Monday, December 30, 2013

Hits and Misses of 2013

After waking up feeling reflective and seeing so many year in review posts in my feed, I decided to join Gillian in sharing my top hits and misses this year. I'm only going to share 3 though, because my output just isn't as prodigious as most bloggers. It's the downside of having so many hobbies, but I'm not willing to give any of them up either!

So let's get the misses out of the way:
1. Lisette Passport Dress

Okay, so this one wasn't a total disaster, but it was a good lesson in fabric choice. The top half attracts lint like crazy and is too heavy for summer. I also should have sprung for cotton batiste for the lining instead of using slightly scratchy muslin. Past Emily apparently had some magical thinking going on there about the power of fabric softener. I also wish I would have lowered the waistline by about 1/2", because the belt likes to slide down to my natural waist and doesn't cover the the seamline. I have to constantly adjust the belt when I wear this dress, which isn't often.

2. Miette Cardigan

I've seen so many cute versions of this in blogs and on Ravelry, but mine has been a terrible struggle. I've started over twice and ripped back major sections at least two other times. I can't seem to get the fit right, and I keep messing up the lace in glaringly obvious ways. Plus, a couple of weeks ago my cat got into my project bag, ate a bunch of yarn, and landed in the emergency vet. So, I think we can all agree this project is cursed, yes? Somehow though, I'm not quite ready to give up on it yet! It's hibernating for now, but I'm gearing up for Round 3 in 2014. Miette, you're going down.

3. Collete Beignet Skirt
By far and away my biggest disappointment of 2013. This pattern was stretch for my skills, and I spent two months slowly and painstakingly working my through it. In the end, it was too big and the buttons were crooked. I think I got a bit overambitious, and I definitely should have made a muslin.  It was supposed to be my special birthday skirt, but I've never worn it aside from blog pictures, and I doubt I ever will. I think I might come back to this pattern next fall though, and try again in a smaller size.

And, now, on to the hit parade!
1. Lisette Market Top

This was my first make with my new-to-me machine, and the first time I attempted sleeves. I was so proud of myself, and I still wear this all the time. I love this type of top - it falls somewhere in between a t-shirt and a button down, and so I can wear it practically anywhere.

2. Striped Sorbetto

I made this for a song using remnants and free pattern, and it's one of my favorite tops in my whole wardrobe. I learned to do an SBA, and I'm so glad I put in the extra effort. I love the fit, and I have plans to make two more of these using more remnants from my stash.

3. Lisette Traveler Dress

Easily my biggest sewing accomplishment to date. I figured out fitting problems that have been plaguing me from the start, and this has the nicest finish of anything I've ever made. I only got to wear it once before it got too cold, but I got a ton of compliments. I can't wait to bust this out again in the spring!

I kind of lost my sewing mojo after my Beignet skirt turned out to be a wadder, but writing this post was a good reminder of all the lovely, wearable things I also made this year. On to 2014!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Colette Beignet

Hello again! It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been going to Halloween parties and birthday dinners, playing about a thousand rounds of this game, knitting and frogging my miette cardigan by turns (ugh fitting), and reading like a demon. You know, the usual.

I've also been fitting in some sewing here and there, and have spent the past month or so working on a Colette Beignet. After admiring the corduroy beignets by Andrea of Four Square Walls and Shona Stitches, I decided to hop on the ripoff train and make one myself (thanks ladies!).

It's a well drafted pattern and the instructions are pretty clear. All of my issues were, as usual, of my own making. I think after the success of my chambray shirt dress I got a little overambitious. I could knit pick my beignet death, so suffice it to say that the finish just isn't as nice as I want it to be. I mean, it's probably nicer than anything at Forever21 or H&M, but the whole point of sewing for myself is to exceed that (very) low bar.

Like others have pointed out, this was pretty time consuming, between the multiple panels, lining, pockets and twelve (twelve!!) buttons. The pattern is definitely intermediate, and I found it to be challenging throughout. It didn't help that I picked a fussy fabric that requires careful pressing and shows every ripped stitch. I do like the pockets though, and the panels are flattering.

I cut a size 8 in the waist and then graded down to a 6 in the hips, as recommended by the size chart. It's a little loose in the waist, so I probably should have cut a straight 6. It is pretty comfortable though, and as Tasia from Sewaholic always points out, you need room to eat a big lunch. Which is pretty important when you've got leftover butternut squash lasagna to devour. I did try to cinch it in at the waist a little bit, and now the buttons don't line up (argh!). If you see me on the street, pretend you don't notice, okay?

I used quilting cotton for the facings to reduce bulk. This floral print already in my stash from my remnants haul from Fabric World, and I love how it came out.

Overall, I'm kind of disappointed in this one. I'm not sure that it was the best choice for my figure, or match between pattern and fabric. Maybe I should have chosen a darker colored corduroy? What really tears me up is that my mom sent me the pattern and money for fabric for my birthday. After such a thoughtful, generous gift, and weeks of work, I feel terrible that the final result is so meh.

Chalk it up to a lesson learned. On the bright side, this only took a little over a yard of 60" fabric, so I think have enough to make a Grainline Moss skirt. On we go!