Top 5s post – Hits , Misses & Highlights

Top 5 for 2014

Hooray, hooray, it’s time for Gillian’s Top 5s posts for the year! I’m really enjoying the posts I’ve seen so far, looking forward to the ones to come, and hoping to find some new to me blogs to read and follow.

I’m going the same way as many bloggers and splitting my posts – first off, the hits, misses and highlights.

My Top 5 Hits: What have you worn or loved the most?

5 – When Two Become One T-shirt – I love that I made an unwearable garment into a wearable one. I want to keep working on developing my refashioning skills- at the moment they’re still cursory, but I’ll keep practising.

4 – Cadfael & Cats Belcarra – I love the colour of this blouse. Again, it gets noticed, but I don’t believe in wearing clothes that blend into the magnolia walls. It’s a fairly firm cotton, and I’d like to try using it again, in other colours.

3 – Pretty Summer Splodges Skirt – This was a delight to wear in the summer, and was a total compliment magnet. The colours are an interesting mix (it would never have occurred to me to wear red and pink together!).

2 – Watermelon Belcarra – This was my first Sewaholic Belcarra blouse (of many) and I still think it’s the prettiest. I wore it lots, because it was so cool to wear in the Summer. I need to work with more cotton lawn, I think, for blouses and tops for next Summer, it’s a dream to work with.

1 – The Dress of Many Colours – I loved this one hard! I made it quite late in the Summer so it didn’t get as much wear as I would have liked. It’s also quite a Statement garment, so I don’t wear it very often, because it’s so noticeable. But every time I wore it it gave me joy, and I’m really looking forward to next spring, so I can wear it all over again. Thanks go out to Heather for the Summer Sundress Sewalong which inspired me to make this.

My Top 5 Misses: What went wrong or never got worn?
I’ve only got four, really. I’m pleased to report that mostly I’m happy to wear the things I’ve made.

The Slouchy Teal Cardigan scroll down to Day 24

4 – The Slouchy Teal Cardigan – The proportions for this were just all wrong for me. I’ve only worn it around the house, as it’s not very flattering. But it’s snuggly and warm and it will be getting more house wear in the new year, while it’s still cold.
Lessons learned:
– Do a swatch (hahahaha! Like *that’s* going to happen!)
– Be willing to undo the bits that look obviously as though they aren’t going to work.

The What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Belcarra – and yes I wear this skirt a lot!

3 – The What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Belcarra – This was a nightmare to make, but having finished it, I have to say I’ve worn it quite a bit, because it’s a useful neutral top. So although it’s in the Misses, because of the difficulties in making it, it turned out ok in the end.
Lessons learned:
– choose fabrics more carefully.
– just because you’ve made a pattern successfully a couple of times before, don’t go making the assumption it will work every single time afterwards.

 2 – The Red Square Skirt – I have worn this occasionally, as it’s a fun wear, but it’s not very practical. The jersey is clingy, and the weight of the fabric is such that it only really works as a very transitional piece. It’s not warm enough for winter wear, and it’s too thick for summer wear, and since it’s best to avoid tights, it needs to be a warm spring or autumn day for me to want to pull this one out of the wardrobe
Lessons learned:
– choose fabrics more carefully.
– consider making some slips to wear with all my unlined skirts.

1 – The Crazy Swirly Circle Skirt – The only reason this hasn’t been worn is that on its second or third outing, I wore it for a picnic, and while sitting in one of those folding chairs, the fabric must have got caught in one of the folding joints, and the fabric got “sliced”. I need to fix it, and I haven’t quite got round to it – mending is never as much fun as actually making a thing.
Lessons learned:
– When a thing needs mending, do it right away

Top 5 Highlights: Tell us about 5 non-sewing highlights of your year!

Gillian’s new topic for our 2014 top 5s is Highlights. This is harder to write! I’ve had a nice year, but it’s been kind of steady, not really full of big events.

5 – Holiday in France. I was on holiday in the Summer with two out of my three sisters. We were in the holiday home that I’ve known all my life, as it was originally built for my great-grandmother and has been the holiday home for my mother and her brothers and sisters, and me and my brothers and sisters all my life. It got split into four apartments when Grandmere Dorion (great grandmother) died to be split between her 8 surviving children. Through a combination of inheritances and buy outs, my three sisters have ended up with three out of the four apartments, one each, and I was borrowing one of them, because that particular sister was coming later in the summer.

It was glorious! The weather was beautiful, I got to spend time with my nieces and nephews as well as my sisters. I really didn’t want it to end.

4 – Being asked to work at Oakleaf. I have been volunteering for Oakleaf Enterprise for a little over a year. It’s a very local charity, helping people with mental illness, providing work-based training and work experience opportunities, as well as social inclusion activities and counselling. I was thrilled to be asked in the Summer to take on some paid work for them, in addition to my normal volunteer work. It’s really made me feel part of the team. And it may sound totally trite and “worthy”, but I really like that the work I do helps make my community a better place.

3 – Seeing my students performing. I love teaching dance. And I firmly believe that dance is a *Performing* art, so I encourage my students to take part in shows.  I do everything I can to make it a positive experience for them. I rehearse them, I make sure they all have good costumes, that they feel comfortable in, I make sure the performance venues are appropriate to their level of dancing (I would never ask students to do a professional paying gig, or to dance at a venue which might not be supportive of them).  I always feel like such a proud mother when I see them!

2 – Working with Dandesh. Dandesh is an Egyptian bellydancer. She’s a proper club dancer, but she also teaches on the international circuit. I last took a workshop with her back in 2005, and I have been trying to do so again ever since. I’ve seen her dancing, when I’ve been in Egypt, but haven’t managed to get lessons.

Dandesh, dancing in Egypt. Photo by Kay Taylor.

This autumn she was teaching and performing at a dance festival in Yorkshire, and I was able to take three workshops with her. I LOVED them. It was so good to get that authentic Egyptian attitude!

1 – Fabric printing. This was partially sewing related, but I’m including it anyway. I took part in Marilla Walker’s Fabric printing swap, and it opened my eyes to a whole new way of being creative and personalising your sewing. I had a ball, and I’m planning on incorporating more hand printing into my makes. And as much as I liked my hand-printed fabric, next time I want to be a bit more adventurous.

The reflections and goals will be in a separate post, coming soon. (Edited to add – it’s here)

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5 thoughts on “Top 5s post – Hits , Misses & Highlights

  1. You’ve got some really good hits there, I especially like your splodgy skirt and watermelon belcarra. It sounds like it’s been a good year for you too. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your makes, hope you have a fabulous New Year! X

    • Thanks Helen! I’ve enjoyed following your blog, since Me Made May- I’m looking forward to seeing more of you and your dresses in 2015.

  2. Thanks for participating in the Top 5 lists, Bea! You’ve made lots of great things this year. I hope you have a fabulous year of sewing and dancing in 2015!

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