How quickly it comes, this time of year. I adore this week between Christmas and New Year. A temporal no man’s land, quiet days where the world exhales. Christmas paper has been torn and discarded, hams have been carved, champagne and beer bottles litter the back step. Living rooms twinkle with Christmas lights, tinsel throws sunlight and shimmies in the breeze, angels gaze down from tree-tops. These are the days of lounging in front of the television, of afternoon naps curled up with almost-finished books, of mince pies for breakfast and Christmas pudding for afternoon tea. A week of slowing down, of stopping, of allowing ourselves to be still. And for those of us who live in sunny climes, a week of sand on our feet and salt on our skin as children race to the water, back and forth like the tide. As an adult I have found my own way at Christmas, I have woven my way with the ways of others and in doing so have come to embrace this time of year, a time I used to run from. But as much as I love Christmas Day, it’s this lost week I long for. It’s a week of rest, but also of reflection. A time of looking back, and a time of dreaming forward, of contemplating accomplishments, and making plans for the next year of days.
I tidied my sewing space during the week. I pulled half-knitted cardigans from the baskets I had stuffed them into, have half-sewn dresses pushed into a box under a table where I couldn’t see the unfinished projects that pointed an accusing finger. I’m not a woman who follows fashion, so if I want something to wear, odds are I have to make it. Want to make it. I like living this way, like the self-sufficiency of it. But sometimes the lure of a new project is just too much, and I cast on or cut fabric with abandon. That’s something I intend to change. But before I berate myself about all the things I didn’t do, I’m going to celebrate all the things I did do. Here’s a few of my favourite Made By Me things from 2015.
The rose print is a box pleated skirt, and is a beautiful weight cotton that actually sings when I walk. I think this skirt thinks it’s the Girl from Ipanema.
The top is rather momentous, because it’s the only knitted garment I finished this year. My UFO basket will attest to the fact that I’m very good at knitting, not so good at finishing things. The jumper is the Jan Sweater, from the worth it’s weight in gold Stitched in Time Volume 2. and is knitted in Bendigo Mill’s cotton 4 ply, in Pomegranate.
The jumper pairs beautifully with this skirt, the colours of which my camera has not captured. The base colour is a rich camel, a beautiful pale tea colour.
Mid-year I made my second Anise jacket, which is one of the most gorgeous jacket patterns I’ve used. If you think you can’t sew a jacket, buy yourself this pattern and the accompanying how to, and impress the pants off yourself, because you CAN sew a jacket. Ever the practical woman, I made my Anise in denim. It’s lined in cotton flannel, which makes it the perfect mid-season weight jacket. I seriously cannot express my love enough for this jacket. Thank you Sarai – martini’s on me the next time you are in Sydney.
In May I drove myself and everyone around me a little potty when I decided to make four dresses for four nights of Sufjan Stevens at the Opera House. Sufjan was nice enough not to take out a restraining order on me, and sang ‘That Dress Looks Nice on You’, which he dedicated to another woman, but I’m certain he played it just for me. And can you blame him, just look at this frock!
It is Vogue 1084, is full and swishy at the back, and is a dress that makes a girl feel a million and a half dollars. I mean, look at the back detail. Honestly lovelies, it’s a wonder Mr Stevens was able to resist me in this frock. But resist me he did, which is just as well, because I’m not that kind of girl. (Even though he played Redford every night!)
When I came down from cloud 9, I busied myself with winter coats and knitting winter woollens, which remain in the UFO pile. Oh the shame! Summer came, and it was time to think of summer frocks.
I made this dress for a dinner date. It’s a dress a girl should wear when Dean Martin takes her out for martini’s, don’t you think? Alas my date was more Jerry Lewis than Dean Martin, which means my heart still belongs to Hamish. I’m destined to die alone, but with such gorgeous frocks, who cares!
December bought a very Bad Man into my life, and of course a girl needs a new dress when a Bad Man plays the Sydney Opera House. I discovered the marvellous Marjorie at Hearts and Found this year, and Marjorie – who shares a love for fabulous frocks and Bad Men – sent me the most gorgeous fabric ever. Unfortunately the dress did not turn out exactly as I’d imagined, but that’s another story. Nevertheless, I wore this to Father John Misty, who came mighty close to being one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Grizzly Bear!
Of course, there was more to my sewing year than this, but there comes a point in the story where a girl is just showing off. I hope I’ve stayed this side of the line, but there they are, a few of my favourite sewing things.**
And now here we are, the first day of another year. A leap year no less, which means an extra sewing day! So the planning begins again, folded piles of fabric are taken from their shelves, contemplated, pondered and dreamed about. We’re in the first month of summer, so I’ve got strappy dresses to imagine, flimsy cotton blouses and full circle skirts. There are concert tickets for Beach House, for Brian Wilson, and of course Sufjan returns to Sydney – and if he thought the floral frock looked nice on me, he should see what I’ve got in store for him come February. And then autumn leaves start falling, and I’ll start thinking about short sleeve cardigans and trench coats, and as the days get shorter and colder, unfinished coats will be finished, winter jumpers will be cast off, and I’ll start dreaming about spring dresses and summer frocks. And that’s the exciting thing about a new year isn’t it? You can have all the plans in the world, but who knows what the year will bring.
Happy New Year Lovelies – much Joy to you all.
** I haven’t told you the truth, the whole truth. There is one dress that blew my mind a little this year. But that’s another story. Stay tuned!