Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cusp of the year reflections

I find this time of year a little outside of time itself. I forget what day it is, sleep in, stay up late, spend time with family, do nothing, sew, relax. This lack of routine I find a really refreshing interruption that puts a full stop on the previous year, and helps to energise me for the coming one.
All my favourite bloggers are writing wrap up posts about their sewing from 2013, but when I look at my sewing projects for 2013, I quickly realised that a. I'd not done much and b. it's not what I really want to take stock of.
For me these days, sewing is my life. Our shops are not just haberdashery stores - we cover a much wider range of crafts - but it's the sewing that I focus on and where I am growing the business. So, please excuse me stepping slightly into the grey area of where my professional life meets my personal person, but the truth is I live in that space most of the time anyway so it makes sense to me.

Things that didn't quite pan out:

Teaching at HandMade 2013: HandMade is a huge symposium held on Queens Birthday Weekend in Wellington, and I submitted ideas for at least five classes. At least I thought I had! It turns out I managed to stuff up the submission process and they never received any of them. This was terrible, but it turned out better than I could have imagined - refer next list as to how.
Being on Telly: At the end of 2012, I made four segments for a morning magazine style TV show called Brunch. Three of these are on YouTube here. While it was very demanding and a bit stressful, it was also tremendous fun, and I got it into my brain that I'd love to do it some more, especially given the tremendously positive feedback I have had. Unfortunately the show was not recommissioned for 2014 so that was the end of that. I spent most of the year avoiding writing a treatment for a TV show that is in my head. Making TV here is mostly about finding sponsors for it you see, and there are so few options in that regard, I just can't see how to make it happen. Perhaps this year I'll revisit the idea.
A publicity photo from Brunch

Sewlutions: Well, the mistress of the jar will be smiting me no doubt! I put down that I would get at least one of my frock coats made, but my selfish sewing achievements this year have been next to none.

Things that panned out!

 Lecturing at HandMade 2013: After the submission debarcle, I got offered a lecture spot and snapped it up, and then a week out I was asked to do a pecha kucha presentation too. These two events were the best fun ever and I got great feedback. I have successfully submitted a bunch of classes and lectures for next year, and hopefully some of them (not all of them!) will get the tick. (PS apologies for not properly finishing my series about fitting inspired by the lecture, I just got bogged down.)
Burlesque classes: I finally enrolled in a class myself after being a supporter to several friends who are interested, not to mention a bevy of burlesquy blingers who frequent the shop! It was a warm, self-affirming, confidence building experience. It got me realising how much I miss performing and that age is no barrier (I keep thinking at 48 I am too old to do such things, what piffle!).
Lampshades: I taught myself to make lampshades using the new supplies we had sourced to meet customer demand. Then because people got a panicked look in their eyes when I tried to explain how to make one, I opened a class. It filled up straight away. Now I teach it every six weeks at least, as well as private classes, and in 2014 I've scheduled 'graduate' classes building on the basic shape. It's an exciting way to use gorgeous fabrics that I am still very much enjoying!
My first two attempts!

Things still in the Crucible

Years don't stop and start completely cleanly, and several important aspects of life got put into the bubbling crucible of my mind last year that haven't quite popped out again!
Constance Craving:  Constance is yet to get a completed costume or sound track. But I am canvassing various options for a gig next year, and if I get one, there's nothing like a deadline to get things done! ;-)
Shirts: Plans are simmering away on our men's shirt line - we even have fabrics, and patterns, and orders! However the logistics of choosing a brand name, labels, a reliable CMT service etc were put on hold over December, when most of our energy goes into the shops. So, I suspect the lid will start rattling on this one in the next couple of months.
 From my pilot commission - Mike likes this one best!
Directing: I've been offered a directing spot for 2014, but I have to come up with a play. After a lot of pottering, I think I am onto two good leads and when the London agents come back from holiday, I hope to get a script. I'm still not sure I want to put myself through the enormous commitment of birthing a play, and it's been a few years, but if this script is as good as I've heard, I will find the time. Plus it is set in the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries so COSTUMES!!!!

And on to 2014

Well, will I be directing a play, performing on stage, teaching at HandMade, cranking out shirts to meet an increasing demand? Who knows. I don't know if I can bring myself to set goals. I have always found that a more evolving approach works well.
I do however resolve to let you know about it as it unfolds.And I am sure a few of these things will actually happen.
And I WILL be sewing, in fact I have completed the Boteh Dress and am well into the next make, as the Boteh just brings me back up to the same number of dresses, having been born of the ashes of the Anne Harvey. I should call it the Boteh Phoenix Dress really!!
 Phoenix Dress - MrC is not giving up his day job to become a photographer, and I am feeling the heat!
 Close up of the twist in the front bodice
 My pretend shirring in the back (I find shirring doesn't have enough torque) made by sewing channels in a sandwich of fabric and lining, and threading hat elastic into each channel.

Happy New Year everyone!


  1. What a great and exciting year you have had. I hope all of your dreams materialise in 2014

    1. Thanks Beajay! It is a bit intimidating, having big ideas - I don't want to overwhelm myself but I really want to make a mark. Balance I guess, is as always the key!

  2. What a fun interesting post..Totally enjoyed reading it.. You have REALLY accomplished a lot in your goals this past year.. Sending prayers and best wishes for 2014.
    I am going to go and look at your you tube shows from last year..How fun..

    1. Hope you can understand what we are saying in our funny kiwi accents! LOL!

  3. Wow, 2014 is sounding full of rather exciting things! Yay for new adventures!! :-)

  4. ohhh, I hope the play goes ahead, please post about those costumes :) All the best for 2014

  5. Oh I am with you on the "evolving approach" - my style completely. You are a woman of many talents and I look forward to hearing about your adventures in 2014 :-)

  6. Holy freaking moly that's some serious plans. Still, if anyone can nail them, you can. Can't wait to watch, admire, and love your 2014 activities!