Top N of 2022 part 2

Part two of my end of year roundup. I’m using the old Sewing Top Five series headings. The official blog series is no more but I’ve been doing it for years and it’s interesting to compare with last year’s post, well interesting for me anyway, so I’m sticking with it. I covered hits and misses last week. Now I have highlights, reflections, and goals left to cover.

Highlights: I gave away some of my pattern collection this year and it felt great. I realised I was damaging the patterns by cramming them into inadequate space. So I picked out the ones I knew I’d never sew and put them on Freecycle; rather to my surprise they were snapped up and that gave the rest some breathing room.

The only envelope pattern I bought this year

I’m still collecting patterns but trying to be much mindful about it. I think the only brand new envelope pattern I bought this year was Vogue 1853. That was for my husband and got sewed up before the year was out so doesn’t count as collecting. Instead I’m stalking eBay for vintage patterns, but I’m only buying ones I really love and might actually make. It’s dangerous though. I started off just looking for Claude Montana designs, but then the work of a couple of other 80s designers caught my eye too. Hopefully some of those will feature on the blog next year.

I thought about giving up my Burda subscription because there was a period where the designs didn’t speak to me at all. Happily it improved this year so I’ve renewed. I can see why people feel they’ve been repeating designs, but I am currently finding two or three appealing patterns that aren’t repeats in each issue which makes it worth it for me.

I also discovered the COPA pattern archive this year which has been great for dating vintage patterns. When I first found out about it you needed to apply for a user account to use it, but the pattern database is now accessible online without even logging in.

Reflections? I wasn’t as productive this year as last but I had one of my best success rates. I made fourteen things of which eleven get regular wear. Even the three that didn’t work very well have been worn out of the house on occasion.

I did less wardrobe planning this year. I sewed the 80s wardrobe I’d planned in 2021, but after that I gave up on drawing up elaborate plans and made three jumpsuits in a row instead. But I enjoy the planning and it leads to better outcomes on the whole, so I shall likely go back to it in a small way.

I just checked back on last year’s goals and was surprised to find I’d actually achieved them all. I made up some of my vintage patterns, made some clothes that weren’t black or grey, continued to reduce the fabric stash, and carried on blogging.

I’m having a hard time coming up with goals for this year. I have some vague plans: making up a vintage 80s Dior dress pattern and some clothes inspired by recent Saint Laurent collections. The Saint Laurent knockoffs are going to require some hacking of existing patterns to realise, so perhaps my goal should be to start adapting patterns rather than making them up as-is. I also need to make some practical things this year: a new dressing gown is one of them.

Happy New Year to all!

Top N of 2022 part 1

Time for an end of year roundup. There isn’t an official Sewing Top Fives blog series this year, but I’ll carry on using the format of hits, misses, highlights, reflections, and goals anyway. It’s Top N this year though as I only made 14 things in 2022. Admittedly there were two and a half coats in that 14…I’m counting Vogue 1476 as only half a coat because it’s more of a blanket with sleeves.

So onto the hits. It was a good year but I’m going to pick just one item to feature: my 80s coat. Most of what I made this year is getting regular wear, but this one in particular makes me smile every time I put it on.

A woman with short hair wearing a yellow-green boxy coat, black tapered trousers and yellow trainers stands in a bricked up doorway

The pattern is vintage Vogue 1767 from 1986, by Claude Montana. I love the colour and the boxy shape is very easy to wear.

I didn’t have many complete misses this year. I made three things that for various reasons don’t often get worn and here they are.

A woman wearing a black short sleeved t shirt and black tapered trousers stands in front of a stone building with a bricked up arch.

First up are the trousers from the same pattern as the green coat. They are a classic 80s carrot shape. I made the mistake of making two very similar pairs of trousers: these from vintage Vogue 1767 and another pair from vintage Vogue 1476. I prefer the 1476 pair and I don’t reach for the style enough that I use both.

Next is the Claude Montana tunic dress. The pattern is vintage Vogue 1071. The problem with this is that I’ve yet to find weather conditions it works for. It looks bad with tights, but it’s too thick and warm to wear when the temperature allows bare legs. It’s a conundrum. Possibly tights would work with different footwear, but I don’t know quite what.

It seems odd putting this dress in misses because in some respects it was a highlight of my sewing year: the pattern (vintage Vogue 1652, another Claude Montana design) is a rare one that took me ages to find a copy of, the construction was unusual, and the finished garment is spectacular. But I don’t wear it. I can’t help thinking there’s a brilliant garment in this pattern somewhere but this one isn’t it. Different fabric and a less fussy closure are required.

Suggestions for fixing any of those most welcome!

Happy Christmas all if you celebrate. I’ll cover the rest in an upcoming post.