2021: Sew year in review

Wowsers you guys! Can you believe that 2021 is almost over?




In just a couple of weeks, 2021 will be nothing more than a distant memory, and we’ll be unlocking the good fortune of a brand-spanking New Year! Just before we shout sayonara, I wanna record my thoughts on 2021.. you know… for the sewing vault!

Final Confession for the year: I have a hard time slowing down. As the daughter of the Energizer Bunny I blame my mom! Thanks to her, my brain is almost always in overdrive and I find it difficult to focus on just one thing at a time. I sew whilst watching YouTube videos, listening to music, or more recently my daughter reading; all the while sipping on a cuppa tea, snacking, thinking about UFO’s or court in the morning and reminding my body to inhale and exhale on time!  

My ‘mulitasking’ pisses my brother off to no end, and he makes it a point to constantly remind me that the brain can only truly concentrate on one function at a time, and what I call multitasking, is really my brain trying to switch quickly between all the tasks I overload it with. *EYEROLL. But what’s a girl to do? As a full-time mom, half-time wife (j/k babe), over-time civil servant and serial sewist, there is just not enough time in the day to do all the things one.at.a.time!

But I digress..

This year, I have made a conscious effort to slow down, at least so far as my sewing journey is concerned. Instead of rushing to sew all the things, and getting lured into every Instagram sewing trend, I thought a little harder about what silhouettes best flatter my body and therefore what patterns I wanted to sew up. I took the time to let my fabric speak to me and adopted Brittany J Jones’ “sewing in 30”… a concept that was completely foreign to me pre 2021. In the 3 ½ years since I’ve been sewing, this has been my slowest, but also probably most productive sewing year! Say what now?

C’mon guys, productivity isn’t just about numbers, is it? I’ll tell you this, when I do my end-of-year-closet-clear-out, I’m sure I’ll have a lot less clothes to weed out!

Sooooooo, about that productivity… 

This year, I was invited to be a part of the Style Maker Fabrics Spring Style Tour. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I love Style Maker Fabrics and have purchased from them several times over. I won’t lie, their fabrics are a little bit pricey (especially when converting from EC to US Dollars, and then having to pay ridiculous shipping and custom fees) but I’m a  firm believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ and I’ve never been disappointed with a Style Maker purchase yet. The quality is top notch! So, when Michelle reached out and invited me to be a part of this initiative I was STOKED.

I made a 5-piece, mini-collection with the fabrics she sent me. The Heather Blazer by Friday Pattern Company was my featured make and the rest of the collection just sorta fell into place. If you’ve never made a blazer before, try this pattern! It was my first time making a blazer and I am ecstatic with the finished product, especially that lapel. Yay Kris, that’s growth girl!!!! Needless to say, I’ve worn my blazer tons throughout the year. If you wanna see and read about the entire collection, check out the blog post here

Another 2021 highlight was being a part of the Chalk and Notch collaborators team! Each month, Chalk and Notch featured one of their sewing patterns, and invited sewists to showcase their version of the pattern. I was one of the collaborators for May’s feature: the Farrah Top and Dress. I hacked the pattern to add pin-tucks to the yoke area, and if you’re curious about this hack, you can find the details here. Hubby really loved this make, and based on his feedback, he’d probably award it top make of the year! 

On a side note, early up in my sewing journey, I discovered pattern testing. I figured it was a great way to try out a few patterns and pattern companies, as well as an opportunity to learn construction techniques, given that I have no formal training. The very first adult pattern I pattern-tested was the Chalk and Notch orchid midi dress!  Gabriella and Meredith, if either of you is reading this post, thank you so much for recognizing my talent, and my growth, and for naming me a Chalk and Notch 2021 Collaborator! 

Have y’all ever heard of Love Notions Pattern Company? Before this year, I hadn’t. I have since learnt (thankfully), that Love Notions has some really great, versatile, size inclusive, and often beginner friendly sewing patterns! And guess what? In June of this year, I became a Love Notions Ambassador. Woohooo!!!!! My very first LN make, was the Melody Dolman in a purple and white striped cotton shirting. You guys, since I’ve made it, this top has gotten so much play in my wardrobe. The fit was amazing straight out of the packet… did you hear me? Straight. Out. Of. The. Packet. This is phenomenal for me…because I adjust almost everything!!

As a Love Notions Ambassador, I’m sure you’ve seen me advertising their Feature Friday pattern a time or two. Quite recently, the ambassadorship program received a little bit of an upgrade. I now have a coupon code that you guys can use to get 10% off your purchase (even those items on sale). My coupon is ‘UNSEWCIAL10’ so clip it and save it so you can use it ALL THE TIME!

I have been impressed by the Love Notions patterns I’ve sewn up so far and I am particularly fond of the Tempo Sundress I made out of a fun Ankara print from Afrique Clothing Store. I particularly like that Love Notions patterns come with 2 bust options: a standard bust and a full bust. This means NO FBA for me!!!! Hooray for easier and faster fitting. So far, I’ve got 5 Love Notions Patterns in my wardrobe (including a hack) and I just know they’ll be tons more in 2022!

Talking about fit, did you catch my Feature Friday mini fitting series earlier this year? If you didn’t, it’s on my IGTV. From the moment I started sewing, I’ve been hell bent on getting a good fit. Why sew if my clothes just end up looking and fitting like they do in the deparment stores? While many people are content with just sewing (and thats ok), I wanted more from my sewing journey. I quickly learnt that identifying fit issues and making flat pattern adjustments was not always easy. If I’m completely honest, wrinkles and drag lines continue to baffle me sometimes, so I am certainly not an expert. However, I have learnt a fair bit over the last few years and thought it would be nice to share what I know with others. As Nyla likes to say, sharing is caring!!!

So, I filmed 5 episodes of Fit Friday, each episode focused on a particular fit issue and its corresponding fitting adjustment. One of the most helpful and often overlooked IMO, is the sloping shoulder adjustment. We call all blame our sloping shoulders on hunching over our sewing machines for hours at a time. If this ‘issue’ plagues you too, then head on over, grab a cup of hot chocolate and give them a watch. You just might learn something *though I make no promises lol

Since we are on the topic of mini series, I also did a mini series on Dressing the Body that you have. The aim of the series (which is saved to my Instagram highlight bar) was to identify ‘common’ body types and provide pattern recommendations that would be complimentary. Now before you start rolling your eyes, the information I provided ain’t gospel, and you can well and truly throw you middle finger up at the whole body type saga. BUT, I think identifying your body type is a great starting point for achieving good fitting clothes. At the end of the day, rules are meant to be broken… so read everything, discard what you don’t want, and always feel free to do you!

Oh yea, rules, rules, rules. This year, I also had my colours professionally analysed. I went with Jeannie from Your Colour Guru and I’m pleased that I bit the bullet and invested in this. But wait, WTH does colour analysis have to do with sewing? LOADS!!! Trust me! There are hundreds of colours out there…and again, wear whatever you feel comfy in, but for me I feel my best when I look my best, so I’m open to exploring anything aimed at helping me be the best me! I’ve found that knowing ‘my colours’ is invaluable knowledge and has already helped me throw together outfit combinations that I have otherwise avoided. Thankfully most of the colours on my colour card are colours that I was already drawn to, but there were a few surprises! ‘Lime Zest’ for one.

Armed with this new info, my fabric shopping experience has been a lot easier. I order almost all of my fabric online as there is no real fabric store or haberdashery under this rock which I call home. Online fabric shopping can be overwhelming… just soooo many places to buy and soooo many choices. Instead of shopping all the colours, I can narrow down and focus on the fabrics that correspond to the colours on my card! Yayy to this resource. I was so pleased about the colour anaylsis and was so convicend by the benefit of having one done, I signed up to join the Your Colour Guru Ambassadorship Programme. Guess who got accepted? Me! Soooooo that means I have another coupon for you to clip! If ever the spirit moves you to have your colours analysed, use my code ‘UNSEWCIAL’ to get yourself 10% off any of Jeannie’s services. Is this an investment? Yes; is it worthwhile? HELL YES!!! 

Before I call it quits for the rest of the year, I want to quickly share with you my favourite and least favourite sews of 2021.


The award for favourite make of 2021 goes to my first make of the year!!! Towards the end of 2020, I cut out and started constructing Vogue 9104 using print and colour blocked fabrics. I added the finishing touches in 2021 and I gotta say I shook my own boots with this one y’all. When I saw the photos (taken by @vipmediamontserrat), I had to remind myself that girllllll you did that! Clearly, the sewing community was a little impressed with this one too, because this make snatched up one of the most likes I’ve ever gotten on a post! Although I sewed many other things I liked, and even loved this year, my ‘Queen of Hearts’ dress could not be beat. Maybe next year Kris, maybe next year!!!

The award for least favourite sewing make goes toooooo!!! Wait… what does it go to? There were two sewing projects that I regretted the entire time cutting and sewing them: my daughter’s school uniforms, and my Christmas curtains. Both projects were devoid of any creative zess and boring and tedious IMHO… butttt the results were pleasing!!!

Every time I see my daughter out the door for school, a sense of pride washes over me! When I look over at my windows draped in curtains I HANDMADE, I feel like Suzzie Homemaker…. But still both processes were daunting and for that reason they both earn the award for least favourite makes of 2021.

Curtains done, I was finally able to put up my Christmas tree this last weekend. The entire time I was doing it, Christmas music was blasting in the background and my mind was already racing ahead into 2022… ugghhh that multitasking thing again!

Anyhoooo, that’s 2021 in the bag ya’ll. Thanks for joining me on all my sewing shenanigans this year, and I hope you’ll be back for the new year. If you celebrate, lemme go ahead and wish you and your family a happy holiday season from me and mine. Eat plenty ham, and drink a couple fizzes on me. We’ll recover in time for 2022 *fingers crossed.

See you then!


Xoxo Kris

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