Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A sewing year in review

At New Year’s Eve last year, someone told me: “May 2012 bring clarity.” Both professionally and personally, you can't imagine how badly I wanted things to fall into place. Instead, things fell apart! As if the pressure of moving alone to another country, and of deciding on a post-Masters course of action wasn't enough, my grandmother passed away this winter, and I separated from my ex-partner a few days later. I didn’t sew or post at all for several weeks and months after that, and last year turned out to be one of the most confusing and difficult years of my life.

But in spite of my irregular posting this year, you didn't give up on me, Readers! You kept visiting my blog periodically during these months, some of you even leaving little comments like "More sewing pictures please!!", which was really heart-warming and cute. And to my surprise, given all this, you grew more numerous as readers, and the blog hit its 100th follower in December!

From a blogging perspective, learning to do without my then-partner was an adjustment, since he had been part of All Style and All Substance since the beginning – as creative advisor, photographer and head cheerleader, when not directly featured in posts! On the bright side, it forced me to become even more resourceful, and to master the tricky art of self-portrait photography on a budget...
Yep, that's the Gorilla pod with a good-old broom and chair (left) 
...and that's my photographer friend (right) who helped me capture the Garcia Lorca and the Pansy dresses (bellow).

When I was finally able to return to sewing, I found it very healing. The power of “feeding the creative spirit,” the “flow” of getting lost in a project… but most of all, the sense of being part of the loving and supportive community that you are. Through your comments and personal accounts (I'm thinking of Dibs, who opened up about her struggle with depression, and Jane, who wrote this very personal account), I was able to overcome my personal challenges. I may or may not have done it with grace and style, but I have done it with sewing, and with your help.

Academically, my gender-studies thesis on the online sewing community has also been quite the sewing event this year. I was able to mix business with pleasure!

What a privilege it was to talk about my project at the 8th European Feminist Conference in Budapest, and to give my feminist sewing workshops! But my favourite part of it all was definitely interviewing bloggers (thank you to all those who participated!) as well as analyzing your blogs (as long as I'm going to spend my days reading blogs, might as well make it productive!).

If I were to do it again, however, I think I would share more of the thesis process with you. But I look forward to continuing my Thesis Snippets series, and to posting my thesis here when it's all done and finished. (I swear I'm hosting the BIGGEST giveaway when it's all finished and done with!)

On a technical level, my big sewing breakthrough this year has been that knits are not scary. Quite on the contrary – they’re one of the most forgiving fabrics! It all started with the Pyjama Dress, which I’ve been wearing non-stop...

continued with my puff-sleeved Renfrews, Cranberry Bliss and Confetti Fanfare, for which I made a tutorial (part 1 and 2)...

and everything ended in booty beauty with the Beyoncé Dress.

Writing this post has made me realize how much I've achieved this year! And has also made me extremely excited for 2013.

As my sister told me this fall: "Aren't you glad for all the sewing you'll be able to do in your life? You have a whole life of sewing ahead of you!"

I sure am glad!


  1. Your spirit seems brighter, yay! And I forgot to comment on your Beyonce dress but here it goes: "DAMMMMMMN". You look AMAZING in it. Well, you look great in everything you make but especially so in that dress.

    Hope 2013 brings you great opportunities and success.

    1. Thanks Mela! Happy new year to you too!

  2. Wow, that's a hell of a year! I hope that things simplify and get brighter for you this coming year! :)

  3. Your sister's words are very wise Adrienne! I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother and partner, you seem to have come out fighting at the other end though, you go girl! I always look forward to seeing what you've made and I'm sure 2013 will be an awesome one for one. Can't wait to read your thesis too! Happy New Year. Xx

  4. Hey Adrienne, I'm sorry to hear about the not so good bits of this year but as Jane said you've come through it beautifully, It was a pleasure to meet you this year and I'm so pleased your academic work is going so well! I started my masters and am just writing on 19th century domestic needlework in the Victorian home right now.
    Have a Happy and Safe 2013,

  5. I'm sorry to hear you've had such big challenges in your life during 2012. I hope you're feeling okay. You do look amazing in the Beyonce dress! I had a fairly horrible second half of last year, but feel confident that 2013 will be our year!

  6. Oh Adrienne, I had no idea of all the challenges you've had to overcome recently and I'm very sorry for what you've been through. But you've also achieved a lot to be proud of and if it helps at all, your posts always brighten my day and I'm so happy that you'll be continuing to do so in 2013! I love your sister's comment, she's so right too! Thinking of you, xxx

  7. You have had a full year! I love your sister's saying - very thoughtful and full of hope as well! I hope 2013 will be a little calmer for you

  8. Happy New Year to you Adrienne and I too didn't realise how much 2012 threw at you along the way. Well done for getting through it and finding a space for yourself in a new city just for you. I love visiting and reading about what you've been up to on the blog so thank you for continuing to post.

    May 2013 be full "fun stuff" as my kids say.


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! Comments are moderated on posts older than 20 days, so they won't appear immediately. :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...