Hello. It’s nearly the end of 2017 and I think it would be remiss of me to not take a look back over the year. And if I’m going to do that, I guess it would be even more remiss of me to not look ahead to 2018. So here goes…

Sewing-wise it’s been an incredible year for me. I started this blog not long after I started sewing with no real aim or purpose in mind, other than documenting what I’m making and how I’m making it. This year, I managed to post 43 blog posts (44 including this one!) and I still have no idea where I’m heading! Not all different patterns, I hasten to add (hopefully each repeat has brought a new angle..?) but where better to start this retrospective than with the patterns.

As a male sewist (yes, I’m embracing Sewist against my natural pull towards Sewer, for the sole reason that it looks like sewer (drain) when written down (my preferred medium) which sucks) I’m insanely jealous that female sewists can buy a couple of books/ mags and kit themselves out for all eternity. Us boys have comparatively slim pickings. But there are men’s patterns out there…

Patterns.

Thread Theory have come up trumps this year. I’ve made countless pairs of underwear and a couple of Finlayson sweaters. One of my big breakthroughs in 2017 was the completion of my Goldstream Peacoat, documented in three parts; here, here and here!

I waited with baited breath for Vanessa Mooncie’s book The Gentleman’s Wardrobe to arrive and so far have made just three of the patterns.

The wallet is fun, if a little chunky. Rather than binding it, I turned it through and, although it was a bit of a heft for my machine, it made some great gifts.

The shirt has become my absolute go-to pattern. I’ve used it over and over and over and over. Here’s a pic of seven different versions that I wore in this years OWOP (one week – one pattern) challenge.

The waistcoat was a success too – it made up half of my-favourite-outfit this winter.

However, the biggest shout-out has to go to this book. It’s been my main source of patterns this year…

Men’s Clothes For All Seasons.

Having seen this book on instagram I scoured the internet for it, only to eventually find it in a Japanese book store barely a 5 minute walk from my house! They didn’t keep it in stock but happily ordered it in for me. It contains 22 patterns in 5 sizes. Be warned, S M & L mean nothing in this book! Check the measurements. And maybe learn Japanese because google translate isn’t foolproof. What I love about making multiple patterns from one supplier is that you can predict your expected adjustments (sleeve & body length for me here) and every make becomes a blueprint for the next. Most of my patterns came from this book, and I’m sure there are more still to come.

The trousers had a shaky start, but soon turned into my go-to trousers and (with a bit of modification) my favourite jeans … twice!

The raglan and jersey tops I’ve used repeatedly, and the t shirt.

The shirt was a bit of a dud. Not through any fault of its own… I didn’t check the sleeve length and they came up a bit short. I guess I’m not a big fan of a back pleat either. I still wear it when there’s nothing else clean… I just roll the sleeves up.

The bomber jacket was something of a high though and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make another. (I appeased myself so far with this cute dog-version!)

In 2018 I’m looking forward to using more Freesewing patterns, and getting into the family issue of Ottobre Magazine. I’ve also got a bunch of Simplicity patterns, but more on that later…

Opportunities.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m kind-of drifting as a blogger. Just posting as I make and seeing what happens. Well, this year a few things happened which were as unexpected as they were exciting.

SewSewDef Magazine.

Just imagine my surprise when I opened my instagram mid March to see a message from Mimi G asking if I’d be interested in being a regular contributor to her new online sewing magazine SewSewDef. Of course I’d be interested! It was a voluntary role, which really didn’t matter at all… and it was a very exciting boost after the second issue when project fabrics were supplied free.

With less than a weeks notice I came up with a piece on shirt hacks…

Next up, a full review & sewalong of the Thread Theory trunks…


I was particularly pleased with my two-parter on jeans hacked from chinos…


And a bag I drafted from scratch…

It was a great run. I really enjoyed the autonomy to choose whatever I wanted to write about. It seemed natural to me to write tutorials, how-to’s and step-by-steps, which I guess has helped me to see where I might like my sewing to head in the future.

But after 5 issues it was over, which was a real shame. However, I was left with more confidence knowing that I had stepped up to the mark and achieved a goal I didn’t even know I had.

Another amazing opportunity was when Portia Lawrie asked me to be part of the refashioners inspiration blogger team.

I must admit that part of me was secretly gutted to not be in the running for the big prize, but as a (relatively new) self taught home sewist, it was a massive boost to my confidence. I mean, I know there aren’t a lot of male sewists out there, maybe she’d asked all the others, but she didn’t have to ask me… but she did! And so I guess I won the best prize for me after all!

It was a tough challenge – refashioning a two piece suit. I came up with my ‘Men’s Executive Dungarees‘ and I was so grateful for the positive feedback and encouragement I received from both Portia and the sewing community. It was a real honour to be grouped up with so many admirable and amazing sewists.

And then came The Sewcialists. I’d been aware of this group for a while and couldn’t help but notice the re-boot this year. As luck would have it I happened to open my instagram just as Gillian was calling for contributors for the Sewcialists TNT theme. Fastest-finger prevailed and I was in! I’d recently made more underwear and was planning a blog post about it already, so this fitted the brief perfectly (see what I did there?).

It was a great feeling writing for another blog, the feedback was really encouraging and I hope to do it again in the future. In the meantime if you’d like, you can read about my underwear here!

Competitions.

I mentioned simplicity patterns earlier… well, would you believe that it was just three days after I heard that SewSewDef magazine was closing down that I was told I’d won the menswear category in this years Simplicity Sewing Challenge! That put a smile on my face! I’d hacked the pattern into a woven tee with a short placket and made it out of some incredible wax print cotton that was gifted to me. (You can read about it here).

I was thrilled with the win, and even more thrilled when I got to choose 12 patterns from their website as my prize! 12 patterns – 12 months in a year… guess where this is heading…! Yes, I’m going to try to make one a month throughout 2018. I’m not going to hold myself hostage to that though. Maybe I’ll make none one month and two the next… we’ll see how it goes! I think I’ve chosen some interesting patterns. I went for all menswear (except for one) which wasn’t easy, some staples, coats, suits, and a couple of costumes!

And as if that wasn’t enough, right at the end of the year I was chosen as one of the prize winners of What Corrine Did Next‘s Christmas Jumper Challenge!

You can read about my jumper here. And guess what I won… a 12 metre fabric bundle from Abakhan Fabrics, 4 lots of 3 metres which I can’t wait to choose!

Well done if you’ve made it this far! As you can see it’s been a pretty exciting sewing year for me and hopefully 2018 will bring more challenges and opportunities. Now I just have to work out if I have enough time to make an outfit for New Year!

Thank you to all of you who have followed me here and on instagram this year; Thank you for all the likes, comments and views – your support and encouragement really does mean the world to me. Have a very happy new year and may all your sewing dreams come true!

Best wishes,

Andrew (aka BusterSew!)

Notes to self;

  • Buy a laptop! – would you believe I write all of this on my iphone…?!
  • Try to be organised to keep this a joy and not a chore.
  • Work tidily to not take over the whole flat with sewing! (MrA & I might be moving in the new year which may give me the opportunity to finally have a sewing room! This prospect is too exciting and I’m trying to not think about it too much!)
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