I am dreaming of Hawaii big time. So I made this shirt. This was my first ever collared shirt and I really enjoyed making this. The biggest fun? Pattern matching that pocket so it looked seamless and part of the fabric. :) Pretty proud of myself. The instructions on this pattern were great and quite easy to follow. Though, it did help that I learned the burrito method for panty sewing before I did it with the yoke. And I did have to rip it out one time. I'll be making another of these for my pops with some fun boat fabric.
What a wild ride it's been since the Seattle Salsa Congress. I had joined a Ladies Styling Performance Team for Salsa in Seattle in August/September of 2016 and that took a huge chunk of my schedule. Mainly, because it involved a couple hours or more of driving for each practice. I don't regret one minute of it, though! Our big performance was in April of 2017. Once we completed that, I spent time rejuvenating my soul by getting outside and deeply diving into my sewing. In addition and also during our heavy team performance season, I was doing shows where I was reading for clients sometimes every weekend in addition to my day job. I love to be active and I adore working on a large variety of things. And, I also had reached my limits. I know that sewing is a way that I process what happens in my life. It's as if it's moving meditation, much like skating, hiking, or walking are for me. So, I have created as much as I could to replace old garments or fill gaps in my wardrobe. Without further ado, here are some of the goings on.
The above is a Bootstrap Peplum top with bust darts and back waist darts. It's quite similar to this pattern (affiliate link), except that pattern has princess seams. Frankly, I'd choose the princess seams next time, because they take less time to sew and are much easier/faster than darts. Darts can end up with fussy pointy bits in the wrong areas if they aren't sewn correctly, and they can sometimes be 2 different lengths if you aren't precise enough. The top I sewed was created using their custom pattern generator.
I made this top out of a 2-way stretch fabric. It's quite light-weight. Something to note is that this garment hangs properly when there's a lining in at least the peplum/skirt. When it didn't have the mesh lining, the waist looked wider and the bodice puffed out a bit. Add in a quick matching peplum of mesh and "voila!"it hangs beautifully! I serged all the edges rather than top stitching.
This cardigan is the New Horizons Vermont Cardigan. I keep kicking myself on this one. I feel like I should have known that the center back bodice needed darts, or that I would have had a more flattering fit if I'd tapered the waistband at the top, converting the waist from a rectangle to a long rectangle with two arrow heads at the end. <==> Something like that. Because when it is folded in half, the hem, or folded edge, is widest, which accommodates the hips and the waist is narrowest, which better flatters the hourglass figure. I think I might also make this with a little more ease in the arms next time. That way, sleeves of a shirt beneath won't show through. This was made using a somewhat firm knit and might be better made in a knit with more drape, yet still has good recovery.
I began offering Atlantian Prayer Flags. I dyed the flags, cut them to size and turned them into flags. Then used symbols that came to me during meditation. If you'd like some, they're available on my CalmUnderTension Etsy Shop
Wow, this moment was one I treasured. Both ladies here are clients of mine. The mother was a client I drew a spirit guide for a year or so ago. Then, this year, her daughter wanted one done. I always learn to trust my intuition when I do readings and spirit guide drawings. I rarely know what the guide looks like before I begin. My process is always intuitive and I begin with only a face shape. Now, I could sensor the information I hear, see, and feel, but what good would that do my client. So, as nervous as I was to share insight on a child with her and her mother (I don't want to interfere with anyone's parenting), I kept talking, sharing, drawing, and moving. I was shocked when both she and her mom shared several things that confirmed the information and messages I shared from this little girl's spirit guides. What a huge honor this was!
I've drawn many pen and ink spirit guides plus I drew a series of them in color for my personal use, plus I did a winter fae themed series. This one was the first request from a client for an in-color spirit guide drawing. I had such a hoot doing this! What a regal looking guide. Serious, yet whimsical. Whenever I've tried to create such things without tapping into the Divine and allowing that abundant flow to run through me, I end up over critiquing, fearing, and basically cutting my art off at the knees so that I end up with artist's block. The process of not only drawing for people, but the intimate aspect of sharing messages for their growth and highest good is such a rewarding thing. I love hearing people's amazement at the accuracy because it's just as surprising for me. And it's quite an honor to have my artwork expand and grow into such beauty simply as the lovely side effect of helping my clients. Wow. Stunning and uplifting.
In April, as soon as my commitment to the Ladies Styling Performance team was complete, I began Intermediate Spanish classes. What a joy to begin learning and reinvesting in languages again. They tend to come fairly easily for me and I learn to mimic tone, pace, and inflections. What's been interesting is that I'm learning the most by writing. I've come to learn that if I simply hear something, it's only part of my learning process. Often I must write the word out in my head or on paper in order to fully integrate my new learning.
A couple weeks ago, I gave a 3 paragraph talk to my class on 2 miniature sculptures I created out of polymer clay. I was tickled to learn some of the words for styrofoam, hardening (the clay) and baking. Technical terms can vary and words also hold unique meanings depending upon context. Not only did I get to learn the new vocabulary and share with the class my figurines, but they too got to learn the vocab and we used it in a few successive classes thanks to the teacher at La Unica.
I love, love, love to learn. I fully intend to spend my entire life learning and accomplishing as many things as I feel inspired to do, which is usually 10 x more than most people I encounter and I'm fine with that. :) That means my life will be filled with growth and adventure.
Did I mention I've fallen in love? Who doesn't with someone who loves to be outside as much as you do? Then as you turn back to see what he's doing on your beach walk, find him drawing a heart with both your names in the sand. Sigh.
Well folks, here we are, the Salsa N Seattle Ladies Styling Team. This was at the Rose City Salsa Congress. I'm in the back left. I brought every last ounce I could to each performance. Sometimes, that wasn't easy because I was exhausted. But when it's performance time, I choose to ensure that my audience feels the joy I get from dancing and I only dance when I can draw that up and share it through my every move. I recently heard that movement can take the place of words when we sometimes cannot find them. This is so very true. I can convey more joy through my dance to people than I can sometimes in words. That doesn't mean I'm challenged with words. It simply means that sometimes the best avenue for a message to arrive is simply by watching or being movement in action. It's as though all the ego, fear, and worry are transcended.
I remember watching some powerful dancers at Century Ballroom a year ago and others at the 2015 Seattle Salsa Congress thinking, "I can do that." I could see myself on stage. I knew I could do those moves just as well as the current performers. None of this was ego based, yet that can easily shift into a space of jealousy, if we begin to judge the thought or allow others to tell us how to live. If however, we can acknowledge that neutral, yet excited feeling which arises when the desire is born, we will come to realize that this though is divine inspiration gifting us with a new goal and showing us that we can achieve it. A little more than a year later, I was performing at Century Ballroom and at a Salsa Congress on a team of talented dancers.
I accomplished my dream. It was a TON of work, there are always interesting challenges to being part of a team where you must look and move identically, yet each looks different and everyone is doing it for fun. I was definitely hard on myself along the way, but I persevered and am so grateful. These women are so talented and I was lucky not only to dance alongside them, but also to learn and watch Julia, our team leader, choreograph and adjust the team frequently to ensure we always looked amazing.
I got to practice stoning a costume for the first time and figured out how to add non-stretch trim to a stretchy costume because we bought these costumes plain. Plus, I altered the back to better cover the bra and stay on the body while moving. Definitely a challenge because the lace and the nylon-lycra are two completely different stretch and recovery rates.
Performance hair and make-up. It was great to look like everyone else and flip my hair about. And, I'm equally glad I don't put on make-up like this daily. Whew that's a lot of work that can be spent on many other fun things, like yoga or swimming or even a little sewing!
I made a 2nd Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #1, this time in a 2-way stretch microfleece with the stretch going around the body. I love this top. All I did was taper in the side seams to give it a little more curve. Note this hem piece is tapered toward the waist.
Lynn, Corinna, Phyllis (not shown), Me and my Mom (from left to right) had a booth at the 2017 Mythic Worlds event. This was so much fun. I met many, many people and saw some amazing costumes. I even spent time between clients drawing this sweet little mermaid spirit guide for a friend. Then I used watercolor from a travel set to paint her. I love these wonderful, spiritual women. I'm lucky to know them and call them friends.
Jalie patterns always seem to work out in one way or another. I continue to be impressed by their depth of knowledge in creating comfortable, great-fitting, and very functional garments. Jalie 2568 - Lace Brazilian Hipster Pattern is no exception. I love making this as a bridal or birthday gift for friends because it's something that women will rarely invest in for themselves and it's so darn pretty! Plus it's a quick project that can be done fully on a sewing machine with a stretch stitch. This pair was for a friend's 50th. I sewed in a ribbon that was embossed with the words, "Celebrate" in beautiful scroll letters, because life is to be celebrated.
Sew Expo this year was a delight because I got to meet many of my sewing friends in person. We have developed deep relationships online and often reach out to ask each other questions, for help, support, encouragement, guidance and more. Kelly and MaLora are two talented seamstresses who create the most fun garments! Here we posed outside of the Style Maker Fabrics booth where so many more, "Hey I know you from Instagram!" comments arose from lots of folks.
Then, as Kyle and I were chatting and catching up in-person for the first time, this woman looked at both of us and said, "Hey! Wow! I follow both of your blogs." How very cool is that?! I hope to reconnect with this kind woman again.
I've been following and connecting with Deb from Simplicity for some time. It was such a treat to see her in-person especially after following her bike accident recovery, and seeing some of the amazing dresses and garments from the Simplicity line up in her instagram feed. She is a fascinating person. Lovely East Coast accent and filled with ideas and enthusiasm for sewing. I just adore her.
I also got to meet Michelle, who was sharing many of her fun projects and was just about to leave to teach a class at expo. Also a very lovely person.
I took every class Monica of Bravo Bella Bras offered. I've learned so much from her. And I love that she is a STEM person and also a seamstress. We just "get" each other when we talk. And she draws these great diagrams to quickly communicate changes. I'm on bra #9 and am nearly there with perfecting the fit.
I got to meet Aussie Anne Whaley and her husband Bruce, taking both their classes. So much fun. She's wonderful: filled with enthusiasm, energy, and the knack to see what works best for someone's figure and to help them sew great garments that work for them.
Some dear friends had their first baby, so of course I made them a head to toe matching outfit. These were part of the Brindelle and Twig Sew-Along with Kelly.
Spending time at Intuitive Fairs with the talented couple, Isidro and Joanie.
Exploring Vancouver, BC and trying large Chrysanthemum Blossom Teas
Being a pattern tester means that sometimes, you see the less than flattering side of some patterns. Not to worry! Some fabrics make a pattern great, others make it blah. Likewise, not all patterns are flattering for every figure. There's sort of a mythical marketing like enchantment when one picks up a new pattern. We see the people modeling it and know that when we make it, we will look like that. Um, no. Not always. Choose patterns that best compliment your figure, and that you feel good in. It doesn't matter if it's on trend or not. If you feel good, then it will affect your every move and attitude through out the day. If you have fussy clothing or feel uncomfortable, then that comes through to all who see you. So throw caution to the wind or maybe stop trying to be who you are not and love that amazing body you have. Adorn it like the temple it is!
My friend, Jaime, and I found that we both enjoy dancing and are great dance partners. This winter, we took a trip to LA so we could learn some Bachata. 6 hours to be exact! And boy did we learn a lot. You know, it's really interesting that often as someone's dance partner, you can see where they need to shift or be in order to better support your move as a follow. And likewise, as the lead, they can see where you aren't following (or answering the question they are asking with the move they offer). So getting time with a professional dance teacher who is a neutral party becomes an incredible way to learn, get the feedback you both really need, and grow to that next level.
Over the years, I've learned how t to truly follow, which as a trailblazer and a woman in engineering, was challenging. Why? Because I am an explorer and a pioneer by nature and I've learned to be successful by leading in my own way. So coming to dance and learning to follow has been such a fantastic journey for me. I am always willing to dance with people of all experience levels even though I've been a performing dancer for years and years. What's fascinating is that I've come to learn who is taking lessons at which studio based on the way they dance. And, sometimes, it's a beginner, doing a move the wrong or right way that can help me really solidify the way a move was taught, but I haven't quite understood yet. So give everyone a chance, you might learn just as much as they are!
I patched up this brand new pair of Brazillian leggings (read super spendy) after I ripped a hole in them turning a corner. Seriously, it was my first time wearing them. So, off I went to my kissy lip pattern (my signature in drawings from childhood) and made a stretchy patch to fix them. I think I love them more now.
Family time watching one of the newer Star Wars movies. I'm into Sci-Fi, but minorly compared to the rest of my family. We are all avid readers, devouring book after book. It was nice to get away and laugh together over a movie and coffee, something we all love. In fact, when my brother and I wander a city together, be it Montreal or Seattle, we visit coffee shop after pastery shop until we are nearly sick. I mean really, is there anything in the world besides those two delights? We are Scandinavian after all. And besides, it doesn't happen very often and we are usually walking like 6 miles over the course of our time enjoying said delights. So, it kind of balances out.
My brother and his husband's beloved greyhound passed away in the last year. So for Christmas, Phoenix, Kelly's child, did a few sketches of him. I then turned it into a pillow case they could display on their couch if desired. Do check out hiring Phoenix for artwork. They do a fantastic job. Plus, they designed Kelly's logos on The Vegan Tailor.
I made my mom this cute Bootstrap top (affiliate link) with a fun cross over peplum hem. I converted the neckline to use the one from Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8793 which calls for the teeth of a zipper to be exposed in the top edges of the collars. However, having discovered how much I loved making prairie points, I decided to hand-fold each one on the neckline and custom layout the color succession. The fabrics are all 2-way stretch. This is something I've come to enjoy using on many of the woven patterns I've purchased through Bootstrap. I like garments that stretch and move with me. Often, I find woven too restrictive. Likewise, I often look at a 2-way stretch and think, "What am I going to do with this?!" Because rarely does a pattern call for it that is in my stash or is my style. The woven patterns I choose tend to have more shaping to flatter my figure, so it's a win win. Don't you just love the delightful surprise of color and those cute dancing skeletons?
For the company Christmas party, we learned to frost cupcakes. This was so much fun. It was neat to see how some of the techs were really good at working with piping icing. This is my dad here. His mom, a professional cook, taught him well, as you can see. Not too much, and not too little. Always important to cover from edge to edge.
The Layer Me Up shirt (affiliate link) by Patterns for Pirates was an instant winner. It is a little snug in this medium knit, the fact that it fits the swayback area so well was a complete delight. I also made this up in a 2-way stretch wool where I added 1/2" - 1" of ease at the side seams to allow for the garment to fit. You see, you can't just take a pattern designed for 4-way stretch and use a 2-way stretch. You'll end up with something way too short or other behaviors that don't allow it to fit the way it was designed.
OMG, I was so very sad to find out that Rose City Textiles was closing. I've been there several times over the years and they were one of the few retailers that carried the kind of textiles that one could recreate outdoor gear like you see at places like REI. Yes, we have Seattle Fabrics which is also an outdoor retailer, but I just felt more connected to the people and offerings at Rose City.
Plus, the service from Annette is bar none. She's a doll (see the photo of her and I above). She has helped me decide on what notions, needles, fabrics, etc. for many a garment and she knows what works and what doesn't. Plus, she's made lots of the same patterns I am about to tackle. Thank goodness she found a great home in another long time Portland fabric shop. Of course I made a trip to Rose City in the weeks before they closed and stocked up on many fabrics - breathables, fleeces, knits, and more. Many from major brands that were purchased on close-out so that hobby seamstresses or even those folks working for shows like Leverage and Grimm could make unique garments for the cast.
Farewell Rose City. You will be missed.
What have you been up to this year? What has been the most pivotal garment you've made? Or what has been your greatest accomplishment. We are in harvest season, so now is an excellent time to take stock of where you are at and what you've created in your life (or even released).