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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Work Capsule Wardrobe: Shop Your Closet Pt. 1

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I was feeling very unsatisfied with my sense of having decent ‘work clothes’, as I continue looking for a great job. I have been slowly updating items in my closet. I decided to have a movie montage moment and try on some neglected items and finally assess what I have in my closet. It’s going on two years since I’ve done that! Remember ReFashion 2015? Well, it turns out I have quite a bit! I’m not much of a traditionalist, love pattern on pattern but I do like to be appropriate to the job and don’t mind a professional dress code. And I think what I have pulled together from my dear little closet can serve me very well!

In the last week, I have refashioned a thrifted dress, made a classic black pencil skirt from two older makes that didn’t quite work out and made a tunic sweater from some sheer knit chevron fabric salvaged at my favorite, Michael Levine Loft. Most importantly I found a few older items that haven’t been seeing the light of day that are perfect for a work wardrobe.

Four out of five of my tops were me made,  or made by me, for comfort, fit and my style. The exception was the Alfani black cold shoulder button down shirt that is one of two new store bought clothing items I have bought in 2016.  AND I LOVE IT! It is a staple and I got if for something like $20.00 on clearance at Macy’s.

My rare purchase preceeded my knowledge of the #GrabYourWallet boycott. In case you didn’t know there is a boycott of Trump products and his corporate funders and supporters in opposition to the racist, transphobic, homophobic, xenophobic and islamophobic rhetoric that Trump uses and promoted throughout his election campaign. Macy’s announced that they would continue to not carry Trump merchandise or his subsidiaries again after the election. For me that made my rare purchase doubly satisfying and a WIN/WIN! However I have learned they are still carrying Ivanka Trump merchandise. So no more Macy’s for me given the opportunity.

Five tops, five cardigans or light jackets, five bottoms, three dresses and three pairs of shoes make for a lot of options, and I was pretty impressed with the endless combinations available to me once I actually tried some options on. Here are about 20 outfits below.

Ofcourse, I’m still going through my closet so I can’t say it ends here. But it’s a good reminder that I have more than what I need. Plus, I am already working on complementary makes and alterations. For instance, my tunic sweater is fairly sheer so I am making a slip with a ruffled bottom to wear underneath it so that I can wear it as a cozy little dress. And I can think of a pair of ankle boots and heeled sandal that could also be office appropriate to add to this capsule collection. But then again, this is part 1 and there is more to come! See you then! ❤

If you like and want to support the blog consider donating at PayPal.me Be well!

xoxo,

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Work Capsule Wardrobe: Retro Shift Dress

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So I looked through my closet for suitable “professional” day job wear while I search for the perfect day gig and wasn’t impressed. My last refashion, the black shirt dress was the first piece in and beginnings of a work capsule wardrobe in the making. For this dress, I had already made the bodice and the skirt of this dress over the summer with the intention of using them for mix and match separates. I didn’t really like the fit of the two together and decided to make a dress, which kind of makes this a refashion!  Once I had the shift together I had some adjusting to do since the tank started out pretty billowy.

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Then I looked through my drawer of sewing patterns and hallelujah found this sleeve pattern. Which made me ecstatic! A little early 70s vibe was what this simple shift needed for me to make it feel more special and give it some School Marm Boho styling appropriate for work. YAS! This look also fulfills a goal of making a print/color blocking piece as noted in my 2016 Make and Refashion Planner, that I made at the beginning of the year. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!

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retroshift-5 I am not mad at the results! I made the sleeveless sweater coat above with leather cap sleeves a few years ago now! All of the fabrics here were bought in the last few years from my favorite spot, the Loft, at Michael Levine fabrics in Downtown Los Angeles. The loft is the outlet that sells remnants and bolts and pieces that are out of season before they are discarded which can mean shipped abroad or put in a landfill somewhere. I still love wearing this sweater coat with all sorts of outfits from a t-shirt and joggers to interview wear and will definitely be using it in my work capsule wardrobe. In this case, I am loving how the additional print and cap sleeves show off of the bell sleeves of the dress. You know I love some print on print action!
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If you like and want to support the blog consider donating at PayPal.me Be well!

xoxo,

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Basic Black#ThriftyThursday

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So it’s been ages since I did a Thrifty Thursday but was inspired upon seeing Confession of a Fashiontista ‘s Sheri’s latest blog post. She runs  Refashion Nation and organizes weekly themes to inspire folx to show off their thrifted and refashioned treasures! I actually found my treasure yesterday! These men’s Brogues fit perfectly are nicely broken in and have many more years in them. I am psyched to have found a new comfy and stylish pair of Black shoes suitable for both work and play.

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The other gem of this post is my second refashioned shirt dress. The first is a denim number you can find here! I live in that dress have nearly worn it out already. This time around I finally used an old bedsheet in a refashion. It was gifted to me in a huge bag of fabric I inherited. I used it to create a skirt to add to a button up shirt that I wasn’t wearing. I love my boxy new shirt dress which is as Basic as it gets! And I definitely need to grow the basics in my closet. Below is a couple of visual maps on how I did the refashion. It is fairly self-explanatory.

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And there you have it. A basic number that I can wear to work, or out for the weekend with my docs or peep toes or sandals… this is L.A.! I’m not mad at this little black day dress which will be hard at work for me for a long time to come.

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If you like and want to support the blog consider donating at PayPal.me Be well!

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2016: Resort Style, Body Acceptance & Fatkini Fall!

fatkini-refashion2016It’s been AGES since I did a ReFashion post! I have done a lot of hemming, mending and alterations that I just couldn’t manage to post yet, but hope to get around to it. Why a fatkini for fall you may ask? The practical reason, I have access to the apt building swimming pool without tons of children screaming and splashing (who are now in school!), so I tend to swim more at the end of summer. Also living in sunny Southern California is year round incentive!

The other reason is that in all of the collections fashion designers put out annually, my favorite is usually resort wear. Resort collections generally consist of great separates that can be worn year round in warm or cold weather and yep includes killer swimwear. I feel the need to be prepared, for when someone wants to take me away for a fabulous tropical holiday! (((Manifesting)))
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I made this skirted swimsuit bottom last year and didn’t manage to get a DIY up for it. So when I finally decided to turn this built-in bra from an old ill-fitting camisole into the base of a swim top to match, I was excited to complete the look! This top was one of those projects that I kept putting off since I hadn’t made a bra, or bathing suit bra top before.

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The project turned out to be easier than I thought and one of my favorite DIY’s EVER! It’s not perfectly sewn, but it was very well thought out. I experimented with straps successfully and have a nice heavy-duty elastic lining the top and bottom of my side straps. All of my materials were gifted, salvaged and refashioned, including an old bra closure for the top closure.

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I’m fatter than last year and feeling it. As I decide how to best practice more consistent care for myself I realized I was starting to fall into old habits of shaming myself and my body, particularly my belly, which has also grown. So making a new suit top that doesn’t completely cover that belly was a true act of love, resilience, and acceptance. I really love the suit so much and feel quite adorable in it. And let me tell you, feeling attractive doesn’t hurt when it comes to body image which you probably know already. But it’s always good to be reminded.

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I often reflect on how I’m coping with the world and how where I am at, largely depends on my ability to stay the course when it comes to taking care of myself. If I am not taking care of myself then I find myself reacting, to the people and world around me. When I am in my moon cycling (Happy Full Moon by the way), when I am honoring creating sacred space for myself, it turns out that I am far more resilient than I often remember. Making and creating is as empowering as meditating and spell crafting for me and is very much a part of my holding sacred space. So look forward to more ReFashions loves! Autumn is so my time of year to #MakeMagick! Ciao bellos!

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If you like and want to support the blog consider tipping me at PayPal.me Be well.

xoxo

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ReFashion 2016: Denim Repair

Denim Repair Inspo

Boro and Sashiko are Japanese mending techniques. Sashiko refers to Boro means  rags or tattered cloth. Boro is the textile created from clothing that has been patched several times. Japanese borotextiles (usually clothing and bed covers) were sewn from rags and patches of indigo-dyed cotton during the 19th and early 20th century. The rural population of Japan couldn’t afford new clothing and had to literally make ends meet by patching together discarded cotton rags. Japanese families repaired and recycled everything from fisherman’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down for generations. Sashiko, meaning “little stabs,” is a long, embroidery stitch used for mending or purely for decoration. source

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Although I love hand work I haven’t been able to carve out the energy or time for a lot of it lately. When my mom asked me to repair a couple of pairs of her favorite jeans I took inspiration from the visible patching and stitching techniques of boro and sashiko.

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  1. I pinned a patch to the inside of the jean to cover a large vertical rip.
  2. I started sewing across the patch in a zig zag formation vertically.
  3. Then I did the same thing horizontally.
  4. I turned the jeans inside out.
  5. Next, I added a decorative patch from a piece of a vintage japanese kimono I thrifted.
  6. Then I followed the same technique on a hole on the inner thigh using some recycled denim, also thrifted.
  7. This time, I patched it from the outside.
  8. I turned and repeated the process on a third hole.
  9. Finally, I have a repaired jean that hopefully will become more interesting with wear.

My mom was pretty pleased to be wearing her jeans again.

 

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ReFashion 2016: Black Is Beautiful

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The Story

Black History Month aka Black Future Month ends with my little tribute to The Black Panthers and a simple and very satisfying refashion! If you follow my Instagram, you will see that when PBS aired the documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution I was fairly obsessed. I was raised in a working class all-white neighborhood in the burbs of Los Angeles in the late 1970s.

I learned respectability politics young from my southern mother and my father, an immigrant from the West Indies. For their survival and mine, I was taught it was important that as a Black person I was extra nice, extra likable, and that much more respectable than my white counterparts. It was as if because I was Black, I didn’t automatically deserve respect. Leaving the white pov or white gaze behind is complicated in this country with our very racist history. Long before Beyonce’s Formation, there was the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers celebrated Blackness, traded in respectability politics for justice, and all the while shone for being fierce in their own skin.

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At one point in the  documentary (where yes, I was driven to tears) the filmmakers interviewed former Panthers and journalists alike on the style of the BPP. The natural hair, the sleek stylish ‘uniform,’ and “swagger!” Whether you are interested in political ideology or not, there is so much fierceness in the message that BPP gave the Black community which was – love yourself, as you are. Their message was that Black was not only beautiful but worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of justice, worthy of self-determination. There is nothing complicated about that. If you have not seen the documentary yet, do!

 

Boot ReFit

The ReFashion

First of all, I love these boots so hard, they were a major investment piece I bought (on sale) about 8 years ago for my first return trip to NYC after moving home. They are made for all weather and are water resistant, have lug soles, working laces, and a zipper for easy access.  I LOVE these fabulous functional boots, but after gaining significant weight they didn’t fit anymore. My smallest calf size was probably about 19 inches and my widest calf is currently 23inches.  I often prefer ankle boots, but when I have gotten higher boots, I generally got away with having them stretched at a cobbler’s shop or have also had elastic inserts put into boots. Any shoe repair can also do this simple alteration for you.

  1. When I tried on the boot years after my last wearing, they  would not close.e
  2. Reasonable people take out their laces which I recommend, but I partially unlaced my boots enough to see what I was doing on the inside.
  3. My solution for making space across the calves? Detach the tongues of the boots! Because the tongue is sewn into both sides of the boot – it can not be placed where you want it on the leg for coverage. Sometimes it’s sewn into one side of the boot.
  4. Use scissors to cut open the seams where the tongue and lacing sides of the boot are attached.
  5. Once the tongue was freed up, I had about 2 extra inches in overlapping fabric on each side of the boot newly available.
  6. At this point, you want to dispose of any loose threads.
  7.  If you like you can add fabric to both sides of the tongue for more coverage. You can also elect to get rid of the tongue altogether for a cute tongueless boot.
  8. Finally, you will want to get longer laces to properly lace up your boots. I haven’t done this yet but am looking forward to it. Remember you can always switch up the color and/or use grosgrain or velvet ribbon instead of standard corded laces. Now lace up those puppies and go!

Dress: Thrifted  Hat: ReFashioned Leather Jacket: Built to Last
70s Vintage Wallpaper: Interwebs

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xoxo,

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