Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

2013 Sewing Year in Review



Vintage Vogue 1137 made from teenage son’s old jeans – a dress made with memories and worn often this year – goes in the Good pile.


Cream French jacket, Vogue 8804 made in Linton tweed and lined in silk. Goes in the GOOD pile.


Vogue 1312 made in Dutch wax cotton – not good – relegated to the BAD bin.


Stretch cotton flowery jacket, Vogue 8887 – great favourite of late summer. GOOD and worn often


Most Proud – DH’s jacket. Vogue 8890


Vogue 8841 – a firm favourite coat of this winter season and worn a lot. GOOD


Scarlett Hobble dress – probably the most challenging sewing this year due to fit but I got it made in the end so into the CHALLENGING pile.


Vintage Vogue 8851 – wrong fabric, wrong style for me – BAD pile


McCalls 5938 – Rive Gauche jacket – I love this jacket – GOOD pile

Well, that one went really quickly didn’t it? If you want to know about the makes above just click on the pics for the original posts.  Overall, more good than bad in 2013. The really Bad Ones didn’t get photos taken but believe me there were quite a few:

My foray into indie patterns didn’t go well – Newcastle fleece for teenage son and Four Square dress by CfPD, to name some.

New to Me in 2013

Completing an 11 piece SWAP


Serging (overlocking)  – still having the occasional fight but we’re getting on much better

Sewing for others – DH, SIL, niece, nephew and giving away some things I made for me but looked much better on other people.

Grading patterns (up, always up!) – Anne’s MIL’s vintage Vogue dress (see animal print), Scarlett’s Hobble dress (see above)

Wearing animal print! Blame Anne.

Making and wearing sleeveless tops and dresses.

Move to WordPress in April. Some things are better and some are worse than Blogspot. I think I lost a few followers along the way but I’m here now.

What I’ve learned in 2013

The fabric is all important! Wrong fabric and right pattern don’t make a good combination. Wrong fabric and wrong pattern are even worse.  It’s lovely to work with natural fabrics – cotton, silk, wool etc but they are expensive and extremely wasteful if paired with a bad design. Most of my failures this year were due to poor fabric choices not lack of sewing ability.

That my sewing confidence and skills are not where I sometimes think they are: I rush into sewing projects without proper planning or thinking time. My seam ripper was probably the most used item in the sewing room this year.

Which leads nicely onto to a shift in attitude that erupted this year – “if it’s not right, rip it out and start again”. Previously, I would have rolled the whole lot up and hidden it somewhere, now I try to figure out the problem and fix it.

I learned a lot about my body shape this year too: I think I suit skirts that are knee-ish length; I look better with a defined waistline; V-necks and scooped are best for my short neck.

What you’ve given me in 2013

Good advice and support. All those comments really mean something to me, so thank you for taking the time and effort. I may not answer every single one but that doesn’t mean they aren’t read or considered – sometimes life just gets in the way.

Encouragement to complete – when I am hitting a brick wall, you have made me carry on and climb over it.

Compliments – nothing makes you feel better than if someone else likes what you do.

Inspiration – without reading and looking at your sewing projects I’m sure half of mine would never have been made.

Impressive – when I see some staggeringly beautiful dress or meticulously made jacket, you raise the bar on my own achievements.

What I would like for 2014

To complete another  SWAP.


To sew with only good quality fabrics. This might mean buying less fabric due to the higher cost per meter but even if I sew less, then maybe what I make will be better too.

To improve my knitting ability – or at least get one thing finished!

To consider my sewing projects a little more before I start – Do I need this garment? Would I look good in it? What is the best fabric?

And of course, that all your sewing adventures will be plan sailing and successful in 2014.

Go on – impress me!

38 thoughts on “2013 Sewing Year in Review

  1. OMG! It’s just like looking through a high end boutique store when reading this post ~ you have had just a brilliant year with your sewing. Wishing you just as much sewing pleasure in 2014 … J

  2. Very impressive! I can’t believe you made the first dress out of old jeans – so creative! And I love your floral jacket. Well done for sewing for others, I would never even dream about making a mens jacket 🙂 Have a happy New Year!

    • I have nightmares about that jacket and he really wants one made in tres expensive cashmere, this was just the practice version! Thanks and a Happy New Year

  3. You have produced some beautiful pieces – you should be proud of all them.

    Happy New Year and happy sewing for 2014

  4. Impressive and honest!! thxs for the inspiration and everything else.. I wish you happy new year with a lot of sewing with nice fabrics……

  5. I am quite encouraged by this post. I am not new to sewing per say, but I have not sewn for a long time, and frankly, I am quite scared to even begin…but looking at you and your honesty in sharing your hits and failures has encouraged me tremendously!

    Thank you and Happy New Year! m.b.

    • Just take the needle and thread and make a start MB.. choose something straightforward and simple to begin with and it will be like riding a bike. Thank you

  6. Great to see a reminder of how productive and successful your year was. I really love the jeans-to-dress project and the Hepburn collection. And the floral jacket.

    And though you didn’t like your Dutch wax dress, I did and will make something similar for next summer.

    Cheers Ruth and let’s have a fantastic 2014!

  7. What a great review of your year, Ruth. I especially like the Hepburn SWAP, and look forward to your 2014 go at planned sewing. I need to do this again. And I completely agree with you about the quality of fabric making or breaking a project. Here’s to a fantastic new year of sewing!

  8. You had a very successful year. Lovely work, nice to see a review of it.
    Have a great 2014, with a lot of similar succesful projects.

  9. What a show off you are, and rightly so. You accomplished so much this year. I love most of what you made this year, but I think your red dress is my favorite. Happy New Year. ♥

  10. You have had a wonderful sewing year. It was good to review all of the amazing garments you’ve sewn this year and I’m looking forward to what you make next year!

  11. You’ve had a great year, Ruth. My favorite make of yours this year is your floral jacket!

  12. Take pride in an amazing year. I am looking forward to seeing what you do in 2014!

  13. Great year!!! I hope you had a fantastic holiday. May 2014 be creative and productive for you!

    • I had a great holiday Elizabeth, thank you. I reckon it must have been one of the best to date. Hope yours was good too and now to the sewing machine…..

  14. Overall a good year for you. Best wishes for 2014!

  15. A year of very lovely garments! I love reading about your new ‘sews’ and hope to make my own ‘tweed jacket’ in 2014. I look forward to seeing your new projects – especially the SWAP! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  16. What a fabulous array of wonderful garments you have completed in 2013, Ruth. Keep up the great work. Looking forward to seeing your “Rainbow Wardrobe” come to life. All the best for 2014.

  17. I dare say you’ve had a FABulous year! Even your “bads” look pretty darn good, imho. Here’s to meeting all of your goals in 2014, with your usual panache!

  18. You really had a spot on year with all of the pieces you created. Even Vogue 1312 ended as a great save. Oh, and your husband’s jacket, INCREDIBLE!!!

  19. I do so agree with you about the fabric. Pairing together the right combination of fabric and pattern is a real skill. Also knowing what styles suit is tricky. If only it was possible to try on (as with RTW) before making a pattern, I for one would pass it back to the assistant more times than not! Still, looking at your year I would say you have it all well under control. Love the floral jacket – not surprised it got a lot of wear. Look forward to your future makes and happy 2014.

  20. I thought you looked quite smashing in the vogue 1312. It was my favorite!

  21. That African print dress is gorgeous!

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