Blog Biz

2018: Year in Review

It’s been another thrilling year of growth, change and challenge ’round these parts. 2018 felt like my first really grown-up year as a business owner and a boss, and time has been passing so swiftly that I’ve been slow to appreciate how much we’ve accomplished this year, despite occasionally feeling like I didn’t get everything done that I had planned. We got off to a slow start while we settled in our new studio, and I experienced some turmoil and loss in my personal life that threw me for a serious loop. I gave myself a bit of a pass for the first half of the year while I got my bearings again (traveling helped), so our pattern production was a little slower than usual. We’ve also been working on one absolutely MASSIVE pattern behind the scenes, and it’s taken way more time than I ever anticipated to get ready for release. Hopefully, it’s something I can start to talk about more in January…

The biggest change this year has been our small but growing team. There are four of us here now (and we just hired a fifth part-time person to help Alex with customer service and shipping) although I am the only one here five days a week. I never thought I wanted to have a “staff”; when I got started it was hard to imagine how my control freakiness would ever gel with other people, but in time I’ve learned to let go and trust the smart, capable women I am lucky enough to work with. Figuring out how to manage effectively and be a good leader is an ongoing learning process, and while I often struggle to clearly communicate the rats nest of my thoughts, it’s really just a  delight to be able to collaborate, play to people’s strengths and collectively plan and dream together about what is to come. I feel like I can dream bigger because everyone is so passionate about making things as good as they can be.

Here is a rundown of what we got up to in 2018.

NO FEAR NEW JEANS MONTH

How to sew a jeans waistband // Sewing tutorial // Closet Case Patterns

We kicked off the year with a denim challenge! We gave you a series of tutorials for finally conquering your jean-making fears, including a fitting guidesewing jeans buttonholes, an alternative method for sewing a jeans waistband, an interview with a denim repair master and a tutorial for fixing your jeans with invisible mending.

OUR PATTERN RELEASES

Jenny Overalls, trousers & Shorts Pattern | Envelope Front // from Closet Case Patterns

The Jenny Overalls was our first pattern release of the year and included options for a wide leg pant or a cute pair of shorts. This has been my favourite hashtag of the year; I’ve loved seeing how you guys interpret this pattern. We wrote quite a few tutorials for Jenny, such as adding hip buttons, sewing a tabbed waistband, inserting a lapped zipper, and my favorite, our pattern bonus and tutorial for adding center buttons:

Jenny Overalls pattern with center front buttons & utility pocket // handmade by Closet Case Patterns

The shorts version was perfect for this special Marimekko print:

Jenny Shorts Pattern in Marimekko Linen / Closet Case Patterns

I also loved my pair with tapered legs:

Next up was our Fiona Sundress. This style was everywhere in RTW this summer but I think it’ such a timeless silhouette and these pictures are a nice reminder that summer will return eventually.

Fiona Sundress Pattern // Two bodice and three skirt options // Closet Case Patterns

We wrote a fitting ebook for this pattern, perfect for flexing your princess seam skills, and Alexis wrote the mother of all posts on sewing darts. This green linen version got me through a couple really hot spells:

Fiona Sundress in Green Linen // Handmade by Closet Case Patterns

Our last pattern of the year was an easy-breezy jumpsuit named after Amy, our easy-breezy content manager.

Amy Jumpsuit Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

We squeaked in this PDF only pattern in September; it was sort of an “impulse design” but I just couldn’t let the summer end without seeing it realized! It ended up being somewhat of a transition piece and I took it all the way into winter by reimagining it in this luxurious silk velvet.

FAVOURITE ME MADES

2018 was a little slow for me on the personal sewing front. I blogged 16 projects (although there are a handful I never got around to photographing) and if pressed I would say I managed to sew 1-2 things a month. Not having a permanent sewing space at home was a major factor, but I’ve since set up a corner sewing table and am sewing a lot more in my off time. Most of my favourites make from this year are total frosting… no surprise there!

This Sapporo Coat got a lot of wear; it’s the perfect statement piece to jazz up an otherwise pedestrian outfit like jeans and a tee.

My Halloween costume this year was one of my faves, mainly because I fully intend to wear this gold lame jumpsuit again. It’s so wild and magical.

Disco Diva halloween costume // Closet Case Patterns

I also loved making and using my Portside travel set; it was the perfect use of this delicious Pendleton wool.

Portside Travel set // Portside Duffle Bag // handmade by Closet Case Patterns

FREE PATTERNS & TUTORIALS

Having Amy on board has made the blog a lot more fun. I have so much going on I can’t always write as much as I would like, and she’s been instrumental in bringing you some of our most popular posts this year.

First up, our free pattern for sewing machine and serger covers! I love having all our machine covers match in the studio, and need to make some for my machines at home…

We just released this free pattern for a scrap busting pouf… this would be a great project over the holidays!

Free Sewing Pattern // Scrap Busting Pouf // Closet Case Patterns

Speaking of scrap busting, Amy showed you how to make snack bags, produce bags and reusable beeswax wraps . Mostly out of stuff you probably already have!

Reusable Snack Bag DIY // Closet Case Patterns

DIY Reusable Produce Bags // Closet Case Patterns

DIY Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap // Closet Case Patterns

SEWJO

The end of the year brought two fun projects that we all felt brought our sew mojo to another level. The #sewfrosting challenge was an excellent chance for us to shake off the cobwebs and dig into some challenging sewing that also reignited what got most of us sewing in the first place: PRETTY THINGS! I felt super inspired seeing what everyone was making, and celebrating the artistry of our community was something I think we really needed.

Our final project of the year was our Maker & Sewist necklaces, which was an exciting project for me to work on. The idea was to create a meaningful talisman that connected you to your practice, and something to kickstart conversation about our community. You can read more about how these came to be here.

Maker & Sewist necklaces from Closet Case Patterns

We have a few days left in the year and are trying to get our winter pattern prepped for the printer, in addition to preparing for a new online workshop we’ll be filming to accompany it. However, everyone got terribly sick this week at the same time so we’ve had to push a few deadlines to the new year, including our Christmas party. We were supposed to go for dinner tomorrow night but Alexis and Celine can’t taste anything (Alexis can’t even speak!) so we decided to wait till everyone is rested and in top form again.

I am SO ready for some time off to recharge. I’ve been working a lot of 12 hour days and my body is like, “Naps, carbs, knitting, please”. I am going to listen. Our last blog post of the year is coming your way with some highlights from our community. Then we’ll be officially closed from December 21 to January 1, so please note we won’t be responding to emails or shipping out packages until we get back on the 2nd of January. Thank you for following along with our adventures this year; I still can’t believe this is my job. Getting to be a part of your creative process is such a gift, and we have so many fun projects planned for next year.

Have a wonderful, restful holiday!

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