Summer

Hi everyone!

I’m back from my fabulous vacation visiting NYC and Toronto!  I’ve actually been back for a while now but I’ve been trying to get back into some sort of routine now that it is Summertime.  Without fashion school classes this term, I’ve been letting myself really enjoy the longer days spending time with friends and family – I haven’t actually been at a sewing machine since May!

Here’s a quickie re-cap of my trip out east:

NYC

Can I just say, I love this city?  I get inspired and excited pretty easily and I could not believe the energy that exists in NYC.  There is just a presence there that is so aligned with who I am when I’m in “the zone”.  Do you know what I mean?  When I’m focused and driven and have my eyes set on a goal, I’m just living in the moment and things are very real.  It’s in these times when I feel most alive.  It’s when I get things done effortlessly and efficiently.  It’s when things just work out.  It’s intense!  This is exactly how I felt in NYC.  People seem to have a lot of purpose there.

The whole experience there was amazing.  The food, the fashion, the sights, the shows, the shopping, the drinking and being merry – I loved it all!

Guess who I bumped into?

NYC

Sonja from Ginger Makes met up with me and my sister and took us to a few of her favorite places.  Of course, Mood Fabrics!  And because she knows how I am so into making work out pants nowadays, she brought me to a few spandex houses!  I still dream of all the spandex to this day.  She was so kind and generous with her time!  And for those that haven’t met her in person, she really is as nice and real as she is on her blog.  My sister even said, “So, a complete stranger is going to meet us and show us around Fashion District?”.  And I said, “Yes!  That’s how us sewing bloggers roll!”.  She was shocked and delighted that there are still genuine people in the world.  Maybe we’ve been living in Orange County for a little too long – haha!

Toronto

After our fantabulous week in NYC, we journeyed back home to Toronto.  People used to tell me Toronto was a smaller version of NYC.  I would say, no (maybe 1000x smaller)!  But our trip home was also amazing.  There is a feeling you have in your heart and gut when you’re “home” and that is irreplaceable.  I got to see all my friends and family and it was like my sister and I had never left!

I also met a “new” friend.  You know her as Gjeometry – I, now, know her as my dear soul-sister, Catja.

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This woman is amazing!  She took a whole day out of her Summer schedule to take me all over the “Spadina/Queen” area of Toronto (the fashion/fabric district).  At the end of it, we shared a lovely meal together (with yummy alcoholic beverages might I add) and we even have a “Twinsie Challenge” (same matching fabrics in different proportions) which I’m sure you’ll see on both of our blogs soon(ish)!

I’m so grateful to have started a blog and to have joined this community of the kindest and most creative people.  It’s really incredible that so many of us are literally miles and oceans apart yet are connected through the love of creating things.  Yay us!

I’m so happy to be back in California.  Vacations are great but there’s nothing like getting back into a routine.  And don’t you worry, I do feel my sewing machine calling out to me everyday.  I think it’s time I answer her call.

I hope you are all having the most wonderful Summer!  You’ll be hearing from me again soon!

My Me-Made-May 2014 Round-Up

Hi All!

Well, I’m off to NYC tomorrow (for the first time ever – weeeeeeeeee!!!) so I thought I’d put up my Me-Made-May’14 compilation before I leave.

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It was so much fun participating this year!  It’s been something I’ve wanted to be a part of in the past but just never had enough me-made garments to be able to.

A few things I’ve learned:

  • I’ve made some really great garments and stuff I love to wear!
  • I love my me-made basics (particularly the plantain) more than store bought basics!
  • I’m considering giving up on the making-my-perfect-pair-of-jeans quest.  Either the fabric quality of the denim I’ve been using or my approach to fitting my legs and waist are way off, or I may just be better off with high quality store-bought denim.  My me-made jeans were the only 2 pieces I wore this May that I wanted to get out of once I got home.
  • It’s a pleasant surprise when the first items I reach for in my closet are me-mades.

Thanks for being a witness to my first MMM!  I hope you had as much fun as I did!

To see the weekly summaries, check out these posts:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Weeks 4 & 5

Have a great end of May – see you on the other side!

MMM’14 – Weeks 4 & 5

It was a super easy last leg of Me-Made-May 2014 because I was only committed to wearing 3 more me-mades for these last 2 weeks of May!

Here’s how it went:

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None of these patterns are anything new to my repertoire or new to your eyes but I’ll do a little break-down nonetheless.

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Another pair of my workout tights that I love to wear at spin.  The fabric was in the Jo-Ann discount bin.  This was part of the group of workout tights I made all together in assembly-line style.

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You’ll remember this as my first pair – my original Nike tight of the moment knock-off.  Still in good shape and staying up during my workouts!  I took a photo at dusk and I couldn’t for the life of me find a good spot on my porch to get a good photo so I squeezed into a corner and had to look away from the setting sun.

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This is one of my favorite makes of the year so far.  It is the same franken-pattern as many of the other me-made makes this month.  But this fabric (from Girl Charlee) is the most comfy and stretchy of the bunch.  It is just the right thickness and stretch for a t-shirt dress that they could pass for PJs!  Buttery-soft-knit!

I’m so excited to have my goal accomplished!  12 me-mades worn this month and truly, it was a pleasure and a breeze!  I’m glad that I wasn’t too ambitious for my first MMM because I think I would have been stressed out about trying to find more outfits.

How has your Me-Made-May been so far?  Can you believe it’s almost June?

In my next post, I’ll do sort of a round up of all the looks.  I had to end the festivities a bit early for myself because I’m off to NYC and Toronto at the end of this week, so I won’t get much blogging done while I’m gone.  I’m so ready for a vacation and I’m just in time to catch up on blog reading and all your wonderful MMM’14 round-ups!

MMM’14 – Week 3

It  was suuuuuuuuper hot in SoCal last week.  As someone whose body is only comfortable within a very narrow temperature range (let’s say 23°C to 27°C), it was one of those weeks where I wasn’t sure there was anything in my wardrobe I could even stand to be in all day (everyday it was 38°C – dry heat.  I’m sorry fellow US residents, my Canadian brain is stuck in metric.  But it was haaaaawwt).

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Let’s just say, I stayed indoors most of the week and when I did go out (to school), I had to change into more breathable (less sweaty) clothes.

As I mentioned in Week 1, I made a few t-shirt dresses to add to my summer wardrobe.  I struggle with wearing dresses or short-sleeved anything to work because I have quite a few tattoos and I choose to keep them concealed at my place of work.  But, a few months ago, I found a pair of boots at Target that perfectly cover my leg/ankle/foot tattoos and I was so excited!  Since I’m always wearing cardigans over my outfits – I’ve been very stoked to be able to wear dresses to work (though I’m a super modest dresser and still always wear slip dresses under them) because of the temperatures last week.

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This is the same Plantain/Vogue1314 Frankenpattern from Week 1 but made up in a more light weight cotton from Michael Levine Loft (when I went with my Mom last year).

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I haven’t blogged about these Jamie Jeans that I had made back in January.  I made them up 3 times – but now, they don’t seem to fit properly (too baggy in the thigh/crotch area).  My intention was to make them to fit perfectly to my legs without the fabric needing to have 1000% stretch – though I love me a jegging, I dream of making a perfectly fitting pant.  Though I’m happy to not have to wear a belt with these pants (as I always have to do with RTW jeans as my thighs take me up to a bigger size than my waist), I think I’ll still have to tweak the pattern a bit.  The denim is probably about 2% spandex (98% cotton), but I can’t be too sure because it was an LA fashion district find (from the same trip with my Moms).  Looking back, I can’t believe I wore all black on such a hot day!

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Another Plantain/Vogue 1314 Frankenpattern make.  This fabric was from Girl Charlee – also a light cotton t-shirt blend (similar to the black and white dress above).  I love these t-shirt dresses.  I’ve actually had a few people ask me if I could make them one.  Is this something that stresses anyone else out?  Or am I the only selfish one who only wants to make clothes for themselves in their free time?  I used humor to divert and say, “Target makes some great ones (hee hee), you should just grab some from there!”.  Though it is a compliment when someone trusts you enough to make them clothing, it’s just not something I’m interested in doing – especially when they say it in a “just whip one up for me” kind of way.

As I mentioned in my Me-Made-May goals, I wanted to post 3 outfits a week, or 12 outfits total.  I’m just realizing now that I’m still left with 2 more weeks in May but since I’m super busy this week with finals at school and next week I leave for NYC (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee baby!), I think I’ll keep with posting only 3 more outfits for both Week 4 and 5.  This way, I can wrap up MMM’14 before I leave and not leave everyone hanging.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful May!

 

The New BIS in Town

Remember a few weeks ago when I attended my first fashion show at the school where I’m taking fashion classes?  Well, a crazy thing happened…

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My Desigual knock-off jacket won “Best in Show”.  Crazy, eh?

There were 4 categories in the show:  Corsets, Ready-to-Wear, Evening Wear and Fantasy (Unconventional Materials).

I entered some of the garments I’ve made for school projects in each category except evening wear.

You remember my Fantasy garment that I made out of solvent spill pads, fake flowers and pharmaceutical labels, right?  I thought it looked okay on the runway, though I wish the model had taken off the cape to show the dress underneath a bit more, but I think the hood was super heavy.

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In addition to my jacket, I entered 2 other garments into the Ready-to-Wear category.

My color-blocked dress:

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And my “birthday” dress (which the model accidentally wore backwards):

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Finally, I entered my first corset into the corset category:

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This corset won 3rd prize!  (In the photo below, I was clapping for my good friend who was coming up to the stage to claim her 2nd prize corset win – I was so happy for her!)

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For my corset, I won a bag full of pattern drafting goodies – like 5 different types of rulers, pins and marking tools.  For my Best in Show prize, I won $500!!!!  (What the what?!?!?!?!)  I know.  I was crazy excited, surprised, shocked, humbled, giddy etc etc.

My sister was at the show to support me and on our drive home I asked her if she thought my winning was a sign that I’m in the wrong profession.  I’ve never won best Chemist of the year, ever.  (If there was an award like that, I definitely wouldn’t even be a contender – trust me.)  She joked that it was definitely a sign:

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Literally a big, cardboard sign – Haha!

But she said it was a sign that I should just keep sewing – and NOT quit my day job.  Initially, I thought, “If I could win an award just by making a garment I love in my free time doing what I enjoy and am passionate about, imagine what I could create if I had the chance to put more energy into it!”  But – I trust my sister’s advice and after much thought and the excitement of the night wearing off – I agree.  Though I do wish I had more time to sew and more hours to spend learning more about fashion and sewing in a classroom setting, right now, sewing is something that balances out the different aspects of my life beautifully.  So, instead of jumping to conclusions (and jumping into a new career), I think the take home message is to be grateful for the experience as part of my sewing and life journey.  I’m not going to lie – since the win, I’ve received a lot more attention from my peers and teachers at school, which is always nice (and sometimes not – because some people now think they can comment on the “fairness” of the judging).  But I think I should just take it as an opportunity to practice humility and patience (to not spend the $$$ all at once!).

Thank you guys for taking part in this journey with me, too.  Honestly, without the sewcialist world, I don’t think I would sew the way I do or be able to create the things I do – it’s like having hundreds of teachers at the click of mouse.  So, thank you!

According to my fashion school BFFs, the crowd went crazy when my jacket walked out.  They said the excitement about the garment was palpable.  When the model popped the collar, the whole auditorium roared and cheered – I couldn’t tell because my sister and I were shrieking so loudly ourselves!

Please enjoy a few more photos:

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MMM’14 – Week 2

I can’t believe May is flying by so quickly!  I just wanted to pop in and show you my outfits from my 2nd week of Me-Made-May.  Some of these you might recognize!

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I thought maybe I could surpass my 3-outfits-a-week goal last week, but sadly I didn’t.  It’s okay though, no stress – there are still plenty more weeks left in May.

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This was the outfit I made in my draping class to be worn specifically for my birthday.  My actual birthday was on Cinco de Mayo, but my family and I celebrated the day before.  It was a lovely day spent in Santa Monica and LA with a family dinner ending around my neck of the woods in Orange County.  The fabric is a modal blend from Jo-Ann’s – part of their luxury line of Spring fabrics and a little pricier than regular Jo-Ann’s fabrics.  But I love the print and it feels super soft – I’m obsessed with modal at the moment, so when I saw it, I had to have it.  I also entered this dress into the RTW segment of my school’s fashion show – it was a hit with all my fashion school friends.

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Finally, I wore the jeans I made a few years ago (but posted about last year).  They fit better than when I posted, so that’s a good sign that I was not totally off with my pattern altering at the time of construction.  I’m being so picky with how my jeans fit lately, but wearing these so long after making them I’m realizing some other alterations I’d want to make to the pattern.  The first is that I made them to be skinny jeans and they are definitely not – so I would need to taper the bottom towards the hem quite a bit.  Another alteration I’d make is to raise the back waist band a little bit – just for a little more ease of comfort and I notice I prefer a higher waist band nowadays.  Finally, I need to fix a weird gaping issue the pants have at the knee.  It sags a bit at that back and I think that has to do with me needing to shorten the back thigh a little bit (I think?).  Wearing these really made me want to go back to this pattern and try again.  I definitely want to invest in better denim as well – this poly blend was kinda hot and sweaty compared to my store-bought denim.  The quest for the perfect jean continues!

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This combo is a favorite of mine.  I know it’s very plain, possibly unflattering and in this photo, needs an ironing.  But the cheap-o nylon of this bargain bin DTLA fabric (on the Sloppy Jo) is so easy to wear.  It’s the perfect pajama-comfy outfit when paired with my basic black leggings that it’s hard to go wrong with it on days where comfort trumps style.  I threw on an oversized light-weight cardigan on top and I was out of the apartment and off to work in record time.

There you have it – week 2 come and gone!  Hope you’re having a wonderful May.  Things are heating up this week here in Orange County, so next week you’ll see what I had to work with for MMM.  ‘Til next week!

MMM’14 – Week 1

Hi All!

This is going to be a quickie post but I just wanted to let you in on how my first week of (my very first) Me-Made-May turned out.  As I made my criteria a little less ambitious, I found it pretty easy (I know, the first week was only 3 days) to find self-made clothes to wear.

Here’s how it went:

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If you don’t recognize any of the garments, it’s because I haven’t posted about any of them yet.  But!  They are all TNT patterns:

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May 1:  It’s a plantain/Vogue 1314 (lining) Frankenpattern using the plantain neckline/sleeves and the Vogue 1314 bodice/skirt.  Fabric is a mint and cream striped ponte from Girl Charlee.

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May 2:  Just an off-white plantain (the first time I made it in black).  A basic that will definitely get a lot of use!  The fabric is part of my older stash, so I’m sure it is some sort of cream knit blend from Jo-Ann’s or possibly LA fashion district.

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May 3:  These are a cropped version of the M6173 leggings I altered to make my Nike knock-off leggings.  You’ll be seeing quite a few me-made workout tights during MMM’14 as I made a bunch in assembly line style.  This fabric was a clearance fabric from Jo-Ann’s and I got a few of the same type (lycra blend) on super clearance.  I think I’ve perfected this pattern because my me-mades are some of my favorite workout pants.  I love dressing loud during spin classes – so some of these fabrics that may be considered “ugly” for a dress or shirt, are perfect for crazy tights IMHO.  The best part(s) is that they fit well, they don’t crawl down at the back and the fabric is super comfy.

I think 3 days in a row is a great start and I’m realizing that this is such a fun challenge!  I hope you are all enjoying Me-Made-May, too.  Doesn’t it feel good to wear self-made clothes?  A year ago I didn’t think I’d get to a place where I’d be able to participate – it’s exciting to see how far I’ve come.

Have a great Me-Made-May everyone – see you next week!