BY THE NUMBERS
First up, some numbers, because it wouldn't be me if I didn't lead with the numbers.
This year I acquired 57 garments in total (compared to 78 in 2014). I discarded 86 garments, so overall my wardrobe shrank by just over 10% compared to 01/01/15.
Of the 57 garments added to my wardrobe, I sewed 34, knitted 1 and bought 22. My goal this year was to make (rather than buy) about two thirds of my wardrobe acquisitions, and I am going to call it good enough that I made just over 60% of them. This is about the same proportions as last year, and I am quite satisfied that that is a sewing/RTW mix that suits me for now
My RTW purchases were mainly trousers -- linen trousers for summer, cords and jeans for winter -- a handful of knit tops in styles I don't want to sew or fabrics that I can't source (especially wicking fabric for active wear), plus a couple of other random things, plus also lingerie.
Of these, the thing I'd at least like to have the option of making is trousers. I haven't really worked on fitting trousers yet though and a major fitting project like that is outside of my capabilities at my current level of health, so for the time being RTW is really my best option. Luckily, I don't find it overly challenging to buy stuff that fits at least reasonably well and this year I was also able to get some new-with-the-labels-still-on thrift buys that worked out really well. I did discard one thing I bought this year due to poor fit.
Of the 35 things I made over the course of the year, I discarded 4 more or less immediately due to poor fit (2) or poor fabric choice (2), and another 2 after about 6 months worth of wear. I'm not super excited by my attrition rate among my hand-made garments, but on the other hand I'm not going to keep something in my wardrobe if it doesn't work for me or looks ragged just because I made it.
I used 24 different sewing patterns to make my 34 sewn garments this year. Of those, 18 patterns were completely new to me this year, and I made 23 garments from them. The remaining 6 patterns (11 garments) I had used in previous years.
My 24 patterns came from 10 different pattern sources. Half my patterns came from issues of my two favourite sewing magazines: Ottobre (7 patterns) and Burda (5 patterns). I made up 7 traditional envelope patterns (3 New Look, 2 Butterick, 1 Kwik Sew, 1 Burda envelope. (I also produced a total wadder with a Simplicity pattern). From the indies, I made 2 StyleArc, 1 HotPatterns and 1 Wiksten. I also drew up one (extremely simple) pattern based on a RTW garment. This distribution between the types of pattern sources is pretty consistent to last year.
You can see everything I made in 2015 by category here on my completed project page for the year.
FAVOURITES: 3 garments
|Favourites: Burda 03-2014-124, StyleArc Estelle, Burda Classics 2013 005B|
My absolute favourite thing I made in 2015 is my Burda 03-2014-124 rolled-cuff blue gingham summer blouse. If I regret anything it's that I didn't have enough fabric or the foresight to make proper long sleeves with cuffs so I could wear it year round. I love it partly because I really like the fabric (an inexpensive but extremely nice 100% cotton gingham) and partly because I really like the design, especially the shape and fit of the collar and the spiffy button placement. I plan to use this pattern again for sure. This was my most-worn woven top this summer.
I also really love my black and white lace print StyleArc Estelle cardigan. I made a blue one as well that I also like but overall I like the black and white fabric more. This was the first StyleArc pattern I tried and it went together beautifully and it is very easy to wear as a layering piece.
My third favourite garment is another Burda pattern, this time the only skirt I made this year: Burda Classics 2013 005B. I had SO many problems sewing the hem on this full skirted maxi and it's very far from perfect if you look at it critically, but it's still lovely to wear. I made it from a very lightweight green paisley fabric that floats and twirls perfectly. I wore this skirt frequently through the summer months.
|StyleArc Issy, Ottobre 05-2011-11, Ottobre 02-2006-04: Good, but not quite favourites|
I've worn the blue and white blobby Ottobre 05-2011-11 top less because it's not such a great layering piece, though I'll get more wear out of it in spring I hope. It misses on being a favourite because of the problems with the facings that persist in wear (they tend to pull just a little), but it's still a really great top.
Another top I really liked was a red sleeveless blouse I made using Ottobre 02-2006-04. I only wore this twice because we didn't get the weather for sleeveless shirts after I made it, which is why it's not in favourites -- it hasn't quite stood the test of time or washing yet. However, I really like the way it turned out and the fit is surprisingly flattering for a shirt that looks so boxy on my tailor's dummy.
BORING REPEAT PATTERNS THAT I LOVE BECAUSE THEY WORK EVERY TIME
|Three of my five uses of a modified pattern based on New Look 6150 this year|
Also boring but incredibly useful: I made a TON of pyjamas this year with various patterns, but most notably Butterick 5704 (PJ trousers), Burda 8271 (PJ capris), and Ottobre 05-2011-02 (PJ shorts). These are all workhorse patterns for me that I will continue to use every time I need PJs. None of them are at all glamorous but they work really well and I love them.
I also made a couple of pairs of loungewear type knit trousers using Burda 11-2005-127 that I've worn and washed to the point of extinction. I actually don't know if I'll make the pattern again because I fancy using a different pattern when I make some replacements early next year, but these have been wardrobe staples for days at home in cool weather.
|Butterick 5826, New Look 6407, Ottobre 02-2010-17, Kwik Sew 3555|
New Look 6407 was another disaster throughout when making it. I struggled with the vertical darts, fit and facings. I tried wearing it once only and halfway through the day I ripped it off and put something else on because I hated it so much. It went straight in the bin and I have no plans to revisit this pattern.
Another 'I wore it, but..." garment is this white pin-tucked blouse I made using Ottobre 02-2010-17. I really liked the idea of this but the pattern was much more oversized than I anticipated and although I wore it a few times I never liked how it fit. The fabric is so very sheer and lightweight that it doesn't hold the shape of the shirt at all and after a couple of washes it turned into a rag. It too went in the recycling when I last reviewed my wardrobe.
Most disappointing of all though is the short-sleeved shirt I made with Kwik Sew 3555 in green checked linen. Earlier in 2015 I had made the long-sleeved version of the shirt in blue polycotton quite successfully, although the high poly content of the fabric makes it sweaty to wear. For this version I used this (very expensive) fabric that I bought while I was living in Ireland. I really thought it would make a great shirt. However, the hand of the linen turned out not to be ideal for a shirt and after I first wore it, it shrank in the wash despite two pre-washes. Even more disastrously, one of the yoke seams unravelled horribly as well and I had to do a very ham-fisted patch job. I am so reluctant to discard this shirt after only wearing it a couple of times because I loved this fabric, but I am not sure I will ever wear it much as it's too short and the yoke seam is a mess. I've left it in my wardrobe for now but I may well discard it when summer 2016 rolls around.
|A selection of indifference, failures and other stuff|
Indifferent: Boob vortex tee (Ottobre 05-2012-11) - I wore this a reasonable number of times this summer but the fabric shrank a bit in the wash despite pre-treatment and the pattern never 100% worked for me. I'll replace it next year. Also indifferent: New Look 6890 nightdress.
My choices are baffling: Backshore sweater (knitted). But WHY did I knit a 3/4 sleeve DK sweater? If it's cold enough for a DK weight sweater then it is cold enough to need warm arms! I did wear it a few times in the autumn but it's a sweater of limited use.
Why did I make this?: Wiksten tank in green cotton voile. I hate tank tops and can't think why I made one, especially of this nearly see through cotton voile. It is no longer in my wardrobe.
Worst fabric ever: Green flames top - surely the itchiest fabric in the world. I wore this Ottobre "Summer Basics" top once and then got rid of it after spending the whole day feeling like I was wearing a hair shirt. Dreadful.
Adventures in Extreme Wadders: I reviewed, even though it was never finished or added to my wardrobe, a dreadful knit top wadder made with Simplicity 1063.
OVERALL, I'm not sure if it was it a good year or a bad year for sewing outcomes. I (mostly) enjoyed myself making everything that I made, which included some other random things as well on top of the garments described here -- I sewed a quilt, blinds, some tote bags and a handbag, and I knitted scarves, shawls and a hat. I very often think that the pleasure I usually get from the process of sewing outweighs the outcomes anyway. So I am willing to call 2015 a good year for sewing, even if not everything turned out well, and nothing at all turned out perfectly (not that it ever will). :D