Annnnd just like that, Christmas is over.
Ours went past in a mashup of lie-ins, food, and snuggles on the sofa with the doggos while watching films (and the cat who was feeling sorry for himself after having dental surgery) – which is just the way I like it. We’ve still got a few days left until we go back to work thankfully, and will be continuing to spend our days in the same chillaxin’ manner. We’d both got a bit tired, a bit frazzled and beaten from 2019 so we’re glad of the break to recharge and head into the new decade (eek!) a bit fresher. I’m taking the opportunity to do as much selfish sewing and knitting as I like, while thinking about what I’d like to make next year.
I’ve done a Make Nine list for a couple of years now, and it’s interesting to see the difference in the two years. From my 2018 list, I didn’t get many of them made and a couple of them got subbed out for other – totally different – patterns after I decided that actually, the garments I’d chosen didn’t suit my style. The 2019 pick has been much more successful, with no drastic substitutions, which I’m taking as a sign that I’m getting better at choosing styles.
I also like to use the list as a chance to try out patterns from companies that I haven’t used before – otherwise, I feel like I get stuck in the same old boring rut. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really nice to have pattern houses that make designs that fit me well, but it’s also nice to have a bit of variation. A couple of great pattern companies that I discovered this year were Wardrobe By Me and Patrons Les BG (for menswear), and I’d like to sew more from them next year. I’ve kind of made the decision to (mostly) stay away from the big pattern houses, because I just can’t seem to get success with the amount of ease that they incorporate into their designs. It’s too much. Plus, I don’t know why they draft every single armhole for someone that’s built like The Rock, and I’m fed up of trying out their shirt patterns to end up disappointed that the armhole fits both of my arms and comes down to my elbow 😡
The Make Nine process has been quite a useful tool for me – helping guide my sewing towards things that I actually need (wardrobe staples, handknitted socks (yes, thats a need)) and helping me stay away from repeating past mistakes (wrap bodices, pretty much any form of skirt).
About halfway through the year, I did a status update on where I was with the 2019 Make Nine, but here’s the final result!
So, what was on my Make Nine?
This lovely lot: 👀
Clockwise from top left: Fennel Fanny Pack by Sarah Kirsten, an undecided knitted sweater, Quadra jeans by Thread Theory, Hedwige Shirt by Republique Du Chiffon, Clark Socks by Jaclyn Salem, an undecided leggings pattern, a t-shirt, the Oregon Hat Set by Alice Starmore, and the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen in the centre.
So how did I do on getting those made? Not bad, actually…
Fennel Fanny Pack
Erm… no, but IT WILL BE.
I have the pattern, and I’ve even bought all of the fabrics and the hardware for this – I just haven’t actually put needle to fabric yet 🤦🏻♀️ I am actually considering making it over the Christmas break, so there’s a teeny chance that I could sneak this one in by the time January 1st rolls around! But it’s still 100% for sure still on the list of things to make. I’m envisioning taking the completed bag on dog walks to hold my phone and keys, and also maybe on a trip to somewhere exotic… I picture myself wandering foreign markets with this slung around my waist 😌 But since I don’t have any exotic trips planned for the foreseeable future, I’ll just take it on the dog walks for now 😂 I am also considering making one from metallic leather, just because I think it would look pretty 🤩
(but not blogged yet 😂)
In the end, I didn’t go with any of the patterns I originally bookmarked, and instead ended up making the Vogue Knitting Live 2017 sweater. Yeah, random, I know 😂 It’s a free pattern that I downloaded from Ravelry, but out of all the patterns I scrutinised this one looked like it had the better fit and style. It’s basically a hugely oversized, super warm and comfy snuggle-fest (the picture below shows the matching cowl you can make – it’s not actually part of the neckline). The Malabrigo Caracol yarn knitted up a little differently to what I expected – there’s a lot of yellows and greens going on in some places – but then that’s my one gripe with variegated yarns. I always struggle to visualise how they will look as a knitted fabric, how the colours will interplay with each other. I’m super grateful to any yarn seller that includes knitted swatches in the pictures of their yarn listings, as I get put off buying from a lot of yarn dyers because I just can’t picture how it will look and I don’t want to take the risk that I won’t like the fabric as much as I like the hank.
Anyway, the sweater will hit the blog in the new year – but I’m happy with my choice of pattern and I’m gonna make a matching one for the husbeast (because I also bought him some of the same yarn in a bluey colourway).
Thread Theory Quadra Jeans
These came out pretty well, and they are a good fit – apart from mayyyyybe being a teensy bit baggy in the lower leg. I got a good finish on the jeans, and the topstitching is 👌🏻 The husbeast has worn them a couple of times but complains about an uncomfortable bit of seam allowance at the bottom of the waistband where the outer leg seam joins it. I don’t remember the seam allowances being particularly thick, but this seam I think has the pocket bag in it as well which might not help the problem. Next time I wash them I’m gonna take a hammer to that little lump and see if I can reduce it enough so that it’s not uncomfortable to wear, because it’s such a shame that my good topstitching work is going to waste 😂
It’s an excellent pattern though, and one that I will be making again.
(On the blog next year!)
Oregon Hat Set by Alice Starmore
I’ve never actually done any stranded knitting before, so instead of steaming in with what looks to be a pretty complicated pattern, I thought I’d make a simple(r) two colour hat and mitt set first:
Except, I haven’t got round to that either 🙈 And I literally have no excuse – I have the yarns and everything. It’s just time I’m short of, but now I’m writing this I’m reminded of the fact I haven’t made it, so I might dig out the yarns and pattern and put them somewhere in plain sight so that I have a shot at making them before it gets too warm to wear them. Actually, thinking about it, we’re off to New York in a couple of months so I might take this with me to pass the time on the plane. Yep. Decision made. That’s what I’m gonna do 💪🏻
Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen
YEP! Two pairs! With a third on the way!
The first pair were made of a cord fabric, just to test the waters on fit. These ended up being donated because I didn’t like the synthetic cord fabric and the fit was pretty tight around the thigh. Plus the finish on that pretty leather patch on the back came off in the wash 😨The second pair I made from Spoonflower Dogwood Denim, and I like them much better. The print is fading in the wash slightly, but it gives the jeans a kind of vintage look which is pretty cool 👀
This pattern is everything I want in a pair of jeans – high waisted, button fly, rigid denim. If I never made another jeans pattern, I’d be happy. Skinny jeans were never really my thing, and I know everyone loved the Ginger Jeans pattern but I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to make them. Plus, I’d read that people were making adjustments to get a higher rise, and as a newbie jeans maker that was scared enough there was no way I was gonna start with a pattern that I needed to mess about with to get the rise I wanted. So I waited, and then the Dawn was released and all my dreams came true.
Hedwige Shirt by Republique Du Chiffon
Like, 95% made…
It’s touch and go whether I will actually finish it – this shirt seems to have the same armhole as the big four patterns – as in, it’s huge. All that’s left to do it put the buttons on it, but it’s going to take an enormous amount of willpower to rescue it off the dressform and get those last finishing touches done. I haven’t touched it in months. A lot of months. Maybe it’s not as bad as I remember it to be 🤔
Or maybe it is.
Made? Yep! Two of ‘em!
I made the Scout in a knit fabric (it’s designed for wovens 😨) and it turned out absolutely amazeballs. Then I tried the Rowan Tee from Megan Nielsen, and it was the worst t-shirt I’ve ever worn in my life. It should come marked as a choking hazard, the neckline is so tight! I made the largest size in the envelope as well, and it wasn’t particularly large. If you’re looking for something skin-tight to wear to a wet T-shirt competition, this is probably it.
If you want just a regular t-shirt that you can wear out in public, I’d stick with the Scout.
Either way, I’ve made a fair few Scouts now and they are slowly but surely taking over my wardrobe. There’s an uber-cool leopard print version coming to the blog soon… 👀
But I’ll still try out other t-shirt patterns, just to give me a bit of variation.
I made mine as gym leggings, but the seams are under just a tad more strain than I’d feel comfortable with doing squats in. I made a size medium waist with a size large leg, but I should have made a large waist with an XL leg. Although (for reasons I delve into in the blog post) I probably wouldn’t make more of these as gym wear, I would make them from a good thick cotton jersey as loungewear (‘Sunday Sweatpant-wear 😂). I learnt a LOT about sewing activewear and the challenges that home sewists face with our non-industrial machinery while making these, so it was a worthwhile experience.
So not a total fail after all – the pattern is a good’un, but just not in the form originally thought it might be.
Clark Socks by Jaclyn Salem
Nope, but I subbed out the Clark Socks pattern for the socks that came in the Knitcrate I bought last year. I’m halfway through one sock and it’s taking SO BLOODY LONG because I may as well be knitting it on toothpicks. If they don’t fit at the end of all this effort, I’ll officially give up on sock knitting 😂
(but if they turn out okay, I’ll make the Clark Socks because I actually really like them and I already have yarn for them 🧦)
See, it’s not a bad effort across all nine is it!
I’m gonna give myself six-and-three-quarters out of nine – a quarter mark for the Fennel Fanny pack (that I have all the materials for but just haven’t started yet, yes I feel like I should get a quarter mark for that 😂) and a half mark for the socks which I have started but just haven’t finished yet. I’m counting the shirt in full because it’s pretty much made – if I left off the buttons and used it as a tie-front shirt, it would be finished, so that’s my justification 🤪). The only one that wasn’t started at all was the stranded colourwork hat and mitt set – but it will get done eventually, so it’s not like I’ve chosen some wildcard and regretted it (like I did last year! 😂)
It’s definitely a better result than last year, fo sho. And what about next year I hear you ask? Well… drumroll please – here’s the 2020 list!
2020 Make Nine
1. Some sort of loose hippy trousers
Disclosure: I’m not talking full-on MC Hammer pants here.
I had a pair of loose, viscose twill trousers which I got from American Eagle many years back and loved them – but over time they started to look reallllly worn, and I miss them. They were really comfy – elasticated waist and cuffs, but perhaps a little short on room in the thigh. I’d like to make my own similar pair next year, so that in the summer I’m not restricted to wearing skirts all the time when it’s hot. A couple of potential patterns could be the Arenite pants by Sew Liberated or the Ethel Trouser by Style Arc – I’m not sure I like those huge pockets on the Arenite (I guess I could leave them off) but I prefer the elasticated cuffs to the quite severe hem of the Ethels. Either way, whichever one I choose needs to have a high enough rise on them because elastic waistbands always migrate to the narrowest part of my waist – which is quite high up, so a low or medium-rise is going to end very badly.
I’m kinda swayed to the cleaner lines of the Ethel… but let’s see. I’m worried that the Arenite pockets will just add even more width to my thighs. Anyone made either of these patterns? Lemme know your thoughts!
2. Trudy Turtleneck by Wardrobe by Me
As much as I hate to admit it, wardrobe basics do have their place. I pretty much live in turtlenecks in the winter, so I may as well start making my own rather than being restricted to the boring offerings in the stores. I bought the Rowan pattern with the hope of using it for both the tee and the polo neck variation – but after the shambles that was the tee, there’s no WAY I’m wasting my efforts on trying the polo neck version. The Trudy seems to have good reviews, so I’m gonna give it a shot 💪🏻
3. A Backpack
I love a good backpack. Handbags, meh, not so much, but backpacks? YAS. The Range Backpack I made last year turned out pretty well, so I’d like to try another.
I can’t quite decide which one I like more out of the Making Backpack by Noodlehead or Rasperry Rucksack by Sarah Kirsten… maybe I’ll just make both?!
4. Esquire sweater by Jill Wright
This one is for the husbeast, who so badly needs some knitted jumpers. Plus, I already have enough of the recommended yarn to make this – in fact, I’ve had it for about eight years and it has just sat under the bed waiting to be brought to life. Its moment is now (well, sometime in 2020).
This is the only knitted item in my make nine, but there will (hopefully) be much more knitting done next year besides this!
5. Montana Shirt by Itch To Stitch
Another pattern house that is new to me – most of their patterns aren’t really my style, but this shirt caught my eye. Three years of this blog and I’m still searching for the perfect casual shirt – could this one be it? I dunno. But there’s only one way to find out.
6. Wardrobe by Me Rebel Raglan sweatshirt
This one’s for the husbeast – I’m trying to make more of the things that we still buy from stores, and loungewear/casual wear is one of those things. I’ve made the Grainline Linden, which I’m sort of happy with (I’ll try other patterns, though) but I’ve not made anything for the husbeast. So as a starting point, I’ll try out this sweatshirt for him and see how it goes!
7. Anything But Basic Men’s Tee by Do It Better Yourself Club
The husbeast is still trying to find that perfect tee pattern. So far, we’ve been through a couple and not quite really settled – so I’m heading into ‘new brand’ territory and am trying this offering from Do It Better Yourself Club. It’s a free pattern (woo!) They even have a free women’s version, too. Obvs, I’ll report back on how it goes!
8. Billie Wearable Blanket by Do It Better Yourself Club
I’m not even joking with this one. I need this in my life.
I wear my dressing gown (housecoat 😂) around the house rather a lot in the winter, because it’s cheaper than putting the heating on and the husbeast is usually sweating while I’m shivering. A wearable blanket is going to solve all my temperature-related problems (well, maybe) and I plan on making that front pocket big enough to hold a hot water bottle too 🔥
I’m gonna get me some funky fleece fabrics (probably leopard print, let’s be real) and make this, and probably make a dog-sized blanket with the leftovers because Leela gets just as cold as me 🥶
9. Men’s camp collar shirt
Last summer, I made the husbeast a camp collar shirt from a big 4 pattern house. It was awful – oversized and ‘easy sew’ which meant that the finishing was crap.
I do like the vintage vibe of the camp collar, and there are a couple of store-bought shirts in his wardrobe that have this style (which get worn for the five days a year that we actually get summer weather here in England ☀️).
I have a couple of patterns in mind for this one – the Men’s Tropical Shirt from Wardrobe By Me, and a vintage pattern that I picked up off Etsy:
Not sure yet which one I’ll make, I might make both so that I can compare the two and see which one the husbeast likes the style of best.
So that’s the Make Nine for next year! (Thanks for sticking with me there, lol 👍🏻)
What do you think of the patterns that made the list? Which one’s your fave? Do you participate in the Make Nine challenge or just make whatever takes your fancy? 💁🏻♀️
Enjoy your New Year’s Eve, however you will be spending it… see you on the other side!
Next week on the blog – my first post of the new decade! 😨 I’m starting off the new year with a bit of a refresh of some homewares 🏡 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻