it turns out they're not the company I used most this year:
Hmm.... that does surprise me!

Oh by the way, since we're doing some simple data analysis here, let me jump on a personal hobbyhorse and tell you why I'm using bar rather than pie charts.  I know pie charts look pretty, but they're actually not a clear way of representing data. This article is a good one if you want to understand why you should make the switch, but basically it boils down to playing to our strengths: our brains are good at comparing differences in location (eg data points) and good at comparing differences in length (eg bar lengths), but not good at comparing areas (eg bubble graphs) and not good at comparing angles (eg slices of a pie chart). 


My resolutions for 2014 were quite low key, but still a bit of a challenge. I was fine with "this is not a popularity contest" (well it isn't for me), but the other two resolutions were hard. It's hard not to be drawn into whatever's popular, and I fell off the commenting wagon for a while when my Google login stuffed up. This year I want the same resolutions as last year, but I'm going to add one very special, extra hard resolution to the end of that list:

  1. It's a blog, not a popularity contest
  2. Dance to the beat of your own drum
  3. Be nice Be kind, honest, friendly and generous (edited after reading THIS post)
  4. Remember to write 2015

2015. 2015, 2015!!!! 

See you soon

- Gabrielle xxx


  1. Ooh, nerdy graph fact? Love it! And it makes sense, because as teachers we're told to make sure kids spend lots of time with rectangular fractions (i.e. 1/4 of a bar) instead of dwelling on circular fractions (pizza and pie!) Now I know why!
    2014 was a good year for you! I always enjoy the different shapes you play around with. Happy 2015!

  2. Gabrielle Corbett11 January 2015 at 12:10

    I'm glad you like it Gillian! Data analysis / reporting is my day job, and pie charts are big "no no" for reporting, but it's hard to wean people off them - they look so friendly :).
    Thank you, and happy 2015 to you too!

  3. I love this format better than the format you were meant to use. I love that you broke it down month by month - what a great idea to recap everything that happened!
    I think this kind of post is nice because it gives you great clarity on the year that was and you can start 2015 knowing the what has worked/not worked for you in the past.
    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  4. The December red dress is my favourite. I love your resolutions, it's pretty much what I've decided to do too!

  5. I agree with Valerie about the December red dress, but I also loved June's digital print ponte.

  6. Loved your self drafted tops and the pièce de résistance is the Eva dress!

  7. Gabrielle Corbett13 January 2015 at 00:17

    Thank you Jodie - what a lovely comment! This year the social side of sewing was pretty special to me, so I wanted to represent that and give a bit of a thank you to the people I met up with - I'm glad that was OK to read about :). Hopefully yes, this year I *should* have a better idea of what's going to work for me and what sort of silly errors to try to avoid....

  8. Gabrielle Corbett13 January 2015 at 00:19

    Thank you Margo! If you're ever in this neck of the woods you'll be very welcome to borrow the pink panther dress - you'll definitely get some surprised looks from teenagers, but it's fun to wear :).

  9. Gabrielle Corbett13 January 2015 at 00:25

    Thanks Valerie, it's my favourite of the year too - I was so surprised it worked so well! The resolutions are pretty basic but hopefully that means achievable - I'm sure you'll manage them! I am already struggling with the last one though ;).

  10. Gabrielle Corbett13 January 2015 at 00:28

    Thanks Gail, I need to wear that digital print ponte dress a bit more - it's such a great print! Have you tried the Eva dress pattern or something like it? I can really imagine you in this silhouette!

  11. Gabrielle Corbett13 January 2015 at 00:33

    Thank you Erin, even when your "drafting" is just shoddy sketching it's a bit of work, so I was very glad to get a couple of wearable tops out of it :). I can't imagine how much work it is to really draft a pattern! I was so surprised the Eva dress worked that well - it was a pretty good surprise!

  12. I've so enjoyed seeing your makes this year, and your experimenting with different shapes. Great goals too - particularly to be nice, to ourselves as much as others I'd say!

  13. Haha, yes... 2015! So far I've managed to keep it together and write the correct year (touch wood). Can't wait to see everything you do in 2015 :) & thanks for the graph info! Veeerrrry interesting.

  14. Another Sewing Blog17 January 2015 at 06:59

    Interesting tidbit about bar vs pie charts, my job involves some data analysis and I've learnt the hard way how important the presentation of data is! Anyway, not to get side tracked, I loved how honest you are about you still wear and what you don't.

  15. Thank you Kathryn, I'm glad you've enjoyed it! Yes, that's true - maybe kindness is a better way of expressing it?

  16. Yay, congratulations, only 11.5 months to go! So far I'm managing too - very unusual for me! Thanks, I look forward to seeing your makes in 2015 too, and glad you liked reading about graphs :).

  17. Oh great, yes, the way you present data makes such a big difference, doesn't it - and it's sometimes quite a challenge to make results easy to understand!! We've ended up having to get quite disciplined about it at my work... Thank you, I didn't want to gloss over the fact that some garments look good initially in a blog post but end up being a disappointment :). I'm sure that happens to everyone...


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