2023; a retrospective – Handmade by Carolyn

Good morning! It’s the last day of 2023, and I’m feeling miraculously motivated to look back on my creative year, see what I did, how it worked, and generally do a little retrospective on things to come… on board. I’m uploading some favorite photos/outfits, one for each month of the year. I made everything I’m wearing in each photo, except for a few shoes…












It was actually funny for me to look back to find a few favorite photos because to be honest, I had a bit of a photo crisis this year. I stopped enjoying taking photos of myself and struggled to find any motivation for it, especially over the last four months.

What have I done this year?

So I made 64 items this year, including 3 knit items, 2 underwear sets including a bra and two matching underwear, 1 leather bag, a wallet, and 30 items for other people. The biggest and most important project for me this year was of course Lainey’s wedding dress. Yes, that sounds like a lot, and sure enough, it is! This reserve will not be reduced by itself!

We and Cassie were absolutely thrilled to add two new patterns to our Carolyn & Cassie Pattern Co stable this year; the Pinjarra twinset and the Meelup skirt. It seems like this has been the year of fundamentals for our small business! It’s great to have more proven designs that we really believe in and wear very frequently. And we’re excited to move on to a more adventurous design next year. #grow up

Stashbusting vs new fabric

I always work diligently on my stash and do not purchase or accept new fabrics. I’m quite proud of my restraint…in fact, the only time I worked with new fabric this year was Lainey’s wedding dress! I’ve been working through a lot of my collection and it all seems pretty manageable today. In reality, I estimate that I may still have a year left without buying anything new to get rid of absolutely EVERYTHING, maybe even less? Fascinating thought! but we’ll see how it goes! #crossed fingers. Wish me good luck!

Regarding the very large stash of wool that I inherited from my relatives… I intend to inquire about the possibility of donating most of it to my grandson’s daycare/kindergarten, because in reality, it would take me years to come out of it. I have to be realistic about what is achievable!

Your favorite brands?

Hmm, no surprises here, but of course, Lainey’s wedding dress is by far my favorite brand of the year! in addition to being the most involved. It was a pure labor of love, one that I put my heart and soul into. Although there have been challenges…I still have a slight concern about this hem! I’m pretty proud of the final product and felt like Lainey chose an absolutely beautiful design that I was also really in love with. I’m so thrilled to see how well she shone that day, which was a truly lovely moment in every way.

Here are some other favorite brands of the year:

I’m really happy with how this pretty pink Pinjarra cardigan and little blue Jade mini skirt turned out, and I’ve worn both of these pieces quite frequently. The ivory t-shirt is my most worn item of the year! I really need to make another one, to take the pressure off!

For creativity, I was really happy with this weird little outfit!

And, so random, but I was delighted with this little knitted set I made for baby Gilbert! Making things like this, and the purple/raspberry set above only reinforces for me the joy I feel in creating something useful from scraps and bits that otherwise suggest nothing. I need to take on more projects like these because they are almost always the most rewarding and satisfying for me. 🙂

failures ?

ooh my god, this is hard, because I haven’t really done anything this year that stands out negatively… strictly speaking, there are a few pieces that I’ve only worn once so far, but These are all things I like!

I’ve made a bunch of things with this pretty awful paprika-colored stretch fabric, all of which tend to stretch, and it was a relief to get this awful thing out of storage. However, they have all been worn multiple times, so I can’t call them a complete failure either! Theo insists that the red T-shirt is his favorite top!

What was I wearing?

My most worn items can be clearly summarized in the following #ootd photos.

Everything was made by me, in fact I wore almost 100% homemade clothes as usual. My most worn items are my ivory merino t-shirt (23 items), my Oxen Fibremood Jill dress (top row, middle, 21 items), and jointly my navy blue Miette knitted cardigan and my Pinjarra yellow merino cardigan ( 18 items of clothing each). Honorable mentions to my green Karijini dress (top row, left, 16 wears), and as usual my yellow raincoat, the number of wears I didn’t count… I also don’t count my black tights, my hand knitted socks, my handmade sockettes nor any hats, all of which were much worn more than anything else, of course!

other activities in general

I’m still learning Japanese, it’s been almost four years now! and I’m delighted to announce that we will be visiting Japan again next year. I’m excited to try to talk a little and catch up with my lovely friend Yoshimi.

I followed my outfit of the day blog on Tumblr for 10 years now! Wow! I’m glad I accomplished this, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the habit of taking a photo of myself every day started to get tiring and I decided to slowly let go of it. Actually, correction; I suddenly let it go! 10 years is a long time! There have been many times over the past year where I almost forget about it and have to hastily take a photo right before putting on my pajamas…haha. Oops ! I think we sometimes have to ask ourselves if an activity contributes to our happiness or if it has become a chore; and take appropriate action. I may or may not take photos every now and then if I particularly like my outfit, but definitely not daily, and I will most likely only post on Instagram from now on.

Finally, if you’re still reading, thank you so much for sticking with me for another year! I really appreciate everyone who does and chooses to leave a kind and generous comment from time to time; each one truly makes my day and I am so grateful to you all.

I hope you all had a wonderful year and I wish you all a happy, healthy, rewarding and creative 2024!


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