I can’t believe we ended another year, not to mention a decade! It’s hard not to reflect and think about where the time has gone. The first half of this decade was all about raising babies and living in San Francisco. I loved that part of my life, but it was also hard. Like many things, as time goes by, I only remember the good things. I think of our time in the city as some of our best days, and I often wonder what our lives would have looked like if we had stayed. Some of you may know that I started Chalk and Notch in 2015. Building my business has been more rewarding and harder than I could have imagined. I have always wanted to run my own business, but I wasn’t sure I was cut out for it. Now I know I am, and I love the freedom and the flexibility it gives me. I’m excited to continue to grow Chalk and Notch and it’s been fun to look back and recap 2019.

|| UPDATE: The survey is closed. ||
Don’t forget to 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.

2019 RECAP

2019 PATTERN RELEASES

The goal for 2019 was to work on updating previously released patterns to add three new sizes and a bust cup, starting with our most popular patterns (you can see last year’s post here). I found releasing updates took almost the same amount of time as releasing a new pattern. At the end of the year, I was able to release a total of four patterns in 2019: two updates and two new patterns all in our new size range (0-24) and two bust cups (A/D & C/D).

We had the Fringe Update (March), the Orchid Update (May), the Victory Tank (July) and the Crew Shorts & Trousers (October). The Victory & Crew patterns we designed as an outfit, and I’m happy to have them in our lineup!

Raven of RAVENMAUREEN || Meg of MEGMADESEWING || Alexis – THE REAL ALEXIS BAILEY

Mary of SABLECRAFT || Susana || Meg of MEGMADESEWING

BLOG TUTORIALS

The one and only tutorial we had on the blog this year was inspired by the Fringe Top Hack variations that started popping up on Instagram. themindfulsewist and athreadthatbinds both had cool versions, and the sewing community quickly started recreating similar looks. Recognizing the interest, I invited Angie of themindfulsewist to write a tutorial on the Chalk and Notch blog so we could have it as a permanent reference for our customers. You can check out that post here. If you need any more proof that this look was a favorite this year, check out my top nine Instagram posts.

FITTING & CUSTOM ADJUSTMENT POSTS

Something new that I started for all of our releases in 2019 was to include a more in-depth fitting and custom adjustment post for each pattern. I always include some basic adjustments in the tutorial, but I wanted to have more information since most people will need some sort of adjustment. My hope is that you have every resource you need when purchasing a Chalk and Notch pattern. You can find all of these posts here and more will come with each new pattern release.

TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES

I was able to return to Camp Workroom Social for my second year, assisting Lauren in teaching the Claryville Jeans class alongside Kelli. Getting to travel, unplugging from work and meeting up with so many sewing friends is always a highlight! I hope to go back in 2020.

WEBSITE

I spent a lot of time (and money) on my website this year. Most of which was on things you can’t see, backend boring stuff. I do have a new home page that’s hopefully easier to navigate and a new web developer, so things are looking up!

2020 PLANS

PATTERNS

I would like to continue my goal of releasing four patterns a year for 2020. Most likely there will be two updates and two new patterns. I have two new patterns already in development (you might have seen sneak peeks on IG already). The first update I’m working on is the Waterfall Raglan.

I had planned to pursue paper patterns in 2019 but ultimately decided to put that on the back burner. I still haven’t given up on that goal, but it’s not in my current plans for 2020 though I’m still open to it in the future.

BLOG POSTS

I wasn’t able to get enough blog content up for you guys in 2019. Knowing that I have limitations, I have invited some of my blogger friends to join me in 2020 to help bring you more tutorials and hacks using Chalk and Notch patterns. There are still a few spots open, so if you are interested in joining the team or if you are a fabric store and are interested in collaborating, please shoot me an email at gabriela(at)chalkandnotch(dot)com.

I’d also love to work on building up the SewAlong library. We currently have a full sewalong for the Joy Jacket and a few videos on the Chalk and Notch YouTube channel for steps that could use a quick video for clarification (some steps are just really hard to illustrate). I do my best to provide well-written, easy-to-follow tutorials, but I know that having photos and videos can be super helpful. I’d love to bring you more of this in 2020.

GROWING THE CHALK AND NOTCH TEAM

Currently, I am pretty much a one-woman show. I work with a professional grader, a copy editor, and a web developer, but other than that, it’s just me. As I am reviewing my workflow and family life schedule, I’m looking for ways to be more efficient with my time. There are a couple of things I can batch work, and though I’m always looking to systematize my work, ultimately I need to hire more help. I am looking for part-time help to write newsletters (in MailChimp), schedule social media posts (using Later), and format pattern tutorials (using Adobe ID). If any of these sound like something you would be interested in, please email me at gabriela(at)chalkandnotch(dot)com.

PERSONAL GOALS

I have a bunch of personal and family goals that mostly consist of self-care (getting more sleep, drinking more water, etc.), but I really want to start waking up earlier, so any tips on how to start that habit when you’re a night owl would be super helpful! We have family travel plans for this summer and hope to do a bunch of camping. Basically I just want to soak up as much time with my kids while they still want to hang.

Of course, I would also love to sew more patterns from my library in fabric from my stash. I don’t have specific goals but I know if I really want to do this, I’ll need to schedule it in my calendar since personal sewing is usually the first thing to fall off my list.

SURVEY & GIVEAWAY

If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to thank you for following along and supporting Chalk and Notch patterns! Ultimately my goal is to bring you more of what you want. By getting more specific feedback from my customers, it’s really helpful to guide me in my plans. 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. The giveaway will close on Friday, January 10th at 10pm (PST). || UPDATE: The survey is closed. ||

Lastly, I’d just like to say CHEERS! Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year!
XO, Gabriela


Comments (8)

  1. Colleen
    January 3, 2020

    I loved seeing the expanded size ranges in 2019. I hope in 2020 there might be more blog content about hacking patterns. I love the Waterfall Raglan but I’m not creative enough to hack, so I’d love to see other people’s ideas. I don’t know if this is in your wheelhouse but a pattern that I would love is a pinafore/overall pattern. I’ve seen some released from other designers that don’t have the seize range or grading quality that you do. Overall, thanks for a great 2019! I’m looking forward to trying more of your patterns this year!

    • Gabriela
      2 weeks ago

      Hi! Yes, we have more posts coming this year on how to hack our existing patterns including the Waterfall! Thanks so much for following along.

  2. Alana
    January 3, 2020

    Love the new website ❤️ More sew alongs would be great to get me motivated to sew for myself 😊

    • Gabriela
      2 weeks ago

      Do you have any requests for the sewalongs you would like to see first?

  3. Janet Allen Vandermeulen
    January 3, 2020

    Congratulations on getting so much accomplished in 2019! Would love to see more kids patterns if that’s possible. Happy New Year!

    • Gabriela
      2 weeks ago

      Thank you & Happy New Year! I wish it made sense to continue with girls’ patterns but unfortunately, my customers are most interested in women’s patterns.

  4. Lindafrench8
    2 weeks ago

    Hi. One suggestion I forgot to add to the survey regards your use of black clothes. The design elements don’t show up at all in black. Please use a variety of plain and figured or a line drawing.

    • Gabriela
      2 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for this note! Yes, I agree details are hard to see in black. Also, the line drawings are on each listing but they are in the details below. I hope that helps!

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