A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

The Last of Self Stitched September

I wasn’t able to post last Sunday, so this post is extra long as I decided to fit all of those days up until the end. What can I say? I’m utterly exhausted. It’s been a very good journey for me and one that ultimately I’m quite glad I took. I learned so much, not only about my wardrobe, but about myself. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more about my thoughts and then you won’t hear anymore Self Stitched September ramblings.

Day 20.

Today is one of those days where nothing in my outfit quite matches each other and oddly enough somehow, it works. This skirt is a recent addition to my wardrobe, the result of sew-a-long I hosted on my blog. It’s made from the Jenny Skirt pattern from Burda Style. The corsage is also a little something I whipped up earlier this year. You can find the tutorial for the corsage here on my blog.

Skirt – from the Jenny Skirt pattern, Burda Style
Blouse – Target
Corsage – handmade by me
Belt – bought from an estate sale
Shoes – Chinese Laundry

Day 22.

On Day 22 I had to work during the day and attend a wedding that evening. This skirt you’ve seen and also my purple dress. The skirt is from McCall’s 5591 (Day 14) and the dress is from Newlook 6674 (Day 13).

Day outfit:
Cardi – Old Navy
Blouse – Old Navy
Skirt – self stitched from McCall’s 5591
Belt – Target
Shoes – Miz Mooz

Evening outfit:
Dress – self stitched from Newlook 6674
Shoes – Nordstrom Preview
Jewels – My great grandmother’s

Day 23.

This is the exact same outfit from Day 9. I love this cardi and it felt like the easiest and most perfect outfit to wear today.

Cashmere sweater – repurposed by me from a men’s cardigan
Trousers – thrifted
Shoes – White Mountain

Day 24.

An unexpected outfit for me today. I didn’t realize that this top and skirt went so well together. I’m in love with the color scheme of it. This blouse is one you have seen before, in Day 4, made from a vintage 1970’s sewing pattern.

Blouse – self stitched from McCall’s 6367
Skirt – Anthropologie
Shoes – Urban Outfitters
Belt – Target

Day 27.

You saw these pants in Day 2 and Day 17. They are pretty fabulous, have to admit. And unfortunately, the only pair of self stitched pants I own. I will be doing something about that this Fall, you can bet your bottom dollar. I thought it would be rather fun to give you a shot of these pants in action, I mean they can even swing…

Blouse – Banana Republic
Slacks – self stitched from the Bella pattern, Burda Style
Shoes – White Mountain
Sunglasses – Girlprops.com

Day 28.

Another day, another job, not just another dress. My naughty secretary scopes out the danger once more, even in heels, even in the dead of 90+ degree weather, even in fields of dry desert grass….A regular Nancy Drew. The stylish sleuth saves the day again!

Dress – self stitched from Simplicity 2724
Shoes – Urban Outfitters
Belt – American Eagle
Jewels – handmade

Day 30.

The final day of Self Stitched September. It has definitely been a September I will never forget. I’m wearing my Jenny skirt for the occasion and enjoying every last stitch of it. Happy Self Stitched September Everyone!

Blouse – Old Navy
Cardi – Old Navy
Skirt – self stitched from Jenny skirt pattern from Burda Style
Belt – Kohl’s
Shoes – Chinese Laundry

Not all the days are here as you can see. Some days were just too busy to take a photo. Some days I didn’t even get out of my pjs. Ah well! I’m happy!

  • Marybeth - You have such great style! Oh, and btw, that you so much for posting about where you shop for fabric… I found some cool things at Super Buzzy! Have a wonderful week :)))
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  • Tilly - Still can’t get over how gorgeous that skirt is. Swoon…
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  • chie - that skirt is gorgeous! great fabric selection – love it.
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  • Belly - I LOVE how you styled your Jenny skirt (in the 1st and last pictures). You have an amazing eye for color.
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  • Emily - I love the fabric you picked for your Jenny skirt. The picture of you on day 23 could be in a magazine. I chuckled at your Nancy Drew description. Thanks for an inspiring month!
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  • Tasia - Love your Jenny skirt! You look fabulous in all your outfits :)
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For All You Fabric Addicts Out There

If you’re going to sew, you’re going to want to buy fabric. Fabric is my Magnificent Obsession, and if you’ve ever seen that movie, you know what I mean. I really love fabric. I love everything about it from the selection of it, to the purchasing, to the pre-washing, ironing, cutting into, sewing and wearing. I am a true fabric addict. Lately I’ve been receiving quite a few emails about where I buy my fabric. I think you all know what you want in a fabric, the problem is finding it.

My purple dress fabric found in a different color scheme at Super Buzzy

 If you live in a place like me, it seems that quilting cottons have taken over the fabric world. These are sweet and fun, but many of these are a little too overwhelming to make into garments. I have yet to find a physical fabric store locally, dedicated to fashion fabrics for garment sewing. I mean there are Joanns and Hancocks here, all with a very mediocre selection of fashion fabrics. The funny thing is that these stores tend to have more fashion fabrics than quilting cottons, but the polyester content of nearly every bolt in the store is overwhelming. At Joann’s, they have an interesting and very small assortment of dupioni silks and wools. And I’m talking about 100% natural fibers here, not synthetics. It is rare that I use a synthetic or synthetic blend fabric and that because I don’t like the feeling of them against my skin, I hate the way they iron up and their drape is rather funky. So if you are anything like me, you’ve had to take your search online.

So, for all of you fabric addicts out there, here is the list of online fabric shops that I frequent in no particular order:

Silk print from Thai Silks

Thai Silks – I love their selection of charmeuse silk prints, not to mention they have the best price on organza I have found. And we’re talking about real silk here. You won’t find synthetics here. And they have fantastic shipping. I always get my package lightening fast!

Lilac Cashmere
from Mood

Mood Fabrics – Great selection of solid silk charmeuse and they always have a rather fun selection of seasonal fabrics. When it gets close to winter they come out with their woolens and in the spring, its time for linens and such. I like their selection, but I will say that their shipping is atrocious. The last time I bought something from them, it took 2 1/2 weeks to get here.

A gorgeous shirting from Gorgeous Fabrics

Gorgeous Fabrics – Ann has beautiful fabrics. Really really beautiful fabrics. She also gives you a fun description of the fabric to read complete with sewing pattern suggestions. All of her fabrics are for garment sewing and that’s the biggest reason I love her shop, that and she’s a real person too!

Echino Birdsong Fabric – Super Buzzy

Super Buzzy – These are japanese import quilting fabrics, however these fabrics aren’t just made of cotton usually. I bought my purple dress fabric from here and it is a cotton/linen blend. And I don’t usual like cotton/linen blends, but the Japanese have a beautiful way of making high quality fabrics. They have rather fantastic, saturated prints and they are rather dreamy to sew up.

A lovely plaid wool (that I have and just cut a circle skirt from) from Trim Fabrics

Trim Fabrics – A gorgeous selection of wool is here. Two of my most favorite pieces of wool came from these folks, the fabric for my red dress and a yellow plaid which is earmarked for a circle skirt. Both are beautiful and very high quality.

Houndstooth Veveteen – Fashion Fabrics Club

Fashion Fabrics Club – This online store feels so much like walking into a fabric store that you rummage through, except there are tons and tons of choices of great fabrics. They have an enormous selection and I usually go here with something very specific in mind.

A new line of fabrics with voiles and velvets included from Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner – I can’t keep my eyes off of some of the quilting cottons. I’m naturally drawn to prints and colors and this quilting cotton designer has started getting her hands into different types of cottons. She’s come out with a great line of cotton voiles and swiss dot cottons and she’s soon to release more of these with some cotton velvet mixed in. All I can say is fun. I do an Etsy search for these fabrics.

Don’t forget about your local thrift stores and estate/garage sales either. You can sometimes find great vintage sheets, fabrics and even sewing patterns here. At least I do.

Hopefully, if you are interested in garment sewing, this list of places can give you a place to start looking for fashion fabrics. It’s taken years for me to build up my list, and I’m always on the lookout for new online shops. I would love to hear about your favorite online shops too! I do realize that this list is more geared towards U.S. stitchers, so definitely give your input for your favorite online fabric stores if you live in a different part of the world!

Looking for any fabric in particular this time of year? I know I’m up for a pair or two of some beautiful wool trousers. Especially since I’ve been reading Pants for Real People.

Happy Fabric Finding Adventures!

  • Dori - As much as I would love to use natural fabrics, aren’t they a lot more difficult to care for? I usually make clothing for my daughter, but I tend to use polyester blends because they seem to be much more durable and stain resistant. All I have time for is to throw fabric into the washing machine.
    How do you care for your fabrics? Dry clean? Hand wash? Machine wash on gentle cycle? Any tips?
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  • Patty - Dori – I get where you’re coming from! I like natural fabrics a lot more too, but worry about the care. Although, that’s motivated by laziness and the fact that in our house, all post-sewing garment care is handled by my husband and I need to remember to tell him special care notes. Which I usually forget!
    Sunni!! OMIGOODNESS – 2 posts in a row of the super-helpful variety! My neigbors probably think I’ve gone around the bend because of the photo shoots going on in the back yard! i can’t get my tripod legs to stay put, so the camera is sitting on rainbarrels, rose bushes, window ledges…. It’s just me back there, acting like a teenage girl pretending to be a super model! And thanks for the fabric links! There’s one or two I haven’t checked out!
    I have a HORRIBLE TIME even considering ordering fabric online! I can’t feel it! I can’t trust the colors! I am all about instant gratification! Do you order swatches? Have you ever returned??
    And I just thought I’d add – I live in Minneapolis, and locally I shop at Hancock/Joanns, Crafty Planet (awesome quilting cottons and Colette patterns in the store), Sewtropolis (awesome quilting cottons and Hot Patterns in the store) and our very own scary fabric warehouse, SR Harris!
    I’m putting BOTH this post and the last on my little favorites bar! Yay!
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  • Rachel - Thank you so much for sharing those fabric sites. I had forgotten about some of them and one I had never heard of. BTW, your dress is GORGEOUS!!!!
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  • Mary - Hi Sunni,
    Great post! I also love Fabric.com…just finished over there because they are having a great sale!!! Not that I am trying to tempt you at all! :)
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  • Karen - I have to de-lurk to mention a local store–you’re in SLC, right? It’s Yellow Bird Fabrics and the owner only carries natural fibers for garment sewing (no quilting cottons!). The shop is tiny but there’s a really great selection. Go visit! http://yellowbirdfabrics.blogspot.com/
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  • Becky - Thanks for sharing these! I also live in a place where Joann’s is the only game in town (we had Hancock’s for awhile, but they folded within a couple of years). I still find things I like at Joann’s, but have had to go online more often within the last couple of years. I already knew of a few, like Mood and Gorgeous Fabrics (and Fabric.com, of course), but I will definitely have to check a few of these out! Especially Thai Silks– I have a plan formulating in my mind for a little black dress out of silk jersey, and was really not liking the $30-a-yard price tag at Mood! So maybe I’ll have better luck there…
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  • Jenna - Thank you for sharing! As a beginning seamstress, I’m getting my fabric primarilly from Joanne’s & Hancocks, but, as you said, they have a limited selection. I can’t wait to start shopping!
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  • juebejue - wow, thanks so much! you have a lot of sources i didnt know about, and yes, i had been eyeing your purple dress and trying to find good border prints. they are gorgeous! thanks a bunch!!
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  • Rachel - I have a question about your gorgeous purple dress. I forgot to ask it in my previous comment. Is the bodice of the dress the same fabric as the skirt? I notice that it has a different print and I was just wondering.
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  • bookette - I, too, live in Utah, and it’s dismal on the fashion fabric front. Fabric Mill used to be great for knits, but they’ve been taken over by quilting cottons, too, like so many others.
    During a visit to Chicago, I discovered Vogue Fabrics. They generally have the leftovers of high-end RTW, which means you could make your own Ann Klein silk blouse, but in your own style. I saw so many fabrics there that I’d just seen in the clothing stores, and for bargain prices. They also have an online store, http://www.voguefabricsstore.com which I’ve yet to order from, so I can’t speak to their shipping. They do carry tons of great woolens, silks, and garment-worthy cottons.
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  • Sarah - Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Sunni. My all-time favourite fabric store is Hawthorne Threads: http://www.hawthornethreads.com/
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  • Katie H. - Anna Maria Horner is a long time favorite fabric designer of mine. There is just something about her fabrics I adore. When Good Folks came out I ran out and bought a yard to experiment with. I was so excited that at the cutting counter I told the older woman I had been “lusting after this fabric”. I instantly felt like a weird creepo for saying that. My husband was with me at the time and he still teases me. What can I say, I love pretty fabric!!
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  • Tenshi - I never ever use anything that contains more than 4% elasthane in terms of synthetic fibers. I simply don’t like them. They’re plastic, and plastic is an inferior material in my eyes.
    So, it’s cottons, linens, silks and wools for me. And trust me, I wash everything in my washing machine, from my silk satin ballgown (with handstitched hem) over handknitted socks to cotton jersey shirts, cotton voile dresses, my wool jacket.
    For silks and wools, I use wool washing agent and the wool washing cycle (no spinning, only 30°C), and all the rest goes into normal washing (40-60°C, seldom 90°C, 1000U/min). I don’t own a laundry dryer though, I hang everything and wait for it to dry. Oh, it does mean a lot of ironing, though – I have to iron everything that’s not jersey (which might explain my love for cotton jersey).
    I think dry cleaning is much more aggressive than a bit of water and a drop auf washing agent.
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  • Dori - Really, silk and wool isn’t harmed in the washing machine? I’m thinking of converting, but only if I’m making things for me and my hubby. As much as I would like to use nicer material for my daughter (she’s three), she’ll just grow out of it, or stain it completely. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to take care of her wardrobe.
    What brand of wool washing agent do you recommend?
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - I 1000% agree with you Tenshi. And in fact this is my exact process too! Surprisingly I’ve washed all of my wools on gentle and in cold and hang them dry and they are never damagaed. However, when I’ve had my wools or silks dry cleaned, they have an awful toxic moth ball smell, so I don’t do it anymore. I ALWAYS preshrink fabrics, especially wool as it will shrink the first time. After I finish a garment, I don’t wash it unless it needs it and then I wash on gentle, in cold and hang dry. I do have to iron alot. The only exception to this rule is coats and jackets. I find they do better being dry cleaned after the garment is finished.
    Dori, I really hope this helps. I’ve read alot where others dry clean everything and I find it completely unecessary and have actually had some of my garments/fabric ruined at the dry cleaners. I use liquid detergent, usually an eco friendly brand but any will do, to wash my garments.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Karen, I love you! Just bought a beautiful piece of wool from there yesterday. What a great shop! I love how every single bolt of fabric in the shop is simply beautiful. Thank you!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you Patty! I do have to admit that I have a hard time matching fabrics. Usually I buy one piece like the plaid wool and try to find a fabric locally that will match. I have ordered swatches though. It’s just the waiting, so I try to be about 2 projects ahead to allow for shipping and receiving time.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Rachel!
    Yes it is. This particular fabric was a border print and the top of the fabric was the top of the dress. I have loved it so much! A few of the Echino fabrics at Super Buzzy are border prints and simply lovely to work with.
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  • Big in Japan - Thanks for taking the time to post all this great info! Much appreciation from a fellow fibrously challenged sewist.
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  • Tasia - Great suggestions – thanks for enabling! Some of these i’ve never heard of, too… I’ll have to check them out!
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  • Trixie Rocket - The best tip I’ve had for caring for coats and jackets came from my mother – when they get dirty, clean them with a babywipe rather than taking them to the dry cleaners. It sounds crazy but it really does work! I just use the babywipe on the outer fabric. Since the lining never sits against my skin it doesn’t really get dirty so there’s no need to put it in the washing machine or take it to the dry cleaners. I’ve found my coats have lasted a lot longer since I started doing this.
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Fashion Photographer

I decided to write this post not only in honor of Self Stitched September, but also because I get several emails from people asking me for tips on how to take better photos of themselves. Let’s just state for the record, that I am by no means a photographer. I do the love the art, but I don’t really have the time to invest into it at the moment. Wish I did. I have taken a little bit of time to educate myself on photo taking and such. Just a little bit. With that knowledge, I thought it might be fun to share some secrets with you. Not that they are really secrets. Just tips for taking great photos of you in your creations.

I typically use a tripod. Mr. S does his fair share of shooting some of the photos for me, but for the most part it’s a tripod and a clicker. I have a Nikon D40 SLR. For someone like me, this is a really nice camera. And I would also like to add, one that isn’t necessary to take great photos, so please don’t let this deter you. There’s nothing wrong with a good point and click. If you take the point and click route, I recommend a high megapixel count like 10 or above. So, if you want to take photos like me, you’ll need:

  • a camera
  • a tripod
  • the remote control that goes with your camera, or knowledge of how to use the self timer

Now for the tricky parts. The equipment is great. A great start. Knowing how to use the equipment is something else altogether. You’ll need good light. The best kind of light is natural sunlight. Take the photos outside or take photos near a window. This is not to say that you should take the photos in the direct sunlight. Interestingly enough, photos work best on a sunny day with the sun hidden by a few clouds. In the shade on a sunny day is perfect. At least I think so.

Use the flash sparingly. Flash photography is a hard technique to master correctly. Many of us take flash photos, but maybe you’ve noticed that the flash creates harsh shadows. That can be a great effect, if that’s what you are going for, but many times, it just creates the wrong type of effect for what you want. Turn the flash off when you’ve got good light.

Now, there are probably other settings that your camera has and I highly, highly recommend reading the manual that came with your camera and fudging around with them. It’s fun and you learn a lot of things about your camera that you probably didn’t know. You’ll most likely learn about ISO sensitivity and certain settings that your camera has that can be great for taking certain types of shots. I also highly recommend that you read this article from Pioneer Woman on aperture. It’s awesome.

Next, find a spot that doesn’t have a lot of funky junk in the background. This is very good idea if you are trying to take photos of your latest sewing project. Personally I like backgrounds in one color or with very little going on. Having craziness, clutter and funkiness in the background takes away from the point of the photo.

Add interest to your photo by putting your subject off center. This probably goes against everything you believe in. Me too. Apparently the eye is immediately drawn to photos of subjects in these (the gray circles) areas of a photo. Cool huh? This was seriously a revelation when I first read about it. But it makes perfect sense.

Close in on your subject too. Get close. Get personal. Close-ups are more intimate and interesting than shots from faraway because your eyes are brought right to point of the photo from the very first time you look at it. Your eyes aren’t battling the bush in the front or the wall hanging or the dresser or the sewing machine all thrown into the same shot.

Add some finesse with some free photo editing programs. Don’t get crazy. Crazy is just weird. I’m talking about adding a boost of color or lightening a dark photo. A photo speaks for itself. Giving it an infusion of color only adds to its beauty. There are some great programs out there. Try Picnik or Gimp which can be downloaded for free for PC’s or MACs. These programs are great stepping stones if you are ever interested in investing in Photoshop.

Lastly, practice taking photos of yourself. I know this is a little silly, but I try to embody a certain emotion when I take a photo of myself. It’s really boring to see people who have the same expression in every photo all the time. It’s so much more fun and interesting to see someone step into character in a photo. Every time I think about this concept, I think of Peter’s great photography of his cousin Cathy. She’s a character, very well played. Follow her cue. Be that person you’ve always wanted to be in a photo. Sometimes my silliest expressions make the best photos. The one up top from my Red Vixen Dress is one of my favorite and one that I really didn’t think would work out. I must say, this is also the reason that I use a tripod and a clicker. It’s hard “posing” for Mr. S. It’s hard to do in front of anyone. So I do it by myself. And I practice my expressions in the mirror first. Sometimes I feel like a real goon, but I do it. The photos are so much more fun. Flip through magazines and practice some of those “model” looks.

Hope this gives you a few ideas on how to create great photos. What are some of your techniques for photo taking? Do you love dressing up and taking a photo of your latest handstitched creation?

Happy Clicking!

  • TanitIsis - Great post! I agree with the “getting in character” and practicing facial expressions ;)… I used to often look like I was about to axe-murder someone in photos, it look a lot of practice to train myself out of that. I also find I have certain standby poses to, erm, minimize my figure flaws ;). Most of these can be observed on the covers of magazines at the newstand, by the way ;).
    I second and third GIMP, but if you’re a beginner Picasa (from google) is pretty fun and has the basic corrections.
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  • Uta - I also think (completely unfounded opinion) that great color makes a great photo. Takes yours above. The yellow gloves make it “pop”! Thanks for the advice, btw (Lindsay T also has a great tutorial from way back, if you’re interested). What I really need is patience and dedication. Sadly I have neither when photographing myself…
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - I’ve been wanting to take better photos for the ‘old blog, and this is a great push to get me going. I’m going to do a bit of research and reading up as you suggest. Thanks for the tips!
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  • Tilly - Great post – thanks for this. You’ve definitely inspired me to be a bit more daring with my photos. I currently get the boyf to take them but he gets annoyed with my micromanaging style!
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  • Peter - Great tips — and Cathy is very flattered!
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  • Tasia - Great tips! I find, once I decide I’m ‘done’ and have enough photos to work with.. then I relax. So I take a few more shots after I think I’m finished, and try a couple of creative poses or faces. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but it does help me get more than just facing front and facing back.
    Another tip, is to pick a location with props. I like this one spot with a railing and wall and ledge:
    http://sewaholic.net/pendrell-blouse-now-with-ruffles/
    if you have trouble being creative with your poses, ledges and railings and steps give you instant ideas!
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In the Shop – Tomato Pincushions

I’m completely overwhemed to the responses from yesterday’s post. The things you’ve said and some of the same situations that you are in make me feel so much better. You guys are simply wonderful! I’ll touch more on this later. On a lighter note…

I’ve decided to keep you abreast of my shop updates as I add new things every now and then. In my interview over on The Blue Gardenia blog, I stated that one needs to have an expensive pair of dressmaking shears, a delightful pincushion, a good iron and ironing board, and a good reference book to give you a good start in sewing. I suppose that you could argue that you don’t need the “delightful pincushion” to get you started, but come now, it’s so much more fun to have something sweet and fun to jab your pins into than something dull and rather sad looking. I was at the fabric store the other day, wandering the the notions, a favorite pastime and came upon the rather small offering of pincushions. Sad sad lot. Not only did many of them look rather cheap, but so uncolorful, so bland, so un-delightful. I felt it was my duty to at least give a smattering of updated, fun and sweet tomato pincushions to the shop. So here you have it. Tomato pincushion with a little twist. These beauties come in three sizes. Cherry (small), Roma (Medium), and Heirloom (Large). All have been handpicked (stitched) by me.

And for those still in need of Tailor’s Hams and Seam Rolls, there’s a fresh batch in the shop.

PS ~ UPDATE! I need to give proper credit to the pin maker. The pins in the photos of my pincushions are not for sale, however, if you are interested in purchasing pins like these I bought them from Pinks and Needles. Please do take a look, her pins are simply out of this world adorable!

  • Erika Spatz - I love my cupcake goddess ham!
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  • SabrinaClementine - I’m guessing the adorable cupcake and cake pins aren’t included? =[ (Where on earth DID you get those! They’re so cute!)
    One of the first things I wanted to get when I started sewing was a cute pincushion. Unfortunately, after checking out the sad selection at my local shop I left disappointed and empty handed. To this day I don’t use a pincushion….I keep them all in the plastic box they came in. (Which, while not very inspiring is still very useful. At least there’s that, lol.)
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  • Sarah - Wah!! So cute!! I do need a tailor’s ham and seam roller….
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  • Tasia - Such cute stuff! (Make great gifts, too!)
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  • Devon - Your pincushions are so much cuter than the one I made! haha. I’m new to the world of sewing and blogging. Stop by http://purl2tog.wordpress.com/ to see my creations as well.
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The Real Me

I know I’ve been a little absent these days. To be real with you for a minute, its been really hard for me to keep up with Self Stitched September, blog and sew. I lead a very busy life, like many of you I’m sure. I love sewing. And this blog and the events I participate in really are a very passionate outlet for me.

But then I have this J-O-B. I don’t like talking about it. I don’t like thinking about it. I don’t like doing it. It’s not where I want to be and it doesn’t have anything to do with who I am, what I want and where I want to go in life. It really has absolutely nothing to do with sewing either. And this job gets the better of me most of the time.

I was having a rather brilliant conversation with my sis the other night. I usually do, because she is a rather brilliant person to talk to. She’s quite witty. She said the most amazing thing. She’s a little uncannily real like that. She said, “There’s more to life than just giving all your time to ‘The Man’.” I would like to second this declaration. There is more to life than giving all your energy to a job. I mean unless you love your career. But then we’re getting into careers, not jobs, right?

Getting back to the point at hand, I wanted to say that though I have this busy life I’m trying to do something about it. Especially this Stitched September madness. It’s important that I prove to myself that “The Man” isn’t going to win. Because, Damn It! He’s not! I will take a photo everyday and I will wear something that I made everyday and I will come out on top!

And though this post might seem a little pointless to you, I wanted to also say that for all you who are in the same situation as me, Don’t give all your time to The Man. Don’t feel guilty that you have a passion that you really want to pursue. And for Hell’s sake, don’t you dare let The Man win! You’re not in competition with Him anyway. Give some goodness to yourself. Let yourself take the lead. Don’t forget what’s really important.

Do. Be. Am.

Just checking in with a little thought for your day. Don’t mind me. I tend to ramble. A lot. You guys are the best! Oh, and don’t forget to let me know that I’m not in it alone. And please excuse my expletives. Got caught up in the moment and all that.

  • sula - Amen, and amen! I wish you all the best in the short time on keeping your positive outlook, and long term (perhaps a short long term) in finding an occupation that makes it much easier to keep a positive outlook. If that makes any sense! I can tell just from browsing your me-made pages that you have a fabulous sense of the real you, and I love how you express it!
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  • Stephanie - Thank you so much for the insightful look into you. My heart fell a little bit as I read my own feelings on the screen. My husband’s job takes him away from us all week and we only see him for the weekends. I dislike my job as it keeps me away from our two little sons for 8 hours and all that I enjoy. How true we let a job rule our lives. Thank you for your honesty. And good luck in all you do in the Self-Stitched September.
    Sincerely,
    Steph
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  • lap - Your zeal for sewing, and your particular blogging voice means a lot to me. Thanks for being so passionate and inspiring me with every post!
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  • Amy - Sunni!
    This was so great to start my day with. I am in exactly the same situation. My job situation may be changing a bit (possibly more hours, yay?) and i have been really protective of my sewing time. Because there are things that I want to do with my life that need just as much time and devotion as my job but have nothing to do with my job and no one pays me to them but they must be done so I feel like a person.
    I am rooting for you lady!
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  • Freya - I completely agree. Reading your post has provoked a mixture of emotions in me and I can’t quite find the words to write them. I too am in a similar situation, sometimes reading what other people are going through helps you to see things a little clearer yourself. Thank you.
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  • Jana @ The Summer House - I know that it’s the tough times that end up making us into quality people-yes, but it stinks at the time. I hope you find something in your future that ignites your passion that you can do everyday.
    I’m almost an empty nester and I’m trying to find my passion again…
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  • Cherie - I was in your situation for a long time. I learned late in my life (I’m 64) that unless I change something, things will roll along to their natural conclusion. What I could have done was to find a job nearer in spirit to where my passions lay, even if lower pay. Hunker down, but have better moments- life is only in the moments. A happier you can see further than a bitter you. it is a very scary thing, to turn your back on a paycheck. Do ask all your friends to help you find a place to start. My own sister did not offer to help because she did not know how I’d take it. I had not opened myself up enough to her so she could help me. I tried to “tough it out”, and I guess a little of my pride prevented people from reaching out to help.
    Take little steps. You can change your life.
    Cherie
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  • Laurel - I dream of the day when getting ready for the work-day might mean making sure I have enough supplies for my creative projects, instead of making sure I’ve packed all the documents I might need for my clients.
    Recently, my office asked me to step up to a managerial position. I hestiate, because that would mean I can’t pretend I don’t really work, or that this is just temporary.
    In the meantime, I try to stuff as much creative time into my evenings as I can.
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  • Lisa - Sunni – I couldn’t agree with you more!! I realized about 9 months ago that my job was just a job, and nobody was going to die if I didn’t get something done or left work early to persue the activities that I love. I decided to make a change. I’ve been saving for those last nine months and decide that I’m quitting said job next year to take some time off. I’m so excited to spend my time how I want to: which will be sewing, sewing and more sewing, and hanging out with the people that really do matter – family and friends. Please know that you are all alone and you will find your way. If it’s in your heart, it will happen!
    xo,
    Lisa
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  • Tasia - Sunni, I love this post! I feel you, totally. Spending lunch breaks eating at a desk, working thankless unpaid overtime, and constantly feeling the pressure to work harder and better and longer can really drain you. A J-O-B is not your (or mine or anyone’s) entire life. Missing family dinners due to urgent work disasters and fielding weekend phone calls from the office is no way to live.
    Not a pointless post at all! Thanks for sharing and know you’re not alone, not one bit! Don’t let the strain of everyday life get you down, and always be the fun, passionate, creative person we love to read about!
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  • Clare - I really feel for you as I’m in a similar position but grateful to read some sensible words via your sister and other commentors, especially Cherie.
    I have a job not a career and even though I can force myself to put on a happy face while teaching the same boring thing year after year, it’s energy / creativity sapping and I don’t even get paid when I’m sick! Then yesterday I had the worst fight with my boss’s maternity cover idiot replacement who was on some kind of power trip and wanted to make me feel inadequate and insecure because I’m underqualified for the job that everyone else (including absent boss!) agrees that for the last 6 years I’ve done as well if not better than the ‘academics’ with the relevant letters after their name. I stood up for myself but cried a lot yesterday. Today I’m angry, and partly angry with myself for getting into this situation. It’s complicated and I’m not brave enough to share the way you have done (except here!). I think the reason I got so upset was realising how my job affects my mood, my free time, and my hobbies on a daily basis, then computing that I wasn’t even appreciated (by this person) for my qualities, but de-valued on the basis of a certificate I don’t have, and in all honesty, don’t need. Sorry to rant here. I just wanted to say that I really understand your situation and somehow writing that down has made me feel a bit better. I don’t know what I’m going to do about my own situation but I don’t want to give that person the satisfaction of seeing me leave because of what he’s said and done. But I want to leave so badly, not because of him but because the job itself is crushing my spirit!
    I don’t know you but you seem really genuine and honest and make the most beautiful clothes in such happy colours. I hope you are able to make the best choices for you and that you can find a way of making money that allows you to do what you want and be happy. I watched Thelma and Louise a couple of weeks ago in a post-work sofa slump and I’ve had ‘you get what you settle for’ line ringing in my ears ever since. I prefer the ‘there’s more to life than work’ angle!
    Take care and be yourself, even if you stay where you are for a bit. xx
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  • Roslynmitchelldesigns.blogspot.com - Thanks for your post Sunni, it really struck a chord with me. For years I have been dreaming about doing something creative but instead I’ve been working in a field that couldn’t be further away from my passion! But hey, it pays the bills. I’ve noticed over the last few years that I have been really down & I think (if this doesn’t sound too hippy!)that this has been because I’ve not been following my true path. I’m in the process of setting up a crafts business, blog & Etsy shop & I couldn’t be happier. Ok, so I’ll have to hold on to my ‘proper’ job for a wee while longer but I NEED to do my creative stuff. I feel like me again!
    Thanks again for sharing, R x
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  • Clare - ps. sorry, that was REALLY long!
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  • makingtime - Sing it! I totally understand. I’m a stay-at-home mom now, with probably less time for creative pursuits than I had with the J-O-B, but I’m much happier and that’s allowing me to keep up the energy for creativity in the scraps of time I do have. Keep making that space for yourself and you’ll be ready to look/leap for opportunity when the time is right.
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  • kath - I tell myself everyday that my job is just the gateway to being able to afford to do the things I really love. Unfortunately the things I really love fall by the wayside because by the time I get home from the job (remember that thing that was meant to help me) I’m too tired to do ANYTHING, much less sew and create. It’s such a sad situation!
    We all need wise words like yours (and your sisters) to remind us that we don’t NEED to be working so hard to achieve so little for ourselves. Your post has already made my day, and has made me really reassess what I’m doing with life!
    Thanks :)
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  • Tamsin - I’m sorry you are in this situation. I had felt from your posts that you were feeling a bit flat. Isn’t it strange how the internet can make us feel as if we know someone?
    My family and I have moved from the UK to New Zealand for an adventure and we are due to go home in January, with a month on the road before we leave. My sewing problem is that I am itching to sew, have material waiting for a dress and am really keen to do more, but I am queen of the procrastinators and knowing we are having to pack up soon make me reluctant to buy more material and add more to our collection of Stuff. Not the biggest of problems I know, but still frustrating. I love reading about things you make and think your outfits for SSS have all looked fantastic!
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  • amĂ©lie - ok. I can really relate to this post. Last year my job/career made me miserable. Literaly. To the point that i fell sick. Now i’ve moved to another city and have a new job. I am determined not to give all my energy to this job… Because there is more to life than the way we earn money. We might not be like some lucky people whose passion is also their work, but we have a passion. And that’s already something very precious.
    Take care
    Amélie
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  • Sarah - Yah! Go, Sunni!! :D
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  • Becky - This post really resonated with me, since I’m finding myself facing somewhat of a similar situation. My main “career” is doing something that I love (teaching music lessons), but the two part-time jobs I’ve been doing to support it have taken a turn for the not-so-stellar. And so I’m finding myself facing the thought of having to look for a regular job, once this school year’s contracted commitments are over. I do worry that such a move will mean my job taking over my life, and how this will affect my flute teaching– I’d like to keep as much of it as I can, but am fully aware that working a 9-5 or 8-4 job means that I’m likely going to have to cut back on that. It’s kind of scary, to think of sacrificing the things I’m passionate about just to make ends meet.
    I hope things get better for you soon, and that you’re back to your sunny self!
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  • oonaballoona - yes, beat that man! i applaud you (and your expletives)!
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  • Emilie - Hi Sunni! Thanks for this post. I feel exactely like you. I’ve just started a new job and since then, I feel totally overwhelmed with it. After work, I also have to take evening classes four times a week… So for the moment, I’ve no choice but to forsake sewing and my blog even if it makes me so happy. Knowing I’m not alone in this case is cool especially when I see all the pretty little things that you sew in your leisure time!
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  • Roobeedoo - Go for it!
    I don’t know if this helps, but the lively creative person you show in the blog is worth so much more than a ” j- o- b”. I am actually really surprised that you are not a hot-shot PR lady or a film producer or a lion-tamer. Oh – or maybe you ARE! ;)
    What I am trying to say is – if you have a dream, get out there and pursue it… cos you only live once! We’ll all be cheering you on!
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  • Hillary - Right there with you! Parts of that I certainly could have written these days. Right now in the midst of a big shake-up in part of my life, which I think in a way is a way of telling myself that things CAN change, I can assert more… agency into my life, instead of feeling like you’re saying, I give all my best hours to this job this is just a job and not a passion, and everything else splits up the wrung-out leftovers of me. It’s great that you have a sister you are so close with, who can support and nurture the part of you that knows you deserve more, because you do!
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  • Abby - I love our talks! I would like to point out to you that you’ve never, not once, let anything you didn’t want get the best of you. (And your job isn’t getting it now either.)Maybe you should scan the horizon and look for some of the exciting things that are coming in your future. Your creativity doesn’t answer to a “boss.”
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  • frk.bustad - This post makes me realize that at the moment my present work situation is very, very inspiring and joyful, and that makes me grateful! So thanks for this post, for making me appreciating my situation! Nevertheless, I find disappointingly little energy for sewing, and that’s nagging me. I guess that reflects how life is full of ups and downs…
    I really hope you sort out your situation, so you can be happy both at work and in your spare time! If it makes any difference; I really enjoy reading your blog, so please keep sharing!
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  • kerrie - I feel a change in the air…….
    be open, and you’ll ‘know’ what to do.
    p.s. Did the mag come?
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  • kerrie - I feel a change in the air……
    If your able to be open to it, the choice will be obvious.
    p.s did you get the mag?
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  • Melissa - I just found your blog, via Grosgrain, and I love this post. I am sure there are so many who can relate to your situation and feelings here. I know I can. I also have a day job that I am not passionate about, in the least. And although I try to do a good job at what I’m being paid to do (and yes, it’s for The Man, Corporate America Himself) because of the work ethic my parents taught me at a young age, it just doesn’t “do it” for me. I want to be home and to spend all day in my sewing room, creating fun things. You are an inspiration. I love your September project, I wish I could say I have enough self-stitched things to wear each day for an entire month, but I do not. And that must change!
    Keep sewing, and sharing the beauty.
    xoxo
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  • Maria - I wish I could express how much I relate to this post. Keep up.
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