Friday, 9 December 2016

My Top 5 Best Makes 2016


I'm joining Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow in the top 5 of 2016

Given that I spent most okay all of the 6 months leading up to my daughter's wedding designing and making dresses,  it's no surprise that wedding day finery tops my list - though I ran out of time to make my own outfit. After the wedding was over, I had no sewjo, so my output for the year to date is not great. I found that I needed the impetus from a contest, with a deadline, to achieve anything. Sad, really! I do have some other items, including items for me, that are not yet finished so I can't include at the time of writing this - I'll save it in draft to see if I do achieve anything else.

With all of the following, there are things I could improve. One of my resolutions, though, is not to be so hard on myself.

Helen's wedding dress

I think it is simple looking and sophisticated,  yet with that youthful edge. It's so totally Helen.
Helen had a large part to play in deciding what she wanted, modified by my lack of skills - some things were never on the cards! I learned a lot. I struggled a lot.  But I came through.
This was a self drafted pattern - unfortunately,  Helen didn't want one of the standard available patterns. (She was right,  though)
We chose a beautiful quality sandwashed silk crepe as the main fabric and this was underlined and lined with silk,  too - charmeuse and habotai.
It fitted her beautifully.
She loved it and she and I had compliments galore.
No, sorry, I have no plans at all to set up any kind of business...
You really couldn't afford me...
Cost of dress - priceless!

Blog post link: here

Bridesmaid dresses times 2
Helen and her two sisters were heavily involved in deciding what they wanted.
Again, these were self drafted patterns, each slightly different to take account of figure differences. Alison wanted a wider band while Joanne preferred narrower to emphasise her waist. Alison is a carrot or inverted triangle and Joanne is an hourglass.
The fabric was a lovely quality crepe back satin in the exact shade of the groom's tie. It was lined and interlined.
The skirts were circle skirts. After hanging, there was some (a lot!) unevenness in the hem and because a fair bit got cut off,  a band was added to increase the length to that desired.
I ran out of time and the final dresses were sewn by a dressmaker,  including the necessary band, but I very much consider them my makes as I had made and fitted so many toiles and of course designed the pattern.
Successful. Blog post here

Still on the wedding - groom’s waistcoat
This was made using a Burda pattern. The pattern was slightly lengthened and slimmed down a lot to fit my son-in-law and meet his ease preferences.
The fabric was a beautiful wool silk chosen by my daughter and sil for its colour as well as its quality. The colour exactly matched his Cambridge blue tie  (the bridesmaid dress fabric was bought at the same time). The fabric sewed beautifully.
The back of the waistcoat was a surprise for the wedding guests - it was silk printed with a slightly reduced version of our family tartan. The silk was rather slippery and difficult to get the checks to stay square and lined up properly - I got help from David. I had never made a waistcoat but enjoyed this and it looked good.

A has worn it since and has further plans for it in 2017.
I'd certainly make another waistcoat.
Blog post here

Shorts/culottes for Joanne - times 2

At Joanne's request, I hacked her favourite pair of shorts (she calls them shorts, I thought of them as culottes but others on PR didn't agree and shorts they were!) for her birthday.
First toile after tracing 

Working toile - I needed to work out the various factors

I used double georgette for the body of the shorts and the same double georgette for the lining. The lining was bagged at the bottom, with guipure lace inserted between the layers. The shorts had side pockets and the pocket on the left had a concealed zip hidden inside. I was very pleased to master that particular skill as I can see it being very useful in future.

Blog post here and here

I was very pleased with the shorts and posted them off to Joanne - then less than 2 weeks later, PR had its Sewing Bee contest and the task for the first round was to create a pair of shorts! I had to make another pair!

This time, because of time constraints (there was less than a week from announcement to submission), I wasn't able to send off for the same lovely double georgette. I was able to buy georgette locally-ish but it just wasn't the same quality and was more difficult to cut and to sew. Unfortunately, too, the local shop had guipure lace of a different design, but not enough of it, so the second pair had identical lace.

Joanne agreed to model the shorts for the contest (a requirement was that they were photographed on a model) but again, because of time constraints, this wasn't possible and I borrowed a model from my sewing bee! I was surprised to get through to the next round.

I still haven't seen Joanne in either pair! One problem was the shorts were so similar (she did want black!) that she's a little concerned, I believe, that others will think she's wearing the one pair of shorts continuously. But no, she didn't agree with my suggestion of a different colour, or longer etc.

Blog post here and here
PR Sewing Bee entry here

Shirt for my older grandson (aged 7)

Last year, I saw a shirt Deepika on Pattern review had made and fell in love with the fabric., which I was able to buy from the US, the only source I could find at the time. I loved the Modern geek fabric. This fitted so beautifully with my grandson's interests, that I bought it and planned to make shirts for him and for hos younger brother. That was supposed to be around Christmas last year but it didn't happen, needless to say.

The the PR sewing for Children contest came up. This time I had a month, as is usual with the contests other than the sewing bee. I made up a toile in age 9 but ended up increasing the real thing to age 10. I haven't done the shirt for his little brother as yet, but hope there will still be enough fabric left.

I made no changes to the pattern (see what I mean - it's so much easier to sew for others - especially children). My grandson likes the shirt and has chosen it to wear on a few occasions. I don't have a great photo of him wearing it. There are a couple of photos but, well, they're not very good.

PR Contest entry here
Blog post here 

Okay, I'm cheating - I'm including a garment number 6 in case you don't feel I should have included the bridesmaid dresses (I didn't ever put these on PR)

Garment 5/6 is the most recent skirt I've made for Helen.

It's my most recent blog post.
I like it and would make it again.
I think it is a good practice for the tartan skirt which I will eventually make Helen using our family tartan.

For Christmas, I have a few other garments on the cards. A hacked silk dress for Helen and kimonos for Joanne and Alison. I hope I will get them done but as I draft this doc, they're not even started. I was going to save this post until later, but it's probably better now as we're all busy in the next few weeks.

I've noticed, as I'm sure you will have, too, that all the above are garments for others. I've come to realise that I actually prefer sewing for family than for myself, I think due to fit issues. I do have a few of the things I've made for myself that would be better in the 'disaster, dahling' section. I think the 'misses' section will be next!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  1. Anne, I have to disagree! I think your output was great! Maybe not in numbers, but you've made beautiful garments and Helen's dress was stunning. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Marianne! Merry Christmas to you, too.

  2. Anne, while it's so generous of you to sew for others - you need to make things for yourself!!!!
    The wedding dress is drop-dead gorgeous, as is the bride....

    1. I have plans to sew for myself, as well, next year! I do enjoy sewing for others, well family members only. Thanks.

  3. I have really enjoyed seeing these marvellous garments come together. You have worked so very hard and have learnt a great deal along the way. I am in awe of the wedding dress which is one of my absolute all time favourite garments. Lovely, lovely work (and gorgeous daughters - lucky you).

    1. Thanks, Kate. I have enjoyed the learning process, though it may not always have seemed that way!

  4. Hello Anne, this is my first visit to your blog. I found it with the other links for Top 5 for 2016. I am in awe of your excellent sewing skills. The bridal gown is stunning and when I first looked at the photos (I usuallly cheat and skim photos, then returning to read the post more thoroughly) of the bridesmaid dresses, I noticed the band at the hemline and thought it was a lovely design feature. Never would have thought it was a 'fix'.
    I certainly don't think you were unproductive. There are some very lovely projects here. I look forward to reading some of your earlier posts. Merry Christmas!

    1. That's so very kind of you, thank you. I agree that the band was an improvement over the original plan - I had been doubtful originally that I could achieve the band. I look forward to more comments from you. Merry Christmas!

  5. I hope you are proud of all these makes Anne, they are stunning. Thanks for sharing this post :)

    1. Thank you, Dawn. I absolutely love the recent pinafore you shared.

  6. Hi Anne, this is my first visit to your blog as well, and I enjoyed your post. The garments you featured are all stunning, and what an array of styles! Well done! Maybe something for yourself in the near future?

    1. Thank you, Yvette. Please do visit again. Yes, my plans for 2017 include things for me! Not exclusively, though, as I do enjoy sewing for thr family.


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