For the first time, I’ll be joining the #MakeNine challenge this year! If you haven’t heard of it, the idea of this fab challenge is to pick just nine pieces and commit to make them during the year.
They don’t even have to be nine specific garments; perhaps you have an idea of the type of pattern you’ll be looking for or a theme. Some people prefer to pick nine makes they know will challenge their sewing skills whereas others look to TNT patterns they will really enjoy making. I’ve seen some people choose a garment outside their comfort zone or challenge themselves to try new designers and fabrics, whereas others make a capsule of basics and loungwear.
Over the last year I’ve really enjoyed making occasion dresses. During Lockdown 1.0 there was something so satisfying about making swishy summer dresses or those with Big Sleeve Energy – so fun to sew and wear, but not very practical….
So, to help me focus my plans, over the last couple of weeks I’ve invested my mornings into the Seamwork Design Your Wardrobe module. They had an offer on of just $1 for your first month and I couldn’t resist! The course challenges you to identify what you will really wear, and focus on the pieces that will suit you and not just those you get distracted by on instagram (I’m very guilty of this).
With the drive to make really wearable pieces I set about choosing my Make Nine. I wanted to select pieces that first and foremost make me feel great, and that also will coordinate with each other. I’ve got some new challenges in there (working with denim, for example) but have tried to avoid the impulse to make any patterns just because they’re fashionable. For example, originally I had the Dawn jeans on my list but I don’t own a single pair right now or indeed feel a jeans shaped hole. Why would I spend days working on something I don’t know I’ll wear??
I sat down and really thought about the styles I love and reach for regularly in my current wardrobe. For me that means button down dressed with a vintage style, high waisted skirts and trousers and shirts and camis over a t-shirt, for example. I’m especially inspired by Rouje and Shop Doen and Oasis and Oliver Bonas on the high street, so turned to these for ideas which definitely helped.
The majority of the patterns I’ve chosen will be first time makes (even though some have lingered in my stash since last spring….), but I might have sewn something else from the designer before. Accidentally, I’ve ended up only including two zippered garments (Park Lane, Ness) which must have been a subconscious expression of my hatred of them….
That doesn’t mean to say I’ll be shirking new challenges!Towards the end of 2020 I took big steps in my building my knowledge of fitting techniques and hope to continue to adjust these patterns where necessary to my body. If I can nail the fit of these staples, I’ll hope to make them in multiple fabrics and views to get the most of a pattern purchase too.
These won’t be my only makes in 2021 – I lost count but definitely made more than nine last year. The plan is that they will form the base for a me-made wardrobe to which I’ll add some TNT patterns I’ve also listed below.
My Make Nine 2021 picks
- Kew gathered skirt by Nina Lee in a polka dot viscose challis from Minerva
- Park Lane blouse by Nina Lee in ecru cotton twill from The Rag Shop
- Button down dress – I’ve intentionally left this vague as I’m on a quest to find the perfect button down dress. I am starting with the Hughes dress, but also have my eye on the Shelby, Mysotis, recently bought the Dawn McCall’s, and of course will include my first love, the Kew.
- Freya top by Tilly and the Buttons. I got the Stretch book for Christmas and have been enjoying reading through it! I think the Freya will be a really versatile addition to my wardrobe and will be looking for a bamboo jersey to work it up in or ideally a rib knit.
- Reeta Dress by Named Clothing in khaki viscose twill. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I spotted it on Marie at Stitch Odyssey and bought it immediately! I love the relaxed fit of this dress and picked up some lovely khaki viscose twill here in Amsterdam that will make it a perfect winter to spring dress. Really excited about this one.
6. Ness Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in denim from the Rag Shop. I picked up a lovely remnant from The Rag Shop a while back and can’t wait to pair it with the Freya or Park Lane on this list!
7. Peppermint button down dress by In the Folds in denim and/or needlecord. Another denim challenge, on this one I’ll hope to add jeans buttons or a similar sturdy closure – I’m sure the buttonholes will challenge my little old machine. Again, this will go great with the two tops on my list or other TNT patterns.
8. McCalls 7116 in a red viscose. I’ve got my eye on this one at Pretty Mercerie. I made this dress last summer and unexpectedly wore it day in, day out. The bias cut is so comfortable and I think it will be wonderful to mooch around Amsterdam in (hoping we can, by spring…)
9. M7974. Another recent Christmas gift, I’ve wanted this pattern for ages and ages but been a bit intimidated by it. After my recent Sia dress I feel more confident tackling it and would love to try it in a viscose linen or viscose poplin.
In addition to the above I’ve also bookmarked some TNT patterns I know I can whip up having already tried them…
- The Libby Shirt. I love this pattern so much and will be making a classic black version in this Atelier Brunette crepe from Eco Fashion Fabrics. I also have my eye on this Lady McElroy tarot print lawn that is so fun!!
- The Ogden Cami by True Bias took me a while to get write (and even longer to blog, sorry I still haven’t!) but I will make this in a matching polka crepe to make a faux dress with my Kew Skirt, and a white crepe for a classic cami.
- Indigo Dress – I’ve spent so long getting the fit on this right, you’d better believe I’ll be making it again!
- Kew dress – the Kew is such a gorgeous pattern and I have realised it works best for me in cotton lawn or cotton linen. This summer I’ll be batch sewing a couple of the strappy version to see me through day to day. I’d love it in a cotton linen and a really loud tropical print cotton!
Finally, if I get around to it, there are some gorgeous patterns that aren’t essential to my me-made wardrobe (so I’m not prioritising them in Make Nine), but they’ve been burning a hole in my stash for a little while and I’d love to try them out…
- Pomona Pants by Anna Allen. The only trousers on my list! I have this pattern and a beautiful cotton jacquard from Sister Mintaka that would be perfect for this pattern. I can see myself wearing them in summer with a strappy Ogden or relaxed Libby shirt.
- Carolyn Pyjamas by Closet Core Patterns – I know, how did I get through 2020 without making pyjamas! I’ve had a strange resistance to making loungewear so far but think 2021 will be the year I’ll cave. I’d love to make the Carolyn in a pretty cotton lawn or brushed cotton to be extra cosy.
So that’s my Make Nine! I know there aren’t any outerwear or trousers on there….and I’m ok with that. I still love my RTW coats and at the end of the day am a skirts and dresses gal so may as well sew like it. This list may change and grow but it’s a brilliant starting point and one I’m very excited about!
Have you started a Make Nine yet? What’s on your list?