People have been telling me “you’ve had an exciting year!” and when I look back on 2013 I have to admit that is probably true. It doesn’t feel any more crazy or busy than other years, but I know I’ve had more time to dedicate to this blog and patterns and such (can you say “kids in school”), so I guess that’s made me more productive professionally, at least as professional as a self-trained-amateur-blogger-turned-designer with Rae-DD can be. HAH. A bunch of other bloggers posted their “Top 5 for 2013,” and because I’ve really enjoyed reading their posts I thought I would write one for Made by Rae. You know, the other thing everyone seems to be doing is picking their “one word.” I started thinking making a list of possible words (including “focus”) but then got distracted, so I guess it’s NO ONE WORD for me this year. Here are my Top 5 Hits for 2013, in no particular order:
#1 Celebrate the BOY
Dana and I brought back the popular BOY sewing series last February, and it was really fun. We always get such an enthusiastic response to this, and it’s a great way to audition new patterns (like the Parsley Pants) and write tutorials for simple things that make boy-sewing more fun! You can see all of the posts from 2013 Celebrate the BOY and all of the posts from earlier series here. I was pretty proud of all the awesome stuff I managed to make and post for the 2013 series.
I spent a sizable portion of March 2013 working on Fanfare, my flannel fabric collection for Cloud 9, which arrived in shops this fall and had a lovely reception. From the outside it might look like a simple collection, you know, something that’s a cinch to pull together, but when you’re a complete newbie to fabric design, trust me, there’s a pretty steep learning curve. I’m really proud of the final result, and I’m even more excited for my next line, Lotus Pond, that’s coming out this spring. The Lotus Pond strikeoffs (test prints) were supposed to come Wednesday but UPS seems to be having a hard time delivering them. Maybe the UPS guy is sitting in the back of his truck admiring my strikeoffs as I type this? PROBABLY.
I finally bit the bullet and rented a studio in downtown Ann Arbor so I could move all my sewing shit out of my house and into a bigger workspace. I suppose a self-storage unit would have been cheaper, but it would have been a whole lot less fun. This also enabled me to hire my part-time studio assistant, Tashina this fall, bringing the number of part-time employees/contractors on the Made By Rae team to four. I guess that seems like a lot when I type it out, but it’s really all about me delegating as much as possible so that I’m not such a slave to my laptop anymore. Despite having what looks like “a crazy year,” I actually feel like it was probably been one of the most relaxing and stress-free years I’ve had since I started Le Biz back in 2009. Another plus of having a studio? Our Sewing Studio Weekend Retreat, which totally rocked.
#4 Women’s Garments
I’m not sure this is true, but it feels like I did a record amount of sewing for myself in 2013, mostly hacks or versions of Washi (you can see those all in this post), but also a couple Ruby Dresses and some knit tops and skirts. And then we released the Ruby and Washi XP patterns, and previewed Josephine (and I started working on another one that we’re calling Bianca — though I’m having a baby pretty soon, so let’s not get too excited about that one, OK?). So that was really fun! I love sewing for my kids, but sewing for myself is my passion, so it makes sense that Made By Rae focused more on women’s sewing this year than any other.
#5 Pretty great press (?)
I guess I’m actually struggling to come up with FIVE top things here (how lame is that? geez Rae *rolls eyes at self*), so I’m just going to go with this one. For some reason (I think probably Washi and Fanfare), my work has been featured in quite a few print publications this year. Love Patchwork and Quilting, Kloth, Sew News, and a handful of other print magazines have all run features on Made By Rae or the Washi Dress, and I just got more emails last week from two others. I’m trying not to get too big of a head about it, but it’s hard not to get excited when you can send your mom a magazine clipping and say, “LOOK, MOM!!! LOOK!!!” (Yes, it’s true. I’m still just that little girl who wants to please her mom. Oldest child syndrome.) On the other hand, while the traditional print world seems to be just discovering me, I’m starting to feel a little like an old horse around the Blogosphere. I have this ongoing angst that I’ve done my best thing and now I’m “over,” but I just need to get over that. I do know I shouldn’t really care what anyone thinks, just do my own thing and be happy.
Another press-related thing that was really cool was that Heather Ross asked if she could use my Rainbow Quilt design as a free pattern download for her Briar Rose fabric line (you can find the free quilt pattern here by the way!), and the quilt was featured at Quilt Market in her booth!!! That was so incredibly flattering.
So now I would really love to know: what did you do that YOU are most proud of last year? It doesn’t have to be five things, because clearly I can’t even really come up with five. And it doesn’t have to be sewing-related. But it’s always fun to hear this kind of thing from you guys (and if you did a “Top 5” or “2013 Roundup” type post you should put a link in the comments because I love reading those posts and I want to make sure I don’t miss yours!). So dish, everyone!!!