Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best of 2009

A lot of fabric went through the machine this year. A lot.

I looked at the numbers for the year: garments made, yardage in and out, and I decided to concentrate on my favorite pieces for the year, and why.

Like numbers on the scale, yardage and numbers made don't mean all that much, so long as you're happy.

I'm happy with what I made.

In and amongst the 10 jackets that made their way out of the sewing room this year, one of my favorites was the raspberry iridescent trench jacket. It's not one of the most frequently worn pieces, but I enjoyed the process on this one more than the result - wrestling the sticky-backed vinyl, the quilted lining, adding the trench details, finding just the right buttons.

Sometimes it's about the process.

Though it's better when you wear it, of course.

One of my other good moments this sewing year was conquering jeans. There was definitely a run on jeans sewing over at Patternreview, and I caught the bug a little late. I also never got around to trying the famous Jalie jean pattern (I'll get there yet), but I made several pairs of the Ottobre jeans, and I like how they fit me. Considering how hard it is to find a pair of jeans that fit, this alone makes these worthy of the year-end list. Finally, a pair of black jeans that fits.

Wahoo for sew-yer-own.

Quite a few things for others got sewn this year as well. The final numbers were 7 pieces for Mario, shirts and t-shirts and, of course, the Christmas jacket. 'Nuff said on that particular project.

Most recently is the BWOF zip front jacket that literally was the last project of 2009. Nice to end on a high note. For those who wanted to see it on me, here you are. There are a few more pictures over at the PR review, as well.

I love this jacket. Not only is it part of my pledge to use the good stuff, it's made more meaningful because I bought the fabric while we were on vacation in Florence, so it's a wearable souvenir that is exactly what I wanted.

As far as using up the good stuff, I think that was covered by the vest I made with the Versace embroidered velvet I purchased at A Fabric Place during the PR Baltimore shopping day in summer 2008. It was, hands down, the most expensive fabric I've ever purchased, and I couldn't even afford a yard. So it stayed in the stash for a while, partly because I was afraid to cut into it, but it also needed a very specific pattern. I haven't worn this a whole lot, but now that it's cold out - and cold in my office - it will be a good extra layer. I'll take it out of the closet so I remember to wear it this coming week.

2009 was also a big year of refashioning and recycling for me. I can't help it; I have a great thrift store down the street and recycling gives me an excuse to buy lots of stuff made from beautiful fabrics that aren't my size. The jacket pictured here is a BWOF pattern constructed from a pair of men's tweed pants and some remnants of leather. And it has my only successful welt pockets to date (okay, so they're faux welt, because there's no depth to the jacket to add a pocket bag, but still, the welts are there, and they're relatively even. It counts).

Another favorite this year, which has gotten worn a few times but not as many as it deserves, is the black and white pinstriped Fatina dress from Burdastyle. It's a cute little pattern that I made twice, but what makes this one special to me is the trim. And since I'm generally embellishment-challenged, I was really pleased that I took the risk and decorated the hell out of the neckline on this one.

Most summer clothes aren't as challenging, and since one of the things I really love about sewing is the challenge, not many summer pieces make it onto my year-end personal best list. My cherry dress did, because it also encompassed a challenge - making my own piping, and inserting it everywhere without blowing a blood vessel.

I made this dress twice, once without the flounce and in a more subdued pattern, and then I made this. Every once in a while you just need to make a dress that makes you smile every time you put it on. This is one of those dresses. It cracks me up, and it makes everyone around me smile.

So there we have it. My personal best of 2009. There are a few runners-up that didn't make it on to the list, but while they were good - and while I wore some of them (like the lined cardigan) more often than a lot of these pieces, they didn't have the challenge factor involved. Every piece pictured here caused me to sweat for one reason or another, and that's a big part of what I love about sewing, the mental challenge.

Though right now, after 2 fitted, lined jackets - his and hers - I'm all about quickie knit tops. It's the first of January, and I'm on my 2nd top.


Vicki said...

A good year sewing! Some really nice pieces.

Toni said...

Beautiful!!! Especially love the cute dress... and I continue to be inspired by Mario's jacket!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I feel honored that I got to try on that jacket! ;) You've done good this year my friend. I especially love the most recent project using your vacation fabric. Looks fabu on you. Can't wait to see more out of your sewing room in 2010. Happy New Year!!!

Elaray said...

Good choices! My favorite is the embroidered velvet. I hope you were able to get the drool out from when you showed it to me! (Yuck! - Just kidding!)

Happy New Year, Karen!!!

Shannon said...

Excellent year in review. My favourites are the plaid jacket and the dress with the embellishment at the neck. Happy New Year!

meredithp said...

An excellent year, sewing wise! Happy New Year!

sensoussi said...

I'm for the versace embroied velvet, so nice and bright, love it