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Whew; A (long) Sewing Update

April 30, 2016

It has been two months since my last post, and fortunately, it’s been a very busy and productive two months. Here are some keypoints:

Making The Linden Sweatshirt

On March 10th I took a class in Grand Rapids at Stitched Studio to learn how to make the Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio. Now, when I first got my sewing machine (and for 8 or 9 months) I held fast that I wasn’t interested in making garments. I just felt it was far too out of reach, and that even skilled sewists struggled with making clothes not look so…homemade. At the beginning of the year I started assessing my wardrobe for holes, and wanted to fill those gaps with high quality and ethically made pieces. Not to mention I had to love them, they had to fit well, etc. Well, my style is made up of very basic silhouettes, and my body is all kinds of crazy proportions, and I quickly realized that it might…make sense to…try to…make some of my own? I started looking on Pinterest and Instagram for sewists making beautiful clothing, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. There are some ladies out there making incredible pieces; they convinced me I could at least try. The Linden Sweatshirt pattern and process convinced me it was the right move.

Sewing the collar / My classmates and I with our Lindens

Sewing the collar / My classmates and I with our Lindens

I used a basic medium-weight knit from Joann’s with a contrast ribbing in the same cream color. After being used to intricate bag patterns with tons of exterior pieces + interior pieces + interfacing pieces, it was so nice to have just a few large pieces to cut from the fabric. Truly the process felt relaxing and easy. I was very present throughout the whole process, very aware of the fabric in my hands as it fed through the machine. The best part? I didn’t think I’d actually walk out with a wearable shirt. My goal was to get the experience of making a shirt, but I totally got both! I wear my shirt in my normal wardrobe rotation and I gained the confidence to try more clothing patterns.

My Best Friend is Engaged!

It’s lucky that I got over my fear of garment making because Meg (she’s the one I made my first quilt for) and I quickly discerned that I should make Mia’s very fluffy and totally girl dreamy Flower girl dress for Meg and Kyle’s wedding! Mia and I knew they’d be getting married at some point, so we weren’t that surprised, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t both very excited and ate many donuts to celebrate. In true Dylan fashion, I went to Target to get ‘a few treats for the evening’ and came out many dollars later with half the store, all in a cute bag. I regret nothing.

Donuts bring out her DeNiro squint

Donuts bring out her DeNiro squint

The First Day Bag

This one is a biggie for a few reasons: First, I was in a frustrated spot, sort of in general, but directed at sewing. IThinkSew sends regular emails with new bag patterns, and I almost always open them immediately. When I saw the pattern for The Alicia Bag, I knew it was time to make a bag for myself. I had been searching for a large style of bag that would work for both just toting a few things and packing it full. I had been getting overwhelmed with what to do with sewing; I wanted to make a quilt, and new skirts, and a popover shirt, and start making bags to sell and and and. So I decided to focus on making one Alicia Bag, just for myself.

I took myself to the fabric shop and found it a truly cathartic experience to look for fabric with intent. Instead of being bewildered by all the patterns, I could filter sections of them out immediately. Finding my favorite pairing felt natural, and I think this energy, this calmness at the beginning of a project made the entire process more enjoyable and relaxing. The pattern was wonderful to work with and took me right out of my sewing rut. So that’s reason one. Second is the bag ended up being really awesome. I made some notes on alterations I wanted to make to the pattern to better fit my style. I made a second one following those alterations and the results were spot on. I’ve loved carrying it around with merely a pouch, my notebook, and a book, as well as toting all of my work needs when I go to the office: laptop, charger, notebook, planner, bag of writing/drawing utensils, food, water bottle, wallet, keys. I’m not kidding. Hallelujah. But the best part is what comes next: third, I’ve decided that this is the style of bag (I have more notes for things I want to add, the bag will be named ‘the day bag’), along with my small standing pouch, will be the first bags that I start selling on Etsy on July 1st of this year! That date is totally tentative, as I’m sure I’m underestimating the time I’ll need to truly be ready (product descriptions, photos, packaging, etc), but it’s exciting and wonderful to have a date to work towards.

The finished Alicia Bag

The finished Alicia Bag

Cincinnati: Dog bed covers, small pouches, and new Colette Patterns

BC’s close friend from High School lives in Cincinnati with his girlfriend, and we took a road trip a couple weekends ago to go visit them. Drew’s girlfriend Aubrey had asked me if I could make some simple covers for some large dog beds they had purchased. Although a basic project, it was a good exercise in getting my pattern math correct. The final result ended up being large zippered cases made from Kona solids in Graphite; they fit perfectly 🙂 I also used the trip as an opportunity to force friends to be product testers under the veil of making them gifts; I don’t think anyone’s mad. I made three different pouches to go with each girl’s different style and wrapped them in white craft paper bags with swatch tags that matched the bag fabric. Also, while we were there we ran into a small fabric shop, so I hijacked the group and made them wait while I bought two new Colette patterns (this one and this one) and a yard of future-Day-bag lining fabric. I’ll be using a water-color floral knit for whichever one I make first.

smallPouches

My Grandma Turns 88!

Also, the queen, my grandmother, turned 88 this year. My family took her out to a dueling pianos dinner and show, and she looked as beautiful as ever. So full of light and love. SHE’S CUTE.

Left: Easter; Right: Dueling Pianos Birthday Fun

Left: Easter; Right: Dueling Pianos Birthday Fun

Back to the Present Moment

It feels pretty good to get all of that out. Because I won’t be slowing down anytime soon. My shipment of fabric has already started getting cut into Day bag and standing pouch exteriors; I’m halfway done replacing a winter jacket zipper for Sir Falconberry; I’m working on the branding elements for By Dylan M.; I’ve charted out the next quilt I want to make for our guest bedroom; and a million other things. I’m also going to be taking an online course on DSLR photography for bloggers, so I’m excited to dust off Victor (my Canon 60D) and my 50mm lens and get to work. You’d think the videography stuff would transfer easily to photography, but wrong-o (insert Grinch finger-wagging here). So there’s the update! I’ll be back with more soon!

signoff

Until next time
(P.S. I welcome (nice, kind, sweet, gentle, funny) punctuation advice)

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