Happy New Year everyone! I haven’t made time for blogging very often this year, but I always really enjoy taking the time to reflect on, and sum up, the year just gone here on the blog.
I feel like I’ve sewn very few completed garments this year, but – thanks to Instagram providing a record – I can see that I actually made twelve items for myself and two for Phil. Favourites amongst those include the FreeSewing Carlton Coat I made for Phil at the start of the year, and the 1983 inspired garments I made while participating in the Sewcialists Sew Your Birth Year mini-challenge.
At the start of lock-down in March, I decided to tackle a couple of alterations projects and finally finished my Closet Core Ginger Jeans (originally made a size too small) and altered an old favourite dress which had become too small. Later in the year, I attended an online Celia Pym darning workshop and fixed a tear in a much loved RTW jumper, which I have worn nonstop since.
My few months long obsession with Animal Crossing coincided with Me Made May, and I had loads of fun matching my outfit with my Animal Crossing character’s outfit each day in May. It quickly meant needing to recreate my wardrobe using the in-game design function, which was a really satisfying design challenge. I wouldn’t have managed to plan my outfits in that way, or to get a daylight photo each day, if I had been in the office, so it was one of the positives of lockdown for me.
In addition to sewing, I finished 4 knitted accessories (hap, beret, scarf, cape), including tackling a too-big Halloween jumper I started a year before, finishing it as a cape so that I could wear it in time for Halloween. After many years of meaning to knit baubles for our Christmas tree, this year I took part in the Arne & Carlos advent calendar and knitted 12 (of 24) baubles. I’ll probably knit the remaining 12 baubles next winter now, but the 12 completed baubles look great on the tree and already do a pretty good job of covering it.
I tried a few different crafts. Before lockdown, I attended a basket weaving course with Birmingham Guild, and during lockdown I had a go at bargello and punch needle. At the start of the year I set up a loom on my dining table, but failed to start weaving. I’m hoping to get the loom warped and make a start at learning to weave before I’m back at work in a week’s time!
Phil and I were lucky to visit New York back in January, and we managed a holiday in Cornwall during the summer. The rest of the year we made a point of getting out of the house for a daily walk along the local canals. On some of those walks we collected elderflower (made into cordial, ‘champagne’, and ice cream) and blackberries (made into ice cream).
The events I (jointly) organise, the Sewing Weekender (with Kate & Rachel from The Fold Line), and SewBrum (with Lauren Guthrie) still went ahead this year by moving online. The fifth Sewing Weekender and seventh SewBrum were the most well attended and successful yet! 1,941 sewists, from 37 countries, attended the Sewing Weekender, raising £23,610 for charity. 678 people signed up for SewBrum, with over 100 people joining a live bargello workshop led by Tina Francis, and £2,763 raised for charity. Thanks to the Sewing Weekender and SewBrum, I took part in a podcast for the first time, discussing the events in two episodes of the Sew Organised Style Podcast.
I continued volunteering for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, with my stint as newsletter editor due to finish in 2021 after five years! During 2020 I also volunteered as a Sewcialists temporary editor, getting particularly involved with the Sew Your Birth Year mini-challenge.
Finally, the biggest event for me has been preparing to launch my own sewing pattern company (and changing my social media accounts to Charlotte Emma Patterns to match). It really has taken me the whole year to get to this point, having taken the very first steps this time last year. I’m now working with a great pattern cutter and grader, and brilliant local designer, and am hoping to finally launch my first pattern this January. I have other patterns well underway so fingers crossed I will have a few releases under my belt by this time next year.
Thanks for reading & very best wishes for 2021!