Top 5 Misses 2016

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Top 5 2016 : Sewing Lows

Top 5 Misses 2016

Continuing on with the Top 5 2016 challenge from Crafting a Rainbow, this week I’m reviewing my top 5 misses. It can be tough to review your makes and take an honest look at what is working and what isn’t. I have certain makes that I claim I ‘like’, but they just don’t get picked in the morning, So, then, does that mean I don’t actually like them after all? If Marie Kondo were here she would ask me about joy, but with clothing I think there needs to be joy and wearability. Just joy is…well…just taking up space in the closet.

Let’s take a look:

Brumby Skirt

Not my style: Brumby Skirt

I really wanted to give this pattern a try this year, because I adore the denim versions I have seen out there.  I’m not 100% over this make, but I never quite feel like myself when I wear it.  I think it is a combination of the colour (which I love objectively but is admittedly hard to wear) and the gathers at the waist. It is also just a smidge too big which is tough to manage on a skirt this style. I’ve tried belting it, but the belt just slides off!  It’s a really cute pattern and I don’t regret giving it a go. I think a version in a drapier fabric would suit me better. 


Nita Wrap Skirt

Not quite right: Maxi Nita Wrap Skirt

I got to participate in my first pattern test this year, testing the Nita Wrap Skirt from Sew DIY! I love my short tester version and have plans to make another one soon. I also made a maxi version of this pattern and while it was fun to wear and take photos in, I never actually wore it much this past summer. The length was not quite right on me, somewhere between a midi and a maxi, so it would have been good to go all the way to the floor or crop it a bit. I also struggled to style it and so, in the end, I decided to chop it off into a knee length version.  It is much more wearable now, so this ‘failed’ make has been saved!


Seamwork Alamada Robe

Too revealing: Almada Robe

I should preface this one by saying that despite it being revealing and not getting a ton a wear, I really really love this make. This fabric always makes me so happy and I am pleased to see it hanging up on my wall each morning.  I do wear it occasionally in the warmer months, as a going to and from the shower kind of robe, but sadly it is not quite the right coverage/comfort level for a lounge around the house all day kind of robe.  I have since made my ultimate lounge robe, so how I have the best of both worlds. Perhaps this one would be better suited as a beach cover up!


Driftless Cardigan

Worst fabric: Driftless Cardigan

On thing that has changed for me this year is my standards for fabric have improved. I am no longer tempted by the discount racks at the fabric store (well, almost never). I know that sewing with cheap fabric will result in a very crabby seamstress and a not very well loved garment.  I picked up this sweater knit for cheap last fall and made my first Driftless cardigan out of it. Sadly, the fabric pilled like mad and it just kept shrinking in the wash! Every time I laundered it, I swear it got shorter and shorter.  Eventually, this make ended up in the charity bin. I have since made a second Driftless and I wear it all the time :).



Worst print: Ultimate Trousers

Sometimes sewing challenges open your eyes to a style that you otherwise thought wouldn’t work for you, but sometimes, they do just the opposite.  I participated in Jungle January this year and realized quite simply, leopard print is not for me.  I think it can be super sexy and fun and playful, but it my heart of hearts, I’ll always be a zebra-print kinda girl.


Archer Button Up

Special Mention: Tencel Archer Button-up

I didn’t want to include this one in the 5 because I do wear it quite often. This is a classic lesson in the importance of carefully preparing for a project rather than just jumping in. I didn’t make a muslin for this shirt and as a result, it doesn’t fit very well (surprise!). The back is too tight and I can’t move my arms forward without fabric digging in uncomfortably. I also forgot to pre-wash the fabric, so it shrunk quite a bit when I laundered it the first time. I can wear the shirt open as a light layer in the summer, so it isn’t a total loss, and my second attempt at the Archer was much more successful thanks to the lessons learned here. 


So there you have it! I think many of these ‘fails’ could have been avoided by making muslins or choosing better fabric, but sometimes you just have to go for it and see if you like it or not! That is what learning by doing is all about. For a more positive look at 2016, check out my top sewing highs here!

Top 5 2016


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

7 Comments on “Top 5 2016 : Sewing Lows”

  1. I love the pants, too! But you gotta feel great in them, I know. I also love the robe fabric…definitely eye candy. 🙂

  2. I am loving these posts! I should really look back over my blog and actually remember all the things I have made this year. I have feeling that I may not have blogged any of the failures though – I need to get braver! I am glad you manage to salvage some of these though!

    1. Thanks! Sometimes things seem great when you finish them, but over time you realize that they arent really ‘you’. That is all part of the process though!

  3. Funny, I saw your post about your almada robe, and loved it but can’t see myself wearing it every day, because I am not that fancy nor do I have the time to linger in it over my morning coffee like my movie self would ;-). But I was so inspired that I thought it might be the perfect beach cover up for me. So It’s next on my sewing list, right after I finish my daughter’s quilt.

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