Summary of 2019 and plans for 2020

Happy New Year my friends!

I cannot believe 2019 is already over!!! It seams like each year goes faster with me getting older!!! Anyway, let’s not put ourselves down hihihi I like this time of the year because everything slows down after Holiday and New years madness and I get a chance to sit down and reflect on past year. So what did I do???

Make Nine Plans

My Make nine plan for 2019 was a complete disaster! Well, maybe not a complete disaster, but a big disappointment!


As you can see on the photo above I only managed to make 3 out of 9 projects from my list:

I failed to sew:

  • Classic trench coat
  • Silk and lace blouse
  • Channel style jacket
  • Jumpsuit
  • Classic male shirt
  • Lace dress

If you are wondering why have I failed so miserably the answer is very simple! I get easily distracted when it comes to my hobby!!! My 2019 make nine plan main goal was to improve my sewing skills and use up my existing fabric stash. In hindsight it was a great plan, but everything changed when I jumped more into being a pattern tester! With so many new indie designers coming out and all those beautiful patterns in need to be tested I could simply not resist!

So what is my 2020 make nine looks like??? To be honest I do not have a plan for this year! I decided to be more spontaneous….like I need any excuse 😉 I still want to make all of the projects I set out to do in 2019, but I am not going to put any pressure on myself because I do not want to feel like a failure again next year!

Sewing resolutions

Although Make nine plan was a failure, I am happy with the outcome of my 2019 sewing resolutions, which mainly were focused on expanding my sewing skills and using my existing fabric and pattern stash. I grouped it into 6 categories:

1. use that fabric stash

I am proud to say that my fabric stash has decreased in number comparing to previous year.

2. different fabrics

I set out to work with new to me fabric types and I managed to do just that. I had sewn various projects using fabrics such as wool, cable knit, PVC, technical sports softshell fabric, sweatshirting, knitted wool, chambray, woven satin and suede knit.

3. draft a dress

This one is a little fail. I call it little because I did not draft a dress pattern, but I had managed to draft a culottes pants pattern and pussybow blouse. I also hacked the Ogden Cami pattern into a summer dress, which become a complete new pattern, plus designed and drafted a free PDF patterns for peg bag, belt bag and notebook cover.

4. male fitting

I did not make a shirt for my partner, but i made him a backpack with a custom design fabric…that counts right?

5. use that pattern stash

Instead of buying new patterns (which was very hard, because they are so pretty) I vowed to use my existing stash as much as possible. I only bought two pattern last year – a Robson coat by Sewaholic and a Bonnie blouse/dress by Sew Over It, hovewer I downloaded bunch of free PDF patterns such as Hello sailor top, Heidi dress, Stivie Knickers, tie and pouf pattern, Peplum top, Lotus bodysuit, Harper knit cardigan, Monroe turtleneck and Mandy Boat tee to fill the void.




From my stash patterns I used for the first time were: Erin Skirt (Sew Over It), Mimi blouse, Freya sweater, Frankie top (Tilly & the Buttons), Simplicity 1467, Burda 115 11/2004 ,also I hacked and re-used old patterns such as Heather dress,Molly top, Eve dress (Sew Over It) Ogden Cami, Lander Pants (True Bias), Agnes top, Marigold trousers , Cleo Pinafore(Tilly & the Buttons), Honeycomb dress (Cocowawa Crafts), Canary Cami (Wearable Studio).




I cannot be certain, but it is possible that I became a regular pattern tester partially because I was not allowed to buy new patterns, and this was the best opportunity to acquire new patterns, and enjoy the process of being a part of a testing team.

Last year I had the opportunity to test for 3 different indie pattern companies. Tanja runs a Glasshouse Patterns, which is one of the newest indie designers and I pattern tested her Dahlia dress, Hibiscus top, Lavender dress and Nemesia dress.

Finding about a SBCC Patterns was a blessing, as having a petite frame makes it difficult not only buying RTW clothes but also sew and fit well most of the commercial patterns.  When I tested the Pisco Dress  I had found a perfect match!

Sinclair Patterns also includes a petite sizing , hence I applied to test their Florence Skirt. 

I consider applying for testing new patterns in 2020, but will be more thoughtful about it and only pick designs I really like and will definitely be happy to wear, because it is a shame when a beautiful garment is unworn just because it does not suit me or I feel uncomfortable wearing it.

6. new techniques

My main goal was to learn some couture sewing techniques and I had a opportunity to do it by attending a class “Classic Couture Finishes” during Knitting and Stitching Show in London and classes run at Ray Stitch workshop “Couture Hand Sewing Techniques”. I plan to use my new knowledge when I finally get a chance to work on a Trench coat and Channel Jacket. Hopefully 2020 will be a year for big projects.



Yet again when it comes to any plans for this upcoming year my only plan is to make no plans! Year 2019 showed me that I like to do different crafts and sewing clothes is not my only love. My growing fascination with hand embroidery makes me want to combine it and include it into my handmade garments, so this is something I might dive into this year.

On the other hand is my latest obsession with designing PDF patterns and sharing them with my readers. I have so many projects in my head, but it takes a lot of time to transfer them into a digital pattern. I would like to make more bag and home decor patterns for now and with time I might also share patterns of my self drafted garments.



Not long ago, after taking a leather workshop class I also fell in love with working and making bags out of real leather. I took an all day class and made an entire bag myself from start to finish under a watchful eye of my teacher. I will be sharing my experience with you very soon! What I noticed this year that I enjoy working with my hands more and more and hand stitching in any form is so much fun!!!



Some people say that I bight more than I can chew, but hey, this is a hobby!!! Who said you can only have one??? I love learning new skills and sharing it with you gives my joy, so watch this place as you never know what the next 12 months will bring 🙂

Have a wonderful and fulfilling 2020!!!!

See you next time !

Monika xxx

Tilly and the Buttons – Cleo Pinafore pocket hack – sewing tutorial

Hi sewing friends!

Last year I had shared with you a tutorial on how I hacked a Cleo pinafore dress pattern to make a slanted pockets. Today I will show you a detailed instruction of how to sew it up. I had couple requests on how to construct it and thought it would be a perfect time to make another Cleo dress…..but hey, who needs an excuse!

If you are not familiar with how to alter the pattern, you can find that tutorial post here.

Sewing tutorial

Cut out all pattern pieces and copy all suggested markings on front pieces, top pocket pieces and pocket bag pieces.

Interface or staystitch the pocket opening on front pattern piece to stop the pocket from stretching out of shape during use.

(Optional) For better result I find it easier to mark a seam line at the pocket corner.

With right sides together place pocket bag along the longer pocket opening edge making sure that dotted mark matches the marked corner and pin in place.

Starting at the dot sew it together.

Fold the seam allowance towards the pocket bag and pin it to keep it out of the way for the next step.

With right sides together place the top pocket piece at the shorter pocket opening edge and pin it in place.

It is best to turn the fabric over to the other side to clearly see the marked sharp corner and exact place where the first stitch line ends. Starting at that point stitch the short edges together.

Next, carefully clip the corner as close as possible to the stitching line.

Turn the pocket bag towards the wrong side and press the seam.

Repeat the step for top pocket piece.

(This is how it should look like from the right side).

If you prefer not to top-stitch the pocket you may skip next few steps.

To top-stitch the pocket opening fold the top pocket pieces out of the way. Leaving long thread tails start to top-stitch as close as possible from the pocket corner. Only back stitch at the side seam.

On the wrong side pull both thread tails and securely tie them up together.

Instead of cutting tread tails short, thread it through the needle and insert it between both fabric layers. Only then snip the ends. By doing this it is less likely that the thread will unravel in the future.

Place the top pocket piece and the pocket bag right sides together and pin it in place.

Starting at the end of a second ( shorter) stitch line machine the pocket bags together.

Overclock or zigzag the seam allowance around the entire pocket bag.

Pin and baste the pocket bag at the side seam.

To top-stitch the other edge of the pocket start at the beginning of the first top-stitching line and sew around the corner. It is easier to first draw a line. Remember to leave a long thread tail and secure it in place as before.

Give it a final press and your pockets are done!

Now follow the rest of the pattern instruction to finish sewing your garment.

Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and find it useful!

See you next time!!!

Monika xxx