Top 5 of 2016 – an abbreviated version

I’ve had a tough 2016. That’s the honest truth. So I’m feeling a bit reflective and Crafting a Rainbow’s Top 5 has played on my mind.

Top 5 2016 - an abbreviated version

Top 5 2016 – an abbreviated version

This year I’ve had less time for myself than ever before – largely my fault. I tend to say ‘yes’ to every request for help, community service and anything and everything else. I’ve found the best and only way to have a break is to physically leave town for a few days. That can be physically exhausting so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s been a relentless grind and at my best I am super-charged with enthusiastic energy as I relentlessly plough through everything in my path and at my worst tired self, exhausted and emotional. Pretty sure I’m not alone there – we all have days like that.

So I’ve haven’t sewn as much this year. I probably needed to but my work/life demands have defeated me. I did spend many of my winter months learning to play hockey (field hockey – much to my mother’s horror) and I loved it. What I may lack in skills, I make up for in reckless fearlessness and speed – I often referred to myself as the ‘sacrifical mutton’ as I delighted in taking on any player or high-speed ball to save a goal. The team may have nicknamed me ‘Crazy Eyes’…

I don’t think I’ve sewn enough to cull at Top 5 in every category I’ve decided to do an abbreviated version…


Of course it’s the tutu. It was an absolute slog and I tied myself up in a knot in indecisive anxiety but got there in the end. Yes there might be another in 2017. Might.

with the tiny tots

with the tiny tots

The garment I simply love… the Asaka Kimono from Named. I love this, I wear it most mornings while I drink my coffee in my great grandfather’s chair. In a relentless life that seems to take more than it gives, having a silk dressing gown to slip on is a tiny personal luxury to be treasured.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, back view

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, back view


Sewn in 2015 but it’s taken me a year to accept this is a miss – I’ve sent it onto a reader who loved it.

I find it hard to give up on things that don’t love me back – don’t we all?

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

the failed Burda shirt


Brisbane Frocktails. I’ve come to love this city and its Spoolettes. I really should blog my outfit from this, New Look 6446 in black crepe. I’ve quite undecided how I feel about it. It was fun to wear something completely different. I’ve worn it since to a work function so here’s a ‘arty gallery and a lift selfie’ to tide you over to the eventual blog post on this pattern.


An ‘arty’ gallery selfie before a work function commences…

New Look 6446 in black 'French' crepe

New Look 6446 in black ‘French’ crepe


Like people, some patterns and fabric won’t love you back. Such is life.

I love to sew. I’ve missed it.


Sew more detailed garments because I love those projects. I find a myriad of details is the best place to lose myself and relax.

Read more books.

Be kinder to myself. When you always put yourself second, so does everyone else. Lesson learnt. 🙂

30 thoughts on “Top 5 of 2016 – an abbreviated version

  1. I hope you get time to breathe a little more in 2017. I’ll join you in trying to be kinder to myself too – advice I know you’ve already given me! I’d love to know what you read and enjoy; I was bought a Kindle for my birthday and it’s increased my reading exponentially! I think because it’s so diddy, it just goes everywhere with me so I read instead of mucking around on social media in those odd few minutes waiting for the boys / sitting on the side of the pool whilst A trains…
    I MUST make my robe next year. In fact I NEED to sort this dang office out so I can actually sew again now that J is nearly two and I’m slowly getting a little bit more time back (touch wood!).
    Hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that you get a chance to rest a little whilst having lots of fun too x

    • It’s easy to give advice and much harder to do it yourself!
      I do have a kindle but need to dig it back out. I do love to use a kindle as it is easy to transport and I found I used it a lot when I was a heavy reader. I’ve recently read All The Light You Cannot See, Commonwealth, The Underground Railway and now getting started on The Goldfinch.
      I highly recommende the robe – which you sent me! It feel indulgent but it’s practical which is perfect.
      Merry Christmas to you my lovely friend – wish you were here!

  2. So pleased that the tutu was one of your hits! Have a wonderful Christmas and may next year bring you more sewing and less stress,

  3. You know what they say – if you want something done, ask a busy person. Your life always sounds like a whilrlwind, yet you produce such beautiful things. Make some time to relax and breathe in your lovely surroundings. Here’s to lots of sewing in 2017!

    • You know people actually say that to me – which shocks me even more. They acknowledge I’m overloaded and then tell me how much they admire me and ask me to do something else. For a while it’s ok but eventually it wears you down… especially the expectation that you will just pick things up when others won’t. I feel bad but I’ve declared 2017 the Year of No as I can’t see anyway to manage it otherwise. I’ve recently declined two requests for committee jobs. So I’m improving!

  4. Yes, you must take care of yourself first in order to continue to be able to take care of others. It is necessity for long term mental and physical health, but you already know that. Think about setting aside some time each week at the same time that is yours. I have found that otherwise it never happens for me. I struggle with this issue as well as I am a full time caretaker for my husband, but it can be done. I have missed your posts, but then the blog should rightfully be waaay down your list! I hope your 2017 is a much more joyful year, As a friend said to me, you can’t help everybody, so quit feeling the guilt.

    • Fulltime carer is a tough gig – good on you.
      It’s so true, it’s easy to keep putting off putting yourself first… until it almost feels too late. But I’m trying – some days I’m better at it than others.
      And you friend sounds like a smart person!

  5. I should take more pics of my disappointments – that’s my lesson from Gillians best and worst 5. I have pics of my favourites (so easily done!) but the ones that were a disappointment I tend to chuck and delete without further ado. But it’s a lost learning experience too when years from now I’m liable to be tempted again!! I love your Named kimono (my pattern for this just arrived last week and yours in that luscious colourful silk has inspired me. A woman in my sewing class is working on one now and we all oohed and awed about it. Yes a lovely luxury! You should definitely dedicate yourself to making more of those sorts of luxury things in 2017. Luscious silks, high quality knits and cotton lawns. Since your time is so limited to dedicate to sewing you want to honour the time you do have by making yourself things that would cost $1000’s to buy 😉

  6. I felt like it was such a busy year too (Haven’t had much time to sew since Frocktails), but I’m so glad we got to catch up a few times this year and looking forward to the theatre in the new year ;o)

    • Time flies – and it seems to get worse with every year. I consistently think ‘oh I will do that for myself next week’ or ‘I will sort that out later’ but the problem is later or never comes as someone or something steps into those gaps and suddenly you wonder ‘what about me!?’.
      So here is to a kinder 2017 – may we both find more time for ourselves and sewing. And I look forward to seeing you in February!

  7. So true about putting yourself second – people will often try to take advantage. I think you’ve made more gorgeous things than you’ve shown here and I’ve enjoyed every single one, including the top that you deem a fail. Hoping you find more peace in 2017. Merry Christmas.

    • Thank you so much Sue. Isnt’ funny how you might be so far away but I feel like you live next door 🙂
      Since I am so time poor I’m determined to focus on sewing more detailed and complex projects as 1) I enjoy them and 2) them actually make me grab bits of time to myself to sew the next step. The process of pinning, basting, thinking and creating is so much more enjoyable for me over an extended period.
      Thank you for your kind words xo

  8. I hope 2017 is a happier year for you Lizzy. I think a few of us could do well to remember to put ourselves first and value ourselves more. Even though you sewed less this year I have a feeling that tutu could well be the thing you dine out on for several years to come x

  9. I hope 2017 is a bit kinder to you! Sounds like you just need to make realistic expectations for yourself and stick to your guns. It’s so hard to say “no” but you can’t be your best self if you’re constantly working on an empty tank. Hard lessons to learn, for sure. That tutu still makes me swoon… So beautiful!

    • All so true Lisa! I’m my own worst enemy, always think I can do everything… and while anyone can do everything for a while, no one can do it forever.
      I’m looking forward to a break over Christmas & hopefully 2017 is a smoother ride.

  10. It’s certainly very easy to find yourself spread too thinly because of other peoples ‘needs’. It is, as you say, fine short term but becomes a problem eventually. Everything you have shown has merit, and your tutu is off the scale gorgeous. Enjoy 2017, and learn to say no.

  11. Gosh! Everything you’ve made looks so professional. The tutu is incredible. I think that an overloaded life is all too common these days. Somehow we’ve (usually women) begun to feel that we should be capable of everything for everyone all at the same time. It sounds like you’ve listened to your mind and body and you know you need to make the change. In my experience if you don’t listen to yourself, your health will grind you to a halt eventually. Looking forward to seeing more beautiful shots of you on the beach in 2017.

    • I couldn’t agree more. My health crumbled significantly in 2015 & while I clawed some of it back I think I’ve let it slip again. My youngest had her last year in primary school & I felt obligated to do the final year of school fete and Ironman aid station duties. I’ve decreed that 2017 is The Year of No. It’s time for someone else to carry the load, I’ve done my time.
      Thanks for the sewing compliment, I try hard to finish things in a way that makes me proud to wear them. A little bit of patience goes a long way.

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