#sewingtop5 of 2017


Happy New Year’s everyone!  It’s always nice to start the new year by reflecting on the old one.  2017 felt like a year when I really grew a lot as a sewist, so I thought I’d jump on Gillian’s Top 5 train with my own #sewingtop5 of 2017.

#sewingtop5 Hits

There were a lot of favorite garments that I made in 2017.  This has been a year where I really pushed myself to try new things, to explore new techniques, and just generally go for it.  In that vein, here’s my favorite picks for the year:

5. My biggest surprise: Little black dress, vintage lace bolero and lace overskirt for The Day and Night Dress Challenge.


I created this whole challenge to MAKE myself make a little black dress.  Why?  The LBD is one of those fashion “must-haves” right?  Yeah, not for me.  It’s too much, it’s not my thing etc.  The only thing that can compel me to don black is playing in an orchestra.  So my Jalie Bella dress in this super soft sweater knit is plain and simple, and it allows plenty of required ease of movement for playing.  This dress taught me about context in dressing.  While certain colors or garments might not be what you reach for on a daily basis, having the right place and time for said garment can make it work.  I came to the same conclusion with my little red dress.  Also, makeup helps. 😀

4. Best refashion of the year goes to this double collar rain jacket.  It used to be a very, very questionable caftan, but I loved the colors.  I persevered and waterproofed the jacket myself and made a hat to finish it off.


3.  Best use of beastly fabric: this peach chiffon skirt.


I embraced spray starch and made not only my favorite skirt of the summer, but perhaps ever.  This fabric moves like no other.

2. Best use of trim: This Designer Stitch Charlie dress.


There were lots of projects I trimmed up this year like this cool J. Crew knockoff Lisbon cardigan, this pleat trim dress, or the foldover elastic trimmed Donna Karan wrap top, but I loved the fringed trim I added on my Charlie dress.  This was a previously unloved linen blend fabric that I overdyed and used its fraying property to full advantage.

1. Favorite. project. ever.: my ombre reversible quilted coat


I’m no stranger to big projects, and this is not my biggest ever or of the year, but I enjoyed it more than any other.  Engineering completely reversible pockets and adding all of the little details was a total joy.  That this coat uses the seafoam green nylon I’ve been saving for years and a ombre fabric in my most favorite greens is bonus.

#sewingtop5 misses: Can you grow without a little failure?

5. Toaster Sweater #1: Cropped sweaters are not for me.  I still wear this one (nay, I’m wearing it now).  I even adjusted it to fit better, perhaps losing the style, but ultimately, the style is not my thing.


4. I really love this rayon challis beach set, but there is not enough sunscreen in the world to make this work in my real life.  I was already shrimpy pink in this picture!  The culottes were on constant summer rotation though.  They feel like air in the hot heat, and they’re so dressy!


3. This J Crew tee did not a good refashion make.  The fabric behaved very badly. ;(


2. This DG Patterns Lily cardigan is an unfortunate tale.  While I love the style and how cozy it is, the fabric has not stood up at all.  It started pilling after 1 wash, and I’m guessing in a few more, it’s going to be really gross.  Fabric Mart has never steered me wrong with fabric before this one.  I won’t blame it on them though because for all practical purposes, this fabric feels like it’s a great quality.  Sad.


1. Previous fail turned better: Last year, I called these linen Blank Slate Oceanside pants a flop.  This year, I figured out how to style them, and I super love them.  Just like with the red dress and the black dress, I needed context to make it work.


#sewingtop5 Highlights

5.  I finally won a contest!  This was an aspiration this year, and I’m so happy to have achieved it!  I got really close, placing 2nd in the Wardrobe Sudoku contest, and 2nd in votes (though not in the contest since 2nd place was a random draw) for the Upcycle contest.  I even was one of many winners during Indie Pattern Month twice for my Geometric Winter Street hack and my Fringe Trim Charlie Dress.  But finally, my quilted ombre coat won me top honors in That Sewing Blab’s So You Think You Can Sew contest.



4. Hey, I started a YouTube channel.  It turns out what I have to say about sewing is a lot.

3.  Sew Saturday Snippets is a new thing, and I am thoroughly enjoying combing the internet weekly for cool things to share.


2.  My husband got in on the sewing love.  Windproof fleece is the nicest fleece ever, and I made a tailored suit.



1. Cosplay is a whole new world for me.  My daughter was a baby Dalek, I copied Rose Tyler’s purple leather jacket (involving a whole lot of paint on my part), and my husband is a very handsome 10th Doctor.




#sewingtop5 Reflections

5.  I lamented last year over having my style described as “funky.”  The truth is that I look at fabric as a blank canvas.  If that means that my work is a little outside of the norm, I’m okay with that.  Some people will like it, and some people will think I’m super weird.  So, like the rest of normal life then.

4.  I really worked hard this year to up my photography game.  Adobe now gets my money (argh, the creative pirates!).

3.  Sewing has become part of our family life.  My daughter and my youngest son play sewing.  I’m looking forward to passing on my craft to my babies!

2.  I knew this, but I love love love teaching.  YouTube has been a really interesting addition in my life, and teaching sewing is something I can absolutely see myself doing.

1. Reaching out into the sewing community has been good for me.  As much as sewing can be a solitary activity, I’ve found and “met” many online sewing friends this year, and some have become true friends, and for that I am truly grateful.

#sewingtop5 Goals

5.  I love to learn to draft.  Every year I feel like I drag my feet on this one.  I’m not sure why I’m scared of this one, but the time to take this one on is now.

4.  I’d love to go on a sewing retreat.  Finally, I’m not nursing or pregnant, and I think it’d be good to hang out for a weekend with other sewing friends.  I should get the chance in July, and hopefully that works out with our schedule.

3.  Along the same lines, it’d be nice to have a small crew of sewing friends locally I could hang out with.  I really don’t know how to make that happen LOL!

2.  The Day and Night Dress Challenge was a good challenge for me to host last year.  This year, I’d love chapter 2 of this challenge to be even better!  It’s coming the last week of February!!!

1. This is scary to put out there, but I want to move my blog to the next level.  I have a lot of thought and time to put into creating a shop here, but I want my online presence to  be about helping sewists!

So how was your 2017?  What were your favorite projects?  What do you look forward to for 2018?



  1. Elizabeth, I so love your blog, your makes, your creativity! You inspire me all the time! If i didn’t live so far from you, I would love to get together for a sewing day! Thanks for sharing your creativity! Happy New Year!
    Sue 🙂

  2. You did have some really amazing makes this year! I’m really in awe, especially since I’m also quite familiar with how time consuming young kids and classical music both are. Drafting is something I’d love to learn as well, but since I’m still trying to perfect the FBA and successful pattern hacking, I think that may be a project for several years down the road!

    • I think drafting is a long term goal for me too. I feel like I need to have it under my belt to go forward with what I want to do, but it’s a whole different ball of wax. Baby steps!

  3. Elizabeth–you are a wonderful teacher, and I love the items you made in 2017. I really appreciate the quality you put into your sewing. Your blog is a real inspiration for me!

  4. What a fun year in review! I love to see your creativity and your unique perspective on sewing and building a wardrobe. I think your makes are distinctive and stand out and that’s a wonderful quality plus you really come across as such a nice person so all this to say “keep up the good work!” Btw I’ve watched a few of your YouTube videos and they were so fun!

  5. gilliancrafts Reply

    Woohoo! You’ve had such an amazing year. it’s been really clear that you are stepping up your blogging game, and I love seeing what you come up with!

  6. Thanks for sharing your amazing makes! Not only do I marvel at the work itself…how can you do it with two little ones?? The baby Dalek is toooooo darling and I think your sewing goals are wonderful…each one of them was met with a resounding YES! on my part, too!

    • I’m glad to share! I actually have 4 kids Tina. 😉 That’s part of what my YouTube is about–sewing faster because if I didn’t I never could! There’s a video called the fastest way to assemble pdf patterns (https://youtu.be/44sQ055KsGI): I have lots of little tricks like this to make the best use of my time so that I am able to accomplish the work that I’d like to. Congratulations on meeting your goals for 2017 as well!

    • Thank you! A couple years ago officially, but I’m always tweaking things. Foodie Pro is great since it’s totally customizable!

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