2020 Recap & Emporia Cassie Dress

I really want to say thank you a million for your support in 2020! It was an extremely tough year in more ways than one and you guys really kept me going!

This year was a mix of highs and lows, successes and failures! I am sure we can all relate in some way as 2020 was full of surprises for us all! Here is my 2020 recap:

  • Celebrated my 30th birthday in January! It was quiet and relaxing, spent at home with hubby.
  • My birthday trip happened in February. We went to Panama and it was easily the most exciting vacation I’ve ever taken. It was my first time in a big city with skyscrapers and huge shopping malls. I even got to do a tiny bit of fabric shopping! I can’t wait to go back whenever travel is a thing again!
  • We went into lockdown at the end of March until early July. My serger broke literally a few days before lockdown started. Hubby bought me a brand spanking new one so I could make it through lockdown with all my sewing essentials. That thing was expensive and for him to buy it at such an uncertain time was totally crazy! Forever grateful!
  • Lockdown was actually an amazing time for us. We’ve never spent that much time together since we’ve been married. Hubs had his occasional zoom calls, but for the most part we relaxed, binged tv shows, baked together, and quite surprisingly enjoyed our hunt for groceries on the days we were let out to do so. We ventured far into the countryside to get our groceries and as high pressure a situation as it was, we were able to find joy in those journeys.
  • In June, I was offered the opportunity to become a Love Notions ambassador and this was definitely one of my greatest highlights of the year. I have to especially thank Karina of Lifting Pins and Needles for recommending me! The Love Notions Team has been nothing but welcoming, and just truly amazing! Such a good support group!
  • This year I did a 3 part T-shirt refashioning series for Sewn Magazine. I am so proud of the projects I submitted! I even shot 2 of the looks on my Panama trip! I was actually featured in almost all of the 2020 issues which is a huge accomplishment!
  • We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on August 1st! Things were still sketchy so we ordered in food and celebrated at home.
  • I made my first activewear set in August which included the X-factor Crop Top by Patterns for Pirates, Stride Tights by Greenstyle Creations and Baseball Cap by Style Arc. I enjoyed it so much and I especially wear the tights when working out! More activewear on the horizon for sure!
  • We moved house September 1st and it was a very mentally and physically draining moving process. Far from what I’d imagined it would be. It isn’t perfect and there are some issues we need to get fixed, including a moisture problem that has caused my new serger to rust unfortunately. But there are some positives as well like a new sewing room which hopefully you guys will see soon.
  • In October I shared a special secret I’ve been holding. I am the new Co-host for the #bhmpatterndesigners challenge. I am not going to lie, I was extremely nervous and it was a tough decision to make just because my plate was already full. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I could not pass up the opportunity and guess what? It’s almost here! February 2021! Stay tuned!
  • I lost my dear aunt/god-mother this year to Cancer which was a really trying time for my family. I couldn’t go home to the funeral because of the other dreadful C word. I felt like I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. I celebrated her life with my Chalk & Notch Farrah dress for Dia de los Muertos. This was my only hand embroidered piece this year and it was truly something special!
  • I did my first Feature Friday as a Love Notions ambassador in November and it went great! It was very well received both by the LN team and you guys! I hacked the Tessa Sheath Dress to add waist ties and everyone loved it!
  • Now we go into the part of the year when most of my fails happened. Mentally I was not doing well because it’s been over a year now since I’ve been able to go home and the reality was setting in that Christmas with my family was not going to be an option. I think I had already mentally checked out of 2020 so my focus and motivation were way off and I messed up everything I touched. I even tried to do Vlogmas this year and though I only missed a few days, I felt like it was a fail because of how gloomy and negative it ended up. I didn’t even get halfway on my Christmas quilt and I had to scrap my entire Christmas dress. December was one of the roughest times I’ve experienced recently. That being said, all of your messages and comments on Instagram and Youtube helped so much more than you know! Your support blew me away and although I am still embarrassed about Vlogmas 2020, it was definitely a learning experience and a lot of you appreciated my realness and transparency and that meant alot! My new Christmas dress that made a milestone number of likes on Instagram and Facebook was the Betty Faux Wrap Dress by Sinclair Patterns in a striking red velvet. I wore this dress to the #virtualholidaysewcial, my first event of this type! My anxiety levels skyrocketed to be on Zoom with so many people, but I survived!
  • During my rough times in December, I received a very special parcel from my friends of Emporia Patterns in the UK. It meant so much to me that in the midst of all the madness, they thought of me and sent me a pattern and a pendant at no cost to me! That gift came at a time when I just really needed it! The pattern was the Cassie, a beautiful tiered dolman sleeve dress. This became my back up Christmas Day dress pattern! And with everything going on in my life, of course I messed that up too! Such a simple beautiful pattern, and I made a whole mess of it! Thank the heavens.. I found a little flame in me somewhere to get up and keep pushing! At midnight on Christmas Eve, I was still altering my Cassie. My fabric had grown to an unimaginable degree, both horizontally and vertically. I actually had to take in an entire inch on each side from the rib cage down to the hem. I also had to take up the waist seam ½”. The final change I made was to add elastic in the waistline and that changed everything! I finished my Cassie on Christmas morning. And here she is in all her marvellous glory!

I need to make a regular Cassie now with fabric that will not grow 2 sizes bigger. It should be such a quick and easy sew and I really do love this pattern! It is very much my style given my tropical climate. I think I’ll try the mini one next! I also feel like I owe the lovely ladies at Emporia a perfect version with no alterations so watch this space for my next Cassie dress!

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit into my life and what 2020 had in store for me. A lot of it was very much unforeseen and there is so much I haven’t shared. I am still trying to look at the glass half full because I did have some major wins this year. But I would be lying if I said my mental health was back to normal. With that said, I am sending you all my best wishes for 2021. I hope it is an amazing one full of love, laughter and allll the sewing successes! Keep me in your thoughts and prayers! Happy Sewing!





  1. I love your blog writing! I enjoyed all of your makes this year and I can’t wait to see what you have for 2021. Sorry about your aunt. I lost my mom to cancer in 2011 so I can relate. I can also relate to having anxiety. It can really suck. I’ve messed up makes and had to toss them aside but mistakes will happen and all we can do is learn from them. Congratulations to you on your achievements and I’m looking forward to seeing this challenge your hosting!

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you so much Adria! You are so right… I definitely learnt from my mistakes in 2020. I also want to say that you are a huge inspiration to me!

  2. /

    I totally relate, 2020 left some scars for sure. Thank you for sharing and your honesty. I always love your makes and it was fun to see them all again. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you so much Lynn! I appreciate it!

  3. You’ve had so many amazing accomplishments this year! I have enjoyed watching you blossom and become an inspiration to your fellow sew sisters. Your work and creativity are always a breath of fresh air. I have barely done any sewing this year and can totally relate to the mental aspect of isolation. I have so much yet feel so blue . . . please know you are not alone. We will bounce back from this!! As far as mistakes, we’ve all had those times. Hate to tell you, but even after sewing for over 50 years and considering myself advanced, I still have them!! That seam ripper can never get too far away! I failed at my attempt at trying to do a sew along in February, but I hope to try doing it again!! And a personal goal for me is to someday to be in Sewn Magazine too!! As long as we have the love and support of friends and family, we can do this . . . Happy New Year Keira and I can’t wait to see what you do in 2021!!

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to me!

  4. Abbey

    Girl, you made it through. That’s what counts. And you made some absolutely fabulous things this year despite how you were feeling. Yeah, mistakes were made, but you’re human, so that’s expected.

    Sorry you can’t go home yet and with the drama unfolding here now, you sadly won’t be going home any time soon thanks to the idiot few who just had to bus crawl in a pandemic like it’s 2019. But hopefully, by summer you’ll get to travel 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

    • Keira Wood

      Don’t even get me started on that bus crawl that the whooole of country and town went to! Just when I was getting my hopes up for travelling home this year… sighs!

  5. Happy New Year Keira!! So happy to have you join in as a co-host this year for #BHMPatternDesigners. I agree, 2020 was a challenge for all of us and you definitely pulled through. With ups and downs you definitely made the best of every situation. Looking forward to a powerful 2021!

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you so much Nateida! I feel a lot more hopeful for 2021. So excited for bhm!

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