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OAL: The Winners!

4 Aug

Hey everyone! Sorry, one more OAL post :)

I had SO much fun co-hosting the OAL this year with Andi, and I love that we had so many participants (66 posted completed outfits on the Ravelry thread!). I can’t even tell you how much I loved following along with everyone’s progress, and seeing what cool outfits came out of it! I really love the variety of sewing and knitting patterns that showed up in the OAL (some having already moved over to my to-make queue ;)). Such a fun time and I’m really glad I got to host! Thanks to everyone who participated! Y’all are the best! ♥

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Andi & I wanted to sweeten the deal with an opportunity for prizes, so let’s get to that! Our official sponsor for the OAL is Indie Stitches, who generously donated prizes for each of the winners. Those who win get a free pattern of these choosing from Indie Stitches, plus a free knitting pattern of their choosing from the Untangling Knots shop. For the drawing, we compiled a list of all the posts on the OAL Finished Outfits thread that were submitted before the deadline on 7/31 and included a full outfit. The names were put on a numbered spreadsheet, which we used random.org to pull the winning numbers. So, without further ado – our 4 OAL winners~~

help_pj_medium2
Karen’s Helen bed jacket & PJ’s
Damn, that’s such a good idea – why didn’t I think of that? Classy pjs and a bed jacket for lounging, instead of my ratty workout shorts and an even rattier quilt.

P1020012
Roisin’s Myrna cardigan & Vogue 8998
ROISIN! I swear I did not choose her name on purpose; this was purely luck of the draw. I love her little pink Myrna and the fabric for that dress is such a perfect match!

41866102
Kristi’s Myrna & Simplicity 1803//McCall 6696
Such a pretty and classic combination! You can’t see too well in these photos, but go look at her Ravelry page – the top of the dress bodice is outlined in pink piping, which looks fabulous! And the inside is just gorgeous :)

image_medium2
Martinalici’s Featherweight cardigan & Washi dress
Love this – especially that hand-embroidered collar! Also, that Featherweight Cardigan is going in my queue asap :)

Woohoo! Congratulations, ladies! Keep an eye out for an email from me :)

For those who didn’t win, I still have a lil’ somethin’ for ya – a discount code! Use the code OAL2014 for 15% off your purchase at Indie Stitches shop. This code is valid for 48 hours, so through 7AM August 6 (whew! Is it August already?).

Thanks again to everyone who played along, I hope you had as much fun as we did! To see all the finished outfits in all their glory, check out the OAL Finished Outfits Ravelry thread, the Official Unofficial Flickr Group and the hashtag #oal2014 :)

Review: My New Dressform!

25 Jul

Hey everyone! I have a review for y’all today! I know – blecch ughhhh, review posts are the worst, amirite? But I think this one is actually pretty relevant to everyone’s interests (unlike a good 90% of the review offers I am constantly being offered. Like, once a company offered me padded butt underwear. lolwut!), so bear with me here.

Check out the new lady in my life-

Dressform - The Shop Company

Gorgeous, right? This gal comes courtesy of The Shop Company, who reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I’d like a form in exchange for review. In the interest of full disclosure – I did not pay for this form, although I have been wishful shopping for one for a couple years now (and The Shop Company was actually on my list, after reading Gertie’s review). I currently have a form, but it’s a terrible piece of shit so obviously I jumped at the chance for a nicer model.

Dressform - The Shop Company

I was given full realm to choose any professional form from the site, which I ultimately went with the Professional Female Form with Collapsible Shoulders (although I totally lurked the Full Body form with arms and legs, until Landon told me he’d bury it in the backyard the minute I left the house). Like I said, I’ve been faux-shopping for a form for a while now, so I knew exactly what I wanted and this one checked off all the boxes.

Before we dive too deep into the new form, we should probably talk about my old form – a Dritz My Double (I’m not even going to link you to it, it’s so terrible). I’ve had it for a few years and it’s just really awful – extremely rickety, lightweight, and poorly designed. Every time I moved it, part of the tripod would fall out (which actually happened when I finally dragged it out to the shed the other day. FUCK YOU, DRITZ DRESSFORM). After about a year of use, the “cover” (I use this word lightly because it was really just cheap fabric glued to a plastic core) started to peel off – not to mention, it’s red. Who the hell chooses a red dressform? That shit clashes with everything. The Dritz form claimed to be adjustable, but that never really worked and it also adjusted across all size points (so, say, you couldn’t make it pear-shaped, since increasing the hip size would also make the bust and waist increase). The shoulders didn’t collapse, so getting garments on and off that thing was a nightmare. You couldn’t stick pins in it. Plus, it was ugly. Ugly forms are the worst, amirite?

So what’s so cool about this new form from The Shop Company, and why is it any better than the old one I was using? GUYS, LET ME TELL YOU.

Dressform - The Shop Company

It’s solidly built. The base is extremely heavy (which made for bringing the box inside very entertaining, I’ll have you know)(also, I’ll have to know that I literally fit inside the box because, yes, I tested. What?), so there’s no danger of it tipping over. The wheels roll smoothly, the metal skirt cage doesn’t bend, and all the little metal-looking parts are actually metal – not painted plastic. I have pinned the shit out of the cover over the course of the month, and you can’t even tell – no snags, no pin holes, no marks. I’ve used professional dress forms in the past, and this one feels pretty comparable to the almighty Wolf form – at a fraction of the cost.

Dressform - The Shop Company

Not only does it have markings to aid in draping/fitting/patternmaking, but many of them are raised (including the side seams), so you can feel them straight through the fabric.

The form also raises and lowers via a pedal at the base. Interestingly, I lowered mine as far as it will go… laughed at how short it was…. and then realized it was exactly my height o_O hahahaa whoops!

Dressform - The Shop Company

THE SHOULDERS ACTUALLY COLLAPSE. You have no idea how much this delights me! Sometimes I just stand there and snap the shoulders in and out because it’s fun as shit. Don’t judge me.

Side note: Up until very recently, I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of collapsible shoulders. Like… what are they collapsing into…? I only learned what that entailed when I was working at Muna’s and I started playing with her dressforms. So, the above image is what it looks like when you collapse the shoulders of your form. You just push them in and they snap into place. It makes getting on garments SO much easier, plus, like I said – it’s fun!

Dressform - The Shop Company

You can also stick pins in it! Not directly straight in – they have to go in at an angle (as with most professional forms; the core is still solid and unpinnable). But hey, they stick and they stay and it’s pretty awesome.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Oh, right, and it’s beautiful! I mean, seriously, look at that gorgeous dress form! It’s currently modeling my Chambray Hawthorn, but seriously, any piles of rags would look beautiful on this thing.

Old Form/New Form

I’m sure you’ve noticed me using the form since I got it – I’ve had it for about a month at this point. I waited this long to post a review because I figured the review would be much more accurate if I’d actually used it for a bit before gushing. The form actually came in while I was writing posts for the OAL, which means I switched that shit out in the middle of posts. This is actually a really good example of the difference a nice form makes when displaying your garments – check out my old form on the left, and the new form on the right. Doesn’t it make a world of difference?

Dressform - The Shop Company

The only downside I can think of to this form is that the sizing is pretty limiting. It’s not adjustable, and it’s a straight size that only goes up to a 20. However, for my size and body shape, the 2 is a pretty close match. I am of the camp that you can’t really use a form for intense fitting purposes (you’ll never 100% mimic your body with a form – and even if you do with, say, a literal body double, it still is rigid in areas that squish), so a close match is good enough for me. Of course, you can always pad out the form (I have used the Fabulous Fit system in the past, but good ol’ batting and a new knit cover will also work) if you need to add some additional curves. I use my form to display clothing, take photos, make minor fitting adjustments, help with design decisions while sewing, hang half-finished garments so they don’t turn into a cat bed, and to creep Landon out. For all these purposes, it works great.

Also – the price is pretty freaking amazing. It’s $225, which is insane for a form this nice. As a comparison – Wolf forms retail for around $850, and like I said, this one is pretty comparable. On the flip side, the cheapie ones from Joann tend to list around $260 – and while you can get a coupon to knock down the price, I’d really recommend saving your money for this nicer one. More expensive up front, but much much cheaper in the long run.

I am so excited about this new form – mostly because I actually have a legit recommendation now when people ask what kind of form I use! :) Thanks so much to The Shop Company for providing me with this form! If you’re in the market for a new form, definitely check them out – they have male forms, fully pinnable forms, creepy forms with arms, and even child forms. Something for everyone :)

What about you? Do you have a dress form? Are you happy with it? Also – what should I name my form? The old one was Dolly. Should this be Dolly 2? Help.

* Disclosure: I received this form from The Shop Company for free, in exchange for a review. I know this review sounds really gushy and biased, but I promise it’s 100% honest; the product is just that good. I was not additionally compensated for this post. Also, despite the number of links in this post – none of them are paid affiliate links. Click away, y’all :)

Vogue Patterns 2014: Fall Collection

16 Jul

I actually had a legit blog post planned for today. But then, Vogue went and released their Fall patterns for 2014. Merry Christmas in July, y’all!

Before I go any further, let me address the inevitable “WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO VOGUE OMGGG” comments:

I+DON+T+GIVE+A+FUCK_b3dd59_3577430

HA! :) Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some snarking to do ;)

V1416
Vogue 1416
Well, well! Looks like someone got a discount on that bolt of neon purple polyester satin.

Also, let this be a cautionary tale:
V1416back
If you don’t properly press your seams, you *will* end up with Vagina Butt.

V1417
Vogue 1417
Was 1373 leaving your arm in the cold? No worries, we’ve got that (and yer neck!) covered!

V1414
Vogue 1414
I was inclined to like this until I realized the top has a boob flap. Why, Vogue. Why.

V9035
Vogue 9035
I don’t get this. I understand that the designer was trying to do something funky with the seaming details, but the overall effect is that she made a bunch of mistakes and half-assed trying to fix them.

V9035
Like, look at that cuff. JUST LOOK AT IT.

V1410
Vogue 1410
Well, that just looks stupid.

V1407
Vogue 1407
This is actually REALLY cute and I can totally see Carolyn rocking the shit out of it.

V1408
Vogue 1408
Ack, I love this one too! It would look awesome with a contrasting fabric to really show off all those seam details.

V1409
Vogue 1409
So, the seamlines+color scheme+texture (I’m guessing it’s stretch velvet?) on this dress totally makes me think of a saber toothed tiger. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing. I tried to Google y’all a picture of a saber toothed tiger just to prove my point… and instead I came across this:

richard_nixon_fighting_a_saber_tooth_tiger_by_sharpwriter-d6bln06
Yes, you saw that right. That is Richard Nixon punching a saber toothed tiger.

There’s also this amazingness from the same artist. HOLY SHIT THIS GUY IS AWESOME.

Thanks, Google!

Ok, back to Vogue…

V1404
Vogue 1404
Hm, could be hit or miss.

BUT(t)…

V1404hem
The topstitched hem is pretty snazzy, amirite? High five, Vogue!

V1419
Vogue 1419
Not really sure how I feel about this one. It’s very different and I do like that. I can’t stand the sleeves, though. All I want to do is grab that underarm excess and pinch it.

V1406
Vogue 1406
Yo Vogue, your epileptic fabric choices mean I CAN’T SEE SHIT!

V9040
Vogue 9040
I just wanted to point out that, again, the wall is collapsing around her. They really should hire a building inspector to take a look at that place before someone gets hurt.

V9038
Vogue 9038
I swear to God, this is LITERALLY a rectangle of fabric with a cutout down the middle.

V1413
Vogue 1413
No, Vogue, you can’t do that – that’s just cheating.

V9029
Vogue 9029
WAY too many ruffley/dangly options, but all in all – not half bad. I’d sew it!

V9036
Vogue 9036
Way to take a really cool pattern and make it look like a throwback to the embarrassing part of the early 90s.

V1411
Vogue 1411
Whaaaaaaat! These are awesome.

V9028
Vogue 9028
Who the hell puts an invisible zipper (aka not a design element) in a knit top? What the fuck.
Side note: I just made the mistake of staring at her bun, and now I’m lost in a vortex of swirling hair. Magic!

V9031
Vogue 9031
Who draws these things, anyway? Like, who sat there and thought, “Hmm, you know what this skirt needs? LEOPARD PRINT*.”

(*y’all know I fucking love leopard print. But, as with everything good, there is a time and a place. This was not the time, nor the place.)

V9037
Vogue 9037
I am convinced that they just rephotograph/redraw this every season and call it new.

V9024
Vogue 9024
Even the model can’t figure out where the other half of her peplum went.

V9021
Vogue 9021
For me, going through the Vogue patterns from top to bottom is like browsing Netflix. The first few rows are attention grabbing, but as you go down, they get progressively worse.

V9018
Vogue 9018
Not

V9020
Vogue 9020
Even

V9033
Vogue 9033
Trying

V9042
Vogue 9042
Can we discuss how utterly ADORABLE these little kids patterns are, though?

V9043
Vogue 9043
Like, holy shit, I think they almost brought my shriveled up ovaries back to life.

V9041
Vogue 9041
And, you know… in case you forgot where babies come from, Vogue is here to remind you.

V9044
Vogue 9044
This will be very useful for those days when you have no pockets or purse and need to stash things in your hat.

V9045
Vogue 9045
Lord, Vogue, haven’t we already discussed this?

V9045bridal
Whatever. Don’t let me stop you.

In other Vogue news, I noticed that Vogue is taking notes for a future sewalong, as well as a giveaway for one of the new patterns (they didn’t ask me to promote this, btw. Just noticed and figured some of y’all would be interested!). They’ve really been pushing the social media lately and I think it’s awesome! Just, you know… keep releasing a healthy dose of wtf patterns and/or envelope with wacky styling, please. I need something to entertain me.

What do you think about these new patterns? See any you love or love to laugh at?

Vogue Sewing Patterns: Spring 2014

8 Apr

I know, I’m a couple weeks late on the new Vogue sewing patterns. I almost didn’t bother writing a review up- mostly because I think the majority of the styles are kind of meh. Like, not even good enough to poke fun at. However, there are also quite a few patterns that I actually really like and you best believe I’ll be hollering at them during the next $3.99 sale. So, while negative reviews are much more funny – let’s give credit where credit is due, yes?

V1398
Vogue 1398
A little twee with the scallops, but it’s still pretty cute. I think it would look especially nice if the bodice and skirt were in different fabrics, so it looked like a skirt+top set.

V1393
Vogue 1393
LOVE. THIS. Go look at the line drawing – wouldn’t this be awesome in navy and white cotton sateen? Or even chambray and white bastiste, if you wanted to keep it super casual.

V1395
Vogue 1395
Pretty! I even like the fabric they used – which is a first.

V9000
Vogue 9000
Vogue gets an A+ on the styling here.

V8998
Vogue 8998
GIRL YES.

V8997
Vogue 8997
YES AGAIN.

V9005
Vogue 9005
NO NO NO NO NO.

V8996
Vogue 8996
I’m starting to hate this woman because I’m pretty sure she looks good in everything.

V8994
Vogue 8994
lololol omg you guys, she ~busted out of the background~ here

V9001
Vogue 9001
This is really pretty and I want it.

V8993
Vogue 8993
I think I want this one too.

V1399
Vogue 1399
You know those mudflaps they put behind the tires of semi trucks? This dress has waist mudflaps. Someone should applique a naked lady lounging on each one.

V1390
Vogue 1390
Not too crazy about the photos here, but I could see this pattern having a lot of good potential.

V1392
Vogue 1392
You know it’s a bad pattern when the model has to contort her body to hold the shoulders up for the photo.

V1394
VOgue 1394
The potato sack with a belt!

V1396
Vogue 1396
Vogue: STILL trying to make the danglies happen.

V1402
Vogue 1402
This has got to be one of those most unflattering silhouettes I’ve seen Vogue push on a model lately.

V1397
Vogue 1397
Or maybe this one. Cute pattern, bad fabric choice. What the hell did they use – curtains?

V1400
Vogue 1400
The peek-a-boo facing is a nice touch.

V1401
Vogue 1401
I’m just going to ignore the worst of this and say: Oh, look. More danglies.

V1403
Vogue 1403
I’m merely posting this because I am fascinated by the sudden change in background.

V9003
Vogue 9003
Do you think that model is high? She looks high to me. Probably trying to numb the pain of wearing that… thing.

V9016
Vogue 9016
2005 called, they want their useless shrugs back.

V9009
Vogue 9009
I get that it’s part of the style lines, but the darts where the lapels should be just look like they are lapels that got pushed up by the wind and I want to push them back down.

V9013
Vogue 9013
I take back everything I just said about the lapels.

V9004
Vogue 9004
That crooked neckline looks like a mistake.

V9012
Vogue 9012
Wait, are these supposed to be pajamas or something you actually wear in public?

V9015
Vogue 9015
And there she is again! JUST GO BE PERFECT SOMEWHERE ELSE, GAH.

What do you think? See anything that strikes your fancy in this batch?

A Weekend in NYC

20 Mar

After a whirlwind of a weekend in NYC (landing in on Friday evening and rolling out Monday afternoon – whew!), I’m happy to report that I’m back home in one piece. Minus the piece of my broken heart that I left with Clare. Sob! But maybe I should back up a little…

Fair warning: this is a word-heavy, stolen-picture-heavy post. Feel free to scroll by – or at least to the bottom, to check out who won the giveaway! Sorry if this sounds super rushed – we cancelled our internet (in search of a new provider) and I’m trying to publish before it turns off! ~living on the edge~ and all that.

It’s been exactly over a year since the last time I visited NYC and I think it was just in time – I’ve used up nearly all my fabric, time to buy moreeee!! For this round, I shacked up with Clare in the tiniest little studio apartment I’ve ever seen, in East Village across the street from Big Gay Ice Cream (and before you ask – we didn’t get any gay ice cream. It was WAY too cold!). Neither of us had been before, but we both fell in love with the area, especially all the punk stores that made us feel old and nostalgic (not to mention kind of hilarious at how the styles NEVER EVER change. Seriously! Brands and styles that I wore 10+ years ago… that were already old as hell, even back then. Oh, punk. So punk.). The apartment was fabulous, except when our “neighbor” decided to throw a several-hour long party on one night that ended up with me laying awake, listening to some chick blather on about convection ovens until the wee hours of the morning. But, don’t worry – we woke up bright and early the following morning, and made sure to turn the TV (you know, the one that was attached directly to his wall) up nice and loud for a couple of hours :)

Our first meet-up happened right after I landed and made my way from the airport to our pad, dropped my stuff off, and dipped right back out. We had planned to get tacos & margaritas with a handful of ladies, and per usual, I made sure we were a good hour late (what? Don’t look at me like that – navigating the subway with a giant suitcase during rush hour is hard). I sat at the end of the table with Jennifer & Betsy, and an endless supply of margaritas ;) (although I hear there was some talk of fat quarter challenges at the opposite end – I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversastion, ha!).

post-dinner group

A few of our party had already peaced out by the time Carolyn convinced a rando to take this photo, but here’s a portion of the group! Look at my creepy skeleton hands, HA!

Most everyone went home afterwards, but the real badasses of the group (me, Jennifer, Lucinda & Fleur) stuck it out for another round of drinks at some fancy winebar with a creepy bathroom. Which was WAY more awesome than it sounds, ha! I love meeting up with big groups, but I also like these little smaller sets because it gives me more of a chance to actually talk to people one-on-one and have a proper conversation.

Saturday morning, Clare & I headed out to Devra’s for a pre-meetup brunch. We were only a couple miles away, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous morning and walk (and only made it about half an hour late ;)). Brunch was, per usual, fucking amazing – and although someone forgot the coffee (cough cough), Devra did make sure that we ate off paper plates this go ’round, so no dishes were broken this year :)

INSTAFRANZ  @oonaballoona @wwndw
Me with Marcy & Lisette

me!
Oh, yeah, my hair is blue now! :)

Marcy & Trice
Marcy & Trice

Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer
Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer

Amity, Nette & Kelli
Amity, Wanette & Kelli

Kelli & Peter
Peter & Kelli (in case you were wondering… her hair really looks that good in real life. Clare & I were amazed and a little jealous).

After brunch, we walked down toward the Garment District – only about a half hour late! No biggie! Ha! GUYS, I swear… I actually am pretty prompt and on-time for the most part. I HATE waiting on late people, so I try not to ever be that person. However, something about NY just makes me late for every freaking thing I try to do. Thankfully, the group didn’t get started without us – everyone was waiting patiently in the lobby at Mood Fabrics, and we were able to ride the elevators up together in a couple trips.

Should have taken this before half the meet-up left haha. Oh well! Successful day!!  (ps ladies pls tag yourselves )

This is only a portion of the crew! Didn’t think to get a group shot before we released the hounds into Mood, boo, so about half the people left before this picture was taken. Of course, I also didn’t realize that Mood closes at 4 on Saturdays… and since we all arrived after 1, that didn’t leave much time to get around the rest of the Garment District! We barreled through Mood and wreaked some serious havok on the lines in that store – I think at one point it stretched all the way to the back by the bathroom! Although I spent most of my chatting up new friends via meet-up, freaking out over the gorgeous silk button hole twist that Madalynne brought for everyone (who brings that sort of stuff to pass out at a meet-up? Maddie, that’s who!), and kicking it with my favorite Mood Dude, George. Seriously, y’all. George is awesome.

We managed to make a quick pit stop at Pacific Trimming before they closed, grabbed a bite at Ben’s Diner across the street, and posed with our favorite tailor on the street corner.

Just being adorable with @clareyszabo

The rest of the weekend, Clare and I trolled around the city with whoever we could convince to join us – Amity, Trice, Devra & Sonja. We ended up going to the Garment District three days in a row – yes, there are totally shops open on Sunday, woohoo! – where I was finally able to meet my self-imposed fabric quota. Also, we totally tourist’d it up at places like FAO Schwarz (for the live toy soldiers), Tiffany’s (for the sparklies) & Saks 5th Ave (for lurking inside the designer duds – oh yes we did).

stole these from Clareeeee

@clareyszabo and I hanging with our new BFF #toysoldiermark

stole these from Clareeeee
This may be my favorite picture from the weekend. We dipped into Chic Fabrics and made BFFz with the owner, Sam. BFFz as in we are now planning a pool party at his house on Long Island, and Clare started snapping selfies that I tried to photobomb. Sam was awesome. Almost as awesome as the fabric I bought from his store :P

One thing I would have LOVED to do while I was around, had I been given a little more time (and perhaps the weather been a bit more cooperative), was to check out the tours at Seek. I reeeeeally wanted to do the NY Garment District Tour (or, hell, all their public tours sound pretty amazing. I’m dying to try that Fifth Ave department store history tour!), but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip, due to weather and time restraints. I’ve had a few people ask for suggestions on places to visit in NY (from a tourist’s perspective), so that would definitely be the first thing at the top of my list to check out (psst! Want a discount? Use the code LLADY!). Next time I go, I am DEFINITELY getting signed up for at least one tour!

Another thing I was sad to miss was checking out Workroom Social – especially after a full night of getting my gab on with Jennifer! Again, I do want to plan a trip back in the summer, so hopefully we can make it happen!

I reckon y’all wanna see what I came home with though, huh?

fabric haul
Here’s the whole lot of fabric! I was pretty good this time around and spent a lot less than I did last year (also, hoping this can convince me to come back later this summer to restock, YES). Mostly cottons and knits, although there are a couple of pieces of silk in there.

Most everything came from Mood Fabrics, with a few exceptions-
– the chambray, plaid, and china silk came from Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th St # 11, New York, NY 10018) (our beloved Sam! GO SEE HIM and buy up allll the china silk like I did!)
– the grey/black/rust stripes and aqua with black polka dots came from Metro Textiles (Carolyn has a recent review on this place. It is really awesome to dig through, the prices are great, and I LOVED Kashi. Love love loved him. Go find him and tell him I sent you! I would have loved to spend a million hours in that store, pawing through fabrics, but we were on quite a time constraint by the time we managed to get in there.)
– the navy/white wide stripes and navy/white polka dots came from… I think Fabrics for Less? I honestly don’t remember, because I didn’t fall in love with anyone there, ha!

trims!
I also bought a few trims from Pacific Trimming. Rib knit – one with GOLD SPARKLY STRIPES, and one white stripes – and my first Riri zipper! That shit cost me $15, by the way. It better be as epic as everyone talks about.

OMG
Also from Pacific Trimming, this amazing American Flag elastic. I… what?

Speaking of Carolyn, she was kind enough to let Clare & I stash our giant stacks of luggage (I had one of those suitcases that was big enough for me to fit inside, plus an overstuffed duffel bag. All full of fabric, haha!) in her office on our last day, so we could pop back to the Garment District and get a quick Guinness before I had to leave for the airport. Carolyn mentions on her blog that she works in corporate, and she is NOT kidding – that office was corporate and swanky as hell! They had to take photos of us to even let us in, and then she gave us a tour and I don’t think we closed our mouths the entire time. And, of course, Carolyn was impeccably dressed – in handmade. Also, I just adore Carolyn. She’s like my mama bird of the sewing world ♥

One last celebration with my babez @clareyszabo

All in all, I had an amazing time. Clare was a wonderful traveling partner who felt the same way I did about every decision we encountered – whether or not we needed more coffee (always), if we felt up to walking instead of taking the subway (hell yeah we did!) and if the Garment District warranted just oneeeeee more trip before we left (what do you think?). She even brought me presents all the way from London – soo many teas, and a gorgeous African print wax fabric that I’m kind of afraid to cut into (see it in the haul photo? Bottom right!). I really did feel like I was leaving a tiny piece of my heart back there when I had to finally go home. Which just means I better haul my ass over to London, STAT!

As far as meet-ups, I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in soo many in the short time I was there (and bummed that a couple that we planned weren’t able to pan out). Everyone says this, all the time, but it’s really awesome getting to meet up with people who share the same interests as you and are happy to hear you drone on about your fitting adjustments and offer advice. Also: having met up with lots of bloggers across all channels, I gotta say – sewists are the nicest ones in the bunch, across the board! In these meet-ups, I never feel like I’m competing for a chance to talk (you know those people who you can tell are just waiting for a dip in the conversation so they can butt in and take over? Yep. Not a sewist trait, at least not with the ones I’ve met!) or carrying on about something that’s really obvious no one gives a shit about. Everyone is polite, encouraging, and happy to let you try on their jacket if you are interested in the pattern (ask Clare about that bomber jacket. I about stole it right off of her, ha!). Ohh, and we all tip well :) If you’re thinking about joining a meet-up in your area – DO IT. So much fun, so many new friends and new blogs to follow! The best part is when you can pick out who is wearing what pattern – I think there were, what, 4 Minorus at our meet-up? Too bad I left mine at home!

Oh yeah, I went there ❤️
So, anyway… New York, I ♥ U. I’ll be back, yes indeed.

One more thing – the book+pattern giveaway! Um, WOW you guys – I cannot believe the enormous response that blew my email up all week. Y’all must really love you some sewing textbooks, that’s all I have to say about that!

But, like all good things – this has got to come to an end, so let’s pull up a winner. Ding ding, who’s the lucky number?

winner1

winner2

That would be Sam L! Woohoo, congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get you your book & pattern :) I think you’ll find this book very helpful for learning all the techniques that come with making pants :)

Thanks to everyone who entered! I really really wish I had a copy of this book to give to ALL of y’all – but unfortunately, I only got one :(. If you are interested, you can purchase the book here on Amazon. As a side note (and perhaps this is better suited for a discussion post, maybe?), I noticed that an overwhelming majority of commenters seemed to be really terrified of sewing button holes and zippers. I’m going to let you in on a my top tip for learning new things: just try it! Who cares if your first attempt ends up to be total crap (err… maybe try on a scrap first, so it can truly be nbd, ha!)? That’s why we hide things at the bottom of the trash can :) Almost everything I’ve learned – seriously, everything – came from studying sewing books and tireless googling. Practicing is really the only way you can get better at something, and you need a healthy dose of fearlessness to realize that it’s really not so bad once you get going. You got this!!

Whew, that was long! Ok, I’m outta here! Have a great week of the week, everyone! :)

Vogue Patterns 2014 Spring/Summer Collection

6 Jan

The new Vogue collection can actually be summed up in one word: Zzzzzzz….

Forreal, don’t fall asleep while browsing these.

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Vogue 8972
Despite how boring this looks in the picture, it’s actually pretty great – lots of customization options for the skirt and sleeves, and it would look really cool with some fabric colorblocking. I definitely plan on picking up a copy for myself. Yay Vogue! U did it!

V1381
Vogue 1381
Hm, looks familiar

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Voge 8990
Even though it totally looks like a cross between a laptop case and a Bible holder, I gotta give Vogue props for making a handbag pattern that actually looks like something people would carry. Kind of, anyway.

V1383
Vogue 1383
Macaron with bonus danglies!

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Vogue 8987
Could be useful if you needed a sew a uniform for your boyfriend who works at a country club, I guess.

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Vogue 1379
That giant armhole looks like a portal that leads straight to hell.

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Vogue 8973
I think this might be cute, but holyeeee shit how unflattering does it look on the model??

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Vogue 8974
Seriously, are they putting forth any effort whatsoever?

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Vogue 1389
Like, this actually looks cool as shit when you look at the line drawings, but would you ever guess that from just seeing the picture?

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Vogue 8969
Apparently they’re not even trying to make the super stylized/unrealistic line drawings even look flattering anymore.

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Vogue 8970
I rest my case.

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Vogue 1385
Vagina neckline.

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Vogue 8981
This is so stupid, it’s actually making me a little angry.

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Vogue 8982
I also irrationally hate this; the asymmetrical hem just looks like they fucked something up during the sewing process. Whyyyy.

V1388
Vogue 1388
I don’t necessarily hate this jacket, it’s just confusing the shit out of me. Looks like a combination jacket and vest? Help?

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Vogue 8984
I… what.

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Vogue 8975
michael-scott-no
That gif about sums up how I feel.

So, what do you think? Anyone else fall asleep yet?

2013: A Year in Review

30 Dec

I can’t believe we’re coming up on the end of 2013! I hate sounding like an old fart, but where has this year gone? I feel like we barely reached summer and then it was suddenly Christmas! Whaaat! Anyway, I wanted to do a little round-up of 2013, because I just love reading this sort of thing. First things first, let’s look at all the garments I made –

2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell
2013... in a nutshell

I just counted those up and it would seem that I made over 86 projects/garments this year… that’s not counting the handful of double-garment posts (like when I’d make a tshirt to go with my new shorts), anything that didn’t make it to the blog (not much, but a few tshirts and leggings because, eh, boring), and stuff I made at my job that wasn’t for meeeee and therefore didn’t count.

Still… dang. That’s a lot.

If you don’t recognize anything from the last collage – it’s pieces I made for the Papercut Collective! I try to keep that stuff separate, as I figure if you wanted to see what I was making with Papercut, you’d follow that blog. Right? Right. Too much crossposting drives me nuts, haha.

Anyway, I tried to make everything up in a cute pie chart with percentages, but I apparently forgot how to count and I cannot be bothered to try again. I also would love to link y’all to every single one of the 86+ garments I made this year, but again – nope. However, you can totally lurk my closet and find every single one of my makes in there!

So what did 2013 entail for me? Let’s talk about some highlights, and… lolights (that’s not the word I want, is it?). In no particular order:

- I joined the Mood Sewing Network and my entire 2013 has been filled with the most wonderful fabrics and lots of new learning experiences – both in fabrics and garments (remember the silk Anna maxi? GOD can the weather get warm again already?!)
– I went to both NYC and Chicago and had a wonderful time in each city, with some of the most amazing people. I’ll definitely be back to both in 2014!
– I knit 8 sweaters and only one of them was a fail.
I made a bathing suit! And it held up to swimming in the Gulf of Mexico! Yes! I’m so proud of that little bugger, you have no idea.
– Another successful year of Me Made May! I had a lot of fun finding new ways to wear my handmades, but I will admit that taking daily pictures got a little trying. And May is such a long month! Whatever, I’m looking forward to it again in 2014 :)
– I found the sweetest kitten under my house and rehomed him with my brother and sister-in-law! Theodore has been renamed Mr. Kitten and he’s sooo big and handsome now – look!
My favorite crawl space kitten is all grown up now  @ttamdude
(just the cat. Although, baby brother Matt is single too. Ladiesss~)
– 2013 has basically been the year that I had to remake my entire wardrobe due to weight loss giving me a complete change in size. I got tired of feeling sad every time I opened my closet and stared at all those beautiful clothes that no longer fit, so I started selling them on Etsy. Thanks to everyone who bought something – I’m so happy to know that those pieces have a loving home, and I was also able to pay some medical bills with the money I made! As a side note, I added a few more winter pieces to my Etsy shop over the weekend, so feel free to take a look. Everything is priced to moooove!
– I wrote this post on Sewing and Time Management and it ballooned into my most popular post by far. I still get emails and comments on that post on a regular basis – I had no idea so many people would find that sort of information useful and applicable to their own lives! Feels really good to know that I can give back to the sewing community that I love so much, even if it’s a weird kind of giving back that’s just writing up a post :)
– I’ve had my Bernina for a full year now and I’m happy to say that we are just as in love as we were on day 1! I love discovering new things about my machine, and even the high cost of feet and bobbins hasn’t put me off from feeling good about the investment that I made. People ask me sewing machine advice all the time, and while I think buying a machine is a very personal choice based on budget and preferences – if you have the budget for a Bernina, DO IT. You won’t regret it :)

One elephant in the room that I need to address is my current employment. At last mention, I had just quit my job to pursue a career as a seamstress. I’m sorry to say that particular stint did not work out – we actually parted ways a couple of weeks ago. There were several things leading up to it, but the general gist was that we simply did not work well together. With as much sewing knowledge as I brought with me, I still had a lot to learn – learning how to use an industrial machine (scary at first! But of course now I miss it, ha!), learning how to sew without instructions or pattern markings, learning how to properly do alterations (I did learn, and I also learned something even more important, which is that I still fucking hate doing alterations, ahah), as well as re-learning basically everything I know about sewing. Everything that came out of Muna’s shop was sewn in a more RTW manner – i.e., linings were entirely inserted by machine, for example, whereas the ones I do are applied by hand. Which makes sense, considering you have to really push stuff out quickly to be able to make any sort of profit. But there was a problem where I wasn’t learning fast enough, because there wasn’t enough time to teach me, and what I did learn was not taught in a way that I could quickly grasp it (I’m a kinesthetic learner, plus I’m one of those annoying people who asks lots and lots of questions. Looooots of questions). The end result was that we were not happy working together, and the combined stress of everything (new job, whooooole big change for the first time in years, problems with personal time management, etc) was making me very sick. Probably even caused that kidney stone, to be honest! So we made the mutual decision to part ways a couple of weeks ago. It sucks that it didn’t work out, but I’m glad I gave it a shot and tried something new – and got out of a job that I needed to get out of (and I’m pretty sure my old bosses agree :) the girl who replaced me is really great and they’re very happy with her!). I still consider Muna to be a dear friend and a wonderful person who I look up to. We just didn’t work well together, that’s all :) And honestly, I think the timing came out quite nicely because I had plenty of days off to spend with my dad at the hospital, when he and my mom needed me the most.

I have some other employment opportunities lined up for 2014, which I’m very excited about. I probably sound like a broken record at this point because I talk about it aaaalll the time, but one thing I’m really excited to pursue in this new year is teaching! I will finally have the opportunity – i.e., downtime – to do so, and I’ve been making plans and sending emails and chatting with all sorts of people who have given me some wonderful advice! I’m still working out details as far as trying to get together group classes, but if you’re in the Nashville area and are interested in private lessons (or want to arrange a group lesson with some friends) – email me and let’s talk! I’d love to share my knowledge with you and help you improve your skills! Non-Nashvillians… do you think Skype sewing lessons would ever be a thing? Ha :)

Ok, sorry about the tangent, let’s get back to the year round-up!

My favorite things I made this year (this was soo hard to narrow down, all my handmades are like my little bayybies ok)
Orange Minoru
Nard-Dog Minoru
I wear this shit ALL THE TIME. All the time! It is a lightweight jacket, so I can’t wear it when it gets toooo cold… but that’s like 2 weeks out of the entire winter here. I love this jacket, it goes with everything, I feel cute and pulled together, and it has a hood!

Lace Trench
Lace Trench Coat
I can’t say I wear this one quite as much as the Minoru, just because it’s kind of a weird coat weight. But I love it so much and I loved working on it. It’s definitely a statement piece that I get a lot of compliments on every time I wear it – and a lot of surprised gasps when I smile and answer, “I made it.” :)

Belladone Dress
Stripey Belladone dress
Such a simple dress, but it really is the perfect Saturday dress! I probably wore this shit once a week at the height of the summer because it was just SO easy and comfortable! The cutout design at the back and the simple stripes make this dress ideal – I can ~jazz it up~ with some fun shoes and accessories or a belt, but it also looks good enough on it’s own!

Marc Jacobs Birds
Fabulous Silk Birds
My labor of love for 2013 (other than the coat, which I’m still working on… I might possibly be finished by the end of the year, but you’ll have to wait until January to see heh heh heh!). I poured so much time and research into this dress – from fitting, to learning how to deal with the fabric, to finishing, to making the matching slip. It’s one of those dresses that I know I can pull on and feel fabulous in, even if I’m having a day where I hate everything in my closet. I’d love to make more of these in a solid fabric, although let’s be honest – the bird fabric is the best part :)

Audrey in Unst
Audrey in Unst
My first knit with fingering-weight! This was kind of a big deal for me – not just a first with the fingering weight, but it was a pattern that was a bit hard to read (for me, anyway, as I tend to take everything quite literally and need things spelled out), and I also swapped out the yarn weight and added fit modifications. Happily, it all worked out and I just love how the sweater ended up!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings
Lumberjack Archer
This one is kind of a surprise me to – but I wear these pieces so much! Those ponte pants, man. I can’t get enough of them. And I love the Archer, definitely planning on more of those in 2014!

Well, that was a long post! All in all, I think 2013 was a good year! A bit trying at times – I’ve had more health problems this year than probably every before, not to mention other setbacks – but I feel so much stronger and better as a person, and more willing to take chances now that I know a fail doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world. I don’t have any specific resolutions for 2014 – except that I want to be fearless.

WHAT THE FUUUUCK omg omg omg

Here’s to a bright and beautiful 2014!

Vogue Patterns 2013 Winter Collection

11 Nov

Happy Monday, everyone! I just want y’all to know that I passed my kidney stone over the weekend (and yes, it’s a big deal, and yes, I know y’all were just sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for an update), so let’s celebrate! Vogue has graciously decided to gift us with a new season of patterns! Hope you made a strong cup of coffee for this one.

V8943
Vogue 8943
This is inoffensive, it just looks exactly like a lace dress they released a couple of years ago.

V8947
Vogue 8947
Galaxy dress, much?

V8952
Vogue 8952
Briar, much?

V8950
Vogue 8950
Ensis Tee, much?

V1368
Vogue 1368
Again, it’s not bad, but the styling is something else. A matching skirt and top set made in bright purple with tinsel running through it? Oook, Vogue.

V8951
Vogue 8951
What’s with the buttflap, tho?

V8944
Vogue 8944
Ok, THAT is cute.

V8949
Vogue 8949
Oooh, this too!

V8946
Vogue 8946
Someone pls explain to me why you would take a pattern with a million tucks and pleats and other interesting details, and make it up in the busiest fabric you can find.

V1372
Vogue 1372
For the Michelin man in all of us.

V1373
Vogue 1373
Don’t worry about the other arm, she can totally handle the cold.

V8960
Vogue 8960
Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize the ugliest part of the 90s was back.

V8957
Vogue 8957
OH GOD, THE 80S TOO.

V1377
Vogue 1377
This is probably the only time you will ever hear me say this, but this is least-worst Koos Van Den Akker pattern I’ve ever seen.

V8961
Vogue 8961
Woof.

V1378
Vogue 1378
Just being nitpicky – I don’t think that’s a flattering length.

V8953
Vogue 8953
Still being nitpicky, but this is not a winter top?

V8955
Vogue 8955
I don’t hate this, I just hate that it is PANTS. Whyyyyyy.

V8945
Vogue 8945
Nope.

V8954a
V8954b
Vogue 8954
lol, this is seriously one of the worst ones in this collection. Like, wtf is even going on here? That shit looks like a SPIDERWEB.

V1375
Vogue 1375
Hm, ok.

V1376
Vogue 1376
Vogue: Still trying to make the danglies happen.

V8964
Vogue 8964
I guess it wouldn’t be a proper Vogue photoshoot without a random shirtless man.

V8966
V8966a
V8966b
V8966c
V8966d
Vogue 8966
That’s it, I quit.

My Trip to Chicago!

7 Oct

Oops, I meant to write this post last week. Oh well, better late than never, right? :)

So, Chicago! While I was only there for a very short time (came in Friday night, left Monday afternoon), I obviously had a fabulous time – and managed to squeeze in a lot of awesome. Which, squeezing in awesome is what vacation is all about, yeah?

Untitled

I rode the Megabus from Nashville to Chicago – god bless, that shit is cheap! And not much longer than actually driving myself (without the hassle of driving, or dealing with a car when I got there. YUSSS). Megabus is awesome.

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I stayed with my friends Eliza and Brett, who were fabulous hosts (the kind who agree to do all the awful touristy things I wanted to do, like take pictures at the Bean and walk around the Viagra Triangle so I could touch the window to the Bentley dealership. It’s the little things). This picture was taken in the living room of their condo. Can we say SWANK? I felt so fancy all weekend.

Don't worry, we bought plenty of designer fabrics today @ddisciplines @itsmseliza111 @makizysews @grainlinestudio @GinaGemmel @megthegrand @zilredloh

My first order of business was to get my ass back to Vogue Fabrics to restock my dwindling fabric stash and raid their remnant section. Back up, my first order of business was to meet up with some lovely Chicago sewists at Heartland Cafe for a leisurely brunch before we descended into madness. Heartland Cafe was pretty awesome, in case you were wondering.

Vogue was, as to be expected, totally wonderful and totally overwhelming. I didn’t actually come with a set list (as my definite plans for sewing currently use up most of my stash), but I still managed to leave with a couple bags full of fabrics. Thanks to everyone who was able to come out for my impromptu meet-up! From left to right, we have Mari, my hostess with the mostess Eliza, Debbie, Jen, Gina, Meg, meeee (duh), and Liz. Such a great group, love you ladiessss!

I will save you from a boring touristy-recap post and instead go straight to the next day, Sunday – when we went to the Textile Discount Outlet! I had been meaning to visit this place when I was in Chicago last year, but it’s not open on Saturdays (lolwut), so it missed our meet-up day. Eliza, bless her, was more than willing to escort me around for fabric shopping, so I was pretty excited to experience the holy grail of cheapie fabrics in this city.

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Here I was dazzled by the wall of sequins…

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And also dazzled by a zipper that was not only taller than me (let’s be real, I’m 5’2″… everything is taller than me :P), it was also taller than Eliza! In hindsight, totally should have bought that zipper.

Fabric shopping part 2 was intense @ddisciplines @GinaGemmel @Tresbienmichell @itsmseliza111

The meet-up crew was smaller this day (Eliza is taking the picture), and still just as great! Mari & Gina tolerated me for a second day, and Michelle joined us! I really wish I had thought to sneak a picture of Gina’s shirt, btw – she was wearing a Renfrew and that V was fucking perfect. We were all admiring it, ha!

Suprisingly, I actually managed to spend more money at Textile than I did at Vogue (despite Textile being a bit cheaper). I also experienced a bit of a disconnect when I looked at prices too long – at first, $14/yard seems pretty legit (“Oh! That’s about what I’m used to paying!”), until you start getting overwhelmed with $3/yard options and then suddenly, anything over $8/yard seems like highway robbery. Anyone else get like that?

And then I took a fashion illustration class with @itsmseliza111 & @ddisciplines

Anyway, after Textile, Eliza & Mari went with me to take a short (2 hour, very informal) fashion illustration class. I gotta give Mari full credit for tracking that shit down and convincing me to go (and Eliza for agreeing to go with me! I told ya, best hostess!) – it was AWESOME. I never knew fashion illustration was something I’d get really into, but I got REALLY into it and look at my first little illustrated lady! Ahh!! Don’t worry, I’ve already gone to the art store and stocked up on watercolors and fancy paper. Anyone got a fashion illustration book they are looking to sell? ;)

A few random highlights from my trip-

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Found a gold velvet couch, fell in love.

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Walked to the Navy Pier, was somewhat underwhelmed UNTIL I DISCOVERED THE SWING RIDE.

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My roommate for the weekend :D

Bunny bomb

Who totally made himself at home on my fabric haul. The stash in general is uneventful enough where I don’t think they require individual pictures (lots of knits – sweatshirt, tissue, and sweater knits, I mean – a couple solid wools, wool-blend plaid, some lining, mehhh) – except I do want to point out that the upper right corner is a little pile of suede-backed faux sherpa (whyyyy?! WHY NOT, that’s what I said!!) and I also got a little chunk of leather (below the sherpa). I have no idea what I will do with either of these, gimme suggestions if you got ‘em!

I love Chicago and I was so happy to have a chance to travel up there for a short weekend fabric-shopping spree. Thanks to everyone who made it out to a meet-up, and for those who couldn’t – I’ll be back. Promise! I love this city!

Now if only New York & LA would cost $50 to visit ;)

I leave you with this -

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Landon sent this to me over the weekend. Amelia always sits there when either of us are showering and waits for us to get out. She’s such a creep.

I start my new job today!! Wish me luck :) Also, side note, but did you remember to enter the Draping giveaway? It closes on Wednesday!

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