2016 Hits and Lessons Learnt

It is that time of the year again where we all feel compelled to reflect – I had told myself I wasnt going to do this but after reading others I started reflecting on my makes and suddenly realised that I have some things to talk about. I guess there is something inside all of us that wants the new year to better than the last.

I think I dont like the term ‘miss’ – as if its a target – I always think in terms of lessons learnt – no experience is ever worthless IMHO. I dont see failure as a step backwards. Everytime I fail, I learn something new; I feel less anxiety when I do it again. To me thats a step forwards in the right direction. I have experienced, discovered and achieved much during the last 12 months.

But first a few stats presented in an infographic..what-i-sewed-1

In addition I have learnt how to create an infographic :-).

Top 5

Ok here we go; my top 5 hits as decided by the easiest accessible metric of all – InstaGram likes :-). I also like IG because its a record of how I wear my clothes on a daily basis.

Colette Wren Dress made in John Kaldor wool Jersy (463 likes)


Moneta Lady Skater Hybrid (417 likes)


Vogue Skirt and Simplicity Top (415 likes)


Moneta Gabriola Hybrid Dress (373 likes)


McCalls M6696 Shirtdress (358 likes)


Here is my top nine collage according to instagram.

I’d say this accurately reflects my favourite makes.

However IG doesnt take into account the clothes I make for my kids and hubs. My favourite hit was this M6044 shirt for my hubs which he loves to wear (I am so proud of that pocket matching). Thank goodness it’s made out of a really great quality Cotton and Steel fabric because it’s washed every week.mccalls20m6044

The other hit I’d say are the New Look 6423 foxes dresses I made for my girls. One of my twins basically wears it every other day – its her most favourite dress. The fabric is still as vibrant and has held up so well despite the many washes it’s had (about 3/week on average).

New Look 6423

Lessons learnt

On to the lessons learnt – I cant really use IG for this because I don’t tend to wear things that didn’t work out. There is only one I can think of that I dont actually wear and that’s the  Oakridge blouse (blog post here). I cant get my head around this top for some reason.

Though I love my garments – each one has its highs and lows of the project and I learn from those. Through these highs and lows, I have learnt the value of patience, optimism and commitment. I also have come to understand how I can remain positive and calm in the face of short term setbacks.


I felt that my reflection would be quite superficial if I didnt compare it against what my written goals for 2016 were…..however…I cant seem to find the post in which I loosely categorised my goals. But I did

  • enter the PR Skirt Contest
  • enter the PR one pattern many looks contest
  • all 4 weeks of Indie Pattern Month 2016
  • make another pair of jeans (S8222)
  • McCall Pattern Company shirtdress sewalong
  • Finish all 5 of my knitting WIPS
  • I also participated in some IG challenges (MeMadeMay & SewPhotohop & BPSewvember & One Week One Pattern)
  • I signed up for a pattern drafting class. Through it I met some lovely sewing ladies who are just as mad about sewing as I am though they dont have blogs – which made me realise that there are so many of us out there who dont blog.
  • started my YouTube channel
  • complete my Burda Challenge


Now for the elephant in the room – Fabric or more specifically buying fabric…here is a snippet of a conversation in my head between my Ideal Self 1 and Ideal Self 2….

“Did you hear about Hila?  She has so much fabric she could sink a battle ship!”

“REALLY!?  Doesn’t she know that enough is enough?”

“Evidently not!  I heard she just signed up for the Spoolette fabric shopping meet up in February!”

I had made some sort of a vow to be on a fabric buying moratorium. Well…….I was good for a while, then I fell off the bandwagon in a spectacular way and I have bought a lot of fabric – quite possibly a lot more than if I hadn’t tried to go against my nature by caging myself in. I am sick and tired of my laments and complaints.  So I accept it – I love buying fabric.  I love my fabric.  I honestly seriously do.

In some ways, my resolution was a triumph of hope over experience. Perhaps that’s because I was too ambitious and then judged myself too harshly when I failed to meet that impossibly high standard. My guilt had an ironic impact on my behaviour which led to me scuppering on my broader goal of getting the stash under control. I have come to the conclusion that enjoying the occasional indulgence can help recharge my self-control.

The moral is that, for now, I will make sure to leave room for a little bit of vice amid all my virtuous intentions. So in conclusion…..


When I buy fabric I am not just buying something tangible, I am buying dreams and possibilities of what this item can become. It holds out the intoxicating promise of a Pinterest worthy wardrobe. I love to pet and fold the fabric and daydream about what it could become one day.

I’d also add that it’s not “JUST” a piece of fabric –it’s a piece of who we are, or who we want to be.  Our individual fabric stashes are as varied as each of our personalities and interests.  No two stashes are alike! Think about it – our stashes are like our fingerprints : unique.

I have children who I hope one day will love sewing as much I do and perhaps I can leave them some sort of a legacy. I know I can’t use it all – but you can bet your top dollar that I will try my darndest to sew up as much of it as I can. Because I love creating and making. I am lucky enough to have a big home in which space is not as limited as with our previous home.

There is an energy inside of me – that spark that ignites the fire. Sewing gives my life a sense of joy – a sense of fulfillment.

And fighting it is useless. For now I shan’t make too much of a fuss – until I have so much fabric that it becomes a hindrance to my creativity or I can’t organise it.

Come 2017, I will keep pushing my limits and raising the bar; and yes, I will make mistakes and feel awkward, stupid and dumb sometimes but thats okay.

And so I sign off 2016 by sharing a quote from Neil Gaiman

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

Happy New Year chums,







48 thoughts on “2016 Hits and Lessons Learnt

  1. First I want to say I Love your blog. I always look forward to it. The Oakridge top that you listed as a fail I love. I can only imagine that its not the style you usually wear. I only recently found and have started following your blog. Your’s is one of my favorite. I am considering getting instagram in order to receive your posts ! Also am going to find you on You tube. I have always wanted to learn to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and much more. This year my goal was to focus on sewing. To actually stop just seeing what others are making but pick patterns and jump in and learn to make them. If I couldn’t figure it out then find a class or teacher for help. So finally i have made several knit tops. For 2017 will add the goal of making a pair of pajamas, a button and collar type top ,yoga pants and up my knitting skills by picking one project and mastering it. I love that you did this post, of looking back at 2016 to evaluate your makes, how much you wear them. Thank You !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathy and thanks for your lovely comment. You remind so much of me when I started sewing. I also want to do all those crafts you mention. For knitting – have you joined Ravelry? Its a great resource with loads of free patterns. Andi Satterlund Cropped WInter sweater is a great beginner pattern. Another great resource for learning sewing is Craftsy – I love what Craftsy has done to improve my sewing and because I cant really go to sewing classes having them online is awesome. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you sewing journey. XXX


  2. I really like all your makes, including the Oakridge blouse (BTW, which pattern company is the Oakridge from?). The lilac blouse looks particularly soft and pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great reflection post, 8 especially like your honesty re your stash. For me, stash equals stress due mostly to lack of space but I’m sure with more space I’d have more fabric. I like your view of our stash as like a fingerprint, unique to us, it’s an important aspect I think I can overlook in my desire to reduce stuff!
    What a wonderfully creative year you’ve had, I’ve loved following along with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have 5 kids and you managed to sew up over 100 items???!!! You are INCREDIBLE. I have 1 baby and all I have managed this year is a cushion cover. 3 more cut out and pinned just never got a chance to see them.

    Do you see yourself applying for sewing bee? I think you’d be amazing


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lols! I have 5 kids and thats why I sew – to keep the cray cray at bay! I have thought about the Sewing Bee and I am open to it if the opportunity ever arose 🙂


  5. 126 projects! That’s incredible! You make the most wonderful things and I’ve been lucky enough to see some of them for real! Oh and I love that infographic. I’m thinking I need one of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just cannot imagine when you sleep? 126 projects? Bugger me love that’s a serious amount of time spent sewing and not sleeping and yet you still have time to blog and IG! Some gorgeous makes in there as well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leslie! I sew at night and whenever I can squeeze in time even if that means sacrificing the toilet in order to sneak in 5 mins :-). It really makes a HUGE difference to have a sewing room (as you well know) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow – I love your infographic! I’m a marketing analyst, so I love stuff like that. I may have to steal the idea. I also thought about figuring out some end of year stats, but my data was too small. Love to see the recap and I also really like that Octopi fabric (google is telling me this is wrong word to pluralize octopus, but I like that word too much). Happy New Year & looking forward to this blog in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I trained as a researcher by profession so condensing and presenting information/data is my thing too :-). That fabric was a Cotton and Steel Mystery Train – I had to buy it from the US because it was sold out everywhere in the UK. You might find it on Etsy. Its a really great quality fabric and I highly reccommend it if you can find it. x


  8. OK I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – YOU ARE SUPERWOMAN. I am impressed by all of your makes and I love your infographic. 🙂 You are one inspiring lady!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen to keeping the cray cray at bay! I use it for that, too – sewing for sanity. And I needed a little more cray cray control, so I took up yoga! W00t w00t! Namaste!


  9. Hello Hila
    Don’t know how you find the time to make all that stuff, am I the only one to take an age to finish a garment and spend even longer thinking about it beforehand!!?

    Your infographic is great and I love your attitude to always learning. I enjoy reading your posts and hope to read many more next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your infographic, might have to borrow that idea if I can suss out how to do it! Great to hear of someone else whose stash is going up instead of down, my resolution last year was to reduce my stash, failed miserably, especially after winning the bag of minerva fabric!! Happy New Year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Canva.com is the site I used to create the infographic – I warn you though its an addictive playground with so much design fun 🙂


  11. What a great round-up Hila and love the infographic.
    As others have said – I don’t know how you fit so much in to so few hours. I have my suspicions. I think you rent those gorgeous children from a model agency for your photos and give them back afterwards – they’re not really yours at all 😉 Maybe even the husband too.:)
    I tried a fabric fast last year. I made the mistake of pledging not to buy any for a year which was far too ambitious. I should have said six months which would have been more realistic and I might have kept to it because I lasted four months and I might have stuck it out for two more but another eight was just too much to contemplate. Also, I over compensated with yarn purchases. Still, we tried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All we can do is try our best – but its hard because I think our nature as creatives is to want to have those things that inspire us at hand. I have come to the conclusion that there are 2 broad types of sewing creatives – the ones who get inspiration to sew from the fabric immediately at hand and those who draw inspiration through the planning. The planners start off with identifying a gap and proceed to look at patterns they want and then go fabric shopping with a strong idea of what they want. Its possible to be a mixture of the 2 . x


  12. Gorgeous makes, I love your bit on your stash and it makes me feel so much better about mine (I’m thinking my husband should read it too) I love my stash, I love looking at it and going through it, I don’t drink or smoke so buying fabric is my thing and sewing is far cheaper than going to a therapist weekly but it does the same thing, I find it an antidepressant, I get so much satisfaction from being creative, I can take mind of other things and relax in my own world. You are an inspiration and I’ve loved seeing your posts this year x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember I am including dress that I made for my twinks :-). For the data I just went through my blog month by month and put the info of what I made onto a Google spreadsheet. My hubs is an Excel wizard and he did most most of the functions for me to add thing so I didnt have to count manually. I asked to set up a spreadsheet for 2017 so I can input the data as I go along. Only time will tell whether I will be good at data entry 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! That’s a lot of makes and all fabulous! I love your acknowledgement that you ‘love fabric’ I do too, I have so much to look at and think about what to make – it’s fun. Enjoy yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Like Carmen Ross my favorite look of 2016 is that gorgeous cold shoulder top and the floral skirt, though so many of your other garments are beautiful it’s hard to choose a favourite. I’m still gasping at your output this year – you make me feel like an absolute sloth!

    Liked by 1 person

Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s