Friday, December 18, 2015

My Top 5 Hits of 2015

I've been following Gillian's Top 5 lists on Crafting A Rainbow since the very beginning. Before I had the courage/time/whatever to actually sew things myself, I read sewing blogs obsessively. I loved seeing everyone's Top 5 lists, but never had enough sewing projects to participate. This year certainly changed that! I'm finally able to actually look back on the sewing year and collect my thoughts. I'll be breaking my lists into separate posts throughout the month - since I can't show anything I'm currently working on until after Christmas this will keep the blog fresh until I get back to selfish making again :)

I figure we should kick things off on a positive note, so without further ado ... here are my hits.

5) Penelope Cardigan
There must be something to the fact that this is my most recently finished sweater and it's my favorite of the year. I feel like this sweater is truly a combination of good design choices as well as knowing how to fit myself better with my knitting. I made this as a straight size large, just lengthening the waist for my long torso, and it came out fitting me perfectly. It's just the perfect fit - I can't really say more about it. I also love the yarns I used and THOSE BUTTONS! Man, I'm sure even my blog readers are tired of me mentioning these buttons, but seriously they are so awesome I don't care. I've worn this sweater a few times already this year and it isn't even cold yet. That's how much I love it. I plan to use this pattern in the future as a basic design to fancy up - another sign of how much I love it considering thus far I've never knitted the same sweater pattern twice.

4) Joy Halloween Costume
This dress was a serious labor of love that totally paid off in the end. When I began sewing, I ran into fitting issues that almost caused me to stop working on it. I had to really flex my thinking muscles to make things work out, but I made it in the end and the result is one of my most talked about makes of the year in real life. I love Halloween - in fact Halloween is the only reason I kept my sewing skills passable over the years until recently - and it has been several years since I went all out and made a costume I could be truly proud of. I did more detail than I have in a long time to really become the character and it felt great. My nephew still tells his mom he wants to " watch Joy", which is what he calls the movie instead of Inside Out, and he asks if I can bring Bing Bong over so he can play with him. I wore this to our church Halloween party as well as to hand out candy, and I still have people tell me how much they loved my costume. I loved it too :)

3) Sorrel Tops
This pattern is so "me" I can't even really describe it. I loved it at first sight and it was the main reason I bought the entire Sewing Indie Month pattern pack - I had to get the highest level so that this pattern was included (which I'm really glad I did, because I still don't think this is available to buy individually yet). I loved my first version (technically my wearable muslin) so much that I still wear it all the time, and it prompted me to utilize some of my favorite stashed fabric - the silly woodland print you see above. I love the fit, I love the collar that isn't really a collar, I love the asymmetrical collar shape that gives it a retro feel, and I love the sleeve length with the contrasting bands. I have several more of these shirts planned with some awesome fabrics, so you will certainly see more of these early in the next year. (As a side note, I just went to Sea World yesterday wearing my Forest Friends Sorrel and one of the employees said that my shirt was, "very Wes Anderson looking." Woo hoo :) lol)

2) Melissa Skirts
This was another pattern I wanted from the Sewing Indie pattern pack, and I am still so glad I snapped up. This skirt is a combination many of my favorite skirt elements: gored, button front, knee length, nice top stitching, and fancy but not flashing detailing. I love the pockets so hard, guys. They are the perfect touch to take a skirt you would see everyday and not think twice about and bump it into something noticeably different and special. I get so many compliments on the two version I made (blue jean and solid brown) and it's pretty much all from those pockets. Personally I love how well I made these as well, particularly the brown version. The fabric was a great choice to highlight the a-line shape, and I really took my time with all that top stitching and finishing on the inside so it looks and feels very professional. I wear these skirts constantly since they are both very basic items due to the fabrics I chose and they kind of match everything, particularly my favorite handmade shirts. It also doesn't hurt that my brown version recently won the Muse Loves Merino sewing contest :) (more on that soon) I have more of these planned for the coming year as well, you can be sure.

1) Floral Plantain
With all the other pieces I made and love from this year, my favorite is still this simple but different t-shirt. Isn't that funny? This shirt really marked a game change for me in my sewing, mainly in my design choices. I started out making this just hoping to turn an unused nightgown with pretty fabric into something wearable, and by puzzling things out with the constraints I was given I ended up with one of the most well designed looking garments I've made to date. The white sleeves and neckband were done out of necessity, but I love these choices now and I know I wouldn't like this as much if it was all just the pink fabric. I also decided to reuse the original trim off the nightgown around the neckline of the shirt on a whim, but it turned out to be my favorite detail. The trim is what really elevates this shirt in my opinion and takes this shirt from just being proud that I made it to being something that I would have loved to buy in a store even if I hadn't made it. Hopefully that makes sense. This isn't really the most exciting thing I made this year, but I love this shirt for what it changed in my thinking. I wear this all the time. It's comfy and cute and me to a T.

All in all, this was a great year in terms of my sewing not only for the greatly increased number of wearable garments, but also judged by how many items I still love to wear. These 5 were just that ... my 5 top favorites. I love and wear most of the things I made this year, and that alone feels like a huge win. I feel like my sewing skills have finally developed enough to really start making things I will love and that represent the me I want to be. I know this year will always stand out as that pivotal point in my sewing career, and I will always be grateful for the pieces I was able to produce :)


  1. Wow, your Joy costume is great! I love the Sorrel and your fabric choices are awesome.

    1. Thanks so much, Janet! Being Joy was a blast, and I seriously wear the heck out of my Sorrels. They feel very "me".


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