2013 Year In Review: Hits

Top 5 of 2013Continuing with my 2013 Year In Review posts, I’m happy to present my Top 4 Hits of the year (yes, I only have 4 again).  Yay!  These are the garments I’ve worn the most, enjoy wearing the most, and am most proud of.  They’re the garments that make me feel like a million bucks – confident, stylish, and just a little smug.  : )  Hope you enjoy seeing them all again!

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I made my entire outfit today – yeah baby!

Handmade outfit - Renfrew and BeignetHalfway through the day today I realized that I had made my entire outfit.  How awesome is that?  I really wanted to bust out a little happy dance in the middle of my lab, but thankfully I managed to restrain myself… and wound up doing it in the bathroom instead.  : )

I wore my burgundy V-neck Renfrew with my navy Beignet and cream sash, along with an infinity scarf I crocheted last winter out of some awesome Manos (unblogged) and my blue and white handmade earrings.  I knew when I got dressed in the morning that I was wearing a me-made top and skirt, but I had totally forgotten about the scarf and earrings.  What a nice surprise!

A few weeks ago I talked about working on my everyday wardrobe and being more thoughtful about the garments I choose to sew, and slowly but surely, it’s all starting to come together.  Granted, my outfit today is pretty similar to the one I wore on Tuesday, since I tend to make multiples of the same patterns.  But you get the idea.  Handmade multiples are still better than RTW, right?

Fun fact: I wore this outfit to work all day, came home, changed, ate dinner, and settled in for the night… and then decided I really wanted a picture after all.  So I dug it all out of the laundry and got dressed again, at 10 pm, just for you.  You’re welcome.  And my face is totally covered in zit cream.  : )

A chance encounter with a fellow sewist

Colette Beignet in navy twill - full outfitGuess what happened to me yesterday…

I wore this outfit to a full-day work event during which I was up in front of the room for a bit.  During lunch, a woman came up to me and asked, “Did you make your skirt?”

And if that wasn’t cool enough, she followed up with, “Because I’m currently making the same one!”

How awesome is that??  : )

Not only was I excited to meet a fellow sewist (and who isn’t, really), but it was such a coincidence that she happened to be sewing a Beignet as well.  We proceeded to have a big conversation about sewing (and knitting), which easily became one of the highlights of my day.

This got me wondering: how popular are Colette patterns (and indie patterns in general) in the sewing world, compared to other/Big 4 patterns?  I noticed that adding my photos of this skirt to the Colette Flickr group garnered more than twice as many views as some of my other project photos, but perhaps that’s due to the relative lack of a sewing presence on Flickr, with the exception of specific groups like the Colette one.

I also think I’ve spied a few Cambie dresses walking around the streets of Boston… but I’ve never said, “Hey, that’s a Butterick 5353!”

Maybe it’s just because there are so many fewer indie patterns than Big 4, and the indie designers tend to get a lot more exposure/support in the online sewing community, so they’re easily recognizable?

Anyway, my philosophical musings aside, it was really fun to meet a fellow sewist (and fellow sewing scientist, for that matter) and share our thoughts about the same skirt pattern.  Have you ever randomly run into someone sewing the same garment as you?  And if so, did you high-five them?  I totally should have done that.  : )

Colette Beignet in navy twill – finished!

Colette Beignet navy twill - finished

My navy twill Beignet is finished, and I have to admit, I LIKE IT!  : )  I wasn’t sure what to expect of this experimental foray into a high-waisted Colette pattern, but I’m certainly pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  I think the skirt is classy but casual, which is exactly the kind of thing I need in my wardrobe.  It’s comfortable and casual enough for everyday wear, but it still looks put together.  Phew!

00 Colette Beignet pattern art

Pattern: Colette Beignet, a high-waisted, fitted skirt.

Fabric: Navy cotton twill for the shell; pink Bemberg rayon for the lining.

Modifications: The skirt sits below my natural waist, which I prefer over the very high-waisted original design.  Fortunately this worked out automatically since I’m on the tall side (5’8″).  I cut about a 10 in the waist and about a 0 in the hips, essentially removing almost all of the curvature in the hips/seat.  I did my own thing for the hem, since it just made more sense to me that way, and I drafted my own pieces for the belt and belt loops.

Level of crafty satisfaction:  I dig it!  I really wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but I’m happy to say that this project gets the thumbs up.  : )

Click here for the in-progress posts, including more detail on fitting modifications and my alternate hemming method.

Lots more photos below – I went overboard as usual.  Enjoy!

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Navy Beignet in progress

Beignet in progress - front

I made a lot of progress on my Beignet this weekend thanks to some much-needed down time.  Yay for weekends!  I’m using the navy cotton twill that I picked up at Joann Fabrics last week, and I’ve been really enjoying working with this fabric.  I love the heaviness of this “bottom weight” cotton; it really gives the skirt a lot more structure and wintery appeal than a regular woven cotton would.

At this point I’ve completed the construction of the outer skirt and the lining, and I’ve made some easy machine buttonholes down the right front panel.  Still left to do: sewing on the buttons, adding belt loops, and making a thin fabric belt.  I’m getting there!

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Beignet muslin (aka does this make my butt look fat?)

Colette Beignet muslin - front

My little sewing experiment is in full swing here at Chez Allspice.  I’ve completed my Beignet muslin, my first official foray into Colette Patterns, and the results so far are… dubious.  Colette is definitely not drafting for my body type (tall with little curvature in the bust and hips), so we’ll see how my attempt at altering the pattern works out.  I’ve decided to move ahead and make an actual skirt, but I’ve gotta say, I’m not convinced this is going to go well.  Then again, experiments are all about taking a chance, right?  : )

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Columbus Day weekend sewing experiment

Colette Beignet patternMy apologies for the lack of posts this week, but I’ve been doing a lot more thinking / pondering / planning than sewing in the last few days.  The Renfrew gravy train is starting to stall (big surprise after 6 in a row!), and I realized I want more winter skirts in my wardrobe.  After hemming and hawing and generally not getting anywhere, I decided to take advantage of the 3-day weekend here in the US and do a little sewing experiment.

Now.  I am generally not a fan of experimentation when it comes to sewing (i.e., trying out a pattern without being fairly certain that the style will suit me).  I am also generally not a fan of Colette Patterns.  Now before you start yelling at me… I have absolutely nothing against Sarai or her awesome team, and I’m a devoted reader of Coletterie, but their vintage-inspired garments are just not really my thing.  No biggie.  

However.  I’ve been seeing a lot of super cute Beignet skirts around the sewing blogosphere lately, and I’m in love with the idea of a wintery button-down skirt in a nice twill, tweed, or corduroy.  I’m picturing myself prancing around Boston in my buttony skirt, opaque tights, and tall boots… and generally being adorable and fancy.  You know how it is.  : )

I’m very dubious about the super high-waistedness of this skirt, since high-waisted anything and I have never been friends.  BUT, I decided to drop the 15 bucks and give it a try, since I’ve got a long weekend ahead of me and plenty of muslin already stashed in my apartment.

And I’m sick of sewing Renfrews.  For now.  : )

Any predictions as to the outcome of my little experiment here?  Disaster?  Brilliant success?  A high-waisted muslin flying out of my apartment window in a fit of despair?  Hmmm….