Top 5 of 2014: Hits + Misses!

Hi, guys! A belated Merry Christmas to you, if you celebrate, and an early Happy New Year! Hope the holiday season is finding you well and with plenty of time to hang out with loved ones and just relax!

One thing I’ve loved about the end of the year the past two years has been participating in Gillian‘s Top 5 posts. It’s really fun to stop and reflect on the previous year, and to move forward into the new year with a better idea of what you love to make and wear. So I’m excited to do it again this year!

OK, let’s start off with the misses. They’re the most fun, right?

5.) Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I got tricked by the fun fuchsia animal print into buying a fabric in a color that I hate hate HATE wearing. There’s something about pale grey that makes me look and feel gross (which is weird, because I love medium and dark greys). Also, this shape was a new one for me, and I fell into the old trap of sewing something that I would never buy in a store. I wore this a few times, but ended up giving it away. I can’t even stand looking at these photos! I hate black pants (they’ve also been given away) and my skin looks LAVENDER in these pics. Yuck! Well, at least it was fun to sew!

4.) Nettie Bodysuit #2

I couldn’t think of a single way to wear this- it doesn’t go with anything in my closet and it looks especially idiotic with my usual low-cut jeans. I never sewed anything to pair it with, which probably tells you how much I liked it. Dumb fabric/pattern pairing!

3.) Colette Geometric Laurel-ish

Here’s another garment I didn’t wear even once. There’s just something about it that I don’t like, which is a shame, because I loved the fabric. It wrinkled when you just looked at it, and was kinda messy as a result. Plus, looking back at these pics, I just don’t think I got the fit right. I’d love to have a go-to shift dress in my arsenal, but I haven’t achieved that yet. Blerg!

2.) Honey Cardigan

Why did I spend hours and hours and hours and hours knitting a cardigan when I don’t even like wearing them? Why did my buttonholes only fit buttons better suited for a clown? Why do bad sweaters happen to (basically) good people? WHY?

1.) Simplicity 1690 Crop Top + Gathered Skirt

OK. IN MY DEFENSE, everyone on Pinterest wearing a crop top + midi skirt combo looks super cute! But my proportions are off and this is Frump City, Population Me. Also, HOLY COW, my FAR too anatomically-correct pattern placement!!! Try and tear your eyes away from the, uh, headlights. TRY. This whole outfit is an atrocity.

Let’s turn to happier topics, shall we? Here are my top 5 hits of 2014! [Sidenote: I wanted to cheat and choose extras, but, this post is already long enough, so know that I had some runners-up that I spared you from. I’m looking at you, Gerard!]

5.) Style Arc Romy Anorak!

This project was a real learning experience for me, which I loved. I had never really been into more detailed projects, but after this, I could totally get the appeal of taking on something difficult. It’s a real confidence builder to work through something without good instructions and to find your own way of doing things when you want to change up a pattern. Best of all, I really like the end results! I wore this tons and tons this year, and loved that it replaced an ugly “technical” jacket that I never felt good in.

4.) Ebony + Nanette Scout Tee

I made this at the tail-end of warm weather (like, late October), so I didn’t get to wear it much this year, but man, oh, man, do I love it! I love the exaggerated shape, the color combo, and the bold print. It’s just so fun! Plus, it felt like a collaboration between myself and several cool, fun bloggers, none of which I’ve ever met in real life, and I love that it’s a testament to the strength and warmth of the weird and amazing online sewing community. I’m so excited to wear this come spring!

3.) Alder Shirtdress, v.2

This was my jam for summer 2014! I looooooved the Alder Shirtdress pattern, so much, in fact, that I made three versions! This one is my favorite- I finally worked up the nerve to cut into a treasured piece of Vlisco wax print, and I’m so happy I did! The large-scale print pairs happily with the loose silhouette and it’s just so fun to wear. This was my summer uniform and I felt so happy and at ease in it.

2.) Isabel Undercover Sweatshirt

I made a concerted effort to sew more wardrobe basics this year, and I’m really happy that I did. I’m a really, really casual dresser 90% of the time, but you would never know that from the way I used to sew! The unfortunate side effect of not shopping, but also not sewing basics, was that my everyday wardrobe was in terrible condition at the beginning of this year. You could find me most days in some sort of ugly, worn, free, unisex t-shirt, paired with an ugly, worn, free, unisex hoodie. It’s hard to feel confident dressed like that! Enter the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood, the other pattern I made three versions of this year. It’s wearable, looks really different made up in different fabrics, and has made dressing easy and fun during the week. This wool jersey version, based on an Isabel Marant sweater I saw a picture of and loved, is my favorite by a mile.

1.) M6553, v.2

It should be hard to choose a favorite garment for the year, but this was a no-brainer. Every time I look in my closet, it just jumps out at me… I love it! If I could only use a single piece of clothing to tell people who I am, it would probably be this dress. It’s bright, fun, and relaxed, things that I hope describe me (on good days). I love love love this fabric (another peer pressure collaboration THANKS CHARLOTTE) and I’m so glad I used it on a favorite pattern! It was another occasion when I finally had the courage to cut into a beloved stash fabric, and I was so pleased that I did when the dress was done. Yay!

Alright, guys, I’m really excited to hear about your hits and misses this year. Tell me! What were your biggest triumphs? Worst disappointments? Anyone else have a pattern placement problem that made a garment a bit too anatomically-correct? Do share!

97 responses

  1. I really love these end of year posts and yours does not disappoint. And this line, “this is Frump City, Population Me. Also, HOLY COW, my FAR too anatomically-correct pattern placement!!!” had me laughing out loud. Your hits really are hits.

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  2. Totally love your style, but if you were calling for votes for the top choice(s) of your big five, I’d have to go with the two that sent me scurrying to purchase the patterns in the hope of achieving Ginger-esque success: the Alder Shirt Dress and the Papercut Undercover Hood. Best execution of both and the reason I’m watching my mail.

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  3. I love round-ups! I really should do one myself, but knowing me, I’ll wait ’til late January and then give up on ever doing it.

    The most awkward pattern placement I’ve ever experienced I was actually able to avoid just in time, but I almost made a really cool paisley-esque fabric show the exact placement and shape of a uterus on the front of a skirt (http://laurasdailylookbook.blogspot.com/2014/09/revamped-skirt-92314.html), but I was able to catch it in time and shift it down – that would have been awkward!

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  4. Girl, you rock a bold print like no one else! As I was reading through, I though “Hang on, that grey animal print top doesn’t look so bad…” then I scrolled down to the hits and realised “Oh yeah, that’s waaaay better!” One of the things I like most about the Top 5 posts is seeing a capsule of someone’s style, and yours is really clear! (Do you have more Vlisco in your stash? If not, you would be totally justified in buying more!)

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    • I always feel like my style is all over the place! But I totally agree- it’s so fun to see what people love wearing! I have some leftover yardage of this same Vlisco print, buuuuuuut maybe a little Christmas pressie to myself is in order? πŸ˜‰

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  5. Peer pressure is the best sort of pressure because it involves your friends! Did I misread that after-school special? The more you know, and so on.

    Dude. Your Isabel Undercover has me hankering for some wool jersey and alone time. I don’t love the way that sounded, but I’m just going to live with it.

    Also! You can rock a crop top and a midi, but I can understand why *that* crop top and midi aren’t your favorite. Keep hope alive for 2015, is what I’m saying. Mostly because I saw Mindy Kaling in a green Topshop crop and midi, and am now going to form a lady army around that particular uniform. Saddle up.

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  6. What a fab sewing year. I love your style arc jacket. Really inspiring me to make a functional jacket.my hits and misses are still being written up….best thing I made was most recent and yet to be blogged, a hooded sweatshirt from ottobre woman mag. Worst…I have hardly worn my bright pink Lola as surprisingly it is too darn bright! X

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  7. Loving your print choices. All good in the hits category.
    I also have a number of ‘misses’ that I have given away because I never wear them.

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    • It’s good to give them away, isn’t it? I just went through my closets the other day and pulled out everything that I don’t wear… it’s very freeing to get that stuff out of your life!

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  8. This was such a good read, lots of laughs! I love all of your hits and want them in my wardrobe like now! Looking forward to some more hits and less misses next year, although you gave a way of wording things that kind of makes me look forward to a few misses πŸ˜‰

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  9. I loved reading your post – especially the misses – you’re right they are more fun! Jackets are fun to make aren’t they? I have worn mine loads as well. I love the prints on your Alder dress and Nanette Scout Tee.

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  10. The highs you get from wearing your hit pieces far outweigh the tiresomeness (is that even a word?!) of the non-worn misses. And your hits are BIG hits Sonja! I was nodding along and smiling to all of them! I’ve loved following your blog this year, Happy New Year lady! x

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  11. Wow from all the prints here I can definitely see that you’re a fun person! Well done for all your hits and good luck sewing more flattering/appropriate clothing in 2015!!

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    • Absolutely! There’s no fitting room to try things on in when you’re sewing your own clothes, so it’s pretty unrealistic that you’ll love every single thing that you make, especially if you’re trying new styles. You gotta learn somehow! Happy 2015 to you and yours!

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  12. I always have mixed feelings about the misses because I feel sad for people who have tried to make something that just ain’t happenin’ for them, but they always write about it in a way that has me giggling, you always included. πŸ˜€ I think your hits are spot on. LOVE that anorak in particular. I’m now laughing at myself because you asked us about hits/misses and I was going to mention my miss of a linen-blend black skirt that I never even bothered to blog about because it barely fits in the hips and the fabric just sits there looking weird to me, and then remembered I even mentioned not having a perfect black skirt in my own round-up post. Um, maybe I just don’t like black skirts after all?? Doh. lol Happy New Year to you, can’t wait to see more from you in 2015!!

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    • Isn’t it funny the way that we don’t always know what we like? I finally just donated a white buttondown that’s been hanging in my closet for about three years without being worn once… I felt like I should keep it, though, probably because those magazine articles like “20 Items Every Women Should Have in Her Wardrobe” always include a white buttondown. But, uh, turns out I don’t wear them! Waste of space!

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  13. Wow so just skimming these, I thought they were all hits! Like, where were the misses? These all look great! I know when something doesn’t work for yourself, isn’t your style, or just doesn’t fit quite right it is a KILLER. Your hits are all so inspiring, though! And I can tell you like them because you just look psyched about them in the pictures!

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  14. I love your comments on the crop top and skirt combo! I think I must have missed your anorak when you first posted it, but it’s fab, I love it! Also a huge fan of that sweater! I hope you had a good year, thanks for all the entertaining blog posts, and have a fantastic 2015!

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  15. Great post! I still love that funky Nettie, but I can totally see how it would be difficult to wear. Oh well, at least it made for a fun blog post! You’ve made so many garments this year, so it was really fun to see which ones stood out for you. Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

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  16. Fun post! I love reading everyone’s hits and misses. I *might* actually have time to finish my marathon Gingers today believe it or not. I love your Alder dress & your Scout Tee. They both make me long for summer (it was -20 here last evening & that didn’t include any wind…one of my Bostons’ little feet got so cold that he literally froze up & I had to go outside & bring him in!!!). Your hair grew a lot this year too! Next year I’ll have my own list now that I hope I’m past all my machine issues with my Gingers. πŸ™‚ Oh, and I have sooooo many black pants. Haha!

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    • Get those Gingers done, girl! πŸ˜‰ Oh and I totally understand why some people love black pants! It’s just one of those weird things that I don’t like for no real reason (like polka dots… everyone loves them, but for me, yuck!).

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  17. Your hits are making me think I need to explore some bold prints next year! And I can imagine many people wanting to take those “miss” garments off your hands – they’re still look beautiful and well-made even if they’re not right for you.

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    • Hopefully someone did like them… they all got donated (with the exception of the sweater, which went to my sister)! πŸ™‚ I know some people have a hard time giving away handmade garments, but I really hate knowing that something I made isn’t going to get worn! Get ’em out and let them find a new home!

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  18. You are fantastic and a sewing heroine to me πŸ™‚ all your fail makes are due to personal style choices, not construction boo boos, so well done! It goes to show what a talented seamstress you are πŸ™‚

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    • Oh my gosh, Jo, I went back and looked at my top 5 of 2012 and whooo… my fails were all… major fails. πŸ˜€ It’s hard to notice change and growth in your sewing until you look at things you sewed a few years ago and realize you’re much better now!

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  19. I learned to set a zipper into a dress, do button holes, bias tape facings, and machine blind hems. I got so much better at gathering evenly, sewing seams correctly the first time, and top stitching. I also learned to avoid brocade and do more research before cutting into a new to me fabric type.

    My biggest fail of this year is my first knitted cardigan. This was my first sweater ever I had the perfect mustard yarn, I measured carefully and swatched and measured the swatch and calculated that I’d have 1 inch of positive ease. My gauge relaxed as I knit to the point where I had about 5 inches of positive ease at the top. Damn thing wouldn’t even stay on my shoulders. So I tried to fix it and it didn’t work and now it’s frogged and sitting in a bowl on my stash table waiting for inspiration to hit me.

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    • Awww man, how annoying! Some knitted fabric really seems to grow when it’s in a big piece. That really stinks, though. I had to frog a nearly-done sweater this year and I haven’t had the heart to reuse the yarn yet. πŸ™‚

      But, that aside, sounds like you had a great year with lots of learning and growth! Learning to research fabric before sewing was a lesson I learned the hard way (silk taffeta ruined) but it’s a lesson worth learning, for sure. Happy sewing in 2015!

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  20. I made the same pattern placement mistake too, also with a diamond-shaped print. Except the diamonds fell just slightly lower than my bust, so they looked like a bikini top that was sliding down. Bad. Really bad.

    But on the plus side, this is the first year I’ve made things that I actually wear on a regular basis. In 2015, my humble goal is to be less of a lameass at matching plaids and stripes.

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    • D’oh! How irritating! But how great to feel like you’re sewing things you actually wear! That’s such a good feeling.

      Grainline Studio and Amy Alan both have nice plaid-matching tutorials on their blogs, if you need any tips!

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  21. you have such a fun style. you made some pretty amazing stuff this year – your misses really arnt bad at all! my fav of all your makes this year has to be your wax print alder. it so perfect!

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  22. I love your hits! I’m a sucker for a bold print, and you definitely wear them well. I also prefer to sew for my everyday wardrobe, and using fun prints and colors makes it far more interesting! And that Alder… so, so cool!

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  23. Your hits are brilliant, you really do know your style and rock it well. You look so much happier in the hits. Whilst your misses aren’t awful by any stretch, you have definitely made better, still live and learn and all that! Happy New Year!

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  24. I love your makes, your hand made wardrobe makes me smile, they are happy clothes! My favourite has to be your scout tee. I’m surprised your Gerard coat isn’t in your top 5. I’m finally making mine after sitting on the pattern for over a year. I started cutting out after seeing your blog post.

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    • Thank you, Margo! I’m getting better about sewing things that I like, after much trial and error! Seriously, I think one item survived from my first year of sewing (and that one just because I love the fabric… the sewing was totally shoddy!). Everything else was not my style at all or horribly sewn. πŸ™‚

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  25. I wish you a Happy New Year as full of brilliant sewing as this past one and lots and lots of fabulous fabric to let your creativity run free! You style is so much fun and looking at the pictures in this post one can only say: this is a girl I’d like to meet πŸ™‚

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  26. First off – happy new year! This list has totally got me inspired to get sewing again as soon as I lay this baby! πŸ˜‰ And bwahaha at bad sweaters happening to good people! This is my number one fear about sweater knitting – it would take me FOREVER & I’d end up with something crap & I’d cry into my wasted, lovely wool. πŸ˜‰ All your hits are beauties though – such happy makes, I love them! Regardless, thank you so much for an inspiring and entertaining and enthusiastic year of sewing! I’m so glad I discovered your blog so early in my sewing journey, and I really look forward to being inspired by you more this coming year. πŸ™‚

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    • Honestly… I’m not sure why I knit sweaters at all! I’m about halfway through one right now that I’m pretty sure is going to be a big fat fail!

      Lady, have a wonderful 2015! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear about the baby’s arrival!!!

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  27. Sonia, Happy Happy New Year! You had such a productive 2014, even your misses are adorable. I so love your hits though, your bright prints do mirror your bright and fun personality! I am always so impressed by how much you are able to accomplish while keeping a 9-5 job, you must sew in all of your spare time. When I get home from work it’s hard for me to sit down at the machine. That is something that I would love to change in 2015! Cheers to a great new year! xo

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  28. I keep getting ‘hints’ that I should have a go at the Alder pattern (and the Archer too for that matter). I was reluctant cause I failed at putting on a collar on a dress back in July and left it until last month. It finally got on and it wasn’t that hard after all – ugh why? Regarding the Laurel dress, I read a discussion somewhere that the Merchant and Mills ‘The Camber Set’ dress is similar but was found to have better fit. It might be worth a try if you want that silhouette. I’m a fan of Merchant and Mills, yet it rarely features in the blogosphere, probably because their target market might be women twice my age.

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    • Isn’t it funny the way that things are almost always more difficult in your head than in reality? Collars really aren’t bad at all! There’s a tutorial on Four Square Walls that I found really helpful.

      I’m wondered about the Merchant and Mills pattern! I saw it on a blogger and thought it looked really nice. I’ve never seen those patterns for sale in the States, but it might be worth paying for the postage!

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  29. Your hand-knit cardigan looks great. Still, here are fixes you might try: 1) make the button holes smaller by sewing a few stitches at one/either end of the hole, get different buttons (or make self-yarn buttons…google “Isa’s Yarn Button”; OR 2) pick up stitches along the front edges to knit new button bands. These bands don’t need to be very wide, and don’t even need to run the whole length of the sweater if you still want the open look around the midriff. VERY SALVAGEABLE.

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  30. Pingback: new year – old staples |

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