2020 in Review: Sewing Through Quarantine

Well, it is hardly an understatement to say it's been quite a year. From the virus to public reckoning with police murders, mass unemployment, and a high stakes election (not to mention months of nightly fireworks, California wildfires, and remember murder hornets?!), I have often been stressed, sad, and angry (and often all at once). 

Through thick and thin, sewing has been there to entertain, console, and challenge me. This year, sewing also gained prominence as a political act. Thousands of people around the world took to sewing face masks to protect themselves and others. Sewing is also powerful as a hobby: finding joy in hobbies during a difficult time helped me channel my energy into something beautiful and creative when all else seemed dark. It is with this that I celebrate 2020 and am mighty glad it's over. 

As I leaned on sewing this year with not much else to do, I did a LOT of sewing. Typically I make about 40 things a year - this year I made over 60 (not including 50+ face masks). This rivaled even my most productive year, the first year I started sewing when I had a lot of time on my hands and a lot to learn. 

But I didn't just sew the same thing over and over. As I look back at my sewing from 2020, I definitely see categories or stages of sewing. Kind of like stages of grief, I denied, bargained, and recovered my way through the year. So here they are, my stages of quarantine sewing:

I have to admit, the first few weeks of stay-at-home orders were a nice little break from socializing. Though I really struggled with the adjustments and constant onslaught of news, I had my sewing machine and my projects to keep me busy. We had several weddings we were planning to attend this year and I focused on finishing up my fancy projects for them. Little did I know they would all be canceled, but I have them at the ready for when things are back on again. And someday I'll have the chance to photograph the full formal coat I made for my husband, which he's never even worn. 

I did catch myself in a little hopeful sewing at the end of the year, too. I made myself a velvet skirt that I hoped I could wear for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we canceled our Christmas plans with my parents as cases surged in California again. Ah 2020, you're a tricky one.

1. Badgely Mischka Dress
4. Men's Coat (not blogged)
Not pictured: wool vest

This next phase was arguably the hardest for me. As the months ticked on and it became apparent we'd be staying home all summer, I got pretty down. I leaned on a lot of coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing gratitude, and, of course, sewing. During this time, I put a lot of my energy into challenging sewing projects like a Vogue jumpsuit sewalong, sewing up a cape idea I'd had for a long time, and drafting a pleated wrap top

1. Cape Sleeve Top
5. Knit Poncho (not blogged, currently being transformed)
Not pictured: Two sets of baby overalls
Also not pictured: Dog Tiger Halloween costume

As I slowly eased out of my funk, I took new joy in bright colors and stretchy fabric of activewear. I ran over 500 miles this year and started drafting myself a workout wardrobe. We were also lucky to take some socially-distanced trips to the beach and the mountains, and I made more than my usual one-suit-per-year. 

1. Tempo Tights
Not pictured: about 6 more pairs of running tights
Also not pictured: Men's merino wool undershirt and boxers, plus three cycling caps

Once I had my activewear clothes sewn I up, I slowly slid into loungewear. From this point I have been fairly comfortable with staying home. Luckily my family can work remotely (I was working remotely already pre-COVID), so it was mostly about reaching the right mental state to stay home. To help us stay comfy, I sewed up some loungewear for my life at home:

Not pictured: 50 masks

What do you sew at this point? Like, seriously, I never thought I'd have this much time to get through all the things I wanted to make. So I started tinkering and decided to draft my own pair of pants. The year had started with me sewing up a few pairs of Deer and Doe Sirocco Jeans. But I wasn't quite happy with the fit. So I made my own custom jeans block and made up 4 more pairs. It's a bit excessive but I also consider some of these wearable muslins - it was more about the learning experience than wearing all of these.  

1 through 3: Deer & Doe Sirocco 
5. Thrift Jeans (unblogged)
7. Shorts (unblogged)
8 through 11. Self-Drafted Pants

To close out the year, I made a series of comfy but cute tops to wear at work on my Zoom calls. I actually finished a few more this morning, so they're not all photographed yet. But comfy knit tops with interesting details and bright colors are my staple. 

1. Wrap top (unblogged)
4-6. Knit Tops
7. Inaguration Shirt (coming soon!)
Not pictured: two more knit tops

A few of these are misses (my first round of pants, a bathing suit, the Badgely Miscka dress), but many of these have become closet favorites and I'm quite happy with my many, many projects this year. I don't know what the coming year brings, but I hope you find your moments of joy. Happy, happy new year!

1 comment:

  1. what a great roundup! I guess we will look back on this as the lost year - such a shame. Also you are so right about the stress of things other than pandemic - the news was on fire every night (literally and figuratively) Glad to see the end of 2020 and hoping for a better new year - stay well and happy new year.


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