2018 Make Nine

As some of you may know, I'm still pretty new to the indie sewing community. Earlier this month, I was seeing all sorts of Instagram posts with #2018makenine and had no idea what the concept was about. After doing some research, I found that Rochelle of Home Row Fiber Co. had started this new hashtag back in 2015, and it's simply a "gentle challenge for makers" - something you can look back on at the end of the year and see if you made what you planned to. So, after thinking for quite some time about my 2018 projects, I finally finished my #2018makenine.

While I was thinking about what projects to include in my #2018makenine, I found myself really focusing back on my goals and objectives for the year. I also wanted these projects to be somewhat challenging - ideally, something I have not made before and/or a pattern that contains a new technique - and to focus on getting started with building a handmade wardrobe. I am super excited for the projects I have selected (read below for the details), and I also have a bonus set of projects for menswear.


Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio

I have a confession: I am both excited for and terrified of this pattern. I have never created anything with collars, buttons, or cuffs, so this project is going to be pretty challenging for me. I also need to sew this pattern in a plaid flannel (it is my destiny). Which brings me to my 2nd confession: I have never worked with plaid flannel to the extent that I need to be meticulous and line up the fabric pattern at the seams. Yikes...this pattern packs a punch.

The Archer Button Up may be one of my first #2018makenine projects in 2018 (technically I have already completed some other non-makenine things). Indie Sew is dedicating January to be #shirtmonth, and this may just be the push I need to get started. If you haven't heard about #shirtmonth yet, check out the Indie Sew blog here.

Grainline Studio also released a sew-along for the Archer Button Up, which contains some really helpful instructions, as well as variations to the existing pattern. You can check out the sew-along here. I know I will be!

Winslow Culottes by Helen's Closet

I absolutely love these pants. They look so comfortable and stylish, and I can't wait to try out this pattern. I've never sewn pants before, so I am happy these are not fitted.

Helen recommends the following fabrics: light to medium weight woven fabrics with plenty of drape such as rayon challis, viscose poplin, crepe dé chine, silk charmeuse, lightweight wool, linen, tencel, chambray, and cotton twill. I have only worked with a couple of these before, so another great part of this project will be the variety of new textiles I will have the chance to work with. Can't wait for this one!

Uptown Top by A Verb for Keeping Warm

I've actually had this pattern for a while but have not done anything with it yet (I know, shameful). I actually purchased this Uptown Top pattern while travelling to NYC for work (at Purl Soho), and it's funny now that I live close to A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA. Amazing shop and studio, by the way. They have beautiful fabrics and yarn, and they actually specialize in natural dyed textiles. This would be an amazing skill to have, and I'll definitely have to take a class there at some point!

I recently bought some beautiful milled range linen from The Fabric Store Online (a New Zealand based company!) that I think will go perfectly with this pattern.

I'm really excited for this top because it looks comfortable and I love the idea of having a longer shirt/tunic so that I can wear leggings. It would also look nice with jeans or other pants.

Ebony Dress by Closet Case Patterns

This one might be cheating, because I've already made this Ebony in a tunic. I just love it so much I absolutely needed it in a long sleeve dress. It's perfect for a comfortable dress with tights to wear to both work, dinner, or really any situation.

In my last Ebony top, I used a super soft knit that had a beautiful color and drape. I do have some fabric in my closet that could work for this, which is awesome since one of my goals this year is to use up 75% of my fabric stash.

I'm also super excited to kill it with my serger on this one. I really dislike sewing with knits on my sewing machine (I'm just really not good at it), and now that I have coverstitch capabilities on my Baby Lock Ovation, I can have an awesome looking hem that I don't have to tussle with on my sewing machine. For past knit projects that I made with my serger, I would always create a hem band and serge that onto the end of my hem. All hail coverstitching!

Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven

Since I've already made the Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio, I'm really looking forward to the Toaster Sweater. I love the idea of having cute sweaters that are casual and comfortable. I can't decide if I'm going to go with Version #1 or Version #2 yet (Version #1 has a turtleneck-type collar). I have one other sweater with a slight turtleneck collar, but since I live in California now, I definitely want to make something that's practical and I can wear more year-round.

I have some amazing French Terry in a medium grey marle that will be perfect for this sweater. It has a ton of stretch, is super soft, and I love the color.

I have not yet read the instructions for this pattern, but I'm thinking this can be a quick serging project. I am slightly worried about the fit and how boxy the sweater might look on my body type, but we will soon find out.

Raglan Dress by The Avid Seamstress

I love this comfortable style dress. It's super roomy and flowy, and really looks good on any body type. I think I'm going to use some more of the milled linen from The Fabric Store Online as this dress will be perfect for woven fabrics.

There are options to add pockets to this dress and to make it long sleeved. Depending on how much fabric I have, I may make a long sleeve version, however this would be a perfect summer dress in linen as a short sleeve. I can still wear it in winter with a cardigan and tights depending on the weather.

I've made the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger, so at least I have some experience in making a woven dress with pockets. The Avid Seamstress recommends finishing the edges with a serger before sewing everything, but I'm thinking I will try to serge the entire construction (which finishes the seams in the process) to speed kill two birds and have a really professional looking garment.

Hudson Pants by True Bias

Lounge wear pants for the win! These pants will be worn in my house, on dog walks, to the grocery store, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of. I love the urban fit of these pants. The hips area looks roomy, which then tapers into a skinny leg.

True Bias calls for medium weight knits like cotton lycra, french terry, ponte, and sweatshirt knit. I'll definitely need to find something that will have a big of longevity, as they will be a staple in my casual handmade wardrobe.

This pattern also uses elastic and a drawstring, so I'm definitely excited to up my game from that perspective.

Popover Poncho by April Rhodes

This pattern is going to be one of my boho style go-to's. And I've actually have had this pattern for years. When I first moved to Colorado in 2014 and visited Fabricate in Boulder, I bought a ton of patterns I wanted to make, but eventually never did because I was intimidated about sewing apparel. It's amazing how much I've picked up over the years either from talking to my mom, taking classes, watching YouTube videos, or just self-teaching and slowly walking step-by-step through various pattern instructions. Practice makes perfect!

That was a bit of a tangent, so to get back on track, I love the idea of having a warm cover up that is not a sweater or sweatshirt. The facing inside the poncho makes the inside super soft and warm, and it also adds such a nice contrast to the exterior fabric.

I love the Pendleton wool used in the pattern picture. I haven't been able to find that exact pattern and color yet, but I do have a couple other options that I'm eyeing. But for this time around, I found some incredible Italian wool while perusing the discount area at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, CA (P.S. I found a ton of seriously cool fabrics there and can't wait to use them in some new projects). The wool has a plaid pattern, so it will be another good test for me to match up the pattern at the seams. Cannot wait to parade around San Francisco in this number!

Farrow Dress by Grainline Studio

I love the silhouette of this A-line dress, especially paired with tights. There is a long sleeve and a short sleeve version, and I'm definitely going to be adding the pockets.

I think this dress would look nice in a linen, but I'm already using linen for two different projects in my makenine collection, so I'm thinking I should vary my selections a bit more. Grainline does recommend using a linen or linen blend (as well as a few other possibilities). I'm not sure how much of this I'll be able to serge (based on the pattern instructions that I haven't yet read), but I'm definitely looking forward to the coverstitch on the woven hem.

I'm really excited for this dress because it looks comfortable, and it has the most "dress up" potential of all of my makenine garments this year. I'm all about comfort and function, so the fact that I can find something that I can wear all day and for any occasion is pretty cool.


Somewhat related to my above #2018makenine, there are a couple garments I am going to be making for the first time in the realm of menswear. Fortunately, both patterns are similar to ones I already have in my queue, so I shouldn't need to do too much extra work (i.e. learn a ton of new techniques/skills to complete). Both garments were specifically picked out for Tyler (my flannel and wool enthusiast).

Fairfield Button Up by Thread Theory Designs

This is going to be a super challenging project for my skill set. I've already read through the instructions, and I'm definitely going to need to go slowly, read and re-read instructions, and utilize the sew-along provided on Thread Theory's website.

Thread Theory patterns have been really successful so far with Tyler's body type. He is tall and thin, and the patterns are really made for slim fits. Tyler has broad shoulders (which sometimes puts him into the XL range), but then there is always way too much fabric around the torso. The pattern did fit him pretty well in a L when I created a quick muslin version (minus all the complicated features).

I'm going to be making this shirt out of flannel. I actually have two different ones picked out and washed, so as long as I can figure out these new techniques, we should be good to go! Ideally, I can also get this one completed during #shirtmonth.

Men's Hudson Pants by True Bias

The Hudson Pants make a second appearance! These pants are a great casual (but not sloppy) pants for post-workouts, errands, dog walks, or pretty much anything you can think of.

Tyler currently doesn't have any pants of this style, and to be honest he really doesn't wear lounge wear so much. These pants might be a perfect medium if he wants to stay comfortable but still look put together.

Since I will already be making Hudson Pants for myself, this would be a good opportunity to combine the women's and men's versions simultaneously. I'll definitely need Tyler's input for fabrics (totally his favorite thing in the world is to follow me to fabric shops for hours...)!

Let the making commence!

Hello, 2018!: My Sewing Goals for the Year

Hello, Makers! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I personally am very excited for 2018. There was a lot of change in my life in 2017, mostly for good, but change still is sometimes hard. Between finding a new job, moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, getting a dog (a great dane), and working towards other personal goals, I am proud of everything I accomplished last year. I honestly didn't have a feasible vision nor necessarily plan my projects as well as I could have, so I am super excited to use this time to make some more concrete commitments.

I want to take a quick minute to note that I listened to episode 22 of the Love to Sew podcast today, and I never felt so motivated to really step back and think about my goals and what I would like to accomplish this year. If you haven't listened to the episode, I highly recommend it! You'll get some awesome ideas and tools to help you organize projects, set realistic resolutions for the year, and engage more with the sewing community.

While we're on that topic, I'd like to share with you some of my broad objectives for 2018.

  1. Start blogging. I'm sure you may notice that this is actually my first blog post. Not too long ago, I made the decision to make this a priority for 2018. While I'm not super new to sewing, I'm pretty new to the sewing community. I never used Instagram, read blogs, or honestly really paid attention to what other makers were doing until mid-2017. After I started slowly getting more familiar with the community by teaching classes, supporting local fabric shops, and buying independent patterns. I was truly amazed at how talented and awesome my fellow creators are. My purpose behind starting to blog is to try to give back to the sewing and handmade community, make friends, and just really do what I love to do.
  2. Learn new techniques. I've done some basic sewing over the years, but 2017 was the first year I made my first bag and my first garment, and it was so much fun! I made a ton of different bags and a handful of garments as well, including the Fancy Tiger Fen Dress, Thread Theory Strathcona Henley, Closet Case Ebony Tee, Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt, and a few others. I learned SO much from reading and re-reading blogs and patterns, and I am excited to continue my adventures with sewing new and challenging garments, like pants, button down shirts, and outwerwear. Additionally, I am bustier than most, so I tend to like more loose-fitting apparel. And since many patterns aren't designed for full chested women, I'd like to learn how to better grade patterns around the bust so I don't look 10 months pregnant all the time (although damn it's comfortable).

  1. Serge like a boss. 2017 was the first year I ever worked with (and purchased) a serger. I am speaking out of complete honesty here - a serger will change your LIFE! I started out with the Baby Lock Imagine (a perfect machine for beginner sergers), and just recently (literally two days ago) upgraded to the Baby Lock Ovation. She's the mama bear of all sergers, and I cannot wait to start learning about the endless possibilities, including how to coverstitch. Expect more content on this in the future. 
  2. Become more involved with the local maker community. In full disclosure, I am an introvert. I have some extrovert in me at times, but when it comes to living in new cities or meeting new people, I tend to have a harder time adapting. And let's be honest - sewing can be lonely! Even for some introverts like me. Since I moved to the San Francisco bay area about 6 months ago, I have checked out many local fabric and yarn shops, and there are definitely some awesome ones around. However, I still haven't found my maker friend base, and that is something I'm really looking forward to doing this year.
  3. Mix it up, strategically. I am the type of person that can get bored by doing the same thing over and over again. When I say "mix it up" I mean in all ways possible. Working with different fabrics, using different techniques, making different types of garments or bags, quilting, knitting, whatever! As I reflect back on my skill set, I realize that I know a decent amount about a lot of different things. I can sew, serge, quilt, knit, crochet, and paint (both furniture and fabric). I need the movement in my projects, but I do need to be strategic about it such that I'm not frantic all the time.
  4. Get better at photography. Or better yet, find someone who is good at it who can take pictures for me! Although, I could benefit from leaning as I am honestly terrible at photography and I so desire the beautiful pictures that I see of fellow makers.

Considering all of this, I'm going to try to be more strategic in my project selection for 2018. I have four concrete measurable goals for the year:

  • Make at least one semi-challenging item every two months. I'd love to do more but also know that I tend to OVER commit to a lot of things and end up disappointing my inner expectations. I will be happy if I can produce one per two months, but thrilled if I can do more. For me, semi-challenging means that it incorporates a technique I have never done before, like installing a hood, for example.
  • Do not carry more than two WIP (work in process) projects at a time. I think this is self-explanatory. I need to commit to starting and finishing my projects before moving onto the next. The only reason I am allowing two instead of one is that sometimes I am either waiting on materials to arrive or need to make a last minute gift for family/friends. Allowing myself to work on something else while I'm waiting will satisfy my itch to stitch in the meantime.
  • Go on a fabric buying ban (unless it's absolutely necessary) until I work through ~70% of my stash. I have a confession - I have A LOT of fabric yardage in my closet. My 70% target is approximate. I have a 4-drawer dresser and a 5-shelf bookcase full of fabric (I'll have another post soon about how I organize my fabric). My goal is to clear at least 6 shelves/drawers of fabric before going on psychotic $400 fabric binge rages. This has happened more than once...
  • Make 4-6 garments for Tyler. Tyler is my partner of 7 years and has been amazingly supportive of my sewing and quilting dreams. Now that he knows what I'm capable of doing, he has been asking for (and has even picked out fabric for) additional garments. The Thread Theory patterns fit him very well as he has a tall and slim frame. He loves his Strathcona Henley and Tees that I made him last year and has requested four more as well as three Fairfield Button Ups. It is destiny that I must get better at plackets...

I'm going to be working on putting together my #2018makenine over the next couple days, so I'll be sharing that and more details about some of the fun projects I completed in 2017.

Cheers, and happy 2018!