SweetLeigh

A Sustainable Life. Make Magick.


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Make: #2017MakeNine

Make Nine.jpgHere are my sewing plans for MakeNine! #2017MakeNine is an initiative by Rochelle of LuckyLucille.com promoting sustainable style and encouraging folks to plan their makes, make more and buy less, which is right up my alley as you know. I will be mainly using self-drafted patterns and hacks for two reasons; firstly as wonderful as indie pattern makers are they don’t make unique and adorable patterns in my size which is currently ranging from 26-32 plus size. One can only wear so many wrap dresses and be expected to do extensive pattern drafting on every single bought pattern…. Secondly, I love changing up the details and making clothing my own. I have become accustomed to “frankensteining” patterns or again self-drafting/copying favorite worn garments in my wardrobe.

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Last year my sewing planner was very much inspired by revamping my wardrobe and included; Basix like shift and t-shirt dresses and separates in solids; a unique textured sweater or sweater coat; denim or leather with studs and or embroidery; the other thing you will see are several 70s silhouettes; and lastly lace and velvet. Not only will I be making the nine, but my mission is to put a big dent in my stash with this project. I have so much fabric, that I love and need to use. So if I love a make, I’ll be making more of the item using some sweet stash fabrics and my rarely used #patternstash.

So I’ve tried to narrow down my inspiration boards to nine or possibly more must-have pieces to add to my closet this year.

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  1. Drapey Cowl Convertable Dress  I am super excited to have found a gorgeous Black jersey at Michael Levine’s Loft. So smooth and gorgeous with a four-way stretch. The book Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics by Tomoko Nakamichi will lead the way through a version of their Whac A Mole Dress!
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  2. Inspired by Simplicity 8013 I am excited to wear this 70s high vibing very femme dress. This is a frankenstein project since I don’t actually own the pattern. I’m almost done with my first make this year! This one was totally inspired by #thelittlereddressproject. Before #thelittlereddressproject I hadn’t even considered a red dress.tops-to-self-draft
  3.  This plus size top by Rachel Roy for Macy’s inspires me to bust through my fabric stash big time. I have so many stretchy knit and sheer print fabrics in my stash that would be great for this sweet top with or without the mock neck. I am desperate for separates in my closet. But I might come across another top that will work for me. We’ll see!velvet-jacket
  4. VELVET Blazer! This project is long overdue. And so timely. I could really use a sweet little blazer and I love the idea of going glam with it in the blue velvet that I have already deconstructed from a two thrifted maxis dresses. A camisole to follow if there is a little velvet left. I am using this McCall’s pattern, M6611 which I will have to upsize and hope to hack the shall/tuxedo collar that appears in the inspirtation picture above.ShirtDress.jpg
  5. Basix/White Shirtdress. I love a shirtdress but have been unable to settle on a shape for refashioning this shirt. But I love this sweet little peplum version I found on Pinterest. I think this is the structure I need to finally revamp this number!tank-dress
  6. Basix/Tank Dress I’ll be self-drating this one! I will be making it in a lovely rust ponte that’s been in my stash for ages.TshirtDress.jpg
  7. Basix/Grey T-ShirtDress This dress is a must! I love the wrap around waist detail. I will be hacking the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2054 Pattern which has a cowl included that I could use in so many ways! cowl-bib
  8. Basix/Cowl Bib I could use a great accessory piece like this to add that extra warm layer to anything from yoga pants and a tee to a dress.Sweater Coat.jpg
  9. Sweater Coat It is soooooooooooooo cold here! Southern Cali, may have never been so cold or wet! And I need to catch up on some winter makes! This white and black textured double knit fabric is dreamy. I can’t wait to add some extra interest with this yarn that is gray, pink and red. I plan to use the yarn as fringe for a little color and fun. I can see this as a major staple in my closet for years to come.


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Make & ReFashion 2016 Planner

I’m back! It’s taken me a couple of months to figure our what I wanted to tackle on my sewing projects list. Getting gifted three giant bags amounting to 70 lbs of fabric on top of a newly organized bigger stash, means finally getting organized! I have a couple of ReFashions from 2015 that never got done so they are on my 2016 list!

  • If you follow me on Instagram you may remember me disassembling some thrifted clogs! Well, it’s time to get those perfect platform walking height heels hooked up for Cali’s year round clog wearing weather! I’m So ready! I am going to make either a T-strap style or an Oxford style with a secure ankle strap. I’m not very good with slip on clogs, I tend to twist my ankle a lot!

Clog ReFashion Moodboard

  • I have been meditating on how to make my denim jacket more wearable for ages since I don’t wear it. And I’ve decided on a plan of action. Below center is where I’m at, but thinking about going marching band with it. Think Balmain meets fat adorable majorette! Instead of traditional trims, I’m thinking of using patchwork techniques with denim or velvet to create the banding. I am so into it – which is all that matters of course.

Denim ReFashion Inspo 2016

  • I never even started my Velvet number that was calling me so hard! I have two deconstructed thrift-shop-scored blue velvet dresses that demand action. I thought I’d do a simple slip dress and see if I had enough for a jacket too, but now I am thinking of a simple shape like some of the ideas below. And I’m definitely interested in embellishing the velvet! See Adornment Inspo board further down, please!

Velvet ReFashion Inspo 2016

  • The last project that I haven’t gotten to are sweaters! I am freezing half of the time. AS long as I have been alive, I have been underdressed. Even in lovely Los Angeles, it gets cold and often it will get hot and even when it’s perfectly in between the temperature always drops at night so I will always need to be layer ready. These sweaters inspire me BEYOND to get to sewing. Luckily I scored a new light lovely knit in my recent gifted haul and have a couple of really nice knits as well as a couple of heavy Ponte fabrics to tackle projects. I also have a lovely three-tone looped yarn I hope to use as fringe in at least one project.

Sweater ReFashion - Make 2016

  • I went to an 80s Prom this month with my favorite dancing buddy Betty! I think that warrants its own post – and it just got me on a major nostalgia trip! The 1980s was an odd and unique period that somehow managed to reference, the 50s, a new era of Japanese modernist design, a NeoVictorian thing coexisting with a retro-futurism of sorts. I really need to make a prairie shirt, not to mention some asymmetrical cuts in neutrals. I have some splatter paint style cotton with a bit of lycra, some geometrics and a fab piece of grunge-worthy yellow plaid that needs to be used for the love of the 80s.

80s ReFashion - Make 2016

  • I have some lovely chiffon and polyester blend sheer prints that need to become fabulous timeless maxis! I love how simple color blocking becomes art in prints and lace. I am also really feeling my inner Stevie Nicks these days. Easy witchy high style moments in the making.

Print - Colorblocking ReFashion Inspo

  • And of course, and probably most importantly, the BASIX I didn’t quite master last year! I have some vintage leather, recycled denim and a ton of light-weight two way stretch knit blends that need to become easy tunics/dresses, skorts, culottes and drapey tops. Sounds like the Drape Drape books are coming out of storage! It’s time to get the basics down and that for me means easy, comfy, sultry everyday wear.

Not so Basic Basix.jpg

  • Lastly, I am obsessed with fabulous artisanal embellishments. I am first and foremost a textile addict after all. Everything from screen printing and hand painting to beading and embroidery is calling me. I think some artistic adorning will be on the immediate horizon! My leather jacket, in particular, keeps telling me they want a makeover. I am here to serve.

Adornment ReFashion Inspo -Make 2016

 Here we go!

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015: Upsizing The Patterned Jean

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And we’re back with another ReFashion 2015! I am not much of a jeans kind of a girl, or a t-shirt kind of a girl, so this is my take on jeans and a t-shirt! This ReFashion is another Upsize! When I bought these cute bongo jeans from KMart, years ago, I knew it was a tight fit and the fact that they don’t have any stretch to the material is not a good thing for me.

The waist is way lower than I like and I generally stay away from cropped pants, but I actually LOVE the tropical leaf print so much I figured I would make it work. Years later, I finally have!

Tropical Trousers ReFashion Details

Most of how i converted these poor fitting jeans into comfy stylish jeggings is in the graphic above. I also removed the zipper and sewed up the crotch. After removing the waistband and adding more room on the sides of the jeans with double-knit fabric, I added a new longer and wider waistband with elastic. This made the pants a pull on style and the strong stretchy material keeps them from becoming baggy with wear.

 

Tropical Trouser ReFashion1Tropical Trouser ReFashion

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I played with different shoes to get a different vibe. I also tried the look with a heavy cardigan and my favorite Black Drapey cardigan, but the leather was my favorite. And I love a metallic leopard pump. If only I could walk in a pointy toe for longer than it takes to look adorbs! Luckily I have some pointy-ish faux snakeskin flats that will do nicely.
Sequins Kimono ReFashion 1

The kimono style robe in this pic is my favorite ReFashion & this outfit is my favorite pattern combining this year so far. The full tutorial will be up next week. This number used to be a fabulous thrifted skirt! Can’t wait to get into the nitty gritty about it! ❤

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: A Swimsuit Makeover

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ReFashion 2015 Continues. I am late on this one! When my love Sheri from Confessions of A ReFashionista announced that this week’s Thrifty Thursday was Fab Florals, it gave me the push I needed to finish up a new swimsuit bottom. That is a future tutorial, but gave me the opportunity and showcase this swimsuit Refashion.

Fab Floral Swimsemble

Of course my gifted and refashioned kimono is my remade floral, and a great thrifted sun hat make this a Thrifty Thursday special! Some more floral love comes from my me-made swim skirt. That tutorial is coming soon! In the meantime. How do you make a skirted swim bottom a swim top!? Read on!

SwimsTop ReFashion Collage

So I had this hot pink swim bottom for a couple of years now. But I couldn’t seem to find a top I wanted to wear with it. So although I love a fringe suit, I loved the idea of the flouncy swim top. So I endeavored to take my swim separate from the bottom to the top!

  • I used a strapless bra to measure cup height and cut across the brief.
  • Next being a compulsive sewer and having a huge stash of fabric, found some orange swimsuit fabric and some floral mesh.
  • I cut two rectangles of Swimsuit fabric and one of the floral mesh about two inches wider than the former swimsuit brief now tube top.
  • I sewed my rectangles together. Mesh on one side and swimsuit fabric on the other.
  • I then sewed the rectangular to the bottom of my new tube top (mesh inside). Then I sewed the excess fabric from the sides to the backside.
  • Then I made two elastic casings in the swimwear material. I inserted the elastics and attached them to each other first, and then to my tube top.
  • Lastly, I added some elastic strips at the center bust and sides of the breast for a little definition.

The best part is that I can wear it two ways. Upside down creates a long peplum or babydoll effect, right side up I have my flounce. What’s more I can rock it as a top!

Skirted Bottom Flash   11836816_10152897403292003_264388090029020884_n

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Coming up in ReFashion 2015 are upsizing pants, my first pair of cutoffs and how to make this darling swim bottom!

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: 3 Ways To Be a #ConsciousBabe

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Hi Lovelies welcome to the latest chapter in Refashion2015! It took years for this Refashionista and sewist to be born, but you don’t have to refashion every piece of clothing you wear to be a #ConsciousBabe or my definition of a style saavy woman with a conscious about her clothing. All of the little things add up. In the U.S alone, the average person buys 68 new articles of clothing every year. That’s a lot of clothing coming in to our lives and potentially a lot of clothing going out. Sounds like a huge waste to me. Does your laundry basket always have the exact same clothes in it that you desperately need to wash so you can wear your favorites again? Mine too! The whole concept of saving the planet and ultimately ourselves (did you hear about we Californians looking at one more year of water!?), revolves around the three concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle. Here are three ways to start being #ConsciousBabes.

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1. Wait. Its 2015 and you can now shop 24/7 from the comfort of your living room/bed, smartphone or smart-pad. But buying things at the touch of a button and the speed of light makes for a lot of purchases without thinking.  Not to mention the frustration of an impending site crash as you compete with thousands of other people for the exact same skater dress you just saw on such and such blogger’s Instagram. It’actually pretty frustrating and a lot of energy for an urge.

There is an anxiousness to consumerism that  just doesn’t feel good.  Another reason to love Slow Fashion. The bigger the business you are buying from the bigger their urgency to produce. Large orders with tight deadlines lead to overtime, overcrowding and unsafe conditions for underpaid  labor overseas. Only 2% of clothing bought in the U.S. is made in the U.S. So the likelihood your clothes are made overseas by underpaid workers is 98%.  The lower the price for customers, the higher the cost for workers largely in Bangladesh and China. source

10945392_10152528950357003_7665455097062134732_nBe a #ConsciousBabe and wait. Wait an hour, wait a week, see if you even remember your interest in the thing before you add another item to that closet. Fast fashion is a lot like fast food, seeing is wanting and cravings pass. Wait and see where you’re at in few hours or in a few days. You’ll be surprised how the urge to splurge actually passes. The moral of the story lovelies is Buy Less and Style More.

Tip! I use my Pinterest boards to both garner inspiration, capture aha style moments and essentially keep a style journal. What I pin consistently will inevitably become my next ReFashion or if the object of my affection is something I can not style, make or remake from my existing closet, I wait and see if I am still thinking about it. If so, I begin the process of looking for it. I start with thrift stores and if the desire persists, I start a leisurely search online. You may have caught my recent Spectator Shoe ReFashion, I had been willing those oxfords into existence for months when I happened upon them in a favorite long neglected thrift shop in Silverlake. Hurry Up and Wait!

Infographic ConsciousBabe

2. Get Creative! When I started SweetLeigh I started to put more energy into refashioning my closet. So obviously I am doing this series in hope that some of you join me in getting creative on this journey. But aside from thrifting items to refashion, I am often happilly surprised and delighted on how often I find items that fit my 280 lb 5-4 frame just as they are when Thrift shopping. Manifest lovelies, manifest! We fattie, especially, have been shopping online out of necessity for years. But give a thrift shop a chance. For my bigger sisters in particular I am scoping out a list of Plus thrift shops online loves! The rise of Clothing Swaps is another beautiful way to reuse/recycle clothing and they are everywhere and are likely to feature those trendy items you were obsessed with a while back! Organize one or just search Facebook groups! Believe me, they are everywhere for vintage and contemporary clothes alike. My #Untamed Style Sister Veronica Cid has started this one for Plus size women. Check it out!

Another way to seriously get creative is styling! Some of my favorites skirts are in rotation as strapless dresses and double as tops on occasion. I find that the Styling is everything when it comes to clothes. Yes we all have special pieces we hold with great affection that somehow are left waiting for an occasion, but we also have neglected pieces that can rock double duty Erryday! I call it Style Squared! Double the life and use of an item  by changing up how you wear it.

Tip!: Get Crafty, Its easier than you think. Why shouldn’t that adorable cat sweater that you have worn out become a fabulous wall hanging. Cut out a rectangle from the front panel and frame it. So easy, instant gratification and you get ot keep what you loved about the sweater as art. Before you tell me you’re not creative, you don’t have to think up a single unique ideas, the internet is as full of fab DIY’s as it is shopping sites! Just follow instructions. 😉

Anatomy of a ConsciousBabe

3. Be a ShowOff! This is the best part. Sharing your genius with the world! Because the way you carry yourself is amazing, the way you put yourself together is a skill and the fact that you care about making an impact on the world makes you a BeYoutiful Human! So Tell the word that you are a badass who cares and hashtag it! If you wear a #thrifted or #vintage piece in your outfit make it known!! If you #Refashioned those pants share it! If you are supporting an independent maker who has a small business benefiting their local community hashtag it #shopsmall. Hashtag your next conscious OOTD post #ConsciousBabes, own it and find your tribe! I Love my Conscious Babes! ❤

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: Wardrobe Vision Board Pt. 1

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UntitledI am finishing up a major Wardrobe ReFashion or a closet makeover!  After purging my closet I realized I had a lot of clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t work for me or I wasn’t wearing, so I am doing a major ReFashion overhaul ReFashion 2015!  Even though I love to ReFashion it is at times overwhelming to figure out what to make or how to alter things. So I decided to make a master plan!  A little vision, some imagination and yes, some refashioning make for a happier closet experience.

I love women who have a sense of their own personal style. Style Vs. Fashion is for me the key to ReFashion. Creating what you want or need from something you have and tailoring it to your own personal style is such a freeing thing. But having a vision of what it is that you want is the biggest key to ReMaking Your Wardrobe. So Voila! My Wardrobe Vision Board!

I have broken up my “Vision” Board down into 4 parts: Silhouette, Basix, Inspiration & Accessories! There is so much to cover so consider this part one!

Silhouettes

Number One is deciding on the shapes that work for you in your closet or Your Silhouettes – Otherwise known as a template for what’s working! I looked in my closet and pulled out the items I love to wear and feel best in and identifying their shapes or silhouettes.  Confidence is everything! Feeling good is easy when you know what works for you. No, I don’t mean what someone told you-you should wear based on your “body type” but what you look and feel great in already is the key to identifying what you will actually wear in the future. More importantly, they are key indicators of how to change things in your closet that aren’t working into things that can work for you!

My shapes are:

  • “Ladylike” mid length full skirt dresses, rectangular and squarish shift dresses also work for me.
  • I have been round my whole life and have finally embraced it. I no longer hide from a harem leg or skinny jean.
  • Lightweight fluid pants styles like the jogger pant is another item I don’t have enough of in my closet!

Basix

Number Two is making a list of Your Basix – My ideal closet is transitional, seasonless (SoCal style) and simple. I am working at paying attention to detail when it comes to your Basix list. My style has a clean edge to it but a splash of bohemian flavor. My first 3 basics are something that I am lacking.

  • I LOVE a good shirt dress which I can wear for both casual and professional occasions.
  • I consider coordinating and mix and match separates to be essential but looking in my closet, I have hardly any!
  • Lastly, Tunics are a must for me.

I love a long tunic that can double as a dress with tights or a mini and work equally well with joggers, leggings  or jeans. But again, I’m missing the boat in a major way on this one. So, time to get to refashioning!

In the next post, time to think about what makes something your style and pay attention to the styling of your basix If you require jeans in your closet do you prefer skinny jeans, trouser jeans, wide leg jeans or maybe boyfriend jeans? Do you have jeans you can convert or have converted to make them more of a go-to in your closet? I do!

*all images sourced from Tumblr and Pinterest. Street fashion and blogger pics include photos by Tommy Ton, from SuperSelected, Jeneise Hosey from Jenesaisquoi blog, Nadia Sarwar for Citizen Couture, Sewist & Style icon Kaz on Kollabara and Style.com.

Next up is Part 2 of My Wardrobe Vision Board and some more ReFashions of course! 

xoxo

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Refashion 2015: The Jogger Pant

Before Jogger

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So my first Refashion of 2015 is here! I had some terribly boring wide leg black pants I bought at JC Penny’s years ago for work that I haven’t worn since! After purging my closet I realized a simple fix would make this uninteresting pants into a new staple for my ReFashioned Closet! Below are the steps I took for this easy fix. If you don’t sew you can always use No Sew tape or heat set fusing and an iron with the same result!

10696397_10152392231362003_3366405842875462471_n 1Materials:

  1. Pants
  2. Scissors
  3. Elastic
  4. Sewing Pins
  5. Safety Pin
  6. Needle & Thread
  7. Sewing Machine OR Heat set fabric tape and an iron

Jogger collage

  1.  Turn your pants inside out and mark where you’d like to trim them. I tried them on and then pinched the fabric to a fullness that seemed good and marked with chalk.
  2. Pin the area you’d like to trim and cut.
  3. Sew the newly trimmed leg.
  4. Fold over the cuff to a desired length. Since this is a jogger, I wanted to wear it comfortably at the ankle with plenty of room to pull up for a more cropped look.
  5. Sew a seem around the folded hem leaving about two inches for inserting your elastic.
  6. Measure your elastic by wrapping it around your ankle. Cut the measured piece then secure a large Safety Pin to one end.
  7. Insert the elastic using the safety pin into the opening in your hem. Hold on to one end while you push and gather the elastic through your hem and it comes out the other side.
  8. Sew the two ends together. If you do not have a machine sew it by hand and stretch out your hemmed cuff and close up the final two inches of your hem.
  9. TADA! Joggers!

During JoggerSo my first attempt was a bit too baggy and I was not pleased. Often It’s a process to ReFashion. So I went back in and narrowed my leg seam and came out happy in the end!

After Jogger

Tada! I am all about basix and this makes me happy. The “trending” might be over on joggers in fast fashion, but I am loving this simple edging up of pants and will be rocking it for a long time to come.  I am a happy camper. Don’t worry my adorable shoes above are another Thrifted ReFashion I’ll be posting soon!

10629774_10152531970097003_7934416931046353450_nTop: Upsized ReFashioned
Beanie: UpCycled
Knit Coat: SweetLeigh: Handmade by Moi
Glitter Tennies: Thrifted
Jogger Pants: ReFashioned

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