2012 in review- 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

It’s that time of year – the end of one year and the beginning of another.  All over media from social to international news channels, people are pausing and weighing up the year while looking forward to the next.

I always liked that about New Years.

Problem Solving | Cake Patterns

I’ve been taking stock like anyone else.  2012 was a year of learning for me- of hard work and late nights and teeth-gnashing frustration while I figured out what to do with the skills I have- I started out 2012 as a drafter, a sewist, a blogger and a teacher.  I lacked skills as a model, photographer, digitizer, and project manager but I’m much more confident in these areas as 2013 begins.

It took me a while to decide to make a paper pattern company- that was in May, if you can believe it.  Now we all have Cake.  I know how the process works now (more or less), which means I’m not learning new things every single day, which means we can play together more in 2013 than we ever did in 2012!

I’d say I had quite a few mis-steps along the way, mistakes, and complete failures.  The trick to failure is to find a way to learn or to grow from it, to pick up and move on.  I feel like I learned that over and over in 2012!

Picture 42WordPress summed my year in blogging for me better than I could myself.  They sent me a cool infograph of blogging statistics, so I thought I’d share with you a bit.  3 Hours Past has had nearly half a million views since I moved here from blogspot last year (in Oct 2011).  My poor brain can’t process numbers that big- I really can’t grasp it but it’s certainly exciting!  Thank you so much for sticking with me while I wandered around the blogging wilderness, trying to figure out what to do with myself.

Picture 43These were the most popular posts at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World in 2012.  I don’t particularly understand why my old post on gaucho pants should still be so well-read, but the internet is a mysterious place sometimes.  In case you missed them, the other top 5 posts were:

Picture 44

These sites were my top 5 referrers for 2012.  Many thanks to AnneW at Craft Gossip, the lovely ladies at Sew Weekly, to Casey and to Mushy!  And most of all, thank you everyone who cares enough about what I’m doing to put me in your reader, and to all of you who read these words I write and encourage the sewing.  I could never, ever, ever have done what I have without you.

Picture 47

Since I mentioned Sew Weekly, I wanted to say that while I dropped out of the Weekly challenges mid-year (Cake is a demanding mistress) I learned *so* much from completing the challenges and working on Sew Weekly as a group blog that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.  That’s not to mention all the lovely sewing people I met.  Part of me feels terrible for quitting, but a bigger part of me knows I didn’t have much of a choice if I wanted to make Cake happen.  Congratulations to everyone who completed the 52 week challenge, and to everyone who posted even once.  It’s hard work, you’ve got to hustle, well done!

Personal Fave of 2012

Picture 46

I think of all the Finished Object and Hack posts I made this year, my favorite top and photos came from the Lacewing Top.  We took these shots at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens on a lovely family afternoon out, and that’s what I think of when I see these photos.

Picture 48

These are two favorite garments I can’t wear ever again, as they were lost in the great Whites to Pink Disaster last May.   Why do I keep returning to that little incident?

The Backstory on the Pinks, and Why I’m ok with it now

May 2012 was an extremely hard month for me.  I had been working on a wardrobing book proposal with a big craft and sewing publishing company.  I had patterns, samples, and much of the copy already written before I started querying publishers.

The first publisher I approached loved my concepts and kept drawing out more of my ideas and saying lovely encouraging things about our future together- though they weren’t quite on board with my pattern ideas. They were going through a transition phase as I was working with them- we got all the way to the final round of negotiations and they dropped my proposal.  I was devastated, but didn’t want to talk about it here.  Now I’m over it.

Then I spilled some liquid on my lovely laptop and nearly lost several years’ worth of notes and images.  Luckily, my Father-in-Law was looking for someone to take his old laptop off his hands so he could upgrade in good conscience- and Stephen helped me recover all of my files.

I also had some rather upsetting family drama news from America in May.

Then, right around the same time, I lost that load of whites.  I believe that’s why I was so beside myself about it- on top of everything else, I’d lost a sizeable chunk of my wardrobe.

I also couldn’t find a regular teaching space in Brisbane, I couldn’t make pdf patterns work the way I wanted them to- I felt blocked every time I turned around, except when I posted here to chat with you all about sewing.

And then there was Cake

Cake is for you- all of my applied knowledge and observations from twenty years of sewing and taking copious notes, wrapped up in a pretty pretty envelope and just waiting for you to pick her up and play.

Tiramisu Step 12

I drafted Tiramisu in June, right after that series of unfortunate events- I needed to.  The design wouldn’t leave my head and even when computers and families and washing machines conspired against me, I knew I could withdraw into my little world of lines and dots on paper and everything would work out.  I draft and “grade” entirely by hand, I enjoy the physicality of it and don’t see myself learning to digitally draft any time soon.

Once I finished the drafts I knew I had something worth producing well- as a real paper pattern.  Through those months of working out production issues and building Cake Patterns, every time I wanted to quit I came back to two things:

  • You guys are the best
  • The drafting/concept work is good

Through every rejection from the industry, every digitizer who acted like I was crazy, through printing woes and logistics issues, I kept going back to those two things.

I’m so so pleased you all like the way I’ve made Cake- from the sizing based on measurements to the way we set up the instructions, it felt like a gamble.  My instincts told me you’d like it, but you never know for sure until the work is “out there.”

Picture 49I’m also incredibly pleased with all the great reviews of Tiramisu that are out so far, and the variety of your Tiramisus to reflect your individual style and climate needs- wow.  It’s such fun to watch this gallery grow.  If you’d like me to add your Tiramisu review or photo or blog post, let me know and I’m on it.  You’ve been so kind in your praise of the pattern, and I’m really proud of the work we’ve done together.

Perfectly Quick Knit Waistband Feature

In 2013 I look forward to doing my very best work for you through Cake and sewingcake.com.  Now that I mostly understand printing and logistics, I feel like we can finally get some sewing done!

Tomorrow: Outline of 2013- Petit Four, Cake Rolls, Cake Riffs, Lamington (pants, oh yes, pants!) and Hummingbird project teasers.  Also a class preview (because I have a teaching home!) and some other tidbits…. It’s basically an introduction to the projects I’ve had simmering here quietly and a Table of Contents…  Mom was asking me on Skype the other day what exactly I’m doing over the next few months, I thought I’d respond to her in blog post form…

Picture 25

And then: A few cool posts leading up to Tiramisu including the “4th Dimension of Tiramisu” and the Full Bust Alteration and how to apply it!  Then we’ll dive into the 30 Minutes a Day Sewalong and make up an army of Tiramisus.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Thank you again, over and over, for your support in 2012 as I got my feet under me.  From my viewpoint, 2013 looks like an exciting year.   I hope you have a happy and productive 2013!  Upward and onward!


  1. Congrats on all your hard work, Steph! It’s very inspiring, and I’d love to have the same sort of achievement one day. I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on your patterns and I definitely can’t wait to see what else you have up your stylish sleeve this year!

  2. What a year!! Congratulations Steph!! Can’t wait to read more about your new cakes. They are droolworthy!

    • Thanks! You’re so sweet. :) I’m finding it a bit hard really to think about what’s already happened, I can’t stop looking forward to the things to come… ;)

  3. Happy New Year to you and your family! I’ve joined in the Tiramisu Sew Along and have some gorgeous red on red striped jersey earmarked for mine :)

    • Thanks, Sarah! :) Right back at you, I saw your sewing goals and they look loooovely. Blogspot is being mean to me though and I can’t comment. :(

      Can’t WAIT to see your Tira, sounds like beautiful fabric.

  4. My Tira was mailed out today! Can’t wait to get it and start the sew a long! What a year you have had and look at all you have accomplished! Congratulations! I can’t wait to see what else you have planned!! I’m so excited to see what Hummingbird will look like!

    • Woohoo! Sorry about the whole “holiday” delay, but fingers crossed she gets to you quickly! :)

      Thanks… Everything seems to move so slowly while I’m working, but then I poke my head up and look around and think “Really?” ;)

  5. The pinks: Sometimes it’s good to lose things. When I was an undergrad photography student some administrative idiot decided to empty all the student lockers and throw away everything — including about 2 years of negatives in my case + my film developing equipment. I was such a mess about that. But it forced me to move on and try new things because I knew that I could not replace what had been. (Years later I’m still kind of p.o.’d about that though!)

    Okay, I had to check out the gauchos post. It was reasonable and I guess there must be a fair amount of guachos fans out there. However, then tend to remind me of painful years in the 1980s. Also, the crotch never fit well in my Esprit pair…

    Thanks for a great year of sharing, Steph!


    • Yes. You are very very right and zen. ;) OH NO! That’s so awful! I bet it *would* sting years later, that’s terrible. I lost a few sketchbooks when my crappy studio apartment flooded a few years ago, if it had been that much work I don’t know how I’d get over it… But I guess that’s just what has to be done….

      I don’t even wear those gauchos. Maybe it was the fabric. I saw some on a girl while I was out today, styled a bit like sailor pants… They were cute, lots of potential. But those Chef-chos… No. I cut them up for rags long ago. ;)

      And thanks for dropping by, Jen. I always enjoy your intelligence. :)

  6. Wow, what an amazing year. Look forward to seeing that pants pattern and deciding which will be my first Cake pattern to try out!

    • Yeah, for sure. :)

      The pants are a design born for a particular purpose, I’ll talk a little about it in tomorrow’s post. :D I think we can have some fun with them…

  7. I have enjoyed reading all your posts this last year. It is very inspiring for me to see a fellow Brisbanite launching a pattern company (just wow!) to the sewing world. I loved reading the statistics and seeing that I made up some of those figures. Congrats on surviving the tough times and pursuing your dream, and i am looking forward to your new pieces, especially the pants.

    • Thanks, Pauline! :)

      Oh! I wouldn’t want to misrepresent- I’m not really a Brisbanite. Once a Texan, always a Texan, or so they say. ;) But thank you, it’s been really interesting and I’ve had the *hardest* time getting anyone local on board… Thank goodness for the internet and skype meetings…

      I hope you have a lovely 2013. :D

  8. Aw Steph, what a year you’ve had! Congratulations for seeing it through and launching your wonderful pattern business. That infographic from WordPress is so cool, by the way! I’d never have thought to compare blog visitors to country visitors – awesome. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2013 xx

    • Thanks, Tilly. :) Yeah! The infographic also had a fun little fireworks display and a few other bits and pieces… Very cool of WordPress. :)

      Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful 2013.

  9. What a great post! Yours inspired me to go and do my own review of the year. An achievement you could add to your substantial list for the year, considering that I’ve been in a blogging slump of late. :D

    But truly, you’ve accomplished so much in this last year, and it’s been an honour and a pleasure to watch your achievements this past year. Cake is turning out to be a fantastic pattern company, and I can’t wait to see where you take it this new year!

    • Hahaha! Will do, Heather! :)

      Thanks.. That really means a lot to me coming from you, we’ve been keeping track of each other since that first Wardrobe Contest! Haha. Was the three years ago?

      • Uh, oh goodness, I think so. I guess it was summer 2010, so 3 years this June. Wow! I remember being so wowed by your knowledge and garments, especially when you started drafting your own patterns for it. I didn’t even know you could do that back then! lol And now look at you. :D

        I think joining that contest was the best thing I could’ve done for my sewing skills. Not only did it encourage me to up my sewing skills, but I was exposed to a lot of ideas and techniques from people at different sewing levels than me, stuff that I probably wouldn’t have considered or attempted for years (if ever) if I didn’t have that online sewing community to open my eyes to them. You were definitely a part of that, and I’ll always be grateful.

  10. Great post – and loved to hear more about the story behind Cake (and very intrigued by the book proposal). Very glad I found your blog last year, and SOOOO looking forward to the Tiramisu sewalong. Happy new year, and all best wishes for 2013 x

    • Well… I can see why they decided against the book in the end, now. It’s a sort of master guide to the way my mind tackles sewing and wardrobing. I guess it was too much, and too different. That’s ok, the writing will keep. I did start posting little tidbits a while ago when I did Conversant in Color, but I’m still sitting on most of it…

      Thanks! I hope 2013 is a maaaaarvelous year for you, too. :)

  11. A super big congratulations, Steph and for sticking with it despite all the frustrating roadblocks in the beginning! I am SO EXCITED for Cake Patterns in 2013. I’m so inspired by your enterprise and look forward to supporting it (and getting all the cool patterns along the way!!) Happy New Year, m’dear!!

    • Thanks, Debi. You’ve done so well this year, too, I’m so excited we’ll be working together a bit on Weaving Destinations! :)

      Happy New Year to you, too. :D

    • Thanks! Haha… I sorta had one over the holidays, and we’re planning a week long “off the grid” camping trip to Lamington once the heat gives us a break… We want to go find an old plane crash site from 1937, track down a Lamington Cray and camp.. :)

  12. It’s been quite the year for you. Reading that, it’s amazing what you have fit into just 12 months. May 2013 bring many good challenges your way that help you grow even further.

    • Yeah, it’s weird… While everything was going on, it seemed very slow-paced to me. Now I stop and think about it though, last year this time I’d just put out the BCT… Madness. :)

      I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you too, Sera. :)

  13. I agree that this is really impressive!

    And I went to sleep last night thinking about the Tira sew-along and the wonderful striped fabric you sent me . . . and then I dreamed about sewing with you. I just thought you might like to know that you’re seeping into the collective unconscious! :-P

    • Thanks… :) I’m so excited for your striped Tira, and extremely pleased and relieved to know it arrived. Sending out biggish fabric bundles always feels like a gamble, but I think that’ll change now I have dhl working for me. Probably. :)

      Love it! :)

  14. That’s one heck of a year.
    Sorry you had such a grim time in May but I’m really rather hoping the good stuff outweighs it. You are amazing. I can’t wait to see what this year brings for you…it will all be good for sure.

    • Yeah for sure… You’re not just whislin’ Dixie.. ;)

      It’s ok, really, and I’m not kidding when I say the only thing that was working for me around that time was my little family here in bne and my little family here at 3 Hours Past… Thanks so much, Evie, and thanks for being there for me during all this madness. :) It’s fun..

  15. Congratulations Steph. Lots of superb achievements. I’m delighted to read that there is some FBA for the Tira guidance coming very soon.

  16. Ooh, that lacewing top is one of my very favorites of your makes! I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings your way– I’m sure it will be a GREAT year!

  17. Holy moly I knew 2012 was full on for you but didn’t realise just how much so. Thank you for hanging in there and congratulations on Cake. I couldn’t agree more with everything written above and now can’t wait to start sewing me some Cake.

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