Make Nine: 2019 recap and 2020 plans

Yes I know it’s February. I think it’s never too late to talk about goals. The Make Nine yearly challenge is probably the only maker challenge I consistently do every year (other than Me Made May). I find it’s incredibly helpful for me to plan out my projects and I typincally complete about 60-75% of my list. Usually my list consists mostly of patterns, with a few technique/garment categories thrown in (e.g. bras, or colorwork knitting). This year I’m focusing more on perfecting garment staples, rather than specific patterns, though I do have a few of those on the list.

But first, let’s review how 2019 went. See the original post here.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my progress on this challenge. I completed 6 out of the 9 items, though I need to re-knit the bottom band of the paintbox sweater since it came out too long (and since it’s been in the timeout bin for a while, I don’t have a completed photo with the sleeves).

Things I did not make

I never got around to bra-making. I’m not sure that I will this year either. While I’d like learning bra-making techniques, the reality is that I don’t have a difficult time finding well-fitting bras. And I have several that I like a lot. I realized I’m probably more likely to learn bra-making techniques as part of swimwear construction.

Neither of the coats on this list came to life. I still would LOVE a floral trench coat (a la Handmade by Caroline).  That’s definitely still on my “to make” list. This asymmetrical Burda is still amazing, but I feel like I have some great camel outerwear these days (helloooo Rumana coat of my dreams), and I have less of a need for this in my wardrobe. I might revisit this at some point, but it just never jumped out at me, so I didn’t push it.

Things I did make

Cheyenne Tunic

The Cheyenne tunic turned out to be one of my favorite shirts I’ve ever made. I slimmed the back pretty substantially, so it takes a bit of a wiggle to get on. But I love how chic and easy this shirt is to wear. This shirt always makes me feel cool and pulled together. I also shortened the sleeves and left off the cuffs, since I wanted to wear this with the sleeves pushed up. Only teeny gripe is that the sleeve tabs curl out a bit on the ends, and I often have to use my flat iron to flatten them down before wearing it.

The Fairfield button up

I made a short sleeved Fairfield for my dad for his birthday, and gave it to him when we were in Maui in April. I originally intended to make my boyfriend some button up shirts, but I think I’ve abandoned that plan for good, now that we’ve found shirts from Bonobos that he LOVES. My father, however, is damn near the most appreciative clothes recipient you’ve ever met. And I found this amazing Tori Richards deadstock fabric from Cali Fabrics, and promptly bought 2 more shirtings from the collection (this one and this one). Now, my dad’s mother was a very accomplished seamstress who passed away a couple years ago and loved watching me learn how to sew. And I inherited the vast majority of her sewing stash, patterns and notions. So it was really fun to finish this shirt off with buttons from her stash and bias binding made from some cotton fabric she had. I love how this shirt is from two different generations of women who love him. Since the first one was such a hit, I threw another one together last minute for him for Christmas too.

Niizo craft bag

I bought myself this kit at the end of last year because I wanted to try bag making. In hindsight, I probably should have ordered the emerald green, as that would have been more versatile in my wardrobe. But overall, I LOVE this bag. This is my favorite summer, weekend, holiday bag. I use my normal black Kate Spade carryall during the work week, since it fits files and my laptop. But this is the best thing when I don’t need to carry around work stuff. The materials are really what make this bag feel legit. And I learned so much about bag construction as I was putting it together. I did swap out the lining for some more interesting, quilting cotton I had in my stash (leftover from this dress). My favorite thing is the pockets on the ends of the bag. SO handy.

Ginger jeans

When I put the Gingers on my list, I imagined making another blue denim pair, or maybe a white pair. But then I got this kind of insane idea after I saw this crazy-amazing fabric from Califabrics. And then I made these paint splatter jeans, which I am kind of in love with. They’re loud, but the colors are really sophisticated, which I think makes them easier to wear. I definitely need a full calf adjustment on the next pair of jeans I make. And to remember to place the button about as far over as I can get away with. It always feels fine when I place it, but after a little bit of wear, the waistband on practically all my handmade jeans start to feel loose. Maybe actually interfacing the waistband might help too (#shocker).


The sleeves are actually finished on this, but now the band is unraveled and I can’t summon the motivation to take another photo.

The Paintbox Sweater was my 2nd sweater ever. Though I learned a lot, I’m not sure it’ll be getting much wear. Mostly I don’t think I tried this on enough while I was knitting it, and it came out boxier than I’d like. Not to mention longer, which is just absurd given how many hours I could have spared myself if I’d taken the 35 seconds to hold the thing up to my body to check length. Face palm. I’ve frogged about 7 inches of it and will re-knit the bottom, and see how I feel about it then. This one has been sitting in time-out for a few months while I finished my Darkwater sweater, because I was just so annoyed with it that I needed a break.

I swapped out the Pixelated Sweater for the Darkwater Sweater, which turned out GREAT. I may someday re-knit the sleeves narrower, but for now, it’s absolutely my most successful sweater to date. And it was still winter when I finished! (I mean, never mind that I started it toward the end of last February and then kind of forgot about it for 6ish months…). Apparently 3rd sweater is the charm?

2020 Make Nine List


Now on to this year’s stuff! I have a few new patterns I’d like to make,  a lot of perfecting fit of patterns I already love, and new techniques on the list.

New patterns

First up on my patterns list is the By Hand London Rumana Coat (which I’ve already finished!!). I looked at my fall/winter collection Pinterest board and realized there were a LOT of camel coats on there. So I made one! And it’s AMAZING. I’ll tell you all about it in a forthcoming blog post. Promise. Until then, please know I’m likely wearing right this second (practically no matter when you’re reading this).

I’d also like to make the Evie Bias skirt out of this beautiful Atelier Brunette fabric I grabbed at Stone Mountain and Daughter last year. (It’s sold out at Stonemountain, but I’ve linked to another shop that has it in stock). It’s the last piece of my 10×10 capsule that I’m excited to show you. Currently, I’m in the muslin stage. And learning how to hand-pick an invisible zipper, because I really want this to be a stunning garment, and I would hate to have some wobbly zipper mess it up. Plus, bias can be brutally unforgiving, so I’m treading carefully here.

Last of the new patterns is a pair of olive green Brassie Joggers. I love the jogger trend, and I’m curious to try it out. Apparently, I’ve pinned a lot of jogger looks as well, so figured I’d give it a go. I like the slimmer cut of the Brassies vs. a more traditional jogger like the True Bias Hudsons. The flat waistband, versus the elastic stitched  kind also really appealed to me. No idea if these will be my style, but we shall see.

Nailing the fit

Perfect jeans. As I previously mentioned, I need a full calf adjustment on any new Ginger jeans. I have 3 pairs of me-made jeans, and each has some small fit issues that prevent me from reaching for them as often as I’d like. This year, I’d like to make a pair (or two) of jeans that become my go-to/favorite pair.

The perfect v-neck tshirt. I’ve yet to nail my perfect v-neck pattern draft, or sew a v-neck as precisely as I’d like. I suspect hand sewing is really the key to the precision part. But I’d like to take some time to figure out my perfect v-neck t-shirt sloper, since those are my favorite in the summer.

A swimsuit I’ll actually wear. I’ve tried my hand at swimsuits twice now, and both times they’ve looked great, but not felt quite right. One was too tight around the neck and felt uncomfortable, and the other was too wide on my shoulders and fell off all the time. I still haven’t found a bottom cut that I like yet. Hoping this is the year.

An easy summer shirt dress. These can be so chic and effortless looking, andd I’ve yet to find the right shirt dress pattern for me. I love all of Emily Hallman’s shirt dresses with more of a circle skirt. But I also like shirt dresses with a slimmer silhouette and may try and hack my beloved Granville shirt. I’ve made a couple shirt dresses in the past (see here and here), but neither stayed in my wardrobe, despite looking fine in pictures. So I want to make a shirt dress that I feel great in and actually reach for.

Knitting Tenchniques

This year I want to switch my knitting style from English (i.e. throwing) to Continental (i.e. picking). This sort of makes my brain hurt, but I think it’s the right move. It’s easier on my hands, and is a lot faster in the endless rounds of stockinette. So I’m going to knit a top-down sweater (maybe with some stripes so I’m not horribly bored), to teach myself continental knitting.

I’d also like to learn to knit cables this year. I’ve been told this is not actually as difficult as it looks. Someday, I’d love to have a classic, cable knit turtleneck. But I think I’ll probably start with a smaller project, like a cowl or a hat.

That’s it friends! Good lord that was a long one. Turns out, when you don’t write about anything you’ve made or planned for an entire year, you have a lot to talk about. Who knew?

What about you guys? Are you doing a Make Nine? Or something different?

One Reply to “Make Nine: 2019 recap and 2020 plans”

  1. So fun! I managed to sew a bra last year, and while it was educational I didn’t especially love making it. Lace is fiddly, and you are right – it’s really easy to find bras that fit. So my two cents – you didn’t miss much, lol!

    I am so jealous of your Rumana coat! Can’t wait to see all the details and everything else you make this year. 🙂

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