My #Sewing Top Five of 2018

PicMonkey Collage_1Even though I prefer to look forward, I love doing this retrospective post at the end of every year. Thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for inspiring the #SewingTopFive. So here we go…my top five makes for 2018.

  1. The layered lace Anthropologie knock off (full post here).

 

 

I chose this Anthropologie knock off as one of my best, not because I wore it alot, but because I had such a great time making it.  Even the first step of the process was fun. I visited all the local fabric shops, searching for bits of lovely lace, then layered them to create this textured bodice. It took alot of time, but I loved what I was doing so much, I didn’t really notice.

2. This New Look dress took me by surprise! The two versions are here and here, but I’m counting them as ‘one’ for the purposes of my ‘best of’ list.

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I didn’t really expect this drop waist loose-fit dress to become a favorite. It was a such a simple project…but sometimes it’s the ‘easy sews’ that yield the best results.

3. Pastel Green Coat (full post here)

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This was the only ‘serious’ coat I made in 2018 and it has become a strong favorite. The wool was a great find; gorgeous and soft. I’m so glad I decided to line the coat in silk. Pastels aren’t on my list of favorite colors as a rule, but I always feel like a ‘cool girl’ when I wear this coat.

4. Another Anthropologie knock-off made it into my top five list, the cordoroy shirt dress.

IMG_8454After multiple washings, the cordoroy has softened. I enjoy wearing this so much.

5.The floral kimono wrap top: IMG_1212

I always feel great in a wrap top/dress. This one is so fun to wear!

Here are a few Honorable Mentions: 

I would feel disloyal if I didn’t give a shout out to these me-made garments that have served me so well this year.

This Kobe Top from Papercut patterns:

I love this pattern, and will be using it again. This was a fun project because I used a old linen tablecloth with embroidery.

The floral wrap dress;

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I was reluctant to cut into this fabric because I loved it so. Fortunately, the dress turned out well. It’s now a favorite of mine…

3. Blackwood cardigan

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I made several Blackwoods in 2018 and I love them all! This particular version was special because I was able to use the selvege to create a unique border along the front and sleeve bands.

The Inari Tee dress and top:

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I’m not sure why I waited to try this cool pattern! I wear the linen dress all summer and the tops (modified with a low peplum) are favorites too.

How was your 2018? It was a productive year for me. I managed to sew and blog three or more garments each month. Motivation to sew was easy to find, as I joined the Ready to Wear Fast sponsored by Goodbye Valentino. If there was a ‘hole’ in wardrobe, I had to sew or go without!

The RTW fast has been an interesting experience. It’s shifted my sewing significantly from spontaneous, muse-driven sewing to ‘sewing with a purpose’. Intentional sewing meant I was able to fill some holes in my wardrobe that I’d ignored or filled with frantically purchased ready-to-wear garments. I’m glad I replaced those pieces with nicer me-made essentials. I also reduced my fabric stash significantly…a big win! I discovered that there are some things I just don’t like to sew, exercise wear, for example. I just don’t find the satisfaction quotient to be high enough to justify committing any of my cherished sewing time to it. It was good for me, so I will likely do the fast again!

In my sewing room, 2018 was a very good year. But alas, there were a few missteps along the way so I’ll post the Top Five Misses next.

I hope those of you who blog/instagram will post your top five too, as I love reading those posts. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

An Anthropologie Inspired Burda Top

 

mL2l3J35Qjulp7CwY9UopA_thumb_11013If you ask me, the November and December issues of Burda Style magazine were so great, they more than justified the hefty price of U.S. subscription. This Anthropologie inspired make is from the November issue, and it’s just one of five patterns that I marke to trace. Yes, I always dread the task of tracing the patterns from the magazine…there are so many crazy lines to sort through! But the results were worth the effort!

Here’s the Velvet top from Anthropologie that inspired me to make this.  4110348695280_070_b

This Burda Style top is really close, minus the gathers at the shoulders.

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Navy blue is such a hard color to photograph so I’m not sure how clearly you can see the waist-pleat detailing, but it adds a nice touch and it was easy to sew. This Burda Style pattern is 11/2018 Style 110.

 

The magazine version is made from stretch jersey so I made my version from stretch velvet. If you try it yourself, I highly recommend a stretchy jersey with lots of drape. I cut the smallest size and the fit is great. I did forget to add the seam allowances when I first traced the pattern pieces and had to retrace them. UGH. There are so many crazy lines going every which way on those pattern inserts. I guess you could avoid that frustrating step by paying for a download of the pattern from the website, but to me, that feels like paying for the pattern twice which I could not justify, since, in the US, a subscription is already a sizeable investment. Fortunately, there aren’t alot of pieces to this pattern so the tracing wasn’t too hard.

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The required sewing was quite easy! I’m always impressed at how well Burda Style patterns come together.  The instructions feel so abbreviated to me, yet the projects always seem to work out! The front bodice and neckline are finished with facings and they’re very simple to attach. The sleeves are set in and they went in easily. The tie is just inserted before attaching the facing. No big deal. Machine sewn hems finish both the bodice and sleeves.

 

 

 

 

I always worry about fit when I make a wrap top. There’s so much that can go wrong in terms of gaping in the front. Because of that, I celebrate when I find one that fits well. Since this one is a clear winner, I’ll likely try it again. I might even add a few inches for a dress. It’s a great addition to the wardrobe since it can be worn alone or with a white collared shirt. Probably a lacy tee would look great under it too.

It’s always great to add a new velvet piece to my wardrobe, since I am such a fan! I’m hoping to sew a few more things before I do my yearly wrap up, but it could be wishful thinking on my part:). Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Gift to Sew: How To Make a Fringed Circle Vest

PicMonkey Collage-8Sometimes the simplest make gives you the most pleasure. Every time I wear one of these vests, I feel stylish, cozy and comfortable. It’s a simple design that brings compliments and the question….where can I buy that?

My love affair with circle vests started several years ago when I was gifted a pattern for one. I soon realized I didn’t really need one at all since it’s just a circle. But the trick is in the proportions.  The patterned vest was a bit too voluminous for me, and it wouldn’t fit under my coat. So, I played around with the concept using fabric scraps and muslin and came up with an updated variation that works better for me.

 

These vests are a great wardrobe addition because they can be worn open or closed. This particular version is reversible, made from two fabrics sewn together, a solid and a plaid. You can finish the edge with bias binding, but fringe is great too. To fringe a vest, sew around it at 5/8″ then use a seam ripper to pull threads from the edge to make the fringe.

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The short vest takes a yard of each of two fabrics. For me, the long vest can be made from a yard and 3/8.

The basic concept of a circle vest is introduced in this Thread magazine blog post. In a nutshell…

  • Circumference of the circle: your bust measurement
  • Distance between armhole: the width of your back from arm to arm
  • Depth of the armhole: Top of the shoulder to 3” below your armpit for the depth of the armhole.

I liked this method, but found the vest to be a bit short. So, I modified it by adding 3”to the width of the circle. I  did this to give the front of the vest more drape.

Here’s a double-sided flannel vest with bound edges. I used two heavy weight flannels so it’s cozy but a bit stiff. The edges are bound with fleece binding.

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Here’s the long version in boiled wool.

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To make the long version I added a few extra inches to the length of the oval. I eliminated the bias binding, fringing the edges instead. Here’s a visual of the pattern I drafted for mine.

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I only used a yard and a half of fabric by folding the fabric selvage to selvage and cutting my oval from that.

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I’m not sure which version I like the best….I’m such fan of plaids and this project is a perfect way to use them all!

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It’s always so satisfying to find make a stylish and unique gift for a friend. A unique fabric choice can really make this a stand out piece in any wardrobe. It’s also a great addition to your wardrobe too. As they say, One for you…One For ME!!! 

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!