Top 5 of 2015: The Misses

 And where there are highs there must be lows! Here’s my second post in Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow’s annual roundup of sewing hits and misses. I’m unwilling to call these garments fails as I think that contributes to an unhealthy obsession with achieving perfection. There’s no failure in honing skills. Let’s just say that each of these garments taught me something about pattern choices. And there’s only three!

Maxi Moneta

I don’t know what to say about this dress. I am deeply in love with my black Moneta, which featured in my Top 5 last year. Over the summer I saw a number of maxi dresses, including this gorgeous Moneta hack by Cashmerette. I had some black jersey and decided I would have one too. What resulted was a dress I lived and wore regularly until I saw the photos I took for the blog….. I still wear it most weekends so it’s not such a massive miss. it’s just not a very flattering outfit, compared to my favourite black Moneta. It does feel like you’re going to the shops in your nightie. Is that such a fail?!

The Big Purple One

As discussed (at length) over the festive period, this Simplicity 2406 (code named The Big Purple One after the people’s favourite Quality Street) just didn’t turn out as envisaged. It’s not a bad frock, just a bit shapeless for my style. Now I’m halfway through reading Fit For Real People I’ve got a much better understanding of the Big 4 pattern companies’ sizing. I would have started smaller. Noted for next time.

Bluegingerdoll Violet Dress


There’s not a lot to say here. Wrong. Shape. Totally the wrong shape for me. I tried to be cute by combining two different pontes. It just looked wrong. I’d love to know where it is now after I donated it to charity earlier this year!

 In Loving Memory…

 Polka Dot Moneta
I couldn’t sign off without paying respect to my beloved polka dot Moneta, who has passed on to the great textile recycling bin in the sky. I suspect the cheap fabric was at fault as the dress began to ladder along the seams. This was my first Moneta. Gone but not forgotten.


Top 5 of 2015: The Hits

Happy New Year, everyone! We’re still lounging around in pyjamas mid-afternoon, New Year’s Day. Ah! Bliss!!

It’s the perfect time to indulge in a spot of reflection over 2015, courtesy of Crafting a Rainbow’s Top 5. It was quite a big year involving a massive house move. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how I could carry on sewing, let alone blogging, with so much upheaval to contend with. In the end there was only a brief period in the middle of the year where I didn’t sew, and that was only because my sewing machine was being shipped. When it arrived, I was more than ready to get sewing again! This experience proved to me that sewing wasn’t a fad or even just a hobby. It was about how I clothe myself.  It would be hard to give that up and return to uninspiring and ill-fitting RTW clothes.

I began the year making making winter clothes then swiftly had to fill an entire wardrobe with tropical weather work clothes for the move to Malaysia. By by year-end I was craving cosy, winter clothes again. I indulged, which seemed a bit silly at the time, but they came in handy during my chilly Christmas holiday to Japan. So, here I present my Top 5 of 2015 (#sewingtop5):

By Hand London Anna

It’s quite astounding that a dress pattern I didn’t think would suit me became some of my favourite garments of the year. On the left is the full-length version made from viscose (which I was inspired to finish by blogging it as an unfinished garment in Sewvember). On the right is my first version in nautical cotton poplin. I was childishly excited when the BHL girls re-posted both dresses on their Instagram feed. I’m refining the fit of the bodice (again) for a new Anna. Watch this space!

Colette Laurel

I fell hard for the simple shift shape of the Colette Laurel. I’d made a denim and Liberty lawn version previously, so I knew it was a pattern that worked for me. As I found my feet in KL, this was the perfect dress to get me sewing again to show off fabulous local fabrics. My favourite is the black and white viscose, but the tropical viscose print and Japanese cotton also worked well.


By now I have quite a wardrobe-full of dresses and this year I felt the need for more casual garments so I could wear handmade when I was jean-clad. Casual tops were also the perfect vehicle for my love of stripes! Look out for more stripes this year as I’ve been collecting the best striped fabrics on my travels. Pictured: three different Bluegingerdoll Bonnies (snakeskin ponte in the original bodice length, organic cotton stripes and lace print ponte both with lengthened bodices), a Grainline Linden sweatshirt, and a Grainline Hemlock tee.

SBCC Moto Chic Jacket


My final two Top 5 choices are one-off garments. First up is my SBCC Moto Chic jacket. i am sooooo happy with this. I really took my time and made a toile, and then spent ages taking each step carefully. The effort paid off. I was lucky that SBCC Patterns seem to draft for my curves, so minimum changes were needed. I would wear it every day if I could. Perhaps I should just turn up the AC and get it on!



What can I say about these Prima culottes? I absolutely love them! They are comfy, yet fashionable. I get a lot of stares when I’m wearing these, perhaps not universally admiring glances. But I don’t care! The black linen is starting to fade a little, so I might have to think about pair number 2!

Other Reflections

I can pinpoint two big changes that have affected my sewing this year. One was receiving an overlocker for Christmas last year. Thanks again, Mum. It gets used on almost every garment. The other was Instagram. I wasn’t sure if I could be bothered with such high-intensity social media, but I tried it and was hooked. It’s a fantastic way to post a quick snap-shot of what you’re working on, and I feel like I’ve met more people in the sewing community through participating in photo-hops and sew-alongs. It’s an addictive quick fix, but I do  wonder what it will mean for the future of blogs as our attention span ever diminishes? I still think there’s a place for the detail recorded in blogs, but my stats suggest that, like me, people are spending less time reading blogs.

So, a heartfelt thank you for reading this far, and for all of the friendship, support, and advice you’ve given me this year. It’s been so much fun having this online life, and it has definitely kept me sane as I settle into another life away from South London. As I said at the start, I did wonder whether to stop blogging when I moved, but my pre-move post, entitled “So Long, South London” asking for your views on whether to continue had the most comments of the whole year. Happy New Year!!