A Brief 2023 Recap Plus An Update

I thought I would start 2024 with a brief 2023 recap plus an update. I last blogged here on December 1st last year and I hadn’t intended to just vanish into the ether without a trace but fate had other plans.

In late November I started to get what I thought was a back disc problem. It was pretty painful and as soon as I was able I had some physiotherapy. I seemed to be improving and I was moving around a lot better. Then on December 13th, I fell hard onto the side of a chair and jolted my whole back…the jolt was accompanied by a very scary crunch sound from my back and extreme pain. Hospital x-rays confirmed 3 vertebrae compression fractures, ugh!

So here I am today in week 3 and I can only stand for brief periods and can only type up this post in short bursts. Sewing has had to be put on hold while I heal and as we all know, bones unfortunately take a long time to heal. The likely cause of my fractures is osteoporosis so I’ll be having a bone density scan in March once I’ve completely healed. In the meantime, I’m itching to get creating again but I’ll have to be patient. If I get comfy sitting, I might be able to hand-sew a little something, but cutting out anything will have to wait.

I’ll most likely put together some inspiration posts for you but before then I thought I would do a quick recap of my sewing projects from last year. So let’s dive in shall we?

Last year I sewed a total of 23 garments. That comprised of:

  • 10 Tops/cardigans
  • 6 Trousers/jeans
  • 3 Skirts
  • 2 Coats

EDIT: How could I forget the denim cap that I made? So actually it’s 24 items 🙂

Tops and trousers feature the most and that’s no surprise because those are what I the most, so at least I’ve been sewing what I know I’ll wear. And speaking of wearing. I’m happy to say there isn’t one item I wish I hadn’t made or want to donate. Every single piece has been worn and enjoyed. The only minor exception is the Thara wide-leg trousers. I’m planning on getting rid of the side slits. I know they look good but I don’t find them all that practical so I’ll turn them into an ordinary seam instead.

So which items made it to my top three? I’m glad you asked 🙂

In third place are my coffee-coloured wide-leg jeans. I wore them a lot and I always felt comfortable and stylish. They go with everything!

A Brief 2023 Recap Plus An Update

In second place is my denim maxi skirt using the Just Patterns Iman design. This was a surprising result for me because of how versatile it proved to be. I can wear it all year round depending on how it’s styled. It works equally well with boots and a sweater as it does with sandals and a tank. I love it!

A Brief 2023 Recap Plus An Update

In first place is my golden-yellow wool shacket coat using the Vikisews Ingrid pattern. I feel sooooo good in it and I’ve had many compliments while wearing it. My favourite pairing is with skinny ponte pants and olive combat boots.

A Brief 2023 Recap Plus An Update

Oh and the denim cap I mentioned? Here it is:

I couldn’t be more pleased with how my sewing went and I’ve got more of a feel for what works and what doesn’t for my style (more on that in another post to come). I can’t wait for my back to heal so that I can get going on some new projects.

I had some lovely fabrics for Christmas and here are some photos of my ‘haul’.

On the top row are some Merino Jerseys. The colours are Brick red, Sea Green and Chocolate. All from The Fabric Store NZ.

On the second row is a leopard sweater knit and a quilted jacketing, both from Croftmill.

On the third row is a sueded scuba also from Croftmill in a beige and black marbled effect print.

I’m not sure about the Merino jerseys yet but I have some skinny pants planned for the scuba and I might get Grasser 630 for the quilted fabric. For the leopard knit, I fancy a sweater with some sort of zip detail at the neck, but no pattern ideas yet.

And that’s it. Lots of plans and a very satisfied feeling about my wardrobe. Fingers crossed I can sew soon.

Happy New Year to you and thank you for continuing to read my blog. I appreciate it. Let’s hope 2024 is a good one xx.

See you soon,

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  1. susan lynn cale
    January 1, 2024 / 3:22 pm

    Oh Diane, so sorry to hear of your back problems do hope they will improve quickly, there’s nothing worse. Can’t wait for you to start creating again I love hearing from you as your style is so me!!! Have a good 2024, it can only improve for you.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 6:53 pm

      Thanks you for the kind words, Susan. Each day is a step forwards so hopefully it won’t be too long before my creative itch can be scratched.

  2. Sandy
    January 1, 2024 / 3:40 pm

    Diane, I’m so sorry about your injuries! Hoping you heal quickly so you can enjoy the new year! What a wonderful list of sewing accomplishments! You are an inspiration!

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 6:54 pm

      Ohhh, thanks ever so much! Happy New year!

  3. PatB
    January 1, 2024 / 3:42 pm

    Wishing you a happy, healthy recovery New Year. Always appreciate your detailed posts.
    My favourite is also your Wool Shacket. The colour and length is perfect on You.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 6:55 pm

      Thanks Pat! And a happy and healthy new year to you too x

  4. Eleni
    January 1, 2024 / 4:55 pm

    Ηappy New Year, Diane! Hope you feel better soon! Love all the new fabrics. The wool shacket is perfect and I have the outer fabric and the pattern in my stash since ages… I will have to find the perfect lining though and the courage to make it!

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 6:56 pm

      Awww, thank you so much Eleni! Have a wonderful 2024 xx

  5. Heather in Colorado
    January 1, 2024 / 4:56 pm

    Goodness Diane, heal quickly! I hope you have minimal or controlled pain. A couple of my neighbors have had similar but recovered well. Great fabrics! I look forward to seeing your garments.😊

    FYI I’ve gotten some merino jersey from Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham, UK. What I got was deadstock, but I believe Lauren (the owner) has recently gotten more because the deadstock merino sold out in a flash. I haven’t sewn it yet; I made a lined flannel vest oop V2450 as a gift and liked it so much I’m now making one for me!

    • Heather in Colorado
      January 1, 2024 / 5:00 pm

      I forgot to mention my favorite is the denim skirt! Another for my to-make list thanks to your wonderful posts!😁

      • Diane
        January 1, 2024 / 7:00 pm

        Ahhh, those pesky to-do lists are always growing for us sewists, I’m sure you’ll love the Iman skirt.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you, Heather. I am able to keep the pain controlled and each day it’s a little bit less. It’s good to know that your neighbours recovered well from similar problems.
      I’m loving the sound of your merino fabrics and the vest top. Enjoy the sewing time x

  6. Frances Giacobbe
    January 1, 2024 / 5:02 pm

    Sorry about your injuries..Bummer for such a prolific seamstress! Your Hackett jacket outfit was my favorite, too. Hope your healing process will go smoothly.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks ever so much Frances. Happy New Year!

  7. Pat
    January 1, 2024 / 5:42 pm

    So sorry to hear of your health problems. It is difficult to be patient with the healing, but hang in there it will happen. I, too had problems this past year and understand what you are going thru. Yes, I finally started feeling myself and you will, too. Take care. Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations, they are inspiring.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 7:02 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words. I guess this too shall pass as they say :). Happy New Year to you x

  8. Roswyn Glenny
    January 1, 2024 / 6:39 pm

    So sorry you have injured your back Dianne, backs can certainly curtail your sewing as I well know. Do hope you heal quickly and well and will soon be back sewing. I know you must miss creating, happy new year and a quick recovery.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 7:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Roswyn. I hope you’re keeping well. I definitely miss creating, but fingers crossed it won’t be too much longer. Happy New Year xx

  9. Linda
    January 1, 2024 / 7:24 pm

    Diane I follow your blog but never comment – though I do love your posts and admire your sewing skill. I suffered a compression fracture in November 2022, also from a fall. I have recovered well but learned many things about how to take care of my back. I am also (now) on osteoporosis meds, a decision you will face. If you would like to discuss privately, let me know, I am happy to share my experience. I am in the US.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 8:39 pm

      Oh Linda, that’s incredibly kind of you. I would be so grateful for any information about how recovery from this kind of fracture should progress. It’s come as a bit of a shock and of course I won’t know the full story until I’ve had a scan. Please do share any knowledge you might have I’d be very grateful x

  10. Joan
    January 1, 2024 / 7:31 pm


    So VERY sorry to hear about your vertebrae fractures! That sounds worrisome to me, so please take it quite seriously, as life (as we know it) depends on a healthy back (gardening, sewing, etc.). More calcium, strength training, and prescription meds to build bone density are quite possibly in your future.

    I’ve had several bone density scans since my mid-50’s and have some yet-undiagnosed issue w/ high bone calcium yet rapidly-declining bone density that has me waiting for an endocrinology consult, so I am concerned about bone density, too! I did get wind of your health issue via Karen/IntoStitches, so I was very glad to see your post in my email this a.m.

    Re. your sewing: I love that denim cap on you! And I love your wonderful, warm shacket! But I find it interesting how much your skirt and wide-leg pants please YOU; they look great, but it points out how sewing is so personal, really.

    I mean that the pleasure we get from each project really is unique to the sewist. I am so impressed by some of the more tailored and detailed knit projects you’ve made, as they look utterly professional (you made the ribbed oatmeal cardigan, above, didn’t you?), yet none of those made it to your top 3! I think your projects that have most impressed me are the ones I “want to but haven’t tried/conquered” yet!

    I truly hope you recover from your back injury quickly!!! Happy 2024 and happy future sewing!

    p.s. I look forward to seeing what you do with the sueded scuba!

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 8:51 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Joan. You can guarantee that I’ll be taking this very seriously about my back. You’re so right, it’s fundamental to sewing and gardening which I love dearly so I want to be able to do both again in the future. I hope you can get some answers too.
      Hehe, it’s funny but now that you mention that oatmeal cardigan (which I adore) I’m wishing I’d included it! I think my criteria for the top three were to pick one standout item (my yellow coat), one workhorse item (the trousers) and one item that surprised me (the skirt). But you know it’s so hard to choose anyway. So many pieces that I love to wear. Happy New Year to you and your family xxx

      • Joan
        January 19, 2024 / 8:01 pm

        Hi Diane!

        Yay for the oatmeal cardi!
        I hope you are improving, as we are halfway thru January ALREADY. I checked back to your blog to remember the name of the fabric shop that you purchase your merino jersey from — thank you for that info in previous blog posts, going to check out availability again. J.

  11. Christine
    January 1, 2024 / 8:21 pm

    Hi Diane!
    So sorry to hear of your injuries and pleased to read that you’re being a good girl and giving your body every chance to heal well. You obviously have a broad network around the world and I know from personal experience that this helps a lot in supporting your recovery. Its a great opportunity to dream and make lists!
    I was delighted to read that you’ve bought some of our lovely merino from The Fabric Store in NZ (where I live) and look forward to hear what you make from it in due course.
    Take care, and heal well and quickly, CF

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 8:44 pm

      Hi Christine. Yeah, I’m absolutely being a good girl about my back. I witnessed my dear mum in law suffer with dreadful fractures due to osteoporosis, so I’m not taking any chances if that’s what I have too.
      Ahh, yes, I became hooked on merino jersey a while back and it’s now my absolute favourite material for lightweight tops and tees

  12. Barbara
    January 1, 2024 / 8:26 pm

    Hi Diane,
    Wishing you a speedy recovery from your back injury. As I have commented before, I am always delighted to see a blog post from you hit my in box.

    • Diane
      January 1, 2024 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you so much Barbara. Always a delight to hear from you too xx

  13. January 2, 2024 / 5:17 pm

    Lots of wishes for a Happy New Year and a quick recovery. I really love your style and your sewing options, you are so inspirational! I hope that you have a quick come back and lots of creativity.

    • Diane
      January 2, 2024 / 8:11 pm

      That’s so lovely of you to say, Evgenia! Thank you. And Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  14. Vicki Maiorano
    January 8, 2024 / 12:01 am

    A successful year garment wise, some really lovely makes. Wishing you a speedy recovery and back to the sewing room soon.

    • Diane
      January 8, 2024 / 8:07 pm

      Thank you so much Vicki! I’m slowly on the mend.

  15. Megan
    January 14, 2024 / 6:35 pm

    Sorry to hear about your back injury. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
    I can see why you like the shacket so much. It is gorgeous on you.

    • Diane
      January 15, 2024 / 2:10 pm

      Thanks for your good wishes Megan. I’m doing a bit better, but it’s a slow process. Hoping I can sew a little soon x

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