2016 Roundup

It’s the last day of the year and, like many others, I’ve spent the day reflecting and taking stock. Here’s a round up of my sewing highs and lows of 2016…

Biggest Success


The Overture Blouse by Storybook Patterns

My biggest success of the year was my first make, the Overture Blouse. It was the top that really got me back into sewing after being on and off with it for years. As first projects go, it was a bit of a gamble. More sensible folks would have gone for a much simpler garment, but I chose a blouse with a proper collar. In hindsight, I don’t think I quite realised what I’d taken on until all the pieces were cut out. There were a lot of bumps in the road but I finished it and I was so proud of myself when I first wore it. I haven’t worn it loads, but talking about it now, and remembering how pleased I was with it, has encouraged me to bring it out more often. I think I’ll put it on tomorrow!


Biggest Failure

Without a doubt, the biggest failure of the year was my gingham skirt. It’s been worn a grand total of 0 times. Although it was a total flop, sewing it was a valuable experience and I learnt a lot from it. I still have it hanging in my wardrobe and, even though it’s almost certainly not going to get any use, I can’t quite bear to part with it yet!


Best Buy

monochrome silk and wool fabric

I had to think long and hard about this because I’ve bought an awful lot of sewing gadgets and gizmos, but my best buy for the year is my wool and silk fabric from Fabworks. Buying this fabric was sort of a statement of intent. I wasn’t (and still aren’t) nearly advanced enough to attempt a proper, built to last, couture coat, but I bought the fabric for one anyway. It was as though I was committing myself to taking sewing seriously. At £10 a metre it was the most expensive fabric I’d ever bought, but I still can’t quite get over how luxurious it is for that price. I’m convinced they put the wrong tag on it! I hope that by this time next year I will have turned it into a coat, complete with snazzy couture techniques!


Most Worn

Ivy Pinafore in Green Corduroy

No prizes for guessing that my most worn me made item of the year is my Jennifer Lauren Ivy Pinafore. I bloody love this dress. The style suits me, the fit is nearly perfect, the fabric washes really well and I get compliments on it all the time. I once walked down the corridor at work and no less than four people said they liked it! By the time I got back to my office I was practically floating! I’m super proud of my Ivy and I think I’ve worn it at least twice a week since I made it. A firm favourite.


Highlight of the Year

I barely had to think about this one. The Sew Up North meet up was the best sewing thing I’ve done this year by far! I fully expected to revert to type and duck out at the last minute- meeting new people fills me with dread if I’m not topped up with wine! I did it though, against all odds, and I’m so glad that I did. It was so wonderful to meet other sewing enthusiasts. I don’t really know anyone who sews so being asked what I’m working on, what pattern I used for my dress and where I bought my fabric was a total revelation. I’m usually met with blank looks and shrugs when I talk about sewing!  I was there really early so had the chance to chat with Sally and Rebecca, who organised the whole thing for us, before the crowds arrived. The bottom floor of Costa Coffee was soon packed with women showing each other their homemade clothes, sharing tips and getting to know each other. The whole experience was incredibly positive and really inspired me to keep going with my sewing. I realised, at the end of the day, that I’d forgotten to put the memory card in my camera. My only photo momento of the day is this one of the things I got in the swap! Whoops!


When I started this blog a few months ago I had hoped to get involved in the sewing community, but I had no idea just how much encouragement, support, advice and entertainment I’d get from you! Thank you guys, you are great!

This became a much longer post than I expected. If you’re still reading, well done!

I’ve decided to stay in tonight with a glass of red and my PJs on. I hope you all have a lovely evening, whatever you’re doing. Happy New Year!



  1. Lisa
    31 December , 2016 / 7:44 pm

    Happy new year to you too Hayley. Love reading your down to earth blogs and like you I never expected to see the Sew up North through for the same reasons as you. However the sewing community is amazing and you never feel like a stranger when talking on to other sewists (IG/FB obviously). Looking forward to seeing your makes in 2017. Have a good evening Lisa xx

    • 31 December , 2016 / 7:52 pm

      So true Lisa! Its lovely to be involved with such a great group of girls. Thanks for your lovely comment!

      Hayley x

  2. 31 December , 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Happy New Year. You are a breath of fresh air. Looking forward to seeing your makes in the new year K xXx

    • 31 December , 2016 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you Karen! What a lovely thing to say! I’ll be following your 2017 makes with interest too!

      Hayley x

  3. 1 January , 2017 / 12:15 pm

    Fab round up Hayley! I love your Ivy pinafore, and the Fabworks fabric is amazing – hope you get to turn it into a coat this year 🙂
    Is the fabric you picked up in the Sew Up North swap Liberty? I picked up something similar at the Hebden Bridge Rag Market, and without realising, I used it to line a skirt (very luxurious/stupid of me!)

    Hope to see you at another sewing meet up this year!


    • 1 January , 2017 / 8:02 pm

      Thanks Shauni!

      It is Liberty. I noticed you’d used it as lining and I wasn’t sure if I should tell you or not!
      I’m already excited about the next Hebden Bridge Rag Market. I’m so glad you mentioned it. I wouldn’t have found out about it without your insider knowledge.

      Hayley x

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