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2/27/2015

I once mentioned something about the Wall Street Journal to my husband and he asked if I wanted a subscription to it. "Oh Gawd No!" I exclaimed. He knows I'm a bit of a personal finance nerd, but I don't read the Wall Street Journal for finance, investing, and other money tips and news. I love clicking over to the WSJ website for the complete opposite reason: to find obscure articles that don't have much related to Wall Street at all.

Not many {fun} articles are available to non-subscribers, so usually the pickings are slim. But this week there was an article about Marie Kondo, a Japanese lady who is apparently the Queen of Organization. I had never heard of her before and the further I got into the article, the more I felt like I was missing out on a recent trend. Organizing. De-cluttering. Tidying Up. Something I always want to do, but never really get around to doing for excuses A through Z.

Check out the article because it's pretty inspiring, even if your home is in decent shape. I'm sure you have a clothes drawer, bathroom cabinet, or kitchen pantry that could use some de-cluttering.

There are a couple gifs in the article of her folding clothes (socks and a sweater) that made me laugh out loud. I literally LOL'd at my desk. Why? Because that's how I fold my socks and sweater!!! And where did I learn such OCD behavior? FROM MY JAPANESE MOTHER! Hahahahaha!

So now I wonder....is this type of organization typical of Japanese women? Marie is a couple years younger than myself, so she may have a mother about my own mom's age. Did she learn these tricks from her mother? I forwarded the article to my mom and she mentioned that she learned how to fold clothes to match the size of the drawer. And that her mother and father were always neat and tidy and that her mother always told her not to put clothes on the floor.

I'm not saying my childhood house was free of any clutter, but my mom always folded our clothes a certain way (including underwear and socks!) and I still do it the same way too. Towels also get folded. First folded lengthwise in thirds, then folded either in thirds again or half depending on the length and where they are stored.

I'm going off on a tangent, revealing too much of my slight OCD tendencies. Oh gosh, how embarrassing. Let's get back on track to implementing the Kondo Way of Organizing.

Given that we're set to have a rainy weekend here in LA, I have decided to tackle a couple drawers and closets that I know need to be de-cluttered. Marie Kondo's main tip for organizing is looking at each item and asking yourself "Does this spark joy?" and if it doesn't? Throw them shits out!

So that will be my mantra as I clean out my make-up stash and huge storage bin in my second bedroom/sewing room closet.

Do you have any special tips for organizing? Or for motivating yourself to organize and/or de-clutter?
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2/19/2015

In sticking with my 2015 goals, I decided to get more edumacation by signing up for a Letterpress class!! I've had my eye on this class for at least a year. I first became interested in letterpress when I was planning my wedding and saw all those beautiful letterpress invitations. Sadly, I couldn't justify spending that much money on wedding invitations so I never got them. But my fascination with letterpress never waned and I always wanted to learn how to do it.

The class I signed up for is through the Otis Design School and is a 10-week program. I feel like such an impostor for taking a class there because I am so not an artist. We recently had our first class and it was so much fun. I feel like a total weanie for admitting that I was worried about being too tired (it's from 7-10pm, but only one day a week). I should have known that night classes you choose to take for fun are way more enjoyable than those you're forced to take for school.

So what did we learn in Week 1? We learned a bit about safety, terminology, and worked on our first project: printing our names!

Letterpress Week 1


We started with a clamping tool and spelled out our names using 8pt letters, which by the way are fucking tiny! Thank goodness I'm near-sighted. A poor gal in my class isn't and she didn't have her glasses so I think she had a difficult time making sure she was selecting the right letters.

I decided to center justify my name, which was more difficult that I was anticipating. Getting those spacers equally divided on both sides of the letters were driving me nuts. We learned that a single space is called an "em", half of an em is an "en". A third of an em is called "3 to the em", a fourth of an em is called "4 to the em", and so on for 5 and 6.

As someone with a math-based degree, this kinda irked me.....I mean, hello, 4 to the em? That sounds so wrong. But, as my instructor corrected me {hell yeah, I got corrected! lol!} she mentioned that she would just like for us to use the proper terminology, and I get that. So "4 to the em" it is!

After our letters were properly spaced, we proofed our  names.

It literally looked like text in a book. Nothing glamorous.

But omigod, we were all so fucking enamored! We all reacted like we made an amazing work of art. It was kinda hilarious, but adorable.

Then we learned how to properly keep track of our projects and store everything.

I'm so glad we made something in the first class, even if it was just our names. There's something so satisfying with just making shit. It gets you really excited about all the possibilities and makes you feel like you're really learning how to do something.

We'll eventually be doing a group project that will involve letterpress with just one word, a phrase, and also a design, which we will carve out of a rubber block of some sort {I forget the name of it}. Then we'll finish the course with a final personal project. I'm a bit bummed that I'll be missing the final two classes, but I think we can sign up for lab sessions on the weekend {for free I think....} so hopefully I can finish everything and learn as much as possible!

Apparently Otis also offers a digital letterpress class, which I'm already thinking of taking next "semester", if it's available, I'm available, and I can justify spending that much on an art class again.
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2/16/2015

I was thrilled {{THRILLED!!}} to be asked to test the latest Closet Case Files Pattern, the Carolyn Pajamas.

{CCF Carolyn PJs} Front


Not gonna lie, I was totally thrown off by pajamas. When Heather Lou had hinted on her blog that several patterns were in development I did not expect pajamas at all. But who doesn't want cute and coordinated pajamas? {and sexy, if you go that route} I don't think I've had coordinated pajamas since I was a kid so this pattern definitely filled a wardrobe hole, something I had been thinking of making ever since seeing Peneloping's cat pajamas.

Just be aware that this review is of the pattern tester version. There have been several changes, including sizing, in the final version, but I wanted to post about the tester version because I'm so happy with how it turned out.

The pattern is available as a pdf, which of course involves printing, cutting, taping.....lots and lots and lots of it. Not gonna lie. There is a fucking shitload of paper in this pattern, especially if you make the long sleeve top and long pants. I know some of you are adamantly against pdf assembly, but I don't think it's too bad if you just set yourself up in front of a good show (may I recommend a Law & Order marathon) and take it one to two rows at a time. Honestly, you don't have to assemble the whole damn thing at once. Usually after a couple rows you'll see if you can cut out a piece or two. It's much more manageable if you cut away pieces while you assemble the rows.

Anyway, off my pdf assembly soap box.....I cut a size 2 for both the tops and bottoms. The finished measurements for the tester showed quite a bit of ease in the bodice and I didn't want to be swimming in my top. However, I foolishly forgot to check the bottoms measurements, which was a huge mistake. So don't forget to check both your bust and hip measurement to make sure you're making the correct size for the top and bottom.

Pants
If you've made the Sewaholic Tofino PJs, then you'll find these easier to construct. I'm not sure why these patterns are constructed differently (and I'm too lazy to compare the patterns), but the Carolyn PJ pants construction seemed really straightforward in comparison.

{CCF Carolyn PJs} Back


I gave Heather two subjective comments regarding the pants.
1) I found the tester version to be slim in the pants, but apparently most testers thought they were too big. Part of the difference could be I made the wrong size and part of it is maybe because I like my PJ pants to be on the baggier side. {I'm swimming in my Tofino PJ pants, but I kinda like it!}

Heather did make changes in sizing for the final version, so I would strongly recommend you check the final measurements and do a quick check of the pattern pieces based on your widest measurement {for me, my hips, around the fullest part of my booty, are the widest}.

2) the cuffs were deep, which I think looked odd on my short self. I like them better folded in half (see above photo). I think Heather decreased the size of the cuffs on the final version, but if you're shorty like me, just take that into consideration.

I really like the pockets that are included in the pants.During the holidays I practically lived in my Tofino pajama pants and, I kid you not, I kept trying to put my hands in pockets! And every time I did, I was so disappointed I didn't have any. It's like Heather Lou was reading my mind. You can't tell in any of the photos, but I matched stripes along the pockets! **total nerd over here**

Top
I gave Heather one comment regarding the pocket construction, which seems silly because it's just a pocket. But a couple of my mens button-up shirt patterns use a different folding/construction method, which makes for a clean finish on the upper edges. Also, the original placement of the pocket is much too low on me. That was the first thing my husband noticed when I showed him my fancy PJs. He was insistent that I need to rip it out and move it higher, but I'm just too lazy to do it.

{CCF Carolyn PJs} Front Up Close


The collar construction is a bit fiddly, which is noted in the instructions. I definitely read through this part several times before stitching anything. Make sure you mark all notches and circles. Usually I don't bother with them, but I marked them when I cut out the pieces and I'm glad I did.

I opted not to interface the entire facing because the fabric I used is medium-weight and I was worried the facing would make it too thick and stiff. {I interfaced the collar, but wish I hadn't. Just use your best judgment depending on the thickness of your fabric.} If you decide to leave out the interfacing too, then I would recommend to at least interface the buttonhole areas, which I did.

The sleeves in the tester were too slim for my huge guns. My arms are apparently not proportional to the rest of my body and I always have issues in RTW jackets. I cut a straight 2 in a muslin (the only thing I muslined), and sure enough it was too slim even with a 3/8" seam allowance. I made a whole host of modifications of the size 2 pattern to fit my arms. Whenever I make anything with sleeves I always check the bicep circumference, elbow circumference, and shoulder to wrist length and compare them to my measurements. I usually have to modify a lot on sleeve patterns so this wasn't atypical. You guys, seriously, can i haz Michelle Obama's arms????

Overall Fit
Remember that Heather Lou drafts for her height, 5'-8", so if you're severely vertically challenged like yours truly, then you'll need to do some major shortening. I shortened the bodice by 3" at the waist and the pants by 4" at the knee.

Overall Impression
I think this pattern is well drafted and I didn't have any issues with construction. I know some people may be thrown off for paying indie designer prices for a pajamas pattern, but I think it's worth it. I know I had reservations at first for paying for the Sewaholic Tofino pattern, but I've made that pattern more than any other pattern in my stash so it was definitely worth it.

{CCF Carolyn PJs} Side


Also if you have the Tofino and don't think you need this one, just know that they are completely different in terms of style and fit. The Tofino is all about super loose, tons of ease, "gimme-all-the-fucking-candy-and-that-tub-of-ice-cream" kind of pattern. The Carolyn is much slimmer fitting and makes you feel dressed up in a coordinated set of pajamas. Good thing I don't work from home or else I would never change because I would already feel like I'm wearing something presentable (to those invisible clients and colleagues).

And it can totally be upped in the sexiness factor if made out of a lovely silk charmeuse, which I was tempted to do for the tester, but I needed fabric right away so I settled with whatever I could find at the FIDM Scholarship Store, which is a medium-weight cotton with a slight stretch and I got it for $2/yard!! Love it when I score bargains.

It was great working with Heather and I hope my notes were useful to her and you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
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2/10/2015

Don't forget sewing peeps, there will be an LA-area Sewist meet-up this month!! Come join us to view awesome costumes, meet fellow sewists, and shop for fabric together!

When: Saturday, February 21st at 11:45am**
Where: Hollywood Costume Exhibit (afterwards at Mood for fabric shopping)
6067 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90036
(the Wilshire May Company Building on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax)

Exhibition Ticket: $20 for adult ticket
Purchase tickets using this link.

I apologize for the short notice, but hopefully you read about it on Instagram or on some of the sewing bloggers' websites {Marrie of Purls and Pleats, Kathy of The Nerdy Seamstress, and Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy}. This is a super informal, casual get-together. I had so much at the last meet-up in June that I really wanted to have another one and meet more amazing sewists, but I'm not so into planning large events, hence the non-polished meet-up announcement (and lack of organized lunch, which Erin did an amazing job of planning).

*Please note, tickets for the exhibition are timed every 15 minutes. I bought a ticket for Noon (12pm) and the website asks you to arrive 15 minutes early. I'm not sure how many tickets are available for each time slot, but it is highly encouraged you purchase your ticket in advance. The next time slot is 12:15pm, so if we can't all go in together, hopefully we won't be separated by too much time.

Here is a map of the area and parking info.

Please pass along this info to anyone who may be interested. There are a lot of sewing bloggers/enthusiasts in the LA area and I only know of a very small percentage of them so I'm counting on word of mouth to let people know about it.

Also, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know if you're thinking of coming so I know who to look out for and expect. You can leave a comment or email me at kaorumarie.blog at gmail [dot] com.

Hope to see you there!
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1/30/2015

I've made two garments this month and I thought I was on a roll....and then I just lost all desire to sew. I have a couple unfinished projects that need a wee bit of attention before they're completed, but neither of those things have sounded appealing lately. I have a couple muslins laying around somewhere that could be dusted off, tweaked, and ready to become actual garments, but those seem like a lot of work. Nothing sounds appealing!

You know what did sound appealing this past weekend? Sitting on the couch and consuming the entire Season 4 of Homeland. It was amazing.

I've only completed Week 1 of the Wardrobe Architect, which was kind of a mind fuck since I'm not good at handling my own self criticism {why are we so hard on ourselves?}. But it felt good to get some of that crap out of my head and on paper.

The weird thing about having a pared down list of goals is that I don't know what to sew. I've been thinking of my {relatively} small fabric stash and trying to find projects to sew with them. I don't like the idea of hoarding fabric and I always feel guilty when I buy fabric knowing I have some at home.

With the absence of a list of sewing goals, my opposition to hoarding fabric, and an upcoming trip to Mood planned (for the LA Sewist Meet-up!!! I just bought my ticket to the Hollywood Costume Exhibit), my mini plan is to find patterns for my fabric stash.



Merino Wool
I bought at least 2 yards of this merino wool at the last LA Sewist Meet-up in June 2014. It looks red-dish in the photo, but it's more of a deep berry/fuchsia color. There is SO MUCH of it! I bought it with intentions of making a dress, but when I got home I came to my senses and realized I would never be comfortable wearing a dress this color. I'm also concerned about the fabric "growing" due to its weight. Instead, I want to make McCall's 6513, a knit cross over top that Beth of SunnyGal Studio has made several times. I tried making View C last year and it turned out horribly for several reasons. But I like the pattern in theory and I think in the right fabric with some pattern modifications, it'll turn into a basic wardrobe piece. I'll definitely have leftover fabric, so I'm thinking of a scooped cowl neck Renfrew.

Swallows Knit
I bought 2 yards of this knit from Fabric.com because I saw a bunch of people post photos of the exact or similar fabric on IG and I just had to have it too. {I don't see the exact fabric on Fabric.com, but if you search 'swallows' you'll see similar stuff.} I thought about making a Moneta, but instead it'll mostly likely just be an "inspired by Moneta" dress. I'm thinking of the draped neckline bodice from Simplicity 2145 with a simple skirt, kind of like the skirt part of the Lady Skater dress, which I don't have so I'll have to figure it out on my own....shouldn't be too difficult, right??? *famous last words* I'm a little concerned that this dress could end up looking twee, so hopefully that doesn't happen.

Simple Black Knit Top with Polka Dot Chiffon Contrast
I also bought a simple black knit from Fabric.com with the hope of recreating a RTW silk jersey blouse I ruined after washing it one too many times. I bought the fabric without getting a swatch and, as I expected, I don't love the way it feels. I loved, loved, loved this RTW blouse, so at least I'll get some practice remaking it with this knit fabric.

White Corduroy Victoria Blazer
I don't know what I was thinking when I bought 3 yards of this WHITE fine wale corduroy. An 80s fog must have stormed over me because, my goodness, what was I thinking. I've never made a By Hand London pattern before, so I'm not sure what to expect in terms of fitting. Since I obviously don't give a shit about this fabric, it'll make a good muslin for a jacket.

I think four projects in a month is a good starting point for my destash. I don't anticipate buying that much fabric at Mood since I'm usually drawn to their more expensive stuff and I don't want to go overboard with my spending. I definitely want to buy some shirting fabric for my husband and myself and possibly some thick ponte for a work dress. I also want to make pants this years so maybe I'll add twill or suiting to the shopping list.



I'm also trying to do something with my scraps from past quilting projects. I loved Erin's idea of making a scrap quilt....from scraps! I had two small ziploc  bags in my fabric drawer, one filled with random sized scraps and the other filled with small squares. I quickly chain-stitched the small squares together just so I could get started on this project. I definitely don't have enough little scraps to make a quilt, but I have bigger pieces laying around somewhere. I don't have any plans yet for a design. For once I just want to piece them randomly and see where it leads me. I imagine this may be a year-long project!

Do you have any plans to destash this year? I've never made a point to do it in the past, but I think it's time I start.
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1/29/2015

You guys, I knit my first sock! And it's totally fugly up-close {trust me}, but I did it!

My First Sock!


So I succumbed to the knitting trend that seems to have taken the sewing blog community by storm the past year or two. I first tried my hand at knitting maybe a decade ago when my mom practically taped knitting needles to my hands during one of my vacation breaks home from college. I'm not much of a scarf person so the thought of knitting rows upon rows upon rows of garter stitch or whatever it's called did not appeal to me since I wasn't planning on doing anything with said finished scarf.

But then I saw Tasha's Dragonfly sweater and I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped because it is so freaking gorgeous. Anyway, long story short, my mom gave me some supplies, I bought a few more knitting needles, I've gotten pretty good at searching for tutorials online, and I've completed a cowl, a shawl, and socks!

Well, actually, as my husband put it, "No. You're only halfway done because you still have one more sock to knit." [Insert crying face here].

You guys, I read about 'Second Sock Syndrome' and I didn't understand it until I finished this one sock. I don't want to go through it again! This pattern is Business Casual by Tanis Lavallee. I picked it because it's free and looked fun. The only thing is, this was my first time knitting a sock. First time using double pointed needles. First time knitting cables. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started. I'm glad I did it though. I'm glad I just went head first into it without first researching what I needed to know to knit a sock. But it was frustrating. Very frustrating.

Knitting patterns are rough. They're chock full of abbreviations and it took a lot of Googling, watching videos, and plain old just trying to get this sock done.

I didn't do a good job of counting my stitches so I kept getting lost and definitely threw in cables when I wasn't supposed to or knit them wrong way. I'm terrible at undoing stitches and definitely added in stitches (yarn-overs) when I was back-tracking, which I didn't even know was possible to do.

Second Sock in Progress

But what I have learned in my 3 (well, 2.5) projects, is that I'm pretty good at sticking to one knitting project at a time. While I'm perfectly content with having multiple unfinished sewing projects lying around, the thought of having a bunch of unfinished knitting projects scares me. I think it's because it is pretty easy to pick up a sewing project since you can see exactly where you left off. But, at least for me, it is much more difficult to just look at a row of stitches and know what the next stitch needs to be. {However I'm getting better with leaving myself notes on which round to start on, etc.} I'm also still getting used to finding the right knitting tension so I'm worried if I don't work on a project for an extended period of time, that when I pick it back up my tension might be significantly different.

Anyway, the sock fits! I've already started on the second sock, as evidenced in the above photo, and it's already easier {I almost have the leg pattern memorized!} and I think it's going faster. What's your opinion on knitting socks? It's one garment that I could definitely see myself wearing a lot, but sheesh, they're kind of a pain to make!
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1/19/2015

{Butterick 5526} Pink Plaid Flannel


I used to buy button-up blouses when I first started working because it was the easiest way for me to feel professional in such a conservative setting (I work in the engineering field). I didn't mind the weekly pile of ironing although I did mind the fading colors of my cotton blouses after one too many washes. Over the years my patience with ironing has waned to zero and now I can't remember the last time I bought a button-up blouse. These days I tend to favor the easier pull-on blouses, either the breezy, silk-like ones or knit tops. Ones that don't require a lot of pressing. Ones that don't require such precise fitting.

Another reason I have strayed from buying button-up blouses is that once I started to focus on fit, I realized they weren't fitting all that well. Even the blouses in the petites section don't fit me well. Even though I've been sewing for several years,I put off trying to make my own because they looked like so much work. But after making a couple McCall's 6696 shirt dresses, I realized it wouldn't be so bad after all.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid//Side

Sorry for the derp/bitch face above, not sure what I was thinking when the camera clicked. But this side view shows all the extra fabric pooling at the base of my back. I think I need to either take out width from the center back (grading to zero at the bottom of the yoke) or do a swayback adjustment....anyone have any suggestions?

I bought Butterick 5526 because Lauren of Lladybird has made so many that I wish were in my closet. I didn't want to tackle a close-fitting blouse on my first try, so I made View A, which is a looser fit blouse with sleeve tabs to keep your sleeves rolled up! It looks very similar to the Grainline Archer, which I don't have, but have seen many wonderful versions. I decided to use this opportunity to try my hand at matching plaid. I bought a fairly inexpensive pink, black, and white plaid from Jo-Ann Fabrics and, as I had expected, the fabric was tricky to work with. It was not perfectly on grain and the fabric kept stretching very easily in all directions when I tried matching the plaid.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Cuff


I made a new sleeve pattern because the original had so much ease in the sleeve head and at the time of making it I could not understand for the life of me how one "eased in" the sleeve head. Since making this shirt, I have made it again and I did some research into how to ease in a sleeve head and now I totally get it.

Overall I really like this pattern. Unfortunately, the shirt doesn't quite fit well enough that I'm 100% comfortable wearing it out buttoned up all the way. My full bust measurement is about 33.5"-34", but the blouse bust measurement is 34.5" so it's definitely too tight. You can't tell in the photos because I'm not standing super straight, but the blouse is pulling across my bust. If I hadn't placed the button right at my bust line there would be major gaping. Also, there's a lot of extra fabric just above my bust/armhole area, but there's also some pulling at the sleeve cap because when I redrafted the sleeve pattern I didn't make it wide enough.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Back Yoke


This pattern has a one piece back, but I really wanted to play around with plaid placement on the yoke, so I drafted a two-piece yoke, which I'm quite pleased with :). I like the sleeve tabs, but I really dislike the "sleeve placket". It just seems so half-assed. Maybe next time I'll draft my own sleeve placket using the menswear shirt patterns that I have as a reference.

My husband really likes this shirt on me, like really, really, really likes it. I think it's so funny that he likes it so much considering I thought he was going to yak upon seeing pink plaid. I can't remember the last time, if ever, I had a flannel shirt, but I'm loving it and I can't believe I haven't had one in my closet at all times. I know I've tried them on at stores, but I think I usually had the thought of "am I really going to spend all this $$$$ on a fucking plaid flannel shirt?". Well, now I can make my own for a fraction of the cost.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Sleeve Tab

The sleeve tabs are supposed to be cut on the grainline, but I got carried away with trying to place things on the bias so I cut just this one sleeve tab on the bias and I totally love it.

I finished making this shirt in December 2014 and wore it all the time during the holidays when I was home. It's so comfortable to wear even if the fit isn't 100%. I've washed it several times and I'm bummed that it's noticeably less soft and cozy compared to the scraps I have left:(. As long as I wear a camisole underneath I don't mind wearing it outside. I really need to make another one that I feel comfortable wearing at all times. I bought a lovely plaid at Britex when I was there in November and once I have this pattern modified just right then I'm going to cut into that pricey stuff!

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Front

When I put on my new glasses I totally look like a fucking dipshit hipster. Time for me to go walk around Silver Lake.
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1/18/2015

Day 12/365


It's been awhile since I've done a Links post. Enjoy!

1. Southwest recycled old seat cushions and turned them into handbags and weekend bags. If you like the leather/denim combo look and are into the re/up-cycle lifestyle, then these bags are for you. {Southwest Handbags // Quartz}

2. At first I thought this article was about people putting hair salons into their homes to make some extra cash. I was so wrong! Are in-home hair salons the new luxury item of the 1%? One of the in-home hair salons that was photographed is almost as big as my last apartment! I only get my hair cut 2-3 times per year because I'm too lazy{and cheap} to get my hair cut on a regular basis. I'm also so lazy about getting my hair cut that I hate making an appointment so I go to a place where they only allow drop-ins. So I suppose I understand why some people would want a hair salon in their house {because of the convenience}, but it just seems so extravagant....{Home Hair Salons // Wall Street Journal}

3. I think it's good to have an artsy hobby so reading this article, regarding the benefits crafting has on your brain, put a smile on my face. When I'm not cursing at myself for making a stoopid sewing mistake, I do feel at ease and happier when I'm *making* stuff. {This is Your Brain on Crafting // CNN}

4. I first learned about the Capsule Wardrobe through Elise Joy's blog. As I read more about it I started to see its benefits. I think it could go hand-in-hand with the Wardrobe Architect, too. Living in Southern California, it's easy to wear 80-90% of my wardrobe year-round. But there are pieces I consider summery and others I usually only wear in the winter. I can definitely see myself curating my wardrobe and doing a Capsule Wardrobe this year. It would definitely make getting dressed for work a cinch! {How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe // via Elise Joy}

5. I hate to sound like a total grammar snob, because let's be honest, I'm not all that great with the English language. I still have to reference The Oatmeal when I want to use e.g. or i.e. or I want a refresher on when to use whom or who. But I cringe every time people fuck up using it's, especially when they use it to indicate possession. People, it is never used to indicate possession. Are you confused? Then please, please, check out The Oatmeal. Scroll down to the Its vs. It's section. {How to Use an Apostrophe // The Oatmeal}

My company changed the holiday schedule this year to be more in-line with the Federal Government Holiday Schedule. This means that we get MLK (tomorrow!!) and Veteran's Day off this year, in addition to the usual ones. The one downside is we do not get the day after Thanksgiving off, but whatever, I'll just use a paid vacation day, which I'm sure 95% of my company will.

I haven't had MLK off since college and I'm so excited about it. I'm definitely going to work out. I may even go to Costco! Is it sad that I'm this happy to be able to do grocery shopping on a weekday morning? I'm trying to convince my husband to let me be a stay-at-home-wife, but for some reason he's not buying it. Something about mortgage and bills and retirement savings....blerg. But I'll definitely enjoy my day off tomorrow and a short week!
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1/14/2015

Sewing Tools

I drafted a long blog post about my 2015 goals and let it sit, unpublished, for a couple weeks. I thought about it almost every day wondering if I should publish it or not. I never really understood the necessity or desirability of goal setting until recently, probably the last 2-3 years. I've noticed that writing them out (either in a notebook or in a blog post) helps make them "real" and not just a bunch of "that would be nice to do" thoughts. So I knew I wanted to write about setting goals, I just wasn't sure if the goals I set were the "right" ones to make.

In 2014 I set myself 8 sewing goals. I didn't accomplish all of them, but I came pretty close. I never finished a button-up shirt for my husband (I only made a muslin, which still needs to be fitted) and I never got around to picking a coat pattern. Even though I didn't finish all 8 sewing projects, I'm glad I set them because I made some stuff I'm pretty sure I would have set aside multiple times if it weren't for that little annoying voice in the back of my head saying, "make that damn swimsuit!" or "when are you ever going to start on that simple men's vest?!"

Serger

So when I started thinking about what to accomplish in 2015, I got a little too ambitious. I kid you not, I set 15 goals for myself: 10 sewing related and 5 personal!! Are they doable? Heck yes! But c'mon, 15 goals for one year? What was I thinking? Why was I putting so much pressure on myself? It's like I listed everything that was in my head at that moment and said, 'ok, those are my goals for this year!' I'm pretty sure I was so reluctant to publish that post because I was worried it seemed ridiculous. And it was.

I recently read an article in Money magazine about New Year's resolutions, primarily personal finance related. One thing that really stuck out to me is that it is typical for people to only follow through with about a handful of resolutions. The author recommended only setting half a dozen resolutions and it would be much more likely that you'll accomplish all of them rather than set 15 goals and get so flustered or overwhelmed that you only do maybe 3.

So I scratched my initial list of 15 goals and came up with 5 Goals for 2015:
  1. Continuing Education - I want to take at least one class to learn something new. It can be anything, but something that forces me out of the house and that I can't learn online.
  2. Wardrobe Architect - I skimmed Sarai's Wardrobe Architect series that she wrote about last year. It wasn't until the Fall that I realized my wardrobe was in serious need of critiquing and planning. I have a feeling that analyzing my wardrobe and preferences will help guide my future sewing staples.
  3. Sell Something - I've been wanting to sell something for years. I have barely worn shoes that just sit in my closet because I feel guilty donating them knowing that I could sell them on ebay. I've wanted to do calligraphy for wedding invites/envelopes or address stamps ever since I got married over 5 years ago and yet I've never done it. So I want to finally to stop saying I *should* sell that and instead finally do it. Just sell at least one item.
  4. Make a bag - I'm so picky when it comes to handbags and I've been saying for years that I should make myself an everyday handbag or a camera bag. Not one that looks like a crafter's bag (no offense to those, just not my taste), but one that really looks professional.
  5. Travel - last year we didn't travel much (only Vegas, Seattle, and San Francisco) and all of our trips were for only a couple days. Our last big trip was in late 2011 when we went to Paris! Oh how I loved Paris. This year I'd like to finally make it back to Asia (I haven't been since I was 9) or Europe, or hopefully both. I've been reading a bunch of blogs for tips on how to accumulate airline miles through credit cards so hopefully we can save a lot of money on airfare.

Centre Pompidou

So those are my 5 goals for 2015. Much more manageable and less stressful than my original list of 15. The goals are kind of general, but I do have some specifics in mind. However, I don't want to pigeonhole my decisions into doing one particular thing if something better in that category pops up. And limiting my sewing goals will allow me to sew whatever the heck pleases me (and hopefully in line with the results of the wardrobe architect). There are several patterns I'd like to make again so maybe this year will be the year of the pattern repeats as opposed to all the shiny and new pattern releases.

I know we're several weeks in, but hope you have a Happy and Healthy 2015!
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1/07/2015

I hate to sound like I'm bragging, but I'm so thrilled with some of the stuff I made this year. After several years of struggling with sewing and fit, I finally feel like I got it this year. I definitely have a lot to learn and my fitting isn't spot-on, but it has improved so much from when I first started sewing. Here are my Top 5 Garments of 2014 in no particular order.


1. Butterick 5526 Pink Plaid Flannel
I love, love, love this shirt! It doesn't even fit perfectly, but I love it. It was meant to be a muslin since I bought a cheapish flannel from Jo-ann to test the pattern and my plaid-matching skills. But I've been wearing it almost every weekend since I made it and I want to throw it on as soon as I get home from work. Why did I wait so long to make a plaid flannel shirt? I'll be bummed when the weather warms up and the flannel won't be as comfy.

2. Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket
I love this jacket! I love how it looks casual, but can still be sorta dressed up. I can wear it to bars and not feel under-dressed. I also really like the fabric I used, a twill I picked up from Mood. I bought it right before Thanksgiving weekend of 2013 (!!!) so I can't remember if it was a particular designer or not. But it has a slight sheen and the weave is tight, but it doesn't feel too heavy. There are a couple things I'd like to change on this jacket if I make it again (and I definitely would like to if I find the time), but overall it's been a great staple wardrobe item.

3. McCall's 6793 Safety Pin
A pussy bow blouse made out of a poly or silk crepe fabric I found at the FIDM Scholarship Store. This is about as close to a novelty print that I can wear without feeling too silly. The blouse pattern was a breeze to make and I'd like to make it again with the neckline raised just a tad and the bow/collar made out of a coordinating chiffon.

4. McCall's 6519 Stars
This pattern was another staple wardrobe idea. I really, really like it even though it's so basic. I've worn it out it to all different occasions (casual, work, bars). It has a slight curved hemline, which I recently decided I need to incorporate on all future blouses because I think it's more flattering than a straight hemline when the blouse is worn untucked. The fabric is an Anna Sui poly crepe de chine from Mood that does not wrinkle at all........I love it. I now understand the value of polyester. (It's actually available online, so you can get it while it's still in stock.)

5. Deer and Doe Belladone Dress
I didn't intend for this dress to be a hit at all. I made it on a whim the day before leaving on a trip to Vegas. The back neckline is wonky, but I still enjoy wearing it. I feel dressed up, but not too dressy. It's a great spring/summer dress and I've worn it several times. I really like the conservative feel of the front, but the back gives off a fun vibe, which can be covered up with a jacket or cardigan if needed. I'd like to make this dress again and finally nail down the back neckline and crossover pieces. This pattern could definitely become a TNT if I invest a bit more time into it.

The theme of my Top 5 seems to be wardrobe staples that are easy to wear (and care for). It's a theme I hope to continue in 2015.

I really should get around to blogging my makes as most of my Top 5 wasn't blogged in detail. I enjoy sharing and documenting what I've made and I hope you do too. Sometimes I think I'm being narcissistic, but then I think of all the patterns, fabric, and ideas I've gotten from reading other blogs. I'm thankful for the inspiration I've gotten from bloggers and I hope I can provide you some inspiration as well.
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