My Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year: 2020

My Favorite Sewing Projects & Reads Of The Year: 2020

I'm pretty sure everyone is real happy to say "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya" to 2020, am I right? And while I'm usually pretty excited and motivated when starting a new year.. For some reason, this year, I just feel sort of cautiously optimistic. Like--I'm real excited about having a vaccine on the horizon and the fact that a glass ceiling will be shattered on January 20th. But I'm still sort of waiting for someone to jump out of the bushes with a knife, you know what I mean? 

However, despite the year that was 2020--I still think it's valuable to look back, to highlight the highlights, if you will. And every year since launching TFM in 2017, I have released a post at the beginning of each new year looking back at my favorite sewing projects and books from the previous year. 

If you are curious about our favorite sewing projects and reads from the previous few years, check out the posts: 

My hope is that a past TFM project might be the exact sewing project you may want to tackle this year, but maybe didn't know how to. Or maybe you have a goal of reading more this upcoming year, and are looking for the best books to start the year off with? Either way, I hope you will find this post useful! 

While I feel like I didn't personally hit nearly as many goals as I was hoping to in 2020 (did anybody?) one goal I did hit was reading 50 books in the year--a goal I have been striving for for the past 5 years! Curious about my favorite 5 books from 2020? Well keep reading.. 

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

My 5 favorite reads of 2020

Favorite reads of the year: My top 5!

As I said above--50 books! In a single year! And somehow I have (sort of) whittled it down to my 5 favorites. Every year, I try to make sure that I read a wide variety of books throughout the year: Fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, memoirs, etc.

I also try to make sure I read a variety of authors--in 2020 I read 45 different authors of 13 different nationalities. And while I have always kept track of this statistic, I feel like the racial justice movement of 2020 really upped my awareness of both the stories and authors that I am choosing (or subconsciously not choosing) to read. 

I hope that you love and are as interested in these books as much as I am--and here's to reading another 50 books in 2021! 

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd (Historical Fiction) 

Favorite reads of the year: "The Book of Longings" by Sue Monk Kidd

I was a bit shocked by how much I loved this book--I can honestly say it is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. Based upon the premise, I had a feeling that I was absolutely going to love it or I was going to loathe it. And I fell in love--hard. 

The book is based in the time of Jesus--yes, that Jesus. THE Jesus. But the book isn't about him, not really. It's about Ana. Ana is the daughter of a wealthy man, who (as a child) is betrothed to a wealthy landowner more than twice her age. Ana is expected to marry and bear this man's children--but Ana has other plans. Ana plans to truly live.

The book tells the story of Ana's life--how she meets Jesus, of their time together, and of her own adventures. She is fierce, whip smart, and just an incredible character to get into the mind of. Add to that the fact that the writing of The Book of Longings is absolutely gorgeous--I literally could not put this book down. 

I was originally hesitant about this book because, while I grew up religious, I no longer am. And yet I truly adored the book. I think it really is a gem in that you can love it whether you are religious or not--And I don't believe there are many books that can claim that.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Nonfiction)

My favorite reads of the year: "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson

This book.. I can say, without question, that it has changed my life. In short form, the book Caste discusses three main caste systems that have existed throughout modern history: That in India, Nazi Germany, and the one that is alive and well here in the United States. 

The book walks through the horrors of the caste system, and the eight pillars that hold the system up. As a privileged white woman born and raised in California, I have never had to experience most of what this book describes. And as I read the book I was shamed into realizing how often I (albeit unknowingly) contributed to the existing caste system. Not only will this book teach you immensely important historical lessons, but I guarantee it will absolutely shift your mindset and perspective on race, class, caste, and privilege. 

In light of the racial justice movement in 2020, I think this is a book that absolutely every compassionate American should read. (I also highly recommend listening to Oprah's 9 part podcast on this book.)

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction) 

Favorite reads of the year: "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah

I'm a few years late to the game on this novel.. But my goodness. It was one of the first books I read in 2020 and it absolutely blew. my. mind. I'm still awed by it a year later. 

The book is a WWII historical fiction novel based in occupied France. What makes the novel unique is that it tells the woman's story during the war--a completely different struggle and experience than that of the solider. The story revolves around two sisters--one sister is fighting for the French resistance and the other is forced to live with and cater to a Nazi occupying her home. 

I have loved every Kristin Hannah book I have ever read--the women she writes about are so strong, intimately flawed, and also magnificently complex. This book's characters are no exception and the novel is an absolute jewel--perhaps my favorite novel of Hannah's to date. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Nonfiction)

Favorite reads of the year: "Becoming" by Michelle Obama

Again--I'm a few years late to this book, but it's one I was holding on to because I just knew it was going to be fantastic. And my goodness, it did not disappoint. 

As I'm sure you know--Becoming is a memoir of Michelle Obama's life thus far. The first section of the book is about her childhood, the second section revolves around her adult life and meeting Barack, and the third section revolves around their time in the White House. Michelle writes with such beauty and honesty, yet it was also lyrical and poetic in so many ways. 

If at all interested in this fascinating, incredible woman's life, I would absolutely recommend reading this book. It not only made me appreciate her so much more as a person and as a woman--but she made me prouder to be an American at a time when that can sometimes be a bit difficult. 

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)

Favorite reads of the year: "The Stormlight Archive" series by Brandon Sanderson

So I'm cheating a bit with this one--considering The Stormlight Archive is technically six books at this point. But I was absolutely blown away by this magnificent fantasy series this year. It's one that has been going on for about a decade now, with the fourth book of the series released in November of 2020.

If you are a fantasy lover--this is your next series. I haven't been this obsessed with a high fantasy series since A Song of Ice and Fire--and who knows when the next book in that series will ever come out. If you are interested in The Stormlight Archive, here are the books in the series so far: 

I don't even really know how to get into the plot of the series.. But again, if you're a fantasy lover, pick up The Way of Kings, and I promise you will be hooked on an obsessively addictive series for weeks and/or months. 

My favorite sewing projects of 2020

My favorite sewing projects of the year: 2020

The last few years, I have written about 3-5 of my favorite sewing projects from the past year. This year, as I looked back through all of our projects and posts for 2020--I realized we didn't really have all that many new projects in 2020. If you'll recall--my word for 2020 was FOUNDATION. Which meant going back to the basics: Updating all of our old posts, creating an updated and beautiful website, and really just streamlining all of our processes. 

Which, on top of a global pandemic setting in 3 months into the new year, resulted in fewer new sewing projects. In the early months of the pandemic not only was I completely overwhelmed with everyday life--but I was overwhelmed with making face masks. In less than a month I knocked out close to 250 face masks--it was insane and exhausting. 

So basically--I have one beautiful project to share with you from 2020. While this was definitely a more involved project (and potentially one of my all time favorites) it really is the only stand out project from the year, and one that I hope you will love and find as inspirational as I do.

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

My favorite sewing project of 2020: The Madeline Jacket

My favorite sewing projects of the year: The Madeline Jacket

My favorite sewing projects of the year: The Madeline Jacket

Ahh this jacket! Prior to drafting and sewing up this project, I had had a velvet jacket on my mind for a while. I inherited a beautiful cranberry velvet from a family friend years prior, but had never found the right project for it. Until.. The Madeline.

The Madeline is a cropped jacket (perfect for west coast winters) with princess seams, a notched collar, and inseam welt pockets. I also used a beautiful contrasting striped hemp lining on the inside--which I particularly love. And while the jacket definitely isn't perfect.. I still absolutely love it. This little beauty will stand out in a crowd, without question. 

It works well with pants, skirts, dresses--anything really. And while the zipper isn't entirely functional (I didn't sew it quite right) I feel like it does add a little bit of an edge to the jacket. But of course girl--you know how much I love my pockets, so even on a cropped little beauty I had to add them in. 

The sewing tutorial for the Madeline was on how to properly sew a sleeve--which isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds. (I can't even tell you how many times I have sewn a sleeve on the wrong side of a garment!) Not only does the tutorial walk you through how to sew a two piece lined sleeve, but it also walks you through how to properly fit a sleeve. While not necessarily difficult, it's also not necessarily simple either. 

If looking for some major 2021 sewing inspo, make sure to check out the full post on the Madeline! She's a beauty. 

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

The year ahead for TFM 

Favorite sewing projects of the year: Cheers to more sewing!

As I said above--2021 has me cautiously optimistic. I listened to a podcast a few months back, in which someone put 2020 in a perfect perspective for me: Life was just put on pause for a year. Which I feel like pretty accurately describes my own personal 2020--especially when it comes to The Flora Modiste

While we did knock out some pretty important foundational goals: Designing and launching a brand new, beautiful website, expanding our DIY kit line, and updating old blog posts.. I still didn't get to do nearly as much as I wanted to. 

As of right now, here is what I imagine the year ahead looking like for TFM

  • Costume design: I want to really explore this unique sphere of fashion in 2021. Which means--drafting and sewing construction details I wouldn't normally use in everyday projects and finally tackling that vintage sewing pattern design you guys voted on last year. 
  • DIY home projects: With spending so much time at home last year, we started to touch on some simple DIY home projects. With staying at home on the agenda for at least the first half of 2021, I want to continue to expand our reach with DIY home projects this year. 
  • More sewing projects: I definitely want to work on more sewing projects this year--I feel like I have been lacking a bit in the inspiration department when it comes to sewing, but I think working on costume design will really jump start that process and we will create some truly unique projects here at TFM this year. Which I hope will in turn inspire your own sewing projects! 

What do you want your 2021 to look like? I hope that it either involves more sewing or more reading--or maybe even both! 

(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.)

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Sewing Kit

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