Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of starting my blog, and that honestly blows my mind! The very first post i ever wrote was about a Christmas dress I made for Bunny (poor child looks like she is wearing the entire Christmas section of the fabric store hahaha). Since then a lot has changed. I got better at taking photos, really honed in on my personal style, started my pattern business, moved countries, had two more babies in the middle somewhere – and sewed up an absolute storm ;) Some things I have made over the last 10 years have been really successful makes and gotten a lot of wear, and some have been absolute horrendous flops. But that’s ok, it’s part of the process. I’m grateful for every failure, every experiment, every thing that didn’t turn out quite right (every blog post that now makes me cringe) – because it was part of the journey and brought me to where I am today.
If I’m really honest – and I try to be – I started this blog out of loneliness. Out of a desire to document what I made and connect with other people who loved to make things like me. I’ve been blogging so long I can barely remember what it’s like not to blog! And even after all this time, I’m happy to say when I sit down to write my focus is still the same as that first day. I write to document what I’ve made and connect with other sewers like me. This is and always will be, my design diary.
So while I was being overly retrospective and thoughtful, I couldn’t help but think about which makes were my most successful. But how do you define “most successful”? I know there are a lot of ways you could define “the best” when it comes to handmade items. It could be that it’s when you showed the most skill or precision. Perhaps it has the most complicated construction details. Or is it the most beautiful item? Perhaps it included the highest quality materials? For me, I define success in sewing as whether a make has been used and enjoyed a lot. I want everything I make to end up in my constant wardrobe rotation, even if it was a basic garment. And looking at it this way I found that my most successful makes were not necessarily the things I had expected – and I thought you might enjoy seeing them too!
To stay true to the spirit of this roundup, i am excluding anything “new” and I’ve decided not to include any makes from the two years. The reason for this is that I’ve worn a pair of Dawn + Ash jeans basically every day for the last year and a half, which would have resulted in an entire roundup of jeans! I’ve also tried to be really strict and unbiased and only include items that are actually in constant rotation every single year. Items that are my wardrobe staples and I still pull out constantly, even if they aren’t mind blowing.
So here they are, from oldest to newest my 10 most worn makes in 10 years of blogging!
The button up Eucalpyt/Banksia mashup tank top
Details: This top was part of my original ready to wear clothing line. It’s made from a gorgeous sand washed silk, and 8 years on I still wear it every single summer constantly. It’s hard to point this directly to a single pattern – it’s the Eucalypt body with a straight hem band, and the Banksia blouse button black. The neckline, placket and sleeves are bound with bias tape.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2011/01/back-to-school/
The sleeveless Briar crop top
Details: I made this little crop top during the original Briar tee sewalong. It was made from cotton jersey fabric “reclaimed” from a baby wrap a friend had made me and which had worn out. This incredibly simple little top has been used so often and I think this year I will finally have to retire it as it has faded so much and much of hemming has beginning unravelling.
Sewing Pattern: Briar sweater & tee
The Liberty backed Briar
Details: I made this tee out of a desperate need for long sleeved winter tops. You will find that I am ALWAYS in desperate need of winter tops. Apparently my brain thinks that summer is the only season that exists and my wardrobe is heavily stilted that way. I made this tee with some black cotton jersey scraps, and some spliced together Liberty of London fabric. My Mother in Law had originally bought the Liberty of London for me, and I had stupidly made a vintage maternity top using it, and the end result was so ludicrous I never blogged it or wore it and basically unpicked it immediately. I was so upset and couldn’t bear to waste the Liberty – so I spliced together the fabric and used it for the back of this tee and the patch pocket. This tee is 100% without a doubt still my most worn winter tee and I will cry if it ever wears out.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2013/10/liberty-back-briar/
Sewing Pattern: Briar sweater & tee
The jersey Eucalypt maxi dress
Details: I was on the hunt for the perfect jersey maxi dress and couldn’t find one, so I used the Eucalypt tank top pattern to make one! I used that grey marle jersey from Potters that you are probably sick of me sewing with by now, but it honestly hasn’t faded even a tiny bit and shows absolutely no wear. For how much I wear this dress in summer (at least once a week) it has held up so well. It still looks brand new and interestingly is my husband Chris’ favourite make of mine. I find that interesting because it’s potential the most simple pedestrian thing I’ve ever sewn hahaha. But I love it and it really is so versatile.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2015/02/versatility-and-the-jersey-eucalypt/
Sewing Pattern: Eucalpyt tank & dress
The sleeveless dartless Darling Ranges dress
Details: If you want to know what garment all the mums at school always ask about – this is it ;) I made this sleeveless dartless dress from a gorgeous chambray that was leftover from one of my ready to wear collections. My friends this dress has been absolutely wrecked by me! I have worn it so so so much that it is faded incredibly, topstitching is starting to wear away and it is truly “worn in”. Shockingly, it still looks really amazing even with all the use. This is another dress I throw on at least once a week in summer, and in winter i like to layer it over turtlenecks.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2015/05/always-a-darling/
Sewing Pattern: Darling Ranges dress & top
The midi Tania Culottes
Details: I love these linen Tania culottes SO much, they have been my favourite pair since I made them. They are made using a Potter textiles linen, which has faded a bit since these photos were taken almost four years ago, but still looks great. I have worn these culottes so much that I actually need to do some repairs on them! The invisible zipper is coming loose at the bottom, and the front and back pleats both need to be resewn. I really believe in wearing and taking care of your clothing – and i’m really excited that with some maintenance these will be good as new again.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2015/02/tutorial-how-to-make-midi-tania-culottes/
Sewing Pattern: Tania culottes
The swing back Briar tee
Details: This awesome top is a Briar tee with a swing back hack, and it’s still in constant use every winter. The fabric is a silk cotton knit that I both love and hate. I love this fabric because it’s stunning, honestly photos do not do it justice. It is warm and textural and just amazing. BUT I hate having a tee that I have to treat with the care of silk. It’s very hard to remember to treat it well and wash it careful. I’ve almost thrown it in with the regular blue load more times than i can count. I’m shocked I haven’t shrunk or destroyed it yet! This top is still a real favourite of mine, and I love pulling it out in cold weather.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2015/11/tutorial-swing-back-briar-tee/
Sewing Pattern: Briar sweater & tee
The silk Sudley blouse
Details: I made this blouse at a time when I really needed some “nice” tops. I had a lot of tees and things, and wanted something nicer that I could wear out, but was still comfortable in. This top has been such a winner for that. The fabric is really special to me as I bought it back when we lived in Virginia, and kept it a very long time before I could bring myself to use it. I’ve tried to be very careful to always handwash this blouse, but the silk has unfortunately faded a little bit over the years but I don’t think enough that it looks bad, if you know what I mean. I wear this in both summer and winter as it layers really well with sweaters, but is also very cool on a hot day.
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2016/04/silk-sudley/
Sewing Pattern: Sudley dress & blouse
The denim Flint Pants
Details: I love these Flint pants so much that I have literally worn them to death. I have just recently pulled them out of rotation and they are currently waiting some repairs. I’m just trying to psych myself up to do it. I hate mending. This was a test pair of the Flint pants and were made with very very cheap low quality denim from Spotlight. It has not aged well in my opinion. It has faded a lot, and instead of feeling soft with wear, it somehow still feels very rough and brittle. As these were a test pair I used some random lining in the pockets and this was a big mistake. Pairing a very delicate lining with denim, just makes no sense and as you can imagine the pockets are ripped to shreds on the inside. And yet… I love these pants so much that I continued to wear them despite the shredded pocket bags and fading! I need to unpick them, sew new pocket bags and then they’ll be good to go again!
Original blog post: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2017/03/favourite-flint-pants/
Sewing Pattern: Flint Pants & Shorts
So my friends, that is my very honest list of most worn makes from the last 10 years. Every single one is a garment that I still use constantly!
It’s an interesting list isn’t it? The thing I gather from this list is that they are all wardrobe staples. They’re the solid dependable, every day pieces that fit well and make me feel good when I’m wearing them. Most of them are not makes that I would consider to be particularly complex, noteworthy or show stopping. They work for my daily life! And I would say the vast majority were made with really high quality materials and finishes, which has helped them last sew well (and is probably a factor in my enjoyment wearing them!).
I really hope you enjoyed my little journey down memory lane! What about you – how would you choose your best makes over the years? Do you think your list would be similar to mine?