Top 5 of 2013

Lovely idea from Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow to look back on 2013 and forward to new things in 2014.


Top 5 Hits.

This was the year I got my head round pattern-drafting and got a lot more confidence in designing and making my own stuff. I usually hate following instructions and stubbornly rush in thinking I’ll figure things out as I go. This year I slowed down, got a handle on the basics of pattern drafting and I feel like I have a lot more freedom when I’m sewing. Of my top 5, 4 I drafted myself.

1. Reversible dress, self-drafted. I got so much wear out of this dress and I’m still keen on it.

2. Bodice block, not exciting to look at but this changed everything.

3. Cowl Skirt, self-drafted. Again, all thanks to Metric Pattern Cutting. I’ve actually just started a velvet version of this skirt, I love velvet but OH MY DAYS! It’s so incredibly messy to work.

4. Cynthia Rowley Dress. Should really make another but the wintery weather isn’t conducive to sewing a strapless dress.

5. The 6-foot vagina I made for my friend’s night club. There’s no way I could leave this out of my top 5. Who says size doesn’t matter? She’s very popular and still out and about on stage. I’m very proud of her and I’d do it all over again, I haven’t had that much fun in ages. If you ever need a massive vagina, I’ve got you covered.


(tear your eyes away from my vagina and concentrate, I know she’s distracting)

I did a post about misses a while ago but in general my sewing fails tend to be due to me losing interest, rushing or not finishing things. The problem is, the more I sew, the more inspired I get and the quicker I want to sew. Finishing garments off requires patience and a lot of slowing down, not really compatible with my sewing-joy-sew-all-the-things-now-now-now!!

Sew in haste, unpick at leisure. But’s it’s OK, I salvage whatever fabric I can and try to learn from mistakes. And remember to slow down next time.


My top 5 misses up there are kind of tied to my reflections of 2013 and goals for next year and here they are.

1. Slow down at the planning stage.

2. Buy quality fabric and shop as ethically as possible. This will also help me get my fabric stash down to a manageable amount.

3. Make something for Emil. I’ve been threatening him with this for about 4 years now so I really should get started.

4. Be conscious of when I’ve learned something new. I need to actually say to myself “oh, ok, now I know how to do that” or “Oh! so THAT’S what that foot is for!”

5. Not put any pressure on myself to make anything.  Forcing the process just takes all the joy out of it and that just isn’t compatible with creating things.

Overall, I think this is the year I’ve really engaged with the sewing community online and it’s a really lovely, inspiring, supportive network. I’ve met some really talented, funny and generous people and it’s one of the few places on the internet where everyone isn’t just self-promoting and in competition with each other. So, while it’s true I’ve been inspired by designers like Hisako Sato or certain techniques or even reality TV (hello, Rupaul’s Drag Race), I think most of my inspiration has come from the online sewing community. Nice people, doing cool things and sharing stuff. That’s inspiring.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.



About Vanessa

Sewing and assorted nonsense. For reasons that escape me, I left the sunshine and beaches of Australia for the crisps and glitter of London in 2001. I now live in the middle of some kind of feline drop-in centre in East London battling for space to make costumes and clothes. Over on twitter and instagram as @smittenness Email over here ------>
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5 Responses to Top 5 of 2013

  1. I just keep on loving the vagina!

  2. Wait… your vagina is nr 5 in the top 5? WTF?
    It’s one of those countdown style lists isn’t it? Like, the last entry is actually the winner? Because i not, I don’t know what’s wrong with you!

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