2018 Making Goals

Two blog posts in such a short time period! Don’t worry, I’ll go back to neglecting this blog again soon. But first I want to talk about my #2018makenine plans and general sewing goals for the year. I did very well with my #2017makenine goals and I think that had a lot to do with focusing my goals on staples that I knew I would grab for, or look forward to grabbing, in my everyday life. My job at Gather Here really encourages me to wear handmade because I’m around other makers. And fortunately my “uniform” of jeans, tees, button-ups, and cardigans are perfect for the store and have become some of my favorite things to make.

I have again focused my sewing goals for the year on items that I know will get a lot of wear, and that I will enjoy making. There are repeats from last year because I am much more interested in making things that I will wear than in trying new patterns just to say that I did.

The nine patterns below may or may not be the exact patterns that I use. I’m using them more as guidelines for the types of garments that I want to make and in some cases they represent the desire to make a number of that garment using a couple different patterns.


First up are the Chi-town Chinos from Alina Design Co. These are the only item on my 2017 Make Nine that I didn’t get to. That was mostly a matter of running out of time so these are back on the list. I also hope to make the Sasha Trousers from Closet Case Patterns. I have four or five twills that will make great non-jean pants and I hope to work through those fabrics with these two patterns.

The Archer Button Up was on my 2017 list and was made twice, but that’s not nearly enough button up shirts for me! I have a whole pile of plaids that I’m itching to sew into Archers. I also want to experiment with lengthening the Archer into a dress, making a slightly more relaxed dress than the Alder.

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Next on the list is a tailored coat using some lovely wool/cashmere coating that I bought a few weeks ago. I really like the look of the Clare Coat from Closet Case Patterns but I’m leaving the pattern choice open for now. I’m not expecting to finish this one in time to be used for this winter so I’ll have lots of time to finalize pattern choice.

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I made lots of tees and tanks last year but I’m hoping to add to that collection this year. I wear one either on it’s on or as a layer almost every day and I would love to replace the last of the RTW tees that I wear. The Grainline Lark Tee is on the list as is the Penny Raglan, the Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee, and the Deer and Doe Plantain Tee. I’ve been stocking up on nice jerseys and I’m looking forward to batch-sewing tees and tanks a few times this year.

The Lodo Dress from True Bias has been in the back of my mind to make for quite a while but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’m hoping this will be the year! I’m looking to add a couple knit dresses out of slightly heavier weight knits as winter layering pieces and the Lodo should be perfect for that!

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I made three versions of the Kalle Shirt and Dress last year and I can’t wait to own so many more of them!! The black linen one that I made for my birthday party is one of my favorite garments ever and I’m looking forward to several more linen shirtdresses next summer. I’m also thinking about a flannel one for this winter! And more shirt versions! And I’m planning to try out the sleeve expansion pack soon. (Can you tell this might be my favorite pattern?) I also want to finally make a GrainlineĀ Alder Shirtdress this year and possibly an Alder shortened to be shirt length.

I’m really hoping that I can add another piece of outerwear to my closet soon. I find it so frustrating to get dressed in all of these lovely handmades just to toss a RTW jacket on top. Though I added two jackets to my closet in 2017 neither is particularly warm so once the temps fell below 40 degrees they got packed up for the year. I’ve made the Grainline Tamarack Jacket before but I’m hoping to make a warmer version in time to get some use this winter. I have some waxed canvas, Thinsulate for interlining, and a thick flannel. This may end up being a somewhat tricky project because of the layers but I think it will extend my handmade outerwear season! I’m hoping to lengthen it a few inches and I will add a collar like I did the first time I made this jacket.

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I made three Blackwood Cardigans from Helen’s Closet last year but I hope to add a few more this year. They work very well with button-ups and jeans for work or with leggings and tees for lounging. The Grainline Driftless Cardigan will also get made again in 2018. Cardigans are nearly an everyday item for me during the winter and I’m looking forward to having a few more to choose from this year!

And last but most certainly not least is more jeans!! I hope the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans and Morgan Jeans will both reappear a number of times this year. I have quite a bit of denim in my stash and I hope to batch sew jeans a couple times so that I can stop switching between just two pairs all winter! I’ve been pretty happy with the high-waist Gingers so I will make those but also plan to make some of the lower-rise Gingers in addition to Morgan Jeans.

It’s going to be a busy sewing year but I hope it will continue to feel fulfilling to sew my own clothing. I’m hoping to do some purging of the remaining RTW clothing that is lurking, mostly unworn, in my closet and bureau. It has felt so great to be able to wear handmade almost exclusively and I look forward to continuing with that trend in 2018!


2017 Sewing Wrap-Up

One of my goals for 2018 is to blog more, which shouldn’t be too hard since I only blogged once last year…oops. I don’t think I’m going to be a weekly blogger, or that I will even write a post for every project that I finish but I’m aiming for a post every month.

I’m going to start with a wrap-up of the projects I worked on last year.

By a quick count I made 55 garments last year. I think I’m probably missing a few but even with 55 that means I’m averaging about a garment a week!! I love the graphs that lots of makers have been posting so here’s the breakdown:Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 12.51.48 PM

Lots of pants and shorts, lots of woven tops, and at least 17 knit tees and tanks! I’m very excited about the amount of clothing that I made last year and the fact that it’s allowed me to be wearing almost exclusively handmade most days. That’s a goal that I’m continuing to work toward this year.


My #2017makenine goals included a Grainline Archer, Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, Style Arc Blaire Shirt, Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, CCP Kelly Anorak, Grainline Lark Tee, Alina Design Co. Chi-town Chinos, Grainline Hemlock, and CCP Sophie Swimsuit. I made 8 of those 9 patterns, some more than once! The Chi-town Chinos are the only pattern on that list that I did not make and that was simply because they didn’t make it to the top of the list until November when I was feeling the crunch with work and school. They will hopefully be made, at least once, in 2018.

The Ginger Jeans, my Kelly Anorak, and the purple plaid Archer are among my very favorite makes of 2017. Also on the list of favorite makes are my linen Kalle Shirtdress from CCP, my Allie Olson Highlands Wrap-dress, and my Alina Design Co. Hampton Jean Jacket.

2017 felt like an evolution of my sewing focus from frosting to cake. I made a number of fun, event-focused items but I focused primarily on sewing well-fitting basics that get worn all the time. I hope to continue that focus in 2018, building a larger and more diverse collection of basics so that wearing handmade daily stays possible and fun!

Summer Sewing Plans

As I’m nearing the end of my spring sewing list it’s time to plan out the next goals. It’s totally possible that I am completely overestimating the time I’ll have for sewing in the next couple months. I have a crazy ambitious list of things on my summer sewing list. There are several items that I want to make duplicates of in addition to several patterns that I’ve used previously. Hopefully that will help these projects happen more easily.

In an attempt to tame some of the crazy I’ve grouped these in three chunks.







So those are my plans, crazily ambitious ones, I know. Anything I’m missing?



Current WIPs

I’ve shown off several of my most recently completed projects. I thought I’d show you my last two spring sewing works in progress before I start on a post about my summer sewing plans.

My first update is that my Ginger jeans are cut out and waiting for me to get started on them.


I was really good and spent a lot of time carefully tracing each piece, adding tailor’s tacks and clipping notches. I’m really trying to get better about slowing down my preparation for sewing. I know everyone says that preparation time is make it or break it time in terms of how successfully a garment will come together. I have not been so good in the past about slowing down and really getting things right the first time. I’m getting better though. And I’m noticing an improvement in my garments as a result.


As I said in a previous post, the size eight muslin I made fit very well in the waist and hips but I’d taken out too much width in the legs. I’m making a combined version with a low waist and skinny legs and of course did it the hard way. So I added back half an inch on each side of both the back and front pieces. This means I’ve taken off a quarter inch. I’m going to baste the side and inseams and then we’ll see how they fit. I’m anticipating wanting to take them in a bit.

The other work in progress is a modified Archer. I’m making it a “popover” or half buttondown with a mandarin collar. I was planning to use some tutorials and try to draft my own placket. But then I realized I could just use the placket piece from the Carme blouse pattern I just purchased. I haven’t made that pattern yet, and maybe it’s dumb to sub in a pattern piece I haven’t used. I have been thinking about this project as a wearable muslin though so hopefully it’ll work well enough to satisfy that goal.

I was getting along really well with the shirt while we were in Vermont last weekend. I got the back yokes attached.


And got the front pocket on.


And then I promptly sewed the placket on incorrectly and didn’t realized that until I had slashed it. So my next step is to get the placket recut and see if I can unpick the one that’s on there but leave the front in good enough condition to sew on a new one. If not, that’s ok. I’ve got enough fabric to cut a new front. And it really didn’t take that long. I just feel silly.


After sewing the placket incorrectly I needed to work on a different part of the shirt until I was home and had access to my remaining fabric. So I got the sleeve plackets sewn on and basted the pleats.


I’d never made plackets this way before. The first one didn’t turn out great but the second one was definitely better. The only other time I’ve done sleeve plackets were on the Negroni shirts I made for Christmas presents and those are done differently, the way the Carme placket is done.

As I’m typing this I’m realizing that it may look weird to have two different types of plackets on the same garment. Perhaps I should do a larger version of the sleeve plackets on the neckline. That’ll also be much easier to sew with the slash I’ve already made. Alright, new game plan, awesome!!

There’s one other project that had been on my spring sewing list and that’s my Minoru jacket. I’ve been planning a lot of modifications to that pattern and at first had been holding off on starting it because I wanted to do some more research on how to manipulate the neckline gathers. And now that spring has finally arrived, hopefully I didn’t just jinx it, I’m having a hell of a time imagining myself working on a coat. I’m still excited about the pattern, the fabric, and the plans I’ve made so I’m not dropping this project at all. I just have too many fun plans for summer sewing to spend my time on a jacket right now. I think my new plan is to work on it bit by bit with the end goal being to have it ready to go for the fall.

Be back soon with some more finished garments!


Project Plans

The Making Goals page on this site lists several dozen projects I’ve dreamed up in addition to lists of patterns I have and patterns I’d like to have. But there’s no real order to that list. It includes some actual planned projects (projects for which I have the pattern and the materials), some projects that were loosely dreamed up in the hopes of using fabric that I bought without any real plans, and some patterns that I have and really want to use but don’t have the materials to make yet. There’s a fourth category too, and one I’m just starting to explore, garments that I’ve seen, either in person, on TV or the internet, or in catalogues, that I want to recreate. This is new for me because it’s really just in the last few months that I’ve started to think about the garment I want to create and then the pattern I would use in that order as opposed to what can I make with this pattern. This is not to say that I’m about to branch out into making patterns, I’m not ready for that step, but I am thinking more about how to use the patterns that I have to create totally new garments.

This is all a very longwinded way of saying that, in addition to a catch-all list of everything I can imagine wanting to make, I think it will be useful to focus my sewing ambitions on a few particular goals. So here are the next four things I’m planning to work on, along with a rough timetable.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Ginger Jeans–I’ve got black Theory denim from Mood and purple topstitching thread set aside for this project. I’m planning a mashup of views A and B, low-rise with skinny legs.

Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic

Minoru Jacket–I couldn’t believe how much I liked this jacket when I saw Andrea’s version. I’ve ordered hunter green twill and a loud plaid for the lining. I’m planning on making the hooded version, omitting the inside pockets and adding either welt pockets or inseam ones.

Felicity Dress by Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Felicity Dress–As soon as I saw this dress I knew I wanted to make it for a wedding I’ll be attending this summer. I’ve ordered a white and medium purple seersucker and right now am planning to make the circle skirt version without any modifications.

Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio

Archer Button Up–This one I have less distinct plans for. I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of variations on the Archer. My first thought was a half button down, which apparently is called a popover? I guess that explains why I couldn’t find much info on transforming a button down into a half button down when I used the Google to search for tips. But magically today I came across this version from Dixie DIY, which is exactly what I was going for and she has some good links on how to pull it off. Jen at Grainline also has a tutorial on adding a placket to the Tiny Pocket Tank that I might use. My second thought was entirely based on seeing this version of the Archer on Four Square Walls, v-neck without sleeves and with a mandarin collar. Also, check out this version over at Design by Lindsay with the same modifications and elephant seersucker!! I knew I should’ve grabbed some of that fabric when I had the chance. So I have lots of ideas about ways to modify the Archer, but I haven’t ever made one straight from the pattern. I think my first step should be a muslin, possibly a wearable one, and then I can try out some of these ideas.

I’m planning to jump into muslins this week. I’ll make muslins for Minoru and Ginger and probably just a bodice muslin for Felicity. A wearable muslin for Archer will follow as well. Hopefully by the end of next week I can cut into my Ginger denim while I wait for fabric for Felicity and Minoru to arrive. Since I’m planning on a wearable muslin for Archer I’m going to work on the other projects first. Be back with progress photos soon I hope!