So as we come to the end of the second year of Wanderstitch (OMG! The second year already) I thought it would be good to look back and reflect on how well I’ve integrated my makes this year into my wardrobe. Because it’d be pretty crap if I spent the whole year making things that were just ‘meh’ and that never got worn, right? Never mind a fantastic waste of time and materials as well… 😨
I’ve officially put myself on a fabric buying ban after everything I bought in New York City (if you missed the haul, you can check it out here), so I’m mostly going to be sewing from what I already have next year – I say mostly because I’m still part of the Minerva Blogger Network which I can choose fabric for, and I’ve put in an exception clause just in case I see THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FABRIC EVER TO GRACE THIS EARTH… but I mean, it’s got to be super special 👌🏻
There are quite a few fabrics in my stash that are very precious to me (including everything I just bought stateside), and I’d be gutted if I made something with them that didn’t end up getting worn. So I need to make sure that the patterns I’m choosing to sew are going to suit me. Note to self: this *might* mean that you have to start sewing toiles. Or at least use a less precious fabric first 🙄😒
I’ve made a lot more ‘multiples’ from patterns this year than I did last year – probably (hopefully) because I’m getting better at choosing patterns that actually suit me, rather than just getting overwhelmed and making ALL THE THINGS. The same goes for fabrics, I’m making much fewer what-was-I-thinking purchases. You could probably say this is down to me figuring out my personal style, which seems to be anything pink/purple or animal print. But I am 100% okay with that.
So you all know my Kielo’s get worn on a regular basis, but what about everything else? There were definitely some things I made that went straight to a new home, whether that was because of a dodgy fabric choice or style of garment, but there were also some clear winners.
I haven’t counted *exactly*, but I’m going to take a guess and say that I probably made somewhere between 40 and 45 items this year. It’s not rocket science to realise that after a couple of years, this means the number of items in my closet will have increased dramatically – and with wardrobe space (unfortunately) not being infinite, that means that something has to give.
That something for me is a RUTHLESS clear out. Anything that I don’t 100% love to wear went to charity. Including handmades. I’m not going to hang on to something just because ‘I made it’. That’s not a good enough reason. If it’s not getting worn, it deserves to go to someone who will wear it. Whether that’s through me gifting it to someone, or giving it to a charity that can use the profits to do good, I don’t mind, but it can’t sit there taking up space in my wardrobe. That’s premium real estate reserved for the things that make me happy to change out of my dressing gown on a cold morning. And that’s a hard task, I tell you. I’m very partial to my dressing gown.
Some things don’t get worn because I decided I don’t like the fabric colour/print after all. With other things, the fabric just doesn’t feel nice – I’ve learned to stay away from polys. ESPECIALLY poly crepes – something about the feeling of those just makes me shudder. It’s the equivalent of squeaky polystyrene – ewwwww. Some things just aren’t very well made, like things that I made when I first started sewing before I knew what a French seam was.
So, let’s begin 🤓
Skirts are a funny thing for me. By nature, I’m drawn to trousers more than skirts (Even though it’s damn near impossible to find RTW bottoms that actually fit me 🙄) so I’m quite particular about what skirts I like on me. And there’s not many, I’ll tell you that.
Republique du chiffon Charlotte skirt:
Ok so at the moment I don’t think any of these actually *fit* me (I’m working on that – how bloody hard is it to lose weight?!) but when I can get back in to them, they are a winter staple for me. I mean sure they’re pretty short – and I’m well aware I’m getting older, lol 😧 – but with thick tights and boots they are a winter winner for me. Bonus points for them actually being pretty easy to make, too, and they look amazing in wools. I loves them. (FYI the pattern is only available in French, but you can totally blag it by following the pictures or using Google translate).
VERDICT: Winner. But lose some weight so that you can actually wear them. Fatty.
Leopard silk skirt (Simplicity 8211)
I *LOVE* the fabric for this, but the skirt? Not so much. It’s just too poofy around the waist.. it’s those gathers. I thought they wouldn’t be too bulky in a lightweight silk, but nah. I’m not feeling it. They don’t actually look too bad in the photo above, but in real life they are quite voluminous. Rather than gift this skirt, I’m going to reclaim the fabric and make something else with it – probably a Scout Tee, with a black lining because it’s totally see through 😱👀
VERDICT: Loser. Stop making things with waist gathers. NOW.
Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt
This skirt pattern itself I’m actually ok with… but not this particular make. There’s a couple of reasons – I don’t like the rounded pockets on the back (I now have a few jeans patterns that I can swipe the traditional ‘pointy’ pockets from though, or I might just leave them off completely) and I should have made it with a lining. I intended this skirt to be a winter skirt but you just can’t wear it with tights, because the back of the corduroy sticks to your legs like a bastard and bunches up all weird when you walk. So I will make another… but with a lining. I know that it’s pretty similar to the Charlotte skirt above, but it’s just different enough to justify making both.
VERDICT: Winner. But add a lining so that you can actually wear it.
My Handmade Wardrobe ‘All The Cute Skirts’
I should have learned my lesson from the gold leopard print silk skirt above. Gathered skirts JUST DON’T SUIT ME. And I don’t actually particularly like them, if I’m totally honest. I think they exaggerate my waist:hip ratio, and not in a good way. Plus they usually come with straight-cut waistbands, which just go all baggy on me at the top because I have a curvy waist rather than being a rectangle (no kidding!). I really love the fabric this was made from (it’s a rayon from Stoff and Stil) so I’m going to reclaim it and make some sort of top with it. Maybe even a shirt.
VERDICT: Loser. Again, just stay away from waist gathers. FOREVER. They are not your friend.
Like with skirts, I’m a bit fussy with dresses as well. Obviously the Kielo is the exception, because you know I’m a total fangirl – of the seven dresses that have hit the blog so far this year, four of them are Kielos 😆 But I did actually make others…
Named Patterns Olivia dress
This was an absolute FAIL. It was hideous. It looked like a dressing gown. I had to seriously hack the length, the sleeves and the bodice to get anything that I was even remotely happy about putting on in public to take the blog photos. I don’t own any wrap bodices, so I have no idea what possessed me to sew a dress with one. I don’t own any v-necks, either. Never again. Lesson learned.
VERDICT: Loser. Worst thing I ever made.
Octopus print Named Patterns Kielo Dress
You might be a little shocked to hear that one of my Kielos is going to a new home – this octopus print number. The fabric is a poly jersey from Spoonflower, which is reality is just a *little* heavy for a Kielo if I’m honest. It feels weird to wear a dress made of thick spandex. I have contemplated reclaiming the fabric and maybe making a pair of running leggings, but it’s that sort of print that when you stretch it, it goes white in between the ribs. Know what I mean? So I feel that it’s best to leave the dress intact and send it off to a new home.
VERDICT: Usually a winner, but don’t make any more with thick spandex.
Satin Seamwork Catarina
Big fat NOPE. Satin, especially satin with waist gathering, is NOT my friend. Although I totally loved the print of this fabric (and indeed really like the Kielo dress that I made from scuba of the same print), this satin is just not for me. The dress makes me look huge around the hips, and if I’m honest the satin feels horrible – it’s the sort that frays plastic strands when you cut it. Eugh. It was a cheap £1 per metre job, so I can hardly be surprised really. I’ve still got a couple of metres, so I’ll just use it for coat linings. This is the third Catarina that I’ve made – ironically, the first one – the trial run – is the only one that actually gets worn. It was made of a £8 remnant of drapey viscose, and the two that don’t really get worn are the satin one here, and my Opening Ceremony silk one. That silk one is lined, so we’re back to the reason that I don’t wear that gold leopard print skirt – the lined/silk/gathers combo just doesn’t suit my hips.
VERDICT: Loser. The Catarina can only work for me with drapey fabrics, and even then it seems bloody fussy. Just stay away in future.
I’m still on the search for the perfect shirt. Too-low armholes coupled with not enough boob-room seem to be my main problems, but I’m determined not to give up. If all else fails, I’ll just trace (or attempt to, at least) the RTW shirts that I like the fit of. Before that though, I’ve got the Republique Du Chiffon Hedwige pattern to try. It looks like it could be promising, but we’ll see.
GRAINLINE ARCHER SHIRT
Eeesh. This was the worst shirt EVER. The arms were so big and oversized, and the body just drowned me. I genuinely don’t know how so many other sewists made it look good on themselves. Although I loved the print of the cotton, I feel that the fabric was just a little bit too stiff and this didn’t help with the way that it looked on me. I definitely won’t be making this pattern again, and the shirt has been donated.
VERDICT: Loser. Unless I actually want to look 20lbs heavier.
REPUBLIQUE DU CHIFFON JOLAINE SHIRT
What a beauty. The piping, the yoke… this design is amazing. The fit is a *little* bit questionable – the arms are massive, as are the armholes, so it kinda drowns me a little – but I had SUCH a fun time making this. It hasn’t been worn yet, but over the last week or so I have actually considered wearing it to the office with black jeans – in fact, a colleague was wearing a western shirt last week so I’m taking that as a sign that I should wear mine.
VERDICT: Winner, but sort out the huge armholes.
VOGUE DKNY V1462
I’ve made several iterations of this shirt – all in cotton, apart from one in silk. Only one of them gets worn much – the silk one. After making so many versions of this shirt, I think I’ve finally come to the realisation that actually, I’m not sure I like to wear cotton shirts. I prefer drapey fabrics – flannel, silk or rayon. The shirts I wear the most are all made from fabrics with drape – I think that cotton, even if it’s very smooth and not particularly stiff, makes me look bigger than I am, and reminds me of corporate shirts. It’s literally taken me this long to come to the conclusion, so shirts are going to be made of rayons and silk from now on. I think I will abandon the DKNY pattern for now, as there’s a lot of fit issues involving wrinkles around the armpit and me not actually being able to lift both my arms at the same time without running the legitimate risk of hulking out of the shirt.
The silk version I will keep, but the cotton ones are going to be subject to a very rigorous analysis to see if they are worthy of the wardrobe.
VERDICT: Loser. Too many fails along the way, try a different pattern.
DEER AND DOE BRUYERE
I made the long sleeved version at the start of the year, after searching for the perfect flannel plaid FOREVER. It was worth the wait. Sadly, I put this shirt on last week to wear for work and discovered that it doesn’t fit. FFS. I could kid myself that I’ve developed amazing chest or back muscles, but in reality I’ve just put on weight and it’s gone straight to my boobs. Gonna get my ass into the Body Pump class at the gym on Monday. So anyway, when the shirt did actually fit me, I loved it. I knew I would want to make the sleeveless version as well, and I’m happy with how that turned out too. They are both keepers!
VERDICT: Winner. Now I just need to find more flannel plaid that doesn’t look like a Christmas tablecloth.
So far this year, four coats have hit the blog – two for me, two for the husband. I’m pleased to report that all four were a success, and all four get worn. There’s quite a varied selection too – the two for the husbeast were a tailored jacket (Vogue V8940) and that amazing vintage Kwik Sew fur coat, and mine were the Republique Du Chiffon Gerard and a vintage Simplicity number. My only gripe is that we’re now both seemingly a little fatter than we were at the start of the year – see comments on the Bruyere above – and the tailored coats are a little, ahem, *cough* snug.
So… winning on the coat front! Yay! Why does it seem that I’m much better at choosing coat patterns and fabrics than I am at anything else? 🤔 Do you think it’s coincidence that coats are one of my favourite things to make?
I guess I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing with coats because it seems to be working! 🙌🏻
I do have another few coats that I’ve made this year that haven’t yet hit the blog – three were photographed in New York (yes, really – three), there’s two half-made ones from earlier this year currently draped over my dressform, and there’s a fur bomber jacket currently in progress for the husband which I’m hoping to finish this weekend. Yep, you read that right – a fur bomber jacket. It’s gonna be epic. (And as we discovered last night, cropped).
VERDICT: All coats are winners! YAY! 🙌🏻
By tops, I mean tops other than shirts. And there’s not actually that many, interestingly.
GRAINLINE SCOUT TEE
It was this year that I discovered the Scout Tee pattern by Grainline, which I was reluctant to try after the hideous wreck that was their Archer shirt. But I’m SUPER glad I did, because I love it! Three of ’em hit the blog this year – two made by me, and one made for me by the husbeast (the lipstick print one). Two of them are silk, and my practice run was a cotton one using some £2 per metre zebra print craziness I picked up from the Cloth House warehouse. I wasn’t totally intending on wearing the finished tester version (and I wasn’t sure if the blue fabric would suit me) but I actually really like it so it’s got a place in the wardrobe! The Gucci silk Scout might actually be my most favourite handmade item EVER (purely, probably, due to the fact that the fabric is just pure beauty).
VERDICT: Winner. YAS. Just YAS.
2018 marked the start of my trouser making adventures – yay! In a nutshell, I’d basically put off making them because I was too bloody scared. I was scared that they wouldn’t fit, or I’d hash up the fly, and who knows what else. Actually, it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be, and I’m kinda sad that I delayed it for so long.
Are they a keeper? Nope. There’s some weird pleat action going on down the front of the leg (which I tried -and failed – to tone down, see that I sewed up the pleats at the very top?), and the thighs are a bit too poofy. The high waist however is FABULOUS, and I’d like to graft that on to other jeans at some point in my sewing future – it’s like a corset. Very gothic like, and it might even make a nice wiggle skirt – if I was a skirt person.
VERDICT: Loser. Those front pleats are NOT a good look. Note to self: stay away from the Victory Patterns Esther trousers even though you like them, because they are going to look just as hideous on you. DO NOT MAKE TROUSERS WITH PLEATS.
Why make a normal pair of jeans when you can challenge yourself with a patchwork pair that has funky pockets? The Palo jeans (on the blog last week, in case you missed it!) were made from the new Named Patterns book – Breaking The Pattern. Although the fit wasn’t spectacular, I wasn’t expecting it to be for a first attempt. I do actually like the design though, so I’d like to put the effort in to get them to fit. We will call the pattern a keeper, but not this version.
VERDICT: Winner – but fix the fit issues.
I feel like on the whole, this year has been relatively successful. I’ve managed to identify things in my wardrobe that I don’t really wear (navy items, I’m looking at you) and understand why I don’t wear them – which in turn has helped me when choosing fabrics and patterns. Yes, most of the fabrics I bought from New York look prettttty similar in colour tone and design – pink animal print features heavily – but I’ve realised that it’s just what I love to wear. And that means that what I make with the fabrics is going to be loved – or at least, it’s 50% of the battle (the other 50% being the pattern). I’m going to have a massive clearout of patterns over the Christmas break and get rid of anything that I know won’t suit me, or anything that I’ve already made that looks awful. I have a quite alarming amount of sewing patterns and surely I can’t possibly still want to make all of them – can I?
Next week on the Wanderstitch blog… my (first) version of the new Deer and Doe Opium coat (yes, there’s a second currently in progress!) 😍 Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out! 👇🏻