Longest break in the history of this blog! It was not my intention to take such a long hiatus, but here we are, almost two years after my previous post. I have missed blogging but had to focus on other writings, including finishing my dissertation. Still, even after submitting my dissertation, which was long overdue, I found it difficult to get into blogging again. However, now that I have also successfully defended my work, I hope that I will be able to revive this blog and continue posting in the future. Who knows, perhaps blogging will be making a comeback in the 2020s!
Before revamping this blog, I figured that it might be fun to review some of the items I posted about in the past, loosely following the format of Crafting a Rainbow’s Sewing Top 5 Hits and Misses. What made certain garments favorites, while others are still languishing in the back of my closet?
1. Butterick 5920 summer dress
This dress was not only one of the first projects that I posted on this blog, it also meant a few other firsts in my sewing adventures.
It was my first time making a pattern by a Big Four company (I sewed mainly Burdastyle and a bit of Knipmode before) and also my first experience with a reproduction pattern. More importantly, however, I finally tackled a Full Bust Adjustment. This has been a total game changer, as it has broadened the scope of patterns that I can use immensely. I am also still pretty proud of the pattern matching on this dress, even though in some places it is a bit Rorschachian. My happiest moment with regard to this dress was when an elderly lady complimented me in the train station. As it turns out, she was a retired seamstress and she thought my dress was very well made! Admittedly, I do not wear this garment that often, but it definitely has its place in my closet for when I feel like dressing up on a warm summer’s day.
2. Wide-leg sailor jeans
These were the first jeans-like pants (including top stitching) that I completed and I am glad to say that they are still going strong!
After many years of mainly wearing skinny jeans and other slim fit pants, these sailor jeans meant the return of wide legs to my wardrobe. I remember feeling a bit weird and self-conscious when I first wore these, but I quickly became a convert. Since this pair, I have made at least 7 wide-leg trousers, including the jeans with large pockets pictured above (another success, if i may say so myself) and I am currently in the process of finishing another one. I even have plans to recreate the sailor jeans using some burgundy denim in my stash.
3. Burdastyle 40s blouse in awesome vintage cotton
Another milestone: this was the first real shirt with collar stand, sleeve vents and cuffs that I successfully completed.
Even though I ran into some issues during its prolonged construction and it is by no means perfect, I still very much love wearing this blouse. The fantastic vintage printed cotton has held up really well and the pattern is a winner too. I actually made another version last year in a more light-weight cotton and I was pleasantly surprised at how much faster and easier that one came together, despite adding piping. Good to know that I managed to improve my sewing skills over the past few years!
4. Beaded autumn jacket in brown wool and gray velvet
This is another garment that does not necessarily gets worn very often but that I am proud to have in my closet.
Obviously, the beading took quite a long time, but one of my favorite things about sewing my own clothes is going through my stash and trying to match fabrics and notions. In this case, I am quite pleased with the combination of the brown wool, gray velvet and faux tortoise buttons, which were all bought at thrift stores at various points in my life. Unfortunately, the rather short sleeves and hook-and-eye closure mean that it is not the most practical garment, but it still comes out several times a year. Perhaps I should make a version with a zipper or button closure, as it is a lovely, well-drafted jacket.
Frankly, it is not easy to stick to five successes – and I know that I don’t have to – but seeing that I don’t want this post to be too long, here are my favorite skirts among the ones that made it to the blog:
This very simple Burdastyle skirt really brings out bold prints, like the dotted squares on this Vlisco Dutch wax. I found out not too long ago that the print was designed by Marjan de Groot and is called Paracetamol! This is still one of my favorite fabrics ever and I am sad that the skirt has started to show signs of wear…
Another skirt that has seen better days: the Burdastyle trench skirt in black canvas. This was a relatively labor-intensive skirt, but it was absolutely worth it. I have worn this a lot, and it shows! I fear that I just have to bite the bullet on this one and discard it, after removing the buttons, of course.
Ah, summer. This skirt in the most amazing water melon print by Kafue Textiles Zambia Ltd. still comes out at least a few times every summer. I think that it looks best with bare legs, so it actually does not get worn as much as I would like to. Thank you, Swedish weather, for helping me preserve my summer clothes!
I am wearing this warm woolen winter skirt as we speak, need I say more? Well, perhaps I should mention that the gray cowl-neck top has not survived last winter’s purge; it has served its purpose, though, and I only got rid of it because it was so worn out.
Hm, I think that it would be unfair to ignore the two blogged dresses that I consider successes:
Last Christmas, I wore this vintage velour mash-up dress. The stretchy fabric and blousy bodice make it super comfortable and perfect for copious meals. Moreover, I remember how much fun I had putting this dress together and I am amazed at the fact that the cheap, fabric-covered buttons haven’t fallen apart yet.
Another surprisingly comfortable and wearable vintage dress. Initially conceived as a wearable muslin, this version of Simplicity 1587 has been worn to a few festive occasions, including a family reunion and my post-defense dinner. After all, nobody knows that the fabric only cost me about 1 Euro at the thrift store. Still, I hope to complete a more fancy version in green Thai silk soon.
7. Four Tops
By now it should be clear that I have abandoned my original plan and will only discuss successes in this post, while saving the failures for another time. Here are four garments for my upper half that I feel should be included:
The construction of the collar gave me a bit of a head ache, but wearing this tunic based on a vintage Swedish pattern makes me feel like I am almost as cool as the woman on the envelope. The hand-sewn cuffs need some mending, but other than that, this tunic is still in great shape.
This vintage pussy bow blouse is another garment based on an unprinted Swedish pattern and, incidentally, one that brings quite a few of unsuspecting guests to this blog. Undoubtedly, some of you are disappointed to see pictures of a blouse here, but you are welcome to stay around for the sewing! This blouse was a refashion of a thrifted skirt and has started to fall apart. Just today, I violently cut off the yoke/bow part to see if the pattern can also be used to make a blouse with a gathered neckline (yes, that could work). I will remove the lovely glass buttons, trash the rest of the blouse and get ready to make another version, with or without bow.
This plaid Western Blouse is also due for a remake. The pieces had been lying around for years before I finally put them together. In order to make the blouse fit, I was forced to sew way into the seam allowances, which is not very durable. The pattern is a winner, though! Probably one of the best blouse patterns I have tried so far.
As four tops sound better than three, I decided to include this Burdastyle twist top. While not the most exciting garment at first glance, its unusual construction made it fun to sew. It was made of the same fabric as the aforementioned cowl-neck top and has met the same fate; after many wears, it ended up as a multitude of cleaning rags.
I think that sewing projects presented in this post could all be regarded as hits, although many certainly have some room for improvement with regard to fit, fabric choice and the way in which they are constructed. However, these are all garments that I have enjoyed or still enjoy wearing, which, I suppose, is the main criterion that defines a successful garment. I will save some further thoughts for future posts. Before finishing, however, I should mention that many garments never made it to the blog. Some did not seem that exciting to write about to begin with, others I never got around to taking pictures of and quite a few were made during my blogging hiatus. Needless to say, there is plenty of material for future blog posts, so stay tuned!
Congrats on finishing your dissertation. It’s interesting to see which of your clothes have stood the test of time. I particularly love your use of African prints. Abbey
Thank you! I am sorry for taking so long to reply, apparently, I no longer get automatic updates when somebody posts a comment and I don’t tend to log into this site as often as I used to (it takes some time to get used to blogging again!).
Yes, I am very fond of African prints and have quite a few pieces of fabric lying around that I hope to be able to put to use soon! Still finishing up some drab winter projects at the moment.
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