Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Top 5 Hits & Misses 2013

Hello! Wherever you are I hope the festive season is treating you kindly, that the rush has subsided, and that you have the time and leisure to be enjoying family, friends and enormous amounts of delicious leftovers. I plan to be living on Christmas ham and cheesecake for at least a week. Ah, the good life!

I'm jumping on the bandwagon with Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 of 2013:

I think it's such a great idea to stop and reflect on the year that was; I know I tend to get caught up in the excitement of the Next Project (sometimes before I've finished the current one).  
So, if I've read the "rules" right, I think you can mix these up pretty much however you like, so I'm going to split the five into two posts. Today, it's hits and misses:

We'll start with the misses, so as to finish on a positive note!


1)  First up - because this leaps to mind as my most spectacular fail - is my poor Still Light Tunic:

Oh, it looked so promising on Ravelry! A kind of knitty version of Lola, snug and soft, with deep front pockets. And the yarn was a delight; merino and silk, from memory. Just a great, big, resounding NO! I haven't had the heart to unravel it all yet, but I will. The yarn is too glorious to waste. On the plus side, I did learn how to knit top-down.

2)  Secondly, another knit (unfortunate theme developing here...) is my Cosy Cardi:

It looks alright. In fact it looks just like I imagined it would. Until I tried it on. Waaaay too big. Monkey arms x 1000000. I asked my daughter (nearly 13) whether I could get away with just calling it slouchy and oversized. She sweetly but firmly said not. It did make a lovely gift for a friend though....

Lesson learned: I will henceforth always knit a gauge swatch. Always. Even if it's boring. Which it is.

3)  Less of a fail, and more of a not-quite-there:  My scarf-to-skirt refashion:

This was an Indian cotton scarf; I used the border print at the sides and waistband and lined it in black voile. I still like the idea of it, but it didn't quite get the fit of the darts at front and back right so it blouses out a bit. Plus the outer layer seems to bunch up over the lining when I walk. I like clothes to be effortless when I'm wearing them; I don't want to have to constantly rearrange or fuss with them. So this doesn't get worn all that often.

4)  My Stripy Ginger skirt:

I'm calling this a miss because apart from Me Made May, when everything I'd ever made was press ganged into service, I've never worn it. Not ever. I made it from a remnant really just as practise in stripe-matching, and I think that's part of the issue - there was never any sense of "excitement" in this make. Wearing it is kind of like playing scales on the piano instead of Beethoven. Does that make sense??

I'm going to leave it at four, I think. On to the hits!


I've decided to exclude the wedding sewing and the King & I costumes from this, even though I'm probably most proud of them, and keep this to the makes I did for myself. These are either the most worn or the most loved (since you can't wear a cocktail dress every day...) and are listed in no particular order:

1) Elisalotte Dress:

Definitely not a most-worn, but I really was happy with this one. It was inspired by a dress I saw on Pinterest (the link doesn't seem to work anymore, but the image is on my blog post here:) The fit was good, I liked the two-toned bow embellishment, and I felt great wearing it. Win!

2) Roam Tunic:

This one succeeded where the above failed so miserably! I wore this at least once a week throughout winter, and loved it. One positive thing about the Still Light debacle was that it made me really think about not just the garment I wanted (light grey knitted long jumper/tunic), but also what style I actually wanted and what would suit me best. I get lost in too much volume, so fitted was an immediate improvement. Something that can be layered is much more versatile (this works with jeans, leggings, fitted skirts with tights, alone or over tops...), and so is a more practical wardrobe addition. And while I don't like fussy details, I do like a bit of visual interest, so the cabled panel (with pocket!) is more "me" than the SL. Win!

3) Modified Coffee Date Dress:

I think this was my favourite refashion of 2013. It was an op shop find, and had actually been made by a home sewist. As dreadful as the design was (that's a full circle "cape" as bodice, people!), the workmanship was actually wonderful. I love the thought of giving an old, cherished-but-had-its-day garment a new lease of life. I used Pattern Runway's Coffee Date Dress for the new skirt, and reworked the bodice to fit. I was planning to do fitted, 3/4 length sleeves as per the pattern, but ended up making them floaty, as a nod to the original. The neckline I kept as was, since it was beautifully done, and sat so nicely when worn. I've worn this a lot during winter (tights, long boots, cardi) and spring. Win!

4) Kimono / Jacket / Shruggy Thing:

I drafted this after seeing a friend in one, and I love it. Thanks to the colours in this it goes with so much of my existing wardrobe, and it's a really useful garment. I keep discovering new things to wear it with. Plus, I can wear it on all but really hot or really cold days. Win!

5) Rowe Tops:

These are fairly new additions, but I wear them all the time. I'm including them in my top five because a) they're great basics and fit exactly the way I wanted them to, b) they represent my triumph over the intimidation of sewing with knits! Also, I've tended in the past to lean towards making more "stand alone" garments like dresses, but am trying now to sew things that are more versatile. I guess that's the difference between sewing random clothes and sewing a wardrobe, hey? These fit the bill - I want to make one in all of my favourite colours. 

Looking back over the things I've sewed this year I'm pretty happy overall. There have only been a handful of "wardrobe orphans" that don't go with anything else; most of the other things are practical, versatile garments that fit me, my taste and my lifestyle. I think I'm starting to get a handle on sewing successfully for myself. But I'll leave the Reflections, along with the Inspirations and Goals, for the next post!

Are you compiling the Top 5 for 2013? 


  1. I love your hits, the dress refashion is amazing! And the Roam tunic great, I love the cabling & length, I always admire sewists who knit for themselves - all I can manage is the same simple cardigan for my daughters over & over!

    1. Well, if you're on a good thing, why change! Thanks, Shell :)

  2. Oh man, I LOVE your Rowe tops! I haunt Style Arc al the time but never noticed that pattern... but I think it fits exactly the way I wish my loose tops would! I might just see if I can modify a pattern to slouch like that at the hem... Hmmm... or, you know, order the original pattern! Tempting!
    You've made some really lovely things this year! I've been looking forward to finding some new blogs to follow through the Top 5 lists, and I'm glad to have come across yours!

    1. Thanks, Gillian! And it's a great pattern - has the option of dress length too - well worth ordering :)

  3. Great summary! Hope you're having a lovely holiday break!

  4. Thank you! Yes, I am :) Hope you are too!