Challenges on every side!

Hi there!  Hope you’re OK and dealing with Blue Monday?

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I seem to have managed to get myself signed up to a couple of sewing challenges this year.  I’m in two minds as to whether this is a good thing or not. Generally, I’m in favour of these things as they can help to bring some focus to my sewing, rather than me just swaying with whatever looks prettiest this week on Instagram!  My only concern is that signing up to them can make sewing feel pressured and you end up making something for the sake of it, rather than because you need it or love it.

Anyway, my solution to that this year is to join in where it fits and not stress too much if that isn’t every single time.

The one I’m most in sync with is the #2017makenine initiative.  This is a pledge to make 9 specific patterns this year, hopefully chosen to plug gaps in your wardrobe and preferably using existing, rather than new fabrics.  Sounds ideal for someone with a stash like mine!

So the nine patterns I’ve chosen are:

  1. Tilly and the Buttons Martha

I’ve seen a few versions of this now that I really love, including a ponte one which Stitching Odyssey made.  One of the sewing mags I subscribe to had a discount on Tilly patterns last month and I finally succumbed.

       2.Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirt

I’ve come to really enjoy making shirts now, finding the detail work on the plackets and collars very soothing.  And I can see this style fitting in well now that I don’t have to wear business dress to work.  This is actually going to be a Minerva project for me, and I’ve already been sent the most glorious floral cotton lawn for this very purpose – watch this space!

3. Tilly and the Buttons Cleo

The observant among you will realise I’ve actually already made this dress this year – go me!  Sadly I don’t think it’s going to become the workhorse casual garment I was hoping for, although I’m still trying to wear it lots in the hope it will grow on me.  But I’ve a feeling this is going to end up just not being me.

  4.Deer and Doe Belladone dress

This is another dress which has slowly grown on me after seeing lots of other versions floating around. Madame Tifaine’s tartan number is a particular favourite, although I think for myself this is likely to end up being more of a summer make.

5. Deer and Doe Bruyere shirt

This pattern is the first of the bunch which I’ve made before, in my second Minerva Crafts post.  I absolutely love that brushed tartan version: I’m hoping the winter has another one of these in store for me, but failing that, I’m definitely up for a sleeveless version for summer!

6. Grainline Studios Moss mini skirt

This is also a pattern I’ve actually made before, although I haven’t blogged it yet.  This is because I’m not happy with the fit: I really need a sway back adjustment to make it work as I want.  However, I think I’ve got my head around how that needs to work, so hopefully that will get picked up soon.

7. Deer and Doe Safran jeans

OK, I admit it, I’m an addict. I love Deer and Doe patterns, plus all the ones I’ve tried so far have been such a great fit! So pattern number 3 of theirs is the jeans.

I don’t know about you, but for me trousers are something of a looming mountain that needs to be climbed from a sewing point of view.  I’m building up with the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers prior to trying these, so hopefully I’ll pick up some standard adjustments (sway back, big arse….) before starting the jeans.

I’ve also bought the Ginger jeans pattern so will be comparing the two at some point!

    8. Deer and Doe Melilot shirt

Yep, it’s Deer and Doe again.  I should be on commission! The aim here is to make the long sleeved version in some bunny print rayon I picked up in B&M Fabrics last year.  Hopefully more experience of shirt making should make this more relaxed fit more straightforwards!

   9. Sew  House Seven Toaster 2 sweater

This final pattern I actually finished yesterday and its glorious fuschia fabric is chasing Blue Monday away nicely!  This also falls into two other challenges and will be getting a blog post of its own, but my aim was to try a different winter jumper than my two go to’s, the Seamwork Astoria and the Grainline Linden.

So there you are.  They’re supposed to be spread over the year, which gives me some leeway, but to be honest I could use most of these right now so I’m hopeful that I will get through these quite quickly.

So what are the other challenges?  The first is the reason I had the Sew House Seven pattern; the #sewmystyle challenge run by Bluebird Fabrics.

This involves 12 patterns over the year, one per month.  There are discounts on the patterns selected and again, this is an attempt to help you make a more considered, capsule me made wardrobe.

Honestly, some of these patterns are not going to happen, they are so not me.  But of the 11 currently listed (the 12th being an as yet unreleased one from Named), I am aiming to definitely make;

  • Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater 2 (already made)
  • Megan Nielsen Briar t shirt – looks like a really good jersey basic and I’ve boxes full of jersey fabric to try this in
  • Cali Faye collection Valley blouse – I have some gloriously soft swiss dot white cotton which I think this would look awesome in
  • By Hand London Anna dress – a pattern I’ve had a couple of years and have made several of, I need very little excuse to make this one again!

So that’s that one.

And then there is a Facebook challenge on the Dressmaking Blogging Network, something I’ve been part of for some time now.  Again, it’s aiming for a capsule wardrobe over the year, but in a much broader way by simply stating a garment type per month and leaving pattern choice up to you.  This month, it’s all about keeping it cosy, so the Toaster 2 sweater is perfect!

Just in case I wasn’t feeling enough pressure, I’ve also signed up for Sanae and Ute’s Secret Valentine Exchange again.  This is a very different beast, with you sending a sewing gift to someone you’re assigned without them knowing it’s you in advance.  I did this last year and really enjoyed the process as much as anything, so I’m hoping to get this year’s challenge done this week or next and posted off!


So why have I signed up to all these things?  I think because it gives me a certain focus and it links me in to the social side of things, particularly on Instagram, which I really value.  But, together with my Minerva Makes, I do need to remember that this is all meant to be for fun and that, if it’s getting stressful, it’s time to step away.  The only person judging me on this is me.

So easy to forget that sometimes, isn’t it?

Becca x

15 thoughts on “Challenges on every side!

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  1. I’m taking the same approach to SWAP. I don’t think there’s any way I will finish the 10 garments before the cut off date. But the reason I’m doing it is to fill a gap in my wardrobe, so I’m going to have fun making these garments and when I finish them is my business! However I really appreciate these sorts of challenges as it does provide structure and motivation to fill some gaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely agree with yours and Sarah’s outlook on the challenges; it really is supposed to be fun and as long as that’s happening, keep on! I’m really good at not doing things because everyone else is (sometimes to my own detriment) so means I perhaps over-commit less than I might… but not always. 😉 For me, 2017 Make Nine is the one but I’ve also just seen the The Wardrobe Builder Project from Petite Passions (, which I’m intrigued by! It sounds similar to the one you linked to on the Dressmaking Blogging Network group on Facebook (pretty sure they’re different people though). I’m seriously impressed by everything you’re keeping up with; lots of sewing in general (more than me!), challenges, Minerva, being a mum! I need to get my act together.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the Petite Passions one links through to the Facebook one? Quite honestly I’ve got confused! But still, the general aim is good.
      I don’t know, it feels like I don’t get that much done but I desperately need the me time sewing gives me with everything else I have to do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a similar thing going with the Make Nine and Sew My Style challenges. Make Nine is all stuff I want to make and have had the patterns for ages but for whatever reason I have put it off – including a few knitted things. With the Sew My Style challenge, I love it in theory but, like you said, so much of it is just not me. I’ve made a toaster this month – it’s a bit too casual for me but super snuggly so I will get some wear out of it – and I plan to dip in and out of a couple of the other months. I love a sewing challenge though, it keeps the sew-jo running! Happy to have found your blog btw. Off to check out the others you recommended on IG now x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it! I do like my Toaster sweater (blog on its way soon) but a lot of the others aren’t me. But I think there’s enough to keep me entertained and you never know, sometimes you see things made up a different way and suddenly they inspire you. That’s one of the great things about this community I think x

      Liked by 1 person

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