2018 Make Nine – The Review!

Can you belieeeeeve we’re at the end of 2018?! I JUST CAN’T. Literally can’t.

2018 was the second year of Wanderstitch (?) and the first year I chose a Make Nine – purely because I didn’t even know it was a thing when I first started my blog in 2017. It took me a while – like several months – to discover the online sewing community and all the yearly sewing challenges that come along (Me Made May, SewVember, and SewPhotoHop just to name a few…). Some I participate in, some I don’t. I’m not gonna lie – mostly I half-ass it by posting for the first few days then totally forgetting for the rest of the month.

Make Nine was started by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille as a way of being more thoughtful about what you spend your time making, rather than just making ALL THE THINGS. I know a lot of us probably make more than nine items a year, but it’s a good way to guide your making in a general direction rather than just getting lured in by whatever shiny new trend/pattern/fabric/challenge has just come along.

I didn’t really have a basis for choosing the patterns that I did – though thinking about it, I probably should have. Lucille gives a few pointers on choosing your Make Nine, in the form of some searching questions (which I will definitely be thinking about for next year’s nine!):

  1. What do you want or need? Be forgiving about pattern choice but get specific about what you want/need to make this year.
  2. What did you learn from last year’s successes and “failures”? If you didn’t finish something on last year’s list, ask yourself why.
  3. What values are important to you? Are you working towards a capsule wardrobe? A more ethical one? Are you on a budget? Being practical about what you choose to make is not boring or against the spirit of a challenge. There is success in logic.
  4. What’s in your laundry basket right now that you wear all the time? Are you interested in trying to recreate it?
  5. What types of things do you really LOVE making? What do you dislike making? If you hate making pants, you don’t have to put them on your list just to feel like you conquered some new technique.
  6. Are you a seasonal maker? Maybe your Make Nine list only includes summer patterns. Or winter knits. That’s totally okay!
  7. Look at your calendar. Time isn’t found, it’s made. How much time can you make for each of the projects on your list?
  8. Do you want to stash-bust? Why or why not? Don’t force yourself to make something just because you’ve owned the pattern for years. If you haven’t made it yet, maybe your tastes have changed. That’s normal. No need to feel guilty about that. Maybe it’s time to re-home some patterns that no longer speak to you and start fresh.
  9. Is there a completely new-to-you type of project that you want to explore? Do you have the time and patience to explore it, knowing it’s possible you won’t like/wear it in the end? If yes, by all means branch out and try new things! That’s how you grow and get better.

So when I first chose my Make Nine, at the start of the year, it looked like this:

It mainly contained things I wanted to make – or liked the look of – rather than things I actually *needed* as such. The one ‘challenge’ was the Safrans – I really wanted to knuckle down and start making myself some jeans. No more wussing out or putting it off, they were going to get MADE ??

But halfway through the year, I’d already made a change. I swapped out the pencil skirt, as I decided that it wasn’t really my style after all. It suits my shape (and by shape I mean smallish waist and massive hips, lol) but it doesn’t suit my style. I don’t wear pencil skirts, EVER, so there’s really no point in me wasting time making one just to chuck it at the back of the wardrobe. I’ve learned not to fall into that trap of making things that suit hourglass shapes (wrap dresses being the worst) without actually considering whether they suit ME. I mean, it’s all well and good the big pattern companies saying that ‘this pattern suits so-and-so shapes’ but actually, that’s only half the battle. That one wrap dress I made looked god damn HIDEOUS on me. It might have suited my shape, but NO WAY did it suit me – the bodice made me feel like a middle-aged matron. It’s all just trial and error though, really… my future preference would be to hit up a high street store to try on something in a new style that I’m considering, rather than spending time and money making it only to go BIG FAT NOPE as soon as I put it on. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, amirite?

So my first Make Nine has certainly been insightful, if nothing else.

Did I make ’em all? Nope.

But, I made five out of nine, and started one more – shall we call it five-and-a-half out of nine?

Yah. Let’s.

So HERE WE GO – it’s the Wanderstitch 2018 Make Nine review!

1. Amelia Bomber Jacket – Wardrobe by Me

So this pattern is the one of the nine that’s currently in progress – it’s about half done (maybe more, actually) but it fell by the wayside when I started panic sewing all the stuff to take to New York with me. I *will* finish it, because it’s my trial run of the pattern before I cut into two potential other fabrics that I’ve been keeping especially for bomber jackets. I’m using some leftover scuba from my Kielo dress for this first version – which hopefully isn’t going to be too thick for the pattern ? – and some proper shiny-shiny metallic gold lining (which I actually bought for the husband, but there’s a few metres of it so I ‘borrowed’ a little ?)

The cuff material I got off Etsy, but it’s baffled me in the sense that it’s a single layer cuff ribbing. So that means where I join it to make the circular cuff, the seam is going to be exposed. I was thinking that I would be folding the cuff fabric double-layer, so that the seam would be enclosed (and the very edge of the cuff, nearest to the fingers, would be a fold rather than an actual edge) but apparently not. The cuff fabric is bloody AWESOME though, so hopefully I can work it. We’ll see.

2. Jolaine Shirt – Republique Du Chiffon

This one was made, photographed and hit the blog a few months back. It was a mini success – I really love the combo of the cherry blossom fabric and the piping, but the fit around the arms is a little bit off. The armholes come down too far, and it’s just a smidge too loose in the arms for my liking. Plus, the inside of the shirt is an ABSOLUTE SHAMBLES. There are raw edges all over the show. I’d never made a shirt with a yoke like this before, so had no idea of technique, but when I made the Folkwear Shirt (below) I realised that instead of sewing the yoke and shirt body together to make one piece, I should have cut the front as a complete piece, yoke and all, and just overlaid the yoke on the shirt front and topstitched it down. This would have saved me the faff of sewing that curvy piping and yoke edge together with the shirt, which believe me took MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS. And I still wasn’t completely happy with it in the end but had lost the will to live by that point and refused to unpick and restitch it again. They gave you the option of cutting another yoke piece to use as a lining/facing for the inside of the yoke, but I really, REALLY couldn’t face attaching it after the faff of getting the actual outside yoke piece on. Had I have followed the lay-the-yoke-on-top method of the Folkwear shirt (the next in the nine – below) I’d have saved myself a lot of grief. And time. And got neater insides. Ah well.

You can read the full lowdown on the shirt here.

3. Frontier Shirt – Folkwear Patterns

Sooo this one hasn’t hit the blog yet, but it has been made AND photographed in a cute little town called Alexandria in Virginia. I really can’t wait for this one to go live because it’s just totally awesome! There’s suede, piping, and some crazy-ass sleeve plackets. I even swapped the buttons for snaps, to give it that true western feel ? All Aaron needs is a cowboy hat to go with it (and, I guess, some boots too)…

He wore the shirt for the first time on his birthday last month, and it looked AMAZING. This is hands down the BEST shirt I’ve made for him. Ever. Sewing the faux suede was a bit of an experience, it’s quite thick if you get a couple of layers of it under your needle – I forgot to change my needle for a heavier one at one point, and promptly snapped it when I tried to stab it through the shoulder seam.

Washing-wise (because even though it’s suede, it’s gonna need to be washed) I just chuck it in the machine on a cold delicate wash, and so far it seems to be ok. Hopefully it will hold up to multiple washes, but if it doesn’t? Well there ain’t really a lot I can do now ??‍♀️

Here’s a little sneak peek of the Placket Of Awesomeness: ?

4. Safran Jeans – Deer and Doe

The Safrans are another make that we photographed in the States – in Times Square, no less – but they haven’t yet had their moment on the blog. As seems to be the case with trouser patterns for me (well with these and the Palo Jeans, anyway – my limited experience of making jeans) the thighs are super tight and the waist is a smidge too loose, despite me grading between sizes. At least I know for future makes to give myself a little bit more room on the thighs than I think I need, and to remove a wedge from the back yoke.

I do really like the style of them though – they have a good high waist (as in a proper one that actually hits at my natural waist), so I will be making more from the pattern. Yay!

These bad boys are gonna hit the blog in the new year – keep your eyes peeled! ?

(I realise that you can see naff all in this picture, but black is *really* hard to photograph!)

5. Vintage Kwik Sew fur coat

Ya’ll know that this fur coat was made, and is loved by pretty much EVERYONE that sees it. Strangers stroke it, and other shout their appreciation for it across the streets of London.

The husbeast really loves it too, and it makes me happy that he’s happy. Working with faux fur was definitely a bit of an experience, but when you’ve done it once it doesn’t seem so scary to try it again – which is just as well because I’ve got a couple of pieces of faux fur lined up to make more coats from.

He’s not happy with the small-ness of the pocket bags, so if-slash-when I make him another one, the pockets will be enlarged a bit. I’ll also put an interior ribbon tie in so that the front panel that’s on the inside can be anchored to the side seam rather than just drooping around on the inside.

6. Wonderland Skirt – Lily Sage & Co

This was a mid-year addition to the Make Nine, that replaced the Eliza M wiggle skirt. Turns out that I quite like the look of wiggle skirts – on other people – but actually wearing one myself? Meh. Not so much.

This skirt was a mini-success, I’m happy with the way it looks on me – despite the gathers which I was v dubious about – but it needs a few adjustments for the next one. The waistband needs to be a curved one rather than a straight one, and it also needs to be a size or two smaller so that the skirt actually hits at my natural waist. You might have seen it already on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network last month, but full deets will be landing here within the next couple of weeks!

7. Fable Dress – Vesta Patterns

Yeah. So about this.

I chose this pattern with a gothic-y sort of version in mind – black fabrics, maybe some lace, maybe some leather. To wear over shirts.

But, at this point in time I’m no longer sure I want to make a dress to wear over shirts. After the epic fail that was the Hinterland Dress, which was also made with the same idea in mind (and looked absolutely hideous on me) I’m a little bit hesitant to have a bash at another. Also, will I look like a milkmaid in it? ?

I’m not sure how I’m feeling about this pattern right now, which probably means it’s a likely contender to be got rid of when I have a clearout – unless I see something extremely inspiring in the meantime (which does happen, sometimes).

8. Rumana Coat – By Hand London

This one I didn’t make purely because I ran out of time – not because I have fallen out of love with the pattern. I’d still like to sew it, but it will be a job for next year now. I do worry slightly about the fact that it doesn’t seem to close as securely as I’d quite like a coat to (I get cold and I like coats that close fully all the way to the top so that they keep me roasty-toasty) so I might think about adding on some extra buttons. Or I could just knit a mega scarf ?

9. Butterick B6400 jacket

The husbeast defo isn’t gonna let me forget about making him this one. He bought some uber-luxurious deep purple velvet from the Great British sewing bee show especially for something like this – military/circus/brass band style, with lots of gold trimmings. Sewing patterns for this kind of thing seem to be very few and far between though, so if you know of any – HOLLA!

In my head, the inspiration for this is some sort of combination of Hugh Jackman in the Greatest Showman (especially THOSE CUFFS ??) and The Black Parade outfits worn by My Chemical Romance:

But a spanner has just been thrown into the mix, with the husbeast now requesting that I make him THIS beauty:

It’s pretty, huh? But do I want to commit to (probably hand) sewing all that trim onto a massive full length velvet coat? Ermmmmm ?

So that’s the nine! Here’s where we ended up:


I’m not sure what happened with the bottom row of the grid, but those three were the only ones that never got started. I have all the patterns (and even the fabric for the Butterick one) but that’s as far as they got. To be fair though, that military affair was a bit of a wildcard anyway – I mean, I do want to make it, but it’s gonna take a lot of effort doing trial runs and sourcing all the pretty gold trimmings before I’m confident at cutting in to the very expensive velvet that I bought to make it. Plus I need a pattern which actually kind of looks like what I want to make – that Butterick one doesn’t quite hit the mark.

It’s been really interesting to see how the patterns I chose a whole year ago have worked out – some tastes have changed, which is a good thing. It means that I’m refining my style and realising which things aren’t ‘me’ (and stopping making them). I don’t really get too upset when I make something that I end up not liking, because ultimately it helps me avoid that mistake again in the future. It’s thought-provoking that the two things that got swapped out or ditched were a skirt and a dress – to me the most ‘girly’ items, and the things I wear least of. I don’t especially consider myself to be a ‘tomboy’ as such, but day-to-day, you’ll usually find me in jeans and jumpers/shirts (with the exception of the kielo dress). T-shirt’s as well. I suppose you could say that I’m not especially feminine in my choice of clothing – I don’t wear skirts very often, I don’t like low-cut tops or frills or flowers or pastels. Give me dark colours and bold prints on garments that fit well and don’t ride up or have the potential for body parts to fall out/be revealed accidentally.

Let’s see if all these things are reflected in my 2019 Make Nine… to be revealed next week on the blog!

Did you choose a Make Nine for this year? Will you be choosing one next year?

Next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the 2019 Make Nine reveal! ✂️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out! ??


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  1. Fiona in Aberdeen
    December 16, 2018 / 11:11 am

    Great! I really enjoyed your round-up. I also like the fact that you choose to make for you AND your husband and are not put off by seeing an all-female “cast” on the pattern envelope. It’s not just girls who wear clothes, after all, or who come in non-standard sizes!

    • Sarah
      December 18, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      Thanks Fiona, im glad you enjoyed it! ?
      My thoughts EXACTLY – men wear clothes too!! And unless it’s something form-fitting, women’s clothing patterns can usually be adapted to fit Aaron because he’s the same sort of height/build(ish) as me! ??

  2. Hannah
    December 16, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Hello Sarah, I’ve really enjoyed reading your Make Nine post & just wanted to respond to your comments about the Rumana coat. I made one at the beginning of the year as part of the Sew My Style challenge & agree with you about the amount of wrap around coverage it gives, not enough! As I’m not confident about sewing buttonholes I made a belt to tie it together & have only really worn it on mild autumnal/spring days. Occasionally I’ve worn it with my gigantic scarf but feel it takes away from the beautiful fitted look of the coat, also the size I made doesn’t give enough room for a big, warm jumper underneath. I say it’s a coat for special occasions, somewhere you want to look tailored & smart but don’t necessarily need to be kept warm. Hannah.

    • Sarah
      December 18, 2018 / 6:00 pm

      Hi Hannah! ??
      Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!
      You know, I think you’ve got it exactly right with the ‘special occasion’ coat thing… it would look posh enough for a fancy restaurant or theatre trip, but it’s not gonna work so much for a winter’s day.
      Hmm. I think I’m still gonna make it… but at least in my mind I’m prepared for it not to be an ‘everyday’ coat.
      Thanks for your thoughts, really useful! ??

  3. Rebecca
    December 16, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Love, love, love your “fur” coat the fabric it fantastic something I would wear if i didn’t live in a semi tropical area & your husbeast look great wearing it. The blue velvet coat is also a fabulous look although it will take a few minutes to do right but it would be so worth it. The “western” shirt looks awesome as well, you have an eye for detail when you sew.
    Looks like your Safran jeans are another win as well.
    I’m not a dress or skirt wearer unless it’s a wedding/funeral or I’m golfing. I’m a button up fitted shirt or T-shirt kind of girl
    And I’ll make no apologies for it. I know what I like so I wear it. Even though I’m a curvy woman & there are lots of dresses that would”flatter my figure” I’m not me wearing one. Give me comfortable clothes that fit me in beautiful colors & prints & I’m happy.

    • Sarah
      December 18, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      Thanks Rebecca! That fur coat is really something isn’t it ?? I have some fur to make a coat for myself too but I haven’t yet decided on the pattern I’ll use… it could be this one ?
      It’s so good to hear that there’s others out there that don’t do dresses! ?? Yay for us knowing what we like an wearing it with pride ??

  4. December 17, 2018 / 5:26 am

    hi sarah, it’s always fun reading your blog and finding out what you’ve been up to and what you have planned. your point of view is so different than most other bloggers that it’s a breath of fresh air. so honest. and i love that fact that you’ve turned aaron into a sewer, as well. tattoos, skulls and animal prints all in one girl! who could ask for more?

    https://www.folkwear.com/collections/mens-patterns/products/133-belgian-military-chefs-jacket is this a base for a marching band jacket?

    • Sarah
      December 18, 2018 / 6:12 pm

      Hi Barbara!
      I’m so glad that you enjoy the blog ??? haha if there’s words that are used to describe me, ‘honest’ (or ‘blunt’, or ‘direct’) is usually on the list ?
      Yep, Aaron is a sewist too! He’s going to be making me a silk shirt next year, his first shirt ???
      Skulls and animal prints are the BEST – this is one girl that you’re not gonna see in pastels, or frills, or florals ☠️
      Thanks for the Folkwear pattern link… I feel that I really should investigate this pattern company more because they actually have some EXCELLENT designs! Totally different to the mainstream norm, and you know I love a bit of that! I reckon I’m gonna have to piece together several different patterns to get what I see in my head… but I’ll get there eventually (hopefully)!! The Folkwear pattern might be a good start though, I could put the gold trim on the flap closure at the front… ?

  5. December 17, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Five-and-a-half is great! And just look at them! ????? I cant wait to see Aaron’s suede/skeleton shirt in full! It looks amazing ????

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