Sewcialists Top 5 Hits of 2020!

Let’s begin the #SewingTop5 fun!

This category is a chance to show off your best or most beloved sewing projects of 2020! It could be a couture coat or the lounge pants you wore every day—anything goes. Here on Sewcialists, we are going to share a variety of our personal and community highlights.

Gillian: I’ve never sewn so little as I have this year, but I am very proud of the fact that Sewcialists managed to publish three posts a week through thick and thin! Even before COVID-19 hit, I was wondering how long we would continue and what there was left for us to say. Well, thanks to the amazing hard work of our behind-the-scenes Editors and Copy-Editors, we shared about masks, Black Lives Matter, and much more.

Rachel (copy-editor): I was inspired by Sylvia’s (@theravelout) version of the Helen’s Closet Gilbert top this summer. Although I had never made a collared shirt before, I was pretty confident I could tackle this project because a) Helen’s instructions are always so clear and b) I watched Peter Lappin’s Sew the Camp Shirt videos on Craftsy. The Gilbert Top is a button up shirt with a camp-style collar and a relaxed fit, and if you do View A, that’s only three buttonholes and buttons! The size range is from 0 to 30, and I made a size 14 with no adjustments. I used orange chambray (looks pinkish to me) from Surge Fabric Shop.

Rachel is standing in front of a house wearing a long black skirt and a pink-colored Gilbert top, which is collared, has three buttons, and ties at the front.

Charlotte (temporary editor): I don’t feel like I’ve done very much sewing this year (excluding LOTS of sample sewing), but looking back (thanks to Instagram providing a helpful record of my projects) I sewed 12 garments this year (and completed three knitting projects). Of those 12 garments, the stand out success was definitely the Free Sewing Carlton Coat I made for my partner, Phil.

I started the coat in 2019, hit fit issues because I hadn’t toiled, and then abandoned it until the start of 2020. At the start of this year I worked through the required alterations, my approach being to trust my assumptions on what needed to change and cut into the coat. It was a satisfying process to assess and implement the alterations, and the end result is a coat Phil wore daily when I finished it at the start of the year and has just started wearing daily again as the weather has gotten colder.

Phil (a white man in his 30s) is stood in a large greenhouse wearing a long black and white coat paired with a stripey scarf.

Andrea (copy-editor): I found an old blue worker’s shirt at a brocante for the extortionate sum of 1 euro. I am a fan of Ready to Sew patterns and wondered if there might be enough fabric in it to make the James ‘vareuse’ pattern (fisherman’s smock). The sleeves were almost perfect, but I had to shorten the pattern and scale down the cute asymmetrical pocket. With a little reflection—measure twice, cut once!—it worked out. I’ll probably make a full version sometime, but this is already a much-loved gardening top.

Amanda (temporary editor): I didn’t get nearly as much sewing done this year as I had hoped. I looked back at my reflection from last year and literally laughed. Oh, my sweet summer child. I thought I’d have more freedom to sew whatever and whenever I wanted, with a kid in school full time and the closure of my small business. I did more knitting this year, which was a success. I made a linen Donovan Skirt (Helen’s Closet) that while very simple, I spent the time to finish well, and it has been very well loved.

Editor Amanda is standing at the bottom of stairs wearing a midi-length, light blue, elastic-waisted skirt that has a drawstring. She also has on a crop top that is light pink and has birds on it.
Donovan Skirt in blue linen

Chris (temporary editor): I managed to sew quite a few things this year, much to my surprise. My favorite make this year is the wedding shirts I made! They still need some finishing, but I feel like they turned out amazing. I even finished one of them in a day! I definitely learned a lot more of what I’m capable sewing-wise but realized I still have some ways to go. I used Simplicity 8427 (a Mimi G men’s dress shirt pattern) and made a few changes to my fabric and button choice. The masks were made by my partner (he even made the leather rings) and I would DEF. make this pattern again.

Isn’t it fun how everyone’s favourite project is so different? What was your favourite sewing project this year? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!