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Domain Issues

5 Mar

deal-lladybird

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let y’all know (well, those of y’all who can actually see this – I’m not sure how many there are) that I’m currently having issues with my domain and that’s the reason why the blog has been quiet. The short story is that the domain is registered in someone else’s name (a friend who originally help me set all this shit up a couple of years ago when I moved to my .com), and he let it expire and I cannot do anything to turn it back on until he releases it to me. This process is taking a LOT longer than it should, pretty much everyone is dragging their feet, but there’s not anything I can do until he sends in the documentation and the domain company transfers everything over (trust me, I’ve spent hours on the phone talking in circles – I don’t have this blog set up as a business, so I have no legal right to it as far as what the company is telling me).

I haven’t abandoned blogging – just waiting to fix this hiccup so I can go back to posting. I miss you guys! I’m sorry this week has been so quiet, but if it makes you feel any better – I’m having a rough time of it right now. Fingers crossed that we can get this back up and running as quickly as possible! In the meantime – lladybird.wordpress.com is still 100% working and active. It’s just lladybird.com that is down. If you’re having problems accessing an old post (or the blog in general), just add the wordpress to the url and it should work fine. In the meantime, I won’t be publishing new posts until I get this sorted out.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks to everyone who has contacted me about my site being down. I really appreciate it! Here’s to hoping we’ll have this back up sooner than later :)

Bra-Making with Madalynne

9 Feb

As you no doubt already know by now (mostly because I’ve talked about it to death by this point ahaha), I recently spent a long weekend in Philadelphia with Maddie, to help her set up for her bra making workshop – as well as attend the damn thing myself! I was obviously really excited for this adventure – for the hangs, to explore a new city (truth: the only time I’d been to Philly prior was for a one-way flight back to Nashville after helping my friend move to NYC when I was 22. A 14 year old boy hit on me while we were waiting for the plane to take off. I think he was the most traumatized between the two of us, though), and of course, because of boobs. And now you guys get to hear/see a recap! Yay!

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I won’t bore y’all with a full weekend recap – I flew in on Thursday afternoon, and spent nearly the entire time up until Saturday morning with Maddie to help her prepare for the workshop. We ran errands, we prepped handouts and the (adorable) little kits, and helped with getting the machines set up in the space the night before. I was able to sneak away for a few hours with Andrea, who took me to the Mütter Museum (my request – and also this is your head’s up of knowing that Andrea is an amazing sport when it comes to visiting weird places with an almost total stranger haha) and her favorite yarn shop (where I bought sock yarn. It’s red. That’s about all that’s worth knowing :P).

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No, what we are here to discuss is a recap of the workshop! Actually, I don’t think this post warrants too much typing – you can get a good sense of how things went just based by the photos alone (and yes, those were professionally taken. OBVIOUSLY my hands didn’t go anywhere near the camera that weekend, ha!).

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Honestly, the entire day was more of an event and less of a workshop. I knew Maddie had something special planned when we were cahooting about this shit months ago (well, my side of the cahooting was just being a personal cheerleader. I love cheerleading my friends while they are doing amazing things :) ), but I was surprised when I started seeing things coming together. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised – anyone who’s lurked up Maddie’s blog knows that that woman is all about turning everything around her into beautiful art (y’all should see her condo. I couldn’t even DEAL) – but yeah, it was all lovely. The production for the workshop, as well as all the styling and catering, was handled by The New Old Fashioned, and the event took place in the Love Me Do Photography studio. There was beautiful vintage furniture everywhere, fresh flowers, a never-ending supply of coffee (and later, prosecco. Yay!), a catered lunch, a light breakfast, adorable cakes, a photo booth – even a freaking spot to get your make-up professionally touched up. I’m telling you, this shit was an EVENT. It was amazing and there was obviously a lot of love and attention that went into every detail. Definitely not the kind of half-assed workshop that I’d throw together – but that’s what you get when you are dealing with Maddie. You get something that’s just as beautiful as it is useful.

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To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot at the workshop itself – I’ve already made a couple of bras at this point, and I have an ok handle on how they come together. I knew I’d be hitting Maddie up for fitting advice outside of the classroom, and I knew that the environment itself would be amazing and fun. I’m happy to report that I was wrong, at least in the subject of “learning new things.” I definitely learned a whole bunch of new tips and trips – a more effective way of cutting the fabric and lace, when to use certain zigzag stitches and widths, a way to beautifully finish the top of the bridge, amongst other things. And duh, of course the class was fun as HELL! I had such a great time meeting everyone, talking boobs, and making bras together. My kind of awesome day!

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(I am sharing this photo because I have no idea why I’m making that expression! At least my hair color doesn’t look like swamp sludge haha)

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Oh yeah – and the food was fucking fantastic!

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Here are some more photos so that you can be good & jealous of our fabulous day. Our take-home goodie bags included those beautiful cookies, a tiny bottle of prosecco (again – yay!) and a fresh bouquet with a handmade medal.

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We also had temporary sewing-themed tattoos – which, by the way, who else thinks Maddie should get a pair of shears tattooed on her neck? Amirite?!

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I was REALLY excited to see that Carolina and Jen were also part of the class! I met both of these ladies last time I was in NY – Jen was one of my students in the Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, and Carolina randomly asked me for coffee (which clearly ended up being a match made in heaven – I mean, we make a pretty adorable prom couple). It was great to be able to see both of them – in a completely different city than before, even.

I know that my friendship with Maddie does make me a bit biased, but this workshop was seriously fabulous. I’ve never felt so pampered while in a class – it’s kind of a nice feeling (I might be kind of spoiled now! Ha!)! And, hey, the bra didn’t turn out so bad, either :) Want to see?

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If you recognize the fabric, it’s because I used it before on a Bambi bra; it was originally given to me from Maddie. Let me just say – the kits that we got with this workshop were seriously nice. Everything was included – all the fabric, notions, hardware, even a tiny rotary cutter and a really nice marking pen – and it was all super high quality stuff. I think most of it came from Bra Maker’s Supply – which, if you’ve ever ordered from them before, you know how nice their products area. No cheap plastic sliders or questionable elastic here! I would have found this very helpful had I been making my first bra – it gives you a good idea of what the good-quality stuff feels like, so you know what to shop for (plus, it’s easier to sew!).

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We used the Marlborough pattern for our bras; I brought my own copy (everyone got a copy with their kits) since I already had some fitting tweaks done. The lace we used is really stretchy, so everything is backed with power mesh to make it more stable. It still has more stretch than the duoplex I get from Bra Maker’s Supply, but the resulting bra actually fits pretty nicely! I’ve spared y’all the floating ghost bra photos for this post (mostly because I’m feeling lazy haha sorry), but, just trust me.

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Our tableware at the workshop was tied with this cute twill tape that looks like a measuring tape – I saved a little piece to make a bow for my bra. Love it :) And check out that pretty gold hardware! Honestly, that’s my favorite part of the whole damn bra. Looks so luxe.

Let’s see, what else? Sunday, Carolina & I walked all over Philly (ok, seriously, maybe 5 miles, tops. haha) and it was cold but also really fun! I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her and get some bonding done. We visited Andrea at Butcher’s Sewing Shop, where she was teaching a class. Actually, we crashed that shit and drank their mimosas, but everyone was really friendly and the shop is just adorable. No ragrets. Finally, I made it home just before the next snow storm – and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t hit on by a 14 year old this time. Also, the Philadelphia airport is WAY nicer than I remember.

I had an amazing time – the workshop obviously being the highlight of the trip, but it was so wonderful getting to hang with everyone and meet some great new people (and reunite with people I know I already love :) ). If you were interested in taking the workshop, but were put off by the price or didn’t know what to expect – hopefully this revs your engine a little :) It’s definitely an experience! For a more in-depth recap, with lots more photos (as well as a run down of all the vendors who contributed to all the pretty that you see), check out Maddie’s blog.

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I am just gonna leave this picture here, because I think it really illustrates the class well. There is alcohol and cookies on that table – and we can’t tear ourselves away from the machines. TYPICAL.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Bra Making Workshop, in exchange helping with prep, set up, and trouble shooting – as well as keeping Maddie’s nerves calmed for her first class (I shit you not, she started VACUUMING her condo like 30 minutes before we had to leave that morning hahaha). I paid for all my travel and food expenses, but my workshop ticket was gratis! This review is just cos I think the class was awesome, and I wanted to talk about it.

2014: A Year In Review

31 Dec

Well, it’s the end of the year and time for another wrap up and review! I can’t believe 2014 has flown by as quickly as it did – I feel like every time I blinked, a couple months passed! Crazy! Anyway, it’s been a really really really awesome year. Let me start by showing you a collage of all the crap I made~

2014 - year in review
2014 - year in review
2014 - year in review

And by collage, I mean 3 collages, because all the photos wouldn’t fit in just one. Those 75 garments (yes, ugh, borderline embarrassing?) don’t actually cover everything I made this year – I left a few things out, like multiples (such as tshirts or leggings), anything that wasn’t clothing, and obviously anything that didn’t make it to the blog (since I make all my clothes, a lot of stuff doesn’t make the cut because it just seems pretty redundant). I’d say I probably wrapped up the year with just under 100 garments under my belt. I’m not going to link to the individual stuff I made, because that would take forever – but you can lurk my closet and click on whatever strikes your fancy.

Before anyone starts asking me if my closet is the size of a house, I should point out that I actually don’t have a lot of clothes anymore. Of course, I have most everything I made this year (and anything I’ve retired has been noted in the blog), but a lot of stuff from previous years is gone – purged for various reasons, but mostly because of size and style discrepancies. My weight, while pretty stable at this point, has changed a lot over the years, and the sad fact is that a lot of the stuff I made last year just doesn’t fit anymore (and isn’t worth altering to save). On top of that, I spent a LOT of energy making things that just don’t fit my lifestyle – either they no longer do (such as office-appropriate clothing), or they never did (such as silk party dresses). And then, of course, there’s the smattering of garments that I made just to make – but haven’t actually worn because they just aren’t me. And that’s ok, I think, for the most part. I don’t want to get into a habit of making stuff I don’t wear, but sometimes you want to make something just for the experience of making it (and then find someone to gift it to :P).

Anyway, that came off like a big apology and it certainly isn’t! The ongoing trend for my 2014 closet was basic, wearable ~cake~ clothes, replacing things in my closet that needed to go (for aforementioned reasons). I love almost everything I see in these collages, and I’m excited to continue this for 2015.

Here are some of my favorite/most worn pieces of 2014. Like last year, this was REALLY hard to narrow down – I love all my makes, they are like my baaaabies! But there were definitely a few that stuck out above the rest~

Vogue Coat - Done!
The Vogue Coat
All right, technically I made this in 2013 – but it was posted and worn in 2014, so it totally counts. I wear this coat as much as the weather allows – I love it! It’s warm and snuggly without being heavy, it’s easy to squish into a suitcase, and I love the bold plaid with the gorgeous red silk lining. Total win in my book. Coming up in a close second is the Rigel Bomber Jacket!

Chambray Buterick 5526
Polka Dot Chambray Button down
Butterick 5526 //Top
Butterick 5526 //Bottom
Obviously Butterick 5526 wins the Pattern of the Year award from me – I made this shirt soo many times! These two are my favorites (couldn’t pick just one, sorry!). The plain chambray version is just lovely for summer – it’s soft and lightweight, it goes with *everything*, and I really loved making it up. The polka dotty chambray version is basically my pinnacle of shirtmaking – everything on the inside and out is a personal best for me.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn
Chambray Hawthorn
This isn’t a super special make by any stretch of the imagination (and, um, also my third make from chambray wtf), but I wore the shit out of it this summer. It’s comfortable in the heat, looks pulled together, and it a basic enough staple that you can accessorize it a bunch of different ways. Yay!

Vogue 1395
Vogue 1395
THIS DRESS THO. This is probably my favorite – I wore it soooo much this past year! It’s fancy enough to wear for casual-ish weddings, but it’s also lovely for a day of daydrinking in the park with friends. The print is so pretty and the silk make it feel really special. Plus, the elastic waist + tie mean I can eat a buffet’s worth of food and still feel comfortable (but look like I’m trying!).

Marlborough Bra
Marlborough Bra
Didn’t see that one coming! This bra – while not 100% perfect by any means – makes me so happy whenever I wear it. I can’t wait to make more, to tweak the fit to perfection, and to start playing with fabrics and trims. Making this one bra has really opened my sewing to another level (the level of “oh yay I can keep endlessly sewing and not worry about filling my closet too full because EVERYONE NEEDS UNDERWEAR AMIRITE”), and really challenged my skills and given me something new to work toward. I’m really really excited to take s Maddie’s bra making workshop this January, to really polish up and learn from someone who’s skills and expertise I really trust (and, of course, get to hang out with Maddie! Pretty pumped about that too ;) ).

Now let’s talk about what an awesome year 2014 was! Holy shit! I love these kinds of posts because I love looking back and reflecting on all the good stuff that happened. 2014 was a SERIOUSLY good year for me – just on the heels of a crappy 2013, and much needed. SO many things changed for me this year, and I went through a lot of firsts as well! Here’s a sum up of my year~
– I participated in Project Sewn, but I didn’t make it past the first round. That’s okay, though, because I also learned that sewing contest things are NOT for me! Too much pressure, too many deadlines, too many rules! I don’t like being told what to do, and I prefer to work at my own pace.
– I went to NY twice this year – in March, for a short weekend with Clare, and then again in August. MAN, I love that city! Don’t think I’d ever want to live there, but it’s pretty fun to visit :)
– On the subject of travel, I also spent nearly 2 weeks in London this year! That was the first time I’ve been out of the country in over a decade, and the first time I did it solo! AND I had to get a new passport and everything! Traveling internationally is kind of stressful and terrifying, but it’s also really fun and fulfilling. Already planning my next big adventure :)
– 2014 was the year I started teaching – I taught a few classes at the local community college here, Watkins, and also at WORKROOM SOCIAL in NY and at Tilly Towers in London!
– I also taught an online class at The Sewing Party, which we got to film (that was fun, especially since someone else did all the work haha). That week was also the first – and probably only, ever – time I’ve had my nails done professionally haha :)
– I got to visit the McCall Pattern Company offices while I was in NYC, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. It was cool to meet the people behind such an iconic company (whether or not you like what they produce, you can’t deny that they are pretty iconic for the sewing world!) and see all the cool behind the scenes bits, as well as learn some history! Big highlight of my year :)
– I co-hosted an Outfit Along this summer, where we made dresses and knit cardigans! That was fun!
– I also co-hosted a sewalong for Vogue 1419, along with Meg from the McCall Pattern Company, which was intense and exhaustive and absolutely awesome. And I love my new coat! :D
– I organized my sewing patterns, which took forever but I’m glad I did it. As of this posting, they are still organized (yeah!) and I still haven’t created a digital catalog of them. Oh well :)
– Sewing firsts – first bra, first socks.
– I never posted this on the blog (bc it doesn’t relate to sewing at all), but this year was the first time I had to sue someone :) Haha! The result of a traffic accident (100% not my fault – the other guy ran a stop sign), I had to chase that piece of shit down for over a year and take him to court before he finally paid up. All for about $1,000 worth of damages, which was paid through his insurance – even my lawyer was surprised (most companies write off about 5x that much, but I’m telling you – that guy was a total piece of shit).
– My hair went through some interesting color choices this year – starting with brown, then bleached orangey-yellow (that was supposed to be immediately covered, but I liked it so much I kept it for a few months haha), then turquoise, then purply-blue, then just blue. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep this color – I like it now, but that can change quickly. At any rate, my Driver’s License is due to be renewed this year so I need to figure out a good color for the photo haha :) I do need to be better about posting photos in order, though, because right now the color varies wildly based on how much it’s faded in the picture – and since I don’t always post in order, my hair looks like the result of Photoshopping madness (I wish I knew enough to change my hair color that way – might save me some bad color choice drama in the future haha oh well)
– By the way, my dad is officially cancer-free! He had 12 rounds of chemo throughout the year, which was brutal for him (especially since his stubborn ass kept trying to run those ultra marathons he loves – he was just waitlisted for Barkley, which he claims is the hardest race in the world because of course it is), but they’re over! Now we are just going through lots of genetic testing to see what caused it, and if it’s a concern for us kids. The good news is that it’s not Lynch Syndrome, which it was we initially thought.

Day 6: Me! 😁 at my sweet sewing job, with my sweet sewing machine boyfriend, Turbo (don't tell my Bernina!). #bpSewvember

One big change that happened this year was my job situation! At last posting, I had just left my gig at Muna’s (after quitting my long time job in advertising that I worked at for 6+ years) and I was kind of floating on no employment. I haven’t written an update since because I wanted to wait until I’d worked this new job for awhile, then, it seemed unnecessary since I do mention it from time to time. But anyway, I’m working 2 solid jobs now (on top of occasional teaching and other freelance work), and I just love them both!

My main job that pays the bills is being a personal assistant. My boss isn’t anyone famous – she’s just a normal 36 year old woman who makes really good money in network marketing. I am pretty much her paid mom/girlfriend – I clean and cook for her, help her pack for trips, do her grocery shopping and laundry, help with some administrative stuff, take care of her cat, etc. It’s a really awesome job and she’s a really awesome person to work for. We both get on really well together, she takes care of me, and my job is super flexible. I’ve been doing this for about a year now (started Jan 2) and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon :) I also only work part time – but it pays better than the office job. So there’s that! Only downside is that I have to do my own taxes now (booo, but on the flip side – write offs! :D), and I can’t ride my bike to work because of distance + need for a car (gotta have a car to be a PA!). So I do miss my bike, but that’s about the only negative. Everything else is a benefit, woohoo!

My second job is as for sewing production at Elizabeth Suzann. I started this in January, working a couple hours a week. Elizabeth was initially concerned that she couldn’t afford to hire a seamstress – SO MUCH has changed in such a short time; she now has 3 of us (Nashville sewing friends, if you’re interested in part time sewing work, Elizabeth is always looking for new people to add! Email her and maybe we can be co-workers :D)! I work 3 hour work days, 2-3 days a week. Someone gives me a pile of cut fabrics and I just sew as much as I can :) It’s really fun and I really enjoy it – we’ve got awesome machines at the studio (Turbo, my main industrial, is all foot controlled. You use the pedal to raise the presser foot, backtack, *and* clip your threads. It is amazing!!), and we listen to ridiculous music or watch movies while we work. My coworkers rule, Elizabeth & her husband are amazing bosses, and there are always dogs around and lots of coffee and cookies. Love my job!

Officially the proud owner of a shiny, new, CURRENT passport! Woohoo! ✈️

So yep, that’s a good sum of my year! Lots of great new things happening, lots of positive change – I feel pretty good about it!

So what’s in store for next year? Honestly – I’m not sure! I have a few things to look forward to – Bra-Making in January, another Pants Making Intensive in March, a Weekend Sewing Retreat in September, and my best friend & I are going to Peru in June! So there are definitely some exciting things in the plans :) Other than that – I dunno! One thing I know I don’t want to do is bog this blog down with a lot of deadlines and schedules and promotional things. One big mistake I made last year was to treat my blog like it was a job – which is kind of bizarre because it certainly doesn’t pay like a job! :) As a result, all the deadlines and scheduling and writing posts for other people’s businesses really made maintaining this blog the opposite of fun. I don’t like that, and I don’t see why I should have to subject myself to something that isn’t really benefiting me positively (not the blogging part, obviously, but driving myself crazy trying to have an 8AM Monday posting of a book review, you know?). Pattern testing is also losing it’s luster because it’s a lot of work that you’re basically doing as an unpaid favor – which, I’m not opposed to helping my friends, but I don’t want to do it for people I don’t know because my time is very precious to me. It’s hard because I fall into these habits and I can get a little obsessive about how I do things – and that includes blogging – but I’m giving myself permission to let go and relax a little. I’m going to keep blogging – and I might even keep up with a regular schedule, if that’s how it works out – but I’m not going to let this blog govern such a large part of my life anymore. When you have to skip hanging out with your buds in order to schedule a post for a no-profit blog, that’s crossing a line for me.

With that being said, this blog has really gone through some wonderful growth over the past year. I’m continually surprised at just how many people keep up with this shit, and I love and appreciate every single one of you. The comments I get on my posts are such a treasure trove of information – if you haven’t made it a point to read through them, you should! There are always so many tips and input and a lot of times, the comments are better than the posts themselves :) Thank you for all your wonderful emails & comments, and thanks for making my blog into what it is! Y’all are the best!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a wonderful next 12 months! I want to really focus on my bra making, and I want to work on projects that require a little more time to complete (like… more coats! Yay!). I loved learning watercolor painting this year, and I want to explore more of that next year. I do want to travel more – just depends on how my budget works with that :) I want to continue spending tons of time with people who are important to me, and I want to have great experiences :)

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Here’s to a bright and beautiful 2015!

My Trip to London & Paris!

8 Dec

Hey everyone! Ok, whew, I’m finally back and mostly caught up with boring adult life things, so now I can get back to the fun stuff! Wheeee!! Today is all about my trip to London (with a little two day stop in Paris). Sorry if you just wanted me to dive back into the sewing shizz! Deal with it~

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God, that gif never gets old.

Anyway, sooo, London! I’m just going to touch on highlights, and share some photos (nearly all of these have been posted on Instagram/Twitter, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little backstory with the photos, yeah? :) Oh, except for the ones I shamelessly stole from other people. Hey, if you tag me in it, I get to use it hahaha). Don’t take this as a ~London guide~ because I really am not a travel blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, I’m happy to share all the things I learned while on this trip :) Fair warning: I did not take very many pictures. I never do when I go on trips; I find that for me it’s really hard to stay in the moment and enjoy myself if I’m worried about getting good photos. Also, this post ended up being reeeally long, despite my best efforts at condensing it – so yeah. Sorry! It’s totally ok if only my mom ends up reading it :)

Thursday: I flew into London on a red-eye, arriving on Friday morning. Not much to say about the trip, as I mostly slept on the plane (or, rather, tried to). I will mention that I never once saw my seat mate do anything other than stare straight ahead. Not even watching TV – that was off the whole time – just staring at the back of the seat in front of him. At one point, I noticed he was wearing headphones. Later, I realized that they weren’t plugged in. So there’s that.

Saturday: This was the day of the London meet-up on Goldhawk Road. Yes. The day after I flew in. In retrospect, planning a meet-up during which I will likely still have jet-lag (spoiler: I did. Ohhh I so did) is a terrible idea. I ended up feeling very tired, a little sick (in that I-barely-slept-last-night kind of way, although, I *did* sleep well the night before. When you’re staying with Clare in her Elvis Presley Deluxe Suite, how couldn’t you? ;) ), and was generally very quiet and a lot overwhelmed – not overwhelmed with the meet-up, per se, but just the whole thing about being in a completely different country and all that. All that being said – I had a wonderful time at the meet-up! We had a smallish group of less than 20 women, which was nice and manageable (I’ve heard stories about those 80+ people meet-ups, and y’all, I would be horrified. Haha!). It was so nice to meet everyone who came out, not to mention shop with them! I do like buying fabric solo, but man… I’m a big fan of the peer pressure influence too :) And Goldhawk Road is pretty awesome! It’s no NYC Garment District by any means, but there were still loads of shops to check out, the prices were good, and everyone who worked there was pretty friendly :) Also, some of the window displays were insane.

The fabric shops here have the best window displays 😂✂️

This was my favorite window display out of all of them. How good is that? The more I look at it, the more it makes me laugh.

Price-wise, all the shops in the area were pretty reasonable. I had to be very mindful of whatever I bought – I was limited to one checked bag (an additional would have cost $100), plus, my dollars don’t go as far in London when compared to the pound. Not to mention, I have TONS of fabric at my house that I need to sew through! So I tried to stay pretty restrained (and make everyone else buy lots of awesome fabrics, heh heh heh) and did not buy much.

Just hanging out with myself here 😜 #lladybirdinlondon (also, @bbhandmadedress made me a tag, yay!)

After we were all shopped out, we went to Defector’s Weld around the corner for drinks and food. I unfortunately did not get a photo of the meet-up (again, me and taking photos doesn’t really jive), oh well! So instead, here’s a photo of my name on the table. Big thanks to Stevie for wrangling the reservation for this part of the meet-up – couldn’t have done it without her! ♥ Also, big huge thanks to Sally and Fiona for being my personal Tube Guides during this day, as I otherwise would have definitely gotten myself super lost.

So yeah, first meet-up was excellent! Thanks to everyone who made it out – I just wish I’d been feeling better, so I could have talked more and not just sat there staring at my soup like a freaking zombie. I have learned my lesson for the next time! Get over the jet-lag first!

Fortunately, the jet-lag only hung around for another day… then I felt REALLY splendid for the rest of the trip. So that was good!

Sunday: I met up with Birgitte, who was also visiting London from out of town (albeit from Norway… but still! Somewhere Else!), and we went to see the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibit at the V&A Museum. One thing I loooove about London is that basically all the museums are free! SWEET! Of course, certain exhibits may cost you regardless – such as the one we saw at the V&A, I think it was around £10? It was totally worth it, though! They will also check your coat and bags at the museum for free, which was nice since it was cold and rainy that day.

Guess where I ammmm... 😜 #lladybirdinlondon

After the museum, Birgitte and I wandered into Liberty of London. At the risk of making myself sound like a complete idiot – I had no idea Liberty was a department store? I’ve only ever known it for the fabrics. So I was pretty surprised to see that – not only is it an entire store, but it’s a fucking FANCY store! Now I understand the hype. Still don’t care much for the fabrics (I tried, I really did! But no Liberty fabrics came home with me on this trip), but, I get it.

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Monday: This was the day I really started feeling 100%. I met up with Nicole, Rachel and Vanessa for a shopping day in Dalston Mills, at the Ridley Road Market. Nicole lives in the area and was kind enough to show us around – it. was. AMAZING! Such a completely different culture from what I’d seen the night before (I mean, I went into Harrod’s at one point, for fuck’s sake hahaha). We shopped for fabrics at the little fabric store – as well as on all the tables selling beautiful African wax prints (which you can also get on Goldhawk, but I liked the wax prints here better!). I also bought hair dye (because, why not?) and a new neon green purse, having realized my sling bag was not big enough for the necessary umbrella & other necessities.

Hi, I love meat 🍗🍔🐔 #lladybirdinlondon

There is a lot of dead meat on Ridley Road. Here I am standing next to some. Yay, meat!

me & Rachel ♥

It was such a treat to be able to spend some time with Rachel. We may or may not have bought mostly the same fabrics (all destined for lingerie, no less!). In case you were wondering – she’s just as gorgeous in real life as she is in photos. Maybe even more so! And she’s so tall – especially next to this 5’2″ runt :P

And now I'm hanging out with @ohthepeteroh, who was my first roommate in Nashville before he moved back to London. It's been 10 years and he's aged like a fine wine 🍷 #lladybirdinlondon

After my shopping day in Dalston Mills, I stayed in East London and met up with my friend Peter for drinks at a couple of the nearby bars. Peter is an old friend of mine – we go ‘way back, like, pre-high school, and he was my first roommate when I moved out of my parent’s house. I haven’t seen him since he moved back to London 10 years ago, so it was REALLY great to see him and catch up. We both drank ourselves into hangovers that night. It was awesome.

Classic English breakfast today! I will not be eating those beans hahahaha #bpSewvember

Tuesday: Hangover day! I started my morning with a big, proper English breakfast with Clare, which I ate about half of (I know! I hate wasting food, but hangovers for me tend to be the really sick/no appetite types). I did not touch the beans, which horrified about half of Instagram, apparently. Sorry, dudes. Baked beans are gross and I wasn’t about to risk trying them when I was already feeling sick!

Anyway, a hot shower did a good job of clearing me right up, so I was able to drag myself out of the flat and take myself on a date to the British Museum. This was pretty much the only thing I had planned in advance before getting to London – I knew I wanted to see mummies! And I did see mummies – three times, in fact. I kept going back to the Egyptian room, because mummies are awesome haha.

Took myself on a date today and made a new friend #lladybirdinlondon

I also took a selfie with this guy. I felt pretty silly, but I’m trying not to care. I really wanted to take a selfie with the naked Greek statues (head height for me is right about at the weiners, which is PERFECT), but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Next time!

It was also pretty cool seeing the all the Parthenon stuff. We have a full-scape replica of the Parthenon in Nashville (because of course we do), and it’s pretty true to the original. Except for that whole collapsing part haha :P

Tower Bridge hangs! 🚣🌉 #lladybirdinlondon

Wednesday: In the AM, I met with Melissa Fehr in her floating house boat on the Thames river. Yes, you heard me – HOUSE BOAT. I had no idea that was a thing in London, but it is, and it is excellent. There’s a whole boat community out there, with floating gardens and community centers and other impressive floating things. Also, Melissa is fucking hilarious, and her cat is adorable and extremely good at laser acrobats.

Great lunch/beer (ok, I'm the only one who had alcohol 😜 haha) this afternoon with @fehrtrade and @tillybuttons 🍻 yay for mini sewing meet ups! 👯

After tea & pumpkin pie and general boat-awe, we took a bus to get lunch with Tilly on her side of London, as well as check out her beautiful studio where I would be teaching my class later that evening.

class at Tilly's

Oh, so, my class! Zips & Buttonholes was 3 hours of great fun! My students were all fabulous and really killed their zipper insertions (and I’m a little jealous that my first zippers never looked that great! Many, many MANY years of dodgy zippers are in my past, ha!). Everyone was so lovely and fun to chat with – one person even brought me a gift of bicycle print jersey (for real! I was – and still am – completely floored by her kindness and generosity. Thank you so much, Caroline!). We did have one injury in the class – I think that was a first for all of us (knock on wood, haha). Poor Rosie! Actually, she was a really great sport throughout the ordeal – and I love the photo we got together haha. I hope your finger is feeling better now, Rosie! You should be proud of your battle scar :P haha!

train to Paris!

Thursday: While my family spent the day feasting and hanging out, I woke up at the ass crack of dawn (aka 5AM) to catch a train to Paris! Our party (me, Clare, Kelly and Emmie rode the Eurostar into Paris bright and early, with a couple hours to spare before the big meet-up arranged by Carmen. Clare was staying in a separate hotel (being preggers, she has greater rest needs, plus, she was staying an extra day in Paris), but Kelly & Emmie and myself – along with Tilly & Freya (who I just met during the trip and OMG LOVE HER) – booked ourselves up a swanky little pad via AirBNB. Like, my bed nook (hell yes I got my own bed… I’m opening to sharing, but I also snore, so that usually means I end up solo hahaha) had PARIS DISCO LIGHTS:

Made it to Paris! Our swanky flat has a lofted bed with red and blue lights... Naturally, this is the one I chose #lladybirdinlondon

I almost wish we staying in Paris longer just to enjoy that damn apartment. We were on the top floor, with skylights on the roof and chandeliers hanging off everything. There was also pink toilet paper, which really cracked me up. Apparently, that’s not uncommon in Paris (or London, for that matter)? I’ve just never seen it in the US – only ads from, like, the 60s. I wish we had colorful toilet paper here now. My bathroom would be so much more exciting.

You know it's been a good trip when you forget to take any pictures! Paris, you are amazing. Thank you for being so lovely these past 2 days 💕 #lladybirdinlondon

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

The Paris meet-up was SPLENDID. Carmen really outdid herself with planning everything down to the last detail, with an itinerary, maps, and GOODIE BAGS.

Gifts!

I am pretty sure I have the worst manners ever, but Kelly & I fucking ripped right into those bags the second they were handed to us. Everyone else was standing patiently and politely up to that point. Whoops.

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

I was really excited to see Norma! I met her in NYC while I was there in March, but we didn’t really have a chance to talk then – so it was nice to actually have a good chat with her. Love Norma!

Ok, so, as far as places we shopped in Paris… I’m afraid I can’t really give you a running list. I ended up following my small group like a little puppy – not to mention, I couldn’t read any of the signs (I really did try to brush up on my French in the months before I left, but learning a foreign language is hard!), so I don’t remember them. Sorry, guys! If you want suggestions on where to go for fabric shopping in Paris, best ask someone else… because I’m pretty useless haha.

We did find some great shops, though! There was one- Les étoffes du Sentier (I took a photo of the bag, ha) – who liked us so much, they led our small group (we were long split off from the big group, being slow shoppers and all) to their big warehouse where they had even MORE stuff, including (really inexpensive, really nice quality) leather. Loved those guys!

Spoolettes in Paris

We also went into La Maison Sajou, which is basically the cutest shop in the world. I could have bought one of everything in there, were my bank account limitless. I am chatting with Rehannon here, omg that girl is such a trip! ♥ Also, I’ve never seen a bigger collection of Lauren derp faces than there are from this trip HAHA!

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

The ladies at Sajou were kind enough to make us all tea, and clever enough to serve said tea in their branded mugs. PROTIP: If you want me to buy something, just let me carry it around for a while. By the time I finished my tea, I knew that mug was coming home with me. You can totally see it in my eyes, haha.

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

Oh yeah, we also hit up the sweet Les Coupons de St-Pierre, which is one of those mythical “coupon” shops where you get 3 meters of fabric for 8€ or 10€ (or more of less, depending on fabric!). That place was sweet, the employees were awesome, *and* they gave us a discount because of Carmen! Woohoo!

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

Finally, what was left of our party moseyed over to The Pink Flamingo Pizza Parlor rue Muller (fair warning – that link auto plays music!) for drinks and dinner. I really loved this place – the pizza was outstanding and there were some cray flavor combinations. We shut that place down with our chatting and drinking.

Friday: We had a small meet-up rendezvous at Anna Ka Bazaar the next morning. They served us tea and cookies and gave us a nice discount (and yes, I bought myself a special piece of splurge fabric. Anna K instead of Liberty, fuck yea!), and let us hang in the shop for a bit. Norma came out, because I wanted her to see my Marlborough bra and assess the fit. Sooo… long story short, after realizing there was no bathroom to duck into, and determining that no one in the shop (especially the owners, obviously) minded seeing some bewbs, I just stood behind the counter in my bra and Norma gave me an impromptu fitting lesson for the crowd’s entertainment. Ha! Fortunately, the major fit areas (band, bridge, most of the cup) are spot-on. I just need to tweak the upper cup and the strap placement, which Norma told me how to do. How’s that for some customer service, amirite? Also, the ladies at Anna K were really excited when they realized that, not only did I make my bra – but the patternmaker was Norma! And now I can say I spent some ~topless time~ in France hahaha.

Jolies Bobines met with us and took our small group (me, Kelly, Emmie, Tilly, Freya & the addition of Nicole) on to more shopping after Anna K to some of her favorite Paris fabric shops. One of the places she brought us to was Malhia Kent, which was AMAZING. So much brocade and sparkly lurex! It was hard to restrict myself to just one special piece, but I was worried about luggage restraints at that point. I managed :) Also, it was really cool to finally meet Jolies! Despite my complete and utter lack of French knowledge, she was able to speak enough English so that we could get a good conversation going :) She did suggest that I start following French blogs and reading French patterns, as it helped her learn English faster – so I might have to try that!

After Jolies left while we ate lunch, I starting feeling my hangover (two in one trip, argh), so the rest of my time in Paris was spent avoiding the wine and steaks that my fellow travelers were eating. Bummer! As luck would have it, I felt better right about the time we boarded the Eurostar to get back to London. Figures!

Shopping date with @tillybuttons today! I'm a little fabric'd out after Paris, but managed to squeeze a little piece from Cloth House in my bag 😉 #lladybirdinlondon

Saturday: Since Clare was still in Paris for another day, I went back into central London (by myself! I am getting so good at this tube navigation system, haha!) and met with Tilly for a nice relaxed shopping day in Soho. We went to lots of little shops in the area – some fabric, some gifts, some clothing – but the only place I bought anything from was Cloth House (see above for fear of my loot not fitting in my luggage, ha). Tilly also took me into the clothing store Joy, which is full of some of the cutest stuff I’ve ever seen (I really really really want to knock off this toggle coat now. I mean, come on!) (Oh, I just lied to you; totally bought a necklace from this store). We also went to Bravissimo, because the bras there cost about half as much as they do in the US (even with including the exchange rate). This is probably bordering on TMI – but, Tilly & I actually wear the same bra size (lolz), so we were able to get side-by-side fitting rooms and swap bras haha. I ended up buying the Satine bra in black, in case you were curious!

I’m really happy with how well Tilly & I got along. I’ve been friends with her online for ages, but this trip was the first time I was able to meet her in person. Sometimes, people can be different than their online persona (this hasn’t happened to me in the blog world, but I’ve heard horror stories! And I’ve used OkCupid in the past hahahahaha), so it can be a gamble when you plan to spend a multitude of days with one person if you’re not sure that your personalities will mesh. Like I said – I haven’t had this issue with anyone I’ve met through this blog (no, really! Every single one of y’all has been really cool and fun!). That being said, Tilly far exceeded my high expectations. She’s just a really great person and I’m glad I got to spend some time getting to talk with her and hang out. Now I’m getting Tilly withdrawals! Wah!

sewing party at Tilly's

Sunday: Last day in London! When I was originally planning this trip, Tilly offered to let me take over her studio for a little sewing shindig on the last day I was there. After nearly 2 weeks away from my machine, it was pretty awesome to be able to sit down and sew again! We had a small group – unfortunately, Clare was feeling pretty beat up after Paris, so she wasn’t able to make it :( – but it was great seeing the rest of the ladies: Karen, Roisin, Freya, Emmie, Jane, and of course, Tilly! Everyone brought a project to work on, foods to snack on, drinks to drink on (I’m currently a Prosecco convert… mmmm), and we just had a lovely afternoon. It was a great send-off to a really really awesome trip.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

I will live on Party Rings for the remainder of my time on this earth 😍🎉 #lladybirdinlondon

After we left Tilly’s, Tilly took me to Sainsbury’s in my quest to find Party Rings. These ridiculous cookies biscuits were a staple for my family back when we were visiting London in the late 90s – as in, my siblings and I ate the SHIT out of them. We brought a metric shit-ton back to the states with us, and it was a sad day when we finally ate the last one. I was bound and determined to find some to take home – and I did! Yay Party Rings! :D

me & Jamie Susan

Finally, I met with my friend Jamie Susan in Greenwich for some Vietnamese food and much-needed Nashville gossip. Funny story about Jamie Susan – she’s an old friend from Nashville (we used to go on laundromat dates together haha) who moved to London about 2 years ago after getting married. I knew she was in London, but I figured she’d be so far out from Greenwich (where I was staying) that meeting up would be too much of a hassle. Turns out – girl LIVES in Greenwich! What are the odds, amirite? Anyway, I’m glad we made time for each other because it was great to catch up and I realized how much I miss her. Dammit, Jamie Susan! Come back to Nashville and visit already!

Monday: Ok, Monday doesn’t really count because it was my traveling day. However, I did want to point out that the plane from London to Toronto was pretty empty, and I somehow managed to get an entire row to myself for the whole 8 hours. That. Was. AMAZING. Also, I flew Air Canada, which was just nice as hell. The food was really good, the flight attendants were incredibly nice, and everything was just really clean and well taken care of. Oh, and there was FREE WINE. I think I’m spoiled for life, now though, after being able to stretch across an entire row and basically have a party to myself for the whole flight. It was like a First Class experience, without the First Class price tag. Go, Air Canada!

So yep, that’s my trip! Sorry the post got so long and out of hand – I tried to condense it as much as possible (and I figure – better one looong post than a bunch of short posts, especially for those who would rather skip this kind of topic altogether!). A few things I’d like to point out about traveling to London & Paris, from a non-international traveler standpoint – these are the things I wish someone had told me up front:

  • The very biggest thing that threw me off in London? They don’t put cream in their coffee! This is probably a “no shit, Sherlock” type statement to most of y’all, but I had no idea! Europeans (or, at least, those in London & Paris) put milk in their coffee. Half the people didn’t even know what I was talking about when I asked for cream. Obviously I was able to adapt very quickly (I mean, this is coffee we are talking about) – I learned that I really like flat white coffees! – but it really threw me off the first couple jet-lagged days I was there.
  • My little passport wallet came SUPER in handy the whole time I was there. It was nice to have one place to keep my cards and my passport – and I especially loved that zippered pouch for holding all my change. One thing I didn’t realize is that the British use lots of coins, especially for one and two pound amounts (we don’t really have that in the US; the one time they tried to make a dollar into a coin, there was some SERIOUS pushing against it. I know of stores that refused to accept it as payment, even though it’s legal currency haha). So, bring something that will hold your coins!
  • Another big tip if you’re taking an overseas trip – if at all possible, get a credit card with the chip, as it’s the safest way to carry money around. I think the chip is about to become standard for all new credit and debit cards (I’ve noticed the machines in stores since I got back), so it’s really just a matter of replacing your current card if you already have one. I found that my bank has a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, which saved me loads of money since I only had to pay the exchange rate. I charged everything to my card and paid it off when I got home. Obviously don’t do this if you’re not able to pay off the card – you don’t want to come home from a vacation already in debt – but if you can be responsible and hold yourself accountable, it’s very useful. Plus, I earned points for every dollar I spent, so it’s like a double bonus!
  • Speaking of those chip cards – you’re supposed to get a pin so they can be used in the machines. For whatever reason – mine just didn’t work. The card worked, I mean, but I had to sign for every purchase. I’ve heard it might be an American card thing (some people told me they had the same issues with US credit cards), but it’s just something to be aware of. Again, carry an ID with you if this is the case because they are required to check the signature if you don’t use a pin.
  • If you’re going to a foreign country and want to still use your phone without having to deal with roaming/international charges, I would seriously recommend getting a prepaid SIM card. I had my phone unlocked through my provider (DO NOT do this through a third party – nine times out of ten, you’ll get scammed. My provider tried to give me hell about unlocking the phone because I’m still under contract – despite paying cash for the phone when I bought it – so I unlocked it through their website and it went through. Worth a try, anyway!) and bought a prepaid SIM card through EE. For £15, It had 150 minutes (more than enough for me; I never talk on the phone haha), unlimited text messages, and 2 GB of data while in London. Since my plan was local only, I used WhatsApp to keep in touch with my US friends, and FaceTime to talk to Landon :) The phone stayed off while I was in Paris (although I’m sure there are prepaid options for roaming other countries, if that’s a need for you!). This was obviously LOADS cheaper than what my provider was trying to charge for me to roam with a US number. Of course, I could have kept the phone off entirely, but it was pretty useful to have a local number so I could text people to arrange plans/meet-ups, and also have the data for mapping my tube routes and playing on Instagram :)
  • I didn’t realize this until I was actually in London, but if you use Uber (a ridesharing/taxi program that is way cheaper than a typical cab), it *does* work in London. I used this to get home after teaching at Tilly’s, and also to get to the airport on Monday morning (I’m sure every single commuter on the train loves and appreciates me for not subjecting them to standing behind me dragging my luggage onto a crowded train haha). The rates are great – I paid £40 to get from Greenwich to Heathrow, which was about a 70 minute drive during rush hour traffic. If you haven’t used Uber before, here’s a shameless free code for ya – laurent319 will get you a free ride (up to $20, then you pay the difference if it’s more than that). You just need to download the free app to use it (full disclosure – if you use that code, I will get a free ride, which I will then use to take me to and from the airport when I travel. Free Ubers for everyone! Yay!). Anyway, Uber or not – I would strongly recommend setting some money aside to get you a cab back to the airport, if public transportation is your only other option. It’s worth the money just to know you can sit and relax and not be banging your giant suitcase into someone’s poor ankles.
  • Wardrobe-wise, my capsule wardrobe ended up being a really great decision on my part. I made everything I had planned and wore almost entirely handmade (save for my jeans, which I can’t bear to part with because I love them so much) for the whole trip. It was nice to have a mix and match of outfits to choose from – saved on both luggage space and getting ready in the morning time. Of course, this meant that people saw me wearing the same thing more than once (gasp!), but, you know what? Fuck it.
  • Speaking of clothing and dressing appropriately for the weather, it must have been a REALLY mild time in London because I definitely was not cold! I brought both my big plaid coat and my bomber jacket, which turned out to be very useful because I ended up needing them both at one point or another. I found that by wearing lots of lightweight layers, I stayed very warm – and it was easy to peel layers off if I got too hot. It also barely rained while I was in London – it was mostly grey, which I found quite nice. I must have brought something gross back with me to the states, though, because it’s been REALLY cold and rainy ever since I got back! Ew!

Oh, hey, I guess you want to see what I came home with, huh? :) Here’s the fabric pile in all it’s glory –
I just unpacked all the fabric I bought in London and Paris. I guess I have a lot of prewashing to do now 😜 #lladybirdinlondon

I was going to take individual pictures, but I’m tired and this post is long enough. Sooo, just a smattering of things! Just a few I want to point out exclusively – the pretty blue/purple floral-ish one in the very middle is my special piece from Anna Ka Bazaar, the red and gold geometic print is a beautiful boucle (with sparkly lurex!) from Malhia Kent, and the big peacock feathers at the bottom is my African wax print from Ridley Road Market in Dalston Mills. Oh, and the blobs at the bottom are laces and sheers for future bras! I also bought a piece of red and white striped knit from Cloth House, which somehow didn’t make it into this photo. Womp womp.

Also not pictured, but worth noting – I totally bought a mug from Sajou. I drink my coffee out of it every morning now and I just love it :)

Ok, I reckon this post is long enough, so time to wrap up! Big huge thanks to everyone who helped make this trip the wonderful adventure it turned out to be – those of you who made it out to the meet-ups, my class, for London and/or Paris hangs, or who just had suggestions for making the most of my trip. You are all awesome and I appreciate all of you and your input! :) Big thanks to Tilly for letting me take over her studio as much as I did – and for putting up with me for multiple days (poor girl is likely sick of me at this point, ha!). Big thanks to Carmen for arranging the whole Paris meet-up and making it such a highlight of my trip (psst – want to see more photos? Here’s the Flickr Pool!). And biggest thanks to Clare, my love – who opened her home to me and initially stuck me with the I-Have-To-Go-To-London bug. I’m sad that Clare and I didn’t get to hang as much due to her pregnancy and work obligations, but even just sitting on the couch with tea and chatting at the end of the day was really really wonderful. Thank you so much ♥

Also, thank YOU for making it to the end of this post! Whew, that was a big one haha! Come over now for your complimentary Party Ring ;)

Vogue Sewing Patterns: Winter 2014

17 Oct

Well, well, well…  looks like the new Vogue sewing patterns are officially out! Happy day!! :D I’m know I’m late for this one – I hadn’t even realized that the new patterns came out (no shit, this is something that I tend to just randomly discover as I’m perusing blogs. Because, you know, joining the mailing list would be way too easy ), so I’m sorry that this is delayed! Although, to be honest, there’s really not a lot to snark here this go-round. Yay for Vogue, boo for us :) Still, I didn’t want y’all to think that I’d, I dunno, gone corporate or some shit! Since my visit at the McCall Pattern Company offices, I’ve definitely had a much softer spot in my heart for the company and everyone who works there – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still poke a little fun at ‘em :)

One thing to keep in mind (something a lot of us – especially me! – recently learned) – with anything that is a Designer pattern, the garment you are seeing is an actual designer garment. Meaning, Vogue didn’t choose the fabric/notions and sew it up specifically for the pattern cover. It is literally a garment from the designer – labels, price tags, and all – that is being modeled. The pattern is drafted from the exact same garment (which was incredibly fascinating to hear all about), with Vogue sizing and instructions. Anyway, I’m reiterating this because any horrible fabric choices we see on the Designer patterns have nothing to do with Vogue! We should really be ripping the designer a new one (I’ve tried to note which pattern is Designer and who, so you know exactly who to direct your anger toward). That being said, any other Vogue patterns are fair game :P

All right, onto the patterns!

V1426
Vogue 1426 // Badgley Mischka
OH MY GOD THIS DRESS HAS STARTED REPRODUCING

V1428
Vogue 1428 // Tom and Linda Platt
The question here is: Do we consider this print placement an epic fail or an epic win?

V1425
Vogue 1425 // Pamella Roland
Look at the lace at the hem. Wait for your eye to start twitching. You’re welcome.

V1427
Vogue 1427 // Donna Karan
Let’s call this one “Andre the Giant Goes to the Disco!”

V1422
Vogue 1422 // Tracy Reese
Here, Vogue decided to show you the prettiest dress/most gorgeous fabric/bestest hair ever in an attempt to distract you from what appears to be someone’s tool shed in the background.

V1423
Vogue 1423 // Bellville Sassoon
“What do you mean this isn’t how you wear a thong?”

V1424
Vogue 1424 // Rebecca Taylor
I guess the neckline is supposed to be some sort of snappy cutout, but honestly all I see when I look at this is a backwards wifebeater under a tank top.

V9046
Vogue 9046
I just wanted to point out that for once, this dress – with all it’s detailing – isn’t made up in some crazy patterned/shiny fabric, aka, you can see what is being modeled here.

V9066
Vogue 9066
~Tarp-Chic – taking camping to the next level, one business suit at a time.

V9072
Vogue 9072
If I was half this cute when I was a kid, maybe I wouldn’t be the angsty piece of shit I am today.

V9073
Vogue 9073
I just don’t know anymore.

V1429
Vogue 1429
What the everloving fuck is going on with this fabric.

V9065
Vogue 9065
If your lapels are so wide that they cover the shoulders of your SLEEVELESS BLAZER, you’re doing it wrong.

V1430
Vogue 1430
No comment on the pattern itself – my question is: Where the hell did they find this fabric, and do you think I can still get my hands on some?

V9069
Vogue 9069
Vogue 9096: The only time it’s ever socially appropriate to wear a bathrobe out in public.

V9057
Vogue 9057
The neck binding is not flat and that is bothering me way more than I care to admit.

V9060
Vogue 9060
Vogue 9060: When bad things Marcy Tilton happens to good people.

V9059
Vogue 9059
Frumpsville, population: This chick.

V9056V9055
Vogue 9056 & Vogue 9055
So, these are pretty cute – basic knit tops with a few options. Just wondering, though, why the hell they have darts?? I thought that was the whole beauty of knits, that you could eliminate darts (barring giant FBAs or anything like that), and yet here they are. What’s the deal here?

V9074
Vogue 9074
Hey! I actually don’t hate this one. Ok, so that purse is definitely not my style, but let’s all just sit back and appreciate that it looks like a REAL PURSE you’d buy at, say, Macy’s. It doesn’t scream homemade – it actually looks pretty legit! (not that there is anything wrong with homemade purses – I’ve made my fair share of quilting cotton bags! But I think it’s safe to say one has definitely leveled up if they managed to make something that looks this pro, you know?). It even has little purse feet! Eee! Thumbs up for this one. I might pick up the pattern just to get a lurk on the instructions.

V9070
Vogue 9070
Ughhh I’m going to get so much shit for expressing my distaste – but I hate everything about this! The shape, the fabric, THE DANGLIES!

nope

Anyway- what are your thoughts? See any patterns you love or hate? I gotta say, I’m disappointed to not see any Ralph Rucci :( I was excited to see what they’d come up with.

EDIT Just spoke with Meg (of the McCall Pattern Company fame) and she’s going through some family things right now, so there may be a delay in replies to the comments on her end. Just FYI!

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans for 2014

10 Oct

It just occurred to me that I haven’t share any seasonal sewing plans in… well, a while. Which is lame, because these are some of my favorite types of posts (both to write *and* to read) – I mean, who doesn’t like lurking inside someone’s brain, even if it’s just to see what they plan on doing over the next couple of months? Too creepy? Naw.

Anyway, now that London/Paris is looming on the horizon (less than 2 months! Omg less than a month and a half! Eee!), it’s really time that I start figuring out what I’ll be bringing with me (and making, for that matter! Don’t want to end up with another frantic last-minute sewing disaster, ugh). Especially since my luggage space will be very limited – I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase with me overseas (well… I use the word “allowed” loosely here. I can bring two suitcases if I want to – but I get to pay $130 for the second one! LOL GURL NO.), and I want to fabric shop while I’m there! So, I will be packing a capsule wardrobe, one that mixes and matches with itself, for maximum outfit options, as well as warmth. This is much different than how I usually travel (as I fly Southwest, where you can bring 2 bags free – so why the hell not, you know?), but I’m up for the challenge! :) Adulting and all that :)

I’ve already made/chosen a couple of pieces to base my capsule around, as well as chosen my theme (like Devon, I think all vacation wardrobes should have themes, because, duh) – Minimalist Parisian Chic. Mostly because my capsule will be very minimal – or, as minimal as I can get it down to, because I am still one of those people who delights in overpacking – with lots of black. Not much on the Parisian Chic side (I’m sure Parisian women will be horrified when they see what I wear to stomp around their city, ha!), but it has a nice ring to it :)

Anyway – to start – I have these black Jamie jeans that I made a couple of weeks ago:
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be bringing the star sweater. It’s a little bulky! On the flip side, regarding the jeans – I just finished wearing them for the 5th time in a row (sans wash), and they’ve stayed very close to their original shape. No bagging out, woohoo! So that makes me feel good, because I’ll be wearing these a LOT come London.

Stripey Renfrew
I will also be bringing my Imogene + Willie slim jeans (pictured here), because they are basically the best jeans ever. Oh, and probably that stripey Renfrew top. Can’t have enough tshirts!

Now for the sewing plans! Sidenote: By the time of publishing this post, I’ve already finished more than half these makes. Whoops! Guess y’all see where my priorities lie when it comes to posting vs sewing hahaha. Oh well!

Ikat Lady Skater
The Cowl-Necked Skater Dress
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a Lady Skater dress // Renfrew top mash-up! This cotton Ikat knit fabric (purchased at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville) will be the perfect match for this dress – like a giant, snuggly Christmas sweater! I actually don’t know if I’ll be bringing this one to London, due to bulk factor (my capsule really only allows for one dress, which I’m thinking will be the one below – but we’ll see!), but the plans were too good to keep to myself :)

DVF Wool wrap
The Wool Wrap dress
Another big mash-up – I’m starting with the DVF Wrap dress pattern, but adding long sleeves (stolen from the Lady Skater, naturally) and swapping out the gathered skirt for a wrap A-line (Miette Wrap skirt – I’m looking at you). The black wool knit fabric was picked up at Mood in NY a couple of months ago – it’s SO soft! Like, cashmere soft. I’m so in love ♥

Silk v neck
The Silk Button-down
I already have a nice white button-down – made from the same pattern, Butterick 5526 (my favorite!) – but it’s not really cold weather appropriate, due to the length of the sleeves. Since they are 3/4, they don’t really layer nicely with my long sleeve sweaters! I’d love to make another one, but up the ante with some beautiful silk double georgette, and modify the neckline to be more of a v shape (likely using this V-Neck variation tutorial by Jen!)

Chambray Button down
The Polka Dot Chambray Button-down
Another thing I already have one of, but need a winter version. This one will be made using a gorgeous cotton polka dot chambray, picked up here locally at Textile Fabrics.

SJ Sweater
The Wool Sweater
Button downs need a nice sweater, yeah? I want to try sewing a sweater, using the SJ Tee as a basis (with a higher neckline, and omitting all bindings). The fabric I have is a lovely camel-colored boiled wool, that I bought from Elizabeth Suzann (aka I totally jacked her wholesale order hahaha). I think it’ll look equally good over both those button down shirts I have planned!

rigel bomber
The Bomber Jacket
I know – I’m already planning a pretty sweet coat. However, the weather in London (and Tennessee, for that matter!) can be fickle, so I’d like to bring a lighter-weight jacket for days when the temperature isn’t as low. I’ve been meaning to make the Rigel Bomber for, well, months now. Just been waiting on the perfect fabric – and I think I found it! Check out this black wool coating – to be paired with gold china silk for the lining.

Other plans I have (no photos, sorry! Use that imagination of yours, ha!)
– Need some thin long sleeve shirts for layering – maybe just a couple out of wool knit, such as this textured black wool jersey (that’s apparently already sold out?! Wah!). I wear these pretty much daily in the winter – and sometimes I like to sleep in them if it’s really cold – so it’ll be nice to have a few to choose from.
– Speaking of sleeping – I need some new pajama pants! Currently lurking Margot pj pants in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, since they seem to be a pretty quick/easy make (I really want to make the Tofino pants, but right now I need quick and easy!). I picked up some really fun orange plaid flannel to make them with – I know, that fabric is ridiculous, which is exactly why I chose it. It’s nothing like I already own! When it comes to pjs, why not, you know?
– I would like to make a flared A-line wool skirt to make as well – thinking about using the Delphine pattern (also from Love at First Stitch), because I love the shape. A little stuck on fabric selection, though! My go-to is usually wool crepe, but that will be too drapey for this shape. Thoughts? I need it to be 100% wool (pretty nitpicky about this, sorry!) and I’m looking for lipstick red. Budget is no more than $25 a yard (and obviously I’d be delighted if it was less than that!)
– Bras! I want to finish at least one bra before I leave – using the Marlborough pattern and one of my kits from Bra Maker’s Supply. Obviously I want new bras, but even more – Norma will be in Paris while I’m there, and you better believe I’m going to drag her into a bathroom and make her assess and critique my fit. Haha! Man, sewing people are weird :P

I think that’s it for now! It feels good to get everything listed out in one place. I’m hoping I can get all this done before I leave – but if not, no worries. It’s not like I’m lacking clothing or anything as it is!

As a side note, I was just notified that one of my lovely sponsors, Indie Sew, is holding a pretty sweet contest where you can win a YEAR of free patterns! Fuck yes! You can read all about the contest and the reasoning behind it on this blog post, but the general gist is that Indie Sew wants to help you transform your entire wardrobe into handmade and end the cycle of cheap/fast fashion. And what better way to jump start a new handmade wardrobe than with some FREE FREAKING PATTERNS AMIRITE? Such a cool idea, and I really really hope the winner shares their journey via blog or social media so we can follow along! Anyway, soapbox rant over – go throw your name in the hat!

What’s on the table for your fall/winter sewing plans? Do you have any capsule wardrobe suggestions for me? Tips for packing light? Are you going to judge me if you see me wearing the same thing for 3 days in a row while I’m on my trip? :)

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