Sunday 2 January 2022

2021 review, including one last project

I had hoped to squeeze a final UseNine creation into the week between Christmas and New Year but, in keeping with 2021 in general, it was not to be. I did complete a half-done garment, though, which is better than nothing.

So as I don't have a completed dress to show, it's time for a review of the year. I didn't feel as though I've done much sewing this year, but putting it all together in a collage proved me wrong.


The year started with a venture into lingerie-making; which I enjoyed far more than I was expecting and want to pick up again this year. I also dabbled with separates - two blouses and two skirts - including a sleeveless blouse made especially for getting my first Covid jab. Of course, it received another outing last month (topped with a thick cardigan!) when I went for my booster.

As ever, I put the 'dress' into 'dressmaking' by making six of them, culminating in my 'Holly' dress.

The Holly dress was definitely the highlight of the year, but apart from that, it's two of my most simple projects which have brought me the most pleasure. Firstly, keeping all my project notes in one place has proved to be a really good idea - who knew?! - and having a special book to record them in makes sure that I resist my old habit of scribbles on random bits of paper.

Still so pleased with how this embroidery turned out

Secondly, and proving that I should stick with dressmaking and not branch out into fortune-telling, the summer blouse which I fixed to make wearable but I "doubted would ever become a favourite" became - just that. Every time I wore it, I was so glad that I'd made the effort to rescue it.

Mystic Tulip fails again!

Those with eagle-eyes and long memories may have noticed something in the collage above which hasn't been blogged about. My inverted-pleat skirt was banished to the naughty corner in June for crimes against fitting properly, and has languished there ever since. But it struck me that finally fixing it would make a tiny improvement on the Stashometer before the year ended.

The 'fix', such as it was, was to unpick the back darts and so convert them into loose pleats. It's not ideal, and I definitely need to tweak the pattern before I use it again, but at least the skirt is wearable.

This just left the hem to do, but because the skirt is constructed in the vintage method of a separate back panel for the pleat, it was a bit more complicated than normal.

First, I decided on the skirt length and pressed the hem up. Then, I unpicked the seams attaching the panel to the skirt, as far as the pressed line.

Hem marked and seams unpicked

This meant that I could fold the hems for the panel and the skirt up separately, without the seam allowance getting in the way.

The back panel hem folded up

With one skirt piece also folded up

Finally, once the hem was sewn, I tidied up the unpicked seams with blanket stitch.

With the unpicked seam allowance stitched down

It was a real rush job in drizzly weather to get it photographed before I set off to Mum's for Hogmanay, so please excuse the poor pictures. At least my hair cooperated, for once!

Worn with Simplicity 8243


Completing the skirt took the Stashometer to a 6.4m deficit, so if it hadn't been for that trip to the Museum of Liverpool in October, and my detour into John Lewis's small and limited fabric department, I would have ended the year in credit. Thank goodness they don't still have the large and excellent fabric department which I remember from the 1980s - the damage could would have been far worse!

In three years of the Stashometer, this is the worst yet!


  1. Thank you!

    Silk charmeuse, my that's brave! Do you put any of your creations on social media, I'd love to see them?

  2. What a wonderful array of making for your year! I especially love that satiny blue dress with the diamond shaped keyhole at the front. Well done, you! I've been inspired by your slower making to slow down myself and focus on good finishes, and other touches to make my pieces feel more professional and finished. Your holly dress is a stunner!!

    1. Thank you Juliana. The blue dress and the holly dress were the two items where I went most 'off piste' from the original pattern, and while they had their share of frustrations, the end results were worth the effort.