Dixie DIY’s Year in Review 2012

I love the new year! New start, new goals, new memories but first I want to review everything that I did sewing-wise in the last twelve months.

2012 Was a pretty big year for me, I dyed my hair purple, sewed a bunch of swimsuits for my summer vacation, I released 3 new patterns (one of which was free), and made about 50 garments and accessories. Not too bad! Let’s break it down now –

  • Garments Sewn for Myself: 34
  • Dresses: 10
  • Shirts: 19
  • Skirts: 1
  • Pants/Shorts: 6
  • Underwear and Swimsuits: 2 bras, 1 undies, 7 swimsuits
  • Accessories: 1 wallet, 1 handbag, 1 make up case
  • Sewn For Others: 3 dresses for cousins, 1 baby shirt, 1 shirt for my man, 1 monster quilt
  • Other crafts: 1 failed kite, 1 travel neck pillow, 1 holiday wreath, 1 state shape string art

Now, let’s discuss the value of all those me-made items, not monetarily but in terms of wear-ability and how well they met my sewing goals from last year.

To recap, some of my goals were: to make “church appropriate” dresses (ie: cute party dresses that don’t look trashy), solid color tops, tops and dresses with sleeves, good everyday dresses, pants/shorts, blazers and solid color coats. On the flip side I was refraining from sewing skirts (already have to many that I don’t often wear) and anything without sleeves or clothes that need to be worn with other clothes to feel comfortable.

Colette Macaron with Fabricker FabricsDrape Drape book no. 3
(these two dresses are both “church appropriate” and good for everyday wear, double check!!)

So I didn’t sew a single coat or blazer(well, maybe a sweatshirt/blazer hybrid thing). But I did ok in most other areas.

  • Shorts: 3
  • Pants: 3
  • Church Appropriate Dresses: 2, but only one really fits
  • Solid Color Tops: 8
  • Everyday Dresses: 7
  • Stuff with long sleeves/three-quarter sleeves: 7

McCalls 6331Bow BlouseSimplicity 2512

I broke a few of my rules (they’re more like guidelines anyway), I made one sleeveless dress, several printed tops and one skirt (but that was a UFO so I’m letting it slide).

Jeans from HellSimplicity 3850
(pants that don’t fit anymore)

But here’s a big problem – A lot of the clothes I made don’t fit. Some didn’t really fit from the get-go like my first two pants from the year. The first pair of jeans from January stretched out way too much, those got donated. The second pair of pants from February also seemed to stretch out but were also a little big to begin with.

Victory Patterns Anouk DressRed LolaDarling Ranges Dress
(these dresses don’t fit anymore *sadface*)

But then I lost some weight last winter and slowly but surely a lot of my fitted garments got too big, like my first Colette Macaron dress from 2011 and my Victory Anouk dress from January. Both of these dresses are so big in the bust and shoulders now it’s not really worth trying to fix. That cutout on the Anouk dress used to show a little bit of skin, now it show half my bra!

My first Darling Ranges dress from March is too big and now gapes in front and is too low, not really fixable. My Victory Lola dress is like a giant sack now.

Most of my shirts fit ok but it’s such a bummer about the others. I’m seriously considering doing a giveaway on the blog for those dresses rather than donating them to Goodwill. I’d like to know they’re going to good homes. What do all of you think about that?

Pattern Runway Sweet ShortsTulip Sleeve Knit Dress - self-draftedHighly Modified RenfrewBurdastyle Handbook BlouseBurdaStyle Handbook BlouseScout TeeVelvet Scout TeeMovies in the Park ShortsDarling Ranges Version 2.0Raglan Sleeve Knit Dress w/ Crochet BackPecan Street Art Fest Dress
(my most worn me-made garments)

But there’s good news! Of the things that do fit I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of them. My most worn items would be my Pattern Runway Sweet Shorts, my self drafted tulip sleeve knit dress, my short sleeve Renfrew, my two Burda Book blouses (always in heavy rotation!), both Scout Tees, my Movies in the Park Shorts, the 2nd Darling Ranges dress and my black dress and floral dress from April and May.

One Week, One Pattern 3.0Sewaholic RenfrewColette Juniper denim trousersTaffy Blouse
(what doesn’t get worn: bad fabrics, bad fit and not so good styles)

What I don’t wear as much of – my early versions of my Summer Concert Tee, the rayon fabrics have just fallen to pieces, things snag on the fabric all the time and there are even little holes in the shirt. The fabric was just crap. Thanks a lot fabric.com.

Also my first cowl neck Renfrew is just too tight in the bust to really be comfortable. I like looser knits like my Hot Cocoa Sweater. It’s a shame ’cause I loved that honey color!

Also, I thought I’d enjoy the wide leg look of the Juniper trousers but I just never wear them. I think they make me look like I’m drowning in pants. I’m a little upset but hey, you live, you learn.

And alas, those giant sleeves on the Colette Handbook Taffy Blouse have kept me from wearing the top. I feel that with all the billowy fullness at the shoulders I have to balance it out at the bottom but I’m just not sure how to style this top.

***I’m really into making lists and assessments to turn them into new goals so I love making posts like this and reading other bloggers’ recap posts. If you’ve done a “year in review” post leave me the link in the comments so I can check it out. Maybe I’ll even find some new blogs to read this year. 😉

Closet Catalogue Pt 2

Yesterday I posted the results of my Closet Catalogue where I counted and categorized every piece of wearable clothing I own (with a few exceptions) with the hopes of learning about my style, my needs, and what I should sew next. It’s really eye opening!

Here’s what I learned: 

I definitely have a few items that I wear more often than others like my one pair of Gap skinny jeans and this loose fit printed t-shirt which is super comfy for hot summers (aka, every day of my life). I also wear another slightly dressy t-shirt often and in the summer I practically live in one pair of jean shorts (even though I don’t totally love the style, they’re just convenient). I get plenty of use out of a couple sweaters and a couple blazers especially when it’s not cold enough for a coat. Of the dresses I’ve probably worn my Anouk dress more often since I’ve made it than any other dress I own.

Flow-y Floral Summer T-shirt
(most worn top)

Clothes I wear the least:

  • Sleeveless anything – because I’m lazy and sometimes I don’t feel like shaving. I admit it! Don’t deny that you don’t feel the same!
  • Clothes that require extra clothes – like shirts that need a tank top underneath or skirts that need tights or leggings. Or even strapless bras. I don’t want to have to track down extra clothes and make sure that they are clean.
  • Skirts – and I have so many!! I think this is because I am lacking in solid color tops that aren’t t-shirts. I feel the need to have nicer shirts to go with skirts – that t-shirts are too plain or something. And I need black or white or solid tops because I have so many darn printed skirts.
  • Dresses – this is mostly due to the fact that some dresses are too nice for everyday wear. Others are sleeveless and a couple require “extra clothes” that I’m too lazy to dig through a drawer to find. Sad but true.

Gaps that need to be filled:

  • Long sleeves! I only have two long sleeve shirts in my whole wardrobe. One of which has gotten so much wear over the past few winters that I think my boyfriend wants to burn it and free his eyes from it. Yes, Texas winters are short but occasionally I do leave the state in the cold months.
  • Nice solid color tops for the above mentioned reasons. Hopefully they will encourage me to wear more skirts.
  • Pants. For obvious reasons. And for the fact that I love skinny jeans. They are so versatile. They can be dressed up or down; worn with heels, boots or flats; and I don’t have to shave. Yay for being lazy but still looking put together.
  • Everyday dresses which means long enough that I don’t feel self conscious, that have sleeves of some sort and aren’t too low cut – another thing I hate – worrying if I’m letting it all hang out. It’s less of a modesty thing and more of an annoying, fiddling with my shirt, thing. Since I don’t have a dress code for work I don’t need dark colored shift dresses but I don’t want something so casual that I look like a slob. I need cute and comfy dresses that are no fuss.
  • More blazers – because I really love them but one is showing a little age, one is too hot for winter, one is tight in the arms and my favorite one is denim so I can’t wear it with jeans or I risk the Texas tuxedo effect.
  • A solid color coat. I have one but it’s more of a jacket and I don’t really like the style of it. I just wear it out of necessity when I don’t want plaid on plaid or plaid on stripe since my other coats are plaid.
Colette MacaronVictory Patterns Anouk Dress

  • “Church Appropriate” dresses – this was a need that I think I may have filled. I don’t go to church except with family on major holidays – aka Easter and Christmas. Most of my dresses I felt like they weren’t church appropriate. All my fancy dresses were either strapless, sleeveless, not the right season(too dark/light) or too fancy or too casual. Now that I made my Macaron dress last year I think I have a good Easter dress and my Anouk dress with its long sleeves and floral makes for a good Christmas dress. Sweet! Something I can check off the list!

So what does this mean for future sewing projects? Well, I’m going to try to pick patterns and fabric that meet my needs. I’m going to stop buying patterns for fancy dresses that I’ll never have an occasion to wear. I’m going to clear out my closet of the unwanted items. I’m going to make more of an effort to wear items I like but don’t utilize as often as I should. And I’m going to get more use out of every new item I make because I know it will fit my style and my needs and I’ll love it!

***I hope this has inspired you to do a closet catalogue of your own (and now I know of some who already have!). It really doesn’t take that long. Just go through your closet, then your drawers and finally your dirty laundry. It’s a perfect thing to do while you’re doing laundry anyway. If you’re really ambitious you could take a picture of every clothing item to help you create new outfits you might not have tried. Needless to say, I’m not that ambitious. 😉

Closet Catalogue – Sewing Resolutions

As I mentioned in my sewing resolutions post for 2012 one challenge (and possibly the most important) was to catalogue my entire wardrobe. This serves a few purposes – one to get a good grasp on the clothes I have, figure out what I wear often and what I never wear, questions why some clothes don’t get worn, and discover gaps in my wardrobe and fill them with handmade clothes!

This may not be compelling blogging to everyone but I highly recommend doing your own catalogue! You’ll learn so much about your own style, why you’re hanging on to old clothes you don’t wear, and if you sew, what you need to make to have a satisfying closet experience. 😉

So this is my catalogue. What I didn’t include were clothes I haven’t worn in over a year or more (which really, why am I keeping these anyway??), accessories (scarves, tights, jewelry, shoes), exercise wear, pajamas, lounging and work clothes that I’d never leave the house in anyway.

So that leaves normal clothes that I wear on a daily basis, season specific clothes and fancy stuff that I would wear given an opportunity but I wouldn’t wear it to the grocery store.

I organized everything by item type and then sub categorized them by attribute (black, white, print, stripe, plaid, long sleeve, sleeveless, etc), whether or not I need something to go with it (undershirt for a see-through top, leggings for a super miniskirt), and if it was handmade. Some items fit into many attribute categories (like a handmade, striped skirt that needs leggings, or a printed strapless dress that needs a sweater).

I made a simple spread sheet and marked an X in every applicable category. Here are the results:

  • I have 16 dresses, of which 7 are handmade, only one has long sleeves, 4 are sleeveless or strapless, 3 need something to go with it (one dress I have needs both leggings ’cause it’s short and an undershirt because it has a deep v-neck), and 3 are for fancy occasions like a nice party or nighttime wedding. 3 solid color, 10 print, 1 stripe, 1 plaid.
  • 17 blouses, of which 10 are handmade, only one has long sleeves, 3 are sleeveless, and 3 need undershirts. 1 solid color, 3 white, 9 print 4 plaid.
  • 18 t-shirts or knit tops, or which 4 are handmade, only one has long sleeves, 2 are sleeveless, and 1 needs an undershirt. 6 solid color, 2 black, 3 white, 5 print, 2 stripe.
  • 6 jackets/blazers and 3 are handmade. 2 solid color, 1 black, 1 print, 1 denim, 1 stripe.
  • 5 sweaters and only one is handmade and only two have full long sleeves.  1 black, 1 navy, 1 gray with stripes, 1 brown, 1 white.
  • 4 tank tops which are mostly used as undershirts. 1 black, 1 gray, 2 white.
  • 3 pairs of pants, one pair are handmade and they are all jeans! The handmade pair are black and the other two are blue.
  • 3 pairs of shorts, of which one are handmade, one are denim, 2 are solid color.
  • 16 skirts, of which 11 are handmade. 4 solid color, 2 black, 1 white, 6 print, 3 stripe.
  • 3 coats/jackets and one is handmade. 2 plaid, one solid color.
  • 1 pair of gray leggings that are handmade.

Altogether I have 91 pieces of clothing that are at least somewhat regularly worn. 37 are handmade which makes about 40% of my total wardrobe. Just knowing how much of my wardrobe is handmade is pretty interesting in itself, I think.

***Tomorrow I’ll talk about what I learned from all this counting and how it will affect my sewing for this year! Be prepared – it’s going to be a pretty long list!