Fashion Shows, Summer Trips and Eating Pumpkins

Okay.  So I haven’t been blogging very often.  Bad, bad me.  Things have continued to be busy in my neck of the woods and I haven’t been able to fully get back to non-school sewing and therefore blogging about my makes like I had hoped.

That said, I still wanted to update you all on what’s been going on with me.  So many things: Good, great and super ugly.

The Good

As a (pseudo) fashion student, I was encouraged to enter some of the garments that I’ve made for school projects into this year’s fashion show.  At first, I didn’t really want to put any of my makes into the fashion show because all the things are made for my body (not a model) and things made to add to my wardrobe (not my portfolio).  I was finally convinced by my classmate to put in as many garments as possible because some of the prizes are ridiculously good ($500 cash, a dress form etc).

I decided to enter a few of the pieces I had made for the advanced sewing course I took last year.  Remember these?



I’m also forced to enter the “fantasy/recycled” project I made for the draping class earlier this term.


I’m also going to enter the first corset project I made for the corset class I’m taking this term.


I haven’t had the chance to blog about it, but it is a traditional corset made out of silk brocade I purchased from Mood online.  It has a really cool 3-D fish scale ombre pattern on it.  Though I’m not sure I’d ever wear it, I really enjoyed learning how to make my first corset!  The accompanying skirt I whipped up really quickly was just 4 yards of black poly in a 1.5″ elastic (I love the fabric so I’m going to take it apart to make it into something else after the fashion show is finished).

I’m also entering a dress I draped for my second project, but I didn’t have the chance to take a photograph in it because after I handed it in for grading, it was also submitted to the fashion show committee for a fitting.  I promise to blog about it soon (as it is the dress I made to wear on my birthday next month)!

Now for…

The Great

Remember when I laid out the rules for the Stash diet and I mentioned how I could only buy fabric if it was for school or if I went on a trip?  Well… I guess things really do manifest when you write them down because I’m going to NYC and back home to Toronto this summer!!!!!  

I’m so excited because (wait for it) I’ve never been to NYC before people!  Hard to believe, right?  But hotels and plane tickets are booked so it is happening!  Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssss!!!  I’m hoping to meet up with some blog lovelies out East if they can find the time.  And I’m going to try to stick to my 5 piece fabric max. (operative word:  try).

As for my trip to Toronto, I have contacted some of the GTA blog loves and we’re hoping to set up a Sewcialist day/night?/dinner? while I’m home.  So much fun!!!!  On a separate day, I’ll be fabric shopping with a BFF of mine whose wedding I’ll be in next year and we’ll be buying bridesmaid fabric so I can start sketching/muslining my bridesmaid dress.  The excitement seems to never end!

Actually it does.  Because get ready for…

The Super Ugly

You know the rhyme:  “Cheater.  Cheater.  Pumpkin eater.”  So, I’ll start by saying.  Hi, my name is Eleyna Gomez and I’m a shopping addict.

As someone with an extremist personality, I’m sure you remember my super gung-ho online declaration that I would be fasting from buying clothes and fabric for all of 2014.  And please believe me when I say, I started off with a bang!  I did so well, I really did!  I was making my own basics and sweaters and wearable jackets.  I even made my own workout pants!  But things got busy in my life – self-imposed, of course – but busy nonetheless and I guess the stress of it triggered something in me.

When that happens to me, instead of dealing with my stress with relaxation or stepping back and taking a deep breath, I am known to get into distraction-mode where I try to fill my mind with other things instead of dealing with my emotions or releasing my stress.  In my case, my distraction of choice is online shopping.  True to form, the busier my life got, the more elevated my stress levels, the higher the urge for me to shop for clothes.  At first, I needed a way to justify purchases.  So, I thought, “if I sell some of my clothes, the money I make from that I’ll use to buy new stuff (no harm, no foul, right?).”  So I sold all of my Nike Tight of the Moment pants.  I lost some weight and they were not fitting the same anymore (and they were so expensive that I didn’t like that they were just sitting in my closet).  Not surprisingly, every single pair sold for a lot more than I purchased them for!  So off I went to my favorite online shops buying things I “needed”.  But soon, one necessary piece turned into a splurge.  Then, into many splurges.  And now, I don’t know what to do with myself.

But it gets uglier.

A similar occurrence happened with the stash diet.  I had some amazing news a few months ago that I got the promotion I had been hoping for at work.  After I found out, I went to the spin class I teach after work and told some of the regulars that take my class how ecstatic I was.  A week later, one of the kindest, most generous regulars gave me a card congratulating me on my promotion and in the card was a note saying how proud of me she was and how much she also supported my sewing endeavors.  She wanted me to take a small token of her support to buy fabric for my projects (she gave me $$$ for fabric!).

So I thought, “if this money was meant for fabric, it would be wrong of me to use it on anything else.”  So, I bought fabric.  Then, I bought a bit more.  And it seems after the “alotted for fabric” money was gone – I was still buying fabric!

The truth is that I’m super ashamed and the guilt of it all has probably lead me to avoid blogging altogether.  But I wanted to finally come clean because what is the point of it all if I can’t be honest you but most especially honest with myself?!  What I’ve learned (from my own extreme personality) is that even though I don’t like to admit it, it’s almost impossible to be perfect at anything on the first attempt.  Maybe I made things a little too strict for myself the first time around.  But I want to get back on the RTW fast and Stash Diet wagon and try again.  I’ve realized that my shopping impulses actually have nothing to do with what I’m actually buying and more to do with the unhappiness I sometimes feel with the busy-ness of my schedule.  This was and is a hard thing for me to swallow because I chose this schedule – so I really have no one to point fingers at but myself!

Anyway, thanks for letting me get it all out there!  I hope the gods of online declarations will forgive me and let me have a chance to redeem myself!  As a first effort at redemption, I made my wonderful spinning angel some workout pants to wear to her favorite instructor’s spin classes.  After all, it was her gracious gift that allowed me to buy this beautiful fabric (from Jo-Ann’s) in the first place.


I’m giving them to her at class tonight – I hope she loves them and I really hope they fit!

So, that is my super long update of the good, great and super ugly of my life right now.  I intended to make a Me-Made-May’14 declaration in this post but I think I’ll pause and really think about what is truly do-able for me right now and the intention I have about participating in it before I make any more hasty declarations.

In the meantime, I hope you are all well and I hope to post again sooner than later.  Happy April, everyone!

Full Plate: School Edition

So, I may have put a little too much on my plate since the start of the year.

The RTW fast and the Stash diet have been both exciting and manageable.  My plans to create new pieces to add to my Winter wardrobe – totally do-able!  Then, I added on two night school courses – Draping and Corset making (the embellishments class was cancelled due to low registration – so sad!).  On alternate nights, I teach spin.  I’ve also started a diet and exercise regime with my spin friend where I wake up at 5 am on school days to weight train a little bit  and I have to prepare most of my meals for the week in advance (we’re trying to get to our goal weights by June-ish).  And then, I got great news about a promotion at work (which is totally the most wonderful thing ever!) but the reporting structure of my group got changed – so it feels as if I’ve just started a completely new job.  All these things in isolation are all amazing and wonderful things that add happiness and value to my life!  But to put it simply, I’m just plain ol’ burnt out!

I’ve not been able to sew as much (from my Winter wardrobe list) lately and I’ve not been able to make time to blog (or even read blogs!).  I’m sorry!  I had made a whole schedule for myself for sewing and blogging, but I just can’t keep up with it right now.

But!  I did want to show you a few photos of what I’ve been working on at school which is where most of my sewing time and energy has been devoted to lately.

In our draping class, our instructors wanted us to open ourselves up more creatively.  I guess they know that working with patterns all the time can make us fashion students think too rigidly.  So, our first project was called a “fantasy project”.  If you watch Project Runway, it’s very similar to the unconventional challenges.  Basically, we were to make “anything” we wanted out of “any” material we wanted – everything except fabric was the rule (even for a base).  I resisted this project very much at first.  “I don’t have time to make a garment I won’t end up wearing that has nothing to do with draping!!!”, I wailed.  I must have said this at least one time during every single class to my classmates.  So, stubbornly, I also refused to buy the materials for my unconventional, unwearable garment.  Luckily I work in a lab, and we have a lot of materials that we have in bulk or things that are left over from projects that would just go to waste.

I decided to use spill pads (used to absorb solvents to either clean up or prevent spills)


and left over packaging labels.  Don’t worry, I asked permission to use both.


The absorbant pads naturally have perforations and holes in them which I thought lended to a very sportswear vibe.  Another cool aspect about it was that the pads were made up of 4-5 layers, so I was able to separate the layers for the option to have a thicker or more sheer textile.  I decided to drape a fitted bodice and a very flirty/girly circle skirt in the original thickness of the pads.


I made a petticoat out of thinner layers of the pads.


I found these two pieces alone to be a little bit too boring for an unconventional challenge, so I decided to make a hooded cape (the hood was drafted from the Minoru pattern).  My sister and I had some fake flowers we had received over the holidays to decorate our apartment with that I used to add some texture and color to the garment.   I decided to braid the flowers along the edge of the hood to create a  “furry-hood” look.  This made the garment pop a lot more.


I’m feeling luke warm about how it turned out.  It is definitely very girly and pink.  This kind of challenge is not really my thing as I don’t really enjoy making things that aren’t wearable or useful.  But I must admit that because we were allowed to do “whatever we wanted”, I felt less pressure to create something perfect.  In turn, I ended up learning how easy it is to draft a bodice and circle skirt onto a dressform without the need for patterns.  Even the cape didn’t require too much thinking and I was able to attach the hood to it with ease.


The back closure is a neon yellow zipper I bought many years ago that I never used but it matched the yellow labels really well.  I braided the flowers into a lei with neon pink parachute rope that I got at Jo-Ann’s for 2 bucks.  That was probably the only thing I purchased for this whole project.

Most people are most impressed with the flowers on the hood but because I’ve made so many Hula and Polynesian head pieces, leis and hip belts over my lifetime using this braiding technique, it was actually the easiest part of the garment to construct!  I get comments that it looks very “Japanese street style” and that “it’s just so pink”.  I’ll be putting it into our school’s fashion show in May, so it will be fun to see something I made walk down a runway on a model.  But, I’m just so happy this project is over!  Our next draping project is to choose an inspiration photo of any draped knit garment and basically try to reproduce it.  I’m super excited because that is definitely more in my alley!


I hope you enjoyed some of my school project photos.  I promise I’ll get back to my Winter sewing before Spring arrives (next week!) and show you more wearable garments I’ve been working on.  Hope you’re all well and enjoying the last week of Winter!

Hemlock Sweater

Yes, I am on a mission to sew the free patterns that are being offered all over the net!  The sewing community is so amazingly generous!  So far I’ve made a Plantain and a Fave Top (or Fave Sweater).  This time I wanted to use the Hemlock pattern (free to download at Grainline Studio) to make another over-sized sweater before the Winter is through.

Like the Fave Top, the Hemlock is a one-size fits all pattern.  After seeing the fit of all the Hemlocks made out there, I think we can all agree that the long-sleeved tee has a loose and relaxed fit on most body types.  This is my favorite type of fit!

I thought this would be perfect made up in (yet another) cotton sweater knit purchased from Mood (online).

As per usual, I sewed up the seams with my serger and used my twin needle for the hems and stabilizing the neckline band.  I also added twill tape to stabilize shoulder seams as this fabric has quite a bit of stretch.  I also added a few inches to the sleeve to have it hanging onto my knuckles – I hate when sleeves are too short (and most are on me).


The result was exactly what I wanted!


The fabric is very breathable and the color is beautiful, light and multi-dimensional.  I think it’s a perfect transitional piece to take me into Spring.

I’m really happy with this pattern – as many people are!  Thank you Jen for your generosity and sharing your talent with the sewing world!  I think this pattern will definitely move into my TNT pile and I’d love to make one in tissue knit as the season changes and the temperatures rise!

Have a great week everyone!

Fave Sweater

As I’ve been on the free pattern prowl, I recently came upon the Fave Top pattern available for free on the Tessuti website!

I was really excited when I saw this top because, as you know, I love me a loose fitting top over some leggings or skinnies.

The pattern is really simple – only two pieces (sleeves included on the bodice pieces) and the end result has a really beautiful drape both in the front and at the back.

I decided to make a “Fave Sweater” to add to my Winter wardrobe using a black and tan cotton ribbed knit I bought from Mood (online) back in August.

I also decided to lengthen the sleeves (to the wrist) so I would be able to wear this look to work.


I have to say that I love the drape of this pattern!  It was really easy to sew up and I used my serger for the shoulder and side seams and my twin needle for both the hems and the neckline.  The beauty of sweater knits is that the thread just kind of disappears into the fabric – so it’s really hard to detect errors or mistakes (love this!).


My only worry after I sewed it up, was that I hadn’t taken into account that since the sleeves were not separately cut, they were not cut with a vertical grainline running through the middle of the sleeve cap to the wrist (like most sleeves are cut).

As you can see from the pattern, the sleeve is actually cut with the cross-wise grain going down the center – leaving the stretch of the sleeve going in the vertical direction and not the horizontal.

What does this mean?


Well, it means that the sleeves are pretty tight – mostly due to the fact that when I lengthened them, I also tapered them to the wrist.

I’m lucky I’m able to squeeze into them pretty comfortably, but in hindsight, I would have added ease to the sleeve for a tad more comfort.

All in all, I really like this pattern and I would definitely make it again in it’s original tee version with a solid or striped knit.  Tessuti offers many other beautiful patterns and even a few more free patterns!  Check out their site to see if there are any you’d love to download.

Lastly, if you haven’t already checked out the LWD contest on the Pattern Review website, please do!  If you like my look – please vote for me!  The prize is a $100 gift card to Sawyer Brook Fabrics – super fancy!!  Thank you for your love and support!  Have a wonderful week!

Pattern Review Contest: Little White Dress

When the new year hit and I was looking down the list of contests announced on the Pattern Review website – the Little White Dress contest caught my eye.  I was actually hoping that there would be a Little Black Dress contest because I have so many pieces of black fabric in my stash, but, the Little White Dress contest intrigued me.  I love wearing white dresses in the Summer, and the ones that I own are usually made of eyelet because they are light and breathable in the heat.  Since this contest is a Winter contest, I thought I would challenge myself and try to create a dress that would be appropriate to wear in the colder months after it was made.

2014 Little White Dress (Jan 16 - Feb 15) 200px

Since I’m on a stash diet this year, I went over to my stash to see what kinds of white fabric I had to work with.  Though I wasn’t yet sure of the kind of style I wanted to make, I decided to “let the fabric speak to me” – as they say in my draping class.

I was drawn to this sweater knit in my stash – a piece I bought from Mood (online) when I was stocking up on sweater knits in the Fall.


The fabric has a 4-way stretch and an interesting 3-D chevron/herringbone pattern on it – it almost looks like a throw blanket or a bath mat.

After deciding on the fabric, I knew that I had to make something fitted because the fabric wouldn’t work with a style that was too loose or flowy.  At the time, I had been working on a dress (for the last 6 months or so, actually) using the bustier portion of Vogue 1227 by Rebecca Taylor (OOP Pattern).  I had made several muslins of the cups/bustier and I thought it might be fun to use it for the top portion of my LWD.  For the bottom of the dress, I decided to use my trusty TNT altered Vogue 1314 Pattern by Tracy Reese (the same one I used for the RTW contest).

Together, I expected the dress to look something like this.


Isn’t that a sight for sore eyes!?!?!!  But you get the picture.

As with my RTW dress, the back pattern was cut down the CB to allow for an invisible zipper and I decided to stick to the original skirt length (longer than my RTW dress) because I knew so much skin would be showing at the neckline that I wanted to keep things classy!

I started off by sewing the dress lining.  I used what I had left of the fabric I used for the Sloppy Josephine I made last year.  Though stained in some areas, it was perfect for a lining because it was white, stretchy, yet thin enough to be under the thicker sweater knit.

The lining sewed up easily (especially with my walking foot!) and I was able to also use it as a muslin to fit the dress to me before cutting the more expensive sweater knit.


As you can see, I actually had to add in some darts at the back because it was so so so loose that the dress could not be held up.  I’m glad that I was able to fit the lining fabric first as it saved me a lot of fitting issues on the sweater knit layer.  The lining is a little odd at the end of the zipper – I think because I was not able to use my walking foot on that part and the two sides stretched a little differently on the zipper.  Thank goodness it’s the under-layer!

I boned just under the cups of the lining layer for added stability.  In the original Rebecca Taylor pattern, the bustier is much more heavily boned but since I was working with knit, I thought it would be best to just make the dress tight but not boned at the seams so it would still be comfortable.  In the future I might reconsider this because I ended up having to add elastic all around the top of the bodice for the dress to be held up more securely.


On the front of the dress I pattern-matched to create chevrons down the center front.  On the back, I cut the pieces to match the grain of the fabric.  I like this little nuance and I feel it makes the dress flattering, yet different, on both sides.


I love how the dress is super simple – it lets the fabric and silhouette do the talking, don’t you think?

California’s temperatures are very interesting to me.  Though it is generally always sunny and beautiful during the daytime, I find the temperature difference from day to night to be really drastic – especially in the Winter-time!  When the sun is out in the daytime, I never need a jacket and can be comfortable in sandals.  But once the sun goes down, the same clothes I wear during the day cannot take me into the night without a  jacket or a change in shoes.  For this reason, I decided to make a matching long sleeved shrug (that I drafted from a shrug I already own) so that I could wear this dress during the California nights, too!


I love how it creates a little peek-a-boo opening in the front!

Another touch I added was a self-made chain-stitched loop at each of the underarms of the shrug that can be looped onto mother-of-pearl buttons that I sewed onto the dress.  This secures the shrug to the dress when worn.


At first, I wasn’t sure how the dress would turn out.  The bustier pattern is made for a woven fabric and the fabric, at first glance, didn’t appear to be made for a dress.  Somehow, it totally works!  I love how it is casual and sporty, yet the bustier and silhouette makes it classic.  This is totally my style and I can see myself wearing this to the beach during the day and then putting the shrug on to go for drinks on a patio at night.  I’m really happy with the outcome.  What do you think of it?

Oh, wait…  Did you want to see the dress on me?


I was worried that a fitted white dress would not be flattering, but this dress seems to lift and tuck in all the right places (I think!).

The contest requires us to show ourselves wearing the dress in three ways:  Un-accessorized, styled for day-wear, and styled for a night-outing – because of course, a LWD must be as versatile as a LBD!

This is exactly how I’d wear this dress by day – probably shopping (but not for fabric or RTW clothing!) or out for Sunday brunch.


As the temperatures drop, I’d put on the matching shrug and go for drinks with the girls or a date-night dinner – maybe even on a Valentine’s date tonight!


So, there you have it!  This is my version of the perfect Little White Dress.  Definitely versatile.  Undeniably comfortable.  Totally me.

I’m so happy that this contest challenged me to create a Little White Dress to wear that I love.   If you love it, too, please vote for my look on the Pattern Review website!  Voting starts next Tuesday, February the 18th!  Wish me luck!  I can’t wait to see how wonderfully the other seamstresses have made white dresses to take them from day-to-night.

Please enjoy some of the out-takes from my LWD photo shoot!  And Happy LOVE Day to each and every one of you!  Ciao!


Un Gérard pour L’Hiver en Californie

Have you ever heard of the French pattern line République du Chiffon?  I hadn’t until I was blog hopping one day in December and I came across Paunnet’s interview with the designers of the pattern line.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  This pattern line is truly divine!  I don’t know if it’s the fabric choice of the samples or the styling of the models, but every garment made from their patterns looks so luxe and expensive, especially with the really special design details – it’s all so very French.

I purchased the Gérard coat pattern that day and printed out the pattern that night.  It is the perfect pattern to add to my Winter wardrobe because I think it would look great over my day-to-day uniform of big sweaters and skinnies.  It’s a very easy “boyfriend” fit jacket that reads like an over-sized men’s blazer – perfect with a pair of leggings and boots.

GERARD - Patron à télécharger - République du Chiffon

GERARD – République du Chiffon

I initially wanted to make another Simplicity 2311 Jacket in a black “wool-look” polyester blend fabric (from Jo-Ann’s) because the pattern was so easy to work with and fit straight out of the envelope.  But when I laid my eyes on the Gérard pattern, I knew I had to use the fabric for a Winter Gérard instead.  Please excuse the wool-look fabric, it definitely needed a good lint brush brushing and the photo doesn’t really show how black the fabric is.


When I put the pattern pieces together and traced out each pattern piece onto tracing paper, I realized why I hadn’t been seeing a lot of RDC patterns on English-speaking sewing blogs.  Now, I can read and write in French and I can speak conversationally (even better when I’ve had some wine in me) but this pattern was really difficult for me to follow!  I grew up in Canada learning Parisian French, but nowhere in our yearly vocabulary did they teach us sewing terminology.  It took me a while to figure out the words for lining and interfacing and I had to read everything out loud really slowly (for what felt like hours).  There were a few hand-drawn instructional photos embedded within the directions but I think I was so thrown off by the vocabulary that looking at the photos confused me even more.  Au secours!  I had to go back and forth between reading out loud and iTranslate (which was horrible for the sewing terminology) before I had a solid set of instructions that I had translated into English for me to follow.  Finally, I was ready to start!

I wanted to have a very basic black jacket so I opted against a bold or printed lining fabric.  I used a black polyester charmeuse from my stash (from Mood) to line the jacket.  I sewed up the jacket using mostly ready-to-wear techniques (as little hand-sewing as possible) and didn’t make any alterations to the details (normally I switch-in welt pockets but I wanted to try the pattern “as is” on the first run).  

I really should have made a muslin because when I sewed up the jacket the sleeves were 2-3 inches too short.  I had thought that since the shoulders/armhole hung lower on the arm than normal (the “boyfriend” part of the fit, I guess) that the sleeves would be long enough.  I was wrong.  A relaxed jacket with too short sleeves looked ridiculous on me.

The pattern also missed one part (or it could have been my poor French) where it forgot to indicate I cut 2 pieces of fabric as well as interfacing (I only cut the interfacing) so I was left with missing pieces at the jacket hem which left me utterly confused because the lining would have hung differently at the back than the front.

At this point, I was feeling very frustrated and I almost gave up on the jacket completely!  Between mine and the pattern’s language barrier and the super short sleeves, I contemplated putting the project away for good.  But I remembered my 2014 goal to “be kind” to myself, so I decided to put it away just for a week.  After that week, I was able to look at it again with fresh eyes and so, I got out my seam ripper, ripped out the arms and altered the pattern to make the sleeves longer.  I also cut fabric and interfacing for the pieces of the jacket I thought were missing.  Luckily I had just enough fabric, lining and interfacing to do all this, so in the end, it actually all worked out.


I decided to model the jacket with my black cake look.


It’s modern yet classic don’t you think?  I absolutely love it.  I don’t usually wear blazers, ever really.  But I feel that since this is a jacket, it is something I can more easily pull off everyday.  I also love that I was able to push through with the altering and finishing the jacket.  The result is well worth it.


I didn’t use any tailoring techniques, nor did I interline or underline the fabric- the Winter here in SoCal isn’t very frigid (at all).  I really like the relaxed style of the jacket, and I think next time it will be a lot easier to make because I may not need to follow the pattern instructions at all.

I’m happy with how the garment looks inside and out.  I think next time I would do welt pockets or welt pockets with flaps to make it even more profesh.


I purchased some labels online recently and wanted to try them out on my Gérard.  Constancia is my grand-mother’s name and I was thinking that if I ever had my own clothing line, I would want to name it after her because she (and my Mother) has always been my sewing inspiration.  I was even able to pick a font that looks like her hand-writing – so cool!  They are just iron on labels and I should have tested it on test fabric first because I applied it to the jacket a bit crooked – and once it was on, it was permanently on!

So, what do you think of the Gérard?  I really like it!  I’m going to try to wear it as much as I can this season to see if I can pull off this genderless look.  I like the silhouette so I think changing the fabric might add a touch of femininity to the boxy shape.  Maybe on the next pass I’ll make one up in a spring fabric and color – possibly something less cake and more frosting (since I don’t usually need a jacket here in the Spring time, it can be a “wow” piece).  But until then, I think I’ll enjoy wearing my current make –  “A Gérard for Winter in California” – n’est pas?

Starting Things Right – Wardrobe and Stash Organizing

When January hit, I had intentions of getting straight to the sewing machine but I was feeling uninspired by my sewing room and closet.  I’d been having a hard time finding things to wear on the daily, but not due to lack of inventory.  It was entirely because my closet had been bursting at its seams.  Then, while at a coffee house in Long Beach, I was flipping through a free (LGBT) magazine and I read this:


Wasn’t this just the perfect advice for me to get as I was beginning my RTW fast and Stash Diet?  So my darlings, instead of jumping straight into my sewing queue, I decided to clean things up a little – I really wanted to avoid mental diarrhea!

I started with my closet.  I went through all my clothes (my “Winter” clothes are on display, and my Summer clothes are in heavy duty plastic bins in the garage).  First, I removed every item I didn’t like anymore.  Then, I went through a second pass in more detail and removed the items with stains or irreparable damage.  THEN, I went in and tried everything on that I hadn’t worn in the last few weeks and put aside everything that didn’t fit well or fit right.  For the summer pile, I went to the garage and just removed what I didn’t like (I plan to go in more thoroughly in the Summer).  By the end, I came up with 3 full garbage bags of clothes and shoes for donation and a small bag to take to the dump.  At that point, I felt so much better about my wardrobe!  My closet could finally breathe!

I learned a little visual trick from a magazine a few years back to help keep track of what you’re actually using in your closet.  Basically, all you have to do is hook your hangers in the opposite direction at the start of each season.  As you use your clothes, you hang your clothes back up and face the hanger the normal way.  By the end of the season, you can see exactly which items you’ve never worn and which items you haven’t even touched.  This is a great trick for hanging items!  I have a lot of items that I fold into drawers and I figured out a way to check those, too.  I like to put them away inside-out at the start of a season and then fold them back in right-side-out after (cleaning and) use.  It’s a very handy and easy way to see what you use!


After cleaning out my closet, I went into my sewing room and decided to tackle organizing my fabric stash.  I’m lucky enough to have a separate closet just for my sewing stuff so I wanted to have some way to see all my fabric without having to put everything into stacked plastic bins (which is how they were stored previously).  I have a hanging sweater organizer in my closet and I love how I can see my sweaters all stacked up in an organized way.  I thought I’d buy a few more and use them to organize my fabric.   I figure it would be a visual and affordable way to store and organize my stash.


I bought a few sweater organizers at Target and TJMaxx and at first they seemed cheap and not durable enough to hold a lot of fabric.  But when I tested them out, the Target organizers fit perfectly on one side of my closet and all my fabric was able to fit into the 18 cubes.  When I called my sister into my room to see my newly organized stash, she squealed, “Holy @#&$!” upon seeing it all.  She didn’t know I had this much fabric.  Now you can see why I’m participating in both the RTW AND fabric buying fast.


My parents were visiting us for the holidays and my Mom was so kind to offer me her help in cataloging all my fabric.  We came up with a system where we took a swatch from each piece and stapled it onto an index card.  We hand-wrote the essential pieces of information on the card (such as type of fabric, color, yardage, where bought, year bought, cube location etc).  Since the fabric is displayed in the closet by color, the index system is organized by fabric type (mainly split into knits and wovens) so that I can look up fabric by type and weight and then see what color or weight options I have to work with.  I’m hoping this system will work.  But since I can see and touch all the fabric with just one slide of a mirrored closet door, I don’t think I’ll have a problem locating the fabric.


So, the closet is where my newly organized stash lives.  On the other side of my sewing room, I have an open-faced wall unit where I organize my current project queue.  In each of its pull-out cubes, I put together the fabric, pattern and notions I need for one project.  I’ve been terrible with keeping up with my queue schedule in the past but it is a goal of mine this year to keep on track.


I love checking things off lists, so hopefully this will motivate me to stay on track.


My unused patterns are kept in this luggage bag.

patter_ stash_logo

And my used patterns I store in large envelopes together with the project’s muslin.


The promotional t-shirts that I get from my cousin I store in a HUGE plastic bin.  I’m sure there is a way I can organize this better, but for now, this is good enough.


I’m eternally indebted to my Mom for helping me organize my stash and my sewing room.  She is such a wonderful woman!  Because of her help, I feel so great about how my sewing room looks.  Since then, I’ve felt refreshed and more energetic about diving into my Winter project queue.  I’ve actually gotten quite a lot done considering I have such a busy schedule between school, spin and work.

I was at TJMaxx returning one of the sweater organizers I didn’t use and I saw this wall art for sale when I was waiting in line


This is a song that my Mom, my sister and I used to sing together when I was little when we would walk to the park or to dance class.  I knew I had to buy it for my sewing room – I love it!  Now, whenever I’m working in my sewing room, I’ll have a little piece of my Mom and sister in there with me!

How is your sewing room organized?  Do you have a system of cataloging your stash and patterns?