Top 5 HITS of 2015

Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow is responsible for coming up with the Top Five initiative. I try to take part each year because it is a great way for me to reflect on the things that worked and the things that didn’t. Sometimes there are a few surprises in my hits and misses (ahem…last year’s leather skirt).

top 5

Each year, I’ve noticed how my sewing evolves in relation to my skill level. I used to sew a lot of staples like knit T’s, dresses, and leggings, but this doesn’t bring me as much joy anymore. Having said that though, I’m having a blast sewing up a bunch of slightly quirky sweaters, trackies, and togs for the Christmas stockings right now. But in general, I’ve been steering away from the quick makes and spending more time on projects that require more involvement, and teach me things along the way. My hits are largely reflective of this focus.

1. My PDF sewing patterns

Sewing is both a hobby and an art for me. I’m not content to just make clothes. I want to be constantly learning and challenging myself. That was where the idea of digitising patterns entered the picture. It started at a time when I’d somehow sewn all the clothes my family needed so learning to digitise patterns became a great way for me to expand my knowledge in patternmaking and grading. I especially wanted to get a proper handle on accurate grading because with three girls and myself under the one roof, I was anticipating times in the future when a design for one of us would require grading another three ways!

I spent several months over the Summer completely immersed in patternmaking and grading theory. As a result, I managed to produce seven quality PDF sewing patterns that I’m extremely proud of.

PicMonkey Collage

The clothes that I made from those patterns were hits too (which was why I went about digitising them in the first place). For me, it was the summer of Branson and Sea Change tops, Wonderland skirts, and Splash Swimsuits. For my girls, Cartwheel shorts and Daisy Chain tops became their daily school uniform and the Twirl-to-Me dress was reserved for weekends and parties. It was the complete capsule wardrobe for us all! I don’t have any immediate plans to make more sewing patterns. If I see a gap in the pattern market and fall in love with another unique design that translates into a wearable item, I may feel inspired to develop it further. Only time will tell.

2. Leather blocked Winter coat


I made this coat last Winter, but oh how I love it so! It’s my go-to coat at the moment and feels a lot like wearing a big cozy blanket. As we head towards the deep freeze, it is understandably my favourite make for the year.

3. Grey knit dresses

I liked the idea of a snuggly wool dress so much that I made two. One was refashioned from an old top and drop waist dress. The other was made from scratch. I wear them both a lot.


4. Miss Seven’s tailored coat / My first wrap skirt

I’m sneaking two makes in here as hits for 2015 (because I used the same fabric). I can do that can’t I?


And of course I had some scraps leftover to make this:


I took my time making both the tailored coat and the skirt. I can see things about them that I will do better next time, but I’m sill very proud of both. I don’t often look twice at the clothes my family wears because they mostly wear clothes made by me. However, that coat has me stopping and smiling to myself every time I see it.

5. Rigel bomber

I made this bomber jacket way back in January with the leftover scraps from my Dior coat and wide leg pants (all of which were major hits, but the latter two were made in 2014). I’ve been wearing the bomber a great deal lately. It dresses up a simple sweater and black leather pants perfectly, and being soft and lightweight, I can easily layer it with my leather blocked coat on super frosty days.

1 2 5

Honourable mention // All things tiger print

This year I purchased the license to an awesome tiger photo and printed myself some fabric using Spoonflower. To say my middle child is partial to animal prints would be an understatement. My plan was to make her some tiger gear through the year as a special surprise, but I was soon swamped by other requests, including a cycling jersey for the husband and the leotard you see below. I’ve also just made some Christmas sweaters for my girls using up the leftover sports pique (here , here, and here). And there’s a pair of bathers currently on the cutting table for Miss Seven.


I had a truly fabulous sewing year and I’m looking forward to continuing on my learning curve in 2016. I hope you guys will join me! x





9 thoughts on “Top 5 HITS of 2015

  1. Linda Galante

    What a fabulous year you’ve had! If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with that leather color blocked coat. So wonderful! I’m amazed at how many patterns you’ve created this year too – – congrats!


    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thanks Linda. That coat is probably my absolute favourite too. And the patterns, I’ve never been known to do things by half ;-). I appreciate your support through the year too.


  2. Gillian

    What a year!!! I love how your patterns capture you unique aesthetic, but are simultaneously really wearable. Bravo! I hope you do release more someday!
    I think my fav or your Top 6 is the pink Rigel bomber… I want one!!
    (Glad you are doing the Top 5 again!! 🙂


    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thank you Gillian. I love your idea with this. It’s so easy to forget all the stuff one manages to accomplish in a year – both in sewing and real world stuff. I enjoy heading back in time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.


  3. crab&bee

    Cheers to your big year! I love the ambition and detail in your projects. And the fit on that wrap skirt is something to aspire to. I’m excited to see your 2016 creations!



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