Top Five Hits and Misses of 2014

Firstly, I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. I can’t believe that a year has passed already! I took part in Gillian’s (Crafting a Rainbow) Top Five last year, and now it’s time to do it again. I still have a few more makes to share with you before the end of the year, but this post just feels so right for today!

I’ve never been one to set goals for a new year but I do find it fun to look back on what has been. I’ve had such a great sewing year that I am going to take a little bit of liberty and group a few favourite makes in together.


1. Culottes/gaucho pants (Esther short pattern hacks)

I’m pretty sure this hit doesn’t need any further explanation. I made my first pair of white gridline culottes at the start of the year. A few months ago, I added to my collection with a Japanese corduroy pair and my pleated green cords. I’ve been wearing them all to death.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention my Esther shorts, and not just because this was the pattern from which my best culottes originated. It was a TNT in it’s own right first. My skorts version is here.


It’s a more recent make but one that I’m super proud of. Admittedly, it’s a straight copy of a Dior design I found online, but I did draft this pattern completely on my own. It was also my first real attempt at tailoring. It’s not quite warm enough to function properly as a coat in a Kansas Winter, but it would be perfect for Sydney! It’s also still fine to wear as long as I dash from car to restaurant and back again.

I love this coat. It’s light, comfy, and super snuggly. It also has a very high wearability factor, especially since I lobbed off it’s tail. The pattern I used was modified from a short Japanese raglan jacket. I should also make a sneaky mention of the leather blocked leggings that I’m wearing with it in the photos. They have also been worth their weight in gold.

4. Playsuits

I made up two playsuits this year. I’ve worn the white one a lot, both dressing it up with a silk kimono and wearing it casually with sneakers or flip flops. I love my Oscar de la Renta silk version too, but I’ve been reserving it for special occasions.

 5. Simplicity 1366

I discovered Simplicity 1366, a Cynthia Rowley pattern, several months ago. Since then, I’ve made versions in white gridlines, a white fleece, sweater kint, neoprene and cord, Nani Iro, and white denim. I also used the pattern to make a black gridline drop waist dress. I wear all of these makes a lot.


Finally, I’m going to give an honourable mention to this leather trimmed tunic. I made it with scraps and I never really intended for it to become as handy as it is. I like it, but I still don’t love it the way I love some of my other makes. Nevertheless, it’s still become my trusty Winter LBD. It’s the dress in my wardrobe that I turn to when nothing else seems suitable (or warm enough) to wear.

I’ve had a few misses this year, but nothing that I haven’t been able to refashion into something better. That’s the great thing about the experience that comes from an extra year of sewing. A year ago, some of these makes would have been given away, but these days I feel quite confident about cutting up lesser loved makes and turning them into something more fabulous.
*Content warning*
Some misses may cause distress (yes, I’m talking to you Kirsty, turn away now)
I know, I know…how can this possibly be a miss?! The fit is absolutely perfect. It sits around my waist, tight enough to stay up high, but not too tight to cut off my circulation. But, and this is a big but, the skirt is way too heavy. The cowhide is too heavy for the garment. It would have better suited a coat. I should have listened to my head, but I was so desperate for this precise colour of leather. 
I’ll admit that the skirt looks wonderful in photos, and I’ve even tried to wear it out on a few occasions, but within half an hour (usually before even leaving the house), the weight on my hip bones and back is really unpleasant and I’m dying to take it off. Next time, I will stick to lambskin. In the meantime, I have a few ideas on how to repurpose this great hide. 

This was a lovely dress. It fit me well. I wore it a few times, but it wasn’t really me. I turned it into something better.

3. My attempt at upstyling my husband

The colourblocking was a big miss. It just didn’t suit the husband’s personal taste. The shirt was also a little too large. In future, I will stick to his TNT patterns.


 I kind of knew this one wouldn’t work from the outset, but I also knew that by making it, I wouldn’t be wasting fabric because I had Plan B and Plan C already in mind. I love the refashioned items that I made. The silk jersey pants have also become the most delicious summer pyjamas.

5. Knitting


I really, REALLY tried to love knitting this year. I had the perfect opportunity present to me in which I was moving overseas and would be away from my sewing machine for a few months. I even purchased a great set of adjustable graphite needles. I was so determined to get into the knit of things.

Over the space of a few months, I knitted my first ever beanies. I also finished a couple of scarfs for my little peeps. I then tried my hand at a little dress. It’s a red hot mess, rife with all kinds of mistakes, but it is pink, and surprisingly, a big hit Miss Three.

Alas, knitting and me are not meant to be. I tried Jillian, I really, REALLY did, but it’s time for me to admit defeat. I do, however, have a new set of eyes for admiring the amazing skill that does go into beautiful hand knitted garments. That’s right Gail. I’m also talking about your speedy fingers and those sweaters and scarfs you’ve been showing us lately.