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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Vogue 1534

Peace!

It has been a minute. I’ve been going through some things. This is no surprise, but I really miss my mother y’all. And everything that goes along with handling her estate is…. Pinching. This shit really sucks. I have been stupid busy with a ton of other non-estate duties. And my friends have been in these trenches with me. I struggle. But I not complaining…. Much.

I am really excited to finally have made my entrance into the Ifa community here in Atlanta. Initially it was to be their seamstress, but you know…. I think I might have found my home. I have officially 2 side gigs and a square job. Websites and all. Another reason I’m super busy. One of the gigs is, of course sewing. And where as I’m part time with my square job, I’m certain I will have to come on full time in the near future. I’m not opposed…. But I have gotten used to working just 3 days/week. Anywho…..

I made a prom dress!!!!! One of my Ile sister’s daughter wanted a prom dress that she could not (a) find in her daughter’s color scheme and (b) afford. So…. Serenity to the rescue! As always, when I sew for a relatively new client, I make sure they understand the value of what they are receiving. Folks be wanting you to create wedding dresses for $50 and the fabric costs more than that. My client was cool with my process (especially since she doesn’t know other seamstresses) and we had a successful result.

Shall we?

Vogue 1534



Pattern Description: Close-fitting through the bodice, lined dress has halter neckline, full skirt and contrast bodice.
Pattern Sizing: I don’t actually remember. I do remember I made the largest size and had to take it in 4 inches
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?. YES!!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It wasn’t for me to like or dislike the pattern. It was for the graduate to like or dislike it. She loved it!!!! I, however…. Did not like working with sequins. Sequins were everywhere and still is. I made that dress in April, and occasionally I still see my cat walking around with sequins in his fur. I found some in mine and my husband’s fur as well. I truly hope that there aren’t sequins somewhere they ought not to be.
For this pattern to be a “special occasion dress” and it being a Vogue pattern… it was very easy. The front had 3 pieces the back 6. Once I got rolling it was easy to finish. Especially since I had to tuck sewing into my day with all my other responsibilities.


Fabric Used: Silver sequins for the bodice…. Midnight Blue Satin for the skirt… a lovely gray-silver silk like lining for the lining. I liked more than I liked the outer fabrics. It was easier to work with and I cut the lining and the sequins together which made the process easier. I had initially cut the sequins separately and had to re-cut because it was completely wonky

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Actually none

Would you sew it again? Yes I would see it again if someone wanted it. They let me keep the pattern, because… well… what were they going to do with it? Would you recommend it to others? Sure. It’s a satisfying and easy pattern

Conclusion: Yay!!!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

NL6495

Peace.

A few months ago, I was completely inspired and made 4 garments for myself in 1 day. That’s crazy! But the universe was letting me know that I was gonna be too busy to sew for myself for a while.

Since then, I have been so busy, but busy sewing for other people. I have made prom dresses, festival clothes, pillows, steaming shrouds and tons of alterations. I have really enjoyed the extra income and have not gone crazy spending it.

NL6495 was one of the frenzied garments. (My Easter dress in in there but I haven’t blogged it yet) I have been involved in some traditional African practices. I initially bought the pattern and fabric for an initiation. But I decided to go in a different direction after I got cut the pieces. And for that I’m grateful. I threw away the clothes I bought and wore for initiation because they got stained, and I didn’t want to deal with touching the garment to launder it. I’m glad I followed my intuition. I know… Don't ask. I have been compelled to wear more white garments. I be feeling some kind of way before Easter…. But now that we are comfortably passed Easter, I can freely wear white without worrying that my mother and grandmother will haunt me. We shall see what happens after Labor Day....


Shall we? 



Pattern Description:
Misses' Dresses with Length Variations View C. I’ve been on a diet since January and have lost enough weight to affect my sewing so I cut an 18 rather than cut the biggest size in the envelope.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. Yes it did

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes they were

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The flounce on the sides. I kinda thought it was too much but the dress needed a little too much to make it special. Otherwise it’s just an ordinary sheath dress. I’m not crazy about the collar area. I like to show at least my clavicle. This dress does not have an option for that. Next time I’ll adjust that.

Fabric Used:
Cotton knit, not ponte, but not sure what it is. It has some texture on the outside but not on the inside. And it’s a beefier knit. Maybe y’all can tell me… I choose knit because I was clear from the purchase of the pattern that there was no way in hell I was hemming this dress. So the edges are raw, but tidy.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As always I added 3” to the bodice to make room for the girls and my low waist. But I didn’t have to do that. Now the waist sits damn near on my hips. I really need a dress form…. Plus the flounce is now way too long and touches the ground. I have to wear it scooped up at the waist to prevent dragging

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes! It’s very cute. And y’all should try it. I’m not going to make it soon, but I will make it again eventually.

Conclusion:
I need a dress form


Peace

Friday, February 10, 2017

McCalls 6920


Peace.

Its been awhile. Life happens. Let me tell you that 2017 sucks for me and has sucked for me since the 4th of January. I'm getting through.... kind of. I'm putting all my energy on my hobbies and interests to keep from falling into depression. I swear they are keeping me from cracking up.

This dress is the beginning of a new trend for my wardrobe. I'm incorporating more African print patterns into my wardrobe. The reason I'm doing this is because of one of the interests I have is Ifa. Even though I swear I'm not a religious person, religions intrigue me. Not so much that I want to practice. But enough that I want to learn. I have been studying with an Ile. I really love certain aspects of the lifestyle. And as a person who is descended from people who practiced this lifestyle, it feels a bit like I've come home. One of the aspects of the culture (which falls with the definition of culture) I adore, is the clothing.

I've worked with enough African clients to understand that there are only a few traditional garments. And they are worn for ceremonial reasons. The clients who want African outfits of special events or just for social reasons, they just want clothing that is pretty ordinary. So I've made African clothes for African people, using regular patterns. So... why cant I do that for myself?

It brings up another point.... Africans feel some kind of way about African Americans wearing African fabrics. Which I find ironic because wax printed African fabrics are usually made in India. Their argument is AAs don't have the information on wearing the garments correctly. That we wear them at the wrong times. That we mix patterns that shouldn't be mixed. That we aren't really African anymore and AA wearing African prints is no different than white people wearing them. And I don't like to see white people in African print.

That puts AAs in a weird limbo. The Africans are correct in what they are saying. But we have a stronger link to Africa than white folks do. And it's not our fault that our heritage was erased during slavery and Jim Crow times. Even now, when we have our DNA analyzed, we find that we are from all over the continent and other places in the world. African Americans are TRULY swirled... more than any other collection of people in this world. I feel strongly that I can... should... and will wear whatever I want. Not only am I from 5 different African countries, there is European(Irish), Indian (from India) and Pacific Islander within me. I am making the concerted effort to learn more about African culture. So why can't I wear the clothes? I've made party dresses for clients. I party. I've made church dresses for clients. I occasionally go to Ifa services. I've made casual outfits. Who doesn't do casual?

The bottom line is Africans sell the fabric to anyone, and I'm waiting to meet that bad mf'er who's gonna make me stop.

I originally bought M6920 to make a denim dress. I decided to go with a different pattern for the dress and ended up with a wadder. I'm still trying to figure out how I can rectify the wadder. It was a really nice piece of denim. I wanted to make this dress for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to. I'm working now and have some other drama happening. Life... So I made it as soon as time freed up for me.

The way this dress is supposed to work is it is supposed to be a transitional garment. Something to wear in the spring and fall. It can hang in the closet year round. And a year round wardrobe is always a goal. Especially here in the south where winter is so short and mild. My original plan with this dress was to have one panel of the African print in the front and the rest be knit. I was also going to change the collar so that I can pull it over my head since most of it was going to be knit and omit the zipper and facings. And I was going to lengthen it 3" for refinement. Well.... That didn't happen. It was because of the direction of the stretch and the way the fabric was cut.

I've learned my lesson with regard to the direction of stretch. The fabric had only 1 direction of stretch. If you cut a garment in the wrong direction, then the garment is no longer stretchy. So I knew that the garment had to be cut in a particular way. The problem is the direction of the stretch didn't correspond with the yardage... if you get my meaning. The stretch went in the direction of the length not in the amount of yardage I purchased. I didn't know that when I bought the fabric. That has never happened to me before in the 30+ years I've been sewing. So the way I HAD to cut the dress wouldn't allow me to cut the entire dress and maintain the stretch. I had enough of the African print to use it in the back. But.... that means the I wouldn't be sure if I could pull it over my head since now half of the garment would have NO stretch. And since I had a lot of fabric left over, I used the facings and added a zipper. But I didn't use interfacing. Since I had to use more fabric than I intended, I didn't get to make the African print headwrap that I wanted.

Also.... the African fabric was short (36"). So I wasn't able to add the 3" to it like I planned. Initially I was going to try to piece 3" at the bottom. But I didn't like the way it looked. As Michael Kors would say, "It looked Becky home-ecy." So I just went with the length I could get. It comes slightly passed the knee. That is the bare minimum of my refinement. I can wear it with tights and boots. But I just got these new clogs and feel strongly like I want to wear the hell out of them. So I'm wearing them with footless tights. When the weather warms, i wear them with the clogs alone and when it really warms with sandals. See? Year round wardrobe!


Shall we?


Pattern Description: Misses'/Miss Petite/Women's/Women's Petite Dresses. Of course I cut the biggest size, as usual. I planned version C with the short sleeves and not the cap sleeves

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it did

Fabric used: African waxed fabric and ponte knit

Time? Took 2 hours from start to finish. Even with all the hiccups

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I was planning to make plenty. But in the end I made none

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't use them

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I would on both questions

Conclusion: It's good to not have a wadder for a change. And sewing is keeping me sane.


I've kind of been on a diet. It's beginning of the year and I've decided to lose 25 lbs a year (and keep it off) for the next 4 years. The ultimate goal is losing 100 lbs. Apparently, I've been losing weight. the dress is really big on me. It's more like a tunic. I plan on making this dress in turquoise for the summer. I'll cut a smaller size then.


Peace