It’s that time of year: Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow is hosting her annual Top 5 event, a chance to look back at your sewing year and evaluate yourself. For me it’s the hits and misses of the last 16 months, since September 2014 was when I got into clothing sewing. And since I’m not sticking to the one-year time frame, I’m deviating a little from Gillian’s categories too. My categories here are: top 5 hits, top 5 garments, top 5 misses, and top 5 lessons for next year:
Top 5 Hits
1) Here’s the paragraph where I throw caution to the wind and just brag shamelessly for a minute: my single biggest hit has to be simply how much progress I’ve made. Without false modesty, I can say that now there are very few garments I wouldn’t be able to sew, so in 16 months I went from “a quilter who has made a couple skirts” to “I can sew any garment I want to”. And not only sewing, but being able to design and draft a garment based on a picture or memory. Okay, bragging done!
2) Getting back into clothes sewing is all thanks to the lovely, simple, and inspirational Garden Party Dress from Honig Design (click click; it’s a free pattern!). I made my first one in September 2014 and it opened the floodgates. I’ve made multiples since and I still use the bodice as a base for drafting other things.
3) Since I sew from free patterns or draft my own, it was a wonderful day when I discovered Papavero. It’s a Polish website with hundreds and hundreds of free patterns, in multiple sizes. I’ve made a number of things from the site, including a dress with crazy darts, a fall jacket, and a hoodie dress (links go to the patterns).
4) Participating in Me-Made-May was something I’d been dreaming about from afar for years. This year I could do it! Although taking all those horrible pictures made me think long and hard about whether it will be worth it next year.
5) I spent three weeks travelling with a capsule wardrobe of all me-made clothes! I wrote about the items of the capsule here. Clothing-wise all my pictures turned out the same, since I wore my jacket nearly every day, but here’s one picture of my and my green skirt at the Meridian Line:
Top 5 Garments
1) When I first made this tweedy maroon skirt, it didn’t match anything in my wardrobe. Since then, I’ve worn it so often that my wardrobe has expanded to match the skirt. It’s based on this wonderfully extensive pencil skirt tutorial and uses this amazing technique for lining (actually underlining) and finishing seams in one go. Brilliant. This skirt basically encapsulates everything I want my homemade garments to be: a simple exterior and precise, detailed insides.
2) I sometimes want to do laundry mid-week so I can wear my hoodie dress twice in a week. Easy and comfy. It was one of papavero’s free patterns and one of the fastest things I sewed all year.
3) Everybody needs a basic navy skirt. Possibly more than one.
4) I made several tops from the free Plantain pattern, and a couple of cardigans as well. Love it!
5) It’s hard to imagine it now in December, but in the other half of the year I wore this summer cardigan at least once a week.
Top 5 Misses
1) I wrote a whole post about all those summer dresses I made… most of them were only worn once of twice, and not for lack of summer weather.
2) This Safari dress (free pattern in Russian) – I like it, but it’s 100% cotton. Which means ironing. Which means it sits in the closet unworn a lot.
3) After pestering everyone on facebook for opinions as to which direction this ombre skirt should go, I sewed it up, wore it twice during Me-Made May, and then stuck it in the back of the wardrobe.
4) I really wanted a striped cardigan. I made one, with lovely pearly snaps. I wore it a couple of times on my England trip. And then never since then.
5) I decided I needed a polo-shirt-dress. Instead of measure-twice-cut-once I cut once after not measuring at all and guess what, it’s too small around the tummy. I think I wore it once or twice in England when I ran out of other clothes.
Top 5 Lessons
1) I should sew fewer dresses and more separates.
2) Unless I find a way to summon an ironing fairy, I should sew fewer things that need ironing.
3) I need to be more careful about length. I always think that I want super-long shirts, but most of what I make would be better if it were an inch or two shorter. Ditto dresses – I usually end up cutting inches off the hem.
4) There’s nothing to be lost by waiting, thinking, and planning for a few days before starting a project.
5) I need to get better at photography.