Monday 23 December 2013

Best and worst of 2013

Best and worst of 2013 lists seem to be popping up all over the place, I love a good list, so I thought I'd better jump on the bandwagon pretty sharpish. Let's start with the successes shall we? Here are my top five handmade hits of 2013:

When I made this blouse I declared that I'd like to wear it for the rest of my life, and I still stand by those words. Red, with polka dots, sleeveless for maximum cardi-wearing action and a perfect Mrs Slocombe bow - I don't think it can get much better than this.

Anna Dress
Don't let the simplicity of the lines and the plainness of the fabric deceive you. The cut of this kimono-sleeved pattern is just lovely and the fabric - Brussels Washer yarn dyed chambray - is a delight to wear. There will definitely be more Anna dresses in 2014 and that's a promise.

Gertie Capri Pants
A surprise hit as they have a very high waist, so are not the most forgiving of trousers. I still found myself wearing them again and again all summer long. Maybe because they're a thinly disguised retro version of jeans?!

Blue Rose Shirt Dress
I loved making this and was so proud of the finished dress. It's fully underlined with silk cotton and the blue rose Liberty Tana Lawn is sooo soft and buttery to work with. I've worn it quite a lot too which I'm happy about as I spent so long getting it just right.

1950's Sleeveless Tops
Bit of a cheat here as there are actually two tops, a polka dot version and a floral version. But in my defence, they were both made from the same pattern (vintage Simplicity 4238). Again, their sleeveless status is massively in their favour and the twelve darts in each top makes them a very flattering wear. Along with the original gingham top made from the same pattern, these were on regular rotation throughout the year. Expect a couple in plain colours to make an appearance next year….

One of my aims when making my own clothes has always been to try and make things I'll actually wear. This sometimes means going for the boring option when it comes to patterns or fabric, but this doesn't bother me as my major concern is that the garment must actually get worn. I'm happy to report that out of all the handmade garments in 2013. only one has never been worn and only one has been declared a downright failure. Everything else has been well and truly worn and worn again, which I'm very happy about. So my fails list only consists of two items:

Even though they've never been worn, I don't want to declare these trousers a total fail for a number of reasons:
  • They're very well made and I'm stupidly proud of this
  • They incorporate my Sewlution of 2013 which was to sew trousers with a fly front
  • They actually fit me like a glove

They're also very wide and very red… I know I just need to find the right occasion and the right amount of confidence to be able to sashay down the street in them. That day will come, I'm sure of it.

Downright failure - Tofino PJ bottoms
A bit annoying this as I actually really needed some PJ bottoms when I made them. They looked nice, but their failure was all down to the thick piping I used, which went against my better judgement. Not only did I look like Sporty Spice when wearing them, but they were also impractical. If you must know, I sleep face down on my front and would wake up each morning with piping-shaped ridges right down my legs. The piping actually woke me up a couple of times during the night they were so uncomfortable and as a famously heavy sleeper, this was the deal breaker. Out they went I'm afraid.

Apart from that, I'm very happy with my 2013 handmade wardrobe and have big plans for making another year's worth of wearable clothes in 2014 (more on that in a future post).

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your incredible support, advice and friendship in 2013, it really has been invaluable. I'm so grateful for the friends I've met through sewing and blogging, here's to another happy year in 2014! Merry Christmas everybody! x


  1. Well, at least your PJs have validated my decision to put flat rather than corded piping into my version!

  2. Funny that the Junipers have never been worn because they're super flattering on you! Maybe a bit of a departure from your normal style but they're very slimming. I can see why those 5 made your best of list!

  3. Hi Jane- Your clothes are always so fun and I always look forward to reading your posts. I don't know if it will help with the confidence but I love the red trousers. They are so flattering on you. I definitely think you should wear them. I have a trick for wearing clothes that I love but that are outside my comfort zone. Wear them for only part of the day, go somewhere casual like the library or a coffee shop, and this is the most important part - pretend you're someone else. Make up a whole scenario in your head about the woman who would regularly wear these trousers. Be her for a couple of hours and go grocery shopping or get a manicure. Try your hardest not feel self conscious about wearing them. Then do it again in a couple of weeks. I think you'll get a lot of compliments on these red trousers because they look so fantastic on you. If you try this, please let me know if it works for you. Hugs, Fianna

  4. Beautiful hits! It's so fun to revisit people's best makes of the year with these posts. I really love how yours all stick to a consistent color palette. (I should take a leaf from your page!) And how awesome that you only had one true failure! You can totally rock those red Junipers too!

  5. So many great makes from you this year. Be proud!

    Happy Holidays!!

  6. Beautiful hits! I think your fabric choices make them not "boring" pieces. Plus they are all so very you!
    Merry Christmas to you!
    Looking forward to seeing what you make in the new year!

  7. The wide red trousers look fabulous, especially on you. Put them on, take a deep breath, and walk outside proudly. You will get admiring glances.

  8. I love how your misses are still super! I feel you on the colored pants. I have a pair of teal slim-fitting pants and I just feel so self-conscious! A skirt in that color wouldn't be a problem at all, there's just something about pants... I really love them on other people, though, and think your junipers are lovely :)

  9. Wow I love this idea, I find it really difficult to buy clothes that fit the way I want them to and have made a couple of dresses in the past. This has actually pointed me in the direction of making everyday wear as well... Must dig out my sewing machine.... Thanks

  10. Hi Jane I absolutely love everything you make, I am new to sewing and your are just an inspiration to me so a huge thank you for all your wonderful posts this year. Big Christmas hugs

  11. Great selection, I must have missed your Anna dress previously, but it's a great version. And I agree with FrM's comment, if I want to wear something out of character I do it somewhere that no-one knows me to start with, and after that, it feels like me and I'll wear it anywhere . They would make great holiday trousers! Especially if you were whisked off to the South of France, or Naples! Quick, you've just got time to ask Father Christmas for tickets!

  12. Those red trousers shout out Christmas to muster up your courage and wear them for Christmas, somewhere. They'll be a hit, for sure!!
    Have a great Christmas, red trousers or no.

  13. Love all your successes as well ~ but I would also include those stunning red trousers in this list as well! Enjoy Christmas and I hope Santa is good to you ... J

  14. Oh, thank you for the very lovely Christmas gift of this photographic retrospective! In my own wardrobe, those red trousers would act as a summertime neutral ... except I suspect that summertime temperatures where I live are a good deal hotter, for a longer time, than where you live. Tra, la! Have a warm and happy and blessed Christmas, from the middle of North Carolina, USA.

  15. We all have clothes we've spent hours making and then don't wear. It's all part of the fun of sewing. All of your things are beautiful, though, and I love the 50s blouses. Probably because I can remember wearing similar, but also because they are so well made and in such pretty fabrics.

  16. Wonderful selections and a great sewing year. I love them all but agree that those capri pants deserve the most wear; you look terrific in them. Merry Christmas!

  17. Oh Jane, you have such a wonderful handmade wardrobe...I really could steal it you know! Excellent style and such beautiful stitching! an't wait to see what you have in store for us next year!xx

  18. Congrats Jane! I loved seeing your top 5 from this year, and I always love how your handmade garments suit your personality so well. Happy holidays and looking forward to seeing what you make in the new year. : )

  19. Wow, what beautiful garments! You had such a wonderful year! Happy sewing in 2014!

  20. I still love those red trousers - you need to get out there and flaunt those babies!! Happy New Year to you!! Here's to a great 2014! :)

  21. I love those red look FAB!



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