Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

#makenine 2019 challenge


In the past I have been quite resistant to taking part in challenges that revolve around making long-term sewing and knitting plans. It’s probably based on a fear that I won’t in any way manage to stick to the plan or accomplish the goals that I set out with. I suppose that is justifiable, life is full of trying to measure up to expectations and why add any more to that list? But, when you get stuck into this making your own wardrobe game, you realise that it’s an ever-evolving thing. Previously, where I’ve seen making plans as something rigid to be avoided, I’m now seeing the potential for harnessing my creativity and making a cohesive wardrobe.

The #makenine challenge is something I followed a lot last year and I loved seeing all the plans that were drawn up, just as much as the emerging makes. My one reservation with the challenge was that I scarcely make more than nine items in the year and I wanted to allow myself the flexibility to duck out and make a few spontaneous garments too during the year. Then, I found that I made a total of 16 items last year, probably because I made more items with knit fabric, which are always quick wins. Plus, in Rochelle’s words “this is a gentle challenge…’s meant to be flexible”. And so, my last objection to participating was swept away!

Some of my ideas for the #makenine are fairly concrete and I already have the fabric ready and waiting. Others are vaguer and probably need some more definition as the year progresses. I’ve also divided my nine into three distinct groups. First are some absolute needs – a swimsuit, a white shirt and a pair of shorter-length summer trousers. The second group consists of my vintage 70s makes, which I’ve yet to fully define and the third group is a selection of items that are there to stretch my skills.

1. Swimsuit

A swimsuit is a much needed item. I absolutely hate my current tankini. It is a RTW one that is distinctly unflattering, and has some pockets that contain padding for the bust. This padding invariably comes out or swizzles around in its pockets and can make me look very odd shape-wise. The swimsuit is also too small, so I really need something that fits better.

I bought a copy of La Mia Boutique last summer in Italy and there are a good selection of bikinis and swim suits in the issue. I have picked one of these to make. I have already purchased some fabric from Fabricland and just need to locate some swimsuit lining and swimsuit elastic.

La Mia Boutique June 18 Costume15

2. White Shirt

I’ve needed a top that will pair up with anything for some while. A white shirt will therefore very flexible addition to my wardrobe. I’ve only resisted making one in the past since I’m quite a messy person and white doesn’t tend to stay white for long. We’ll see how this goes. I can always dye the fabric if I turn out too accident-prone. I found some absolutely beautiful linen crepe fabric from Fabric Godmother a while back for this make. I’m leaning towards this shirt, again from La Mia Boutique, but I’m unsure about the arms; I think I’d like them to be longer.

La Mia Boutique June18 ShirtandTrousers 1819

3. Summer Trousers

I haven’t entirely decided what my sewing plan for this is. I have purchased the Lander Trousers, which seem to be an Indie Pattern favourite. I think I will make the 3/4 length version, although I am tempted to make the shorts. Perhaps I could even make both! I’m also not entirely sure what colour to make these in. I favoured khaki when I was doing my drawings, but now I’m leaning towards either forest green (swayed by the photo below, no doubt) or a steel grey. We’ll see what happens when I get round to these, I suspect my decision may be based on what I can find in the shops.

Lander Pants

4 – 6 My 70s makes

I’ve lumped these altogether as I’m only properly decided on one of these makes. I’m going to make a faux fur jacket from a 70s vintage pattern. It looks like a fun item to wear. I’m not sure I’m totally enthusiastic about sewing faux fur, it could be a bit messy.

My other two makes will be using other vintage 70s patterns from my collection. There are so many that I would love to make, and so far I really haven’t decided.

7. Striped jumper

Of all the items in my #makenine, this is certainly the one that is going to stretch me the most. I have knitted socks, a scarf and a hat and I feel it’s now time to take the plunge with a jumper. I found a relatively simple jumper pattern, classic in shape, with just the addition of stripes in other colours on the lower half of the jumper.

8. Pattern Magic

I was given the Pattern Magic 2 book by Tomoko Nakamichi for my last birthday. Although I’ve gazed at it, tried to get my head around the pattern construction and imagined several makes from it, I have yet to use it. One of the reasons that I need that custom bodice (see below) is to use it as a basis for the patterns in this book. The book, although it contains pattern blocks, also suggests using your own blocks too.

Wearing a Square

7. Custom bodice

For a long time I’ve felt that the my sleeveless tops, in particular, don’t fit as well as they could. I know that looking at photos wearing them, they don’t look bad, but as my sewing improves, the more fussy I get! Anyway, what I would like to do is make a custom pattern block that I could use as a basis for a sleeveless top. This way I could use my block and add the styling details from my pattern collection, rather than using the standard pattern pieces. I hope this will produce the ultimate sleeveless top for me! So, although this item in my #makenine isn’t actually a garment, I’m hoping it will be the breakthrough I need to find the confidence to make well-fitted sleeveless tops. I haven’t made any for years because I know that I need to do this.

Will I manage to create all nine? Will I struggle with knitting that jumper? We’ll just have to see!

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

12 thoughts on “#makenine 2019 challenge

  1. Does the challenge extend over the whole year because if so I think that’s achievable if you aim for one garment a month. If your like

    • I’m thinking of doing the challenge the same way as last year so to start at the end of January and run til the end of March. I think I would have 70s exhaustion if I went for a whole year. That said, there is no limit to the number of items you can make, one, or two or more. That said, if you wanted a full outfit to enter , perhaps you could enter next year! I know what it’s like, I’m quite slow at making things, but I do what I can with the time I’ve got.

      • Sometimes having a deadline helps provide focus and provides some momentum so good luck and looking forward to seeing your makes

  2. Sorry accidentally hit send!! I was about to say if you’re like me and a slow knitter that’ll take the longest but it’s great to see knitting included. I’m starting to develop blocks and I’ve just posted a blog about it. I’ll post link as I mention some reference books you might find useful. By the way I love your drawings, so cute!

    • Oh crumbs, I’m an extra slow knitter. I’m got a whole pile of seventies knitting patterns, which I’m literally aching to knit, but don’t have the courage to invest in the time required. I’ll take a look over at your blog.

  3. Good luck!! I’m really excited to see your makes, especially the 70’s ones! 🙂

  4. I might be imagining this but did you do a post about crayon dressing, ie, outfits comprising one colour or tones of?? I’ve read it somewhere and found it interesting.

    • Tis not me – it’s Katie from What Katie Sews – Looks fun!

      • Thanks for finding that. I tend to do a catch up of sewing blogs all at once and so they sometimes merge and it sounded like something you might try!! I’ve only ever worn black on black but I’ve got a me made mustard cord skirt and several mustard jumpers and I was wondering if I could get away with them together. However I hadn’t realised how much mustards vary. Some tend towards green and others towards gold, so you’ve really got to get the tones right!

  5. Pingback: Make Nine Challenge: One down, eight to go | The Monthly Stitch

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