The 2014 Misses!

 Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5

Where there are Hits, there have to be Misses! Thankfully I’ve not had too many catastrophes this year so I’ve ended up with just three contenders.

First up: Exhibit A – my Colette Dahlia.

Plaid matching

It’s probably obvious that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so the Dahlia debacle was a definite low. Lesson learned – I managed to turn it around and ended up with a dress I could live with. The encouragement I received from you all as a result of my moaning was truly inspiring. Thank you. I put the problems down to not scrutinising my toile closely enough, and for choosing a fabric that wasn’t really suitable. It turned out I wasn’t the only one having serious fit issues. The cherry on the cake was having my salvaged rag appear in the Colette Patterns Dahlia Sewalong Round-Up (thanks to Clarinda Kaleidoscope for spotting it!). They clearly hadn’t read the accompanying post!

The V1342 Party Dress


The next ‘miss’ I am confessing to is my most recent birthday frock, the V1342. Don’t get me wrong, I rose to the challenge and loved the look of it, but the soft viscose hasn’t held it’s shape well. The result is a skin-tight fit around the behind and baggy ruching across the bust – not a good combination. Having worn it just once, it’s already losing its shape. No-one, and I mean NO-ONE wants a droopy bosom! I was never entirely happy with the finish partly due to complexity of pattern, softness of fabric, and general lack of skill on my part. It was made as a birthday one-off, and was a fabulous challenge. But I’m unlikely to wear it again without some serious sewing first aid so I think I will reuse the gorgeous teal fabric for a garment I will get lots of wear out of.

The Colette Beignet

Denim Beignet

My final exhibit is my Colette Beignet denim skirt. There’s nothing technically wrong with this number, I just haven’t worn it. Well, maybe twice! I approached this pattern methodically and carefully, and wanted to use it to develop my skills. I took time to top-stitch seams and chose perfect buttons; I was rather proud of the finished garment. The problem here is that it just does not flatter my shape. Probably my biggest lesson of the year has been to really consider what suits rather than making something I’ve seen someone else look fabulous in online.

Sewing Resolutions for 2015

Father Christmas left me an overlocker under the tree, so next year’s first goal will be to learn how to use it. My other ‘resolution’ will be to slow the pace down a little. I have loved churning through make after make; it’s addictive and there’s always something exciting that I want to make next. But it’s not sustainable in the long term, and does not match my objective for well thought-out sewing choices as an alternative to impulse-buying on the High Street.

My 2015 sewing pledge is therefore to devote time and space to improving my skills! See you next year, sewing chums. x


A Denim Beignet

Of all the items I’ve made of late, my Beignet skirt by Colette Patterns makes me the proudest. Despite the disasters that befell it, I think it looks really quite professional. But I’m not sure I love it! I mean, I love how it looks, but I’m not sure I love how it looks on me. You see, I’m not really a skirt person, yet something about the flattering lines of this skirt seduced me. I was mostly inspired by this gorgeous denim number by Tassadit of Rue des Renards.

A Denim Beignet

I had a metre or so denim left over from a Colette Laurel dress (unblogged, as yet) so this seemed like a good use for it. There’s something so satisfying about sewing in denim: It’s so well-behaved.

I have to confess that I’ve had this pattern for a few months but, as I’d been getting my quick fix from sewing garments in stretch fabrics, I was a little daunted by it. I was worried that the final skirt might not be very flattering due to the high waist (and my post-baby lack of one), and I couldn’t face making a toile of all seven panels and twelve button holes!

So I planned to fit it as I sewed, and it kind of worked. It feels a little wider around the hem than the pencil fit it’s supposed to be, but if I’d altered it too much it would have lost the style-lines created by the close fitting high waist.


A Denim Beignet

I used topstitch thread as decorative finish and to strengthen the seams and I found the buttons on my first visit to MacCulloch & Wallis, just off Oxford Street. What a treasure trove! I lined the skirt with a polka dot cotton lawn, and used denim for the facings to help it keep its shape. I omitted the pockets as in-seam pockets tend to add bulk where you least want it. I’ve also not added the belt hoops as it looked a little too cluttered with a belt on too. Do you think it needs them?

So where did it all go wrong? Well, I accidentally snipped through the lining when I was trimming seams and had to fix it with bondaweb. Then I wasn’t sure how the length would suit me, so I had to wait until it was finished to decide to shorten it to above the knee, by which time the lining was too long and needed taking up too. That’s why the buttons go right down to the hem! All of this could have been avoided if I’d used the shorten/lengthen line on the pattern before I cut the fabric. Hmmm, the pitfalls of not being able to try before you buy!

Buttons from MacCulloch & Wallis

Buttons from MacCulloch & Wallis

Overall, it’s taken me three weeks from pattern cutting to finishing. It’s probably the most complex garment I’ve made so far, and a testament to finding fifteen minutes here and there to sew the next stage. I’m ridiculously proud of it, but I only hope I’ll wear it as much as it deserves.