My #Sewing Top 5: when garments fail…

Hey everyone, I’m back with my penultimate #SewingTop5 post, and this time it’s my “top” five misses. In case you missed them, you can find the other posts here:

Righto, let’s delve into the bin of sewing fails, shall we? Continue reading “My #Sewing Top 5: when garments fail…”

My #SewingTop5: the top five hits of 2017

This year I’m taking part in the #SewingTop5 challenge again, and you can find the first post (reflections on my sewing in 2017) here and the second (non-sewing highlights) here.

Today I’m diving in to the fun of my top five hits, and I’ll be following it up with some wardrobe stats and musings on what makes a hit. So, without further ado, my top makes of 2017 /drum roll/ are….

My Dream Cardigan

This Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan is hands-down my my most worn me-made of 2017, clocking in an impressive 61 wears out and about according to my Stylebook app. And I know it really got worn way more than that as it’s been one of the lounging garments I throw on in the evening and first thing in the morning. It’s warm, breathable, goes with most things, super comfy, and best yet, has massive pockets. Yay! So good I made a second cardie in purple, which has also been worn lots since I made it.

The Madrid Dress

This is definitely my favourite dress of the year (Seamwork’s Neenah). Partly because of the gorgeous ribbed knit fabric I bought in Madrid, but also for that cowl neckline, which I find really flattering. This was in third equal place for most worn me-mades (28 wears), and I’ve found it’s stretchy enough to still fit over my 22 week pregnant belly, so it’s still getting regular wear 🙂 BTW, I know there’s something seriously wrong with the sleeves at the upper arm, but I don’t care enough to unpick and redo!

The Vintage Flowers Blouse

B6217 Patterns by Gertie blouse

I absolutely adore this blouse (Butterick B6217). Not the sort of fabric I usually go for, but I love the way it looks on and the soft cotton voile was a dream to sew with, and a dream to wear on hot, sticky days. A really flattering pattern I’ll be making again this summer.

The Best Tank EVAH!

So why is such a humble garment one of my top fives? Well, this was my second most worn me-made of the year, clocking in 35 wears, and it’s so wonderfully versatile. I thought at first it was too high under the arm but now I’m used to it I reckon it’s just about perfect. It’s plain, but the cute neckline makes it feel sassy and very  “me”. It was also my first make from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book, which has become a bit of a style bible for me this year 🙂

The Flintstones Bikini

Seamwork Dakota and Reno bikini

Oh yeah, I made swimwear! This is the Reno/Dakota Seamwork bikini, and I absolutely loved making it, as well as wearing it. Not sure why, but sewing swimwear really makes me feel like a boss. And who’d have thought I’d ever have the courage to post a pic this undressed on my blog?!

Honourable mentions:

These are the ones that nearly made the list, and it if was a top ten they definitely would have:

All my Cleo Dresses

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dungaree dresses

 

I’ve worn my Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses loads, and I can’t possibly choose a favourite! #sorrynotsorry I’m really looking forward to getting them out again once I can fit back into them. Here’s links to the original posts: aubergine corduroy, denim stars, ditsy floral corduroy.

The Barcode Skirt

This is such a comfy, versatile skirt. I had no idea how well such a bold striped garment would go with the rest of my wardrobe, but figuring out my style has encouraged me to go for bold, monochromatic prints I would have previously avoided. This was my fifth most worn me-made of 2017, and is another pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

The Striped Sweetheart Tee

Anna-Jo
Oh My Gawd! It’s a lobster!

Another striped garment, and the return of a pattern that appeared in the top 5! I’ve loved styling this in different ways. The epitome of casual rockabilly, and you can find the pattern in Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

The Little Jenny Wren Dress

And for more bold B&W print goodness, here’s my version of the Colette Wren dress in a lightweight viscose knit. I’ve loved wearing this dress, despite some neckline issues! And it appears the rest of you loved it too, as it appeared three times in my Instagram #2017BestNine!

The Denim Pedal Pushers

They might not fit absolutely perfectly (I wanted a higher waist), but I’m so proud of all the work I put into fitting these. They’re definitely the most comfortable pair of trousers I’ve ever worn! And yes, another pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual–probably my best sewing pattern spend ever 😀

General stats
Total garments made: 44

  • Tops: 11
  • Dresses: 10
  • Unselfish makes: 6 (3 for Daisy, 3 for Gabriel)
  • Swimwear/undies: 5
  • Cardies: 4
  • Skirts: 3
  • Non-skirt bottoms: 2
  • Accessories: 3

Total left unblogged: 11

Two of those will be blogged this next month, and the rest were small and/or simple projects that didn’t seem to warrant a whole blog post, such as a couple of knit skirts for Daisy, a pair of underpants for Gabriel, some headbands and a couple of pairs of knickers for me.

Amount spent on sewing: £338.83

I don’t have details for January and February as I only started recording this data in March, but in the ten months since I’ve spent a grand total of £338.83 on fabric, patterns and haberdashery. That’s £34 a month, or £7.82 per week. Who says this has to be an expensive hobby?!

It helps that I’ve been sponsored by Minerva and have been using up my stash, and of the 44 garments I made, exactly half were stashbusting or scrap-busting projects. Woohoo!

General musings

After looking at my Stylebook app stats, in particular my list of number of times I’ve worn each garment and the cost per wear, I can see that my most worn makes tend to be cardigans, dresses and tops. I don’t have so many me-made bottoms this year which might be why they didn’t get worn so much. For the future I definitely need to concentrate on adding to my rather small cardigan and knit top selection, and to my everyday skirts and trousers when my figure has returned to normal again.

I can also see that for items that will get worn lots (versatile separates like tees and cardies in solids or simple patterns) it’s worth spending out a bit more on fabric, as the total cost per wear will still end up far less than a party dress or more specialised seasonal item like swimwear.

So, that was my top five sewing hits of 2017… okay, my top twelve, really! And I’ll be back tomorrow with my Top Five Misses, and what I’ve learnt from making them. See you then!

If you have a year-end round up post, please link it in the comments as I’d love to give it a read! And what did you learn about your style and wardrobe needs from your favourite me-mades this last year?

My #2017MakeNine challenge: the results

#2017MakeNine results

So, it’s New Year’s Eve and a traditional time to take stock of what’s gone on in the past year. Okay, here in the UK it’s also a traditional time to get drunk and stay up till the small hours, partying, but there’s not going to be any of that for me this year, that’s for sure! I expect to be in bed by 11 🙂

I posted my initial #2017MakeNine challenge back in January, choosing categories of garment rather than specific patterns as I wanted to find as many TNT patterns as I could to flesh out my me-made wardrobe and liked the flexibility of setting it up that way. Here’s all my finished makes for the different categories (click on the pics to be taken to the original posts): Continue reading “My #2017MakeNine challenge: the results”

My #SewingTop5 of 2017: the (non-sewing) highlights

This year I’m taking part in the #SewingTop5 challenge again, and you can find the first post (reflections on my sewing in 2017) here. So, to balance that out, here’s the non-sewing highlights of the year 🙂

1: Up the duff again

Yes, I can’t seem to stop having children! Continue reading “My #SewingTop5 of 2017: the (non-sewing) highlights”

My #SewingTop5 of 2017: reflections on a busy year

This year I’m taking part in the lovely Gillian’s #SewingTop5 challenge again, as I found it a really good way to summarise my year last time, and it replaces longer, waffley navel-gazing posts. You can find last year’s posts here (goals, reflections and other highlights) and here (hits and misses).

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 reflections on my sewing year:

1: Knit Fabric Mastery

2017 really was the year I attained total confidence sewing knit fabrics. I’ve tackled a range of different types of fabric, and figured out the best ways to sew tricky knits. I’ve also got much more happy with hacking patterns to get what I want out of them and have built up a few TNT patterns for knits, which is great. I’m really happy I’ve persevered with knits as they’re so quick and easy to sew, and so comfy to wear. I really am wearing me-made pretty much every day now!

2: The Curated Closet

The most life-changing book of 2017 for me. That sounds a bit shallow, somehow, but honestly, figuring out my personal style preferences was a lightbulb moment and it’s made my subsequent sewing planning so much more fun. I now know that I’m pretty much guaranteed to love what I make so long as I stick to my style guidelines. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reviewing those every year, or occasionally trying new things, though. Life would get boring if I didn’t do a bit of experimentation!

3: Sewing Journals Rule!

Okay, so maybe this was actually the most life-changing book for me: my humble sewing journal. At some point in early 2017 I started keeping a sewing journal, in which I make notes of future projects I might want to make, blogs I want to write, and detailed sheets with swatches for every garment I actually sew. In the summer I discovered bullet journaling and my journal belatedly acquired a proper index, which made it much easier to use. I will write a blog post about my journalling habits at some point soon, as I’d definitely encourage anyone hesitating about keeping one to give it a go. I’m so much more organised about my sewing now and I swear that journal has helped make me so much more productive. I’m now on journal #2, and it’s a habit I intend to keep up long-term.

4: Instagram and challenges FAIL!

One thing I started doing this year was lots of challenges–I had the idea that they’d be a great way to make new sewing friends and gain blog followers. However, the vast majority of them ended up falling by the wayside as I want to be able to sew what I want to sew. The challenges that I kept up with and really enjoyed were Me Made May and #2017MakeNine, largely because they were the kind of challenge where I set my own goals. I think I’m just too rebellious to follow someone elses rules! I’ll aim to do both again this next year, although with a baby due in early May, the Me Made May participation could be somewhat patchy…

I’ve also realised that microblogging on Instagram is not my favourite thing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots I love about Instagram and I won’t be leaving anytime soon–I was one of the really early adopters and I’ve had my account for years–but I’m not into giving loads of details about what I’m sewing and in-progress shots. Kudos to those of you who do, but it’s not really for me. I prefer wordy blog posts I can write on a proper keyboard 🙂

5: The Unintended RTW Fast

I’ve heard about sewists going on RTW (ready to wear, ie, shop-bought clothing) fasts before, but it’s not something I’ve ever felt a need for myself. I’m not a big consumer of fast fashion at the best of times, and I could never see the point in banning myself from the occasional purchase if it was something I didn’t want to make myself.

However, this year I’ve been absolutely strapped for cash so when needing new clothing, faced with a choice of buying something cheap and nasty from a supermarket or buying fabric and making it myself, I’ve chosen the latter. It’s definitely worked out cheaper (especially when using stash fabric or free fabric in return for reviews) and is much more fun than traipsing round shops trying and failing to find what I’m after.

So, I realised at some point this summer that the only things I’d bought, clothing-wise, in 2017 were footwear and a couple of bras–not something I felt confident making at the time. I still didn’t give myself a RTW ban and have since bought a winter coat (no time to make one) and had the present of a jumper from my mum, but that’s been it for the whole year. Woohoo! I feel really good about what I’ve acheived and it was all the more fun for being my choice each time, rather than the result of a self-imposed rule.

Last year’s goals

I also wanted to reflect a little on how well I met last year’s goals:

Make a pair of jeans – I didn’t exactly make a pair of jeans, but I made a pair of pedal pushers in stretch denim, so that’s almost there. Partially achieved, and I think the only thing that stopped me moving onto jeans proper was getting pregnant!

Make a proper button-up shirt – again, I’ve been working up to this by making some woven blouses with buttons and poppers at the front. Partially achieved for pretty much the same reason as above!

Get more creative and experimental with knit fabrics – Definitely achieved! See knit fabric point above.

Plan my makes much more carefully, making sure they’ll fit in with the rest of my wardrobe and that they’re the kind of things I really want to wear – Also definitely achieved. See journalling point above.

Get my own sewing room again, and make it really cute and practical – I’m still waiting for this one. Andy is making good headway on the new bedroom and promises me it will be ready by the time the baby comes, but I won’t be able to create the sewing room straight away as Gabriel’s current room will probably need to be a nursery for a while. Unless the baby sleeps so well it can go straight from sharing with me and Andy to sharing with Gabriel, that is. I can but hope! For the moment, though, I’m making my space at the end of the living room work for me, and I’ve vowed to keep it tidier and less cluttered this year.

Anyone else taking part in the #SewingTop5 challenge? Or are you doing your own kind of yearly round-up? Please do share your links in the comments so I can come and have a gander!