Happy New Year to Our Lovely Fellow Thread Heads! My Sewing Challenges for 2017! What’s Yours?


Happiest of New Years to you all!  We hope you enjoyed the holiday season and that you are ready to hunker down for the winter with a few new sewing projects!

I have joined the #2017makenine sewing challenge on Instagram.  It’s the popular brainchild of @rochelle_new and well worth checking out!

Now for those of you who know me, dressmaking is not exactly my strong point when it comes to sewing.  I am much more comfortable planning out and stitching a quilt for loved one than plowing my way through a sewing pattern and trying to adapt things to fit my less than standard body shape (safe to call me an ‘apple’ – but I’m working on it!!).

What I liked about the #2017makenine challenge is that you are only committing yourself to nine completed projects.  Work/life can get in the way of sewing obsessions, and if you are anything like me, you can end up with half a dozen – or more – UFOs (unfinished objects!).  But nine seemed like a manageable number to tackle as a relative newbie to the dressmaking world!  So with January well under way, I am about to start my first project.  I’ve got this!  And if there are any blips along the way there are so many sewing peeps on Instagram to offer advice.  At best, I’ll end up with 9 new garments and be on my way toward a #memade wardrobe.  At worst, I’ll have learned loads and will have improved my dressmaking skills whether I wanted to or not!

make nine challenge

So what’s on my #2017makenine list?  Follow along in the pic above from top left to the bottom right.  You can enlarge the collage by clicking on the image.  Throughout the year I’ll be blogging about my progress, warts and all.  Hey if nothing else, maybe you’ll have a good giggle.

Ok, I’m starting with a beginner’s project from Sew House Seven.  Their Toaster Sweater 2 is first up on the #sewmystyle challenge by Belfast based @alexbartholomew_ .  I may try and complete all 12 of her sew-along challenges, but there are a couple that… well, let’s just say they didn’t look too ‘apple’ friendly!  And there are a few other patterns by designers I’ve been dying to try.  So I’ll be following a few of hers, incorporating them into my #2017makenine challenge.  Killing two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone!  It’s my first venture into sewing a garment with jersey and also using a pdf print out pattern…gulp!  Double whammy!

The rundown on the rest of the list …

2.  Talented Finnish sisters/designers Name Patterns Saunio Cardigan – more adventures in stretchy fabric and pdf downloaded patterns!

3.  Yeah, I know.  I may be one of the last people on the face of the earth to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress!!  Time for me to have a go and by then I should be pretty up to snuff with jersey fabrics… fingers crossed anyway!  It’s back in stock in the shop and if you’re a person who’s yet to create one or two or three for yourself, them go for it!

4. Simplicity’s Pinterest super star Dottie Angel dress!  I love the idea of this as a layered piece to wear over tights with a scarf and cardigan.  A great one for those gorgeous cottons in your stash!  Oh!  And watch this space…. we’ll be selling this pattern at a good old sale price in the very near future!

5.  Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse tunic!  It’s back in stock in the shop and we’re thinking it’s a fab transitional garment as we head into spring.  Or is that just wishful thinking here in jolly olde??

6.  Another of the Sew Liberated patterns and one I just think would look lovely in a light coloured ditzy floral, the Esme top!  Another popular pattern that’s back in stock and ready for you to snatch up for your own sewing challenges!

7.  So I thinking that by the time I get to number seven of my #2017makenine I’ll be cooking with gas and ready to take on some ‘confident intermediate’ level garments.  Er, let’s hope!  Enter uber talented, Reading-based @marillawalker !  I *love* her designs so much that I’m determined to make 2 of her gorgeous garments.  First up will be her Roberts Collection dungaree dress (short version).  Talk about a versatile pattern!  You can make yourself a top, a pantsuit, dungarees, a short dungaree dress or a longer version all from the same pattern package.  Cool, right?  The dungaree dress looks practical and oh-so-fashionable and if I’m happy with my results I may even try for two.

8.  Another one of Marilla’s designs I will attempt to create is her Bennett dress – not sure if it will be version A or B, but I’m leaning toward version A.  In my mind, I’ll be so rocking my dressmaking skills by then, I’ll even add in a version B for good measure!

9.  Which brings me to my final dream team pattern for 2017 … @sewmesomething‘s gor-gee-ous Helena dress by the wonderful designer Jules!  I really enjoy her blog and someday hope to get a chance to take a workshop in her Stratford-upon-Avon studio.  I’ve been completely obsessed with this dress since I first saw it almost a year ago at a trade show at the NEC in Birmingham.  It was *the* dress that made me determined to start dressmaking.  I can see it as my go-to dress in a nice earthy coloured linen but I’m leaving it til last so as to be able to do it justice.  In my mind, it’s going to come out perfectly!

Sooo, dear fellow Thread Heads there are lots of sewing plans for 2017!  Wish me luck!

Please feel free to offer any tips, words of encouragement, hack ideas, etc.  And in the New Year I will still be making time for my number one craft love, quilting.  I’ll update you throughout the year on my progress and if you are doing a sewing challenge, please tag me in so I can have a peek!  Send along your 2017 sewing pics for us to feature on the blog or in our newsletter.

Here’s to a creative, happy, healthy 2017 to you all!

Happy Sewing!!




Clare is an old school up-cycler who created early punk style wedding dresses for her Barbie dolls from her mom’s old bras. Her top tip: lacy cups make the perfect skirt overlay for the dress.

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