It was a year of making - sewing and knitting wearables for me and for others (but mostly for myself). I definitely didn't set out to make the amount of items I did. I had some loose plans and hopes at the beginning of the year, which grew and grew as the year plodded along.
Being able to slowly work on projects with my hands brought much comfort in an otherwise strange and sad and unsettling year: something I could tangibly hold, control, complete. Something beautiful and useful. It was play, and it was meditation, medicine. I also loved learning new crafting skills along the way. These are my top nine makes from the year:
1. Teahouse Dress // pattern by sewhouse7 // pure linen fabric from the fabric store
I wrote a blog post about this dress here. I loved the process of making this dress so very much - the clean lines of the pattern, the challenge of learning new things (the gathered yoke in particular), using dark blue linen that had been sitting my stash for a couple of years waiting for the perfect pattern, and the result of a dress that is both comfortable and flattering, that I really can feel myself in.
2. Sibella Cardigan // pattern by Carrie Bostick Hodge // wool/yak/silk blend yarn by ochre yarn
This was my first time knitting lace which was a bit tricky but also a lot of fun. I didn't make the arms quite long enough - this is a recurring problem for me as I get so impatient to wear the knitted item I rush the sleeves! It's actually perfect wearing for the crisp summer mornings we've been having lately and the yarn which is a blend of merino, silk and yak fibres is deliciously soft and breathable. I think I would size up if I ever made it again so it could be used as a layer over a top - instead I wear it over bare arms with sleeveless tanks/dresses etc.
3. Wiksten Shift Top // pattern by Wiksten // double gauze cotton by Artelier Brunette
My most worn handmade item of the year, for sure. The pattern is roomy and comfortable, perfect layered over jeans or a skirt. I have worn this all year round; over thermals in winter and by itself in summer. I think the fabric is what makes it so special though: a lusciously soft double gauze with these golden embroidered spots scattered over it. And pockets, gotta have pockets. I have already sewn two more tops in this pattern!
4. Flea Cardigan // pattern by Pinneguri // yarn by Ochre Yarn, Jamieson & Smith 2ply, stash 4ply
I love this cardigan - I used the English translation of the original Norwegian pattern - it was so pleasurable, I almost didn't want it to end. My first time knitting a steaked colour work garment (and my second time doing colour work ). Someone said knitting colour work was like painting and there is something so playful and beautiful about the process. Like the Sibella cardigan I skimped on the sleeve length and ended up with 3/4 sleeves instead of full. I really must stop doing this! It's lovely and wearable and I would like to try a second one with longer arms and different colours one day.
5. Vertices Unite Shawl // pattern by Stephen West // yarn by Ochre Yarn, Bendigo Woollen Mills, random stash
Best shawl ever! The perfect way to use up bits of 4ply yarn you have leftover from other projects or stashed away. Such soothing, simple knitting with lovely little features where sections join. I looooved how the pattern works each panel into it as you go along and the I-cord bind off is just divine. I know I will make this again one day in different colours...
7. Origami Face masks // pattern by Aplat // fabric cotton, linen etc from stash
Such a wonderful free pattern from Aplat. We had to wear masks (and still do in grocery shops) for months during the lock downs this year so making some of my own, beautiful masks made a difference about the whole thing for me. I made some for my parents and sister and friends, plenty for ourselves. Best of all easy to adjust with each cord or elastic and washable.
6. Field Hat // pattern by Amy Christoffers // yarn by random stash, Ochre Yarn
I made so many of these! Addictive, quick week-long knit hats in the round using colour work patterns that truly feel like play. A win that the boys liked them too and could help choose the colours. I made one for my sister, one for Beren, one for Archer.
8. Tamarack Jacket // pattern by Grainline Studio // fabric by Robert Kaufman, random stash
We affectionately call this the "dog jacket"! This was the most tricky make of the year - firstly the quilting of each panel, then the welt pockets (which still weren't quite right) and finally the hand stitched binding around the edges. All in all I like it - it's super warm and the chocolatey brown Robert Kaufman linen-cotton fabric is beautiful, but I don't love it... It still feels quite stiff and a bit restrictive to wear with lots of layers underneath. I'd like try it again one day and had more length to it so it comes past the hips; and maybe size up so I can include buttons and have pockets on the exterior instead of welt-inner ones.
9. Trillium Dress // pattern by Made by Rae // cotton gauze fabric by Nani Iro
A dress for spring! It has pockets and can be layered over tops and tights on cooler days or worn with bare limbs on warmer ones. I used the washi dress pattern (now named called #trilliumdress ) which I actually sewed a version of about six years ago - it was my first ever handmade dress and although made of the most glorious cotton it was a little too short and tight for my liking. I didn’t wear it much and in the end cut it up so I could use the fabric in other things. It seemed fitting to make this dress again with the right modifications in another equally dreamy blue @itoitonaocotton gauze. Such lovely fabric calls for a simple shaped garment I think. I wear this one so much!
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...