My Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Featured Image

And alas.. Another year has passed! But not just another year--Another decade. (What!) The last two years I have written posts about my favorite sewing projects & reads from the previous year (see here and here) so I wanted to continue with the trend this year.

I am always fascinated by what others are reading, and I love comparing notes on novels. (I could seriously talk about books for HOURS.)

And I absolutely love seeing everyone's very favorite sewing projects. Not only does it provide major inspo, but there is just something so beautiful about sharing something made with your own two hands.

What better way is there to enter the new year (& new decade!) than to celebrate the always learning and the always making?

But first. This last year has been a big one for TFM.

Not only did we launch our very first sewing pattern--But we launched two! The Dany was released over the summer, and the Jupiter Wrap Skirt, in collab with the brand Vesta, was just launched in December.

The Jupiter Wrap Skirt was also the very first pattern I drafted for another brand. (This is my actual dream you guys!) The pattern is being used in Vesta's ready-to-wear, made-to-order line, which is an absolute mind bender for me.. I still can't believe it!

TFM also had its first actual interview, for a local online magazine called SDVoyager. My husband then proceeded to frame the editorial style printed version of the interview and give it to me as a gift for my 30th birthday last month. (Cue the water works, seriously you guys.)

This last year definitely ended on a high note for The Flora Modiste, and I cannot wait to see where we go this year! But for now, let's look back at what made 2019 a beautiful year.

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

My 5 favorite reads from 2019

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year: Top 5 Reads

So the last FOUR years I have tried to reach a reading goal--50 Books in a single year. I have yet to reach that goal.. The closest I have gotten was in 2017 when I read 47 books. This last year, I made it through 35 books.

As my husband asked me about mid way through the year when I started falling behind on my reading goal: "Do you want to read more books? Or do you want to grow your business?"

Of course I WANT to read more books.. But grumbling I said, "Grow my business.." And grow this last year my business definitely has.

However! I still read some pretty amazing novels throughout the year, which I am so excited to share with you guys. Maybe 2020 will be the year I FINALLY read my 50 books?! Stay tuned.

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

1. The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution, by Peter Hessler (Nonfiction)

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: "The Buried"

This was a phenomenal read, without question. Peter Hessler, a journalist for The New Yorker, moved to Cairo (with his wife & newborn twin daughters) to become their local correspondent--Just as the Arab Spring was beginning.

I picked up this novel because (to me) Egypt is a completely fascinating topic. And I was curious to learn more about the Arab Spring, since I didn't really know a whole lot about it. Not only do you learn about it in this novel, but you also learn about Egypt's entire history as a whole.

The novel also really focuses a lot on Egyptian society, and how it functions. (Or more accurately, how it spectacularly malfunctions.)

If at all curious about any aspect of Egypt's history or culture, I 1,0000% recommend this book. Not only is it fascinating, but the writing is absolutely brilliant and captivating.

2. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Historical Fiction)

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: "The Water Dancer"

This was a deeply heavy novel. It begins with a quote from Frederick Douglas, which sets the tone for the entire book: "My part has been to tell the story of the slave. The story of the master never wanted for narrators."

Yah. Hits you right in the chest, right?

The novel revolves around the life of a pre-Civil War slave, Hiram Walker--The son of a white plantation owner and a black slave. The novel begins at the point in Hiram's life when his father sells his mother. We then follow Hiram's heartbreaking story, which has a bit of a magical twist--Hiram has a fantastical ability that he is struggling to understand and control, all while trying to stay alive in the South.

Prior to The Water Dancer, I had heard of how beautiful Ta-Nehisi Coates' writing is. But I had never experienced it until this novel, and there is truly nothing like it. Coates' writing is indescribably unique--It is absolutely singular & powerfully poetic. And yet.. Also biting and raw.

While absolutely heartbreaking, this is a novel every American should read--It is our own history after all.

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

3. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller (Historical Fiction)

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: "The Song of Achilles"

Last year, Madeline Miller's book Circe was one of my top 5 books of the year.

I ended up truly falling in love with the novel and with Miller's writing style, so I set out to see what other novels she had written. Her only other book is The Song of Achilles, so I picked it up when I was at a bookshop in LA. And of course, I fell in love all over again.

As many novels and movies have done in the past, The Song of Achilles tells.. The story of Achilles. But this version Miller told was so different, I was absolutely captivated from the start. Told from the perspective of Patroclus, the novel really focuses on the life of Achilles prior to the Trojan War--Which is a part of his story I have never been told before.

Not only do you learn about a new side of Achilles in the novel, but you also learn more about Patroclus, which I found absolutely fascinating. Yet another brilliant novel by Madeline Miller--Although very, very different from Circe.

4. The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay (Fiction)

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: "The Far Field"

This was actually the first book I read in 2019--And I absolutely LOVED it.

The novel revolves around the story of a privileged young girl, Shalini, that lives in the Indian city of Bangalore. After the death of her mother, she is absolutely devastated and lost--So she goes on a journey to war-torn Kashmir to find one of her mother's oldest friends, looking for guidance.

Because Shalini (i.e. me, the reader) is from a completely different world, she doesn't understand anything when she gets to Kashmir. She stumbles into the lives of people she knows nothing about, unintentionally disrupting everything she touches.

The novel is a fascinating portrayal of just how privileged so many of us are, and how we will never truly understand those that are not in our position--No matter how hard we try to empathize.

If at all curious to read a novel about a very, very different part of the world, I would highly recommend this book. But be forewarned--As with most in this life, it does not have a happy ending.

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

5. A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne (Fiction)

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: "A Ladder to the Sky"

In recent years, John Boyne has very quickly become one of my favorite authors. I fell in love with him when I read The Heart's Invisible Furies back in 2017, and his newest novel, A Ladder to the Sky, did not disappoint.

This novel focuses on Maurice Swift, an aspiring writer with no talent. Each section of the book is told from the perspective of a different character, one that interacts on deeply personal levels with Maurice. The stories all tell of how Maurice savagely takes advantage of them.. In truly devastating ways.

Now--I have never been a fan of novels where the main character is a complete a-hole. But somehow, Boyne pulled it off and I became completely obsessed with this novel.

The writing was incredible--Each of the different character perspectives was so incredibly unique, including the final section from Maurice's own sociopathic POV. An absolutely brilliantly written novel, and if looking for your next favorite author, look no further.

My Favorite Sewing Projects From 2019

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year: Top 3 Projects

As I mentioned above, this last year was definitely a growing year for The Flora Modiste.

We launched two completely new printed sewing patterns, as well as DIY kits for each. Our very first interview was published back in the Fall. And our sweet little audience has more than doubled. (What!) Which is all very, very exciting news.

But it also means that I wasn't able to create nearly as much brand new content as I have in past years because all of the above was keeping me pretty busy.

And then with the opening of the pattern shop, it actually made me want to go back to all of our original content and touch it all up. (Because it definitely, definitely needed some love!)

So. With all that being said, I think I am going to only list out my top 3 favorite sewing projects from the year. Get ready for some major inspo!

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

1. My favorite sewing projects: MY DIY constellation quilt

Favorite Sewing Projects #1: DIY Constellation Quilt

Favorite Sewing Projects: Finished DIY Constellation Quilt

Oh, this quilt. It was quite the endeavor! I actually started it in 2018, but it took me so long to finish it, I wasn't able to complete it until February of last year. The project was so massive I actually did 4 different blog posts on it:

  1. My First DIY Constellation Quilt (Part One)
  2. DIY Constellation Quilt Embroidery Stitches Tutorial (Part Two)
  3. DIY Constellation Quilt Tips & Tricks (Part Three)
  4. How To Sew A Quilt Binding (Part Four)

This DIY constellation quilt was my first attempt at quilting, and it was WAY more time consuming than I ever expected it to be. I feel like sewing projects are fairly quick--I can complete from start to finish in a few weeks.

But this quilt. It took me a solid 6 months to finish this project--And many, many of those weeks were solely dedicated to working on the quilt. (Particularly during the holidays!) However. I absolutely loved the project, despite how long it took.

Stitching up the constellations was almost therapeutic, and it allowed my hands to work without my mind really having to think about it. If looking for a massive quilting project, I would highly recommend this one!

2. My favorite sewing projects: The Dany Two Piece

Favorite Sewing Project #2: The Dany Two Piece

Favorite Sewing Project: Close Up Of The Dany Two Piece

And of course.. The Dany Two Piece! This is potentially my favorite project we have ever created here on The Flora Modiste.

Originally, when I was developing the Dany Sheath as a sewing pattern, I was only going to include the dress in the design. But when I was sewing up samples last spring, the design just felt.. Flat. So I decided to cut the dress at the waist, and the Dany Two Piece was born!

I feel like it absolutely just completes the design, and was just waiting for me to figure it out before launching the printed sewing patterns.

The top is the cutest little crop top (which I wear with everything--not just the skirt) and can be sewn with or without sleeves. I also love the little skirt--It's this cute little piece that just screams summer.

If you love the Dany Two Piece as much as I do, you can make your own with the Dany printed sewing pattern! (And don't forget we have DIY kits too, you know.)

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

3. My favorite sewing projects: The Jupiter Wrap Skirt

Favorite Sewing Project #3: The Jupiter Wrap Skirt

Favorite Sewing Project: Close Up Of The Jupiter Wrap Skirt

Ahh the Jupiter. While I drafted the sewing pattern for this skirt, I cannot take credit for the design--That goes completely to Vesta, the brand I collaborated on this project with.

The Jupiter truly is the perfect skirt! It wraps closed, so no pesky closures need to be sewn in. And there are two pocket options to choose from when sewing the design up with our sewing patterns: Would you rather have practical inseam side pockets, or giant front patch pockets? I know, impossible to decide.

The gathered waistband is nice and thick, and sits along the waist perfectly. (And not to mention it's incredibly flattering as well.) With our sewing pattern, you can also choose the length you want: Midi or maxi?

I think my favorite combos are the maxi length with the inseam pockets, and the midi length with the patch pockets.

And the best part about this collab? If you're more of a ready-made girl, you can buy this beautiful design off of Vesta's website in their signature fabrics. Yes please! But if you do want to get your creative on, both the printed sewing patterns & a gorgeous DIY kit are available in the pattern shop now.

The year ahead for The Flora Modiste

Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year: Cheers!

 

As I mentioned earlier in the post, this year has been a big one for TFM. I think this year, I really want to refine the brand and build out this sweet little community we have going on. What does that mean exactly? I'm thinking:

  • Perfecting all of our content, and making it the absolute best that it can be. This means clear & beautiful tutorial photos with easy to understand instructions. And of course--Getting some fresh, new content out there for you guys too. Quality, not quantity.
  • Turning our printed sewing patterns, the Dany & the Jupiter, into PDF sewing patterns you can print from home. (Many of you have requested this, so I am really going to get on it!)
  • Nurturing this sweet community. That means showing you guys more of my life--Not just the business side of things--And learning more about your lives. Because we are all in this together, you know?

And of course.. I am 100% going to try and reach that goal of reading 50 books this year. If you guys are at all interested in connecting about what novels you're reading, follow me on Goodreads! I would love to see what you are reading as well.

Here's to having a fantastic, beautiful 2020 filled with learning and making. Cheers my loves!

(Jump start your sewing education today and receive all NINE sewing tutorials & instructional worksheets covered in the last year! Tutorials include how to make a DIY scrunchie, how to sew an invisible zipper, and how to sew a quilt binding. And this way, you'll never miss another tutorial.)Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads: Get All 9 Sewing Tutorials & Worksheets

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