This year was a gift. And I’m ready to add it to the curio shelf that is my life so that I can forever look back upon it with both fondness and nostalgic horror.
Similarly to my October wrap-up video, I swiped through my Google Photos (and Maps) to remember how this costuming year started and how it’s ending. Like many humans, my sense of linear time has been made worse with no physical events to mark the calendar. The loss of logistics in terms of travel planning–deadlines, packing spreadsheets, childcare, etc.–have severely impacted my output, and I absolutely love it. Obviously, this phenomenon started in early 2020, but back then, I had a few good projects already in progress to provide some semblance of a sewing schedule. For 2021 though, I was all over the place–unfettered, unsupervised, and displaying a dangerous devil-may-care attitude with regard to fabric purchases.
The year opened with the promise of a refurbished embroidery machine that never materialized. I am happy to report that as of the first week of this month, however, I am the proud owner of a brand new Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. I visited the Viking Sewing Gallery at my local Joann Fabric, which was an unexpectedly delightful experience, staying within my budget and my allotted sanity points. There was no traffic for the trek, no holiday shopper headache at the store, and my first embroidery run was a complete success back at home. It was Hour 26 that materialized the first bit of bad luck. With my Herculean finger strength, I managed to pop the head off of the presser foot thumb screw, embedding the body in the presser bar. My new sewing & embroidery machine was instantly downgraded to a sewing computer–since the electronics were fine, I just couldn’t add the feet with which to sew. Displaying fantastic customer service, the VSG staff secured me a new machine within a week (shipping delays are fun) and sent me back on my way. Note: A new machine is policy since service is generally outsourced and can take weeks depending on the work required. The first run on the replacement machine was even more successful, since I already knew where to find the special characters in my wifi password on the digital keyboard (that took hours and Hench Hubby poking buttons with me). Unfortunately, I now have three mySewnet accounts (my fault) and had to open a technical support ticket to redeem my three month free trial for their Silver tier (not my fault). Despite that bit of kerfuffle in the beginning, I love my new toy! She scares me.
In addition to continued world unrest, the first quarter produced our Jingle Jangle family photos, Regency fanciness, my first product shoot, and tossing costumers out of airlocks. The latter is an ongoing process that seems suspiciously slow at the moment. I would like to say that’s a good thing, but I won’t. Apology acceptance is a personal choice. My memory is long. Honesty goes a long way. I finally got to meet some costuming crushes through interviews , I got myself on the path to better health (helpful for continued costuming, of course), and I got a good start on my Costume Wish To Do List. And then…I started posting sewing content to YouTube.
As it says in the written record (this blog), I acknowledge that Social Media is a necessary evil, but like the manager at that first big kid job, we are not friends. It has taken a considerable amount of energy not to close my public facing accounts since the summer of 2020. But I have met such genuinely nice people (and paying entities) amidst the racists, trolls, instigators, and ne’er-do-wells that denying The People the gift that is my always calm and never controversial online persona, seems a disservice. FYI: I cackled while writing that run-on. You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it…. Having another platform upon which idiots must be blocked was only a chore for about three seconds. Some people just can’t handle their internet, and I am one of them. Rude people upset me, I don’t engage often because I’m afraid of my words being misconstrued, and I have an itchy blocking finger. There was a YT commenter who demanded sewing tutorials. I couldn’t decide if she was being serious, since I try not to make viewer comment-like-subscribe requests in my videos. I’m not paid for my content, I just consider it another part of the costuming hobby, which apparently I was not crystal clear on for her specifically. The user had her own channel so I did a little exploring of her videos and found her lacking. One gem included her reasoning for being down with The Cheeto, so I sent her to The Screaming Void. The quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world” comes to mind when I think about why I started playing with video content. As in most other forums, there was continued outcry for more diversity in content creators to fight The Algorithm, and while the call was primarily answered by more of the same flavor of creators, I can at least say that I am trying. I really do enjoy the editing process and if my winding shenanigans entertain one person, I’m good with it.
The second quarter brought about more fun and -!/headtilt?/wtf?!- with my Tudor Star Wars project–widely applauded by many, morally questioned for my use of a Porg as a pouch by a few, and accused of circumventing blackface by one. People really need more science fiction in their lives. Like, I legitimately cannot make this stuff up. I was able to do some student Zoom chats about the hobby, watch ascots out themselves in a pay-to-play FB group, and make a crapton of bias tape for my Hamilton spencer. I throw that middle bit in there because I have screenshots clogging up my storage from the fallout after The Competition and I don’t care who knows it. No, not THAT one; THAT one was The Contest, and we’re not going to talk about it. And yes, I left the group. The Spring and Summer continued with more great sewing, more videos, more shopping, and a little stashbusting. I didn’t bother joining the Whole 30 Fabric Challenge since a fair chunk of my stash is not up to code for most of my current historically inspired projects, but I have greatly enjoyed watching so many people really get creative with it.
At some point, the stars aligned and I was able to make plans to attend a couple of cons and small gatherings again. This resulted in the dreaded Con Crunch, but I thoroughly enjoyed the adrenaline rush, didn’t lose as much sleep as I expected, and ended up with a second 3D printer. Like ya do. I was, once again, able to make connections with people I have been watching for years (not in the creepy way), and even got in some good, consensual hugs. Then, my babies went back to in-person school. Working full-time from home these last two-ish years, I found a different kind of all-consuming anxiety–less from frat boy office culture, more from letting my kids out of my sight for more than 30 minutes. It worsened with the silence of being home alone, so I turned to audio books and hand sewing breaks throughout the workday. Not only has my internalized dread greatly decreased since the beginning of the school year, my hand finishing practice meter is in the green.
The end of the calendar year has shone a light on the comical ratio of costuming hobby components to livable house space, with the move out of my dedicated studio. The eldest was ready for their own room, so I am now sprawled amidst the basement, walk-in closet, front room, and family room. Each area has a clearly visible containment line, but I’m not really into my sew-flow quite yet. We’ve only found one rogue floor pin thus far, so I’ve been hypervigilant in counting while I work. October was a harried nightmare of projects, and I did some more events–both in-person and virtual. November was deathly silent by comparison. I am currently bust deep in my Medieval Legend of Zelda project, with a new, third 3D printer to put to work on accessories and a pile of embroidery to do with my new Ruby.
All told, 2021 was okay over here. As always, we lost some, we won some, and we parted a few in a draw. For 2022, I have a list of sewing projects that I am itching to get started on. I am more aware of the size of both my fabric stash and my hoard of costumes (purge pending). I balk less often at monetizing the hobby for myself, but only when it doesn’t put my life out of order. I still do NOT take commissions, but I am always down to help with pattern testing and extolling the virtues of handbasting. I always hope for more consistent content to post, but caring about it just isn’t in my nature. Remember, everyone has a different reason for being in this hobby. Don’t push your priorities on others and don’t lie. It’s weird.
And for getting through all of that, here are *most* of my 2021 makes in no order at all.
Thanks for reading!