As I start to write this, it’s 3 days into this brand spanking new year and for the month of December 2021, I’ve been really narrowing down what I want to sew for the Make Nine Challenge 2022.
A lot of people don’t like set goals and although I started off well in 2021 (I completed 4 out of nine garments before April) but then all the patterns were like “make me Emma”! For some reason, for once this didn’t overwhelm me into a loss of sewjo, in fact I made over 70 items, most of which was clothing for myself apart from one or two presents including a Jude Beanie and a Jackson Pullover for Paolo, my husband.
I’m trying to make this years goals more realistic using mostly fabrics and patterns from my stash, which seems way too sensible for me.
But anyway here’s my make nine 2022 plans …
So that’s my choices of patterns for my Make Nine 2022 and I’m planning to write a blog post with the choices of fabrics to go with each project, which I’m finalising at the moment.
I hope however you celebrated your holidays, it was a good period and regardless how it was I really hope 2022 is bigger and better for you.
Oh wow! What a Year. I’m super grateful for all the unforgettable and amazing experiences that I’ve collaborated on, whether it’s been testing for designers, blogging in return for fabric or being part of an amazing community on Instagram.
It’s been a rather busy one regarding testers as there has been 15 so far … I’ve had to turn away a few because let’s face it, I was burning the candle at both ends and running on empty. But it’s good I know my limits, well sort of – it’s been a steep learning curve!
I’ve been counting up the makes that I’ve made this year and there are over 60 – yes, I’m not sure how I’ve done that but somehow I’ve sewn over 60 garments this year and yes it’s still adding up as the year is not over yet – It’s only mid-December, we’ve still got over a fortnight to go.
I’m always taken aback about how many likes, comments and engagements I receive, I’m still absolutely humbled by the kindness of strangers, some of which, now really good friends that I’ve met IRL, some that I’d love to share a day with and meet. I keep looking at my stats on Instagram and still shake my head in utter disbelief that I’m over 4.1K. It’s been a lot of hard work on my part, but I’ve enjoyed it. Interacting with you, whether it’s been on IG, email, youtube has been one of the best parts of 2021 – it’s kept me going.
My YouTube channel has been organically growing since I picked it back up over a year ago and I enjoy thinking of ways to bring you content on that media. I must admit, it’s hard work doing the editing – but I’ve learnt lots, and still continue to. I often have ideas bubbling over in my head for months before I get the momentum and confidence to actually do it. I was particularly slow at taking up VlogMas due to the commitment thing, but I’m enjoying showing some parts of my day to viewers and subscribers alike.
I’ve not thought about my favourite make of 2021 – yet! I better get thinking though, time is running out. One of my favourites is the Davenport in the pink spotted viscose as part of collab with felicity fabrics and the other is one of my Wildergowns.
You may have noticed a shift with my makes. Earlier this year on my IG stories I shared a whole load of fabric pulled from my fabric stash which I put potential outfits together and asked on stories if it worked. I’ve kinda got a good eye for this and really do get a buzz out of it. This was the start of something huge for me – OH BOY … HUGE!
For me, dresses will always thrill me but I need to and I want to invest in separate pieces such as skirts, blouses, tops, cardigans and of course trousers. My make nine 2021 mirrored that as well, which must have been an underlying catalyst to start this shift from just sewing dresses.
Ok, I’ve not completed my 2021 Make Nine but it’s been my best year so far, In previous years I’ve only completed 1 of those! I’m on the fence about carrying over the makes I haven’t completed/sewn from my make nine 2021 to next year. I still want to make them but feel if there’s a fresh board for nine makes, it might spur me on. There’s still 5 makes on 2021 make nine but I’m taking four and a toile as a win!
I still want to add separates, particularly trousers. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the fitting drama with the Megan Neilson Dawn Jeans. Like many others in the sewing community, the Dawn Curve hasn’t been straightforward. Before I even looked at the instructions I knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward as a pair of culottes (jeezo, I love culottes!) but I think that worked in my favour. I wasn’t overwhelmed – my brain was open to “ok, we can fix this in a rational state .. at some point in the future” (we still need to re-toile them with the adjustments – maybe 2022?!).
Looking at what I need in my me-made wardrobe, has maybe helped me with my fabric stash – ok I’ve been on a ban since the latter half of the year and am due to come off it in January but that hasn’t really made a huge dent in what I’ve got, perhaps this coming year it will, only time will tell. I am in a privileged position to have such a stash and I have to admit still feel overwhelmed with how many projects I have planned or with the actual stash. I have had very successful destahes in the past, most of which have allowed new fabrics into the stash, which beats the point of destashing, doesn’t it? But the ban has opened me to potential outfits from my already existing stash rather than shop, which is good. I’d like to keep pushing myself to use the stash and make new outfits. So I think that’s one pledge I can take into 2022. It’s quite a big pledge.
It’s been a good year for my confidence and sewing. I’ve learnt to really accept my body, whilst others might not – but that is their problem and not mine. I’ve just accepted what I have is me. Sure, I still have many moments in my head doubting if I can pull a certain outfit of but that’s half the battle.
I’ve put a slide show of some of the garments that I’ve made in 2021 for you to enjoy.
As Always – Thank you so much for taking the time to read.
During this year, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and sewn up more trousers/pants than what I was expecting and I’m still kinda shocked on how straightforward it has been, ok there has been some minor issues but nothing that has put me off so far.
This blog post will be summarising what I’ve sewn and tried so far and what I’m looking forward to sewing up next!
First up is the Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet. I’d say if you don’t want massive fitting issues and you want an easy trouser project to ease yourself into then, I’d totally recommened the Winslow’s right now!
The Winslow’s are designed for ultimate comfort and style and that they are! They come in four lengths and so many possibilites with all the hacks. You don’t even need to have the original zip as there are elasticated waist hacks that to get you round that one.
I started my trouser journey a while ago with the Megan Neilson Opal Pants but have reignighted my confidence and sewing trouser journey with the Winslow’s, don’t fret – I’ll talk about the Opals shortly.
Right , before I move on I’d better sit down and mention the Opals. The opals have 2 views and 2 lengths. It has that adorable paperbag siloheutte that’s strong on the high street at the moment as a standard elasticated waist band. I was one of the testers for this pattern and really like the fit of it. It’s a great match for a viscose particuarly in standard elasticated waistband version as I’ve done two of that exact look. I’ve yet to finish a linen paperbag version … which is is still in the wip pile as we speak – oops!
Next up, is a very new pattern on the scene and I love making them up. Perhaps it’s because the instructions are really detailed and there was little confusion or the fact that they go up to a 64″ hip … It’s the Soline Culottes and Shorts from Staystitch Patterns. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll have seen all of my versions so far. I don’t think I’ll be stop at three, I’m not quite ready for that.
The latest in the trouser addition is the Nina Lee Portobello Trousers, which are now in the 16-28 size range and yep, another tester under my belt. I really like the shape of those although the zip closure and button is at the back, there’s a degree of tactic when needing to go to the toilet! I’ve also got a couple of tweaks where I want to adjust the crotch curve to give me slightly more room and maybe I could move the zip to the side?
So, what’s the next trousers on the table, you ask. Well, I’ve got the Chandler Trousers by Untitled Thoughts printed out to which I have a dark aubergine wool suiting that I’m thinking of pairing it with and I would like to use the reminder of that wool suiting to make a Friday Pattern Heather Blazer. The other trousers that I’ve got firm plans are the Megan Neilson Dawns for some stretch corduroy that I’ve been gifted by The Rag Shop for my A/W Edit and there’s gonna be so much more chat about that very soon!
I found a few pictures over on Pinterest – which, as you know is like a giant tardis or takes you down a rabbit hole of inspiration. Below the image isn’t all the ideas that i pinned and it isn’t my final favourite, because lets face it, I had loads, no surprises there!
I knew i had to pick one so and this kept coming back to me because it reminded me of the Nina Lee Kew Dress. I had already seen fabric that would match the pattern and the Inspiration perfectly. There was no question of not using the pigeon wishes buttons either, so I was all set.
It’s great when you’ve already seen the fabric and you know how it will behave. I’ve been sewing up a few dresses using viscose challis and I am absolutley loving the drape and lightness of this fabric. It has to be said that Stephanie at The Rag Shop has made it very difficult recently not to check the rag shop website as I just know she has a good eye.
Although I had seen a fabric that was closer to the Pinterest image, I just fell in love with the monstera viscose challis. I just couldn’t say no to the playful print.
From the moment I clocked the inspo picture and pinned it, I knew which pattern I was going to use … The Nina Lee Kew Dress. The Kew Dress is now available in 16-28 uk sizes (pdf & paper) and it has the expansion pack (pdf only). I had tested the Kew Dress late 2020 and really enjoyed the construction but as always in true Emma style doesn’t get back to making another for ages because of the constant new things that one gets inspired by, until now!
So I decided to use the version 2 from the original pattern and leave off the cold shoulder straps as there’s no need for them on this occasion. I had rememered that the expansion pack has a gathered skirt and guys, if you don’t know yet, I am a sucker for a gathered skirt! I know a few people that actually hate doing gathers but i’ve grown to love it. Anyways, I was lierally dancing cutting out this pattern and material.
For the bodice, I went with size 20 D-cup and graded out after the bust dart to a size 28 for the waist. i then kept the size 28 for the hips. I am really happy with the fit overall, although I might bring it in at the waist slightly but I’m sitting on the fence for that one at the moment.
To make sure that the raw edges don’t fray, I’ve overlocked all of the edges at the start. Yes, i could’ve sewn french seamed but for this project I left it way too short on time to factor french seams in! Instead of using a creamy white thread i thread matched the green on the monstera leaves. I’ve also used fray check on the button holes as that will preserve my garment around these areas over time.
Here are some of my other plans from the board that I really want sew up.
I hope you enjoyed the finer details of this blog post, please let me know if you have.
When Friday Pattern Company contacted me, asking if I like to test there most recent pattern there was no hesitation in saying “yes”.
I’m sure you’ve seen the features of this dress but if you haven’t, here’s a illustration below.
The ruffles and the sleeves were the small details that sold it to me in the first instance. But as I made the tester up, the elasticated neckline and the cinched in waist literally blew my mind (in a good way) !
When the Davenport Dress was released, last Friday (16.4.21) – it was a double celebration as Scotland lifted the travel restriction which of course couldn’t pass by without a photo opportunity at a different location without a beige wall! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my beige walls as they allow the details on my garments to speak for themselves but sometimes you just need a different location!
I’ve had this Dashwood Rayon “the Secret Garden” in my stash for a good while and when Emma said she had bought some of the same fabric another wee collab was in motion. I think I bought it from Lamazi Fabrics way back in the day!
Emma @CoffeeAndGlassSlippers made the By Hand London Anna Dress – and boy, she’s knocking it out the park! Absolutely adore this and I think it’s one of my faves thats she’s made so far, Emma never fails to surprise me with her amazing style and sewing talent. I seemingly remember Emma telling me she got her piece of Rayon from John Lewis in Glasgow and it was half price, I think it was just after the 1st Lockdown and shops were just opened. Half price – Utter bargain!!!
I found that the Rayon was a fray magnet. Way worse than the Ravishing Rayon that I used on my Kew Dress.
For some unknown reason, I didn’t finish the edges with the overlocker after I cut which is what I usually do. I did, however finish most of the open edges once I put it together.
Ok the pattern is absolutely fabulous, I can’t fault it, so much so I had a second Davenport Dress ready as part of a collaboration with Felicity Fabrics, before the pattern was released, which you can read all about it here.
Both the Rayon and the viscose serve the pattern well with regards to the the ruffles and gathering. It drapes beautifully.
However, both times I had to slow down at the outer waist piece and how to attach that. Also adding the bodice yoke had me for a moment. I somewhat remember that the first time I did the pattern I had to walk away twice because my head wasn’t picking up the instructions right. You know, that cotton wool fuzzy head … uh huh?!
Im looking to do a third Davenport Dress soon but it will be in a cotton. This pattern in the fabric will be quite different for me but it has such summer like pastel colours I couldn’t say no to it! I also see a hack coming very soon – keep your eyes peeled for that too.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll probably talk about both Davenport Dresses on my YouTube channel very soon.
The Bardot Dress has a decent size range and a good amount of ease. The body measurements start from high bust 28, full bust 31, waist 24.4 and hips 34.6 inches to high bust 51, full bust 53, waist 46, hips 56.3 inches.
Because of the ease and the amount of fabric I had I choose size H for the bodice and I.
The fabric that I choose was “Bird Parade” viscose twill from @FabricGodmother … which I think suits this dress so well, especially for a spring summer print and dress!
I used 3 metres of this viscose twill and that’s all I had. I didn’t use the fabric layout … recently I’ve been playing pattern Tetris and loving the challenge!
Sewing this up I noticed the fabric was fraying ever so slightly but it was as bad as other viscoses but I did try out French seams and they are on the majority of seams including the pockets and the bodice! This was my first time trying out such skills and I’m gobsmacked that it worked out so well.
I made my own bias to add to the edges just by cutting out strips of 2cm wide on the bias on a s small piece of left over fabric. It wasn’t straight or neat but it does the job and you can’t see the wobbly edges as they are on the inside.
This dress took a lot of gathering and I mean a lot! Lots of patience, even more pins and delicate precision were required to get even gathers.
I’d definitely recommend this dress for summer holidays or lounging about at home on a hot day. The instructions are really good but I really didn’t use them that much. I kinda just went for it!
When I do this dress again and I will do it again, I’ll size down further on the bodice and shorten the shoulder straps and I’ll probably shorten the bodice. I’ll still swan about in this dress though as it’s got swoosh appeal!
I just want to thank both Ruan and Sam for this amazing challenge. It’s been so nice to see so many lovely makes from the community and find some more free patterns that are size inclusive. On that note, I think I’ll be trying the Peppermint Maxi Dress and the Lucia from Mood fabrics, very soon.
Disclaimer: I was given the Block Tee from Tara (Paper Theory Patterns) in exchange for my thoughts. I didn’t have to post anything but here you have it!
Formerly known as the Kabuki Tee it’s been given the new name and now goes under The Block tee.
After some feedback and consultation with the community, Tara felt that having no Japanese heritage herself, it was only right to change the the name.
As well as a big name change, The Block Tee has has some small changes in the grading. This was also from feedback from previous customers. The change is small yet will help with the fit on the shoulders. The shoulder grading increments has decreased between the sizes 18-28, so the length of the sleeves aren’t as long.
Making the Block Tee was fun, quick but somewhat challenging as doing sharp right angle turns is not a quick job and you want to take care doing it.
If you are stuck and I was just needing that little extra visual, Tara has a really good video of how to do the Right Handed corners on her website, which helped me a lot.
Without any doubt, I cut two Block Tees’ … yep I didn’t do a toile, yep I’m a bad ass but I had totally faith in Tara’s design. I used linen: mustard yellow from Selvage and Bolts and the green from Blackbird Fabrics.
I graded from a 22 at the arms and bust to a 26 at the hips. I could always go down a size all over since the pattern has lots of ease.
I found that I used under 1.5 metres especially without needing to cut the piece for the bias binding as I wanted to use some of the bindings that I bought from The Specky Seamstress (The “Sewing Appreciation Society” Bias was received as a gift).
It’s quite a handy pattern and I feel I’m going to potential do a Block Tee with some of my scraps (watch out for that!).
I’m pretty chuffed with the results and yes I feel I need to practice these right angles! It’s a lot trickier than I thought but don’t let that put you off. Just take your time and pin pin pin!
Like most makes these days, before I start sewing pieces together, I overlock the edges. One for finish and two, to stop any fraying.
The details of the Block Tee are really smart. I like the lines that it has. It’s just has a different spin on the Box top.
I’m super chuffed that the block tee goes to 57.5”/146cm hip body measurements. It’s got a good amount of ease in it too. It’s going to be a nice staple in my wardrobe, especially in linen over the summer period.
If you haven’t tried The Block Tee yet and would like to give it a try, I’d definitely give you a gentle nudge of encouragement. However (again!), go slow round those corners!
The Mustard Yellow Block Tee Details:
Mustard Linen from Selvedge and Bolts
Label – “Handmade” This is for Makers
Label – “Slowly Does It” The Pink Coat Club
Bias Binding “Ruler” – The Specky Seamstress
Label – “Sewing is the F♥️cking Best” – Kylie and the Machine.
Necklace from Lynsey Walters
The Green Block Tee Details:
Green linen from Blackbird Fabrics
“Perfect Me” label from Little Rosy Cheeks
Bias Binding “Sewing Appreciation Society” – The Specky Seamstress.
Gold and white cord necklace from Stitching Me Softly
The Southbank Sweater is one of those patterns that since it was released was on my radar.
Unfortunately, when it was released back in the day, the sizing wasn’t inclusive but it didn’t stop me from buying the paper pattern and forever procrastinating whether I should or should not try and grade it up.
But when Nina Lee updated the Southbank with more inclusive sizing I quickly bought the pdf and then destashed the paper pattern to a new home.
However, the pdf lay waiting to be used for a while until December 2020 when Caroline (cme_202) and I collaborated on the Sew Cosy Winter Party.
The Southbank Sweater was one of the 6 sweaters I had on my short list but me being me, I always take too much on and only get half done … Southbank was in the batch cut though, it just didn’t get Sewn up until very early February.
Nevertheless, I love it. It’s so cosy and easy to wear. I can also layer up underneath or treat it as a cosy dress.
The fabric is from Pin and Sew UK. It’s a sweater loopback jersey and like always, it’s amazing quality!
Again, another pattern that I can see I’ll get more use out of. I see myself using the cropped version over a dress and trying out the hip length with a pair of jeans or dressed up with a skirt.
Disclaimer: Jennifer Lauren Handmade gave me a copy of the Dulcie Pinafore in return of a honest review.
The Dulcie Pinafore is one of JHL’s most recent patterns and it really did appeal to me. The pinafore is in the new size range which goes from a size 6 to a 34 and also includes 6 cup sizes.
One of the design aspects of the pinafore that appealed to me was the square neckline as was the princess seams and the button details.
For sizing, I carefully followed Jennifer’s instructions and cut a 22 C-cup size in the new curve range for the bodice. And for the skirt I cut out the size 28. I used the back darts in the skirt to take out the excess that was left where I matched the bodice and waistband to the skirt piece. Ideally I think if I had realised how much excess there was before I added the side pockets I would put some of the extra fabric in the dart behind the pocket. Nevertheless it seemed to work out.
Talking of the pockets, they are a really good size and I like how theyare positioned. I had to add a label to one of them just to highlight them!
This red corduroy was from my stash, unfortunately I can’t remember where I bought it from but it’s a lovely jewel tone. I had 2.5 meters of the corduroy and it worked out well although I seemed to have got the nap upside down … you know the stroke direction. The corduroy has a slight stretch to it as well which isn’t a bad thing especially with a pinafore and lockdown weight!
Lovely stretch corduroy and perfect for the Dulcie Pinafore!
The 22mm buttons were from the Textile Garden. I wanted something that was going to compliment the red earthy tones and I think I did pretty well matching up via the internet. If I was stuck on buttons I would have normally went and checked out The Cloth Shop (Remnant Kings) but they closed just before the pandemic hit and if we are in lockdown and in tiers, it makes it more difficult to factor in travel and sourcing locally. Anyway, I think the Textile Garden buttons are just the match for this pinafore!
I love how the bodice is lined. It just finishes it well. I used some lining that was gifted to me by a friend and it lay in my stash waiting for the right project. I wonder, if I could line the skirt on and future Dulcies’? I probably could, I’d would just need to sit down and work it out.
Ok, the verdict – I really do love it. However, I know I need to make some knit tops that will work with it other than this black RTW top but that’s not a bad thing now is it?!
I might go up a size in the bodice, just for a little more wiggle room, cancel that – its fine. Stretch corduroy is a good friend!
Ok. I’m definitely loving this pinafore. Prepare for another one in the future!
Disclaimer: I was given this fabric in return for a review over on Minerva. This is a basic post, so please check out my blog post over on Minerva!
What is happening? After three years of not completing make nine and a year off, I am powering through this years make nines.
Could it be I’ve managed to get confidence with my sewing skills – who knows, but I like it.
So, the Pona Jacket by Helen’s Closet Patterns kinda reminds me of similar RTW jackets that I’ve had in the past and will be a to go to pattern for the future.
I really enjoyed making the Pona Jacket. Helen’s instructions are second to none one of the best instructions around. I used the lining hack on her blog post on her website to insert the lining to this jacket.