I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Christmas and New Year, despite the difficult circumstances we found ourselves in. This year I want to build upon what I’ve been learning over the past couple of years and see where that takes me! With that in mind, I’ve set out some sewing plans for myself and decided to join in with some sewing challenges on Instagram this month. I also intend to learn some new skills for sewing and crocheting, while developing what I’ve been learning about natural dyeing.
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I’m taking part in the #makenine challenge for the first time. If you haven’t heard of it before, the idea is to choose nine patterns, garment types or crafty goals to set yourself for the year. You aren’t expected to complete everything (sometimes life just gets in the way), it’s more of an idea you can give yourself to guide what you make over the coming year. I’ve picked a range of sewing patterns from indie designers to try and make throughout this year. They are:
- Hemlock top by Stitch Witch Patterns
- Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen
- Sapphire sweater by The Simple Life Pattern Co
- Iris t-shirt by Forget Me Not Patterns
- Tea House dress by Sew House Seven
- Brumby skirt by Megan Nielsen
- Causeway Bomber jacket by Itch to Stitch
- 7th of October coat by You Made My Day Patterns
- Sequoia Cargo trousers by Itch to Stitch
With many of these, there are some additional challenges I’m setting myself. I want to embroider onto both the Dawn jeans and the Sapphire sweater, while I’m planning to make my Tea House dress from silk (which I’ve not worked with before). I’ve also never made a coat or jacket, so they’ll be good to have a go at making. Some are patterns I’ve been meaning to make for months, others I’m still yet to buy. I hope to include these garments in my make-a-long videos, but we’ll see if I even get round to filming any make-a-long videos! It’s been a pretty busy couple of months trying to juggle both my filmmaking business and The Haberdasher Bee, but hopefully I can work out a good balance and find some time to make my videos.
Another Instagram challenge I might take part in is #sewjapaneseinjanuary. This hashtag is meant to promote sewing with Japanese fabrics and the challenge happens in both January and July – so if I don’t get round to it this month, I can still join in later! I’ve just bought some gorgeous emerald green double gauze by Kobayashi from Miss Matatabi Fabrics to make my Hemlock top with, so I have both my pattern and my Japanese fabric, the question is whether I have the time! My Dawn jeans are already cut out and waiting to be made, so I should probably start with them – but who knows, with lockdown 3 in progress, I might have enough time on my hands to do both the jeans and the top this month.
Many of my Christmas presents were books on the subject of dyeing, so I’m looking forward to learning more about this and getting some real practice and results in! I dyed a couple of the Christmas presents I made and I’m looking forward to dyeing more – one of the books came with three mini skeins of merino wool yarn, plus my sister bought me a whopping great hank of chunky Shetland wool for dyeing with which I’d like to turn into a cosy cardigan, but I haven’t been able to find a pattern I like for it.
Another skill I’d like to learn this year (which also fits in with my overall sewing plans of finishing abandoned projects) is drafting and designing patterns, both for sewing and for crochet. My mother in law bought me a book on pattern drafting for Christmas which will certainly come in handy, plus I’ve found a couple of online courses that should be useful.
The pattern drafting book, my big hank of Shetland wool and my sister in law telling me about a knitting pattern design app has all inspired me to have a go at designing my own crochet pattern too, more so because I can’t find a crochet cardigan pattern I like. The thing I like most about both crochet and sewing is the ability to create your own clothes exactly as you like them, so to take that a step further and design my own patterns from scratch will (hopefully) be good fun!
In terms of the shop, I’m now *almost* out of the pre-order phase. The shipment I’ve been waiting on for the last few months has finally been shipped but – as of the time of writing – it’s stuck in a warehouse waiting for the couriers to get around to processing and delivering it. It’s been quite frustrating that it’s taken so long, but at least there’s progress and an end in sight for my very patient customers. I’ve got lots of ideas for things to add and how to do them properly, so hopefully there’ll be lots of new product launches happening this year! I won’t give too much away before I’ve finished researching and developing, but it’s definitely exciting to have all of these ideas in various stages of development.
I think it’s good plan ahead and try to challenge yourself; though whether I’ve taken on too much I’m not sure – but I guess we’ve got the rest of the year to find out! If there’s something you’ve been considering having a go at, I really do recommend jumping in feet first and just doing it. I see so many people on Instagram who are afraid to try new things that they want to do – be it making jeans, learning how to make buttonholes or anything else – and they always say how brave someone else is being to do that thing they’re afraid to try. Fear of trying something new is usually a good sign though, as it shows you’re pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, so take a deep breath and make the leap. You never know, it might be that what you’ve been afraid to try isn’t actually all that scary when you do it. (Also, don’t beat yourself up if you make loads of mistakes and aren’t great at it immediately; few people are, despite what they might say on social media).