Monday, December 22, 2008

2008: A personal top 10 list

While I was totally impressed with the way some people went over their projects for the year, noting numbers of garments sewn, which pattern companies, etc., my mind wasn't working that way this year. I decided simply to go over my reviews for the past year, and list my own personal 10 best. There are reasons for each choice, some of which make sense and some of which probably don't, but that's the joy of it being a personal list.

So here goes:

BWOF 9/07 #104 - the most recent major project, the wool coat. For sheer size of project this one had to make the list, but it also has to be there for the number of challenges involved in making it - having the fabric steam pressed, block fusing interfacing to the fabric, using hair canvas for the first time, altering the pattern, having the buttonholes professionally done in NYC. I'm kind of surprised that I made this entire coat without once referring to the directions - I think this comes not just from experience but from the knowledge that BWOF is just as likely to confuse me as cut through the fog. This was a big project in more ways than one. I enjoyed almost all of it, I'm glad it's over, and I'll probably do it again. But not too soon.

Hotpatterns YSL Homage Tote - I thought that my leather jacket project taught me about working with leather, but this one really pushed me. I tried different techniques and notions with this bag and learned that yes, you can iron leather, so long as you use a decent weight press cloth, and you don't always have to glue your seams open if you have Steam-A-Seam on hand. I battled (I won't say conquered) my fear of embellishment and used studs on the bag in a way that I think is really pretty cool. I indulged my love of excessive linings with an orange dragon print brocade.

McCall 5007 - the "vintage" jacket made from Chanel boucle picked up at a Fabric Place during the PR Baltimore shopping day. This was an interesting project - I learned a lot about fit and working with fragile fabrics on this one. Plus it has PR shopping connections, which makes it special. For some reason, I don't wear this one a lot, though. I'll have to figure out why.

Patrones 253-45. This was my first foray into Patrones - full on sewing without instructions. Thankfully their line drawings are clear and their pattern pieces are well marked. I didn't have much of a problem with this one and even added a full lining instead of their recommended facings. So far I've only tackled Patrones that I can understand from the line drawings and pattern pieces. Maybe next year I'll try one of the incomprehensible ones and see if I can make it work.

The Loaves & Fishes dress. This one is a Frankenpattern - pieces of McCalls, BWOF, and vintage-ish bits straight from my imagination. It was made with much less Liberty fabric than the patterns called for, and the fabric somehow managed to last to make the dress, hence the name.

KS 3422 - the chevron striped shirt that caused me to drink much wine. I still want to try this technique on a dress for myself, but I haven't been able to face all those stripes again. Yet.

BWOF 6/07 #126 - Nothing spectacular here, but this has become my TNT pants pattern. It's kind of irritating because this past year I finally worked out a good fly-front zipper and then I realized that my wardrobe and my body type both are more suited to a side zip. (Good thing I finally got the hang of invisible zippers in 2007). I've now made this pattern in black, brown, tan, charcoal gray and green plaid.

BWOF/108 #122 - Burda's poet/artist's shirt. There was no major challenge involved in this one - the placket was tricky and I spent some time swearing at the tiny covered buttons - but it mainly made the list because it caused me to finally use this fabric which I loved and which had been aging in stash. Sometimes it's just the combination of garment and fabric that makes it special and forces you to cut into something that has previously been "too good" to use.

V 7976 - the leather jacket. This is probably my most-worn project of 2008. I had no idea when I started that it would turn out that well, and that I would like it so much. This was the featured piece of my wardrobe contest entry, which explains the orange lining, but more than that it became the featured piece of my wardrobe. When I completed this project I said I didn't need to make another leather jacket but I do. I just bought skins for it this past weekend in NY and I can't wait to get started.

BWOF 5/08 #104 - this one is representative of a whole sub-category of sewing - 2008 was the year I discovered knit dresses, and also the year I discovered that my machines don't like hemming knit dresses. Right now, every one of them is unhemmed, but Santa brought me a coverstitch, so I'll do some makeup sewing in the new year.

To recap, 2008 was a very productive year. I made a lot, learned more, bought too much and, best of all, got to meet quite a few more of my virtual sewing friends in person. Sewing is a solitary pursuit, but not necessarily a lonely one. The loneliness of it comes when you don't have people to talk to about your work, and now I do. Thanks to all I've met over the last year, and to all those who've commented here - I may not ever meet most of you, but your words make a difference.

I hope that Santa fills your stockings with fabric and inspiration, and here's to good sewing to all in 2009.


Erica Bunker said...

You've had a great year! The leather jacket was my favorite!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

You have made some amazing garments this year! What an awesome amount of personal sewing growth is represented in these outfits! I can't wait to see what you sew in 2009!

Meg said...

Well put about sewing friends. I probably wouldn't have sewn nearly as much this year if it wasn't for you guys. Love your 2008 bests.

Lori said...

Great year of sewing for you. I like all of them and what you said about sewing friends is so right.

Vicki said...

You have made some great garments over the year. I have my McCalls 5007 on today and I don't wear mine enough either.

Elaray said...

I didn't realize you made two coats! And one of them leather! You've had a very good year!

Eileensews said...

I came across your blog later in 2008. I love the leather jacket. It is fantastic.
I also like your use of orange, a color I tend to shy away from.

Tamara said...

You have made so many beautiful garments this year! I am amazed by the leather jacket. It is fabulous!

Rose said...

Wow! What an impressive show of garments!! My favorite is a tie: the coat and the McCall 5007 jacket. One of my favorites (partially because it looks so nice on you) is the BWOF skirt that you made recently. I look forward to your blog in 2009.

Tany said...

Very impressive! I'm still drooling over your YSL Homage tote!

Diana said...

Your projects are all so great that I'm having a hard time deciding which one I like best. The one that struck me most I guess was the bag. WOW!!!
Happy sewing in 2009.

Unknown said...

First of all I love Philly! And oh wow, you are so talented at sewing and creating textile art.

I am super impressed! And really enjoyed looking at your top 10 list. I feel like I want to make one...well, I don't sew, but I would come up with something for a top 10 list.

You see, my husband and I are currently backpacking around to various countries for the next few years. We picked up some jobs in New Zealand, and the other night he completely split his pants. I came across your blog while trying to sort out his pants (needing to be sewed) problem.

A local named Pauline helped us out and fixed them. But you can read about it and see how badly he split his pants in the photo on

Thanks for the inspiring top 10 list. Your passion for your talent is apparent, continue to share!

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

What a great entry! You have had a really busy year. I love everything.

luckylibbet said...

Terrific year! Wow, you really had some major accomplishments - the leather thing in particular you really seem to have mastered now. I ADORE your leather jacket and the great orange bag is TDF. You're really inspiring me to push my envelope now for 2009.

Kat said...

I love your Top 10! Really super!!