The Whole Nine Yards

So we’re halfway through the year, which means that I should be halfway through my make nine, right?

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Well, er – no. Not quite.

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But it is going better than last year’s 🤣🙌🏻

What’s a ‘make nine’, some of you might ask?! Well, let me tell ya 🤓 The aim of the ‘make nine’ is to help you choose nine projects with purpose. They might help you to learn a new technique (French seams, for example), or improve your skills (something with invisible zips, maybe), or fill a hole in your wardrobe. You can, of course, put things into the nine just for the lolz, because you really like the pattern or want to sew something totes extravagant simply because you CAN.

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So what did I choose for my nine? Well, unlike last year which was 100% clothing, this year’s choices include clothing, knitted items, and even a bag. They’re all quite sensible things, actually, which might be why I’m making good progress with a lot of them 🤔

Ready for the low down?

Let’s go.

1. Fennel Fanny Pack – Sarah Kirsten

This was chosen because I like the retro feel to it, and it’s also practical for dog walking and travelling (sensible, eh?)

Made?

Er, no. Off to a good start here.

Started?

Kind of – I have all the hardware supplies now (zips, buckles, webbing and the like) along with the outer fabric – but no lining fabric yet. In my defence, when I bought the pattern it was for an unlined pouch. It seems I wasn’t the only one that secretly wanted a lined version, because since then a revised pattern has been released – to include a lining 🙌🏻 But I haven’t yet chosen the lining fabric… need to get onto that, really.

Yes, the pink set is for me and the red set is for the husbeast. We’re totes going to have matching fanny packs (or bumbags, as we call them here in the UK)

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2. A chunky knit jumper

This one was included to not only help me get back into my knitting (I was a knitter before I could sew), but to use up some special yarn.

Made?

YES!

I wanted to use the Caracol yarn I picked up in Philadelphia, one colourway for me, one for the husbeast. I browsed many – many – patterns on Instagram and eventually settled on the free ‘Vogue Knitting Live’ sweater and snood set:

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(I didn’t make the snood, although when it gets proper cold I’ll probably be wishing I had…)

There were dramas with pooling, striping, and the different colour combos across the hanks, but I made it to the end eventually. Once it cools down enough to take photos in the jumper without boiling to death, you’ll get a full blog post, but for now, here are some photos of the pretty yarn 😍

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3. Thread Theory Quadra Jeans

Made?

Nope.

Started?

Nope.

I’ve bought the pdf pattern and even had it printed – but that’s as far as this one has got. Jeans for the husbeast is one thing that I want to get going with though, as he always struggles with fit and leg length. Now that I’ve made the Dawn’s, I feel confident enough to tackle men’s jeans. But just as I struggle with finding denim for my jeans, I have the same issue with him as he doesn’t like plain boring stuff either 🙄 For the first attempt though, I guess I better just stick to the plain stuff, as I’m sure it’s not gonna be perfect from the get-go – but the main thing is, I’m not scared to attempt these now.

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4. Oregon Hat and Glove set – Alice Starmore

Made?

Nopppppe.

Started?

I’ve bought the yarn kit, does that count?!

This project is waaaay out of my comfort zone and was an attempt at getting some mad knitting skillz.

Before tackling the Oregon set, I wanted to make the Dipyramid hat and glove set first, as I’ve never done stranded colourwork before – it looks a bit easier (there are just two colours) and could be a sensible first step rather than just going steaming in to (what looks like) a twenty colour project 😨

I have the yarn already (some scrummy Brooklyn Tweed Arbor and Peerie), but haven’t yet cast on… I’m still trying to finish my Volt sweater, and then there are all the many other patterns that are stored in my Ravelry account which will keep me going for the next 100 years… 🤷🏻‍♀️

So little time.

5. Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

Made?

YAS!

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These were on the blog just last week – if ya missed it, go catch up here!

I really, really struggle to get jeans that fit my waist and my thighs – my waist is fairly narrow compared to my huge hips, there’s a 10-inch difference between the two. Any form of bottoms requires some serious grading between sizes. The Dawn’s got me a good fit with grading just between a couple of sizes (as they’re kind of drafted for that sort of shape) but now that I’ve worn them for a bit, I could really do with some extra room at the hip (and definitely in the leg) and perhaps a little less room at the waist, so the ‘two’ sizes I’ve graded between might now become four. No biggie, I’m willing to make another pair, and in fact, I already have the fabric 🙌🏻

I know I say this a lot (and I know I read a lot of other people say it too before I’d attempted trousers), but making jeans really is not as scary as you think it will be. Yes, sewing a fly is probably the scariest bit, but choose a good pattern with decent instructions and you’ll sail through it. Honest.

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6. Republique Du Chiffon Hedwige shirt

This shirt was chosen to continue my Journey In Search Of A Decent Fitting Shirt. It looked fairly similar to a RTW shirt that I have and love, so it made the list just in case I could replicate that shirt… I can’t.

Made?

Yes*

*like, 90% made. I just need to do the buttonholes and buttons.

I really wanted to like this shirt. I really did. But it seemed to suffer the same problems as the Jolaine shirt from the same company – MASSIVE armholes. Like, almost down to my elbows. Seriously, who are they drafting these for?! Plus there were some dramas with me trying to French seam a seam that didn’t want to be Frenched 👨🏻‍🎨

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I just need to muster up the enthusiasm to finish those buttonholes, and then take some photos. As I’ve made it from a floaty(ish) rayon, I’m thinking that I might just wear it as a loose shirt tied in a knot over a black vest, so that the armholes don’t look so ridiculous.

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7. A T-shirt

I was deliberately vague with this one – only going so far as to say ‘t-shirt’ rather than a particular pattern. It’s the one thing I wear almost every day, yet the one thing I’ve not made for myself ever. If ever there was a gap in my handmade wardrobe, it was this.

Made?

YES!

In fact, I’ve even made two. Well – one of the two was a knit version of the Grainline Scout Tee (which I guess doesn’t really count because I’ve made a few of those in woven already) but the other one is the Megan Nielsen Rowan Tee. The Rowan, despite its good reputation in the sewing community, didn’t really work out for me. There’ll be a full post up in the next few weeks which will give you the lowdown on the dramas, but let’s just say I strayed from my TNT and got burned. That doesn’t mean I won’t stray again (because I have about five more T-shirt patterns to try) but it does leave me wondering whether the grass really is greener on the other side…

Here’s the Rowan I made – the fabric is da bomb 💣, so it will be refashioned, but the fit just isn’t for me.

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8. Gym leggings

I chose to put these in my Make Nine because I get through a lot of sportswear, and the nice stuff is realllllly expensive to buy. Surely it’s cheaper to make my own?! Yes, but unless you’ve got £4K to drop on a flat seamer machine, you ain’t getting anything that resembles RTW (yeah, I just discovered this the hard way).

Again, I was vague on the pattern because there were a fair few options kicking around the interwebs, and I wasn’t sure at the time which one I wanted to go for. In the end, I went with the Avery Leggings from Helen’s Closet because of the suuuuuper high waist – I love me a good high waist.

Made?

Like, 95% made – I just need to hem the legs.

This one has been a bit of an experience if I’m honest – I started out with hopes of using my coverstitch to create mock flat seams that you see on RTW activewear, which diminished extremely quickly when I realised that I couldn’t do that because of the construction of the leggings (and also the fact that there’s a dedicated machine just for this type of seam, and it’s not a coverstitch). I was also excited to be able to make leggings that fit my legs and my waist but then realised that a smaller waist opening = difficulty getting the leggings over my arse without snapping some seams. Couple that with the negative ease that’s built in to the pattern (a little too much, in my opinion) and you’ve got a super-strained set of ultra-tight spray-on leggings 😨 I think I’ll go up a size for the next ones, because I feel like it’ll take just one sharp movement to start busting the seams on these bad boys. The fabric I used is good though and is squat-proof (which means that when you do squats, the fabric doesn’t go all thin and reveal your bum to everyone) and the print doesn’t fade as you stretch it either, like some fabrics I’ve used previously.

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9. Clark Socks

Made?

Nope.

Started?

Many times 🤦🏻‍♀️

So these were originally started last year (or possibly the year before – time flies amirite), but at the first try they came out TINY (like, SO SMALL because I was knitting so tight) so I ripped back and started again on the proper sized needles, only to realise that my yarn was thinner than the recommended yarn so they were still too small. I couldn’t even be bothered to rip them back, that second time. They sat there for ages, half-finished, going neither forward or backwards. Then, I decided to buy the yarn that the socks were actually written for, and one day when the mood strikes me I’m gonna start them again. I’m also going to sew the socks that came in my Knitcrate box -because the yarn is beautiful – and I’ll find a pattern to use on the cashmere yarn I scored from the Spring Knitting and Stitching show earlier in the year. I have SO many sock knitting patterns bookmarked, and since I feel like there’s nothing better in this world than a comfy pair of socks, I get the feeling that once I’ve made my first pair, I’m going to be hooked. Like, proper addicted.

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So there we go… it’s not bad progress if I’m honest, and I feel like it’s way more of a success than last year’s selection (which included a military jacket that I wanted to make for the husbeast which probably won’t materialise for another five years). Plus I subbed a couple out of last year’s original cut because as time went on I decided that actually, the garments didn’t fit with my wardrobe (pencil skirt, I’m looking at you) or I just didn’t like them. I took that as a sign that I didn’t really know what I liked to wear and what suited me, which I think I have more of an idea about now. That does mean that a LOT of past makes have been ‘rehomed’ (apart from one or two where I just couldn’t part with the fabric), but I’m okay with that. I don’t really get sentimental about holding on to stuff – the husbeast calls it ‘ruthless’ and ‘cold-hearted’ 🤣🖤 – so it’s not a big deal for me to pass these things on. My wardrobe space is pretty limited, so only the best of the best of the best (with honours) make it in.

Now that we’re cycling to work, I’ve lost my sit-on-the-train-and-write-blog-posts time – which means that I have to find places to slot that in at the evenings and weekends now, which takes away sewing time. I still generally get my ‘sewing Sunday’, thankfully, but I feel like since we’ve dropped down to a four-day working week I actually have less sewing time 🤔

BUT – the cycling is somewhat worth it, as since Feb (when I was a bit of a fatty) I’ve dropped 10 lbs, and the husbeast has dropped a few too 🙌🏻 Still got a fair few pounds to go before I get back to what I used to be though, which I think is all in my bottom half because the body-scan-machine-thing at the gym that I did last week told me I have 9kgs of fat in my legs…

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Lolz. Maybe it was broken

We’re out doing a stall at a local fete this afternoon, taking all our shop wares – so wish us good weather (it’s been raining up until today…) and lots of sales! 🤞🏻

Did you choose a Make Nine? How’s it going? Do you feel it’s a worthwhile exercise?

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Next week on the blog you can feast your eyes on the Handsome Husbeast – I’ve been a good wifey and made him a shirt, with some Versace fabric, dahling 💁🏻‍♀️

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6 Comments

  1. Bren Holmes
    July 21, 2019 / 7:26 am

    Your blog is my Sunday morning indulgence. I have a single pair of knitted socks and they are awesome, but very warm! A friend bought me a kit for my birthday some years ago and they’re still going strong. I also have a pair of chunky, ‘boot type’ slipper socks that I knitted a few years back and they are great on chilly evenings. Can’t beat hand knitted socks.
    I admire they way you plan your makes. I have so much fabric for projects ‘in the pipeline’ or already started and in a pile of unfinished items. I really must get cracking. I’m so much better at ideas than action!

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 2, 2019 / 4:19 pm

      Ahh thank you Bren! 💜😘 I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy it.
      I *so* want to get at least one pair of socks knitted before Autumn comes, so that I can wear them straight away 🤣
      Don’t feel so bad about all the ‘pipeline’ ideas – I have a lot of them too (some I have fabric for, some I don’t!) and I also have a fair stash of fabric that I’m working on whittling down… again, some pieces I know what they will become, some I have no idea! But that’s part of the fun, right?! 💕

  2. July 21, 2019 / 7:39 am

    You’re making good progress with your make 9, more than halfway there. I’ve finished all but 2 of mine, one of which, the Anna trench coat, just needs re-hemming, as I decided to line it & bag it out & winged it a bit & it looks a complete dogs dinner so needs unpicking & doing properly but I’ve lost the impetus, (read can’t be arsed!) – So I’m planning on making a second, summer edition, make 9, as I find it’s a good motivator for me. Good luck with the fete this afternoon, hope the sun shines, weather has been rubbish in Yorkshire.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 2, 2019 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks Sam! I feel like I could probably get 7, maybe 8 of the nine done before the end of the year – I’m not gonna say all nine because I know the chances of me getting distracted with something shiny and new are HIGH. Ahhhh no that’s disappointing that your coat didn’t quite turn out as planned – I tend to put things like that down for a bit and come back to them once I feel I can forgive them for being difficult 🤣
      The sun did shine for the fete thank you, and we got proper sunburned! Thankfully the weather has cooled down a bit now… you know I’m more of an Autumn girl 🍂

  3. July 23, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    Hey Lady! YAAAAS for the Weird Al “UHF” animated GIF! <3

    Like you, I've put on some extra weight over the past year that I really want to lose, preferably before I put in the effort to make more pants. I think you're making outstanding progress on your Make Nine, especially since knitting takes a lot more time than sewing. Go you!

    And I just saw this fabric and thought "Wow, Alexander Henry used Sarah's husband as a model!"
    https://www.fabric.com/buy/0561082/alexander-henry-silver-fox-tea-toile?CAWELAID=172000510001620640

    Julia

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 2, 2019 / 4:26 pm

      HEYYYYYYYY YOU! I’m so happy that someone recognised Weird Al (I wasn’t sure that many people would 👀)
      I actually kind of don’t mind that knitting takes longer than sewing, it’s nice sometimes to just chill in the evening with a few rows, the dog, and some Friends reruns 🙌🏻 it feels more… cozy than sewing. And I like cosy.
      I’m trying to get the weight off too, but I’m ploughing ahead with the jeans because for me, I think a lot of weight is in my upper thighs, and once I lose it the jeans will just have more room in the leg. If I had more to lose around the waist though, yeah, I’d probably think that waiting a bit would be a good idea (but v unlikely that I would actually wait 🤣🤣🤣)
      OMG that fabric is awesome 👀 might have to make the husbeast something from it just for the lolz! 🤔😜

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