#SewingTop5: The Editors’ HITS!

Sewing Top 5 of 2019

Let’s begin this #SewingTop5 series with our favourite projects from the year! Since the Sewcialists Editorial team is participating as a group, we’re each going to highlight just one favourite project. If you are playing along yourself on a blog or Instagram, you can show off your five most loved or worn handmade projects this year!


Gillian wearing a multi-coloured quilted jacket.

If you know my sewing style, this is going to be an absolute shocker for us both: my favourite sewing project this year is a WOVEN! I sewed this quilted Burda Plus jacket at the start of the school year, as a way to cope with the stress of trying to return to work full time after my concussion last year. I used scraps of past garments and treasured prints collected when I lived in Japan from 2008-2011. I wasn’t sure I’d even wear it in public, but it turns out to be the perfect cosy layer that perfectly expresses my personal style, favourite colours, and much-loved fabrics!


Two pictures side by side.  In one, Chloe is wearing a red long sleeved top, in the other, a blue three quarter sleeved top with full sleeves.

I am just terrible at picking one project, so as ever – I cheated and picked two! BUT, I am proud of them for the same reason. These are plain tops, that I wear a lot! I have previously struggled with feeling like the things I make aren’t the things I want to wear a lot, so these are a sign that I am getting better at picking the patterns, fabrics and styles that I will actually wear! The Pattern Union Molly Tee on the left (disclaimer: pattern test, received the pattern for free) is now a TNT for me, and I get tons of compliments on the Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse. They were both quick to make and have been in high rotation – so am very pleased 🙂


My #1 sewing hit ended up being a fluke. So…disclaimer first. I know Peggy of Sew House 7. She’s my friend. Peggy is the most down-to-earth, sweet person you’ll ever meet, and she’s so humble. She’ll never tell anyone that she actually knows a LOT. Like…her pattern making skills are more advanced than she’ll ever let on. That said, I don’t pull punches. If I don’t like something, I’m not going to blow sunshine up yer yahoo. Not gonna happen. Anyone reading this who knows me IRL will laugh and say something to the effect of that being an understatement.

So, story is last January, some friends and I went to the Washington coast for a sewing retreat. One of said friends was Peggy, and she was working on this pants pattern, right? It looked cute. I said as much. Fast forward to summer-ish when she was gearing up to release the Free Range Slacks pattern, her usually copy editor was sick, so I looked it over before it was released as another set of eyes, and that’s how I got the pattern. But… then I made 5 pairs. Actually… I made 3, and while teaching my teen daughter to sew, we made two more. I think if I’m willing to do some unselfish teaching, unselfish sewing, AND sew multiple pairs of the same pattern, that’s cause for my #1 hit. I find it particularly telling as I ended 2018 with a Design Your Wardrobe to help me refocus on being cohesive in my design/fashion/sewing, and the pants all fit in perfectly. (Um, I guess due to new US FTC rules I should say I also know some of the Seamwork crew, have worked with/for them, have socialized with a few of the team, but I do pay for my subscription out of my pocket by choice and have been prior to knowing any of them. I find the whole “influencer” thing gross, and being from marketing & advertising, I find it extra gross in our community. But hey, I’d rather be transparent than anyone think I’m trying to “influence” them.)


Sophy wearing a dark top with white print, plaid slacks and a broad-brimmed hat with plants behind her.
Fleet Top, in cotton lawn, with fish eye darts in the back to create shape

If you follow me on Instagram my biggest sewing hit this year will be zero surprise. I fell in love with the Nina Lee London Fleet Top late last year and on my Make Nine for this year was the general intention to attempt some Fleet Top Hacks. Well I have certainly upped my hack game this year; I have added a button down front, lengthened it to a dress, added grown on sleeves, pinned out fish eye darts, cut different necklines and tried flaring it to a trapeze shape. This is in no way anything other than a super simple box top, but I love how neat it is; french seams and bias binding finishes have allowed me to still feel like a proper sewist making well finished garments when the demands of life have got in the way of being able to commit to much sewing time. I reach for these little tops all the time and I think I will be continuing to make the Fleet Top for quite some time. The only question is where will my hacking adventure take me next?


Image shows pregnant black woman in grey top and green knee length linen skirt.
Preschool aged child in a blue shirt and pair of grey woven pants that have red, blue, and white arrows printed on them.

Sewing for myself this year was totally weird. This was my first time sewing for a pregnant body and trying to anticipate what my body would be like postpartum to make nursing-friendly clothes. I made myself a couple of wonderful things but I was much more excited for the things I was making for my preschooler. He is still in that wonderful age where he does not really have much of an opinion about his clothing. He is also big enough now that there are no tiny bands, hems, or bindings to sew. Sewing tiny wrist bands onto tiny clothing is my least fave sewing task next to assembling PDF patterns, but I digress. I could not choose just one favorite project so I’m highlighting two. I really tried to step out of my comfort zone this year and sewed with a ton of wovens. I tested the Meadow Skirt for Twig & Tale (Note: I sewed it up this pattern before it was released and was given the pattern for free in exchange for my sewing and promotion of the pattern). It ended up being my most worn item of clothing I’ve ever made. Real talk: I wore it 2 or 3 times a week during the summer. I used Brussels Washer Linen for the body and repurposed a double brushed poly top to make the maternity band. My second favorite item were these pants I made my kiddo. I used the Pocket Pants pattern from North Patterns in a breezy organic double gauze. He just busted through one of the layers on the knee and since they still fit I’m totally going to patch them up because that is how much I love these pants.

There you have it: Our Top Hits from 2019! If you are joining us in this series, then make sure to tag any Instagram posts with #SewingTop5. If you are posting on a blog, don’t worry – we’ll have a post in a few weeks where you can share links to your series!

Which one of our top makes speaks to you the most? If you could steal just one, what would it be?