Reviewing my 2021 sewing year

It’s January 2nd and I just spent the morning organising my fabrics and patterns, clearing out what I won’t use and assessing my past sewing year. I kept a sewing journal, and I was very good with it until August :D, then I left for Italy and lost track and the habit of writing everything down. I had notes everywhere and I just finished to sort that out too. Note to myself, keep everything in one place :).

Here is some data for my 2021 sewing: I made 52 items, spent on average $18.6 for each of them, I bought 36 new patterns and 4 new sewing books. The shop I purchased more from is FabricMart and I don’t have unfinished projects at the moment. 52 items is still a lot more than I thought it would be, but compared to 2020 I bought less fabric and less patterns, which is good for my limited storage space.

If I look back at my sustainable sewing goals here’s my balance:

Existing clothes

  • Revisit all my makes of 2020 (overtime) and if there’s something that prevents me to wear a particular piece, I want to repair it or adjust the fit so that it doesn’t stay in my wardrobe unused. Same for all my other clothes. I was quite good with this and I don’t have items that don’t fit or I’m not wearing.
  • If I’m not wearing something organise a swap party/give to friends first, then try to sell before donating. I sold a couple of items on the Real Real, but I wasn’t able to organise a swap party. I donated a couple of handmade items too, since it’s quite difficult to sell something without a label or brand.

Fabric

  • When buying fabric, choose natural fibers with certifications (OEKO TEX, BCI) or buy vintage fabric/used fabric first. Mmm, well I could have done better. I bought mainly natural fibers, but not always with certifications.
  • Find creative ways to use small yardage. I found a couple of ways to use up fabric scraps, so they’re way less than last year, even if still more than I’d like. Recently I was able to use up wool leftovers to make hats! And I highly recommend the Montmartre free beret pattern (here is my version).
  • Print a pattern first and then check the amount of fabric needed for my size, 90% of the time the suggested fabric amount in a pattern is way too much and I’m left with leftovers to deal with. I was very good with this, I saved fabric and money, so I highly recommend it.
  • Do not keep more than one pile (shelf height) of “new” fabric (right now I have two and a half). I have to restrict myself on this. Well…I’m at 1 pile and a third, better than when I started the year. I stopped buying fabric in September, and I definitely don’t need more fabric for next spring summer. Thanks to gifts and leftovers, I already have a very cohesive selection which will work very well together!
  • Buy from indie sewing shops first and/or plan for a bigger order once every few months to reduce the shipping environmental burden. I could have done better, but generally speaking I bought way less than in 2020, so I did good on the bigger size orders, while I could have done better on the shop selection even if the shop I purchased more from is FabricMart which is a family owned shop I think.
  • Buy from North American shops first. Done, and I saved on shipping too.

Waste

  • Aim for zero landfill waste. I composted all the fabric scraps that I could!
  • Find creative ways to use scraps (research in progress). Except for making more masks I still haven’t found a use for small scraps…

Plan

  • I planned all my makes and I got better at it. The aim for this year is to plan with what I have, sewing my stash first

I also had a couple of sewing/crafting related goals and I’m happy to report that I was able to try almost all of it. I learned how to knit, and I’m currently starting my first sweater, thanks to my parents generous Christmas gift, and I got addicted to sewing underwear/lingerie! I got a new book for Christmas, Mon Atelier Lingerie by Milena Sevette, the creator behind Eclipse Lingerie Studio, and I’m so excited to make every project from it! Lingerie fabrics and notions are the only one I will still buy since I don’t have any stash, but it is also a great way to use up knit scraps.

For 2022 I will keep the same goals in mind, but I also know that I’ll probably have less time to sew and knit probably. The main goal will be to buy less, less fabric, less patterns, less in general. How was your end of the year balance?

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