My wanders down memory lane on the 1st of Jan, looking back at what I had actually planned – and managed to make – from my #MakeNine2018, has enthused me nicely for working out my Make Nine for the coming year.

I was a bit surprised to realise that (a) I have somehow, in an unconscious sort of way, managed to make most of last year’s Make Nine and (b) I feel inspired to plan out another Make Nine. Now just to explain, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy or feel the purpose of the Make Nine last year, but it just drifted off my radar a bit in the second half of the year, hence I’d wondered whether I would plan it out in such a formal way again this year.

But looking through my original post again (my recent reflections on this are here) I realised how much I enjoyed the reflective, purposive approach of #MakeNine, and that I would equally enjoy the thoughtfulness of planning a Make Nine again. That process of choosing makes that coordinate well, fill gaps in my wardrobe, provide a chance to develop a new skill or tackle a new challenge.

And so without further waffle, here is my #MakeNine2019:

The patterns are:

Row 1

Butterick 6497 – I want to make the short jacket version in some lovely grey leopard print wool mix coating I have ordered from Fabric Godmother

Liesl & Co Hollywood trousers – to be made first as a wearable toile in some checked / plaid fabric I have in my stash and then, once I have the fit sorted, I’d love a grey wool pair

Closet Case Sophie Swimsuit – I have the online course for this and the fabric waiting in my stash, I just need to sort out all the many notions needed for a swimsuit. Which is why I have had said online course and fabric for about six months already…

Row 2

Closet Case Ginger jeans with the flare extension – I made the Ginger jeans as part of my Make Nine 2018 and love them. Why mess with perfection?! Hence this year I want to channel a full 70s vibe and make a flared pair in a blue-tinged grey corduroy. Just need to find actual blue-tinged grey corduroy with the required touch of stretch

Papercut Sierra Jumpsuit – I loved the first two Papercut Patterns I tried (the Bellatrix Blazer and the Coppelia Cardy) and as soon as I saw the new Sierra jumpsuit I ordered it in the Black Friday sale. I want to make the short version, with my current thoughts being a pale / china blue linen. One for the summer then!

Athina Kakou Abi jumpsuit – seems I have a jumpsuit theme going on. I’m not sure what fabric I want for this yet, although I suspect navy will play a starring role.

Row 3

Orange Marlborough bra – this falls squarely in the “expanding my skills / challenging” category” referred to above. A bit like the Sophie swimsuit. In fact I’m hoping these two patterns will be complimentary so that making one will help with the other.

Style Arc Cindi jean jacket – I’m keen to make a jean jacket that suits my style, and I think this one ticks multiple boxes. Possibly in a pale pink, pale grey or white denim. Rocking my 80s inner child, then.

Designer Stitch Jenny dress – I love so many of the Named Kielo dresses I have seen people make but just haven’t been sure whether that exact pattern would suit me. I think the bust darts and woven fabric combo of this Jenny dress might work well for my shape, hence its place on my Make Nine. I’ve also realised over the last year how much I enjoy and instinctively choose dresses over separates. In my book they are instant, easy, stylish and coordinated outfits. No worrying if the top is the right length / flattering with / sits nicely over the skirt or trousers. A day dress definitely needed to be included on my Make Nine.

Now for the same problem I remember from last year – stopping at nine.

I certainly made more than nine things last year (understatement, I can hear my husband thinking). But the grid looks so nice and neat with just nine things. Not to mention the clue in the name Make Nine.

So I’m just going to drop a Supplementary Seven here and saunter away, whistling nonchalantly.

  • A certain pattern I’m about to pattern test from one of my favourite indie pattern companies
  • Designer Stitch Harper trousers, which look to me like something uber comfortable whilst still being fitting, flattering and would work with a lot of my wardrobe
  • Itch to Stitch Beausoleil top, as this looks lovely and I am utterly sold on cup sized patterns
  • Itch to Stitch Beausoleil dress – the eagle eyed amongst you will spot this is the same as the above. Only the dress view. Once I get the fit right for this pattern I know I will want a dress version as well as the top
  • Hålla Patterns Madeleine top, which looks like my perfect cowl neck top
  • Hålla Patterns Madeleine dress. See above for my comments on the Beausoleil top vs dress
  • Deer and Doe Belladone Dress. Or the Zépher dress. Or the Chataigne shorts. Basically, after making and massively loving the Lupin jacket in 2018, I’m definitely going to be making another Deer and Doe pattern this year
  • My Lupin jacket in navy faux leather from Girl Charlee, worn with my Freya dress from Tilly and the Buttons’ Stitch book

    Let’s see how I go, shall we?!

    Tackling Style Arc

    I’ve noticed the name Style Arc and seen pictures of some super looking patterns popping up on blogs and review sites for a while now. Several of the designs look very much my kind of style.

    But… All the reviews I read always mention how tricky / sparse the instructions are. So I knew that as a beginner sewist I would need to wait for my skills to improve a fair bit more, before trying out Style Arc for myself.

    I decided recently that perhaps, just perhaps, I might be ready to tackle one. Nothing crazy like a jacket or full on button up shirt mind you, I’m not insane. But say a top, skirt or a dress with similar looking construction to ones I’ve already done.

    To save actually having to make a decision on which of those three types to buy, I bought one of each type 😁. For thorough, scientific investigation purposes of course.

    I chose:

    The Mindi skirt (after my last post about my hunt for the perfect casual skirt)

    The Cate’s Cousin top

    The Heather dress

    One quirk of the Style Arc set up is that when buying the pattern you specify your size. If buying a hard copy direct from Style Arc, you just get that size. If buying a PDF you get that size plus the one above and the one below, but all in separate PDFs i.e. not nested together. You can also get some hard copy patterns from Amazon and Minerva Crafts and those ones have the range of sizes all in one pack (I think they split their vey decent range of sizes across two options for these packs).

    They also don’t have the A0 / copyshop versions as part of the PDF option, only an A4. Now whilst I’m slowly becoming a bit more prepared to stick PDFs together (after seeing this brilliant tip from Itch to Stitch ) I still prefer sending large patterns off to an online print shop. But if you email Style Arc once you’ve purchased the PDF, they are happy to send you the A0 file by email. Wonderful customer service. And apparently they are also working on providing nested sizes on their PDF patterns at some point in the future, which will be great for ease of grading between sizes.

    Oh, and if you buy a PDF pattern via the Style Arc site, you get to choose one free pattern from a choice of two different options each month. Bonus!

    Anyway, on to the patterns themselves!

    I have made two of the three patterns so far, with the Heather dress waiting patiently in the queue.

    First up I made the Mindi skirt in some gorgeous electric blue denim from Sew Me Sunshine . It has a slight stretch which I thought would help with the fit / wearing.

    The instructions are indeed sparse, but the pattern is super well drafted, which helps immensely. Everything lines up where it should. The seam allowances are smaller than most of the other patterns I’ve been sewing, but I’m getting used to these and in some ways they are easier (eg for princess seams) and of course help save a little fabric. Just be careful clipping your notches!

    I wanted to have the zip on the pockets fully exposed so I stuck the two pattern pieces together at the stitch line and cut them as a whole, then used the windowpane method (a bit like making a welt pocket) to insert the zip. I had seen someone’s tutorial on how to do this ages ago, but of course couldn’t find it when I searched for it again. So I had to guess how to do it based on my rather foggy memory of the tutorial!

    My practice version, using interfacing bumpy side up on top of right side of fabric, sewn around in the box lines I marked, cut down the middle, turned through and then ironed into place, holding everything in neatly

    Anyway, unsurprisingly I got it a bit wrong with the cutting line for the first pocket. I cut through both of the 1/4″ marks I made at each end, all the way to the end of the box I had marked for stitching, when I should have left these small bits uncut. So as you can see, the first pocket has a gap at the end of the zip, showing the hole between the zip tape.

    Grrr. I considered redoing the whole pocket but in the end decided that you really wouldn’t see this aspect as the pocket then sits against the denim of the skirt anyway, which masks it a bit.

    The second pocket I got spot on, thankfully.

    Well, for the zip installation anyway. The other thing that I didn’t quite get right for this skirt is the pointy top corner of the pocket. I didn’t turn each side of the seam allowance under properly somehow, so you can see a few threads of the raw edge a bit.

    I’ll have to work out how to do that better for next time. Although I probably won’t always put the pockets on every time I make this skirt as they give it a very distinctive look that I might not want multiple versions of. But the skirt is a super fit and I love the seam lines and curved waistband.

    I can see this becoming my go to skirt pattern for a short or knee length straight skirt.

    Right, onto the Cate’s Cousin top. This is a super quick make, as you would expect from a jersey pattern.

    I used some slinky viscose / poly (I think) jersey from my stash that I got from Minerva Crafts. It was perfect for this top, you definitely need something with good drape. I also used this fabric for the faux wrap, panelled skirt version I made of the Aldaia dress by Pauline Alice.

    Again, very spartan instructions, but you can work them out with a bit of careful re-reading and it helps if you’ve made other jersey tops before (like my four Agnes tops for starters…). The only thing I’m not sure I got right is attaching the back neckband. The instructions just say “Attach the back neck binding” or something along those lines. There is a note to refer to the mini guides on the Style Arc website for help if needed, but the web address given is just to the general site, not a link to the specific tutorial. And there isn’t a tutorial with the exact name of the technique as it is called in the instructions. There is one with instructions for different bindings, but none leap out as the exact one needed for this top, or at least if there is then it isn’t clear – they seem more appropriate to woven fabrics. Maybe that’s just me though. In the end I just used the technique from the Valencia top from New Horizons. However, I think the Style Arc pattern is designed to have the whole of the neckband turned under, rather than just the seam allowance. The notch for where you turn the front facing under didn’t quite line up for me, but I think it would if the neckband were completely turned under. I’ll give that a whirl next time!

    The skirt I am wearing here is also a Mindi skirt – I hacked this one a little to remove the front exposed zip and put in a concealed zip at the back instead (no pockets as per my plans mentioned above). I used some awesome purple coated denim, also from Sew Me Sunshine

    Anyway, I am so thrilled with this top and have immediate plans to make many more in every colour. Well, every colour I actually wear. So that would be blue, pink, purple and grey then! Oh, and I am starting to venture into white. I know, I’m just so adventurous.

    So there we go – a challenge, a few errors, but my first experience of Style Arc has left me with a skirt and top I absolutely love.