I think this has been a long time in coming for me, but I decided to whack off my hair. It was time for a change and I’ve been feeling the need for something completely different for awhile now. So here’s to a new year and a new do, right! I LOVE my haircut! In my early 20s I did a shortish-pixie cut like this and well, now its time to bring it back.
This brings me to another point. Over the Christmas break, I got caught up on some blog reading and such and found this completely awesome interview done with Sallieoh. I love Sallieoh’s style and sartorial penchant and this particular response really rang true to me:
“I often find that anything too sweet or girly just doesn’t look quite right on me. As much as I love demure little peter pan collars and bows and puffed sleeves and dainty little prints on others – it just looks all wrong on me. Like I’m a 40 year old, hard-living, street-walking woman playing the Lolita. Just kidding. Not really.
I think it took me a little while to figure out that a vintage or rockabilly look was not my friend – which was a bit of a letdown because I generally love the look on others. But once I figured it out it was like a huge liberation! I don’t have to dress that way! I can dress alllll these other ways!
I think this is also where knowing your own body comes into play too. There are certain silhouettes that just aren’t particularly becoming on me. I’m so over trying to beat myself into somebody else’s shape so I can wear a certain type of clothing (if that makes sense) I’d rather just skip the drama and focus on what I know is flattering. And usually it involves something that doesn’t make me feel bad about my 3pm chocolate fix or my love of bread.”
I’ve been kind of grappling with this one for awhile, but I too have found that a lot of vintage and rockabilly styles just aren’t my style. I too love the look on others and really wish I felt like I was comfortable in my own skin when I wear stuff like that, but I’m not. I too look silly in peter pan collars and puffy sleeves and bows (I know this from many failed muslins and personal makes that just never get worn). I feel its interesting to point these things out because for quite awhile there (like the past year and a half), I kind of just felt like I was trying to impersonate someone else’s version of personal style instead of embracing my own. This also led to a general feeling of…. less. Like I was somehow less because I couldn’t do my hair in a victory roll (I have seriously fine/thin hair and when I do any type of updo it looks like I have no hair left!) or wear poufy skirts without looking like I was in costume. And no, this is not what I think of when I see someone else wearing these types of styles, its just a problem I have with how it looks on me.
And you know what? That’s OK, because as Sallieoh says – “I can dress allllll these other ways!” And I can and I intend to.
Whewwwwwwww! I am soooooo glad that is all off my chest now!
You guys, I’m seriously diggin my new cut. I know the pixie cut isn’t for everybody, but for me, its solved like a ton of issues with my hair. For starters the fine/thin issue. Leena, a lady I work with, even told me that my hair just looked too thin for long hair – she totally approves of my spontaneous haircut! I feel like a rockstar! Yay! And now, I feel like I’m in my own skin – Thanks Sallieoh! You are a total enabler and inspiration!
Cheers everyone! Here’s to my new do and a new year full of personal style journeys!
I distinctly recall my first purchase of a Burda World of Fashion magazine (which by the way, is now BurdaStyle magazine). I remember falling absolutely, insanely in love with a dress (that I have yet to make) on the front cover of the magazine and purchasing it up real quick like. I got the magazine home and started flipping through the endless pages of photos of all the patterns in the mag and thinking, “Gosh, this is amazing! All these patterns in one magazine.” I remember when I found this really big sheet of paper at the end of the magazine that had lots and lots of lines all over it and then it hit me like an anvil that those were the actual pattern pieces. There they were all nested like a hot mess on top of each other, and there I was completely horrified at the thought of having to trace one off. This before I even knew that they didn’t have seam allowances to boot. This is not to say that I don’t actually appreciate these types of patterns, I do – especially as they have become more popular in sewing books that come with patterns – its just that I wasn’t educated on how to properly trace a pattern. I had never traced off a pattern before and the idea really perplexed me. For starters, where in the world would I find paper that was big enough? And what would I do then? Just take a pencil and start outlining my size? And what if there were something like 12 – 15 pattern pieces? And then I have to add a seam allowance too? It felt really overwhelming and I think, to someone who has only ever worked with Big 4 patterns (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick & Vogue) and just cut your size from the tissue, you might think the same thing.
Today I wanted to show you two ways to trace off a sewing pattern. Both methods work for tracing off patterns that come nested on one big sheet of paper and those that come in an envelope too. If you are asking why you would want to trace off an envelope pattern, rather than just cutting out your size, I would say that choice is up to you. If you feel that its a pattern you’ll keep in your stash forever and want to wear again when you’re 40 but at the moment, you’re 25, trace it because its almost guaranteed that you’re body will change as you age putting you in a different size bracket. If not, don’t trace it and just cut your pattern size from the tissue. Ok? Ok.
I’ve tried many methods for tracing off a pattern, so as one who is always looking for the latest and greatest in pattern tracing technology (ha ha!) I’ll show you my two favorites. First, let’s start with the less expensive. To trace in this manner you’ll need three elements:
Layout your pattern with the piece you want to trace facing up. Lay the medical exam paper or paper of your choice on top of the pattern and then lay down a few heavy objects (like cans of food or pattern weights) or pin the trace off paper to the pattern so the papers don’t slip and slide around. From there, start the tracing game. Trace off your size, with the aid of the ruler (seriously, this is a TON easier with a ruler), label your pattern piece and if needed, add the seam allowance. Adding that seam allowance is made only about 1000 times easier with one of those 2″ x 18″ gridded rulers. In addition, you’ll use that sucker for so many other things, its not even funny. Get one. You know you need it. By the way, I have 3 because I loose these puppies all the time and having more than one makes it a bunch easier to find at least one….
Method #2 – Sunni’s favorite method of all time!
This is the best, easiest, coolest method on the face of the planet, for tracing off a pattern! If you’re in it to win it, and save yourself a butt-load of precious time (because who has that in abundance these days), you need the following:
- Paper – again, my favorite is medical exam paper, but for this method any paper will really do ya.
- Waxed Tracing Paper – this stuff is fabulous, amazing, the best thing since sliced bread and anything else you can possibly imagine.
- Double Tracing Wheel – this is a FREAKING GODSEND when it comes to those Burda magazine patterns that need a seam allowance because this little doodad will trace off and add the seam allowance in one. fell. swoop. You can also use a regular old tracing wheel too, so no pressure or anything.
You’re going to make a little trace off sandwich here. First, lay out the tracing paper with the waxy side up – by the way, the blue and red are the best for this sort of thing. Then lay your paper of choice on top of that. Add your pattern on top of that and slap down a few pattern weights and you’re good to trace. Take your tracing wheel and start a tracing yo. That’s right, I said, YO! No pain. Less time consuming and well, less mental and emotional trauma. In addition, of you don’t have concerns about the fit, you can actually use this method directly on the final fabric. Or you can use this method directly on muslin too. Whatevs. To make the sandwich with fabric, I lay down the fabric first with the wrong sides out, then the tracing paper face down on the fabric, then the pattern.
A word about tools for this method. I sell all the tools here for doing both methods in my shop. You can find that stuff here. The wax tracing paper is huge and will last a long time – like years. The medical exam paper will last quite a long time too it being 75 yards and all. The double tracing wheel is so cool! Here’s some up close shots, just in case you were curious as to how this works. It works by repositioning the pegs that have the actual wheel on them. You can reposition them to any width from 1/4″ to 1 1/4″. Or you can just use one peg and ditch the other one if your pattern has seam allowances already. Whatever.
If you’re newer to tracing off sewing patterns, I truly hope this little tutorial has helped give you a few options to think about. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat, and knowing that is half the battle. So there you go. My two favorite ways to skin a cat, I mean trace off a sewing pattern. In addition, because I feel SOOOOOOO passionately about this subject, I made my first ever video. I hope you like it. It will give you a quick and dirty action packed run down of what I’m talking about here.
Don’t use either of the methods above? How do you trace off a pattern?
Here is my first project of 2013. Pants. Told ya! To boot, I made these pants to go specifically with this top. Kind of a random choice because its not like this top is a NWG or anything. But I love this color combo (marroon and coral) and ever since purchasing this wool from Wool House at the American Sewing Expo last September (I totally understand if. you’re. jealous!), I’ve been scheming as to what the wool would eventually be. When a lady I work with gave me this little maroon wool sweater, it cinched the deal. Coral wool pants. You can call me crazy, but seriously what beats these babies?
I’m pretty ashamed that I haven’t sewn more pants. Seriously, pants are truly something that I love wearing and am always thinking that I need to make and yet, I never do. So I feel that I’ve started this year off on the right foot with my first pair of pants in a quite some time (like since my pj pants from last year, ha). What’s that? You want details? Of course you do! This is BurdaStyle 7447 which is an envelope pattern. And don’t get me started on how I’m completely confused as to the fact that there are BurdaStyle downloadable patterns without seam allowances and BurdaStyle magazine patterns without seam allowances and yet the envelope patterns have seam allowances but seem to be owned by Simplicity….? Whatevs. This pattern is impeccably drafted and I think would work for a variety of different shapes.
They are a basic trouser and I made very few alterations to them. I added a little length to the crotch depth and took them in a smidge from the waist to the knee, but otherwise, these didn’t require very much tweaking. I’m seriously impressed with the fit myself as usually I have a pretty hard time with Butterick/McCalls/Vogue/Simplicity pants patterns. The back looks fabulous as does the front and side and I’m terribly terribly happy with this pattern. There’s a couple more tweaks I plan to make to the pattern for the next time around, which is going to be quite soon as I already have the next pair cut and ready to sew but otherwise, I’m a pretty happy camper.
These pants are fully lined, which is harder than you might think with a fly front. Going to work on perfecting that for my next go around and I made the mistake of not putting in a better pocket lining fabric (like pocketing) for the pocket lining and engineering a better pocket in general. So the pocket lining inevitably peeks out a bit and since I used a lighter colored lining than the fabric, well, its doesn’t look as professional as it could. No matter. They will still get worn and worn to death!
I used Stitches&Seams absolutely AWESOME fly zipper insertion tutorial. Seriously friends, you can’t improve on this rather foolproof way of putting in a fly zip. The tutorial is very clear and concise and hands down one of the easiest zipper insertions in a fly, I’ve ever done. I mean, doesn’t my fly look pretty professional? Very flat and doesn’t pull or distort weird in any place.
I chopped the length off because I wanted a more cropped style pant and I omitted the carriers this time around, but will probably opt for them next time. The welt pockets in the back need to come down about an inch but otherwise, I’ve got myself a pretty good trouser pattern. Its definitely going to be a year of pants people! I’ve decided that I’m moving onto the Sewaholic’s Thurlow pattern next and after that, I’m going to revisit my Clover pattern. Are y’all ready for a pants journey with me?
And for what’s its worth, cause it might be worth alot, this is what the pants look like after I wore them for a day too. The lining really helps the pants to resist wrinkling (and wrinkling isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you know). They are incredibly comfortable too, which is exactly why I have to have another pair, poste haste.
Sewing is messy. Am I right, or am I right? As such, I continually look for ways to contain projects these days. Here’s one such idea that I’ve found very useful. I’ve been on a bit of a shoe buying binge lately. So shoot me! For some reason, I just needed shoes (like a hole in my head!). Especially shoes that were flat and less stiletto style and that could actually be worn on a daily basis. My whole Everyday Wardrobe thing, you know.
Anyway, shoe fetish aside, I procured two perfectly sized shoe boxes to hold sewing projects that I’m working on. By sewing project I mean the whole shebang: the actual project/cloth/pattern pieces, the sewing pattern and special tools I’m using for the project like special chalks, ribbons, buttons, tapes, etc. I’m constantly misplacing things like that and I can waste an inordinate amount of time looking for a said button. Freak!!! If I had a nickel for every time I lost something – in my small sewing room, no less – I’d be able to pay someone to organize stuff around here! Sheesh! It can be terribly annoying, but when you have it all contained, well there you go.
Like I stated, I have two boxes because some projects are bigger than others. I have a pretty regular sized shoe box, the one you see here and then I have a knee-length boot size shoe box that can hold bigger projects. The bigger shoe box was especially helpful with my man’s winter coat. I kept everything for that coat in that box and it was so easy to just open it up and find everything in there. Easy to clean up too. Like when I need to quickly get my table ready for some other thing I’m doing, all I have to do is throw everything back in the shoe box and then I have containment. It also can make projects portable. When I’m working on a project somewhere else, I can just take my shoe box with me – albeit people think I’m off my rocker a bit, but big deal.
Kind of seems a little silly, but seriously, this idea has saved me from loosing many odds and ends lately and I just had to share. Do you do anything like this? How do you keep all the bits and baubles for one project together?
By the way, the project you see in the shoe box here are some coral pants that I was working on. I know, coral pants. They turned out to be pretty awesome! I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the finished project – I know I have.
Sigh… I really hope you all had a wonderful holiday season (with just a little bit more around the corner, it being New Year’s and all)! I must have been super naughty this year as I received a pretty severe cold, cough and flu for Christmas. I contracted the flu virus from hell and was knocked flat in bed for, wait for it…..6 whole days! 6 whole days including Christmas! It was AWFUL! I’ve still got the after shocks going on – a little congestion, a little cough and a little fatigue. All in all though, I’m feeling so much better. Thank goodness! I had meant to put up a slew of holiday posts this year, but you know what they say about best laid plans. Oh well!
The mister and I were able to get out on Christmas day for a very very short walk. I was still feeling pretty crummy, but I managed to take a few snapshots in my cloudy half doped up on flu meds stupor. Those results are what you see here. A small bit of Christmas cheer, which is what I needed I think. Sickness aside, I wanted to chime in with a few New Year’s Sewing Resolutions! Yay!
I have had an amazing 2012! So many new and exciting opportunities came my way and I would be seriously rotten if I didn’t say that I wasn’t so happy to have participated in so many events and such. I was able to spread my wings a little and start teaching sewing locally, something that I truly love! The shop has really been hopping (we closed up for a bit, but the shop is now back up and running!). I also think I stretched myself with a few projects and even though I didn’t get as much sewing in as I wanted to this past year, that’s going to change this year.
visit my pinterest board for image links
Speaking of change I wanted to forecast my own small sewing resolutions for 2013. I don’t like to overload my plate with too many resolutions that I know I’ll end up overwhelming myself with and not doing, but instead just like to make one or two that I feel I can handle. With that in mind, I’ve determined that this year will be the year of the pant! Or trousers, if you like. I have but two pairs of pants and I feel that I always find myself wanting to reach for a pair of pants on a daily basis. Don’t fret, I could never put aside my love for dresses and skirts, but I feel its time for pants to make a serious come back in my life. I plan to conquer several different styles and fits that I can turn to again and again when I need them. Also tops! I’ll be tackling that basic button-up shirt this year for sure in addition to filling in my top (less) wardrobe.
visit my pinterest board for image links
In addition, its also going to be a stash busting year. I’m overflowing with fabric and I feel its adding to a general sense of feeling constantly overwhelmed. I am determined to stash bust and get through a substantial portion of my stash this year. I find I am one of those people who generally have something very specific in mind when it comes to what I want to make next and funny enough, the fabric I want never seems to be in my stash. So I think if I do some stash busting and limit myself to how much fabric I can really have and store, I’ll be better able to make sound fabric purchasing decisions – only when I need to.
What are some of your 2013 sewing resolutions? Have you thought about something you are chomping at the bit to make? Ready to fill a gap in your wardrobe?
I truly do hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Have a very Happy New Year too – please be safe! Happy, Happy New Year! Let’s ring in 2013!