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Sewing Studio Tour: 2023 Version

23 Mar

I just realized I’ve been in my house for 4 years now, and I never shared my studio space!

A little background before we dive in: I own my house, and it was built in 1958. It is considered a 3 bedroom, but the rooms are very small. My studio is about 10’x11′, so every square inch definitely counts. It’s not the smallest room I’ve worked in, but it is certainly a top 3 contender! Eventually, I plan on building out and moving my studio outside of the main house (whether I build an entirely separate/detached structure in the backyard, or simply add on to the existing house – I haven’t decided yet!), so this is technically “temporary.”

I’m not going to go into full detail about all the various pieces of furniture and storage in this room – I’ve talked about it extensively over the years on this blog, and you can find all that info in my last studio tour post. That post includes links to all my past studio tour posts, and a huge section of links that discusses all my furniture (including the cutting table). Short answer: Almost everything is from IKEA, and if it isn’t from IKEA, it’s likely from the Nashville Flea Market. Any questions you have about anything in this room that are not answered in this post, are answered in that post I linked so please check it out!

Anyway, I recently rearranged the room a little so I took some photos and I’m going to share them with y’all today!

This is the view when you first walk into the doorway. Like I said, it is small! You can see almost the entire space from this viewpoint. To the left (the wall behind the shelf), there is a closet that is directly in front of the door when you walk in.

Here is the closet. You can see the entrance to the left (black door) and now the room is behind me. I’ll be honest – having a closet directly in front of the door is nice in terms of leaving lots of good available wall space in the main part of the room, but that closet shape sucks!! It runs super deep, and is hard to get to anything stored in the back. I can’t even imagine what it’s like when there are clothes hanging in it. I had a free standing shelf in here, but it was too hard to get to the back and that space ended up wasted. So earlier this month, I installed shelves in the deep part. I just used plywood and 2x4s from the hardware store, nothing fancy! The clothes rod is still up, so I can hang clothes in the empty side (useful for holding client’s pieces waiting to be altered or picked up). I also installed several hooks in the wall, to hang bags, etc. The top shelf holds sewing machine cases, my on-set tailor kit (basically a second set of sewing supplies so I don’t have to repack whenever I’m called on set), and my jeans samples. The empty space between the entrance and the closet has tension rods, and I use simple curtain hooks with a clip to hang the PDF patterns that I’m currently using. Eventually, I would like to move the closet entirely (knocking down some walls and adding to the laundry room – which is next to the back closet wall, etc) but this works for now!

Here is the wall next to the entrance! Here I have my desk + computer (I finally upgraded to a desktop and WOW WOW WOW don’t think I can ever go back to a tiny laptop screen lol), and a small drawer unit that holds various office, art, and tech supplies.

The corkboard to the left of the desk holds swatches of all the fabrics on my shelves, I swap these out based on what I plan on sewing for the current or upcoming season. And the dress form lives next to my desk now because there is literally nowhere else for her to go! I just roll her out of the way as needed. FYI that pink desk chair is from Wayfair.

Next to my desk is my newest sewing machine (and the reason I had to rearrange this room)- a Consew chainstitch machine! This is new – I purchased it in January, and I’m deep in the throes of learning how to use it. The table is 48” long, so it took some creative maneuvering to figure out how it would fit in this space. Eventually I’ll hang spools of thread in that empty white wall behind it (or move that corkboard and put the spools there), but I gotta order them first 😇

Next to the chainstitch is my ironing station. I use a kitchen cart, padded at the top to make an ironing board. The drawers hold interfacing and pressing tools, and the shelves hold baskets with cut projects. With a small space, it’s importantly to utilize what you can so I prefer this over a traditional ironing board, since it has shelves and drawers. My scissors and pressing supplies are hung from tension rods on the side of the shelf.

Next to the ironing station is a shelf, with all my sewing books and a drawer unit that holds trims and elastics. I also keep my thread here on racks. And one of those white boxes holds my entire yarn stash (yes, the entire thing! I don’t stash a lot of yarn!).

Then we have the main sewing table, which is about 5’ long. It’s the Husky Workbench from Home Depot; I swapped this out from my old tabletop (from IKEA). It is much sturdier (absolutely no bounce), the height can be raised or lowered, and the entire thing is on castors so it can be rolled around. If I need more cutting space, I can remove the machines, raise the height, and roll it next to my cutting table for a double space. I added the small drawer on the left (underside) – that’s from Amazon. The drawer unit next to the table holds all my sewing supplies – machine supplies, notions, specialty threads, snaps, buttons, etc. And the male dress form on top is actually a shop mannequin, I grabbed it when the shop I work at was changing their floor mannequins. It’s not a true dress form for fitting, but is useful for taking photos, measurements, or designing. I do a lot of sewing for male clients and this works way better than my lady form!

BTW you may have noticed my lack of chairs – I didn’t take any out of the room for these photos, I really just have one small stool! I realized I didn’t like having chairs with backs – I never sit back and use the back support, instead, it gets in the way when I’m doing a lot of moving around. I had this little folding stool that works great. I need to buy more, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I don’t even miss having wheels – they always got thread rolled up in them.

The wall next to the sewing table is just a long line of shelves! My fabric occupies a couple shelves (I keep the rest stored in my attic – check out this instagram post for the full run down), and the boxes hold specialty fabrics (lingerie, lining, scraps, etc) and notions (mainly bra making supplies). More info on that storage system can be found on this instagram post. Finally, I keep extra sewing machines on a couple of the shelves. I have a lot now and they don’t all fit on the table! I keep the plugs at the table (I installed cup hooks along the wall below the big window so they have somewhere to hang when they aren’t being used) and I store the pedals/knee lifts/and freearm tables in one of my white drawer units. This way, it’s really easy to swap the machines out. I will acknowledge that my cord system behind the table is GNARLY looking – and unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to hide them while also having regular access to them (I take my machines on set pretty frequently, so I need to be able to access the cords and hiding them would make that 10x harder!).

Speaking of machines – because I know someone will ask! – I have a Janome HD9 straight stitch, a Pfaff 7570, a Bernina 350PE, a Bernina 930 Record, a Janome coverpro 2000cpx cover stitch, a Babylock Imagine serger, a Babylock Evolve serger/cover stitch combo, plus my Singer Featherweight (on a wall shelf on the opposite wall) and the aforementioned chainstitch. It’s a lot! I don’t have a favorite – I love them all!

The last big piece in this room is my cutting table. I won’t go into detail about how I built it – it’s all IKEA pieces and again, I wrote about it extensively in the previously linked blog posts. But I recently filled in the empty center with more shelves (built with sanded plywood, and attached with metal brackets to the undersides), and I lifted the tabletop using wood blocks (2x4s that I cut and then glued 2 together to make a block, then attached to the top of the unit with metal brackets and some shims as needed). The narrow space is big enough to slide my cutting mats and rulers out of the way when I’m not using them, and just tall enough to hold the bowl of sewing tools I usually keep on top of the table. I wanted to be able to quickly move things out of the way when I need a big flat surface for cutting, without just moving them to another table area (where inevitably it’s still in the way!). I am REALLY happy with this edit! That short little shelf space is SO useful!

Here’s a close up of the block lifts. It took me a long time to figure out how to do this – I didn’t want to glue them to the table, because then they’d be permanent. So I used brackets to screw the blocks to the table and the tabletop. It is sturdy and – very important – can be taken down if I need to disassemble the table (it actually can’t leave the room without being disassembled, due to the angle at the entrance and the width of the hallway outside the door). It’s not very pretty, but I don’t care. I’m a seamstress, not a carpenter!

I don’t have a good photo of what I store under the table, but it’s basically everything I used to keep in the closet. Small boxes with craft and art supplies, sewing pattern storage supplies, boxes that hold big patterns (Vogue, Papercut) and binders to hold PDF patterns. I keep my other sewing patterns in boxes inside the closet, along with my printer. There’s more info in my pattern storage in a previous blog post, or check out this Instagram post.

Here are some more photos of things in the room, just because!

Fun fact – I won that big trophy in “beautiful baby” contest in 1985 LOL

Another fun fact – that framed photo is me at 14 and it’s just as hilarious up close as it is from far away. I have on fuzzy purple zebra pants and mismatched socks! Hoorary for the late 90s!

Anyway, that’s my studio tour! Like I said, it’s a small room – but I feel like I made a pretty good use to the space! Since the cutting table, sewing table, and chainstitch are all on castors, it’s also a little modular – I can roll things around as I need them (and also just *barely* fit a queen sized air mattress in the room for when I have guests over!). I really love this room – it gets beautiful light and honestly it just feels good in here. I’m excited for my future studios, but perfectly happy to sew in this one, too 🙂

I’ll leave y’all with one last photo – my mom’s boyfriend made this for me for Christmas last year. He was inspired by the letters hanging above my sewing machines 🙂

I Donated Bone Marrow – This Is My Story

14 Jul

Good morning everyone! Today I want to veer way off-topic and share with y’all something very non-sewing – which is my recent bone marrow donation!

Before I go any farther, I do want to address the question that I have been asked the most – “Doesn’t donating bone marrow hurt really bad?” The short answer is, nope! I realize that “painful” can mean different things for different people – pain is subjective and we all have different tolerence levels! – but for me, I experienced very minor, very manageable pain (all post-procedure), no worse than the soreness you experience after exercising for the first time after a long hiatus. I believe the procedure was painful in the past, but that has not been the case for a long time. There are two ways to extract the marrow – one is surgical, one is not. You can read more about those here on Be The Match.

I initially wasn’t planning on sharing this story on my blog at all. However, the staggering amount of misinformation I’ve come across (primarily from well-meaning friends when I told them what I was up to) has led me to believe that it would be a disservice not to use my platform to share my own experience. A lot of the information you may know about donating bone marrow is out of date, or simply not true. I would, of course, encourage you to do your own research as well – but if one person signs up for the registry as a result of this post, and maybe even is found to be a potential match…. That’d be pretty fucking rad.

Anyway, moving on! I have been on the bone marrow donor registry (via Be The Match) since 2009, but wasn’t contacted until earlier this year. Lots of people who sign up for the registry and may never get the call. I honestly had forgotten about it; it’s been 12 years! I joined the registry by requesting a kit, which was mailed to me. I swabbed my cheek and mailed it back. I did not pay for anything. When they contacted me this year, it was via email with a request to call for more information. I spoke to a rep who answered all my questions (I probably asked her the pain question LOL) and once I agreed to proceed they put me on standby while they looked at other options to determine what was best for the patient.

Not gonna lie – getting the call and being told I was the “best possible option” kind of felt like I won a prize. Me! I’m the best! Hell yea!

The process leading up to the donation did not require too much of my time or effort on my end. I was assigned a rep who went over the procedure and everything with me, answered all my questions, and was my point of contact for everything related to the donation. My rep had actually donated marrow herself so she was a great resource to direct all my questions to! I went through a full physical and blood panel (including an EKG and chest x rays – side note, I had no idea my boobs would be fully visible in a chest x ray but they were and that was cool lol) to be sure it was safe for me to donate, plus a couple rounds of blood withdrawal in those last 2 weeks. The hardest part was coordinating a date for the donation – as I had a full travel+teaching schedule already booked, and my recipient is in another country so there were only certain days they were able to do the donation, plus we had to find a donation center that actually had availability for the surgery. My rep was adamant that I not change anything about my own schedule, that they would work around me, but I was just as adamant that we do the procedure as soon as we possibly could because I didn’t want my recipient to have to wait (I can’t imagine needing to wait months for a life-saving transplant???). I ended up getting booked for mid-June, between workshops, at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC.

All my travel arrangements (flights, hotel, etc) were booked and paid for by Be The Match. I was allowed to bring a companion – obviously I brought my mom (the ONLY person I want around when I’m not feeling well!). While there were a few things I had to pay for out of pocket (medications and supplements, and our meals during the trip), those were all reimbursed after the donation. In short, I did not pay for anything in order to donate bone marrow. Every single expense was covered by Be The Match.

The donation itself was as uneventful as you’d hope for surgery to go. I was put under anesthesia, they perforated two small holes in my lower back (right where the back dimples are), stuck a couple needles in to extract the marrow (they used the word “harvest” which honestly grosses me out so much LOL) and they were finished within 90 minutes. I was hoping for an outpatient situation – usually the case with marrow donation – but I ended up getting pretty nauseous from the anesthesia + low blood sugar (both are normal for me) so they kept me overnight. I wasn’t terribly happy about at first but honesty it was kind of awesome. The nurses were so kind and took really great care of me. I don’t want to say the whole experience was completely painless – because it wasn’t – but at most my pain was maybe 5/10. It was very very manageable with painkillers. The staff at the hospital was EXCEPTIONAL with their care and attention. They even gave me a goody bag when I left (and my emotional ass totally cried about it LOL). Unfortunately, my mom was not allowed to visit me due to COVID so she stayed in the hotel – but they set her up with a Lyft account so she could explore DC (at no expense to her) if she wished.

Overall, I was in DC for about three days. We flew in the day before, spent some time being cute tourists, I had my donation the second day, and on the third day we left and were home by about 5 PM.

One thing I was not prepared for with this donation was the recovery process. It’s not awful – but since you’ve had a lot of your marrow taken out, there are some limitations in order to allow your body to heal. For example, our flights home had me in a wheelchair to get around the airport (let me tell you, skipping all those lines was quite the silver lining woohoo) (I even got to ride in the little CAR at one airport!), and I wasn’t allowed to exercise or lift anything over 20 lbs for the first 2 weeks. I was also very, very tired. Like the sort of fatigue that you feel in your bones when you are ill. Even that honestly would have been manageable, but, I unfortunately underestimated just HOW TIRED I would be (I cannot emphasize this enough) and went straight back into traveling and teaching 2 days after donation. I managed and I lived, but it was a real struggle that I could have easily prevented by allowing myself ample time to rest. I really should have given myself at least a week to rest and recuperate before trying to go back to work.

I’m a few weeks out from my donation now, and basically back to normal – no lifting or exercise restrictions, my energy levels and appetite are completely back to their original baseline, and while I occasionally have some subtle soreness in my lower back first thing in the morning or if I stand for too long, a Tylenol knocks it out no problem. My incisions healed up without an issue, and I sort of hope they leave cute scars (just little dots on my back, super cute).

My biggest advice if you’re considering doing this – do it! Sign up for the registry now. If you are a match, you are under no obligation to donate. For real, I had SEVERAL opportunities to back out. No one would have been mad. So if you’re on the fence, understand that signing up for the registry does not automatically mean you *have* to donate if you are a match. You can say no; it is your body and ultimately your decision to make. There’s a huge chance you’ll never be called to donate – but if there is, and if you decide to do it, you will be giving a person and their family the greatest gift of all time. You get to call yourself a superhero! I think that’s pretty cool.

My other advice is to make sure you allow for ample time to rest! I really cannot stress this enough. There is no way of knowing how your body will react to the donation – some people bounce right back to normal, some have a little more of a struggle (my nurses told me stories about how some patients were running laps around the hospital within hours of surgery; meanwhile I was struggling to walk to the bathroom without throwing up!). My own struggle was directly related to the amount of rest I didn’t allow myself, and I definitely should have allowed for at least a week to recover. Go ahead and block off ample time for recovery – if you feel good, great! You can easily schedule things as you feel up to it. But also, you just donated bone marrow so it’s perfectly acceptable to spend a week sleeping on the couch in your underwear while watching Cosmos and eating peanut butter (my ideal situation).

I don’t want this to sound like it was a total walk in the park – I certainly experienced side effects that were less than pleasant, such as muscle soreness, bloating/constipation, and trouble sleeping for the first couple of nights. My entire body swelled up with all the fluid I was pumped with, and I had lil’ fat kid hands for about 2 days (see below photo LOL) and could not wear normal/non-elastic pants. Not to mention that fatigue! WOOF. But all my side effects went away within a couple of weeks, and at no point during ANY of this did I regret my decision to donate. I’ve put myself through way worse discomfort (piercings, tattoos, body waxing, IUD insertion and subsequent replacement, drunken slip’n’slides, etc) without a second thought. I’ve fractured my elbow, endured kidney stones, and once I woke up during a wisdom tooth extraction. This is NOTHING compared to any of those painful experiences. The difference with bone marrow donation is that I saved someone’s life. I gave someone a second chance.

Would I do this again? Absolutely I would, without hesitation. Losing my dad to cancer 4+ years ago was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience, and I would have done anything to keep him alive. While there were unfortunately no options available for us to keep him earthbound, it is such an incredible honor to know that I can provide that hope and second chance for someone else. My body is strong, able, and healthy – I think we often forget just how able we are in comparison to others who may not be so fortunate (wheeling around the airport in a wheelchair – while admittedly fun – was a stark reminder of that in itself). Sharing my own good fortune with someone who needs it feels like the most appropriate way to truly appreciate the privilege of my good health. The recipient of my marrow is a young person in another country (please understand that due to patient privacy, I am being intentionally vague here), and I’ll probably never meet or interact with them. But I hope they know that I am rooting for them, and I hope my marrow works as magically for them as it has for me. It’s pretty good stuff!

Well this got way longer than I expected it to be! In closing, I want to share some photos that my mom took while we were in DC the day before my donation. We went down to the National Mall and walked around for the afternoon, which was so lovely. And yes, I made those pants! I used the True Bias Hudson Pants as my base, and widened the legs + raised the waistline. My fabric is a viscose/linen noil from Blackbird fabrics, so to accommodate I sized up to an 8 (I normally wear a 2 in knit Hudson pants). I also changed the pockets to be patch pockets, instead of slant. This was a quick and easy make that is great for traveling and also wearing when it’s a thousand degrees outside but you’d still like a little leg coverage!

Are you on the bone marrow registry? Have you ever donated? What was your experience like?

2020: A Year in Review

31 Dec

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again – the end of it! I think it goes without saying that we are all gonna be breathing a collective sigh of relief when this bad boy finally gets wrapped up and pushed back to our history books.

Considering how infrequently I update my blog, I almost didn’t write this ~2020 Review Post~. But, to be completely honest, it doesn’t feel like the proper year closure if I don’t include a round-up review here. This year, I’d made a real effort to be more intentional with what I do share on the internet. And I love writing these posts, reminiscing about the last 12 months, and reading them in the future. Also, this shit took like 4 days to write so y’all better read it LOL. So, anyway, now let’s talk about meeeee.

I know 2020 has been a very, very difficult year for a lot of people (most people, probably). But I’m just gonna go ahead and say it – my year has actually been pretty awesome. In spite of all the wrecked shit that happened over the last 12 months, I haven’t merely survived – I’ve actually thrived. This year has been therapeutic, eye-opening, and honestly quite empowering.

Some highlights (and also low-lights – can’t have the rainbows without the rain blah blah blah) of my year:

Work + Career Updates:

  • I had a pretty solid kick-off with workshops and taught in New Jersey, Florida, Nashville, and New York. I met some fun people, ate a lot of steak, and of course touched a lot of butts! I was on track for the whole year to be so grand but, as we know, COVID-19 had other plans in store for us. It was a real bummer cancelling those carefully planned dates throughout the year, but – what can you do?
  • Once things started shutting down, I got my butt in gear and offered Virtual Private Lessons via video chat. This was a godsend for me in terms of socialization – living alone can be isolating in itself, but being stuck in forced isolation threatened to make it worse. By giving myself the ability to continue to do my work while also socializing with people, it really helped with my mental health and overall sense of well-being. I taught a LOT of private lessons those first couple of months! That being said, I had to take a break over the summer (more on that below) and narrow down my availability to something that was more manageable. I love teaching and I love chatting about sewing, but I still don’t love sitting in front of a computer LOL. If you are interested in taking a private lesson in 2021, you can sign up here!
  • Luckily, I landed a big gig shooting catalog and e-commerce for Talbots. Tennessee had finally reopened for small gatherings (I know someone is going to say something shitty so here you go – just keep it to yourself. We were safe, legal, and no one got sick in all the months we worked together. Byeeee) which made this possible. It ended up being a huge amount of work, over many days spanning into multiple months of shoots. I tailored a LOT of garments – hundreds and hundreds of garments. It was a blast!!! I worked with some awesome colleagues, met some amazing new people, and got out of the house on a regular basis. Working on this shoot allowed me to remain independent while still earning an income, and again – my mental health really benefitted from regular socialization. Also it’s fun to work with professional photographers, they can set up for some really rad selfies (see above!).
  • Despite the pandemic cancelling so much stuff at the beginning of the year, I was still able to work on a few fun projects for clients with my freelance tailoring gig. A couple worth mentioning – another music video and fitting the most beautiful evening gown I have ever laid eyes on (it was an HONOR to touch it).
  • I ended up getting a part time job – at a tailor shop! I work as an in-house tailor for Oak Hall here in Nashville. I met the head tailor, Loretta, on a shoot earlier this year and we immediately bonded over sewing. I wasn’t planning on doing any part time work this year, but this opportunity came right at a time where I was needing to get out of the house on a regular basis (after shooting for Talbots started to slow down) and it felt like a gift from the universe that I’d be a fucking idiot to turn down. I have learned SO much working with Loretta and all the wonderful tailors who are employed at the shop. Everyone is so generous with their knowledge, and so happy to share it. One thing I learned about myself is that I love to sew – I don’t care what I’m sewing, I just want to sew! So being able to work in a shop with fun machines and tools (y’all, we have an industrial button hole machine!!), and learn new skills regarding fitting, alterations, clothing repair, and a million other things – it’s pretty awesome. It’s like being enrolled in school, except I’m getting paid to be there. It’s a wonderful job in a wonderful environment and I just cannot believe that I get to do this!!
  • I finally got my shit in gear and had business cards made! I feel like a real professional now!

Home Updates:

  • I have loved being in my home so much this year! Being able to watch all the little changes in my yard + neighborhood has been so fun, and I’ve really enjoyed making my house more of a home in 2020. I painted my name on my mailbox (a lifetime goal of mine, ha!), started a small herb + tomato garden (note to self, tomatoes need a LOT more room! Ah, live and learn), dug a fire pit, and bought a hammock!
  • I added a chandelier to my dining room!
  • My studio got a couple small updates as well! I painted a mural on the wall behind my dressform, and replaced the shelves by my ironing station. More room for more plants – yes please!

Other Updates:

  • I was supposed to go to Italy in May – my first vacation since 2017! – and, well, I’m sure you can guess what happened to that LOL.
  • I got stitches for the first (and hopefully only!) time this year. Cut my finger real good using a rotary cutter and went right through the nail. I’m happy to report that my finger is fully healed and you can’t even see the scar. But still – watch those rotary cutters!
  • This year, I really wanted to branch out and explore other creative pursuits that aren’t related to sewing / work – so I am learning how to draw and play piano! Both are activities that I really enjoyed when I was younger – I played piano for about 8 years as a kid, and was really into drawing as a teenager – that just fell off my radar once I started getting older and busier. Both are going really well! I have been drawing every day, and while I’m definitely still an amateur, I can absolutely see improvement and really just enjoy the process. I bought an electric piano over Thanksgiving weekend and have been working my way through a self-teaching guide – let me tell you, as someone who used to be very very good at piano (I look at my old books and think – how??? did I fucking play that??), it is humbling to start back over at the beginning. I had to re-learn how to read the music, how to make my fingers move the correct way. I’m still very much a beginner, but it’s so satisfying to practice and play and slowly hear myself develop my skills and muscle memory. Plus, it’s super super fun. I forgot how much I simply loved playing piano.
  • Another really big thing I learned this year, although not necessarily a highlight (I guess it depends on how you look at it LOL), is a better understanding of my food allergies and intolerances. After allergy testing and extensive elimination diets, I found out that I’m allergic to grains. This includes things like rice, corn, oats, and of course wheat. Yes, I know how bad it sucks. Rice has been a major staple of my diet for years, and learning how to live without it has been… really hard. But after cutting these out from my diet, I feel better than I ever could have imagined. I no longer get headaches or stomachaches, I sleep like an ANGEL, my mental clarity and focus is insane, and the random patches of eczema that I always dealt with have completely disappeared. I won’t lie, eating out is really difficult now – but it’s not so hard to make those substitutions when cooking at home (foods like Japanese glass noodles, cauliflower rice, and cassava flour have been wonderful discoveries this year). And it’s totally worth the effort, because, again, I feel AMAZING now. I did not even realize how poorly I felt in the past until I stopped feeling that way.

Sewing Updates!:

  • Because I was so busy this year with sewing for work, I didn’t sew as much as I tend to do in the past. Which is totally ok – I’ve mentioned before that my wardrobe doesn’t really have any holes, and I’ve tried to be conscious of the things I do add to it. Taking a hard look at why I do/don’t wear certain garments – is it the color? Shape? Fabric? Style? Fit? etc – was the big goal for this year. I actually kept a spreadsheet LIKE A BIG FUCKING NERD for several months while I sorted these thoughts out, and it was super helpful!
  • 2020 was the year I was inspired to dramatically narrow down my color palette! I know a lot of sewists revel in the fact that we can make and wear anything we want – which is awesome! – but I found there were a lot of colors that I did not wear, simply because I did not like the way they looked on me, or they didn’t go with anything else in my closet. By narrowing down my palette to a more limited range (warm autumnal colors are my JAM), I found that my wardrobe coordinates much more effortlessly. Of course, this also limits fabric buying options – I’m pretty surprised at how many shops and fabric lines almost exclusively carry cool colors!
  • Speaking of fabric buying, I worked a lot from my stash this year! In fact, from mid-March until now I’ve only bought fabric a total of 3 times. Considering how frequently I upped my stash last year (nearly every shop I taught at had me leaving with a small purchase), this was a win for me!
  • Finally, while I wasn’t sewing as many garments from scratch this year – I did manage quite a bit of alterations and repairs! I pulled out a stack of existing clothes in my wardrobe that weren’t quite “right” in some way – and I made them right! I know the majority of the sewing world loves to talk about how much they hate making alterations, but honestly it’s one of the most sustainable ways to sew (tell me you’re trying to be sustainable and then in the same breath say you’d rather make a whole ass new pair of jeans than alter the waistband of a pair you just finished… right.). In my experience, most alterations take an hour or less and are rarely as complicated as they might first appear to be. And, as I mentioned before – I just really love sewing. I don’t even care what I’m sewing, as long as I get to sew!
  • On a more personal note, I made a conscious effort to post less and be a little more private with my sewing life this year. I’ve learned that, for me, regular posting (whether it’s here on this blog or via social media) contributes to a sense of urgency to continually publish fresh content, at the expense of my own personal enjoyment. In the past, I’ve felt guilty for not wanting to go into my studio and sew – which is some bullshit, if you ask me! My creative practice is a way to keep me happy and centered, and trying to adhere to a posting schedule or force myself to make something when I’m not feeling the inspiration has the exact opposite effect. By enforcing some personal boundaries in that regard, I’ve re-kindled my love of doing things… just for the sake of doing them, and not necessarily because I want to share the results. It makes the learning process more fun, and makes the inevitable mistakes feel more like an important lesson rather than a big failure. Furthermore, creativity ebbs and flows. Sometimes I want nothing more than to spend all day sewing, and sometimes I would rather focus that energy on something else (I have a lot of other hobbies that are not sewing!). I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing my creativity because I have some weird self-imposed deadline that no one but me cares about.

Favorite Makes of 2020:

The Lightweight Sweater: I knit a few sweaters in 2020, but hands-down my absolute favorite is the Beauty School sweater from Poison Grrls. I wasn’t exactly sure how a short-sleeved wool sweater was going to fit in my wardrobe, but let me tell you – I have worn the SHIT out of this bad boy throughout the entire year. It is the perfect shape, weight, and color for all seasons. I used Brooklyn Tweed Peerie yarn for this one, but I’d love to knit another in something more luxe, like cashmere ❤ (PS – I also altered those pants I am wearing! The legs were originally way too wide, and now they are perfect!)

The Bias Dress: I didn’t make a load of dresses this year, but one that really stood out was the Sicily Slip Dress. This pattern reignited my love for wearing bias-cut garments (form-fitting while still comfortable!) in fun fabrics (this one is from Blackbird Fabrics). Such a fun dress to make and wear, and it always make me feel fancy even if I’ve got on sneakers.

The Push-Up Bra: Lingerie-wise, my new favorite bra pattern is definitely the Lansdowne Bra from Orange Lingerie. The partial band + plunge style isn’t something I normally wear, but I love those cleavage-enhancing effects!

The Backpack Tote: So I love sewing backpacks, and this one was no exception! I made the Maywood Totepack (using a kit) early in the year and it’s been SUCH a great (and stylish!) way to carry all my shit around when I’m on set. I love that the straps convert to either a backpack or tote, I love the water-resistant exterior, and I even love the interior pocket that was responsible for me cutting off the tip of my finger.

The Re-Dyed Sweater: Not a new make, but a successful revamp of an old one! My Martine sweater has been a long time favorite, but I’ve always hated the color (turns out I don’t like the way I look in light grey… who would have guessed). So I dyed it a more appropriate-for-me olive green and am stoked with the outcome!

The Painted Jacket: I thrifted this jacket in June 2019 and finally got around to painting it in 2020! The design is copied from a Patrick Nagel painting and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

The Big Reconstruction: Oh, and here’s a big one – my reconstructed blazer! I had so much fun working on this project and I learned a TON. I actually did this before I got my tailoring job at Oak Hall and the experience was a great introduction to the sort of tailoring I now do on a regular basis!

So what’s in store for next year? Well – back to teaching jeans workshops, I hope! (you can see my ever-hopeful 2021 schedule here!). I’d love to go back to traveling, when it is safe to do so. I’m also hoping that Nashville gets a little bit of a break this upcoming year! From devastating tornados (hi, we still haven’t rebuilt from that!), to the freak Derecho, to protest rioting that burned down part of our downtown, to our epic COVID-19 stats (I always wanted to be #1 but maybe not exactly this way lol) and now to the Christmas Day Bombing… its been a rough year for my city.

Overall, this has been a really, really good year for me. I almost hesitate to say this because I know so many people struggled in 2020. But since I started on my journey of self-improvement and hard introspection at the end of last year, I’ve been in a better mental place than I was for the last 10+ years. Don’t get me wrong – dealing with shut downs, cancellations, isolation, and fear of the unknown was definitely stressful and a little anxiety-inducing. What I found this year was that I was equipped to deal with whatever shit that got thrown at me and take it right in stride. For me, 2020 was a year to be brave and make myself a priority. My personal mantra was “Just try it and see what happens!”

I’m going to wrap this incredibly long (sorry) post with a quote that I recently discovered that has really resonated with me this year:

“When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes. And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.” And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.” And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Amelia & I wish you all a happy, safe, and emotionally fulfilling 2021!

New Vogue Sewing Patterns: A Roast

29 Apr

Ooooh y’all looks like we’ve been blessed with a lil’ treat this month – new Vogue Patterns are out and they are something else. It’s almost like they’ve been saving the crazy ones and decided to give us a treat to take our minds off the world basically being a dumpster fire otherwise.

Before we get into it – I want to address the question that I get asked all the time, which is why I don’t write these reviews anymore. Ummm y’all I don’t know if there is another Vogue website I’m not seeing but honestly the stuff they have been releasing for the past few years has been pretty inoffensive. I look every single season and I really don’t see anything that warrants being made fun of. Lots of boring and meh stuff for sure, but none of the crazy WTF-were-y’all-thinking shit that we used to see in their catalogues. It’s not a conspiracy. No one told me to stop posting. I’m not holding out to be mean. I really just… don’t see the WTF much these days. That’s it, that’s the tea.

That being said, oh there’s plenty of it this season. Let’s take a look!

Vogue 1702 / Claire Shaeffer
It finally happened. Science has found to way to breed pants with skirts and created this hybrid monstrosity. But have we gone too far?

Vogue 1694 / Marcy Tilton
It’s a strange fabric choice but TBH I kind of like it.

Vogue 1697
Cute dress or whatever, but who is responsible for styling this shoot? The way the bias has draped at her lower back looks like a fucking jelly roll.

Vogue 1692 / Júlio César NYC
Ok, Angelina.

Vogue 1704 / Rachel Comey
Hot air balloon sleeves: A must-have for the season’s fashion.

Vogue 1707
Who approved that button placement? It looks like God put her nipples in the wrong spot.

Vogue 1710 / Rachel Comey
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph what the FUCK am I looking at here??

Vogue 1708
So I guess this is supposed to be a jumpsuit where the “bodice” is just long ties that you can wrap however. It’s a cute idea in theory I guess but in reality it looks like she quit sewing the garment halfway through and is trying to Little Mermaid her way into pretending like it’s a whole ass dress.

The back is cute, tho.

Vogue 1706
Hospital scrubs, but make it fashion.

Vogue 1700

Who wore it better?

Vogue 1703
I don’t hate the pattern, I just want to talk shit about the stripe placement.

Vogue 1695 / Today’s Fit By Sandra Betzina
Bonus – the bow doubles as a pillow!

Vogue 1705
Thanks, I hate it.

Vogue 1701

That’s all for this round! Thanks to Vogue Patterns for giving us some entertainment during these shitty, shitty times. Which one was your favorite?

This one is mine. Elbow windows! WITH RUFFLES. I cannot even tell you how long I’ve spent laughing at this.

Now Offering Virtual Private Sewing Lessons!

19 Mar

cat in studio

Hey friends! As we navigate the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, I know a lot of us are encouraged if not mandated to #staythefuckhome to slow down the spread of the virus and help flatten the curve. Which means lots of time for sewing – yay, silver lining – but not a lot of options for being social or getting help in the form of classes and workshops. I know I personally have had to cancel / reschedule 2 workshops so far and anticipate many more will meet the same fate (peep my workshops page for updates), which in addition to the loss of income is just a total bummer! I’m bummed!

While it is unfortunately not possible at this time for me to offer online workshops (logistically, I just can’t swing it – although I will continue to look into it so that may change in the future!), I do think one-on-one lessons can be managed via video platform. So, starting now – I am happy to announce that I am offering Virtual Private Sewing Lessons! Yay!

All information (including a FAQ because everyone loves a good FAQ) is on the Virtual Private Sewing Lessons page of my blog, but a quick rundown of how this works:

  • You will sign up for preferred lesson via the PayPal link ($18 for 30 minutes, $30 for 60 minutes, $45 for 90 minutes).
  • After payment has been completed, click the RETURN TO MERCHANT link to be redirected to my Calendly page to select your preferred time and date (availability is from 11a – 6p CST Monday -Saturday, although I can be flexible if your time zone does not work with these. Send me an email!).
  • To complete your request, you will be asked to tell me a little bit about what you would like to cover during the lesson – this will allow me time to do any necessary prep work so that we can go straight into the good stuff during your session! You can also email me pictures / confusing instructions, ask questions – whatever gets us best prepared!
  • Lessons will be held via Google Hangouts (which is free to use on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Since this is a new technological territory for me (let’s be real, there are gonna be some hiccups!), for a limited time I am offering these lessons at a discount of 40% off my standard hourly teaching rate. I know a lot of us are looking at an uncertain future in terms of the economy + our jobs, so I hope that these lower rates will also allow more people to take advantage of this new platform and strengthen their sewing knowledge!

So what can be covered in a Virtual Private Sewing Lesson? Well – just about anything, I reckon! Here are some ideas to get the juices going:

  • Deciphering confusing sewing instructions
  • Real-time demos for specific techniques
  • Help with fitting (I’m not sure how well this will work since I tend to fit very hands-on, but I am willing to try and see what happens!)
  • Basic clothing alterations
  • Flat pattern adjustments
  • General sewing advice (such as fabric and pattern recommendations, finishing techniques for certain projects, advice for handling tricky fabrics, troubleshooting)
  • Or we can just chat because chatting is fun!

Selfishly, I am also hoping this will allow me to be more social while still maintaining my self-isolation – so perhaps that will be the same for you! Shit is stressful enough right now without having to deal with long bouts of loneliness, amirite?

I have some new projects and tutorials that I’d like to share on this blog, so stay tuned for those! In the meantime, please check out my Virtual Private Sewing Lessons page if you are interested in booking at session with me! Share it with your friends! I think we could all use a little creative distraction right now 🙂

Stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and STAY THE FUCK HOME! Love y’all!


2019: A Year in Review

31 Dec

Can’t believe this year is nearly over! As with my yearly tradition of wrapping up the year, here is my 2019 in review!

2019: Me!

So… a lot happened this year! I think the biggest event was that I bought my first house!

2019: My House

2019: Bought a house!

It’s a 1958 ranch, in a small neighborhood in West Nashville. I closed in March, so the yard was sort of ugly and dead! It has been fun to see what grows throughout the year, although I’m a little salty that we missed out on fall foliage this year (due to an extra hot fall with no rain, then too much rain!), because I would have loved to see what that maple ended up doing! Oh well, next year!

Anyway, owning a house is really fun! It’s expensive, yes, but I can do whatever I want to the house and I love that! It’s also really great to live somewhere nice – and not a landlorded rental. The previous owner had lived here since 1969, so there was a lot of care put into this home and it shows! I’m really happy with my purchase, and have enjoyed spending time here and making it my own. It’s very small, it’s definitely not fancy, but it’s MINE and I bought it all by myself! I love it! I’ve been wanting to buy a home for years and it feels really good to finally cross that goal off my list!

The previous owner’s children committed the mortal sin of painting every room grey (why? why?) before putting it on the market, so I have been slowly repainting the rooms to better match the personality of the house!

2019: Studio
Studio (I know! I owe y’all a tour of this room! Don’t remind me lol)

Bathroom Update!
Bathroom (blog post here)

2019: Living Room
Living room

2019: Dining Room
Dining room

Also the kitchen! (not pictured – but it’s white with {unpainted} knotty pine cabinets. SWOON)

I know a lot of people have been asking me to post room re-do’s on this blog, and honestly… I can’t guarantee that will ever happen (I like to keep this space strictly sewing-related). I do post them on my Instagram so you can always follow that! Next year, I want to focus more on the outdoor space!

2019: Teaching at Blackbird Fabrics

In addition to the house stuff, I also did a lot of teaching this year! Overall, I taught 20 workshops from all over the place including New York, California, Florida, Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Canada. All in all, I flew over 40k miles and earned Gold Medallion status with Delta lmao.

Here in Nashville, I taught lots of classes at Craft South, introducing many, many new beginners to the wonderful world of sewing! I also logged a bunch of hours of alterations and fittings with various clients, all of who were absolutely wonderful to work with and spend time around. And not just clients – I really love and appreciate everyone I work with. Stylists, photographers, assistants, reps, everyone is just awesome! Coming from an industry where I worked with some absolute asshats, it’s really nice to be able to work with people who I actually enjoy being around (and, as a freelancer – technically – I can refuse to work with anyone who I don’t like! Ha!). I also think the work is really fun, so that’s an added bonus!

Some other fun things in 2019:

2019: QuiltCon

– I attended (well, worked!) my first QuiltCon event, at the Craft South booth.

– I celebrated 10 years of being cigarette-free!

– I visited The Computer History Museum (Mountain View, CA), The Living Computer Museum (Seattle, WA), and The MADE Museum (Oakland, CA). I love old computers and video games, so people able to fit these excursions into my travels was such a treat! All are really amazing museums, but I think the Living Computer Museum might be my favorite since you can play all the machines! There’s a whole mess of images and videos from all of them in my Story Highlights on Instagram if you want to peek!

2019: 34th Birthday

– I turned 34 and celebrated with a HAMBURGER CAKE at Darrell Thomas Textiles!

2019: Leash Training Amelia

– I harness-trained Amelia! Well. “Training” is kind of a loose term here, I basically put the harness on her and she adapted to it immediately (she loves any excuse to go outside and I guess she figured out pretty quickly that this was how that would happen!). We really enjoyed going out this summer and exploring the yard. Also, walking a cat on a leash is pretty funny.

– I taught an enormous class at Camp Workroom Social – 16 students in total! Definitely could not have done it without my bomb-ass assistants Kelli & Gabriela!

2019: New sewing machine

– After years of pining for an industrial sewing machine, and realizing my tiny home studio would never fit one – I bought a Janome HD9! This machine is sooo fast and SO fun to sew on (and fits nicely in my studio!). If you’ve been interested in an industrial machine but don’t have the money/space for one, I do recommend this machine as a great alternative! I won’t be writing a review for this machine (I’ll be honest… writing machine reviews sucks, it’s boring as hell, and I don’t get paid to do it. So. I’m not doing it anymore lol), but your local Janome dealer can help you out!

2019: Perm

– Speaking of things I’ve pined over for years, I also got a perm! Ha! This is a body-wave perm (meaning it is looser than the traditional spiral curl), which gives my hair lots of texture and body, and allows it to hold a style without very much effort. It still requires styling when I wash it, but the style stays. This photo was taken recently; the perm is about 6 months old and I haven’t needed to touch it up yet. I love it!

– I bought the most expensive piece of fabric I’ve ever purchased (it’s Gucci, and no, I’m not telling you how much I spent on it)

– I worked on my first music video! This was especially exciting to me since most of my work is in country music, which tbh just isn’t as fun as rock music.

– This one hasn’t come into effect quite yet – but I’m leaving my job at Craft South as the Education Coordinator. I have worked this job since 2016 and while I have enjoyed my time there and the wonderful people I worked with, I felt like it was ultimately starting to hold me back and thus it is time to move on. As of January 1, 2020, I will no longer be employed by the company and will be fully freelance. Yay!

2019: Jeans butt

Personal sewing-wise, this has been slooooow year for me. Partially because I’ve been gone so much, and working just as much – partially because my needs have shifted dramatically (I know I talked about this last year but I’m really not into the maximism thing of ~owning shit in every color~ or trying something just for the sake of making something that everyone else is making) – and partially for unrelated reasons. I’ve definitely been sewing less, while trying to stay mindful about the things I am making. And I’ve been blogging even less, which is absolutely no secret. Like most former bloggers, most of my content has shifted over to my Instagram (just compare my 2019 blogged makes vs my Instagram 2019 tag). I’ll admit it is just easier to snap a quick photo with my phone, write a blurb, and post away – rather than drag out the camera equipment, deal with editing, writing an entire post (where I always feel compelled to make it at lengthy as possible), and then replying to comments – all of which require sitting at a computer. Which, I should add, computer time is something I’m constantly trying to reduce. However, I don’t want to kill my blog so I’ve come to terms with less frequent posting. It’s ok. I do want to thank y’all who continue to follow my blog – and continue to post feedback in the comments. I read every single one of them and I really appreciate the continued support!

With that being said, here are some of my favorite makes of 2019! Sorry, most are on Instagram 😛

2019: Dawn Jeans

The Dawn Jeans (blog post here). This was the jeans pattern I’ve been waiting for – I love the high, high rise and the rigid, vaguely uncomfortable but so flattering to my booty nonstretch denim. I have worn this particular pair all year and even have them on as a type this! Yay for Dawn Jeans!

2019: Black shorts

Black Dawn shorts. I made these over the summer in a nice black denim and they truly go with everything! I was very sad to put them away this winter, and early anticipate reuniting with them next summer. ha!

2019: Crop Top

Dolce & Gabbana Crop Top. This was made using the StyleArc Ariana dress pattern as a cropped shirt, using leftover Dolce & Gabbana cotton lawn from my birthday dress. I really enjoyed putting this together, I think it’s cute AF, and get a load of that unintentional pattern matching at center front!

2019: Leopard Bra

Leopard print lace bra. I used the Berkeley Bra pattern from Orange Lingerie, and leopard lace from Tailor Made Shop. I made a lot of bras this year but this one is definitely my favorite!

I also updated a couple of old makes to make them more favorable:

2019: Patched denim jacket

Minor, but I added a cool tiger patch (which I bought in the Garment District in NYC) to my beloved denim jacket.

Sequin Cat Applique

I also cropped this old hoodie dress and added a cool sequin cat patch (from the same place in the GD as the tiger patch – I actually bought them at the same time lol) to make the cat hoodie of my dreams! I’m so glad I updated because this gets way more wear than the dress ever did. It makes me so happy!


On a more serious note, 2019 has been a very hard year for me. A big part of the reason why I stopped sewing and blogging as much was due to struggling with depression for most of the year. I have never experienced depression before, and honestly I wasn’t sure how to even deal with it. It consumed a large part of my year and I’m only just now starting to crawl out of the hole I was in. I started seeing a therapist amongst many, many other things (including daily journaling, changing my diet, and a daily yoga practice), all which helped a lot. The real breakthrough for me was using psychedelics – including psilocybin and ayahuasca – which allowed me to break out of the awful depression loop that I was stuck in, and start actually addressing what was wrong instead of trying to hide from it or self medicate in ways that were destructive. I still have a loooong ways to go and a lot of emotions to unpack and address, but I finally feel like I’m living my life again instead of constantly fighting it.

In a lot of ways, this entire decade has been incredibly painful for me and it was a relief to say goodbye to it after my final ayahasuca journey on 12/14.

Anyway, I share this not to start up a big discussion here about psychedelics and mental health – I am, of course, always open to a chat if you are curious! (if you have something negative to say, please keep it to yourself and read a book instead, thanks) There has been a lot of scientific research on the effects of psychedelics on mental health, including depression, addiction, and even PTSD. My research is primarily limited to what I have read, and my own experiences. I did want to share what has been going on the back end – not everything is always fun and rainbows, even if it looks like that way from a carefully curated Instagram lens. If you are struggling, you are not alone! The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to GET HELP, whatever form that may be. There is no “level” you need to reach before it’s ok to ask for help, no one is going to call you out for not being “depressed enough.” I wish I’d wasted less of my year and done something sooner. You are worth the fight. Don’t give up on yourself.

2019: Amelia in the car

It’s interesting to think of how much has changed for me in the last 10 years. This time in 2009, I was living in a shitty (but very beautiful and old) apartment in midtown Nashville, working a soul-crushing job with people I didn’t get along with. I was in a lot of debt and always stressed about money. I was sewing back then, too (I have always been sewing) and even blogging (here’s a particularly cringe-worthy one from December 2009. Sorry in advance about the broken photos), but certainly not at the level that I am now. One thing that hasn’t changed – I still have good ol’ Amelia. The little asshole is now 12 years old!

Anyway, here’s to 2020!

Announcing Sew Your Own Jeans 2020 Workshop Dates!

19 Nov

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Friends, readers, and random people who just dropped in via an interesting Google suggestion – I’m happy to announce that my 2020 dates are finalized and I’m ready to announce my ~2020 workshop tour~! Yay!

I’m trying something a little different this year and announcing everything at once, rather than as they are listed and available for registration. Last year, it felt like a lot of people missed out on signing up because the seats would sell out before I even had a chance to announce them! I also felt like I was posting WAY too much about workshop stuff, which I completely understand can be super annoying for those who are not interested in ever signing up for one! My hope is that this burst of dates (as opposed to the slow trickle last year) will allow everyone interested to plan in advance, and be informed when the seats are available to sign up for.

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Please note that not all the classes are listed as of this posting (I will update as they are!). I strongly recommend that you follow the shop hosting the workshop, to be notified when the class is listed so you can sign up quickly and hopefully secure a seat! I will update my classes page as workshops as listed, however, I cannot guarantee they won’t be sold out by that point (this happened quite frequently last year!).

All dates and links are listed on my WORKSHOPS page, as well as in this post. For more information, including pricing, please visit the shop’s website or send them an email!

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

A few notes and frequently asked questions about my workshops:

These are the ONLY workshops that I am offering for 2020! I am completely booked! Once they are sold out, they are sold out (i.e., I will not be adding additional dates) so I encourage you to sign up ASAP!
For my jeans classes, we will be sewing the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns. This pattern is a high-waisted, stretch denim jeans pattern that is available in sizes 0-20. Plus sized? Girl, I got you! You can make the Cashmerette Ames Jeans, which is available in sizes 12-28 and includes options for both an apple shaped torso or pear! Dudes or Non-Binary, i.e., don’t wanna wear girl pants? Yo, I got you too! You can make either the Quadra or the Fulford jeans pattern from Thread Theory. Jeans for everyone!
“I don’t wear high-rise jeans – will we have the option to make this change in class?: If you are interested in sewing a mid-rise jean, there is a Mid-Rise Ginger jeans pattern available for purchase on the Closet Case Patterns website that you are welcome to use instead. Additionally, there is a Flared Leg add-on if you don’t do skinny! Unfortunately, there is not enough time in class to make drastic changes to our patterns, especially with adjusting the rise, outside of minor fitting issues. It is definitely something that we can go over in class, though, so you can apply the changes to all your future jeans!
Required Skill Level: You don’t need to be a Sewing Master to tackle this class, however, you absolutely need to have experience using a sewing machine and following a sewing pattern. All skill levels are welcome!

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

+ + + 2020 LLADYBIRD Workshops + + +

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
January 10 – 12, 2020
Urban Sewciety, Westfield, NJ

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
January 24 – 26, 2020
Crafty Gemini, Gainesville, FL

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
February 21 – 23, 2020
Craft South, Nashville, TN

Jeans Making Sewing Intensive
March 7 – 8, 2020
Workroom Social, Brooklyn, NY

Sew Your Own Classic Shirt Weekend Workshop
March 20 – 22, 2020
Hello Stitch Studio, Berkeley, CA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
April 17 – 19, 2020
Blackbird Fabrics, Vancouver, BC

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
May 1 – 3, 2020
Pintuck & Purl, North Hampton, NH

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
May 29 – 31, 2020
Darrell Thomas Textiles, Ottawa, ON

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
June 12 – 14, 2020
Josephine’s Dry Goods, Portland, OR

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
June 26 – 28, 2020
Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver, CO

Jeans Making Sewing Intensive
July 18 – 19, 2020
Workroom Social, Brooklyn, NY

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
July 31 – Aug 2, 2020
Darrell Thomas Textiles, Ottawa, ON

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
August 14 – 16, 2020
Crafty Gemini, Gainesville, FL

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
August 28 – 30, 2020
Blackbird Fabrics, Vancouver, BC

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
September 11 – 13, 2020
Stitch Sew Shop, Alexandria, VA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
September 25 – 27, 2020
Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver, CO

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
October 2 – 4, 2020
Hello Stitch Studio, Berkeley, CA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
October 30 – Nov 1, 2020
Pintuck & Purl, North Hampton, NH

Jeans Making Sewing Intensive
November 14 – 15, 2020
Workroom Social, Brooklyn, NY

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
December 4 – 6, 2020
Sew With Sonia, Menlo Park, CA

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Sew Your Own Jeans weekend workshop at Blackbird Fabrics 2019

Whew! I was going to share a pair of my own recently finished Ginger Jeans, but I think that’s enough for this post! Actually I have 3 pairs of finished jeans so stay tuned for a ~Jeans Extravaganza~ here on this blog shortly! In the meantime – who’s taking a workshop next year?! I am so excited!!

Note: All photos in this post were taken at my workshop at Blackbird Fabrics this past April!

Announcing the 2019 Outfit Along!

15 May

Well, friends, it’s that time of the year again: The Outfit Along: WIP Cleanout, hosted by myself and Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots!

This year, we are shaking things up a little bit and focusing on those works-in-progress languishing in your sewing space. You know the ones I’m talking about – everything has been planned and purchased, and perhaps you even started (or nearly finished!) the project, but *something* has caused it to be doomed to the UFO (unfinished-object) bin. Well, this year, let’s do something about that!

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

After 5 years of Outfit Alongs, it is likely that some of us have projects we haven’t finished (including me, and I’m a host! Hey, shit happens y’all. Don’t judge me). This year is a great opportunity to pull those out and give them the attention they’ve been waiting for.

As with every OAL theme, the only requirements are to knit a piece and to sew a piece. Either one (or both!) should be a WIP – other than that, the rules are quite lax! Your WIP can be any that you have, whether it was for a previous OAL or something that’s been languishing in your stash for a different reason. Did you plan your project and just stall at the cutting or swatching stage? Did you reach a point the instructions that left you stuck and frustrated? Were you nearly finished and realized there is a major fitting problem that you didn’t have the energy to address? Did you just get bored and burnt out? This year, we want you to dig deep and bust that stash, so we are getting veeeery flexible with our definition of WIP! So pull those bad boys out of purgatory and let’s get them finished so we can clear the space for other fun things!

OAL2015 - M6887

OAL2015 - Vianne

In addition, all previous OAL knitting patterns (including Myrna, Vianne, Zinone, Anaheim, and Waters) are 20% off through June 1st using the coupon code OAL2019 on Untangling Knots or Ravelry.

We will kick off on June 1st and run through July 31st as our official parameters. Participants will need to have one sewn and one knit garment (either one or both being a WIP) that work together to form an outfit, and will need to post their finished outfit on the Finished OAL 2019 Outfits thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry to be eligible for prizes. We will have 3 randomly selected winners this year, each receiving 3 Untangling Knots patterns of their choice as well as a $25 gift certificate to Indie Sew. Winners will be announced on the Finished Outfits Thread on Ravelry as well as the Untangling Knots instagram!

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Join the conversation in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, or you can use the hashtag #OutfitAlong2019 if you’re more into the ‘gram these days! Both Andi & myself will be posting our progress + tips on our blogs and Instagrams – you can follow me @LLADYBIRD and Andi @Untangling.Knots.

For more info, as well as some frequently asked questions, be sure to check out Andi’s announcement post on her blog.OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Even if you are not officially participating, I HIGHLY encourage you to use this opportunity to clear up the ol’ WIP drawer along with us this summer! This is a great excuse to dig out those old makes that have been languishing and taking up room in your subconscious (ok I’m sorry to sound a little woo-woo but SERIOUSLY I do think they take up mental energy even if we aren’t aware of it!), and give them the finish they deserve!

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

So!! Who will be joining in this year? 🙂

2018: A Year in Review

31 Dec

I *almost* didn’t didn’t get this post written in time for the end of the year! But I feel like it’s not a true end-of-the-year celebration without a proper write-up, so here’s my review of 2018!

this me

2018 was another kind of weird year for me. It was definitely an upswing of a year compared to 2017, but I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t have to navigate some bullshit and heartache throughout the year. Sewing-wise, I’ve been on a constant path of slooooowing down, which has continued into 2018. A big part of this is due to less frequent blogging – I don’t feel compelled to post so frequently, which means I also didn’t feel compelled to constantly be making stuff. I also am just really over the idea of having multiples of the same thing. Not to judge anyone who lives and breathes having the same dress made in every color of the rainbow, I just realized it really isn’t for me. Especially considering I have a quite limited palette of colors I prefer to wear – something else that I’ve been really honing in on this year. It makes for a less exciting fabric stash, but the result is more garments that I will wear and truly love – rather than sewing just to sew, then blog, then never wear again.

Another really big change for me this year that drastically affected my sewing output was a big bump in my teaching commitments! I really put myself out there and offered loads of Sew Your Own Jeans workshops – and holy shit, y’all had me FLOORED by the response! All in all, I taught 16 workshops – in various cities across the US & Canada. Nearly all my workshops sold out, and some had to add on a second date to keep up with student demand. I really, really love teaching these workshops, too! Over the course of the year, I have really tweaked and perfected how I run my classes, and they really just get better with each new one I lead. For 2019, I am keeping up with a similar schedule with an emphasis on more West Coast classes – about 3/4 of next year is already listed, so take a look at my upcoming classes if you are interested in attending one!

It’s still a bit shocking to me that this is what I do to earn my living and pay my bills. It is something I never ever take for granted, something I am thankful for every single day. I cannot thank you guys enough for your endless support – whether you’ve taken a class with me, joined a meet-up, or just encouraged me in some way across the internet. This community is so amazing and I am thankful for every single wonderful person who is part of it!

Anyway, I want to talk about some of my sewing hits and misses of 2018! There are sooo many things I made this year that didn’t get blogged (sorry!), but I made an effort to post at least a small shot of it on Instagram so I could count up a talley at the end of the year (which I believe I only missed maybe 3 things, so, not too bad!). You can view the entire hashtag #lladybird2018 here on Instagram. And, of course, to see the stuff that did make it on my blog, you can always Lurk My Closet!

Without further ado, my top makes of 2018:

Ginger Jeans made with Robert Kaufman Denim
Ginger Jeans + Hemlock Tee

I think this outfit should win the prize for being worn the most! These are the jeans I made to promote my jeans workshops for this year (using the same Robert Kaufman Super Stretch denim that my samples are made with) and they are probably my favorite part of jeans I’ve made to date! The stretch denim is incredibly comfortable, which makes them ideal for traveling. This denim holds its shape well between washings, which again is wonderful when you are living out of a suitcase. I wore that hemlock tee almost as much throughout the year – again, it’s great for traveling! You’re basically looking at my unofficial flight outfit for nearly every trip I took this year 🙂

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics
Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt

No lie, I’m kind of surprised this shirt only came of age this last year! I have worn it to DEATH, like, I think people are sick of seeing me in it haha. I love that this shirt is reasonably basic/plain without being boring, and the color is one I’ve really been digging a lot this year. It works equally well dressed up with jeans and a collared shirt, or to stay warm while lounging on the couch in my PJs.

Linen Kalle Shirt
Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt

This shirt was a lot of fun to wear during the summer! I love the oversized, boxy shape combined with the rumply linen, and while white isn’t necessarily a color that I gravitate to very often – I sure did when it came to this shirt!

AMH Popover Tank
Popover Tank + Navy Lander Pants

As much as I love those Robert Kaufman Ginger jeans that I mentioned earlier, I’m not so keen on wearing them when it is crazy hot outside. These navy tencel Lander pants were the perfect sub for keeping my legs covered while not making me sweat to death. Again, this was an outfit I wore a LOT while traveling. And I’m so happy I finally found a good pattern to use with my treasured fabric from Egypt!

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress
Tropical Seren Dress

Y’all. I wore this dress to SO MANY fancy dinners, cocktail hours, first dates, art crawls, and sometimes even when I just needed a little pick-me-up on an otherwise boring/shitty day. It’s an attention-grabbing dress that is easy and comfortable to wear, looks pulled together, and goes with most of the shoes in my closet (this is important).

Niizo Be Strong Backpack
Be Strong Backpack

Ok, so this is a more recent make that I’ve only been able to use for a couple of months – but it has been SUPER useful! I’ve all but retired my old backpack in favor of this new one. The slightly smaller size has been perfect for my needs (without giving me an option to overpack) and I really love the way it looks.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric
Alexander McQueen Quart Coat

I know I just posted this so I’ll try to keep the gushing to a minimum. But! I love this coat! I feel so pretty and pulled together when I’m wearing it, it’s super warm, and it gets me more compliments than anything else I made this year. I am of course proud of the construction and how it turned out, but I also really love it because it reminds me of my friend Anokhee, who gave me the amazing fabric!

And now for some favorites that didn’t make it to the blog:

ariana dress
Ariana dress

I made this with rayon from the OG Workroom Social line, and it certainly saw a lot of wear this year! I actually hated the dress until it was finished – sewing it was basically one huge mistake/problem after another – and I was really unsure how it would look on me until I had sewed the buttons on. But it love it now, so all is well!

rayon hudson pants
Rayon Hudson Pants
These were really fun to sew, used up some of the cool fabric I bought in Egypt, and are great for warding off an a/c chill in the summer.

ginger jorts
Ginger Jorts
After years of complaining that I needed some new denim shorts, I finally made a pair hahaha

burberry scarf
Burberry Scarf Blanket
Probably the simplest thing I made this year, but I LOVE THIS SCARF. It’s basically a fashionable blanket, which is perfect for someone like me who is always cold.

Dolce & Gabbana party dress
More on this in a future blog post!! But, to brief – this may be my favorite fabric ever (a matelasse from Dolce & Gabbana), and I’m so delighted how the dress turned out! I made it to wear to a good friend’s wedding.

hudson joggers
Grey Knit Hudsons
Another pair of Hudsons haha, this time specifically for the cold. This is an incredibly boring thing to write about, but I wear them as frequently as I think I can get away with and am legitimately sad when they have to go in the wash. After years of being a die-hard PJ Set kinda gal, I’m definitely veering in a new direction when it comes to loungewear.

Misses for 2018:
Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics
Workout Tank + Shirt

Despite my best intentions, these pieces just did not turn out the way I had hoped – I think due to fabric choice. I never wore them and ended up donating both of the tops. The yoga pants, however, are FABULOUS and I wear them often! So there is that!

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress
Stella Hoodie Dress

I don’t know! I think this dress is so cute but I really only wore it once! It is really short, and makes me feel a bit exposed (and while the leggings + sneakers is cute, I don’t feel like it’s my “look” and it feels weird to wear). I may cut this into a top and see if it gets more mileage that way.

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls
Jenny Overall Shorts

Despite a hoard of people reassuring me that I should wear these forever and another hoard of people trying to tell me how to fix them so I would, I really just don’t like these at all. The waist is tight, and I just don’t like the way I look in overalls. And even though they are shorts, they are too hot to wear in the summer! I may try a pair with full length legs in the future, but these are not my jam.

popover tank
Watermelon popover tank
Looks super cute, but I absolutely hated this fabric. It’s a super tight weave with no give, which is vaguely uncomfortable to wear and also incredibly unflattering. Big ol’ no on this one.

denim skirt
Snap front denim skirt
I started with a pattern that had a different fit than what I ultimately wanted (the waist was lower than I realized), and I overfit this so much it doesn’t really sit right on me. Also, front snaps really are not ideal for a skirt. I have had many wardrobe malfunctions with this one haha. All it takes is one tiiiiiny snag and it’s WHY HELLO UNDERWEAR lol

There is so, so, SO much more I could say about all my makes this year, but these were the really major hits and misses! Honestly, I love most of what I made (it was hard to narrow down my list to what I’ve shown here – which is still admittedly a lot!) which is a pretty great feeling! I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with my style and the colors I like to wear – which means there are less pieces that go unloved. Really zeroing in on WHY I don’t like a certain garment (color, shape, fabric, etc) has helped me avoid making that mistake again in the future.


Other notable things to happen this year:

  • As I mentioned – I led a lot of workshops this year! Starting in Nashville, and then traveling to Brooklyn NY, Durham NC, Alexandria VA, Ottawa Canada, New York City, North Hampton NH, Biddeford MA, Claryville NY, Berkeley CA, and Paducah KY! WHEW!
  • While most of my workshops are held in sewing shops or studios, there were 2 that ended up in very different environments! The first one was in Durham, where I taught an Archer Shirt workshop at Spoonflower Headquarters (and that is where the above photo was taken. No one told me the print I chose was also the wallpaper in the Greenroom haha). Then in July, I went to NYC to teach a Jeans Workshop at Google! Yes, THAT Google and yes you better believe I brag about that shit all the time BECAUSE IT’S RAD AS HELL.
  • In addition, I was lucky to have a few opportunities to take day / weekend trips to some of the cities near where I was teaching. I spent some time in Washington DC, Baltimore MD, Montreal Canada, Hartford CT, Boston MA, and Long Island NY (just this past week with my mom, for Christmas!). I really wanted to take a *real* vacation somewhere outside of the US, but by the time I had planned my class calendar there wasn’t time left to leave the country! Oh well, maybe next year haha
  • Oh, and I finally led my first intensive at Camp Workroom Social! For the past couple of years, I’ve worked as an assistant to Amy in the Bra Making class, which is always so much fun – but this year, I was offered my own class teaching jeans! I had 14 students (!!!), two amazing assistants (Kelli & Gabriela), and overall it was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to come back next year for another class!
  • Because of all this traveling, I’m happy to announce that I am officially Silver status with Delta Airlines. ha! I know that’s like the tiniest shitty baby status to have (so many of my friends are Gold, Platinum, or even Diamond) but Y’ALL let me have this moment, ok. I’ve never earned airline status before haha.
  • I took a class with Gertie when she was here in Nashville! Gertie’s original Blog for Better Sewing was the first sewing blog I really fell in love with, and after years of following her from across the internet like a damn creeper, I was really excited that we were hosting her for a workshop at Craft South! We ended up with an empty seat in the class, which I took advantage of (#workperks). It was so interesting to be in a class from a student’s perspective, and she is truly a wonderful teacher and just an amazing person in general. Not to mention, she really does look like a porcelain doll in real life. It would be maddening if she wasn’t such a nice person haha.
  • My side work as a professional seamstress for photoshoots/private clients (mainly celebrities and/or modeling agencies) picked up a bit this year, too! I had a few big shoots and some really cool clients, and a few of the pieces I worked on ended up on the red carpet for some of the award ceremonies that happen here in Nashville – the CMAs, Sesac, and the BMI awards. I can also officially say that 2018 was the year I got to touch a celebrity’s butt.
  • I was pretty excited to be featured on the Love to Sew podcast earlier this year! I had sooo much fun chatting with Helen & Caroline and I think you can tell by the length of the episode – it’s one of their longer ones! (what can I say – once you get me talking, I never shut up lol). Here is my episode if you want to listen to it.
  • I paid off my car this year! After 2.5 years of payments, that felt pretty good! Next up – I want to buy a house! I got pre-approved for a mortgage and now i’m currently shopping around 🙂

In my personal life, it has been a difficult year. I’m still grappling with all the shit that comes when you lose a loved one, and I’ve also had to deal with loss in other ways this year – loss of friendships, people moving away, and also a pretty devastating breakup that knocked me flat on my ass when I was least expecting it. For me, this year has been all about growth, patience, letting go of things I can’t control, and taking control of the things that I have power over. I still have a lot to work through and a lot of ways in which I can grow, but things get a little bit better every day.

Anyway, I don’t want to end this on a sad note, so here’s a photo of Amelia sitting like an absolute lady next to my sewing machines.


Happy New Year, everyone! Here is to a bright and beautiful 2019!

Studio Tour!

7 Sep

Hey everyone!

It’s been over a year since I moved into my new house, so you know what that means – time for an updated studio tour!! Yeahhhh!!

2018 Studio - room

Same as with my last delay, I kept putting off sharing this room with y’all because I really wanted to feel like it was “done” first. Even though, realistically, nothing is ever finished in my home – I’m always moving things around! I had a little kick in my pants via a Sewing Space feature over at Tilly & the Buttons , which forced me to suck it up and take the dang photos already. What you’re about to see is my studio in it’s natural state – it’s tidy, but not show-room perfect (i.e., I really should reorganize my fabric shelve, but, priorities).

While I was compiling the photos for this post, I ended up falling down a pretty deep rabbit hole of my past studio spaces. You may not be aware of this, but I’ve had a dedicated sewing room in some shape or form since 2006. My tastes & decorating have definitely changed a lot over the years, which I personally find pretty interesting! I think it’s also relevant as a lot of people comment on how well-organized my space is – which, it should be, I’ve been working on it for over 12 years! 😛 So before we jump into the NEW studio, I want to share a little bit of my evolution first!

Apologies in advance for the poor photos – it looks like my photography skills have also evolved, at least a little 😉

2006 sewing room - Broadway

2006: My very first dedicated sewing space, back when I lived in Midtown in Nashville TN. I loved that apartment so, so much and stayed there for several years – it was a beautiful old building with crazy cheap rent. I eventually couldn’t handle the poor maintenance or the noisy bars getting built up around me, so I moved… but not before moving my sewing room all over this one apartment. First stop was in what I think was the dining room – or possibly a small servant’s quarters (it was a 100+ year old building right by Vanderbilt with a layout that suggested this might have been the intention). It was a VERY small room – like I’ve had bigger walk-in closets than this space – but it was perfect for a tiny sewing set-up.

Also, if you are curious – the dress I’m wearing is New Look 6557, which was the first proper sewing pattern I made by myself and I made DOZENS of that dress lol

2007 sewing room - Broadway

2007 sewing room - Broadway

2007: Still in the same apartment in Midtown, but I moved shop into what was the bedroom (with my bedroom in the living room, and the tiny dining room being a sitting room). My ex boyfriend and I painted the room orange, and then he claimed it for his office (a bold move considering he never paid any rent). As soon as I kicked his ass out, I reclaimed the room for myself. So this is my “fuck you” sewing room haha. I also got Amelia, my cat, around the same time – for the same reason 🙂

Very little of this room is still in my possession! I have all new sewing machines and furniture. The only things I still have are the desk chair and that Little Prince poster. Also, lol at another New Look 6557 being on the dress form. And, yes, I had 4 irons. I did a lot of dumpster diving at Vanderbilt University back then and irons were a popular thing to throw away I guess.

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008: Decided I was DEFINITELY worth the biggest room in the apartment, so I moved my studio to the living room (and took back the bedroom for, well, my bedroom). This room was massive and I looooved that space so much. Painted it green, which in retrospect… not my best idea. I built a makeshift long table out of some old cabinets and a piece of plywood covers with peel and stick tile. And I upgraded my machines – I still use both of those today! Actually found the receipt the other day while I was cleaning out my files; I bought them at the end of 2007 :3

2008 sewing room - Broadway

For funsies, here’s a photo of me at that time – scene hair and all! I made that dress with knit fabric from Walmart haha

2009 sewing room - Broadway

2009 Sewing Room - Broadway

2009: Same room, with some updates! I repainted the entire thing bright turquoise (which became “my color” as far as studios are concerned!), as well painted my furniture. Got a cutting table (just one of those cheap ones from Joann’s), some new storage, and made curtains. This was taken over Christmas, hence the sparkly tree (which I still have today!)

2010 sewing room - South Nashville

2010: Ok, last one! This is the saddest looking photo ever, ha, but it’s literally the only one I have! I ended up moving out of my Midtown apartment and in with a friend who lived in South Nashville. He never used his living room, so I took it over as my sewing room! I had to work around the existing furniture, but I made it work. Lived here for about 2 months and then I moved to East Nashville to live with my BFF.

Other sewing spaces have their own blog post!
2011: Yellow Sewing room in East Nashville, TN
2011: Pale Blue sewing room in East Nashville, TN
2012: Giant Turquoise sewing room in West Nashville, TN
2015: Oddly Shaped Turquoise sewing room in Kingston Springs, TN
2017: Apartment sewing room in West Nashville, TN

Whew! Ok, this post has gotten long already and we aren’t even at the good stuff yet!

Anyway, here is where I am today! I moved into this sweet 1935 Tudor in 12 South/Nashville a little over a year ago. It’s a wonderful house + neighborhood and I really love living here. I use the second bedroom as my studio – it’s very small (just barely 11′ x 11′), and there are two doors, plus a closet, which made furniture arranging a little bit of a challenge! I had to take a lot of measurements and draft up a few room layouts before I figured out a good fit for everything, but it was definitely worth it.

The back half of the house was originally carpeted, and before I moved in I negotiated with the landlord to have the carpets removed (they were gross. Not, like, “ewwww carpet, gross” but like “10+ year old covered in stains gross”) and we were both delighted to discover the original hardwoods underneath. I also had her paint the walls a bright white, which really helped the overall vibe of the room. Before I moved in, this house was dark and dirty… it’s pretty fabulous now, though. I love it so much.

Also, because this comes up often – yes, I move a lot. I’m a renter, and my city is unfortunately going through some growing pains with skyrocketing rents + half the affordable houses either getting bulldozed (to build more $1M houses) or turned into AirBNBs (do not even get me started on the tragedy that is AirBNB over here, omg. It is a big, big problem and I encourage you if you visiting a popular city like Nashville to be very weary of any AirBNB that clearly is *only* an AirBNB and not someone’s home). I would love to buy and stop moving, but right now it just is not feasible. I like to think I’ve found a great long-term home here, but this is an expensive/trendy neighborhood so fingers crossed my landlord doesn’t try to turn it into a short term rental or sell it to the highest bidder.

Details about all products (including furniture & decor) are at the end of this post!

2018 Studio - doorway

Here is the studio when you enter through the hallway in the back of the house!

2018 Studio - room

As full of a view of the room that I could get!

2018 Studio - sewing machines

The back wall (facing the door you enter through) holds all my sewing machines. I built the long table with IKEA components (this will be a running theme in this room haha), because I wanted to house all my machines on one single table that I could just roll down in my chair. There are lots of drawers which is great for storing notions and supplies. The windows get a lot of light and a very pretty view, but there are several mature trees in front so I also get some privacy.

2018 Studio - sewing machines

Another view of the table and machines. You can also see part of the side porch through the window.

2018 Studio - sewing machines

Above the machines, I hung lights for some extra brightness in the room. True story – I rarely use these lights, as I realized immediately after that the main overhead light could hold 3 bulbs and 2 were blown out. I replaced all the bulbs with super high wattage daylight bulbs and HOLY SHIT BRIGHTNESS BATMAN. It’s like high noon in this room now, all the time! It’s amazing!!! Y’all can have your ~ambient lighting~ all you want but I am all bright, all the time haha

side wall

Looking to the left of the machines, this is where I keep my bookshelves that hold sewing/knitting/art books, Papercut Patterns, and knitting supplies. All my yarn fits in that one big basket 😛 I also keep WIP patterns in the magazine holder on top of the bookshelf. Over the book shelves, I hung two long wall shelves – the boxes store swatches, zippers, and lingerie supplies, and the top shelf is purely decorational. Those plants are fake as fuck, btw.

2018 Studio - books and shelves

Here’s another angle – thread racks, an extra stool, and a lamp that rarely gets used (again, daylight lightbulbs are the BOMB you guys).

2018 Studio - dressform

If you continue down that wall to the left, you’ll end up back at the door in which you entered. There is a door in the middle of the wall that leads to the side porch. This is where my dressform lives. I wasn’t crazy about the large blank wall, but didn’t want to spring for wallpaper (or bother painting… I like painting, but I’m not a fan of painted accent walls and I didn’t want to paint the entire room), so I bought these wall stickers on Amazon and made a dotty wall! It makes me so happy! 🙂

2018 Studio - fabric

So, going back to the machines and swinging right – you will get my fabric stash! Really thought about reorganizing this for the photo (it actually does need to be sorted and culled), decided not to haha. My old shelf that I’ve been using since 2009 wasn’t going to fit in this room, so I passed it on to a friend and bought something a little more modular. This area holds my fabric, PDF patterns, embroidery and art supplies, and my snap setters.

2018 Studio - ironing board

Next to my fabric is my ironing station! I started out in this room with a proper ironing board, but I desperately needed more storage so I swapped it out for a tabletop ironing board. I can’t take credit for this – I totally took the idea from Jasika as she made the exact same thing. It’s perfect! I padded out the top of an IKEA kitchen island with a few layers of cotton batting, then wrapped fabric (it’s Robert Kaufman Essex linen, specifically, if you are curious lol) around the whole thing and stapled it down. The station has drawers that hold ironing supplies and camera equipment, and shelves to hold my current projects and my Cricut Maker. The bucket of fabric next to the table holds scraps that are too big to throw away but not big enough to justify putting back on the shelf.

My iron is a gravity feed iron (I’m still using the same original one I got back in 2012!); the tank is suspended from the ceiling with a heavy duty plant hanger. Rather than keep the iron on my table, I found a small metal shelf on Amazon (used to house tv speakers) and attached that to the wall. This frees up space on my board, plus makes me feel a little less wigged-out about having an iron on top of cotton + wood. Over the station, I have a hanging light that is plugged directly into the same power strip that powers the iron. This way, I always know if the iron is on or off – and I never leave it on by accident!

The ironing station my cat’s favorite place to perch (second favorite is behind the sewing machines), so she can look out the window! I have a really great back yard, but unfortunately my crappy back neighbors tore down the entire tree line that separates us so I now have to stare at their house instead of beautiful green trees (and now no privacy! Boo!). Also, unfortunately for them, this has not deterred me from changing directly in front of that window haha

2018 Studio - desk

Next to the ironing station is my desk! This is where I get all my work done, unless I’m sitting on my porch (which is equally pretty great). On the wall beside my printer is where I hang my rulers, as well as an inspiration bulletin board and my fabric swatch board (where I keep track of the fabrics I want to sew next).

2018 Studio - closet

Next to the desk is the tiny closet. Sorry about this picture – this was the only way to not make it loo horrifying haha. I keep the rest of my patterns in here, organized in boxes. PDF patterns that I am working on are hung with clips on a small tension rod, and rolled PDF patterns are stored in a small trash can on the floor. I also keep supplies for my other job in here, on the top shelf. Rather than stack things, I built shelves with plywood so this closet is basically a giant shelf behind a door.

For more info about how I organize my patterns, please check out this blog post!

2018 Studio - cutting table

One side of my cutting table has drawers (holding pincushions, muslins, extra interfacing scraps, and lesser-used sewing tools) and bins (holding swimsuit fabric and… well I just realized that other bin is empty lol it was holding a WIP that I finished).

2018 Studio - scissors

The other side of my cutting table holds all my scissors, and more bins (boxes have leather scraps and silk scraps, bins have classroom supplies and supplies for when I need to take my machine on the road for my job).

2018 Studio - supplies cart

Finally, under the table is space for a big trash can and a rolling kitchen cart, which I use to hold sewing supplies and general art supplies.

Some detail shots:

2018 Studio - shelves

This wall makes me so happy! That jar is holding all my broken/used needles and pins.

2018 Studio - windows

These lights make me happy, too! I could only find them in black, so I spray painted them gold.

2018 Studio - Embroidery

Embroidery designed and stitched by me 😛 😛 😛

Ok, so almost done! Finally, here are the links to sources for furniture & other stuff. Most of the things in this room are either from IKEA, or secondhand. Spoiler alert! Also please be aware that a lot of these links are affiliate links, meaning I will get a small commission if you click them and end up purchasing something. Just a head’s up!

Wall paint color: Seriously, I have no idea. White?

Sewing machine table: ALEX drawer unit + LINNMON table top
Vintage desk chair: Thrifted
Cutting table: 2 KALLAX shelves + LINNMON tabletop + 2 KALLAX drawers + 4 KALLAX casters. Scissor rail is BYGEL RAIL + s-hooks
Fabric Shelves: HEJNE shelving unit
Bookshelves: thrifted
Ironing Station: FORHOJA kitchen cart + metal dvd wall shelf
Printer table: KLIMPEN drawer unit
Writing desk: Nashville flea market
Desk chair: Nashville flea market, spray painted gold and white
Turquoise utility cart: RÅSKOG
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)

Yellow & white storage boxes: DRÖNA
Large white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Small white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Fake plants: FEJKA
Industrial paper roll: Given to me when my old job (advertising) was downsizing and clearing out the art room!
Ceiling light (over ironing board): KNAPPA
Ceiling lights (over machines): Geometric Light bulb cage pendant (spray painted gold) + Edison light bulbs + HEMMA cord set
DMC thread organizer: thrifted
Thread racks: given to me by Elizabeth Suzann, but here are some similars on Amazon- thread rack + serger thread rack
Sewing room art: Joanna Baker, via Madalynne giveaway
“I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” chalkboard sign: Custom made by Kaelah
Sewing machine print: Madalynne
Polka dot stickers: Gold polka dot wall decals
Baskets: thrifted & spray painted gold
White floor lamp: NOT floor lamp
White desk lamp: Another score from the art supply room cleanout at my old job
Small turquoise/white stool: Nashville Flea Market
White cutting mats: The Shop Company
White deer head: Gift from Elizabeth Suzann
Snap setters (only people people always ask!): Purchased secondhand from Elizabeth Suzann

2018 Studio - Amelia

Ok, I think that’s all! Hope you enjoyed the tour 🙂