Celebration Time

On August 31, 2011 I turned over a new leaf :)

I gave up buying Ready-to-Wear clothing for one year and vowed to make my clothes instead.

Today I’m celebrating because I not only set out to do what I intended, but I completed an experience that brought me great pleasure and satisfaction. I must have needed a challenge!

I was spending huge amounts of money on clothes and was constantly shopping. I bought way too many clothes that looked alike, and had entirely too many clothes that were barely worn.

One day I snapped, gave up shopping, began sewing my clothes and started a blog… What a day.


 I often read about how one must give up one thing to gain something else, and I think that was certainly the case for me this year.

I gave up the constant search for something to wear and acquired a collection of clothes I love. 

Perhaps I had suppressed my fondness for ruffles, bold prints, and bright colors over the years because it came out in full force. 

When I gave up the time I devoted to shopping, I became creative again and improved my sewing skills too.

I started and ended the year making a skirt with many more in between.

Eventually I realized skirts can be made from just about any type of fabric as well as easily re-styled. This discovery led me to explore the refashion scene. 

I believe my sentimental favorite is the tunic I made with my grandmother’s +100-year-old sheet.

Inspiration came easily for it was everywhere.

Ultimately the past year was broader than just a challenge or sewing experience. It evolved into a journey of personal discovery and led to friendships across the globe. I gave up buying Ready-to-Wear and gained much, much more than the 64 garments hanging in the tree.

I had fun too!


I began my year of sewing with quilting cotton and ended with this beautiful Oscar de la Renta silk brocade from Mood Fabrics. Now  t h a t ‘ s  progress!

I couldn’t pass up one more peplum or a skirt once I saw this beautiful shade of  pink silk dupioni!

Top Butterick 5615  –  Skirt McCalls 3830

Now that I’m finished with my year-long challenge, it’s time to celebrate and I’m headed to the Mediterranean with my childhood friends! When my friends contacted us in March, we quickly accepted the invitation because I had already saved so much money from sewing rather than spending it on clothes.

Thank you all so very much for supporting my efforts this past year!  Many of your sewing projects and blogs have been incredibly inspirational to me.  The kind comments and helpful tips you have generously posted mean more to me than you can possibly imagine.

NOW……  what’s that quote by Norman Vincent Peale?

“It’s always too soon to quit!” 

B O N   V O Y A G  E

and I’ll see you in late September!!

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This entry was posted in Butterick Patterns, McCall's Sewing Pattern, Mood Fabrics, Perseverence, sewing blogs, sewing clothes, silk and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

187 Responses to Celebration Time

  1. sewbusylizzy says:

    Congratulations – you are such a delight on the sewing blog scene I hope you never return full force to RTW. I would miss you!
    Have a fabulous holiday… I hope you find some souvenir fabrics to bring home! x

  2. Angela says:

    Enjoy your trip! You deserve it. What an inspiration you are. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  3. Pam C says:

    I loved seeing all of your new projects. Have a wonderful trip.

  4. Pendle Stitches says:

    This is such a achievement it deserves such a wonderful celebration. You are truely inspiration and I cannot wait to see your next steps. Enjoy your vacation…I suspect you’ll be the most elegant traveller!

  5. Mollie Bobo says:

    A fantastic journey that has been an inspiration to me! I’m considering the same type of challenge for 2013. I have followed your progress on PR.

  6. Julie Starr says:

    How bittersweet it is to know you have come to the end of your year long challenge. I can’t imagine the pride and satisfaction you are feeling. I hope that you realize how greatly you have inspired so many of us. Safe travels and I know I speak for many when I say we look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  7. Jelisa says:

    Your clothes are beautiful! You are definitely an inspiration to myself and I am sure many others. I cannot wait to get my sewing machine.

  8. jay says:

    Congratulations! I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago and really enjoyed paging through the older posts. What a great thing to do. The clothes are beautiful.

  9. jane rowlinson says:

    I have SO enjoyed following your year, not least because you always seemed to be enjoying warm sunshine this summer as you modelled your creations and I was sat in my sewing room with the rain pouring down outside wondering whether it was really worth making a sleeveless top/dress!
    Enjoy your holiday – France and Italy have some wonderful fabric/accessory shops , and I look forward to seeing what you make next ;-)

  10. lakaribane says:

    Congratulations! Happy Vacation!

  11. Pauline Droy says:

    Congratulations on fulfilling your goal, and enjoy your vacation.

  12. Claire says:

    I did the same thing! I love your trunk show and have a nice time in the Mediterranean.

  13. Enjoy your vacation and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us when you return!!

  14. cboland says:

                  Fabulous trunk show–thanks so much for sharing with us!  Hoping you will continue your blog because you are such an inspiration!  I’m wondering if you actually wear all these clothes since you spend a lot of time sewing them?  Looking forward to your  continued journey of creativity!


    • Other than the green jacket, I have worn everything a lot except for two garments; This and This. I wanted to make clothes that suited my lifestyle and I believe that’s what my efforts represent. Many thanks for your nice comment :)

  15. Linda says:

    I’ve really loved reading through your journey. You are an inspiration. Hope you keep blogging!

  16. Carolyn says:

    Sarah, what a wonderful affirmation to your new creative self! I’ve loved being able to stand on the sidelines and cheer you on as you’ve moved from garment to garment and I’m thrilled that not only has this year reaped you a closet full of beautiful clothing but also a new passion! Enjoy your vacation! Happy Anniversary! Can’t wait to see what you create this next year!

  17. Becky says:

    Those clothes, those clothes! You have fabulous taste and your execution is always inspirational, truly. Even if you begin to buy some RTW, please don’t leave the sewing blog scene. It would leave a huge hole. Have a great vacation and come home inspired.

  18. Erica B says:

    You’ve acquired a most fabulous wardrobe to take along on your trip! Enjoy!

  19. Congratulations Sarah! You are an inspiration!

  20. Sally D says:

    Since you’ve hit the one year mark….does this mean that you won’t be sewing anymore?

  21. RoseOK says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goal. I really enjoyed seeing all your designs. I can’t wait to see what fabric you bring back from your trip.

  22. Angela says:

    This is such an inspiration! I have just come across your blog, and while you are vacationing, I will be looking back through your past year’s accomplishments :)

  23. Art Attack says:

    Congrats! What a beautiful collection of clothes you have amassed. Safe and happy travels!

  24. Caroline Lazzara says:

    Congratulations! Beautiful clothes for a beautiful woman.

  25. eumoronorio says:

    wow what a great summary of a great year! I have definitely enjoyed reading about your adventures and being inspired by all your beautiful clothes!

  26. sassytuk says:

    Absolutely fantastic. What an inspiration you are. Only just come across your blog, so looking forward to seeing more of your creations.

  27. Karen says:

    Congratulations – you’ve been inspirational to me and so many others! Because of you I signed up for the Craftsy Couture Dress class – and my sewing will never be the same again – only better!! Thank you, thank you!!
    Have a fabulous trip (I know you’ll be the best-dressed one on it!) – see you again in late September….

  28. oonaballoona says:


    what an amazing year of sewing. love your color, your ruffles, your vive and your décolleté, bebe. bon voyage!

  29. Congratulations! I hope you continue to sew and post – it has been so nice watching your collection grow and living vicariously through your fabulous fabrics!

  30. Have a great vacation. I agree with comments above, you are a great addition to the sewing/blogging scene. And you make clothes in bright colors, my kind of girl !!!!!

  31. Pam says:

    I am so happy to discover your wonderful blog on your first anniversary. Your Vogue 8648 dress was the reason I signed up for Susan K. couture class. I’m still waiting for my pattern to arrive so I will have time to search around here. I know it will be fun! Happy Anniversary and thanks for the inspiration!

  32. Janene says:

    Thanks for taking me along on your sewing journey! Loved reading your posts and seeing the pattern and fabric choices you made and the completed garment. Hope you have a wonderful trip and I look forward to the next chapter in your sewing journey.

  33. Congratulations! I’m a new blog follower, but have been inspired by your sewing. What an amazing accomplishment and I hope you continue sewing with full force once you return from your vacation. Bon Voyage, sounds like a delightful time!

  34. I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog over the past year. You have some mad sewing skills and I love the way you use color. Thank you for being an inspiration and a role model as well as being fun to read. Enjoy your trip!

    • Hi Karen. This is such a nice comment – my sewing skills have room for improvement but one of the things I learned is that you do not have to be an expert to make cute clothes :) Thanks for writing!

  35. sewnotwork says:

    Wonderful! You did an awesome job! Thanks for sharing.

  36. Janine Whisler says:

    Congratulations on accomplishing a very challenging goal! Your vacation is well deserved, and I will miss reading your posts! I hope that your future plans are to continue writing about sewing and fashion!

  37. Tina says:

    I have LOVED your blog, and have followed you all year. You show how fun and fashionable sewing can be – and the quality of your garments looks like it FAR surpasses what passes off as RTW these days. Congrats, and enjoy your vacation!

    • Thank you, Tina – I actually surprised myself sewing this year! I was inspired by two people – Annabelle LaRoque (shoplaroque.com) and Amy Butler. I’m sure you know who Amy B is , but Annabelle is a young woman who after 6 months of sewing quit her pharmaceutical sales job and became a clothes designer in Columbia, SC.
      I’m definitely ready for a vacation :)

  38. prttynpnk says:

    Your journey has been so much fun to watch and so inspiring! I can’t wait to see whats up next!

  39. Marvita says:

    This is SPECTACULAR!!! What an inspiration you are! I love this and appreciate that you shared your journey!!!

  40. Cheryl in Carolina says:

    Sarah, what a remarkable accomplishment! As all these comments attest, you’ve been such an inspiration to so many (I’M even taking up sewing again, for heavens sake!). Enjoy your well earned vacation. Hope you return rested and ready to keep up all informed on the next phase of your sewing and your life!

  41. Sally says:

    Congratulations on a fabulous year!!!! You are such an inspiration. I was hoping that you might inspire us further with some home decorating ideas and tips! I really enjoy making window treatments, pillows, etc. and would love to see some of what your ideas might be. Just a thought….

    Bon voyage!!!


  42. Rita says:

    Bonne vacances!

  43. Sigrid says:

    Congratulations on achieving your goal. I have found your blog not so long ago and enjoy seeing what you make. Hope you remain sewing.
    Enjoy the holiday and bring back some nice fabrics.

  44. Lisa P says:

    I love the clothes tree ! Seriously well done on completing your year of handmade. You now have a fabulous wardrobe to take traveling. Have a wonderful holiday.

  45. Elaine says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this final post of your year of sewing. It surpasses all expectations! I’d love to know more about that beautiful necklace that has been perfect with so many of your creations. Have a wonderful trip!

    • Thank you so much, Elaine! I love this chunky necklace made with irregular shaped pearls with a pendant front closure. It was handmade by a local jewelry designer and I wear it much more than I ever expected! Thank you for asking :)

  46. Sandy says:

    What a cute post!!! And you just happen to have the perfect tree for your display!

  47. June says:

    I started reading only a couple months ago, but I am a loyal reader already. What a fantastic “year-end” post – I find myself grinning in delight at your “Tree-trunk” show! Congratulations on a great accomplishment.

  48. Congratulations! love your blog and your creations. Have a great trip!

  49. Maggie Edger says:

    Great Accomplishment, Sarah. I have enjoyed your blog. Have a perfect trip.
    A. Maggie

  50. Ruth says:

    Don’t stop – the interweb will be a smaller place without you

  51. Valerie says:

    Congratulations. That is one possibly the most impressive and stylish me-made wardrobe on the net. I look forward to seeing more amazing things from you :)

  52. Judith says:

    The Valentino Tree photo will be a source of inspiration to many – thank-you for sharing your journey over the year! Enjoy the holiday and looking forward to seeing what the next year holds for you….

  53. cjgal says:

    You go girl! What a great story and I couldn’t agree more. I find it painful to buy rtw clothes now!

  54. Lori says:

    What an amazing sewing adventure you have had. All you garments are gorgeous, great job. Enjoy your trip.

  55. Myra says:

    Beautiful collection! I hope you continue to sew, you’re so good at it! Enjoy your trip!

  56. Crystal says:

    Your first picture is too great. What a great year, and congratulations on the past year and all it means to you. I enjoy your garments and inspirations.

  57. sewingthread says:

    Bravo! Thank you so much for the wonderful trip of one year. Beautiful patterns, beautiful clothes, beautiful lady.

  58. sewingthread says:

    Bravo! Thank you for my trip of the year by presenting beautiful pattern choices, beautiful fabrics, beautiful clothes by a beautiful lady. Have a wonderful trip.

  59. Brenda says:

    Whoop-Whoop! I have enjoyed every step of the way. Thank you for sharing.

  60. katy says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

  61. lisacurtsa says:

    You’re an absolutely amazing woman! I’m not a blogger but have followed your blog religiously since I enjoy many of the same styles as you. I have thoroughly enjoyed your journey, thank you for sharing it with us; you are truly an inspiration in many ways. I hope you will continue on this adventure because my morning blog-reading and sewing inspiration will be a lonely place without you. Thank you.

  62. Margaret Cole says:

    Sara, I have loved reading your blog. You have inspired me to sew adult garments again! Have a wonderful trip.
    Margaret c

  63. Andrea says:

    What a year is right! Congratulations, and have a wonderful holiday!

  64. Joyce Love says:

    Happy anniversary, Sara, & have a wonderful time on your trip! I’m so glad to hear you will continue your blog & look forward to seeing more of your wonderful creations in the future!

  65. Amanda S. says:

    Congratulations on an awesome achievement! Have fun on your trip!

  66. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in your second year! Sewing is a journey and so is blogging and I personally find it quite self satisfying to see how far I have come.

  67. Ann says:

    I just wanted to leave another congratulations and say how in awe I am! Everything you make is so amazing!!! It encourages me to keep at it so maybe someday I can get my skills up to your level!

  68. annette says:

    All I can do is join in the praise; you’ve done a wonderful job creating this beautiful ‘first couture-collection’ and letting us all participate in the ‘making of’ with all its ups and downs. It was a delight to follow your humorous, inspiring and encouraging blog. Enjoy your holiday and keep going. Thank you so much.

  69. Shannan says:

    I just found you and have yet to catch up on all the archives so please dont’ go just yet. YOU – yes you – have inspired me to start sewing for myself. I’ve been only sewing for my daughter and my home, but too afraid of making clothes for myself that look homemade. You have shown me that it is possible to make clothes that look great. So please don’t go now that your year is up – I need the inspiration :0)

    • Many thanks, Shannon for sharing this comment with me! I know EXACTLY how you feel and I started with the easiest patterns available. Frankly much of the RTW are made from super simple patterns. You can do it and I look forward to seeing your projects when I return :)

  70. jlundy6116 says:

    Awesome!! Congrats! Don’t you love it?

  71. Cissie Wellons says:

    Oh, how I would love to shop at your trunk show! You have made an outstanding, versatile wardrobe for yourself, Sarah, and we have all benefitted from your journey. Have a marvelous vacation — and hurry back!

  72. Jan says:

    Congratulations on the completion of your journey! Have a great vacation and celebrate your accomplishment!

  73. I so admire what you have done that I am going to take it as a challenge and aim to make my own clothes (new and refashioned) for one year too – September 2012 to end August 2013. My sewing skills are limited and I also plan to make most of my own patterns!

  74. velosewer says:

    You’ve been so good in keeping with your challenge and you have such a wonderful design eye that I’ve love how you’ve shared you experience with us. Have a great break.

  75. frammajoy says:

    AWESOME blog and awesome sewing! You are an inspiration to us all. I KNOW women like you, and I always feel so ragged around them — like My Fair Lady. ( Women who buy very expensive clothes and look like a million dollars all the time, is what I mean by that remark.) I am fortunate in that I could probably buy whatever I wanted to in the way of clothing, BUT I won’t let go of the money. I feel like if I pay a lot for an item of clothing, then I would have to wear it for the rest of my life. Plus, I love to sew. YOU have shown us all that we can sew things just as fabulous as anything out there in RTW — in fact, even better because they FIT perfectly!

    I hope you will start right back up when you return from your trip showing us even grander ideas. I see a book in your future — like Gertie’s — as you certainly are good at expressing yourself as well.
    Congratulations on obtaining your goal!
    Hugs, Joy

    • What a great comment, Joy! ….. but I’m not one of those women you would feel ragged around ;) Two things you said ring true in my life – when I buy expensive clothes I feel like I have to wear them for the rest of my life. This is so true .. I’m wearing expensive
      RTW that should have been discarded long ago. Secondly .. sewing is better than RTW because one can fit oneself which was a complete eye-opener once I learned how to do so!
      Many thanks for writing :)

  76. CherryPix says:

    What a wonderful ‘Tree of Knowledge’ ! A great way to display all your creations! Congratulations on a wonderful year… And thanks for sharing with us!

    • Tree of knowledge or Tree of clothes? :) Whatever it is I am so appreciative of your comments this year! You humored me which I needed to fulfill my challenge! Many thanks for your support and can’t wait to see what you make with your new machine!!

  77. Heather says:

    What a brilliant sewing year, it has been a pleasure to read your blog and I have looked forward to your posting SO much. Enjoy a wonderful holiday, please buy a swim suit! See you at the end of September.

  78. Lisa Laree says:

    I can’ t remember when exactly I stumbled across your blog…probably from a Pattern Review…but I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your creations come to life. Thanks so much for taking the time to detail your journey for all of us to enjoy and be inspired by…have a great trip and I’m looking forward to the next installment!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa and sorry to be late in responding. I did zero blogging while away! The journey of sewing and blogging was great fun for me thanks in a large part to the support of readers :)

  79. Robyn says:

    So impressive and very inspirational! I love your style. It always made me smile when you’d talk about getting your sewing machine out of the car on your vacations ;) Thanks for sharing your journey. AMAZING!!

  80. What a finale!
    If I wasn’t heading to Charleston I would have rushed over to your backyard. Have a well deserved cruise.
    Love Libby

  81. Jan says:

    Thank you for a wonderful year of sewing and blogs. You have motivated me to start sewing clothes again. I will say that I have NOT had the success you have had, but I think I have bought every pattern you have made! I love your style and you certainly know how to fit. I hope you will continue to sew and blog. Your clothes are amazing!

    • Hi Jan,
      Many thanks for this lovely comment. Up until this year my success rate for sewing my clothes was pretty low. It wasn’t until I forced myself to make muslins, take classes and complete projects that I really began to see a difference in my sewing. Don’t give up!!

  82. gingermakes says:

    Yay, happy anniversary! What a fun year you’ve had! Have a wonderful trip!

  83. AllisonC says:

    What an inspirational post this is. Hope you have a wonderful vacation and I look forward to another year of following your creations. There will be another right??!!

  84. Wakako says:

    Congratulations on your fantastic year!! I am a big big fan of your chic creations and all the ruffles :) Hope that you have a wonderful trip.

  85. Rachel says:

    wow, what a great year. congratulations

  86. Marilyn says:

    Hi there. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the wonderful creations you’ve made over the last year & I hope you continue. You have discovered the dressmaker’s secret – beautful one-of-a-kind clothing that fits perfectly at a fraction of the cost! No w I would really like to see you make the New Look 6130 peplum top as I think it would look fabulous on you!
    Enjoy your holiday & I hope to see more beautiful sewing from you with your holiday treasures upon your return!

  87. Ms. McCall says:

    I’ve only recently found your blog, but read it from beginning to end, and was completely inspired. (That word has been used so many times in these comments because it’s so true). I was specifically inspired to really pay more attention to the quality RTW that I really like, and to use that information in my sewing. You also inspired a trip to Mood…

    • Thank you so much and sorry to be late in responding. I did zero blogging while away! I draw my inspiration from high quality RTW and then apply what I can to sewing patterns. You will love Mood Fabrics! :)

  88. Coco says:

    Wonderful collection, beautifully done. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and sharing your journey since March. Looking forward to your return. Coco

  89. Phil says:

    Congratulations! I have so enjoyed your journey. You have proved it can be done – and still not compromise on style. Have a fantastic break x

  90. Liza D. says:

    Just found your blog via a friend. Congratulations on your RTW-free year. Not only do you look sensational in your custom-tailored clothing, but your sense of accomplishment is absolutely inspirational and richly deserved. Kudos!

  91. Jo Ashcroft says:

    What an inspiration you are! Your wardrobe is incredible, what a talented fashionista you are.

  92. Pingback: Simplicity 2497 | Goodbye Valentino

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