52 Week Sewing Challenge in 2020... All Challenges Accepted!
Wow! Who knew going into 2020 that this is how this year would end up going? Even with the craziness of this year I hope you’re overall doing well.
Anyway at the end of 2019 I found myself feeling a bit burnt out between all of the Christmas sewing projects, the 52 week sewing challenge, and any other sewing commitments I felt I had then. Going into the 2020 challenge I knew I wanted to take it easier but I also knew that I wasn’t quite ready to give up the challenges as a whole yet. I decided I ultimately needed to shake it up so I decided to attempt to accept all the challenges; which I hadn’t done the previous two years. This sounds difficult but I also gave myself the permission to do incredibly simple and easy projects, repeatedly if needed, that I would’ve previously felt guilty about submitting in the past. I momentarily worried about what I’d do in the case of a vacation and thought about whether I could hand-sew something but looking back that was not a concern this year. I wasn’t sure, going in, if this would mean only ever sewing small projects or if I’d end up sewing up a storm but this shook up the challenge just enough that it brought my sewing mojo back. Between that and staying home WAY more this year I managed to accept each and every challenge presented in the 52 week sewing challenge for 2020. Doing the challenges also gave me something small and manageable I could focus on each week during this hectic and slow year so I’m really glad I knew about the 52 week sewing challenge and kept it up.
In case you’re curious about the previous years I’ve posted each category, what I sewed, and whether I accepted or rejected each week’s challenge here for the 2018 year and here for the 2019 one. Here’s to many more years for the 52 sewing challenge.
Before 2020 started I picked up a new planner and set aside a day where I went over all of the scheduled sewing challenges and wrote each one down in the corresponding week in my planner. I then went back through each week and made myself come up with one or more ideas that fit the challenge. Some weeks were easy so I quickly jotted down multiple ideas and then quickly turned the page to go to the next challenge. Other weeks I took extra time as I looked through my purchased patterns for the perfect garment or accessory or took some time to search through my fabric stash for that perfect piece of fabric. I feel like this really helped me out as no matter what happened this year I could turn the page of planner and, most of the time, have one idea fitting the challenge that I could sew up. Many ideas were enacted this year while others, like browsing in a new-to-me store to try out silk, were less possible.
By the start of March, before COVID-19 changed our section of the world, I was sewing much more than I had previous years and had overcome my sewing burn out. I was feeling free to pick up pattern tests and sew anything I felt like without needing to fit it within a one week time period as I could always pause to sew up a quick project that better matched the current week, submit it, and then get back to my main projects. I had removed my guilt on submitting simple things so some weeks did include some rather small projects like a single scrunchie or a coaster either because I had a larger project on the go or because I needed a break from sewing and so only touched my machine for that one quick item.
Without any further ado here are all my submitted and accepted challenges from this surprising year.
Week 1 – January 1st to 5th
Organize Your Sewing Space
I love how each year the sewing challenge kicks off with the opportunity to organize your sewing space. I decided to take the time this year to focus on clearing off my sewing desk, my computer desk, and all of the excess items that had made a home on my floor between the two. I also took time to go through all of my craft and sewing related shelves and drawers on my computer desk. I absolutely needed a complete reorganizing and I love how much more space it feels like I have now.
Week 2 – January 6th to 12th
Sew a WIP (work in progress) / UFO (unfinished object)
A while back I bought several Itch to Stitch sewing patterns and I never got around to attempting them. Finally, back in November, I sized myself, printed two of the patterns out, taped them together, chose my fabric, and cut my fabric out…. then I looked over the instructions and set aside the prepped pieces while I waited the extra materials I needed to arrive. Once I started my various Christmas sews these patterns were quickly forgotten until this week’s challenge forced me to finally remember and sew them both up. I love how both the Kathryn (top two images) and Plitvice (bottom two) shirts turned out although I do wish the torso was a bit longer for both. I had planned to sew up a slightly longer version of both of these but never remembered to do it this year.
Week 3 – January 13th to 19th
Sew Something Related to a Healthy Lifestyle or Fitness
I started out this year thinking this week would result in a new workout top or leggings. Once this week did arrive; however, I didn’t feel like sewing either garment and instead decided to work on a sleeping mask since sleep is a big part of a health journey. I already own a sleeping mask I love but I liked the idea of being able to customize my own in the future and I loved the look of the Clara sleep mask, through Ohhh Lulu Lingerie, ever since I first saw it. Once I made it; however, I didn’t use it as I was unable to fall asleep with it on. As I sleep on my stomach the heaviness of this mask made it feel as if gravity was pulling it off. I am glad; however, that I tried making it and would eventually like to try it again with maybe a lighter fabric or interfacing. Other than the weight I could see adjusting it by using two elastics instead of one and adding a cover over the nose area so there’s less light able to get in.
Week 4 – January 20th to 26th
Sew Something With Sweater Knit or Swim Fabric
I had some sweater knit in my stash that I hadn’t had a chance to sew up yet so I knew going in that I would sew with that rather than with swim fabric. I absolutely love the Dynamite top I sewed up before Christmas so that pattern was an easy choice too. The Dynamite does however need two way stretch which my purpley-pink sweater fabric didn’t have so I chose to size it one size up to make sure it would fit. That said it seemed large enough that if I were to repeat this I would keep it at my current size instead. Since I had the paper pattern out anyway I decided to shorten the pattern to the crop length so I could try it out with some open weave fabric. I justified this garment by thinking I could always use it as a coverup while swimming which made me laugh when I then realized it could sort of go with the swim part of this week’s challenge too.
Week 5 – January 27th – February 2nd
Cheryl’s Pick – Upcycle Something
This week’s challenge to upcycle something was so simple to decide as I had an unfinished sew from back in 2018 that had been bugging me ever since I first set it aside. Back then I had just sewed the new Olivia top which is geared towards woven or lightweight knit fabrics. I liked my first version so I decided to grab my heavier custom fabric (Selfie Girls from RP Custom Fabrics bought back in May of 2018) and attempted to make the Olivia with that. It didn’t work and I quickly set it aside in a box before I even hemmed it. There it sat while I attempted to then ignore it. This week, with the success of the Dynamite shirt and the upcycle challenge staring at me, I figured now was the time so I pulled the top back out. I started by cutting along the side seams so I could pull the front and back of the shirt apart. I then realized the sleeves were curved a bit too much so I cut them off, sewed them back on at a different angle, realized the panel was still too short for the Dynamite’s pattern piece, and sewed the back of the shirt onto the top of the front so it would be tall enough. I had saved the leftover coordinating fabric after attempting the shirt the first time so I used that to cut the back of the shirt out. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I’m so glad I took it out of it’s timeout box and finally tackled it.
Week 6 – February 3rd to February 9th
Sew Something For The Kitchen
Several weeks before this I found the English paper piecing projects on Mister Domestic’s website and I chose to start both the hexie and the star ones. Originally I was planning on turning them into a hot pad for the kitchen table but I quickly realized they were two different sizes and I would never have enough time to finish them for this week’s challenge. I decided to quickly pivot and instead ended up working on two projects that I had been putting off for a while. The first were fabric napkins. I ended up cutting out a range of sizes from 6.5 to 12.5 inches squared and sewed them up by placing two matching squares right sides together, sewing around them making sure to leave a space, turning them right side out, pressing them, and topstitching around with a decorative stitch. The kids loved them and quickly requested more. I also went on to sew two different sizes of bread bags (pattern from Attainable Sustainable) using linen fabric in the hope to keep my homemade loaves fresh for bit longer. Since making the bags I’ve only used them a couple times but each time the bread still gets as hard as a rock within a day or two. I’m not sure if that is what is supposed to happen but it all turned out fine as I chopped the bread up and made bread pudding with it. If you’ve made a bread bag with different results can you let me know what I may have done wrong in the comments?
Week 7 – February 10th to February 16th
Face Your Sewing Fears
Originally when I saw this topic I was planning on sewing up either the Rebecca Page Bralette Tank or the SUAT Titania as either garment haa elastic along the neckline and armholes which I ended up stretching out both times I sewed them. Instead I remembered the Ohhh Lulu Jasmine bra I had bought over a year ago and continuously put off making. I figured now was the time! I had worked on workout bras many times but never a legit bra. Through a series of steps I realized the foam lined option I was planning on making was a spin-off version of the pattern so I chose to leave it off for the muslin. I then realized the pattern worked with knit or woven as long as it was cut on bias. I decided I had to sew up one of each in case it fit differently. I then realized I had no strap elastic so I ended up ripping apart two sad looking nursing bras for parts and used FOE (lingerie fold over elastic) instead. All in all I sewed up two wearable muslins and then ignored them… but they’re there for the next time I decide to buy strap elastic and conquer this pattern…. again.
Week 8 – February 17th to February 23rd
Sew a Toy
I had wanted to make the kids a play curtain for awhile now so they could unveil themselves with aplomb while holding concerts or performing plays. I decided this was the week to figure it out and that it would be the quickest sew ever as I only had to take the knit fabric, fold it over, and sew it down. Then I realized my stitching was WAY off as a nest formed under my fabric. I grabbed my seam ripper and then rethreaded my machine. My next attempt had my sewing machine eating my fabric. All in all the end result isn’t pretty but it’s done! This toy hasn’t gotten as much use as I had expected although it’s occasionally put up as a decoration rather than a curtain to announce a play or concert as I had planned. I’m still glad I made this and was able to use the fabric that I did. The curtain is now available for the kids whenever they want to start performing and doesn’t take up much space when it’s taken down and leaned against the wall. If you want to make your own I posted about it here along with the dowel, glue gun, and command hooks I used.
Week 9 – February 24th to March 1st
Sew a Free Pattern
I was busy sewing three pattern tests this week so I decided to look for a quick pattern and settled on making a hair scrunchie through The Spruce Crafts and then simplified it ever further by leaving off the optional bow. I had actually looked ahead the weekend before, planned, cut the materials up, pieced together a large enough strip out of scraps, and set it aside so mid-week all I had to do was sew it up. At this time I was actually having trouble creating the collages for each week as my go to app from last year was removed so finding and trying out a new app that contained what I wanted and creating the image to be submitted, funnily enough, took as long as sewing this scrunchie up.
Week 10 – March 2nd to March 10th
Sew Something to Make Reading Easier
This week was hard for me to decide what to make. Back in December I had jotted down making the Made For Mermaids planner bookmark or finally tackling one of the Swoon bags to hold a book. I loved everyone else’s suggestions on the Facebook group but ever since having Ada I’ve started reading most of my books on my phone so any book-related items I knew I probably wouldn’t use. At this time I had been reading a lot while sitting on the couch and frequently put my water glass or tea cup on a breakable coaster on the window ledge by me. I wanted to solve this so I decided to make a coaster to fit the challenge and found an adorable one through Fave Quilts that I wanted to tackle. I then decided to use the opportunity to upcycle my kids’ patched pants that they’d grown out of and I wasn’t quite ready to part with. Overall I love the coasters but as I started making fabric napkins, just over a month later, I stopped using them. Still I’m so glad I attempted the pattern and it was a quick and fun sew that made me smile in the middle of testing larger patterns.
Week 11 – March 11th to March 17th
Use a Fabric New to You
Back at the beginning of the year I had planned to buy silk for my first time and was going to tackle it by making a hair scrunchie, a child’s play silk, or a sleep mask. Two of those I had already attempted with woven fabric this year and it would’ve been easy to try to tackle using the same pattern this week; however, I hadn’t gotten around to sourcing a way to buy some silk. I did; however, have some vinyl I had recently bought through Fabric.com that I had never used before and wanted to attempt sewing fake leather purses with so I decided to jump in with two feet and make my own bag. I started by using a leather tote bag tutorial posted on Boxwood Avenue but then went off designing my own features by including a fabric liner with added pockets, zippers, and elastic loops. With COVID-19 causing a shelter-in-place in our area I ended up not getting a chance to test it out and so I never wrote the post about it. I haven’t even gotten around to adding the tassel either.
Week 12 – March 18th to March 24th
Sew Something With Scraps
I had been meaning to make Mister Domestic’s quilted ball ornaments for awhile so back in December when I saw sew something with scraps I quickly jotted down his ball or pinecone shaped Christmas ornaments in my planner. As I approached this week I couldn’t find or hadn’t bought the oval-shaped Styrofoam needed to make the pinecone shaped ornaments but I did have the spheres so I focused on the quilted ball ornament only. If you’re interested his written directions can be found here and his YouTube video here. As this is made by cutting, folding, pinning, and/or gluing fabric yet not actually sewing fabric I realized it might not count so I also sewed and weaved up two fabric Danish heart basket ornaments using some larger scraps. To make these I followed a tutorial for paper hearts (with printouts!) through Made Everyday with Dana and watched her video alongside my kids. I tried to make it a group project with the kids using paper and me using fabric but they quickly became disinterested as they weren’t using fabric like me. As I was using fabric, that could unravel, rather than paper I made each pattern piece out of two scraps of fabric placed wrong sides facing, cut where the printout lines were, and then sewed the fabric together following alongside those cuts. Looking back I see that Mister Domestic also posted this but used a fabric with a liquid stabilizer instead which made his fabric more stable.
Week 13 – March 25th to March 31st
Noreen’s Pick – Sew a Pinspiration
This is the one week while planning that I had left blank as I hoped I’d come across a pin in the meantime that would spark my inspiration. I forgot, no pins did, and as this week approached I frantically went through Pinterest hoping one would. It didn’t but I did come across a post on the Rebecca Page Sewing group that inspired me to make some faux leather totes which was essentially the same thing so I figured challenge accepted. I have to laugh because only two weeks before I made my first tote and custom designed a lining and now I’m following a pattern to do something similar.
Week 14 – March 26th to April 7th
Sew Something for Travel or Vacation
At the beginning of the week I finished making a fanny pack (or bum bag), then followed it up by making my first set of face masks using the Craft Passion pattern, and then finally rushed to finish the Expedition Tote by Swoon Patterns that I had cut out weeks before as the name was just too perfect for this week’s topic. I had to include all three as the masks were to leave the house now (traveling out of our home) and the bags were to leave post-pandemic. Plus the title of the Swoon bag was perfect for the challenge since an expedition is when you travel.
Week 15 – April 8th to April 14th
Sew Something With A Challenging Notion
Back in December when planning this week out I had wanted to learn how to make a rolled hem on my serger and planned to create some simple fabric napkins using that notion. At that point my only experience with a rolled hem was when using a rolled hem foot on my sewing machine when I hemmed my peppermint swirl dresses. I hadn’t realized that there was no foot specifically for a rolled hem on my serger and that it was just a settings change which made sewing something with a challenging notion obsolete. I decided to charge ahead with the napkin plan and made myself four small ones to test the process. These have since become coasters and two of them now sit on my nightstand for a glass of water and a mug of tea whenever I need it during the day. I still needed a challenging notion so I could accept this challenge so I went with using the free motion quilting foot on my sewing machine. I had attempted free motion quilting years ago with the burners for my kitchen set cover but hadn’t done it since then and had since upgraded my sewing machine so I hadn’t technically tried it… so a challenge. I quickly made a larger napkin using the rolled hem setting on the serger and included batting between the two layers to make it thicker. Once finished I then took it over to my sewing machine to play around with. The finished coaster now sits beside my keyboard at my computer and is perfect for catching condensation from my drinking glass so I don’t have any errant drips.
Week 16 – April 15th to April 21st
Sew Something Green Or Eco-Friendly
I had originally planned to make a bread bag, washcloth, or produce bag this week. I had since made a bread bag (week 6) and didn’t have velour or mesh handy for the other two. With the fabric napkin attempt the previous week I chose to jump on making more and thus downsize our paper towel usage. I also decided to try out a new face mask pattern for Matt and I thus allowing us to continue to skip buying PPE (personal protective equipment) that others could use more.
Week 17 – April 22nd to April 28th
Sew Something Unconventional
I remembered sewing on paper years ago to create a custom card so I decided to sew on paper again this week. I wasn’t quite sure what to do until I decided to use watercolors, as my kids were painting, to create the background using cardstock and then, once dry, add details using the free motion quilting foot on my sewing machine. All in all I’m happy with how it turned out.
Week 18 – April 29th to May 5th
Sew Something For A Teacher
I cut out the pattern pieces for the Zoe Zip, by Rebecca Page, in white woven fabric and had my daughter color it with fabric markers for her teacher. I made sure to snap photos of the fabric before I sewed it up so her teacher could see what it looked like before the seam allowance overtook parts of the image.
Week 19 – May 6th to May 12th
Kelsey’s Pick – Sew Something Purple
Back in 2018 I saw a preorder through The Fabric Geeks that I just couldn’t pass up. I’d drop a link but I see their website isn’t active anymore. Once the fabric came it was amazing; however, I wasn’t sure quite what to make with it so I put it away and then, once I stopped drinking coffee, felt like I shouldn’t wear it. When this week’s challenge came around I had trouble finding anything purple in my fabric stash until I came across this. I knew the Dynamite shirt through Ragamuffin Patterns looks great in cotton Lycra so I decided to use that pattern again and sew up a nightgown, or home top, so I could still enjoy the fabric. This week’s challenge ended up giving me the push I needed to cut into my other coffee-related fabrics that I had bought in the past to make a muslin of another pattern so I’m glad I couldn’t find anything else purple in my stash.
Week 20 – May 13th to May 19th
Hack or Mash a Pattern
This was an easy challenge to accept. Almost two years ago I had mashed two Rebecca Page patterns together to make a simple cozy and twirly nightgown for both girls and as Ada had recently outgrown hers I decided now was the week to make her another. I had even planned it out ahead of time so Ada was able to pick her own snuggle flannel out online when Joann’s fabrics had a sale.
Week 21 – May 20th to May 26th
Sew Something For Storage
Back in December I had planned to sew up a fabric box to help organize my kitchen but as the year progressed I considered making a utensil roll-up for when playdates hopefully once again resumed. A bit before this week I had ordered a package of skincare from Sephora and remembered once seeing a cinch bag that opened into a mat. I wanted to make it to hold the products, although it didn’t work out in the end, so I went searching and found this free drawstring pouch through Made for Mermaids. I ended up also finding a lip balm keychain tutorial so I also made that up. Although I ended up not using the drawstring pouch technically my lip balm did go into the keychain pouch on my nightstand so it still fit with the general storage theme either way.
Week 22 – May 27th to June 2nd
Sew a Bathing Suit or Undergarment
Back in week 19 I cut out all my coffee-related fabric to make a nightgown and muslin a shirt. I hadn’t put all the scraps away as I was planning on using them to make myself some new underwear. This week was the perfect push to do so. I went through all my scraps and was able to fit together three new pairs. Specifically I tried out the new Apostrophe Patterns MyFit Underwear (the right one) along with sewing up another set of Stitch Upon a Time Bunzies and Scrundlewear (not sure which is which in the photos). I absolutely love that I have more underwear in fabric that makes me smile. And with that all the coffee-related fabric was used up on me.
Week 23 – June 3rd to June 9th
Sew Something With A Unique Stitch
Back in December I had planned to attempt silk pillowcases using a decorative stitch but I hadn’t gotten a chance to look for silk. Instead I figured it was 2020 and anything that makes me have to take a needle out of my serger should count as an unique stitch so I removed the leftmost needle, switched my serger to a rolled hem stitch, and made myself more napkins out of some flowered fabric I had on hand and some food-specific fabric (pizza and donuts) that I had bought online specifically for more napkins. With the smaller weirdly shaped scraps I decided to make single layered pieces to use as makeup removers.
Week 24 – June 10th to June 16th
Use A Pattern From a Designer You Haven’t Tried Before
Going into this week I had planned to sew one of the patterns I had previously bought but somehow hadn’t sewn from the pattern company yet. I unfortunately didn’t see anything I liked that fit the criteria when browsing through my pattern stash so I started looking frantically online for some new pattern company that had garments I’d like to sew for myself. All the outfits I saw and liked happened to be for woven fabrics which I was basically out of. I then suddenly realized I didn’t have to make anything large or use a big brand company and instead started looking for smaller websites that had something cool to sew. I ended up coming across a really cool Log Cabin Hexi Potholder through SewCanShe and I had to make it. It actually reminded me of a toy, Discovery Toy’s Mosaic Mysteries, I still have from my childhood. I quickly grabbed my bag of woven scraps and got to work cutting out strips before piecing the colors together to make this amazing potholder. I used some Insul-Brite batting I bought earlier so I’ve been able to use this as an actually potholder on the table although I prefer using it to pull hot bowls from the microwave and protect my kitchen table as I eat. It makes me smile every time I use it.
Week 25 – June 17th to 23rd
Random Act Of Kindness
My kids needed a second mask each so I pulled out my Craft Passion pattern and started cutting out face masks making sure to cut out more to give away. I ended up going through my woven scraps to make these. For my kids’ masks I cut out the front in white and let them color it with fabric markers before I sewed it together. I’d recently heard you can use a shoelace to tie them on so I decided to try that since the neon ones I had on hand happened to match their fabric marker color choices. I’ve since decided the shoelaces slide around too much on my kids hair but in case you choose to do the same it’s easier to loop the shoelace on the bottom and have the loose ends come out of the top to more easily tie over their hair.
Week 26 – June 24th to June 30th
Sew a WIP (work in progress) / UFO (unfinished object)
I didn’t have any projects partway done but I did have some incredible fabric I had just bought from Moon Beam Textile Company that I really wanted to cut into to make a custom queen-sized blanket with matching pillows for my bed. I solved this by not waiting to cut into the fabric and started my project the weekend before the challenge week officially started. This way I had an unfinished object that I could finish working on and fully accept the challenge once again.
Week 27 – June 31st to July 7th
Organize Your Sewing Space
I was so happy when I saw there was another challenge week assigned to organizing my sewing space as the previous two years only had this for the first week. I decided to start out by focusing on my messy, but contained, printed PDFs that were slightly organized within my drawer. After looking around at so many amazing organization ideas I finally decided to buy a pack of envelopes and I assigned each pattern, or related patterns if they were small, to a single envelope. After taking everything down in my closet shelf I was able to repurpose my kids’ old DUPLO® container from a scrap fabric bin to a PDF pattern holder. Between freeing a drawer and then organizing the closet shelf I got excited enough that I continued on to organize all my drawers and my shelves on my desk. I love that I now know where everything is and love that since this challenge was mid-year I had a cleaner space and more time on hand to do a more in-depth organization than I would’ve felt like doing back in January. I hope they keep this organization week in the future challenges too.
Week 28 – July 8th to July 14th
Sew Your Favorite Pattern
Originally, back in December, I had planned to fix my selfie shirt using the Dynamite pattern or sew up another Billie this week. As I had fixed my selfie shirt back in week 5 and love my Billies but don’t have anywhere to wear them with COVID-19 I definitely didn’t need to sew these. While staying home my kids have been absolutely loving their nightgowns so I decided that sewing them up new ones would fit the challenge since they’re the simplest woven item I’ve sewn (point one) and I love seeing them wear it (point two). I ended up taking these a step further by cutting out two front bodice pieces and having them color the one so they could design their own dress and have the front be lined so it wouldn’t be see-through. For these I allowed Ada to use the lightbox I had recently bought so she could trace the Wonder Woman logo which lead to Zoey tracing out a flower on her dress. After tracing Ada then copied her DUPLO® creations making it a Wonder Woman DUPLO® dress while Zoey finished hers off more quickly.
Week 29 – July 15th to July 21st
Make Something Outside Your Comfort Zone
Back in December I had thought outside my comfort zone would mean elastic in my neckline, an invisible zipper, or EPP (English paper piecing). I had since started EPP (going so slowly) and decided to ignore the other items for now as I had been debating making some pretend food and all the really cool ones I saw online were made from felt. This lead me to felting so I bought a small felting kit online, went through my stash of felt, and went outside my comfort zone by jumping into the really cool looking tomatoes and, since I had white, onion rings. Although this was a fiber project consisting of a sharp barbed needle and embroidery I wasn’t sure if this quite measured up to sewing a project so I grabbed my beige felt and used my sewing machine to sew down the center of each folded bow-tie pasta. I had made bow-tie (A.K.A. farfalle or butterfly) pasta before but that time I had handstiched each one closed. This way was so much quicker than last time and I figured this combined with the felting and French knots meant this challenge was easily accepted.
Week 30 – July 22nd to July 28th
Sew Pants Or Shorts
Ada had been wanting capris so I used this week to justify them and had both Ada and Zoey pick out the fabric they wanted their pants to be made from. I then inputted their updated measurements into the MyFit Leggings from Apostrophe Patterns which drafted a new custom pair according to what they wanted. Ada ended up with two new pairs of right above the knees pants while Zoey wanted a more traditional legging. I had been wanting to try the new Ragamuffin Patterns’ Chilaxin’ Loungers so I quickly sewed a pair up for me in some not so great fabric for a muslin test. I rushed to grab this photo so the hem is still very wet from me over-spraying them while pressing the hem.
Week 31 – July 29th to August 4th
Sew Something For A Man
Matt, my husband, doesn’t really ask for me to sew him things so I find this is the one major time of the year when he gets a me-made garment. He loves simpler shirts so I grabbed a good quality black knit and the Rebecca Page Men’s Toronto Tee pattern I had used and altered the last time I made him a shirt. This time around I brought in the sleeves, so they wouldn’t gape, before cutting out the fabric and sewing it up. He loved it!
Week 32 – August 5th to August 11th
Sew Something For School
When planning this week I had written down a pencil pouch but then had quickly added new shirts for the kids once I realized I had these two planet panels I bought from Whimsy Baby Customs. I knew I wanted to save it for when Ada went back to school and figured I’d make Zoey a matching one at the same time. When this week actually rolled around I decided it was something more normal within this year of sheltering at home. I went with our favorite Stitch Upon a Time pattern, the Magnolia dress, but because of the size of the panels I had to skip adding a pocket and combine the bodice and skirt pattern pieces into one before cutting the fabric. This made the panels too small so I then had to extend the panels before I cut the pattern pieces and sewed them up. I was also debating making doll dresses for a friend’s kids so I batch sewed them and made my girls matching school dresses for their dolls, stuffed animals, whatever fits them.
Week 33 – August 12th to August 18th
Sew Something With a Unique Seam or Hem
My aunt had sent the girls some fabric for pillowcases and once the girls heard that they decided they had to have pillowcases with the fabric rather than anything else I could’ve sewn. I decided why not and ended up getting four pillowcases, two for each girl, out of the fabric. I figured with such a simple project I had to hem the opening with something really unique so I chose to string together different decorative stitches with my sewing machine. Both kids ended up getting one pillowcase with pretty pictures along the hem and one with their first, middle, and last name repeated and separated out by hearts. They loved them and now have to extra pillows to switch up with their sheets.
Week 34 – August 19th to August 25th
Back at the beginning of the year I had planned to do a simple project this week by repurposing any old stretched out shirt and turning it into a pair of underwear for me; however, when this week arrived I decided to instead take a loved and slightly misshapen store-bought shirt and repurpose the back detail I adored into a new shirt. I knew my trusty Dynamite shirt was again the right pattern for the job especially since the back is made out of two pieces sewn together. I seam ripped the center detail out from the old shirt, measured it, trimmed the back paper pattern piece to account for the new one, held them together, realized I needed to extend the bottom to account for detailed piece’s length and hem, and finally cut out my fabric using the slightly altered back piece. Sewing it together was basically the same as the instructions except with there being one more back piece and having to sew the binding onto open space at the center back. It turned out amazingly and I went from a forgotten shirt I used to love in my closet to a new favorite I love wearing. And the rest of the shirt? I actually sewed it up the back and for fun tried it on Ada. She said she loved it and it ended up in the dress-up drawer forgotten… wondering now if I should repurpose it into a pair of underwear like my original idea had dictated.
Week 35 – August 26th to September 1st
Sew An Adult Pattern
I used this week’s challenge to stop putting off some garments I wanted to sew for me. For years I’ve loved Stitch Upon a Time’s Brazi Bra and Dress. Mainly I’ve only used it as a bra but back in October of 2018 I sewed up the dress version using some Doctor Who themed custom bamboo Lycra fabric and I absolutely adored it. I wasn’t confident enough to wear it out of the house but I loved using it as a home dress. For a whole now I had debated sewing up another Brazi dress for me and with this week’s challenge I couldn’t put it off any longer. I used an extremely lightweight and flowy fabric (specifically double brushed poly from Sly Fox Fabrics) I had on hand, trimmed a bit of the length off of the longest pattern piece, left the fabric unhemmed, and I’ve lived in it ever since. I also went back to the the MyFit Leggings pattern and generated a pair of shorts in the same fabric so my legs wouldn’t rub uncomfortably in hot weather. Since I was on the page anyway I also generated a pattern to make myself a new pair of swim shorts. I’m so happy with all three garments and I’m so glad I finally made myself sew them.
Week 36 – September 2nd to September 8th
Sew Something You’ve Never Sewn Before
I had just bought the kids new double brushed poly fabric from Boho Fabrics that I knew they’d love and had also bought the Ragamuffin Pattern’s new Ragamuffin & Renegade Raglan so it was obvious what new thing I should sew this week. I somehow missed it but the pattern actually included two raglans and I ended up cutting out the bodice of one and the sleeves of the other. I realized what I had done mid-sew but just continued and it turned out great.
Week 37 – September 9th to September 15th
Sew Something For Your Sewing Space
I wasn’t sure what to sew up for my sewing space and I didn’t feel like fitting in a large project this week so I decided to go with a simple coaster so I don’t get my sewing projects wet from condensation. My youngest daughter had just grown out of her pajamas and I wanted to keep the fabric around for the memories so I upcycled the shirt to create a four layer coaster. I also used the opportunity of this challenge to justify doing a quick clean on my desk and around my machines. In case you’re here looking for ideas for your own sewing challenge topics I wanted to share the project I often consider making: the undercover maker mat. I keep not making it as I like sliding my machines around on my glass desk and I don’t need a cover for my machines.
Week 38 – September 16th to September 22nd
Sew Something Without a Pattern
I wasn’t quite sure what to make this week but then I realized my husband needed a coaster at his desk. After asking him, confirming he did in fact want one, and waiting most of the week on what he wanted it to look like I decided to instead make my grade one daughter a coaster so her water bottle wouldn’t cause a puddle next to her computer if and when she filled it with ice cubes. Don’t worry… I finally surprised Matt with his own custom-sized coaster this last month so he did in fact get one. You can read about both coasters and how I created them here if you’re interested.
Week 39 – September 23rd to September 29th
Sew With a New Technique
When trying to come up with a new technique to try this week I ended up choosing to tackle the blind hem option on my serger. Unlike the rolled hem earlier this year it even required me to change out the pressure foot! Earlier this month I had found some amazing Halloween fabric online at Joann’s that combined both kids’ love of unicorns and rainbows along with Zoey’s unique love of pumpkins. I knew my girls needed it and I wanted to use it to make them new nightgowns. With the blind hem being the perfect justification I quickly got to work sewing up the nightgowns, testing the blind hem on a scrap of knit, and hemming them with this new technique. I enjoyed how the blind hem looked but it seemed loose and not that secure although we haven’t had any obvious problems since then. I haven’t looked into it again but I’m kind of curious if that’s how it should be or if I need to play with my settings the next time I do it.
Week 40 – September 30th to October 6th
Sew Something Inspired By This Group
I spent the weekend before this week frantically scrolling through the 52 week sewing challenge group hoping to see something specific that inspired me with a particular fabric or pattern. I had been losing my sewjo recently and seeing all the gorgeous and amazing sews normally help. This time nothing specific popped out at me but then I realized that I’m always inspired by all of the gorgeous dresses and amazing masks that keep showing up. I decided instead of using a specific fabric or pattern I saw I could instead springboard off of the general garments so I used the inspiration to try a new to me face mask pattern, by Iris Luckhaus, that I’d also been meaning to attempt along with another dress using my favorite maxi dress pattern, the Brazi. that normally isn’t a priority to make. Back in week 35 I paired the brazi with a pair of MyFit Leggings shorts so I chose to do the same again this week. By the end of this week I certainly felt inspired so thanks for the challenge topic.
Week 41 – October 7th to October 13th
Sew a Costume
Last year my daughter wanted to be a pumpkin for Halloween which later turned into a jack-o-lantern once we went shopping at Walmart and found a shirt she liked. Since then she’s decided that she wanted to be a pumpkin with no face this year so after confirming I had the right fabric and patterns ready I saved making her her costume specifically so I could accept the challenge this week. I was able to reuse last year’s hat but she had since outgrown the MyFit Leggings and needed a more pumpkin-like shirt so I sewed up the Ellie & Mac Tulip Tunic along with a new pair of leggings. I posted earlier about her entire costume if you’re interested and also about Ada’s mostly store-bought Wonder Woman one.
Week 42 – October 14th to October 20th
Sew Something Related To Sports
Back in December I had jotted down a workout bra for this week but over the last couple months we have found a local swimming pool offering COVID-distanced pool rentals and had started going swimming twice a month and then, lately, weekly. I noticed recently that Ada’s swimming suit was starting to get small and knew I needed to replace it soon. I also knew that I had some random swim fabrics from a scrap box I bought from Boho Fabrics over a year ago so I decided to use this week to make the kids new swimming suits, as swimming is a sport, before they lose the chance to use them once the pool closes for the winter. I was able to play on their Halloween costumes and make Zoey a pumpkin swimming suit and Ada a Wonder Woman one. Like the previous years I hacked a raglan for the top, this time I used Ragamuffin Pattern’s Ragamuffin & Renegade Raglan that I had sized them with back in week 36, so it includes a snap placket and then used MyFit Leggings with a hacked lining for the bottoms. Previous years I used a different raglan pattern along with an underwear pattern for the swimming suits but the process was essentially the same if you care to learn more.
Week 43 – October 21st to October 27th
Embroider or Hand Sew Something
My calendar had me down for embroidering fabric to turn into pattern weights but I’d since come across a lovely thread catcher that I really wanted to try to make. The entire process involved hand stitching and the blog post I followed, on Fabric Therapy’s website, was so simple to follow that the hardest part about the entire thing was finding a tube of Pringles. I’m so glad I came across this in the Facebook group and allowed myself the chance to make it.
Week 44 – October 28th to November 3rd
Sew Something With Fleece or Rayon Spandex
After sewing up Ragamuffin Patterns’ Chilaxin’ Loungers back in week 30 I knew I needed to sew up another pair since I loved the pants but hated the cheap fabric I used as the muslin. I immediately jumped into my calendar and decided this week was the next possible chance to justify sewing them as I knew I had flowy fabric in my stash and this challenge would justify doing it. By the time I got to this week I realized that the fabric I really wanted to use for these pants was actually a nylon spandex, bought through Boho Fabrics back in August, and although I had also bought a rayon spandex mystery pack I hadn’t thought to record what was in the box so I didn’t quite know which would count in the challenge. I knew I wanted to fully accept the challenge but the only fabric I had that I absolutely knew was rayon spandex was used in a failed muslin over a year ago (back in week 31 of 2019). I decided to make a quick coaster using that fabric, accept the challenge, and then take apart my old loungers, since the fabric wasn’t the greatest, and used it’s waistband for another pair in turquoise. I ended up with a simple coaster and two new pairs of Chilaxin’ Loungers that I love wearing so I feel like this week was a definite win for me!
Week 45 – November 4th to November 10th
Alter or Mend Something
A while back I noticed that the wood under our couch cushion was showing and later on I noticed the cushion above it had popped open along the zipper. I knew I needed to fix it but didn’t really feel like it so I may have justified putting it off until this week’s sewing challenge arrived. I grabbed a needle and thread and hand stitched the cushion closed thus accepting the sewing challenge. I then went a step further by grabbing a scrap of fabric, the nylon spandex from last week, and used my hot glue gun to stick the fabric to the wood and cover up the ripped fabric edges thus, hopefully, making the couch last until we choose to replace it.
Week 46 – November 11th to November 17th
I was spending this week jumping between many different sewing projects for Christmas gifts and although many of them dealt with quilting I realized that splitting my time between them meant that nothing would get finished within the challenge’s timeline. I decided to pause all of them and focused instead on this single Log Cabin Hexi Potholder, through SewCanShe, that I had fallen in love with back in week 24. After constructing the hexagons I had both of my girls use my fabric markers to put their mark on it before I finished sewing it all together.
Week 47 – November 18th to November 24th
Sew Something For a Holiday Or Special Occasion
At first I was thinking that I needed to sew some fancy or Christmas-decorated clothing for this challenge and then realized it didn’t dictate what it had to be only that it was for the holiday. I’d been sewing up Christmas presents and used this week’s challenge to justify finishing them all up so I could submit them for this Christmas holiday-themed challenge. I also took a quick break to finish up, and create one more, Christmas tree ornament that I based on Mister Domestic’s. Either way challenge accepted once again!
Week 48 – November 25th to December 1st
Sew a Gift
I bought the Kids’ Vintage Lounge Dress through Rad Patterns and I couldn’t wait to sew it up for my kids. The last three Christmases I had made the girls Peppermint Swirl Dresses for Christmas but over the last year realized that Ada didn’t like hers (the snaps were uncomfortable) and since we’re home all the time anyway I decided to make them epic nightgowns instead. I had them choose fabric online for their nightgown and once they decided I sneaked the girls’ runner up choice into the cart. It’s with this surprise fabric, from Joann’s, that I sneakily made their Christmas gift this week. Once they opened it on Christmas they later chose to wear these that night and especially loved how they almost brushed the ground while they wore it. My youngest even pointed out how it made her like Persimmony Parsnip from the book we had been reading: Persimmony from the Land of Barely There by Stephen Cosgrove,
Week 49 – December 2nd to December 8th
Julie’s Pick – Make a Stocking For Someone
I had signed up to test the new boot liners from Rebecca Page which seemed perfect for this week as stockings are a type of footwear. Living where it doesn’t snow I had hoped that these would easily upgrade our rubber boots so we wouldn’t need to keep multiple types of boots handy over the winter. After trying these on I decided to buy the girls new rubber boots for Christmas so there would be more room for the liners…although they haven’t tested the new ones out yet.
Week 50 – December 9th to December 15th
Sew an Accessory
I figured in 2020 a mask was the most frequently used accessory so I had to sew up one or more masks this week. Back in August I had fallen in love with some dumpster fire fabric along with this kid-print through Geek Garden Fabric and I couldn’t wait to surprise the kids with it. I ended up cutting out two for each kids and then added one for me and one for my husband so we could all match. This was the perfect surprise to put in everyone’s Christmas stocking this year. Like before I used our new favorite mask pattern by Iris Luckhaus.
Week 51 – December 16th to December 22nd
Sew a Kid’s Pattern
Since all of the Christmas gifts left to sew were for my kids I decided to attempt to sew them all this week. I had cut them out the week before which made sewing them within a week much easier. I had bought some superhero fabric along with a cute dinosaur panel in a preorder through Whimsy Baby Customs a bit ago that needed to become a new Magnolia for the girls. I also needed to sew up their chosen fabric into one of my mashed up nightgowns along with sewing up two new Ragamuffin Firecrackers, using the scooped back and largest batwing, in their favorite colors. I debated quickly sizing and cutting out underwear too but decided to stop with this.
Week 52 – December 23rd to December 29th
Sew a Gift for Yourself
Two years ago I fell in love with the new December dress that George + Ginger came out with. I bought the dress, ran out of time, later ordered the A0 prints, and there they sat. When I saw the final challenge was to sew a gift for myself something made me think of this dress and I had to finally make it for me. I found some fabric in my stash that came from a mystery box of some sort and had just enough to cut out the tunic length with long sleeves. I had so little fabric left that the remnants went into my fabric recycling bag. I absolutely love how this turned out and wore it with leggings on Christmas Day. This was a perfect way to end out 2020 with a pattern I had meant to make for years.
At the end of last year I had considered ignoring the sewing challenge, working on my own things when I got a chance, and only submitting if I finished something whether it fit the challenge or not. Looking back I’m so glad I chose, last minute, to fully jump in, simplify my projects, and accept all the challenges. Within such a crazy year I’m really proud of this year’s sewing challenge. That said I’m back to feeling similar to last year and am debating focusing on other things this year. This means the upcoming 2021 challenges won’t be planned ahead, will definitely have way less accepted challenges, and may even have less submitted challenges in general. Maybe next year’s post will hold only a few submitted weeks. That said I’m definitely staying within the official Facebook group and can’t wait to see what everyone else sews up this year.
Whether you found an escape through sewing or something else this year I hope your 2020 had many good points in it within all the not so good points. Here’s to 2021! Hope it goes so much better for everyone this year!
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