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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

yay!
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.

IMG_6671

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 Gertieย 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).ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

fullsizeoutput_12f0

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

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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! ๐Ÿ˜› 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

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?

FURNITURE:
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
Wall shelves: EKBY Jร„RPEN / EKBY BJร„RNUM
Turquoise utility cart: Rร…SKOG
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)

ACCESSORIES & DECORATIONS:
Yellow & white storage boxes: DRร–NA
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Announcing the 2018 OAL!

15 May

By popular demand, we’re back for another year!

Yes! The Outfit Along is back, and this year we are turning five! (whaaat!)

Iโ€™m teaming up with knit designer extraordinaire, Andi Satterlund, to host a combination knit-along and sew-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting (or crocheting, if that’s more your thing) a garment. This is a great opportunity to fill your wardrobe with more beautiful handmade pieces, and weโ€™ll have two official patterns that will have additional blog support, should you need it.

The official sewing pattern will be the Lander Pants by True Bias, and the official knitting pattern will be Andiโ€™s newest design, Waters. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern, so we can all sew and knit along together. If you donโ€™t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit youโ€™ll actually wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. Youโ€™re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills โ€“ after all, youโ€™ll be the one wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚ Make a knitted skirt and sewn top, make a dress and cardigan โ€“ doesnโ€™t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit ๐Ÿ™‚

You can read all the relevant details over at Untangling Knots โ€“ as well as a FAQ for common questions โ€“ but in a nutshell:

โ€“ We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2018.
โ€“ The deadline for completion is July 31, 2018, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
โ€“ There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline โ€“ PRIZES!!! We will be drawing 3 winners this year, and each winner will receive a $50 voucher to use at Indie Stitches, a $25 voucher to use at The Confident Stitch, and 4 patterns of their choice from the Untangling Knots Ravelry store.
โ€“ To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2018 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

So, now that’s out of the way – let’s talk about the patterns!

The official knitting pattern, Waters, is one I’m really excited about! Light and easy, uncomplicated and fuss-free, this linen pullover is the perfect garment to ease you toward the hot months of summer (or layer into the early cool months if you’re in another hemisphere!). The retro-style top features a high front neckline with a deep scooped back, classic skinny stripes (which can easily be customized if you prefer a different stripe option), and loads of relaxing stockinette. The pullover is knit seamlessly from the top down (editor’s note: upon proofreading, I originally had this written as “top dog” lolwut ok carry on), so there are very few purl stitches and even less seaming (aka: no seaming. Yay!). The yarn is Quince + Co Sparrow, which is a fingering weight linen yarn, and the fit should have 0-3 inches of positive ease – making this top super comfortable and cool to wear in the heat of summer.

If Waters looks vaguely familiar, that’s because it is! I love my Zinone from 2016’s OAL and wear it all the time – but reversed, with the lace in the front and the scoop in the back. Andi took a note from this riff and designed Waters to fit the same way, and at my suggestion we are using the same linen yarn because Y’ALL I LOVE THIS YARN. It’s a great price, knits up fast, and you can wash and dry it in the machines (which makes it even softer!). My zinone gets a lot of wear and I’m thrilled to have another linen knit to add to my wardrobe!

Anyway, I’m not saying that you need to knit the official OAL pattern this year… but you should really, really, really consider it. Plus, it’ll be 20% off until the OAL begins on June 1st when you you checkout on Ravelry using the coupon code OAL2018 โ€“ so yes, get you that discount!

The official sewing pattern, the Lander Pants, is already a beloved darling in the sewing community, and for good reason! The pattern features a super high waist, button fly (or optional zipper fly if you hate buttons!), and generous patch pockets on both front & back. The legs have a wide, straight fit, and three length options – full length, ankle length, or shorts.

I’ve already made a couple pairs of cropped Landers – the red linen ones I shared here on my blog last month (and, um, spoiler: my shorts will also be red linen LOL), and a pair of navy twill tencel ones that have yet to make an appearance. I LOVE this pattern and can personally vouch that it works great with my Zinone sweater, and am excited to pair it with the new Waters top!

Same as with last year’s OAL, I will not be doing a series of super in-depth tutorials of making this pattern from start to finish. I will, however, be posting project updates and my own personal tips for making this pattern! There is a full sewalong here on the True Bias blog if you need the extra help, though!

Again, if the Landers ainโ€™t your thing โ€“ you donโ€™t have to commit! The OAL is about what YOU want to wear, and you can absolutely choose a different pattern! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another option we considered for this OAL was the Ginger Jeans. The new Jenny pattern from Closet Case Patterns would also be a great match for this sweater. And, of course, there are always skirts!

Should you need to pick up some fabric, our fabric sponsor, The Confident Stitch, has generously given us a discount code! Use the code OAL2018, and receive 15% off your entire order through June 15.

As always, you can spread the word by using the hashtag #OAL2018 or use this fancy badge. And donโ€™t forget to join the OAL2018 discussion thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, for all your OAL chatting needs (and please tag me directly if you have a question, because sometimes I personally have a hard time with keeping up with all the action that happens in that thread ;)). Questions? Be sure to read the FAQ on Andiโ€™s official announcement post in case itโ€™s already been covered, but if notโ€ฆ ask away! ๐Ÿ™‚ย And don’t forget to use the OAL2018 discount code for 20% off the Waters knitting pattern + 15% of at The Confident Stitch!

YAY Iโ€™m so excited! Who is joining in this year? ๐Ÿ˜€

Vogue Spring 2018

12 Apr

New Vogue patterns are out! This season, they were kind enough to give us a nice mixture of awesome and wtf.

V1587_01
Vogue 1587 / Nicola Finetti
I’m just gonna go out and say it – this is one of the ugliest dresses I’ve ever seen. Those ~statement sleeves~ combined with the cold shoulder look + strappy top just give the effect of droopy boobs trying to pretend like they don’t know each other. Oh, and don’t forget the unintentional culottes thanks to that weird curved hem. Seriously, who is wearing this shit? This designer has tons of cute stuff, but somehow manages to only license the ugliest shit for Vogue patterns. Whyyyy.

v1589
Vogue 1589 / Guy Laroche
Despite the waterfall boob, I was gonna let this one slide. Then I saw the COMPLETELY OPEN BACK. Again- who is wearing this shit? How does the back stay in place? Do you get sideboob if you’re not careful? Does bending a certain way risk buttcrack? Asking the important questions here.

v1577
Vogue 1577 / Guy Laroche
Who wore it better?

V1591_01
Vogue 1591 / Rebecca Vallance
Ok, I actually like this. It’s not my style (not into the jumpsuit or the open back jam), but it’s super cute and I think this is one of the best versions of this sort of look I’ve seen yet. It’s pretty trendy but it’s still quite wearable, and the model looks great.

V9318_01
Vogue 9318
Want to take your “secret pajama” dressing to the next level? Cut out the middleman and just wear a pillowcase!

V9319_01
Vogue 9319
Fuck me, I am actually super into this. This is absolutely nothing practical about this look whatsoever but I would wear the shit out of it.

V1585_05
Vogue 1585 / Rachel Comey
Vogue 1585: The Dress With the Built-In Fart Catcher

V1583_01
Vogue 1583
I initially thought this top had a hoodie, and I was 100% digging it, but now I see it’s just a sad excuse for a sailor collar and I don’t know what to trust anymore.

V9317_02
Vogue 9317 / Marcy Tilton
When your shirt doesn’t fit right and you’d rather try to hack some afterthought darts than re-fit the entire thing.

V9314_01
Vogue 9314 / Kathryn Brenne
Is this… an updated Walkaway Dress??ย  How did it manage to look worse?

V9315_a
Vogue 9315
Not all heroes wear capes, but these bitches ain’t letting that stop them.

V9316_01
Vogue 9316
Hello, I am your present.

V9323_03
Vogue 9323 / Elizabeth Gillett
Mostly just including this so we can discuss THAT SWIMSUIT. I am disappointed that it’s not included in the pattern (although I do like the cover-up options!), because I’m curious to know what kind of interior structure is included to give the model that amazing cleavage. Seriously, she’s basically got a butt under her chin. Incredible.

V9306_02
Vogue 9306
Let me tell you exactly what this reminds me of:

What did you love (or hate!) about this collection? Are you just here to complain about my swearing (spoiler: save yourself the effort, I don’t careeeeeee)? How do you feel about 9320? My opinions on this one are mixed, and I can’t tell if I just like it because of the fabric choices they used.

Vogue Patterns: Spring 2018

25 Jan

Well I was planning on posting a sewing project today, but Vogue just released their newest seasonal offering of sewing patterns and I actually have opinions for once! Yay! I swear, the last several offerings have been very… vanilla. Which is great for them, but not so great for snarky posts. Hence why these tend to be so infrequent. It’s hard to poke fun when there’s nothing to poke fun at ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, let’s get on it!

V9303
Vogue 9303 / Marcy Tilton
Featuring a handy snack pocket, perfect for stashing some tots.

V1579
Vogue 1579 / Badgley Mischka
I mean, I hate the cold-shouldered look too but c’mon man you don’t have to be so dramatic about it.

V1581
Vogue 1581 / Tom & Linda Platt
When you cut your hem crooked and try to pretend like you did it on purpose and it’s actually a design element.

V1576
Vogue 1576 / Tom & Linda Platt
Ever wanted to pretend like you were a flying squirrel? Well, I’ve got a pattern for you…

V9307
Vogue 9307 / Julio Ceaser
You could hide an entire turkey in those sleeves.

V9292
Vogue 9292
Even the model looks bored with this pattern.

V9296
Vogue 9296
Aaaaaaaand now she looks high.

As a side note: I know I am going to get a lot of backlash for this, but I cannot wait until this cold shoulder look goes out of style. It just reminds me of this fucking Replicant shirt I used to own when I was in highschool:


Yeah, I thought those little tiny shoulder slits were suuuper cool. Also, the shirt was very sparkly haha.

Ok, moving on!

V1575
Vogue 1575
Ok, for real I actually like these pieces separate. But together, they look too art teacher chic. And not, like, fun art teacher chic but like… frumpy grumpy art teacher who doesn’t allow actual artistic expression and maybe even took over finishing your project for you because she was such a fucking control freak about it. That kind of art teacher. Anyone else have one of those? Just me?

V9299
Vogue 9299
Really?

V9304
Vogue 9304 / Kathryn Brenne
I don’t even know where to start with these. The front yoke just looks like she’s wearing her pants backwards, especially combined with those weird-ass pockets. The real kicker is how they are sewn on – the corners are loose, left to flap casually in the breeze.

I do like that sweater, though.

Machine Review: Janome CoverPro 2000CPX

17 Jan

Good morning, everyone! As I mentioned in my year end post (as well as on Instagram a few times!) – I bought a Coverstitch machine in October! Specifically, a Janome CoverPro 2000CPX, which I purchased from Craft South here in Nashville. Now that I’ve had a couple of months to play with the machine and learn more about it, it’s time for a review post! Get a cup of tea, this one is long.

coverpro review

The Janome CoverPro 2000CPX is a 4 thread coverstitch that can accommodate up to 3 needles. It has minimal differences from the 1000CPX, which I also considered buying – basically, it’s a little easier to thread. There is also a 2 needle 2000CPX, but I wanted the 3 needle.

I chose this particular brand for 2 reasons – first of all, Janome tends to get very high praise for their coverstitch machines. This machine is pretty popular and gets great reviews across the board. It’s inexpensive (but not cheap), easy to thread, and provides a nice variety of stitches. Full disclosure for reason #2 – I work at Craft South, and I got a very generous employee discount with this machine purchase. This also swayed my decision, however, I was considering this machine before I even started working at Craft South (and I’m not gonna lie – knowing I’d get a discount on it was part of the reason why I agreed to work there, haha). While I did purchase this machine with my own money, it was discounted.

Why a coverstitch machine? Y’all. I have wanted one of these since 2007, no exaggeration. I put it on my wishlist every single year, and every year I convince myself that it’s a frivolous purchase. Since buying this machine and using it, I have learned that it does do more than just hem – however, it’s still an expensive machine that only does a few things. I ultimately decided to buy this machine because I do occasional alterations + fitting for clients, plus I got that discount, so it made sense for me to own one. However, it took me 10 years to decide to buy one. Don’t feel bad if you are still in twin needle mode when you hem your knits!

One question that I get a lot is – what is the difference between a coverstitch machine and a serger? Basically, a serger is used for creating + finishing seams – it has a knife blade that cuts the excess fabric so threads can wrap around the edge. It is great for knits as the stitches stretch with the fabric. A coverstitch does not seam, it only finishes. You can use it for hemming, attaching binding or foldover elastic, or creating decorative stitches (but not creating the actual seams). It is also ideal for knits, as the stitches stretch. If you are deciding between the 2 machines, I find a serger to be more useful for the most part. If you are debating on getting one of those 2-in-1 serger/coverstitch combos… don’t. They are a pain to use (you have to pretty much disassemble them each time you want to switch between machines) and cost the same as having 2 separate machines. Unless space is a big issue, get 2 separate machines.

All right, that all out of the way – let’s talk about the machine!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx

Here is the machine in all it’s glory. Yay!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - free arm

One of the features it includes is a free arm (so you can sew small things in the round, like the hem of a sleeve). This is the free arm. I don’t know why but this is very hilarious to me, it’s so tiny!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

When you open the coverstitch, it’s pretty clean and empty on the inside. There is only 1 looper to thread, and it’s very, very easy. Like, threading a sewing machine easy (not like threading a serger).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

One of the nice features of this machine is that the looper has a tab to pull it out so you can more easily thread it (unlike some sergers where you have to use tweezers to weasel the thread in the looper hole under the needle plate, lord, I’m getting the sweats just thinking about that shit lol). This one pops out, so you can thread it and pop it back in.

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitch options

The inside of the machine shows all the different stitch types that are available – two and three thread overlock, and a chainstitch. Since the machine has 3 needles, it means you have more options in terms of stitch width and needle position (something I didn’t consider when I purchased the machine but I’m pretty stoked about now!).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading guide

There’s also a diagram on how to thread the machine. See what I mean? Fucking easy.

Using the machine was definitely a steep learning curve for me – my serger (a Babylock Imagine) does automatic tension adjustments, so I don’t have a lot of experience with manually adjusting tension to correct my stitches (that serger is awesome btw, I’ve had it for nearly 10 years and I swear to god if it broke I would buy another one in a heartbeat haha). There are needle tension dials on this serger, plus looper tension, PLUS another switch that goes from “soft” to “tight.” The user manual is very brief, but my understanding is that soft is ideal for your lightweight fabrics and single/double layers that experience fabric curling and tunneling. The tight is for heavier fabrics, multiple layers (such as flatlocking or applying binding), especially if you are prone to skipped stitches. You can also adjust the tension on the needles for tunneling and skipped stitches.

Something else I have noticed with this machine is that it prefers a heavier needle if I am sewing through multiple layers (again, flatlocking or binding, or using a heavy fabric). It really does best with a 90/14. If you experience skipped stitches, I would recommend changing to a heavier needle and see if that helps.

One thing to keep in mind when using this machine is that you have to knot your threads or they will unravel the second you look at them. Once you are finished sewing, you pull the needle threads to the back and knot them by hand. I didn’t realize this at first and could not understand why my hems were coming unraveled so quickly haha.

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitches, front

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitches, back

Here are the stitch options, front and back. From left to right:
– Binding: 2 needles + looper. I used a binding attachment for this! There are several size options of attachments, mine is the wider one (42mm-12mm). The finished binding is roughly 3/8″ wide. You cut strips of binding (this example is a woven, but it is AWESOME for knits) or use foldover elastic, feed them into the attachment and the machine wraps it around your fabric and stitches it in one go! It’s super fast and fun, but that shit was a steep learning curve. Also, that attachment is not cheap. Again, I got mine at a discount, but it was still a bit eye-wateringly expensive, just FYI.
– Chainstitch: Single needle + looper. This can be used to baste (apparently, since it’s easy to pull out. Jury is still out on that one in my experience tho), or hem jeans (look at your RTW jeans! The hem is chainstitched!). What I use it for is single-needle topstitching on knits, like on a neckline. It looks really clean and neat – but unlike a regular sewing machine, it also stretches!
– 3 needle coverstitch: 3 needles + looper. This creates a nice, stretchy hem for knits. Another thing you can use this stitch for is a mock flatlock. Serge your seams as normal, then stitch over them with the 3 needle coverstitch, with the needles on the wrong side of your garment (so the looper side ends up on the right side). It functions just like a flatlock – reasonably flat (non-irritating), strong, stretchy, and looks cool!
– 2 needle coverstitch: 2 needles + looper. You have several options for this stitch, since there are 3 places to put your 2 needles. Narrow or wide (shown above is wide), left or right. I have found that I prefer the wide for hemming, and the narrow with both needles to the left when using my binding attachment. You can also use this to do a mock flatlock, but I think the 3 needle version looks better.

So far, I’ve used my machine to make loads of underwear and tank tops. The binding attachment is perfect for finishing all the edges very quickly (again, you can either use strips of knit fabric or foldover elastic) while still keeping them stretchy like you’d get with regular lingerie elastic. The 3 thread coverstitch is awesome for activewear and creating flatlock seams that don’t rub or chafe and also look super professional. And, of course, I love using the 2 or 3 thread coverstitch for hemming my knits!

If you’re interested in seeing how the binder on this machine works, I have made it a highlighted story on my Instagram (computer users, I think you have to be on the actual app to view it). It’s pretty awesome! I will write a more in-depth post on using the binder, stay tuned for that.

So, do you need a coverstitch machine? Honestly, I can’t answer that question for you – it depends on how much you sew, your budget, and the amount of space you have to store one. Since I do this work professionally (and also sell these machines at the shop!), it made sense for me to own one. This machine does do a great hem on knits, but there is certainly a learning curve involved and it’s pretty expensive considering it only does a handful of functions. I also really really REALLY love that binding attachment; it’s great for finishing edges on underwear and activewear. However, a regular machine can also apply binding – albeit not as quickly and not with quite the same finish.

In regards to the learning curve – well, there is one. It took me several days of playing around with the machine, testing different stitches, settings and fabrics, before I felt like I really had a good handle on how the machine works. The only way to get past the learning curve is by PRACTICE. No amount of blog posts, YouTube videos, internet research, or telling everyone how scared you are of your machine is going to magically make it suddenly easy to understand. Get a glass of wine, put on some Duran Duran, and get to know your machine. Learn what works, what doesn’t work, try different needles and tension settings, rip out your stitches, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and take a lot of notes because I guarantee you won’t remember half this shit the next day. Like parallel parking a car for the first time, yes it’s a hot mess in the beginning. But eventually you get past fear and start working in autopilot. And also, for the record, I am an excellent parallel parker (after many, many years of practice lol).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx

If you are considering this machine, my advice NOT to buy this online (even if it’s cheaper). Your local shop will be able to show you how to use the machine and answer questions and troubleshooting you may have. I also am real big into supporting your local shop, and keeping them in business ๐Ÿ™‚ If you don’t have a local shop that sells Janome – and this post swayed your decision to a yes – you can buy one from me at Craft Southย ๐Ÿ™‚ We ship to anywhere in the US for free and offer a discount below the MSRP you see on Janome’s website. There are no affiliate links in this post, however, I do receive a commission for every machine sale I make through our shop. FYI!

Whew! Ok, I think that’s a long enough post so I’m gonna wrap this up. Did I miss anything about this machine that you still have a burning question for? Do you have a coverstitch machine? Are you gonna buy one now? ๐Ÿ˜‰