Tag Archives: sewing room

Me-Made-May ’14 – My Pledge

18 Apr

MMM14logolarge

Hey everyone! Have you heard that Me Made May is open for 2014 and currently accepting pledges? Woohoo!! I admit, MMM is one of my favorite parts about keeping a blog – while taking daily photos can be a huge pain at times, it’s a wonderful exercise to keep myself on my toes as far as actually using and wearing my handmade wardrobe. Although the majority of what I wear is handmade anyway, I like this opportunity to find new ways to wear outfits and bring out old pieces that I may have otherwise forgotten about.

ha!

I’ve been thinking about my pledge for the past couple of weeks. Although I tend to wear mostly handmade (I rarely, rarely buy new clothes – they are usually thrifted, and even then, I’ve been slowing that game down dramatically – and try to make everything that enters my wardrobe), my supply is dwindling thanks to my ever-changing body. After swapping out my summer clothes and trying on everything, it’s pretty apparent that I’ve got a lot of wardrobe gaps that need to be filled asap. So, with that being said, I am modifying my pledge to suit my current closet statistics and try to keep things realistic.

‘I, Lauren of LLADYBIRD, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2014, with no 100% outfit repeats.’

Last year, my pledge was no outfit repeats whatsoever. Y’all, that was hard. I quickly learned throughout the month that there are lots and lots of pieces in my wardrobe that simply don’t get worn anymore for whatever reason – either I don’t like the style on me, I don’t care for the fabric, or the fit is off (this is the main offender – the fit was good when I made it, but my body has changed and now I’ve got some glaring fit issues in many of my older garments). As a result, nearly every single one of those pieces ended up in the donation pile. I love the freedom of having an empty-ish closet that is no longer holding stuff I don’t wear hostage – but it also makes things a liiiiitle difficult when you’re trying to plan an entire month of only wearing handmade! Especially when you can’t dupe an outfit. So for 2014, I’m allowing myself partial outfit dupes – as in, I can wear the same dress during the month, but it must be accessorized/shoed/jacket’d differently. Hence the no 100% repeats. I think this is still enough of a challenge for me to really stretch myself, as well as find some wardrobe gaps to fill while I’m at it. I’m excited!

I call this look ~2nd Grade Teacher Chic~ ✏️

If you’d like to participate in Me Made May, you can view all the info here on Zo’s blog. If you just want to watch from the sidelines, I’ll be posting my daily outfits in the Flickr pool, as well as on my own Instagram. As with prior years, there will be a weekly round-up post every Friday in May. Expect to see lots of mirror-shots like the one above :P

As a side note, I recently got a new phone that includes a panoramic camera (say what!) (yeah, y’all, I’m behind on the times). As I’ve been working on updating my sewing room – to remove clutter, reorganize what I’m keeping, and include an actual desk so I stop camping out at the dining room table – I jumped at the opportunity to take some giant, poorly lit shots. What do you think?

Sewing Room

Sewing Room

My sewing room is totally my happy space ♥

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“How Do You Find The Time To Sew So Much?”

14 Aug

One question I get asked a LOT – in comments, emails, tweets, real-life conversations, you name it – is how I manage to churn out all these garments at a seemingly rapid rate. Apparently, “Uhhh, idk I guess I sew fast lol” isn’t a satisfactory answer, and after one too many gentle nudges from various people, I think it’s time to unleash a discussion post!

happy dayz

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have any of the following:
– A Vampire’s need for sleep, or lack thereof
– A collection of enslaved sewing elves tucked away in my sewing room
– A machine that stops time
– A job that lets me sew all day (but, I mean, if you want to offer me one…)

Guys, I work a full-time, non-sewing related job. I go to bed at like 10pm. I don’t have kids or a particularly needy boyfriend, but I do hang out with my friends, I ride my bike, and sometimes my after-work schedule means I don’t sew at all for an entire week. So where does the time come from?

Well, for one, I do sew fast. I’m sorry, but I just do! I’m very comfortable with my machines and most techniques I use, which means a lot more sewing and a lot less unpicking. I also just tend to do everything fast (people are very amazed when I join them for lunch and inhale my sandwich in less than thirty seconds), so don’t be discouraged if you’re not ol’ Speedy at the machine.

queue

Another big one is that I always have something in the works – once I finish a project, I immediately start the next one in my queue. The queue changes around based on current needs/wants or if I get a shiny new pattern that week… but the point is, I have a queue. Speaking of which, I found the easiest way to keep the queue in check is to pull out the patterns I plan on sewing and store them separately from the rest of my stash. On the front of each envelope, I pin a little swatch of the fabric I plan on using (see above photo). Much easier than yanking off the whole yardage and piling it on the table with the patterns… which was what I was previously doing. Anywaaaay, back to what I was saying – I literally work projects back to back to back. This means that during weekends where I have a couple marathon seshs in a row, I could easily end up finishing 2 or 3 projects – or even more, depending on how simple they are (knit tshirts, I’m looking at you). Obviously, I don’t want to post them all in a row – I think you guys would get real bored of my face real fast – so I try to spread them out a little. This is not always the case when I’m posting like I’ve got a fire under my butt, but a lot of times it is. Sometimes those Finished Objects are kind of old!

I know this is a sewing blog, but I want to point out that I also do this with knitting. What can I say – I really love knitting, I don’t want to *not* have a project in the works (same with sewing)! Not having any creative downtime may make me sound like I’m working some kind of bizarre sweatshop with horrible self-imposed deadlines, but honestly… I just really love making things, and I feel lost if I don’t have a WIP that I can tinker around with at any given time.

So anyway, here are some tips that will [hopefully]help you accelerate your sewing progress.

sewing room

#1: Have a Dedicated Sewing Space

I realize this leaves out a lot of people as not everyone can afford to set aside an entire room – or even an unused corner – dedicated only for sewing. That sucks! I’m lucky that I have the space (and I make enough money/live in an inexpensive enough area where the second bedroom is totally a dealbreaker when looking for places to rent), but I know not all of y’all have that kind of luxury. However, this is single-handedly the #1 reason why I can get so much done – I don’t have to spend half my time setting everything up and then later taking it down. My machines have their own tables and they are always plugged in, my ironing board never gets folded and stored, and my cutting table does not work part-time as a dining room table.

stash

Having a dedicated sewing space means that I can indulge in my favorite part of sewing (other than the sewing itself): STASHING. Wooohooo I love my stash!! Actually, my stash has shrunk considerably this year (this happens when you stop adding to it and start sewing from it!), but, it’s still a stash. My pride and joy when it comes to stashing isn’t actually my fabrics, though – it’s my stash of notions, trims, interfacings, linings, and all those other little sewing goodies that make you stop in the middle of a project because you don’t have one on hand. I won’t say I have enough stuff on hand to open a store, but I do have a lot. You don’t have to break the bank to build up a supply – just buy a little extra something or two when you go to the fabric store. For a few months, I concentrated on serger thread – I bought 4 spools of whatever color every time I stocked up on fabric. Eventually, I had every color of the rainbow – without having to drop mad $$ on it all at once. Most of my trims and zippers come from ~vintage~ stashes – the flea market, thrift stores, yard sales (I have friends and parents of friends who keep an eye out for me, too!) – which, if you’re not shopping on Etsy, old sewing supplies are practically given away. I have so much shit in my stash, I can make entire outfits without leaving the sewing room to stock up on something.

Obviously, pointing this out is not going to magically grant everyone access to their own sewing room (I wish!), but I do want to point out that this does give me quite a sexy leg up on the competition.

happy dayz
#2: UFOs Don’t Exist in My World

Ah, UFO – or, Unfinished Objects (altho if you want to talk about aliens, I’m down for that too), the bane of most sewer’s experiences. How many times have we started something, only to shove it in a box when something with a little more sparkle catches our eye? Guys, I know it is tempting to embrace your magpie tendencies – but it is murder on your productivity! Starting up a project takes precious time – from determining your chosen pattern and fabric, to cutting and marking the pieces, to all the boring pre-work like staystitching and fusing interfacing… and we haven’t even gotten to the actual construction! What is the point of wallowing through all that, just to set it aside and start the process over again? Not to mention, I’ve noticed a lot of people who tend to pile up UFOs rarely stop at just one.

To me, UFOs just contribute to wasting time. It’s one thing to set something aside if it’s frustrating you, but you shouldn’t make a habit of picking up a new project and starting over, because it can quickly get out of control. I made peace with myself a long time ago and decided to eliminate the UFOs in my sewing room and finish every.single.project, even if it killed me. Sometimes it does make me want to destroy things – but I soldier on and finish that fucking garment. Occasionally, it actually speeds me up because I’m so desperate to finish and move on to the next shiny object. So maybe in a way, it’s kind of bad for my productivity since I occasionally will find myself cutting corners in a desperate attempt to just be done. But on the flip side – I don’t have those half-sewn pieces creeping around my sewing room (is it just me, or do they nag at you and make you feel all stressed and sad? Say it’s not just me!), and I have a finished object to show for it! Yay!

muslin
#3: Make a Muslin

I know, it’s like toootally contradictory. When you’re short on time, ain’t nobody got time for a fuckin muslin. This is NOT even true and all of us need to collectively reprogram our brains, like, now.

Besides obviously avoiding the trauma of spending your time on something, only to discover it doesn’t fit – muslin-makin’ is also good for increasing your speed, as it will give you a chance to practice a little on the garment before you start hacking into the good stuff. This means you will spend less time pulling your hair out over the instructions – because, dude, you already did this! – and less time ripping out your seams when you inevitably made a mistake due to sucky instructions. I also feel pretty confident, post-muslin, in that I know the garment will fit (since I basically already tried it on), which means less futzing with the fit during construction-time. Of course, I do fit-check throughout my sewing process (and you should too!), but it’s one thing to put half a bodice up against your chest to ensure things are coming along smoothly, and quite another to suddenly discover you cut the wrong size… halfway through.

One point I do want to make is that muslins do NOT take a lot of time to put together, especially if you speed up the process. Unless the skirt is something that needs to be fitted, I generally only sew the bodice. I do include a sleeve, but only one. I sew all my seams with a long stitch so I can quickly rip them out if I need to (and it pushes through the machine faster). I don’t bother with facings, collars, or buttons, although I do baste in a zipper. Also, this should go without saying, but once you make a muslin and get your fit down, that’s it! You can churn out multiples of the same pattern and skip the muslin.

happy dayz
#4: Sew Whenever You Have A Chance

I’ll admit, this is probably gonna be real rough for those of you who don’t have a dedicated sewing space :( But I do think it’s important to maximize your time – so what if you only have 20 minutes to spend cuddling your sewing machine? You could use that 20 minutes to stay stitch some curved seams! Mark your pattern pieces! Thread your machine and decide what buttons you want to use this time! Skip ahead of your pattern and assemble the collar! The point is, there is SO MUCH that you can do in small chunks of time, so don’t waste it by subscribing to the thought that you *only* have x amount of time to do anything – think of it instead like you have enough time to sew your bodice darts, or prepare your sleeves to get set in, or whatever.

This is pretty dorky – and y’all are totally going to make fun of me for this – but I actually get a lot of my little sewing bursts done in the morning, before I go to work. I don’t necessarily get up any earlier than I need to (although sometimes I do, ok, sorry I’m a dork!), but sometimes getting ready doesn’t take as long as I need, so I try to utilize that time in my sewing room instead of just chasing Amelia around the house for 20 minutes. I set a timer on my phone so I KNOW when I have to drop everything (the timer is important, you don’t want to get carried away and make yourself super late!), and I actually listen to it when it goes off. I don’t try to rush myself – if I only have 10 minutes and I only get some stay stitching done, who cares? That’s one less seam I have to stay stitch when I get home, awesomeee!! Which brings me to my last point…

cat
#5: Enjoy It!

I treat sewing the same way I treat a bicycle ride – I’m doing this because I enjoy it, not because I’m in a hurry (if I was in a hurry, I’d take my car. Or shop at H&M. Whatever!). When I catch myself trying to rush through the process, I force myself to stop and slow down. Sometimes this can be hard because I’ve basically ingrained it in my head that I HAVE to post new stuff every week, and oh god people are going to stop reading my blog and the world will end and ughhh… but, you know. That’s not true. I’m sewing because I love the entire process, not just the finished piece (although that’s a nice bonus, let’s be real). In my experience, rushing only leads to stress, tears, and a lot of fuck-ups. Stop, take a breather, and just slow it down. It’s fine. I promise.

Anyone else have protips to share for increasing your sewing output? I’m still stuck on the couch and I’m bored as hell… let’s have a discussion!!

Introducing – My New Sewing Room!

24 Aug

I should really call this a sewing studio – it’s a HUGE room! Huge, I tell you!

Let’s back up a little. When I last left off – three freakin’ weeks ago, eeeewww! – I was still living in a sorry state of moving purgatory. You know what I’m talking about – everything is packed except one of each dish, getting anywhere requires maneuvering around piles of boxes & there are weird outlines on the wall where artwork used to hang. Pretty depressing living situation, if you ask me! We actually did not move until the end of that week, on the 10th. And lucky me – the power company refused to turn our power & water on until the following Monday, so we spent a couple of nights sleeping on the mattress in the middle of the old bedroom (I can handle living a couple of days without one or the other, but not both!). Then there was a full week of unpacking – and I refused to let myself do anything fun until the house was put together (mostly because I know me, and I know it’ll never get done otherwise. Hey, at least I’m honest haha).

Then my old landlord called & said the paint colors in the house were all wrong, and I needed to paint them back. Not wanting to spend $200+ on neutral paint, Landon & I went to Lowe’s & bought out all their OOPS paint, mixed it all together in a 5 gallon bucket & crossed our fingers. The end result was something that closely matches my flesh haha. So I had a painting party with a few awesome friends, PBR, pizza & 90s jams. We knocked out 3 rooms in about 2 hours and told ghost stories and yes, it was as fun as it sounds. And I just found out yesterday that I’m getting my full deposit back! Yay! Money!

So now let me show you my new sewing room!

Sewing Room
Standing in the doorway – aren’t the hardwoods gorgeous?! Unfortunately, this room doesn’t get as good natural light as the bedroom does. Pretty sure I’ll manage ;)

Sewing Room
Turning just a bit, my sewing & ironing stations.

Sewing Room

Sewing Room

Sewing Room
There is actually a closet & more wall that I’m not showing; Landon still hasn’t unpacked all his clothes so I’m not going to show that section because it’s a MESS. Instead – cabinet! Patterns & books & yarn, yay!

Sewing Room
I edited down my stash a bit before I moved, but I still have a metric shit ton of patterns. They are organized by garment type, fyi.

Sewing Room
Speaking of things I have a metric shit-ton of – fabric!!

I forgot to take detail shots, sorrrry! Here are a couple of close-ups:
Sewing Room
Hanging space for rulers & scissors & things that strike my fancy.

Sewing machine art
Have I posted this yet? I made this using an old frame (25¢, painted mint green), a fabric remnant & a sewing machine charm. It makes me so happy haha :)

Some notes on the sewing room, if anyone is curious.
– The cutting table is the Norden Gateleg (Ikea). It is on wood blocks because it’s a tad short for cutting. Eventually I’d like to buy castors, but those fuckers are expensive!
– The fabric shelf is the 4×4 Expedit (Ikea)
– Pretty much everything else (glass cabinet, sewing table, shelves, chairs, even the ironing board) was either thrifted, dumpstered, or a hand-me-down.
– The wall color is Behr Mint Majesty – my landlords painted it for me, but I got to pick the color woohooo!

Here are some other bits & pieces of my house, for those of you who want to be nosy without actually admitting to it (hey, no shame, I’m the same way :B)
Living Room
This is the living room (I’m standing by the front door). I am looooooving these hardwood floors, even if they do make my feet filthy at the end of the day.

Here is an Instagram pic of the other side of the plant:
This is the only part of the living room that is finished haha
Someone asked me the other day if the dude bust was Jesus with his hair blowing – I WISH!

His name is Saul.
His name is Saul, actually.

Living room
This is an ugly picture (I need to hang that mirror, haaa), but I’m including it so you can see the layout of the house. The turquoise doorway is my sewing room (!!), that’s the dining room straight through, and then the kitchen is farther back. The bedroom door is on the other side of the wall.

Dining Room
Here is the dining room! The table/chairs (their matching hutch is in the previous picture) & the curtains are from the flea market. There is a pile of stuff in the floor because Landon’s desk is out of the frame; he’s still organizing that mess so I cropped it out of the picture. Oh, and the lady on the wall is not Marilyn Monroe :)
I don’t really care for that wall color, but it does go well with my curtains.
Sorry about all the bandannas everywhere. Wtf is up with me & bandannas?

So that’s it! I’m really loving my new house – and new neighborhood!! – and I’m looking forward to actually being able to start sewing again. It’s been too long! I just started a new project last night, actually-
REUNITED AT LAST ❤
Good stuff!

a new sewing room for LT!

12 Sep

sewing room eye candy time!

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yes, that is very much a duran duran poster on the door.

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i feel like everyone has an ikea expedit at this point. gah, it’s so handy for storing fabric & patterns! don’t plan on it ever leaving the room, though. i’m actually really surprised this thing survived another move, tbh.

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it is a *very* small room, so getting the furniture in was a bit of a challenge. i had to forfeit my white serger table for lack of space… not sure if i’m too keen on keeping both machines on one table, but oh well! we all make sacrifices sometimes.

the paint is “refreshing pool” by behr, i had it mixed into glidden paint (NEVER AGAIN.) it is very blue-blue in these photos, but it is a definitely tiffany blue in real life. very pretty, i love it so much!

because i was feeling super crafty yesterday, i swatched out the fabrics i want to use for my fall/winter sewing:
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sorry ’bout the giant piece of boning. that piece of leopard print is over 5 yards! DUDE. what should i make with it??? it’s very drapey & flowy. and five yards.

and because i feel so gushy & lovey for my new house…
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my kitchen :)

the paint is “tropical bloom” by valspar, the cabinets are “vibrant white” and i really really love back to the future.

many of these supplies purchased using these home depot coupons.

lladybird summer 2011: done!

28 Jul

just finished the rest of my stuff for lladybird’s summer 2011 line and i feel gooooood. like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

here is the last piece to be photo’d (not the last piece made, but i realized i forgot to take a picture!), plus a quick recap:
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my sewing room

24 Jan

y’all, i am a total, shameless lurker. show me a blog/website/picture album that allows me to peek into someone’s home and i will sit there for hours and investigate every nook and cranny. in that same note, i absolutely love sharing pictures of *my* home, for all the other lurkers on the internets. i spend a lot of time decorating – and redecorating, and redecorating – my house, especially my sewing room. i loving having a beautiful and clean room to keep all my sewing goodies in. it’s so inspiring!

i did a little reorganizing over the weekend and took a few pictures to share :) sorry these aren’t the best – i took them at night, so i had to use the flash. y’all wouldn’t want to see out the windows in daylight, anyway. it’s so gross and wet and cold and there are straggly patches of snow hovering in the shadows. GROSS.

lots of pictures after the jump!
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