2019 in review

As promised I’m here to nerd out at you with my annual (biannual if you include Me Made May) Stat Attack.

I made 18 garments in 2019. That’s the least sewing I’ve done (or fewest completed garments at least) since 2015.

I think the main reason is that at the beginning of the year I was having a really tough time with my mental health. I had a terrible manager at work and I was really struggling because of him.

Fortunately he left in the summer and it made a huge difference. I have a much nicer big boss now (my little boss has always been the same and she’s great) who actually treats his staff with respect and trust. Work has been bananas in general this year though. I have been so busy, which I actually prefer and have so much more job satisfaction. It’s just been very tiring so I haven’t wanted to come home and bend over cutting things out or be shut away from the Manfriend sewing. I just want to sit on the sofa and decompress.

I know some people find that sewing offers that decompression and it does for me too, once I get going. It’s the getting going that is the problem.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t really sewn that much this year and a lot of the sewing I have done has been a lot of quick win easy stuff. I also (just remembered) that I did a three month career development programme at the end of the year. It came with quite a bit of homework so a lot of my evenings and weekends that would normally have been spent sewing were spent doing assignments and elearning.

What I made

The graph below shows what garment types I made. I included the usual categories even though they’re empty.

graph showing what I made by garment type

Not a very varied year this year. This ties in to what I said at the beginning of the post about quick, easy sewing projects. I was and still am in desperate need of tops though. I’ve made lots of dresses over the years but I wear jeans and a top far more than the dresses. So 13 tops is a good result.

Here’s the graph from earlier split into garment types for no real reason other than I got carried away and I enjoy the rainbow colours. There are no real trends that I can see. I have sewn fewer dresses the last two years but I don’t know that that’s something that will continue.

I’ve included a table of this one too because it was really hard to put in the alt text.

201420152016201720182019
Skirts312152
Tops251011813
Dresses76101083
Shorts/culottes100110
Trousers013020
Cardigans022720
Jackets000200
Other020200

Knits vs woven

It was a very heavily knit biased year this year because they’re quick, easy and they’re what I’m most in need of in my wardrobe.

Here’s the overall breakdown:

pie chart showing knits vs woven, there is only a very small wedge of woven
2 woven garments to 16 knit garments

And here you can see it split into garment types:

I only made two woven things and they were both Deer and Doe Melilot shirts. I really enjoy the process of sewing shirts. They’re a great thing to make in small time slots as there are lots of little steps so you feel like you achieve something each time.

I’ve been meaning to get some photos of them because they’re both the wrong size so I thought it’d make for an interesting blog post. One is a 40 and the other is a 44 but my measurements probably put me at a 42 – at least they did, my holiday and Christmas have increased them slightly so the 44 might be the right size now. I’ll need to check.

Prints vs solid

a pie chart showing solid vs print, the solid wedge is slightly smaller than a quarter, maybe a fifth

I really thought there’d be more solids than this. I think it’ll be really useful to see how my print to solid ratio in my wear count compares to this.

Pattern companies

Below is a graph to show what pattern companies I used. The overall scale is the number of things I made with a pattern from that company but the darker/purply blue colour is the number of patterns I used and the light blue is when there were repeats of the same pattern. I hope that makes sense.

a bar chart showing what my finished garments by pattern company

So there were no runaway winners in the favourite pattern or pattern company race this year. Though the Dixie DIY Ballet dress and Hey June Lane raglan are probably the real winners as I used them as the base of lots of things.

Going forward I’m going to try to only support pattern companies who have an inclusive size range. I’m still going to sew the patterns I already own that don’t have as wide a range as they should because I have already bought them so I don’t want that to be a waste of money. But I won’t be purchasing more from those companies until they expand their sizing range. I also need to make sure I tell the pattern companies when I would have bought one of their patterns if their size range was wider.

Remakes

I made 10 new patterns and remade 8, which seems fairly standard for me. Roughly half of what I make seems to be new patterns.

Fabric choices

Less of a viscose heavy year this year. I think because I sewed a few things with cotton jersey. The polyester was some scuba and a couple of bits of jersey that I got two things from each so it’s only actually three bits of polyester fabric.

Success Rate

This is a category that just popped into my head as two of the polyester things I made are both wadders that have never been worn and sadly I think that’s actually the case for quite a few of the things I made this year.

Of the 17 things I made for myself three of them have never been worn, two have only been worn once and another is only good for wearing around the house.

So that’s either a 72% or 67% success rate depending on whether you count the top I wear around the house as a fail or not.

The failures

Mostly the failures have been down to fabric and fit. Two of them were intended to be wearable toiles anyway, they just didn’t end up wearable. The other is a Seamwork Neenah top, which is polo-neck and my office is just too warm for polo-necks. I could and should wear it at home though.

One of the things I’ve once worn once is a Hey June Lane raglan I lengthened to dress length. Unfortunately, I didn’t lengthen it quite enough. The neckline also sits a bit too wide, which is a pain as it’s in sweatshirting fabric so it’s for cooler weather when I don’t want that much neck out.

The other is a dress I made from the Deer and Doe Sirocco jumpsuit pattern. I like it in theory but there are some fit issues around the armhole and upper chest. It also gaped a bit as the fabric relaxed through the day. It’s by no means unwearable, it’s just not something I reach for.

Stash

Fabric

I bought 20 pieces of fabric, totalling 32.2m and I used 15.5m so I haven’t continued my stashbusting streak sadly. I added 16.7m to the stash – but that does include 3m that I got as a Christmas present that I don’t feel should completely count.

Even worse is the fact that only 7m of the fabric I used this year was bought this year. So I clearly didn’t actually need to other 25.2 metres.

But, to look on the positive side, 32 metres is probably the least fabric I’ve bought in a year since I started sewing. It’s certainly the least I’ve bought since I started tracking it. So that’s good.

I spent £320.48 on fabric this year, which works out at an average of £9.95 per metre, which is up exactly £1 from last year. I did say I wanted to increase the average cost.

Patterns

It’s a very similar state of affairs when we look at patterns. I bought 19 patterns and 1 pattern magazine (Ottobre), with 10 patterns in. So that’s a total of 29 patterns. And I’ve sewn 1.5 (I used the bodice of the sirocco jumpsuit with a skirt, so that’s the half).

As with fabric, I bought fewer patterns than last year (42 including book patterns). It just feels worse because I didn’t sew as many of them. Last year was a 12% useage rate and this year was only 5%. So that’s something to work on.

I spent £162.92, which is £8.15 per pattern if you count the magazine as one or £5.62 per pattern if you count each pattern in the magazine individually.

Plans

Make Nine

I thought I’d revisit last year’s make nine plans to see how well I did – spoiler, it could hardly be worse.

I chose fabric instead of patterns for my make nine and I only sewed one of them. Oops.

I’m not going to choose a new Make Nine this year, I’m just going to carry on with those ones. If I carry on at this rate I’ll be done by the end of the decade at least….

2020

This year I’m hoping to just do a little bit more sewing really. Though I have another busy work year ahead of me, so I don’t know how much I’ll realistically get done. I have cut out two things to make – an a-line scuba skirt and an Anna Rose Tethys jumper.

I want to buy less too. I know I go into every year with that aim but I feel quite optimistic. I’m trying to follow a new rule where I’m not allowed to buy any fabric without getting a sample swatch first. It really helps curb the impulse buying. I have of course bought loads of swatches. But no fabric, apart from one piece I bought before I made the rule.

Other than that I have no real goals for 2020. How about you? Have you got lots of plans and goals or are you playing it more loose this year like me?

3 thoughts on “2019 in review”

  1. Did anyone tell you there was a quota of garments to be sewn so you can qualify as a good blogger? I could see you feeling proud of that big pile of stuff in 2015, of course. But is nearly a garment a week a sustainable pace? Do you even want that many clothes?

    Also the main difference between 2015 and last year seems to be that you actually sewed mostly things you wear, rather than adding to a fantasy wardrobe of dresses. And I would think you could still be wearing that batch of useful cardigans. So while I wouldn’t actually recommend work harassment as a good method to achieve congruence between your wardrobe and your life, it seems like you are on a very positive trend 😁

  2. My goal is to enjoy sewing. I have a few things that I cut out (2 tops and a pair of pants) recently and that’s what I’m working on now. I want to use my stash fabric and those things I cut out are from there. I did have to buy some ribbing for the two tops, but I think that’s ok because I didn’t have any ribbing in my stash. I am working on organizing my patterns on the Trello app. My deadline is January of 2021. I’m already seeing how useful the app is because I can link it to the pattern company website, any sew alongs, etc. I also see how it will be fun to “shop” for pattern ideas from what I already have. There are so many unused patterns in my sewing room that I would like to use this year as well. I find that I have to be easy on myself about all of it though. I work full time. My job leaks into my home life also (I am a teacher). As I said in the beginning, I just want to love sewing.

    1. That’s a fantastic goal! The most important thing is to enjoy it or what’s the point? I’m a huge Trello fan so I very much approve of you putting your patterns on it. I have a board for my patterns and a board for my fabric but I need to go through and update both of them. Good luck on the stash busting – but remember to be kind to yourself too.

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