out with 2015… in with 2016

I’ve been trying to figure out what my sewing hits and misses were for 2015. It’s been difficult to even choose because I really love and wear pretty much everything I made. I seldom make frivolous things, or really experiment at all—I have neither the time nor the budget for that!  I think there is only one thing I made this year that could classify as a miss.

First up, my favorites (in chronological order)

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Camas Blouse: I absolutely love this shirt. It’s the shirt I reach for when I want to feel put together while maintaing absolute comfort. The colors are great, the fit is great—wait. Why haven’t I made this several more times??? [blog post]

Linden: I made the Linden twice this year and they are probably two of my most worn garments, neither of which actually made it to the blog—the horror! The first I made to be oversized with a lighter weight french terry, the second was from a thicker sweatshirt fleece. After making the sweatshirt fleece one it felt a bit blah and boring, so I jazzed it up with some fabric paints. I love how it came out! [grey Linden | heart Linden]

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Liberty Granville: I muslined the daylights out of this pattern and cut into one of my precious fabrics, a Liberty Lawn. This is another shirt I can turn to when I want to look and feel put together. [blog post]

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Thurlow drawstring shorts: These were the hit of the summer! I converted my beloved Thurlow pattern to be a pull on short with drawstring waist. [striped | brown]

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McCalls 7242: I love this dress to bits! I wish my daily life included the need to wear dresses more often, because I LOVE this dress. [blog post]

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Butterick 6169: Despite finishing this very late into the fall, I was able to wear it several times. It just made me feel cool, and that’s always a good thing. I’ll be eager to pull it out again when light jackets are needed. [blog post]

The only “miss” would have to be my Morris Blazer. This makes me really sad, but the fabric bagging out at the front annoys me to no end. Also I have a hard time figuring out what to wear with it. I’ve thought of trying to sneak in some interfacing to stabilize the front better but I fear that would just be a mess. I’ll probably try to top stitch the facing in place, and if that doesn’t work, give it away, as much as it hurts. I’ll be revisiting that pattern in a cotton sateen or stretch twill in the spring, that’s for sure!

The takeaway from this is that I should stick to outfitting my daily life; comfortable, but still a little special. I also sewed several solid colored t-shirts that deserve honorable mention. They’re in constant wardrobe rotation, but not all that exciting to write about. 🙂 The only near failure was due to poor fabric choice, and hopefully I can right that wrong.

ON TO 2016…

Jeans/pants/trousers: I really need to tackle the lack of pants situation in my wardrobe. My old handmade jeans are now too big in places (waist/butt/thighs), still to small in others (knees/calves), so it’s time I buckle down and make some new ones. I still have RTW skinnies that fit me, so I may try flares this go around. The pattern I use is up in the air at this point, but I have a few ideas. I also want to make at least one or two more Lily Ski Pants. I haven’t blogged about my first pair yet, but you can see them on IG. They’re great pants but I need to adjust the fit in a few places before making more. I’d also like a pair of Thurlows in stretch twill for casual-ish wear.

Coat: I really, really wanted to tackle the Cascade Duffle, but I fear time and budget will prevent me again this winter. I want to do it right with quality materials, and given that I have perfectly acceptable winter coats (including THIS ONE that I still wear) I can’t justify the cost. So to scratch that coat making itch, I’m currently working on a tailored coat for one of my daughters. I have all the bits and pieces for this in the stash, so at least I get some coat making practice, even if it’s not for me.

Husband’s wardrobe: The man needs some business shirts and dress pants. I’ve made them before, it’s just time to crack down and make them again. And really, it’s only fair that I sew for him more since RTW is hard to find for his small-ish frame. I have a hard time picking out fabrics for him though, so I’ll need to do some serious swatching. In the meantime, I have one good shirting fabric, and one good wool pants fabric, so I’ll start there sooner rather than later… I think. No promises though. 😉

What about you? Any exciting 2016 sewing plans?

lisa g.

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Christmas dresses

I didn’t have any grand plans to make a new dress for Christmas this year, but the stars (and a couple stashed and scrap fabrics) aligned and boom—New Dress. It’s been so long since I made a simple fitted bodice/full skirt dress that I forgot how much fun it is! To be honest, I could use a few new dresses like this. It’s been years since I was in the “always sew dresses” phase of sewing, and it would be nice to have my wardrobe better reflect my current tastes.

All these photos were taken on Christmas Eve… I thought about retaking proper blog pics but I figured that wasn’t likely to ever happen!

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Anyway, I cut the bodice from the skirt of a failed dress from a long time ago. It’s a cotton sateen I picked up for $4/yd at a local shop eons ago. Despite the bargain price, it happens to be really nice fabric. The skirt is also a cotton sateen that I bought a year and a half ago from the same shop. It was one of those cool fabrics I stumbled upon and just had to take home with me. I always had this particular dress in mind, but never took the time to sew it up until now.

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I didn’t use a single pattern, but rather a combination of two. The bodice is highly tweaked and modified from it’s origins as the Colette Patterns Hawthorn. I spent so much time fitting that pattern perfectly that I traced it off and altered the design details (eliminated the button front, made a scoop neckline, added CB seam for a zipper) to work as a kind of bodice sloper. So glad I did, because it was there right when I needed it. For the skirt I used McCalls 6833 (previously used HERE) because I love the deep pleats, and the hemline is straight—perfect for this sort of print.

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This is the only side view photo I have… no idea what’s going on here!

I drafted an all-in-one facing for the bodice, which I cut from a plain cotton since I didn’t have enough of the sateen. I could have fully lined the bodice, but I just really like facings, especially with a thicker fabric like this sateen. I didn’t line the skirt, but I plan to add a lining in the future to keep it from sticking to my tights.

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I also made a quick dress for my oldest daughter, Anastasia. I used the Flashback Skinny Tee as a base, chopped off at the waistline. This tee is cut straight down at the sides, so I brought the side seams in at the waist, and curved the front waistline down a tad so it wouldn’t ride up in the front. I did a narrow binding at the neckline, and drafted a half circle skirt. The dress is still a little big, but she’s 11 and bound to grow. 😉 The fabric was purchased from Joann’s. It’s a thick stable knit, but thinner than a ponte. It has a hint of shimmer, which makes it a little special.

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As it turns out, everyone was wearing a garment I had made at some point! The grey wrap sweaters were from two years ago (and finally fit like they’re supposed to!), the white dress is a first communion dress I shortened to a more casual length, the green dress I made five or six years ago, my son’s button down was made over a year ago, and even my husband’s shirt was made by me.

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Happy 2016, everyone!

lisa g.