It’s no secret that I enjoy planning my sewing projects as much as I like making them. It’s also no secret that I am what I would describe as a ‘completer finisher’ – I struggle to leave anything unfinished, from sewing projects to jigsaws, and nothing fulfills me more than a ticked-off list! I only really ever have a maximum of one quilt and one dressmaking project in progress at any time and I always completely finish whatever I am working on (and tidy up!) before I move on to the next make. Sewing in this way suits me and although it’s not for everyone, planning a ‘make nine’ each year fits my way of working very well.
For those not familiar with the concept of a ‘make nine’ it’s very simple – you choose nine things you would like to make in the coming year and share your plans. This isn’t exclusive to dressmaking – knitting, home decor or quilting projects can be included too. Some people take a very loose approach and just state roughly what kinds of garments they might like to sew, e.g. trousers, shorts, a shirt etc. Others are more specific and share the particular patterns they will be making, which is the approach I like to take.
I first joined in with make nine in 2018 and ambitiously/naively included three quilts in my plan! Two of them were projects I had already started and with the exception of the antique quilt that took me until the following February to complete, I did actually finish everything I had planned to make. We had a beach holiday booked that year (remember those?) and had also been invited to a summer wedding, so it was fun to include sewing projects with specific events in mind. This also gave me deadlines to work towards and helped me pace my projects throughout the year.
In 2019 I planned to sew another wedding guest outfit, although I was sensible enough not to include any quilts in my make nine! My focus was to commit to projects I had been putting off, so sewing trousers and jeans featured, as did sewing a vintage pattern. I was also keen to use patterns that I had already bought rather than planning all ‘new to me’ projects. This worked really well and I followed through with and completed all nine makes – even those I was nervous about.
At the beginning of 2020 I knew that my income was going to be significantly reducing in September and I therefore needed to reduce my sewing budget in preparation. I was also starting to feel very overwhelmed by the 30+ cuts of fabric in my stash and wanted to work on reducing that too. For my make nine I chose projects that I already owned the patterns for and knew I had fabric in my stash I could use. I did really well on all counts in 2020 – I reduced my average monthy sewing spend by two thirds, my fabric stash to less than 10 cuts and completed all nine projects by the end of August! This was largely because of the extra sewing time I had as a result of the pandemic, but having the patterns and fabrics ready to go also made this possible.
I have been pondering what to include in my make nine for 2021 for some time and over the festive period I have finalised my choices. This year I have mostly selected garments I have wanted to make for a while and projects I know will work well with the fabrics I have in my small stash.
Peppermint Magazine Pocket Skirt: This is a fantastic free pattern, which I have already downloaded and printed. I have some lovely lightweight chambray by Moda in my stash, which I think will work well for this pattern and create a versatile wardrobe basic.
Merchant and Mills Harlene Dungarees: I love dungarees and wear them almost every day when I am not at work. I haven’t bought this pattern yet – I’m holding out for a post-tier 4 trip to Rye to buy a paper copy and choose some beautiful denim for my project. A girl can dream.
Assembly Line Cuff Dress: I LOVE the cuff top I made last year and wear it often. I got this pattern for Christmas, but I don’t have any fabric for the project yet.
McCalls 7969: I have seen some beautiful versions of this dress on Instagram over the last few months. I have just bought the paper pattern and I have 3m of Rifle Paper Co rayon in my stash, which would be a perfect match!
French Navy Forsythe Dress: I chose this pattern for the stripe-play possibilities as I have some Merchant and Mills striped linen in my stash. I bought the pattern with a Foldline voucher I got for Christmas.
All Well Workshop Box Top: I love the simplicity and versatility of this pattern and I have wanted to make a hacked dress version for a while. I haven’t bought the pattern yet, but I have some Cotton and Steel quilting cotton in my stash that I am thinking of using for this project.
Papercut Patterns Meridian Dress: I have loved this dress for a long time and I got the pattern for Christmas. I don’t have any fabric for it yet, but I will look for something plain to show off the clever design.
Anna Allen Demeter Dress: I have wanted to try this pattern since it was released and I have some lovely checked linen from Bawn in my stash that would be a good match. I bought the pattern with a voucher I was given by the Foldline for featuring a dress I made as one of their ‘inspiring makes’.
Sew Over It Roxy Jumper: I was given a voucher by Sew Over It as payment for my photo being featured on their Instagram grid last year. I used the voucher to buy this pattern on the day it was released and I have ordered some fabric to make it from Guthrie and Ghani with a voucher I got for Christmas.
Of course these will not be the only garments I make in 2021 – other patterns will catch my eye and new ones will be released – but I am super excited about these nine projects. Do you join in with make nine? Have you tried and failed? Does it fit in with your planning and sewing process? I’d love you to let me know in the comments!