#SewingTop5: The Editors’ REFLECTIONS

Sewing Top 5 of 2019

Before we rush into 2020, let’s reflect on this past year. What have we learned about ourselves or sewing? The Sewcialists Editors are sharing just one reflection, but you can share your #SewingTop5 if you are taking part on your blog or Instagram!


I’m still a maker even if I make less. For YEARS I blogged twice a week on my personal blog, Crafting A Rainbow, plus co-ordinated posts three times a week on Sewcialists. I sewed easily 80-100 things for myself and others each year. I had to let that go in 2019 as I recovered from a concussion and struggled to get myself back to work full-time. It really hit my self-esteem and sense of identity hard to cut back on sewing and blogging. My anxiety spiraled, and I became depressed. I bet many of you have experienced something similar when your sewing time was cut down by work, caring for family, illness, or any other reason. I’m here to remind us all that it’s ok: our value is not determined by our productivity, and you are still a maker even if you have less time to create.


4 women on the Washington coast freezing their butts off in winter, back-lit so not really discernable who they are.
What do you call 4 sewists on a Washington beach in winter? Coastal Weather Patterns. (groan)

While I launched a teeny tiny pattern or two in 2019, I figured I’d get more done there…and over the course of 2019 I realized I spread myself too far and too thin. I also found I really like being #SewcialIRL with my creative peers, and making those memories was more valuable than making things. I’m particularly proud of working with Denise/Pimpslapped on our complimentary October Seamwork articles, and of the Sewcialists Beanie. Those are projects outside of my work/family that I’m most proud of for 2019 and would like to continue that trajectory. I’m not going to lie… I have considered this past year of going back into the “real” workforce and may still yet…I miss good medical insurance and having in-office co-workers for a good brainstorming sesh. But for now, I’m proud of 2019 and will see where 2020 takes me.


A picture of a painted mural of three birds - they are highly stylised, very colourful and wearing sunglasses.
This picture makes me happy.

Reflections on my sewing: I have definitely been more focused this year, with the result that I have sewed less, but worn a lot more of what I have sewn. I have bought less fabric and what I have bought has been significantly better suited to my actual sewing needs.

Reflections on the world of sewing: As I look back across the year, it feels like we have also seen a bit of a gentle revolution this year, as more and more pattern companies have expanded their size ranges. As someone “edge” sized, that means I will have more options and will need to adjust less often, and I am well aware that this opens up a whole new world for fellow sewists for whom the sizing didn’t come close.

Overall: My sewing is better, and the world of sewing got better this year too. I know there’s still a huge way to go, but I am ending this year and heading into next optimistic and full of hope.


An architectural column in a hospital, covered in messages -- some are written on post-its, some are printed posters.
The Lennon Wall at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong – where people can write

Hmmm, reflections on 2019. Overall it has been a good year for me personally and creatively. I have addressed some deep-seated anxiety that I have carried with me for years and this has freed me up to be more forgiving and accepting of my own faults, in sewing and in life. It also prompted me to make the bold step of putting myself out there more in the sewing world — through the Sewcialists and through some low level blogging for a fabric company. Both of which I am really proud of and enthusiastic about!

But honestly, I just can’t focus on sewing when it comes to 2019, because this has been a very hard year for Hong Kong, with violent and unpredictable protests making it, at times, unsafe to travel far from my home. The traffic lights in my local town are smashed every time they are fixed, the ticket barriers at the local train station are still only partially open and shops and cafes have been burnt out. Tear gas use had become so common that the government released a statement about what to do as a breastfeeding mother if you are caught in the fumes. Thankfully it seems to be becoming less volatile in Hong Kong after the local elections gave us a pro-democracy majority in local councils, but there are still the moments like a few days ago when we took a wrong turn into the previous heart of the protests, heard a loud pop and immediately assumed we had been caught in violence.

I’m not sure what all this means for 2020 but add oil everyone.


Amanda's wee baby in a grey handmade onesie and coordinating bonnet, dressed to come home from the hospital.
My newest babe in his mama made coming home outfit.

Ahh 2019. A year I will look back at and be amazed at how quickly it went. I was newly pregnant and feeling pretty awful at the beginning of the year so my making took a major nosedive. The biggest change for me, outside of adding another kiddo to my family, was deciding to close my little sewing business after the aforementioned baby was born.

I also had the realization that I don’t need to test every pattern or be a part the online sewing “in” crowd to forge genuine connections. I was starting to have that old middle school want-to-fit-in angst (blegh). I’ve never really fit in nor do I really want to! I’m not out here bringing in influencer checks so who really cares about my Instagram aesthetics?

I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t feel incredibly freeing to only be creating for the people I want to and only creating the things I want to. Although I’m a little sad to not have a business or be pattern testing currently (I low key live for a deadline), I’m kinda into my new found freedom. Which honestly reading that makes me laugh because hello there is an infant in my home, but not having deadlines means I can spend months working on a project (looking at you unfinished hinterland dress that’s been on my sewing table since early May). May 2020 be the year of me truly embracing slow living.

What are your reflections on 2019? It feels like it’s been quite a year all round! We’d love to hear from you in the comments, or sharing your own #SewingTop5 if you are taking part on your blog or Instagram!