Top 5 Highlights of 2017

I’ve been loving all the end year reflection posts, so I decided to join Crafting Rainbow’s Sewing Top 5 again. As usual I don’t have that much sewing output for 5 hits and 5 misses so I’ll just focus on my 5 hits of 2017.This dress has become such a wardrobe staple. It’s perfect for any occasion, which is all down to the fabric. It’s made in a medium weight sand-washed raw silk that is amazing to wear. The fabric barely wrinkles so it’s perfect for travel and has been on all my work trips this year, even to Colombia. The shape is simple but works in summer as well as in winter layered over tights and under a cardigan. Now I just need to get back to Goldhawk Road to pick up some more of this fabric.This linen Blaire Shirt was my absolute summer favourite. I was lucky enough to spend some time in Venice this summer and three weeks in Germany, which meant that I had a proper summer for a change. To cope with the high temperatures (especially in Venice) this shirt was ideal. On top of that I had so much fun trying out natural dyeing with avocado for the first time. It was much simpler than I expected and I love the final colour. I can’t wait for next summer to dig this shirt out again.Some more linen…This Highlands Wrap Dress was a surprise favourite this year. While I’ve been wanting to make the pattern for a while, originally I had another fabric earmarked for it. Then I changed my mind and made it up in this linen twill on a whim. The original colour was a weird off-white which I knew I wanted to dye. With some dye getting lost in the post, the colour turned out a lot weaker than intended and more of an orange than the intended terracotta brown. After some initial doubts I’m now loving the colour. I wore the dress to a beautiful autumn wedding and to our company’s Christmas party this week and both times felt great in it.This coat has been such a long time in the making (read all about the odyssey here). There are so many firsts with this one: first winter coat, first time using proper tailoring techniques on wool, first time attending a sewing class. I thoroughly enjoyed the slow process and taking my time with each step. The final coat is a perfect winter staple, I’ve been wearing it non-stop. And the lining just makes me smile. Also, if you really want to impress someone with your sewing skills, make a coat. I’ve gotten so many comments on this one already.

Last, but definitely not least, I have to, of course, mention my wedding dress. This was a slightly challenging project, as we had a secret wedding and I didn’t have anyone to fit me. To get around fitting challenges I decided to work with simple shapes, and it worked out quite nicely. I decided to go for separates because the thought of having a white dress hanging in my closet unworn made me sad. These pieces I can wear separately in day to day life. The lace top I’ve worn since with a leather mini skirt and the skirt is now pink thanks to an Avocado dye bath, though still waiting for a second outing. The silk slip underneath comes in handy for my many unlined dresses. The wedding also gave me a good excuse to splurge on nice fabrics and I really enjoyed working with the silks as well as with lace for the first time. And of course the pieces bring back memories of a perfect day down in Cornwall.

So looking back at all this, what have I learned?

  • I love high quality natural fibres. Many of these pieces are on my favourites list because the fabric is hard wearing, versatile and lovely to wear.
  • I enjoy taking my time on bigger projects. I really enjoyed making that coat and practising proper tailoring techniques.
  • Sewing classes are fun and there is so much to learn. Next on my list is a pattern cutting class.

I hope you all had a successful sewing year! Enjoy your Christmas break!

Top 5 Hits of 2016 and some Misses

Hi everyone , I hope you had a great Christmas break! I had some lovely, very busy days with friends and family. This year our presents were primarily handmade but I didn’t manage to take any good pictures and now they’ve all disappeared to their new homes. In contrast to some other years, I really enjoyed the process. We started making presents already in November, and had enough time to finish all of them without too much stress.

The Christmas craftiness however meant that I didn’t have time for any selfish sewing and don’t have anything new to show here. However, since it’s the time of year for reflection, I thought it would be great to join Crafting Rainbow’s Top 5 of 2016. I don’t have the same output as some others out there, but still 2016 has definitely been quite a productive year. Looking back through my posts, these are the 5 hits of 2016:

Noelle Swimsuit: My favourite project this year was this swimsuit. The combination of the self-designed fabric and the modern cut of the Noelle pattern, just work so well together. Even though this was my first swimsuit ever, the construction went really well, and I learned a lot of new skills during the project. It’s really unique and got lots of compliments. It’s just a shame that I have to wait until next summer to wear it again.

 Tea House Dress: I had been obsessed with this Nani Iro fabric for ages, and all the wedding invitations this summer meant that I had a good reason for making a new, pretty dress. The shape of the dress is very flattering and it was very comfortable to wear, even through the hottest summer weddings. The dress has so many gorgeous details (big pockets, sash, kimono sleeves) that make it an interesting garment to sew and wear. I’m tempted to make another one maybe in a solid colour and more drapey fabric for a different look.

Liberty Print Blouse: This blouse was quite an unexpected hit in my work wardrobe this year. When I picked up this Liberty print at Shaukat in London, I was really unsure what to make with it. I loved the print on its own, but couldn’t picture it as a garment. Now in combination with this blouse (copied from a rtw garment) I absolutely love it. It makes me smile when I put it on and brightens up my work wardrobe.

Sand-washed Silk Top: On my first trip to Goldhawk Road I fell in love with this rust-coloured sand-washed silk. It’s the most gorgeous colour and it feels amazing. I combined it with the simple Shell Top from the GBSB Fashion with Fabric book and they are perfect together. It’s a great top for work, it works well under a blazer and tucked into skirts. I love it so much that I bought the same fabric in a lovely teal colour to make another one.Checked shirt for him: while I occasionally do some selfless sewing, this shirt was the first real garment that I made for my boyfriend. I love making shirts and this one came together without any problems. Even the fit was pretty good right from the package (I will shorten the sleeves next time though). This double sided fabric was fun to work with, as I used the smaller scale pattern for subtle contrasts at the button band, cuffs and undercollar. The bonus when sewing for your boyfriend: he is well dressed and you can look at your creations.


This was a year of very few misses. I have learned to take my time to construct garments and also to figure out what I actually need in my wardrobe. So instead of 5 misses there are only two and even those are not disastrous makes by any means.

Granville Shirt: This shirt in theory should be a wardrobe staple, it fits and is well made. Still when I dress for work I never reach for it. It’s something about this navy fabric that makes this shirt look very outdated. The texture of this Japanese shirting is gorgeous up close but from afar it just looks like a stripe. In the end it just doesn’t feel very modern and will probably end up in the charity shop.

Self-drafted high neck top: The issue here is really the fabric, it’s a weird linen/polyester blend, that is just difficult to work with. This is already the second top I tried to make from this fabric and again I’m not really in love with the result. It didn’t help that the pattern that I used just didn’t fit very well. The many iterations combined with the impatience that I always seem to develop when working with cheap fabrics, led to a garment that is OK to wear but could fit better. The fabric also seems to be too stiff for the gathers and in general I am not sure about the peplum shape. All in all an experiment in new-to-me shapes that just didn’t convince.

So, this was 2016, sewing-wise an exciting and successful year. Can’t wait to see how the next year will go, I have some big projects planned. I wish you all a very creative 2017!