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Madalynne Year in Review


This has been an incredible year for sewing, not only because of all the new indie pattern companies, fabric shops and series launched, but because the online sewing community as a whole continues to shift, and keeping up with it has made for an exciting ride. I and I am sure others had hits and misses – me-mades that were slam dunks and me-mades that were a total disasters – but as we close this year, one thing is evident. Sewing is not dead. There are so many talented men and women around the world producing unforgettable pieces with their hands and machines.

Instead of posting the traditional “best of” list, I’m recapping my growth as a seamstress this year and what I hope to accomplish next. After reading, I’d love to hear what you’re working on for 2015!

Unknowingly, The Wardrobe Architect had a profound impact on my sewing in 2014. It received heat for not being a new concept, but it was new to me. While there are an infinite amount of other “find your style” guides, I never actively participated in one. Sarai released her series at the right time. It was when I first began taking a hard look at the clothes I wear and how they have an impact on the image I have of myself and the image it relays to others. On the surface, it helped my find my style as a RTW shopper. Yes, even though I’m on a quest to live a mostly handmade lifestyle, I will always be a shopper. I live in 2015, not 30 B.C. With each exercise, I inched closer to locking down my style. What I discovered was a stark dichotomy. I love intricate patterns and fabrics with a texture – the busier the better – but the silhouettes I’m most drawn to are simple. Flat front, wide leg pants and maxi skirts with no fussy details. It gets even more interesting. When I’m not wearing these vibrant, exuberant patterns, you will find me in the most basic outfit – jeans, a sweater/tee and a Converse’s (what I’m wearing above). My brother says I’m slightly hipster. Thanks, Gerrit!

In conjunction with this, I was also developing basic slopers that I will be able to use far into the future. I don’t mean a sloper like a basic bodice drafted from measurements. I’ve done that and even provide a tutorial. What I mean are basic patterns – a top, a pair of short shorts, a jacket, a skirt and a dress – that are wearable. It took me the entire year, but I made all of them. Mission accomplished!

While all of this was going on, something else was brewing underneath. Questioning the role of clothing in my life, I also started questioning the sewer I am and the sewer I want to be. Do I want to release a bra pattern like Amy? Do I want to concentrate on vintage like Rochelle? What if I wanted to be like Sonja or Lauren and churn out a remarkable amount of me-mades each year? The reality came to me and just like my slopers, it’s a very basic concept – I can’t be like anyone else because I’m not anyone else. Using one of my mom’s parables, “worry about yourself, not others.” Mom, you were soooo right.


Rather than trying to push Madalynne to be something else, why not let Madalynne be itself… naturally? And that’s my goal for myself and my blog for 2015. I want to be very selfish and devote a lot of time to growing my skills not only in garment making but also bra making. I’ve come to like teaching more than I anticipated, and to extend my real world lessons to the online world, I intend to post more tutorials on how I make projects. While on the subject of teaching, I also want to host more bra making workshops. Sarah and I have a summer workshop in the works and Mali and I just started the conversation. Most importantly, I want all of this to happen naturally. While making future goals is a good thing, we put too pressure to meet them, and often push ourselves in a certain direction when life is telling us to go the other. Instead, I’m making a plan, but will roll with the punches when life throws them at me. Life unfolds more beautifully that way.

On a bigger scale, 2015 will hopefully see the release of my book, Portrait of a Seamstress. It is a hard reality when I was turned down by every.single.publisher I pitched it to, but life isn’t always pretty flowers and unicorns. It’s not tutorial based like every other sewing book, but that’s what makes it special and different. Like my sewing prints, it’s supposed to be inspiration. You don’t need it like interfacing, but it’s a daily reminder of the beauty of what we do and the dedication we have for our hobby.

Like Karen said in her Christmas video, I thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. It’s been a wild ride with the launch of my new site, my online bra making class, opening Madalynne Studios, opening my shop on Society 6, and I’m hoping that 2015 will bring lots more excitement!

So, what do you have up your sleeve for next year?


  1. Reply

    Kate McIvor

    Thank you, Maddie. Brava to you for going on a quest for your authentic self. It is a quest that will never end, thank goodness. 2015 promises to be a big year for me as well, and I’m glad you’ll be around for guidance, inspiration, and lovely prints for the wall.
    Happy New Year to you. 🙂

    • Reply


      Oh please do share your sewing related prints hanging on the wall if you purchased a few.

      Cheers to our best year yet!

  2. Reply

    Roni arbel

    I don’t own sewing books because I still haven’t found one I would really need and read over and over again. My dream book would be a long, heavy one without a single pattern or a tutorial, but full of history, tradition and appreciation for the people who wake up every morning and do what they love. I think your book could be that one and no matter how long it will take you to find the right publisher, you’ll find them eventually. Please don’t let anyone make you change who you are or the voice you’re raising with this book. Some of us are really here for the SLOW simple being, a sacred bouble of humanity within the chaos. It must be difficult to get so many rejections, but you don’t need every publisher to like your idea, you just need the right one and you will find them. Until then, remember that your voice is heard and your readers will wait patiently to celebrate with you once the book is out.

    • Reply


      Thanks Roni! It was a difficult to hear the rejections, but it didn’t deter me, and it’s people like you who will keep me going in 2015. Thank you!

  3. Reply


    I’m trying to let things unfold naturally this year too. I’d like to slow down and take my time with my sewing instead of rushing. Happy New Year!.

    • Reply


      Amen sister! Me too!

  4. Reply


    Thanks for this post… I quit my job this year to try and be more involved in textiles and I want 2015 to be a year of experimentation and discovery. I am finding this so very hard after a decade in a stressful corporate job that meant striving for ever larger goals and having a series of plans that had to be followed. Your post is a timely reminder that that is not what I want for myself in 2015. All the best for the new year x

    • Reply


      It’s a hard transition from a corporate job to an entrepreneurial one. I haven’t been in that position, so I can only imaging. But there are so many people who have made the switch – Heather from Closet Case Files being just one – so it’s definitely doable and once achieved, more fulfilling! Keep up the good worl!

  5. Reply


    Madalynne, I have really enjoyed your blog! I love reading your posts. You are well versed, you have a sense of humor, and you keep it real! I can relate to the hits and the misses this past year. In 2015 I am going to take my time, not rush, and learn more about pants fitting and bra making. Happy New Year!

  6. Reply


    I also loved the Wardrobe Architect! It really helped me realize the disconnect between my sewing projects and what I actually wanted to wear on a daily basis.

    I think what you wrote about letting your path unfold naturally is really important. Sometimes it can be hard to listen to your heart and true passion in the face of expectations, even your own.

    For 2015, I’m looking forward to developing my blog, opening my online shop, and becoming more closely knit with the online sewing community!

    • Reply


      Please let me know when your online shop opens! Congratulations on such a big accomplishment!

  7. Reply


    It sounds like you had such an important year. I’m so happy that your goal is to let things evolve naturally – you will totally succeed with that attitude! Happy new year 🙂

    • Reply


      I think so too!

  8. Reply


    Your year sounds really massive and so many wonderful stories of growth! I am keen to know more about the wardrobe architect.. I have never heard of this before!
    2015 for me is a year of growing my design/branding business and my blog. Of being creative with my knitting, sewing, painting and photography and finding a grounding in these loves so that they all work together. I plan to save money for my future and hopefully make some plans for a family and future travel. I think that 2015 is going to be my year of huge growth.
    I must say, I am so glad that I found your website and blog. I love what you are doing here. I am really looking forward to getting to know you in the new year!

    • Reply


      Wow, Sam! Your year sounds just as massive as mine. Here’s to hoping things work out the way we want in 2015!

  9. Reply


    So much of what you’ve said rings true to me, too. I think one of the best things about an online sewing community is the inspiration you get, but it can also be a double edged sword, where you realize you’re often comparing yourself to others. A reminder to yourself to follow *your* path is always a good thing… and okay, at the risk of sounding supremely cheesy (sorry lol), you’ll always be better at being yourself than trying to box yourself into something else. Sounds like you have amazing plans for 2015 to piggyback off a great year. Looking forward to following the ride, and wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    • Reply


      Thank you for the encouragement, Tasha. You were one of the women who inspired me to follow my own path. As a vintage-esque sewer/blogger, you making your own unique statement in the blogging world.

  10. Reply

    Stacia | Paper Swallow Events

    I love that you are taking this approach to blogging this next year because it’s an approach that cannot fail. You and your blog will be able to grow and inspire without compromising who you are and your mission. I look forward to seeing what you make this next year, and I look forward to someday being able to read that book. 🙂

    • Reply


      Let’s hope 2015 brings you that book!

  11. Reply


    What a great post! I think staying true to ourselves is always the most important goal to achieve and for me often the hardest! I too plan on focusing on that more than ever in 2015. Happy new year and best of luck with all your beautiful sewing creations 🙂

    • Reply


      Thank you, Ami and I wish you the same!

  12. Reply


    maddie, i think your new blog layout is gorgeous and very you – but it’s a bit of a challenge to read the text superimposed over the background images. it may be a combination of the small font and the lovely washout of the images – but there it is. i am reading this on a full computer with a large monitor but do not think i would be able to read it on a mobile device. good luck in 2015!

  13. Reply

    Erin Buterick

    ugh, I’m so behind on everything. I meant to comment sooner, just wanted to say that I’m happy to have found you this year! I make my living doing alterations, and it can be quite isolating. I love that your blog inspires me when I do have a minute to make something from scratch 🙂
    Keep up the wonderful work!

    • Reply


      Thank you for the sweet comment. Keep up the good work as well!

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