This has been such a surreal year – I bought, decorated, and moved into my first house at the beginning of the year – and I’m sure it’ll always be an outlier in that regard.
Every time someone asks what I’m working on, from a sewing/quilting perspective, I’d said, “My house is my hobby right now.” And that’s been true – a lot of this list is going to include house projects which I’m VERY proud of completing. But I also wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the many things that were sewn this year, even if they were often in batches, and sometimes frantically to a deadline.
1. Somewhat over-ambitiously, I thought I’d dip my toe into upholstery. This only involved buying a DIY upholstery book and attempting to re-seat a cute chair I found on a sidewalk years ago. It was more effort than I expected, though I’m still proud of the outcome. (No pictures of the finished product though – just this process shot…)
2. This tabletop was built a few years ago with the help of a friend’s husband. He had the tools and the attention to detail to ensure my vague vision was well-executed, and I actually placed the tabletop on a smaller table in our house for a while. But once I closed on the house, I knew I could finally complete my vision of building a pipe base. It was really fun to sketch and plan the measurements, and VERY frustrating to twist it all together.
3. This was a quick re-upholstery job, covering a dingy fabric stool with some heavyweight fabric that I (tragically) tried making into a dress many years ago. I love having a fabric stash, especially one filled with mistakes that I haven’t yet tossed, so I can dig through for materials in the middle of the night.
4. I assembled a LOT of furniture in the past year, but this bed was the most difficult. So I feel like the Maggie who wrestled with it one night in February should be honored.
5. DID YOU KNOW you can by some hairpin legs on Amazon and attach them to a random board and suddenly have a decorative bench? YOU TOTALLY CAN.
6. Once I was all moved in, with a SEWING ROOM (which was admittedly the last thing to be set up in the house), I felt some pressure to take advantage. This quilt was partially pieced before the move, and had a client eager for delivery, so it was the first finished and photographed at this new house.
7. Me Made May motivated one sewing project, though in past years it’s been responsible for the bulk of my sewing. This dress, however, became one of my most worn items as the weather changed.
8. Since I was doing laundry every few nights so that I could put that purple dress back on, I made a few more versions to get me through the summer. (I love a handmade uniform.)
9. I was clearly getting some sewing mojo back along with that project, because I decided to tackle a queen-sized linen whole cloth quilt for the guest bed. It took a lot of hours, particulary the hand-quilted portions, but I love it (and have already started dreaming of making a throw blanket of a similar style).
10. True confession: I DO NOT REMEMBER BEING THIS PRODUCTIVE. But apparently I made ANOTHER quilt for a client, and finished it in August/September.
11. For my birthday, my parents offered to visit and help me with house projects. The list I came up with was EPIC and included, as a final dream item, this small addition to my back porch slab.
12. I asked to participate in the New City Artist Exchange this year, partially to motivate myself to make some new things, but also so that I could collect more art for my walls. Overall, I made 15 (or 16?) small quilted works, which probably add up to the work of a whole quilt.
13. One of my wardrobe goals over the past few years is to sew as many basics as possible. So I was thrilled to realize that the Plantain and Nettie tees I’ve sewn in the past have been my most-worn. I made a batch of new ones, and would apologize for the lack of creativity in color selection except for the fact that these are the colors I grab first in my closet Every Single Time. (Except for the pink. That was to coordinate with a burgundy pencil skirt.)
14. Weirdly, I’m the most proud of this next one. Perhaps because it’s one of the most recent? The story is that I wanted to build some more shelving, and realized that I was trying to determine when my parents were next in town so my dad could help. But then I thought, “Maggie, you are bad-ass enough to build furniture without any help!” And so I did some research, bought some lumber, assembled it…unassembled it, bought some crucial new tools (wood glue, clamps), assembled it again, and now I feel like I could make anything!
15. The first time I’ve ever sewn curtains, an it happened in the middle of the night when I had a spontaneous desire to floral ones.
16. Here’s a quick sketch I made a week ago when I realized there was a need for something this size/color/texture on my living room wall:
17. And here’s my final report of 2017 (unless something else is made in the next few weeks): 4 of 6 throw pillows I’ve re-covered to better fit into this new space. All of them made with fabric from my stash (small scraps and leftovers, or larger pieces I knew I’d likely never sew garments with) and all assembled somewhat frantically the night before houseguests arrived.
So my 2017 tally is 3 full-sized quilts (plus the quilted art pieces, plus a baby quilt commission that I didn’t put in here), 3 dresses, 4 shirts, 6 pillows, and a beautiful collection of things built for the house. I feel pretty good about this level of creative productivity! And I’m excited to see what I manage to make in 2018 – maybe I’ll find excuses to use the sewing room more frequently.