Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 Sewing Retrospective: Curl up with a beverage.

Once again, I'm squeaking out this post just under the wire....and I squeaked out sewing one more garment, this StyleArc Demi Drape Top that I finished tonight (I'll write a separate blog post about it and the StyleArc experience later...)

StyleArc Demi Draped Top DONE!
 StyleArc Demi Drape Top.  (Yes, Elle, StyleArc includes fabric swatches in with their patterns!  But that will be a separate post.)

Welcome to my 2011 sewing retrospective!  This is a long post, so get your favorite beverage and settle in.  At least there aren't any commercials.

In 2011, I sewed 22 garments (9 dresses, 3 skirts, 4 tops, 1 jumper, 1 vest, 1 nightgown, 1 flannel night shirt, and 2 leggings) plus 1 bag, 3 finger puppets and 10 pairs of underwear.  Eclectic, huh?  I didn't sew as much as I wanted to because cooking good-for-me food got in the way; thankfully cooking is faster for me now that it doesn't take me an eon to chop veggies anymore.

2011 Hits:

New Look 6071 is my absolute favorite. Finished at the end of October, I've been wearing this dress during this relatively mild fall and winter with a brown cami, brown cardi, brown stockings and brown mary janes (too bad I don't have any pix of me dressed like that!). It is comfy, classy, and I feel stylish.
New Look 6071 view A done!
I think the cross-over front is just awesome.
New Look 6071 view A done!
Simplicity 2406 is a close second. The obi sash is amazing and I love the pockets!
Simplicity 2406 Cynthia Rowley rolled sleeves
New Look 6000 (sounds like a pattern...from the future!) was a very retro 60's style dress. I struggled with the zipper on this one, but moved it to the side for great results. 
New Look 6000 view C done
Also loved this retro 60's pencil skirt, Simplicity 2154.  Loved it so much, I made it in brown, too.
Simplicity 2154 view D done
Butterick 5559, sewn while catsitting Buddy, is another favorite. 
Butterick 5559
He helped a LOT.
Butterick 5559
I'm also fond of this Burda 7379 with a crazy ruffle.   Because who doesn't love a crazy ruffle, am I right??
LOVE this ruffle
Burda 7379 done?
And of course I love new underwear made with Antoinette's make-yer-own-undies tutorial

Here's my favorite pair of the year:
I'm bananas for this underwear! 

I'm bananas for this underwear!  

I made three fingerpuppets after being inspired by an ad in an Austin newspaper. The pig is my favorite.
hello pig!
Here's my "inspiration" ad:
finger puppet pig in action
 Dr. Jeff LaMour, do you have any idea what you inspired?
Meet bunny

2011 Misses 

I didn't like this Vogue 1236 when it was done, mostly my fault. The neckline was too low so I sewed the straps with a larger SA, which brought the bottom of the dress up too high. And it's too small in my hips. Plus I used different fabric for the facings and I feel like they are on display.
I wore it once and never wore it again:
Vogue 1236
Other people love the Jalie tulip top; I sewed it probably a size or two too big.  I never wore it out of the house.  Its major problems disappear, as long as I keep my arms out to the side like this:
Jalie 2806
I don't know, I spent hours on Simplicity 50's retro jumper and feel like a kindergarten teacher. I wish I had cut it from uncut corduroy which would have made it look like velveteen, probably, and give it less of a teacher vibe.  Worn only once.
Simplicity 3673 view A/B done
I really don't like this Burda 7696. The V is too low, and I shouldn't have cut the bottom of the dress so large. This is my "reworked" version and it still needs more work.  I think I wore it twice, then started taking it apart.
Burda 7696 done
I gave my half-done "muslin" of this dress which was too big for me to a coworker who finished it--it looks great on her.
Marsha in the Burda dress
I think if I had made this Simplicity dress in a smaller size or a darker color I would have liked it more. The cowl is heavy due to its size (and my double knit fabric choice) and too large.
Simplicity 2054 View A done
However the green muslin of this dress, with the articulated sleeve, is a favorite nightgown of mine.
Simplicity 2054 muslin view C done
Obviously, I don't wear it with a belt to sleep!

But what else happened?

  • I wrote my 100th pattern review this fall and my third pattern review star followed shortly after.
  • The New Look 6000 dress was featured on patternreview's blog and twitter feed.   Thanks Deepika and the Pattern Review crew!   I featured the dress on my holiday card with Suede.
My holiday card this year, with Suede! (Project Runway Season 5 alum)
  • Butterick featured the 5559 dress on their Facebook page in Nov.
  Thanks for the love, Butterick!
  • I went to NYC's garment district for the first time ever back in June, with Antoinette.  Meg featured our trip on her super useful blog, Shop the Garment District.  I also had my "sewing-rite-of-passage" photo taken with Kashi of Metro Textiles.   At my house, Antoinette pulled my hand-me-down serger out of the closet and showed me how to use it (though I still haven't serged "for real" yet)
A sewing blogger rite of passage--a photo with Kashi at Metro Textiles
Antoinette with Kashi at Metro Textiles
  Inside Metro Textiles 9/17/11
  • I attended 3 sewing conferences:  PR weekend Chicago in May, which kickstarted my sewing again and inspired me to take my sewing up to the next level.  Thanks Tina!
Before lunch on Saturday
Old and new friends!
  • American Sewing Expo in Sept which is where I met Suede.  The Simplicity folks gave me a copy of their Fabric Guide to say thanks for my support of Simplicity and New Look.  I also took a serger class. And a zipper flower class, can't forget about that.
  Lynnelle from You Sew Girl and me
Meetup with Elle!
  • Went to PR weekend Austin in Nov where Leslie outdid herself.  I now have a custom-fitted pants pattern but still need to sew it up.  I also was introduced to TexStyles which I wish was in NJ.
Sunday morning
  • I bought a sewing gauge and use it all the time!  It is SO handy.  It enables me to do things like this:
Simplicity 2054 View A done
  • I finally started ironing my seams during the sewing process as per Ann on Gorgeous Things.  It really does make a difference.
  • After being chastised by Benson of TexStyles, I now clip all my threads as I sew.
  • I installed my first ever invisible zip this August, then installed 4 more.

Vogues 1247 done!!!
Inaugural zip; they got better after this one
  • I sewed my first ever welt pockets in June, then didn't sew them again.

Pocket sample 3   just testing

  • I tried two new-to-me sewing pattern brands, Kwik Sew and StyleArc.

KS 3740 done  
KwikSew 3740. I will make this again soon!  Maybe even as-soon-as-tmw soon!

What about 2012 (and beyond)?
I want to learn how to blind hem on my machine; I want to make a real pair of pants; I want to get my serger in working order and use it.   I will attend PR weekend in May in NYC.  I want to buy a real dressform.

To all my blog and pattern review readers:   A huge thank you for all of your comments and suggestions this year, and all your support about my various health issues (which are all manageable lately, may that trend continue, knock on wood!)

Wishing you a healthy and happy new year full of sewing and all of your favorite things!!!


  1. Great post! You made some really nice things this year and went SO MANY places!!! I'll bet 2012 will be even better. Happy New Year to you as well!

  2. I have already decided I'm going to sew more in 2012. My current - 3 garments a year - leaves me lots of room for improvement! You will be my muse.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Wow - you did a lot and sounds like you got to make some great new friends, fabric and otherwise.

    Will be really interested to read about your Style Arc experience. I have bought and made their jeans pattern and never blogged about it - because the jeans never made it past the muslin although I do think they have potential.

    The instructions had serious mistakes, and I came to the conclusion that I just wasn't a Style Arc customer - they are based on RTW - which means their sizing is based on using fabric with a lot of stretch -and I prefer the tailoring and precision of Burda and stable woven fabrics.

    They were also very expensive, the postage being ridiculous considering the country of origin is only next door.

    However, I do think the jeans pattern has potential, and if I can track down the right weight denim then I may try again.

    So overall I decided it wasn't a bad experience, but not a good fit for me.

  4. Happy New Year, dear Kyle! What a great post. The Muse dress was def my fave of all your sewing adventures, but you have a lot of good contenders there. 2012 sounds amazing for your sewing. Can't wait!

  5. Wow! That was a lot of sewing this year. You make the things I secretly wish I had the figure to wear. I love all those dresses, especially the black one with the diagonal design lines. I wish you a very happy 2012.

  6. Happy new year, Kyle!! I love reading your posts and look forward to following along this year. You were very productive in 2011 and have many fabulous garments.

    I hope to you in NYC in May!


  7. What a great year you had. I hope 2012 will be even better for you. Happy New Year.

  8. You had a great year! And we really need to get together since I still only live down the street from you...a little further than before but still down the street! *LOL*

    Happy New Year and see you for PR weekend in NYC.

  9. Congratulations on a very productive year. I love following along! The new Style Arc shirt looks fantastic by the way. I love the black with the stripes underneath. All the best to you in 2012!

  10. You did a great rundown of 2011! I agree that Simplicity 2406 is one of my favorites that you made as well.

    Happy New Year!! I look forward to seeing what happens this year!

  11. Happy New Year! You have done so well this past year! You should be very proud of all you have accomplished. I have enjoyed reading your blog and will continue to. I hope this year we'll have a chance to actually talk in person!

  12. You had an amazing year of sewing! Happy New Year!

  13. You've had a great year both sewing and getting out amongst the sewing community. BTW your necklines are flattering on you. Have a lovely 2012.

  14. Wow, love all your sewing works! You are so talented. Greetings from germany and I´m following you now :)

  15. Beautiful garments!! I'm sorry I missed you during the PR Weekend here in Austin... I wish I could have gone. Happy New Year and can't wait to see what you make in 2012.

  16. WoW! such a wonderful outfits indeed. love it.


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