I’m going to be upfront here and admit that I am TOTALLY stealing the excellent idea off Vicky at Sewstainability here by going back in time a year and looking at the fate of past makes. Her angle – as the name of her blog gives away – is analysing her past makes to see what works and what doesn’t in order to make future garments more sustainable in the sense that they get worn regularly and last well.
I guess, in a way, my aim is the same – I want to look at what I made that doesn’t get worn, and why. Not so much from a sustainability angle per se, but more of a ‘I want to have a wardrobe full of pieces that I love and fit me well’ kind of way. Even though I’ve been sewing for a few years now, I still feel like it’s only very recently that I’ve got a real idea of what my personal style is. There are still things in my closet – store-bought things and handmade things – that I know I won’t wear. Ever. A lot of the Alexander Henry dresses I made in the early days of the blog don’t get worn – because I’m just not a dress person. At the time of making them, I didn’t really know that. I love the idea of a dress with skeletons on, but in reality, I’m not going to wear it. I will either donate them, or – where there’s a decent skirt going on – I might salvage the fabric to use on something else. I’m still trying to figure out what those ‘something else’ garments will be – a Scout Tee is a likely option (as I wear tees a lot for work) and a bag could also be a good option – but I’m realising that although I may love the look of quilting cottons, there might not be a great deal of room for them in my wardrobe. I know now that they’re called quilting cottons for a reason.
But it’s only with time that I’ve learned to look past the prints and colours of a fabric, and instead look at its qualities – does it drape well? Is it a good fabric to make a garment from? Is it a horrible polyester fabric that’s gonna be a sweatbag?
It’s interesting to see how my earlier makes have fared, and I can totally see how my sewing journey has shaped and developed.
So, let’s take a look back at the makes on the blog in December 2018, January and February 2019 – let’s go!
Deer and Doe Opium Coat
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When I was asked by Deer and Doe if I wanted to be one of the first to sew their upcoming pattern – the Opium Coat – I was thrown right out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I ever would have chosen this pattern myself, because it’s just not a style I considered for myself – but now I’ve worn it, I really like it! I chose a loose(ish) weave wool coating, which didn’t appear to have a right side or a wrong side so I mixed it up a bit by using the red side for the body of the coat, and the black side for the pocket welts and belt.
Sadly the coat doesn’t get a lot of wear, because all my coats lived tucked away in the wardrobe… but this one is a good change from the more fitted and formal double-breasted affairs that I like to make. It does, however, loosely remind me of my dressing gown 😂
The only fault with this coat is that I forgot to install the belt loops 🤦🏻♀️ (so really, that’s MY fault not the coat’s fault) and I have to be careful not to lose the belt!
Named Clothing Palo Jeans
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Sadly, this is a no.
The colours aren’t really what I wanted, and the fit is very meh especially at the back waistband. Visually, I don’t think that the colour blocking on the top half of the jeans is particularly flattering on my figure. I don’t really like the front pockets, either – they’re not your usual style of pockets, and they are held closed with a button at the top corner. What I found on my pair was that the pocket panel on the outside gaped a bit – it didn’t sit flush with my hip (you can see some wrinkles in the photo above) which wasn’t an attractive look. The patchwork or colour blocked idea is a cool one though, however, I’d rather use a ‘proper’ jeans pattern (like the dawns, for example) and make a patchwork pair from those templates.
It was one of the first few pairs of jeans I ever made, so if anything it was a good make for building confidence!
But a keeper? ‘fraid not.
Folkwear Patterns Frontier Cowboy shirt
[blog post here]
This one is actually a success – both in terms of the actual shirt, and the later makes that came from it.
This particular shirt gets worn for work, and let’s be real – it is a pretty damn cool shirt. Probably my favourite shirt I’ve ever made him, if I’m honest. And the pattern has been used many, MANY times since – it’s now the go-to pattern for any work shirt that the husbeast wants. It’s got a good fit – not too casual and not too formal – and a seriously good placket template. There are different collar sizes to choose from to get a good fit around the neck, and the pattern works well in cottons, silks, and pretty much any other woven fabric you throw at it.
It’s a win, and if you’re in the market for a men’s shirt pattern I can 100% recommend this one.
Deer and Doe Opium Coat, round two
[blog post here]
Let’s say this one’s a half-and-half. Yes, this is the same pattern as the red and black coat at the top of the list.
I *would* wear this coat – as in, I don’t dislike it – but in all honesty, I find myself reaching for the same one coat over and over. Which happens to be whatever one is hanging at the bottom of the stairs. And that ‘one’ currently is the loose-fitting leopard print fur number that I scored from Scotch and Soda at about 90% off in the sale that looks like this:
There’s only room for one coat on our coat-rack-slash-bannister, so that one coat doesn’t often get rotated. When I say ‘not often’, I really mean not for the entire winter season, because all the other coat options are all the way upstairs in the wardrobe. So again (like with the other Opium coat) the fact it doesn’t get worn isn’t so much a fault of its own, but rather because I don’t have a convenient place to display/store my coats and so I just wear the same one over and over.
Having said that…
I think I would prefer a more secure fastening on the Opium rather than just a tie belt – perhaps a buckle. The belt works its way undone sometimes, and the stiff wool fabric makes the tied ends of the belt stick out at funny angles as well. The fabric I used for this coat – while lovely to look at and touch – is a little too thick to be bunched up around the waist and tied. The skirt is pretty intense in the waist area and it adds inches for dayz to your waistline. It would be perfect for a more structured, fitted coat though. The wool I used on the red and black version was slightly thinner (it was a looser weave) and had a little more drape – so it suited the pattern better than this fabric. Although I am 100% in love with the hot pink lining used for this coat, so it redeems itself there.
Burda Fur Cropped Jacket
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This one turned out exactly how I pictured it in my head, but it’s wildly impractical 😂 If it’s cold enough for a fur coat, it’s definitely too cold for a jacket. Especially one that doesn’t actually fasten (that’s a long story). It looks pretty wild on the husbeast, but has it earned a regular spot in the wardrobe? Nah.
It was fun to make, though.
By Hand London Victoria Blazer
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This was a Big Fat No for me.
The whole thing was a bit of a write-off. It made me remember why I don’t like 3/4 sleeves, so at least I’ll never make that mistake again. My motto is: if it’s cold enough for sleeves, then it’s cold enough for sleeves. Three-quarter sleeves are just weird, ESPECIALLY on outerwear. But even on t-shirts too – I mean, the same principle applies to capri or knee-length trousers. Nobody wears those (except in the gym, maybe), and three-quarter sleeves should be banished to the same place. Aside from the questionable sleeve length, the lining was also terrible – but to be fair, the pattern isn’t written with a lining and I sort of fudged it – so the fault is likely my own for choosing a pattern that wasn’t quite what I wanted, and then moaning when it didn’t turn out to be what I wanted (well, duh). The lining pulled the hem of the blazer up at the back, which obviously looked an absolute state, but the fabric was nice though and I’ve recently thought of a plan to use up the leftovers.
This one got donated a long time ago. And to be totally honest, I don’t wear the skirt either, because skirt.
[blog post here]
This particular iteration doesn’t get worn, but I still want to make another one – in black – because I think that that would get worn. But like a gothic one, with maybe some black lace. To be worn with chunky boots. Nothing girly, obvs.
This skirt doesn’t get worn because the colour (despite being a colour I like), is a bit meh, and it’s made from wool fabric that reminds me all too much of corporate workwear. It’s suiting material, basically, and in hindsight was not the best choice because I don’t like the feel of it (same with crepe. I HATE the feel of crepe).
Skirts, on the whole, aren’t my bag. Despite having made a handful of different styles, only one skirt has the privilege of a regular spot on the clothes rail – a black silk midi skirt that I bought from & Other Stories. I don’t know what it is about this skirt – on paper, it’s not my style AT ALL. It’s a midi skirt for one, and historically my experience of skirts longer than knee length is not good. It looks like this:
It doesn’t immediately scream ‘me’, does it? I think it’s the gothic element that speaks to me.
Maybe I like it because it’s made from silk and flows nicely? I tried to copy the style of that skirt with a vintage Vogue bias skirt pattern, but it wasn’t quite the same and that doesn’t get worn either because the cotton lawn I made it from isn’t as nice as this silk. Perhaps if I made that pattern again in silk, I might like it? Do I really want to risk a good bit of silk though?
Knitcrate sock box
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OMG YOU GUYS I FINALLY FINISHED THOSE SOCKS!!!
They were my first ever pair of knitted socks (I’m already on to the second) and I see many more in my future. I can’t yet comment on the wearability of them, because I haven’t actually worn them – I’m waiting until I’ve photographed them, because once something gets released into my house and gets dog hair on it, it’ll never be free 😂
Would I buy a Knitcrate again? Probably not, because I’m too fussy on my yarns if I’m honest. I’d rather choose the yarns myself than risk getting something I didn’t like – I only bought this box because they had pictures on the site of the yarn you were getting, usually it’s a surprise. Though thankfully, this one was a success.
Noodlehead Makers Tote
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Yep – this one’s a good’un and is in use – it’s fab for storing supplies… though does it really count under the ‘one year sewn’ principle as it’s not an item of clothing? I dunno. Let’s say it does 😆
It currently holds all my leftover yarns that I have no idea what to do with (I’m thinking maybe a dog blanket 🤔) and I’ve since made another one which hasn’t been revealed to you lovely lot yet! I have a third one cut out to make for the husbeast though, to hold all of his crafty bits, and if you aren’t familiar with Noodlehead patterns go check ’em out because they’re all fab.
Looking at the collage below, it doesn’t feel like there was a whole lot of success – one green tick out of seven – but I’m alright with that. It’s a journey, after all, and we can’t expect success all of the time. My wardrobe is in a bit of a weird place at the moment to be honest – my weight has fluctuated by about 15 pounds over the last couple of years, and I still have a few items of clothing that I bought when I was at my heaviest which are too big for me now. They’ve served their purpose and are going to be donated. On the flip side of that, I’m starting to fit into some old items of clothing that I grew out of, but kept ‘for when I lost weight’ – which I knew was actually going to become a reality rather than a ‘one day’ thing like it so easily can be because being that much heavier made me totally miserable. Why is it so easy to gain weight but so hard to lose it?! The balance is WAY out of whack.
I also need to have a proper go through my wardrobe and confirm what actually fits me – I have a few old (but loved) shirts hanging up that I never take to work with me just in case when I get there and get changed out of my cycle stuff, I discover that they don’t actually fit me 😳😂 What I really need to do is try on EVERY. SINGLE. THING. and decide whether it gets a permanent spot in the wardrobe.
Anyhoo. Over the last year or so the husbeast and I have managed to lose just over 30 lbs between us and we’re heading towards the weights we used to be. He’s fitting back into some shirts I sewed him a while ago, and I think I might even have to take in the Folkwear pattern pieces that I’m using for his work shirts a little. There are definitely some sewing patterns that have earned gold star status – the Scout Tee, Dawn Jeans and the Folkwear Shirt – but there’s been a wholllllle lotta trial and error along the way.
But that’s cool. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Do you look back over your makes or just keep on at full steam ahead?
Happy Sunday ✌🏻
On the blog next week – remember that vintage Dior coat pattern I scored? Yep, I finished it! 💜 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻