My Sews in 2023: Infrequent but There When I Wanted It

Collage of six of my sews.

Over the previous five years I've posted a year in review recap for my sewing projects as I followed the 52 week sewing challenge on Facebook. I started making the posts to share with you what patterns and fabrics I used, but also found, through curating it each year, that I loved seeing all the projects in one place and being able to simply and easily revisit my sews in the future. This year; however, between a long distance move, spending more time coding in SwiftUI, and maybe even because Facebook has stopped showing me the challenge posts I found I didn't sew that much. That said, I was still happy that when I did want to sew it was available to me and I decided to keep curating, for now, this year in review.

Pinterest geared image showing my post title, images from below, and my main URL.

The 52 week sewing challenge started up in 2018 and I found my sewing ability increased so much having the challenge there to help me progress. In 2019 I focused on sewing more consistently while in 2020 I used it as an escape and accepted every challenge. Since then; however, I've chosen to not stress myself as much over sewing and instead listened to what I wanted and needed to do. As such in 2021 and 2022 I was more relaxed while also enjoying the awesome sewing community.

But you didn't come for the past years (if you have I did link them in the years above or check out the entire topic list here) so without any further ado these are the items I sewed this year in 2023... and never submitted to the challenge itself but did keep track of.


Fixed My Purse

Back in the 2020 sewing challenge I explored faux leather (vinyl) making a large bag and then several smaller totes. Back in March while lugging stuff to playground playdates, I realized I needed to stop putting off fixing their slowly ripping straps. The large tote I decided I needed heavy duty thread, ordered some, got caught up, moved, and just now while typing this realized I still need to fix it. The smaller tote; however, I did fix by clipping the straps in place, as the top of the bag always flipped inside, and sewed it all with the sewing machine... hence why I decided to record it as a win!

Image shows the purse with the front straps folded down showing where it was separating with the bit of white.
The top of the bag always folded in causing the straps to pull away from the purse and rip. I knew they needed do be sewn down.
Image shows the top of the finished bag with the straps sewn on with a separate box holding it in place.
All fixed!

As a quick aside my other tote I've been meaning to fix, found here, was created based on a free pattern, that I just checked and it's still active, which I then customized with several free tutorials. I always meant to share how I made it and took lots of pictures but as time went on I lost the drive to finish the post. That said, if you want to see how I made it, based on the older photos, let me know in the comments below and based on the interest I'll prioritize working on it so it comes out sooner.


LEGOLAND® Themed Shirts

In April we had plans to visit LEGOLAND® as we'd wanted to go back for awhile. At first I hadn't planned to sew anything but everything from our first two trips didn't fit and this was a goodbye vacations as we were going to move out of California. I went through my fabric stores and made the girls each two shirts using the last of my themed fabric from the first two trips. Both the long sleeved shirt and the short sleeved one (ran out of fabric so shortened the sleeve pieces) were made with The Ellie and Mac Unisex Raglan a pattern I'd used for years. The fabric was bought years ago through retail but the blue was at Geek Garden Fabrics while the bricks were from Peek a Boo Pattern Shop.

I had just enough of the blue fabric to eke out two shorter sleeved tops!

Quick aside in case you're looking for themed outfits. Our first visit I could only find brick fabric ahead of our trip and I kind of went overboard customizing the clothing to each girl creating custom designed fronts of the dress and shirt using traced coloring pages and fabric markers. The simple long sleeve shirt I also made them was so quick in comparison. Then it rained the whole time and we were only there for two nights so I recognize I went over the top but I had wanted to go to LEGOLAND® ever since I heard about the one in Denmark as a kid so I don't regret it at all. You can find a post about these outfits here. The next visit after that was less than a year later and in that time I had preordered custom fabric so I made them a simple shirt and we brought along the outfits that still fit from the last time. So much easier. This shirt information was shared at week 51 of the 2019 sewing recap post.

Image is a collage of several c
My various past LEGOLAND® sews shared mainly in Outfits for LEGOLAND® but also near the end of my 2019 sewing recap post.

Two Piece Swimming Suit

This same month I realized Ada needed a new swimsuit so after she picked from my stored fabric (Zoey had originally picked this fabric from Boho Fabrics the last year) I whipped her up a new swim suit using two patterns: the Ellie and Mac raglan once again and the Stitch Upon a Time boxerwear pattern. You can read how I make the swimming suits here with newer comparisons and tips included in this newer post here.

Image shows a palm frond long sleeved shirt with hidden superhero placket on the one shoulder. There lined matching underwear to the right.
Ada's new swimming suit! Years ago I made the placket 5.5 by 2.5 inches but this time I increased it to 6 by 2.5 inches and found it took the entire seam so I could see going smaller next time.


Lunch Bag with Cinched Top

Leading up to school I realized, from lunchbox packing Facebook groups, that the kids may not have access to their main water bottle during lunch at their new school. I figured why worry since that might not be the case but then one teacher emailed to say that the students may not have access to their lunch during snack time so send a separate drink. I send the kids to their first day of school with two water bottles and a simple lunch container but then overanalyzed as they'd need a lunch bag to hold, at the utmost minimum, a water bottle and lunch container and, potentially, lots of loose packaged items. Since I sew I decided making my own simple lunch sack would be the easiest so I came up with an idea, further simplified it for the first draft, and sewed up two Bluey inspired cinch bags by the time they got home. The fabric was bought in 2022 from Sweet Tickles Fabric and the vague idea might've come from my Christmas gift bag post.

Image shows two lunch bags side by side. The one in the front is open while the one beside is cinched closed. Behind them all sits a container of fabric markers.
After writing a quick message on the inside with fabric markers I added some lunch stuff to see if the lunch bags worked out and snapped a photo.
Two side by side bags holding water bottles, thermos with something hot, and fruit leather. Beside sits their larger water for the rest of the day.
All ready for the day!


Lunch Bag with Foldable Top

I knew when sewing up the demo lunch sack that the girls would need more than one and I had considered trying a Velcro® closed version. I altered my lunch bag plans, got both of them to choose two woven fabrics they liked (all bought from Joanns over the years for nightgowns) and made four new lunch bags. At first I didn't like this version as much as it's not as easy to fold and roll as I had imagined it would be but it's now been months since I made it and the girls prefer these over the Bluey ones that stay mostly unused.

Image shows all four bags in a grid. The back left one is the tallest while the one in front is folded tight,
Set it up to showcase the different sizes and storage of the folded and Velcro'd lunch bags.
Images shows two of the bags laid out next to two of the thermoses and a kettle. Behind it all a kid's hand has a thumb up.
Snapped a photo after using the kettle to heat the thermoses while the pasta cooked.

Yet another quick aside. I took photos of how I made this and the cinched bag and have been meaning to post about it either as two separate posts of one long combined one. Feel free to let me know if you want the instructions sooner and what format you'd prefer in the comments below and, again, I can attempt to prioritize it.

Fixed the Girls' Towels

Now back to September and another quick fix on the sewing machine. Back in May of 2018 I cut off the hoods of two baby towels the kids had outgrown, cut our largest towel in half, and stitched a hood onto each half. I guess in hindsight this might have been how I later came up with the idea to hack a towel into two bath mats. One frequent problem with this is that the towel unravels just enough for the hoods to start separating. This was bugging me but every time I washed the towels I forgot so this time around I grabbed them still wet from the washing machine, fixed them with a zig zag stitch, and tossed them back into the dryer. Fixed another time!

Image is a bit blurred but shows the girls with the hooded towel on them over their clothing while they look down at the new towel.
Photo taken from a previous post back in 2018 when I first assembled the towel pieces titled Recent Kid Patterns for Me-Made-May 2018



Years ago I used to make my girls Peppermint Swirl Dresses for Christmas but sometime during 2020 I realized that Ada didn’t like hers as the snaps were uncomfortable and so I embraced both simplicity and the season and switched to nightgowns as Christmas gifts instead. I then saw they had so many and last year just made pillowcases, with a warning so they wouldn't be disappointed, and now, this year, they again requested the nightgowns and I couldn't say no. Thus I made four more nightgowns this month for Christmas.

Image shows stacks of skirts, sleeves, and bodice all inside out and ready to go.
I've gotten really good at batch sewing the project by clipping as much of the fabric together as I can then sewing it all one seam after another. Perfect time for podcasts or audiobooks.
Image shows two dresses. The one on the left is spread out to see the full circle of the skirt while the other one is laid next to it to better highlight the bodice and flow.
I took a photo of Zoey's nightgowns as it fit the space better but completely forgot to snap a photo of all four of them together.
Image shows a closed bag in the back with the orange of the dragon Squishmallow hiding the dresses underneath. In front is an open bag with the dresses inside and the unicorn Squishmallow standing guard beside.
I normally save the me-made gift for the end of the girls' presents. That said I was also proud of the Squishmallows I had found, bought for the girls, and wrapped in my Christmas gift bags. So I combined them together using the Squishmallow to hide the dresses underneath. They knew about the one dress as they picked the fabric but I surprised them with a second from my fabric collection.

This nightgown is easy and their most favorite nightgown ever. In fact while writing this I was curious just how many I've made so I searched through my old 52 week sewing challenge posts for the word nightgown and saw I have made seven nightgowns in 2020 (one in May, two for Halloween, and two at Christmas) and six in 2021 (two in October and four for Christmas). In fact my earlier post about this nightgown was under another hacked nightgown (that I've never remade) and I've always meant to redo it so this last time I finally took the time to take some in progress photos. That said, I've haven't yet progressed past organizing the photos so let me know in the comments below if you want me to prioritize an updated nightgown post.

Through creating this post I realized that although I haven't sewn as much I still do miss seeing everyones project in the group and being a part of the community so I just went to 52 Week Sewing Challenge and increased the level of my in-app notifications. That said, I'm not sure what I'll do this upcoming year on the sewing front.

Have you been a member of the sewing challenges or thinking of joining? Feel free to share in the comments below. And like always I hope you're having a good week.

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