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2015 – A Year In Review

31 Dec

Yay, I love doing these posts! It’s so interesting for me to go back to the beginning of a year and see where life was at vs life today, and I love reading these sorts of reviews and updates from everyone else, too.

#sewphotohop day 1: my name is Lauren and I blog at I live in the woods right outside of Nashville, TN, with my boyfriend and BFF. I've been sewing for most of my life and I make almost all of my clothes at this point (including lingerie an

Rather than make a big photo collage of every single thing I made this year (which is what I usually do, and honestly, just kind of over it at this point), I want to focus on a few pieces that did and did not get worn/loved. There was a bit of a shift in my blogging this year – even if no one else noticed it (which is quite likely), it definitely affected my output and the things that ended up in my closet. I participated in far fewer collaborations/sponsorships this year – no pattern testing, very few fabric freebies (other than my monthly MSN makes, which you will tear from my cold, dead hands), no blog hops, and only a handful of gratis patterns. Compared with how much I ate that shit up in the past, I really toned things down this year – and I absolutely think it was for the better. My wardrobe certainly reflects it, anyway.

Oh, and if you want to see *everything* I made this year in all it’s entirety – you can always Lurk My Closet πŸ˜‰

* * *

So, here are some of my favorite pieces from 2015!

Ginger Jeans
Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side
Ginger Jeans // 1
Ginger Jeans // 2

GOD BLESS MY GINGER JEANS. Both of these pairs have seen soooo much wear over the course of this past year – the first pair even went all the way to Peru with me (considering I traveled with only a backpack and minimal clothing, that’s a big compliment!). Whatever mystery denim I used for that first pair is super legit, and I wish I’d bought more of it. I can seriously wear those things for a solid 2-3 weeks without them bagging out and looking frumpy. And, of course, I’m happy to finally have a Cone Mills denim pair. These don’t fit quite as well as the first pair (I am thinking that I should not have gone up a size, and instead embraced the painted-on legs), but they are still light years better than almost all the pants I’ve ever bought retail (I won’t snub the OG I+W ones, though, because they are pretty good). Plus, they were fun to make with all the colorful topstitching.

Honorary mentions are required for my Red cotton twill Gingers and Ginger Jeggings. I was NOT expecting to love those jeggings as much as I do (and tbh, I rarely wore them at the beginning of this year), but they are super comfy and get busted out at least once a week now that it’s cold.

B5526 Floral
Gingers & B5526
Butterick 5526 // 1
Butterick 5526 // 2

Butterick 5526 was, again, a big winner for this year. I just feel really good when I wear shirts made from this pattern, not to mention how much I enjoy making them in the first place. A collared shirt is the easiest way (for me, anyway) to wear jeans or shorts without being completely casual. Plus, I can layer them under sweaters in the cold months! Win!

Watson Bikini
Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front
Watson Bikini
Stretch & Sew Bikini

Super proud of both of these swimsuits. I really nailed the fabric selection (which sounds super dumb, but that shit can get overwhelming really fast when you are presented with practically every option in the WORLD so much that you forget what you actually like), and got a good fit that looks good and feels secure/comfortable. The Watson definitely got more wear, but mainly because I finished it much earlier in the season. I am looking forward to wearing out that paisley one next summer πŸ™‚

Silk crepe Saltspring
Silk Crepe Modified Saltspring

I made a lot of little silk summer dresses this year, but this one is probably my favorite! It’s really easy to throw on when you don’t feel like figuring out an entire outfit, and the shape is perfect for wearing in the heat. Plus, elastic waistband. Yes.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front
Plaid Flannel Carolyn Pajamas

I am actually wearing these right now, as I type this. These are the BEST pajamas I have ever worn/made – the fit is perfect (unlike any RTW I’ve ever owned) and they are so warm and snuggly. I really love this particular plaid and it makes me happy every time I look at it.

Papercut Waver Jacket
Crazy Aztec Waver Jacket

This jacket was my favorite thing I worked on this year! From selecting the fabric, to planning all the little details, to starting construction and finishing with wearing it – I loved every step of the process. Not to mention, this jacket makes me so freaking happy. It’s definitely a loud statement piece, and it probably even borders on looking a little ridiculous, but I just love it so much. As a side note, for those of you who are curious to know what I did with the remaining fur – I made it into a pillow for my bed. It’s even more ridiculous than the coat and it’s awesome.

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front
Hand-woven Sway dress

Another project that I really enjoyed working on! It was so cool to be able to meet with the fabric designer for this fabric, and to actually know where my raw materials came from. The fabric turned out absolutely beautiful and was a real treat to work with. I took my time and made sure to really appreciate each step of the process, and I am super proud of the finished dress – even if it’s a relatively plain/simple garment. Also, wearing it feels like wearing a blanket, which is basically the best thing ever.

Silk leopard print Boylston bra
Navy Lace Watson soft bra - side front
Silk Leopard print Boylston bra
Blue Lace Watson soft bra

I made quite a bit of lingerie this year, but these two pieces turned out to be my favorites and definitely get the most wear. The Boylston is so much fun – I love the leopard print, I love that it’s silk, and I LOVE the shape it gives me. I actually feel really really beautiful when I wear it, which is always good in my book. The Watson is equally beautiful, and also perfect for being comfortable and lounging around (not that the Boylston isn’t comfortable – but the Watson doesn’t have underwires, so, hells yeah y’all). Again, I feel beautiful when I wear it. Can’t argue with that.

Portside Travel Set
Portside Travel Set

I use this every time I travel, and it has been INSANELY handy. It’s especially good for a back-up bag, to pack flat when I’m trying to travel light – in case I buy too much shit fabric and need to check something on the way home.

Now, for the opposite side of the spectrum – the pieces that did not get quite so much love in 2015:

Leggings & Ensis Tee
Faux Leather-Paneled leggings

I don’t know if I ever actually wore these out of the house. I just feel silly in them. Shiny legs probably just need to stay a part of my past, I’m thinking.

Francoise Dress
Floral Francoise dress

I love how this one turned out – I think it’s a beautiful combination of fabric + pattern – but it just doesn’t feel like me when I’m wearing it.

Myrtle knit dress
Colette Myrtle dress

Super cute dress in theory, not so great in practice. Basically, every time I leaned over even a little bit, the entire front fell forward and you could see straight down to the elastic waistband. I tried to make it work, but that’s just a whole lotta nope.

Alison Swimsuit
Alison Swimsuit

I felt secure in this thing at first, but then I jumped around and decided it was a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. This suit frightens me.

OAL2015 - M6887
McCall’s 6887 Ikat dress

Loooove this dress, but the fabric is really thick so it’s a little too tight in the boobs and difficult to move my arms around in. I am thinking I may cut off the bodice and salvage the skirt into a separate piece, though, because I really do love the fabric.

Gingers & B5526
Gold Ginger jeans

Awesome, except there wasn’t enough stretch in the fabric, rendering them too tight to be comfortable.

My #2015bestnine ... More like breast nine amirite
My 2015 Best Nine, according to Instagram.

I feel like most of my makes were hits this year (it was REALLY hard to narrow down *just* my favorites – I loved them all, except for that handful of misses), which is a really good feeling. I focused a lot more on my tried-and-true concepts – both in pattern and fabric – and they certainly did not steer me wrong. While I did have a few misses, I can at least objectively point out *why* they were misses, which in itself is important and a good learning experience. I spent a lot less time this year chasing trends, and instead made things that worked with my lifestyle and fashion preferences. A lot of repeats, sure, but hey at least it makes getting dressed that much easier!

Another thing I’ve focused on this year is making the time for clothing repairs. I know I’m not the only person who hates the idea of opening something up to fix it – ugh! But I am all about that sustainability, and it’s pretty ridiculous to let something stay broken/crappy/ill-fitting because you are feeling lazy. Especially when the repair (or alteration) doesn’t actually take that long to do! So I’ve made it a point to do those necessary tasks – from replacing broken zippers, to re-fitting a bodice, to changing out buttons, even completely removing sleeves and adding a bias facing in it’s place. It never takes as long as I think it will, and I feel good that I’m giving stuff in my closet a second chance.

Last year, I mentioned that I wanted to take a step back from blogging so much, because I was starting to feel like it was controlling my life in a negative way. Blogging sucks up a LOT of time, and I was also starting to fall into that trap of sewing just for the sake of content. The amount of excess in my life has really made me feel hypocritical, not to mention the feeling of getting my self-worth via likes and comments. That’s just not the kind of person I want to be. Having been in the habit of doing this for years now (forreal, y’all, I think this blog and I are well on our way to becoming domestic partners), it felt pretty weird to essentially take giant steps backward, but I don’t regret my decision. It’s surprising how much more free time I have when I’m not tied down to a blog schedule.

Standing by the Amazon, with my bestie.

Hm, what else happened in 2015? Some highlights:

– I turned 30 this year! Yay!
– I traveled quite a bit this year, and that was pretty cool! Went to Philadelphia, New York (twice!), Florida, Peru, Portland, Boston, and Mexico. 2015 was a good year for travel! I taught 3 classes – 2 Pants Making Intensives in Brooklyn, NY, and one Long Sewing Weekend in Portland, ME. As always, I’d love to travel more next year – back to NY and ME (you have both stolen my hearts!), of course, and I’d love to check out some new places as well. I’ve always wanted to go west – maybe next year it will happen πŸ™‚
– After a full year of living in color, I went back to a more natural tone for my hair. Having fun-colored hair was, well, fun, but I do enjoy the opportunity to blend in with the crowd these days πŸ˜‰
-I had a major move at the beginning of the year – from right in the city of Nashville, to the tiny lil’ town of Kingston Springs, TN, about 30 miles west, population 2800. I live with my best friend and our house is in the woods. It’s pretty awesome, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Nashville. I mostly just hate the drive – because I hate driving, period. So that kind of sucks, but it’s really the only negative part (and I’m looking into buying a new[er] car in 2016, so I may change my mind on that! Who knows, maybe driving is fun when you’re not operating a total piece of shit hahaha). It’s pretty neat to live in the middle of nature and have things like a garden and a pig (oh yeah, my roommate totally got a pig). And I have a pretty sweet sewing set-up here, so that’s always nice!
– I got a big tattoo on my leg. And I knit a sock while it was being done hahaha
– 2015 was the year I completely stopped using Twitter. The notification system was driving me CRAZY – either I got “ghost” notifications on my phone that wouldn’t go away no matter what, or I never got any notifications whatsoever! Fuckin’ Twitter! I gave up on it about halfway through the year and I’m sorry if anyone tweeted me, because I promise you that I did not see it. Haha! Pretty much the only non-blog social media platform I use these days is Instagram.
– On a more grown-up note, I bought myself a really fancy purse this year. As a longtime carrier of cheap/thrifted purses, this is a big deal to me.
– One of the biggest experiences I had this year was traveling to Peru with my best friend in June. This was less of a ~sewing-related~ trip and more of a personal journey of self-discovery and change, which is why I didn’t really discuss it much on this blog. Half of that two-week trip was spent in the city of Iquitos, where I participated in several ayahuasca ceremonies in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. To say that shit was profound and eye-opening doesn’t even really scratch the surface. It caused me to take a hard look at myself in ways that I hadn’t before, and really think about things that I had previously been ignoring and pushing to the side. I came to terms with things that needed to be addressed, and overall it was a very very positive and life-changing experience. It’s kind of like, really really really sped-up therapy, haha. I’ve spent the remainder of this year processing through everything that came up during that experience, and making massive changes in my life. It’s been extremely hard, but it’s also been extremely worth it. If I’ve completely confused the shit out of you at this point, I recommend watching the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule, (also on Netflix) as it’s pretty fascinating and that’s what prompted me to decide to go to Peru in the first place. If you just think I’m a weirdo… cool πŸ™‚
– One of the hardest things that I’ve dealt with this year is the end of my relationship with Landon. I don’t really want to discuss it on this blog, mostly because it’s personal, but I will say that it was amicable and we are still friends. We had a lot of issues that we could not work our way through, and mutually decided to part ways in November. We were together for nearly 5 years, so it’s been hard, but I know that ultimately it was the right decision. I have a wonderful support group here, and I know I’m gonna be ok.

Overall, 2015 was certainly a really challenging year for me. There was a lot of great stuff that happened, and a fair amount of bad stuff as well. I feel like 2015 was a weird – if not completely shitty – year for a lot of people – not just me! Overall, I’ve come out on top, despite all the negative stuff that was thrown at me, but lord, I so look forward to closing this year out once and for all.

Celebrating the last day of my 20s with hot chicken, aliens, America, and the best damn coworkers in the entire world πŸ”₯πŸ“πŸ‘½

Anyway, I don’t want to end this post on a sad note, so, here’s a picture of me celebrating my birthday with hot chicken and some aliens. You were ok, 2015. But now you gotta make way for 2016.

New Vogue Sewing Patterns: Winter 2015

5 Oct

If you haven’t heard, Vogue Patterns just released a new collection of sewing patterns a few days ago. I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and take a look at them as I’ve been out of town the last week (where I had a wonderful time teaching in Portland, Maine, and hanging out in Boston with Jenny. Couldn’t have asked for a better week! Hope to post more about it later πŸ™‚ ), but man, this was a nice welcome back. Ha.

Surprisingly (or not, depending on your stance with Vogue), most of the patterns in this collection are relatively tame (and a few are even sorta tasty). I’m a firm believer that winter clothes are far superior to summer clothes (layers and cozy wools and tights and scarves and don’t even get me started on sparkly holiday dresses, wheee!), which may have something to do with my opinion on the new pieces.

Vogue 1475 // Badgley Mischka
Like this shiny piece of opulence. Ain’t no place in my life for a sparkly evening gown, but man, I really like this. I even like the fabric – I think it works really well with the style of the dress.

Vogue 1474 // Tom and Linda Platt
Or how about a bias floor-length gown made in a yummy silk charmeuse? Yes, please!

Vogue 9145 // Claire Shaeffer

Vogue 1468 // Nicola Finetti
Obviously there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about this design (and I’m starting to get sick of the exposed metal zipper trend on EVERYTHING, sorry not sorry), but I like all the options for colorblocking and using different textured fabrics. Also, do I spy a new designer in the line-up?? YAY.

Vogue 1477 // Sandra Betzina
Love knit tops with interesting neckline detail like this.

Vogue 1479 // Isaac Mizrahi
I know these oversized coats are supposed to be really trendy right now, but they’re just a little too 80s-Power-Career-Woman-With-Strong-Shoulders to me.

Vogue 9160
“Excuse me! My eyes are up here!”

Vogue 1469 // Lia Lia
Even the skinniest model wearing the prettiest dress can’t escape a bad piping placement.

Vogue 1471 // Nicola Finetti
Really beautiful dress, but it should have been worn by a model with similar proportions. The waistline is way too high, yeesh. And if I’m way off my rocker and that’s the way the dress is supposed to look… double yeesh.

Vogue 9149
“We need to figure out a way to re-release this pattern but make it seem new.”
“What if we add a tail?”
“Say no more.”

Those were pretty tame. However, Vogue wouldn’t be Vogue without a little random fuckery thrown in.

Vgoue 9159
“You promised when making these pieces that you’d never wear the two of them together. The lie detector test determined that was a lie.”

Vogue 9153 // Marcy Tilton
I swear to god, every Marcy Tilton pattern is starting to look the exact same.

Vogue 9156
I totally had a pair of purple fuzzy zebra print pants when I was in high school. I guess this answers what ended up happening to them.

Vogue 9162 // Kathryn Brenne
I guess buttflaps are also making a comeback this year.

Vogue 9163
“Bitch, be cool.”

Vogue 1478 // Sandra Betzina
“Well, at least I wouldn’t skin a collie to make my backpack.”

Vogue 9164 // Kathryn Brenne
“I wish this was a hamburger instead.”

Vogue 1473 // Bellville Sassoon
Bellville Sassoon gives you wiiiiiiiings!

Vogue 9165 // Mary Jo Hiney Designs
This has to be the weirdest accessory pattern Vogue has ever released. Custom decorative boxes – complete with a notions list that rivals the entire stock of your local Joann’s. Also, the 9 year old me in is amused that the designer’s name is “hiney.” That is all.

And SPEAKING OF FUCKERY – I saved the very best for last!

Vogue 1472 // Zandra Rhodes
Every single thing about this outfit is insane. I couldn’t tell if that was a skirt or really low-crotch harem pants, until I looked at the line drawing – and was delighted to also discover that the look includes suspenders (to keep the skirt up, I imagine. That thing looks heavy af). And in case you don’t feel sexy when wearing an entire bolt of fabric, there’s a lovely midriff cut-out – the perfect space to allow for a little post-holiday-dinner belly expansion.

What did you think about the new Vogue collection? Anything gorgeous that needs to be a part of your wardrobe? Any random fuckery that makes you want to tear your eyes out? How do you like them new designers? Ahh, Vogue, it’s like you’re giving me Christmas 4x a year. I loves you.

Fall/Winter 2015 Sewing Plans

18 Sep

Well, I don’t know about where y’all are, but down here the temperatures have slooowly started dropping at night, which means I can finally start planning my fall/winter sewing without feeling like a total lunatic. I love this time of year – the change in seasons is a nice shift from the blistering heat (I feel the same way once spring rolls around, too, for opposite reasons. Change is good!), and, man, I love winter clothes. I love sewing winter clothes! Yay for wooly long sleeves and cozy necklines!

I don’t have a lot in the plans for this season – I want to focus on basic pieces that can be mixed and matched. I like the idea of having a more minimalistic approach to the way I dress – I already do this when I travel, and I’m working on dragging it into my every day life. I recently realized that I don’t really care if people see me wearing the same thing two days in a row. If it bothers then, that’s their problem, not mine. I want to spend my sewing time working on fitting and fine finishes and enjoying the entire process – not rushing to get to the next project. If that means making less as a whole, fine with me!


sway dress
Papercut Patterns Sway Dress

Ah! I made this fun tent dress in a summery linen, but I really would love to make a winter version as well. I have a really nice black boiled wool that I think would suit the pattern nicely. It would be so cozy with black tights and a long sleeved turtleneck.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress

I make this dress every year, and there’s a good reason why – it’s an awesome dress! The scooped neckline with long sleeves and slightly flared skirt is basically my perfect dress. And it’s made for knit fabrics, so it’s super comfy as well. I have a rad star knit from Lillestoff (which I can’t seem to find on the website now, wah) that I want to use for those one. And maybe make another with a cowl neck (like my ikat print Lady Skater from last year). The green one above is made with an emerald wool knit, which is pretty awesome too. Lady Skaters rock!!


guise pants
Papercut Patterns Guise Pants

MAN. Ever since this collection was released, I knew I needed me some of these pants. My friend Carla gave me the pattern as an early birthday gift, so now I have no excuse! I’ve spent most of the summer looking for the perfect black flanneled twill to make these out of, and I think I’ve found it. Cozy black pants will be mineeee!

Ginger Jeans

Closet Case Files Ginger skinny jeans

I can always use more jeans in my wardrobe! The Ginger jeans that I made last year are still going strong and wearing well, but it would be nice to have a few more pairs. I bought one of the denim kits waaaay back when at the beginning of the year, so I am really excited to use that stuff for my next pair!

style 1559 Style 1559

Fuck yeah, there needs to be a 70s-style skirt in my wardrobe! Wouldn’t this be great in denim, with jeans topstitching and cut to a mini length? Wellllll, spoiler alert… I’ve actually already finished the skirt as of this writing (lolz), but it’s part of my ~fall plans~ so I’m including it here anyway dammit πŸ˜›


Seriously, though - how cute are the illustrations on these @vvvesta patterns?? πŸ˜βœ‚οΈπŸ˜

Vesta Patterns Grail Tshirt

I always need more long sleeve tshirts! Really excited to try the Grail pattern – this one is drafted based on 3 different body shapes. I have a couple patterns to play with, and I promise to report back once I’ve made them up! Could be a nice staple for winter. And, as always, I have more Renfrews (especially the cowl neck!) and Plantains planned as well. Can’t ever have too many tshirts!

Geneva Raglan

Named Clothing Geneva Raglan Tee

I also want to make some raglans – specifically, the Geneva looks pretty neat! The raglan seam is a bit different than what you typically see on a raglan – I have a similar vintage tshirt that I really like the fit of, so I’m hoping I can knock it off with this. For fabric, I got a bunch of swatches of the awesome merino wools from The Fabric Store – just have to narrow down my selection to something budget-friendly! Those things add up fast! haha!


waver jacket Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket
I have SLOWLY been building up the supplies for this one! I ordered my coating a few months ago – this Dark Navy Aztec Print from Mood Fabrics, plus a matching navy silk charmeuse lining. And, of course, faux fur for the hood because yesssss. I am really excited about this little jacket! I think it’s gonna turn out really cool πŸ™‚

STACIE-JACKET StyleArc Stacie Jean Jacket

I’ve been meaning to replace my sad old Gap jean jacket for YEARS now, but it’s been really hard to find one that I like (or a sewing pattern for one!). I just discovered this pattern, and it’s almost like this shit was made for me. Such a nice design, and all the finished versions I’ve lurked look super legit. This one is probably going to take some extra finesse for me to work through, as the instructions are pretty freaking sparse, but I think I can manage it if I make up a muslin first. For my final jacket, I have a nice piece of denim from Imogene + Willie that I’m hoping I have enough of.

oslo cardigan
Colette Patterns Oslo cardigan

Is this considered a Colette Pattern or a Seamwork Pattern? Either way – cardi! Yay!! I have a couple of fabrics I’d like to make this in – a soft grey/black slubbed double cloth and a cozy mushroom wool sweater knit (purchased from Mood Fabrics, but I can’t find it on their site now!). Perfect for lounging on the couch, or running outside to chase the pig.


carolyn pajamas

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas

Oh yes – more pajamas! I love my linen pair, so of course I need a flannel pair for winter. My mom always buys me flannel pajamas for Christmas, but they never really fit quite right (the crotch is always way too low, or the legs are too long, or something else is wrong). So I’d rather make my own! I haven’t found a good source for cotton flannel fabric – any suggestions? Looking for something that isn’t super cutesy and preferably around $18/yard or less.


Tilly & the Buttons Fifi Camisole

A silk cami seems kind of silly for winter, but hear me out on this one! I always wear tanks under my sweaters – one, so I can strip down layers if I get too hot; and two, because it’s easier to wash a tank rather than a whole sweater. Rather than run to Target and buy some flimsy little knit tanks, though, I’d love to make some slinky bias-cut silk Fifis. Ooh la la!



Graphite Sweater

This is kind of cheating, since I started this sweater at the beginning of the year (yeesh!). It went into UFO status for a few months, but I’m ready to finish it up and get to wearing it! Just need to knit the sleeves and the neck binding, and it will be done!

down east

DownEast Sweater

Then onto a big, squishy, bulky sweater! I already bought the yarn for this one, so there’s no turning back now. Ha!


Whew! Looking at all that seems like a lot – but you know I’m up for the challenge πŸ˜€ What about you? What’s on your sewing plate for the upcoming season?


Time For A Sewing Room Tour!

29 Jul

Finally, a tour of my new sewing room! This post has been a long time coming – honestly, this room has been set-up and fully functional since the first couple of weeks after we moved (because I have priorities), but I’ve put off sharing the big reveal until I felt that the room was “finished.” As always, I’ve realized that this room will never really be finished – I still want to hang some more lights, make a new ironing board cover, get a couple more rugs, etc etc – but it’s as finished as it’ll be for now. And now it’s time to share!

Soooo – welcome to my new sewing room, the Kingston Springs edition!

Sewing RoomThis room is funny shape, so getting photos was a little difficult. It’s basically an L shape – there are two little nooks off each end, and the corridor between is wide enough so that you can shove furniture against the wall and still be able to walk through. Here I have drawn you a shitty not-to-scale diagram to give you an idea of the layout. I used Comic Sans as my font choice to make it extra obnoxious. sewing room layout So, as you can see – two nooks with a bit of a walkway. The hallway going off the photo leads to our bedroom and bathroom, and the diagonal line off to the side of the cutting area is a doorway leading to our private living room/Landon’s office. The rectangles are windows and doors – one window in each the sewing and cutting nook, and the door is to the side of the desk. Our apartment is in the basement of the house, so the stairs lead up to the main floor. I’ll admit that when Morgan asked if I wanted to move into her BASEMENT, I was like, “lol no fucking way I ain’t your kid.” But, forreal, this is a pretty happy basement – it has windows and a door that leads outside, so it gets a good amount of light. Although it was a little scary when I first saw it, and it definitely took some TLC to get it to the point that it is now. The room is quite smaller than it looks – my rough measurements put it around 130 square feet. My old sewing room was about 200 square feet, so there was some downsizing and furniture Tetris in order to get everything to fit. It was a little brain-bending at times, but I think it turned out pretty awesome!

Before we moved in, we had to fix the basement up a little. We were really lucky that Morgan moved into the house a few weeks before we did, so we could do this at our leisure (and not live in the middle of a construction zone). The basement is finished and was fully carpeted. We tore out the carpet in the sewing room area – it was completely soaked with cat urine and was beyond saving. The carpet in the bedroom and living room, as well as the stairs, was ok, so that’s still there. Since the unfinished concrete floors were pretty beat-up looking (although thankfully not stained with pee odor! THANK GOD FOR THAT) and nobody wanted to invest in flooring right now, we simply stained them with.. um, some shit from the hardware store haha. We also installed the screen door outside; eventually I’d like to replace the door with one that has a window, but I ain’t got the budget for that now.

I painted the majority of the room by myself – the color is “Aquatic Mist” by Valspar, and the insides of the windows is some color called “Blanket” (I don’t recall the brand, but I will fully admit that I bought the color based solely on the name alone. Who names a paint color Blanket?? Michael Jackson?). Well, majority except for the long hallway leading to the back half – that stayed unpainted for like 2 months, because I wanted Landon to help me with rolling and we kept putting it off. He actually painted it for me as a surprise while I was in Peru, which might very well be the best welcome home gift I’ve ever been recipient of. Ok, I think I’ve talked enough! I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story πŸ™‚ Sewing Room

Starting with general layout photos – here’s the desk area.

Sewing RoomThe hallway leading to the back of our living area. And that giant wall that Landon painted! Sewing Room

The top photo in this post is the sewing area – here’s a view of the wall behind the machines. That tiny nook under the stairs ended up being exactly the right size to fit my pattern cabinet.

Sewing RoomThe opposite nook is the cutting and pressing area, as well as my fabric stash along the wall. Sewing Room

The ironing station. I REALLY wish I’d been able to find a way to keep the ironing board closer to the sewing machines, but the room layout just wouldn’t work around it (and I wanted to keep my desk in the center of the room). It’s not so bad to walk to the ironing board, I guess – I tell myself that a little exercise won’t kill me haha.

Sewing RoomMore of the cutting area. Sewing Room

Standing behind the cutting table, looking back toward the desk.

Detail shots:

Sewing RoomThese bookshelves are below the wall shelves in the cutting area – I keep my collection of sewing books here, as well as my yarn stash (it’s ALL in that basket! I can’t keep my fabric stash under control, but I’ve managed ok with my yarn stash!) and embroidery supplies (in the 70s floral filing box). The blue metal basket up top is where I keep my lingerie sewing queue, and the wooden FL box is my regular sewing queue. I’ve found it’s easier for me to do all my cutting at once for a few projects, and then I can work through the bundles without having to stop and cut another project. Sewing Room

Over the bookshelf are these two wall shelves that I hung ALL BY MYSELF (like a boss). I wouldn’t normally get all riled up over hanging a wall shelf, however, these were heavy AF and I somehow even managed to get them level idk. Anyway, the boxes are for small notions/tools that I have masses of – mostly lingerie supplies and zippers. I haven’t filled all the boxes quite yet, but I figure that’ll happen in due time haha.

Oh, and the plants on top are fake. Obviously. They are the only fake plants in this room, though… for now.

Sewing RoomI love this pattern so much, I hung it in a frame so I could admire it all the time πŸ™‚ Sewing Room

The wall at one end of my cutting table is where I have my cork boards and tools. One board is for general inspiration/love notes – just things that make me happy. The other board is my project board – I’ve found by having a visual running list with swatches and sketches out where I can actually see it (i.e., not in a book or lurking on the internet), I can more easily keep track of my make list. Sometimes I forget what patterns or fabric I have in my gigantic stashes, and this is really helpful!

Sewing RoomHere’s the other end of the cutting table, and one of two windows! That plant is totally alive and not fake, btw. Sewing Room

This is the view from the window. Ahh! We are totally ground-level and I look straight into the woods. Amelia loves to sit in this window and watch the birds, and sometimes Turtle (the beagle) will come sniffing around when she’s outside and it always freaks Amelia out because they are eye-level haha.

Sewing RoomA little more about the cutting table! I built this myself (well – I use the term “built” loosely; it’s IKEA furniture that I screwed together haha) and it’s pretty awesome! I used two Kallax shelves and a Linnmon table top (there is a whole list of links at the bottom of the post for the specific products I used), and 4 sets of Kallax casters to raise it to counter height/make it moveable. One end, I installed 2 drawers on top, and bought 2 little fabric boxes for extra storage (if you were wondering – one box holds swimsuit fabric, and the other holds a mass of vintage zippers still in their packages – too big for the cardboard boxes on the shelves). I also installed a rod to hold my scissor collection on S hooks. They do sit in front of the drawers, but it’s easy to slide them out of the way when I need to access the drawers (which isn’t terribly often). Due to the width of the rod where it screws in, I could only install it on that side.

Those of y’all who have seen previous sewing rooms of mine (we’re on #6 as of this writing… I’m a dedicated woman for sure. I also live in an area with a low cost of living. Yay!) will recall that I had a Norden Gateleg table as my old cutting table. It was ok for a cutting table – I liked the size and that it folded down to be very narrow. However, the height was always bad for me, even when raised on blocks (and, again, I’m 5’2″, so I don’t have extra height to deal with here). I also hated that I couldn’t fit anything under the table due to how the legs were arranged to raise the leaves. And the drawers were a funny shape that I never found useful. I like this table a lot better – it’s pretty much countertop-height with the casters, and I have lots of storage options with the shelves/drawers/boxes. Plus, if I ever give up on sewing (lol no), I can always disassemble it and use the pieces individually on their own. Or sell it – Nashville doesn’t have an IKEA (we have to drive 4 hours to Atlanta), so people here seem to think that shit is made of gold and will pay top dollar for it haha. Which is exactly what I did with the Norden. Bye, Felica!Sewing Room

The inner side of the cutting table has more storage boxes – silk scraps, leather scraps, craft supplies, knit swatches, and my dye pot.

Sewing RoomThis little cart fits perfectly under the table as well. I keep a bunch of weird stuff here – cutting and marking tools, pressing supplies, extra pincushions, my hammer and a spray bottle. Sewing Room

The ironing station is right next to the cutting table. My iron is a silver star ES-300, which is a gravity feed iron and it’s AWESOME. The one thing that seems to scare people the most about using a gravity feed (other than the sheer steam power behind it) is that it doesn’t have an auto shut-off, and they are afraid they’ll accidentally leave it on and burn the house down. I solved this issue by plugging my iron into a power strip that also has paper lantern lights running from it – so if the strip is on, the lights are also on (and, thus, the iron is on). It’s pretty easy to tell if the iron is on that way! That overflowing box of fabric houses all my scraps from cutting. I try to find homes for that shit as quickly as possible because the pile can quickly get overwhelming otherwise.

Sewing RoomNext to the ironing board is my fabric stash – organized somewhat by type/color (jerseys/knits on one side, wovens on the other). I installed little cabinet doors on the bottom, to hide unsightly stash (fabric scraps and linings) and boxes for the unfoldables (interfacings and lingerie fabrics). The roll of paper on top is super handy for pattern tracing or if I just want to make a giant doodle of something. As far as *how* I stash my fabric – I used to fold, but now I roll. Folding looks really pretty, but I could never seem to keep it neat (mostly because my attitude went somewhere along the lines of “ah, fuck it.”). Now I roll my fabric and just stack it in the little cubes. It much easier to keep everything organized this way!

As you can probably tell, this area is also Cat Central. Amelia likes to hang here – on the rug, in front of the screen, all up in my silks – so I keep her scratching pad here, and there’s always at least one toy lurking around.Sewing Room

I like having my desk in the middle of the room, so I can easily hear music/videos while I’m working. It’s also close to the door (which is open 99% of the time, bc fresh air lol yay). I work from home a couple days a week, so it was important for me to have a nice workspace to sit at. I also hung those shelves above the desk, also by myself. I really love shelving. And boxes, for that matter.

Sewing RoomTo the left of the desk is the sewing area. This is where I keep my machines, patterns, and a bunch of notions. Sewing Room

And here’s the view out of that window, in case you were curious πŸ™‚

Sewing RoomOn one table, I keep both of my standard sewing machines – I have a Bernina 350PE and a Pfaff 7570. The Bernina is my main machine, but it’s really nice having 2 when you are working on a project that requires a lot of thread changes (such as jeans). For those, I use the Pfaff for construction and the Bernina for topstitching. Above the machines are buttons, notions, and thread racks. Sewing Room

More thread racks, plus my favorite sewing room art πŸ˜€

Sewing RoomThe dedicated serger table has additional storage, which is handy. My serger is a Babylock Imagine, FYI. Sewing Room

Behind the sewing machines, in the weird little nook under the stairwell, is where I keep my pattern stash. On top of the cabinet, I have storage for trims and elastics, plus a running queue of the patterns I want to make next (before I cut them and put them in the cut queue box by the cutting tables. Man! All these systems!). That bag hanging on the lemon hook is my knitting bag.

Taking photos of my sewing room is hard because it's such a funny shape! Here's a shitty panoramic to give you an idea of what I'm working with.

Finally, here’s an Instagram panorama of the room!

Most of the stuff in this room is either thrifted or from IKEA. I’ve tried to compile everything here, but feel free to ask if you are curious as to where I got something! If it’s not on the list, chances are I bought it used (like from the thrift store or flea market). Like I said, I’ve had an on-going sewing room in every house I’ve lived in for nearly the past 10 years, so I’ve had a LOT of time to collect stuff and learn what works best for my set-up and organizational needs. Oh, and one more thing, because I’m always asked this – yes, it does always stay this clean! “Messy” for me is if there is a project on the cutting table. I never lets piles accumulate and I’m pretty good about putting stuff away when I’m done with it. I can’t stand to work in a messy room, plus, this area is the walk-through to get to the rest of our basement suite, so I have to be mindful of that for Landon’s sake.

Wall paint color: Aquatic Mist by Valspar

Sewing nook
Serger table: thrifted + painted
Sewing machine table: family hand-me-down + painted
Pattern cabinet: thrifted + painted (for info on the boxes inside the cabinet, check out this post!)
DMC thread organizer: thrifted
Thread racks: given to me by Elizabeth, but here are some similars on Amazon- thread rack + serger thread rack
Turquoise hanging shelf: thrifted + painted
Chairs: thrifted
Sewing room art: Joanna Baker, via Madalynne giveaway
“I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” chalkboard sign: Custom made by Kaelah
Rug: Old Time Pottery

Desk area
Desk: Nashville flea market
Chair: Nashville flea market
Ceiling light: KNAPPA
Mesh drawer unit: LENNART
Rail/basket (above desk): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL BASKET
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)
Rug: Nashville flea market
Sewing machine print: Madalynne
Kitty Cat clock: gift from Landon

Fabric // Cutting area
Fabric shelf: KALLAX with 2 doors
Industrial paper roll: Given to me when my old job (advertising) was downsizing and clearing out the art room!
Paper lanterns: IKEA, like 10+ years ago
Rug: Nashville flea market
Bookshelf: thrifted
Cutting table: 2 KALLAX shelves + LINNMON tabletop + 2 KALLAX drawers + 4 KALLAX casters. Scissor rail is BYGEL RAIL + s-hooks
Tool baskets (under the corkboards): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL container
Turquoise utility cart: RΓ…SKOG
Yellow storage boxes: DRΓ–NA
Large white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Small white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Fake plants: FEJKA

Ok, I think that’s it! Let me know if you have any questions πŸ™‚

New Vogue Sewing Patterns: Fall 2015

14 Jul

Aaaaand they’re back again! I was actually right in the middle of working on a project (no shit, I just turned on my iron so I could start fusing interfacing once it was good and hot) when I noticed that Vogue had released Fall 2015 patterns. Took a quick lurk, and I’m afraid my poor project is just gonna have to wait because I have opinions and I need to share them right now!

V1466Vogue 1466 // Donna Karan Vogue 1466 – the jacket with a it’s own SARS mask! V1465

Vogue 1465 // Donna Karan

Forreal, tho, how low are those armholes? Looks like we’re fixin to head into sideboob territory any minute now. V1458 1Vogue 1458 // Ralph Rucci

I can’t wrap my head around this dress. The front looks ok (if you ignore the eye-searingly hideous fabric it’s made up with) – I’m all about some interesting seam lines Γ  la Ralph Rucci, except that big diamond on the side just looks like a really shameful attempt at patching a hole. Then I looked at the back: V1458 2

The hell is going on back here? That wonky neckline just looks like a mistake (and now I’m noticing the wonk on the front neckline, too, ugh) and the horrible exposed darts are making me feel twitchy (especially considering they look like they’ve barely been pressed and now they’re all puffy and sad). Is the patchwork diamond pulling down that side of her dress with the weight of it’s shame? Straight outta the funny house, this dress. Ralph Rucci, ILU but why you gotta do this to yourself your patterns?? V1460Vogue 1460 // Badgley Mischka

“Ugh, when is this bitch going to shut up? I have to pee sooo bad.” V1462

Vogue 1462 // DKNY

“Hello, Ladies…”

V1461Vogue 1461 // DKNY

“You don’t understand – this is an AlaΓ―a! It’s like a totally important designer!”V1459

Vogue 1459 // Koos Van Den Akker

I… sort of like this? Someone send help, I’m losing it.

V1467Vogue 1467 // Anne Klein

This is a seriously gorgeous jacket! The shiny buttons are cracking me up, though.V1467 2

Good day, sir!

V1463Vogue 1463 // Anne Klein

Now including eyebrows for your boobs – a must-have for the season’s fashion. V9127 1V9127 2Vogue 9127 // Vintage Vogue

Holy shit, the seaming details on this pattern are amazing. Total eye candy. Look at those little arrowhead tacks! Eep! I would totally make this just for the fun of it (and then never wear it, bc when the hell in my life does a dress like this fit?)V9135

Vogue 9135 // Kathryne Brenne

No words for this one. I think the picture is hilarious enough on it’s own.

V9140Vogue 9140 // Marcy Tilton

Oh my god, you guys – Marcy Tilton made something that actually looks normal! V9128

Vogue 9128

Who the hell chose this wretched print combination?

V9139Vogue 9139

~~ Haters gonna hate ~~ V9142

Vogue 9142

Not even an adorable little child can save you from this mistake of an outfit.

V9143Vogue 9143


Vogue 9144

“Come and play with us. Forever… and ever… and ever.”


What are you loves/hates from this collection?