Friday, February 28, 2014

The Book that Helps you Tap into your Creative Genius.....

I am on a real creative HIGH and don't see myself getting off anytime soon!!! All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you to my dear fellow sewing friend F.T. for introducing me to this book!!! Thanks F.T. you're such a doll!!!  I'd been in a bit of a creative slump for a while and was trying to figure out a way to climb out of it. One thing I know for sure that if I usually have a problem often it starts with a problem in the way I'm thinking about things. That was the truth in this case. This book dispelled the myths I had about what truly being an artist is. I LOVEEEEEEEEEE this book!!!! They didn't have it at my library so I was able to instead borrow it as an e-book (isn't technology grand!). It's not a big book and has alot of drawings/pics so it was a easy read. The messages throughout are just pure brilliance. Not alot of text is needed. The points are clear and just like turning on a light switch my mind turned on to accepting what I'd always heard to be true but was hesitant to accept. I know " Inspiration is the fuel of our lives". And it's how we acquire, process and synthesize this information that's super important. We are made creative through outside influences and inspirations. One I love from the book says it best, "If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it". Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks!!!! That was my struggle! I know now more than ever I need to embrace outside influences like never before. I feel like my mind is unlocked and ideas are spilling all over the place. It happened right while I was in the middle of reading the book.  I pulled out my sketch pad and came up with all sorts of fashion designs that I couldn't get on paper fast enough. I was amazed. It seems that I wasn't short on ideas just needed to let go and open my mind and be free. Anyhow I could go on, and on, and on. Just get this book if you want to be an even better creative version of yourself. I think it's $6 or so on I also plan to get his newest book "Show Your Work". Anyhow, enjoy. I hope it locks the greatness of the creativity within in you too!

Here's the table of contents.....

One of my favorite excerpts from the book......I LOVE the quote!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Extending the Fearless February Sew-Along through March!!!!

That's right! Let's take this Fearless February Sew-Along through another month. Why not???? From what I can tell you guys are doing great progressing with your projects and I'm having a blast working on mine. As I mentioned in THIS POST I'm enjoying taking my time learning new techniques. I'm not in my usual hurry. I think alot can be missed when you're too much in a hurry to accomplish a goal. I really do love all the work you guys are doing!!!! If any of you aren't up to speed check out the FlickR page where people are posting their projects HERE. There are coats in progress, fancy dresses, pants, jacket, etc. I know many of you are posting them on your own blog pages too. When the challenge is all over then maybe the final pics can be added to the FlickR page or you can email them to me so I can include on my blog page.

I'll continue working on my Fearless February list HERE. Plus there's just a few more things going on. The Original Sewing and Quilting Expo will be happening in Atlanta March 13-16 and I'm siked I'll be a part of that since I'll be tagging along with Mr. Jim. If you're planning on being there let me know so we can connect. The Father/Daughter Banquet (remember last year's HERE) will be happening on March 28. So I've got a dress to make for my daughter before then. I thought of this one last year (Butterick????--forgot pattern #) and am considering it again.......hmmmmm......decisions, decisions. The theme is something along the lines of "Coastal Paradise" so this would be a cute one!

Anyhow I'm looking forward to continuing the Fearless February sew along with you through March!!!! Let's make it another dynamic month of conquering our fears!!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Simplicity 1622--- Black and Gold Crinkle Textured Pants

Happy Sunday! I crossed off another project from my Fearless February Challenge list. I managed to squeak out a pair of pants in time to wear for church . I cut them out on Friday and sewed them together Saturday. Super easy to put together, especially since they have an elastic waistband. I think I made it know in this POST HERE why I tend to prefer elastic waist pants. I picked a mid-weight black and gold striped polyester fabric I've had in my stash for a good while. I figure it would make a cute pair of pants. In my haste to leave this morning and the cold temperature (I wore a sweater with it) I didn't exactly style this pants the way I wanted. These pants will be cute in the Spring with a cute slouchy off-shoulder tunic, belt and some strap-py sandals. But for the time being the outfit worked and here's the review......

(Although my shirt was pulled up (my camera man didn't tell me), notice the back pants legs fit perfectly. The trick, I used another good pants pattern  to adjust the fit on this one. Will explain in another post)

(Pants upclose)

Time to Sew:
Like 2 hours. Super easy!

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
2---very easy

Pattern Description:
Elastic waist, full leg pants

Pattern Sizing:
Size 14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes! Don't need them!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Simplicity--perfect to showcase a nice fabric.

Fabric Used:
Wrinkle textured black/gold polyester pants

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Nothing major. I altered the crotch curves to look like a pair of pants that fit me well. I left the legs fine.

What would you do differently next time?:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Probably so. I need to add a bunch of pants to my wardrobe.

Wardrobe Versatility:
A good deal.....

Cute pants!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mentored by a Master.....

We're a little over a week from the end of February and the Fearless February Challenge and I have to say that I'm extremely happy with all I've experienced this month. That may seem a little odd to declare given the fact that I only have one near finished coat under my belt and still have a jacket for my Hubby, something for my daughter, pants for myself, a draped piece for myself and a draped gown on my half scale form to churn out between now and then. But I have to admit things were a bit different with this year's challenge. Usually my agenda is to work as fast as I can and get as much done but I've actually been in the opposite mode. I'm nearly finished with my coat and have delayed finishing in order to be meticulous with the details and expand my understanding of the tailoring process.

(Mr. Jim helping me correct a sewing mistake on my coat)

 As most of you know I have the privilege of training with a Master Tailor (over the last 8 months). I've talked about Mr. Jim, who's affectionately known as Gentleman Jim. For those who've never heard me mention him then allow me to say he's one EXCEPTIONAL Tailor. I guess after 53 years in the business he's earned his mastery. You can read all about him on his blog HERE and of course he's a teacher with his own sewing studio (all of his students adore him) and sells instructional DVD's which I'm glad to have in my possession as well. His work and instruction are hands down phenomenal!!!

Anyway, I've been working with him on the in's and out's of my tailored coat---sneak peek at Flick page HERE. Now true enough the coat I've made didn't require any intricate tailoring--- just some interfacing and the fancy shoulder building supplies (sleeve head, tie interfacing, shoulder pads). But I have enjoyed working along side of him learning his techniques which are surprisingly (or probably not surprisingly) quite different from what the average home sewer does. They're industry standard with his signature "time-saving" changes. So I've enjoyed just "drinking in the information". I've learned so much!!!. Mr. Jim's been EXTREMELY helpful. He's corrected my mistakes, applauded my accomplishments, dispelled alot of those crazy myths I believe about sewing (serger threads have to always match clothes), looked at me crazy when I came up with some lame excuse for a mess up  and gently nudged me when I had moments of doubt and reservation. So believe it or not, at about 19 days into this challenge, without a stack of finished garments to show for, I feel truly ACCOMPLISHED. I feel like I've grown alot and matured in my view of my craft. And I have Mr. Jim to thank for that.

I say all this to stress one importance---Mentorship. I hear countless of sewers express their desire to know more and sew better. I see the efforts so many put forward to gather information to improve in their craft. The blog world and online capabilities have brought information to us in an unprecedented way. All of which I'm thankful for. But I want to encourage those of you who want to grow even more in your sewing to try and find a mentor. I know that may be hard for some of you and I can totally understand that. But if you can directly connect with someone I encourage you too. It doesn't have to be a professional it could be a skilled family member or friend---someone who is better than you and can help you grow. Because a good mentor does just that----they help you grow in ways you can't imagine. They can see the best in you and help weed out the worst. Also, mentorship is a two-way street. Look for ways to pay it forward to others. Get behind someone with a little less experience and help mentor them and push them to their best potential. I truly feel so blessed for all I've learned and continue to learn. I'm thankful to have a wonderful mentor and I appreciate how I can play that role in the lives of others now and in the future. What about you, have you had a  mentor (sewing or otherwise) that made a big difference in your life? How did they impact you?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

McCall's 6884---TheTeal- Cool-Print Wrap Dress

Happy Sunday! After having tackled my coat project (sneak peek at Fearless February Sew-Along Flickr Group page HERE---feel free to visit and/or post your pics) I thought I'd just whip up a little wrap dress for me to wear to church today. I started on it yesterday and only had to coverstitch the hem before I left for church. It went together fairly quickly and I like the results. When I purchased this unique fabric I thought I'd use it for a wrap dress and glad I did. Here's the review......

(Side View)

Time to Sew:
About 4 hours

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
4, it would've been less but the instructions for dress B were a bit confusing.

Pattern Description:
Mock wrap dress

Pattern Sizing:
10 for the bodice and graded to a 12 for the waist and below.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
For view B, not particularly. There were only instructions for view A. Only one side of the overlay would show so it needed to be finished. If you did both like in view A---as I did--- that would be a waste of time. I should've went with my gut and just put it together sans the instructions. But like a moth to a flame I so get suckered into reading them for the easy stuff LOL!!!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's a wrap dress. Everyone loves those!

Fabric Used:
A teal matte jersey with neat designs

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1. Added 3" in length
2. Made the sleeves 
3. Stabilized the shoulder seam and neckline with clear elastic (I can't stand a lose neckline on a knit).
4. Used serger and coverstitch machines to construct and finish.
5. I coverstitched the neck edge, side overlay, and skirt hem in black so it would especially be visible.

What would you do differently next time?:
Not follow the directions and sew the panels the way I want, one side unfinished.

 (back view)

(full view)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Possibly. It's a quick knit dress.

Wardrobe Versatility: 
Can be worn with tights, leggings, a cardigan or cute jacket.

Cute dress!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flickr Group Setup for Fearless February Sew-Along

Thanks to TLC246's request/ suggestion (thanks Lady)  I've setup a Flickr group for us to share out Fearless February sewing progress and final pieces!!! To be honest I hadn't even thought about doing this and actually never used Flickr. Well I've set up the group and here's the link.....

Here's a screen shot.....

For you Flickr experts is this all of the info you need to access the site. I left the site public so everyone should be able to view.
I'm still getting acclimated to the site and will post my progress on tomorrow. I have a coat that's finished (will post sneak peak) and am starting on some of the other items. I can't wait to see what you guys have accomplished. I've seen some of your progress and you guys are on FIRE! I LOVE it!!! I know one person who definitely is. I see you Faye (over at Faye's Sewing Adventures) sewing up that remarkable "Vera" coat!!! Looking good!!!

Anyhow, it's way past my bedtime and I've got lots of sewing to do. This month feels like it's getting away from me. Again if I didn't set up the Flickr group right or forgot to add something just let me know!

Happy Sewing.....and Happy Valentine's Day!!!! May you feel extra loved and special today and continually so all year long!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Making Gowns for the Florida Chamber Music Ladies!

Today is my birthday (YAYYYY!) and I'm delighted to say it's been a good one! I've been showered by so much love and well wishes---words alone can't express how appreciative I am!!!  Today was also a good day because I also got to go hang out in Jacksonville, Florida and see the Florida Chamber Music group perform in gowns that my tailoring teacher, Mr. Jim and I helped produce. That's right, the prestigious ladies wore our gowns!!! The Florida Chamber Music group consists of 5 spectacularly talented women (4 Violinist & 1 Cellist). It was primarily Mr. Jim's project  and connections but I was privileged to  help out with the sewing too. It was a spectacular experience! I've never worked with a group of female clients all at once. I learned alot. The dress design was sketched by Mr. Jason Woods and Mr. Jim had the pleasure of bringing it to life.
Here's Mr. Jim and I posing with one of the lovely ladies in her fancy performance gown......It's a long length midnight blue dull satin dress with silver trim embellishment and lace sleeves.

......another view. Please forgive the poor pic quality.

Unfortunately I don't have any formal pictures of all the ladies in their gowns but I'll definitely post them when I do. Hopefully this pic gives you an idea of dresses. All 5 of the ladies had similar gowns with neckline, sleeve and trim design variations.

Here's the performance program. (next 4 pics).....'s schedule and future concerts.....

 ....a write-up on Mr. Jim (see me in the pic too---that was one of our fitting appointments with the ladies in his studio.)

....Mr. Jim's write-up continued (there's a pic of all of the ladies in his studio)

Here's a formal promotional pic of the ladies. You can visit their website here...

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the ladies performance and the opportunity to help make their gowns. It was truly a magical experience and a great way to top off a phenomenal birthday!

Also, a special shout out to my girlfriend Kenay who accompanied me on my trip and made my Birthday/Girl's Getaway weekend a blast. Love you chick!!!

(Having silly fun at the Lush shop in J-Ville)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fearless February Challenge Day 3 Video.......

Just wanted to check in with you guys to see how you're doing and to let you know what's going on with me. Lots of exciting things in the works

Video info:
-Mr. Jim's Ladies Tailored Pants DVD HERE
-Where I purchased International version of Patternmaking for Fashion Design HERE (oops, got the book        for less than $40, not $30).
-Here are the gorgeous ladies we made gowns for (gowns not pictured, they're a suprise. Will post this   weekend!) Here's the ladies HERE

Also, I forgot to mention that I'm teaching another BurdaStyle Webinar on this Thursday, 6th. It's on creating a Business Policy---the in's and out's of it.  You can purchase even if you can't attend live. It will be a treat!!! The business policy is the foundation to any business. So if you're thinking about starting one or already have one then this webinar is for you!

Wishing you all the best in your Fearless February challenge goals. Remember......


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