sewing

How to Sew Your Own Mittens out of a Felted Sweater

Goodness, it’s been cold lately! It was -38 yesterday and this morning! I’m not used to it (am I ever used to the cold?) because we’ve had such a mild winter (so mild that I was wearing my raincoat in January, because my cashmere coat was too hot!)

But, this past week we got a huge amount of snow and chilly temperatures along with it- so it’s winter again in Alberta! All that to say- it seems like the perfect time to share a tutorial for felted woolen mittens! 

I made these mittens a few weeks ago for my best friend’s birthday gift (and I couldn’t post this tutorial until she opened them today!) I wanted to give her a pair of mittens, since hers have sadly reached the end of their life, but the only problem is that I don’t knit! I also didn’t think of giving her mittens a few months ago and looking at all the Christmas craft fairs, where I was sure to have found plenty. I didn’t want to give her “store-bought” ones, and I also didn’t have time to order any from Etsy or someplace like that.

So, what to do? Felt them! 

As I was figuring out how to make them, through much trial and error, I had the forethought to take a few quick pictures to share with you, so today is a tutorial on making your own mittens out of felted wool!

This is the first project I have ever made out of felted wool (I think. . . ) so it was a completely new experience. When I had the idea to make some mittens, I started looking for a pattern, but couldn’t find one that seemed to work. Many of the patterns I saw had the bottom of the palm and the thumb as one piece with a seam across the palm. I made up a test version with this style, and I didn’t like how it fit. There was a lot of excess fabric on the palm and the thumb was not off to the side enough to fit well.

So, as I was scrolling through pictures of felted mittens, I found a pair for sale that had a separate piece on the side for the thumb. I decided to attempt making this style, so I took a scrap piece of fabric, sewed a test mitten, created a pattern from it- and here is the result! 

You will need:

  • A piece of 100% wool, such as an old felted sweater. Check out the thrift shop for wool- just make sure it is 100%  wool content, so it will felt for you.
  • Lining fabric- make sure it is stretchy. I used a scrap of t-shirt fabric. For extra “eco cred”, you could even recycle an old t-shirt! 
  • Needle and Thread

Optional: 

  • Woolen thread of the same colour, for handstitching
  • Elasticized thread for sewing in lining, if you are lining them

STEP ONE:

Felt your wool if it isn’t already felted. You can put it in your washing machine on hot, with a bit of detergent and then wash as normal. If you put in a few sweaters, they will felt faster, because of the agitation. Check your wool once washed, and see if it is felted enough- if not you can repeat the process until it is. Then let it dry.

STEP TWO:

I don’t have an actual pattern to share with you, because as I was sewing, I changed things along the way, and had to cut out excess fabric etc. but this is the original shape that I started out with. Measure and trace your own hand to create a pattern that will fit you. I made the underside/palm of my mitten slightly smaller, so the seam wouldn’t show as much, but once I made them, the wool was so forgiving I don’t know if it made any difference. If you include a 1/2” seam allowance and start out with pieces shaped somewhat like this, you will have room to tweak as you go along! 

ps- this is the size I made it for my hand. The measurements might be different for you.

STEP THREE:

Lay the wool out flat, and decide where you want your mittens to be. Look to see if you can use some of the existing elements, such as cuffs or collars in the design of the mittens. If you have a patterned sweater, like mine, choose where you want the pattern to run. I ended up placing my pattern pieces along the hem, so I could incorporate the finished edge as a cuff. I also made sure to line up the edges of the pattern along the bottom, so the pattern would be consistent from front to back and across the thumb.

STEP FOUR:

Cut out your pieces!

STEP FIVE:

Pin along the top curve of the mitten and sew, either by hand or by machine.

Once you get over to the side, you’ll have to feather out your stitching, like a dart. If, when you turn the mitten right side out, the curve isn’t smooth, use a thread to hand stitch the pieces and soften out the curve and pull the pieces together nicely.

STEP SIX:

Sew the curve of the thumb piece. 

Try on the mitten, to see how it’s progressing for fit. If you need to make any adjustments to size, do so now. It’s easier to make changes before it’s completely sewn together.

STEP SEVEN:

Turn inside out and pin thumb to the hand piece. Line up the bottom edges and then sew together. You probably won’t be able to sew all the way around with the machine, because the pieces are so small. Finish attaching the thumb piece on with a hand stitch. I found it was easiest to put the mitten on my hand, right side out and then hand stitch the pieces together.

STEP EIGHT:

Turn the mitten inside out! 

If you are not creating a lining, then you are done! Simply tack the seam allowances down at the edge of the mitten, and steam into shape if there are any bulges etc. 

STEP NINE:

If you are creating a lining, repeat the steps with the lining fabric, but don’t worry about shaping (as long as it’s not too big), as it’s going to be hidden inside the mitten. 

STEP TEN:

Once you have finished the lining, leave it inside out, and fit inside the woolen mitten. Turn under the edge and then stitch to the outer mitten with some elastic thread. 

And there you have it!

The nice thing about making mittens out of felted wool is that the fabric is very moldable, so it will soon conform to your hand.

This was a relatively quick project. I finished them in several hours- and that includes the trial and error of fitting them. Now that I have sewn with felted wool, I am thinking up other projects I can make. . . earbands, slippers, baby boots. . . what else?

Have you ever made anything with felted wool before? Do you think you’ll try making some mittens of your own? What other projects would be good to make out of felted recycled wool?

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist

Today is the first day of Fashion Revolution Week 2018, so I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about ways to refashion and recycle old textiles- since textile waste is a huge problem in the fashion industry today. If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “what on earth is Fashion Revolution?”, you can just click over here and read my post from last week which will get you up to speed, and then come back to this one once you know what’s what!

So, as I mentioned, textile waste is a huge problem facing us today as a result of the fast fashion industry. It is estimated that 10.5 million tons of clothing are sent to the landfill, in North America alone, and only 20% of textiles are recycled- with the other 80% being lost to the landfill or incineration. Of the textiles being thrown away, 70% of it is damaged, such as with stains, fading or shrinking- but even then, rather than being recycled, it is being thrown away. It is estimated that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter after only the oil industry. This is a rather abysmal track record, don’t you think?

A while ago I received a comment on my post about my Astra fur coat, where I was talking about how the vintage fabric is slowly wearing out. The lovely Mrs. Rat (of Mr. and Mrs. Rat Blog) said, “My favorite winter coat is going the same way—no matter how often I sew up the tears in the lining, they reappear somewhere else or next to the old ones. The exterior is also starting to look a little droopy and shabby up close. I don’t feel like I have any good way of knowing when a garment is ‘worn out,’ especially when it is one I am fond of. I also don’t feel like I really know what to do with a really worn piece of clothing except harvest the buttons for future sewing projects and feel guilty about throwing away the rest of it. Maybe that could be a good subject for a post for fashion revolution month? I always like to read what you write about ethical fashion and its practical dilemmas.

Thank-you Mrs. Rat for leaving such a great comment! That was a wonderful idea for a post, and it really got me thinking! And so, for today, I am sharing a post dedicated to 12 ideas for “what on earth do you do with previously used textiles?!?”  I’ve got links to some of my past refashioning projects, features on some small projects I’ve made in the past few years that wouldn’t be big enough to dedicate an entire post to, ways to mend old garments and several tips for what you can do with old clothing that isn’t in good enough condition to be donated as is, but also isn’t usable for much else either. Even though none of these projects are huge- every little bit, does truly help. If each person in North America chose to recycle or refashion just one garment each year, that would be 360 million garments diverted from the landfill! Here are 12 ways to do just that:

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist, covering buttons

  1.  If you have a garment that needs some mending; maybe a hole needs patching, or a button needs recovering, take a look at the hem or facings and see if you can steal some fabric to do your repair work. Last year, I found a 1960’s dress at the thrift store which desparately needed a washing, so I carefully soaked and washed it in the tub, and laid it flat to dry. Once it was dry, I realized that the buttons had reacted badly to being washed, and all of the buttons now had a yellowish/green tinge to them around the edges. You can see the colour difference in the above picture, left. I tried to dye them back to a nice shade of blue- but apparently this fabric is not actually wool, since the dye didn’t absorb! Fortunately the dress had a nice wide 4″ hem- common in vintage garments- and so I was able to cut a 2″ strip all the way around, re-hem the dress and then use the scrap of fabric to cover all of the buttons in new fabric.

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist, purse alteration

2. If only part of a garment has worn out, see if it can be replaced with new fabric or hardware. For example, perhaps a collar or cuffs have worn through or gotten stained, and could be replaced with contrasting fabric. Jackets with leather patches on the elbows were trendy a few years ago- which is just what professors used to do with the worn out sleeves on their jackets. I bought this bag from SmartSet years ago, because I loved the combination of cognac leather and stripes. It proved to be an invaluable bag-especially for commuting to work, or as an overnight bag. About a year or two after getting it, the faux leather handles and pulls all started cracking and flaking to pieces. The bag was cheap quality to begin with- but I didn’t want to just get rid of it, so I instead decided to replace the original handles with leather ones. I searched the thrift stores, until I found a cognac coloured leather coat. I made sure to get one that was either damaged or wouldn’t be useful for any other purposes, so I wasn’t cutting up a perfectly good coat. The one I found had a company logo on it- so obviously no one was going to be wearing it second-hand! I removed all of the faux leather pieces from the bag- traced them onto the wrong side of the new leather, and then sewed all the new leather pieces onto the bag. The new leather has lasted about 5 years, and I still have several large pieces of leather left to use on other projects.

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist, pillows out of scraps

3. Lots of old garments can make great pillows- especially since they don’t require much fabric and are easy to sew. Two of these pillows were originally garments; the navy one was a short sleeved blouse that didn’t fit very well. It was such stiff fabric- and I loved the embroidery across it, so I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. Thus, it became a little pillow. The cream patterned pillow was a dress that no longer fit (and had also shrunk out of shape), which I then turned into a skirt- but it also didn’t fit well. I liked the fabric though- so I pieced it together into a square pillow. To make it more interesting, I did a chain stitch embroidery outline of the pattern for an added detail. The blue striped pillow was made out of a fabric remnant. With some strategic cutting and piecing, there was exactly enough to make this pillow, with no fabric waste left over!

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist, bags out of scraps

4. Small projects such as tote bags or zippered pouches, can be made with small pieces of fabric. Here is an example where I am doing the opposite of tip #3- and am turning some pillows into a tote bag! I was hoping to finish it last week- but ran out of time, and so (on the right) you get a picture of the fabric pieces instead 😉 The khaki green fabric was originally a slipcover that got bleached by the sun, was turned into a pillow, and last week I decided I didn’t like it as a pillow anymore and so have turned it into the bottom of my bag. The gold and cream fabric is from some pillows I purchased a few years ago, but they no longer match my sofa and so I decided the fabric would be better as tote bag. I have not yet decided whether to make fabric handles, which will be good for laundering, or whether to make the bag a little bit more structural and add leather handles (made from the aforementioned coat). Another example of a bag that that is a bit more patchwork, is this 70’s inspired one, on the left, that I made quite a few years ago. I’m no good at quilting (as evidenced by the crooked patchwork pieces in this bag!), but even with rudimentary quilting skills, you can easily make a pieced bag.

grevillea beret, side, the artyologist

5. Now to address Mrs. Rat’s dilemma with her coat: worn out garments often have pieces of fabric that are still useable for small projects- such as making hats! I tried out Tanith Rowan’s Grevillea Beret pattern earlier this year, and used some scraps I had leftover from making a cape. When I say scraps, I mean scraps: the fabric I used was only about 6″ wide, and I was still able to squeeze a hat out of it. In the Grevillea pattern, Tanith herself even recommends using an old coat, because even if some of the fabric is threadbare along the seams etc, there should be enough useable fabric to make a hat.

If a beret isn’t your style, how about getting a pattern like Vogue 7464?  You could make any of these hats out of scraps of wool or other fabrics. There are lots of other vintage hat patterns out there, if none of these are your style, or check out Tanith Rowan’s blog as she often shares hatmaking tips.

wardrobe-spice, canadian home journal, the artyologist

If hats aren’t really your thing, you could also try making some “wardrobe spice” accessories such as gloves or a jabot out of the fabric (as long as it isn’t too scratchy!)

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, another portrait, the artyologist

6. A past refashioning project, is this top made out of old jeans. Any pattern that has princess seams, or lots of piecing is great for making out of old textiles- as you can fit the pattern into narrow pieces of fabric. This top was actually the bodice of a dress pattern- Butterick 5882– which makes a great playsuit top, and was perfect for making out of old jeans- as the pieces are narrow.

12 Ways to Recycle & Refashion Used Clothing & Textiles, the artyologist, creative hands

7. Old garments are also wonderful for cutting down into new garments for children. Here are some tips from the 1970’s Creative hands books:

  • Be sure that the fabric isn’t too worn to withstand the tougher wear a child will give it.
  • Take the garment apart at the seams, and launder it, if it looks dirty. Sometimes when a garment has been taken apart, and the lining removed, the wrong side of the fabric looks brighter and fresher than the right side. Don’t hesitate to use the wrong side of a fabric if it appeals to you- it may even have a more interesting weave.
  • Adult coats: Garments made of tweed, woven wool, jersey, man-made knits and weaves, velours, doeskin cloth and corduroy will make children’s coats, jackets, teenage girls’ skirts and vests, girls’ and boys’ trousers and snowsuits.
  • Adult dresses: Garments made of woolens, jerseys, woven fabrics, man-made fibre fabrics, velvet needlecord, cottons, linens, etc. will make little girls’ dresses, skirts, boleros and sleeveless blouses, pants suits, shorts, and vests for both boys and girls. Knitwear will make pullovers, jumpers and romper suits for babies.
  • A more satisfactory remake job will result if a pattern is chosen with the same number of pieces as the adult garment and in a fairly similar style. By following this simple rule, you will find that there is enough fabric of the right shape in the adult garment for a child’s garment.

Refashioning a 1980's dress into a 1940's pinafore the artyologist

8. A lot of those tips for cutting children’s clothing could be utilized to cut down larger sized adult garments, into smaller sized ones; for example a large men’s coat could be remade into a women’s coat, (like women did in the 1940’s during rationing) and even a women’s coat could be made into a new vest. This gingham pinafore I made a few years ago, was made out of an old dress which was several sizes too big for me. I completely recut the fabric and made a new garment out of it. If you have a garment with quite a lot of fabric- a long dress or skirt, for example, it is often perfect for cutting out an entirely new garment.

the entirely repurposed and almost vintage skirt the artyologist

9. Old sheets make great fabric for projects! I made this skirt out of a vintage sheet- even though the project required some strategic cutting, since the sheet had been used as a dropcloth sometime in it’s past and had several paint stains on it. Vintage sheets are a great source of fabric for sewing projects, especially as most vintage sheets (at least fitted ones) don’t usually fit modern mattresses. This sheet wasn’t good for anything else- but I managed to get a new garment out of it. Vintage sheets are great for making test garments of new patterns, as they are relatively inexpensive and have a lot of fabric.

10. What do you do when you can’t refashion a garment/textiles? If a garment is ruined, such as with stains that won’t come out, or is threadbare along the seams, and it is 100% woven cotton, you could use it to make a quilt, or, if you don’t quilt, see if someone else would like it for quilting squares. Quilts originally were made with scraps, and as long as the fabric is not too worn out, it’s nice to get some free fabric. In the past, I made a lot of my dresses out of quilting cotton, and when I cut out my patterns, I saved all of the scraps, of a decent size, in order to use for future projects. I’ve got a suitcase full of fabric scraps, to make a quilt someday, and even though I’ll probably never actually make that quilt- it’s nice to have a stash of scraps to use for projects, such as the tote bags I mentioned earlier.

11. If a garment is completely worn out and it is 100% cotton, then remove the buttons and hardware and cut it up for rags. Instead of using paper towels or buying cloths, cut up old t-shirts and soft cottons to clean with. Soft t-shirt cottons work quite well for cleaning glass and mirrors as well as for dusting. As long as the majority of the fabric content is cotton or natural fibres, they work quite well. Synthetic fibres or blends don’t absorb liquids very well, although you can still use them for dusting, so avoid using them for cleaning rags.

12. After you have gone through all of these ideas, and still have a garment left- for example, old hoisery or a polyester blouse with snags on it- then the last thing you can do is remove the buttons or any other hardware, and send it to textile recycling. Although I don’t shop at H&M, they do have a textile recycling program, which our family has used several times. In many of their stores, they have a drop off bin for end of life textiles- you can find out more about that here.  Our family recently dropped off 5 bags of textiles at one of their stores. (The man who was standing in line was so confused to see us walk into the store, throw 5 bags into the textile recycling bin, and then turn around and leave the store without stopping to buy anything!) All of the textiles we sent were end-of-life textiles, which meant the fabric was ruined, unable to be recycled into a future project, or was of some kind of synthetic fibre and couldn’t be used for rags. Their program accepts all unwanted textiles where it is sorted into three categories:

  • Reworn- if it is in good condition
  • Reused- for cleaning cloths
  • Recycled- to be turned into textile fibres and used for insulation.

___

Well, those are the 12 ways I have used up old textiles. It is nice to be able to repurpose and refashion as much as you can, isn’t it? It always makes me think of the Depression era women, when I recycle old garments and textiles into new projects! I hope these ideas have helped you to figure out how you can reuse your garments, rather than simply sending them to the thrift shops or textile recycling programs.

What creative ways do you refashion and reuse old textiles? Have you tried any of these ideas before? Are you taking part in Fashion Revolution Week this year?

The First Sewing Project of 2018: Tanith Rowan Designs Grevillea Beret

tanith rowan designs graevilla beret, the artyologist

This hat is my first sewing project of the year which, ironically, wasn’t even on my #makenine list! However, I am delighted to have finished one project so far this year, especially since my other current project is taking a lot more time to finish than I would like it to.

When I shared my Style Resolutions post back in January, Tanith of Tanith Rowan Designs asked whether I would like to review and test her new hat pattern, the Grevillea Beret, since one of my resolutions had been to wear more hats this year.

I said yes, of course, and just this past weekend I got around to making the hat. I have never had much success sewing hats- I made a newsboy style cap for my sister once, which was really cute, but so many of the hats I make for myself seem to fail. I once attempted to make a pillbox, but it turned out looking more like a fez. 🙁 So it was with trepidation that I approached this pattern, hoping that it would turn out well, but also afraid I would end up with another fez. Well, of course, I should not have feared! Tanith has made a wonderful hat pattern- and I love how this hat turned out!

When I first got the pattern, I spent quite a while trying to decide which fabric I should use, because I wanted to make sure that it was something that would coordinate with my wardrobe. After almost cutting it out of a different fabric, I remembered that I had some green wool scraps left over from my cape last year. I only had a few strips (several inches wide) and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to fit all of the pattern pieces in, but, as Tanith mentions, this pattern is good for recycling leftover pieces of fabric and all of the pattern pieces fit. (With absolutely no room to spare- and none leftover! Yay for using up fabric scraps!)

grevillea beret, back, the artyologist

I made the eight section hat, with a narrow band, and I didn’t topstitch the segments. This is because I am that seamstress who looks at a pattern (even one with every combination known), and picks out the one option that isn’t pictured on the pattern. I think that the topstitching gives the beret a sportier look, and also stiffens the pieces, so my hat is rather soft and floppy compared the pictures on her pattern. The wool I used was also rather soft, compared to melton or other stiff wool. The weight of your fabric is definitely something to keep in mind.

The hat went together very quickly. I made it in a few hours including: laying out the pattern, cutting, sewing, unpicking my bad stitches and then resewing, and then finally pressing and steaming the hat into shape. If you’ve been following my sewing projects for any length of time, you will know that a finished project in that short amount of time is pretty amazing since all of my sewing projects take me forever to complete.

grevillea beret and cape set, the artyologist

After I finished sewing the segment pieces together, I laid the hat out flat, and even though it wasn’t pressed yet, I could tell that it was going to be too small. Because I was afraid of the hatband also being too small which would result in the hat sitting on the top of my head like a pancake (strangely enough…not the look I was going for), I measured my head and then cut my hatband out at that measurement + seam allowance, sewed the hatband together at the sides, and tried it on to make sure it fit. Because there is a 5/8″ (1cm) seam allowance included in her pattern, I simply resewed the segment piece seams at 3/8″ and then tapered the seams towards the bottom to fit the circumference of the hatband. Once I had resewed the seams it was a simple matter of attaching it to the hatband, adding a covered button and then I was done. Tanith does mention in her pattern that any seam or cutting discrepancies can drastically change the size of the hat- just 1mm in cutting error will result in a 1.6 cm difference once the pieces are sewn up. My hat might have also turned out too small because of printing error- I did print it at 100%, but there could have been a problem there too. Either reason, it doesn’t really matter in the end because she, fortunately, included wide enough seam allowances for me to make the necessary adjustments with no problems! I would recommend if you sew this pattern, just measure the pieces before you cut them out to make sure the sizes are all right.

So, what was my opinion of Tanith’s pattern? I really like how this hat turned out, and am thrilled to now have a matching cape and hat set. I am already contemplating future versions too; velvet would be nice, and perhaps some more outerwear and hat sets, because you can’t get more vintage than that, right?

grevillea beret review, the artyologist

As for this outfit, which I wore on Sunday, I paired the hat and cape with a fur collar, black tights and shoes, and my kraken necklace, which I thought deserved an outing. Peeking out from under my cape is the Vogue 8789 dress which I seem to be wearing on repeat lately. I tried the outfit with a black purse, but it was just too much black, so I ended up choosing this silly plastic covered feather clutch which I rarely ever carry, because it’s too small to hold anything other than my phone and a lipstick! But, it was a perfect finishing touch, and I always love wearing ridiculous vintage pieces, if I can 😉

All in all, I am very happy, both with this pattern, and how this outfit turned out- despite the freezing cold these photos were taken in. (The sunshine is deceptive) I was tempted to do an indoor photoshoot, but decided that a cape and hat set needed to be set against a winter background, so my sister and I braved the weather just long enough to quickly snap these and then run back inside to sit by the fire and warm up with a hot cup of tea!

Have you ever sewed a hat before or would you? Have you seen or tried out the Grevillea Beret pattern yet? Would you make a matching outwear and hat set? And- is it starting to feel like Spring where you live, or are you still in the depths of Winter too!?!

(Ps- I was wondering why the pattern was called the “Grevillea Beret” so I Googled it, of course, and discovered that a Grevillea is a type of Australian flower. I wondered whether the hat looked like the flower. . . but then I looked at the image search here and it does not look anything like it! Although- a Grevillea inspired hat would be most interesting, don’t you think? 😉 haha!)

You can get a copy of Tanith’s pattern here

*I was provided this beret pattern free of charge in return for being a pattern tester.

kraken necklace, the artyologist

grevillea beret, side, the artyologist

feather and plastic purse, the artyologist

grevillea beret and cape, the artyologist

My 2018 Make Nine Challenge Sewing Choices

2018 Make Nine, the artyologist

Not gonna lie, when I got to the end of 2017 and started looking at what I sewed throughout the year. . . I was a bit depressed to still be looking at a fabric stash instead of garments hanging in my closet. This past year I sewed four skirts, (only blogged one of them) a sundress, a cape, and refashioned a vintage dress. So, yes I did do some sewing, but considering the fact that there are 8,760 hours in a year, and only about 6,000-ish of those were spent working and sleeping, I didn’t really do as much as I could have. I don’t want that to happen again, so I have decided to take part in the 2018 Make Nine challenge hosted by Rochelle of Home Row Fibre Co. and the blog Lucky Lucille. The Make Nine Challenge is a sewing challenge where you choose nine items to make throughout the year, and is in her words, a gentle challenge. It’s not one that you can fail. It’s meant to be flexible, a tool you can use to evaluate your motivations and needs for working towards specific things as the year goes on. This is meant to be a challenge focused on learning more about yourself and your making habits while achieving goals. Work at your own pace and join in at any time. – That’s it!” She’s got all the details over on her blog post, so if you would like to take part in the challenge yourself, just hop over there to read all about it.

I’ve never joined in this community sewing challenge before, but I think that it is just the sort of kick-in-the-pants I need to turn my pile of fabric into actual clothes. I spent a few days this past week going through patterns and fabric, looking through vintage fashion books/blogs for inspiration, and evaluating what some of the gaps in my wardrobe are, and how I can fill them in a purposeful way.

I often get so inspired, and I see a pattern or garment and decide that I want to make it, but then I can’t decide which fabric to use, and so I get overwhelmed and end up going in circles of indecisiveness, because I have this ridiculous fear that if I cut into a fabric from my stash, I’ll realize that I should have made it into something else. . . and so I end up making nothing.

In light of that, this week I narrowed down all of the options and ideas I had into nine specific items I will focus on this year. I have decided to sew only garments with fabric I already own (what- no fabric shopping!?!?!?!) and the only sewing purchases I intend to make this year are for notions, lining fabric or other items that I need to complete one of these projects. Setting these boundaries for myself will ensure that I don’t get distracted (like a dog with a squirrel) and will instead end up with garments I’ve been dreaming about wearing for years. So, here, in no particular order, are my Make Nine choices for 2018!

2018, Make Nine, McCall's 6696, the artyologist

  • I have a million metres of smoky blue eyelet, and I do love a good shirtwaist dress, so I plan to make view A, only I’m going to make it floor length. I love long skirts, but currently don’t have any in my wardrobe. I also have some other fabric that I’d like to make into shirtwaists (knee length), so once I finish this, I’ll hopefully have a tried-and-true pattern, which will make the others go so much quicker.

 

2018, Make Nine, Princess Coat, the artyologist

  • Years ago, a lady gave me her aunt’s winter coat, since she knew I liked vintage styles. The coat is from the 1980’s and is an 80’s-does-50’s princess style out of green wool. Unfortunately it looks like someone along the way decided to throw it in the washing machine, and the fabric is completely ruined. However, the underside of the fabric is still lovely- so I am hoping to be able to take the coat apart and turn it, rather like the “turned silks” of the 1800’s. The coat is also a bit big, so I am going to alter it as I refashion it. I hope it works out, since a full skirted winter coat will be a wonderful thing to have!

 

2018, Make Nine, Simplicity 2154, the artyologist

  • The Simplicity 2154 blouse is so cute and classy and I’ve liked every one I’ve seen so far. I have some checked tan and navy shirting, which will be perfect for this. The colours will go with everything, and it’s always nice to have a variety of blouses. This one will be particularly nice for layering.

 

2018 Make Nine, turbans, the artyologist

  • I love turbans, and I’d love to make a formed one out of velvet. I don’t know if I’ll attempt a fan or a knot decoration like the ones in this picture- I might try out a simpler one to begin with! This will be nice for winter as it will be a good alternative to a toque.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 4403, the artyologist

  • The first project I am going to tackle this year is Simplicity 4403- a coat pattern I got for my 16th birthday. That was a long time ago and I still have a partially sewn coat out of a beautiful plum melton wool with brass buttons. I don’t even know if it’s going to fit me anymore, to be honest, but I’m going to give it a go. I am completely intimidated to sew this for some reason- but it’s either getting made now, or I’m going to get rid of it. So, because I can’t bring myself to get rid of it, I guess that means I’m going to be sewing it this weekend 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, skirts, the artyologist

  • I have some brown and plum coloured plaid “wool” in my stash that I am going to use to make a circle or 4 gored skirt. It’s not real wool- I bought it many years ago, but it’s got a tweedy sort of texture to it. I don’t have very much fabric, but I’m sure I’ll have enough for a skirt- I can always decrease the fullness if necessary. This will be a practical addition to my wardrobe, since I don’t have very many good winter weight skirts.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 3673, the artyologist

  • For years I have been dreaming of a jumper dress and jacket suit combo out of some wool-like fabric I inherited from my aunt. I have 2.5 metres of a blue and tan gingham, and 2 metres of a coordinating blue. I’ve never been brave enough to cut into it- but this is the year! I am not sure if this Simplicity 3673 pattern, centre view C, will work with the gingham check, but if not, I’ll hack the pattern to make something similar if not exactly the same. If I also manage to get a matching jacket done up, that will turn this challenge into a Make Ten instead 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, background dress, the artyologist

  • I would like a “Background Dress” as described in this Sear’s catalogue. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet, but it will be something that can be paired with a bunch of different accessories, sweaters, shoes etc. for endless options. I will use either a teal rayon or tan and black ikat patterned rayon, and I’d like the dress to have a similar 1940’s shape to it.

 

2018 Make Nine, Butterick 5748, the artyologist

  • Butterick 5748 is such a cute dress with that bow detail. I love early 1960’s dresses- they’d lost the fussiness of the 50’s, but hadn’t quite gotten into the psychedelic 60’s yet. I have a cream and brown calico cotton which I think would make a really nice sundress.

Whew. If I manage to get all of these sewn, along with all my other creative endeavors, I will be happy. Hopefully now that I’ve put it out here I’ll actually do it too- accountability works wonders! I might change some of my patterns along the way, but as long as I end up with nine garments at the end of the year, that’s good with me.

Have you heard of the Make Nine Challenge? Are you going to be taking part, or making any other kind of sewing related goals this year? What projects do you have planned? And, have you made any of these patterns before?