08 December 2015

So Here’s The Thing...

I’ve been absent a while. In fact, this is actually my first blog post of the YEAR. I have been SUPER BUSY to say the least.

A little over a year ago, a couple of things happened that HUGELY impacted my life. Outside of one Facebook group in which I’m very active, I pretty much abandoned all forms of social media. I had neither the time nor energy.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a pastor. Well…one thing we do in the African American church is we wear hats. LOL! Well not me. I’m a very occasional hat wearer but I digress. Last September, the day before my husband’s pastoral anniversary celebration, I accompanied a friend (also a pastor’s wife) to a hat show. At the hat show, we met a lady who is also a pastor’s wife. The two of them were talking & somehow it came up that I sew. “Do you sew for others?” she asked. Occasionally. “Do you have any pictures of your work?” CERTAINLY. Long story short, I showed her some pictures I had on my phone and we exchanged contact information. Ok we’ll come back to that later.

Fast forward a few weeks. My friend was having a really hard time finding anything she liked for her husband’s pastoral anniversary celebration. (This is the first thing, by the way). She wanted a specific color. A specific shape. It just was not to be found on the rack. She tried on one of my dresses. She loved the silhouette but it unfortunately didn’t fit.  I convinced her in the 11th hour to let me make something for her. She didn’t want to impose because it was such a last minute thing. Nevertheless, I made the dress - same dress as the one she tried on. We added a sleeve.  It fit beautifully. And she styled it to perfection. She posted a picture on Facebook and tagged me thanking me for making the dress for her. All of a sudden I’m getting friend requests and messages from people asking if I could make the dress for them. What else can I make? How much would I charge? Whoa Nellie! I wasn’t prepared for any of this because I don’t sew by trade. I am a business analyst by day and a hobby sewer by night. The overwhelming response came as a complete shock to BOTH of us. That was in October.

 Lady Carla Nelson wearing vintage-inspired with boat neckline and 3/4 length sleeve.

OK, now remember the lady we met at the hat show? Here comes the 2nd thing yall. Well HER husband’s pastoral anniversary celebration is in November. She initially wanted a dress made for a banquet; but I actually ended up making 2 dresses for her. And she liked the fabric we chose for her banquet dress so much, we bought out the bolt and I later made a 2nd dress from the same fabric. SHE posted pictures on Facebook and once again, my inbox was on fire.

 Lady Doniella Ligon wearing vintage-inspired dress on left and shantung/floral jacquard formalwear on right.

The next several months were a whirlwind of people both locally and across the country wanting me to sew for them. And it all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to really prepare because it was not something I set out to do. So in a nutshell, this has been the reason for my absence.

Right now I’m taking a breather. Just taking some time to regroup and regain some sanity in my personal life. My husband has been EXTREMELY supportive and PATIENT. But right now we just need some “us” time. And I’m thinking long and hard about if I will continue with sewing for hire and in what capacity. I haven't sewn a thing in a month except 2 pillowcases for a gift exchange LOL.

Lady Carla Nelson (left) and Lady Doniella Ligon (right)
both wearing vintage-inspired dress in ivory shantung.

I have been challenged and forced outside of my little comfort zone so much and have grown so much in my skill over the last year. I have so much more to share with you. Over the next series of posts, I’ll be doing somewhat of a year in review and sharing some more of my “client sewing” with you guys and some other things that have transpired.

Stay tuned!

22 December 2014

Happy Holidays

The last several years during the holiday season,  I've made something red to wear to church the week of Christmas.  This year I decided to do something different and used this beautiful emerald green dupioni silk I picked up in New York last month during my birthday trip.  I paired it with black as this is a color combo I've been coveting recently.  I finished off the ensemble with my leopard print BCBG pumps. I'm very pleased with the outcome and got tons and tons of compliments literally all day.
I pray you all have a merry Christmas and a joyful good time with your families!

16 December 2014

Quick Picture Dress

Husband and I had an appointment to take pictures for our Christmas cards this past Saturday and I really wanted to sew a new dress. Between hectic life and being a bit under the weather I didn't start until Wednesday so I needed something that would sew up quickly but still deliver a lot of bang.
I thought Vogue 8615 fit the bill. I've had this pattern in my stash for a while. The fabric I purchased from Joann a couple of months ago.

Pattern review:

Pattern Description: Lined, below mid-knee or below mid-calf dresses A, B have fitted bodice, back neckline is lower than front and three-quarter or full length sleeves, flared skirt has side seam pockets and back zipper. Purchased petticoat and belt. Separate pattern pieces provided for A, B, C, D cup sizes.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut Size 12 with C cup bodice.

The guidelines in the patterns for choosing the correct cup size do not work for me. My bra size is 32D/DD. Based on my measurements, the instructions would have me to cut a B cup. Just for the sake of following instructions, I used the B cup for my muslin. It was much too tight across the bust. I didn't have time for a 2nd muslin so I went up to a C cup for my fashion fabric. The fit was okay but I think I would have probably done better to go ahead and cut the D cup. Next time...Also next time I will use the size 14 sleeves for my chubby arms LOL.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn't follow ALL of the instructions. I read to see how they handled the lining and that was it. I have my own way. Plus I skipped around a bit to accommodate my sewing schedule.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVE the simple design of this dress and that the skirt is so full.

I was REALLY surprised that the pattern did not call for any interfacing or include facings. This time around I simply didn't have time. Next time, I will take the time to draft facings and interface the neckline and back. I didn't experience any drooping thankfully but I think overall it would give a more polished finish.

Fabric Used:
The fabric is a poly jacquard purchased from Joann about 3 months ago. It is no longer available. A client had picked it out for a dress and I liked it so much I bought a bit for myself too. I'm glad I did because it sold out very quickly and has not been restocked.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't line the skirt because I didn't have time.

My soul dies a little bit at the thought of having a seam down my center front. I cut the bodice front on the fold. The fabric wasn't wide enough to cut the skirt on the fold.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I definitely plan to sew this dress again and would absolutely recommend it to others.

I needed a quick dress to wear for Christmas card pics. I cut this dress out and sewed it up in 2 evenings after work. It's a basic silhouette and perfect for letting a beautiful fabric be the star. It is not bra friendly. I had to wear a strapless. I also wore a tulle skirt underneath.

28 October 2014

Sorority Clutch

I was asked to create this clutch for a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. I have orders for 2 more which will be Christmas gifts.

I have made quite a few of these little clutches. Each one unique based on the client's request.

27 October 2014

Inaugural Tulle Skirt

I've been seeing these tulle skirts on trend for well over a year now. And I've been coveting one. However I was very apprehensive about the amount of tulle it would require to make a skirt with the desired fullness. So I kept living vicariously through others.

02 October 2014

The Hell or High Water Dress

There were pictures floating around the online sewing community of Atlanta-based celebrity hair stylist Jasmine Collins wearing these GORGEOUS dresses created by local designer Joshey Casey (couldn't seem to find a website for him).

I don't know if this is her signature look but it's working for her, wouldn't you say?

30 September 2014

New Favorite Dress Pattern + Pattern Review: Burda 7178

I needed a dress for a special service at church and I really wasn't feeling like a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. I had pinned this look a while ago and decided to use this as my inspiration. Simple. Classic.


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