Outer Where?… Then, And Now.

Today we have a special edition of Outer Where?, my collection of posts on cold weather clothes I’ve made but can’t wear in my current home state of Florida.  I’ve cranked the AC down in my new apartment, bundled up and collected some exciting material to share with you.  This edition is special because it features not only the requisite me-made coat/jacket, but also a new rendition I’ve finished recently that I really can and will wear this season. 

Now hear this: The 90’s are the current decade years on deck for resurgence!  I didn’t realize how appealing I would find this phenomenon from a fashion  perspective, but here we are.  Now, I’m not exactly primed for circulating flannel plaids, slip dresses and Converse sneakers back in my wardrobe.  Brown lipliner (or anything brown),  The Jennifer and skinny eyebrows a la Kate Moss are not calling to me. what I’m really excited about is that little cusp of the early 90’s before the release of Nevermind came and obliterated the last residue of glamour and exuberance from the 80’s. It’s weird, I know. I’ve discovered I’m really jiving on a blend of Versace and Bill Blass for my next makeover.  Maybe it’s just my new job.  After recent restructuring I’ve been moved to work on a brand that designs a lot of animal prints.  And big, gold accessories… can’t forget the accessories.  Case in point, look at this sparkly gem I just picked up last week:

When I was studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology I had to work-study position  in the periodicals library.  We received boxes and boxes of magazines donated to us all the time, and already having complete, bound collections of all the majors, we would put them out for students to scavange.   Least popular but a favorite of mine were the late 80’s  / early 90’s issues, especially anything from British Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar during the years when Liz Tilberis was the editor.  I have a set of binders in my sewing space chock-full of pages torn out of magazines going back 4 or more decades from which I draw inspiration every day, most of them filed in my memory from paging through  so many times.  Particular fantasies I’m having lately draw on the concept of uber-coordinated ensemble dressing… here are a few ideas that have been in the forefront from my archive:

From the look in the middle there are some editorial notes I find amusing. 

What every woman needs – a white cotton suit that’s versatile enough to go from a.m. to p.m.with nothing but a change of accessories. By Chanel.

Well, okay then! 

I even have a pattern in my stash that is ready for a big moment in my wardrobe, Simplicity 1016.  It’s got a capelet! AND gold buttons… AND epaulets. Oh, the possibilities!

Coming back from that tangent, I hope you are following me so far… here I am drawing nearer to the subject of Outer Where?  Another major contributor to the style I am talking about is Donna Karan.  Maybe it’s that I am getting older, that much closer to 40 than 20, which makes me more appreciative of this grown up, sophisticated but bold kind of dressing.  I think Donna really exemplified this type of fashion I appreciate more after accruing some maturity.  I mean, it could also be an effect of seeing so much of Hilary Clinton’s pant suits this campaign season, but I’m going with Donna. 

Unfortunately Donna Karan patterns are out of print after the licensing agreement with Vogue Patterns recently dissolved, but I have several in my stash.  #V1129 is probably my favorite of all, and it’s the one I am featuring today. 

The first garment I made from it several years ago was from a decadent splurge on a wool double weave in my favorite color: RED.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but neither am I.  I am equally fond of pink, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a lot easier to be taken seriously in red.  I am always keen on the idea of red for jackets and coats, because it cheers me up to wear during dark and dreary winter months.  When I came across this pattern and the eventual fabric for it (this hardly ever occurs at the same time), I had a pretty significant brainstorm triggered by these familiar images from my magazine archive: 

There’s just something about the big drape of fabric coming off the lapel in this style which I find both glamorous and practical – no separate scarf needed for schlepping around town when there’s a chill in the air.

This is a wonderful fabric that stretches both lengthwise and crosswise, with the most wonderful drape and color; the kind of good quality wool that doesn’t feel itchy or smell like a dog.  I bought it at a time when I rarely had the spare change to afford a splurge.  Treat it as an investment, I said… and basically kept my fingers crossed that my sewing chops would not fail me during the making.

This is the same fabric I used to make Little Joanie, my favorite pencil skirt which I shared early on in this blog.  The natural conclusion of course is that it may be time to finally wear these two together.

Drawing from the animal print memo I picked up from my new job, I was really feeling like I could use a sartorial injection of it pronto.  I had found this printed french terry on Girl Charlee during a sale and expected I would make up a cool little moto jacket-sweatshirt hybrid.  When I received it I found it was too light weight for that idea.  Not to worry, I drummed up another idea pretty easily. 

Now, terry would not normally have been my first choice for this Donna Karan garment.  The model on the front of the envelope is wearing tweed and the recommendations on the back all call for fabrics with some substance.  Given the current fashion for infusing athletic references in as many ideas as possible, I liked the idea of mixing up the sporty softness of terry with a garment that would be interesting to twist in a more casual way.

In order to support the seams and keep the shape in areas where I need it, I used a fusible tape. I like this one I found on Amazon while looking for Vilene, which I had come across in a few sewing references. Vilene happened to not be as highly rated, but since this stuff is not a unique invention I went with the masses and am pretty happy. 

This is the application before overlocking on the armscye/sleeve seam.

After the whirlwind of moving, layoffs, traveling, starting a new job, and traveling again I am really happy I’ve been able to get back to sewing, and also writing again. I hope you get to see more of my projects soon! 

 

Third Time’s The Charm

Sometimes when embarking on a new project I convince myself that I am going after low-hanging fruit, or the path of least resistance, to ensure success. I have found in reality that often the greater my assumption that something will be easy, the less straight and narrow the path to completion truly is. 

I found myself in need of a project to get myself back in the swing of things this month. I moved to a new apartment, had my job eliminated in layoffs the next week, unpacked box after box to set up my new Sewing Lair and began transitioning to a new position they put me in at work… I was glad to have a job of course but the prospect of packing and moving my office elicited much sighing and an eye roll that would make a pinball machine jealous.

Sometimes I know I will benefit from some time spent sewing to make myself feel focused, productive, creative…or at least more at ease with myself. However when there’s this much going on in my real life,  a complicated sewing project just adds to the sense of overwhelm, and inspiration is a rare thing to find. Also, after so much time purging, packing, unpacking and organizing my clothes (and saying “holy shit I’ve got too much stuff!”) I was hesitant to embark on anything I didn’t truly need. 

In that vein of thinking I eventually got motivated by seeing the entries featured on Makery for The Refashioners 2016. This is sewing contest which encourages people to remake/remodel/recycle clothes based on a theme. As you will find in the link above, this year it’s #jeanius… a clever tag for an even more clever idea. Almost everyone has denim in their closet which has seen better days, or hardly worn denim items bought under the fog of wishful thinking… and so many things can really have a new look when fabricated in denim. So it was a seemingly easy combination to ease me back into my sewing routine… i had on hand a couple sad shirts I hadn’t talked myself into purging in the move (the things we insist on keeping!) and a little pullover dress that I had relegated to “housedress only” status… but really, how many housedresses does a woman under retirement age need??

Since only portions of the garments were fit for consumption in a new make, I perused my patterns and was quickly reminded of the project I featured in my last post, the Paneled Tunic Top from BurdaStyle. I now have a version of this dress I am most happy with, naturally after learning the make of it so well, but also because I put some clothes to work that otherwise posed diminishing returns where style is concerned!   


Now this will bring us back to my introductory musing in this post… I thought “how simple will it be to just cut up this and that and patch it together in that dress style that’s already a patchwork of sorts??” Ummm… well, not that painless as it turns out. 

One thing I know about this pattern is how important it is to cut the pieces exactly on-grain so the tunic hangs nicely without twisting. Well, the nature of well-loved clothing is that all that washing and wearing can put some serious torque in the fabric over time. So one of the first “labors of love” I found myself embarking on was to identify the true grain of each panel I chose to work with (this means setting the lengthwise and crosswise yarns in the fabric at a perfect perpendicular arrangement so each corner is a right angle). How do you begin this process in light weight tencel twill denim? By pulling individual yarns out of the fabric of course!  Followed by trimming the wastage away along the grain line which the pulled yarns reveal. Totally not tedious… could spend many long afternoons doing this… not!


Another exciting (read: time consuming) discovery is finding areas of the garments you’re salvaging that are so perfect to work with but are just so not the right size… so we get creative with the seam ripper to eek out every last quarter inch of fabric. Oh the long list of things I would rather do than unpick individual stitches  on used clothing… but in the words of Tim Gunn, make it work!


The upside to all this careful work is that you get to incorporate all the nuances of washed out indigo dyed fabric as new design features. I found I liked the look of the old seam lines especially when I removed the existing top stitching…


I used the entire placket front of one shirt as the main panel in the new dress. I sewed it shut and took off the buttons… I feel like it gives it an interesting re-purposed look since I didn’t need the function. 


I used some scraps for the binding on the armholes and a remnant of another recent project for the inside facing.


Here are some other views of it on me. I have some further efforts due to perfect the photo lighting in my place, so please forgive the dark & grainy shots!

The feel-good aspect of this project was worth it, and it’s always fun to find new motivations for projects. Lesson re-learned is not to be afraid of taking the long road to be happier in the end. ūüôā

 

Spots & Stripes

I’m a late adopter of trends.  Which maybe seems suspicious since I work in Fashion. I don’t mean clothing trends necessarily, you see, but in other things… none brought me more criticism and attention than the fact that until last Spring I wasn’t moved to convert to using  a smart phone. I had my old Samsung flip phone for years. I treated it kindly and it supported me well. The battery life was over 24 hours. I was completely focused on tasks at hand, having no dependency on my phone to tell me what was happening in my life. I have a strict policy of not taking work home with me, which was made easy by an inability to look at emails when away from a computer. When I travel for work they furnish all the smartphones or blackberries or laptops I could desire, so that wasn’t an issue. I just didn’t have any need for a costly, oversized, fragile and invasive device in my life. For a while people found it charming. Then they started to think I was weird and kind of boring, having no agility in engaging with social media on the scale smartphones have enabled. One day I woke up and realized I was getting bored of me, too. So comes the turning point in a late adopter’s life when the scales finally tip. 
It wasn’t an instant game changer. I didn’t know what to do with it. There were all these options and possibilities in my hand but I couldn’t even gracefully answer an incoming call… has anyone else out there of the left-handed pursuasion noticed how right-handed the engineering is on a smartphone? I had the device about ten days before spending a night out on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That weekend changed my life. That night, my friend Liz introduced me to Instagram. 
I don’t know anyone who loves Instagram as much as I do. To me, Instagram is the modern interpretation of the magazines I obsessed over as a girl, but made ultimately more democratic and engaging based on individual selectivity. We can become the editors of our own lives. Using Instagram makes me feel the same sense of excitement and curiosity I felt every time I had a glossy, new, untouched issue of a magazine awaiting my perusal in the mail box. Except it is an exponentially greater pleasure now, because the nature of technology makes all of the sources behind my interests not only more plentiful but also interactive.

  

So here I have come to the crux of today’s post. Me Made May this past year was far more fulfilling and engaging than I ever imagined it would be because it connected me to so many other people around the world. I have been exposed to so many more ways to share and enjoy my sewing activities with others. I’ve come across a number of opportunities for contests,  meetups, blog sharing and the like, which sent me off into this tailspin of over-ambitious absorbtion. What can I say… it’s the slow time of year at my day job! 

On a deeper level, the desire to engage in every potential opportunity I find on my Instagram radar is related to a realignment of priorites, and a long term change I would like to effect in my life concerning how I spend my time, and what I am contributing to society…. I know, I sound like such a Millenial right now.

And yet, I’ve  found that I can’t devote every spare waking hour to my sewing (even though I really, really want to!) and at the same time mix in all the social media activity I would like to connect to it. This was news to me!  I’ve kind of reached the limit of my ability to still enjoy sewing while still  being good at my actual day job and frankly…. my thumbs can’t take so much scrolling and double tapping on my smartphone.

So, one of the blogs I got introduced to through my Instagram feed is The Monthly Stitch. It’s a consortium of sewists and bloggers who engage in monthly challenges with special themes. Contributing requires some special linking and management of the posts back to my own blog here, and as much as I would like to work it out right now, and as much as I would love to follow and be followed by all the other contributors, joining in the many interesting and inspiring conversations I’m so  sure would suck up my brainwaves, I kind of need to be on a media detox of sorts right now. It’s exactly the behavior I always frowned upon when interacting with friends of mine who seemed obsessed with the little smartphone devices in their hands… I have become one of Those People.

So, here I present you with the best I can offer for the time being, here on the home front. Acting on the theme for July from The Monthly Stich, I give you what I prepared for the theme “Spots and Stripes.” Both of these are based on BurdaStyle’s Paneled Tunic Top. It’s a fantastic project for using up remnants in your fabric stash, or working through some creative pattern mixing.

In this first version, I made it from the pattern as-is. It’s my interpretation of the “Stripes” theme. 


In fabric development you often receive samples of the work you produce that are anywhere from 1/4 to 1 yard in length, a.k.a. really not useful pieces. We keep them for emergencies (if a designer needs to drape a new sleeve or collar) and for reviewing against production for consistency. We might develop as many as 180 samples a season. Over time that’s a lot of fabric cuts. I wish I could say they all serve a purpose in the end. We donate and recycle and archive as much as possible, but I’d be lying if I said they all wind up in good homes. It’s a conundrum, and an environmental burden, but at the risk of this post being a treatise on raw material waste and the need for comprehensive upcycling, I will just cut short and admit that there are a good amount of textile orphans that make their way out of the rubbish bin and into my fabric stash. So this version of the tunic is a shining (literally, being silk charmeuse) example of fabric salvation.

The second version I adjusted, making some alterations to the bust area and shoulders to change the fit. I think there could be a few more tweaks to get it right if I went for a third version. This one is in polyester georgette with little heat set foil dots scattered across it – my version of “Spots.” This is not a salvaged fabric, but one I actually bought off the bargain rack to use as a test fabric for the pattern adjustments. It just made me so happy to have a little sparkle that I gave her some legitimate seam finishes and wear her for real.

Join The Club

Earlier this Summer I had an opportunity to participate in the test group for a new pattern released by Helen’s Closet, the¬†Winslow Culotte. I am a little behind the release date in posting about my experience but shall we say that is just my way of prolonging the magic?

The Winslow Culotte is an advanced-beginner level sewing pattern that can be made in 5 different lengths from swishy shorts to floor length palazzo pants. When I heard “palazzo” I was like, “Where do I sign up??” Maybe it’s my never ending quest to wear clothes that the Fashion Police say thick girls are forbidden to go near, or maybe it’s that I spent too many years working for Ralph Lauren. No matter the reason, I have a thing for their wardobe potential, but it’s been many years since I’ve had them in my closet. Combining that with my enthusiasm to see every seamstress I meet fulfilling their goals, I was waiting with fingers and ankles crossed in hope that I would be selected.

In return for my advice, questions, experiences, photos and feedback I received a finished copy of the pattern and some incidental exposure of this little blog I have been keeping.

Helen hosted a private Facebook group where the participants were able to interact with her and each other to talk about fabric, fitting, inspiration and make suggestions for editing the pattern and the instructions before publication. During this process one of my favorite blogs posted a feature on photos by¬†Jacques-Henri Lartigue. These were taken on¬†the French Riviera in the 30’s. They are a sort of ode to his mistress at the time, and they are kind of iconic in fashion photography from the period. I remembered seeing these images of her around the concept studios at RL and they were definitely jiving with my ideas of what I hoped my pattern test would turn out to be like.

After making these I am bound to be more tan, more fabulous, and more likely to snag a famous photographer boyfriend, right???

Some “action” shots to show how nice and flowy they are in this printed linen/rayon gauze…

I’ve got the pants so it’s just a spray tan and a chance encounter with a handsome stranger away… at least a girl can dream. The easy part is definitely the sewing!
Helen’s pattern is very well drafted, ¬†versatile, and suitable for many fabrics and the digital materials have been presented in a very clear and well thought way for any skill level to follow. Plus there is a whole sewing community out there sharing what, where and how they made this pattern which is pretty awesome.
Thank you Helen!

Four Weddings and A Funeral 

Well, and one dinner date on my 27th birthday. Those are all the occasions for which I have worn this dress. My one “good” dress, for all the serious stuff in life. When you dress like a grown up. The black silk one I spent forever making. The first dress I made from a pattern I designed and drafted on my own. 

I will confess first of all that, being a dress I made in 2004, it kinda (definitely) doesn’t fit these days. I’m only pretending that it’s zipped up in these photos, and my arm is raised to keep it propped up on my shoulder. For those of you familiar with my posts, it has crossed over to the snug fitting territory of being a “stand up kind of dress.”  Sigh… 

So allow me now to catch you up, dear reader, with the reason I even pulled it out of my closet (where it lives full time in the back with everything else I never wear but can’t part with). Yet again I am busily participating in another social media event for the month of July, this one being #vintagepledge. I have not actually made the pledge for the year, but I did get inspired to participate in Daily Photo Fun on Instagram.

I got on board when I started to see the daily pics from contributors cropping up in my feed. They inspired me to see if I could come up with posts matching each theme. I had my doubts but it has been so much fun and I have only come up short once in the first 9 days.

Today’s theme for Day 9 is “1940’s.” Mine is not strictly vintage, but certainly rooted in that decade. 

During the last couple of years before I got up the nerve to move to New York, I completed a certification program at Salt Lake Community College in Fashion Design. That program is now a fully accredited design curriculum, but at the time it did not officially credit toward earning a degree. Ok, so technically it didn’t, but intellectually and spiritually it has everything to do with how I got where I am today. Venerable institution that is the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, I can’t really credit my subsequent time there as the foundation of everything I have learned about designing, draping and drafting the clothes I’ve designed. 
There are many teachers one encounters in life that we should pay thanks to, but in this case it’s dear Louise Pascoe who I owe every credit to. She is one of the rare teachers in my life who actually taught me how to think, not just a person who (also very capably) showed me a process to follow.

So it was that I found myself being taught by Louise at SLCC. In her class one semester she brought in a very vintage textbook on drafting patterns for dressmaking. I think I would very much like to find a copy of it on ebay or similar. It was full of pattern diagrams for creating design details that are so unique in this day and age, and at that stage in my learning, they were fascinating in complexity. I was really obsessed with all the sleeve details in the book. With good reason since you are lucky to find a sleeve of any kind on most of today’s dresses, much less an interesting one. 

Here is my original illustration for the dress:

 In the finished version I decided I didn’t need any extra gathers in the yoke seam above the bust, and I wound up not having fully functioning cuffs for lack of patience and sewing chops at the time. If the fit were not suffering from the passage of time, I would get credit for the built up neckline and the shaping in the skirt… c’est la vie! 


Here is an up close shot of the shortcut I took with the cuff. I basically just sewed the overlap down and removed what was a small tab for the button. It’s interesting in that the cuff is not applied; it s cut all in one from the sleeve.

I still have the final pattern in addition to the dress. So here I can show what that looks like flat:

I have a lot of thoughts about making a new version of this. I never wore it unless I had somwhere important to go. I kind of got over that feeling about my clothes – nothing is too fancy to wear if you feel good. I think that’s kind of the inverse of people who feel fine in baggy shorts and flip flops for every setting. I think it would be worth the effort, in the recent words of my good friend River, “That’s because you are fancy, Ashlee. Fancy as f***!”

I Dare You To…

Firstly, allow me to highlight the very unofficial but much relied upon product making this blog post possible:

With that said, I will introduce the topic of this blog post:

S*** Suits

Yes, dear readers, the four letter word in every woman’s wardobe.

For decades I got by with nothing more than a servicable, black, one piece suit which I would slither into only under the most dire circumstances, perfecting my phenomenal out-of-body transference skills by chanting in my head, “I am not here. I am not half naked. The tag on this Mircalesuit said I would look 10 pounds thinner. I do look 10 pounds thinner, don’t I?”
At 5 years old I was perfectly fine running around in one. Who needs clothes when there are purple bikinis with pineapples on them, right? ¬†Yet, by 15 years of age I wouldn’t be caught dead in one. At 25, I might be seen out of doors in one, but not for long and ¬†I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead being photographed in one. Somehow, here I am at 35, not only wearing them with ease, but building a collection of them. Cheetah print bikini. Coral ruffled tankini. Grape Koolaid colored halter neck a la Bettie Page. Check, check aaaand check. Now to add, a proud owner of a s***suit I made with my own hands. Which I am about to show you… photographed, posted on a public website for all to see, shared with the world.
Really??! Is this the Ashlee I have known my whole life talking?  Well, yes, dear self, it is. And how did I get to this point?

Believe me, it isn’t easy. I’m being a little goofy about it. But for me this is kind of a big deal.

I moved to Florida and had to adapt to the beach going way of living if I wanted to have a social life of any kind. I saw 70 year old women, pregnant women, little women, ugly women, gorgeous women…all of them on the beach seemingly enjoying their lives, wearing all kinds of s***suits. Why shouldn’t I?

As I got more active in the sewing blogosphere I saw all kinds of sewists making the cutest, sexiest, prettiest, sassiest, most well-fitting, most fun s***suits I’d ever come across. Everyone seems to be making them. Again: Why shouldn’t I?

Ladies, I know you know what I’m talking about when I say there at least 100 reasons we have had both gifted to us and conjured up by ourselves throughout or lives as to why we would decline such a grand opportunity, right?

Then, sometime during May the Curvy Sewing Collective announced June would be Swimwear Month and it was kind of the kick in the pants (or should I say bikini bottoms) I needed.

Here it is the July 4th holiday ¬†weekend, June ended days ago, and I had yet to blog about my creation. Well, frankly, I didn’t think I was in the mood to take selfies. Not in my s***suit, at least. I had plenty of excuses. I didn’t have time to shave my legs in the morning. I wasn’t tan enough. I had recyclables to sort. People will see my stretch marks and my thighs touching. People might say mean things like what happened to ¬†Jenny.¬†I made these excuses basically until I was so sick of hearing them I just looked in the mirror and said “WTF?! You’re alive, right? Your life isn’t miserable! Put on your damn SWIMSUIT girlfriend, ¬†and go show some people what you made!”

So I got myself some spray-on tan, put on some lip gloss and broke out the old selfie stick.

I had a lot to learn about some standard operating procedures for sewing lycra. Slippery stuff it is! The series Curvy Sewing Collective did on the topic of swim construction was extremely helpful, no matter what figure type you have. I used¬†this pattern¬†from Mimi G for Simplicity. It has a good size run, but honestly it may be made for ladies more well-endowed in inverse proportion to my own self. If I am to do it again, I do need to adjust for a little more room up top and less on the bottom. Otherwise, it’s a well made pattern with clear instructions and simple assembly. I added a shelf bra inside and slashed open the ruffle pattern piece to give myself some extra flutter, but otherwise it’s a very quick and dare I say fun project.


Now that I have accomplished the last sewing project I ever thought I would do, I am embarking on a project for the remainder of the Summer that comes from Gillian at Crafting A Rainbow,¬†#sewingdares! I have challenged my friend ¬†Riva La Diva¬†blogging goddess extraordinaire. We are each making a version of the same challenge, ¬†so it’s double trouble for sure! More to come on that at the end of the season…
 

That’s a wrap!

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What an exciting Me Made May this has been!¬† What started with a conservative goal and a semi-neglected sewing blog ended with a full blown Instagram obsession, a shout-out from the founder of Me Made May herself, joining a social media movement, participating in a sew-along, surpassing my sewing goal by more than double, plus more adventures in between (including a dress swap with a sewist in the UK!).¬† I think I will go so far as saying it’s been life changing.¬† Or maybe it has planted some seeds that could change my life.

Let’s begin the recap with my sewing goal – to reduce my fabric stash by using up 3 to 5 selections on new projects.¬† This is the group I initially nominated, choosing 9 options (fabric + pattern project) so that I could flex between simpler or more complicated ideas as the month progressed:

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I actually met the lower threshold of 3 fabrics within the first ten days of May, so I figured I would easily make it to 5, but I never expected I would make it to using 13 of them!!!  Shown here in their new place in my closet:

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Some projects allowed me to use more than one fabric, so the tally went up a bit from that.¬† I also used up 4 zippers, 9 half spools of thread, 8 buttons and 5 hook & eye closures from my tool box.¬† But who am I kidding… I have to fess up… I bought 9 new patterns and 5 new fabrics. Sigh…. it’s those Memorial Day sales that pushed me over the edge!

Another indulgence was having my blog name woven into a custom clothing label by Dutch Label Shop. I got turned on to them by Allie J who I met on Instagram.¬† Yeah, I know,¬† my blog kinda sucks compared to hers.¬† Goals…

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The second goal for Me Made May was to post my outfit of the day on Instagram when I wore my makes.  I cannot tell you how many awesome women I got to know!  There are two top things I learned from doing this:

1. There are so many awesome independent pattern publishers out there making really great designs and I ought to use more of them.

2. There is a really impressive roster of modern female sewists that also work in science, engineering, and IT!  I think this is a fascinating correlation because after spending much of my life working in female-centric industries (beauty and fashion) I have never encountered this before.

Which leads me to my next sewing adventure Рtesting a new pattern to vet for publication, made by one of these awesome women, Helen, who kindly accepted me for participation in the project.  I of course will be sharing more about that in an upcoming post.

Also on deck is a sew-along for June hosted by Curvy Sewing Collective which is a website/group that has been instrumental in many learnings this past year.¬† We will be making swimwear – a technical sewing & fitting challenge for me.¬† These are the fabrics I recently selected (who doesn’t love pineapples?!):

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Looking back I am so pleased with how much I accomplished and experienced over the last 4 weeks, and even more since I started this blog a year ago.  A big thank you to everyone who has not only put up with my daily selfie parade on Facebook & Instagram but also offered genuine support and encouragement along the way.  XO!