Friday, December 27, 2013

top 5 of 2013 - part 1: hits!

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series 

I was just beginning my sewing/blogging odyssey this time last year and LOVED reading all these fabulous sewing blogger's Top 5's of 2012. The Top 5 was started by Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow, and this year I'm so excited to be doing my own lists!
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be reflecting and blogging about:
  • Top 5 Hits: Favourite creations, most worn or most loved.
  • Top 5 Misses: Sewing fails, UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters.
  • Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about myself or sewing this year? 
  • Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated me this year?
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year.

So let the lists begin with Top 5 Hits of 2013. And this list was actually really hard to narrow down my favorite makes this year, but I'll give it a go! So in no particular order....

#1 - Maxi-skirts

I always assumed that someone 5' tall was too short to wear a maxi-skirt... but this year I decided to give it a go with an inexpensive piece of grey jersey and discovered I LOVE MAXI-SKIRTS! They actually make me look taller, they are super comfy, AND I don't have to shave my legs to wear them! That grey maxi-skirt was probably the most-worn handmade item of 2013, and in the top 5 most-worn in my entire wardrobe. I also made a pink print version and a sheer, teal, floral maxi which both got a lot of wear. On the other had, my very early red skirt shrunk in the wash so that got cropped to knee-length, and the blue floral maxi for fall just hasn't found it's way into regular rotation. 

#2 - Sewing with Knits

Definitely a recurring theme in 2013. I learned from's "Sewing with Knits" by Meg McElwee (totally worth every penny!) that knits are not scary to sew with, and in fact I believe are easier that woven fabrics! No fussy fitting to a petite frame. No need to finish seams since knit fabrics don't unravel (although finishing on the serger makes such a nice, polished look). So many of my most successful garments this year were knits, not that there weren't any knit flops. 

Aside from the before-mentioned maxis, some of my favorite knit garments include:

#3 - Totes

I have had some great success this year with bags made from online tutorials! This totally surprised me as I started 2013 with no interest in bag-making. I use my pleather purse every day, and love the larger versions I made for my mother and sister. The little boat tote for my brother's wife was also a big success, and keep posted for some awesome yet-to-be-revealed bags made from Handmade Jane's tutorial.

#4 - Infinity Scarfs

What a fabulous, fun, simple project that is the perfect 2013 accessory! Use my instructions for a serger scarf here, or Simplicity also has a great, free tutorial.

I had made even more as gifts this year, but forgot to photograph them before I wrapped them. I also made a successful knitted one!

#5 - Finding Style

I want to end with what I'm deciding is the most successful piece I made in 2013, my bright, rayon (I think) McCalls 6751. Yes, it's in part because I learned to sew amazing curved, narrow hems, and made lovely french seams, and because it was the nicest fabric I'd sewn with at that point, and because it was a perfect meld of pattern and print. But also, a big part of why I started this sewing adventure was about finding my own style. This top exemplified a perfect balance between making something that fits into my current wardrobe, while still allowing me to push my style into new and exciting territory; into a direction that reflects what I want my style to be. Finding how to best reflect yourself through your own handmade, one-of-a-kind clothing is an amazing feeling, and that's why I've chosen to end this post with this garment. It's a benchmark for all future makes in that regard.

I hope I've shared a little inspiration with you! What are some of your 2013 sewing successes?


  1. Yay, sewing with knits really opens up a whole new world of handmade clothes! I'm so glad you had so much fun with them this year!

    1. Thanks! I have been so inspired by your blog this year. Looking forward to seeing what you make in 2014!