Make Nine Challenge 2021

Unbelievably, it’s December which makes it time to review my sewing year. Even though I haven’t completed all my Make Nine Projects, I’m very happy with how much I’ve progressed and learnt this year. I find that challenges like the Make Nine are a really useful tool for my learning. I’m not sure who to attribute the creation of the Make Nine Challenge to but a lot of the making and sewing community use it. I love to plan and document with everything that I do so this challenge really appealed to me. The idea of the challenge is to list nine patterns you’ll sew in the year. Last year, I didn’t list exact patterns, but I listed the set of skills or types of patterns I wanted to sew.

Make Nine 2021

Let’s walk through the planned projects. The Amy Jumpsuit was the first project that I completed. I love the idea of a jumpsuit, but I find the closer fitting jumpsuits or boiler suits very uncomfortable to wear. The Amy Jumpsuit is by Closet Core Patterns, and I just love the roomy fit around the legs. I found this jumpsuit to be the perfect summer smart casual outfit.

Next, I made the Kalle Shirtdress, which is also by Closet Core Patterns. I chose this because of the collar and placket instalment. Prior to this, I had never sewn anything with a collar, and I found the instructions were great for a beginner like me. Also, I made it using this wonderful “faces” linen fabric. I’ll be revisiting this lovely pattern to sew the other versions of it.

The Closet Core Pouf is a free pattern! It’s a great piece of furniture and it’s made and filled with all my sewing scraps. The pouf was photographed with some pillows for stuffing, but my pouf is still not one hundred percent full yet. It’s still being filled with all the little scraps that can’t be used for other projects. You can tell by now that I was having a bit of a Closet Core crush!

The Nellie joggers was the next project that I tackled. I love the beautiful designs by Pattern Scout. I find all her pieces so easy to wear. I chose the joggers for the zip fly installation. Trousers require a lot more skill to fit so I try to find trousers that have elements like partially elasticised waists to make fitting a bit easier while I build up my confidence.

I didn’t manage to sew the Nova Coat by Papercut Patterns, but I have the pattern in my stash. I often find myself ruminating over projects before sewing. I bought the pattern, then I found some beautiful fabric from Potter and Co, and I think that was the downfall of the project. The wool was dry-clean only and I found that researching about how to prepare the fabric was a bit overwhelming, so I put it aside. I really want my sewing to be enjoyable so I’m not afraid to step back. I’m finding that sewing helps me in the most surprising way, I’m better at forgiving and being more patient with myself. This will definitely be revisited soon!

It was close to winter when I moved on to sewing the Meridan Knit Dress. I didn’t have a set pattern initially when I put this on my Make Nine. I just wanted to branch out into sewing with knit fabric. I’m glad I came across this dress by Sew To Grow. It’s very beginner friendly but a bit different from the usual T-Shirt dress.

One of my favourite discoveries was the Meridian Dress by Papercut Patterns. The design is just beautiful with the wrap front bodice. It allows the wearer to adjust the bodice piece which is so handy for dinner parties and events where you need to look elegant but want to be comfortable as well.

The Persephone Pants by Anna Allen Clothing was a pattern I bought in my previous Make Nine and I still haven’t made it. I toiled the pattern and I just kept finding reasons not to sew it. I think I wasn’t keen on the grey cotton drill that I bought for it, so I just kept putting other projects in front of it. I’ve now discovered cotton lyocell drill in the Maai Design collection, so my plan is to revisit this project with better fabric. It will get made!

Finally, the Dawn Jeans. I’ve only recently purchased this as I kept vacillating between the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns and the Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns. Then I started thinking that I don’t like wearing jeans anyway, so I put it off until finally deciding that I love the classic look of the Dawn. So, this will definitely be on my next Make Nine list.

I’m so grateful for a productive year of making and learning with these beautiful patterns. Most of all, I’m grateful for all the connections made with the sewing community. Hoping everyone is a blessed.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

x Em

Meridian Dress II

This is the Meridian Dress Mark II. I have already shared my previous version of this lovely dress, but I just wanted to share another one as I’ve sewn a version with sleeves, which is as intended by the original pattern from Papercut Patterns. Because I had made a toile, this did not take much time to sew up.

The fabric I’ve used is a Tencel Twill fabric that was snapped up at the Megan Nielsen in-store sale back in June. I was assisted by Belle (she models the curve range and blogs on the Megan Nielsen site) who was so helpful and lovely. I had already earmarked the Meridian Dress to sew but was looking for the right fabric. She brought out the Tencel Twill which had the drape I was looking for and of course, the dusky pink colour is so beautiful and hard to resist. When I bought ready to wear, I never really thought much about fabric. Of course, I enjoyed the colour and the pattern as well as the feel of the fabric but never really investigated what would match a certain design. 

So, what is Tencel? I was so surprised to find out that Tencel is made from wood pulp! Such a bonus to know that it’s a natural fibre. It’s also known for being breathable and highly absorbent so it’s great for any season being cool for summer and warm in winter. Wait, there’s more! Apparently it’s stink proof because bacteria can’t stick to its smooth surface.

Stink Proof Tencel Fabric

I used 2.5 meters of fabric to make my Meridian Dress. Again, I made the size 4 and the only adjustment was to shorten the sleeves to ¾ sleeves. The wrap front bodice does give a lot of ease in the fit so definitely stick to the suggested sizing. If I were to make it again, the only minor adjustment that I would make is a full biceps adjustment. I always forget this and have sadly experienced “dinosaur arms” but it’s not too bad on this so I’ll leave it as is.

Oh! And, can I just make special mention of my invisible zipper installation! I’m so much happier with this. Comparing between my first and second make there has been 100 percent improvement. I always tell my kids that practise makes progress!

Thank you for reading and happy sewing

X Em

Meridian Dress

With the onset of spring here in Perth, I thought I would tackle The Meridian Dress by Papercut Patterns which has been on my Make Nine Sewing Challenge List. The dress has a beautiful silhouette with an easy to fit wrap front. I jokingly told a friend that I was making this dress to go to dinner parties with because the wrap front makes it easy to adjust for a full belly! But actually, it really does work to make it a very comfortable dress to wear. Like most women my dress size can go between two sizes in one month – I work in women’s health and this is a common complaint. This is also often why we’re sometimes caught out with, “nothing to wear” when a last minute event pops up and we haven’t had a chance to check the current fit of a “going out” outfit.

I’ve sewn the size 4 for my measurements of 37 Bust, 33 Waist, 38 Hips. The finished measurements range from B34.6:W24.4:39.2 to B51.2:W40.9:H55.7. No adjustments were needed for my sew. The front wrap bodice had a very interesting construction and the main thing to watch out for is the attachment of the front bodice to the skirt. There is a chance of a hole if you miss catching the panels of fabric where the wrap meets so just go slowly and I also hand basted that part with a coloured thread to make sure I wouldn’t miss it.

The fabric I used was a thin polyester crepe which was a beautiful green with small flowers. I chose it because of the wrap front. I felt that a bulky fabric might spoil the silhouette. This also meant that I had to modify how the facing was sewn. It was attached in the usual way at the neckline and zipline, but I didn’t sew down three inches from the edge. Instead, I stitched in the ditch at the waistline and the shoulder seams.

Also, I think it’s time I invested in an invisible zip sewing foot. I’m still attaching mine with a normal zipper foot and I found it a bit difficult this time. It might have also been the needle as I was using a 70/10 for the fine, delicate fabric but perhaps should have sewn the zip with a heavier needle. Do you change your needles when sewing? Comment below. Anyway, it came together in the end and I love the back view of this dress. I’m hoping to find a prettier button for the dress in the future.

So, this is actually my wearable toile for this pattern. Sometimes I toile with spare cheaper thrifted fabric and sometimes I dive in with a cheaper fabric that’s wearable but I try to always toile. This fabric was a real bargain at $9 per meter from Spotlight Stores so I bought about two meters. I only had enough for the dress without sleeves which I’ve ended up really liking. I wear cardigans all the time, even in summer so sleeveless is often more comfortable for me. I will be making this dress again and I will be attaching the sleeves in the next one. To finish the armscye, I made some bias binding. It’s such a satisfying process! 

The Meridian Dress is such a flattering, elegant dress and I’m definitely giving it 10/10 for design and instructions. A very satisfying sew and good for an advanced beginner.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em