Lots of bloggers are doing this – looking back at what they made in 2016 and describing what went well and what did not. I don’t know who first “hit” on this idea, so I am sorry if I “miss” acknowledging them.
I have made about 30 items this year, plus four sweaters, and three hats. I enjoyed it very much and, as ever, I learned a lot. So how do I judge “the best” from “the rest”, and distinguish between the OK and the truly abominable?
I have objective information, via Instagram, of how many were liked. And while this is not totally reliable, as people like for all sorts of reasons, perhaps perfect strangers have less inhibition than people who comment on the blog. And I am not the most reliable at posting what I make, especially when it is a bit rubbish. With the blog I can explain, and learn, from my mistakes. With IG it is mainly visual – you don’t want to accidentally get likes for things that are “a fail”. But IG does provide a bit of fast feedback so I will include this information if I have it.
The hits are a mixture of genuinely liking the garment, and enjoying wearing it. Some I have worn occasionally and some frequently, so for me it is not about frequency alone. It is that I have pride in my work, and I feel good in the item.
I think my all time favourite this year is my hand painted, silk organza, “Six Nap” dress. I copied a shape, but made it my own. I loved doing the painting and I feel joyous when I put on this dress. I have only worn it a few times, but will again. I like it as it expresses a side of my personality – exuberance? (351 IG likes)
The second love is the silver leather skirt. It’s a simple skirt that didn’t take long to make, although the leather was expensive. I used a Cardin pattern and I felt this 1960s space age designer was so right for the fabric. It is almost mirrored and it is a skirt that gets me noticed. However I wear it quite often with very plain items – a navy or chocolate brown jumper, thick tights and boots or masculine shoes. And, for more formal work events, a dark jacket.
My grey haltner neck/off the shoulder grey dress was another sucess. I made the pattern myself. It is a simple princess-line, fitted dress, with a nice neckline, in a sober light blue-grey. I wore this last week for a cocktail party in the Shard. I wish I had underlined it to avoid the obvious hem (and the strapless bra was a lacey and lumpy), but I think this dress suits me. The zip is a silver separating zip giving a bit of interest at the back.(252 IG likes)
My first attempts at casual were a big sucess; my Birkin flares and my Lorelle jumper. I have worn these two items at least 30 times each. I love them together, and I love them apart. Very comfortable, easy to wear, flattering and very me, I feel. Neither are perfectly made. The jeans zip gave me a headache royale, and I the top stitching is a bit in your face (it is grey, but looks like white). But I like the styling, the shape and general look of the jeans. As for the jumper the subtle zig zags are just great and I like the way it sits nicely on my shoulders. (263 IG likes). Overall I love both these items and could live in them.
And two other slightly strange items are the floral hat and the cling film bodice. The bodice because it just fit perfectly and that was a suprise and a delight (most of the glory belongs to Pia of The Overflowing Stash. And the hat. Just because it is gorgeous. I haven’t worn it (yet). But it sits in our bedroom and looks at me, and it makes me happy with its glorious colour, its draped, folded beige Japanese wool-cotton, and its outrageousness. I have worn the navy one (last weekend actually), and the Schiaparelli Mad Cap often.
The items that didn’t work, or I don’t care for, or I have to alter or throw out are as follows:
The Perry Ellis dress is a fun dress but does nothing for me. The fit is loose all over – it is a long column and I am not. The only shaping comes from the sash. A frank commentor wrote:
I am surprised that you fitted it to your self so badly – do you not have good fitting skills. The armhole is way to low for you and you could have vastly improved the fit in neckline and across the bust. I look at alot of your photos and question your skill. I see glaring errors in fit across everything you make – your pants are the worst. Maybe some time to improve your skills would be worthwhile for you.
And talking of pants we have two here – neither of which fit. First are the disastrous cling film trousers – without Pia, Marijana and I made a bit of a hash of them. And then I used sweatshirt fabric for some drapey silk pants – the Designer Stitch Lena pants. I would have to include the pink sleeveless peplum jacket that was a waste of good fabric and zip. I lined it with a slightly too heavy fabric and it really looked stupid without sleeves. I had already made this self drafted top in grey and have worn that one a fair amount. The worse fail of the year was my pink YSL dress with the sequins. If I cried over failure this one would make me weep.
Anyway I am not sure it should be hit or miss. That sounds like I am shooting a target and making clothes is much more than that, at least for me. I think love and hate overstates the hate part. Most of the “failures” are learning experiences that I am very glad I had. Mainly because I now know more about what shapes suit me, how fabric behaves and how colours work. I think I would rather divide my home made clothes into “treasured” and “recycled”.