#SewMyStyle

Around this time last year, I decided to join #sewmystyle hosted by @alexbartholomew_. The project was designed to bring awareness to the #slowfashion movement and to encourage folks to take on sewing a capsule wardrobe. After reviewing the 12 Sew My Style patterns, I decided that purchasing new patterns wasn’t really in keeping with the Slow Fashion movement, especially when I already had at least 12 patterns that I had yet to make. So I selected a similar pattern for each month, drew it in my sketchbook, and shared them on Instagram for some accountability. 

fullsizeoutput_2964

Despite making myself finish a quilt before diving into January’s plan, the month proved quite successful! I was able to make both versions of Blueprints for Sewing’s Geodesic.

IMG_0460

I made Version 2 – Long first out of a thrifted black mystery knit. Version 1 – Short was made out of a thrifted men’s XXL sweatshirt. I can credit Version 1 with making me want to wear all things cropped.

IMG_0453

February also proved quite successful as I was able to make two Driftless Cardigans by Grainline Studio. The first version’s fabric is an Alabama Chanin knit and the second is a yummy Soy French Terry from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

March is the month I lost steam and began going out of order. My car was totaled, work was killing my soul, and I was super indecisive about fabric choices. I ended up not making the Seamwork Moji Pants until May and they were a full-on disaster. But this project reminded me how important it is to make a muslin and to analyze the finished garment’s measurements before selecting a size.

IMG_0480

I made April’s plan in March and it really tested my pattern matching abilities. I had to cut out the dress twice to get the squares to line up at the side seams and I definitely attached the sleeve cuffs wrong ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The fabric is a beautiful ikat from Stonemountain. The Inari Tee Dress made it in to my sketchbook again (because with pockets it’d be PERFECTION) and it ended up being part of my “wedding separates.”

May’s plan remains a WIP. It’s a pattern I drafted from my mom’s beloved 1980’s jumpsuit. I’m making the muslin out of an IKEA duvet cover and will hopefully find the inspiration to finish it.

IMG_0542

I made the Mercer Tunics in March and April in Indian Block Print Voile from Stonemountain. The Alder Shirt Dress remains a WIP, partially because my introductory sewing machine started to poop out in May. The fabric is a thrifted cotton fish print that will, if I ever complete it, be great for the summer months.

IMG_0567

The Kelly Anorak, which I actually finished in May is what caused all of my sewing machine issues. Issues that made sewing really frustrating. In addition to my machine being on its last legs, I started the Patternmaking & Design certificate program at Apparel Art and all of my free time was blown to bits. My Anorak was made with sienna cotton stretch twill from Indiesew.

I did, however, have one glorious weekend of extreme productivity and was able to get a lot of the Archer done. It’s still waiting on my dress form though… The flannel is another thrifted bed sheet.

IMG_0578

The Ginger Jeans are the only project I haven’t started. I think it still just feels too challenging for my current skill set, which I realize I need to get over. That and my only pair of jeans are getting pretty threadbare.

Inevitably one of the plans changed completely. I swapped the Anna Dress (the only planned pattern I had already made) for the Farrow Dress. The Farrow is much more aligned with the silhouettes I’m most comfortable in.

IMG_0852

I made two Watson panties using leftover fabric from a Linden but have yet to venture into bra making. The panties are super comfortable and I really like the idea of being able to use scraps to make them. However, it’s really hard for me to find the motivation to make undergarments. I need to accept that buying RTW underwear and bras is okay.

Overall I made a LOT outside of the planned monthly makes, not including my patternmaking work. Next year, I think I’ll pare down plans to 9 since one project per month seemed to be too constraining. Sometime you just don’t want to make a thing.

Metallic Linen Farrow Dress

fullsizeoutput_346a

WOOT! I finally finished something that’s been in my brain for a long while: a metallic linen dress with geometric goodness. The idea for said dress sprang from Purl Soho’s Mineral Linen collection release however many years ago and the need for a somewhat fancy dress for holiday times.

srLa+WFATkiivy91Mw1LRw

Initially, I thought I’d pair the Mineral Linen with By Hand London’s Anna Dress and do a geometric triangle thing on the skirt panels (think half rectangle triangle). But after reading the fabric is dry clean only and the realization that I almost never wear the one Anna Dress I’ve made, the whole idea kinda fell apart.

6BQp2GM8SHaOryyImWA

Then in walk’s Grainline Studio’s Farrow Dress, satisfying all my clothing wants and desires: pockets, sack shape, and geometric lines.

fullsizeoutput_3469

In true Sienna form, it took me a long-ass time to make it. Partially because I was still searching for right fabric that could withstand regular washing and a hot iron. Partially because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

fullsizeoutput_346b

Thankfully, my favorite semi-local fabric store, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric, started carrying metallic linens. I scooped up the necessary yardage and followed the tip of ironing it with the hottest dry iron possible (to set its wrinkle-less finish) followed by  washing and drying at the highest temperatures possible. It has the yummiest linen wrinkles now.

fullsizeoutput_3485

I cut a straight size 4, which seems to be my near perfect Grainline Studio size. If I were to do it all over again I would definitely shorten the sleeves by ~2″ as I’d like for the sleeve to hit a little lower than 3/4 length. As you can see in the picture above, I’ve awkwardly folded the sleeve up.

vDO2m2FQR8ey%vgucG9UYQ

It all came together relatively quickly, despite one sleeve facing being a big turd (it still has an imperfection and I’m pretending I’m fine with it) and the disappointing fact that I just couldn’t finish it in time for a fall wedding a week ago.

In addition to the dress, I envisioned some sort of statement jewelry for the whole look. I found a kit and tutorial from Beadaholique that looked fun to make and would coordinate with my fabric choice. The Kumihimo style necklace is a good make if you’re looking for a meditative couch project.

Moving on up

Growing up, sewing didn’t make sense to me. The fabric was ugly, big four patterns hurt my brain, and it took SO. MUCH. TIME. My mom, aunts, and grandmothers all got it (and were pretty good at it), but somehow the sewing bug escaped me.

Hemming curtains, the annual Halloween costume, and making small adjustments like shortening the neck strap on my painting apron on my mom’s heavy, mechanical Kenmore was the extent of my experience through college. The Kenmore had chronic tension issues and made the process pretty infuriating.

Shortly before moving to Oklahoma to become a teacher, I thrifted my own machine on a whim. It was similar to my mom’s machine, but had a penchant for zinging along when the pedal wasn’t even depressed. I only used it a handful of times before it ended up right back at the thrift store.

Then in late 2014, after watching young students tackle sewing with reckless abandon, I thought I should give it a real go. I bought a Brother cs6000i on Amazon, thrifted a bunch of bed sheets, and made a top using Sonya Philip’s Tunic No. 1 pattern. Independent pattern makers with excellent instructions, a reliable beginner machine, and the online sewing community helped me get it.

Over the next two years, I added several more machines to my collection. An industrial unused Juki I purchased at an extremely discounted price, a Janome, and a Brother Serger I’m still a little scared of.

After nearly 3 years of constant use and the beginner’s mistake of using shitty thread, never cleaning or oiling, and the Kelly Anorak, my trusty Brother became less reliable. It still works, but its maintenance costs more than it’s worth.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 9.02.04 AM

With my hobby feeling more like it could be a living, I created a budget and began tracking my expenses in order to save for an upgrade. Initially, it was projected that I’d be able to purchase it after 9 months to a year of saving, but thanks to insurance returning my deductible from a car accident, a stipend from my job, some penny pinching, and a local dealer trying to bring me in to his store (he knocked $500 off the price), I was able to purchase her.

IMG_0339

She’s a dream and it was a real struggle to leave my house for work last week. Last night I finished Bernina’s inaugural project – birthday pajama pants for my man.

IMG_0348

We’re still getting acquainted, but I can tell she’s the one.

Fashion Illustration

I started taking classes at Apparel Arts in May of this year. My goal is to obtain the Patternmaking & Design certificate, a 24 to 30 month self-paced program. The bulk of the program is a 3 hour weekly class in pattern drafting and design with 10 shorter classes such as Construction, Textiles, and Manufacturing. The first of the “electives” I took was Fashion Illustration.

As a former art student, the class was lovely. It opened me up to a new style of drawing,  introduced me to many fashion illustrators I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered, and got me into the habit of drawing more regularly.

The class used the text Illustrating Fashion: Concept to Creation by Steven Stipelman. It’s a really fabulous book if you’re interested in learning to draw the fashion figure. The class was structured to start with a short lecture which moved through the history of fashion illustration and ended with the work of contemporary fashion illustrators, followed by several hours of drawing.

Here’s some of my work from the 10 week class:

IMG_0269
10 head croquis
IMG_0272
Side Profile | Turned Figure
IMG_0270
Clothing the figure
IMG_0266
Rendering prints from multiple views
IMG_0274
Side profile practice
IMG_0276
Drawing from magazines
IMG_0271
Some exercises included copying Stipelman’s work
IMG_0267
Rendering texture with colored pencil
IMG_0277
Quick gesture drawings from magazines
IMG_0280
Rendering fabric prints
IMG_0282
Several figures on a page
IMG_0286
Ace & Jig muses
IMG_0279
Walking figure, rendering fabric
IMG_0283
More Stipelman inspiration
IMG_0275
Muse study (Nykhor Paul), several figures on a page
IMG_0278
Fashion face
IMG_0273
Silhouettes
IMG_0268
Sketching for finals

Our final projects required us to draw 4-5 fashion figures and create a corresponding mood board. I had a hard time designing my own line and chose to depict some of Vika Gazinskaya’s Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection.

IMG_0284

IMG_0285
Work on the right is by Marialaura Fedi

Recent Reads

Early in the year, I decided I was going to read mainly female authors, or books about bad-ass women. I think this idea to focus on women came from the extreme disappointment of the election. Who isn’t still feeling that.

IMG_1264

My favorites so far have been All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Towes and Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order).

I finished the book Charlotte by David Foenkinos this week. Charlotte Saloman was a German Jewish artist during WWII. She and her unborn child were gassed shortly after arriving at a concentration camp. It was a quick, depressing read, but introduced me to an artist I’d like to learn more about.

fullsizeoutput_3394

Up Next: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Any recommendations?

Here we go.

IMG_0168

Hello. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I should have a space outside of Instagram. But the problem is, I LOVE Instagram. It’s a form of expression that’s mostly visual. Creating and maintaining a blog feels like such a commitment. And the words. Oh, the words. However, I’m setting the intention of creating a space that’s sightly less curated when it comes to photographs, better documents my makes and what I’m learning, and helps me connect and interact with other makers and artists. Here we go.