The work-to-weekend pencil skirt

I fully thought I wouldn’t be able to stick to this 1-hour-a-day sewing method, but it’s my second week and it’s going well… Save for a few days which had me traveling to New England, I made a big effort to sew just a bit even if I was tired. 9-10 PM is sewing time in this joint!

Anyway, here’s what I have to show for this week. The goal was to make a skirt that would work for work and for the weekend. I think I’ve accomplished it!


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I guess I should take my sewing more seriously because I have a dedicated room for it…

I made a deal with my boyfriend that, if we signed our lease for the apartment, the office had to be my sewing space. I am slowly fixing it up, but here’s the first iteration…


The color is meant to be cheery and bright for a small (but sunny) space, but everything else is… in need of work. My desk has proven itself a bit small for two machines. I need a way to keep my pencils, seam ripper, shears, etc close– right now, they just go to the right of the sewing machine, but that’s really not a good spot. The shelf, as you can see, seems too small to contain my mess. The fabric is folded up in clear bins (and in Mood bags stashed on top) and all the notions are in the black boxes. I also have a few books but you can’t really see in the photos. I love having my speakers up there so I can plug in my phone and listen to music while I sew. My favorite hack was hanging my pattern-making rulers and curves on the right wall as you can see below…


It’s a huge step up from my sewing nook in my last apartment, but the room still feels disorganized. Do you guys have any suggestions as to what I could do with my space to make my sewing more comfortable?


Liberty Paisley Shirt

Even though I signed the lease on my new apartment just so I could have a dedicated sewing space in our little office, I haven’t been sewing as much as I’d like. It’s very hard to come home after a stressful day at work and a grueling workout at the gym, and then try to be productive all over again.

(Mostly I just wind up watching whatever’s on Bravo and crashing around 10.)

But I know that having my own little projects helps keep me motivated and just… in check, you know? So I’ve started doing this thing– we’ll see how long it lasts– but I’ve started cutting and prepping my fabrics for sewing so I can squeeze an hour of sewing every day during the week. As some sort of de-stressing, unwinding activity. This shirt is the result of my first week trying this approach. Not too shabby!


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The dream green top in the nightmare-ish fabric

I am not even going to make apologies for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere. Work is brutal, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

I did go on vacation! Our trip to Chile and Argentina had me scrambling last minute to find cute clothes that still fit– oh, did I mention I lost about 20 pounds? It’s nice until you realize none of the clothes you’ve made fit anymore!– so I whipped up this top from some fabric I had lying around.

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Cloning in my closet: J. Crew Minnie pant, revisited

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. These pants were done save for the hem back in early December. I don’t want to make excuses for my sewing laziness, but let’s say that moving across state lines, the holidays and work stress got in the way of my sitting down for 30 minutes and hemming a pair of pants. But I did it! And then of course it took me another month to take photos of them. What can I say, it’s been too cold in NYC to wear anything but jeans!

These ones had minor alterations made to the pattern –namely, a flat belly adjustment and a longer hemline to make them more ankle-length than capri. No belt loops (I attached the waistband before I remembered) and no welt pockets, still (because they scare the bejeezus out of me). They fit perfectly about a month ago, but I put myself on a serious diet and now they’re about an inch too big at the waist. They drop a little and honestly, I think I’ll have to recut these in a smaller size in a few months. But that’s not a terrible problem to have!

I’ll cut the yapping short and let you get to the photos…


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How to copy a garment you already own

While making my Minnie clone pants, I couldn’t find many resources online on how to copy a garment you already own and know it fits perfectly. There’s a book by Steffani Lincecum that keeps coming up over and over again, and while it’s gotten much praise (I’m sure it’s every bit as awesome as people say), an online step-by-step how-to is a good idea.

Last weekend I set my sights on copying the pattern for one of my favorite tank tops from Ann Taylor in the hopes of squeezing it out of 3/4 yds. of silk (impossible challenge, let me tell you). This is my first time trying to do a “tutorial” of sorts and I am by no means an expert, but my method has worked for me and I’m quite happy with the results.

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I am struggling to keep myself from giving Colette Patterns my credit card number

Colette Patterns just announced three patterns available in PDF format and I am going nuts trying to keep myself from purchasing the Crepe dress pattern. Isn’t it so adorable?

I generally like Colette’s designs but, realistically, they’re a bit too dainty and girly for me. Too many bows/Peter Pan collars/cutesy details all over the place. But this one has really simple and clean lines, and I can put up with the bow if I want to go dainty for once. This dress materializes in my head made out of a soft-colored silk satin or charmeuse, underlined in the bodice for stability but allowed to drape in the skirt, and maybe the sweetheart neckline with the bodice hacked so I can do some lace paneling. Aaah! Or I can engineer the wrap into something with a belt buckle in the front that I can weave the other end through to hold the dress together. So many possibilities for someone with too many clothes!

Although I’m pretty confident I could hack this pattern together from other stuff I have, I don’t have the space to do it in my current living quarters, and I also want to give Colette Patterns some of my cash. I constantly refer to them for sewing tips and inspiration, and buying a pattern from them is the best way to support their product and content.

But… I can’t bring myself to buy this yet because I have a pair of Minnie clones I’ve been meaning to hem for the last two weeks and haven’t done it. And I also have to go through my fabric stash and see if there’s anything winter-appropriate that I should sew something with soon before I start getting excited over warmer weather clothes.


Cloning in my closet: J. Crew Minnie pants

I am back after a (very long) break! So much happened in the last two months: I got too stressed out from work to sew, I got in a huge car crash and had to deal with buying a new car, I traveled for 3 weeks (Chicago, DC, Portland and Seattle) and I spent plenty of time holed up in my boyfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn away from my sewing machine before coming home to Boston. Faced with the prospect of weathering a hurricane alone in Boston, I packed up my sewing materials and my machine and drove us all back to Brooklyn. And I made a pair of pants. My very first pair of pants! And cloned from a wardrobe favorite, no less!

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