Time to look back at what I actually made this year! Let’s start with the hits, shall we?
Top 5 Hits of 2013:
1. My wedding dress, aka the “One Dress To Rule Them All”! Yes, I only wore it once, but this was easily the most time-consuming and expensive thing I’ve ever sewn, so I have to include it, right? Plus, I never showed a really good full shot of the finished product, so here’s my excuse to share some of the professional pics. Don’t worry, they gave me the copyright as part of the photo package! We did get a couple of outdoor shots, but the lighting on the ones inside the church actually shows off the details of the dress better, so I went with those.
At Gillian’s request, I’m including a mini top 5 of things I learned or loved about making my wedding dress.
a) I loved working with the fabrics! It’s not every day that I can justify using a whole bunch of different silks, so this was both a lot of fun and a very big learning experience.
b) I learned and/or developed skills in a lot of different couture techniques. I’d worked with underlining before, for instance, but this had underlining, sometimes multiple layers of underlining, boning (and not the cheap plastic kind ,either!), regular lining, the works! So I think my handstitching improved quite a bit in this process!
c) I love that I was able to design an entire dress around that sunflower lace, since the only two things I’d wanted for my future wedding for ages was having sunflowers, and making my dress! So I got to combine them! I also love that my pattern modifications to the Cambie top worked so well for really showing it off. (Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of it, because I have probably at least 3 yards left! Any ideas?)
d) I learned that sometimes muslins, or even multiple muslins, are a necessary evil. I’m really glad I allowed myself the time to do that. My usual attitude towards them is to try to make them as wearable as possible, or just skip them altogether, because I have so little sewing time and “ain’t nobody got time for that.” But I’m glad I really took the time to perfect the fit before I started–especially since I was just barely able to squeak out the skirt with the yardage I had estimated! Plus, now whenever I do get around to making a “real” Cambie, I have it all modified and ready to go. Assuming I can find those muslin pieces. Gah.
(Disclaimer: I’m still probably going to stick more with wearable muslins for most things, because I still mostly don’t want to take the time for that.)
e) I love that being able to sew helped me keep the costs down significantly! All together, I think the supplies ended up costing about $500. I think the most expensive fabric I got was the dupioni for the outside, at around $16 a yard. Given that I have a hard time paying more than $12 a yard for most fabrics, that’s a LOT. But at the average bridal shop around here, that would get you a pretty low-end polyester dress. Mine was silk, custom-fitted, and I didn’t have to deal with sorting through all of the trains and strapless bodices to find something I was ok with!
And now, on with the rest of the hits…
2. The Thurlow trousers. I’m quite happy with the fit, they’re very comfortable, and I’ve worn them at least once a week since I finished them. In fact, I’ve washed and worn them so much that the fabric is already starting to pill on the thighs a bit! Not a huge loss, since this was only ever intended to be a wearable muslin, and the fabric was free, but that means I may have to make a new brown pair sooner than I thought. (After I finish the other 4 pairs that I actually bought fabric for.)
3. The TARDIS Hummingbird-esque skirt. Subtle geekiness for the win! This got a lot of love on Flickr (by my standards, which is pretty much anyone commenting at all), and I’m always happy when my pattern alterations turn out as I envision them. Plus, since it’s basically a denim skirt, I have a feeling this is going to be a rather versatile addition to my wardrobe!
4. My plaid flannel shirt. Even though I’m still not a huge fan of the collar, it’s warm and cozy, which is exactly what I need in my life right now. I’m also still feeling a bit smug about how many sewalongs I was able to apply this to! (And now I’m wondering if it’s a crime against fashion to wear flannel shirts that aren’t plaid, because I want a lot more flannel in my life!)
5. The purple Sadie tank top, which has proved to be quite versatile, even though it’s not the most exciting thing I sewed this year. (Aaaaahhhh, look how sunny and warm it is there! Much nicer than looking out the window–it’s actually pretty unseasonably warm here today, but it’s also grey and rainy, which is why I’m home to finish this post. Work is soooooo sloooooow on rainy days that the manager told me to stay home!)
Thankfully, since I didn’t have a huge output this year, I don’t feel like I really had a lot of misses as far as my actual finished projects went. So I’m taking a slightly more tongue-in-cheek approach to this.
Top 5 misses of 2013:
1. The one true sewing fail I had this year was my Pavlova cardigan–the one that tore apart in the washer before I even had a chance to take a photo of me wearing it. I hardly even got a chance to wear it, either. Despite my usual cold-blooded ways, I was sufficiently comfortable both indoors and out to not wear it at all while I was in Jamaica, so I only wore it on the plane there and back. If I were to be honest, it didn’t turn out as cute and flattering as I’d hoped, either. I still plan to make a Pavlova top again, but maybe more of a wrap top as intended. Or with knit fabric so it drapes better.
2. My timing in finishing my Tiramisu dress. It’s not the dress itself, because I do like it. And if I’d made it earlier in the fall or even the summer, I think it would have been worn a lot more. But I only wore it once, because it got too cold almost as soon as I’d finished it! I’m definitely not one of those people who can go short-sleeved in the cold. I wonder how it would look with my brown corduroy jacket–too much brown in the middle?
3. Online fabric shopping. This wasn’t a 100% fail. I did manage to find the right shade of nude organza for the wedding dress. I do like the rayon challises that I picked up for a couple of dresses that I didn’t get to this year. And I recently got some organic cotton knit that is super-soft and I think it will make a great basic black maxidress next year! But I did have multiple issues here, from trying to find a solid emerald green to make wedding accessories (color of the year, huh?!), to the paisley I’d intended for a Darling Ranges dress that looked quite different when it arrived, to the stretch denim I recently ordered that looked like teal, but showed up more of a robin’s egg blue and a lot thinner than I’d anticipated! And, of course, I also recently had issues in buying both fabric and yarn online, because in both cases, the website said they had more in stock than they actually had by the time they got to processing my orders. Both times, I had to make substitutions for things that cost more money. Aside from higher cost, the most annoying thing in both cases was that they were things I’d spent hours searching for in order to avoid wool! Blasted allergy…anyway. Hopefully I’ll have more hits on that count next year, since I can’t necessarily rely on Joann’s to have what I need or want.
4. Pantsapalooza. It’s not that I regret doing it, though I think I really could/should have managed the sewalong aspect of it much, much better. I guess since it was my first time hosting one, it’s a learning experience, right? And I did get usable trousers, but only one pair out of my intended five. So that’s not a palooza, that’s just pants! (Guess what I’m most likely sewing first in January…)
5. Buying vs. using. Yes, a few of these were projects I intended to get to quickly–my Darling Ranges dress that I actually bought fabric for twice (see #3 above), or the Reglisse dress that I found the perfect print for almost right away, for instance. And then the summer just disappeared. A few of these I actually did get to right away–I’m thinking specifically of the Hummingbird pattern, since I actually managed to jump in on the official sewalong and use up some stash to boot! And I did buy and use the plaid flannel in a timely fashion, which is unusual for me. But overall, I think I acquired a lot more fabrics and patterns this year than I have in recent years past, and didn’t necessarily use things up in a way to balance that out. (And it’s not even Christmas yet, and I can usually expect to get fabric for Christmas from my mom, too!) My husband and I are planning to really crack down on the budget come January so we can pay off some debt and save for some things we’re hoping to do, so this is something I really need to get under control again, and focus more on using what I have and being creative with it. (Incidentally, I loved the idea of the Sewcial Bee that I did last year, since it forced me to jump on fabric and patterns that were already in the stash! I hear rumors that there’s going to be more next year, and I hope that’s true!)
I did also lose track of yardage in vs. out this year, which is something I’ve been trying to keep track of. If I do succeed in my plan to get the room straightened up to start the new year, I do plan to re-tally everything that has significant yardage (like a yard or more) so I can start keeping tabs on that again.
Honorable mention: My #greendecember project. I got it cut out, then got caught up in a secret sewing frenzy, so that’s as far as it got. But it only gets honorable mention, because it’s another Renfrew top, which means there is a chance I can still actually get it sewed up before January 1!