Tag Archives: personal life

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? πŸ™‚

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!Β 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 (whoΒ 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 πŸ™‚

***

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

***

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!

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Completed: Marlborough Bras for Spring (also some life-y updates, yay)

5 May

I say this every time I post about this subject, but I love making bras. Hell, I really love not having to buy bras. I just realized the last bra I actually purchased was when I was in London back in 2014. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, I don’t have a new bra pattern to share or even new techniques to talk about… so this post is going to be a repeat of most of my other lingerie-making posts. I really like how these turned out, though, which is why I’m showing you them! I used the same pattern for both bras – the Marlborough from Orange Lingerie – which is one of my favorite patterns to use (I also looove the Boylston, which is a foam cup – and don’t worry, I have a post for that to share next week HAHA). I love this pattern because it’s comfortable and supportive, fits me well with some very minor adjustments, and I think the shape is just beautiful. The fabric cups are really soft and natural looking (you better be ok with the world knowing that you are cold, though. I decided that was not something I was going to worry about anymore haha) and you can make it out of a really awesome variety of fabrics. After a lot of Marlboroughs, I’ve learned that my favorite fit comes from woven fabrics that are backed with sheer cup lining. I like slightly narrower straps (3/8″ or 1/2″, as opposed to the recommended 3/4″ for DD+) and a 3 row hook & eye. I use the size 30D.

Also, because I get this question ALL THE TIME – this is a fantastic beginner bra pattern. At least, it was for me! I’ve made some soft bras in the past, but this is the first “proper” bra pattern I ever made – with underwires and all that fun. The instructions are very clear and you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to make it. If you want more info on making bras, check out this post I wrote last year πŸ˜‰

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Bra #1 is really simple! I bought this sheer black polka dot mesh netting from Blackbird Fabrics (it appears to be sold out, but here is some in the white colorway), and Caroline threw in a black findings kit as a little bonus with my order. I can’t remember where I bought the sheer cup lining (I just got a lot of it so I have a big stash that I dip into haha) but it’s either from Blackbird Fabrics or Bra Maker’s Supply. Both are stores with I highly recommend, especially for their kits! Unfortunately, they’re both based in Canada which is a shipping bummer for us in the US. I’ve recently gone all up Tailor Made Shop‘s butt these days, and I’ve been really happy with everything I’ve received. And she is based in the US, so yay!

Anyway, back to the bra!

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Since the fabric was pretty flimsy on it’s own, with a little more stretch than I needed, I lined every piece with black sheer cup lining- including the top where one would normally put lace. I thought about leaving that part sheer, but I think I made a good choice because I do like the resulting fit! Because all the pieces were lined, I was able to encase all the seams inside the layers, so the inside is very clean and makes me happy.

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

For the back, I used firm black power mesh on a single layer.

Flat bra shots:

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

All right, now for the second bra!

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Bra #2 is definitely a bit wilder in terms of color, and yes it looks suspiciously like another Marlborough I made last year don’t you dare judge me πŸ™‚ The fabric was given to me by Annessa – she was showing me something she made with it and I about lost my mind over how beautiful it was. So she offered to send me some scraps, which OF COURSE I accepted because I can totally sew a bra out of scraps! The lace is from Blackbird Fabrics – it was part of that aforementioned order – and the notions are just a bunch of stuff I pulled out of my stash (I think the strapping and gold hardware are from Tailor Made Shop, actually). I had fun putting this one together in terms of what colors to use – there are so many colors in the fabric, and I have collected a lot of elastics over the past couple of years! In the end, I went with white everything except the underarm elastic, which I think is really pretty.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Cutting the fabric was a bit of a bear because I was trying to place the colors with a bit of thoughtfulness, but I think it turned out ok! Honestly, I didn’t really like the way this looked when I first finished it – it seemed a bit chaotic with all the colors and piecing everywhere. But I’ve worn it a few times and have really grown to love it!

Same as with the black version, I underlined all the pieces with sheer cup lining (this time in white), except I did not underline the lace. I did stabilize the edge with a piece of navy powermesh selvedge. I think that looks and feels better than using clear elastic.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The back is pretty boring, although it does have purple topstitching πŸ™‚ I just used firm powermesh for the back pieces, again, one layer.

And the flat shots:

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The inside definitely doesn’t look as good as the black one. For one, my dark topstitching doesn’t work with the white interior (go figure?). I should have threaded two machines but I was feeling lazy (although I did at least put white in the bobbin when I sewed the band elastic). Further, I should have changed out that pink serging thread for white – or better, made that open seam the one right below the cups, as it would have been covered by the underwire casing and elastic. Whatever!

So those are the bras! Now let’s talk about meeeee!! I’ve already mentioned most of this stuff on Instagram, but I realize that a lot of y’all probably don’t use/follow me on Insta, and also, I can just go into more detail here!

First of all – as of March, I am no longer working for Elizabeth Suzann. Everything is fine between us – I just got a really good offer for another job that I couldn’t refuse (and unfortunately, I can’t do both because there are only so many hours in the day). More on that in a sec! I absolutely love love LOVED working for Elizabeth – her and her husband, Chris, are some of the best bosses I’ve ever had, and my coworkers were just fucking amazing. I had so much fun on the days that I worked there, and I never really felt like it was a job. Every day was different, and I liked challenging myself to do things faster while still being accurate. Of course, it helps to be somewhere where you feel appreciated and valued, which I certainly did! Liz is always looking for fabulous new seamstresses, by the way, so if you’re in Nashville and have some sewing skills, you should definitely apply! I can’t say enough good things about the company or the people who work there. I offered to help as a freelancer whenever they are overloaded with orders – so we’ll see, I just may be back from time to time πŸ˜‰

So, hey, the new gig! I am now working at Craft South, which is an ADORABLE little crafty shop that Anna Maria Horner opened in Nashville about a year ago. We sell fabric, yarn, Janome sewing machines (which means I will definitely be buying a coverstitch at some point this year, hellz yea), embroidery and weaving supplies, handmade/locally made gifts, and just a general assortment of craft-based merchandise. My official title is “Education Coordinator,” which means I’ll be handling all the class stuff – scheduling and coordinating, planning, making samples, etc. I’m working alongside Anna and we have got some super awesome stuff in the plans for this summer! I’m also teaching Beginner Garment Basics classes – next up is this Breezy Caftan on 5/12 – and whatever else I can dream up, cos guys, I love teaching sewing πŸ™‚ ALSO, I’ll be manning the registers and fabric cutting like a normal retail shop person on Tuesdays and Fridays – so if you’re in Nashville, stop by and say hi! Take a class! Support the local fabric store! You might even run into Anna Maria Horner herself, who is way cooler than I am πŸ™‚

FINALLY, one more big change coming up – don’t laugh, but I’m moving! AGAIN! (and if this doesn’t surprise you – dude, get in line, literally everyone I’ve told this to replied with, “Yeah I was waiting for this to happen” haha) Honestly, I really love the house I live in and my living situation is totally ace (I’m in the middle of the woods with my best friend, so it’s like constant BFF night over here), but the reality is that I don’t like living so far from the city. If I could pick this house up and plop it back down into Nashville, I absolutely would… but that’s not how life works. My commute from Kingston Springs to Nashville is about 30 miles one way, which I’ve learned is absolutely killer for me. I hate it!! I miss being in biking distance of my job! I miss ordering takeout (lol jk I never order takeout or delivery but HELLO OPTIONS ARE NICE)! I miss having a 10 minute / 5 mile commute. These are things that are important to me. I’ve felt stuck here for a while now, because Nashville has gotten outrageously expensive now that everyone is moving here (btw – if you’re thinking about moving here, don’t. We’re full.). However, this new job has literally afforded me the opportunity to get out and back into the city. So I found an apartment in West Nashville (where I was before I moved out here, and also, my favorite area!) and I’m moving in mid-June! Yay! That means a new sewing room will eventually be in the works, too πŸ™‚ I’m not sure how I’ll manage blog pictures since I don’t really like doing the tripod/timer thing in public, but eh, I’ll figure that out when I get to it. At any rate, if things get a little quiet here in June… that’s why. As a side note, I’m cleaning out my closets in anticipation for the downsize in housing, and I’ve listed a few of my handmades that I don’t wear on Etsy. Most have already sold, but there are 2 things still listed if you are interested – you can check out my shop here. Someone give these handmades a good home and the wear that they deserve!

And, in case you were wondering – only my cat is coming with me (cat is a deal-breaker!). The pigs actually belong to my roommate, so obviously they are staying here in the country πŸ™‚

One last thing – it’s May, which means Me Made May ’16 is in full swing again! If you’re not familiar with Me Made May, it’s a month where you challenge yourself to wear handmades (every day, a few times a week, entire outfits – whatever works for you!). I have participated in the past (see: 2012, 2013, 2014), but I won’t be doing it this year. About 99% of my clothes are handmade at this point, and it’s pretty much Me Made Everyday. There’s not really a challenge involved for me to wear them, so it seems silly and almost a little show-offy to jump in with everyone else. Also, I hated doing the daily selfies πŸ˜› But rest assured that I am still rocking the me-mades – today I am wearing my Ginger Jeggings, the Starwatch Watson bra, a handmade black tshirt (unblogged because, it’s a tshirt) and a striped hoodie (also unblogged. Man I’m behind on this).

:)

Anyway, that’s about it for me! Have a picture of my favorite part of my (current) sewing room. I really love this space, but it’ll be fun to set up a new one πŸ™‚