Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Review 2016


I’ve reading many of the review posts that get blogged at this time of year. I generally find that it takes a few wears before you know whether a particular garment is a hit or a miss. I think we are always tempted to blog our makes as soon as the last button is sewn on, but I find that more reflection often gives me a different view. I’m finding the other bloggers reviews interesting for this reason. It’s good to see makes that I particularly liked when they were originally posted, elevated to “favourite” status by the wearer when they are on constant rotation and it’s always interesting to also see what doesn’t hit the mark, there is always a lesson learned…. and frequently one that would also be relevant to my own sewing.

I enjoy reading the Top Five posts, but I’ve only sewn 12 clothing items this year and so with my limited makes I don’t think it makes sense to write that type of review. Perhaps, if I ever get to be that productive…..

So here’s the return of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, in which I limit my post to just talking about 3 makes and casting a critical eye on them.

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

I have a few contenders for “The Good” crown this year and it has been hard to pick one out. Wow, that makes me feel happy, saying that! It just goes to show how my sewing is improving when I’m having trouble picking out a favourite. After some deliberation though,  I have decided to pick my Lekala Classic Shirt. I have made shirts before, but this was my first Lekala pattern. Lekala patterns can be adapted to your own measurements. I think this is a great idea as generally I have to make lots of adjustments to the standard size that I use as a starting point for my makes. This cut out quite a bit work for me since I had less adjustment to do. I did make a small adjustment that that was to make the back at the shoulders slightly wider, but I think that this adjustment was made as I wasn’t quite sure how to do this on the Lekala pattern. The only other changes I made were to the sleeve plackets, these were made with bias fabric strips and adding extra buttons to ensure adequate cover at the front!

Lekala Shirt

You won’t believe how many compliments I get about this shirt. Possibly, this may be because it is very much in line with RTW clothes.

The other contenders I considered for “The Good” accolade were my Wolf Jeans and my Jenna Cardigan. My Wolf Jeans are special as I made some very radical changes to the pattern, changing the side zipper into a front fly with a graded waistband. My Jenna Cardigan is constantly in rotation. I’m not particularly proficient working with knits and this is probably my most successful knit project to date.

Original Post – Lekala Classic Shirt

The Bad

This was a hard category to fill and perhaps I am placing my make in this category a little prematurely. I can’t say that I have made anything truly awful this year, but I have a few makes that I am not so happy with. My beach cover-up is probably one of these. I say, probably, as I haven’t worn it on the beach and I may find that it is just the thing to wear after a dip in the sea. However, I have a few worries about this item. I picked this fabric at Birmingham Rag Market and there was limited choice on colours. I picked the white fabric – since when has it ever been practical for me to wear white? I’m also concerned that I may have picked the wrong pattern. The pattern is designed as a loose jacket or cardigan for wool or heavier weight fabrics. I’m still not sure that it looks right with a fabric that has so much drape. Perhaps I should have picked a waterfall cardigan pattern that would make more of the drape this fabric has. Only time will tell if this is a hit or a miss.

Original Post – Beach Cover-Up

The Ugly

I had such high hopes for this top. It replaced a much loved, but very scruffy item in my wardrobe. On the hanger, I love it. It looks great and can be worn casually with jeans or as a more smart option with a skirt.

The problems with this arose with the construction. I took apart the RTW top that I was copying and made the pattern from that, but when I started to construct the new top, I decided I wasn’t happy with how the RTW had been constructed. The techniques used seemed sloppy to me, leaving raw edges hidden trims. To cut a long story short, I started sewing off piste and worked out a new way of putting the neckline together. The end result was that I used slightly more fabric for my seams that in the pattern, which means that the front is about an inch or so shorter at the front than the back. Not tragic, but this one inch is the difference between my bulging belly sticking out every time I move my arms and it staying within the top. Hence, this top is “The Ugly”, or rather my mid-riff is. I would add that the top works well with my Wolf jeans as they rise reasonably high, but doesn’t work with many of my other trousers and skirts. Just take a look at the photo below, cold around the middle and belly button revealed – who wants to see that?


I did consider trying to change this top. It may happen, although I am notoriously bad at getting round to mending and altering my makes. The problem is that there is not enough fabric left and any amendment would need to incorporate a different fabric. I’m not sure what would work? Any ideas?

I’m disappointed, but it’s still wearable, if in a limited capacity. I have adjusted the pattern now and I was always going to make another of these tops at some point. So, perhaps we could call this version my toile? I can see a version in a darker fabric and losing the frills around the bib.

Original Post – White Dobby Top

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

4 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Review 2016

  1. You do have a few lovlies there! Happy New Year!

  2. Great round up, I’m not surprised you have many compliments about your lekala shirt. Your white top is really lovely, just a shame about it being a bit short. What about wearing it with high waisted bottoms as they’re ‘on trend’ as they say and would make your top more wearable in the colder weather 🙂

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