Sunday, 29 December 2013

Top 5 of 2013: Workhorses and Show Ponies

And now for the hits - hooray!

I'm pretty sure Gillian* said we could bend the rules... so I'm going to split the hits into two groups. Work horses and show ponies - two lots of hits!

* speaking of whom, can anyone tell me how to comment on her Tumblr blog? 

Let's meet the workhorses:

Workhorses are garments that got heaps of wear - they're comfortable and practical.

1. Stretchy

Surprise, surprise; stretch jersey dresses are comfortable and easy to fit. And they don't generally need ironing (except prior to blog posts), which is fabulous when you accidentally sleep in and then have a mad rush to get the kids to school and yourself to work - no time for ironing!

I had lots of stretch dresses in high rotation this year, but the absolute hit of the bunch was the Poppies and Tulips Dress.

The Poppies and Tulips Dress was a bit tight when I first wore it (these pics), but I lost a few kgs soon after - and then the fit was much better. I would have worn this dress regardless though as I just love the print to bits. So good to be able to make a unique dress!  

2. Drama

I wish I had better photos of this jacket - I wore it pretty much constantly over winter. It fits really well, and the dramatic collar and lovely shaping elevate a plain outfit into something dressy. When I'd just made it, I didn't think I was going to wear this jacket much - the wool was a bit itchy on my neck, and it was such a huge collar - but it turned out to be the perfect weight for a Sydney winter, the mild itch factor wasn't a problem with a scarf, and hey, I like dramatic clothes.

3. Vintage

The surprise workhorse of the year was this vintage dress - not only a vintage pattern (V8811), but also a quilting fabric!! Perhaps an unusually good quality quilting fabric though? 

To the Gallery has a lovely long swishy skirt which catches whatever small breeze is around, and it's about as dressy as I want to be on a hot day. 

4. Cotton

I think my picks this year are being prejudiced by recent memory. It's summer here of couse, and the Starry, Starry Gabby dress is a very summer-friendly flared shape - plus I love being able to walk around wearing this amazing fabric!

4. Classic

Every wardrobe needs one of these! Actually I've worn this Kirsten Kimono t-shirt so much I should have cloned it - maybe every wardrobe needs two? Although I tried to re-make the top in several other fabrics, none came close to this one...

And now, the show ponies:
Show ponies look good but only get taken out for special occasions.

1. and 2. Fitted

This year I made a few fitted sheath-style dresses, and most of them get a lot of wear (perfect office attire!). However, there are two standouts: the Out of Darkness dress, which I love so much that I prefer to be the one who gets to see it rather than being seen IN it, if you know what I mean:

And my latest - a stripey Brasilia dress - probably the best fitting of the bunch! I can't wear the dress to work yet because I like it too much, so that makes it a show pony! [Do you make clothes you like so much you can't bear to wear them?]

3. Class

This cape-jacket makes me feel uncommonly classy and well-dressed. Perhaps too well-dressed for my job though...

I'm so proud of my plaid-matching - it was a big effort, but I matched horizontally AND vertically, and the plaid aligns just about everywhere I wanted it to.

4. Dressups 

This year I made my daughter the costume of her dreams, a personalised Princess Aurora dress. Although both the final dress and the hand-decorated muslin have several outings, my daughter is so proud of these dresses and her input into their making that they aren't being thrashed and mistreated the way regular costumes are.

This is probably the first time I've managed (or tried?) to turn a drawing into a dress - so satisfying! I suspect drafting dress details for a child's dress is a lot simpler than doing the same for an adult, but maybe I'll have a go at the adult stuff in 2014.

5. BodyCon 

My Cosy Dress didn't get too many wears - too bodycon for everyday - BUT when I did wear it out one evening, several friends separately asked me if I could make them one! That's never happened to me before.. so either it's a great dress or someone hadn't told me it was be-nice-to-Gabrielle-day.

Phew - lots of hits! Do you have a favourite?

If I can come up with anything, I'll post my Top 5 reflections, inspirations and/ or goals in the next few days - and I also have to tell you all about a lovely Christmas ornament exchange soon.

See you soon

- Gabrielle x


  1. This is a nice post that I really enjoyed!

  2. Ooh, Hi! Hello! What great top 5 list - and YES, definitely bend the "rules"!
    So you can't comment on my bog? What's not good! I use Discus - is the comment box showing up at all? I've had problems with one or two other people's Discus comment over the last year or two, when i can't even see their comment box... Sometimes I find it works better after a while, or if I use another browser? Sorry it is giving you trouble!

    1. Thank you Gillian! I still can't comment or even see any comments - I tried a few browsers and devices, but I'm starting to think it may be to do with my latest security settings. I'll try again! In the meantime please ignore that crazy re-blog thing I did in Tumblr... it was just about the only thing I could get to work :)

  3. Gabrielle, these have reminded what a genius you are! I adore everyone of these, especially Poppies and Tulips. Delicious! And your Gabby is the only one I've ever liked and I want it for my own. I totally agree about loving something so much you're afraid to wear it. Hubby doesn't get it at all...

    1. Jillian, you are way too kind. It's a bit crazy not wearing stuff you love, isn't it - but that way it never wears out or gets a wine or spag bol stain on it :). I love your top 5 too, please excuse my commenting tardiness!

  4. LOVE the Brazilia dress, you do such wonderful things with stripes and plaids!
    what a great read, I can't wait to see what you come up with next year.

    1. Thank you so much Becki!

      I hope your Marfy sewing is going really well - look forward to seeing the pants and blouse!

  5. You have made some amazing garments this year, and love all your Hits however the Brasilia looks fantastic on you!

    1. Thank you Sharon, I think I'll have to force myself to actually wear the Brasilia now!

  6. I echo Jillian. These are amazing makes. That body con dress blew me away at the end there. All your clothes mix the fabric and the pattern perfectly!

    1. Thank you Kirsty! I saw a few of those body con dresses around during winter - looked like exactly the same pattern - but I was too chicken to wear mine in the daytime.

  7. How nice to see your favourites all together, definite hits!

  8. Hey your list of hits is fantastic! I really think that kimono tee pattern is a match made in heaven with a nice stripe! I think it's great you've identified vogue as your fave pattern brand - whatever works for you I say! Ive stopped trying to keep up with the latest sewalong or pattern - the good thing about making things 6 or 12 months after everyone else is you learn from other sewists makes!


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