A New Year is a great excuse to reflect and plan, especially when it comes to sewing. Ok I realise I am a little late to the party here, but surely it's never too late to take stock and look back on how you got on with your sewing goals for the year? Find out how I got on against my plans and what I've learned from reviewing them. I love doing this every year and find it uncovers some surprising facts.
For the last two years I have made a #makenine list. The idea being you commit to nine things you would like to make in the year ahead to keep you focused on your sewing goals and what you actually need in your wardrobe.
Here is my #makenine grid from last year.
What I Made
I'm pleased to report I made six out of nine items in 2018, which is a good step up from four out of nine in 2017. This is predominantly thanks to the fact I am starting to truly understand what I like to wear. I am learning what makes me feel comfortable, what is practical for my lifestyle and what makes me feel good then using this to choose my sewing projects. After all, if you're going to spend all that time sewing something you want it to be something you wear right?!
The Eleonore Pull On Jeans
I kick started the new year with my first ever pair of fitted trousers - the Jalie Eleonore pull on jeans. It was quite a challenge getting them to fit, but I got there in the end and I have to say I love these jeans. I learned a hell of a lot in making them, but also realise I still have even more left to learn.
The Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse
The Pendrell blouse - another super quick sew and view A is very easy to fit for people with back and shoulder fitting issues like me thanks to the incredibly clever and original design of the sleeves. A great top I look forward to wearing again in the Spring.
Casual Evening Dress
I chose to make a Burda (6721) shift dress in the fabric I originally outlined for this project. In hindsight I realise I cut this two sizes too big and had to make a lot of adjustments to the bust darts and armholes to get it to fit as a result.
The bust dart adjustments worked out ok in the end, but the adjustments to the armholes took them from one extreme to the other. Initially they were overhanging my shoulders dramatically. I trimmed them down and now they are too far along my shoulder towards my neck. I now realise this jiggery pokery was all wrong and all I needed to do was cut a smaller size.
I still love the dress and can live with the imperfection, but would love to make it again in the correct size. The French darts and simple shift dress style are a joy to wear and very flattering.
A Dressy Top
Instead of the halterneck top I originally chose I made a Burda (6632) blouse pattern using the same fabric in a different colourway. I thought I would get far more wear out of this seeing as it is suitable for pubs and restaurants rather the nightclub friendly halterneck!
It was an absolute joy to make and I thoroughly enjoyed working with the crepe de chine fabric I chose. You can read all about it in the relevant blog posts and I even made a video about it too.
A Casual Day Dress
I made the same mistake with this pattern (Butterick 6206) as the casual evening dress in that a cut two sizes too big and ended up with armholes/shoulder seams that didn't fit. I ended up taking it in at the side seams to try and remedy it, which worked ok, but did mean I ended up with dreaded drag lines from my armpits towards my neck again. Every cloud has a silver lining though - this was a true Eureka moment (see below).
This was when the penny finally started to drop thanks to the wonderful Palmer and Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting book AKA my fitting bible. The theory in the book says to choose your pattern size based on your high bust rather than your full bust measurement to get the correct fit at the armholes and neckline then to adjust the bust to fit if necessary. This is because it is much easier to adjust the bust than armholes or necklines.
I've realised if I choose a smaller size as per the guidance and the armholes fit properly I also eradicate the armpit drag lines conundrum I've been trying to crack for the last three years! FINALLY! The bust in the smaller size always seems to fit thanks to the ease built into the patterns.
My Mom always said I was more of a tortoise than a hare!
Again this was a great pattern, I love the dress and would love to make it in the correct size next time.
The Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse
I have mentioned this blouse so many times on the blog and vlog, simply because this pattern is awesome! Such a quick easy make even though it is packed with pretty details such as the pussy bow, the gathered cuff and button and loop fastening. Plus the cut at the neckline is perfect in my opinion.
What I Didn't Make
A Shirt Dress
I still can't believe I've never made a shirt dress. I mean, seriously, where have I been?! There are so many gorgeous patterns out there and it is a great opportunity to practice buttonholes and learn how to sew a collar.
I think my shoulder/neck/back fitting issues have probably put me off so now I've overcome those (I hope!) I no longer have this excuse. However, I think I also worry how likely I would be to wear this style.
I have a ready to wear denim shirt dress for winter that I absolutely love, but I wouldn't really want to make another denim one.
I'm tempted not to carry this over to the new list, but I do always struggle with casual day dresses in the summer. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and give it a go? I don't think I would have worn the combo I have outlined for last year though and need to think of something a bit more 'me'. A bit more modern and fashion forward.
I love the idea of making a jacket, again the eternal fitting issues were a major factor in putting this one off. Now I have those sussed I would love to give it a go, but the other thing holding me back is the time factor.
I always feel under pressure to make sure I have plenty of new makes to share on the blog and vlog and worry if I get caught up in a longer project I'll be short on this front. I guess I could always share the stages of the making with you perhaps?
I need to have a good think about this one, it would be a great way to learn some new techniques and stretch my sewing skills. Then again I still manage to do this with the quicker turnaround projects by choosing patterns with different design details and working with different fabrics. Hmmm not sure which way this one will go yet...
I cannot believe I didn't make a single skirt all year! This is one of the reasons why I think this exercise is so brilliant, it highlights these surprising and obvious facts that you somehow completely overlooked.
I love wearing skirts, especially in winter with tights and boots. They are super easy for me to fit and generally quick and easy to make so why did I forget about them? I guess it was because I was so fixated on cracking my back and shoulder fitting issues. I mean I was obsessed.
In a way this is a good thing because I think I kind of got there in the end (not being too cocky here, fully aware there could be a make just around the corner that proves me wrong!)
In another way perhaps it highlights that sometimes I need to give myself a break! I'm always striving to improve, for perfection, to be the best I can possibly be and whilst these are qualities many would commend it can get a little tiring to say the least.
Maybe in 2019 I should try and achieve more of a balance - keep that striving, self critical element of my personality, but treat myself occasionally to something fun and easy just for the hell of it! In fact my last few makes have been along those lines and I have really enjoyed them.
Well that certainly felt quite cathartic! We are so busy in our every day lives rushing around from day to day in a blur, it's great to sit back and take a longer term view of what has happened, what we've achieved and use those musings to inform where we want to go. I'll be sharing that with you over on the vlog in the coming weeks - watch out for my #makenine2019
Have fun sewing!
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