2020, The Year that was...

Friday, January 1, 2021

JLH Instagram Top Nine for 2020

What a year 2020 has been.

I generally like to reflect on the good bits at this time of year, but it really has been a year of extremes. It's hard to focus on the positive without acknowledging all of the other turbulent things have come along with it. Like any thing in life, you can't have the good without the bad, and sometimes, it's the bad that makes the good in the first place.

We've had COVID-19, the unnecessary deaths of innocent Black lives & leadership debacles. We've made mistakes and we've (hopefully) learnt from those. Out of these huge events, we've learnt that we need to come together as a community to look after each other, we've learnt about our privilege and how to use this for good. We've got leadership coming in (and staying!) that will build on these things and bring people together, rather than divide. For me personally, 2021 feels hopeful, but without the events of 2020, to be honest, we probably would have been in exactly the same place we were on these issues at the start of the year. 2020 has created the momentum, and now it's important that we continue with the changes that we know are necessary for the good of everyone. 

JLH Paper Patterns

JLH Pattern's wise, it was a hard start, not knowing how world events would impact on my energy, time and of course, pattern sales. I opted not to turn any new patterns into the paper format this year, which was a hard decision because 2019 had been such a great year for paper, with the introduction of the format in late 2018.

I still haven't come to a conclusion about paper in 2021, but I'll spend some time pondering the future of JLH paper patterns over the next few months and will let you know how that goes once I've come to a decision.

The Willa Wrap Coat, available in JLH Curve sizes

Extended Sizes - JLH Curve

2020 did see my pattern offerings round themselves out a bit with the introduction of my first 'pants' (trousers?) pattern, The Bastion Culottes and my first coat pattern, The Willa Wrap Coat. I also introduced my new expanded size range  - JLH Curve - with The Dulcie Pinafore and Willa Wrap Coat currently available in sizes 6-34 in A to F cups.

Adding the new sizes was something I'd been meaning to do for a long time, and I'm sorry that they didn't happen sooner.  It is a lot of work, as they are essentially a new pattern all in themselves (based of an entirely different block with a new fit model etc) and then needing to source models to photograph samples on top of that (it's usually just me and I squeeze photoshoots in around naps!).  

It also took a lot of careful consideration to be able to implement the new sizes without raising prices or having to sell them separately. But now that I've got a process worked out, the aim is to continue this on into 2021. I'll be continuing building on the extended sizes by releasing some popular older styles over the year as well as all new release patterns being available in these sizes. 

The Dulcie Pinafore, available in the new JLH Curve sizes.

Work/Life Balance

In terms of work/life balance, 2020 has been HARD! It's still just me running this little business, along with a handful of other freelancers, and I've only had 1 full day a week to work (along with evenings and weekends) because I've essentially been at home full time with Rowan. This has been both a blessing and also some serious hard work. It's left me incredibly tired and drained, both mentally and physically. And while I'm super grateful to have been able to spend that time with her, gosh, it's not exactly ideal.

This year, Rowan starts a few regular Kindy mornings from March and I'm hoping that once she settles into the routine, I'll be able to feel, and be, much more focussed and able to spend more quality time on each aspect of life, rather than having to do all-of-the-things with half my mind on something else.

With that in mind, I've decided not to release any new patterns for the first few months of 2021, and instead spend that time on getting Rowan properly settled into Kindy and all of my 'JLH Patterns' and 'personal-life' ducks in a row. Hopefully, my first pattern (The Esme Top) will be released towards the end of March/start of April, but I'm giving myself some breathing space on that and not pushing myself to get it out just for the sake of it (it's all designed and nearly ready for testing though...). 

The Bastion Culottes

New Patterns and Plans for 2021

I currently have three brand new patterns designed and in the works, and several older styles that are getting the extended-sizes make over. But as I said, I'm trying not to put too much pressure on the beginning of 2021. I hope once the momentum starts though, it'll keep ambling along at a productive pace. 2021 does feel more energetic and like it will be far more balanced than 2020 was.

I'm also wanting to spend more time catching up on things I haven't had the time to do over the last 1.5 years I've been at home with Rowan. I have so many tutorials and pattern hacks in my head that I'm excited to share with you this year, so that you can get even more out of your JLH patterns.  

The first cab off the ranks is the Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along. It's my first proper sew along for a long time, and it's been fun jumping back in and going a little deeper with each step of the construction process. I hope you'll be sewing along with me come January 18!

Thank you!

If you've read this entire post, brava to you. Let's not wish 2020 good riddance though, let's take what we learnt and do better in 2021, for without 2020, we would not be where we are today, we would not know what we know today and we would not do what we need to do today, for a better tomorrow.

And last but not least, a huge thank you for all of the support during 2020, I wouldn't be here without you. Happy New Year Friends, let's get some more sewing done, shall we?



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