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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!)

I’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 we’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 Andi’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 don’t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit you’ll actually wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. You’re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills – after all, you’ll be the one wearing it 🙂 Make a knitted skirt and sewn top, make a dress and cardigan – doesn’t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit 🙂

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

– We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2018.
– The deadline for completion is July 31, 2018, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
– There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline – 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.
– 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 – 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 ain’t your thing – you don’t have to commit! The OAL is about what YOU want to wear, and you can absolutely choose a different pattern! 🙂 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 don’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 Andi’s official announcement post in case it’s already been covered, but if not… ask away! 🙂 And don’t forget to use the OAL2018 discount code for 20% off the Waters knitting pattern + 15% of at The Confident Stitch!

YAY I’m so excited! Who is joining in this year? 😀

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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??  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 🙂

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 🙂 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 South 🙂 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? 😉

2017: A Year in Review

31 Dec

I literally said this last year, and I’ll say it again: I can’t believe this year is over! It’s amazing how much faster time goes by the older you get.

yay!

This was definitely another slow sewing year for me. There was a lot of shit that happened this year (some good, some not good) that affected my time and energy in relation to sewing. I’m still slowly working on updating and replacing key pieces in my wardrobe, repairing and altering ones that need it, and trying to be more mindful about what fabric I’m buying and what I’m making with it (my suitcases flying home from NYC are getting lighter and smaller with each trip haha!). I think this is pretty apparent with my favorite and not-favorites from 2017! To see everything I made this year, you can always Lurk my Closet.

My favorite makes of 2017:

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics
Kelly Anorak

UGH I LOVE THIS PIECE SO MUCH. It’s the perfect transitional jacket for spring and fall, and the color goes with almost everything in my wardrobe. I wore this jacket so, so, so much, and got loads of compliments every single time. It was a joy to make and even more fun to wear!

Re-Lining a Coat - after
Re-lining a RTW Coat

I’m so glad that I finally bit the bullet and did this! Re-lining a coat isn’t high up on my list of favorite things to sew – in some ways, I think it’s actually easier to make one from scratch rather than tear out the old and sew in a new one. However, I really loved this jacket and I’m so happy that I can continue to wear it again! And yes, I DO love wearing green jackets… why do you ask? 🙂

Liberty Carolyn PJs
Liberty of London Carolyn Pajamas

I feel so fancy when I wear these PJs! Spending a lot of dough on fabric to sleep in probably isn’t what most people would do, but there’s something to be said about pampering yourself even when you’re lounging around. One thing I especially appreciate about these PJs is that they work well as separates in every day wear, too! I don’t think I’d go as far as to wear them together out in public, but either the top or the shorts do well paired with something else. I wore the top a few times with jean shorts; next summer I want to make an outfit with the shorts!

Lemon Rayon Alder Dress
Lemon Alder Dress

TBH, probably my favorite thing I made this year. I LOVE WEARING THIS DRESS. It’s so comfortable – the loose fit and breathable rayon make it perfect for summer, and it’s drapey enough that I don’t look completely shapeless underneath. I wore this dress on a lot of first dates and everyone loved it. But especially meeeee.

Chambray Kalle Dress
Linen Kalle Shirtdress

This was about the time I decided there was no problem with me owning several shirtdresses in the same shade of blue. This Kalle dress is the closest I’ll get to having anything that works with a capsule wardrobe. I like how well it works both on it’s own or paired with other pieces (different shoes, accessories, etc), and that it’s plain enough so people don’t notice right away that you keep wearing the same dress (or maybe they do and they are too polite to say anything).

Martine Sweater - front
Martine Sweater

Yay! This might be my favorite handknit sweater to date (until I finish the one I’m currently working on… time will tell!). I loved every single part of making it, and I’m so happy with the quality of my finishing. It’s another great transitional garment, since it’s knit with a cotton yarn. While it sucks that the fabric grows as I wear it, it does easily shrink back up with a wash + dry. And now I know to check that with future cotton sweater knitting!

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer
Flannel Archer + black stretch twill pants

Can’t go wrong with these two basics. Now that the weather is colder, I am getting sooo much wear out of these!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote
Niizo Canvas Tote Bag

I did not realize how much I needed a bag like this until I finished it! It has been super useful for carrying supplies to and from Craft South. I prefer this bag over other tote bags as I like the structure and the included pockets. I don’t feel like the bottom is going to bust open and drop my laptop on the sidewalk (which would be terrible).

Misses of 2017 (… not very many this year!):

Cropped Ebony Tee
Cropped Ebony Tee

I like this top in theory, but I never wore it. Mostly because the neckline gape when I bend over, and you can literally see my belly button. Which means I have to wear a tank under it, and nope. Barely wore this.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi
Lemon Cardigan

Ugh this one pains me because I LOVE it and I ADORE the fabric but it really doesn’t go with much in my closet! I think I’d get more use out of it if it were cropped, then I could wear it with dresses (the current length is just long enough that it looks weird with dresses). I may cut it shorter and see if that makes me wear it more. Or make another bra out of it – my Lemon Watson bra made with those scraps gets worn quite frequently!

Knot-Maste Top
Knot-Maste Top

Love the top, don’t love the fabric. I want to make it again in a better (read: more breathable) fabric and get rid of this poly one. As a side note, that bra I also made is AWESOME. It has been fantastic for working out, and I’ve also worn it as a swimsuit top (with my black bottoms) while kayaking this past summer!

***

I’m so glad I took more time off this year from blogging! It might not seem like very much, but pretty much ever since I started this blog I have been aiming for 1 post a week – sometimes more. In the past, I’d feel guilty about skipping a week, which is stupid because there is no one holding me to any sort of deadline. I definitely don’t feel that way about my Instagram, which I tend to be more active on. As with last year, I didn’t post everything I made this year – some stuff was just kind of redundant, or didn’t warrant a post – but a lot of it gets posted there if you are interested!

Rather than blogging (which, sadly, doesn’t pay my bills haha), I focused more on teaching this year! I am really happy with how far that got me throughout the year – I taught several workshops in Brooklyn NY, Leesburg VA, and also here in Nashville! I also taught a TON of classes at Craft South in Nashville, smaller/less expensive project-based classes that were finished in an evening. I averaged 2-3 per month, and we’ve got plenty more on the calendar for 2018 if you are local or visiting and want to take a sewing class – including a Sew Your Own Jeans Workshop in January!

Also related to sewing, I got connected with a local talent agency here in Nashville and now I occasionally freelance as a on-site tailor for photoshoots and commercials. It’s not a very consistent gig – not everyone has the budget to bring a tailor in for the day – but it is really really really awesome when I can get them. I’ve worked with a handful of big corporate names and celebrities, and also met some super cool people that way!

Job-wise, I’m still working the same 2 main jobs that I had last year – a personal assistant (not sewing related, but still pretty awesome), and the Education Coordinator for Craft South. Both jobs now allow me to work 100% from home, which I LOVE. I’d like to take a working vacation at some point, since I’m not tied down to being in a specific place or even time frame to perform my job (as long as I can bring my laptop and access the internet, I can get my work done). I also worked a little bit for Elizabeth Suzann on an as-needed basis this last quarter, to help them get caught up on orders before the Christmas season. It’s amazing how much that company has grown by leaps and bounds since I started there only a few years ago, and I just love having the opportunity to go in there. I averaged about 5-6 garments per 3 hour session each time I was there, not bad!

my house!!!

Some highlights from this year:
– I was fortunate enough to travel out of the country twice this year – my first trip was in January, and I went to Egypt for 10 days! Y’all, that was without question my favorite vacation I’ve ever taken, and I did it all by myself! I had an incredible time and got to know some really amazing people, including the very fun and extremely generous couple I stayed with, and a reader who met up with me a couple times and showed me around Cairo! Here is my recap of that trip if you are interested!
– I also went to Belize this year, in June, with my best friend! No blog post for that one – it was a personal trip, and to TBH I was drinking rum pretty much the entire time (helloooo we were on vacation!), but I had a blast and I’m so happy that I got to go!
– I moved this year! Yes, again!! I loved that little apartment that I was in, but I was offered a really amazing house in an even more amazing neighborhood for not much more than I was already paying. My new house is walking distance to Craft South, and it is the sweetest little 1935 stone cottage. Oh, and did I mention that I have my own laundry facilities, (giant) yard, and driveway!? Three things that apartment was sorely lacking 🙂 I’ve been here since June and I love it so much! Studio tour coming soon – this one might be my favorite yet!
– My best friend and life partner got married in July, and I was thrilled to be her Maid of Honor. I also made my dress for that, which you can see here!
– I finally got to meet *MY* sewing hero, Gertie! She is just as pretty and delightful in person as you’d expect 🙂 And I talked her into coming back to Nashville to teach at Craft South in 2018! We’ve got her for a one day circle skirt class AND a weekend workshop – cannot wait!
– In addition to all the workshops that I taught, I also assisted two classes, which was really fun! Both were for bra-making with Amy of Cloth Habit, who is such a great person to work with (and as the person who coordinates all the workshops for a fabric store, I can also say that she was the EASIEST instructor to work with in terms of getting everything planned, from a shop perspective. Amy is delightful!). We taught together at Craft South in September, and then again for Camp Workroom Social in October with Allyson Dykhuizen (who is also incredibly fun to work with and has the most splendid positive energy of anyone I’ve ever met!). It’s really nice to be the assistant of a class and let someone else to all the heavy lifting (although I do love running my own classes, too!). And speaking of bra making – Amy is coming back to Nashville in 2018 to teach the class again! Seriously, y’all should just look at the upcoming weekend workshops at Craft South for 2018 because we have so much fun stuff planned!
– After 10 years of putting it on my Christmas list, I finally bought myself a Coverstitch machine – a Janome Coverpro 2000cpx. We are still getting used to each other, but I am very happy with my purchase! I will be writing a review post about it in January, stay tuned 🙂

***

On a more somber note, 2017 was also the year that my dad passed away. He battled colon cancer for 4 years, and the entire time he stayed strong and optimistic. After our big scare in September 2016 (where he ended up on life support for a week), he never quite bounced back the way he had done so many times before. His younger brother, Kenny, also suffered from cancer and died at the beginning of February this year. I think that was the last straw for my dad, he didn’t hold on for much longer after that. Losing a parent was an incredibly traumatic experience that has absolutely changed me as a person. I struggled a lot with my grief + feelings this year, especially in those months immediately after. I couldn’t understand why I felt sad, why I basically lost my will to do anything. I spent a really long time feeling sorry for myself this year. It’s been an uphill battle dealing with everything – I see both a therapist and a grief counselor now, and that has been helpful. Living alone + being single has also presented its own challenges, mainly in that it’s very easy for me to isolate myself, which is not the healthiest thing for me to do right now. I am making efforts to get out more and meet and interact with people, but it can be really hard sometimes.

The rest of my family is doing ok. My mom is completely heartbroken, but she’s taking small steps to take care of herself. My brother Matt ended up moving across the country; he’s in Portland, OR now. My other brother Mikil has really stepped up to help and be the man of the household as much as possible. I don’t know where we’ll be at this point next year – but I told my mom we should consider going somewhere exotic for Christmas in 2018, and just treat ourselves proper.

Anyway, all to say that it’s been a hard year, one of the hardest for me yet. I miss my dad so much, and while I get around in my day to day life pretty normally for the most part, I still think everything sucks a lot of the time. It really pains me to think that he won’t be there for my next milestones, or even to see what I’m doing right now. He would have loved this house so much, and he would have thought what I’ve done with my year was so cool. I’m so thankful that we had him for as long as we did, and I’m so proud to be the daughter of such an amazing man. My dad was truly one in a million.

running is stupid

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So what does 2018 hold? Well, I hope it’s better than 2017 was! My last absolutely horrible year was in 2006, so I am really counting on another bad year not happening for at least a decade. 2018 needs to cut me a fucking break already!

I would like to expand into more teaching – especially jeans-making (whole post about that coming up!) – and I’d like to go on at least one fun / non-work trip (or, as I mentioned – working vacation. Just something that I’ve planned for myself without any outside obligations!). I would also like to get into doing short tutorial videos – I think it would be fun! I inherited my dad’s GoPro camera (my mom says it’s “on loan” but let’s be real, she’s never getting that thing back lol) and have been playing around with iMovie. I am taking content suggestions, so let me know if there is something you would like to see!

Anyway, I think that’s pretty much it for this year. I hope everyone has a fabulous and safe holiday! Here’s to a beautiful 2018!

A Very Belated Tour of My Sewing Room

3 May

Hey! Remember when I moved last year and promised I’d share photos of my new sewing room? Well, we’re almost a year overdue – but I’m finally making good on that promise! Truth be told, I kept putting off the ~big reveal~ because there was a never-ending list of things that I wanted to change about the space – first I wanted a new ironing board cover, then I needed new lights over said ironing board, then I thought I’d wait until I got new sewing tables… like I said, never-ending! I have since realized two things:

1. The list of changes is going to be never-ending. That’s the nature of decorating. Once you’re happy with one thing, you want to tweak something else. Ok, maybe you don’t decorate that way – but I do! Keeps me on my toes, keeps that DIY spirit alive or whatever.
2. I decided to move in June (more on that in a minute!), so I better document this room before it becomes a maze of boxes! Argh!

Anyway, better late that never! I always have a studio in every place that I live, and I like to document these snapshots of my life, so I wanted to include this one on the blog as well 🙂 If you’re interested in seeing my other sewing spaces from past homes, check out this tag 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio

Here is what you see when you first walk in! It’s an average sized room (11′ x 12′, which isn’t super tiny – but it makes for a small studio, especially when you have a giant cutting table in the middle of it!), so it was hard to get good shots of everything, but I tried!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while and are familiar with my former sewing spaces, you probably noticed that this room is super white! In the past, I’ve always had lots of color on my walls – which I love, especially when it’s turquoise! – but I ended up keeping this room white. The landlord and I had a bit of miscommunication about the painting – he agreed to paint it turquoise, I sent him swatches, he said he didn’t get the swatches, I agreed to just go with white (it was originally that horrible beige-y rental color that no one loves), figuring I’d repaint it myself if it bothered me. But I’ve really grown to love it, it’s so fresh and bright!

LLADYBIRD Studio

The view from the door to the sewing station. I love having a window at my sewing station, even if the bright light makes my photos look awful 🙂

One of the things that I wanted to change about this room – and will change in my next studio – is to exchange those two sewing cabinets in favor of a long worktable that I can roll back and forth at in my chair. I love my cabinets, but they aren’t practical with multiple machines (plus, I can’t use the knee lever with my Bernina! Boo!).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Starting next to the door, on the right-hand side of the room – is my desk (or as they love to say on MTV Cribs “where the magic happens”). Since I primarily work from home, it’s great to have a dedicated desk space where I can keep my computer and all my office and art supplies. I also blog from this desk, and sometimes it holds fabric + pattern overflow when I’m on a giant cutting binge 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the desk is my ironing station – yes, with a new ironing board cover (finally haha!). The lights over the ironing board are suspended on a cord that plugs into a power strip below. These lights provide two purposes: one, to give me more working light (despite how bright these photos are, the corners of the room are actually quite dark, so it needs a lot of light to be comfortable to work in!), and two, to let me know when the iron is on! I use a gravity feed iron that does not have auto shut off, so I keep it plugged into a power strip with lights above it. When the lights are on, I know the iron is also on!

The shades over the lights are Joxtorp shades from Ikea. They are cheap little cardboard things that I just spray painted a different color. Nothing fancy, but better than a bare bulb! I used paper lanterns in the past, but I lost one of them during the move and figured it was time for a change anyway!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Over the ironing boards, I keep my rulers and cork boards – one for inspiration and general things that make me happy, and one to plot out future projects.

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

My sewing machines and serger are against the wall opposite the doorway, right by that beautiful window! All my thread is on racks on the wall (serger thread by the serger, sewing machine thread by the sewing machine), and notions in the shelf above my sewing machine. Plus, my dressform!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

Continuing toward the right, this wall has a full-length mirror and a few shelves. The floor shelves hold my sewing books and yarn stash (yeah, it all fits in ONE BASKET woohoo), and the wall shelves have bra making supplies and zippers. And also fake plants along the top, cos green stuff is pretty stuff. I also keep a big roll of craft paper on top of the floor shelves.

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the shelves is where I keep my printer (FYI there is nothing fun in those drawers – it’s all products and samples that I send out for my other job haha).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Finally, at the end of the room – next to the door – is the closet. Since this closet is really big (like 7′ wide) and didn’t have doors, I just stuck my entire fabric stash in there, shelf and all! The shelf fit in perfectly with some extra space on the sides, plus there is storage along the top closet shelf for all my sewing patterns. My apologies for the bare shelves – I’d already started packing my fabric at this point, and I wasn’t about to unpack it for one photo! Just imagine that those shelves are full of lovely, colorful fabric 🙂 hah!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Since that shelf is about 5′ wide, there’s at least a foot of space on either end to store things. One end has my sewing machine cases and tracing paper (boring), but this end I stuck a tension rod so I can hang my working PDF patterns from! I can clip all the pieces and then hang them from the rod, and that way they don’t get folds before I have a chance to use them (PDF patterns that I’m not currently using are stored in a binder system – which I keep behind one of those doors in the big shelf).

Speaking of printing PDFs – I have started using a local printer to print copyshop versions, instead of cutting + taping a million pages together. My research in the past showed that places like Kinko’s charge about $10/page, which just crazy (especially if you are unfortunate enough to have a pattern with multiple pages!). I found a local printer who will print them for $2.18 per page, and holy shit y’all they are amazing. If you are in Nashville, check out CCAD Reprographics, seriously! If you’re not local, I think they will ship 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

This is on that time wall space between the door and the closet. The hook is good for hanging WIPs (or stuff that I need to do some alterations or repairs on), and I found that postcard at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

The cutting table takes up the space in the middle of the room. On one end, I have a bar where I store my cutting tools. The boxes in the cubes hold silk scraps, leather scraps, Papercut Patterns + Vogue patterns (since they don’t fit in the comic book boxes with the rest of my patterns), and my dyeing stuff.

The opposite end of the table has some drawers where I keep a bunch of tools and interfacing scraps, and the bins at the bottom hold swimsuit fabric and an enormous stash of zippers.

I love this cutting table! I “built” it out of two shelves and a tabletop – all stuff from Ikea – and put it on casters so I can easily roll it around if I need to (the casters also lock, so that shit will also stay put if I need it to). It’s a great size and height for cutting! For more information on how I built this, check out my former sewing room post.

LLADYBIRD Studio

What’s rad about this table, is that the middle is open and tall enough for me to roll this cart underneath, so I can easily pull it out when I need supplies (or shove it under the table when it’s in the way).

hellooooo
Hi!

So that’s my sewing room! I have really loved creating in this room – it’s such a lovely, bright space and it is really the perfect size for my needs. I’m going to miss this room (not to mention THAT CLOSET), but I’m so excited about my new place!

Oh, and more about that! I really love this apartment, and I have enjoyed living here this past year. However, one of my friends got me a great hook-up on an AMAZING house (seriously, look at how cute it is!), which I jumped at the opportunity. I am excited to have yard access again, a private driveway – and I’ll be walking distance to my part time gig at Craft South (not to mention, all the other cool stuff in that area!). The house was built in 1935, which means it is incredibly charming and has really really small closets 🙂 I am seriously SO sick of moving (just thinking about my to-do list is giving me anxiety), but I know it will be worth it! My new sewing room is going to be a hair smaller than this one – it measured around 11′ x 11′ – which means I need a bit of an overhaul on my organization / storage (for example – taking advantage of all those drawers!). I am up for the challenge, though! I love decorating new studios haha 🙂

Side note to my Nashville friends – if you are looking for an apartment, this one is available! Send me an email if you want more info 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio