I hope you all had a wonderful festive period and Happy New Year! I barely did any sewing but enjoyed taking some time out to rest, socialise, and plan for our upcoming trip to Japan! I've just started back at work for the new year and it's been a bit of a struggle battling through the (albeit milder in London) winds of Storm Eleanor on my cycle commute after having been very lazy.
2017 was a tough year for me and to be honest I was glad to see the back of it; the first part of the year was basically months of stress while redundancies took place at work; then more unsettledness as I changed roles and tried to get on with things while learning the ropes of a new job in the same company. While there have been some positives in all that (perhaps it even worked out for the best, all things considered?!), it certainly took the wind out of my sails for a while. As a result my making did take a bit of a hit through all this as if I wasn't jobhunting in the evenings I was just feeling overwhelmed to be honest. In the grand scheme of things it's not the worst thing in the world and I do have a very supportive partner who took great care of me when I was down and wonderful family and friends, but we all feel challenges and knockbacks in our own way.
However, I'm proud of what I did manage to make, although it didn't all make it to the blog; unrecorded handmade items include a baby jacket made for a friend's newborn, a pair of cycling shorts with the 2012 Olympics themed stripes (these are cool in a "so bad they're good" kind of way and I'd love to get them photographed at some point); a bright orange Simple Sew Shannon t-shirt from ancient jersey; a denim shorts version of the Flints, some crepe Winslow culottes for myself and a friend (to be blogged soon!) a Plantain tee for my mother for Christmas in amazing dark floral-and-key-print fleece, and some “reuseable wrapping paper” gift bags that I knocked out for Christmas to use up some scraps (definitely taking this idea forward this year - my presents usually look like they've been wrapped by a dog wearing oven mitts!).
This was a year of finally making up some projects that had been ideas for ages (well, I always have a backlog to be fair) and giving in to new trends. I was a bit late on the bandwagon for some things like the Flints, but I loved them once I'd given in and wished I'd made them earlier in the year- likewise with my Winslows. I really love my Landers too (although I'd learned my lesson by then and snapped them up straightaway!) and hope to make more of those next year. It also ended up being a bit of a year of separates, but I haven't given up on dresses entirely!
Anyway, from what I did manage to make and blog about, here are my Top and Bottom 5s, as per Crafting a Rainbow's annual prompt to look back and evaluate. I didn't want to miss this year, even if it hasn't been the greatest in terms of output! Have a look below and a laugh at my many, many different haircuts.
Top 5 Misses
Nothing I made this year was soul-crushingly disappointing really and I actually got a decent amount of wear out of everything, but the below are a few garments marred by fit, finish or fabric mishaps. Oh well, you live and learn!
This is in my top 5 too as I was very proud of making these, but I skipped a muslin when tweaking the fit and these have ended up too tight as a result. Really gutting given the time and effort I spent working with silk for the first time!
I was feeling lazy/ distracted/ stressed out when I made this set and as a result tried to cheat the fact that Patrones doesn't include seam allowances by tracing the size up and hoping for the best. As a result the skirt is way too tight over the abdomen which causes the zip to buckle in the back. The boxy top isn't really doing much for me either, although I still kind of like it. It was fun to try the trend though and, bar the fit issues I really like the results. I've happily worn this set plus both garments as separates mixed in with other clothing.
I love the idea of these and they are really fun to wear when they're fresh out of the wash first thing in the morning. However, the fabric really grows and these become drop-crotched hipsters by lunchtime, and I have to walk around pulling them up continuously. I also managed to insert the zip too close to the fly opening which isn't my best work. Sadly, these have been relegated to house-only wear.
First up, there is nothing wrong with this pattern and there are loads of lovely versions on the internet – plus, it's free! I think fabric choice is the problem here; plus the fact that I just don't look very good in casual clothes. The neck binding on this got a little puckered too and the drop sleeves make my upper arms look bigger – as with the tartan trews this only really gets wear as house pyjamas, although I love the colour!
1. Colette Wren
I was so excited about this dress and it's just ended up being a bit meh/ matronly. That said, I love the colour and do still wear it, but I would need to do some serious work for a new version and I just don't know if I love the design enough to make the effort.
Top 5 Hits
I'm quite proud of the fact that I learned some new skills this year; I did a trouser-making class (though my fitting is better it is still a work in progress), I sewed with proper slippery silk for the first time; and I made swimwear! I made loads of lovely separates too which feel like my idea of an easy sew is levelling up a little.
This may not have been the most elegant hack and it's cheap material, but I'm so pleased with this dress and got loads of wear out of it this summer, and can see it being brought out again a lot next year.
4. Winslow Culottes
I'm sorry, I'll post them soon but I love these! I made myself a 'tester version' after buying the pattern to make a pair for a friend and they have come out so well that I wear them all the time. The nipped in waist looks lovely with so many of my other garments, and they make easy office wear.
This may not be perfectly executed, but it's a damn good job for my first try! I probably don't need to make any more swimwear, but I enjoyed making this (other than getting my gathering all even) and I think I look pretty good in it, if I say so myself.
2. Lander Pants
These are just a muslin but I love them. They are so flattering and easy to wear, I can't wait to make more in the other lengths!
Despite the fit issues, this is still a stunning outfit and I'm so pleased I made it! It's also really comfortable (other than the fear of busting the seams) and I hope to get more wear out if it but using the separates. I also felt pleased that I'd managed to finally make something from my Famous Frocks book (I feel guilty if I have sewing books I haven't made anything from!).
Honourable mentions: Flint pants and Melilot shirts got made up in lots of different ways this year; I love both these patterns and would recommend them to anyone. I also really love my Erin skirt and plan to plan a longer version for the new year - great stylish basics all!
Stay tuned for my 2018 making plans up next on the blog (I'm totally getting on board with #makenine) plus my Top 5 sewing goals (because why not combine two positive sewing social media campaigns in one blog post?).
Hope 2017 treated you well and that 2018 has even better in store,
Note: Any links in my posts are for pattern-crediting convenience only; I don't have any affiliations.