5 Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads From 2017
And alas, another year has passed. Can you believe it? (But I feel like we always say that.) With the New Year, I wanted to go back and recap my favorite sewing projects from 2017, as well as my favorite reads.
I feel like I spend about 75% of my waking hours either working on a sewing project or reading, so I thought it would be useful to recap my very favorite sewing projects from this past year. As well as my very favorite books! Because who doesn't love reading?
(HA. It's actually a bit shocking how many people I know that don't read, and have no desire to. It makes me a bit sad really, so I try to inspire others with my love of reading, as much as humanely possible. The same goes for sewing, really.)
I feel like reading and sewing are often seen as "loner" activities, since both are typically done alone. After all, the reading is all in your head. And a finished sewing project is typically for yourself.. Which is part of what I love about both reading and sewing.
And I love when my hands move of their own accord when working on a sewing project.
BUT I know, I know. Not everyone loves being by themselves and getting lost in their own head.
Most people are pretty social beings. There ARE ways in which sewing & reading can be social activities.
By reading a book at the same time with a loved one or a friend, you could get together for coffee and discuss what you loved/hated about the book once you've finished it.
My husband and I especially love going to a bookstore and picking out a book for one another to read.. We have been doing this for almost 10 years now, we started it back when we were in college. We read the books and then talk about what we loved or didn't love, and then swap books.
(Finally committed to learning how to sew this year? Building up your very own sewing kit is an excellent place to start! So make sure to grab your complete beginners guide below.) Also, I find a large chunk of my reads from my Book of the Month Club subscription.
I LOVE being a part of this community, have you heard of it? And I have always been terrible at discovering new authors and books, so being a part of this community has vastly improved my knowledge of contemporary writers and reads.
There are discussions online in which you can discuss with other members (who are all over the country) what you loved (or didn't love) about the books you read.
BOTMC also has all kinds of different contests and giveaways, so it's a pretty fun community to be a part of.
When it comes to sewing, you can choose a project to make with a loved one. (I did this with my sister recently!) She wanted to make her own version of the Ilma Raglan, so we went to the fabric store and sewed her up her very own sweater. It was so fun!
And it's pretty cool that we get to match one another as well, even though our sweaters look completely different. We spent a day sewing together while eating, drinking, and laughing. Definitely a fun way to learn/teach a new skill, as well as just spending time with someone you care about.
So. I guess what I'm trying to say is that reading & sewing can both be loner activities, but they can also be enjoyed with others.
And now, for my favorite sewing projects and reads from 2017.
My 5 favorite reads from 2017
I have mentioned before that my single New Year's resolution for 2017 was to read 50 books throughout the year. I read 40 books in 2016, so I thought going for the solid round 50 in 2017 would be cake. It wasn't quite so easy. If you think about it, that's almost a book a week.
I tend to go through waves where I read nonstop for like a month, and then I take a break and it takes me two weeks to read a single book.
And alas, I came so close to reaching my goal. I made it through 47 books! SO CLOSE. I read pretty much nonstop the entire month of December, staying up late into the night.
We were up in Oregon the last two weeks of the month, so staying inside and reading by the fire was pretty much exactly what I wanted to be doing. I'm going to try again in 2018 to reach my goal of reading 50 books in a year. I think I can do it!
Anyways.. Here are my very favorite books that I read throughout 2017. I hope you love them as much as I do!
1. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas
First of all: This was definitely my most favorite book that I read this year. The book follows the life of the main character, Joan Ashby. It's a thick ass book--Over 500 pages.
I want to know what the character is having for breakfast every morning, what they are thinking every day, how much they exercise each week. I want to follow their life, to truly get inside their mind and their world.
This is exactly the type of story that Joan Ashby embodies. The story starts when Joan is young and living in New York, and she is unwavering in her choice that she doesn't want children. She ends up getting pregnant, and her life completely changes from the one that she had always envisioned for herself.
The story follows Joan throughout her new life path of leaving NYC, having two children, and the world having assumed that she had given up her life passion of being a writer to raise her family.
I don't want to give too much away.. But the book follows Joan throughout her life, and her path after a traumatic event takes place in which she becomes known simply as Ashby. An incredibly beautiful and well written story... Probably my top 5 that I have ever read, if not the top 3.
2. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Byrn Greenwood
This book won the Book of the Year Award from my Book of the Month Club, and it truly didn't disappoint. The book is sort of an extremely twisted version of a Beauty and the Beast tale, set in modern times. It's definitely not a story for everyone--I imagine it would be hard for those with children to read it.
It follows the tale of how a young girl (a child, really) falls in love with a much older man, and how he essentially helps to raise her. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but this is a beautifully written story that is unlike anything I have ever read.
It's disturbing, but it's also just an unconventional love story. I read this entire book in a day, I couldn't put it down. Again, definitely in my top 5 books that I have ever read.
3. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
Yet another epic, thick ass book that I read this year and absolutely fell in love with. The story follows a family that immigrated from Korea to Japan in the early-mid 20th century. It follows the lives of the different members of the family, and how they experience living in Japan as Koreans.
Not only does the epic follow the lives of the different family members, but it's also a bit of a history lesson. It goes into detail on how Koreans in Japan (at this time in history) were seen as (almost) sub human, and how horribly they were treated.
The story also goes in to historical detail on living in Japan leading up to and during World War 2, as well as the effects after the bombings of Japan. If you're at all interested in historical fiction, this book would be a pretty perfect choice to read.
4. Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough
Because, you have to include an awesome thriller. This story is specifically a psychological thriller, which I find to be the most interesting of thrillers.
The story follows Louise, who is your typical working, single mom. She gets extremely tangled up in a husband & wife's unusual marriage, and the story follows her trying to untangle the threads that she has somehow woven herself into.
The reviews for the book boast that you will NEVER guess the ending.. And that is 100% accurate.
The ending is extremely unexpected, and a bit sci fi.. But still really interesting. Definitely the most unusual thriller that I have ever read, but probably also the best.
5. After the Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search, by Sarah Perry
The title for this book is a pretty accurate glimpse of what this book is about. One night, a mother is murdered in the room next to where her young daughter is sleeping.. A murder that went unsolved until the young girl was in her late 20's.
Because Sarah lost her mother so young, she wanted to learn everything she could about her. The book alternates between telling her mother's life story up until the murder, and Sarah's own life growing up after her mother's death.
Sarah's own memories of her mother are also peppered throughout the story, giving it even more life.
I am lucky enough to still have my mother, but the story had an incredible impact on me.. One that I definitely didn't expect it to have.
The story is definitely a sad one, but it's also incredibly powerful and beautifully well written.
My 4 favorite sewing projects from 2017
And now.. For my favorite sewing projects! My favorite sewing projects were definitely the finished projects that I posted about here on The Flora Modiste. I really don't have any specific method on choosing the different monthly sewing projects.
When I'm putting together the schedule for the next month, I really just try to figure out what I want to make and add in to my closet, and then I just go and make it.
Definitely a goal for 2018: To plan out my sewing projects ahead of time.. Maybe I will actually be able to get ahead? #wishfulthinking
But anyways.. Here are my very favorite sewing projects from last year.
1. My favorite sewing projects: The Emma Skirt
I had been dying to make my very own pleated skirt for yeeeaaarrsss before I finally made the Emma Skirt. The skirt is fully pleated with knife pleats (yes, there are many different types of pleats) front and back. The skirt is just about knee length, which I think is the PERFECT length for a skirt.
The Emma is fully lined with a few layers to give it some additional volume, and is closed off with an invisible side zipper. The tutorial that I covered with this project was how to sew knife pleats.
The project was named after the beautiful Emma Watson. I love this lady.. To me she is the definition of beauty, brains, and independence--Everything that I want this blog to represent.
2. My favorite sewing projects: The Ilma Raglan
Living in San Diego, we don't need too many heavy sweaters. Which is why I decided to make this cropped sweater beauty: The Ilma Raglan. The sweater is cropped just above the hips, and is the perfect length to wear with jeans.
I added an asymmetrical godet, to give the sweater some extra fullness. The raglan seams give the sweater some extra movement, which is always good to have in a sweater, since they are typically layered with other garments.
The sleeves are also extra long..
The tutorial that I covered with this project was how to sew a knit seam binding.
The project was named after my more nerdy side.. The term Ilma is Elvish for "starlight".. Just read the full post. I promise it's a beautiful concept that the term represents.
3. My favorite sewing projects: The Ashby Coat
Coats! I love love love coats. The only downside (but also the upside) of living in San Diego is that I don't really need too many coats.. But I still love them.
Coats are definitely the most challenging garment to make, just because there is so much that goes into making one. I'm talking buttons, zippers, pockets, facings, linings, shoulder pads..
The Ashby is an asymmetrical beauty of a coat that I pulled from my final collection that I designed while at FIDM in San Francisco. It's actually a pretty perfect west coast coat: Not too heavy, but warm enough for the colder months.
The tutorial that I covered with this project was how to sew an inseam pocket.
The project was named after my favorite book that I read this year: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby. See above, I gush about my never-ending love for this book and Ashby herself.
4. My favorite sewing projects: The Teri Dress
Who doesn't love a good maxi dress? The Teri was the first project that launched The Flora Modiste, and a simple beauty of a dress. The dress has a fairly simple shape, with a small pleated section near the hem.
The beauty of the dress is that it can be sewn multiple ways: With the pleated section, with the asymmetrical seams, or just as a plain maxi.
It's also an excellent transition dress between the seasons, especially from Fall to Winter.
The tutorial that I covered with this project was how to sew an invisible zipper.. A truly invaluable tutorial.
The project was named after my sweet pup Teri, also one of my best friends. This girl is such a happy babe, it's infectious. And I love her for it forever.
Inspired to start reading & sewing more?
I hope you love my favorite sewing projects and books as much as I do..
Sewing is an incredibly useful skill to have, and can be invaluable. Plus, how cool is it to be able to say that you make your own clothes?
Reading keeps your mind sharp, and transports you to a completely different world.. All for like, $15. Definitely cheaper than a trip or a therapist.
Are there any sewing projects you'd like to see in 2018? Or any of your favorite reads from last year? Because seriously, I'd love to hear all about them!