This past year has been pretty epic for me on many fronts. I turned 40, I committed to living in the US indefinitely, my daughter started school, I had minor surgery, we moved apartments - ten days before Christmas I might add -, and we travelled (A LOT). It has been fun (especially the traveling) but it has also been incredibly stressful at times. Not knowing what continent one might be living on in 3 weeks time can lead to panic attacks and random terrifying chest pains. Just FYI.
As usual, the thing that has helped me stay relatively sane and has given me an outlet from my stress has been sewing and writing about sewing and hand-in-hand with that, it seems nowadays, is the relationship building with other social sewing souls.
I read with great interest other sewists reviews of their makes over the course of the year. What was successful and wasn't is often very different to the person who made the thing than the outside viewer. So I wanted to do this too. Have a look at what worked and didn't work, what I enjoyed and didn't and how that might influence makes going forward. Or not.
My total failures don't often make it to the blog. Not because I don't want to share them, but because they generally get put to one side and the next thing quickly started on so by the time it comes to blogging about them, I can't be bothered and am much more interested in writing about the thing I do like. Some failures however, don't appear to be failures initially but wearing things definitely sorts the wheat from the chaff. And the chaff often tend to be knits. I don't think I'm very good at selecting knit fabrics for the right project and I'm invariably less than pleased with the finish - despite investing in a serger this year.
1. This purple Elise Tee recently went to the charity shop. I hate the colour, the fabric is cheaply thin and the weird gathered bits just make it look poorly made and poorly ironed. Which it also is. I had some kind of issue with the hem which means it gathers randomly for no apparent reason.
2. These trousers, whilst not a knit, haven't been a complete success. I really love them but I over compensated in my full but adjustment and the crotch is practically by my knees. They are also unwearable with anything less than 4inch heels - and 4 inch heels and me don't get together that regularly. I love the fabric and they have the potential to be awesome so I might revisit in the Spring ... we shall see.
3. The Referee Dress - I love the idea and parts of it are great - the neck and hemline in particular - it's just everything else in between that I hate. I should have shortened the shoulder seam as with no sleeve to keep it in place it just rides up the whole time. My pattern matching across the front is pretty dodge and I just notice the too thin stripe all the time and then the fabric doesn't have good enough recovery for this style and I have seriously baggy arse after wearing it for just a short time. And the style just doesn't suit me.
4. The much sworn at Minoru tops the charts already in terms of wears. Obviously. I wear it all the time at the moment. It has its issues but it's comfy, cosy and I love the style.
5. My Ginger Jeans are probably up there with most worn. Despite my initial excitement, they have some major flaws. My assertion that snug waistbands are where it's at, was, frankly, a bit stupid as most of the time I have to undo the button on these for them to be comfortable. I also overfitted the calf and ankle and they are a little challenging to get on, even though I love how skinny they are. The waistband annoys me further because it's wonky and there is some fabric bunching at the front crotch. That all said they still fit me better than 95% of any other jeans I have (aside from a cheap pair I purchased recently which I literally have worn every day since) and I love the colour and feel of the denim.
Also up there in terms of wears are my metallic Brumby, Dress V and the silk Inari tunic.
6. I'm surprised by the Brumby as it's just not a style I gravitate to, but in the summer it was so light and airy and perfect for humid NYC days. And visiting swamps.
7. Dress V was similar. It has quite a short wearability window in the Spring, but during that time it got a lot of wear.
8. The Inari, speaks for itself. It's a gorgeous, so easy to wear pattern and the most beautiful fabric and I wear it all the time. I still have at least three more Inari's waiting for me to crank the old Janome back into life after the move.
9. The Labrador Coat is one of my favourite things I made this year. I wear it as often as the weather allows. All the wearing has made me realise just how off the sizing is and the neckline is ridiculously big, but it feels chic and the colour goes with everything And it's so strokable.
10. They don't get the most amount of wear, but I love love love my culottes. Partly because I drafted them from scratch and all the details - well the welt pockets really - and I selected the perfect fabric for this style - for once. I'm hoping to make a few tweaks and make a more wintry pair soon.
11. And the jumpsuit.
I get so many compliments when I wear this and I feel fantastic in it. This is most definitely my best work in terms of fitting. And the finish. And fabric selection. I adore it. I just wish it wasn't so lovely that I felt comfortable wearing it more often ...
In fact, looking at this small collection of makes, these are the items that I feel most happy about; the style on me, the solid colors and the overall look. I think in these I'm encapsulating how I like to dress most accurately. Note to self ...
Even when I bought all my clothes, I would buy a dress for a special occasion, wear it and then it would rarely see the light of day again. I also seem to have this problem with my me-mades. My 40th dress (12), the dresses for the weddings of two of my favorite ladies (13 (in fact made last year but not worn once this year) and 14) and another in memory of the most incredible lady (15) haven't really been worn outside of those events. That's not to say they won't be, I just don't have that many suitable occasions to wear such lovelies.
16. The ice cream skirt, I absolutely adore, to the depth of my being, but I haven't worn it once. I think it felt too cumbersome and hot in the summer and then the print is so summery it doesn't work in the winter. I have to resolve this as it's a tragedy it hasn't been taken out on several swanky lunch dates.
I was so chuffed that so many lovely folk liked my Anna (which possibly fits in the neglected bracket above - although I have worn it two or three times) enough to give me a second place in the international Anna competition!
And then I'm pleased with how my sewing skills are developing and the new techniques I've learnt and that I've worn, happily, clothes that I've dreamt up, designed, drafted and sewn myself. That is such a great feeling. Just the best.
I'm also pretty proud of this little blog and so delighted that you lovely folk like to read it. Thank you for committing your precious time to peruse my nonsense.
I've learnt that I don't like sewing basics - tees etc, and although I should, I find them boring and am never happy with the finish. So I'm electing to focus on sewing the things that make me happy and buy the basics.
I have a list of projects as long as my arm for the winter and I desperately want to get them made. So, now to get this new place up straight so my little brain can entertain the idea of sewing again. I'm living that strange dichotomy of wanting to sew all the things, but not actually having the inclination to sew.
Who was it who said that the planning what to sew was the best bit?
Wishing you the happiest, healthiest and most productive 2016.
Big kiss and see you soon x