Tag Archives: review

Completed: The Jenna Cardi (+GIVEAWAY)

15 Sep

In my wardrobe, I have a very small selection of RTW clothing that is quickly dwindling to nothing. Out of those pieces, the majority of them are lightweight knit cardigans. You know the kind I’m talking about – sewn, rather than knitted, lightweight enough to throw in a purse, wearable for all seasons (I dunno about y’all, but I wear my cardigans throughout the summer – air conditioning is tooooo cold for me!). As I’m quickly replacing all my clothes with handmades, the one major hole – other than undergarments (which I’m working on!) – has been those damn cardigans. I love knitting cardigans, don’t get me wrong – but those take loads of time, not to mention even the lightest fingering weight yarn can’t compete with how lightweight a knit fabric is, you know?

I’ve been on the lookout for a good cardigan pattern – not even really for the pattern itself, but rather, the instructions. Y’all, the one time I tried to sew button holes on a knit, it ended up being slightly traumatizing. Then there was that time recently that I tried to use an old RTW cardigan to copy into a handmade one (cutting it apart to use as a pattern – same concept as how I made my striped hoodie). Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out at all. Clearly I can’t hack this on my own. I need someone else to do it for me.

20121202-210149

Also, that cardigan I chopped up? As much as it wasn’t really my favorite – it was the one grey cardigan that went with basically everything. And here it was, chopped up into little bits and, uh, I kinda needed it back.

Jenna Cardi

Anyway, all that being said – right about the time I realized I was making a huge mistake (chopped up cardigan and all), Kat emailed me, saying she’d just launched her new pattern company, Muse Patterns, and would I like to try and review the Jenna Cardi?

UM. YES.

Jenna Cardi

HI GUYS, LOOK, DREAM CARDI PATTERN RIGHT OVER HERE.

Jenna Cardi

The Jenna Cardi comes with a few different options, so you mix and match to create the cardigan of your dreams (I’m not the only one who dreams about cardigans, am I?). You can choose a cropped or waist length version, sleeves ranging from full, to three quarter, to short, and then there’s also an option to include a beautiful curved yoke detail.

I’m a boring person with no imagination when it comes to wardrobe basics, so I chose something plain and simple for my first hurrah – cropped length, long sleeves. The thing about this cardigan that makes it so special, though (I mean, other than the fact that I SEWED IT MYSELF yaaaay for not buying RTW!), is the fabric I used! HOMEGIRL GOT HER HANDS ON SOME MERINO WOOL.

Jenna Cardi

Are we all still freaking out about merino wool or has that ship sailed? Whatever, *I’m* still freaking out over it! Ever since Katie started pushing it on me like an extraordinarily effective drug, I have been trying in vain to locate a US source. That stuff isn’t cheap, even in the best of times – and to ship it all the way from NZ obviously adds some dollarz to the cost.

So where did I find this golden merino ticket, you might ask? Surprise – Organic Cotton Plus, of all places! They are starting to branch out to include other natural fibers than just cotton, which is all kinds of awesome. When they asked me if I’d like to try a little piece of whatever caught my fancy from the website, I stumbled across the merino wool and, forreal you guys, my heart stopped for a nanosecond. There aren’t a whole lot of options on the site at the moment – just the black I have here, as well as a natural colorway (which I almost got, but then the idea of dying that shit seemed too overwhelming. Plus, black is so useful! Even if it photographs like crap). At $33 a yard, it is not cheap – but it’s worth it. That black merino is a whopping 61″ wide, plus, IT’S MACHINE WASHABLE WOOL. Oh, and you don’t pay NZ shipping prices! Win win!

Jenna Cardi

Having used both merino wool from Organic Cotton Plus, as well as the stuff straight from New Zealand – I can confidently say that this is pretty good stuff. It’s soft and lightweight without being see-through, it has a nice stretch and drape to it, and it cuts and sews like a dream. Wait till you see the topstitching on this baby – it’s ridiculously beautiful. Ahh I just love this fabric.

Jenna Cardi

The only downside I can think of is that it does wrinkle up a bit, as you can see in these photos (it’s not nearly as noticeable in real life – otherwise, I would’ve steamed things up before taking photos. Womp whomp, deal with it). Kind of the same thing as linen – just natural wear wrinkles. If that bothers you, you’ll want to stick to something with a poly blend. For me, though, wrinkles are an ok trade-off for natural fibers!

Jenna Cardi

Anyway, I loved my Jenna cardigan so much – I immediately made a second one!

This one is pretty boringly similar to the black merino one, except it’s longer. It’s not quite the longer version – I cropped some off for my proportions – but it does look better with the shirt I’m wearing underneath it, ha :) Instead of using merino wool, I used some wool knit that I picked up at Mood Fabrics when I was recently in the store. This stuff is less drapey than the merino – it’s almost like sweatshirting, except without a fleecy side. It’s also not machine washable, so there’s that. I’ll have to handwash it like I do all my hand knits, oh well.

Jenna Cardi

Sewing both of these was ridiculously easy, by the way. My second version took me all of 2 hours – not bad! I made the bust 32″ and took in the sleeves a bit because they were a little wide. I also had to shorten the sleeves by a couple of inches.

As I mentioned, I was pretty apprehensive about the button bands – but surprisingly enough, the button holes were way less problematic than I was anticipating! I made some test button holes – experimenting with interfacing, tear-away stabilizer, no interfacing – but ultimately went with the instructions, as I figure Kat knows more than I do when it comes to knit button holes :) The button band is stabilized with woven fusible interfacing, and it’s sewn on with a 1:1 ratio (meaning it’s not stretched at all). This gives the knit fabric enough heft to tolerate a button hole stitch without getting eaten into the bobbin area (my former experience with this sort of thing). For the black merino cardi, I also used tear-away stabilizer in addition to the interfacing. For the grey cardi, I skipped the tear-away stablizer and just kept things purely interfaced. Both worked out splendidly!

Jenna Cardi

Another thing I’ll point out is that, while these cardigans are somewhat fitted, there’s just enough ease included to keep the button bands from gaping open. Always a plus in my book!

Jenna Cardi

Jenna Cardi

I’m thrilled that they both look just as good unbuttoned as they do buttoned – which is important to me, as a cardigan-wearer. I usually button things up, but it’s nice to have unbutton options:)

Jenna Cardi

Jenna Cardi

Here are some ~extreme~ close-ups of the merino wool cardigan. Check out that topstitching! Ughhh it’s so beautiful! I did add a little more topstitching than called for in the pattern – I wanted to tie in the topstitched button bands and button holes, so I included it at the shoulder seams and along the bottom band. Plus, it’s just beautiful. Seriously.

Also, how bout them buttons? These are also from Organic Cotton Plus. I know black and brown is generally frowned upon as a color combination, but I like it :)

Jenna Cardi

Grey cardigan close-up :) Boring buttons are from my boring stash.

So what do you think – are you team sew-your-own-cardi yet? I hope so, because Muse Patterns has hooked me up with an extra pattern to giveaway! :D

Jenna Cardi

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
To enter to win your very own Jenna Cardi, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you plan on makin’! Which view? Any particular fabric? Do you have a wild card up your (cardigan)sleeve? Inquiring minds want to know! :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments a week from today, on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 7:00 AM CST. Good luck, y’all!
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

**Some disclosures now – I was given the Jenna cardi pattern from the patternmaker herself, for free, to try and review. I was *also* given the organic merino wool fabric & butons from Organic Cotton Plus, again, for free to try and review. The grey wool knit was purchased at Mood Fabrics NYC out of my own pocket. No one paid me for this post – I’m just doing it for the freebs! As always, all opinions are my own :)

About these ads

GIVEAWAY: Casual Sweet Clothes

29 Aug

I’m still not quite back into my normal routine as of now (YET – the good news is, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Yay!), so today I wanna take it easy with some eye-candy of the Laurence King variety :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

This is Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sashara, a new Japanese pattern book from – you guessed it – Laurence King. This arrived as a nice little surprise at my door recently (which, speaking of LK and surprise book, I don’t know how they manage it but they have their send-Lauren-a-surprise-book-so-it-arrives-when-she’s-having-a-bad-day shit down to a SCIENCE. It’s almost creepy how much they are on my vibe brainwaves, haha), and I really enjoyed looking at the pictures so I thought y’all would too!

I generally don’t care for most of the patterns in these sorts of books – they are cute, but not always really my style – but I see a lot of things in this particular book that I would actually like wearing! The styling is especially great – it’s still pretty sweet, but it’s not so sweet that you’re giving it the side-eye and wondering who the hell would wear that shit out in public.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

FORREAL THO. What is it about this photo? Is it the styling? Is it that the shirt is actually pretty freaking fabulous? Is it the hat (I could never pull off a hat like that)? Is it the babely model herself? I don’t know, but I want everything about that outfit on my body right now (minus the model because, guys, I already have a boyfriend ok).

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Not sure if I would wear the jacket, but it’s ADORABLE. I love the camel wool with the black bow contrast! And on the opposite page – such a pretty tank top! I have a vintage RTW dress from Mexico that’s in a similar style, and I’ve worn it so much it’s basically deteriorating. I’d love to make another one to replace it.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

If those last 2 photos were still sweet enough to give you a toothache, just know that there are some good solid basics in this book as well – like this tiered pencil skirt.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

One thing that I love about these types of books is that they offer a lot of inspiration in ways other than just the pattern itself. This dress pattern in particular isn’t necessarily something I would wear – but I *would* wear that cool lace inset in the sleeves! The book gives great instructions for adding this design element, and it would be so easy to modify an existing pattern to allow for a little lace love :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

I REALLYYYY love this blouse. Look at the cute little bows on the shoulders! Ahhh!!

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Also – this coat. See what I mean about the styling? It’s still pretty sweet (like, girl is wearing a tutu), but that coat would not look out of place in my closet.

Fun fact: this is the same pattern as the second photo (camel wool swing coat with the black bow). Just a couple small design changes – pocket, hood – plus the fabric choice make it a completely different garment! That’s another thing I love about these types of books – even if you don’t like the patterns offered, it’s pretty cool to see how the designer took the same pattern and reworked certain parts to make a completely different garment.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

My very VERY favorite part of these books are the instructions! Yesss! I LOVE the diagrams – those alone are basically artwork to me. I’m so tempted to rip them out and stick them directly on the wall, but I’m one of those people who is mortified to see books get torn apart haha.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

There are a couple small drawbacks to the patterns in this book- the sizing and the seam allowance (or, lack thereof). As with most Japanese sewing books (well, at least in my experience), the sizing is pretty limited – the largest size allows for a 36″ bust. That being said, the clothing is all very simple and relatively loose-fitting (and the finished measurements are printed for each pattern), so it wouldn’t be too hard to increase the size a little bit – or you could even find a similar shaped pattern and made adjustments (such as adding the shoulder ties to that tshirt). Or you could just use the book as inspiration, because there’s plenty of it in there! Ha! The patterns are all nested and crazy overlapped (so you gotta trace ‘em if you wanna make ‘em), and there are no seam allowances included, just fyi! Fortunately, the patterns don’t have a lot of pieces either, so there’s that!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Ok, giveaway time! :D Laurence King has generously offered a copy of this book to one lucky reader! Yess!! If you’d like to enter to win your very own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, just leave a comment on this entry and let me know where YOU like to go for eye-candy inspiration (I love eye-candy, need more in my life!). This giveaway is US ONLY and I will close the entries a week from today, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 2014 at 8:00 AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

If you are itching for your own copy RIGHT NOW, no worries, I got a discount code for ya! Use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get Casual Sweet Clothes for a whopping 35% off! This code is good through 10/1/14, so you have time after the giveaway ends if you want to make sure you didn’t win first ;) Whoop whoop! Don’t say I never did anything for ya ;)

Good luck, guys! I promise I’ll try to be back to a more regular posting schedule next week :) Also, international readers – I’ll make it up next month! Haven’t forgotten about you ♥

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 :)

Review: The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits (+ a giveaway!)

5 May

cover.indd

Y’all know how much I love sewing knits (just to reiterate: I LOVE that shit!). While knits tend to get a bad rap for being “tricky” to sew, I find them to be quite easy to fit and manipulate – not to mention, knits are worn more than any other fabric in my closet (and I’m sure most of y’all are the same way!). They’re just so comfy and easy to wear, you know?

Despite my never-ending campaigning to get people on board the Knits Boat, some of y’all are still a little scared to take the plunge. Whether you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a fabric, or if you think your standard machine can’t handle sewing on knits (spoiler: it totally can), or the techniques just seem completely foreign to your woven-trained brain – there is always room for more guidance.

Which is why I’m so excited for Colette’s newest book release – The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. Written by Alyson Clair (a patternmaker with years of experience working in the knitwear industry) and then put together Colette-style with clear photographs and easy to understand descriptions, this book is a fantastic resource for tackling knits – taking you from the different types of fabrics, to what needles and threads to use, to the difference between sergers and coverstitch machines (and how to use them – from threading to tension to troubleshooting!), to how to sew knits on a regular ol’ sewing machine (for those of y’all who don’t have a serger ;)), to fitting, to different finishes. Whew!

Although I definitely have some experience with sewing knits, I can always use more tips and ideas for branching out and discovering new techniques. This book is pretty fabulous in the sense that it’s both helpful for knit newbies *and* those of us who have a few years under our belts – I even learned a thing or two in the first chapter. The chapter Stitching and Finishing totally blew my mind, though.

Want to take a little sneaky peek? Of course you do! (psst, you can click the photos to enlarge them :))

serger roadmap

When I said there was a full section on your serger (as well as the coverstitch and standard machine), I was not kidding! There are several pages dedicated to showing you the different parts of each machine, and what they do.

threading serger

There’s also a section on threading- for both the serger and coverstitch (ohhh, someday I will have a coverstitch ♥)! Yay! So much easier to read than those little manual diagrams, yeah? :)

serging a corner

Here’s a neat little tip on how to serge an inner corner.

elastic types

Like I said, though… the finishing section is my favorite part.

decorative elastic

Inserting decorative elastic – gah, I wish I’d had this resource when I was experimenting with making my own underwear a couple of months ago. I found the elastic really difficult to sew in, which is why I stopped after one pair :) Turns out I was sewing it in the hard way, doh!

lace neckline

Stretch lace – isn’t this so pretty? I’d love to try this with the new Moneta pattern.

buying fabric

There’s also an entire section devoted to knit fabrics – how they’re made, what the different types are, what needles to use, what to look for while shopping.

Pretty cool, huh? I’m so glad I picked up this book – I’ve learned a lot just from flipping through the pages, and I can’t wait to try some of these new techniques with my next knit project.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
If you’ve made it all the way to the end- yay! Prize time! Sarai has generously offered a copy of the book to one lucky reader – it could be you! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d love to sew up in a knit – a dress? A swimsuit? Boring white tshirts? What’s your knit end goal? I’m curious :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments a week from today, Monday, 12 May 2014 at 7:00AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

For those of you who simply can’t wait and must have this book NOW, you can order The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits from Amazon or directly from the Colette website.

Good luck!

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!

DIY with Zazzle

6 Dec

Have y’all ever heard of Zazzle? It’s an online marketplace where you can create custom, well, anything, and have it printed and shipped directly to you, on demand. Not only that, but you can also upload your designs to sell and have other people buy them! Pretty neat, and pretty perfect if you love creating designs but hate going through with actually getting the design printed on anything. Ooh La Leggings Zazzle contacted me a couple of months ago to see if I wanted to try out some of their products for a review. Did I! The hardest part was figuring out what I wanted – seriously, the options are endless. You can make tshirts (with like 50+ styles and colors to choose from), business cards, coffee mugs, key chains, buttons, stretched canvases for your wall, phone cases, greeting cards, custom wrapping paper… the list goes on and on and on and on and on! And everything can be customized. Ooh La Leggings I spent about 2 weeks trying to sort through the products, and in the end I decided to go with a pre-designed raglan tshirt – the Crafty Tee! Isn’t it cute? I love the design and the fact that I could get it printed on a raglan. You can also change the colors of the raglan, but I love the simple black and white. Ooh La Leggings My only beef with this top is the sizing – the suggested sizing says I need to go up from my normal size, since it runs small. So I ordered a medium, and it was just too big :( Should have trusted my gut and went with the small, oh well! Fortunately, I have a serger and I can make shit, so one quick swipe through my machine and the fit is perfect. No bagginess! Ooh La Leggings Ooh La Leggings Keeping things relevant with the ol’ blog, I also made my leggings. I used the Ooh La Leggings pattern (my flavorite), and this amazing solid red rayon ponte from Mood. You can’t see too well in the pictures, but it has a lovely sheen to it and it’s very soft. I love these ponte leggings because they are SO comfortable, and they almost pass as pants! Especially if you tuck them into boots, ha. Zazzle Loot I still had some extra credit burning a hole in my account, so I decided to also order some tiny business cards and a custom mug. Aren’t they cool! Zazzle Loot Zazzle Loot You probably saw this mug on my Instagram, because it’s hilarious. My sewing motto (other than “I’ve made a huge mistake” haha) is “That’s steam out” (because, seriously, IT WILL STEAM OUT). I say it all the time! So naturally, I needed a mug that said it. I couldn’t think of an appropriate, non-licensed picture to include, so I just went with one that I know doesn’t have any copyrights attached to it – my tattoo! Ha! “Designing” the mug was really easy – I just uploaded my picture, centered it where I wanted it on the mug, and then added text and played around with fonts until it looked right. There are multiple views of the mug, so you can do a 360 to make sure everything is placed correctly. If I could change anything about the whole process, I would include some pre-set, standard placements to choose when you’re centering your picture and text. There is a center vertically and center horizontally, which helps a lot, but most of my mugs have the design centered when the mug is turned to the side – so it looks nice while you’re holding it. I’ve learned that choosing placement is hard when you don’t have the physical mug to look at, and as a result, my stuff isn’t quite centered. And it’s also on the wrong side (I’d say oops, but it faces me when I’m holding it sooo that’s actually kind of a good thing, maybe). Honestly, I could send this back and get it fixed (it’s Zazzle’s policy to refund or replace if you’re not satisfied with how your design turned out), but I dunno, I guess I’m lazy. This works good enough for me! I’m also happy with the quality – it’s a nice, solid porcelain (makes a fun ‘ting!’ when you hit it with your spoon, aha) and the image is very sharp with saturated colors. Zazzle Loot The last product I chose were these skinny business cards for my blog! Nothing fancy, just my name, email and blog address (plus that little pincushion because, d’awww). I forever have people asking me for my blog link when they find out I have one, and I’m forever searching for paper to write it down on. Now I can just hand them a card! And they’re so tiny and cute. I also love the package they came in – it keeps the cards safe from the dangerous land that is the inside of my purse, but it’s easy to pull a card out by sliding your thumb across the top. Ooh La Leggings Overall, I’m very happy with my Zazzle experience – everything went to print and then shipped quickly, and the ordering process was smooth and simple. I would love to create a custom printed tshirt and then work some refashioning magic on it – how fun would that be?! Plus, I think I need more coffee mugs – like this one. And ooh, check out the cool sewing tshirts – one, two, and holy shit this is hilarious. Thanks, Zazzle, for letting me test and review a tiny offering of your massive array of products! Guys, just as a head’s up – this post contains affiliate links. Meaning, if you click the link and then buy the product, I get a teeny kick-back. Just in case some of y’all hate me or something, and don’t want to contribute monetarily. No worries! Anyone else get a hankerin’ for some DIY with someone else doing the work? Have you ever ordered from Zazzle before? I think I’m in love!

edit sorry the tshirt link was bad, y’all! I updated it and hopefully it’s fixed now :) Also, I just noticed that everything on the site is 20% off – and tshirts are 50% off! Sale runs today only, so go shop your little hearts out :)

Review: 110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook

29 Nov

Hi everyone! Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you live in non-Thanksgiving land. So sorry for your loss). Mine was most excellent as I managed to eat a giant meal TWICE in once day. Before I settle into a food coma, though, let’s talk about this cute little book that I recently received!

110 Creations Book

110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook is literally, exactly what the title describes. It’s a spiral bound notebook specifically designed for us sewists – with places for notes, line drawings, etc – and there’s room for, well, 110 creations! Wanna have a look with me?

When Beth originally emailed me asking if I’d like to review a copy of the book, I’d barely finished reading her email before I had started my own reply with something along the lines of “OMGOMG OMG PLS YES GAHHHHH!!!” See, this type of book is exactly what I’ve been looking for, notebook-wise, for a few months now. Somewhere to write all my plans, notes, and LINE DRAWINGS. Sticking that shit on the wall is good and fine, but carrying it around is like a little whipped topping on the sweet cherry pie of organized sewing.

I know, I just told y’all I got this book for free, and I totally did. However, this review is totally honest, even though I am absolutely gushing. I’m not afraid to rip something apart if I think it sucks and is a waste of money. Fortunately for everyone, this shit rules.

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

When Beth sent me the book, she filled out the first few pages based on my F/W 2013 sewing plans. I love that she even wrote my name in the beginning, it’s like a real library addition now :) Of course, a few things have changed since I wrote up that post – like, I chose a new pattern for my coat, I used a different fabric for the Lola dress and the Zinnia skirt, but those can easily be changed out in the book. I mean, what’s a notebook without a bunch of scribbles and edits and doodles, am I right? :)

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

Here you can see a blank page, and a “sample” page of how to go about filling out all the blanks. There are spaces to write all the info you need – from Project Title (if you’re more creative than I am and give you projects names that contain more than just the color+pattern, ha!), to pattern/fabric/notions, to planning notes, alterations, finishes, hems, and even a place to write notes for next time. Not to mention, there’s a little croquis so you can even draw out the garment and attach a swatch of fabric for more organization. How many times have you planned a project, but forget to execute some vital part while you were actually making it up? I always leave off something – a special hem finish, some type of decorative accent, an alteration, something. With everything clearly laid out in one place, you can easily keep track of everything that’s going in and out of your project space.

110 Creations Book

Oh, there are also a few blank pages in the back, croquis-less, so you can plan menswear, children’s clothing, bags, etc.

110 Creations Book

There’s ALSO a Pattern Catalogue, so you can keep track of what you already own (if you’re a hot mess like me with hundreds of patterns and no real system for avoiding duplicates… oops)…

110 Creations Book

… a wish list…

110 Creations Book

… and even a place to keep track of when you last changed the needle in your sewing machine!

Seriously! She has thought of EVERYTHING!

110 Creations Book

I’ve had a lot of fun writing out my project plans in this book! Here you can see my coat plans, all in one place! I love all the little spaces to write notes – it’s like filling out the most fun survey ever (surely you guys agree with me that filling out surveys is stupid fun, ha). I can also see myself tweaking this to include plans for knitwear as well. Mostly because I looove planning. Ugh, it’s just so good.

The only thing I would change about this book is to make the croquis a little lighter, so the lines of the garment show better when they’re drawn on. If the croquis was sketched in grey, instead of black, it would be perfect.

If you want to see more of this book, you can read more about it here. Also, if you’re staring down that croquis and thinking, “Yep, my body does not look ANYTHING like that!”, just know that Beth also offers books with customized figure drawings.

110 Creations Book

So here’s the fun part – Beth is offering a 10% discount on this book, as well as free shipping! The offer is good through Monday 12/2. This would be an excellent holiday gift for any crafter on your list – I totally would ask for a copy if I didn’t already have one (or maybe I’ll just end up with two. Why not!).

You can buy your copy here for $13.49 (marked down from $14.99, and again, free shipping!). There is also an ADORABLE smaller size (6″x9″ ee!), although it’s not 10% off since it’s a pretty new release.

So what do you think? Are you the type A who salivates at the thought of having ALL THE PLANS, ALL IN THE SAME PLACE? Is this book just appealing so hard to you right now?

One last thing before I peace out for the weekend – I noticed that a LOT of places are running some pretty epic Black Friday specials right now, so if you’ve got your Shopping Hat on and are looking for a few discounts to sweeten the deal, check these out -
Papercut Patterns is running 15% off ALL patterns (through Monday 12/2)
Mood Fabrics has 20% off all fabrics through end of today (through Friday 11/29)
A Fashionable Stitch has 25% off the entire shop, use the code THANKS2013 (through Saturday 11/30)
Grainline Studio is offering 20% off the entire shop, use the code GIVETHANKS20 (through Monday 12/2)
Colette Patterns has 20% off the entire pattern shop (through Friday 11/29)
Victory Patterns is 30% off all paper and PDF patterns, use the code happyanny (through Friday 11/29)
Disparate Disciplines has a fun Black Friday sale – get a free $5 gift certificate for every $10+ gift certificate you buy (through Friday 11/29; after that it’s $5 for every $20+ gift certificate you buy through Monday 12/2). She just released a new Mitten pattern that is SUPER adorable – and 15% off, to boot!
Sleuth Patterns is 30% off your entire order, use the code BLKFRIDAY (through Saturday 12/7)
Christinie Haynes is 20% everything in the shop (plus she is donating 10% of every sale to the LA Regional Food Bank! Awh yeah!), use the code thanksgiving (through Monday 12/2)
She’ll Make You Flip has 20% off your entire order, use the code LLADYBIRD20 (through 12/31) (Ok, this isn’t a Black Friday deal – just a sponsor deal! – but I thought I would mention it anyway$)

Wow, that list got way longer than I meant it to! Happy shopping, I guess, ha! Let me know if I missed any good sales – I know there’s a lot out there today!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,266 other followers