In January I am always excited to plan for the new year. I have big goals and dreams for Chalk and Notch, and it is always fun to look forward to the next thing. I find it hard to slow down in general, and writing this post has been a nice reminder to take a look back on the previous year and see how much Chalk and Notch has grown. Make sure to read through to the end of the post to find out what’s coming up in 2019. I’d love it if you could take the survey to help inform the decisions I am making for the future. There’s a giveaway happening as part of the survey to say thank you for your time. || Update: Survey is closed, thank you for your feedback. ||

2018 Pattern Releases

Releasing four patterns was a personal goal for 2018, and for a minute there I didn’t think I would make it. I squeezed the Girls’ Fringe release in during December, but I’m not sure I would have released the Girls’ Fringe if I hadn’t had that number in my head. Although I’m really happy to have the Girls’ Fringe in the line-up, I am looking forward to getting back to developing more women’s patterns in 2019.

We had the Joy Jacket (January), the Pixie Tee (June), the Orchid Midi (October) and the Girls’ Fringe (December).

The Joy Jacket and the Orchid Midi were collaboration projects. You can read more about the details and how they came to be in the pattern release posts linked above. Collaborating with sewing friends was another goal I had set for 2018, and both of these projects were really rewarding.

Along with releasing the Joy Jacket, it was also the first time I offered trim kits and hosted a Sew Along. The Sew Along was a ton of work, but I think it is a great reference. I hope one day to have Sew Alongs for every pattern on the site.

New Logo and Branding

I had quickly created the original Chalk and Notch logo in 2015. I never really loved it, but when I was starting out I had zero budget to hire anyone for anything. I found Elise Epp through recommendations from designer friends, and she created the new logo and branding in 2018. It was a pleasure to work with Elise; she is so professional and really good at what she does. I am thrilled with the new logo and branding she created! We also worked together to create a new PDF tutorial layout, a new paper tutorial layout (that’s right – paper patterns are coming!), the cover for paper patterns, and some really cute icons for each pattern. Part of my plans in 2019 will be to go back and update the branding on all patterns released prior to the Pixie Tee.

During the rebranding process, the website also got a facelift, and all of the listing images were reshot with a clean background. Sewing entirely new samples was a big undertaking, but I am happy to have a consistent style for the listing images.

Blog Tutorials

I really wanted to show how you can make simple adjustments and get a lot of mileage out of a pattern through tutorials on the blog. I am lucky to have so many talented sewing friends that helped me make this happen. I wouldn’t have had the time to do this on my own. There were two series: one for the Pixie Tee and the other for the Fringe Dress during #sewmystyle. That was also another big highlight of 2018, having the Fringe included in the #sewmystyle 2018 line-up!

Pixie Tee Tutorials
Maxi Tutorial | Leslie of Threadbear Garments
Cowl Neck Tutorial | Loni of Havin’ Sew Much Fun
Maternity Tutorial | Meg of MEGMADE Sewing
Woven with Split Hem Tutorial | Loni of Havin’ Sew Much Fun
Ruffle Hem Tutorial | Thao of Little Cumquat

Fringe Dress Tutorials
Two Piece Tutorial | Thao of Little Cumquat
Wrap Front Tutorial | Heidi of Handmade Frenzy
Jumpsuit Tutorial | Nicole of Merritts Makes
Boho Dress Tutorial | Catherine of threadsnips
Button Front Tutorial | Rachael Anne of rachaelannesews
Fringe x Farrah Blouse Tutorial | Brooke of Idle Sunshine
Tiered Maxi Tutorial | Suzie of Threadquarters

Teaching Opportunities

I have been wanting to stretch my skills for the past few years and start teaching, but I haven’t done much about it. So when I had the opportunity to assist Lauren in teaching the Claryville Jeans class alongside Kelli at Camp Workroom Social, I was thrilled! This was pretty much the highlight of my year. I am so excited to go back to camp in 2019!

2019 Plans

Oh man, to be honest, I have so many plans for 2019. So much so that I have been feeling stuck and overwhelmed about where to start. Does that ever happen to you? Over the holiday I listened to the audiobook, “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work” and although they talked mostly about the culture at tech/start up offices, I was able to take away good ideas for my own business. It was an interesting book and really got me thinking about my goals and how I want to structure my work days.

Adding More Sizes

I have been wanting to add more sizes to my current women’s size range, but I didn’t feel like I could develop two complete patterns with every release. I was on a call with Helen, who really encouraged me to start where I was and at the very least to add more sizes to my current block. I know these additional sizes will not serve everyone, but I am hopeful that I can reach more people who want to sew Chalk and Notch patterns. If you are interested in testing these new sizes, please fill out the survey and leave your email address in the indicated box.

Paper Patterns

This is a huge goal for me for 2019 and something I have been hoping I could do for a long time, but I hadn’t shared my thoughts publicly until now. For over a year, I have been researching printers and crunching numbers, and although it’s a huge investment, I am ready to take this next step. I will only be printing two patterns at a time, slowly rolling out earlier patterns. I have the new layout and envelope designed, so that’s a huge step. However, I would like to have the new sizes included on all printed patterns. So before I go to print, I need to reformat these patterns and test a few new sizes. I don’t have a release date for shipping paper patterns, but this is very high on my priority list for 2019. If you are a shop owner interested in carrying Chalk and Notch paper patterns, please send me an email ([email protected]) and I will add you to the list of interested shops.

More Women’s Patterns & Personal Sewing

As I mentioned above, my focus will continue to be on women’s patterns in 2019. I don’t think releasing four patterns is realistic since I will be taking on paper patterns this year. So if I can release two or three new patterns, that would be great. I need to start sewing up muslin samples to see what moves to the top of my list. I recently watched the Marc Jacobs Master Class and it got me excited to get back to designing.

I’d also like to take time to do some personal sewing. Probably just like you, I have so many patterns that I have been meaning to make. I prefer spring/summer sewing, and I am hoping to share more of my personal sewing with you then.

Survey & Giveaway

|| Update: Survey is closed. ||

It’s always good to get feedback on how to improve, and I love a good spreadsheet full of data to obsess over. So if you have time, I would love it if you could fill out the Chalk and Notch Survey. As an added incentive, I will be giving away a pattern of choice to 5 people who take the survey. Just leave your email in the indicated box. || Update: Survey is closed, thank you for your feedback. ||

If you have made it to the end of this post, thank you for reading! I sincerely hope 2019 brings you loads of joy, happiness and selfish sewing! Thank you for your continued support and cheers to 2019!

XO, Gabriela

Comments (2)

  1. Thao Luxa
    4 years ago

    What a great post. I loved reading about your reflection and learnings and your sharing of inspirations. I’m so grateful for all the releases and glad you managed to squeeze the girls Fringe in Dec. I’m looking forward to what you have install for 2019!!!

  2. sewjourns51
    4 years ago

    I have just recently discovered your patterns and purchased the pony top and dress. I see these a layering pieces and a potential LBD. Enjoyed your review of the year, your enthusiasm, the 2019 goals you have set, and your inspiring set of patterns, Not sure who you see as your target audience, but as a woman in her mid 60’s I will be checking in for more inspiring posts and patterns.

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