A review of 2020 – New patterns, sewing and lockdown!

For my first blog post this year I am taking a look back at 2020. There is no doubt that the year will be indelibly marked in everyone’s memory for ever more. In many ways it was such a terrible year. It would be easy to recount the misery of a global pandemic and all the devastation and unhappiness it has bought. The impact of a new isolated way of life we were catapulted into. No one could ever have imagined! However hidden in the cracks there were chinks of light and small pockets of positivism. I am a big believer in focusing on the good things, it is a great way of dealing with bad situations and keeping yourself grounded.

I have to admit when the first lock down was announced and I had to shut down my sewing classes I wondered how long I would be able to keep my small business afloat. I set about making new plans for running as frugally as possible. A few weeks in with a need for face masks and more spare time on our hands people were sewing! Lots of sewing was going on. I had emails and calls from people who had never sewn a stitch and wanted to learn, people wanting to contribute to the crisis through sewing and others that were enjoying a commute free day and filling the spare time with sewing!!I really didn’t have to much time to dwell on the situation while I answered emails and processed orders. I was truly grateful to be kept busy.

In between adjusting to a new way of life and homeschooling I managed to achieve quite a lot of Bobbins and Buttons activity and found inspiration in a new way of life. Here are some of the highlights…..

On the blog:

At the beginning of the year I introduced the new bloggers network. Inviting a few of the ladies I work with for pattern testing to contribute to the blog. Its always inspiring to see how others interpret a piece of fabric or sewing pattern.

Yvonne coatigan pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

You can see all the contributions over on the bloggers network section of the blog. Including the latest post from Rebecca with her gorgeous version of the Yvonne coatigan pattern.

Lynn sewing pattern hacks from Bobbins and Buttons

In March I launched a new series on the blog of Lynn sweatshirt hacks. Each month I have been posting a new idea of how to use the Lynn sweatshirt pattern. Some are scrap busting ideas, some include adapting the pattern or embellishment. You can find all the ideas in the sewing hacks section of the blog.

New Patterns:

Yvonne coatigan pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

My first pattern launched in 2020 was the Yvonne coatigan style. A simple ladies edge to edge shape coatigan with a cropped wide 3/4 sleeve. The pattern also offers a long line slim sleeve version.

Lee sewing pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

My next new pattern. A versatile basic for kids, adding to the family collection of t-shirts. Lee is a unisex semi-fitted kids pattern with a classic crew neck. The pattern offers a choice of short, long and 3/4 sleeve lengths.

Lee sewing pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

The Lee t-shirt is a great double act with the Frances leggings for a super quick and simple play outfit. While school uniform was gathering dust in the wardrobe this combo became the new stable.

Bobbins and Buttons free face mask sewing pattern

The other pattern I launched was a free face mask pattern. After the pros and cons of whether we should wear masks we now know they are compulsory to wear in public. After trying out a few different versions I decided to develop my own. I still wear this style, my favourite is the version with the elasticated head attachment. I can easily lower this when I get in the car and leave the mask around my neck to easily be pulled up for errands to the shop or post office.

A treat for newsletter subscribers:

Boxy top patterns free from Bobbins and Buttons

In July I launched the first in a series of basic boxy top patterns that are free to newsletter subscribers. There are twelve styles based around one simple bodice shape. The first six are already published with six more versions to come this year. I wanted to share something accessible for everyone that would also be useful to demonstrate different making techniques. The launch of this was well timed as so many new comers were trying sewing and making garments for the first time.

The newsletter is available to everyone to subscribe to. Each month contains to password to the free pattern page.

A collaboration:

Project run and play collaboration - Bobbins and Buttons patterns

My last major project for 2020 was a collaboration with four other designers for Project run and play. This was great fun, I found it very inspiring to work collectively on a project. We decided on a book theme which was so relevant to all of us. For me from the first lockdown we started reading a book as part of homework. I enjoyed reading aloud to my kids as much as they enjoyed listening. There really is no reason to stop reading aloud to kids after pre-school age. This is now a part of our everyday. I have searched out reviews for age appropriate books. We have read our way through some amazing thought provoking, adventurous and exciting books. To my joy the Christmas list was piled high with sequels!

Lounge library was our take on a theme based around books. Each designer finding their own inspiration within the theme. I chose to combine an element of Alice in Wonderland with the idea of kids own imagination and how they ‘write their own story‘.

Bobbins and Buttons sewing patterns

My Joseph jogger and George hoody pattern were already in work and adapted perfectly to the theme. I set a goal to portray a mini adventure through the photographs. The path of discovery through to the creation of an adventure!

Bobbins and Buttons sewing patterns

I produced four patterns for the collection. Two unisex and two girls patterns. The Becky skirt is a very simple pull on skirt designed for stable knits.

Bobbins and Buttons sewing patterns

Bobbins and Buttons sewing patterns

The final style in the collection is the Alice dress and top. A nod to the fantasy of Alice in her original world. The final lookbook including all the designers makes can be viewed at Project run and play.

What a year! Here we are in 2021. I have a surprising amount of inspiration and ideas for new patterns and plans for Bobbins and Buttons. I have a lot to be thankful for and I hope to continue to share ideas and bring you new patterns and lots of beautiful fabrics.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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