Top 5 Hits – 2014 (or perhaps 4)

Before we even start this Top 5 blogging journey, I’d just like to say that I might not always blog ‘five’ things. It’s not that I can’t count, it’s just that I’d rather pick one thing, four things or maybe eight things or more… it’s just what feels right.

I enjoy these posts – for me. So skip over it or read on if you like. I find it interesting to sit back and think about the year just gone. Whether it’s sewing or life in general, it’s good to think about what worked, what didn’t and ‘where to next’.


Today I’m blogging my Top 5 Hits. The makes I’ve worn the most and feel most ‘like me’. It’s easy to get caught up in a trend but more and more I simply sew the things that appeal to me and my sense of style (or perhaps lack thereof!).

Drape Drape

My mother-in-law gave me Drape Drape book last Christmas – and I immediately ordered Drape Drape 2 & 3. These books really changed my sewing approach and ricocheted me off into a completely different style zone – where I’ve never felt more comfortable. They finally provided me with some options that were really what I wanted to create and wear. Some of the makes were perhaps a little crazy but I’ve found these patterns fascinating. Drape Drape posts are here…

As recently blogged, the draped singlet dress from Drape Drape 2 has been the runaway winner in this year’s sewing. This little make is simply a misshapen singlet/tank dress. It’s incredibly easy to make and takes just 1.1m of fabric. When I’ve worn them people want to know ‘who the designer is’ – that gives me particular delight with my red/white/blue one which cost me just $6 in fabric.  

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress.

Excuse the stupid pose. blowing a gale and the camera went flat. No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress. This is perhaps my favourite. I love the lyocell DKNY fabric and the vibrant colours.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side view - with the drapes.

Side view – with the drapes.

Vogue 8780 – the Ugly Duckling

Despite the incredibly uninspiring pattern artwork or even more ‘blah’ Vogue photography, this cardigan is one of my most loved & versatile pieces. It’s made from a very fine merino knit from The Fabric Store in Sydney – plucked from the remanent bin for just $19.

It’s lovely with dresses & jeans. I wear it at work as much as I wear it casually. It’s got lovely drape at the front, a flared hem and it’s fitted across the back. I will make a size smaller next time (this is a small) as the sleeves are quite roomy – but I don’t mind, I love wearing it as it is. To me, this is the perfect cardigan (or whatever you call this!).

All I can say is, you need this in your pattern stash, buy it before it becomes OOP.

Vogue 8780

Sorry can’t see much of the ‘make’ but I love all the natural tones in this shot.

Vogue 8780 - so versatile

Vogue 8780 – so versatile. That’s in the work lift… it has rather a lot of mirrors. Helpful for selfies! I didn’t make the pink dress, it’s an old Metallicus which I had bagged for the op shop – then I thought would lovely it would look with this cardigan. So glad I saved it!

Vogue 1250 & Maria Denmark Day-Night Dress

I’ve made five of these dresses, my most beloved is the Sew Dolly Clackett dress which I’ve worn to work many times. It’s a versatile, comfortable, fun & flattering dress. I’ve been surprised by how much people admire this given the somewhat ‘unusual’ print – it’s not for the faint-hearted! I love the quirkiness and the fact it’s a different colour palette to what I would usually wear.

I love this picture - not because it's a great one of me - but that 'window' in the print looks like a peephole into my soul... or belly button LOL

I love this picture – not because it’s a great one of me – but that ‘window’ in the print looks like a peephole into my soul… or belly button LOL

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

A very recent sewing hit. I’ve worn this a lot!. It’s easy to wear & I’m quite proud of my collar, placket & overall finish. I think I’m also emotionally attached to it as it was sewn on a happy, stress-free day – something I relished after some long, tough months.

I’ve got another Alder to share in the next few days!

Alder, view A - back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.

Alder, view A – back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.


There you have it. One indie (Grainline). One Vogue. One Vogue & indie (Maria Denmark) hybrid. One Japanese pattern book.

I love slightly fitted, draped clothes. I adore casual wear and love nothing more than an outfit that I can wear barefoot or with heels. It suits my lifestyle. I work fulltime (so corporate office wear five days a week) and when I’m not at work I like to relax – mentally and physically. We really do go to a quiet beach almost every weekend with the dog and spend plenty of time outside the house.

I’ve loved plenty of other things I’ve made, including my By Hand London Hollys or the dress Holly hack which were fun to make & joyous to wear (and I love that bodice). However for my everyday wear, these four makes/patterns are the ones I reach for the most often – clothes that feel most like ‘me’.

I often sew simply to experiment and challenge myself. I’ve always said I’m not always a practical blogger. I make things that are buzzing around in my head or make me happy (or I try to). My sewing room has many resident squirrels to distract me and one drunk monkey who wrecks havoc on my hems, buttonholes and topstitching when I’m too tired to fight him off.  However on my favourite sewing days, I’m making something I have envisaged and desperately want to wear – and it comes off the sewing machine like magic. Those are the great days.

Top 5 of 2014

Top 5 of 2014


41 thoughts on “Top 5 Hits – 2014 (or perhaps 4)

  1. I adore this post – they’re all pieces that are so perfectly you! You look so at ease in the photos. I love the description of the inhabitants of your sewing room. Especially the drunk monkey – he’s been wreaking havoc in mine recently!!

    • I’m beginning to suspect he’s got a tardis and fancies a bit of world travel my funny little drunk monkey. I managed to stitch a drama-free Hemlock tshirt hem today so he wasn’t here this morning!
      Thank you 🙂

  2. Love your selection of hits. They are all so creative and contemporary. But God, you say you work full time and STILL have time to make all these incredible outfits! What’s your secret? Do you sleep at all? All I can say, is bravo!

    • LOL I guess I do manage to produce a lot. I just sew in lots of short bursts. I usually cut out at night and pin seams. I sometimes do a few seams before work if I have pinned them the night before. I tend to find my sewing is better in short bursts, I rarely get the opportunity to sew for hours, so I just make the most of the time I do have.
      I also don’t often sewn hugely complex garments, although the Alder is more work than most. This is predominantly because I don’t like fussy clothes… so I don’t tend to feel inspired to sew them!

  3. Great post! I really like these Top 5 lists because you get a glimpse into which garments withstood the test of actual wearability 🙂 I always think it would be a good idea to go back to all my posts and actually write whether this garment has been worn or not…but that is just so much extra work! haha
    I’m particularly happy you posted about the Vogue cardigan…I bought the pattern after your version and have been staring at it, tempted to make it but the artwork is just NOT motivating. I’ll give it a go now.

    • I know. The artwork is not good but another blogging friend recently made it in a merino knit & adores hers. I think its especially lovely in soft knits with lots of drape. Next time I make it I’m going to sew the back neck seam with wrong sides together so the seam is hidden as the collar rolls over – this will make sense as you sew it!

    • Oops. Sorry it was rather harsh but I just want to encourage people to see past the artwork. It’s a lovely, soft feminine jacket/cardigan – great design. One of my sewing friends recently made it & agrees it’s fabulous! I’ve even sent a copy to another friend that I think would enjoy it.
      It’s a big job styling so many outfits, not everything is going to appeal to everyone.

  4. These are such great posts! Your Drape Drape posts have been so inspiring to me. I got a Japanese magazine last Christmas and am just starting down that lovely rabbit hole.
    Your last paragraph is beautiful. Great days indeed!

  5. Does your mom know how much her gift of a Drape Drape book changed your style? I wonder what she’ll follow it up with this year!
    You’ve been so busy and stressed this year – but it’s nice to see that life can’t keep you down, and you’ve made some great stuff this year!

    • It has been an exceptionally challenging year – but it’s nearly over and hopefully 2015 is much easier! Sewing provides a great mental distraction for me – I call it my ‘yoga’ everything else slides away which is just what we all need some days.
      My MIL reads my blog so I suspect she does know it’s changed my sewing and I think she would love that!

  6. All lovely, I particulalry like the Maria Denmark and the Drape dress. I also love your beach location, just beautiful. Best wishes and more gorgeous sewing in 2015.

  7. Such awesome choices, and I reckon I would have picked them too. I had to laugh when I saw the ugly duckling as I’m pretty sure I defended it (in my head?) when you originally presented it. It’s such a great staple piece and super easy to wear and integrate. And you know how I feel about your Alder, and your drape drape dress and your…. Oh hell I love them all.

    • I always loved the cardigan – once I made it. The pattern envelope does it no favours and when I was in the Fabric Store wearing it and someone asked me what the pattern was and I showed them – they looked at me like I had rocks in my head! LOL.
      Here’s hoping there are as many happy makes in 2015 – thanks for the comment, made me smile.

  8. Those are some great makes! I might just add the Vogue cardigan to my list and pick it up at the next big sale around here. Love me a versatile cardigan and the waterfall is a fave silhouette.

  9. All so very you 🙂 I love that you try almost any style but still stay true to yourself. That Vogue cardi is brilliant – really need to take pics of mine (thanks for the reminder)
    Merry Christmas!

  10. In the end it comes down to comfortable fashion. If it feels good and looks good on you, you’ve got it made. I love that cardigan. It’s elegant and versatile and looks comfortable, too.

    Thanks for sharing your list.

    • I could not agree more – while I have some dresses that I love, I always reach for the comfortable options first. I don’t think that things need to be fitted, tight or revealing to be flattering. I must have grown up!

      • That made me smile. When you look at fashion through the ages, women’s clothing always emphasizes one part of the female body: small waist, voluptuous hips, long legs. I think we’ve finally reached an era when we can just be ourselves (as long as we turn away from the ‘women should be perfect, flag-waving media’). You’re so lovely in all that you wear. I think of your style as confident and feminine. Go you!

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