Top 5s of 2013! The Hits

It’s nearly a brand new year so that means it’s time for a bit of reflection with the top 5 lists!

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Head on over to Gillian’s blog to grab a button and check out her suggested lists and proposal on why looking back on our projects is a helpful learning exercise.

1. The Anise jacket

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I am so proud of this jacket. I learnt so much and think it looks pretty smart. It was in daily rotation before winter hit. And I don’t think it’s scared me off jacket-making in the future

2. Simplicity 2444

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I won’t ramble on too much about this dress. Safe to say it’s an absolute winner in my eyes. And this lovely aeroplane lawn version is definitely my favourite.

3. Sassy Librarian Blouse

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My first craftsy course was brilliant. Christine Haynes was a lovely teacher and I finished up with a cute practical blouse that I have in regular use.

4. Simplicity 1755

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I’m pretty darn pleased with how polished this dress turned out even if I don’t have much opportunity to wear it. The lace matching turned out amazingly and I’m rather proud of my collar.

5. New Look 6069

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Not so obvious but this little dress has been a star in my wardrobe. Its mostly due to the soft drapey viscose. It skims over me in a flattering way and I love the print.

So there are my top 5 hits of this year. Next up are the dreaded misses!

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Simplicity 1755 – The Red Lace Birthday dress

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Hello lovely readers!

I’m so pleased to be posting the final version of my Simplicity 1755 which I made for my Birthday last week.

I was sent this pattern by the generous people at Simplicity in exchange for a review, which I’m happy to supply.

I had the perfect lace in my stash and plenty of inspiration on my Dresses Pinterest board.

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Lladybird Valentine’s Dress | Dorothy Perkins Lace Dress | Asos Lace Collar Dress

I really enjoyed working with a pattern designed for lace as previously I’ve just tried to adapt patterns with mixed results. I used a complimentary colour crepe for the lace underlining and a cotton in the closest shade possible for my bodice lining. I also managed to find a coordinating invisible zipper too (SCORE!).

There wasn’t any guidance on good lace matching techniques included though I guess this would be going above and beyond the call of duty! I managed to look up some techniques online, then came up with my own method.

It was a sort of hybrid between patching and sketching the lace design of my left side onto the reverse of my pattern piece to line up the right side of the bodice; so hard to explain but I am super stoked with the results.

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There were a couple of rounds of muslins to nail the fit of the pattern. First to shorten the bodice, but then I had to readjust a little to get the collar to sit at the right place on my neck (it’s weird not having shoulder seams to guide you).

The instructions were generally written for someone with a good understanding of construction as they were definitely concise. The pictorials were excellent help; for assembling the collar I actually found the pictures better than the descriptions.20130818_181037

I omitted the collar buttons (front and back) though I think I would add them to the back on future versions to stop the back collar from being too pointy! On the front it was just distracting my eye too much so I simply sewed down the button loop under the opposite collar.

I made my button loop by plaiting three chain stitches from my serger to keep the colours bang on and the band as thin as possible.

I probably should have made a coordinating waist tie (or even stepped it up and built one into the dress) just for a bit more waist definition and contrast.

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(Grrr I don’t have a photo without shine on the back panel – my lace has this gorgeous sheen to it but it makes it rather difficult to photograph!)

I’d also like to say I think this is the best pattern envelope I have seen in a very long time. Perfect fabric choices on the samples, a beautiful sketch and big photos so you can really see all the details for the dresses.

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It is GENIUS that Simplicity partnered up with Project Runway and taking it a step further to work with specific Project Runway designers has really paid off here. I appreciate the Cynthia Rowley patterns Simplicity offer (though I have yet to try the one in my collection) but I don’t know, something about this Leanne Marshall dress feels a lot younger and fresher while still keeping you covered up and looking classy! I think it will suit a range of ages and body sizes.

I totally recommend this dress to you. But be wary, you’re not getting your hand held through this one, Simplicity expect you to have a pretty darn good idea what you’re doing. If you’re planning to try this out as your FIRST dress you might need to step back and rethink.

Is there anything better than sewing yourself a gorgeous new dress for your birthday? I ended up with a really cool dress that feels both retro and modern.

Just look how smug I am!

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