crafts · Sewing

Year in sewing 2012: wear reports

When I was knitting more I used to give year end comments on the wearing of the yarns I used (the softest ones were usually the ones that didn’t hold up!)  I haven’t really done the same for my sewing, but why not?  It’s interesting to see how my favorites have held up (or not!) over time.

I made less overall this year, which isn’t surprising since I had so many life changes.  I graduated, started a new job, and redecorated/painted my house (still in progress).  I’m actually pretty happy with my results, considering that my sewing time has been cut in half!


9 dresses

8 tops

1 pair of pants (not a success)

I already posted my lessons learned, but I’ll go ahead and say it here.  The biggest lesson I have learned is that it’s ok to make pretty dresses all the time.  Although I made a bunch of tops (my resolution last year) I think they cut into my desire to sew.  I’m happiest when wearing the dresses I made – only 2 of them were limited success, and none were outright fails.  The tops were much more iffy.  Besides, I can buy tops easily – it’s dresses that are expensive and hard to find in styles I like!

I did a lot of experimenting with silhouette.  I did have some success – for instance, I now know that I enjoy the look of skinny pants, so long as I have a longer top.  I do not, however, like baggy shapeless things.  And dolman sleeves are really not that great on me – I prefer a nice set-in sleeve!

Fabric choice is super important – I need to stop letting myself use fabrics that are too thin without a lining.  From now on, I pledge that I will not talk myself into a project with bad fabric!

Here is the rundown – I started in Dec 2011 and went through Dec 2012.  I hope it’s helpful!

Simplicity 2054

Notes:  This is one of my most worn garments of the year.  I love the print and easy to wear shape!  I wear it with boots and tights, both with and without the cowl.  I’ve also worn the cowl on its own with other garments.  I get compliments every time I wear this dress – I recommend the pattern!  The ponte knit has, for something from Joann’s, held up really well.  It hasn’t pilled or shrunk.  Meanwhile, a pair of expensive ponte pants that I bought at the same time have basically become nothing but a mass of pills.   Ponte quality really varies!

Vogue 8771

Notes: This was an experiment for me, trying to decide whether I like dolman sleeves.  I decided that I do, but this isn’t my favorite top.  The knit I used was a fine rayon blend with metallic thread.  Every time I wash this thing it shrinks, seriously.  And I didn’t think it was quite long enough to start with!  I still wear it, but mostly around the house.

McCall’s 6408

I was initially not happy at all with this cardigan.  It was big and sloppy, even after extensive alterations.  But while I was busy being angry at it for being a lousy cardigan, I realized it was  a great robe!  Now I wear it all the time – it keeps me warm, and it’s super cozy!   I still think this pattern has issues as a top, but as a robe it’s awesome.

Vogue 8805

I’ve been wearing this more in the fall.  The issue with it was that it tends to ride up when sitting.  That’s fine with tights, but less fine in the summer.  Luckily I think it works for either.  The dress itself is very cute, and I’m very happy with it.  It even launders well (full lining and all!)

Burda 7220

This one counts as a fail.  It took forever to make (curse you, Burda instructions!)  and in the end it just wasn’t me.  I think this pattern would work better in a drapey polyester or rayon blousing.   And then there’s the color.  I don’t wear orange – what was I thinking?  I have already donated this one – maybe someone else will like it better than I did?

Vogue 8827

I haven’t worn it yet.  This dress is the reason for my resolution to not make anymore wrap garments.  No matter how securely I tie them, I am always aware that I am one snagged tie away from wardrobe malfunction.  Also, this pattern was kind of a stinker.  I do not recommend it!

Vogue 8815

This is one of my favorite garments from this year.  I wear it at least once a week!  I love the long peplum silhouette, and the fabric is quite warm.  I don’t usually make patterns twice, but I plan to make this one again.  Unfortunately, I will have to buy a new copy, as my cat decided that he didn’t like the way the tissue was eyeing him – he taught it a lesson!

Sewaholic Alma blouse

Sewaholic Alma

I really love this top – the sleeves, fabric, and cute collar all make it one of my favorites!  It does suffer from unfortunate interfacing.  I was trying to use more fusibles, but sadly this one had the same issue as all the rest – it bubbled after washing.  I’m sure I’m not using enough pressure or something, but I’ll just go back to my sew-ins.  They take less time, and there isn’t this element of uncertainty.

Mccalls 6569

This was a success – I wore it often over the summer!  This dress shows how hard fabric choice can be – although in a solid this knit is perhaps a little thin for a tank dress, with the pattern you would never notice any undergarment bumps.  I’m really glad that I finished the arms and neck with separate binding – it makes the dress feel very RTW.

Simplicity 1805

I’ve worn this many times.  I really like the open shoulders, and I’m pleased with the choice of woven binding to keep the neck from stretching.  I wish it were a little longer so I could give it a real hem, but it’s a nice top either way.

Simplicity 1803

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I still haven’t finished the hem on this dress!  Therefore it lies unworn in my mending basket.  The fabric is, to be honest, a little thin.  I should have lined it, because now I have to wear it with a slip (and I do not like slips!)

Simplicity 1881

I love this dress so much.  Now, why don’t I get invited to more luaus so that I can wear it?  This knit is thick – a true dress weight.  The hem tape elastic application makes the top very secure for a halter.

McCall’s 6518

This dress gets worn a lot.  It works in all 4 seasons, and it’s so cute!  I realized after making this that I really need more dresses made from suiting – I hardly have any, but I love to work with the fabric and wear it!  I made this as a copy of an Anthropologie dress.  Later in the year I actually found the inspiration dress in a thrift store and bought it.  Guess what?  I like mine better!  The RTW dress has a major gaping bodice issue – the sleeves constantly fall off my shoulders.   It’s nice to be reminded of the advantages of making your own clothes, such as easy adjustments for fit (I would never put up with that issue in a handmade dress!)

Simplicity 1877

This dress is just a little big in the bodice, and I might go back and take it in.  I wear it anyway, and it always gets compliments.  I think the pattern is drafted wide through the upper chest and shoulders.  I would size down if I made it again.  The little shoulder frills are fun, and give it a special touch that keeps it from being just another sundress.  The fabric is a linen blend.  I rarely use linen, but I want to use it more.  This dress wrinkles, sure, but because of the weight of the fabric it doesn’t approach the way my cotton dresses can wrinkle in the wash!

Butterick 5247

Not a fail, just a meh project.  I think the sleeves are too shapeless for my taste.  And I don’t like the fabric, a poly sweater knit that feels cheap.  While I love animal print, I don’t love this one – the teal colors take it to 1980s land, a place I’d prefer not to revisit.

McCall’s 6084

I am so, so sad to even look at these photos.  You see, after wearing a few times this sweater started to basically disintegrate at the seams – even though I finished the seam allowances, the fabric itself unraveled.  And I loved this fabric/sweater!  Ah well… live and learn.  I have learned that not only do I hate working with velvet, it’s not exactly the easiest fabric to live with either.

Vintage McCall’s 5336

Worn occasionally, but not my favorite.  I had to take this dress in too much at the end, which threw off the grain of the fabric.  I’m not in love with the bell sleeves either, but I do love the fabric.  I can’t believe this is actually the only vintage pattern I made all year, but it is.  I think the whole experience soured me on them a bit.  I don’t have a lot of time to make toiles in my current life, and vintage pattern illustrations are often so different from what you actually get!  This year I want to try again, making sure to choose a style that I know I will like.

So there you have it: 2012 in sewing.  Now I can look forward to the new year.  I plan to have a new sewing room by March, and I want to make lots of pretty dresses to carry me through!