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2014 is upon us! This is a good time to sit down and reflect on the 365 days of 2013.

These are my Top 3s of various categories. Lots of products/blogs/sewers deserves a mention but these ones made an impact on my sewing experience in 2013.

Best of Patterns

  1. Sewaholic Alma – Quick count off the top of my head! There are 5 Almas in my closet. You cannot go wrong with this pattern. There are 3 different sleeves, 3 necklines, and a belt option.
  2. Simplicity Amazing Fit 2247 – This was the first dress I made. This year, I made 2 more, a sleeveless and a short-sleeved.
  3. Colette Laurel – This is Mom’s fav. She has more Laurels than Almas. (I have 2 Laurel dresses) The ebook, Laurel Extras have loads of information on bias tape use.

Best of Notions

  1. Magnetic Pins – Go buy a box of magnetic pins. My fabric caught on to the box of pins and it scattered all over the floor and carpet. To make it worse, the pins were not magnetized, making it harder to spot and pick up. I promptly went to buy a new box of pins with a magnet on hand to make sure they will attract.
  2. Clover Wonder Clips – You know the feeling when it is near impossible to pin through many many many layers of fabric… These are a game-changer. Easy to clip, spot on the floor, and keeps a good hold without denting.
  3. Fabric Weights – I used to pin the pattern to the fabric when cutting but noticed some shifting/floating of the fabric. Fabric weights at the fabric store were ridiculously expensive!! (~$30 for 4 weights) Instead, I went to Home Depot and found some 2-3″ flat washers for under $20 a dozen.

Best of Organization

  1. Notions Hanger – Similar to the Umbra Jewelery organizer, mine is double-sided with multiple pockets. It hangs over a door for easy tool/notion storage.
  2. IKEA SKUBB Garment Bags – The 2 short bags are used to store all my finished garments. One bag can hold 4 dresses. I have them sorted by season. The longer bag holds my work in progress. I place all the extra pieces/trimmings inside as well.
  3. Mooncake Box – I save mooncake boxes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, they are sturdy, comes in a variety of sizes, and most have a magnetic closure. I use them to hold all my threads.

Best of Technique

  1. French Seams – Invaluable seam finishing technique. This finishing is usually used by high-end/luxury garments; Oscar de la Renta, Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, etc. I learned it through Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing.
  2. Buttonholes – No need to fear the buttonhole! There were 8 on Colette’s Hawthorn. The garment looks more expensive with buttons (sans zipper).
  3. Bias Tape – On a somewhat short Alma, I used bias tape to hem, keeping the length. When in doubt, use bias tape to finish a seam.

Best of Tutorial

  1. Sewaholic Crescent Skirt – This sew-along is well-written and covers slash pockets, french seams, and ditch-stitching. I followed this sew-along when I made my 2 Crescent Skirts.
  2. Sewaholic Renfrew Top – Not officially a sew-along but there are lots of tips on sewing stretch. Again, I followed this series for Mom’s Renfrews.
  3. Colette Laurel Extra – Answers how to make and use bias tape. Best part, it’s FREE.

Best of Blogs

  1. SewaholicThis is where it all started. The girl at the fabric store suggested I start with Tasia’s Sewaholic patterns and read the blog. The blog is informative and easy to navigate. Whenever I’m stuck on something, I would search it there first (Google is second). Plus who wouldn’t want to support a local girl and from the same alma mater.
  2. Savoury Stitches – Mika is based in Brooklyn, New York. I was drawn to her ‘made by me’ office-appropriate wardrobe and the modifications on her 4 Laurels.
  3. LLADYBIRD – I learned of Lauren from LLADYBIRD through Sewaholic’s network of pattern testers. A lot of her garments look like they were off the rack from a high-end department store (only to learn they are handmade).

This is a good list of Top3s. Thank you to everyone and everything for helping/inspiring me to sew in 2013.