Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 round-up! (and an ode to the ballet dress)

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, 2013 was certainly an eventful year for both me and Jen, although unfortunately not always in a good way. For every high point (Jen honeymooning and buying a flat, our brother and his girlfriend getting engaged over Christmas, to name but a few), there were also low times such as family deaths and health woes. Still, whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? Personally I'm very much looking forward to 2014 - it's a whole new year full of wonderful possibilities, and who knows what might happen!

Jen, having moved into her new flat a few weeks before Christmas, is still working on setting up her sewing room and therefore hasn't found much crafting time recently. So with things quiet from her I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you a couple of my most recent makes and also do a little round-up of 2013.

So, to kick off, I'd like to share with you a couple of Dixie DIY ballet dresses that I completed in the few weeks running up to Christmas. Let me tell you, my love for this pattern has now been well and truly cemented!

My first ballet dress was a semi-success. I loved the making process, and the pattern is wonderfully drafted, but I was never very keen on the neckline; it always felt a little too high. I also didn't like my fabric choice - the jersey was pretty thin and I was always paranoid it was highlighting my lumps and bumps! So when it came to having another go at the pattern I decided to use the neckline from the Sewaholic Renfrew top instead, and I'm so pleased with how it looks. I also used thicker fabrics - this one above (my favourite of the two) is a double knit I snapped up for £2.50 a metre at the rag market in Birmingham, and my other (below) is a ponte from my local fabric shop Masons. So comfy and that little bit more forgiving!

I like this version a little less than the other; the fit is slightly looser, and the fabric a bit more dull and dreary. It still gets worn weekly though!

 There's probably not much more to be said about this pattern that I didn't say last time, except that I frikkin' love it and I'm sure I will make more in the future. These dresses are perfect weekend-wear, especially on rainy days like today when all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with my knitting, a  hot water bottle, and a good boxset.

These photos were taken by Jen during a family visit to Hinton Ampner gardens in Hampshire on Boxing Day. We couldn't help but take quite a few photos as it was such a lovely backdrop, despite the weather that day not being ideal. Very bright sunshine, although perfect for walking in, is a bit of a bugger for photography. Still, the place is beautiful and very much reminds me of my childhood (I think I've been there something like a dozen times since the age of 5), so here are a few more pics.

The obligatory 'silly one' :D

Right, let's now take a brief look at the year gone by!

In 2013, I made 30 items. Of these, 27 were sewn, 2 were knitted (my knitted baby cardi and Jane hat), and 1 was a cross-stitch.

The 27 sewn items consist of:

12 dresses
7 skirts/culottes
5 tops
1 coat
2 bags

Thinking about what I tend to wear day-to-day, this sounds about right. I reach for dresses most mornings, but do also like to have a nice selection of separates. In 2014 I'd like to make a few more nice tops, as that's definitely a gap in my wardrobe at the moment. I'd also like to attempt a couple of pairs of trousers (eek) and really up my knitting. I'm currently midway through an Andi Satterlund Chuck sweater, and am really enjoying being out of my comfort zone!

I have a huge list of patterns on my 'to make' spreadsheet, but first up this year will be a Vogue 1344 for my 30th birthday celebrations, then a Grainline Archer shirt, a By Hand London Charlotte skirt, and a New Look 6808 top. I can't wait to get started on all of these!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope the year brings you delights and joy aplenty:)

Elena xx


  1. I wish I could knit!! The Chuck Sweater is so sweet! I would love to re-learn crochet again - but i tried knitting a few years back and i just don't think i am very good at it! I love this dress by the way, it's exactly the kind of dress i need in my wardrobe but I am terrifed to make that leap into jersey or knits...i've been sewing two years now..i so should not be scared of it!

    1. Thanks Jo, I could live in these sorts of dresses! You should definitely try out jersey - a double knit like this is the perfect thing to start with as it's so nice and stable. I'm very much a beginner knitter, and very slow, so my Chuck may be a long way off still!


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