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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Summer Vibes, Creative License & Healing

 

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I was watching music mogul TomSturges address some teenagers in a talk for the Aspen Institute. He quoted songwriter Allee Willis “The path to self-respect goes through creativity”.  In  his book  Sturges expands on Willis’s words and writes, “The more we create the better we feel about ourselves. The better we feel the more we feel like creating. The more we feel like creating, the more we get out of it. The more we get out of it the better those ideas are. The better the ideas are, the more we respect ourselves for having them. And so on. It’s an endless cycle of good, a never-ending circle of growing self-respect.” And all I can say is YES!

Seeing myself with love and understanding was very much born out of the respect I rebuilt for myself while putting my mind and hands to work. While seeing projects I had envisioned through. While filling my creativity vault with visits to the museums, late nights on the interwebs researching artists I’d only just heard of or watching a tv show that made me genuinely laugh aloud. Spending time caring for myself allows me to percolate, and my mind explodes into synaptic fireworks flashing. Spending time creating allows me to automatically refill my empty well.

To be creative is to be curious. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I am returning to my yoga for self-care and am really delving into tarot! Which is exciting! I am doing a spirit guide challenge with is both challenging and a great comfort. I am also doing a lot of shadow work through Tarot. I have been looking inward for a long time and I am seeing great benefit from doing so.

 

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Shadow Working with The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

 

What I am working on now is my health. Mentally and physically I am changing, as we all do throughout life. I am choosing to treat those issues with as much curiosity, love, and admiration as I do my creative process. It is the priority. Part of that attention is getting back to prioritizing making art. Wearing art. Celebrating art. The Mood Board at the top of the page is a cross between my summer make plans and the good vibes I am inviting in.

There has been a lot of death this year, a lot of collective grieving this year. I have struggled through three beloved idols passing, two family members dying and the traumas around the world including Orlando in this quickly moving year. The struggle is real but we’re still here and that’s worth celebrating. Practicing being loving, kind and patient with ourselves is maybe the most important thing of all. Be well lovelies.

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: What A Year!

 

Thanks so much for joining me for ReFashion 2015 Loves! IT has been a great year and my ReFashioning has given me so much joy. I love creating. And if anything I hope it has sparked you to look at how you use your closet. I hope that this year you are more mindful about what you need vs. what you want than in 2015. I hope you consider whether what you want can actually be achieved in the closet you have right now.

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This journey was a bit of a surprise. I have been chronically unemployed and out of the traditional job market for years now and besides not being able to afford the influx of fast fashion available in plus sizes, I grew tired of seeing so many people in the same clothes that didn’t quite speak to me. And if they did, I realized that the devil was in the details and that I often could re-envision what I have in my closet to meet those sometimes transient needs….

I hope ReFashion 2015 reminded you and inspired you to creatively play in your closet. Know that you don’t have to settle for what a manufacture created, but can personalize your closet. If you don’t sew, and don’t do DIY consider tailoring your clothes to fit you the way you would like them to. And don’t forget to alter them around trends that speak to you.

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The planet is hurting from our wasteful ways which causes people to hurt, whether it is chemicals in the manufacturing process in our clothes and contaminating our water or the literal garbage we create by not recycling them reducing our carbon footprint, is EVERYTHING. People being exploited for their labor is always something to keep in mind. Consumers are always demanding more. But do we need more?  We must call on big corporations to be responsible to their workers and to the planet.

Part of me really likes living off of the fast fashion grid and choosing this extreme variation of slow fashion. I often prioritize other things besides my wardrobe and taking time to make all that I need is not possible. The point is not to make everything in your closet, but to recycle, reuse, shop vintage and thrift often and maybe first. The point is to be mindful. Mind the chain of people affected by your shopping habits. Shopping local, shopping small, supports community and sends a message to big retailers to be more mindful too.

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Lastly, ReFashion 2015 is very much about body love, and my body politic. As someone who lives outside of traditional sizing, including plus sizing at a size 26/28 currently with a non h/w proportionate body type, I decided to make my clothes work for ME. I don’t have expectations to fit into mass manufactured clothing. Even when I do, I generally alter my clothing to my tastes. I invest in my closet so that I use it. I invest in personalizing my clothes so that any and every item in my closet works for me. How many people can say that every item of clothing is working for them?

I don’t believe that my body whatever size and shape should fit into the clothes as they are made. Because they don’t. And that is not something I feel good or bad about. If your body is made for commercial fast fashion more power to you, but understand that it is not true for many bodies of all shapes and sizes.  I believe the clothes that I wear should fit my unique body. And I’ve found that that requires some help a lot of the time. So I encourage you, to dig deeper, look further and take your closet into your own hands. Harness your creativity, love your body as is, and make your closet work for YOU. You deserve it!

I will be back with more ReFashion and more Makes in 2016. I have plans for my sweet little shop to include more post consumer made millinery accessories and some home goods too! Let me know what kind of things you’d like to see in the SweetLeigh shop. Sewing Patterns? ReFashion Kits? I’d love to know! Thanks for joining me on the journey loves! Happy New Year!

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.

 

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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.
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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: Office Nook Makeover

Office Nook Makeover

ReFashion 2015 Home Edition! So I’ve been coveting beautiful home spaces and thinking about projects that I could immediately implement without spending any money to beautifying my living space. Not to mention focussing my energy on manifesting my ideal living situation.

I decided to do a simple makeover of the space where I write and edit all of these fabulous blog posts! So I started with making over the poor battered and dented lampshade.

LampShade Trim and Measurements

I have a huge roll of this black and white trim  that I scored from Michael Levine Fabrics Loft space. The Loft is where I get most of my fabric and is where Michael Levine Fabrics sells their end pieces, and unsold unseasonable fabrics.

  • I first measured pieces of the trim to fit the lampshade.
  • Then I took out my rarely used but much-loved glue gun and started laying out my trim on the lampshade.
  • So simple, so effective! Instant gratification!

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Next, I tackled my cork board! Oddly enough it never occurred to me to put it near the computer!? So Once I did that, I wasn’t feeling it and decided to quickly remake it with a simple white paint job.

  • I used Non-toxic water-based paint and let it air dry in the sun.
  • I removed any paint splatter from the frame with nail polish remover.

Desk Mat

Lastly I was determined to cover up the very worn out surface of the computer desk. A particle board assemble yourself desk that is ancient so I decided on the simple cosmetic fix of a desk mat. I made a slip cover over a simple cardboard box big enough to cover the damaged desk.

  • I used the skirt of an old dress I deconstructed years ago to make my slip cover, I love the pattern.
  • I used the cardboard to cut out the shape and sewed 3 sides of the rectangle.
  • I then added a small rectangle at the bottom of the slip cover meant to fall over the edge of the desk.
  • Lastly, I made an envelope closure at the top of the slipcover, so i could tuck in the fabric and secure the cardboard once inserted.

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Voila! My new streamlined workspace! I love black and white but I need to add some warmth so we’ll see how my new space evolves! But it is already feeling better working here. Next I will be moving onto my sewing area for my next Home Refashion 2015.

xoxo

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CineStyle: Pretty In Pink Of Course.

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Written by John Hughes and directed by Howard Deustch, Pretty In Pink is the story of Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald). Andie is a senior in high school from the wrong side of the tracks. She works, does well in school, and takes care of her unemployed father. He still pines away for the woman who left them behind. Although Andie is mature beyond her years and an outsider at school, she longs for the things teenagers long for, a date to the prom. When she falls in love with Blaine, a rich kid, they both become the targets of scrutiny from her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) and his best friend Steff (James Spader who epitomizes male white privilege in every scene) as well as their entire preppy crew. Andie has to decide whether or not to stand up for herself and what she wants and pursue a relationship with Blaine. Will they go to the prom?

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Marilyn Vance is the costume designer responsible for creating the wardrobe for the Molly Ringwald/John Hughes trifecta, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Divine creative madness… You could also say she is partially responsible for my love of vintage, a staple of my youth but more so that she is wholly responsible for my love of refashioning as I first witnessed in the film when Andie endeavors to make the now infamous prom dress . Thank You Marilyn Vance!

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While Andie’s best girlfriend went the straight up punk route and the Rich kids were decked out in pure pastel prep through and through, Andie fell in between with her post punk granny chic. There were really only two looks that I absolutely loved on Andie both were pants that I immediately tried to emulate with my own wardrobe – to the amusement of the grocery store clerk. Kids are going to experiment, be kind.

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Duckie is perfection. He was the best of vintage shops, so stylish, so sweet and sentimental. He wore his heart on his vintage blazer sleeves along with and pins and brooches, military patches and ofcourse those worn out fabulous Duck shoes (Creepers).

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The main style attraction for me in this film is by far Iona. Caring, funny, a post punk new wave chameleon. My wannabe BFF who loves glamour vintage and playing. The “Costume” looks Vance gives her are so simply, BadAss. Iona is the style star of Pretty In Pink. Easily. Blaine and Steff aren’t really worth mentioning, although James Spader will always have my heart. He was and is so good at being bad.

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The Prom Dress. Most people hate it. I didn’t. I bought it hook line and sinker. This quirky, very individual girl, gathers up all of her courage and chooses to stand proud and alone at the prom – in this utterly unique design of her own making. Back then there were no sewing blogs, DIY’s, or designer’s latest collections to mimic at the touch of your computer. Back then we had to just have imagination, and read a lot. So yes, I love the extremely creative imagination of this very cool and brave 17 year old girl. I love  the dress.

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Movies are such a joy. And I love John Hughes films especially because I was growing up when these movies were made. They are a touchstone to my own adolescence. And somehow John Hughes always managed to touch your heart, get real and wrap it up in a never forced happy ending. I’ve been kinda blue lately. I think its time to get out my copy of Pretty In Pink. Cue OMD….

XOXO

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ReFashion 2015 Upsizing The Maxi Skirt

Sheer Mini Maxi ReFashion

Hi Lovelies! If you are just wandering onto my blog you’ll find me mid Wardrobe ReFashion! I had to share one more ReFashion2015 post before as March comes to an end! This one is another Upsize! I found this skirt at the thrift store. It was probably a size 14. I wear dress and bottoms from size 22-26! But it was an extremely full gathered circle skirt and if you remember from my last resize, that means it can be let out and the fabric more than accommodated my wider waist! Since the fabric of the skirt is sheer I thought it would be a nice way to show some of my best assets, my smokin’ hot legs! It Leggings, or tights makes it seasonless.untitled

ReFashion Sheer Mini Maxi Sew guide

  1. First I cut the waist band off of the skirt to let out the true width of fabric.
  2. Next I set aside some elastic and a new waist band to attach later.
  3. I used a T-shirt to replace the long polyester blend slip that was now too small. I cut the collar and sleeves off of an oversize t-shirt for my new slip. But you can also cut two rectangles of fabric of your choice if you sew and have fabric you’d like to use. You can also change it up and play with different colors if you like.
  4. Lastly I attached the slip the skirt, before sewing them to the new waistband. Then I insert the elastic as outlined in the Jogger Pant tutorial and there you have my newly ReFashioned Sheer Mini Maxi.

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The Sheer Mini Maxi w/ boots and a Leather Jacket for very sunny California Autumn.

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Here is my simple style take on the Mini Maxi for Spring/Summer w/ my fave wedges, Dr. Scholls.

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XOXOXO

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