Stopping to Smell the Roses

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Whew!  What a hell of a few months of this New Year we’ve been having right?  While everyone has been shut in due to the corona virus,  I’ve been still having to go into an office and work.  I can’t lie, as an empath what’s going on in the world has been wiping me out energetically and my sew creativity has been super low.  I’ve been having to do a lot of self-care to keep my nervous system from bottoming out and I’ve been taking plenty of time to rest.  I’ve finally just got back into the mood to sew, and so I knew I definitely wanted to make a pair of pants.

PROJECT DETAILS:

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PANTS – Mimi G Style Simplicity 9114 . I knew as soon as this pattern dropped that I was going to be making these.  I love Mimi G patterns and the fit is always spot on, taking into account women curves.  These pants are no different.  They are a high waisted pants with a super comfortable fit.  I have plans to make many more in all types of fabrics and colors and have actually already cut out the fabric for the next three pair I’m going to make.  My only recommended modification would be the length of the pants.  I’m 5’7 and they still were a tad longer than where I wanted them to hit so I increased the hem width to still give me that cropped pants look.

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SWEATER – McCall 8070, View A #AidenMcCalls

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FABRIC –  For the pants I choose this beautiful Mood Exclusive Ethereal Verdure stretch cotton sateen Item #MD0459 from their new Serengeti Collection.  It’s a dream to sew with and has great recovery.  The sweater fabric is PFD (prepared for dying) French Terry that was gifted to me by a fashion company I used to work for.  I used Rit Dye to dye it to this hunter/dark green.

STYLE – Shoes from Ked’s ; Sunglasses Prescription glasses from Zenni.

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New Year Kickoff

 

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I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a resounding start!  I don’t necessarily feel like I have a “this is what I made in 2019” recap as much as I have, this is what I learned.

HAND SEWING – My biggest shocking sew moment of 2019 was discovering that I actually enjoy hand sewing! From when I first started learning how to sew right up until 2018, I just did not like hand sewing.  I avoided it like the plague.  Something about the tediousness of it just drove me up the wall.  It was like nails on a chalkboard for me.  In 2019 however, I began to explore more couture techniques and tailoring and with that came more hand sewing.  Once I began trouser/dress pants making and sewing blind hems, something magical came over me.  I realized my patience over the years has drastically increased.  Chalk that up to living and maturing through some of the hardest times and things I’ve ever gone through in life, and boom: Suddenly hand sewing seems like a breeze!

FLY FRONTS – I’m going to toot my own horn here, but I’m a sewing boss when it comes to fly fronts now.  I can literally now do fly fronts in my sleep. I mean the good old school tailoring fly fronts with the fly front shield and everything.  I made a point in 2019 of reading every single sewing book, article, YouTube, how-to, you name it, on fly fronts and learned multiple techniques.  I’ve found when I want to be good at something I literally study until I become an expert on it.  2019 was the year of me mastering my old sewing fears of tailored fly fronts.

 SLOW SEWING – At the tail end of 2019 I finally let myself off the hook for slow sewing.  It was ironically forcing myself the months of November and December to sew rapidly several pieces, many of which I didn’t love, for me to realize sewing for content to post wasn’t going to work for me.  One of the reasons I started sewing in the first place was because of how much I love what I create.  I love the feel of putting my hands to work at something beautiful that I get to personally make and wear.  When you find yourself looking at clothes that you know you’re never ever going to wear, something is wrong.

So What’s ahead for 2020?

Like many this year I’ve given up resolution making and have focused instead on intentions and setting sewing plans that resonate deeply with me.

HAVE FUN – My goal this year is to expand the reasons why I love sewing and fashion designing.  It brings me so much peace and joy and I just have so much fun when I’m creating.  This is why I chose to start my new sewing year off with the Sew Unconventional Challenge.  I bought 6,000 plastic spoons from an online janitorial supply store and coupled with my Pinterest board have one fun project in store which will be fully revealed by the end of January.   This year will include me making more pieces that simply make me smile or reveal another side of me.

NO NEW FABRIC – I’ve had to face some real truths this past 2019 about my fabric hording.  I’m honestly past my or anyone else’s level of acceptable fabric stash.  In an effort to decrease my fabric stash I’ve created a new hash tag #shopthefabricstash and will use this each time I create a make that uses fabric that I currently already own.  I also plan to sell and give way a lot of fabric this year.

MAKES I LOVE – To kick off the new year I went through my pile of WIP (work in progress) makes and purged all but two makes that I’ve had still uncompleted.  Next I went through and purged any makes I had completed that I honestly know that I’m not going to wear.  Then to top that off, I went through my ready to wear clothes that I’d purchased from stores in the past but had set aside for alterations and purged that too.  Lastly, I will purge my current closet and donate half of that if possible.  2020 is going to be the year of only makes that I love.  If I find myself working on something that I realize I’m not going to love and actually wear I’m giving myself permission to stop.  I used to feel obligated to complete something for the sake of saying I’d finished it, but that’s not why I sew.  I want my new wardrobe to be full of things that I not only loved creating but will love wearing too.

TAILORING – This new year I will be focusing more on tailoring and the details of my makes.  I want all my makes this year to have a classic hand and polished look.  Aesthetically I love clean lines, classically tailor pieces as well as items that are designed well.  My goal is to produce pieces that I know will hold up through the years and truly become staples in my closet.

SLOW SEWING – I’m also giving myself permission this year to sew as slow or as fast as I need to, to get the fit, look or feel of my pieces right.  I want to make sure I’m going at a pace that suites me and whatever I’m working on rather than creating items just for Instagram content.

TACKLING FEARS – This new year will include me tackling projects that push me out of my sewing comfort zone.  This will include spending more time on plaid matching, welt pockets, blazers and coats.  I’ve had a tendency in the past to skip right over techniques or projects that will require me to push my advanced sewing skill set, instead opting for safe pieces that I can do with ease.  Now I want to jump right into those, because by the end of the year I want to be have honed and refined my advance sewing techniques.

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The Great Trouser Hunt


I’ve been on The Great Trouser Hunt.  In the last couple of months, I’ve been sewing like crazy and have actually made quite a few different items. The vast majority I found rather unflattering on me once made, but alas, such is the plight of a sewer.  One of those many makes have been pants/trousers.  I’ve been searching rather dutifully for the last year or so for my version of the perfect pants pattern.  I think I finally found them!  I’d been making item after item and was feeling rather defeated and disappointed with my makes which were primarily from the Big Four patterns (McCall, Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick).  I know that pattern alterations are often called for, and it’s one of the many benefits of sewing your own clothes, but I simply have been at my wits end when even the simplest of patterns have been requiring a great deal of alterations.  In my quest, I decided to look more at the indie pattern makers, as I’ve found that the fit of their patterns tend to be more refined, as they do way more pattern testing and take into account things like curves and the fact that not everyone is the same cookie cutter size and shape.

PROJECT DETAILS:

TROUSERS – Modified Sammi Woven Pants from Style Arc – I love pockets, and unfortunately the pattern did not come with pockets.  I modified the front pattern piece for side front pockets and created two additional pattern pieces.  One for the pocket facing and the second pocket lining.  It was a simple and quick modification that took a matter of minutes.  In all this is a fairly quick and easy sew and is designed for an intermediate sewer.  My only issue I ran into was based on the finished measurements, the size I cut was actually still too big.  I had to alter my pants a full size down.  My next pair of these will be in a full size smaller.  The great benefit to this is that Style Arc also provides you with the size above and below the size you purchase too, so you wind up with three sizes to either modify up or down depending on how things are fitting.

FIT – The fit of this pattern is the real winner.  These were created in the classic traditional work trouser silhouette, which elongates your legs and provides an instant slimming look.  The waist band is curved so that the back waist gap is almost non-existent and back pattern piece includes darts.

FABRIC – This delicious pebble double crepe woven fabric has been in my stash for quite some time and came from Michael Levine.  It’s a nice heavier medium weight crepe, with such a beautiful drape.  I only had 2 and 1/4th yards of it, but thankfully it was 60” wide and with a little pattern tetris, I was able to eek out these pants with just a smidgeon of fabric leftover. The buttons came from Mood Fabrics.

STYLE: Heels from Nine West, Top from ASOS, Earrings from Ankara & Lace.

Recycled Denim, Classic Coverall

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…..

My latest make was inspired by an actual dumpster dive.  A fashion company that I was recently working for was throwing out bags upon bags of scrap denim.  One of my favorite sew sisters Alexis Bailey pointed out to me not too long ago my love for denim, and it only seemed right that I take that denim love and run amuck with it!  The results was a project that I truly had so much fun making.  This entire project right down to the very end, was a labor of love.  I spent weeks sewing together these scraps of fabric denim during the height of audit and tax season.  The results is my modern take on the classic oversized coverall.  I’m a Southern Florida girl who has lived in Los Angeles, California for almost twelve years now (April 30th will be my 12th anniversary!), but I will never lose my Southern roots.  I grew up in a little town where men wore coveralls all the time as part of their blue collared jobs, and this was my nod to them.

PROJECT DETAILS:

COVERALLS – A modified KWIK SEW 3389  – I took an amazing tip from the fabulous Tabitha Sewer in that I thought about what I wanted to make and saw beyond the pattern on the cover to use it as the spring board for the design in my head.

STYE: Heels from DSW, Sunglasses are prescription shades from my optometrist. 

PHOTOGRAPHY: by the amazing Dragon Mike