Home Sweet Home · inspiration

New Sewing Studio!

The past few weeks have been super busy around our home! We’ve had a few inspection/ maintenance work appointments, our new couches will be here soon, and the floor in my studio was just finished!

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When we were house hunting, my main priority was finding a home with a dedicated sewing space ( I know, I know, priorities! haha). We saw a lot of houses that offered an extra room, but to be honest, the idea of having my sewing studio in a “spare bedroom” was less than desirable. I really wanted an attic space, where I could go upstairs and shut out the rest of the house and just work. Being away from the rest of the house would allow me to not look out the door and see the cleaning I had to do, or remind me to do all the laundry.

Working from home (as I talked about before) can be really daunting and overwhelming. I wanted a place I could completely transform, and an attic fit the bill. We were extremely fortunate to win the house we did, but I felt even luckier because the attic was already finished!

When we moved in, the attic was split into two, a wall down the middle, with a spare bedroom on one side and a small office space on the other. The very first thing I wanted to do was tear down the wall. And the second thing was rip up the hideous carpet.

Drew didn’t want to tear down the wall. He was super against it and was afraid we would lose value in the house. We “compromised” by agreeing to cut an arch in the wall, so the small closet would remain. THANKFULLY, the contractor was on my side about tearing it down completely, and Drew finally came to his senses.

During the home inspection, we saw that there was decent flooring under the carpet, so we thought it would be a quick staining and finishing and we would be good to go! Well, we now know why the previous owners put down carpet. The floor was painted different colors.

After realizing this project was going to need a lot more time and money than initially planned, I started getting really frustrated that my space just wasn’t ready. We decided to paint the floor, and set out researching how to DIY it, since it seemed quick and inexpensive.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, and researching paint and not finding the right color, Drew and I decided to get the floor refinished- this way we would be keeping the original floor, and it would add value back to the house.

However, the floor had a lot of problems. Not only was the paint an issue, but there were many holes and a whole section with patches of different wood. The quote we got to refinish was high, and it was suggested we get prefabricated flooring to cover it up, since there was no guarantee the paint would be able to be sanded off. We decided to do the prefab floor and went with oak flooring in an espresso stain.

And last week, my floor was finally finished and I could start moving upstairs! Here’s Before, During and After!

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I’ve been looking up studio inspiration on pinterest for months before we found a house – and after we were in contract on this house, I went all out with research, so I wanted to share some of my studio inspiration!  A lot of my current furniture won’t fit, so there isn’t too much I can bring upstairs yet. I’m planning on an Ikea trip in the next few weeks (and hopefully a stop at the Container Store!) so I’m making my shopping list now!

Here’s a few more views of my space!

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Since it’s an attic, the walls are slanted, and there’s a lot of unusable space with low ceilings, so my research is a little specific, but there’s still a lot of inspiration for any sewing space! It’s also a good thing I’m short because I can still make use of the smaller spots!

First things first. I have never had a work table, and my ironing board has always worked overtime as my general work space and ironing station. For the first time ever, I want a dedicated desk where I can pin and plan and make piles that would usually be on my ironing surface!

This is technically a kitchen island, but it’s the perfect height for a shorty like me, more affordable than traditional craft tables, and is big enough for projects without overwhelming the space!  I’ve been learning to think outside the box for researching craft room ideas and looking at kitchen islands opened up another world of options! I also wanted room for stools to sit when they aren’t in use, and this will allow me to store them underneath.

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I don’t have a traditional closet, so no room to hang anything on doors, and no hidden shelving, but this shelving from Ikea is ideal for the space! I have a few hidden storage doors where I plan on holding a lot of my fabric, but these shelves can hold trinkets, and my pretty, displayable fabrics!

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I also like the idea of floating shelves, for buttons, hardware and baskets filled with all those little sewing notions we can’t live without. The wall space I have isn’t very high, but I’ll still have room for 3-4 shelves. These from etsy would go with my space beautifully.

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I am able to use my current sewing desks, but I need a space for shipping. I mostly use poly mailers and tissue paper, so flat storage is important. I’m looking at these set-ups for inspo:

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I love all the pegboard looks, but I don’t have too much wall space for them! Something longer and shorter would fit on my wall. I love the idea of scissors and marking tools in easy to reach places!

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Half of the room doesn’t have much usable space, with the low ceiling, but there is a little bit of room for a reading nook! I can’t fit a full size chair, but some floor poufs and pillows would still make a cozy space. I need this corner to have easy to move pieces so I can still get in and out of the small door in the wall.

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I’m also trying to control my color palette. I have a lot of white, brown and black pieces, but the big pop of color that keeps coming up is green. I’ve been trying to keep those colors in mind when shopping for things like rugs, pillows for my nook and fabric baskets for my accessories. I really want to maintain a “clean look” but still leave my space open for my love of color, so it’s just another aspect to keep in mind. Ultimately, I don’t want it to look like a jumble of mismatched pieces, which is my normal look!

Planning is definitely more specific for my space, but I love being able to take inspiration and make it smaller! Any tips for perfecting my sewing room?

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#RefashionFriday · refashion · sewing

#Refashion Friday – Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

A few years ago I did this refashion, and since then, it has become one of my most popular pins on pinterest! I’ve always vowed I was going to make another pair, because I had another blouse, and every time that little notification popped up that my pin was re-pinned, it became a reminder that I have to make another pair. So this Refashion Friday, I’m sharing my other pair – and tips to make your own using a shorts pattern!

The original pair was actually my wearable muslin, because I was saving this shirt from my Grandma’s closet for “the final pair”- so now I have two awesome pairs to wear! I always felt like I would get more wear out of this pair because they are more of a neutral for me (I know, floral print as a neutral?? Floral print IS a neutral!)

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

Since I started refashioning, I’ve learned that pieces don’t have to look anywhere near what they looked like before. There are a few ways to refashion. You can use the existing garment to alter the piece, or use a sewing pattern to transform the garment into a whole new piece. There are times when I question if using a sewing pattern is actually “refashioning”, since you are basically just using the fabric, but then I think, “oh hey, I just saved a yard of new fabric from being used” and get over my hesitation pretty quick.

Using a pattern can be a lot more work, and take longer than a simple cutting and stitching, but I think it opens up a whole new world of looking at a garment! Especially if you’ve made the pattern before, you can gauge how much fabric is needed – and plan better around existing pieces.

What I enjoy about Seamwork Nantucket is that there are only three pattern pieces. The less pieces, the easier to use smaller amounts of fabric- right?! What I learned from my first pair of Nantucket Shorts was that the back piece had to be cut in two to be able to get the pattern to fit on the garment. No pattern matching here, and if you have a print that you don’t need to match, who cares right? Of course these would look better if the pattern matched up, but it doesn’t deter from the wear of the final product.

I meant to take an actual picture, but just took a video instead. You can see on the front of the blouse, I lined up half of the back piece under the sleeve, and below was the shorts front. I mirrored this on each blouse front to get my “Cut 2”.  The back of the blouse became the second half of the shorts back and the waistband.

When you need to cut a pattern piece in two (or three’s!) don’t forget to add a little extra for seam allowance!

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

Changes I made to the pattern:

Last time I made this pattern, I said they were too big, and next time I should size down. While I kept the same size this time around (size 0), I figured out a better way to prevent these from feeling too big. I made the waist elasticized instead of drawstring. While I like the look of the grommets in the waistband, I don’t like constantly tying and adjusting the drawstring. It’s kind of a pain since it goes in and out throughout the entire waistband.  (I also sewed buttonholes rather than insert grommets)

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

I’ve seen a few versions of drawstring pants altered into elasticized waists, and wanted to try it out. I attached the ends of the elastic right before the center front grommet holes. I kept a faux drawstring front because I still like the look, but now I can leave it tied all the time! I’m sure there is a cleaner way to go around this, and I probably should have attached the elastic to the inside of the waistband, but you live and learn. (So if you plan on doing this alteration- learn from me! =p)

The last change I made was adding an extra half inch to the length of the shorts. My original pair was not too short, I’m just getting older and deciding to make my shorts a little bit longer.

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

These are so easy to wear, and super comfortable. The fabric is 100% polyester, which I would expect out of these fun blouses, but the material works so well for shorts. I’ve been wearing them since I finished them, and will be wearing them the rest of the summer! They are a good lounge short, and will make for a great bathing suit cover up, if I ever get my butt back to the beach… Maybe I should just plan a trip to Hawaii as an excuse to wear these everyday!

Also, look at the fabric I have left! This will go in my scrap bag, which will be recycled into insulation!

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

Finding a shirt to use:

I am normally an XS to S in blouses, depending on the brand, and I used my Grandma’s size Petite M blouse for this refashion. It was a more fitted blouse, so if you are on the search for what top to use, go with something bigger, to get that fabric amount you need. Another option is to use two smaller tops!

#Refashion Friday - Refashioned Nantucket Shorts Take Two!

Ready to tackle your own pair?

Inspiration:

I think every single thrift store has those tacky Hawaiian shirts that wives made their husbands get rid of. What better way to give them a new life than turning them into cute shorts! Modernize that dad style! (Shorts from Urban Outfitters.)

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If your style is a little more subtle, and some prints may be a little too “out there” for you to wear in daily life, make a new pair of PJ shorts! (Pj’s from Loft) {Bonus points to refashion a dress into a top and shorts pj set!}

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Or take a solid blouse and turn it into a chic pair of shorts! (Shorts from Roolee)

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For more inspiration, you can search pinterest for “tulip shorts”. This is the style of shorts with the overlapping seams in front. You can use any shorts pattern- but the simpler the style- the easier it’s going to be! Now go raid your local thrift shop for all the blouses/button ups!

Have a great weekend!

handmade wardrobe · sewing

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress

Hello, hello! I usually write blog posts during the day or in the early morning, but this night seems like the perfect time. I’m watching the ONLY craft show I know of, Making It, on NBC. Have you seen it? We are on week 2, so not deep into the show just yet, but it’s cute. I do wish there was a seamstress to represent the sewing community, but the makers on there are all very talented. And I am a huge fan of Parks and Rec, so seeing Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman together again is a dream come true! (Now if only Andy and April would make a surprise appearance!)

I finally took detailed photos of the dress I wore to my cousins wedding and am very excited to share!

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

I didn’t intend on making a dress. After my weight struggles, I was feeling so discouraged, I just wanted to buy a dress, but once I started feeling more myself, I wanted to show off my hard work. (I was also really scared that the dresses in my wardrobe wouldn’t fit so making a dress that fit my current measurements felt safer).

I wanted a dress to accentuate my top half, something a bit low cut and flirty, because that isn’t my typical style. I had a really difficult time finding a pattern to go with the look I wanted. The skirt portion wasn’t as important to me, but I really wanted a bodice with boning, spaghetti straps and low V neck. This style is becoming very popular in the “wedding guest dress” world and I wanted a fashionable piece rather than a timeless piece. I was also looking for a pattern that included a full lining with clean finishes. There are so few occasions that I make pretty formal dresses, that every chance to test my skills, I want to take.

I always want to make indie patterns first. They normally fit better, and have detailed sew-a-longs with the pattern in case you run into any problems. The issue with a lot of indie brands is that they don’t dive far into the special occasion dresses. Sure there are a few full length options, and some fun flirty dresses, but I couldn’t find a pattern with the structure I wanted. Needing to turn to the “big 4” of sewing patterns, my first thought was Vogue. But they didn’t have anything I was looking for! (Man, some of these patterns are really bad!!) But I finally found the perfect pattern in McCalls 7720.

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

Once the pattern was selected, I ran to Joann’s to find fabric. I knew I needed to start this dress fast, and didn’t have time to wait for shipping, so I headed to my local Joann’s where I found the perfect print. This rose print brocade was not on the “recommended fabrics” list, but I knew the pattern would be able to support the structure of the fabric.

With my measurements, I made a size 10. Normally in McCalls, I’m a size 8, but sizing up a bit was a chance I needed to take, as it’s easier to make something smaller than making something bigger! I also made a muslin of the top, because I wanted to be sure those measurements were accurate. My muslin fit well, as I was mostly concerned with the size around my torso, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fit in it once the zipper was in. Once I determined the fit was comfortable, I moved onto my fabric. The bodice came together very quickly. Even with the addition of boning, and a fully lined top, I was surprised it was a decently quick/easy sew.

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

One of my alterations to this dress was with the straps. I never understand using ribbon for straps. I get that it makes life easier, since you don’t have to turn a skinny tube inside-out, but to me, real straps give the dress a more professional feel. If you look at the actual pattern, I made the straps much shorter, meaning they don’t technically sit where the pattern calls them to sit. This was a personal preference, and in reality, I could have sized down on the bodice, but I didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut.

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

My original plan was to shorten the skirt to right above the knee, to keep with my flirty vibe, but after making the skirt that came with the pattern, it was a no brainer to keep it. I just had to cut a good chunk off the bottom to align better with my height. I cut off about 3.5″. I also thought the bodice would look too “long”, but once it was pinned in place, it hit appropriately and I kept the length.

The skirt pleats were…interesting. I had to read the directions over several times because the lines just weren’t making sense. These pleats are huge. Like, really big. It makes for a VERY full skirt, and by making it in a brocade, it was super roomy. I did love that the pattern called for sewing a hem band, rather than just turning up 5/8″.

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish StitchedComing Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish StitchedComing Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish StitchedComing Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

After completing the dress, and trying it on, I noticed there was a little gaping in the bodice, as my bust didn’t fill the bodice as it was supposed to. This alteration didn’t appear in my muslin, partially because I didn’t add the lining. I don’t think my bust measurement decreased that much within the 2 weeks I was making this dress, but that was one of the first sections of my body to go back to normal when I changed my diet plan, so the fit could be a mixture of things.

I, of course, didn’t want to take the entire dress apart to fit this issue, and I considered just leaving it, but as the point of my new dress was to show off my hard work, I couldn’t let it go. Since my dress form isn’t super true to size anymore either, I turned the dress inside out, zipped it up (which is not easy, thanks Drew), and pinned darts in place on my own body to keep it from gaping. (You can also see a little bit of pulling on the dress above the dart, which I’m not very pleased with, but my dart alteration happened the day of the wedding and I didn’t have that much time to fix it. Thankfully when I’m wearing it, it looks much better. If I remember to do so, I will go in and let the dart out on this side a bit more.)

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish StitchedComing Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

This alteration wasn’t the cleanest finish, and you can certainly see where the dress was fixed, but the fit is much better this way.

I tend to stay away from alterations in finished garments, as that is an area that is super scary for me to wrap my head around. I don’t mind doing them for myself, but whenever someone asks me to fix something for more than just a simple stitch, I turn them down. I hope to get better over time, and learn the “cause and effect” of fit issues.

I LOVE the clean interior on this dress. I didn’t do any fancy seams, just finished with some serging, but you can only see them when you lift the lining. The skirt also has a very faint high-low look, which I love.

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All in all, if I were to make this dress again, I would size down. I would also take the time to make a better muslin. I’m getting better at making a practice version, but sill need to take it further. (I’m still learning guys!) The finished dress is pretty and comfortable, and was a very easy sew, which all make me really happy with the outcome! Obviously the dress isn’t perfect, but I’m still proud of it.

The wedding itself was nice, and I’m happy the rain held off on the outdoor ceremony until we went inside! Since my grandparent’s passed, we haven’t been that close with my mom’s side of the family, so it was a little awkward, but I’m happy that my parent’s, sister and Drew make family events fun.

I was only able to get a few photos wearing the dress, but it held up well on the dance floor! We have another wedding to attend in October, and since that is Halloween month, I think having this dress to wear will make the month go smoother.

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

Drew and I have been to A LOT of weddings in the past few years, and it’s been a fun adventure. We pretty much know what we would and wouldn’t want for our “big day”, even though we aren’t engaged hah! But lets be honest here, I’ve been planning for a long time – even though I keep it in my head. I have to say, the older I get, the simpler I want my wedding to be and elopement is looking like a really great option (although that would never fly with my guy!) There are a few things I know for sure, the man I want to marry and that I want to make my wedding dress. Having practice formal dresses get me a step closer to creating my perfect dress!

Dress Details:

Pattern: McCall’s 7720

Size Cut: 10

Alterations Made: Fabric Straps, Added bust darts, Hemmed 3.5″

Fabric: Pink Roses on Black Brocade – Joann Fabrics

Coming Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish StitchedComing Up Roses Wedding Guest Dress - Trish Stitched

sewing

Visiting FabScrap!

Over the weekend, Drew and I took a little adventure to Brooklyn! Drew actually had the “day off” (well he was able to work from his phone instead of the office) and we wanted to plan a day out. I had been meaning to go to FabScrap since I read about them, and it seemed like the perfect day for a visit!

I’ve mentioned FabScrap here on the blog before, and I’m excited to share my experience and my fabric haul!

Fab Scrap

If you aren’t familiar with FabScrap, let me fill you in. FabScrap is an awesome organization that takes donations from fashion studios all over and sorts through the scraps to sell or recycle! Before FabScrap, these companies didn’t know what to do with their extra fabrics, and a lot of scraps ended up in landfills. It’s a sad reality that so much waste goes into the earth, but FabScrap is helping to get us one step closer to waste free fashion!

FabScrap has an online store, and they offer scrap packs (I bought a “warm pack” previously) but I wanted to check them out in person – and shop the collection! They are located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and after 10 minutes of getting lost and driving through the parking lot back and forth, we found the entrance and followed the directions to their unit.

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First things first, this building is SO COOL. With the old tracks and atrium, it’s a beautiful site, and feels like a great place for FabScrap. Drew and I walked in and came face to face with a room of garbage bags. Literally piled to the ceiling, were bags and bags of fabric! There were also a whole bunch of tables set up and some volunteers sorting through fabric. I asked about shopping and was led to a smaller room with rolls and shelves filled with fabric. I was in heaven.

Fab Scrap

I didn’t go in with a plan of attack, I was just going to look and hopefully find some pieces to buy – but I wasn’t in search of anything in particular.

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I found three pieces of home décor fabric from Kaufmann Fabrics that HAD to come home with me. These pieces are perfect for new backpacks! I didn’t think I would find any home dec fabric – but I was super surprised and happy to get these beauties!

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I also spotted this gauze-y roll that I fell in love with and had to take some home. It’s a collection of Palm Springs/California landmarks and it’s so cute! You can’t go wrong with fabric that has cacti AND dinosaurs on it!

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I’m not sure what to do with this yet, I bought two of the four yards there. I don’t think I’ve ever sewn with gauze, but I’m thinking a fun summer top – what would you make?

If you can go shop in person, they are open Monday-Saturday and the prices are crazy reasonable! Fabric is priced at $5/pound ($3/pound for students), and leather and fur is priced as tagged.  My entire haul was $45 for about 9.5 yards of fabric. To buy that in store would be well over that.

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If you can’t make it to FabScrap, they are more than happy to ship fabric, and I think they will be adding more yardage online! And if you are a fan on leather- they have a TON!

There are so many beautiful fabrics saved by FabScrap, I would have no problem staying and digging all day. But we had more plans for the day that included a trip to Package Free Shop!

This is another place I’ve been wanting to go to, and it was really cool to see all the products I’ve been reading about online. I bought a few produce bags (I know, I know, I’ve been meaning to make them but haven’t gotten around to it) and was looking into cutlery sets, but don’t need to purchase them just yet.

Drew and I also had dinner at Faun! Drew’s cousin is the chef, and I may be biased, but the food is so delicious – I fully admit to cheating on my diet for dinner! If you are ever in the area – or need an excuse to go – definitely eat at Faun!

#RefashionFriday · Janome Sewing · refashion · Tutorials

Jeans to Shorts Refashion With Janome!

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who read, commented, liked, etc. my last post. That was a huge step for me to get out and I appreciate all the love. I had a great birthday, and so far a good couple days being 28! I went thrifting the other day and found a few new pieces to get my scissors on! Last night Drew and I went to my cousins wedding (yes, I made my dress!) and we are taking today off for a little adventure!

Today I have a new refashion to share with you that I worked on for Janome! As most of you guys know, I have a loaner embroidery machine from Janome (Skyline S9) and LOVE it. No, I’m completely obsessed, and I am so happy the embroidery trend is still going strong in the apparel world.

I’ve taken my love of refashioning and added a little embroidery to my latest project for Janome (and this project is where I was able to get a little more denim for my Seamwork Audrey Jacket!)

Jeans to Shorts Refashion - Trish Stitched for Janome

Head over to the Janome Blog to get the written instructions for this Jeans to Shorts refashion, and check out my video on YouTube! Yes, I have a YouTube channel, and I am happy to admit the quality from my first video to my second is much better – I finally took the 2 minutes to figure out how to work the video function on my digital camera!

Jeans to Shorts Refashion - Trish Stitched for Janome

So please subscribe, like, comment, all that good stuff, over on YouTube! I’ll be working on more videos in the future, they are so much fun!

sewing activewear · Uncategorized

28 & Feeling Great

Happy Monday! Today is a happier Monday than most because it’s my birthday! I don’t usually talk about getting a year older, but I am looking forward to a really great year!

Today’s post is about a subject I’ve been super nervous to share. I’m always having an internal debate with myself if I should overshare parts of my life or not but I’m finally in a place where I want to talk about what life has been like the past couple years.

{If you don’t care to know about what’s been going on with me personally, you can scroll down to my active-wear sewing inspiration, I won’t be offended! :p)

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Living a creative life isn’t always fun. It isn’t always designing and sewing and taking pretty pictures. It can be lonely, terrifying, and if you aren’t careful, you can get sucked into the black hole of self doubt. I’ve dealt with these feeling for years, but for the last few years, my mental health has taken a huge toll on me and started affecting my physical health.

When I get into these dark periods, I tend to shut down. I get into a vicious cycle of telling myself I need to work harder, produce more content for my blog, make more bags for my shop, get more wholesale orders, post more on Instagram, forget to eat, and what business woman has time to workout? I tell myself that I’m not good enough, and it can get really hard to see other makers getting more followers and “likes” and then looking at your own content and feeling depressed.

Being a full time maker is hard. Working from home, sewing all day, browsing pinterest, wearing pajamas, fabric shopping, all sound like great things right? And they can be. But when you add in things like, spending every day by yourself with no one to talk to, handling every aspect of a business alone (making, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, SEO, marketing, blogging), having creative blocks,  to-do lists a mile long, and don’t forget you have to make enough money to pay your bills. Sometimes it gets very overwhelming. And sometimes the last thing you want to do is read a nasty comment that was left for you on a blog post you worked really hard to create. (yes, it’s happened, yes I ignore them and delete the comments).

I try to push these feeling away when I’m with people, or when I write blog posts because you come here for inspiration and sewing projects, not to hear about how low I’m feeling that day. But at this point, I think it’s important to share my feelings because I’ve been working so hard to get to a good place and I finally found something that is working for me.

Flashback to earlier this year: I had an event to go to, and was reaching into my handmade wardrobe to pick out a dress. Five minutes later I was sitting on the floor crying surrounded by the contents of my closet because not one of my handmade dresses fit me. I spent years building pieces for my body, and they no longer fit.

I never wanted to admit that I was gaining weight. But it’s pretty hard to hide when you are 4’9″ and gain an extra 5-10 lbs. I could see it in my face, in my arms and definitely in my gut. What’s worse is that I could feel it. I was tired all. the. time. and I kept loosing motivation to do something simple like go outside.

My mental problems were finally interfering with my outward appearances and I couldn’t ignore the problems anymore.

Just over two years ago, I ran my second half marathon, and it was the worst race I’ve ever run. It was raining for roughly 20 miles, and at mile 5 I could feel my body wasn’t into it. But I pushed myself across the finish line because I didn’t think I could look at myself knowing I just gave up. After that race, I stopped running. I felt like such a failure, and instead of working harder to be better, I quit. It’s like a mental block came over me and I let it effect all parts of my life.

I didn’t think about gaining weight because it’s something that never happened to me, but it’s inevitable when you get older! Once it finally caught up to me, and my clothes didn’t fit, I knew I had to make a change. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I needed a re-boot because I was so tired of being tired.

When we moved into our new house in April, we got a Peloton bike, because I had been looking into one for a few months. I really wanted a treadmill, but we decided to wait after hearing Peloton was coming out with one of their own.

I started riding a few times a week, but also started having those same mental spurts come up about needing to work instead of workout. Then I starting riding with one instructor, Christine, who helped me flip my thinking. Every class starts with the phrase, “Drop your shoulders, drop your baggage” and exercise started becoming a release for me again, not just something you “should” be doing.

I’ve been feeling incredibly stressful over the move, and working on my etsy shop, while trying to make wardrobe pieces that I really want to wear, and taking care of an entire house, and producing content for other sites, but as soon as I get on that bike, it fades away. And after my ride, I feel relaxed, clear-headed and ready to take on what I need to.

I had forgotten how much I loved being active. And how much the activity helped with my mental health. And every day I look forward to riding and feeling sore! But I knew that being active wasn’t the only part of my life that needed to change.

My life the past few years (actually the past 7-8 years) has been surrounded by coffee and energy drinks. In college I survived on energy drinks and the older I got, the more coffee I consumed. I always vowed to eat good food, and since my parents own a farm, I’ve always had access to healthy meats and produce, but didn’t always prepare myself to eat right. (I have a strange obsession with potatoes in any and every form!)

I had been wanting to go on a cleanse, or diet plan, but was really looking for a complete lifestyle change. After doing some research, I decided to go Paleo. For those that don’t know, Paleo is the “caveman diet”, where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, beans, dairy, grains, and you are left with raw ingredients.

I’ve been Paleo for two months now and it has been amazing. After two weeks I started feeling a difference in my energy level, and at two months in, I barely have the cravings I used to get.

Paleo has forced me to plan my meals, and spend time in the kitchen cooking. It’s made me read labels, understand nutrition, and look forward to new recipes. It’s been hard to go out to dinner, and finding new ways to make my coffee without sugar has been…interesting…but I feel wonderful, and don’t have plans to stop soon.

With these changes, I’ve also made it a really important point in my life to slow down my sewing. I used to rush through projects because I wanted new pieces to share. I thought if I wasn’t making new things every week, people wouldn’t want to follow my sewing journey, but in reality I wasn’t always making pieces I loved. I also found myself getting super frustrated when projects didn’t work out!

Now I’m taking my time. I’m enjoying the process of a project coming together, not just rushing it along, and if I can’t find the right fabric or pattern, I wait until I do – because loved clothes last and I want to be 100% happy with my wardrobe.

I’ve also decided to reach out to get help with my etsy shop. I am really bad at SEO and marketing myself, and it’s only hurt my business. I’m re-focusing on my goals and patterns and working towards creating a sustainable and profitable business. I’ve signed up to be part of an “Etsy Tribe”, and I’ve learned that spending money on a program is much more motivating to do the work than finding free tutorials online.

I’m also very excited about moving my workspace into our attic. It’s another slow process, but I’m taking time to plan where to put my machines, what sewing table I want to get, and the best place for photoshoots and a real shipping station!

I am still very new in my journey, and while I am no expert in getting out of that mental block, I found what works for me. And now that I finally got all that off my chest (WHEW!) I’m excited to share more aspects of my personal life. And if you don’t want to read those parts then just scroll to the projects! =)

If you actually read all of that, thank you! I hope if you are feeling similar, feel free to reach out, I’m always willing to talk! (and if you don’t want to leave a comment, use the contact page!)

But since this is a sewing blog, and that was kinda heavy stuff for me to talk about all at once, I want to share a few projects I hope to get to soon!

  1. Joggers (is this the right word?) : After my workouts I want to curl up in comfy clothes, but not pajamas. I bought a really beautiful knit from JoAnn’s a month or so ago and am looking to make a knit version of Seamwork Moji!

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2. Sports Bras. I’ve made a few in the past but I’m ready to jump back on the wagon, and try out a few different patterns.

  1. Kaye (another Seamwork Pattern): I would be interested in adding cups to this one, but I love the longer length. The pattern also has a racerback variation which would be cool.

sw3078-kaye-01-large-fd603720b14733aa8030b941f5b1bb8e6ef374307dc97ca0a4df55196759fc6c2. I’m LOVING this design from Simplicity, and think the cropped top is cute too, but not sure if I would actually wear it!

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3. Leggings. I love wearing shorts for running, but every time I ride on the bike, my shorts ride up really quick. So I need more leggings!

  1. See Kate Sew has a cute tutorial for lace up leggings.

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  1. The Petite Sewist has a great pocket tutorial that I think would add an awesome design detail to a pair of leggings.

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Do you have any active-wear sewing plans on your list? I’d love to hear about them!

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Mental health is SO IMPORTANT. I also think it’s important to do something about it if you are feeling stuck. I’m thankful to have a great support system. A fantastic boyfriend and wonderful parent’s and sister. And today, on my 28th birthday, I had my 50th ride with Peloton in my handmade leggings, and I am so happy to be on this journey. 

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#RefashionFriday · handmade wardrobe · inspiration · refashion · Uncategorized

#RefashionFriday Denim Jacket Re-mix

Happy Friday!

This refashion has been such a long time in the making, I am so excited to share it with you! The story for how this came about it a little long, so I wanted to share my photos in-between all that text!

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Before this refashion, the only denim jacket in my wardrobe was from middle school. I feel like I’ve mentioned that before here on the blog, but it’s true, my Gap Kids denim jacket is still getting its wear in my wardrobe. The sleeves are way too short, and the body looks awkwardly short with pants and shirts, so the arms always stay rolled, and I only wear it over dresses. I don’t wear it all that often, but I haven’t found a RTW version that I liked to replace it.

So when Seamwork Audrey came out, I knew it was a pattern to go on my “make list”. My initial thought was to make it out of recycled materials, because there is a crazy amount of used denim in the world! The only old jeans I had in my stash were a mix of light and dark denim and I just didn’t want that much shade difference to make it look super upcycled. Not having the proper pieces, I decided to wait to make it.

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A few weeks ago I was thrifting for some jeans for another project (I’ll share soon!) and had some leg remnants left over – as well as an extra pair I didn’t end up using for the other project. So I finally had a good amount of fabric to play with!

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The plan was in place, the materials gathered, I was ready. Then I saw this beautiful photo on pinterest and a little lightbulb went off in my head. I would finally be able to use this fabric remnant I’ve been dying to use!

We all have those pieces in our stash that you have a general idea for, and even though it doesn’t feel 100% right, there is an eventual purpose for that fabric. No, just me the hoarder? Alrighty then.  Well, I had this remnant I got from a friend and the print was so beautiful, I wanted to make a shirt for myself to enjoy the print. I was struggling with finding the right pattern and fabric to mix with it, and (if you zoom in on the photo) there were grommets on each panel, so the only true usable piece was the top corner. So this piece sat until I could spend more time on it. (I should also mention it’s similar to a quilting cotton)

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After seeing that inspiration, I knew this fabric was destined to go with my new denim jacket.

I have a huge problem when it comes to sewing projects, because even if I have a whole pile of unfinished things, I need to start new ideas to constantly keep my mind flowing. So I left behind a dress due in a few weeks and cutting out new backpacks to make this jacket.

Seamwork’s goal has always been about quick projects you can finish in a few hours, and I’m not sure why my mind accepted that to be true for something like a denim jacket. They shifted their pattern’s a few months ago to be a little more detailed, so this project took way longer than expected. I was hoping to finish last week, but I really wanted to take more time to make it perfect, so I waited to share and I think it was worth it.

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Audrey has a lot of pattern pieces.  And since I’m tiny, my jeans are tiny, so I had a lot less fabric to work with – and I really had to stretch my thinking when cutting out the fabric. I used one pair of remnant jean legs, one full pair of jeans, and had to make the sleeves and a few other pieces out of fabric leftover from my handmade jeans, as well as using the fabric remnant for the back piece and pocket linings.  If you want to make your own recycled denim jacket, I would suggest to get 4-5 pairs, to be safe.

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I have seen versions of recycled denim jackets (scroll down to see more inspo!) and knew I wanted mine to have symmetry and purpose, not just a bunch of scraps thrown together. I made sure each side “matched” denim (ex. each center middle panel were cut from the same pair of jeans). When it comes to using multiple pieces to make something new, it really comes down to fabric placement to create the final look.

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Details about Audrey:

Cut: Size 2

Modifications to pattern: Added 1″ to the sides of Back Center Panel & removed 1″ from Back Side Panel.

Problem Areas: The welt pockets. I’ve made welt pockets before (Refashioned Bomber) but they are not commonly on my radar. Once I read the directions about 10 times to let them really sink in, it all clicked. Seamwork does have an article about Welt Pockets, which is a great resource as well.

Everything else went together smooth. I also ran out of topstitching thread, so not all areas have the pretty gold stitching, but I think it works out well that way.

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Details about my back modification: My fabric panel had this beautiful border and I wanted to use at least a bit of it on the back. To make this happen, I extended the back center panel 1″ on both sides, and took 1″ from the back side panel to account for the modification. I also quilted my back fabric to give it a little more body. It was a simple quilting, but adding batting and a backing, definitely gave the back a sturdier feel.

I added this lace leftover from my refashioned kimono right under the panel. Originally I had it going cross the entire back, but re-did it to go across just the panel as it looks cleaner.

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My hope for this jacket is to rough it up a little. It does have a worn in feel since it’s almost all used jeans, but taking some sand paper or a razor to a few sections is something I’m looking into. I also wouldn’t mind adding more trim if I come across cohesive trim I like. I really feel like this could turn into one of those pieces that stays in my wardrobe until I’m old and grey and my kids want to borrow it for a “retro feel”. I’m excited to see what adventures there are for this jacket in the future.

Inspiration: 

This etsy shop is filled with “festival style” denim jackets and it’s huuuuge embellishment inspo!

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Add a little colored denim for a more unique look.

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or mix light and dark denim like this:

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The Pin that started it all.

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The next jacket isn’t super related but I have to share because it’s amaaazing!

A girl after my own creative heart: Once Upon A Lauren was featured on Hoboken Girl awhile ago and I’ve been in love with her work since! Tell me this hand-painted leather jacket isn’t drop dead GORGEOUS! Thrift Upcycling at it’s finest!

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If you spot a great denim or leather jacket at a thrift store, or have one gathering dust in the back of your closet, I hope this inspires you to have a little fun!