Top 5 of 2013: Hits & Misses!

It’s back… Gillian‘s Top 5 year-end review round-up!  I really love reading these posts– it’s so fun to hear people analyze their output for the year and I especially love to see everyone’s favorite makes of the year.  I love seeing what makes you happiest about sewing!

Alright, let’s dive right in with the misses!  Rather than specific garments, this time around I wanted to write about some problems that plagued my sewing this year.

Miss #1: Not sewing for my lifestyle. 

Oy, why do I do this?  It’s dumb to make things that don’t work for me, but I still do it all the time.  Take this dress, for example.  There are virtually zero occasions in my life that this is appropriate for.  I wore it once, to a work party, felt pretty silly in it, and managed to rip the lining during a rowdy game of ping-pong.  This was back in June or July, and I haven’t had a real desire or need to fix it, which tells you it’s just not a good fit for my lifestyle.  There are some fit issues, too, but it’s a color and style that are best suited for, say, a garden party or something, and I’ve definitely never been to one of those.  It was fun to make, but I don’t feel comfortable or cute in it.  I have limited time to sew, so I need to be wiser about what will actually work for me so I have fewer duds hogging up time and closet space!

Miss #2: Complete inability to stay on top of gift deadlines.

I first started hand-making things because I wanted to have special (but cheap!) gifts for the many babies in my life.  Since then, I’ve become obsessed with sewing, but little projects for dear friends have taken the backseat and been given way, way late or worse, not at all.  These two little dresses were mailed off to friends way after the baby showers and way after the babies were born.  My dad’s birthday blasted past weeks before I finished his sweater.  Handmade Christmas gifts?  Didn’t happen, besides one knitted hat.  I wish I had budgeted my time better this year so I could show my dear ones that I love them with special gifts.

Miss #3: Abandoning projects that needed fitting work.

I think I muslined three patterns this year that needed work and never went back to them when I saw they would take some time to fix.  I had really limited time to sew this year, so I didn’t want to get bogged down in fitting nightmares, but at the same time, I don’t want to only sew things that fit easily or not address problems that need fixing.  I don’t want to be a sewing quitter!

Miss #4: Not using tried & true patterns.

The only pattern I used twice (for myself) this year!

This is the opposite of the last problem, but I only used a couple of patterns more than once this year!  It’s a really good way to save time and ensure good results, but I was a sucker for the new and shiny and just had to try so many new patterns this year that I only made a second item from one pattern for myself once this year!  That’s so silly, and it means that patterns cost more money when I don’t use them more than once.  On the other hand, I used the Renfrew and Briar top patterns multiple times for my sister, and that made it easy to stitch up pieces for her in a flash.

Miss #5: Not sewing for my dude.

I’m really sorry!!!

This is a bad one.  I sewed 29 items this year, 21 for me, 5 for my sister, 2 for my friends’ babies, and 1 for my dad.  Not one single thing for Man Friend, and he was even sweet enough to model my dad’s sweater, even though it was too tight for him!  This is definitely the thing I feel worst about this year.  I planned to make him a tie and a buttondown for Christmas, but I just couldn’t find the time.  Must remedy this in 2014!

Alright, let’s leave this misery behind and move onto a happier topic: my 5 favorite garments of 2013!  Let’s go in reverse-order, shall we?

Hit #5: Leopard-Print Lola Dress

This might be sort of a boring pick, but it deserves a place on the list because it’s still, to date, the only dress I’ve ever worn to work.  I’ve worn it out and about running errands, to work and a nice dinner afterwards, to church, and just around the house, and it sorta works for everything.  It’s just so easy to wear and it’s LEOPARD PRINT, duh!

Hit #4: Bombshell Swimsuit

This is a bit of an odd choice, since I never go swimming and I don’t love the grandma fabric paired with a more conservative cut than I usually wear, but it was just so enjoyable and surprising that I actually sewed a swimsuit that it has to make the list.  It was a really fun process– I felt like I passed a huge new sewing milestone, but without any pain and suffering!

Hit #3: Victoria Blazer

I just love this blazer so much.  I’d never sewn one before, and never really even worn one, but I wear this all the time and LOVE IT.  I love the shape, the fabric, and the feel of wearing a lined blazer.  It’s a really fun garment, but still totally wearable– AWESOME!  I’ve enjoyed feeling more put-together at work this year, and a huge part of that was putting on my big girl pants and starting to wear blazers!

Hit #2: Archer Button Up Shirt

Dude.  I love this shirt.  When this pattern was released, I felt like it had been designed just for me– this is exactly the kind of shirt that I wear on a daily basis.  It was so fun to put together a buttondown for the first time, and the sewalong was insanely helpful.  It was so thrilling to me to feel like I was making something that was absolutely made for me and that completely fit in with my style and wardrobe.  I was slow finishing this after a mishap with pearl snaps, but once I finally did, I wore it all the time and I feel so very proud that I made it every time I see it.  Thanks, Jen!  I want to make 12 more in 2014!

Hit #1: Ma Deuxième Belladone

This is my favorite dress of all time.  I love love love the pattern, and I finally used a special fabric that I’d been saving for ages to make it.  It so perfectly suits my style, and it fills a major wardrobe gap, what I like to call Saturday dresses.  A perfect Saturday dress can go from the bagel shop to the laundromat to the grocery store to the movies to dinner with friends, all while looking cute and feeling comfortable.  This is totally that dress.  I love it.  I want to marry it.  It just makes me happy!

Alright, how about you guys?  What were your big hits and misses?  What was your very favorite garment this year?  Anything that makes you want to bury your head in the sand and forget it even happened?  There’s no judgment here!  Spill the beans!

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104 responses to “Top 5 of 2013: Hits & Misses!

  1. Your Archer and Belladone are the bee’s knees. I loved them so much. Can’t wait to see what creativity the new year brings you.

  2. Now how many times have I preached about TNT patterns? *LOL* I loved your list of hits…you should definitely make more Archer shirts especially since they fit your lifestyle! The other four pieces are great too! Thanks for sharing your list with us!

  3. Jo

    I love your hits! :) you are an inspiration to me, it’s so cool how enthusiastic you are about your garments. Even the ones I put in my top five, I feel the need to nitpick them lol. Looking forward to seeing what you do next year :) you’re an amazing sewer!

    • Hahaha, there’s still stuff I hate about even my favorite things, but I just have to force myself to move on and not obsess over them! :) I’m so excited to see what you make in 2014!

  4. Pingback: 2013 Top 5 Misses | grainline

  5. Sara

    I feel like I made too many things for other people this year and next year I plan to do zero gift sewing and knitting and get more handmades into my own wardrobe. Hopefully a year of selfish sewing will help me feel caught up and then I can get back to gifting in 2015. My favorite of your makes this year was your Anise jacket.

  6. I’m definitely with you on the sewing more for my dude bit. I’m such a selfish sewer! The Belladone dress is just divinity.

  7. Nice post! I suspected I might see the green dress here, as it doesn’t seem very practical, although I love the style and colour!
    Your 5 hits are all inspirational garments for every seamstress out there! Happy sewing in 2014!

  8. You’ve sewn some gorgeous things this year! I too am looking forward to seeing what you make in 2014. You shouldn’t beat yourself up about sewing gifts late. I’m sure the mummy who got the baby dresses was delighted! My chap has asked for me to sew him something next year – even if it is a stuff bag! How bad is it that I haven’t sewn him anything yet!

    • I feel so bad– my husband puts up with me spending all my spare time hunched over the sewing machine instead of being fun, but I still didn’t make anything for him! This year we’ll have to do some manly sewing!

  9. Im inspired by your hits this year…especially that knockout belladone. I so hear you about the muslins….2 years of maxi-dress-craziness have gone by & I still dont have one…due to muslins!

    • Man, I love that Belladone pattern! Hopefully I’ll make another in 2014! We’ll have to conquer our fear of fit alterations and work through some of these tougher patterns in 2014!

  10. I love the Archer. Love it.
    I’ve given up on handmade Christmas gifts. I just don’t have the time!
    I should sew more of my TNTs but there are so many patterns I want to try – I guess it comes down to why do you sew? For fun? Creativity? Practical reasons? I think once you know that, you stop trying to justify or do everything.
    I’ve realised some companies don’t draft for me & my shape – so if it’s a consistent fit issue with a brand… I just move on – like I would with RTW!

    • Totally awesome points! I think for me, I have a bit of a conflict in that I like to sew for fun, but I also want to have a totally handmade wardrobe. SO, I love to sew new and fun patterns, but if I want a handmade, functional wardrobe, I probably shouldn’t sew anything but buttondowns!

      As far as the fit thing goes, I pretty much ignore Colette and big 4 releases as they just don’t fit me without a lot of work. The projects I abandoned were all vintage patterns– I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that they take considerable adjustment! On the one hand, I don’t want to be a quitter or a lazy fitter, but I also don’t want to spend all my time adjusting patterns when I could be sewing!

  11. Love your hits — your Archer is so cute. I’m really really bad about TNT patterns too . I love patterns and am always buying new ones. I have literally dozens of patterns sitting around that I haven’t tried yet and only a few that I’ve ever made more than once :/

    • Thanks, Katie! I am in the same boat! My pattern box is stuffed full, and I haven’t made even half of them– ack! I really need to put a freeze on buying new patterns next year and actually make and remake the ones I have!

  12. Your hits are TRULY HITS! I want them all. Please feel free to mail them to Rachel Church at…..

    Kidding. But they really are fabulous. A swimsuit and blazer are both on my 2014 to-make list. And I TOTALLY hear ya on the misses. Picking projects that fit into my style and lifestyle has been a big struggle and goal this past year. And as another petite lady, there have been too many times I abandoned a project after fitting became just too much and therefore I loss the enthusiasm for that project.

    I’ve put up my “hits” post, with “misses” coming tomorrow. I love reading other bloggers Top 5s!

  13. I love reading these round-up posts! That Archer is so fabulous and really does fit your style so well… plus you look so happy in it, ha! I agree that sewing garments that will actually fit my lifestyle is a major challenge, what with all those shiny patterns and pettable fabrics out there. Hopefully we’ll all get better at that in 2014!

    • Oh, man, I totally understand the appeal of shiny patterns! They just call out to me and the next thing I know, I own them, oops! I do feel like I’m getting closer to knowing my own style the longer I sew, so I bet 2014 will be a great year for you!

  14. Pingback: Top 5 Hits And Misses for 2013! | shawntasews

  15. Your hits are awesome!!! Your archer always makes me want to get off my lazy bones on that one.

  16. It’s too bad the peplum dress doesn’t work for your lifestyle cuz it’s just adorable on you. No worries, when you become a lady who lunches, you’ll have one in the bag. :-)

  17. I love that you shared some areas of misses instead of actual projects. That’s exactly how I’m feeling about my misses this year too! I made a lot of things, but I don’t think I love any of them really. At least you came out with some awesome projects that will get a lot of wear :)

  18. Your hits are fabulous, my dear! I would wear each and every one. I love that archer and victoria blazer especially.

  19. OMG it is like you are reading my mind with your misses! Hahaha – I could say the exact same thing for each one, especially #3 (I’ve had a sureau dress unfinished for a month b/c I’m don’t want to bother with fixing the gaping neckline) and #5 (did make two things for the hubs, but nothing for anyone else!). I really love your top five hit garments!!! Can’t wait to see what is in store for 2014 :)

    • HAHA oh god, ignore that. That comment is what happens when I try to type something on my phone and it sends through after the first two words. derp.

      What I was *going* to say was – what I love most about your top 5 hits are that they are all styles that are SO 100% you. Especially that button down and the Saturday dress (which, Saturday dress is the best description ever. I’m totally stealing that and making it my own, thnx). That’s how you know you’ve got a hit!

  20. I am SO guilty of all your sewing sins! I have sewing ADD: I start many projects but often they become UFO’s if they are too complicated to fit properly, or sometime if I lose interest… In my UFO pile as of today: a simplicity 1803 dress, a burda skirt, a petticoat … Shame on me!

    At least you have some gorgeous hits to balance-out things a bit. Love the Belladone “saturday” dress btw!

    • I move on from projects before I even start them half the time– eek! I lose interest as soon as a new pattern comes into my life! Gonna make it my goal in 2014 to revisit some sad, overlooked patterns and actually make them!

  21. Your hits list is basically all the things I want to sew next! Haha! I’ve got the Archer and Victoria cut out ready to go, am planning on a Bombshell for next summer and your Belladone has totally just persuaded me that I need that pattern! Super lovely!

  22. Your hits are seriously amazing! I love each one and you can tell just from the photos that they all suit you perfectly. I like the grandma fabric too :)

  23. Pingback: Top 5 of 2013: The Misses | said & done: Handmade by Chris

  24. Wow! I can’t even believe you’re beating yourself up about not sewing more for others! You do more of that than anybody I know! Seriously, I think you’re the most generous sewer out there – cut yourself some slack!

    I love every garment you make, but I’m especially happy to hear that you’re wearing your Victoria Blazer and Ikat Dress all the time – they really are perfect!

    • You sew for other people all the time! I can’t even imagine how many gorgeous clutches you’ve made for other people just this year! :) I think it’s really nice to give people handmade clothes it they really appreciate them; others, like my brothers, for example… forget it! Gotta follow your lead and make some nice shirts for my hubby!

  25. i love your lists! the good news is that your misses are easily corrected. one thing i learned this year was to use the same pattern for multiple makes, because those are my favorite pieces by far. i totally get the allure of shiny new patterns, but when sewing time is limited, the TNT’s are so comforting to fall back on! plus, it’s easy to make pattern mods so it doesn’t feel like you’re just sewing the same thing over and over. and i love your description of the “saturday dress”–so perfect!

    • That’s so smart– maybe we should make 2014 the year of the TNT! I meant to make multiples, especially of the Archer shirt and the Victoria blazer, but just didn’t get around to it. Terrible, I know!

  26. Great post and nice way to reflect. I love all you Hits, they seem to be you, spot-on, right on the mark, hit the target you! The misses, I am with you, not sewing for my lifestyle. I have been doing better and hope to continue to do better in that aspect.

    • Thanks, Lori! I feel the same way– I’m definitely better at sewing for my lifestyle than I was when I first started to sew (A-line skirts? Will NEVER wear them!), but I could still do better in that regard. I always feel like the things you sew suit you so perfectly– you do a great job!

  27. Great recap post! This is the year that I too started wearing blazers to work— kinda amazing what a big difference it makes!

  28. Ooooooooo! I love your lists! Especially with the hit list – I think a swimsuit is a total sewing milestone (can’t wait to reach it one day)! And I need to follow your lead and put my big girl pants on and start putting more blazers into my wardrobe, too (they really go with everything!).

  29. That Belladone is beautiful! Your little gift dresses in your miss list were so cute too, at least they were sure to be loved when they did arrive! I’m so excited to have found you again, I’m back from a big blog reading break :)

  30. That Archer is so totally you – you definitely have a TNT there! I love the Belledone too, it seems to be a universal hit, I love it for me too and we couldn’t be much different in shape :) Happy New Year!!

  31. Amy

    I bloody love your archer. Its sooo much fun. Lovely makes all round. I like your approach to the misses too. I’m still writing my post as it needs photos of my ufo horrors haha.

  32. Love all your hits from this year, esp that swimsuit! Can’t wait to see what you make next year! :)

  33. You can tell they’re hits in the pictures, because you look super-happy in all of them! I like your take on the misses, too.

  34. I can totally relate to not sewing for Man Friend and not using patterns more than once. The two other Negronis I had planned for Mr. Stitch never got done and I never use my patterns twice – so dumb! As for your hits, they are all great. And yes, you need to make, like, 12 more Archers and a couple more Lolas – they looks great on you!

  35. Pingback: 2013: A Year in Review | LLADYBIRD

  36. Yeah, loving the leopard dress and the last iKat dress too–and of course the button down shirt and blazer make. I like the green peplum but I too would feel uncomfortable in it as it’s not “me” either……but all your creations are stunning, so keep em comin’! :D Roll on 2014!

  37. I love this post. Thank you for blogging your makes Sonja–you inspire me and I take your suggestions seriously. I’m loving my new Archer shirts. It really is most satisfying to sew practical garments that we can wear A LOT!! My two biggest misses for the year have to be the two dresses that just don’t fit my life. But I have several great shirts and one sundress I’m really proud of.

    • It really is satisfying! Somehow it feels like a real accomplishment to make something that truly replaces RTW. Happy sewing in 2014! I hope you have a fantastic, creative year!

  38. Hey that’s an awesome list of ‘yays’ and ‘mehs’! I feel a little bad about not making stuff for my beloved too (although I did make him some Jedediah shorts which he DOESN’T WEAR!). I really like your list of hits, they suit you so much, I loved your Belladone, and archer, and I also love your recent black blazer you made for Mood. Loo forward to seeing what you produce in 2014!

    • Not gonna lie– one reason I haven’t sewn much for the hubs is that he’s pretty picky about his clothes and I’m worried he won’t want to wear something after I’ve made it! I should just make him something anyway and not get too upset if he’s not in love. :)

  39. Totally relate to all 5 of those misses!!! Why do we do it? Your top 5 hits were great! The leopard Lola is my fav! :)

  40. Man I love all your hits! But I have seen you crank out quite a bit of great garments this year. It is too bad about the “garden party dress.” I think it’s kinda pretty! But totally get the “not my lifestyle” thing. I did too much of that for myself this year and plan on fixing that in 2014 as well. Happy New Year!

  41. I still love that yellow dress. Stand alone I think it’s a win but if you have no occasion to wear it I can understand the miss.
    But your hits?! They are major chart toppers. Your Archer and Saturday dress are my personal favourites and you gave me the confidence to tackle the bombshell.
    As husband is so particular I’m frankly terrified to sew for him… Maybe a challenge for next year?!
    Happy new year, Gorgeous. Hope 2014 is amazing.

    • Yes, a husband-sewing challenge sounds great! I need a little kick in the pants to get going with that! I’m working on my next Mood project right now, then I have two projects for other people that I’ve owed for a while… eek! THEN man sewing! :D

  42. You’re so adorable I can’t stand it. I love all of your hits – especially your Ikat Belladone! It’s good to hear you say about your TNT patterns – this year I have often wondered if I rely on my TNTs too much, but sewing them makes me happy! Happy new year, babe xxx

    • I think your TNTs are great! You’re able to sew many garments without the stress of “Hmm, is this going to fit/work on me?” It’s a fantastic approach! Plus, you mix and match your patterns so much that the different versions of the same pattern all seem like different dresses!

  43. I loved your bombshell bathing suit! Loved. You looked amazing and that smile of yours was from cheek to cheek.

    I think my biggest mistake this year was trying to what I “should” do – make patterns. Although I want to eventually do it, I started on another project mid year that I’m so excited about. It feels amazing to be working on something whole-heartedly. I’m not saying 2013 was a bad year, but I’m hoping that all my hard work over the past couple of months will come to fruition in 2014.

    • There are so many other parts of life where we have to spend all our time doing “should” things that when it comes to your hobbies and passions, sometimes you need to make sure you’re getting enjoyment from it! You SHOULD eat vegetables and do yoga… but you shouldn’t spend all your free time working on something that your heart’s not in. Happy 2014, lady!

  44. Love your hits! Your pretty peplum dress is cute on you but if you don’t have an occasion to wear it, then yeah, it’s a miss. I would classify a hit as something I can wear to work (or at least wear in public) multiple times. I love your Archer – I bought some pearl snaps on sale a few weeks ago and thought of you. And your ikat dress is a beauty. I just love that you made a swimsuit! My favorite makes this year are the Emery Dress and my chevron Red Velvet Dress. I’ve worn both of them to work. I didn’t make very many things this year – so I only have one miss – the Hummingbird peplum top with the dickie. The dickie doesn’t quite stay where it should at the shoulders b/c I needed more ease in the knit – still pondering a fix though so maybe it’ll be a hit in the end – or so I hope. ;)

  45. Happy New Year Sonja! I loved readind about hits and misses, and I think we can all relate to these :) for me it’s the “not using more TNT patterns”, I’m also very distracted by new patterns!

  46. I think we have the same taste because all of your hits are my favorites! Especially that bathing suit, I’m STILL obsessed with it!

  47. You made some truly awesome and adorable stuff!! The dude sewing was very cool and I am sure you will get so much wear out of all of those..
    I think your hits outweigh your misses!

  48. Oh you’re so right about wasting precious (limited) sewing time making stuff that doesn’t suit your style or life… I’m pretty sure we’ve ALL been guilty of that!! I think that’s ok though.. you really have to go through that to discover the TNT’s… at least I do… haha. Of all the patterns I’ve sewn maybe only 5% are ones I’d make again, if that, so I think it’s part of the process, at least to some degree… or until you’ve been sewing for decades and already have a great variation of TNT’s ^__^

    Don’t beat yourself up too much – you’re doing a lot of selfless sewing and let’s face it… most of us kind of avoid that like the plague… including me haha ^__^

  49. Ooh I have wardrobe envy. My favourite is the Belladone – the fit looks perfect and love the ikat fabric. I also loved your Anna dress.

  50. Even your misses look like hits to me! Maybe some photos of your misses with the pugs would make them winner winners?!?!

  51. Pingback: The Starry Night Dress | Sew, Laura, Sew!

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