2013 Recap: Sewing for Me

I wouldn’t feel complete without rounding up all of my own handmade garments from 2013, so that’s what I have for you today! My grey dress is still looking at me balefully from the sewing table, and at this point, who knows if it’ll get done. But hey, I sewed a lot more for myself than I expected, and I ended the year with a grand total of 37 completed items.

So let’s jump in:


Total May items: 4

Most worn: Pink Stripes Knit Top. It’s an easy, comfy top and you just can’t go wrong with stripes.

Least worn: Wrap top. I ended up taking the flutter sleeves off because they just didn’t feel right, but the style still didn’t work for me. The blouse billowed out and definitely made me look pregnant so it’s been stuffed into the back of my dresser drawer. I should just re-purpose it.


Total June items: 6

Most worn: Self-drafted Chevron Maxi Dress. The most. comfortable. dress. ever. I wore this a ton over the summer. I also love the lace tank and the kimono top. Both tops get a lot of compliments.

Least worn: Black maxi with open back. The fit was horrible and it kept stretching and dragging. It’s in my “re-purpose” basket.



Total July items: 4

Most worn: Indigo Ikat Dress. I futzed with it a little more, and the fit is better so I’ve worn this dress quite a few times. This is one of my favorite fabrics ever! Note that I made some of these items in the previous month, but posted them later. This will happen from time to time…

Least worn: The Washi, as cute as this dress is, was too gaping at the neckline. I tried to create a pleat at the back of the neck to help, but made things worse. Sad, sad, sad.



Total August items: 8

Most worn: The grey Tova is awesome. I love this version so much, though it is a very close second to my other Tova coming up. This was the month of Washis and they got their share of the spotlight during the summer too. The tunic is also a fave and has been in constant rotation.

Least worn: The red knit dress. Bleh. The dress was all wrong for me and there was something about it that made me feel frumpy. The navy tee was too short and this too has been languishing unworn.



Total September items: 3

Most worn: I only posted three items this month, but all three were absolute winners. I wear these three constantly and love love love them. The dress, in particular, garners an unexpected amount of comments (positive) and I’m quite proud that people notice the pockets, which is my own design element.

Least worn: None!



Total October items: 6

Most worn: Without a doubt, the batwing top gets the most wear. Are you seeing a theme here? It’s the comfortable knits that I turn to time and time again.

Least worn: The Beignet skirt, though super cute, doesn’t fit me and needs to go through reconstructive surgery. I think I’ve lost weight from the flu? It’s much too big on me now.



Total November items: 3

Most worn: As it got closer to the holidays, it got harder and harder to sew for myself, but I adore my black tunic and the knit scarf has been a lovely addition to my wardrobe too.

Least worn: The sheer cardi, alas, just feels odd when I wear it. Maybe in the spring it’ll feel more appropriate?



Total December items: 3

Most worn: Again, I love all my December makes and have worn the dress and fandango top/stripey tee combo multiple times already! I might be getting better at figuring out what styles/fabrics work for me.

Least worn: None — hooray!


I started sewing for myself regularly in May after some extended mutterings about body image and such and you know what? It’s been life-changing. I won’t claim to be totally comfortable with my body since that would be an outright lie, but compared to last May, my comfort level has skyrocketed. I’m okay with my stocky lower half, my buff shoulders, my wide back, my non-existent waist. ย In fact, until these “sewing for me” posts, I didn’t know I possessed most of these physical traits.ย After the first few excruciating times of taking and reviewing photos of myself, I started to appreciate how I could objectively look at the clothes and how they work (or don’t work) with my frame. I guess I just never really looked at myself. Admittedly, it’s a weird thing, this posting photos of myself wearing homemade outfits. Some weeks I felt gross and extremely self-conscious and didn’t want to leave evidence of all this self-absorption on the world wide web, but looking back on all these posts, I’m really glad I did. What you’re seeing is a normal woman with a normal body learning how to accept that she is, in fact, just fine as she is. And this is major for me, friends.

Now, I don’t need any new clothes. But I love clothes and making clothes and learning about fit and interesting sewing techniques and fabrics. I approach sewing for myself differently than I do with K’s wardrobe. With K, it’s almost purely driven by whim and experimentation. Everything looks great on her, so I don’t worry about fit or even practicality for that matter (a flannel short-sleeved top! Why not?). I have to plan more for myself because I abhor wadding up all that effort. Does it fit into my general style? Does it flatter? Will it work with my existing wardrobe? I like that I have these divergent approaches and motivations for sewing.

I do have to admit that sewing weekly for myself and K was a bit rough, schedule-wise. While reviewing my past year, I’m coming to the conclusion that I have to change things up in order to avoid my usual self-created-stress-trap. At the same time, I’ve learned that I’m the type of person who needs regular deadlines to be productive, so I’m sort of in a conundrum. I do so love to sew up outfits for both me and K…maybe I’ll sew something for myself every other week? Another key factor for me is that I don’t want to ever create just for the sake of posting something or because I know it’s what would generate the most comments (not that I don’t love comments — I do!). I often felt kind of embarrassed that I was showing yet another boring tee or monochromatic garment, but that’s what I actually like to wear. I want to make sure that I am always sharing what I truly love or things that teach me something valuable. I’m fully aware that these are frivolous concerns and that I am incredibly lucky to have the time and resources to explore all this. Stay tuned for more to come – I hope to keep challenging myself in 2014!!


26 thoughts on “2013 Recap: Sewing for Me

  1. oh, that plaid dress… love! Also, your blue tova- I have let mine sit unfinished now for 2 months. argh! Anywho, your adult sewing is fab. Keep it up. Always inspiring!!

    1. Happy belated B-day, Erin! That plaid dress is one of my absolute faves, and I’m actually surprised that it is. The only downside is that the thrifted fabric I used isn’t high quality, so it’s starting to show some wear and tear already…

  2. I love your style- it matches the way I feel about clothes- they should be comfortable and flatter and fit the individual. You’ve done such an awesome job, and I’ve loved following along (and yes, I’m a fan of those earlier posts that explored body image feelings!- I’m sure most of us can relate and it’s so important to just be real about it, and work toward appreciation.)
    Seeing all of your successes makes me want to venture toward making some clothes for myself this year- I actually really abhor shopping and the cookie cutter styles that come and go. I’m always on the lookout for something classic and well made, so the next step just seems obvious (though I better practice first on making a few things for my little guy ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I can’t recommend sewing for yourself enough, Gita – I love that I don’t feel even an iota of temptation to buy anything at stores now and it’s great figuring out how to make clothes fit me better. Happy sewing!

  3. I just favourited this post because there are so many things you’ve made that will work for me. In particular, there are a couple of patterns I thought I’d never try, but your fabric choice, styling and tweaks have convinced me otherwise. Your year = win, as far as I’m concerned. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you, George! It WAS a win – I never thought I’d be able to sew something for me this frequently, and it’s so rewarding. I love it and hope to keep improving my skills this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Speaking purely selfishly, I love your posts on the clothes you sew for yourself. I like the journey you’ve been taking (even as a relatively new reader of your blog) and think that’s half the interest for someone like myself.

    I also have a daughter a year or two younger than yours and want to make things for her. I doubt I’ll be as prolific as you, but you certainly inspire me to actually make something.

    Your suggestion of alternating weeks for you and your daughter is great. I’d hate to see you burn out as I truly appreciate your aesthetic and would miss you terribly if the stress pushed you beyond blogging.

    Here’s to a productive yet reasonably paced 2014!

    1. Thank you so much, Alana. My brain cells are definitely working overtime trying to figure out how to continue practicing sewing and how to maintain a good balance. In many ways, if I wasn’t such a procrastinator, I bet it wouldn’t even be an issue! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. And another amazing end-of-year recap! What fun to see how much you’ve grown this year in your confidence in sewing for yourself (leap years beyond me!). As I look through your pictorial summary, my favorites have found a theme: striped and knit fabric. Love the coral stripe kimono top, as well as the one with contrast back from last month. And the plaid dress – love it! Perhaps you’ll be inspired to try another, much like the month of Washi:)
    As for finding a balance, I so appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing your struggles with us. You know that your adoring audience will be thrilled with whatever nuggets you throw our way, but you also have to be comfortable with the pace at which you are producing. Best of luck as you search for what that will mean for 2014!

    1. Stripes are the best! Thanks for your understanding as I try to configure a schedule that allows for creativity without overextending myself. I still can’t talk about a lot of the things going on in the background but it’s keeping me a busy bee!

  6. I love your stuff… especially the fandango top. I might have to check out that pattern.
    I just realized re-looking at things that I made the wrap top (from May) from the same book a few months back. I made it with lovely leftover voile so it would drape nice and alas my daughter saw it and said, “Mom why do you look like a veterinarian?” So there you go. I think I’ve worn it once. It looked so cute layered with jeans in the picture. Oh, well!

    1. Thanks, Kristi! I’m on the fence about that book. I think the photography is lovely and the clothes are so appealing in print, but on me, they all look a little weird. Why is that?

      1. I think it’s the fact that we have a chest. It’s why some things look so cute on little girls and not big girls. The gals in the pictures don’t seem too busty if you know what I mean! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. I think you’re right Kristi. It’s like how clothes look so chic on runway models and then you try on the knock-off version at some discount store or whatever and it always looks unchic…

  7. Happy New Year Sanae!! Look forward to another year of your beautiful illustrations, words, and of course, garments. I had no idea you sewed so much for yourself!! I need to come back to this page throughout the year to give myself a little motivation now and then.

  8. When the photos are all rounded up like that you look completely natural in front of the camera. The lighting, poses and clean background all work really well. There’s not much clothing not to love, but I say (again) keep making tops to wear with jeans, they really suit you!

    1. Well….”natural” is probably pushing it, but thanks for that, Shelley! Yes!! I’m a big fan of cute tops with jeans, and there will be lots of those for sure in 2014!

  9. Rock on, Sanae! We have possibly similar figures, although we dress differently (you have a strong Seattle vibe, as I’m sure you know!), so I’ve enjoyed seeing what you have sewn and cheer you on! Happy new year to you and your family.

    1. Ah, I haven’t been aware that I have a Seattle vibe, but now that you mention it, you’re right! I haven’t invested in any hardcore outdoor gear though, so I guess I’m not completely Seattle yet ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for all the amazing resources and supportive comments last year and looking forward to connecting more this year, June!

  10. What an inspiration! Thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing. You’ve motivated me to try sewing something for myself this year. I bought the pattern and now need to get some fabric!

    1. Yes! I love that you’re taking the plunge, Elizabeth! Good luck and hope you’ll share your results ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I sooooo appreciate your candid approach to sewing/writing/self-reflection! You have amazing style and everything that you make seems to fit seamlessly into your wardrobe. I really have no idea how you keep up with your level of productivity!

    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Irene – so flattered! I come from a line of women who are outrageously productive and I’ve always felt like a sloth so it’s nice to hear that I seem productive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I love that you have done the sewing for yourself and learning how to fit your body. Something I have wanted to do for a while, but not had time yet… I am a busty gal and know it is going to be a journey to figure ot out, so your blog is inspiration. I think one of my favorite posts you did this year was asking readers to say what they are good at or like about themselves. I didn’t even realize how dark of a place I was in till I realized I could not think of a single thing. Even though I did not respond I loved reading what everyone put and have spent time since figuring out what I do love about myself t this stage of life. Thank you!

    1. Oh, that was one of my favorite posts too! It’s wonderful to know that it resonated with you, and I totally encourage you to try sewing for yourself, Beccy. Thank YOU for this lovely and honest comment!

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