Sewing Style: 90’s Influenced Fit & Flare

Megan Nielsen sent me this gorgeous lawn (at least I think it’s a lawn) about 2 years ago. It was more time than I would like to admit. Why, oh why do I tend to let such pretty fabric just sit in my stash? I have no idea.

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I wanted it to be something flowy and free for summer. Miriam convinced me that I should make a fit and flare dress. She’s right. She’s always right when it comes to sewing matters.

I didn’t have any good light-weight stretchy black knit on hand, so I ended up dicing up an old maxi dress that I made (and never blogged, only wore once) while I was pregnant with Juniper. That fabric is getting much more use now as the top and sleeves of my dress.

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I used the scout tee for the base of this dress. I pieced the front and took in the sides to compensate for the knit in the back. I considered not taking it in and having it with more of a 90’s proportion, but it feels so feminine with the tapered waist. I’m glad I didn’t make it baggy.

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The dress is so comfortable and light-weight. Perfect for those hot summer days. It was an easy sew, too. Because of the knit back, I didn’t need to put in any enclosures. And I put in a knit binding at the collar so that was super easy.

Anyone know a good technique for binding a woven neckline without it puckering or curling? Let me know. I’m all ears!

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Outfit details:

  • dress: scout tee, revised | fabric from megan nielsen
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: THP shop
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bag: coach (!!!! a mother’s day gift from my mom !!!!)

All photos by Sam Pierson

Calligraphy-worthy Paper

For the last couple of months I’ve been pushing myself with flourishes through names. I started off thinking I could do it every day, but it happens a few times a week now. Check out #calligraphynameoftheday to see all the posts. I love taking time to write out someone’s name and discovering the meaning behind it.

Finding a good card stock that comes in fun colors that holds up to various inks and pens isn’t easy. Several months ago a friend mentioned in passing that she could get me some “amazing” card stock. I tried it. I love it. And here it is.

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Most scrapbooking card stocks have this obnoxious canvas/linen texture that’s impossible to write on if you have a sharp pen. And it all bleeds. Everything bleeds. Drives me bonkers. This paper rocks. It even works well with bleach!

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Until now, it hasn’t been available online. Check out My Mind’s Eye for 2 packs of this awesome paper in 2 different colorways: Tropical and Wildberry. They’ve got loads more colors than the ones I’ve pulled for these packs, so speak up if there’s something you’d like to see!

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Looking to get your feet wet with calligraphy? I’d love to teach you how. Check out istilllovecalligraphy.com for more details.

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This post is not sponsored. I’m completely obsessed with this paper and I want you to be able to get your hands on it, too! I will receive a small portion of sales. This affiliate partnership is only because I truly believe and love this product. 

Sewing: The Feminist Bathing Suit

When I tell people that I like to sew my own swimming suits, I tend to get the same reaction of awe and I-could-never-do-anything-like-that self-doubt. Sewing a swimsuit isn’t that hard. Shopping for one is hard.

Let me put this in perspective. How many women out there go to the store, pick out the first suit they like, try it on, love it and go home? And if you’re reading this and you do that, you’re either pre-pubescent or a freaking unicorn. Because that doesn’t exist.

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Every woman I talk to spends at least the double-digits in hours either searching for, trying on, buying/returning a swimsuit. It’s a laborious task finding the swimsuit of the season. It is!

I’m thin. My BMI is in the “you need to gain weight” range. It always has been. So many think it might be easy for me to find a suit I just love. It’s not. I always end the swimsuit excursion feeling emotionally bankrupt, thinking: My boobs are too small, my torso is too long and my body is too pasty. 

Why? Why on earth put myself through that kind of torture? WHY?!?!?

 

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You know what? I have an amazing body. WE ALL HAVE AMAZING BODIES. It’s just that 99% of the time our bodies don’t fit the block created by one manufacturer or another. And is that bad? NO.

So I’m not going to waste another minute feeling upset that my body doesn’t fit a man-made proportion, or spend a second on the things I could do to enhance or change my god-given proportions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it. It’s just not for me. Not right now.

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Now I spend that half-day obsessing over muslins and sketches. I huddle over my sewing machines finishing every detail as best as I can. I’ve drafted my own sewing pattern through lots of trial and error (version 1.0 here), so now I have a pattern for swim bottoms that fits me perfectly. I can adjust that pattern to the style I’m going for. Drafting a top takes more time, but it’s worth it.

At the end of the experience, I have a swimsuit I’ve made. A swimsuit I’m proud of. A swimsuit that fits me. 

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Some may think that sewing is so antiquated. I’ll tell you there’s nothing more empowering than that sewing machine. If you’re on the fence about sewing a swimsuit this year, get off the fence and start making one right now. It’ll be the best investment in you you’ll make this summer.

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Outfit details:

  • floral knit: L.A. Fabric District
  • scuba knit: Fabric.com
  • necklace: H&M
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bracelet: THP shop

I drafted each pattern from scratch. I would consider starting at Burdastyle, if you download their patterns make sure that patterns have seam allowance before you cut them out. :)

If sewing isn’t for you, check out my swimwear inspiration board.

All images by Sam Pierson

Sign Painting Inspired Photo Backdrop

Sometimes I enthusiastically say, “Yes!” to a project before understanding the scale. It’s a problem I get myself into constantly. As much as these decisions cost me in time, I benefit in learning new things: new methods, techniques and at the very least when I should say, “no.”

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AlixMegan and I were asked to head up a photo booth for Alt Summit this year. After mulling through several ideas, our theme was b&w pre-internet, we settled on some typographic backdrop for the photo booth for Alt Summit (summer 2015). It took until the 11th hour to think of what words to use.

I’m no copy editor. Coming up with copy is difficult for me. I can make it beautiful, but figuring out what to write can be like pulling teeth for me. It took several conversations as a team and an hour long phone call with my mom. I figured it would make the most sense to do onomatopoeias. Since it’s B&W pre-internet (which I thought was kind of vague) I started with the sounds you would hear from pre-internet technology like the “click and clack” from a typewriter. Then it grew from there to include any onomatopoeia that I could think of. I didn’t want to repeat the words too many times.

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Initially I had thought about inspirational words or phrases, but we didn’t want readability to be an issue. The short words turned out to be great.

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This sign ended up being roughly 9′ wide and 4′ tall. Doing something this large isn’t typical of my day-to-day work. Also, sign painting and lettering isn’t something that I do often. I was more than a bit out of my comfort zone here. Between that and the fact that the only space I could complete the sign was the kitchen area, stress levels were at an all-time high. My stress always sky-rockets around Alt Summit. So Chris knew he needed to steer clear. The kids quickly learned that lesson after an embarrassing amount of yelling, “GET OUT!! I can’t have you touching the paper!!”

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they live in a mausoleum, but I also can’t have their sticky otter pop hands anywhere close to the paper. My paranoia mounted the further along I got. Stakes were escalating, I couldn’t start over!

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In my efforts to keep Pen and Felix out of trouble and my precious paper out of harm’s way, I barricaded the kitchen off with various chairs and a car seat. Chris got a kick out of it. That buffer saved my bacon a couple of times by keeping Felix from barreling through the room on his way outside.

At one point Alix came over to help fill in words with her two littles in tow. 5 kids under the age of 7 made for some interesting work time. Her kids were so good at staying clear of the paper and paint. Mine, not so much.

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The event went well, but as we were setting up for the backdrop I noticed that we had an awkward blank space on the top left corner of the backdrop. I made it a point to have my art supplies with me so that I could letter names for people (that was so fun!). So it was no big deal to whip out the white paint and brush and get to work on a couple extra pieces to fill out the negative space.

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If you look carefully, you’ll see that the “alt.” logo, arrow and “BAM” are a slightly different white. I had a different white, a teeny brush and I had to do it while the backdrop was hanging so I didn’t have a hard surface to work on. It certainly wasn’t my best work, but I was able to fill in the blank and make it look like it was supposed to be there.

I may be biased, but we rocked the photobooth. I’m glad I said yes to this project and got out of my comfort zone.

Project materials:

Sewing with Kids: Felix’s Rockstar Tee

I gave Penelope my hand-me-down Bernina Record 830 (she has NO IDEA what she has – those things go for A LOT on ebay). She knows how to do a straight line, but that’s about it.

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At some point I’ll teach her the foundations of sewing with patterns, using the back-stitch, finishing seams and what-not. Until then, I’m loving every minute of her free spirit made manifest through clothing. This girl’s creativity just rocks my world. And Felix’s patience for her creativity is unmatched.

I think the dot of green marker on his left earlobe completes the look, don’t you?

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