Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year's Resolutions: 2018 Make Nine

Last year my New Year's resolutions were to be more gentle with myself (less self-criticism, more self-love) and to stop eating beef—one resolution for helping myself, one resolution for helping the world, however minimally. I like having aspirational, attainable goals, and I'm getting better about not being hard on myself if it doesn't work out perfectly, ie I've eaten beef on 7 occasions in 2017, which is still pretty darn good!

This year my New Year's resolutions are to take last year's a step further: actively and enthusiastically love myself, and stop using disposable plastic straws and silverware.

Sewing is a way for me to love the world and love myself. It helps me be a more responsible consumer, understand how geometry and inspiration create art in the form of fashion, and pour love into everything I make and wear.

My 2018 Make Nine list is inspired by the first goal. I chose pieces to challenge my skills and help me grow as a sewist, and pieces to throw on whenever I need that physical manifestation of my confidence. 

Here's what I'm hoping to sew in 2018:

Photo Sources:
one // two // three
four // five // six
seven // eight // nine

Friday, December 22, 2017

Sewing a Circle Skirt (Free Tutorial!)

One of my besties ("A") has bought into my mission to build an intentional, sustainable wardrobe and asked me to teach her to sew. I tried not to be TOO eager when I jumped at the chance. 😉  A wanted something she could wear in an office environment, as she's finding that her professional wear wardrobe doesn't really fit her personal style anymore.

We started with tea towels (tutorial here) to get her familiar with using a machine before jumping into a more complicated project. We discussed a couple beginner-friendly skirts and decided that a simple circle skirt is totally her style while also being very forgiving of potential newbie sewist mistakes.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DIY Tea Towels

I have a lovely friend who also just finished up her Masters and is job searching, and she asked me to teach her to sew in order to make a couple "power outfit" pieces to make her feel both badass and totally herself for interviews. That's exactly why I love making my own clothes: there's a power to being able to make something from nothing, and that something is made exactly the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it.

But before jumping into power pieces, I wanted to do a quick and easy project to get her comfortable using a machine and used to the process of pressing, pinning, sewing (washing, rinsing, and repeating).

Enter: tea towels. Perfect for sewists who have just returned from living abroad and who have nothing that adults should have (like kitchen linens) and equally perfect for sewists who have an enormous stash that needs busting. I fit both categories and thought it would be a great way to get her comfy and take a few more pieces of fabric out of my seemingly endless stash.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Simplicity D0746 Tank Top

A couple weeks ago I posted about making View C (capri leggings) from Simplicity D0746, and this weekend I followed it up with View D, a really cute gathered camisole tank top.

This project was MUCH harder than I anticipated. It's been awhile since I've worked with knits, and I was surprisingly "out of shape." I'm also still very new to elastic and it kind of kicked my ass. That being said, I made this in the dreamiest bamboo knit from Hart's and I hope I get better with knits because I want everything I own to be bamboo knit—stupid comfortable, eco-friendly fabrics? Count me allllll the way in.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday Sewing Pattern Roundup 2017!

I usually loathe Black Friday with every bone in my body. The rampant consumerism is frightening to me, especially because most everything isn't actually that great of a deal—have you noticed markups the first part of November that are suddenly "sale" items once the turkey is put away?

That being said, I think a leetle consumerism can be justified when it comes to patterns. I've not noticed the same shady markups from Indie pattern makers, and then you are prepped for sloooow fashion at the beginning on the year. Personally, I'm only buying patterns that have been languishing in online shopping carts for months anyway, so this is a great way to justify biting the bullet.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sarah Kirsten's Morning Glory Top

Even though it's starting to cool down in California, meaning jeans and *gasp* long sleeves most days, I saw Sarah Kirsten's Morning Glory top on Instagram and was totally fixated on it. It's completely impractical for this time of year, but it jumped to the top of my sewing queue nonetheless. I'm justifying it by recognizing that since I'm spending so many hours camped out at my desk/in a coffee shop doing job applications, something pretty and that makes me feel special is completely practical.

This FREE pattern/tutorial is a dream. It's super simple, and I always really, really enjoy pattern drafting. This is a blissfully happy medium between a ready-made pattern and drafting my own. Also, it's my first experience with French seams and man alive, they are so satisfying!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Knitting a Snood (Free Knitting Pattern)

One of my brilliant London housemates is a superstar knitter, and for another housemate's birthday, knitted her a beautiful teal snood (aka infinity scarf). I was teal with envy (har har) because it looked so cozy warm and I am nothing if not constantly on the verge of hypothermia.

Following my new mantra to always Enthusiastically Suck at something, I decided to take a knitting class at Tea and Crafting in Camden when all my friends and then-partner were away for a weekend and I needed to entertain myself. And you know what, I wasn't half bad!

I had a couple little practice projects when I was still in the Big Smoke, neither of which made the cut into my precious suitcase space for my return back to the States.

But, during my job search, I need something to occupy my time. I spend over half my day working on job applications, but once I top out on that for the day I need something to do, and sewing sometimes is just too quick. Usually, that's a huge pro in the sewing department (immediate gratification—even slow fashioners fall victim!), but with so much more time than I ever have when I'm employed, knitting is filling a very important-for-my-sanity void.

Enter: snood!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Simplicity D0746 Leggings

One day when I was hanging out in JoAnn's, as I am wont to do, I found this killer spacey athletic wear knit. I was totally smitten.

After my breakup earlier this year, one of my lovely London housemates twisted my arm (very little twisting required) to go with her to a yoga class. I'm still very, very green to yoga, but I've kept with it the last 5 months since and have found it so so helpful for keeping it together as I process these huge changes in my life. I won't evangelize too much but I am a total convert and I'm very grateful for the gentle nudge by a thoughtful friend towards prioritizing regular mental and physical self care.

ANYWAY this means that my 2 pairs of leggings that had previously been happily relegated to nothing more than chillin' like a villain were getting a little worse for wear. Not to be too gross, but I couldn't wash them regularly enough between classes to prevent them from smelling BAD—life sans clothes dryer is grim, y'all.

All this to say, I want to beef up my yoga wardrobe. I got a couple pairs from Fabletics which I love, but are just outside of my price range for individual purchase and I simply do not need a zillion dollars of new athletic clothes every single month to warrant a subscription. Also, I had a hard time finding info on the labor practices of Fabletics, which may mean nothing or may mean something, but it makes it hard for me to make a purchase I can feel good about, so I won't.

So there I am, smitten in JoAnn's. I snatch up a couple yards of this super cool spacey fabric and, just out of curiosity, meander over to the pattern vault and lo and behold! The Simplicity D0746 pattern was right there on top! And on sale! Sewing nirvana.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

FPC Square Neck Top

When I was in London finishing up my dissertation this summer, I vowed to myself that I would not (counter to my instincts) use sewing as a stress reliever for one reason only: suitcases. I had two suitcases and my entire life in London had to fit into them. Whatever didn't fit, didn't come home. I didn't want to sew anything and end up debating whether I kept it or some other precious item in my wardrobe. As part of my efforts to embrace the slow fashion movement, I don't treat any of my clothing as disposable and I didn't want to start now.

But those instincts are wily ladies, and I found myself pining away after patterns and fabrics that other sewing bloggers were posting online, so much that I was way distracted from my dissertation work schedule. My vow had to bend so it didn't break! After spending days carefully curating my virtual cart, the awesome ladies at Hart's Fabric worked with me so that I could place an order to be picked up by my moms. First thing when I got back home to California, I was busting out that sewing machine and leaning into that limbo period between school and job.

One of the patterns that had me lusting intercontinentally for my machine was Friday Pattern Company's Square Neck Top. It's a beautifully modern top with just a bit of crop, perfect for wearing with high waisted jeans and looking like a sexy giraffe (meaning: legs that go on forever).