sewing

Reading This Post *Might* Help You To Get Your Sewing Motivation Back

Yesterday I was having a conversation with one of my sew sisters about how much more excited and motivated I have been about my sewing these last few weeks.

99.9% of our conversations revolve around sewing. We are often caught up in conversations about what we want to make, what somebody else just made, the latest pattern releases, or some beautiful piece of fabric that we just picked up.

While we are both obviously OBSESSED with sewing, it’s fair to say that we both struggle to actually do the thing that we love…..that is SEW.

Staying consistently motivated to sew is a real challenge for most sewists and finding the fix for that dilemma can be quite elusive.

In today’s post I’ll be sharing the one thing that I was doing to myself that was slowly destroying my desire to sew.

Making Poor Choices

In a nutshell I was making all the wrong choices for the wrong reasons. (The subject of a future post perhaps)

  • Sewing the wrong styles for my bodyshape – Doing this just brought on headaches caused by a multitude of sewing adjustments and finished pieces that didn’t flatter my bodyshape as well as it did the other person that I saw wearing it.
  • Sewing the wrong styles for my personal tastes and/or everyday lifestyle – Although I love the drama of a full ball style floor length maxi skirt and the chicness of a slick jumpsuit neither of them work well for my everyday lifestyle.
  • Making the wrong fabric and pattern combinations – Some visions can never be realized. A beautiful stiff fabric can never become a soft and flowy piece.

All of which either lead to an uncompleted or unwearable project.

And even if I managed to complete the project and muster up the courage to let others see it and they liked it, it still felt like a failure because in the end I didn’t like it and most likely didn’t ever wear it again.

My recent fasts and purges have really encouraged me to keenly tune in to what pieces work for me and what pieces don’t. Zeroing in on this has led me to make better choices in both my fabric and pattern selections which have in turn led to more successful makes, pieces that I love to wear.

The more successful my makes, the more motivated I am to keep making.

Of course your reasons for losing your SewJo might be a little different from mine but the first step to finding the fix is to first figure out your reasons for losing yours.

Once you figure that out you can start to come up with a workable solution.

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Bloom Where You’re Planted – A Floral Maxi Dress

About a year ago, I decided to go on a Disposable and Fast Fashion fast. While I am still not making purchases from larger retailers, I have begun to make purchases from local small businesses. Today’s look is this creamy white bold floral maxi that I picked up from a pop-up shop that was hosted by a local retailer that I met over on Instagram. Per the label, it was made in the USA and is a super soft and comfy blend of Polyester (95%) and Spandex (5%) that doesn’t require dry cleaning.

I really, really love this dress. Floral prints are not my usual taste but I was really drawn to this one. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down, literally! While it has this pretty, romantic Marie Antoinette vibe that is USUALLY NOT me, it’s expressed in a way that is me. The florals are bold and the colors are unexpectedly earthy like me.

How I Wore It

I paired it with a dainty rose gold earring and necklace set and rosegold framed aviator style sunglasses.

and this dark green Michael Kors satchel that was gifted to me by a dear friend.

and these fun Rose Gold open toe ruffle accented chucky heeled sandals.

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Setting Up A Sewing Space When You Don’t Have A Spare Room

Carving out a creative space in a home where there is not a room to spare can be real tricky . This was the challenge that I recently faced when I had to trade my 6’×9′ sewing nook for a home based office.

After carefully considering every square inch of my 1600 sq ft home, the most suitable space for sewing ended up being our Dining Room which is a part of an L-Shaped Living & Dining Room Combo.

Admittedly, setting up space for sewing in a public space that has to pull double duty is not easy but with a little forethought, planning, and good storage it can work out well.

Today I’ll be sharing a few pictures of my new sewing space along with some of the storage solutions and tricks that I’ve used to keep my creative space functional and tidy.

If you are in a similar situation as mine and you have some tips to share, please drop a line or two in the comment section below.

Why I Chose My Dining Room

Sitting and sewing in this room on a sunny day is the best!

The main reason I am using my dining room is because I like where it’s situated in the house. While I don’t have a door for closing it off from the rest of the house, it occupies the part of the house that I don’t spend a lot of time in. And although it sits near the front entrance to the house, it sits back off to the left side of my living room space, so it’s not readily seen by visitors.

I also like that it isn’t carpeted. Straight pins and wall to wall carpet can quickly become a safety hazard. Having the hard floor covered with a low pile rug eliminates this issue.

As a bonus, the space also sits near a pair of French doors which open to the outside and it has high ceilings, which makes it a really airy and light filled space.

Dispersing & Purging

Before making the move, I took inventory of my sewing machines, sergers, sewing patterns, notions, and fabric stash. After doing so, I quickly realized that there was no way that I would be able to move all of my sewing stuff into my small 10 X 10 Dining Room. To make the space work I would have to get rid of some things and move some other things around .

Because I wanted the Dining Room to primarily look like and also function as a dining space, I needed to keep my dining table, chairs and buffet. But keeping these pieces would mean that I wouldn’t be able to add much more to the space.

Prior to the move I had purchased a shallow 3 drawer storage cabinet to hold my 200+ sewing pattern collection. With no space in my Living Room or Dining Room to accommodate the piece, I decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to reduce my pattern stash.

My former Pattern Storage Cabinet sits in my home office and now holds my other non-sewing Crafting Supplies. I reduced from 200+ sewing patterns down to around 50 – 60.

I decided to take a different approach with my fabric. Although I have purged a few pieces, I decided to keep most of my fabric. I placed off season fabric in boxes that are being stored on a shelf in the top of a bedroom closet. Current season textiles,not planned for immediate use are being stored in my foyer inside a painted black wooden bench and in my office inside a pair of rolling stacking wicker chests.

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This is the black painted storage bench that sits in my foyer. I purchased this storage bench unfinished and used it to hold my kid’s school supplies for many years, but now that I only have one kid in school, I don’t need to store as many school supplies, so I am now using the bench to hold my seasonal fabrics.
I found these roomy stacking wicker chests at my local Home Goods. They also hold seasonal fabrics. The most awesome thing about these is that the larger one has wheels on the bottom which makes moving  around my heavy fabrics really easy.

Sewing supplies and notions were moved to my dining buffet after I reorganized and cleaned out the stuff that wasn’t needed or being used. I usually sit right in front of the Buffet while sewing, so it’s really easy for me to get to any sewing notions or tools that I might need while cutting out or sewing.

Perhaps one of my favorite features in the space is my PGM dress form. It’s awesome how what she is wearing matches the room decor.

To accommodate my sewing machine, serger, sewing patterns, and a few notions I was able to add a tall shelf in the corner. To keep my machines from being the focus, I placed them on the lower shelf and placed more decorative items on the higher shelves.

I only made one storage purchase for the space and that was a wicker storage chest to hold fabrics for my current projects.

Here’s the tall metal and wood shelf that I moved from my former sewing nook. The top 4 shelves hold a lamp, decorative items, zippers in jars, and the wicker chest filled with my sewing patterns. My sewing machine and serger are sitting  out of the way on the bottom shelf .

Both sewing and cutting take place on my Dining Table. I keep both of my self healing cutting mats hidden under a protective table pad and table cloth.

I use a table pad/protector underneath my table cloth to protect my cutting mats from spills and heat.

In the Living Room, I use a couple of shelves in a black painted cabinet to store my iron, 2nd serger and sewing machine. I even store some items under my skirted sofa in the Living Room like my over sized cardboard cutting board, pattern tracing paper and interfacing on the bolt.

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I purchased this piece from Home Depot a few years ago. It is part of their Home Decorator collection. It is one of the smartest purchase that I have ever made. In addition to holding sewing supplies, it now holds a small library of books, my daughter’s school supplies and a few other random items.

Keeping It Tidy

Perhaps the biggest challenge of sewing in a public space is keeping it tidy. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill to fix that dilemma but good storage is definitely key.

Hidden Storage. In order to make that as easy as possible, I have incorporated a lot of hidden storage. In fact, much of what I use for sewing is stored behind closed doors and I love it that way because the spaces where I sew and store my sewing stuff are also my receiving and entertaining spaces.

Convenient Storage. Because the sewing and storage areas are convenient to one another, setting up and breaking down the space for sewing is relatively quick, easy, and painless.

Additionally, items I use most often are stored in the dining room and items that I use less frequently are stored elsewhere but still close by.

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The Bardot Top – M7686

Pattern Description:
Close fitting off the shoulder tops elasticized neckline and sleeve variations. I sewed view F.

Pattern Sizing: 6 – 14. I sewed a size 14 but I should have sewn a 12. This pattern has a good amount of ease.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? No dislikes

Fabric Used: I found a fleece backed Jersey knit at one of the local discount fabric stores.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No alterations or design changes on this one…..I do think that my fabric was a little too thick, but it still worked out. The fleece lining made it extremely comfortable and warm to wear in the cool weather.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I am not sure that I will need another top like this one anytime soon but I will hang on to the pattern just in case. This is a classic style.

Conclusion: Great pattern. Very quick and easy.

Love how it pairs with my new satin half circle skirt.

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The Pretty Satin Skirt & The Thrifted Black Sweater

One of my goals this year is to add more thrifted/rescued pieces to my wardrobe.

Three years ago I realized that I wasn’t making the best choices when I shopped second hand. As a rule, much of what I was buying would end up right back at the thrift store.

So I took some time off from shopping second hand so that I could get crystal clear about my style and also establish some ground rules before making any more purchases.

Basically, I decided that I will ONLY purchase items that I would be willing to pay full retail for and pieces that I would actually wear regularly in real life.

These are also the rules that I currently live by when it comes to choosing items that I sew.

The pieces in today’s outfit post definitely embody and embrace my current ideals.

In today’s post, I am wearing a fun self drafted green satin half circle skirt paired with a thrifted black high neck cropped rabbit angora sweater.

Although a little fancy, I think this piece is very versatile. It can be dressed up or down with just a simple change of top, shoes and accessories.

I accesorized the outfit with:

  • A black and gold accented clutch
  • Black suede/Calf-hair leopard print pumps
  • Gold Statement Earring & Necklace Set and stacked thin gold bangle bracelets.

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The Green Velvet Wide Leg Pants – M7757

When clothes don’t fit properly it can make you feel like there is something wrong with your body but the truth of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with your body.

Your body is Unique and Exceptional & Ready To Wear (RTW) can’t handle that!

While our bodies come in different shapes and sizes RTW clothes usually do not. RTW pieces are made to a standard set of measurements to accomodate mass production. And the same is true with sewing patterns (exception-custom ordered patterns), they are also drafted to a standard set of measurements.

That being said, when it comes to sewing, even a simple style can initially take a little extra time and effort to properly fit. Take these simple wide leg pants for example. There are only 3 pattern pieces but I had to make a test garment to ensure that the pants fit me.

As it turns out, the crotch was hanging too low in the back,and the waistline needed to be graded down on the side seams to a small/xtra small and I added 2 inches to the leg length.

Based on needed alterations and fabric choice an 1 – 2 hour project can turn into a half of day project. But it’s all so worth it, when the project turns out well.

Pattern Description: off the shoulder top and trousers! Loose fitting tops with an elasticised neckline and waist. Also features sleeve variations. The loose fitting, pull on trousers have an elasticised waist and pockets.

Pattern Sizing: XS – M

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? I did not use them but these are super easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved that the pants only have 3 pieces. Now that I have worked out the fit to my liking I plan to modify and use this pattern for all of my stretch fabric pull on wide leg pants. as a staple pattern.

Fabric Used: Olive Green Stretch Velvet from Fine Fabrics

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I raised the back crotch 1.5 inches because my pants pull down in the back seat area. I eliminated the pockets because I was using a clingy velvet and didnt want the bulk. I added 2 inches to the hem and left the edges raw because I don’t mine them like that. If I make another pair with intentions of hemming, I will add a couple more inches. I didn’t want a roll down casing, so I created a seperate casing for the elastic. I like that look better for these pants.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I only plan to sew 3 pant styles this year and this style and pattern made the cut.

Conclusion:
Overall, I am really pleased with how these turned out.

How I Wore It

I paired my wide leg pants with a thrifted fitted Saks Fifth Avenue black wool sweater.

I added a Black Contemporary gridded statement necklace, stacked gold thin bangle bracelets and gold framed aviator sunnies.

I added a gold accented clutch and black pointed toe sling backs.