One of the goals that Alexia and I have set for the year ahead is to each make an effort to craft an intentional and well rounded wardrobe. The first step we decided to take together, was to look back at least year's makes and what we learned in the process.
We each chose our top 9 projects, here are mine, and all the nitty gritty details.
1. I had purchased this thick tight knit wool blend fabric early in the year and knew I wanted to make it into a coat. I decided to use the Vogue Pattern # 8605 that I purchased a while back as my starting point. I graded it down a few sizes, then added length to the body and sleeves. I love that the wrong side of the fabric shows on the shawl collar because it has a different texture and adds interest. I also finished it with a big button because who doesn't love a giant vintage pearl button?!
2. I saw a sweatshirt in a J Crew catalogue that had such interesting lines and wanted to see if I could reproduce it. Round 1 went ok but wasn't quite right so I tried again. This is round 2 and I want to make a few changes for round 3, but overall I'm pretty pleased. The fabric is a little lighter weight than sweatshirt fleece, more like a french terry. It is so cozy!
3. I've had this silk, wool, rayon blend fabric for a few years and am very drawn to the subtle weave and dark colors in it. It has a very Japanese feel to me. I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it... you know how that goes! When my younger brother invited me to go to Japan with him for our High School reunion, I thought this would be the perfect fabric for a fit and flare dress to wear to the reunion dinner-dance. I hacked two vogue patterns for this, Vogue #8494 for the bodice, and Vogue #1422 for the skirt. I love how it turned out.
4. Alexia brought me this Nani Iro fabric from one of her trips out west. I usually don't wear very bright colors but I loved the print and it's Nani Iro so how could I go wrong? It was a 1 1/2 yard cut so it seemed perfect to make a summer dress out of it. I used a contrasting fabric for the neck and hem facing and there's just enough ease to slip it on without a zipper closing.
5. The weave and texture in this fabric is so beautiful! I wanted to make something very simple with an interesting neckline, so the fabric would really be the focal point of this dress.
6. Sometimes the best patterns for making garments that fit well are right in our closets or dresser drawers! I based this top on a raglan sweater that I own. I changed the neckline and ribbing so it would have a slightly vintage look. The knit was easy to sew because it only has a little give, but the stripes were a challenge to match up.
7. I was determined to make myself a Christmas dress for 2016. Of course I waited till Dec 18th to start it! My first shot didn't quite work out, it had dropped shoulders and when I attached the sleeves the seam went all wonky. I had one more free afternoon before Christmas, so I decided to put my first attempt on the shelf for now and try something different. I have a silk DKNY top that I have loved for years and is very simple but has an interesting construction and thought I could copy to make a dress. Bonus: there were no sleeves! I love the shawl collar, teeny tiny stitched hems and the center front seam is sewn on the outside. Since the wrong side of the fabric shows on the shawl collar the black crepe rayon was perfect.
8. I wanted to make a new Green Bee Amelia dress and lawn is such a good weight fabric for it. I love the print, and it's grey...my go to color. I have gotten so much wear out of this dress.
9. I love the subtle plaid and the colors in this linen fabric but it was a remnant so I didn't have much to work with. I decided to use vintage McCall's #7126. This pattern from the early 60's has a similar look to the Green Bee Lela pattern, but a little sportier. I made a muslin first to see if I needed to make any changes and it was perfect! How often does that happen? It is a great top for the summertime in hot, humid Nashville.
Favorite thing I made in 2016: The fit and flare dark blue dress....the print has a modern Japanese feel to it and the dress is very feminine.
Something new I learned in 2016: I have been sewing more with knit fabrics, everything from very light weight sweater knits to heavier more stable ones and picked up lots of techniques along the way. I really wanted to see what could be accomplished by sewing knits on a regular sewing machine and have been so happy with the results. Not everyone who sews owns a serger so don't let that stop you from sewing with knits! I enjoy passing on what I have learned with students in my classes at Craft South.
Biggest sewing disaster of 2016: There were a few things I made this last year that I wasn't totally thrilled with! They can't all be winners. But the longest disaster was when I tried to make a new version of this Kenzo Butterick dress pattern that I have owned since the 70's. I made the dress a few decades ago when I first bought it and I remember it as one of my favorites. It has a very simple construction so thought I it would be easy to size it up a little, make it longer and have the cutest summer dress! The pattern has a center front and back panel, side panels for front and back that go up higher to make the shoulder seams and then another panel for each side. There is a drawstring at the waist and the top of the dress is supposed to be slightly blousy. The first time I tried it on I was immediately disappointed. It was SO 70's and not in a good way. I thought I could make it a little less blousy and still be able to put it on over my head so I kept trying and tweaking the fit over and over but I just couldn't get it to were I wanted. I finally decided to ask Alexia what she thought and when she said "it's a cute Hippie dress." That was all I need to hear and straight to Goodwill it went!
Describe your 2016 style: Simple, modern, Japanese, geometric, fine details inside and out, architectural, complicated pattern pieces/construction, combining fabric and pattern to bring out natural qualities of fabric.
Sewing resolutions for 2017: I would like to spend some time learning more quilting techniques and am fascinated with pojagi patchwork- quilt piecing with French seams! And looking forward to trying new techniques in garment construction as always!