Sew it Chic October 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

September was a great month of makes – I was so impressed! Thank you to everyone who linked up. I even met a new blog – Binding Off, written by Betty. At first glance, I thought it was a knitting blog, and I hate knitting blogs because I can’t knit, and I am incredibly jealous of those who can! But Betty had a very cute dress up there, so I will add her to my bloglovin’ and hope I don’t get too sad when I see her knitting projects.

Did you also notice ( of course you did) Elizabeth linking up so much gorgeousness? It is because she is involved in the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge! I just had to highlight her beautiful work and get some insight into her process and the competition.

I asked her why she likes competitions and what has it stretched her to do and learn? She said, “I really like competitions because they force me to focus on a specific goal and because they push me to stretch my skills.  I can’t divulge my project for this week, but I will say that I’m dealing with fabric that I’ve always always been afraid to handle before, and I’m kind of enjoying it despite it’s difficulty.”

elizabeth4

Week 1 Sweater Knit Challenge

“I’ve so appreciated having the feedback of the judges.  In the sewing blogosphere people are crazy nice.  I think in the 9 years that I’ve been “out there”, I can count on less than one hand the bad comments I’ve received.  Likewise, it’s not always common to get really a really objective critique that helps you look at your work in a way that makes you grow.  The judges’ comments have at times made me look at things, and say, oh, maybe I can try something different next time.  One of the judges said of my sweater knit skirt that she was glad I thought about the wearability in choosing to line it.  In these last few weeks in the Fabric Mart competition, I don’t think I’ve lined so many garments!  But really, when I think about it, the garments that I actually wear are the lined ones.  I never remember where I put my slips, and I hate how they’re continually twisting and shifting.  I’d rather take the extra time and materials to line a garment than be fussing with wearing it later.  I think that comment will lead me to start stashing lining fabrics.”

Week 2 Trench Coat Challenge

Week 2 Trench Coat Challenge

“The other thing I really like about competitions is that it makes me look at the materials I have and do something different.  The sweater knit challenge was so fun in that respect.  It’s no secret that I have a really distinct color palette and that I’m totally devoted to it.  When I opened the envelope from Fabric Mart with this beautiful sweater knit, I kind of freaked out.  I do not wear any of those colors because they pretty much swallow me up.  But turning the sweater knit to the reverse side really softened things up and it became a design feature that I ran with in the skirt and the sweater.  I loved adding the velvet ribbon on that too.  I’d never worked with ribbon as a design feature, and wow, that stuff was so nice to work with.  Or on the trench coat, I didn’t have enough of the blue linen for the facings, so I used the blue crosshatch print for a funky lapel that’s totally my style.”

“I’m so proud of myself that I finally learned how to properly make a single welt pocket in this competition!  Double welts and zippered welts, I’m pretty well-practiced with, but every single welt that I’ve ever made has just looked not so great before this competion.  When the trench coat week came up, I watched Peggy Sagers do it on one of her webcasts, and gave it a go.  Her advice on construction is always so excellent, and I’m pretty pleased with how my pockets turned out on the coat.  I put them on my sheath dress too just because I could. “
Week 3 Coordinate Collection Challenge

Week 3 Coordinate Collection Challenge

“The pattern hacking has been fun too.  I’ve had that green knit tunic hanging in my sewing room closet for like 2 years, wanting to resize and petite-ify it for me, but I just haven’t had the motivation to do it.  I’m working on another pattern hack this week from another piece of RTW that I’ve had since forever.  It’s good to go after those tiny dream goals!”

Elizabeth made it to the final challenge – “Find your Inner Designer” and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with! Hasn’t she done some amazing work?
Now let’s see what you’ve been up to. Link up this month’s projects below!
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Sew it Chic September 2016 (and proudest sewing moments?)

Sew it Chic first saturdays

Well, here we are in September and I’m very excited to see what everyone has been making. I noticed that I only posted once in August, but isn’t August always a busy time of year? I did post an article on Bernina’s We All Sew blog about how inspired I am to use border prints, if you’d like to read it. I also got to takeover the BerninaUSA Instagram last week and shared some behind the scenes at the GrayAllDay world headquarters (my sewing room/podcast room/actual real work office).

Speaking of podcasts, we are still looking for your Proudest Sewing Moment stories! What was your proudest moment in sewing? Maybe you made a complicated dress for your prom? Or maybe you finally mastered a fly zipper? Maybe it was the first garment you sewed all by yourself that you were actually able to wear out in public. Please leave a comment below about your proudest sewing moment, or — even better — leave us a voice mail by calling 401-64MAVEN or recording a message via your computer’s built-in microphone at speakpipe.com/ClothesMakingMavens. We’ll include your stories in our next podcast!

And here is our monthly link up! Let’s see ’em!

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Sew It Chic August 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

What beautiful items were linked up in July! I love summer, don’t you? Summer weather and summer clothes. The dresses this month were phenomenal, but I know that not everyone is deep in summer. Jillian from SewUnravelled made a masterpiece of a coat, too. Beautiful work!

Clothes Making Mavens just published our 3rd episode, a chat about fabric and an introduction to sewing teacher Maris Olsen from SewMaris.com. In related news, we submitted the podcast to all the major podcast apps, so we do hope that will make it easier to find us if you are so inclined. You can subscribe in iTunes now, or you can also subscribe to new posts on our website. I won’t always make announcements here on the GrayAllDay blog when we upload a new episode, so if you are interested in staying informed, go ahead and try your favorite podcast app!


Link on up to the August party here:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone blogs. I have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.
Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I love blog comments so much!. They are encouraging and build community.

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Sew it Chic Monthly July 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

creating in the gapJune was a bang-up month for sure! The June Sew it Chic collected 25 beautiful entries and inspired me so much! First of all, did you all check out Margot’s off the shoulder dress? It is simply lovely and wearable and easy to sew – luckily she practically invited us all to copy her in her blog post because I’m pretty sure that is exactly what I’ll be doing! Let’s see how many off the shoulder dresses we get linked up in this July link up, shall we?

I was also deeply in love with Pauline’s J Crew knock-off with the little ruffled sleeves. She makes such amazing things from ready-to-wear inspiration, go check out every page of her blog Sew U Think U Can. I love the style of J Crew, so this one is irresistible to me. Add it to the list!

I may spend the entire month of July copying my favorite looks from the link-up. Thanks, guys, like I need more projects lined up on my sewing table! But really, the link ups are so inspirational and I adore seeing and commenting on every one of them. Keep ’em coming. What will you dazzle us with in July?


And now for the brand new link-up…but first, a few rules:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone blogs. I have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I love blog comments so much!. They are encouraging and build community.
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Sew it Chic June 2016

Sew it Chic first saturdays

Friends – Sew it Chic link-up is back! I’m so sorry for the lapse. It astonishes me how my life seems to get busier and busier, but anyway, this party is very important to me and I am recommitting to keeping it going. Why? Because I miss it! I thought I had “followed” all of my friend’s blogs, using Bloglovin’ reader, but I have to tell you sometimes I don’t understand what Bloglovin’ is showing me. It is not always everything I’ve subscribed to and I’m missing lots of posts! I’m not sure how they determine what posts I should see in my feed, but I am certain I am not seeing everything.

Also, with my blog reader I scroll through posts and do not get a chance to comment on the garments. It is just more challenging on a phone and in the blog reader format to do so. But I want to comment – I certainly have a lot to say – and I love comments on my blog. I feel like many of you are friends, and I don’t want to limit our conversation. I know there has been some talk of blogging dying out, but I refuse to buy it. I still think it is so helpful and relevant to our sewing community. And I always feel so inspired by the posts I read, and that is so valuable to me!

So let’s get back to it! I’ll post the first Saturday of the month and the link up is open the rest of that month.

Just a few rules:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone blogs. I have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments so much. They are encouraging and build community.
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Sew it Chic Monthly – March

Sew it Chic first saturdaysWhat an amazing month of link-ups in February! You guys are really stepping up your game! My list of pattern “needs” keeps growing and growing and growing…

masha1This month I am featuring Masha from Itinerant Seamstress. Last month she made 2 Mabel skirts and shared her struggles with getting everything just right, and we all know that the biggest challenge of working with knits is the differences in stretch and recovery between cuts of fabric. I thought they both looked great, and you guys must have too, since it was the most clicked link this month.

Here are Masha’s answers to the usual questions. I found her answer to the last question very reassuring, as lately I’ve had so little time to sew, and I find that even if I have a few minutes here or there, I won’t sit down and do it because I know I’ll be interrupted soon. But this month I will just sit down and get a thing or two going, even with the threat of interruption looming. It will still be some sewing, and that is what I love to do!

Masha said:

My favorite thing about sewing:

These days, when my girls see a dress in a store or a catalog, they ask “Can you sew that for me, Mama?” Not, “Can you buy me that?” but “Can you sew it for me?” I love that. I also love deciding that I need a new skirt and having it in my hot little hands two hours later. (This is also my favorite thing about having a fabric stash).

My least favorite thing about sewing:

Tracing patterns and cutting fabric. I have made my peace with pressing fabric and seams – I even enjoy it now. But I still have no patience for pattern tracing and only slightly more patience for cutting fabric. I routinely rush through cutting, which results in wasted time later when my notches don’t line up. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now.

masha2The most recent thing I’ve learned about sewing:

That it’s possible to finish a garment sewing only in 10-minute increments. My husband had a stroke last summer and sewing time was scarce in my house for quite some time. When I did begin finding time, it was only in little snippets – literally 10-20 minutes at a time. I would often get called away mid-seam, and it was really frustrating to have to step away. But ultimately, I found myself taking more care with my seam finishes and my pressing because I knew I wasn’t going to finish anything during that particular sewing session anyway. And garments still got made. Now, my husband is easing back into work, and life is returning to normal. Though homeschooling and taking care of four little people does cut into my sewing time considerably, I don’t think I will ever again complain about having “no time to sew.”


And now the link up and just a few rules:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as new lights in my sewing room. They are encouraging and build community.
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Sew it Chic Monthly – February

Sew it Chic first saturdays

sewing roomYes, this post is going up a day late, but I have a really great (sewing related!) reason. In the new house my sewing room is a huge 25 ft by 12 ft space with 4 windows. It is amazing, except one little problem…no lights. No overhead lights at all. This seems to be a common thing here. None of the bedrooms, the living, family room or office have overhead lights. We’ve been buying lamps like crazy to get enough light to do anything at night around here. And since I have a job and 2 daughters, my main sewing time opportunity is after 8pm, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. Well, my amazing husband learned how to install lights last month and has put lights in all 6 of the upper floor rooms and now my sewing room. He had to turn off the power to do it, so I couldn’t post on Saturday. But it was all worth it and you should expect to see my output shoot through the roof! Woohoo!

The lovely Michelle

The lovely Michelle

Our featured seamstress this month is Michelle from That Black Chic. The denim skirt she posted was astounding! She even created matching boots! But really, I can’t be surprised by anything she does because her creations are so consistently amazing. Did you all see that she was included in the BurdaStyle Best of Blogging List? She is such an inspiration, so I was thrilled that she answered our Sew it Chic questions:

What is your motivation to sew?
TBC: At this point the fact that I get to share my work on this platform is what motivates me to sew. I am an artist and being able to share my art is awesome! Sometimes I’m a little tickled that so many people get what it is that I’m doing with my sewing. Also this is bonding time for me and my daughter who is my model for my blog.

That Blck Chic PotluckWhat is your favorite thing about sewing?
TBC: My favorite thing about sewing is knowing that at the end I will have made something with my hands. I love manipulating fabric into beautiful things…..well they are beautiful most of the times.

What is your least favorite thing about sewing?
TBC: Sewing! I know you’re scratching your head right now but let me explain. I know a lot of people LOVE to sew and some even use this as their method of relaxation. I know how to sew and I and really good at it, because I worked hard learning the craft at a young age. I challenge myself by learning new techniques as often as possible but seriously for me sewing can be a chore. I think it is necessary that I go through the making process of putting a garment together to understand what it takes to create but if I could pay someone to sew up my ideals I would. I don’t think I’m the only person out here sewing who feels this way……….am I?

That Black Chic 2What is the most recent thing you’ve learned about sewing?
TBC: I’m on a sleeve kick right now and I just made two dresses one with a Bishop sleeve and the other with a bell sleeve. I found a lot of sleeves out there that I never attempted so I may continue and make some other sleeves that I found. I am also just starting to explore sewing books, any suggestions on which book to start with?

Thank you, Michelle, for giving us an insight into your process and giving us a chance to admire your work!


 

And now the link up and just a few rules:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as new lights in my sewing room. They are encouraging and build community.

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Sew it Chic Monthly January

Sew it Chic first saturdaysAh! The clean slate of a new year is intoxicating! Throughout the year I am constantly making goals, revising goals, and working on my good/bad habits, so New Year’s Day is like a Super Holiday to me! My goals and plans get crazy during this special time. Whoo hoo!

But the main thing that I want to work on, online and in life, is to just do it. Jump in and don’t be afraid. Put it out there. I get really excited about my ideas, and then begins the slow descent of talking myself out of them. For example, 3 entire years ago I was really pumped up about starting a podcast. I had been listening to some knitting podcasts that were just basically rambling on about their journey and learning about fiber. I loved it and thought “Why don’t any seamstresses do this? I would love that podcast so hard.” So I did some research, bought some equipment, made plans, lists and goals, and then talked myself out of it. Now there are a bunch of great sewing podcasts out there, and so I especially feel that a simple monologue on my sewing obsessions would be stupid and uninteresting. But if I had done it more than 3 years ago, I would already know if my idea was awful, if I hated it, or if other people would listen to it.

Right now I am consumed by the idea of the capsule wardrobe. I really enjoyed making my wardrobe for the Pattern Review contest last year, and that kind of strategic thinking is so fun. I also follow some fashion blogs where this is mentioned and I wonder how they can look so stylish on a limited amount of clothes? So I started planning one, and thinking about sharing it here on the blog, and immediately I thought this is not what the sewing community wants to see. They don’t care about what I wear everyday and putting together new outfits is not going to be the least bit interesting. Especially if my wardrobe is not entirely handmade. So I totally talked myself out of presenting it on the blog.

But, IRL, I’m still really intrigued. I still want to try it. I’ve still got my list all ready and I rearranged my closet and I made a resolution to get dressed (I work from home, so that is a real resolution! Ha!) in my capsule 4 days a week.I think I will learn a lot from it, be able to plan new pieces to add and sew, and get more comfortable with my style, whatever that turns out to be. So I should just put it up on the blog, take you on the adventure with me, and you can always unfollow me if you hate it. (that would make me so sad, though!)

This hesitancy extends to patterns I don’t feel I’m not ready for (I’ve been sewing for 27 years!) or special fabrics I’m hoarding (I live within an hour of the second largest fabric district in the country! I can always buy more!). I would really like to break this habit in the new year.

So let’s jump into 2016!


 

I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been sewing up this last month! Let’s kick this party off with some rules:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as New Year’s Resolutions. They are encouraging and build community.

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Sew it Chic Monthly December

Sew it Chic first saturdays

I have loved, loved, loved seeing your creations this last month, especially since I have not posted a single thing this entire month! Scandal!

You guys made some amazing things this month. Did you see my friend Ali’s gown for her fancy event? I thought it was perfection! She made some very clever choices to elevate the pattern and make the dress beautiful and timeless. Oh how I wish I had a gala to attend. It looked like such fun!

There were so many cozy items that frankly made me a little jealous. I loved the cardigans, the sweater dresses, the leggings…none of which I should be making right now. It does get slightly cold here in my new environment (sometimes all the way into the 60’s! But not this December weekend. This weekend it will be in the 80’s!) but since I have so many sweaters and warm items in my wardrobe already that I won’t be using very often, it would be silly to make any additions.

The most clicked link this month was Brahdelt’s lovely autumn floral dress. It was perfectly accessorized with those boots and cozy coat. While I was over checking out her blog I noticed she also knits up a storm! Makes me wish I could knit…

And I did have a submission emailed to me by Karen which I uploaded to Flickr. It is an amazing dress with beautiful details. She told me that she made it for a fashion event, then realized that she would freeze in the cold Portland weather, so she whipped up a matching wrap. Very clever. I was so happy to be able to include her.

Don’t forget that you can link up Instagram pictures, Kollabora projects, or Pattern Review entries, too, if you don’t have a blog.


Let’s get the December party started here. A reminder of the little rules:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as sunshine on my face. They are encouraging and build community.

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Sew it Chic Monthly – November

Sew it Chic first saturdays
Happy November to you all! And I hope your Halloween was fun! It is my favorite holiday by far. Dressing up, eating candy? Yes, yes, yes! I made my oldest a University of Washington cheerleader costume, even though I warned her no one down here in CA would know who she was exactly. My little one was a cat, so I made her a fur tunic with a tail and headband ears.unnamed8

I have no special feature for you this month to introduce the Link-up except to say that I think the monthly format is working great and I really appreciate all of the lovely items you guys added!

Beginning next month I will feature a new seamstress that links up here – watch your email for my nosy questions!. This month I don’t quite have the routine down. I am so obviously not comfortable with change — it is taking me so long to get settled here! We have been doing a lot of home improvements that eat up valuable blog and sewing time, but they are still fun and very necessary.  This month was dominated by my kitchen getting painted. We didn’t even do the work, but having our kitchen torn apart made me crazy. We had to put all our food and kitchen items in our living room. That room had to be guarded like Fort Knox against the dog, let me tell you.

And I’m rearranging the sewing room. After being in here and using the space for a couple months, I think I have a better grasp of how I want it to function. Still no pics, but I will post when done, I promise!

On to the Party! Here are a couple little rules:

  • Women’s garments only
  • Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
  • The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
  • You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

  • If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to www.grayallday.com by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
  • Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as Halloween candy. They are encouraging and build community.
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