2017 has flown by and like everyone we’ve had our share of ups and downs around here. It’s so nice to sit back and reflect on all our blessings, everything we’ve accomplished, and also the mistakes and trials we’ve had and how we have grown because of them. For the first time, I’m sitting down and really analyzing this little ‘hobby’ of mine and what I’ve learned this year. There are a few super memorable makes and a lot of forgotten ones too. Let’s start with the good things shall we,
1- Velvet Wrap Dress
This project was one of those that I had in my head for months and it came out even better than my vision. It was out of comfort zone in many ways. It was my first wrap dress- I’d never even tried one on, so I was nervous the style just wouldn’t be my thing. It’s also a much trendier look than I tend to gravitate to. Despite my trepidation it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn. Being able to customize the fit just how I wanted it made this dress perfection in my book.
2- Willamette Shirt
This Willamette Shirt from Hey June turned into my most worn piece all summer. I can’t wait to sew up a couple more for spring. It was a game changer for me. After sewing this up and seeing how much more flattering this top is compared to my knit tees I realized that woven tops were where it’s at. I love button ups all fall/winter so it makes sense to want to wear something similar in warmer weather. I need to fill my closet with these, Key Largos, and Shoreline Boatnecks. Bonus that they’re pretty quick and easy sews too!
I’m embarrassed to admit that this simple piece is easily my most worn handmade item. A simple Boyfriend Cardigan in the coziest french terry ever just doesn’t get much better. It’s a year-round staple and looks great with jeans, joggers, even a cute knee-length dress.
These two new cardigans have quickly become go-tos also. They are oversized and cozy without looking sloppy- a fine line I feel like I’m always walking. These three cardigan patterns are essentials in my book and will continue to be must have layering pieces in my wardrobe.
4- Love Notions Bluezette
While I love to make dresses for my girls, I feel like I struggle finding the right style and fit for myself. I’ve made dozens of dresses this year and while I still wear a lot of them, many just sit in the back of my closet. Finding a flattering fit on my body type has proved to be a challenge. The Bluezette from Love Notions is pretty darn near perfect for me though. With an elastic casing at my natural waist, a tiny bit of blousiness in the bodice, multiple sleeve lengths, and a pocket modification this dress just gets me. It’s comfort and style all in one. This is one I can’t wait to sew up again in the coming year.
5- Camila Swimsuit
In all my swimwear sewing this year, I made myself four suits and this was by far my favorite. I can’t say it’s the most flattering (let’s face it though, no swimsuit is going to magically make all my flaws disappear) but it’s the suit that I feel the best in. The on trend style, amazing fabric, and the option to wear the ruffle off the shoulder or under the arms makes this suit the first one I grab. It’s such a quick sew too and the first pattern I’d recommend to anyone wanting to venture into swimwear sewing for themselves.
You might have noticed I’ve left off all my hoodies and tees from this list. It’s no question that I’m a HUGE lover of all things french terry, brushed poly and cozy and they are left off the list because they are just too obvious. Nothing groundbreaking and learned by making my tenth Halifax or Sloane Sweater. If YOU haven’t made one though I challenge you to add it to your 2018 line-up stat!
Ok, are we ready for the misses? These are things that just aren’t getting the love they deserve. They linger in my closet, unworn for various reasons. Some are just not that practical for me. Some are too far out of my comfort zone. I will tell you that these are all fantastic patterns from amazing designers but they just don’t work for me.
I mentioned above how much I struggle with dresses. I love, love to sew them up and I’m always game to try a new pattern and style. These dresses in theory should work for me. Like the Bluezette, the top two dresses feature an elastic waist with a loose fitting bodice. The Catalina Dress on the upper left is just a matter of fit on me. The loose, wide neck and arms just don’t work with my modest style. I wear it with a undershirt and it’s fine but not ideal and so it’s not one I reach for. The Timeless Dress on the upper right is just a matter of wrong fabric choice I think. I had visions of chambray and lace but it quickly turned too ‘Little House on the Prairie’ for me and I just can’t get over it.
That Olympia on the lower left is stunning in real life too. This dress is a matter of tester girl problems. This was a test dress that has a slight issue in the shoulders that was addressed and fixed in the final pattern. During testing it’s our job to point out any and all weird fit issues and then when you wear those garments it’s hard to ignore those issues however minor they may be. The solid color makes the issue harder for me to ignore and also makes any body issues more difficult to hide. This is a sad one for me to see sitting unworn because it’s a beaut!
The Cadence in the lower right is just a matter of not being my style. It’s super cute and an easy to wear silhouette but falls into the too casual for church category. Like my girls, I always think I’ll wear dresses during the week but rarely actually do. Every single tee-shirt dress I own just sits in my closet reminding me that no matter how much I want to be the cute mom in sneakers and a dress- it’s just not me. This little rayon dress is a step above the knit dresses I own so I thought it’d be worn but alas, I reach for my other dresses first everytime. This could be more of a matter of having too many other choices too 😉
2- Tallinn Sweaters
Guys, these two Tallinn Sweaters are so, so good! Like, I look at these pictures and totally want to wear them everyday. It’s such a cute style and the pattern is so well done. That pretty cream sweater though brings out my inner toddler. The turtleneck is buggy and itchy, the sleeves seem too tight and the open flap means I feel the need to wear an undershirt and another too warm layer. Totally my own issues and not the patterns and I still drool over every Tallinn Sweater I see. I’m hopeful that lovely blush version will get worn this spring though. Without the turtleneck and added width in the sleeves it’s comfortable and so cute- problem is it’s a little ‘too cute’ for me. Not too crazy girly though so I’m not giving up on her yet!
3- Farrah Blouse
This is another AMAZING pattern by an amazing designer. The Farrah is one of those patterns that the more I see it the more I love it too. It taught me a lot though. It’s so hard to see everyone looking stunning in their garments only to realize it just doesn’t work for you. I will still wear this cute top but thought I’d share my thoughts on it with you. First, it’s not very practical for me. I need to wear sleeves for modesty issues and these cute flutters just don’t cut it. I wear a cap sleeve undershirt with this and it works but it’s just not comfortable. My other issue with this top is completely my own body issue. I struggle with my upper arms and my small chest just accentuates my larger than normal guns (haha- if only it was all muscle ;). If you notice, I tend to gravitate towards elbow sleeves and shy away from any kind of puff shoulder or cap sleeve. Add in the fact that the ruffles make it hard to layer with this top and it’s just not a piece I wear. Sad, huh?! It’s so hard to not want to sew up every hot new pattern but this has taught me to really think about my pattern choices. Does it work for my body type and lifestyle? What I’m really asking is, “Will a lazy, stay-at-home middle age mom really wear this?”
4- Quilting Cotton and Cotton/Lycra Tops
Tell me I’m not the only one that falls for all the cute prints available in quilting cotton? Whenever a new fabric tour rolls around I always want to sew up the pretty prints for myself. I think what I’ve learned with the thicker quilting cotton is that they need structure and clean simple lines. That darling Shoreline Boatneck in the upper left would make a great maternity top judging by the fact that it totally makes me look six months pregnant. The fabric is just a too stiff for a gathered peplum style. The Beatrix in the upper right needs just a couple tweaks to really work. My main issue is where the sleeves hit and that the fabric is too thick at the elbows making it super uncomfortable.
Now onto cotton/lycra. I really love the feel of it. Raspberry Creek Fabrics makes some of the best and it’s like the softest stuff ever. Art Gallery fabrics prints are so beautiful too! It’s a dream to sew with- nice and thick, doesn’t curl, and presses well. It makes a perfect fitted tee, problem is I don’t like wearing fitted tees. My preferred loose boyfriend tee style just doesn’t work well with the thickness of cotton/lycra. This is a sad thing for me to come to grips with but those unworn tees in my closet just can’t be ignored. I will continue to sew up ALL the cotton/lycra for my kiddos and I’ll be on the lookout for the perfect top pattern for me too. Do you have any suggestions? What’s your favorite adult pattern to use up all those pretty cotton/lycra prints?
5- Floral Jumpsuit
Oh man! This outfit may possibly be the most comfortable thing I’ve never actually worn 😉 I’d been wanting to make a jumpsuit and thought a simple knit version was the perfect place to start. It’s just too much guys- just looking at these pictures makes me cringe. I was super sick and just couldn’t hide it too. Maybe that’s why the outfit is tainted for me. Dressing up and heading outside in freezing temps while feeling icky and out of my comfort zone was probably too much for me. This print is fantastic but I know I should have stuck with a simple solid when trying out something so new to me. Jumpsuits looks incredible on the young and hip but this just made me feel old and so uncool.
This is another lesson learned. It’s so fun to try new things and push our boundaries. Nothing was really lost in this failure and I get a good laugh when I think about this day. That’s what sewing is to me- A chance to learn and grow, to find what works for me, to really learn about myself and my own individual style, to try new designers and silhouettes, and to really increase my sewing knowledge. With every success, I get more confidence. Every failure, brings lessons too. Thanks for joining me on this journey and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!