Tag Archives: alterations

Completed: The Coziest Loungewear Set

8 Feb

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog! 🎉

I haven’t posted much in the last couple of years – I moved over to Instagram as it felt more manageable, and that was a good thing. But lately Instagram has shifted into something different, and I don’t like it. I don’t care for the video format and I hate the algorithm (as opposed to showing me the accounts I actually follow!) and the whole app is just really unappealing now.

I do enjoy sharing my projects, though, and having that information accessible for future reference. So I thought I’d bring them back here to my blog! Rather than worry about algorithms and producing videos and getting followers and all the stressful shit that sucks the fun out social media, I’m gonna do what I’ve always done – my own thing! In my own space! I’m going to try to keep these short and sweet and manageable for myself (as time is my most precious resource and blog posts take a lot of time!) (update: I gave myself 20 minutes to write this post, it’s officially been an hour. Oh well!). But anyway. Welcome back!

And to be clear – I’m not jumping the Instagram ship (yet). I’ll still post on there, but I’d like my in-depth stuff to live here, on my own platform. Where there are no videos and I can type using a real keyboard HAHA.

Today I want to share with you my newest, favoritest, coziest loungewear set: The Sherpa Dream 🐑

The sherpa fabric came first, so I’ll talk about it first! This pink fuzzy delight is from Domesticity (by way of Birch Fabrics, although I think it has been discontinued now) and I’ve been eyeballing it since the first time I taught there in June 2021. It’s enormously soft and fuzzy, and 100% organic cotton (which is important for me as I tend to get really sweaty in polyester). The color is just the perfect shade of warm coral pink. At $36 a yard, it was a splurge, which is why it took me so long to finally go all in. But I did and I bought 3 yards! It filled up half a suitcase! No regrets!

I wanted to make separates – I’ve been very inspired by these fuzzy knit loungewear pieces (lol @ Skims but like… don’t hate). I used both patterns from the Closet Core Montreal Collection – the Plateau Joggers and the Mile End Sweatshirt.

I will admit that when I first saw these patterns, my immediate reaction was “Seriously? Another pair of joggers?” It feels like every single pattern company has released their own version of joggers and sweatshirts. And while I understand that this is the current fashion – I am really just tired of looking at them! A jogger is a jogger is a jogger! But my favorite thing about Closet Core is their unique details on all their patterns – and once I took a closer look at these, I was on board. I love how the joggers lack a side seam at the pocket, which makes for much less bulk. The sweatshirt has some interesting detailing – including a yoke and elbow darts – which unfortunately is lost in this crazy fabric but that’s ok! The set has nice proportions, too – the top is slightly oversized and cropped, and the pants are slim but still comfortable.

I made a size 2 in sweatshirt, and a size 4 in the joggers. Both of these are a size smaller than what my measurements suggest, but based on other reviews I read + knowing how slim I like to wear my clothes, I’m glad I sized down. The only adjustment I made was to increase the rise of the pants by 1″, which I ended up taking out because they were too high! (whoops!)

Here is the sweatshirt originally, with the v-neck and hood!

So the other thing I did when I made this set – I actually started with view C of the top; it was originally the crossover bodice with a hood. It is SUPER cute on everyone I’ve seen wear it! But, alas, this was a classic mistake of the wrong fabric + pattern pairing. The sherpa is overly warm, which is weirdly incongruent with the deep V. The deep V was also too wide for my shoulders, so it regularly gaped open and made it hard to wear the sweatshirt without a tshirt underneath. I stitched the first couple inches of the V closed, which helped, but then I had the issue of the hood being suuuuuper heavy and causing the entire top to pull toward my back as I wore it (which might not have been an issue if the shoulders weren’t so wide to begin with?). Further, the hood was so giant and thick, I couldn’t wear it with a coat or jacket – it was too bulky underneath, and the wide neckline meant that it didn’t sit right when it was pulled out, either. It was just a little too fussy and unwearable for me, so after about a month or so I changed it into a standard crew neck.

Doing this was surprisingly easy – I always think the easiest alterations are the ones to garments you’ve already made, since you know them pretty intimately inside and out! I removed the hood completely, opened the top of the kangaroo pocket, and unpicked the turned over hems of the V-neck. From there, I was able to create a vertical seam above the pocket – which is basically invisible due to the nap of the fabric. Since this started as a V-neck, I eventually ended up with a small gap at the top where the edges no longer meet. To fill this in, I added a small piece of the sherpa, wrong side facing out, like the detail on a sweatshirt. Then I finished the neckline with a fuzzy band of self fabric. All in all, the alteration took an hour or so, and resulted in a top that is INFINITELY more wearable than the original version!

And here it is after I altered it – so much more wearable!

Working with this sherpa was pretty easy, although it did require some extra steps. Since the nap runs in every single direction, I didn’t worry about it while cutting my pattern pieces. The fabric sheds like craaaaaazy, so I used my serger to finish all the edges (I kept a longer + wider stitch to help push it though, as it’s quite bulky) and kept my handheld vacuum nearby to periodically clean up (which sort of worked but also my studio is still full of pink fuzz so… there’s that). After sewing seams, I used a comb to pull the hairs out of the seams and fluff them up, same as one would do when sewing faux fur. I did try some topstitching on the top to better show the seamlines, but they are still pretty subtle, so I skipped them on the pants. My fabric is stretchy so I was able to use self fabric for my bands (with no elastic, other than in the waistband). Since the fabric is very bulky, I opted to use a matching cotton interlock knit on the pocket pieces (you can’t see the inside at all and it keeps that area nice and flat). I used the same cotton interlock to make the fabric waist tie. Oh, and while I did try to finish the eyelets that the tie feeds through – nothing would stay in place due to the nap of the fabric. So there are literally just… holes in the waistband. They seem to be stable enough lol.

It took me a couple months to complete this set – and then a couple more to get photos. I took these in my bedroom, which I love waking up in every morning! Sorry the photos are blurry – no idea why, but I’m not re-taking them LOL. Oh, and while we are talking about handmade and altered things – I made the rust linen pillowcases (fabric is from Blackbird Fabrics – it felt sinful to use such a nice garment weight fabric for PILLOWCASES but the color was just too perfect for my ~palette!), the tropical throw pillow (leftover fabric from this project!), the pinch pleat curtains (originally from Ikea; I sewed channels at the top to create the pinch pleats) and re-wired the smaller lotus lamp on the bedside table.

That’s all for now! Have a great day!

All About My New Workshop: Alter + Repair Your Garments!

11 Oct
Teaching my new workshop, Alter + Repair Your Garments, at Camp Workroom Social in 2021!

Hey all! Long time no chat 🙂

Don’t expect a return of regular blog posts (sorry! Real talk; this shit took me multiple days to write and I am exhausted lol), but I did want to pop in and talk about my new workshop that I’ve been offering this year. That’s right – I went away for a full 12 months, just to come back around and try to sell y’all some of my crap! HA HA! Wait, come back, I promise this is some interesting quality shit!

As you [probably] already know, I’ve been a sewing teacher for many years – almost a decade, actually (crazy!). I’ve been teaching my Sew Your Own Jeans workshop now for years, and it’s awesome and fun and you should totally believe all the good hype you hear about it. As much as I love making jeans, though, a new sewing skill has entered my repertoire that I just cannot get enough of and I’m dying to share it with everyone! So I created a new one-day workshop, Alter + Repair Your Garments. And today, I’m dusting off this old blog to tell you more about it! And even if you don’t care about my new workshop, I hope that you will at least enjoy the absolute avalanche of photos in this post.

Alterations are a really sensitive subject in the sewing community. We love to say things like “Yes I sew – no I won’t hem your pants.” I’ve seen sewers literally make an entirely new garment, rather than address fit issues in a current garment. Things like seam ripping and making adjustments get a really bad rap in this inner circle. Why is that? I don’t know, but I had a similar attitude up until a few years ago. I would happily upcycle clothes – that’s how I really learned how to sew, by taking weird things from the thrift store and turning them into something even weirder (what can I say? I love weird shit). But I, like many other home sewists, didn’t touch alterations. Until recently, anyway.

I’ve touched on this a little on my blog – and a lot more on Instagram – but I actually do alterations for a living now. I started out as a freelance tailor, which I still do, and I also work part time in a tailor shop that is connected to a high-end clothing store. The tailor shop is stable and occasionally a bit redundant (which I honesty like), and the freelance work is… sometimes redundant, and sometimes just absolutely wild. As a freelance tailor who also lives in Nashville, the majority of my clients are musicians, mainly country and gospel artists. I work closely with my clients and their stylist to get their clothes to do whatever they want them to do. Sometimes that means proper fittings and alterations for things like red carpet events and tour outfits. Sometimes it means I’m sitting in a parking lot with my sewing machine powered by a generator, while I furiously take in something in the absolute shittiest and fastest way possible so they can film a music video. I also do a lot of adjustments to clothing in ways that aren’t traditional alterations – changing the style and fit of a garment (in a way that was not originally intended by the designer), adding or removing elements to make it wearable for performing, or to work with a stylist’s ~vision~. It’s all different and it’s all fun and I love it so much!

My new 1 day workshop, Alter + Repair Your Garments, allows students to dip their toes into the world of alterations and garment changes, with the support of someone who has quite a bit of experience under her belt (that would be me!). This class is a little different than what you might imagine when you think of doing alterations, though. Yes, we can (and we will) cover the basic stuff – hemming pants, taking up sleeves, adjusting waistlines, etc. The not as exciting bits that we like to tell people we don’t do as sewists. It’s totally valid and useful sewing and can be very handy if you think you might want to pursue a career as a tailor, or if you just want to handle your own alterations and save some cash, or in the case of some of my students – to show you the involvement in alterations, and release some of that sewist’s guilt when you realize you’d rather just continue to pay someone else to do it so you can keep your free sewing time entirely selfish and fun!

A big part of alterations, though, is a lot more exciting – the creative problem solving! This is where we take our garment sewing to the next level by changing things that might not be so obvious on the first go. Sometimes it’s a simple fix – shortening a hem, taking in excess. Sometimes it’s more involved, like replacing a zipper or a shredded panel of fabric. Sometimes it’s something really wacky, like making a new neckline or turning a dress into a top. The beautiful thing about sewing is that *most* things can be changed – I mean, it’s all sewn, after all. So go ahead and put pockets in that dress! Chop 6” off the bottom of your jeans and keep that original ratty hem! Dye your favorite sweater to a color that better suits your complexion (ok, no dyeing in this class but we can talk! We can talk!)!

Every class is different, and the curriculum is based on whatever students choose to bring into class. This means you aren’t signing up for a class that teaches you shit you don’t care about – you’re going to bring in your own garments (ready to wear or handmade, vintage or modern, yours or someone else’s! Whatever you want to work on!), and we are going to address those pieces specifically. Some students love the opportunity to watch what everyone else is doing – it’s like extra little bonus lessons! Some students like to bring in an entire pile of clothing and try them all on, chat their way through all the changes and how to do them, and save the actual sewing for home. Some students will just bring a couple big projects, and let their class session focus on finishing them. Some students use class time as an excuse to finally tackle the pile of clothing alterations they’ve been avoiding dealing with. However you decide to treat the class is up to YOU!

This is not a “fitting” class per se – although, most alterations do involve fit. We fit for style, for comfort, for wearability. We are not worried about getting “perfect fit” because that does not exist (and any photos you see without wrinkles? That’s due to the magic of Photoshop and standing completely still in a garment that probably isn’t very comfortable!). A fun bonus effect of this class is that this sort of fitting – on completed, wearable garments – can actually increase your understanding of fit and it’s adjustments on the future garments that you make. Fit adjustments are much more obvious on a finished garment, rather slogging through a book and trying to figure out the strange name that is supposed to describe the wrinkles you see.

As a tailor who works in the entertainment industry, I bring a unique point of view that you might not necessarily find in other classes. I’m not afraid to do something wild to a garment if I think it will improve it in some way. I love using elastic to sneakily take things in, and I’m a huge fan of turning mistakes into design elements. My goal for this class is to teach students how to approach this in a systematic way that makes sense and can be replicated with any garment, not just the pile you worked on in class. Of course, I want you to leave with a pile of pieces that you definitely will wear now – but I also want you to leave equipped with the knowledge and confidence to do this on your own, too!

Alter + Repair Your Garments is perfect for any sewist who wants to improve their sewing, as well as learn a whole new range of skills. Do you have a pile of clothes in your closet that you don’t wear, but you also can’t quite figure out why? You need this class. Do you want to be able to smugly tell those acquaintances who ask you to sew for them “Actually, yes I do know how to do that type of hem – but sorry, I don’t sew for other people :]”? This is your class, baby! Have you taken my jeans class and you just really want to hang out with me again but you are good with all things denim? COME ON DOWN AND SEE ME, MY FRIEND!

You do *not* need to be a sewing super star to take this class! I wouldn’t recommend this class to an absolute beginner – you should have a little experience under your belt, a general understanding of the basics of clothing construction, and be comfortable using a machine. But you know what the other beauty about alterations is? There’s the easy way, and there’s the “proper” way. And you get to choose the method you want to use (because those are your damn clothes and there aren’t any sewing police!)! From adventurous beginners to seasoned pros – I truly believe this is a class for everyone!

Here are some things you can expect to learn in this one day workshop:

  • Effective seam ripping techniques for a variety of stitches, including straight stitches, serged finishes, and chainstitches
  • How to assess a garment’s fit and style, and how to determine what changes need to be made
  • How to pin fit a garment and transfer the adjustments in preparation for sewing
  • How to take apart a garment, look inside, and determine the best method for executing whatever adjustment needs to be made based on the construction of the original garment
  • Basic garment repair
  • How to determine whether a garment can successfully be altered or repaired,
  • Best practices for using trial-and-error to approach for alterations on existing garments, and how to troubleshoot any problems that may arise
Maybe you just need help getting the right hem length on your long dresses? I got you!

A couple notes on what *not* to expect in this class – we are working on finished garments only, so no muslins and we will not cover flat pattern adjustments (that’s an entirely different class, one that your local sewing shop likely already offers!). We cannot work on specialty (or messy) materials, such as leather, sequins, or fur. Pls leave that shit at home!

Altering your clothes to better suit your body, style, and comfort needs is truly the most sustainable way to sew. In this class, I hope to show you how to see flaws in garments as exciting opportunities for improvement. Whether you are buying used or new clothes that need a little tweaking, or perfecting the fit + style finish on your own handmade goods (side note: *most* of my handmade clothes go through at least one round of alterations after they are finished! This is totally normal – even with a preliminary muslin fitting, clothes are going to fit different when you wear them out and around vs standing in front of a mirror with a shell made of a stiff fabric), the possibilities are endless and exciting!

Does this count as an alteration? Old RTW jacket that I thrifted and painted on the back! Full Instagram post here.

Don’t worry – I’m still teaching my Sew Your Own Jeans workshops (got a lot more butts I need to touch!). I will be offering Alter + Repair Your Garments in tandem with the weekend dates of my Sew Your Own Jeans workshops. I’m finalizing my 2023 workshop dates right now and will be announcing them soon – stay tuned! Can’t wait until 2023? There are still a couple seats left at Domesticity (Baltimore, MD) and Papermaple Studio (New Orleans, LA)!

For more information on my Alter + Repair Your Garments workshop, check out this interview I did with Workroom Social earlier this year.

For a list of all my upcoming workshops – check out my WORKSHOPS page.