If we were to measure this year in terms of how many sewing projects I’ve completed and subsequently enjoyed, I would say this year has been quite successful. I won’t say any more about how this year has gone in other ways (because that needs no more spotlight), but for me and my sewing skills we’ve seen some real improvements and some real wins. I remember last year at this time I thought about what I’d made over the year and I really felt like I hadn’t made anything super wearable. My goal this year was to focus on basics and I think I did a good job at covering that area of my wardrobe. Of course, not everything I’ve made has turned into something I wear all the time, but overall I think I met my goal.
As far as sewing goes, I think one very tricky part is knowing which patterns are worth my time and money. I know it’s most common to just post about your newest make, but I think it is very helpful to read about patterns that we love that we just keep sewing again and again. I feel like if I can find a handful of people who have made a pattern and consistently wear it and love it, it’s a great sign that the pattern is good and, likely, worthwhile.
So, for anyone who is looking for a good pattern, here are some of the ones I’ve tried this year that I’ve ended up really loving. Most of them are pretty popular, and for a good reason.
Union Street Tee (Hey June Handmade): It is a sad but true fact that I have almost no pictures of my Union St. Tees. I don’t even have a blog post dedicated to them in the true form, although I have one for hacks here (velvet, ruffle shoulder), here (puffed banded sleeve), and here (t-shirt dress). It’s true I love this pattern and I’ve made it many times. It’s very basic, but it’s just the fit I like: shaped, but loose (no fitted tees for me, thanks, although you can just size down if that’s your style). I have three unaltered v-necks, plus the hacked versions mentioned above. My personal style has room for about two dozen more. It’s a tried and true pattern for me and I’ll happily make it many, many more times.
Ginger Jeans (Closet Core Patterns): Of the jeans I’ve made (these and the Ash jeans), these are the ones I probably wear more regularly. They are very comfortable, they look great (read: they don’t look handmade), and they fit pretty well. For a first pair of jeans I don’t think you can ask for much more. I would like to make another pair of these and address some of the fit issues, but the issues are small, which is why I haven’t gotten around to it yet. It really is a great pattern, especially for beginners.
Ash Jeans (Megan Nielsen Patterns): In the post I made comparing these to the Gingers I said that I liked the fit of these better than the Gingers. I still maintain that, but I think because of the tight waistband and maybe because of the fabric (it’s the most comfortable jean fabric I’ve ever owned; here I’m talking specifically about the color), I just don’t wear this pair quite as often. Oh, and the fly on it is a little wonky so I never want to wear shirts tucked in while wearing them (which cuts down on what I can wear with it). I do love this pattern though (minus the technique for sewing on the fly/zipper) and I love the fit of these jeans!
Hands Down Favorites
Joy Jacket (Chalk and Notch): I think the main reason these two items made it into my Very Favorite Makes from This Year category is that the fit is amazing (through very little effort of my own), and that neither of these items (in my opinion) come off as having been handmade. I have friends who know I sew (although, admittedly, very few know the extent to which I sew), and they will occasionally ask me if I made something I or my girls are wearing. And I’ll be honest. I think that question is only asked when it seems within the realm of plausibility, mainly if something looks handmade (often, for some reason, if it’s made with a more natural fiber, like linen, or if it’s perhaps matching). Never have I been asked if this or the Orchid (or, actually, any of the items on my staples list) were handmade and I think that’s the beauty of these patterns. They’re just awesome, well drafted and thoughtfully planned out patterns. Definite wins in my book.
Orchid Midi Dress (Chalk and Notch): I’ve wasted no time in praising this dress in other posts and the general consensus (mine) is that the pattern is pure gold. I wear this dress as often as I can. I love it completely.
Racerback Dress (Hey June Handmade): I know, I know, this one is a kids pattern, but I really love it. It’s a quick and very satisfying project. And if you don’t have kids, it would make a seriously awesome gift for any loved one who’s expecting or who has young girls. Plus, you can use scraps for parts of it! It’s a great FREE pattern!
Driftless Cardigan (Grainline Studios): Here you can see my cardigan paired with one of my favorite makes from the previous year (my Hinterland dress). My only regret with this project is that the fabric isn’t the best quality and is pilling and losing its general softness, but the pattern itself is awesome. The design is unique and comfortable. This would make a great gift since it’s not meant to be very fitted. I will make more of these in the future! (Revisiting all these patterns is really making me think that I ought to have spent more Christmas wishes on fabric!)
Shift Dress (Wiksten) (unblogged): Well this is one of my favorite pictures ever! I love my parents! But in regards to my Wiksten Shift Dress, ahem, I really love it. This one hasn’t been blogged yet, and the main reason is that I haven’t been able to get very good pictures of it. There are some tweaks I will make to the pattern the next time I sew it up, but it is a very comfortable and very effortlessly chic dress. It’s oddly flattering (it’s odd to me because it’s a very simple design…but it works). My fabric choice here only helped me: I made mine with a gorgeous slub linen blend from Style Maker Fabrics. I wear this one quite often. It’s been a great option for me for at-home church!
These are my favorite and most worn makes of the year. Some of the other things I’ve made don’t get worn very often at all because I just don’t like them very much, and some are dearly loved but occasion just doesn’t always call for them (here I’m thinking of my Cielo top).
As far as next year goes, I don’t have any plans that are set in stone, but I do have some loose ideas including more knits, a comfortable skirt, some true black skinny jeans and hopefully another coat or two (is there anything more satisfying to make than outerwear?). But I’m just going to go with the flow and see where my creativity (and wardrobe needs) take me.
Since this is a post reminiscing about finished makes this year, I do feel I’d regret it if I didn’t mention one of my proudest accomplishments this year which was finishing my English Paper Piecing project, my La Passacaglia quilt:
We can do hard things, folks!
And happy New Year!