2014 Retrospective: K’s Outfits (Part 2)

We’re back with part 2 of K’s 2014 Handmade Wardrobe! Let’s jump right in:


Tennis (or Badminton) Whites
Nautical Knit Halter


A Little Lace, A Little Boho
Frances Newcombe Fabric (black and white)
A Little on the Wild Side


Galaxy MaxiΒ (sewn in July, but posted much later)
A Groovy Kind of Dress
Big Joey Dresses (Grey + Red stripes / Animal Print)
The Classic Combo


Necessity Sewing (Rain Jacket, Long-Sleeves Tees, Denim Pants)
Franklin Dress + Tunic
E & E Ponderosa Dress + Hemlock Tee
Halloween Ninja


Small Fry Skinny Jeans
We’ll Call It A Muslin (The Alpine Coat fail)


Hooded Knit Cardi
Alpine Coat Take 2

See Part 1 here — at some point I might create a collage with all the clothes of 2014 together.


Grand total for the latter half of 2014 was 30 garments. Compared to last year? 58. Which comes out to 66 (2014) vs 129 (2013) for the grand, grand total. Hmmmm. Even 66 items sound like a ton of clothes, and when you consider that she still fits into the majority of the stuff I’ve made in the last couple of years…well, as you can imagine, her closet and dresser are packed to the gills.

What was awesome this year #1: I really focused on clothes that I knew K would like and as a result, she’s worn almost everything I’ve made regularly. Major win.

What was not awesome this year #1: Because I focused on clothes that I knew K would like, I often felt more like a custom tailor and less like the fashion designer I’d fancied myself in the past. Although I tried to inject my own taste into the clothes as much as possible, most of the items I sewed were dictated by K’s preferences, which meant a lot of animal print. Y’all know how I feel about animal print.


What was awesome this year #2: I’m a knits-sewing samurai at this point, and have zero fear of the stretchy substrate. I would love to own a coverstitch machine one day for that extra professional look since I dislike twin needles, but I can live with my zig zag stitches.

What was not awesome this year #2: I felt like I didn’t challenge myself much. Sure, there were some fake fur projects thrown in there, and that rain jacket material was no walk in the park, and okay, the skinny jeans pushed my sewing skills. Still, I want to up my game and try more advanced methods and professional-grade finishes. I want to try silk and chiffon and leather and crazy complicated plackets. Architectural details. Hong Kong seams. This makes me think of a lovely woman I met recently, who owns a great shop here in Seattle. She creates her own line of children’s clothes and her skills are impeccable. Her background is in bridal wear, but when she told me, “I can sew…well, anything,” (in a totally non-braggy way), I knew I wanted to be able to say the same. Still not quite there.


What was awesome this year #3: Even after almost two-and-a-half years of sewing pretty much every week for K, I still love it love it love it. Despite my grumbles about embarking on yet another leopard print outfit, I find myself slipping into that comforting meditative state when I cut the fabric, pin them together and position the pieces under the presser foot. And then the hum of the sewing machine starts (interspersed with the jarring roar of the serger which is less Zen), all the while I listen to an audiobook or whatever podcast I’m enthralled with at the moment…there’s nothing like it.

What was not awesome this year #3: As I mentioned, I’m still struggling with the best way to practice my sewing without creating this extravaganza of a wardrobe that only a former shopaholic could produce.Β The obvious answer would be to sew for other people or focus on home decor/accessories or open a shop of some sort. Through trial and error, though, what I’ve discovered is that the particular combination of sewing clothes for K is what makes my heart go pitter patter. To get even more specific, it’s creating the clothes that suit my taste in K’s size that I find completely inspiring. This poses an added layer of challenge as K’s opinions and tastes become stronger and more distinct from mine. And though I love making clothes for myself and I’m also leaps and bounds more comfortable stitching up things for other people, it’s oddly not as satisfying. Making clothes for K will always remain my favorite type of sewing.

Oh, and the shop idea could easily devolve into a sweatshop situation which I’m not sure I can handle.

So to make this utterly first world dilemma a non-issue and more awesome next year, I’ve decided that I’m going to stop feeling guilty and just make what I want, when I want because I am still solidly in the skills-development phase. My ultimate goal is to be able to sew anything at the highest quality level, but the joy is in the practice of sewing for me, and I have a seedling of an idea for a giving project in the works for any excess/unloved clothes that result. I’ll share more as my idea takes shape.


Overall, though, 2014 was wonderful and that’s a wrap for K’s 2014 handmade outfits! You can see 2013 here and 2012 here. Whew. Did someone say cray cray?

And tomorrow is the first day of 2015 — Happy New Year, my friends!!!!!

30 thoughts on “2014 Retrospective: K’s Outfits (Part 2)

  1. I think that deciding to make what you want, when you want, is great! I think that’s the best recipe for fostering and developing our creativity (instead of assembly-line sewing). Since that’s why I’m in this too – that feeling of creativity and accomplishment – I am going to try and remember this mantra of yours and make what I want, when I want, too.

    1. I tell you, few things are as soul-crushing for me as assembly-line sewing. I did a little of that for Christmas presents and I was ready to call it quits after sewing the same thing three times. Yes to feelings of creativity and accomplishment! Thanks, Nicole!

  2. I love love love what you make! K is such a lucky girl.
    I think your plan for 2015 is spot-on, but another idea would be to allow yourself to make whatever you like, and when K has enough clothes or enough of a particular item, you could feel free to sell the extras in a shop! That way you’re not making-to-order, so you’ll avoid the sweatshop vibe, but you could still free up your closet space. I know people would buy your clothes!

    1. Thanks Sarah! I keep meaning to try an experiment on etsy to see if there are any takers, but my experimentation will have to wait for a few months while I get some behind the scenes stuff done πŸ˜‰

  3. Thank you for your comment to me yesterday. It is always a good idea to reflect on the uniqueness of ourselves and others. It is easy to forget or ignore for so many reasons.

    1. You’re very welcome, Greta! I agree that it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of sameness, especially with the internet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with an idea that I was certain was 100% original, only to find out dozens and dozens of people had already done it. Still, I strongly believe that we all have our own mark to make that can’t be replicated.

  4. Ooooooooo, love love love love!!! I adore your (K’s?) style, and embarrassingly would wear a lot of her clothes if they were my size. Ha. I think you should definitely sew what you want and what makes you happy. I am also feeling like I want to up my skills this year…my big project I have stewed up is a leather jacket for myself- eek!! I bought the leather already because I found it majorly on sale and plus I figured it would supply motivation. Feels a little crazy though. I am excited to see what you sew this year!

    1. A leather jacket! You go, Kelly! Can’t wait to see it – I know it’s going to be SO amazing. K does have a fun wardrobe, right? I’d wear a lot of it myself too! At this point, the end products are a hybrid of both K’s and my style, though K’s becoming more and more vocal about what she specifically wants πŸ™‚

  5. Second part of the year as amazing as the first part! You are such a great writer . I like the way you describe your thoughts about sewing. The positive and the not so positive . You had a great productive year and I’m so looking forward to seeing more in 2015. Also I would love to see anything too!! Still work in progress and with fear of cut into some of my precious.

    1. Thank you, Maria! I felt like I was still cranking out clothes regularly, but I guess because I didn’t participate in KCW much this year, my output was a lot less. I’m plotting my 2015 sewing plan as I type this!

  6. K’s clothes are so painterly somehow. They all seem to work together, at least in my imagination.

    I’ve been sewing for years, and my skill level is still only intermediate, but making clothes and things I need gives me so much pleasure I’m not eager to mess with that! I also listen to music when I sew . This makes the entire experience of making something even more intense.

    1. I feel like I’m still a beginner, Annelieke! If I consolidated all the years I’ve been sewing (I took a lot of breaks here and there), it’s been close to four years, and I’m only now feeling like my sewing doesn’t look completely amateur. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Happy new year!!! I want to say that I’m so glad I was introduced to your blog this year, through a stranger at Kinokuniya bookstore in San Francisco. πŸ™‚ I truly, earnestly look forward to reading everything that you write because it’s candid, you have great writing style that lends to an interesting narrative. I also secretly love the posts about your strong mom. I grew up with a strong mom, too! Anyway, have a great start to 2015!

    1. Happy New Year! I love that you found your way here from a stranger in Kinokuniya – how cool is that? And yes, my Mama is very strong and she is much adored πŸ™‚ Thank you, Jeannie!

  8. I think K is the best-dressed young lady on the internet!
    I would be pleased to wear any of these outfits, in grown-up size!
    Happy new year!

    1. Ha, thanks Jenny! It’s funny, in the beginning, when K was much less opinionated about the clothes I made, I was really making clothes I wanted to wear in miniature size. You’d think that now that I’ve been sewing my own clothes too that I would be way more into adult-sewing, but I still love miniature sized clothes!
      Happy New Year!

  9. funny – as I was scrolling through the last 6 months of 2014 sewing, I was thinking to myself, “dang! look at those jeans – super impressive! and that alpine coat! serious skill there.” And then to read that you want to improve upon your sewing skills . . . makes me smile because I think you’re already there:) But I do get the impulse to want to learn new techniques and improve to the point of being able to sew . . . anything!
    What a wonderful year of creating you’ve shared – Miss K is one stylish girl, and so happy for you that she has been happily wearing much of what you make. Nothing worse than a favorite project (for you) that sits neglected in the drawer/closet. And so glad that the sewing will continue in 2015 as you continue to feel inspired to sew K-size clothes!

    1. Thank you, Lucinda! The make-to-wear ratio has been very, very good this year, so I’m definitely happy about that. I was just telling a friend that I miss sewing linen clothes with slight vintage flair for her now that I’ve realized K will really only wear knits…we’ll see if I can sneak some more in this year! πŸ™‚

  10. I think you made the best decission!! You have to follow your heart if you want to mantain the passion. Wish you a happy new year!!

    1. Wishing you a happy new year too, Idoia! Yes, sometimes you gotta just keep doing whats fun. I was making it so much less enjoyable by worrying about the environmental impact and the sheer excess of it all…but at the end of the day, the practice is well worth it!

  11. Just wanted to quickly comment on this. I really hope you’ll have a wonderful new year. Your blog is one of the most inspiring out there. Your sewing is beautiful and as I just like you don’t show my kids’ faces I love to check out your pics to see how you get them to look so great even without showing your daughter’s eyes! Keep the good things coming. I can’t wait to see what you’ll show us this year!

    1. I appreciate that so much, Annika! It’s a constant challenge trying to figure out how to make it look okay without showing K’s full face, but I like the challenge!

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