My 2022 Sewing Best Bits
Since Alfie was born, and the world went mad in March 2020, I feel like everything has been a bit of a blur. 2020 and 2021 were my busiest for keepsakes and my fabric business. In 2022, I wanted to allow myself some more selfish sewing and I am sad to say that has meant I have put keepsakes on a bit of a back bench. Although I have been here sewing away in the background, I haven't been very loud about it. It also feels like the world has moved on a lot in the last three years. A little bit of radio silence means I have a lot to catch up on when it comes to social media, with reels and TikTok being more crucial when promoting your business.
Although I hate the idea of New Year's Resolutions, I have set myself a bit of a target to be more present in my Crafts by Katie business, especially from April when Alfie gets his nursery funding.
Since I have been so quiet, I thought I would share a little of what I have been up to. So, consider this blog as a sewing 2022 best bits.
I love sewing, it is no secret. I love quilting, dressmaking and anything else crafty. When I spend my days creating keepsakes, my mind drifts to other things I would like to sew. I don't want to fall out of love with the keepsakes so, in 2022, I made sure I scheduled some challenges for myself to keep me motivated. I made 53 keepsakes in 2022, around this I made countless new items for my me made wardrobe and shared a blog a month on my Fabric Squirrel page. If you want some insights into my me made holidays you can read about them here. I have made dozens of other things that I haven't even gotten around to writing up.
A personal dress making highlight is hard to pick, but I think I could narrow it down to a top three. The Poppy dress was extra special because the fabric was designed by one of my crafty friends. The timing of its arrival couldn't have been more perfect to get these poppy field shots. I was also offered the opportunity to sew up some William Morris fabric in time for a show in February. This button down dress was been very well worn all year with tights in Autumn. One of my simplest makes this year was the lemon skirt. I don't remember the last time I wore a skirt before this make and I always feel amazing in this outfit. I made the top to go with it and they are a match made in heaven.
Sticking with my personal sewing for a little longer, I thought I would share some of my personal quilts. I had two special events to sew for. I was bridesmaid for my best friend in the summer and it seemed only right to make a wedding quilt. The colours went perfectly with their colour scheme and the fabrics were fun to work with.
My brother got engaged and we are very excited about a big Indian wedding this year! A new fabric collection came out last year called Indian Summer. The designs are inspired by a Indian textile exhibit in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Since my brother is marrying into an Indian family, I just had to make an engagement quilt in this fabric. I came up with both the designs for these quilts myself and, I have to say, I am really proud of them. Working on projects like this helps me build my quilting skills and hopefully helps you place trust in my sewing ability when you order a keepsake.
Each year I see different trends emerging; the way people buy changes and the styles my customers go for change. The biggest change in 2022 has been the size of the quilts I am making. When I first started, I would get 70% of my orders being medium or small. Now that is around 10%. The majority are now large or extra large. I have sat and tried to work out why and I think there are a lot of factors. I am making more adult quilts with larger fabrics and more examples to show people. I think people are a lot more conscious of the environment and things going to waste, so they're using as much fabric as possible. I can't help but wonder if the cost of heating has an impact! A larger quilt is much more usable; I for one always have at least one quilt on the sofa to grab before I boost the heating.
I also now mainly make quilts and very few blankets. Quilts have always been a favourite of mine anyway, because I am surrounded by hundreds of cotton fabrics that can be used as backing. Although I always offer a basic backing option, I have also noticed a big increase in personalised backing, probably due to my growing fabric collection. Check out some of these made in the last 12 months! If you do find a print that you want, please check the availability with me before you set your heart on it; I can then keep it to one side if I have enough. The standard width of my fabrics are only just wide enough for large quilts and smaller. I try to use patches of leftovers to make them up to size.
Again, I would hate to pick favourites, but I do have a few firsts and highlights from this year's keepsakes that I want to share with you.
From left to right: 1. A full on Disney themed quilt! This was incredibly fun to put together. 2. An extra large quilt with a border. This was made up of an amazing collection of team t-shirts from various sports. 3. A mosaic quilt for smaller items, using a simple three patch square on every other patch. 4. Using the backs of t-shirts to make the backing up to size adds a fun extra detail. 5. These rows are effective in all these fun colours. 6. You can now purchase extra cards alongside your order.
I plan on creating individual listings for different styles in 2023 now that I have such a large portfolio of them. To trust me to come up with a design without seeing it first takes a lot of trust and I am forever grateful to my customers for that. If the design is new, I often sketch out a basic design first, and as you know if you have ordered from me before, I always send a picture of the layout before I do any sewing. I am conscious that I want the buying experience to be as easy as possible. Seeing hundreds of examples can be quite overwhelming so making this experience even easier is a top priority.
Although I felt like I have been a lot quieter this year, I have still averaged one keepsake a week. Just think how much more I can achieve with more child free time! If you don't hear from me too much before April, you know that I am making the most of my time with Alfie but I look forward to coming back running by the Summer.