Frustrated…and thoughts on being self-taught


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Working in bridal is a mixed bag for me. Most days I have clients coming in telling me and my boss how happy they are with the alterations and custom garments we make for them. What sadly sticks out are the people who come in demanding the moon. On one hand, I wish I could remind them that stressing your seamstress out is not going to produce great results. On the other, I get really frustrated and my confidence gets shot and I tend to blame the fact that I’m a self-taught stitcher.

As some of you know, my degree is in theater and post-modern dance. I took one costuming class and to be honest, the lighting class was more interesting to me at the time. I put my time in the costume shop but the scene shop with all the power tools made my heart sing.

Clients tend to want to know of my credentials. No. I don’t have a degree in fashion design. No. I didn’t start sewing for Barbie when I was a little girl. No. I haven’t always wanted to do what I’m doing right now. I started fitting and sewing garments 9 years ago, if that. After a lot of frustration, I got hooked. I liked the challenge and buying store bought for the postpartum body I had at the time was downright depressing.

I kept doing it.

I kept learning.

It got more and more interesting.

I liked the math.

I liked helping others get a clean fit.

Fast forward and all of a sudden, I found myself interviewing at the dress shop I work at now, clutching my handmade garments. The best of my work for my soon-to-be-boss to carefully inspect as I sweat the things I wish I had done different. I had a corset, a Victorian jacket, a lined dress. She knew I didn’t have formal training but she was impressed. Finally some validation! Validation from someone who had a fancy degree from FIT in New York. Someone who had worked with big names I even knew about.

So, when clients come in and don’t know how to sew and criticize my sewing, I shouldn’t let it bother me. But it bothers me. I should be better. Their garments should be perfect. The fit should be perfect. That’s my thing! Fit is my thing!

But sometimes it’s not perfect. And they zero in on the imperfections. The imperfections my hands have created. My self-taught hands. My measly, single mom-ish hands. The doubt sets in.

I don’t think these clients know how deeply I’m hurt when they belittle my work. Constructive criticism I can handle! Please! It’s not easy to swallow all the time but I want to keep learning and perfecting my craft. Fine tune me! It’s the rougher clients, the harsh clients, who don’t hear the way their own voices sound that burn.

Being self-taught, this means I have no day off. I don’t take a break. If I’m not called in to work, I still put in an 8-12 hour day. I fine tune myself.

For the rest of the year, I’m fine tuning my jackets. I’ll be making the Blank Slate Patterns Basic Blazer for my 7 year old son, the Blaverry Decklyn Jacket for my 9 year old daughter, and several fitted jackets for myself, with muslins for all three of us! Yes, even my kids.

I checked out a couple of Kenneth D. King videos from the library on fitting the upper torso and fitting jackets and I’m going to be studying those while I do my fittings.

I will not let the set backs of mean clients keep me from learning, sewing for myself or for others. I want to learn how to deal with people like this better but for now I’m an employee hiding out in the back.


Jungle January silk trousers, or How I Wore Hammer Pants and Liked it


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Hello! Meet McCalls 6514. I’ve had this pattern in my stash for at least a year. Maybe more. I always thought I’d make the wide legged trousers but then one day I changed my mind, bought this silk jacquard from work and after a couple of days, I have animal print silk hammer pants! Oh yes. Hammer pants. It was fugly.

That’s how they felt on at first. Waaaay to wide in the hip for my body so I took them in what seemed like an acre on each side! Probably a bit less and I wanted to keep the baggy design so I had to temper myself in the fitting room. Overfitting is a illness I used to suffer from and have to be vigilant of.

The back has a bit of elastic that gets stitched into the side seams and the front is flat which is very comfortable, tho I worry about looking like I’m wearing mom jeans!

Besides chopping off the length by about 3″ that’s all I did as far as alterations.

As I sat at the airport, on my way to two fabric markets in New York this week, I was loving my silk trousers! So super soft and comfy and I might add, styleeesh, but with a slight pajama feel to them. Win, I say. Win!

Huge shout out to my photographer Julieta Petrusa who did an amazing job capturing my new make! (She’s 9 and I call her mine.) The last photo was entirely stylized by Juli.






His Girl Friday Jumpsuit


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If you haven’t seen the film, His Girl Friday, put it in the queue. It’s such a fun one! I bought this stretch pinstripe suiting from work, knowing I wanted to make Ralph Pink’s Luxe Jumpsuit. I’m loving everything pinstriped right now! I hit a snag when I got the fabric home and realized the stripes run from selvage to selvage! I was wooed by the stripes and can’t believe I didn’t realize this when I was cutting my yardage! Gah! If it were just trousers, I would’ve had enough but for the length of the pantsuit, I didn’t have enough! That’s when I turned to my buddy Christopher Laverty of Clothes on Film. In a panic, I asked him if he could send me in the direction of a cool pinstriped suit to inspire me! That’s when he suggested His Girl Friday and it was perfect! So I started cutting on the bias!

Back to Ralph Pink Patterns…Ralph recently did a massive overhaul on his site and is revamping his patterns. The new site is gorgeous and he’s making samples of all his old patterns and re-releasing them. You might remember my obsession with his skater dress, re-named the Prilla Dress as well as my Florence Play suit and my unblogged Cocoon Coat you can see in my post about the Gatsby Party I went to, which he hasn’t re-released yet.

Ralph Pink’s patterns print on A4 or full engineering prints, which may be more expensive but it beats having to tape the whole thing together. I did tape this one together and it matched up just fine! His patterns don’t come as nested patterns so you have to choose the size closest to your measurements and make alterations to one size. The thing I like with RPP is that the size is very close to my own with the exception of the bust. It’s nice to not have to shave off the hip! Small thing to be cheerful about but it’s the little things, amirite?

Alterations to the jumpsuit:

Since I cut the whole thing on the bias, I took out, at Ralph’s suggestion, some of the length. I did that at the shoulder. Other than that, I only cut the length of the leg and later added the horizontal striped band to tie the striped concept together. I couldn’t be happier with this make!

If you try one of the Ralph Pink Patterns, let me know. I’d love to see what you make! I highly recommend all the patterns I’ve worked up and I’m totally going to be making up more of his stuff. I love his eye for fashion and detail. Instructions are clear and Ralph is on Twitter and is very helpful!

His Girl Friday Luxe Jumpsuit front longHis Girl Friday Luxe Jumpsuit sittingHis Girl Friday Luxe Jumpsuit fullHis Girl Friday Luxe Jumpsuit backDSC00639His Girl Friday jumpsuit front

Vogue 8825: A Jungly faux wrap dress


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I absolutely LOVE this dress. I cut and stitched it up in about 5 hours. The next day, I did a slight adjustment to the bodice (more on that below), and hemmed the sleeves and skirt. If I had been a good sewcialist, I would’ve googled the pattern, Vogue 8825, to find out that the majority of people who have made it have found the bodice to be baggy- something that will work in your favor if you have a larger chest.

Pattern alterations:

Not having done my google fu duties, I went ahead and added 2″ to the length of the bodice. In two ways this was unnecessary. For one, like I mentioned above, this pattern has a lot of ease in the bodice. Not just in width but in length. I went down a size because I know that the Big 4 patternmakers are high when they go to draft knitwear. What is wrong with them, really? So much ease!  But once you know, you just go down a size or two and get a good fit. This dress does seem to be full of ease.

The second reason it was unnecessary was because I wasn’t paying attention and measured from the back of my neck- which is where the top of the front pattern piece reaches toward- down to my waist. The bodice is meant to end at the underbust and the skirt is high waisted. But, like I said on IG, better safe than sorry.

If you’re making this dress, add all you want to the length, baste the bodice to the skirt for a fit test and then just adjust accordingly. It’s an easy to fit dress on account of the cut on sleeves and the knit fabric.


The fashion illustration shows the ties to be a lot longer and wider than they are. Anyone who’s made this dress shows that the ties are shorter and they aren’t as wide. That said, never go off the fashion illustrations alone. The technical drawing always clarifies things and it did in this case as well.

I’m careful when I cut and mark fabric and the back bodice darts didn’t match up to the skirt darts. Totally could’ve been my fault- I was sewing around midnight- but just watch for that. I don’t mind that they don’t line up because of the very busy animal print.

The neckline couldn’t been shortened. I have a bit of a gap but it’s also not bothering me too much. If I made this again, I’d mess with it a bit more. I might also add a little stretch organza to the neckline before folding over the attached collar.

I was going to complain about the skirt back having a seam- cos, hello knits!- but it does have some shaping that’s making me look like I have an arse, so I’ll retract my criticism. But…darts in a knit? I dunno. Am I just being annoyed for no reason? #itsaknit

Dreamy Eyes

This is a very quick make! I love the ties and the width of the sleeves! Loving the kimono-esque nod, obi belt and all. You probably noticed I didn’t go for the Bishop sleeves. Yeah, not for me. That also confused the design in my mind but that’s a matter of personal preference.

I would recommend a contrasting belt. I think the design pops better this way.


ITY from Fabric Mart Fabrics. It felt a little chilly outside wearing this and it’s about 40 degrees F. I did feel like this pattern was a bit of a fabric hog but since the envelop suggests you use at least a two way stretch, you can cheat. Just make sure you let the dress hang overnight so that the hem can drop. Try it on after that and measure for your hem.

The belt is made out of a silk jersey I bought from Preview, through work. So incredibly yummy!

Off you go now! Plan, shop, cut, stitch, press, blog! And make it a Jungle January!! Cheers!

Jungle January 2015: Shoes


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Disclaimer: I’m not selling shoes (ha!) so I’m only showing images I’ve pulled from my Google search. My apologies but none of these will click to a vendor.

My older sister posted an image of some cheetah print boots she’s looking forward to wearing after her baby is born-yes! My older sis is having a baby! Couldn’t be happier for her and her family. The added bonus is that I get to snuggle a yummy smelling baby soon!

Those boots of hers got me thinking about the lack of animal print shoes I have in my shoe collection. I do love shoes. I have a bunch of shoes that I’ve bought only for photoshoots. I’m one of those people. I love platforms and heels and all of that but on a day to day basis, I wear 2″ heels at the most! My hems reflect that reality.

Here are some ideas to get your Jungle January fully amped up so you can go big or go home sort of thing!

I am a huge fan of the bootie!


What about these mid-calf sneakers! These, I’d wear to death. Maybe with a mini skirt and tights?


This next pair is definitely an eye catcher!


Can’t you see me wearing all the zebra prints together??


Or maybe just add your jungle fever in shoe land with black? Very chic!


Need something a little tamer? Safe in front, party in the back!


I love the detail on this toe!


Want something for those comfy, cozy days?


What about a little cowboy boot action?


I remember having some platform sneakers from Hot Topic in college that I just loved! They were hot pink and I wore them into the ground. Of course, these would hit the spot.


What’s the verdict? Would you pump up your animal print jam with jungley shoes? Any of these calling your name? Or is this just too much animal print for you?

Alrighty, Jungly pals, off to make some clothes!

Images: from Google

Jungle January 2016: It begins.



jungle january meme 2016

The first year I participated in Jungle January I was really hesitant. I didn’t wear animal prints ever and the thought made me shudder. Little by little, I found myself wearing animal prints more and more and now nearly every day. I had lots of encouragement from my fellow sewcialists and now I agree with them:



Oh, yeah they are! That was my Lolita Gunmetal if you want to reminisce with me. A lot of my animal print makes haven’t actually been made during Jungle January, but that’s part of letting a print take over your life. This year, I’m using this month to motivate me to blog. I’ve got a couple of jungley things half way cut and I just need to make the time.

What is Jungle January?

Anne started Jungle January to build camaraderie around making and wearing jungly prints. If you don’t already follow her blog, you really should. She’s hilarious and witty and is incredibly talented. She’s also really fearless, in my opinion. She’ll make anything!

It’s easy to join Jungle January!

Just tag your makes, work in progress, and fabric with #junglejanuary and go all out with your social media! That’s what a good sewcialist does, you know. Blast it! Everyone is welcome. You’ll probably make some new friends so get ready to have some fun.

Speaking of which…there’s a Jungle January swap going on, too. If you’d like to join, contact Anne and let her know you’re interested. I got partnered up with an Indiana sewcialist who I’ve met before! Sarah lives about an hour from where I live and works even closer at Rivars, where she designs show choir costumes. Fun fact: I interviewed at Rivars but didn’t get the job. Still, we got super close to working together.

Here comes the inspiration!

I’m curious about branching out and hitting some of the lesser known animal prints. Interestingly, 2014’s runway had a lot of animal print and 2015 had more out of the ordinary animal prints. It’ll be fun to play on that.

I’m finding that working with animal prints is largely about careful print placement…or, just throwing caution to the wind and put a Tiger head right where you shouldn’t! Ha!


I do love the drama that animal prints can bring to a wardrobe. I know I just said they’re a solid…but they’re better than a solid! One of the things I’ve wanted to try more of is print mixing. The image below is very safe. I’m talking multiple animal prints. We’ll see what I can come up with.


This just might be the year I put myself in an animal print body suit because Debbie Harry told me to! I’m pulling out my personal “stops” and going bolder than last year.


I’ll also be putting together a Jungle January soundtrack this year. I’ll share it around in case you want to listen to what I pump in my ears. What is appropriate for Jungle January? I don’t quite know, yet. Feel free to link me a song in the comments. Youtube links work and I also use Spotify regularly.


I hope some of you join up this year if you haven’t in the past. Regardless, happy sewing!

May you seam ripper be nice and sharp!

Liner Notes to 2015, aka The Naval Gazing Post



Sewing for other people has been a huge time suck! Ha! I mean, I love it for so many reasons. The first, being that I don’t really need that many clothes and when I’m productive, I’m productive. Secondly, it’s actually nice to see people light up when something fits! Finally. I think those of us who sew our wardrobe understand that feeling.

At the dress shop, we don’t take photos of works in progress. As a sewcialist, I don’t understand that! We also don’t share what we’re working on. Another thing I don’t get. I do understand that we’re protecting the privacy of our clients…blah blah blah. I’m kidding. That’s why my Instagram has all the close-ups. Basically, if it’s a close-up, I’m at the dress shop.


I can’t tell you guys how lucky I feel to have found this job at the dress shop to begin with! This year has been a big one for me. I dropped a bunch of dead weight that was keeping me from opening up and growing, dead feelings that didn’t belong to me anymore and a job waiting tables that became quite soul sucking. I wanted to freelance. I wanted to sew full time, even if that took time away from sewing for myself. It was a trade off I was willing to entertain.

Just before the summer began, I quit the restaurant and dedicated myself to upping my personal clientele. I told everyone I met what I was trying to do and got to work. I organized myself and now, I can say I’m beyond grateful to the people that come to me for their sewing needs. Yeah, grateful doesn’t cut it. It feels bigger than that.

What’s Important

This coming year, I’m making sure that the people in my life are ones that understand my need to sew, my drive to work and my hours as a freelancer.

Remember when I was first single and I put three tennis balls into a pitcher and said they were the most important things?

They were:




These things are still important. But now, I have the mental and emotional energy to add more. I’m carving out time to go back to dance (post-modern, if you’re curious), as well as reaching out to social media again, which as you know, brings me a lot joy. I miss chatting with my sewcialists friends! I miss Fabric Chat! I miss that energy that you all brought into my life. That brings me to my word of the year, something Brooke opened my eyes to.

Word of the Year: Collaboration

It’s one of my favorite things to do. Once you start working with other people, your ideas take on a life of their own. They also stop being “yours” and have the potential to grow to greater heights than you thought possible on your own. Here’s a cool infographic. Working with people does breathe life into a project in a way solo work doesn’t for me.



How and Who will I be collaborating with?

Oh, don’t you wanna know! Actually, some of the details I don’t know yet but that’s the word that came to me a couple of weeks ago and it feels perfect. It all boils down to the fact that I know some amazingly talented people in town and I have no idea what we’ll do together but we’re talking.

Some of you have already seen the new logo I had designed for the custom clothing I make for people. I’m getting labels printed in 2016. By the way, if you have any label makers (Etsy or other) you have used and/or trust, link me! I’m very thrilled with my logo. Now, do I switch over my blog name? Do I start a new site when the time comes? Those are questions that might not get addressed in the coming year and I’m happy with that.


Since I haven’t blogged all that much, I’ll leave you with my best of Instagram. IG has been my saving grace for keeping my mojo going. That said, with this new found energy, I’ll be posting more to my blog (famous last words).

Have a great New Years! Be bold! Take a chance! Make mistakes! And above all, be kind. That’ll get you far. Very far. Besos!

threedresses IG best of 2015


Brasilia Maxi dress


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When Rachel, our adorable and sweet as can be, Brazilian sewcialist (that’s her, above), contacted me about testing her Brasilia dress pattern almost two years ago (really, that long?) I jumped at it. I made a light pink version and sent her pictures and never did a proper post. Here you can see my work in progress- I think I got a way better fit this time!

I ended up hemming the pink one way too short. With hems, I find I have a sweet spot for short. It’s not “culifalda” length (showing your butt cheeks) but it’s also not ankle nunnery. Okay, that’s pretty broad. It’s really mid thigh, I believe. But there’s a sweet spot. My first Brasilia dress was about 3 inches north of there. Ha! Yeah, I don’t wear it much and I spent a lot of time fitting it so you can imagine how frustrating it was.

Fast forward to last week. I ran into the dress shop to do a photoshoot of some of the wedding gowns we have in the shop that haven’t gone out yet. A rarity! We jumped on the opportunity. After the shoot, I bought myself this gorgeous teal with black floral jaquard. It’s so yummy and drapey and while I was going to line it, I stepped away from the lining because I have been so sick and didn’t have much energy. I think it would last longer with a lining but I’ve tabled that idea for now.

Instead of using the alterations I made on my first Brasilia, I took a tiny bit out of the torso length (cos my waist is about an inch below my neck!) and then lengthened the dress so it would be 60″ long from the shoulder seam. That would give me room to take it up further in the shoulders (which I did by about 3″) and still hem it just at floor length for flat shoes.

See, I knew I wanted a Brasilia maxi! And I got it. I almost added sleeves but I had this fear I’d look like a walking carpet- something my brain highly discouraged. I listened and I’ll likely wear a sweater over this for a wintery thing.

I mentioned that I took the dress up at the shoulder seams. How is that now? Well, I had already cut the dress out of my fabric (no muslin…shame on me!) and the waist was down at my knees. Kidding! But Rachel is very tall and has a model’s torso. It goes on for miles.

So, I took the dress and pulled it up so the waistline, as dictated by the pattern, would hit my waist, and I pinned the shoulders up so I could double check my work. I stitched the new shoulder seams and checked my work again. It worked. The armholes got a bit more snug and closer to my armpit which I prefer anyway, so everything was good and I proceeded to cut down the shoulder seams.

The other thing about this dress pattern is that the hips are wider than my own. I had to shave off a bit on each side. Sorry, I don’t remember how much but it’s not going to affect your dress to shave after you’ve put the dress together.

What I hadn’t realized until this dress is how different my hips are! I knew one was higher than the other but this is out of control! One juts out more. Ewww. Basically, I’m an alien. Ha!

I leave you with pictures. Indoors. Winter, here we come!

Go grab Rachel’s Brasilia dress pattern. There is no charge for it. It’s got really cool lines which are, sadly, lost on this version because it’s so dark but it gives nice shaping.


Brasilia Maxi frontBrasilia Maxi backBrasilia Maxi heavy squintBrasilia maxi side

Sew Independent Month, aka SIM, is back! Kinga Skirt, the Goth edition


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kinga skit 2kinga walking   Kinga front

kinga sheer kinga from angl

kinga style

Hi guys and dolls! I was invited to blog about the new SIM bundle and while I’ll probably make up the majority of the patterns in the bundle, given the time I had, I chose the Kinga Skirt by Kate & Rose. e

This skirt is super quick to make and since I’m on a maxi everything kick lately, it fit the bill. With simple patterns, the fun is in picking your fabric. I chose a techno knit I had in my stash along with a mesh (Mesh Queen in the house!) that has a floral print with some metallic threads. I used a straight stitch instead of a serger only because…well, it’s got white in it and I’m lazy. Luckily with a knit, you can leave your seams unattended. Plus, and in my defense, I wasn’t needing the serger for the mesh.

I graded in between the 12 (for the waist and waist facing) down to the 10 (for the hip, cos my junk is on top). I don’t know if my knit is too stretchy or what but the skirt is a bit big on me. That said, if you’re taller than 5’4″ (moi), then you’ll want to lengthen the tiers a bit. I left my mesh un hemmed and it kisses the floor in sandals…with the waist band resting on my high hip. So, take note. Also, I don’t think I really need the side zipper, though, if I had fitted the skirt more, I can see it’s purpose.

A thing on techno knits, dood, use them. Especially if you’ve never sewn with a knit. It’s a double knit and is very soft. One of the pictures of the back view showed a bit too much of mah rumpus so just beware. I wore this skirt with my Kitchy Coo Comino Top– also using a knit/mesh combo (see the trend??)

I can see this pattern getting used again, with some side seam adjustments, and some more knit/mesh combos- I didn’t have enough of the skulls mesh but maybe I can find some more this Halloween.

What do you need to know about the SIM 2 bundle?

Get it HERE! Sale runs from Tuesday September 1st thru Thursday September 10th, here in the U.S.

But wait, why bother with a bundle? In part, it’s kind of a thing right now. And bowties are cool. I mean, bundles are cool. You’re getting a deep discount off a bunch of patterns you’ll likely put into your sewing rotation, the designers are getting some exposure BUT the really cool thing about this bundle is that…

20 PERCENT of proceeds are going to be donated to Women for Women, which helps women dealing with violence, marginalization, and poverty due to war and conflict.

So, you get deals on patterns and you can help support women? It really is that cool.

So, let’s lighten things up a bit. There are going to be some fun blog posts and helpful tutorials going on all during the month of September so check them out. But since we’re all sewcialists (sewing fiends who love our social media), there will be a sewalong contest with prizes!

Who do we have to thank for this SIM bundle? Mari Miller, from Seamster Patterns– formerly Disparate Disciplines. (She took over for Donna and we thank her for it!) So, go on over to Sew Independent, buy yourself one of the bundles, support small female-run pattern companies, and give to charity all with one click. Nitty gritty below.

Have fun sewing!


Pay what you want for the bundle! The more you pay, the more rewards you’ll receive.
  • Pay $25 or more to get the VNA Top, 6101 Fit & Flare Skirt, Bess Top, Nettie Dress & Bodysuit, and Pinot Pants.
  • Pay $32 or more to get the Walkley Vest & Dress and Jasper Sweater & Dress.
  • Pay $38 or more to get the Nautilus Swimsuit, the NEW Kinga Skirt, and the NEW April 1962 Coat.
New Patterns:
The Kinga Skirt by Kate & Rose and the April 1962 Coat by SomaPatterns are brand new patterns that are being released with the bundle. During the sale you can only buy them as part of the bundle.
Links to participating Bundle 2 designers and their patterns:
Links to participating Bundle 2 bloggers:

McCalls 6713 and O! Jolly knits!!


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I finally got around to blogging about McCalls 6713. It feels like I made it eons ago. I know it’s been worn a ton since it came off the sewing machine. It’s made out of a knit- another animal print- surprise! What’s funny- and you’ll know this if you’ve been reading my blog long enough…I used to hate prints and never used animal prints. Crazy to think of since now that’s what I regularly wear.

The only adjustments I made to this pattern was to take up the shoulder seams because they called for shoulder pads. Other than that, it’s exactly how it came out of the envelope. Another moment where you have to love knits!

The other thing I’m showing off here is my O! Jolly yardage gifted to me to try out by the generous Olgalyn in New York. I drafted this shrug and my plan is to show you how I did it- but not in this picture heavy post. Next time.

I have to tell you that this knit yardage is amazing. It’s soft and easy to work with. I highly recommend it. You can buy it here. Worth every penny. As you can see from the pictures, the jersey is a total sweater knit and this cooler weather in Indiana is having me reach for my O! Jolly cardi a lot! Thanks again Olgalyn for the fabric. You’re amazing.

Off to the pictures part.

DSCN7542 DSCN7543 DSCN7544 DSCN7547 DSCN7548 DSCN7550 DSCN7551 DSCN7552 DSCN7553 DSCN7556 DSCN7560 DSCN7561you should b swing

As you can tell, I love this outfit. Now, go sew something!