Making the Cut: Part 1

10 Summer Dresses That Stayed, 10 Summer Dresses That Did Not

09 Aug Making the Cut: Part 1

Many thanks to the readers who suggested I write a post about the clothes that made the cut when we moved. Her suggestion compelled me to study the good, the bad and the ugly of my sewing and style choices. I surprised myself after this exercise and recommend it!

Who wants to give something away that you’ve spent hours making? Some of my makes were great learning experiences, while others remain wardrobe favorites. Maybe you’ve had similar sewing experiences!

Before I start, I have a question…….. Do you readers who do not blog take photos of the clothes you make? I have found keeping a “journal” of your handmade clothing is quite revealing and valuable. I was blown away by how much I’ve learned about sewing, style and myself since 2011.

One thing is certain. I love summer sewing and I love sewing dresses, so I’m beginning with my largest category of makes – SUMMER DRESSES.

Read on: 10 Summer Dresses that Made the Cut, 10 Summer Dresses that did not. 😉

Making the Cut, 10 Dresses

 Burda 7059 2013

A jersey dress made in 2013. The jersey was too heavy for this pattern. The bust is too high and does not fit correctly. This is not my color.

BUTTERICK 5873 2013

I loved this mock wrap dress sewn in 2013. The rayon jersey fabric pilled after years of wear. I guess I should say it was worn out.😊

  Simplicity 2584 2012

I made this wonderful pattern 3 times in 2012 during the first year of my blog, and it was one of the pattern inspirations for The Tunic Bible. I was proud of matching the huge pattern and loved the fabric. However, it looked dated, faded and needed to go. ☹️

  McCall’s 6700 2013

Shame on me. This pattern was designed for knits and I used this beautiful designer silk crepe de chine. Apparently I’m not comfortable with clothes that cup under the bust as this is one of several that did not make the cut.

New Look 6372, 2016

This fabric would have worked better in a fuller silhouette. I love the color but the crepe de chine is too thin for this column style dress. PS…. I also lined a dress with it and it was perfect.

  Vogue 9053  2018

I like the silhouette and pattern, but this fabric was very cheap and I learned a lesson about skimping on fabric.

  Vogue 8904 2013

I loved it when I made it and wore it everywhere! It’s a little trendy, served me well, but it was time to say goodbye.

Simplicity 1612  2016

There is nothing wrong with this dress, but again, the cupping under the bust is just not for me. I gave it to a friend who really enjoys it.

BUTTERICK 6048 2016

Everything about this dress is wrong. The fabric is too heavy and combined with the sleeves and straps……NO!

Vintage McCalls 8948, 2014 (no link)

The Oscar de la Renta cotton stretch twill was too heavy for this pattern, but I wore it anyway and enjoyed it for a while. It was easy to let this one go!

Vogue 2864, 2013

Make this #11. It’s truly a what was I thinking moment 🤪 What a nice tiered maxi skirt this fabric would make!


Making the Cut, 10 Dresses10 dresses that made the cut

You can read about each one below:

Style Arc Teena Dress, 2015 I wore this dress just yesterday!

McCalls 2401, 2016 Quality silk dupioni and lined with silk crepe de chine

Simplicity 7715 2012 My first RTW knockoff, Kate Spade inspired

BUTTERICK 5917 2013 Ten years later I still own this pattern. My first version was in madras.

Burda 7044, 2019 This dress took perseverance and I feel elegant whenever I wear it.

BUTTERICK 6633, 2019 I never owned a shirtdress until I started sewing!

McCall’s 6885 2020. Inspired by a dress that belongs to my daughter

McCall’s 2401 2017 Summer shifts are the best in the humid South

BUTTERICK 4498 2016 Made in honor of our new puppy and a dress I cherish!

Vogue 1536, 2021 Luscious colors, this dress turned out better than I imagined.

What did I learn in this exercise?

For starters, I’ve put in my 10,000 hours. I began my blog as an enthusiastic novice and it represents that success is attainable by anyone who is willing to invest the necessary time and effort.

The Summer Dresses that I kept fit and are made with quality fabric that is appropriate for each pattern selection. I’m not tall and thin, but each keeper enhances my attributes and downplays my flaws. On the other hand, it’s time to branch out and I’m happy to be sewing some fuller silhouettes these days.  I realize that not e v e r y dress needs to be slim. 😉

The dresses I kept also represent the importance of investing my time and resources in timeless choices, clothes or otherwise.

Readers, I’d like to know your thoughts and evaluations of your own sewing, and most of all, thanks for being on this journey with me 😊

All the best,





  • Esther Phelan
    Posted at 07:42h, 09 August Reply

    Love seeing what you have made. You are an inspiration.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:47h, 09 August Reply

      Thank you, Esther 😊

  • Pat Brown
    Posted at 08:00h, 09 August Reply

    Wow, what a great post. Agree it is hard to part with items I have spent so much time and energy sewing. I am currently adjusting and remaking my summer clothes. Eg shortening tops that are too long, mostly purchased knits that are not petites. Definitely prefer dresses, one and done.

    Appreciate your review of why the dresses were let go. Also, the twist at bust style and under cupping, does not flatter me. Although you look great in all the styles.

    Thanks, PatB

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:14h, 09 August Reply

      Thank you, Pat! I’ve noticed a trend of tops becoming shorter so it sounds like you are spot on! I really questioned whether or not I had wasted my time with some of the clothes I gave away……….. still deliberating 😉, but the point is when I planned and constructed thoughtfully, the garment was usually a keeper.

  • gazelle
    Posted at 08:10h, 09 August Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful review .
    Reading you , I realised that I’m not alone to find hard to match the pattern with the fabric and our silhouette !
    Hope you understand what I write , I know my english is poor .
    Have a good day .

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:15h, 09 August Reply

      I understand exactly what you are saying Gazelle! Matching fabric to pattern can be tricky 🤪 Many thanks for your comment!

  • Cate Lewis
    Posted at 08:25h, 09 August Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I need to be much more thoughtful in planning sewing projects, and only invest the time into things that I’ll wear now, not for some fantasy life in the future (my tendency). I’m also not going to use fabrics just because they’ve been in my stash for awhile. If I’m not still jazzed about a fabric, it’s better to pass it on….it’s too much work to make something that just sits in the closet, even if it is good practice.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:19h, 09 August Reply

      Planning thoughtfully is half the battle….. and it’s so tempting to sew for a fantasy life, but look at is this way….. if that life rolls around, you’re ready! As far as fabric, I have fabrics in the stash that have been around a long time, and just as I’m about to give up on one, a vision occurs! Many thanks for your comment, Cate 😊

  • Christina F Whitaker
    Posted at 08:44h, 09 August Reply

    Thank you for sharing your process in determining what to keep and what to let go! I truly avoid this much needed part of simplifying the clutter in my closet. I really liked your analyzing each garment as to fabric, fit, and the role the garment played in your in your wardrobe. Maybe I can get through one closet today. It would make me feel terrific to get this checked off and marked “completed”. I am really enjoying your blog!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:20h, 09 August Reply

      Thank you so much, Christina! Good luck with that closet……… yes, cleaning out ONE closet is a big accomplishment 😊😊🤞

  • Hilda Bouma
    Posted at 09:24h, 09 August Reply

    Hi Sarah, thanks for your lovely blog. Apparently I ‘m different because I don’ t find it difficult to part with something I made. For me it’s all about the process, not the result. Which doesn’t mean that I don’ love wearing the dresses and coats I made. I made almost everything I wear, exept lingerie. But one in five to seven projects is a failure. I can live with that. I give it away and start a new dress. Best, Barkcloth from Amsterdam

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:24h, 09 August Reply

      Hilda ~ I’m impressed with your philosophy and detachment from the outcome of your sewing projects! Many thanks for your comment 😊

  • Susanne H. Keller
    Posted at 09:39h, 09 August Reply

    Very interesting to watch your path of sewing evolution, Sarah, thanks for sharing. I have only recently started taking photographs of my sewing. During the pandemic, when I started making my own luxury lingerie, I started a private lingerie sewing group on facebook and for that I took the odd snapshot (but not with me in it!). Now there are more than 200 members….some make nicer things than others. One cannot argue about taste….

    Your posts are so inspiring. This summer, I have started copying a couple of expensive T-shirts, but not finished yet. My business takes up so much time! Looking forward to your next posts!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:15h, 10 August Reply

      Thank you so much, Susanne! Is your business managing the Facebook group? 200 members is huge!

  • Angela Wright
    Posted at 10:25h, 09 August Reply

    Really enjoyed reading this, thank you Sarah. I loved how you critiqued each make not just by looks but how they made you feel when you wore them or whether you were proud of your make. Off to my closet I go!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:19h, 10 August Reply

      Funny how clothes make us feel, isn’t it? ….. and I suppose I was often more proud of the technical accomplishment than the garment itself. Who knows …….. it’s definitely a journey 😊 Thanks so much for your comment, Angela!

  • Karen Hinson
    Posted at 11:01h, 09 August Reply

    Yes. There are times that I have been disappointed with my choices in fabrics mainly and a few patterns. I hate wasting the time and money, but it happens. Hopefully I’ll do better next time🤔

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:21h, 10 August Reply

      Karen, I love Hilda’s philosophy regarding the outcome of her clothes. (Read comment above). But I agree with the hope of always doing better next time 😊 Thanks for your comment!

  • Barbara Williams
    Posted at 11:10h, 09 August Reply

    It is tough to discard garments we have invested in. The fabric, our time, the pattern, so many things involved. My closet needs a good cleaning out! In the past I have taken a few photos of garments I have made. Not so much anymore. Now a quilt or machine embroidery project, I always photograph. It is so good to see you back with us.

    Barb in Texas

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:23h, 10 August Reply

      Thank you, Barb! I didn’t start photographing clothes that I made until blogging, but like you, always took a picture of quilts and other projects I made. God luck with that closet 😊

  • Linda W Dean
    Posted at 12:19h, 09 August Reply

    I love to make jackets and I find it very hard to part with them. I also have a bad habit of making the jackets and then having nothing to wear with them. I have not made anything for myself since I tried to make a dress using Vogue 1536 for my granddaughter’s wedding in 2020. The dress is still not finished. I love sheath dresses and they are very hard to find in solid colors that would fit me. I wish I had made pictures of all the things I’ve sewn over the years. I am glad to see you are back to sewing and blogging.
    Linda in Cincinnati

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:30h, 10 August Reply

      Linda, I’m sorry you didn’t finish Vogue 1536, even if you didn’t wear it. Finishing a garment is my one steadfast rule, otherwise I’d have a huge pile of UFOs……. Following this rule has brought unexpected results from difficult and disappointing projects – some clothes turn out better than expected, and when they don’t I figure out why. Sometimes it’s a poorly designed pattern or poor choice of fabric. Anyhow, this commitment has helped my sewing tremendously.
      I too love sheath dresses and hope to take Helen Haughey’s class one day 😊 Many thanks for your comment.

  • Pamela
    Posted at 13:02h, 09 August Reply

    I’ve taken some selfie photos wearing the skirts or dresses to check for fit and accessories after you did it on your blog showing what you wore for a month I think. My daughter says I take the worst selfies of any one she knows. 😆 not really my forte but it helped curate my wardrobe. In January 2022 I started placing clean clothes back into my closet with the hanger turned around backwards. The goal was to see what I actually wore and it worked. After a year I went through the things left hanging normally and decided which to keep, mostly special occasion or winter things we don’t wear in Florida. A couple things I hung in a different closet because I had a hard time parting with them but eventually did. I once heard you should have a closet that doesn’t say mean things to you like “you’re too fat or too old to wear me” “you should gain/lose weight or work out more” That helped to create a closet with a gentle, kind, affirming voice. 😉

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:35h, 10 August Reply

      I love that, Pamela! I always thought leaving too small clothes in the closet would be an incentive to lose weight, but you’re right…. they just make you feel bad about yourself. I also take terrible selfies and obviously don’t understand the secret to taking good ones.
      Thank you so much for your comment 😊😊😊

  • Jean Shaw
    Posted at 14:34h, 09 August Reply

    Thanks for running with this! A great post; fun to see your selections and assessments.
    For awhile, I kept a project notebook. Might go back to it now that I have more time to sew.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:37h, 10 August Reply

      Thanks so much for your suggestion, Jean! I’ve been doing some heavy duty evaluations of my makes and it’s been incredibly helpful😉 I need to keep a true project notebook.

  • Marjorie Brigham
    Posted at 14:47h, 09 August Reply

    Thanks for this post. Sometimes I hold onto clothes I’ve made even though I won’t wear them. Almost half of the clothes I sew serve as muslins so I keep them until I make a copy that I want to wear. I’m fortunate to have granddaughters who can wear some of my creations as well.


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:40h, 10 August Reply

      Well, there’s nothing wrong with making muslins…..even if they are unintentional! Another reason to complete a garment even if your don’t wear it.
      Many thanks for your comment, Marjorie – and indeed, you are very fortunate to have granddaughters who wear your creations!

  • Pamela Metcalf
    Posted at 21:34h, 09 August Reply

    Sadly, photos aren’t loading.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:41h, 10 August Reply

      😬 I hope they eventually loaded for you Pamela.

  • MaryEllen P
    Posted at 09:38h, 10 August Reply

    Another great thought provoking post Sarah ! I’m working on some UFOs this summer & hope to change that habit of not finishing some things . Taking pictures is a tough thing but very necessary .
    Thanks as always for being real as to what works

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:06h, 10 August Reply

      Many thank, Mary Ellen. I believe taking pictures is crucial for us! I know it can be tough but I can’t imagine making a garment without my camera 😉

  • Kathryn King
    Posted at 13:20h, 10 August Reply

    Really enjoyed this post,. Thank you for inspiration to move on in our “me-made” closet! You remind us of the importance (and the challenge!) to select the right fabric for the right silhouette for our best personal style.
    Thanks, Kathy

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:11h, 10 August Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Kathryn 😊 So much more than technical ability goes into making a successful garment! I also agree that sewing for one’s personal style is a huge component of self-satisfaction, and I believe sewing allows us to find our personal style more easily that buying RTW.

  • Laura Arriola
    Posted at 14:42h, 13 August Reply

    What a helpful post! Your explanations of why you let a garment go were great. Matching fabric and pattern is so important and finding what suites your personal style. Glad you’re back.

  • Helen McCleneghen
    Posted at 22:32h, 26 October Reply

    Works love to see a new post!

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