My Gradual Success with Sewing Plans

Make Nine is a popular activity in the Instagram sewing community. I really didn’t know it’s origins until searching around IG for this post. According to Instagram, @makeninechallenge was established in 2015 and is hosted by Rochelle @homerowfiberco¬†and Paula @onehtl1ama. Rochelle wrote a blog post about it. There are already almost 6000 IG posts with the hashtag #makenine2021. I don’t know Rochelle or Paula, but I’m really grateful to them because their challenge helped me to focus my sewing and finally start to fill my closet.

My first Make Nine Spring 2019

My first Make Nine was in Spring 2019. I had great plans and I had fun doing what I call “sewing in my head”. But I only finished one or two of the garments.

Spring 2019 Make Nine

My Fall 2019 Make Nine

I kept falling for the next new pattern. I couldn’t stay focused. I made another plan for Fall 2019 and made four of the nine. That made a total of six garments sewn in a year. I’m on a permanent RTW fast. That pace just won’t do.

Fall 2019 Make Nine


Like. many of us in the sewing community, I didn’t get much sewing done after the pandemic hit. And because I wasn’t going anywhere, it wasn’t really important that I make new clothes.

Finally at the beginning of winter 2020 my sewjo returned and I made another Make Nine plan . By the end of January 2021, I had made six different patterns and muslined the seventh. Wow! A few of the patterns were not in my plan and also don’t fit into my wardrobe very well.

2021 Make Nine

My Make Nine has now expanded to a Make Twenty!

All of this sewing progress gave me inspiration to really get organized. For me nine garments never made a wardrobe so I decided to expand. I decided I needed five categories of patterns:

  • Layers
  • Woven Tops
  • Knit Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Miscellaneous

As I added patterns to my plan, I began to establish the criteria a pattern needed to meet to make the cut. Patterns completed and loved in previous Make Nines I spent the month of April identifying 20 patterns in 5 categories that:

  1. I love.
  2. Are hackable.
  3. My measurements are in the MIDDLE of the size chart.

Here’s my list of patterns:

  • Sienna Maker’s Jacket
  • Pona Jacket
  • Blackwood Cardigan
  • Fuller Cardigan


  • Cielo Top & Dress
  • Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress
  • Ashton Top (and sleeve expansion)
  • Waikerie Shirt & Dress


  • Tarlee T-Shirt
  • Elliot Sweater & Tee
  • Vogue 9057 (now reissued as 1733)
  • LB Pullover


  • Glebe Pants
  • Peppermint Pocket Skirt
  • Belmont Leggings
  • Ninni Culottes


  • Kapunda Undies
  • Sorento Bucket Hat
  • Mahogany Turban
  • Zadie Jumpsuit
Posted by Nora

An Introduction – My Sewing Journey

My mother and her mother both were avid seamstresses (that’s what they were called in the 1950’s when I first learned to sew). My mother taught me to read and follow patterns when I was 7 (1957). She gave me a pattern to make clothes for my Madame Alexander Ginny doll and I was hooked.

I made my first dress for myself when I was 11 (1961). All through middle school I made clothes for myself. When I went to college, a sewing machine went with me and I sewed for myself and my friends. I majored in home economics education in college before dropping out to get married with only 18 hours to finish.

In college I learned pattern making and made polyester double knit suits for my husband and embroidered flowers on my bell bottom jeans (late 1960’s and early 70’s).

I continued to make my own clothes until my body began to expand, age and change. I became frustrated when the things I made didn’t fit. I knew how to grade patterns and used this skill but never with the level of success I wanted. I found a few RTW brands that fit me well enough and started making quilts.

circa 1992

I purchased a sewing machine in 2010 and began sewing clothes again. The machine was nothing special and it only lasted two years but it started a wonderful journey.

Brother Project Runway PC420PRW

Around that time, I discovered the online sewing community. I became enamored with the young tatooed women who were making clothes like my mother used to make. Gertie @gertie18 inspired me As did Peter @peterlapin and Carolyn @diaryofasewingfanatic

June 22, 2009

This was before Instagram. Blogs were a really big thing and I devoured what other sewists wrote. I took classes, even had a 1:1 class with Kenneth King. I worked hard to make clothes that fit but had only mediocre success.

The clothes I made fit better than RTW so in 2014, I made a pledge to stop buying RTW except for outer and under wear. I didn’t have many clothes but the clothes I had pleased me and brought me unsolicited compliments.

Marcy Tilton top Vogue 1733. I’ve made many versions of this pattern.

More garments I made landed in the trash than in my wardrobe. “Wadders” were the main thing I produced but I didn’t give up. I enjoyed the process of sewing as much if not more than the end result.

Hot Patterns A-line skirt. It really was a wadder, but I wore it proudly anyway.

A few years ago, indie pattern makers began making clothes in my size. At first my measurements were near the TOP of their size ranges. The fit of what I made improved but I still had to do a lot of alterations such as FBA’s, rounded back, etc.

Montrose top by Cashmerette was one of the first patterns that fit me with few alterations. I made these tops in many colors. Even made one in lace for my son’s wedding.

There was no way I could get a pair of pants to fit me. It was not for lack of trying. My measurements did not fit the Ninni Culottes, but after seeing an Instagram post of a pair on a body like mine, I tried the pattern. I’ve made many versions. This pattern has been my “pants’ pattern for several years.

Ninni Culottes by Named Clothing

Then in 2019-20 things suddenly changed. Pattern companies began to respond to the discussions on Instagram about the need for diversity and inclusivity in sewing patterns. I found indie patterns that fit me almost “off the printer”. Cashmerette, then Helen’s Closet, Closet Core Patterns and most importantly Muna & Broad create patterns that fit my body. The women behind these patterns place importance on making patterns for diverse bodies and it shows in what they produce. I am so grateful to the work they do and how it has made a difference in what comes off my sewing machine.

This Me Made May I will use their patterns and a few from Paper Theory, in developing a set of 20+ hackable TNT patterns.

Posted by Nora
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