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. 

15 thoughts on “Top Five Hits and Misses of 2014

  1. poppykettle

    That dior coat knockoff of yours is my personaly favourite from your shortlist… alongside the OdlR playsuit! So gorgeous. And I did actually gasp when I saw that leather skirt was at the top of your miss list. Just. Devastating. It does look absolutely stunning in your post on it… but if it's that uncomfortable…. well I suppose I can forgive you. Maybe.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours 🙂 x


  2. Anonymous

    poppykettle has somehow managed to write my comment for me – that's everything I wanted to say!

    So I won't repeat it except to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.



  3. Fabric Tragic

    Nooooo! Not the leather skirt! I don't care, I still LOVE it! It's still going in my fave makes of the year! You had a wonderfully original and fabulous year of sewing. Very inspiration. Happy Christmas from Australia xx


  4. Debbie Iles

    Haha! The better at sewing I get, the more exceptionally ruthless I get too. I still love the way the skirt looks – I might have to save up to make a more wearable replacement for next year 😉


  5. Debbie Iles

    Haha! Yes, the more I sew and the more I learn, and the better I get at sewing perfectly comfortable and fitted clothes just for me, the more ruthless I get with my makes. I won't rule out making a new and improved skirt replacement in the future though 😉


  6. sarahlizsewstyle

    What a great post – I love all your hits – on you – they would be big misses on me. Which makes me agree with you, it's so right to know your style and stick to it – I agree, Anna is just too twee for you. You wear the wonderful dramatic lines so well with your figure.

    Happy New Year to you and your lovely family – wonderful models, all of them 🙂


  7. Kirsty

    Oh thank you for the warning. It provided me with the opportunity to regroup and prepare myself!! (:)) The amazing thing about you Debbie, is that you do refashion your makes and they always turn out superb – even if I really loved the original piece (boo hoo – wiping the tears away). You've had a great year of truly inspiring sewing. As the leader of team culottes you've inspired all of us!



    You have such a fabulous untque style – I love that you don't follow the sewing trends and beat your own drum. I agree with the others regarding the leather skirt, it photographs beautifully, but then sometimes photos don't always tell the truth do they? Happy New Year!!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s