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Conversational Threads

What’s your best garment?

Deana | Posted in Talk With Us on

What is the best garment you’ve ever made? Tell us why it’s your favorite: was it the joy that went into the creation, the techniques you used, or the end result that you’re most proud of? (Share photos of your favorite item if you’ve got them!) <!—-><!—-> <!—->

Deana Tierney, Assistant Editor, Threads


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    I think I would say that Kathryn's wedding gown is my best effort so far, and that was 10 years ago.  The need to produce high quality results sent me on the quest for better skills and attention to detail. Alencon lace appliqued over satin and hand beaded bodice, perfect fit on a non-standard body, and a lovely smile all add up to a beautiful picture!  The newly married groom put his bride's picture on his desk at work and a co-worker told him "You are supposed to take out the model's picture and put in your wife!" to which he proudly replied "That IS my wife!"  (I think all the photos are in books, but if I can find a loose one to scan into the computer I'll post it.)

    Faith's gown is lovely too, but it was not AS much of a challenge to construct; no lace, just alter the skirt to have a train and change the sleeve a little.

    Abi's gown was the ultimate alteration job... re-make my gown from the 70's for her.  Many lessons learned on that journey; and the end result was lovely!

    Everything else I have made seems utilitarian compared with my girl's weddings.


    1. MaryinColorado | | #2

      What a lovely gift that will last a lifetime!  Your girls are blessed to have such a loving talented mother!  It is amazing to think something as intangible as love can be stitched into something you can touch and see and share.  Then there are the photographs to treasure too. 

  2. Teaf5 | | #3

    Certainly the best garments I have ever made are those I gave away as gifts! Sometimes I see them later and wonder how I created them; I am sure that love and thoughts of the person I will be giving it to inspire me to be more creative, do a better job, and be more patient while sewing. They include baby outfits (coordinated to a motif the parents love), party dresses for nieces, quilted and appliqued throws and lap quilts, and a walker bag for my elderly father.Conversely, the best garments I've made for myself are those that have been happy accidents rather than carefully planned and executed ones. Once, on a lark, I made a grey stretch wool vest pieced together from scraps from a trouser project, lined with scraps from a shiny costume skirt and finished with inseam pockets and tab closures (I didn't have enough fabric to do an overlap or patch pockets). It has been a staple in my wardrobe for years and always draws compliments, and I get a kick out of all the happy accidents that went into it.

    1. Alexandra | | #4

      I've been sewing for a VERY long time and I've sewn just about everything you can name, even my husband's shirts, ties, and suits.  But what popped into my head as I thought about this question was the bag I designed for myself to lug my 'stuff ' back and forth to work every day.  I made the base wide enough to put my salad container in flat.  I made 2 outside end pockets, one for my umbrella and the other for my MP3 and my eyeglasses case.  A pocket on each side, one for pencil and miscellania, and the other side has a zip closing for my bus pass and car keys.  The inside is roomy enough to carry shoes and magazines.  Also inside I have a mini purse that has the credit cards and money to carry around on my lunch time errands while the big bag sits under my desk.  This has been the most useful thing I think I have ever made.  I've recently made a hat out of the same fabric, Waverly jewel chintz, that I can stuff into the bag and have handy. 

      I too am often amazed that I made that fabulous garments or home dec item when I encounter something months or years later. *G*

  3. jgrue | | #5

    When I read the answer from Becky-Book, I thought I was reading my own answer. I made my daughter Kathryn's wedding dress 13 years ago--silk fabric and appliquéd lace too. We did it long distance when she lived in CO and I lived in IA. It took many many hours but it was a work of love. In between the final fitting--three weeks prior to the wedding--and the wedding, she lost 8 lbs. I had to take much of the bodice and applique work apart to take it in. My husband joked that the his daughter would have the sewing machine follow her down the aisle--almost--it was a bit hectic. In the rush of things, I left the two ring bearer's pillows at home--didn't discover that until they were ready to walk down the aisle. I used a Vogue pattern--I'll look up the number and scan a picture next week. I bought the silk from Thai Silk--really loved it.Jgrue

    1. stitcher | | #6

      My best work was 5 years ago when I made my daughter-in-law's wedding gown. It was my first strapless! There were 39 hand embroidered and beaded motifs--each 18 inches long by 6 inches--circling the hem and aroung the bodice edge.
      I was not in the bride room with her as she prepared for the ceremony but she told me later that another bride dressing for her own wedding asked my Christine if her dress was couture. Christine replied, "Why, yes, it is".

      1. Ralphetta | | #7

        I like Christine!

  4. sewingkmulkey | | #8

    The garment that I well remember was a yellow wool spring coat constructed in my first tailoring class in high school.  Although my grandmother had taught me the basics of sewing it was this class that really opened up my eyes to fine sewing.  It was my introduction to hair canvass, pad stitching, bound button holes, etc.  I honestly think it was this garment I made in the 60's (still have it somewhere in my closet) that opened my eyes to couture techniques and gave me confidence to sew for clients (make $$$ from my craft).  I've gone to make more difficult garments (nearly 50 wedding gowns) but my innocent yellow coat was the springboard.

    Thanks for asking this thought provoking question.


  5. smidgin | | #9

    The dress I made in high school with help from my mother. It was a full length dress with short flared sleeves. I picked a fabric that looked quilted. The pattern only went up to a size 20, but my mother helped me enlarge it for a size 24.  I did all the sewing on her machine and some of the hemming by hand. The dress won a blue ribbon as my 4-H project and was even picked to go to the state fair, for which I received another blue ribbon.

  6. Vick | | #10

    There are a few items that stand out in my mind.

    A few years ago I traveled in a group to china. One of my favorite stops on the tour was the trip we took to a silk factory. We followed the creation of silk all the way from the silk worms to the spinning and followed the threads through to the fabric.  The silk  waterfall  fabric was perfect to make a oriental suit.  I have enjoyed wearing it on special occasions.

    My other favorite item I ever made was a large red white and blue fabric puppet theater. The children loved it.

  7. mzroach | | #11

    I would have to say that it was the Daisy Kingdom Raggedy Ann dresses that I made my 2 grand-daughters. They were about 5 & 3 yrs old. They are now 9 & 7 yrs old.  I put a lot of love into them. The finished product was worth all of it. They looked so adorable in them. This project was my hardest. I didn't think that I could do it because they are so detailed. With the attached slips, etc. The dresses got a lot of compliments. I have a little more faith in my sewing projects now. I never thought that I was any good. One of my sisters tells me that she hates me & my other sister (who sews, very, very, very well). She, of course doesn't mean it. Hey, she rides a Harley. I admire that. And she's older than me.

  8. User avater
    purduemom | | #12

    Last year I was asked to make a wedding gown for the daughter of a friend. Challenge: could I make something similar to a designer dress with a $3,000 price tag?  I had 2 internet photos and her blessing to create my own interpretation. No pressure there! 

    Stretch satin had a drape similar to silk charmeuse, but with a much more budget-friendly pricetag (total cost, with lining, $45).  By modifying a couple of different pattern's backs and fronts, I had a dress that Jennifer was thrilled with.  The train was made from a single, large square that was fashioned into a bow-like design.  The train could be easily removed for the reception, revealing the smaller bow.  Jennifer will send me this train to use to make a christening gown when their first child is born.  In a tiny 'secret' pocket behind the train's bow was "something old" in the form of a penny minted in the year of the bride's birth.  "Something new" and "something borrowed" could be found in the crystals that were used to embellish the knots of the 2 bows.  "Something blue" was found at the hem of the lining, where I embroidered their names, the date and 'two hearts, one love'.  There were few dry eyes as each special secret was discovered. 

    I never imagined I could pour so much of my soul into a dress for someone other than my own daughter.  This will always be one of my best garments and most definitely the best wedding gift I have ever given!      Whoops, sorry, I sent pic of dress back twice.



    1. Josefly | | #13

      What a gorgeous dress. Your extra touches were wonderful...love the little pocket for the penny.

    2. Gloriasews | | #14

      Wow!!!  & unbelievable that you made it for $45!!!!  I, too, really like the thoughtful touches with the hidden pockets - where did you get that idea?  You did a great job - it all drapes so well!  Keep up the good work!

    3. solosmocker | | #18

      That wedding dress is exquisite. The bride wears it beautifully.

  9. solosmocker | | #15

    My best garment is usually my most recently sewn! LOl! Over the years I have been very proud of my wedding gown which was a copy of a Dior gown and veil, a Geoffrey Beene Vogue suit with all sorts of curved seams and couture touches, a black wool tailored jacket that I wore to death. I am in process of making something right now that appears to be able to stack up to the ones I have just mentioned. I will post when done. It may take a while!ETA: Just wanted to add that, I too, have made my best things for gifts. It just makes me put that something extra into them. I have done some heirloom garments for babies that I am really proud of. Those have probably not only made me proud, but gave my creative side the most satisfaction.

    Edited 4/13/2007 10:14 pm ET by solosmocker

  10. cynthia2 | | #16

    Although I made it several years, a red silk Chopin Blouse (Sewing Workshop pattern) is still my favorite.  The piece went together beautifully and the techniques outlined in the pattern instructions deliver a blouse/jacket that is beautifully finished both inside and out.  I loved the fabric too.  It's a red silk for the body with a complimentary red silk embroidered with gold threads for the collar and cuffs.  Very festive at the holidays. In fact, your question has inspired me to make it again in a lighter fabric for summer.  Cynthia

    1. Josefly | | #17

      Gorgeous blouse. Well done.

    2. solosmocker | | #19

      That is a beautiful blouse, Cynthia. Wonderful work!

  11. happymom | | #20

    hello and good day    My name is Donna and my best garment were a wine carrying bag and if I could sew it over and over again and everyone loves it to got and still getting lots of comments about it Made it in 2004 and it's pattched light blue jean fabric                    thanks a lot


    [email protected] still at it

  12. dressed2atee | | #21

    Here are pics of my best garments.  They are of my Aug 04 wedding!  I made all, yes all of the gowns!  I sewed from January to July!  I made everyone's gown and then during the weekend of July 4 I made my gown.  I literally locked myself in my house and sewed!

    Everything turned out so beautifully and my goddaughter even wore my gown 1 1/2 later to her Cotillion!  I just altered it a bit to make it smaller. 

    1. MargieT | | #22

      Congratulations!  The dresses are all stunning.  How on earth did you manage to make your wedding dress in one week-end?  I am so impressed!

      1. dressed2atee | | #23

        Thanks so much!  I literally didn't do anything but sew, nap, eat, sew, sew, nap, eat, sew, sew and sew :)

        1. user-51823 | | #29

          wow- you were on a roll! you definitely have the formal gown-making down to a T. brilliant!

    2. jatman | | #24

      Oh Tee!  How beautiful.  Your dress is gorgeous.  (And I love your flowers, too!).  What a great idea to have one material and different dresses for different sizes.  Unless all your bridesmaids are about the same size it's hard to find one dress that looks good on everyone and RTW bridesmaids gowns are so hard to find in different styles with the same material and dye lot.  You did a wonderful job - everyone looks great.  I can't believe you made your own gown after making everyone else's!  Wow.  Nice job!


      1. dressed2atee | | #25

        Thanks so much!!! 

    3. SewFit | | #26


      1. dressed2atee | | #27

        Thanks so much!

    4. JanF | | #28

      Gosh - i'm so impressed! These look lovely -especially the bride! -and I like the idea of them all using the same fabrics - did u do the embroidery too - or was it ready done? - it must have been surely - otherwise i suspect u might not have had time for anything else in all those months - i take my hat off to you - well done - jan

      1. dressed2atee | | #32

        Gosh no!!! It was a $36 yd fabric, but it was so worth it.  Each top took a yd or less.

    5. fabricholic | | #30

      They are all beautiful, but yours is gorgeous. Is that a portrait collar? I know you will never forget this sewing experience.Marcy

      1. dressed2atee | | #31

        It was actually sort of a wrap/collar that was detachable.  It's a Vogue pattern.

    6. solosmocker | | #33

      Tee, I am blown away! Your gown and portrait are just exquisite. The style is so flattering and gees, I don't know what else to say about it. It's gorgeous, as are all the other gowns. You are one sewing wizard. Beautiful!Edit: Eight, yes, eight bridesmaids to boot! and the darling little flower girl. Awesome.

      Edited 6/27/2007 5:42 pm ET by solosmocker

      1. dressed2atee | | #34

        Thanks so much, I had been a widow for 17 years and God bless me with a wonderful husband!  I went all out!

        Everyone in the bridal party is related to us, daughters, son, nephews, nieces, sisters, and brothers.  The precious flower girl is my 1st granddaughter, Naija.  My oldest daughter was pregnant with my now 2 yr old granddaughter, Kyla.

        1. Josefly | | #43

          Beautiful wedding! Well done.

    7. Minnie63 | | #40

      You truly did a beautiful job and I know it all came from your heart.

    8. Desiderata | | #41

      Oh my goodness, this is so incredible, I was moved to tears. Simply an awesome achievement and that little flower girl and ring bearer(?) in the last picture just finished me off. Indeed an incredible achievement and I wish you many wonderful years of marriage.

      1. dressed2atee | | #48

        Thank you so much!!!! 

    9. Desiderata | | #42

      I have to add that you are the most fabulous Grandma that I have ever seen!

      1. dressed2atee | | #47

        Oh you are soooo sweet!  That's why they call me "Mee Mee"  :)

    10. sharpat | | #45

      You did very well. Yourself and the wedding party looked beautiful. I bet you loved making all the outfits.

      1. dressed2atee | | #46

        Thanks so much, I really did enjoy it!  Only a sewer like you would understand! Take care

    11. WandaJ | | #49

      Your wedding gown is absolutely beautiful. Your work is to be admired.

      1. dressed2atee | | #50

        Thanks so much!

    12. MaryinColorado | | #51

      Exquisite!!!  You are a very gifted lady! I love all the gowns and loved the variety of styles.  I often thought it would be beautiful to use the same fabrics but vary the styles for the attendants.  Each dress was truly flattering on them and I love the way you incorporated the egding in so many ways.  You were a beautiful bride too, best wishes!!!  What an accomplishment to create so many lovely gowns!  Wow!

      1. dressed2atee | | #52

        Thanks so much! 

  13. cat42 | | #35

    It's hard for me to decide between two. One is a long coat and the other a jacket. One day I wandered into a middle eastern import shop and fell in love with some hand woven ikat shawls with fringe. I bought 4, not sure what I'd do with them. When I got home, I looked through my Folkwear patterns for inspiration and decided on a modified version of the Turkish Coat. I used 2 similar shawls for the back and the front panels (I split one into 2 for the fronts), and used 2 matching shawls for the sleeves. And I found a wonderful Guatemalen hand woven solid color fabric that coordinated with the shawls for the side panels, and a coordinating stripe for the front bindings. I lined it with silk and hand quilted outer fabric to the silk lining. I used dupioni silk in a contrasting color to make the trapunto quilted squares at the side hem area, and for the pocket flap lining and the cuff lining. After I cut out the lining and pinned it to the jacket, to my dismay, the lining was too short in places--the silk must have shifted during cutting. But I found a gorgeous silk ribbon in coordinating colors that I used to fill the gap (It doesn't show very well in the photo, sorry). I get compliments on this piece all the time, and people ask me if I can make one for them. But it's a one of a kind It ranks high on favorites list because of how it all came together, and because it looks wonderful on me.The other garment is a jacket made from an adapted Paw Prints pattern. The fabric is a heavy raw silk upholstery fabric in black and golden ivory. I lined the lapels and collar with a solid black wool, and also used the wool for the cuffs. I lined the jacket with china silk, and made bound button holes, using the wool for the binding. When I made the jacket originally, I used black linen instead of black wool, but after a couple years, the linen rotted and I just couldn't throw this jacket away, so I carefully removed all the linen and replaced with the wool. What a job that was, as the jacket was underlined and interfaced with several layers in some areas, and there was lots of hand sewing that had to be undone. It was so hard to see the black thread against the black fabric! This is a favorite because of the challenge in making and remaking it, and because it looks wonderful on me. The fabric and structure draw the eye upward, away from my big middle.

    1. User avater
      Becky-book | | #36

      Lovely!  That long coat is just my color!!! But probably way too long, LOL!


    2. jatman | | #37

      Hi Cat42!  Both of your coats are beautiful.  What a wonderful way to use the scarves!  Nice job on both of them!


    3. solosmocker | | #38

      Wonderful coats and workmanship, Cat! Both very creatively done. solo

    4. Ralphetta | | #39

      A lovely sight to start my day.

    5. Josefly | | #44

      Wonderful, both coat and jacket. I love seeing what you've done with those interesting scarves. Thanks for showing the photos.

    6. MaryinColorado | | #53

      Lovely garments, your work is awe inspiring!  I cannot imagine all that handwork!  I would love to find some of those ikat shawls to use in projects myself, the hunt begins......thanks so much for sharing and for the inspiration.  I especially love the long coat!  Mary

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