A year in the rear (view mirror) …

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

I read a lot of sewing blogs, and this image has been cropping up a lot this week  I’m not a prolific seamstress, but I do have plans to become more so,  so I will participate in this retrospective, if you don’t mind.

Many thanks are due to Gillian, of Crafting a Rainbow, for coming up with the theme.  I may not have 5 for each category, but we will see.  And thanks to requests from Beajay and Helen, I have edited to provide links to pics of the hits and misses!


1)  My Cake Patterns grey denim Hummingbird skirt.  I wear it all the time.  It’s neat, practical, comfortable, fits well and goes with everything in my wardrobe.  I will definitely make more skirts from this amazeballs pattern.

2) Sewaholic Renfrew.  This is my Desert Island Pattern.  I absolutely love it.  I have made 3 cowl versions and 2 scoop neck versions so far, and I plan to make at least a million more.  It’s so simple to sew, work appropriate, comfortable and versatile.  I even made one for my mother, who is very hard to please, and she pronounced it to be ‘perfect’.  (Result!)

3) Cake Patterns Tiramisu, V2.  My second version was made from better quality fabric and has been well worn this year.

4) Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt.  Another hit from Tasia’s pattern line.  I am slightly over the maximum size of this pattern line, so for a woven fabric garment such as this, I do need to grade up – which is painful!  However, I bought this fabric whilst on holiday in the USA.  It was in the clearance at Jo-anns and I love it.  It’s a really smart skirt, which I took the trouble to line, and is very useful for days when I need to represent the Corporate image.

5) The Mickey/Minnie fleece dressing gown I made for my 6 year old God daughter’s birthday.  I took loads of time over making this, she loves it, and so do I.


1) Sew Liberated Esme blouse.  I loved this blouse until I tried it on.  It just looks like a maternity top.  Such a shame, the fabric is pretty and it goes so beautifully with denim.

2) McCalls Fashion Star Maxi.  At the time of sewing this, we were planning a trip to Cuba and the fabric seemed very appropriate.  I love the colours, but the quality of the fabric was rubbish (cheap and bought online).  The dress is, as yet, unworn.  However we do now have holiday plans for which this dress will be appropriate, so I am still optimistic that I’ll get to wear it at least a few times.

3) Cake Patterns Pavlova wrap tops and skirt.  The skirt is too full,  I would be so afraid to wear it on a breezy day.  The wrap top doesn’t work for me either, the ties bunch up like old rope, the muffin cover doesn’t stay put.  I wasted some beautiful Chartreuse bamboo jersey on a second version of the top, determined to make it work, but to no avail.  (Sorrry, no pics of tops).

4) Style Arc Hepburn skirt.  This is a lovely pattern and it’s only a miss because I made it much too short and from the wrong fabric.  It’s also rather too similar in style to the Hollyburn skirt I had already made, so I didn’t bother to try and rescue it.  It’s still hanging, unfinished, in my sewing room.  No pic of this one, sorry.

5) The wretched ‘pillowcase’ style sundress I made for my friend’s significant birthday.  The dress was a disaster, despite using glorious fabrics,  and I threw the (useless) pattern away.  I can’t even remember the name of the darned thing, such a beeping mess it was.  And so disgusted I was, I deleted the photos from my Flickr account, so no link for this one.  It is on the blog somewhere though, if you’re really that keen to see it!


1) I don’t enjoy sewing for others,

2) I must try to take more care and sew methodically, rather than being in a tearing rush to complete and wear the garment.  (Hopefully this will be easier once I retire from work – see ‘goals’ below).

3) I don’t need to impress anyone but myself.

4) I need to buy less fabric and patterns, and get on with sewing those I already have.

5) I must focus more on quality when purchasing fabric.


I’m constantly inspired by the sewing blogger community, who are so generous with their encouragement and advice.

I participted in a ‘Giveaway’ and won!

I feel I’ve made some ‘virtual friends’.  It’s nice to feel people are jogging alongside me in this sewing journey, and that it’s ok to be at the rear of the cohort.


1) I hereby resolve not to buy any RTW clothes unnecessarily in 2014.  I will need to purchase knit wear, underwear and probably outerwear, but anything else, I plan to have a bash at making.

2) In late 2014 I will be retiring from paid employment, which will mean my wardrobe needs will change considerably – and I look forward to this new freedom to express myself in the clothes I sew and wear.

3) I really do need to sew with a plan in 2014, making garments that I actually have a hope of wearing, and must not be distracted by ‘shiny bauble’ patterns, which are actually of no practical use to me.

4) I want to learn to knit properly.

5) I need to focus more on getting an accurate fit, and to stop making things that drown me.


13 Comments on “A year in the rear (view mirror) …”

  1. theseedsof3 says:

    Great post! I am so glad you started this blog, I may not always comment but I do always read. What will you do with your new “free” time once you retire? What kind of clothing will you be making now that you have freedom of expression? I am so looking foward to 2014!

    • Fiona M says:

      Thanks Melanie, and a happy new year to you!
      I am so looking forward to retiring and being able to please myself as to what I wear. I am a nurse, and whilst my particular job does not require a uniform, I do have to reflect a certain image which does not always allow me to express my character!
      On retirement I also plan a major upgrade of sewing machine, which I expect I will blog about in due course. I’m currently undecided on make/model, but the Bernina 710 is calling to me 🙂

  2. BeaJay says:

    I can relate to most of those reflections. Shame you didn’t link to your hits and misses so I could check them out easily.

    Have a great New Year and here is to focused sewing in 2014

  3. helen says:

    I’m enjoying reading these posts of others hits and misses. Haven’t got around to doing one myself though. Even though I have been sewing for a long time it’s really only this year I’ve put some real thought and patience into it and it is great reading others blogs for ideas. First pattern I want to buy in 2014 is the Renfrew. Definitely put links to the articles!

  4. Vicki Kate says:

    There are some fabulous reflections there! Sewing and impressing yourself is something to really focus on for me this year. If I impress myself, that’s all that matters! I hope you have a great year!

  5. BeaJay says:

    Thanks for putting in the links. I enjoyed looking back over your makes. You have some great hits there.

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