2018 was the first year I chose a make nine. Did I make em all? Nah, and I’m not gonna cry over it.
Was it worth choosing a nine? Yeah, as it gave me some direction.
Am I going to choose another nine for 2019? Fo sho. In fact, I’ve already chosen them and you lucky people are gonna find out what they are right now 🙌🏼
This year though, I’m mixing it up a bit. I’m not just sticking to sewing – I’ve got a couple of techniques that I want to improve on/learn, and also some knitted items that I want to make. The knitting has kind of been pushed aside for the last couple of years, while I really got into my sewing, but I’d like to bring it on back. I enjoy knitting, and I bought a fair amount of yarn in NYC that I really want to use, like soon. I don’t want it to sit there for months (or even, shock horror, years) with a sad face, waiting for its turn. I want to turn it into things by the end of 2019.
If you read my post last week – the roundup of my 2018 Make Nine – you’ll remember (or maybe not, this last week of work has been the longest one ever, amirite?) that I mentioned the creator of the Make Nine movement set a few guiding questions to help you choose your nine. I totally did NOT know these existed when I chose my 2018 nine, and thus my choices were a haphazard mix of whatever took my fancy at the time – no relation at all to the type of clothes I wear everyday, or the gaps in my wardrobe. So I thought for this second time around, I’d put on my grown-up pants and actually think about and answer these questions:
- What do you want or need? Be forgiving about pattern choice but get specific about what you want/need to make this year. I need jeans that fit me. DESPERATELY. High waisted ones, with enough room in the leg for my hunker-chunker thighs. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the size of my thighs, but the companies that make ready-to-wear jeans apparently do. Well, screw them – I’m gonna make my own jeans. They can keep their super tiny jeans, and use them as arm-warmers, because that’s about all they’re good for). Also, I really need to make some more Watson bras because I think I’ve been wearing the same three on rotation for about six months now.
- 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. Turns out I’m not really in to skirts or dresses. The Kielo being the exception for the dresses, and the Wonderland Skirt/Rosari Skirt being the exception for the skirts. Interestingly, both the skirts are autumn/winter skirts 🤔 which means that I can pair them with my chunky winter boots, which then means that they are instantly less girly. Perhaps it’s summer skirts that I have a dislike for? Guys, this could be a revelation. I’ve never thought of it like this. The only time I wear skirts is in the winter, with tights and boots. I know I’m not much of a summer person, but does this also mean that I don’t like the associated clothing that comes with the season? 🤔🤔🤔
- 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. The one thing that I want to achieve with my handmades is to create a wardrobe (not necessarily 100% me-made, because I have some RTW stuff that I love too) of stuff that I LOVE. I want to look at my wardrobe in the morning and feel like I’m spoilt for choice. That I can’t decide what to wear because I just love EVERYTHING. I’m working towards having well-made things that will last, made from quality fabrics. I would rather have five things that I absolutely adore, made and finished well, that I will look after for years to come, than 100 things that are just meh.
- What’s in your laundry basket right now that you wear all the time? Are you interested in trying to recreate it? My Kielo dresses, which I am totes going to make more of, but that’s a given. Other than that, I’d like to replicate my high-waisted Nike running leggings, because I’ve not found any other pair that’s as good – but those Nike ones are hella expensive. And although they are nice, there’s not a whole lot of choice in prints.
- 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. I. LOVE. COATS. Buttt I had a couple of coats in my 2018 Make Nine and I made neither 🤷🏻♀️ Coats – well made ones, anyway – are a labour of love, and they take time. And I ran out of time this year to make all the coats I wanted. I think I’m going to have to choose maybe two or three per year and really prioritise those ones, to make sure that they get done. What do I dislike making? Nothing really, at least nothing that I can think of…
- Are you a seasonal maker? Maybe your Make Nine list only includes summer patterns. Or winter knits. That’s totally okay! Because I’m a seasonal person, I’m probably by default a seasonal maker. I love the autumn and winter. I make a LOT of coats, and love to knit jumpers… but sewing summer camis? Meh, not so much. That’s why there’s nothing particularly summer-y on this year’s nine. Obviously I wear summer clothes when it’s hot, but usually it’s Kielo dresses or my Grainline Scout Tees with jeans.
- 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? Sunday is my sewing day, so I know that even if I have a super-crazy week, I can always find time for sewing on a Sunday. When the Etsy shop is quiet, I can even fit some sewing in on week nights too. I mean obvs, we’d all like to not work and just sew all day 😂 but until I win the lottery, that ain’t happening. I’d rather aim high and miss the target, so I’ll choose the nine I want and if I don’t make ’em all – meh, there’s worse things in the world.
- 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. AB-SO-LUTE-LY. I bought so much fabric in New York, and there’s still so much fabric that I already have – including some beautiful pieces that I picked up in Paris – that I want to use. Other than for my Minerva makes (and an outfit to a friend’s wedding that I legit don’t have suitable fabric for) I don’t intend on buying any more fabric. Unless it’s like the MOST AMAZING thing in the world EVER. Patterns are another mission too… I’m having a clear out of those over the Christmas break. I have boxes and boxes of patterns and I’m sure there’s no way on this earth that I still want to sew them all.
- 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. I never got round to making the military/circus jackets from my 2018 nine, but I REALLY want to make this. I know that if I can pull it off, the husbeast will adore it, so I need to at least try to realise this vision. I know it’s going to be a LOT of work, with fancy gold trim and whatnot, but I just KNOW that it has the potential to be amazeballs. And as boring as it sounds, I really need to make a new ironing board cover! My one is grey, and proper grim.
So with all that in mind, I chose my 2019 Make Nine… DRUMROLL PLEASE 🥁🥁🥁
01. Fennel Fanny Pack
I bought this pattern on a whim a few months back, because I knew I wanted to sew it as soon as I saw it. I pictured myself taking this on holiday with me when I didn’t want to carry much around, and also taking it on dog walks for my phone and keys when I’m wearing things that don’t have pockets. I don’t really do handbags as such (my main bag is a backpack) so the fanny pack (or ‘bum-bag’ as we call them here in England) is the perfect little bag for me. I hate bags that I have to carry – my first choice is to go completely hands-free with a backpack, second choice something that can go cross-body.
I even have the fabric already for my Fennel, to make one for me and one for the husbeast. A sort of ethnic-woven affair, in different colour ways.
I was a little bit sad that the bag wasn’t lined, and low-key worried about what sort of state the insides would look without a lining, but my wishes have been answered – a new updated version of the pattern has recently been emailed out to previous purchasers to include – you guessed it – A LINING. YAYYYYYY 🙌🏻 Now I feel that the stars are aligned, and I’m ready to tackle this project (although I have lining fabric to find), but I’ll admit the shortening of metal zips is putting me off more than a little. Apparently I’ll need to use pliers to take teeth out of the zips to shorten it, and somehow not ruin the zip in the process… I’ll probably get the husbeast to do that, because I’m a little ‘heavy handed’ (so he says).
I am a little confused as to why the bag wasn’t designed just that litttttle bit bigger though, to accommodate a standard zip length, and save having to shorten the zip… 🤔
02. A Knitted Sweater
I’m kind of going a bit loosey-goosey on this one here – because I don’t yet have a specific pattern in mind – but I want to make a knitted jumper with the Malabrigo Caracol yarn I picked up in Philadelphia in October. It’s a super chunky weight, and I’m after a simple stocking-stitch sweater pattern for each of us. The simpler the better, because this yarn has a whole lot going on with it and any cables or fancy details are just going to get lost. I’ve already done some research, and there’s a few patterns stored in my Ravelry queue but I just need to make the final decision.
Hopefully these will actually be a fairly quick knit, because winter is a’ comin’ ☃️
03. Thread Theory Quadra Jeans
I picked up four patterns in the Thread Theory thanksgiving sale, because one of my aims for 2019 is to expand on my menswear sewing (reminder to self: get those pdfs printed). I chose the Goldstream Peacoat, The Eastwood Pajamas, the Fairfield Button-up and these Quadra Jeans. We all know the thin-on-the-ground selection of men’s patterns out there is total poop compared to the sheer volume of women’s patterns available (and if you didn’t know that, I’m telling ya it’s crap), but Thread Theory really do have a very decent lot of modern men’s patterns. I made their Comox Trunks earlier this year too, which were a success – I even have the fabric for two more pairs but I just haven’t got round to making them… 🤦🏻♀️
Although they do get a lot of wear, I am a little bit bored of making Vogue shirt after Vogue shirt after Vogue shirt for the husbeast. I mean sure, the fur coat I made him last year was pretty fun, but I’d also really like to make him some jeans, given that he wears them everyday to work, and struggles to find nice ones in a short leg. We have, in the past, just bought the longer length and hemmed them shorter, but meh. Effort. Somehow that feels like more faff than actually making the jeans from scratch. And men’s RTW jeans, for the majority, are just SO DAMN DULL. Anything other than blue or black is rare as hen’s teeth.
So when this new jeans pattern was released, I thought – this is my calling. My time has come to finally make a pair of men’s jeans.
And that’s what I’m doing.
04. Oregon Hat Set – Alice Starmore
I’ve knitted for years, but never really done any colour work or intarsia. My mum was good at it, and I have a distinct memory of a jumper she knitted for me that had The Snowman, in flight, on it. I literally thought it was the best thing on the planet.
If it wasn’t this exact pattern, it was pretty damn close:
I seem to have mastered cables and lace patterns in my knits, but not colourwork. Which is probably down to the fact that I haven’t actually tried it yet. Given that I LOVE to look at colourwork garments, I figured I really should jump on the bandwagon myself. Inspiration came in the form of the Oregon hat and gloves (but not so much the matching cowl) that I saw on Instagram one day. Such beautiful colours! Never mind the fact that I haven’t ever attempted colourwork, I HAD. TO. HAVE. THAT. SET. So I bought it. And I’m damn well going to watch YouTube videos until I can do colourwork 😂
I’ve started reading up on it, and they were mentioning something about dominant colours, and techniques for how you cross your yarn over at the back (or something…) so I’m guessing I can’t just go steaming in. My usual approach to things in life is just to go in all guns blazing and then figure it out along the way – but I suspect that this isn’t a good approach here, so I’m going to do the sensible thing and put in a little bit of practice first – in the form of the Dipyramid hat and mitten set by Emily Greene:
These only use two colours, rather than about 15 as is the case with the Oregon Hat Set, so hopefully I can manage that 🤷🏻
Watch this space, I guess…
05. Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans
Like everyone else, I bought the Ginger Jeans pattern, because it’s the best, right? Well, I’m not sure. Something about the silhouette of them put me off… and I felt that they weren’t quite as high-rise as I wanted. I have a really high natural waist, and I want my jeans to match that. I haven’t sewn the Gingers yet – I made the Safrans before the Gingers, but still couldn’t bring myself to make the commitment to the Gingers even once I’d finished the Safrans and felt more comfortable with the jeans-sewing procedure. Now I’ve seen the Dawn jeans, with their high-rise, vintage silhouette, I’m totally sold. The Gingers are fo sho going to be pushed to the bottom of the jeans pile.
The Dawn Jeans look like everything I’m looking for in a pair of jeans – the only jeans I actually wear are pretty much this *exact* style, but in black and bought from ASOS. I’ve thought about trying to copy them, but quickly dismissed that idea as too much faff – so I’m über-excited to see that someone else has already put the effort in for me. I’d like to make them in corduroy as well as denim – not sure which I’ll choose first (if I’m sensible, it’ll be something that I won’t be sad to donate because let’s be real, the fit probably isn’t going to be perfect first time).
06. Hedwige Shirt – Republique Du Chiffon
I *will* find a shirt pattern that fits the way I want it to. I WILL. I’ve given up on the DKNY/Vogue pattern that I sewed so many of last year, because the fit just wasn’t great… and I’m dodging full bust adjustments because if the RTW shirts I have don’t have ’em, then I don’t need to sew them to get a good fit. The Hedwige shirt is next up on my list to try – I think in a flowy rayon, or silk, this might work out well.
I recently made a long-sleeved Deer and Doe Melilot shirt, and this seems promising. I think I could do with slightly more room in the bust, so for the next one I might size up, but in the meantime I’m gonna try this Hedwige shirt to see how it turns out. From the pattern envelope, the shirt collar looks a little loose around the neck for my liking, but let’s see. The pleats on the back of the shirt should allow a bit of breathing room, without (hopefully) looking like a sack on me.
Despite wearing T-shirt’s like all the time, I haven’t actually sewn myself one. I think it’s because I felt it was just too much of a boring thing to make (probably because I never really shopped for jersey fabric), but why not make my own if I’m gonna wear them? That way I can make them in the fabrics that *I* like, rather than what’s available in the stores. It’s interesting, because if you’d asked me a year ago if I would make a T-shirt I would have said NO WAY. I wanted to make all the fun, interesting things, not T-shirts! But now I’ve realised that as much as I love making Alexander Henry dresses, they don’t get worn all that often and it’s kind of sad not to be able to wear handmade things in my everyday life. I’ve changed mindset since then, and now see the appeal of sewing things like T-shirt’s – so I’m including a T-shirt pattern in my Make Nine. I’m not yet sure, though, whether it will be the Secondo Piano basic tee, or the one from the new Named Patterns book, or the Plantain Tee from Deer and Doe… or even a knitted Scout Tee. But this spot is definitely being taken by a T-shirt.
I’ve got a piece of jersey that I picked up in New York that I plan to make a tee with – but I might practice on something less precious first 😆
Named Patterns Tee:
08. Avery High Waist Leggings – Helen’s Closet
It seems criminal to pay the RTW prices of decent running tights. They are SO expensive. I currently wear Nike Epic Run high-waists (pictured above, and yes OF COURSE I have them in that colourway 🤷🏻🤣), which are super comfy, they don’t fall down, and they fit really well. The catch is, at full price they are about £100 a pair. Say WHAAAAT? I know right. Which is why I reallllllly need to start making my own.
I haven’t quite found the right pattern yet – partly through lack of time to look, and partly because I’ve only just recently bought a coverstitch machine and I’m still a bit scared of using it. I’m not totally confident on the machine yet – I mean, I get how it works and how to thread it and all that jazz, but altering the tension to different fabrics and whatnot seems to be a bit hit and miss. Some of the seams I’ve sewn have skipped stitches, or the thread breaks for no apparent reason, and it’s all a little bit frustrating. But I’ll figure it out. Practise makes perfect, right?
I know that the Avery leggings aren’t running specific tights, so they don’t have any zipped pockets or ankle zips or a drawstring waist… all of which I’d like, but the only essential dealbreaker for me is that drawstring waist. I usually buy a UK 12 in running tights, so they aren’t too tight on my thighs and bum (and therefore see-through 😱), which means that they tend to be a smidge loose around my waist. And that’s where that drawstring comes in. I bought some totally awesome leopard print running tights from Superdry, which don’t have the drawstring, and I figured I’d give ’em a go. I wore them for a lunchtime run, and could feel that they were trying to work their way down. Not to the point that I thought they were actually going to fall down, but I felt like I wanted to hoik them up a bit. That wouldn’t have happened if they had a drawstring waist – so, I need to figure out a way to incorporate that into the tights I make.
A lot of people rave about the Jalie Cora running tights, which have quite a cool panelled design, there’s also Simplicity 8561 – but neither have that elusive drawstring waist. Looking at my Nike tights, it seems that all I might need to do is put two buttonholes on the inner waistband piece and just thread a shoelace-type-thing (not an actual shoelace, although to be fair that might actually work) through the waistband… surely it’s not as easy as that though? Or is it? 🤔
09. Clark Socks – Jaclyn Salem
So last year, in the summer no less, I decided I wanted to knit a pair of autumnal socks. I bought the Clark Socks pattern, and the yarn, and made a start. I went down a needle size, as per usual for my knits, using something ridiculous like 0.5mm needles (ok so not really that small, but it damn well felt like I was knitting on toothpicks). I discovered, quickly, that I’d cast on the ribbing so tight that there was no way I was going to get my foot into it. So I unravelled and started again. Then I started to doubt whether going down a needle size was actually a good idea… as the socks looked prettttty small. Yep, they wouldn’t fit onto my foot. Trying to wrangle half a sock onto your foot ain’t easy, espesh when you’ve still got it on your double-pointed needles 🤣 I haven’t yet unravelled them – because I couldn’t face knitting them for the THIRD TIME in quick succession – but the wounds have healed now and I really do want to have these socks, so I feel like a good way to get me to not sack them off again is to include them on my make nine.
I’m not even sure why I’ve not yet made socks, because my feet are ALWAYS COLD. ALWAYS. I would actually like to have a little collection of handmade socks, so maybe these can be the start.
So there we go. That’s my nine. To me, it looks much different to last year, in the fact that it reflects actual gaps in my wardrobe and things that are useful and will get worn on a more frequent basis. And one-third of the things are knitting, whereas last year the nine was 100% sewing – so it’s nice to bring that back into my life, because I do really enjoy it (and apparently it’s good for cognitive maintenance). There’s quite a few new-to-me things included too – men’s jeans (women’s jeans too I suppose as I’m still quite a newbie to those too), stranded colourwork knitting, sewing knit fabrics with the coverstitch machine, and my very first T-shirt and pair of socks. So I’m happy that if I make all nine, I’ll have dipped my fingers into several new pies next year. YAY FOR PIE 🥧
It felt a LONG time coming, but the Christmas break is finally here 🙌🏻 And today is mine and the husbeasts’ anniversary too – we have now been together for 18 years 😱 EIGHTEEN YEARS! That’s more than half our lives. I think I can safely say now that he’s a keeper 😜
I hope you guys enjoy whatever you have planned for the festive period… we are going to be enjoying lots of sleeping, home cooked food, chilling on the sofa with the doggies, and film-watching. And knitting and sewing, obvs!
I’ll be back next week with my round-up of the year just gone (plus some exciting news), but in the meantime I’ll leave you with something that always makes me smile… it’s just not Christmas until you’ve heard the legend that is Bill Nighy sing Christmas Is All Around 🤣
Merry Christmas guys! 🎄
Next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the 2018 Round Up! ✂️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out! 👇🏻
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