Top 5 of 2016: the hits

1A big thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for coming up with and hosting this great roundup series. I’ve been enjoying reading these posts for a while now and I’m happy to join in this year.

Here’s my purely subjective list. It has been influenced by lots of factors, from the weather to weight fluctuations.

Rather than pick out five garments, I’ve picked out five categories that cover both my most worn and liked garments and what I’ve been learning from these about my wardrobe gaps.

Here we go:

#1 All my Rooibos dresses so far

I would not have predicted that Rooibos would be my pattern of the year when I finished that first dress. But it quickly became my go-to warm weather dress for those occasions when I wanted to feel somewhat dressed up but with serious pockets. It turned out that I often want to feel that way. So I made a second dress, and when the temperatures dropped, a third, which taught me how great the simplified pattern works as a layering piece.

Really, I think that for me simplifying the design was the key. The original neckline, though cute, makes it look like more of a one-off than it needs to be. It would work well as a variation, with a no-frills variation as an alternative added to the pattern.

I have some thoughts on the criticism of how Colette Patterns are drafted but I’d rather save it for later. I did two muslins for Rooibos and I feel that those were enough for me to figure out the right fit for me. I do think that the bust sizing runs smaller than usual for this particular pattern, and so that’s an issue that should at least be clarified if not resolved with a pattern update. But, overall, I can say that I do recommend it. And I think I might make it again.

#2 Laurel in navy crepe

The best fabric pairing I’ve had with this pattern so far. I wear this dress a lot — more than the other dress versions I’ve sewn up because this color and this fabric have proven the most versatile.

I want to keep working with this pattern. I’ve had some luck (and a lot of fun) trying out different hacks on the blouse version. I’m thinking of hacking the dress to get something similar to this Burda pattern. I will be sticking with the Laurel as the basis (rather than altering the Burda bodice) because it’s drafted both for my cup size and for a broad back.

#3 Skirts and tops for work

top row, from the left: [1] Burda deep pleat skirt (post), [2]Thread Theory Camas blouse and mini skirt (blogged here and here); [3] Burda deep pleat skirt paired with a Plantain/Tonic tee (post)
bottom row, from the left: [4] Astoria sweater (blogged here and here); [5] Colette Patterns Beignet skirt with Plantain/tonic tee and me-made cardigan (blogged here and here); [6] Simplicity 1070 knit pencil skirt (post)

Some lessons learned from trying to make my work wardrobe less accidental:

  • I like to keep my work and non-work wardrobes slightly separate
  • I really like wearing skirts, even when they don’t have pockets
  • overall, a skirt and a top (shirt, especially) gets more wear than dresses (these somehow feel more ‘private’?); significant exception: the Laurel dress above
  • I obviously still need to tackle making shirts and pants… and definitely with more dedication

# 4 Finlayson

A very important unselfish sewing project. I made two, and I think I will make more. And that clever collar might travel on to other sewing projects. Maybe this category will eventually become Thread Theory patterns? Time will tell. I am enjoying sewing those and have a few more of their designs on my forever expanding to-sew list.

# 5 Jammies and loungewear

from left: [1] Almada robe from Seamwork; [2] warm season jammies; [3] cold season jammies

In short, need more, and need to go beyond sleepwear to some solutions for the laziest of weekends spent at home. Ideas welcome.

That’s my Top 5. Coming soon, everyone’s favorite roundup: the misses.




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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

7 thoughts on “Top 5 of 2016: the hits”

  1. Merry Holidays!! (or whatever we’re supposed to say here, but you know what I mean). I really enjoyed looking at your summation. I don’t feel like I’ve sewn enough for a top 5 anything, but I’m definitely having fun reading everyone else’s. And of course, you’re quite right that everyone loves the misses. We’re an evil lot. Anyway, I very much like your systematic approach – insightful! I can also think of plenty of other things you have made that I would have put in my-your Top 5, but these are lovely. Pants/trousers: I LOVE those new Thread Theory ones you mentioned in the Camas post (I think). I also bit the bullet during those Nov sales and bought the Papercut Guise trousers. And I’m still to do the Pauline Alice Port pair, which was in my A/W plan. I’m so happy to see some slightly more contemporary styles come out lately though. Loungewear: hmm. Named Alexandria peg trousers could work and then the Hudson pants are extremely popular, by True Bias. I find my jersey maxi skirt is a great loungewear item as it covers everything. Alright, in the middle of a wee Almada myself, so back to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Claire! Thanks so much for the long reply! Such a pleasure to read 🙂 I’m working on my “misses” post and already thinking ahead to the reflections one. My major plan is to buy fewer patterns but that’s already getting sabotaged by my desire to get the Lazo pattern by Thread Theory 🙂

      I’ve also finally decided to take the plunge and bought two patterns from Named — the Helmi tunic and the Pulmu pencil skirt. I really want to make both soon-ish, but we’ll see. I’ve cut out a muslin for Helmi but have yet to sew it up.

      …And I might have cut out a pair of Burda trousers one of those days. Now I’m looking at the pattern pieces with disbelief, not quite ready to confront them.

      As far as these top 5 posts go, I can think of plenty of hits for yours: the Kielo, the Everyday skirts, Astoria, Moneta, all those gorgeous bags… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can absolutely see you in both the Helmi tunic and Pulmu skirt. I think they’ll look fabulous and I look forward to seeing them. Your comment about the trousers made me laugh – I know what you mean. But go for it! It’s Burda! It might require minimal fitting! (Okay – with trousers the chances are slight, but you never know – right?) 🙂


        1. Happy New Year!

          I’m really looking forward to making the Helmi (that muslin still needs to get assembled, though) and the skirt.

          As for the trousers. Well, they’re pretty wide-legged, so I’m naively hoping it will make things easier. It will be my first time making a proper fly-front zipper closure, so keep your fingers crossed. There are some risks you just have to take 😉


  2. Happy New Year! I enjoyed reading through your post and admired your pictures. You made some magnificent garments, and although I’d never seen the Finlayson, I really love the comfy look of it! Thanks for sharing!


  3. I like how you’ve chosen categories as opposed to individual makes. It looks like you’ve had a really successful sewing year and cohesive too if you know what I meant, everything looks like it’s part of the same wardrobe. I love that laurel dress and your camas blouse!


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