Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: The Year in Review

What a ride 2013 has been!

Sometimes I get to the point where I say to myself, "You haven't done enough." I'm actually getting that feeling right now, but maybe perhaps it's because during winter I slow down a bit altogether. (Seriously though - don't beat yourself up kids. It doesn't get you anywhere) .

If you haven't seen my "Past Projects" page, it really got beefed up this year. I made a total of about 24 garments this year - only TWO were not my own original pattern (the one that wasn't my pattern was the fall coat and a skirt I pattern tested). I'm also counting the 4 tank dresses I made in that number. By contrast, I only made about 6 garments in 2012. Pattern making is something I have gotten pretty quick at, though I think this year I want to move onto far more complex things. Maybe I will, maybe I won't! I suppose we'll have to see.

I learned quite a bit this year! Let's look at some highlights by the month.

In January, I started testing myself with stretch knits -something I still want to get better at- and made a few things. My favorite example of learning more about stretch knits was the Mod Acid Dress. I love how the detailing came out on this!

Overall the fit on the top part could be a little better, but I remedied most fit issues by the end of the year in much of my work by doing.... yes, duh, a muslin. I was too impatient at the beginning of the year for them, but they are fairly necessary especially if you make your own patterns like I do. This dress also needed to use a stretchier fabric for the navy blue which I learned the hard way.

March gave me the fantastic Sunrise Panel Top. I was pretty proud of this one although it ended up a little short somehow and also had some minor fit issues. I took the bodice of this and later transformed it into a dress which is one of my favorites of this year - the Sunrise Panel Dress! 

This year I also perfected inserting pockets in dresses and skirts so I used that quite a bit! I also sold one of these dresses via my Etsy shop!

In April, I tested myself with a placket on a dress (below)! This vintage fabric came from Max's mom that she bought for me last Christmas. I still need to do some more placket practice but I am quite happy with how this dress came out. Might be the most beautiful one I have ever made. 

By May, I was interning with a Chicago fashion designer, mainly to learn pattern grading a bit better. I didn't last too long due to my busy retail schedule at the time, but she and I still remain in contact and I personally consider her my "design mentor" if I have any questions about running your own fashion business.

By June, I was making items for clients, such as this fantastic vintage print dress. I still have some of this fabric left and I think I might be making a top with it, starting today.

I also created a line sheet for a small dress collection I worked on (and finished!) Note that the "Ana Stripe Dress" was replaced by the Sunrise Panel Dress, a similar but better style.


 I finished the Petra Dress by the end of July and it's still one of my favorites ever to wear! 

By August, I was asked to do an exhibition with my dresses at the Lomo Store in Wicker Park! What an amazing opportunity! The turnout for this was far more than I ever expected.

Better photo of the Mod Faces top I made using more vintage fabric.

After the show and in September, I kind of chilled and finished up the last dress - the Scallop Pocket Dress. I still am a little upset about the minor fit issues on this one but this dress prompted me to make muslins of basically everything after my (ridiculous) pattern making mistakes. It still was a super-popular style for me on Instagram. I want to make a similar style in a ponte knit.

In October, I then tried my hand at a Shingo Sato technique, Transformational Reconstruction. This is perhaps a "light" version of it, but hell. It's always good to try something new, no matter what the result.

I'm skipping November because quite literally, nothing happened except me taking my sweet time making (simple) patterns for a Tunic Top which I totally am going to make more of!

And that leads us up to my last post where I finished making the Colorwheel Skirt!

It's been a crazy year. I never thought that I even could do so much - even with working a full time job. It's been a year in which I switched from my 5 1/2 year retail post to a 9 to 5 job at different company where I get to be close by to production and textiles galore.

In a sense, you could say a lot of my dreams came true: I had Etsy sales, I feel proficient at pattern grading, I had my first solo show with my design work, and now thanks to all that hard work, I have a job that much more closely resembles what I do at Manic Pop.

Will Manic Pop ever grow legs of its own and be a full-time gig? No one knows. Not even I. I'm just going with the flow with everything. Come what may!

Plans for 2014 will be my first run of making a PDF pattern as that is something I really want to do. Which pattern from this year would you like to make and see in a PDF pattern? Who wants to be a pattern tester?!

Thanks everyone for following me and for an inspiring year!

Edit: Here's a collection of my favorite songs over 2013! Enjoy.

2013 Mix  by uniko509 on Grooveshark

Any of the designs you see on my blog here are available for custom order in your size, though please note that I am not proficient in plus-sizes.  Please build a custom order via the link to the Etsy page up top!


  1. you certainly did have a fantastic 2013! Heres to 2014 and all the exciting things that could happen! good luck with your brand and of course your blog! xoxo

    1. Cat, I'm planning on releasing a PDF pattern in 2014! Would you like to be one of the testers? Please? Voting on which pattern I release will happen soon!

  2. I'm very impressed by your pattern-drafting skills! Having only recently found your blog, I've only skimmed the surface of your recent work, but I think the Trafalgar dress is my favourite! (Followed by the Tunic Top.) It's really all great work and I hope you do get into publishing your patterns - I think you could do really well from taking that path. Happy new year!

    1. Thanks so much! I am definitely planning on a release of a pattern in 2014. Stay tuned on which designs from 2013 will be offered up for voting on! I'll be posting here and also the We Sew Retro community. I'll also need about 10 pattern testers for it, so if that is something you want to do.....!

    2. That sounds fun! I will keep an eye out for that post.

  3. Happy new year! It's great to see a re-cap of your makes for the year. I love all your makes but my very favourites are the Sunrise Panel Dress & Petra Dress. I'd love to see patterns of those.

    1. Thanks so much! Stay posted on which patterns will be in the running for my 1st PDF! I'm doing a post about it January 3rd. Exciting!


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