Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Top Fives

Hard to believe that during all these years blogging, I've never done a recap (it's true!). But because I've been enjoying everyone else's 2013 recaps popping up this week, I decided to spend way too much time gathering photos jump on Gillian's Top 5 bandwagaon too. Thanks Gillian and my sewing blogger friends for giving me the needed kick in the @ss push. If you've got a few hours you want to kill, click the link to Gillian's blog because it's the page where all the recappers have been posting links to their lists. I've already found a few new-to-me blogs. Fun!

So, first up is a composite of I think everything I've made this year. I've had some ups and downs during 2013 which definitely directly affected the mojo, but after seeing it all and counting around 40-ish pieces, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course there were many, MANY more projects in my mind that haven't yet become reality, but that's what 2014 is for, right? (That's probably all of the "Reflection" you're going to get as I tend to not look backward.)

Top 5 Hits - in no particular order

1. Simplicity 2474. This simple top, which takes a mere 28" of fabric, became a true wardrobe workhorse. It pairs with both my purple and black Magic Pencils. Even from Joann's Polly and Esther, it works all year round, by itself on the hottest days and under a cardi on the coldest. I'm definitely going to have to add one or two more of these during 2014.

2. Frankenpattern top, using KS2694 to copy a fav RTW top. This, and the original RTW, are in regular rotation all the time. I have to fight the urge to wear them both to work each week. If I could have a uniform, this top in different prints and a coordinating Magic Pencil would be it. Another one I need to make again.

3. Self-drafted (term used loosely) skirt which was created from the ashes of a wadder dress and a Jalie 2806 top. This outfit had lots of wear during the summer. Bright and comfortable, and cheap!

4. I think this is my favorite make of 2013. It's a 2-piece dress using Butterick 5429 for the top and Simplicity 2185 for the skirt. I love the colors, the slinky fabric, the border print used at the waist hem to break it up, and the swish factor. I get compliments every time I wear this.

5. Last, but not least, my latest project ... the Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Mimosa. I've worn this once and already know it's going into high rotation status. I'm planning to start (and maybe finish?) another one Wednesday. Great "sleeper" pattern!

Top 5 Misses - in no particular order

1. McCall's 6397. Cute, right? Never worn. Not because I don't like it. But because first I needed something to wear under it. The blouse shown isn't comfortable. Now, alas, I've gained a few and the dress is too snug. It's still in my closet waiting for me to drop 10 (15?) and find an underlayer. As is the first summer version, which I wore ALL the time ... those 10-ish pounds ago.

2. Vogue 8825. I tried this on and hated it on me. I dubbed it the tree trunk and thus it has never been worn. I swore I was trashing it that day. But I still want to love it somehow so it's been in a wadder ball in my sewing room for almost a year now. If nothing else, I'm going to rescue the fabric for something. I still love the style/pattern and am hoping it's just a bad fabric pairing. But fearing another weeping willow, I haven't yet tried it again.

3. Right after the tree trunk, came this never worn, never even finished, wadder. Vogue 8805. Debbie, just step away from the shapeless shifts. But then Lara of Thornberry just made another, slightly redesigned and in a woven and now I'm tempted again ... for a summer weekend dress. Someone slap me. I also just realized this dress is still hanging (unfinished) in my laundry room. Come tomorrow, it will be GONE.

4. Butterick 5749. Never worn because it started out short and snug. Now it's longer after adding a hem band but snugger after adding some pounds. It kills me that I "wasted" this fabric. It's still hanging in my closet, waiting. Sigh. Because the dress is made from so may pieces, I can't even rescue the fabric. Bigger sigh.

5. Butterick 5489. UFO, so never worn. I just kind of fell out of love with it before it was done. I may finish it. Or I may be distracted yet again but the next bright and shiny pattern. Who wants to place a bet?

Honorable Mentions - in no particular order

1. Another Butterick 5429/Simplicity 2185 combo. This gets worn a lot. It's comfortable and I like the print. I need a color pop cardi so it can be added to the "winter" rotation.

2. Simplicity 3768. I've had this pattern for YEARS and finally decided to make the shorts and top from it. Both are winners. I LIVE in these shorts on the weekend. And the linen version gets worn often too.

3. I started this Hot Patterns 1138 Metropolitan Verano right before I lost that job and it sat, haunting me. Once I picked myself up and finally finished it, it became a summer wardrobe staple. It's bright, comfortable, cute, and so easy to just slip on with sandals and run out the door. Perfect for Florida.

4. The top from Simplicity 3768 also gets worn a lot. It's a rayon knit so it's comfortable and it's flattering even with the extra tummy I've got right now.

5. The SBCC Tonic tee. While I still love my Ottobre TNT tee and won't be giving it up anytime soon, it was really nice to find this indie company and have succeess both with their patterns and with my email interactions with the owner/designer. I'm sure this tee will be added to the weekend rotation as soon as I do my laundry. One thing I've realized, I'm definitely lacking in new me-made casual items.

Goals - in no particular order

1. Keep blogging. This won't be hard. :-) Sometimes I'm light on the posts, but that's just the normal ebb and flow of life. I really enjoy this medium, sharing, and ... of course, the comments. You all are a GREAT group of people and I enjoy each and every one of you. Thank you sincerely for reading, for giving support and prayer when needed, and for having my back.

2. Speaking of comments ... one of my goals for the blog is to look into making it easier to reply to comments in order and actually do that. I know a lot of questions go unanswered and I do regret it. OK, sometimes the answers are more "work" than I feel like putting into an answer, but usually the questions are things I want to answer and can do so quickly. I want to get better at this.

3. I'd really like to meet each of you, so if you're ever in the Tampa, Florida area and I'm available, let's do it! Renee, Barbara, Laura, Karen, Ronda, Andrea ... I'm looking at YOU.

4.  Get into the sewing room during the week. This is directly related to the fact that I don't have a cable hook-up in there right now, as I hobbled it to the living room instead. It's been like this for a year now and I'm about out of excuses for not calling the cable company to come add an outlet. I really need background noise/dialog when I'm sewing. It helps now that I've re-upped my Amazon Prime subscription and can stream video and radio to my Kindle, but I would still like the big TV to be available so I can catch up on my shows while I sew. I'm just a multi-tasker at heart.

5. Make a dent in the pattern stash. I'm so easily distracted by new patterns but I've got an amazing collection of "old" patterns that really deserve a chance too. I'm sure I'll keep buying, but I'm going to try really hard to make it a priority to hit the stash on a regular basis.

Inspirations - again, in no particular order

Carolyn and Barbara had really good posts about keeping it real in the sewing blogger stratosphere and I'm down with that at heart. I mean all you need to do is look at my blog to believe that. Tripod and mirror shots reign supreme. While I'd actually love to have better, more "artsy" photos (the graphic artist in me cringes regularly at my own photos), the truth is it probably ain't gonna happen. It already takes a lot of time for the crappy pics and (hopefully not so crappy) content. At this point, I don't think I'm willing to put in even more time to step it up.

That said, I love pretty much ALL sewing blogs. The shiny ones, the basic ones, the ones in between. As long as I get a feel for the writer, I'm in. My sidebar blogroll grows weekly, and I look at and enjoy them all. Truly.

I don't intentionally want to leave anyone out but since this is a post of Fives, I'm going to close with 5 of my favorites. Five of the blogs I click on as soon as I see a new post. Know that there are many more than 5, but I'll leave it at 5 for now. 

Oh, scratch that! I just couldn't do it. I could NOT narrow it down to 5. I don't think I could narrow it down to even 25.

So instead, I will say that every blog in my sidebar inspires me in many ways. From patterns and fabric, to giggles and warped senses of humor, family vacations, pickling fresh veggies, pet antics, new notions, vintage machines, Chelsea flea market finds, moose meat in Alaska, posing with strangers in London, fabric collections neatly folded on shelves in New Jersey, bike riding in Baltimore, grandkids, weddings, new sons and daughters, Me Made Mays, sewing dares, sew-alongs, hand-picked zips, Kasha linings, studded dresses, refashions, remodels, meet ups, husband comments, TNTs, What WAS I thinkings, prints, solids, faux leather, new shoes (especially new shoes), nailpolishes, new haircuts, Mood, Minerva, Chihuahuas on treadmills, designer knock-offs, Project Runway recaps, the pointing finger of the Pressanatrix, recipes, tutorials, honest opinions, velvet chef jackets, and EVERYTHING else in between. You all are The Best!

Happy New Year! May the sewing gods and goddesses shine brightly on you in 2014!


  1. Some great hits there and I agree with you about your favourite. I love that outfit.

    Happy New Year.

  2. Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you much happiness:)

  3. I love your blog. I love your remarks about the blogs in your sidebar. If I ever make it to Florida, the highlight would be lunch or a drink with you. Happy New Year!

  4. I am amazed by how much other ladies manage to sew!
    One of my goals in the new year is also to improve my pictures :)

  5. I hope 2014 brings you all that you want. I enjoy reading your blog no matter how often you get a chance to write.

  6. You have been productive considering an up and down year. Here's to a great 2014. Happy New Year!

  7. Keep up the great work you do on your blog Debbie. You inspire many of us fellow sewers with your honest, down to earth approach. I always look forward to your posts. Wishing you all the best for 2014.

  8. Happy New Year, Debbie -- May the year bring wonderful things to you and yours!

  9. Great round up of patterns you have there - what a year of sewing! Thanks for referring to 'keeping it real" in [sewing] blog photography, I get blown away by all these blogs that have such "professional" looking styled pictures but realistically I'm flat out just getting a picture of anything I make to begin with (time poor since I had kids!, so it's great to hear that a blogger of your calibre feels the same at times!
    BTW I have never felt your posts to be "lacking" (because of photography), you always give such good technical information and any pics included show enough of the garment in detail that I get a really good idea of what you are talking about (when referring to this or that about it in your post). Something that can be misising in more "artsy" blog posts :)

  10. Bwahaha. I loved your blogger summary. I will continue to follow your sewing adventures throughout the new year and beyond.

    *slap* *slap* Step away from Vogue 8805. That dress is evil for us curvy chicks.

    Happy new year!

  11. Great sewing hits and even though you had a few misses, I know they are exceptionally made. Happy New Year.

  12. Happy New Year Debbie! Thanks for all your comments on my blog. I plan on writing a separate post on my blog about comments. :)

  13. I am absolutely down with meeting up. Starting the week of Jan 13, I will be on a M-F work schedule with weekends free! I will go to SG and PM you my email...

  14. Go to Home Depot or Walmart. Buy a cable splitter (just a little metal connector thingie) and a length of cable to run along the baseboards to your sewing room.

  15. I'm hoping that 2014 brings you only good things--Happy New Year!

  16. You made a lot of things! I wish I had more time to sew. I consider something to be a hit if I would wear it to work or wear it in public. ;) Happy New Year!

  17. I'm sure that 2014 will give you more sewing time and more wonderful makes! Happy New Year!

  18. So glad to see your smile over and over in today's post! Here's to many more smiles in 2014!

  19. I just love your last paragraph so much. Anyone who is part of this community knows who those shout outs are for and Im sure it warmed the heart of every blogger who saw parts of their selves in there.

  20. Aloha from Josie

    Oh! The last sentence really got me. I have enjoy reading about your sewing skills for a few years. I post short, run on sentence. Typical nurse. Being a foreign does not help much even with a master's degree... long story.
    I look forward to your posting every week. For sewing inspiration. My favorite pix? Casual at backyard, white cat included.
    Mahalo for sharing.
    Feliz Ano Novo (that's Happy New Year in portugues)

  21. It's been nice to follow your good and bad projects in 2013. I haven't sewn much of anything since about March, I'm ashamed to say. I love all of your favorite outfits, and hope to see many new ones (I gained the same 10ish pounds you did, and it's so depressing). Happy New Year, Debbie!

  22. Your blog is one I hurry to read when I see a new post! Happy new year and I look forward to your 2014 projects.

  23. You were pretty successful with your sewing in 2013, despite the hiccups.
    Happy New Year to you!


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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