Announcing the September Challenge

August was the Monthly Stitch’s FIFTH birthday! We have a special challenge this month to celebrate! The Monthly Stitch is currently undergoing a transition & adding some new editors. We will introduce them to you here, & we’ve included some photos that exemplify each editor’s personal style. We run the gamut, from bright, colorful dresses & petticoats to easy, casual, playground-friendly separates. Your challenge is to sew something inspired by us! This is a really open challenge. You can sew anything you want, inspired by any of the colors, textiles, silhouettes, prints, keywords, embellishments, or whatever else you see here. We hope this will help you get to know us a little better & have some fun letting your imagination run wild while we are prepping for Indie Pattern Month, coming up in October!



I’ll go first! It’s Mel here, you would have seen me hanging round here for a while now. I started The Monthly Stitch in July 2013 with Kat and over the last 5 years we’ve had a few different helpers come and go and now I’m excited to introduce a new group of Editors. You’ll still see my influence in the blog graphics and challenge badges but most of the daily running of TMS will shift to these fabulous ladies. Before we met the new crew, here’s a little bit more about me:

I live in New Zealand’s creative (and actual) capital, Wellington and I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember, but more seriously since 2008. The Monthly Stitch was a fun way to boost my sewing inspiration and waning productivity and take as many other creatives as I could along with me.

Like most of you I own far too many patterns, buttons and fabric but on top of that I also possess an ever growing collection of vintage sewing machines (both big and small). I rescue sewing machines the way some people rescue animals. I can’t stop myself. I love the mechanics and style changes through the history of these amazing machines that have given me power over my wardrobe and body image.

My sewing has evolved from dresses for my Babrie dolls when I was very young to dresses for myself. Currently I’m going through a bit of a 1950s thing because why shouldn’t I be able to wear a big fluffy petticoat to work on a Wednesday?

Something you should know about Wellington is that, perhaps due to it being the seat of government, it is often criticised as having a very dull “uniform”. To quote one visiting fashion designer, “It looks like everyone is going to a funeral!”. There’s nothing quite like swishing down Lambton Quay, through the crowd of business suits in tones of dark grey and black, in an obscenely colourful dress. Bonus points for the petticoat!


Hi! I’m Ciara Xyerra, & yes, that is my legal name! It’s a long story. I’m the content manager for The Monthly Stitch, meaning that I write the monthly announcement posts, manage comments, etc. I recently moved from Lawrence, Kansas to Portland, Oregon with my long-time partner (he’s a historian), our five-year-old daughter (she just started kindergarten), & our scary-smart tuxedo cat, Catberry Butterton. I taught myself how to sew in 2013, when my daughter was a little baby. A friend convinced me to make a baby quilt while I was pregnant. She walked me through the basics—pre-washing, chain-piecing, using a rotary cutter. I was surprised to find that I LOVED sewing. I got into making my own clothes because a person only needs so many quilts, & my body was definitely going through some changes post-pregnancy. I needed new clothes, & making my own seemed like the perfect way to feed my new sewing obsession!

I now have a 99% self-sewn wardrobe. I’m learning how to make shoes right now so I can say I am truly wearing me-made from head to toe. I have yet to find a type of garment-sewing that I don’t love. My personal style emphasizes comfort, but I am also drawn to unique elements & embellishments. I love unexpected asymmetry, ruffles & flounces, three-dimensionality. I’m like a magpie in that I can’t say no to sparkle. I love rhinestones, beads, embroidery, multi-colored lace, interesting hardware. I’ve been an anarcha-feminist punk for decades, with all the stick & poke tattoos to prove it, but even at a black bloc protest, I stood out. Mostly because I wore all pink instead of all black. I love wearing black, but if I have the option of wearing pink (or, lately, bright lemon yellow) instead, I will.


Kia ora, I’m Nikki and I’ve been a member of the Monthly Stitch Collective since it
started. I then joined Mel and Kat as an editor about a year ago.
I started sewing when I was very young. My grandmothers both sewed and knitted, as did my mother. My paternal grandmother was a court atelier in the UK in the 20s and 30s. I used to sit and watch Mum sew when I was very little and then she’d let me go through her work box and tidy it up! I did do sewing at school but hated it since it was too slow and one of girls in the class told the teacher I’d sewn a seam on the machine before tacking it and checking with the teacher it was OK to sew. Shock horror!
I’m originally from the UK and we’ve been in Wellington, NZ for around six and a half years and are now full citizens here. My kiwi friends still sometimes call me the crazy English girl! I don’t really have a style, but much of my handmade wardrobe is pink or purple. I love bright colours. I mainly make clothes, including shirts and very loud golf trousers for my husband. I also make soft furnishings for the house and have dabbled in knitting, patchwork, cross stitch and embroidery.


Hi! I’m Kyla! So glad to be here! I’ll be taking over e-mail management and some social media here at The Monthly Stitch, meaning I’ll be getting our new members set up here on the blog, fielding questions, and making sure to keep you updated on all of our happenings over on Instagram! I live here in beautiful Northern California with my husband, our brand new baby girl, and our two little pup fur babies (who are actually not so little, I just like to call them that). 😉 My mom taught me the basics of sewing when I was young, but I didn’t really start until I bought myself a sewing machine in 2013, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have to admit, I generally do more planning than I do sewing, but I sew as much as I have time for and I just love the whole process! I always work better with a deadline, so when I came across TMS back in 2014 I found the challenges to be the perfect motivation I needed to gain new skills and finish some projects in a timely manner!

My personal style is all over the map and not particularly exciting (I’d like to say I’m working on that, but I’m really not…#basic) :/ but mostly what I sew is knits. For some reason I’ve always found them so much less intimidating than wovens… less fitting issues, I suppose, for a lazy sewist like myself. I sew mostly casual weekend clothes, but occasionally I sew something that I can wear to work (I’m a pharmacist for my day job), and when it’s that time of year I LOVE coming up with Halloween costumes that don’t come from a standard costume pattern. My biggest sewing accomplishment to date would have to be making my wedding dress last year. It was a long labor of love, but so worth it in the end! At the moment I’m still figuring out these post-baby body measurements, so I’ve been working on some little baby projects in the meantime.


Hi, I’m Elizabeth Holt and I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for Indie Pattern Month.
I’ve lived in the Huntsville, Alabama area in the southeastern United States for over 20 years now and it’s where my husband and I are raising our four year old daughter. I wouldn’t have guessed several years ago that I would become a homeschooling sewist, but here I am and I love it! We recently started our pre-k school year and are having a lot of fun.
I bought my first machine to make curtains for the nursery and now I’m making many of my own clothes and a lot of my daughter’s. I haven’t sewn any garments for my husband but he loves to cook so I have made several things for him to use in the kitchen.
My personal sewing style is fairly classic and traditional with not a lot of flourish or dazzle. That does all out the window, however, when it comes to a little girl who asks for sparkly twirly skirts! My daughter is still young enough to want to dress alike so I also make a lot of matching Mommy and Me tops.

13 thoughts on “Announcing the September Challenge

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