Challenges old and new: looking back and ahead

2017 was a busy year in my creative life, especially for sewing. I joined two year-long challenges – more on those below – and took part in Me Made May, #sewphotohop and #bpsewvember. Most wonderfully, I have been blessed with a growing circle of creative friends, near and far, who have brought challenge, companionship and inspiration into my daily life.

September was my busiest month, visiting the Great British Sewing Bee Live and teaching at Yarndale. I spent much longer than before at the Knitting and Stitching Show in November, where I had the privilege of supporting Laura from Sew Different.

Pattern testing has been one of the great creative joys of the last year. I find new challenges with each task and love to see how each designer uses her own particular skills and gifts to bring new patterns to the market.

From last year’s Sew My Style challenge, I chose to make most of the 12 garments, namely the Toaster Sweaters, Saunio Cardigan, Virginia Leggings, Bridgetown Dress, Pocket Skirt and Briar Tee (made as a sweatshirt but I can’t find a photo!). I had already made an Anna Dress in late 2016 and did in fact make a dress from the new Named Clothing collection – Gemma – without thinking about the connection, so only missed out three months’ pattern choices.

The 2018 challenge sign up can be found on Jessica Lorraine’s website. I’ve printed and cut the first pattern and am especially looking forward to February and the Rumana Coat (not that I really need another coat, having made four in the last 18 months!!).

Looking back at my my #makenine choices, I only made two of my choices – the Tulip skirt and Moss skirt – plus patterns that are similar to three others, so I am genuinely happy with the outcome. I still intend to make the remaining six this year.

This year my choice for makenine is made up of patterns that are already in my collection. It is designed to help build both my self-sewn wardrobe and my skill set. As far as possible,  I’ll also use fabrics from my library as far as possible, as it’s quite extensive! Having made a lot of dresses in 2017, it’s definitely time to create some more practical, everyday clothes.

If you’re looking for inspiration, #2018makenine is a good place to start. Did you know that you can now follow hashtags on Instagram?


Trousers/ Pants: Melody by Seamwork – stretch cotton sateen or twill

Dresses: Claudette by Colette, Areli  (Republique du Chiffon)

Blouse: York (Seamwork) – Kokka cotton from John Lewis

Jacket: Tamarack (Grainline Studios) – cupro from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

Underwear:  Frankie (Evie La Luve), Acacia (Megan Nielsen), Florence  (Seamwork)

Children’s/ Teens’ Tunic/hoodie: Jesse (Makerist)

Top: Back is Back (Vanessa Pouzet, a bargain at EUR3,40 and stunning!) – silk and lace

Pyjamas: Kwik Sew 3553 or Make My Lemonade, or perhaps both!

The #burdachallenge2018 is my final annual challenge for this year, set by lovely Hila of Saturday Night Stitch. I have a few copies in  Dutch from the years I spent in Belgium, plus some more recent English language editions, so will set aside some planning and tracing time soon,  perhaps with local sewing friends as a sewciable activity.

I’m hoping for a more thoughtful crafting year, with less hurrying and more joy found in the process of making. What are you looking forward to?


4 thoughts on “Challenges old and new: looking back and ahead

  1. Lovely post! I like how you have focused on TNTs for your Makenine – I have been toying with that idea as well. I am looking forward to a year of great physical and mental health – my mental wellbeing is getting top priority this year. Also looking forward to more sewciable activities and meet ups. Am quite excited for 2018. xx


  2. Pingback: #NewYearsResewlutions | nelnanandnora

  3. Pingback: #2018makenine: Areli Blouse | nelnanandnora

  4. Pingback: Summer sewing | nelnanandnora

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.