I recently looked over how productive 2016 was for me in terms of sewing and my Top 5 Hits, so it only seems right that I should include the things that didn't turn out quite as well in last year's batch, and include some plans for 2017! I'm also very pleased to report that all the gift sewing I was trying to get done was finished by the end of the year. Phew, definitely time to make something nice for me! But before I get onto that, here are my Bottom 5 of 2016:
I did actually wear this quite a lot and it was a satisfyingly fast make, and fun to work out how to add the new sleeves, but it isn't that flattering and I'm not sure the colours really suit me. The fabric was from my mother's stash so it didn't cost me anything and was a bit of a palette-cleanser after a more involved project, so no harm done! I think I might be over this pattern though, I don't know if smocked waists really do much for me, and I constantly have to adjust them as they ride up during the day on this and my other Staple Dress.
I blended two sizes instead of doing an FBA as a fitting cheat on this one and it wasn't worth it! I don't know why I did this as I remember making quite a few bodice muslins to work through fit (which is something I was trying to improve this year). Anyway I feel like this one makes my torso look like it's all chest, eep! However again it was quite a fast make, used up some cheap stash fabric and has been worn a few times in the summer.
I really tried to work through the fit on this, but sadly I don't think this pattern is really meant for me! Even with making a muslin (which I wish I'd worn out a bit more to see how it worked in real life before cutting into my main fabric) this still doesn't quite hang right on me. Instead of the volume going sideways as intended to get that lovely '60s shape at the side seams, the skirt of the dress tends to pitch forward under the bust (despite doing an FBA), making me look a bit pregnant.
I feel it's a bit unfair on this pattern for it to end up slated by me as actually it's a fast and flattering make, but both times I've made it I've had poor fabric choice. I'm kind of struggling to include things that I'm not keen on this year so this makes the cut, but in reality this was just me having a play with my new overlocker for the first time and was never really intended to be a serious wearable garment. It's actually OK for layering, but the weird almost-nude colour isn't great on me, and I didn't have enough fabric to cut the sleeves properly so they're smaller than intended, off-grain and a bit tight.
This definitely needs an FBA and is too long in the torso. However, I can't fault it too much as again this was a quick make whacked together to get used to my new overlocker using leftover scraps, not by any means a carefully planned project. I do still wear this outfit every now and again actually, it's comfy but makes me feel quite chic, even if the fit isn't quite perfect (and it has a couple of holes developing at the seam intersections due to beginner-level overlocking).
My conclusions from the Bottom 5 are:
This was the year for muslins and I'm starting to embrace that slower and more precise side of the process, I just need to be consistent and maybe try a day or two of road-testing any wearable muslins I've put together.
I still need to work on fit, but it's nice to have a few items that seem to work without too much adjustment in my arsenal for when I don't feel like working through a bunch of muslins.
I shouldn't go to dresses as a palette cleanser project– the fit often needs work (see above point about muslins). There are so many t-shirt patterns I have that I should really make up when I need a quick fix, or perhaps more of projects that have turned out nicely, like my Melilot shirts.
Having an overlocker is brilliant. I definitely got more made this year and to a higher standard thanks to this piece of kit. I love it! I got a steam generator iron for Christmas so hopefully this will up my game on the pressing stakes too (and hopefully make hemming less of a chore!).
Plans for 2017
Like a lot of people, I plan to work through my stash. I do have ideas in mind for many of the pieces I've picked up over time, but with my drive last year of making trousers and activewear not everything I already had ended up being fir for purpose. I have a lot of pretty dress/ shirtmaking fabric so I will have to work on bodice fit and to make sure it gets made up!
I'm hoping to take a class this year to improve trouser fitting. Hopefully this will arm me with the confidence to finally make up my fancy denims into the dream Ginger jeans. I got a mini anvil this year for Christmas so I can't wait to get hammering in those rivets!
I think I did pretty well with last year's plan to match pattern to fabric - a few projects were made as intended and a few of the pieces of fabric ended up being repurposed for other patterns that presented themselves as more suitable. I've now put together a flexible Pinterest board where I try and plan my sewing by season - this helps me focus and gives me the impetus to sew the right weight of fabric at the right time - good for stashbusting. I like the new function where you can tick off things that you've done, it's very satisfying! Here are my Autumn/ Winter 16/17 plans, some of them already complete: https://uk.pinterest.com/norseotter/aw-1617-sewing-plans/
As I've been on a such a giftmaking mission this December, I definitely plan to treat myself. First up I may have to work up a Colette Wren dress, as I have already muslined this and just need to lengthen the bodice before I can get cracking. I have some merino jersey that would be so snuggly in this weather! I definitely want to test my new iron on some collars soon so perhaps a shirtdress is also in the mix...
I hope your sewing for 2016 went well and that 2017 has lots of excitement in store,