As I did last year, I’ve gone through all of my sewing projects of 2016 and picked out my biggest faves and worst flops. This year, I had a much harder time picking the bests and worsts – it was much less clear cut than it has been in the past. I had far fewer massive mistakes as I think I am becoming a much better sewist and am taking the time to plan out my sewing more often.
I also had fewer absolute favourites and I am not sure why. There wasn’t one or two garments that stuck out as pieces I wore over and over. I think this is because I’ve been less intentioned in my pattern and fabric buying. Instead of really planning out what type of fabrics, cuts and colours I wear most, I just sort of went with what I had because I just needed to make something.
So here goes…
The pink Chanel-style jacket. I love this one even though the fabric isn’t amazing and it is a fairly simple cut. I love it because it is the exact style of jacket I have been craving for so, so long. I also love it because blush pink and black are my go-to colours for three-quarters of the year. I also made a black version and a yellow version, but I like this one best as it has the frog closure. Once I’ve had this baby and am back to a semi-normal shape, I think I’ll make myself another, similar jacket in another colour (or five!)
The chambray ruffle skirt. This skirt was made specifically because I already loved the one chambray skirt I made last year and wanted another in the rotation. I adore the softness of the fabric and the little dots are the best! (They do, however, rub on my cross-body bag and tend to pull.) I also LOVE the bias binding on the hem. I came across this scrap of fabric only large enough to make bias tape, so I did, then waited for the perfect project. It it the perfect pop of colour against the neutral blue-grey.
The horsey top. This shouldn’t actually be included in the “best” category as the peplum is not the more flattering on me (it’s not awful, but it’s not great) and it looks a little awkward tucked into a skirt. I wore this a handful of times this spring and that is it. I do however, continue to get immense joy from looking at it. Sometimes, that’s why we sew things.
The original chambray skirt. Made two years ago now, this skirt continues to be one of my most worn items. It is so light in the summer, goes with literally everything and can be barbeque-casual one minute and patio-cocktails the next. I think I need to make another this spring with a similarly easy-to-wear fabric. Actually, looking at my stash right now, I see the most amazing gold and teal plaid…
And, now, for the worst projects of 2016:
The unwearable muslin. I painstakingly pieced together this “muslin” that was really a totally finished dress I figured I didn’t need to make a muslin for because it is a loose fit. What happened is that the whole thing ended up far too big. Even 6 months pregnant, it’s too big. I KNOW. It’s way too big in the shoulders, the bust gapes and the skirt too voluminous (in an “add way too much volume” kind of way.) I don’t hate it though as the inside is beautiful, so at least I will always have that. Sigh.
The black and yellow ruffle blouse. This should have been in the “best” category. Actually, it would have been the very best of 2016 if not for several flaws, all of which have to do with the crappy fabric I decided to make it with. I should have known that anything on sale for $3 a metre could not be any good. I fell for the little yellow rosettes, however and laboured over the shifty, fray-ey fabric. It was awful to work with. Even after stabilizing it with gelatine, it was a pain to cut. Even after serging all of the raw edges, it frayed. The self-covered buttons not only frayed, but popped off. More than once. Finishing the ruffles with the rolled hem foot was nearly impossible on the curves. But it was light, and easy to wear and so comfy and I loved it for those hot end-of-summer days. I wore this top at least once a week all through September gingerly airing it as I knew even hand washing it would be the end of it. So now, this poor blouse sits in my closet.
The yellow Chanel-style jacket. Like the above blouse, this should have been in my “best” category. Unlike the blouse, I may still be able to redeem this jacket. This piece had all the makings of a favourite. I finally got to use the gorgeous mustard yellow italian wool I bought nearly two years ago. I committed to the Hong Kong binding. I didn’t settle for ugly buttons and covered my own. I added a bow.
However. The hong kong binding was made of the same crappy fabric as the black and yellow ruffle blouse. I cut the bias strips before researching stabilizing, meaning that the shifted and frayed like crazy. Some pieces stretched so much that the fabric didn’t get caught in the seam on the underside of the fabric. It was also a general pain in the butt and I think of it every time I put it on. The wool was also just too thick for the buttons and the first day I wore it, a button top popped right off. In front of my students. As we were lining up for gym. It was embarrassing. There’s nothing quite like teaching Grade 6 to make you feel like you are re-living Grade 6. And then there is the bow. After the success of my Kate Spade knock-off sweater, this seemed a sure-fire way to catapult this jacket to superstar status in my closet. Somehow, the bow is too centred and too small and feels like a bow tie. This I know, I can fix. The last thing I don’t love about this jacket is the closure. Having made one frog-closure version of this jacket, I know how much more chic it looks. The button front makes me feel a little bit like I am 60. With all that said, I still think I can re-do that bow and make this jacket wearable again.