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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Egungun Suit

Peace!

Its been awhile since I posted. So much life has been happening to me.

I quit my day job My boss was a HUGE liar. Just lied and lied about everything. Even stupid stuff that he didn't need to be lying about. There came a point where I lost all trust and confidence in him. I'm good surprisingly. My mother left me 2 homes that are currently being rented out. and I still have my side hustles... one of which is sewing.
Osunfest recently passed in Atlanta. I'm not going in on the whats and hows. If you know you know and if you don't.... ask. I love being involved in this community especially for sewing. You just can't buy hotep clothes at Macy's, so these clothes have to be made.... and since seamstresses are few and far between, especially Black seamstresses.... BOOM! I made a ton of money during Osunfest. But it does mark the end of festival season. It'll be back come spring.

One of the things I made... which was on my sewing bucket list... was and Egungun suit.

Whats that Serenity?

I'm glad you asked!



Egun in Yoruba refers to ancestors. Egungun Suit is a masquerade garment used to commemorate and honor all ancestors of a given community. Technically it's supposed to made of strips from garments that were worn by folks ancestors. That's not how I made this one...

I never made one before. I never saw one in person. When tasked with this task, I was all over the internet to no avail. I'm a smart girl. I figured it out. First make a tunic. You'll need the tunic to attach the strips of fabric. Don't sew the tunic up though. I made that mistake. But the wearer would have to try it on so..... this is wear it kind of went left.... I had help from ile members who cut the strips. They don't sew and I wasn't there when they got to cutting. They cut most of the strips 1 inch thick. I couldn't use those strips because of the seam allowance. But they didn't have a ton of extra fabric because they cut all the fabric they had wrong. Well.... my remnant scraps to the rescue! I had a bunch of scrap, but not a lot of hotep scrap. Either way... I made it work. Big note.... DON'T USE SATIN! Frays like a motherfucker....



That cutiepie model is my husband. He wasn't the one to wear the suit. The suit has a basket woven headpiece and a breastplate made with crystal and leather. I didn't get a pic of the wearer dancing in the suit. Other obligations kept me from that part of the festival. It looks crazy, but the Babalawo was mad satisfied with the result and has offered me a job running his new clothing line. Do I have experience? No. But neither does he. We will fly or sink. But I will enjoy it!


Peace!

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






Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kwik Sew 3472


Peace

I just want to go on record and say that I HATE Jo-Annes. I am utterly distraught that Hancocks has gone out of business. I did everything I could to keep it going. I went every week! Jo-annes doesn’t have the sales on patterns that Hancocks did…. The customer service sucks…. Their fabric ain’t all that… And now that they are the only game in town, they are funny about honoring their own coupons. There are other fabric stores, but not one that is the one stop shop that Jo-annes is and Hancocks was. I really hate them. I’m a seek out other options. I really just need a place to purchase patterns on sale. I don’t pay full price…..

The reason I’m so super pissed with J’s is because I went there and bought 3 yards of ponte knit and it totaled out to $30. I could have bought a rtw dress for $30. A nice one at that. I don’t have to sew every garment I wear. I can still buy. Them jokers would not honor their coupon. They told me my interpretation was wrong. I should have walked out… but I didn’t. I purchased the fabric because it was in my hands and I wanted it. No more. J’s isn’t even close to my home. If I have to drive, I’ll drive somewhere else.

The God and I have a running joke. I say he buys me the best gifts. He does. I use his debit card to purchase gifts for myself. For my birthday, he gifted me with a box of feet!!!! My newer machine has a different set up than my older one and those feet don’t work on the new machine. I missed my rolled hem food, my ruffler and so forth. I got a box with 30 feet. Half of them I have no idea how they work. But I will….. I used the rolled hem to finish off the bottom of the dress. Sweet…

I was originally going to make M6886. I wanted to have a black dress to wear that I could dress up or down and a new black headwrap. My black headwraps get a LOT of use and need to be replaced frequently. But after I spent $30, I decided to make something a little more involved. Hence KS3472.

I’ve wanted to make this dress for a while. It still made a flexible black dress like I originally wanted. It used most of the 3 yards though. I had to creatively get the wrap…. I don’t think I ever sewed a Kwik Sew pattern before. My first surprise was the pattern is on REAL PAPER!!!! I couldn’t stop talking about how this pattern was on real paper. It cracked my husband up. I always cut patterns on bed while we are watching TV.

Shall we?


Pattern Description: Kwik Sew 3472
Dress with two variations for knit fabrics - must have at least 35% stretch. I think it might be out of print.

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?
Didn’t follow them. Essentially the dress has 5 pieces. Not really rocket science

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the style of the dress. I used to have dresses like this when I was younger. I don’t know why I got out of wearing them. I guess trends changed.

Fabric Used:
Ponte Knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the “B” version. But I wanted the long skirt. But the long version was too long and the shorter version was too short. So I went midway with the skirt. Also… I’m not happy with how I cut the sleeves. Since the sleeve had so much ease, I decided to cut it against the stretch so I would have enough to make a headwrap. I’m not going back to J’s for more fabric and further abuse. I’m not quite loving it nor am I quite dying. I might take the sleeves off come spring. We’ll see.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes. I have plans for several. This is going to be one of my TNT dress patterns. Also I like the top as a top

Conclusion: I like when a plan comes together. And I'm done with black.... for awhile

Thursday, November 17, 2016

S1070: My Birthday suit!


Peace!

I know it's been a minute. Life happened... My Husband and I bought a house for Easter... then a week later I got fired. I'm still not over it. since I wasn't expecting it, I had to hustle with my sewing machine to cover the small bills and learn to live in Georgia heat with no AC. I finally got another job, but it's part time. I like it.... I'm just not sure if I can survive on a part time gig. Since it's all I have right now...... Anywho......

My birthday!!!! And for my birthday I always make or buy a new outfit. I do the same for Easter. But this Easter I bought a house so that was my new Easter thing. This year I used 2 parts of S1070!

I bought S1070 during my last Hancock haul.... RIP Hancock. I soooooo like them better than Joanns... The top was super easy with only 3 main pieces. The top was supposed to be a midriff. But.... Not everybody can wear a midriff. I know I'm supposed to have body positivity. I'm certain I do. But more importantly... I'm a realist. I don't have a good midriff tummy. It's not flat. It has a ton of stretchmarks... And I don't even have children! So I made the shirt shorter than normal but longer than the pattern called for. I'm not going to wear something that doesn't flatter me just because society says I should.

Also.... I am REALLY bad at using the fabric that the pattern calls for. So I really need not to complain when I don't always get the result I was looking for... that's on me.

Pattern: Simplicity 1070


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope?
Yes it did

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn't really need to follow them because the bottom has 3 pieces not including the facings and the top had 3 pieces not including the collar. But I did glance at the instructions for the collar. I have a way that I put in collars that works for me. The same can be said about the way my sleeves work. But this time... i decided to see what the instructions said with regard to the collar. And I'm happy to say, that I was pleasantly surprised. I now have a new way to do collars. Bully for me!

How long did it take from start to finish?:
About an hour and a half for the skirt and a half hour for the top.

What did you like/dislike about the pattern?
If you follow the pattern suggestions, you will be fine

Fabric used?:
Teehee.....

For the top I used a sweater material. I worked just as anticipated. But for the skirt..... I used really, really, really stretchy woven fabric. I am able to wear it... But in retrospect.... I should have used knits as suggested. Even with the facings not interfaced.... I was able to wear it as intended. But the waist feels like a tourniquet. By the end of my workday, I was in hell. I had to change out of the skirt to go to dinner.

Pattern alterations or design changes made?
I lengthened the midriff or shortened the top... depending on your perspective

Would you sew it again?
Oh absolutely! I made plans to.

Would you recommend it to others?
Do it!!!

Conclusion:
This is a really nice pattern. Y'all should try it

Friday, July 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Mommie!!!!

Peace. 


I'm really grateful to have my mother. Really. We DON'T get along. And neither of us is about to change. My immediate family was mom dad and brother. I've lost daddy and brother. Mommie is all I have left. Yes I have a husband... But still my Cipher is tiny.

I made this basket for her. She absolutely hates any gift I get for her. And tends to regift. So I hope this makes it easy to pass on.

Love you Monmie!!!!


Peace

PS: she actually spells it Mommie...