ambitious plans

2019 ReSEWlutions

I had a flash of insight today while I was working on a couple of projects. Both of them were going, like, okay. I was enjoying the process, I wasn’t totally invested in the perfection of the final garments (one was a bra muslin, one was a workout top [omg doing so well on my 2019 Make Nine!]) and both projects used inexpensive fabric that I still have tons of. Both of them had me thinking, “I should definitely make this again.”

XYT top and Steeplechase leggings (patterns by Fehr Trade), made by Small Bobbins

Have you thought that before about a pattern? I read it all the time in pattern reviews. And for me too, when evaluating the success of the pattern, I nearly always make a judgment about whether I’d make the pattern again.

But I rarely do make the pattern again. I make it the first time, I talk about what I would change for the next version, things that would probably improve how the pattern fits me or my style, but then? Well, I checked it off my list and I move on to the next one.

So my biggest reSEWlution for 2019 is to make (nearly) everything a second time.

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Make Nine 2019

Small Bobbins' picks for Make Nine 2019

And here they are! I’ve seen a lot of fellow sewists/sewing bloggers decide to skip declaring a Make Nine for 2019 after “failing” to complete their 2018 list, but I’m ever the optimist and I like the structure of planning and list-making. So, despite that my own Make Nine 2018 only ended up with like, almost 4-ish garments completed from the list, I spent some quality time coming up with the nine(-ish) types of garments that I want to make this year.

Make Nine 2019 Read More »

Vlog: Autumn/Winter Plans

I’ve finally started my Youtube channel! You can find me there at Small Bobbins, and keep up as I attempt to vlog my makes and plans, fabric hauls, plus a tutorial here and there. I’m already totally enamored with the process of filming and editing, and excited to improve that with each video (I’m already working on a proper intro/outro for the next one!)


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Half-year check on sewing goals

June is over, half of 2018 is over, and I am always up for some wordy reflections. Remember how six months ago, we were all super optimistic and excited about what this year would hold for us? Our sewing goals for the year, all the challenges we signed up for, the spending bans…?

If you may remember, I posted five resewlutions:

  1. V-Necks
  2. Linings
  3. a well-fitting bra
  4. Embellishments and Details
  5. Getting more involved in the sewing community

With the exception of 3, I’d say I’m making pretty good progress on these goals. I’ve made a couple v-necks, inserted a couple linings, focused on some pretty details with the embroidery on my Rumana coat, and I’ve been way way more involved with the sewing community! Bras? I’ve made a couple. Well-fitting? Okay, ugh. I’m like, working on it. Small bobbins don’t make it easy!

…and I also posted my Make Nine choices:

A collage of patterns for Make Nine 2018, by Small Bobbins

So… as of last week, I’ve managed to finish one of these. Maybe 1.5 if I count the lingerie I’ve been working on. But the one I’ve made so far is my Ginger jeans, so that’s a pretty big achievement! I’ve found that if I don’t explicitly put a Make Nine project on my monthly plans, then it just ends up out of sight, out of mind. For July, I’m working on the Maisa denim jacket.

and actually I have an unpublished post all about how pumped I was to take on every single sewing challenge that I could get my greedy paws on. Sew My Style, Project Sew It, sew a dress, sew a shirt, sew this pattern, sew that pattern, sew an outfit for a virtual party; I was ready to do everything!

Ehhh… In reality, I very quickly gave up on this idea. I have kept up with Sew My Style. My Sunny Dress (January) is still worn often; the shape and my fabric choice make it super versatile for all but the hottest weather. Obviously the Rumana coat (February) is packed away for now. The Kalle shirtdress (March) is disappointingly off, it’s a bit tight across the back, the length is just a bit too short, and I’m reminded of my not-so-great construction every time I wear it. The Marigold jumpsuit (April) has not yet been worn in public! It needs warm weather for sure, but I just don’t find myself reaching for it, even when it’s peak summer like it is now. I skipped May’s pattern to focus on other sewing goals. And June’s Suki Kimono is on my body nearly every morning and evening; I looooove it. For the rest of the year I’m pretty set on which months I’ll definitely join in with (July, October, November), and which ones I’ll skip (August, September, December).

I also joined the Facebook group for Project Sew It, which is a monthly challenge to sew one type of garment each month. So, January was a tee, February a sweater, etc. It’s an easy challenge, and there are monthly prizes, but my plans just never seem to line up with the theme, so I’ve mostly abandoned this… oops!

A mashup of different patterns, by Small Bobbins.

(I did sew a tee in January though, it’s a mash-up of the Toaster Sweater and the Basic Instinct tee that I haven’t otherwise blogged about.)

All other sewing challenges…? Similar feelings. I’m just in love with my own sewing plans too much to change them!

…spending bans?

I didn’t make any specific fabric-buying bans. I considered committing to a pattern-buying ban, and I’ve mostly stuck to it anyway. If it wasn’t a Sew My Style pattern or something that I received as a gift, then I only bought two patterns so far this year.

In general, I’ve tried to be more mindful of purchases and try to avoid spontaneous purchases. If I’m on a fabric website or planning to visit a fabric shop, I always make a list ahead of time of not only what I need for specific projects, but also what I might like to find. Fantastic prints (that otherwise don’t fit my plans) still make their way into my stash, but having specific “wants” in mind helps me to stay focused on buying stuff that I’m more likely to wear.

And my style evolution? Lately I’ve been having some big thoughts on dresses. I am reaching this point, as I discover my personal style, where it has hit me that while dresses are so cute and fun to wear, I don’t reach for them first and they’re not entirely suited for my lifestyle. I bike nearly every day, I work in a casual office, I have to pick up kids and move around, and I live in a country where I’m likely to need warmer clothes for 3/4 of the year. If I want a wardrobe that I love and that makes me feel comfortable and stylish and confident, then I’ll need to focus on separates and layering pieces. Dresses aren’t entirely off the menu though, but I need to make sure that they’ll have a fuller skirt and could be worn over tights, over pants even, over t-shirts or turtlenecks, under sweaters, etc.

Phew! As we go into the second half of the year, I’m thinking more and more about how I can focus on my plans and how to make the most of my precious free time! I’m trying to blog more consistently and even (gasp!) start vlogging! (erm… stay tuned)

SO! How’s your sewing year going so far?

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I, Kirstin, of Small Bobbins, do solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

(Wait, that’s not the right pledge, is it?)

Happy Me-Made-May 2018! This is a challenge invented by Zoe from ‘So Zo’, you can read more about this annual event on her blog or listen to her interview on Love to Sew Podcast.

MMMay is probably one of the “original” sewing challenges for the digital sewing community. Nowadays, there are so many challenges that it’s impossible to keep up! In fact, I’m even at a point where I’m (gasp!) challenged-out. So for my MMMay 2018 pledge, I’m going to focus on my massive pile of WIP/UFO’s (works-in-progress, un-finished objects) and follow a low-key pledge to wear me-mades when I can. I’ll try to document my daily outfits on my Instagram so that I have a record of what I’m actually reaching for, and maybe that will help me focus my plans once I’m open to starting new projects again.

A pile of works-in-progress, by Small Bobbins

Yes, no new projects until my WIP-pile is done. Honestly, I have too many! At least 16 projects that are either fully cut out, partially cut out, or need some mending/altering before I’d feel comfortable wearing them. I don’t think I’d reasonably be able to get through all of these in May, but I’m sure going to do my best, and I’m banning myself from new projects (besides pattern testing!) until I’m through.

So what’s on the menu? (click through to go to the designers’ sites)

Yeah, so, omg.

I’m a big believer in checklist, so here’s how I’ll approach these projects:

  • Grab one at a time: To me, this feels like a crucial first step to tackling these projects. Focus on one at a time! Give it my full attention, complete it, and then move on.
  • Check where I’m at: did I cut out all pieces? What size? Did I make any pattern adjustments? Do I have all the notions/equipment? Matching thread?
    • If I’m missing any notions/thread, I’ll make thorough notes and put it aside until I can head to my local shops.
  • Read all of the instructions before getting started: if I have any qualms about the methods or the order of the steps, I can make notes before starting.
  • Sew the dang thing.

What about you, have you pledged to participate in MMMay this year? Do you have an overflowing pile of UFO’s that keeps you up at night…? No? Just me? Okay then…! Has your approach for organizing and tackling your sewing projects changed since you started sewing? And if so, why?

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2018 Make Nine

Maybe it’s cheating a bit, but my 2018 Make Nine (it’s essentially a very loosely enforced year-long challenge to sew nine garments, started by Rochelle at Lucky Lucille) is mostly made up of pieces that I totally intended to sew in 2017. I already own most of the patterns, I already have most of the fabrics, and I even partially cut out one of them already.

A collage of patterns for Make Nine 2018, by Small Bobbins

Amsterdam blazer collage, by Small Bobbins

  1. Amsterdam blazer by Orageuse Patterns: When this pattern was released, I was obsessed. I didn’t buy it right away because I’m trying to buy fewer patterns (eye-roll, I know), but I thought about it for weeks and weeks. I’ve wanted to copy a loose-fitting, straight-cut RTW blazer for the longest time, but it seemed like such an undertaking that I never got around to it. (The original blazer had a busted lining.) Finally, the pattern went on sale and I took the plunge. I even printed out the PDF and stuck it together already, which was no small feat at 41 pages. I bought some cheap striped suiting to do the first version. Orageuse rates it as a 5/5 Advanced pattern (eek!) so I don’t want to botch my first version on an expensive fabric!Maisa denim jacket line drawing
  2. Maisa denim jacket by Named Patterns: I’ve already had two pairs of Farrell’s old jeans set aside for this for nearly a year. I think what has been stopping me so far is I’m worried that I won’t have enough denim. The easy solution (since the pattern is already printed and prepared) is to just check the dang thing, but so far it’s been a friction point, you know? Mona Moto jacket collage, by Small Bobbins
  3. Mona moto jacket by Make My Lemonade: I managed to get my hands on this pattern when the monthly patterns were still free (Does anybody else remember that!?). It’s been stewing in my mind since then and I feel like this is the year for it. I’m debating between making an unlined version in a stable knit (she recommends that the fabric have a bit of stretch) or sizing up and making a quilted wool version with a lining (which would be good, since linings are one of my reSEWlutions for 2018).Karri dress collage, by Small Bobbins
  4. Karri dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns: I’m going to try to rip off a dress I’ve had on Pinterest for a while now, with a greyscale Liberty print and some neon yellow piping.Ginger jeans collage, by Small Bobbins
  5. Ginger jeans by Closet Case Patterns: I’ve had these partially cut out for, yeah… over a year. In my defense, I started a different jeans pattern while I was pregnant (what was I thinking?), then I bought the Ginger jeans and got through cutting a single leg before putting it to the side. My body was still very much changing size and, maybe you know how it goes, pregnancy, newborn, infant, and NO time. Now I’m back in a good rhythm and looking forward to getting back to this project! I’m starting with stretch denim that’s dark indigo on one side and a beautiful burgundy on the other, I’m not sure which side I’ll use!Dahlia dress collage, by Small Bobbins
  6. Dahlia dress by Colette Patterns: I have an amazing dark navy wool set aside for this, but just like the Maisa, I’m not totally positive I have enough fabric for this pattern, but otherwise I can easily swap another one. I can totally spare some of the four meters of this blue plaid I have.Simon shirt collage, by Small Bobbins
  7. Men’s button-up: This will be the year that I make a garment for my husband. I’ll probably use a pattern from Free Sewing because, uh, hello? Free patterns made to your measurements. He has already claimed a pink plaid that I had mentally put aside for a 90s-style mini skirt, so we will really test my selfless sewing limits. He wants a cowboy shirt with pearl snaps.
    The Chelsea Collection – Simple Sew 2018-01-07 13-20-26
  8. Denim mini with jeans buttons: These were everywhere last year and I got my hands on this Simple Sew pattern through a destash sale, but I don’t quite have a denim in my stash that will work for it. A miniskirt won’t take much fabric, so maybe once I get the Gingers settled,  I’ll use leftovers from one of those to make a skirt.Collage of lingerie inspiration, by Small Bobbins
  9. Pretty lingerie: I am super into the idea of making lingerie, but I’ve had a tough time getting over a couple obstacles: finding supplies is hard, and fitting my very small bobbins (wink!) to the pattern designers’ blocks has been frustrating. Plus, I want to make show-stoppers. Pretty, lacy, cut-outs, sheer, and all that. I want to be one of those girls that wears fantastic undergarments all the time. I am convinced that it’s attainable, but I may need to go down the drafting-it-myself route and research, learn, try, fail, and repeat times a billion until I get there. (inspiration photos from: Suzy Black NYC, Ledabynight wearing Urban Bird, Aniela Parys, shared by Telio Fashion but source unknown, amorzeberlin wearing Don’t Look lingerieEvgenia LingeriePetra Lingerie, Thistle and Spire, Sacha Kimmes)

Totally ambitious? Yes. I’m not holding myself to definitely get all of these done, but I feel like something finally shifted this year that allowed me to get into a better rhythm with sewing (it’s called: house renovations calmed down, and my youngest is now two years old!), so I do feel realistic about getting these projects completed. Plus, I want to do this, so the only challenge is making the time for it.

Are you coming up with a Make Nine for this year, or will you wing it for 2018?

2018 Make Nine Read More »