2018 Make Nine Picks

If you sew and/or are on Instagram, then you know of Lucky Lucille and her yearly Make Nine prompt. If not….I want to know what rock you hide under, and is it on AirBnB?

Seriously though, I’ve not participated until this year because…I generally sew as my needs and whims dictate. But this year, I have some real, intentional goals. I also have some lofty whims that may change. I’m sharing them here to hold myself accountable, and so that I may revisit during the year to keep myself on track, and at end of year for review.

First off, my nine is not a literal 9. Sure, I cobbled a collage of nine like all the interwebs, but really, my goals are bigger and open to evolution.

1. My dearest husband-unit spoils me and bought me an iPad Pro with all the bells and whistles for Christmas. I’m putting the pencil to immediate use and working on my own design ideas and croquis. As a die-hard CAD user and not a hand-drawer, this is a learning curve. I hope to see marked improvement by end of year.

2. I have all 9 of Suzy Furrer’s sloper/block/drafting classes. Whatever you want to call them. I want to have them complete by end of year with projects to show. I want to document my learning process. This will leave me very open and vulnerable to the world, but if I’m going to tear apart other’s work, I should be able to put my own ass on the line. Consider this my declaration of putting my own ass on the line. After I absorb Suzy’s classes, I will look to find other teachers, classes, books, etc. Sewing, like software, cooking, and so many other things, has more than one way to get from point A to point B, and I don’t like being myopic in focus.

My end goal is to make my own designs into reality. The market is already saturated with indie pattern makers, so I’m not sure I need to throw my hat in that pool, but this is where I’ll keep the goal open ended. No one needs another sloppy pattern maker, and I would not release anything that wasn’t up to my standards.

3. I’m in the 2018 RTW Fast. I’m number 136 of over a thousand. That’s not a huge reach for me, but I do have a weakness for purchasing my workout/athleisure wear. I have WAY too many Fehr Trade patterns to be doing this, so the Knot-maste outfit is high on my list.

4. I need to quit making dresses I don’t wear and realize I DO wear maxi dresses/skirts. So, whether I buy the Named Kielo dress or draft my own, this is high on my list. Sarah on Wanderstitch is my muse for this revelation. Seeing her Kielo was like a much-needed smack upside the head. DERP.

5. Le sigh. I own too many Megan Neilsen patterns, also unmade. The Flint being at the top of my list to make. Sigh. I’m a bad pattern hoarder.

6. More hoarding. I have both the skirt and the vest to this….I will be making the vest. The skirt….let’s say is inspiration.

7. This Yaya Han coat is another Sarah/Wanderstitch inspiration. I reserve the right to switch this to a possible capelet design, like this Papercut version, or possible self-drafted, but regardless, my winter coat is looking haggard and I need a new one.

So, while I’ve only typed to number 7, I’m WAY past 9. The husband-unit also would look damn sexy in some men’s Hudson pants…so, I’ve added that to my mental list, a few more Seamwork Savannahs, I may also try a swimsuit again, probably some Sewcialists challenges in there, and whatever my little cosplay teen comes up with – I’m hoping she’ll also give me some fresh artwork to engineer designs.

Woohoo, bring on 2018!

Velvet Agnes Hack, and More Velvet

Oh, velvet, how I love thee….let me count the ways. Le sigh. In 1991 or 1992…there was this store called the Big Bang…I bought the most luscious velvet patchwork skirt. My first love was embroidery….on silk, on velvet, on linen… Damn I’m old. When did that happen?

I picked up a remnant of black stretch velvet – the tag said something like 0.8 yards, and of course I know I can squeeze something out of it. I still had the Agnes pattern floating around, so did a quick and dirty re-draw of the neckline, and with utter disregard for nap, cut out and serged a quick shirt. You can’t tell unless you rub me that the nap isn’t going all the same direction, so don’t rub me.

I grabbed this RTW circle skirt out of my teen daughter’s closet to see how it looked dressed up. I dig it. Now, as I type this, I’m wearing it with jeans. Works equally as well.

I think I’m going to need a half dozen more.

I like it paired with my wool and velvet flocked Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber. I wear this jacket a lot – but it’s really more of a transition-season piece. It’s only lined in silk, and I like it that way- any more bulk and I think I’d look like a wool-covered marshmallow.

I was thinking maybe I need to make a velvet scarf… maybe something not quite this plain – although this red is hardly plain.

Red works ok too with the bomber, but….what about after Christmas? I’m not sure I still want to be sporting RED SCARF.

This wine-brown doesn’t look as nice as I thought it might… Maybe something sort of patchworky? Like Kambriel’s scarves? Or like…I’ve been working on some Victorian crazy quilt – meets – modern quilt blocks ideas:

Ok, maybe I should stick a pin in that for a bit?

I’ve got this lovely striped velveteen, but being there’s about 2 yards of it, I want to make something more substantial out of it…like a vest or…a jacket or…a skirt…but I rarely wear skirts, so, maybe pants?

open to suggestions there…

I really like this fabric too…I’ve been wearing it as a make-shift skirt for Halloween, but I think it’s sad that it only comes out once a year…

Or maybe it’s a little too….Beetlejuice? I feel like I’m getting on the other side of old, though, where I don’t give AF and can comfortably start moving into mildly eccentric….

Sewing and Stabilizing Knit Garments

This post first appeared on Britex Fabrics.

It’s almost my favorite time of year: autumn layering time! I looked through the beautiful woven wool fabrics at Britex, but when I saw this raw umber viscose & wool knit, it was love at first sight. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, if you want it, buy it now. Mark my words, it will sell out.

I know a lot of sewists are scared of knit fabrics. Maybe you think you need a special machine, or special stitches, or some pro-level techniques and materials. I’m here to tell you that all you need is a zig-zag stitch and an iron. I’ve sewn knits on a pre-WWII era machine, and on a modern computerized machine. Knits are easy. For this instructional post, I’ve this easy Aomori Papercut pattern, which also happens to be a perfect transitional fall piece.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Becky, that pattern isn’t listed as easy!” The pattern’s sleeveless version is made for wovens or knits. The sleeved version isn’t even a “set-in” sleeve.

Lesson 1: Put a piece of masking tape on the wrong-side of your cut pieces, and you’ll instantly make this an easy pattern.

Lesson 2: Let’s talk stretch percentage really quickly. This pattern doesn’t list a recommended stretch percentage, it’s that easy, but my advice is 30-50% would be best for the sleeve cuffs and binding. How do you know percentage? Just like anything else, you have the difference in ratio, and multiply by 100. So, if I take 10 inches of the Britex viscose/wool knit, put it next to a ruler, and I can stretch it to 15 inches, my formula is [(15-10)/10)]x100=50%. A=original measurement. B=stretch measurement. B-A to get the difference. Difference of B-A divided by A. Bounce the decimal point to the right twice, AKA multiply by 100. [(B-A)/A]x100=%

Here we have the top in two different fabrics. The Britex viscose/wool (left) and a rayon I had in my stash to make the muslin. You can see how two fabrics make a very different top.

Lesson 3: Stabilize your shoulders. There are a million opinions on what to use to do this and I’m going to tell you to use what you have. I’m not a fan of using clear plastic elastic in my shoulders; I think clear plastic elastic is for swimsuits and occasionally lingerie, but you do you, just stabilize your shoulders. The entire weight of the garment is being held on your shoulders.

Here are 4 stabilizer options, with both an overlocker stitch and a basic zig-zag stitch, and what they look like pressed from the right-side. As you can see, stitch doesn’t change anything drastically, nor does stabilizer preference.

From top to bottom: rayon hem tape, twill tape, clear elastic, light iron-on stabilizer

Pin the stabilizer of your choice on the shoulder seam and sew on together.

Lesson 4: Press and steam with your iron. Do you know any knitters? You know how they “block” their pieces after they’re done? Same idea. You’re creating new fiber-memory for the fabric so that it stays in your new shape. The fabric has been flat on a bolt, and you’re asking it to be 3-dimensional. You need to re-block it. Use steam and an ironing cloth. I use a scrap piece of voile, but Britex has some affordable silk organza that is even better.

When necessary, use a pressing ham. Let each part you press cool in-place before going to the next section to reset the fiber-memory.

If you’re in doubt at all, before pressing the binding on a curve:

After pressing the binding:

If anything, Britex high-quality fabric makes a bigger difference than any technique or equipment used. Get some of the wool/viscose (before I go back and buy the rest of it), and get on to making!

This post was written by me, Becky Johnson of sewbeckyjo.com, for Britex Fabrics. Fabric was provided as compensation, however all opinions, photos, and intellectual content contained herein is my own. The pattern used is my own purchase, and this is not an endorsement, nor was I compensated in using the pattern.

Floral Bomber Jacket by Papercut Patterns

new jacket

I did it.


I said I’d do the Ginger Makes Rigel Bomber January, and I actually got it done, on time, with days to spare. It’s hard not to fangirl hard on Papercut patterns, so this challenge was a natural. I honestly haven’t taken it off much since. In fact, I’m wearing it right now.

rigel bomber

I used a velvet flocked wool from Mood Fabrics, the lining is a habotai silk, also from Mood…the pleather inserts were left over from here…and I ordered the zipper online on etsy. Finding a 14 inch zipper isn’t easy, so I advise you get that notion done quickly …I would have been done sooner but had to wait a week for a zipper. 🙁 I used a rayon knit for the cuffs/collar because I LOVE how it feels…perhaps a little stabilizer in there would have been good, but meh. honestly, I was going for feeeels more than anything else and I dig it.

kinda big

I made a large, because even though I made Papercut pants in medium, sometimes my shoulders make me go up a size, but honestly, I could have made a medium and am planning my next Rigel already in a size medium. It’s kinda big….but that’s ok – this one can be for winter and sweaters and handle bulk.

I also added the 2 inches to the sleeves as everyone seems to say to do…and I’m SO GLAD. The sleeves are perfect. I didn’t take any back off. Call me an ape.

rigel bomber lining

I haven’t taken the pleat out of the back of the lining – and I don’t think I will (also indicative I can go down a size.)


This is super light weight, however between the wool and the silk, it’s doing just right in 55-60 degree Oregon weather right now. That’s the trick with wool and silk, right? So cozy, breathable, amazing.

papercut rigel

My next one, I have a rust/buffed oxblood cotton twill, oxblood ribbing and oxblood rayon lining ready to go….and have to order a zipper…lol. But honestly, I’m ready to go. It’s a fun, fast pattern – really quick gratification. It works great for me because I like to layer in the ever-fickle Pacific Northwest weather. I mickey-moused the shoulder inserts, so the quilted pleather is only 2 pieces instead of 3. I think my next twill version will be solid and a great summer evening weight. I’m not a cardigan person, I’ve realized, and so I might just end up with a half dozen or so of these instead!

oh, I’ve also been eyeballing the Papercut swim pattern…I’ve got a famdamily vacation coming up to Great Wolf Lodge and I need some water-worthy skivvies…are we ready for some high-waisted bottoms? I am! I even have some silver and gold stretch lamé! bwahahaha.

Papercut photo; Soma Pattern
Papercut photo; Soma Pattern

Papercut Ooh La Leggings x2


I bought this pattern FOREVER AGO with the best of intentions. Like almost a year ago. OMG.

Recently I got side-lined by the doctor. He said I don’t stretch enough (BORING) and that I needed to take 14 days off with icing my Achilles tendon 3x a day and take a buttload of Aleve and wear orthopedic inserts and OMG I don’t like getting old. I got this prognosis during the holiday glutton fest AND had to turn 40 during this! I get it, it beats the alternative. yeah, yeah. I’m not dead. BUT WAHHHH!

What to do but get out the yards and yards of Joann’s dri-fit crap I bought almost a year ago, my Papercut Ooh La Leggings and make myself new clothes for when I can move again – lemons, lemonade and all that. I was going to also make a Vogue pair of leggings, but, uh, that pattern was donated to the dumpster. Very cathartic, BTW, chucking that Vogue mess.

okokok – here’s me in pants tighter than you ever needed to know about! woohoo!


Belly shot to show I used a 1.25 inch “sport elastic” with the channels you can sew in – it’s called “Stretchrite” and I think I got this 25 yard roll on either Amazon or Dove Trims. I wrapped the top of the waist band by a 1/4 inch, stitched in first channel, wrapped it again, and stitched down….no rolling, no shifting.


Side shot. I sewed a medium. I probably could have gone up a size but I’d rather stress the spandex/lycra than have baggy leggings butt. EW.


This gray Joann’s isn’t as see-through as the green (below) but you can still see the tag of my underwear through my pants. They’re not lewd, but they’re not forgiving either. In fact, the pattern really helps, I think. I’m going to look for some better quality now that I know I love the pattern.

Ankle shot – I left the full length of the original pattern. I like the extra fabric to go over my ankles or to tuck in my socks.


In fact, I’m wearing these green ones right now. I love them.


it is easy to be green

These green ones are fun….but I can NOT wear black undies with them. Just that little bit of lighter shade is a little bit see-through.

hellacopters ftw

One must have motivational music to go with motivational pants. I got me and my man Hellacopters t-shirts for Christmas. I’m so romantic.