Thank you, Project Run & Play!

Thank you, Project Run & Play!
Thank you so much for all of your votes and kind words over the past 3 weeks! I am seriously touched by your positive feedback. I used to think that people who choose to compete must have thick skin, but I now realize that it’s quite the opposite. I felt completely vulnerable. To dream up designs and commit so much of my time, energy and resources to the creation of them, only to have them potentially criticized and rejected–egads, this experience has been an anxiety-ridden ride! That I would do all over again. In a heartbeat.

To have Elizabeth & Liz pick me from the fabulous group of home sew-alongers was such an honour! They have built an amazing community of people who not only MAKE handmade clothing for their kids, but DESIGN them, as well. To think of myself as a designer is immensely gratifying and rewarding. This opportunity pushed me to design kids clothing that I am soooooo happy with (dare I say, proud of?). I feel that I put my best work together–garments that truly reflect my style and personality. I am thankful for this opportunity to design clothing and learn new techniques that enabled those designs to become wearable garments for my kids!

But at the end of the day, Project Run & Play is a competition and I will not be moving on to the next round. One of the surprising things that came about from the competition is a deep respect and admiration for the other designers. I had grand plans for each theme, but then I would see work done by the competition and feel inspired to push myself even more. For example, these amazing grey pants by Louise of I’m Feeling Crafty made me realize that the pants I made for Boo for The Brothers Bloom week, could be so cool. The leather jacket (made from a sofa!) by Jenn of A Jennuine Life is simply incredible! The hand stitching done by Ashley and Emily of Frances Suzanne is a meaningful way to stitch love into a garment and instantly gives it an added dimension of intricate detailing. The lace dress, by Karly of Paisley Roots is so darling. Finally, this jacket (holy smokes, how did Jacq of Begin with B even conceive of the idea to create this??) is so inspiring! I know that I will be sewing more for my Boo, seeing how Jacq makes little boys clothing look so modern and original.

Next week, I will be posting my “signature style” designs. Without any boundaries of themes to follow, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be! I’m still working on it (at a leisurely pace, ha!), so be sure to come back, I would love to share my designs with you!

Thanks again for visiting! It is with joy (and oodles of excitement) that I share my creations on my blog. It’s nice to have an audience to read through my design process, silly stories and random thoughts that I have. I couldn’t be happier with my Project Run & Play experience!

Week 3: A Dress for 3 Generations

Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I’m still competing in Project Run & Play–thank you for voting me through again! Let’s get right to this week’s challenge: REPURPOSING. For me, the true meaning of repurposing is for the original materials to have already been used, then made into something new. So I won’t be hacking away at any new, clearance rack, XXL t-shirt, since the t-shirt never served it’s primary purpose.

Keeping that in mind, I decided to only repurpose items that we already had–which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Before we moved to the San Francisco bay area, we went through a huge purge, either donating or giving away clothing, baby gear and household goods. It felt really good and since then, we have been trying to maintain a simple lifestyle, with less consumer goods and more handmade goods. Except now I don’t have a lot of items to repurpose!

Then I found my mom’s vintage dress in my closet. I love this dress–so many of my childhood memories belong with this dress. Years ago, my mom was about to throw the dress out, but I salvaged it, even wearing it a couple of times. But the seams were weak and I tucked it away, unable to part with it.
1970s Vintage Dress
I phoned my mom and asked if I could repurpose her dress into a dress for Froo. She was totally fine with it and had my brother email me some photos of her wearing the dress! I wanted to honour the dress (my mom, really!) and make it special. Here’s a “before” photo of Froo wearing the dress:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The fabric label had been removed, but my guess at the fibre composition is polyester or poly-blend. It’s slightly sheer, with a mesh-like, stretchy quality. It behaves like knit fabric, which doesn’t fray (yay!), but it does snag (boo!). The bottom skirt is almost a full circle, with the seam running down the wearer’s left side.

I was fully intending for this dress to have long sleeves, but once I saw all of the pieces, it just seemed so wrong. I changed course and decided on a sleeveless dress.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
To add detail to the plain bodice, I “embroidered” (using the term loosely, just needle and thread) red pearl cotton in the centre of the flowers. The front bodice is backed with black Pellon shape-flex interfacing to provide more stability for the embroidery.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
This repurposed dress is all about the back! I placed the original cross-over v-neck on the back of the dress, to create an open v-back bodice. For the skirt, I shifted the seam to align at the centre back. This drastically changed the flow of the print–it creates symmetry and draws attention to the busy, floral print. I wanted all of the details to come alive at the back, paying homage to the past.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I purchased stretchy black swimsuit lining to back the bodice and I used stay tape on the neckline for extra structure. Afterwards, I understitched the lining, to prevent it from rolling.

Once the skirt was shortened and hemmed using stay tape (loving this stuff!), I used a gathering stitch, clear elastic and a serger to attach the skirt to the bodice, following this tutorial, which worked really great at keeping a close fit, while maintaining stretch.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The belt is my dad’s old necktie, folded into a bow tie, using a variation of this YouTube tutorial. I hand stitched snap buttons as closures. The last time we were in Vancouver, I took about 20 of my dad’s old neckties. He has oodles. My uncle is a doctor in Korea and apparently, it’s customary for patients to give their doctor gifts. My aunt gives them to my dad, who has trouble saying “no” to free things, no matter how hideous they are. I brought them home, intending to make tiny bow ties for Fringle & Stu. This one was just the right shade of rich red:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I felt that the dress needed a bright cowl scarf, so I made one using my old Banana Republic scarf that was sooooo itchy. I shortened it and backed it with some leftover quilted sherpa, from my week 1 challenge. I serged the end of the scarf twice, to ensure it wouldn’t unravel.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
But the buttons! My friend Deborah gifted me some awesome buttons (thank you!!!) and these leather buttons were in the mix. She bought them at Our Social Fabric, a non-profit organization that collects donated fabric and sewing notions to sell, keeping them out of landfills. How perfectly fitting is it for me to use them in this challenge?? My sewing machine can’t handle button holes through thick fabric, so I stitched the buttons on and placed a magnetic snap on the inside.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo was not happy about the fake nerd-glasses that I found in the $1 bin at Target, but this is my absolute favourite photo of her from our photo shoot:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I thought the outfit needed a cardigan or jacket, but I couldn’t find anything suitable to use. Until I saw a pair of the hubs’ old jeans–they are HUGE! (I mean, he’s 6’3″ tall and prefers a relaxed-fit.) I used my drafted blazer pattern from last week and made a couple of tiny modification: a straight front edge and a one-piece sleeve, instead of two pieces. I was able to cut all of the pieces on the grain, matching most of the faded bits at the sleeves and shoulders. I love the almost ombré effect the fading creates.

Then I cut a leg off my worn-out jeans to create enough trim for a ruffled edge–they were the first pair I bought after Froo was born. I bought my Fidelity jeans at a warehouse sample sale for $26. I don’t know why I remember this. The colour is a pretty good match!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
These buttons! The other ones in the mix from Deborah–I just love them! The colour is a blend of brown-black, with a hint of mauve and looks great with the red stitching.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Again, the denim was too thick for button holes, so I placed snap buttons on the inside facing of the jacket. They are quite easy for Froo to snap together!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The inside of the jacket is finished with bias tape. I had purchased the red bias tape for the bamboo suit, but never used it. The bottom hem, sleeves and back facing are hand stitched in place.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I repurposed the tag from the hubs’ jeans for a more polished look. Besides, we could use some luck this week!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
For this week’s Project Run & Play challenge, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment for repurposing what I had, without buying any additional fabric, besides the lining and notions (interfacing and snaps). I also feel that I conquered my seam-freaking-ripper. It really had me beat a couple of days. I wore a head-lamp strapped to my forehead, just so I wouldn’t go cross-eyed, trying to pick out some unruly seams.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
With all the money I SAVED, I feel like I practically MADE money (insert photo of the hubs rolling his eyeballs here), so I bought Froo a pair of ballet flats from H&M–they are insanely cute and coordinate really well with the dress. Then we went to the San Mateo Main Library for our photo shoot. I thought it would be the perfect location, since the public library is the ultimate example of recycling–books to borrow for free and share with the entire community!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I must admit, this challenge really brought out an emotional side in me. While making the dress, I could almost smell my mom. Not in a weird, creepy way, but in that way that you would leave a piece of clothing with your baby for comfort while sleep-training. Or a puppy while crate-training. We’ve been through both. My mom’s dress symbolizes her training for me to be an amazing mom to Froo (and Boo!), that even my scent alone can provide my kids with comfort and security. Ok, I am totally calling my mom now!

Thanks for visiting! I would love for you to vote for me at Project Run & Play–this is my last chance at making the finale next week! (I always feel awkward asking for votes, but I appreciate every single vote that I get. Seriously. Because each vote counts–the competition has been incredible!)

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Week 2: Bang Bang (with Bloom)

Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Thank you for voting me through to this week of Project Run & Play! This week’s challenge was to come up with an outfit based on a character from a movie. As I was googling some of my favourite movies, I stumbled upon images from “The Brothers Bloom” and instantly, I knew that Froo should be Bang Bang. It’s a bit of an unknown movie and an unusual choice for outfitting children, but this is the outfit of my dreams:

From the last challenge to this week’s challenge, it doesn’t take much to make the connection that I am obsessed with tailor-fitted outerwear. With wide-legged pants? Yes, PLEASE! Except, I had never sewn a blazer, nor a proper pair of trousers before. This seemingly simple outfit would require some crazy attention to detail–not something I could whip up with my tiny bag of tricks. I mean, a suit!

I found the task of making a suit completely daunting, so I sewed up an outfit for Boo that would give me the confidence to try welt pockets and test the use of knit fabric instead of wovens. I chose knit fabric because I wanted comfortable, kid-friendly fabric that is easy to wash and most importantly, doesn’t need ironing. I outfitted Boo as Bloom, played by Adrien Brody. I made the art museum vest and trousers by oliver+s in black bamboo stretch French terry.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I wanted Boo to wear a bowler hat, but I couldn’t find a pattern for one. As I suspected, the wool needs to be molded into a round shape anyways. I made a wool fedora instead, which is more like the one worn by Bloom’s brother, Stephen, played by Mark Ruffalo. The fedora pattern is from E & E Patterns.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I am not including Boo as part of my entry for this week, since I didn’t design the vest, trousers, nor the fedora. The only thing I designed was his ascot tie, which is simply one piece of fabric sewn into a long skinny scarf. His outfit was a practice run for Froo’s, so I consider him to be an accessory (photo shoot prop) to Froo’s outfit! I will blog about his outfit at a later date. But, Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot get over how cute my little guy is. He is definitely not the pensive, moody and sensitive character of Bloom, but just as charming and swoon-worthy! Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
As for Froo’s outfit, I used natural bamboo stretch fleece, which is extremely soft. Her pants started off as the art museum trousers. She tried on Boo’s pair in size 3 and they fit! I kept the front pockets, but omitted the fake fly, belt loops, darts and welt pockets on the back. Using some layering tricks with Swedish tracing paper, I merged a wide-leg pant bottom by tracing Pattern “O” from the Japanese sewing book, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. To dress up the pants, I added red piping to the outside leg seams. Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I purchased the Basic Blazer pattern from Blank Slate Patterns. It’s my first time using a Blank Slate pattern and I was immediately impressed–starting with the way the paper was taped together. There is no paper cutting involved and the paper lined up perfectly, saving time and frustration. Brilliant! Then I traced Froo’s GAP knit blazer directly on top of each pattern piece, adjusted for Froo’s measurements, measured and aligned pieces to make sure they would match up. This process took several days. Drafting. Tracing. Redrafting. Oodles of eraser bits. Then I did the unthinkable–I cut my fabric without making a muslin first. Eek! I had barely enough fabric left to eke out the winter accessories, so I was ALL IN. Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
My furrowed brow has left permanent deep-set wrinkles, but I’m ecstatic with the end result! I slimmed and flared out the sides, narrowed the sleeves, created a more dramatic collar and added piping to the edges. The fit is perfect on Froo. I’m a little jealous.

My favourite detail is the small pocket flap attached to the welt pockets that can be hidden inside the pocket. I was nervous about the red stitched button holes, but they turned out really well! I placed a piece of tracing paper underneath the garment before stitching the button hole and ripped it off afterwards.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Bamboo fleece is a fair bit thinner than regular sweatshirt fleece and definitely requires lining. I chose to line it with thin jersey knit, with anchors printed on it! The heather taupe is neutral and doesn’t show through. I bought it at Fabric Outlet (also available online) during a date night with the hubs. He’s a good, good man. Anyhoo, to sew up my lining, I used this awesome tutorial from the Grainline blog, instead of the instructions from the pattern, since I needed a way to finish the sleeve hem with piping.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I also added a back facing to give the blazer more structure. I used red bias tape to make a little loop for Froo to hook the blazer on her cubby at school. I used Pellon Easy Knit interfacing on the front/back facings and collar. After sewing up the lining, I actually unstitched it to add a 2.5″ border of interfacing to the bottom hem, which made a HUGE difference in the structure of the blazer.Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I made a last minute t-shirt for Froo, since it’s indecent for a 5-year old to wear a low cut blazer with nothing underneath! I used the lining fabric to make another flashback skinny tee, this time with a scoop neck and short sleeves.Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I used stay tape on the neck hem to get a nice flat finish, following this tutorial from Skirt As Top. It worked beautifully.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I made the toque (aka “beanie”) by tracing Froo’s Old Navy toque (seen here). I drafted shapes, similar to the juggling balls, from the book, “little things to sew” by oliver+s, to round out the hat, giving it a spherical shape. The scarf is a longer and wider version of Boo’s ascot tie. I used a Clover pom pom maker to make and attach cute red pom poms to both!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I knew that Froo would never wear a bow tie on its own, so I incorporated it into the toque instead. The bow tie is attached to the toque with a strap and a snap button.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
That’s 5 pieces total for this week’s challenge! Neutrals with pops of red for contrast. I am beginning to see a theme with the things I like to sew…
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Both the ivory bamboo stretch fleece and black bamboo stretch French terry are from Nature’s Fabric. From the exterior, they both look about the same, but the fleece is fuzzy on the inside and a smidgen thicker. Froo & Boo love their bamboo pants! Boo calls them his “soft pants” and refuses to take them off once they are on. Froo is happy that her pants are softer than Boo’s. Sheesh.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I wanted to take some photos of Froo by the water, but of all days to leave my camera at home… arg. I took a couple of iPhone photos of Froo with a goalie stick, instead of a shuffleboard paddle. Keeping it Canadian, eh?
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
There is a great museum scene in the movie, shot in Prague–a gorgeous city. The hubs and I visited the first winter we were married. It was cold, snowy and magical. For our photo shoot, I wanted to take moody photos at the San Mateo County History Museum, in Redwood City. The weather was forecasted to be cloudy and grey last Friday, but it ended up being sunny and over 70 degrees! Poor Froo & Boo were melting. Boo dropped his fedora in the water fountain, which explains the soggy, warped brim. Froo refused to wear her winter accessories. I don’t blame her. By the end of it, they both wanted to dip their feet in the fountain!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
My longest post EVER. Thanks for making it this far! I have a couple of tiny favours to ask of you:

1. Please head over to the Project Run & Play website to vote for me!
2. If you haven’t already seen it, watch “The Brothers Bloom”. Clever storytelling. Enchanting locations. Beautiful cinematography. Amazing fashion. Rachel Weisz is stunning. Adrien Brody is dreamy. Mark Ruffalo is brilliant. Rinko Kikuchi (Bang Bang) is a hoot!

Thanks again for visiting! I hope you liked the outfits for this challenge. I must admit, this week was a challenge for me, but I am so happy with how it turned out! I made 9 pieces altogether, 5 for my submission. I can hardly believe it!

p.s. In case you were wondering, 90% of the photos look something like this:
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!

Thank you for one more week!

Froo & Boo: Ballet uniform from the Winter Wonderland collection
I’m blown away by all of the positive feedback from your comments on my Project Run & Play submission for the first week! Thank you for taking the time to vote and to leave such kind words to ease my anxiety. The competition was fierce (AMAZING winter wonderland pieces), but the competitors are all gems–super sweet and a fun group to be a part of! Thank you for giving me another week to participate in the madness that is designing and competing for Project Run & Play. Be sure to come back tomorrow–week 2 is promising to be a fantastic week! How can you go wrong with clothing inspired by the movies?

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Week 1: Winter Wonderland in San Francisco

Week 1: Winter Wonderland in San Francisco
If you have arrived from Project Run & Play, a warm welcome to you! Today’s post is all about the romance and sparkle that comes with winter. Although it’s been sunny and mild in the San Francisco bay area, there are many ways to celebrate a magical Winter Wonderland! What better way than ice skating outdoors at Union Square?

I started my design process by selecting colours and finding fabric for a collection of layering pieces. I chose soft winter whites with pops of contrast in black and gold to provide visual interest. Here’s a mood board of the fabric and trim samples that I used:
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Mood Board
For my style inspiration, I went with Kate Middleton again. She can pull off the coat dress like no other and I thought it would be the perfect starting piece for a winter wonderland outfit. I took bits and bobs from each of the following dresses to create a version of my own.
Styles of the Kate Middleton Coat Dress
The top of this coat dress is pretty much a mash-up of two of my favourite oliver + s patterns! I started with the Music Class Blouse pattern to get the basic shape and redrafted my pattern pieces to create a simplified, fitted bodice. The 3/4-length sleeves were narrowed and I borrowed the sleeve cuffs from the School Photo Dress pattern. Then I added a couple of faux darts (inverted pintucks) on the front and back, that are centered on inverted box pleats to give it a tailored fit, yet full A-line skirt.
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Coat Dress
Matching mother of pearl buttons give the dress a delicate touch. A narrow black velvet ribbon “belt” hides the seams and draws attention to the waistline. Flannel in-seam pockets were added–leftover black & white polka dots from Froo’s School Photo Dress. I took extra care to finish the seams with bias binding to give the inside a professional look (great tutorial from things for boys).

The fabric is AMAZING. It’s a heavy-weight stretch cotton twill with a soft flannel-like feel on the inside. The coat dress is more champagne than ivory, with flecks of silver to give it a metallic sheen. The fabric really sparkles in the sunlight, giving it a magical feel, which is quite hard to capture in photos.
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Coat Dress
The 3/4-length sleeve ballerina top is based on the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. I made the pattern in size 5, omitted the neckband and cuffs, choosing to hem with a double-needle instead and lengthened the shirt by several inches. The fabric is a light-weight knit cotton with raised gold polka dots. I purchased it from Girl Charlee, but it looks to be out of stock. I made sure to buy 3 yards when I had my chance–I used it in 3 of the 4 pieces I made! The gold sequin ribbon was hand stitched to the shirt afterwards to create a faux Peter Pan collar. The fit is spot-on and the pattern is so versatile–every version I make is completely different. I LOVE the Flashback Skinny Tee!
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Ballerina Top
To give the dress more volume, I made Froo a tutu. I lined it with the same gold-dot knit fabric, so Froo can also wear it as a stand-alone skirt. Two different types of ivory lace were used to hem the lining and one of the four layers of shimmer tulle. In order to hide all of the seams, the layers are sandwiched between black sequin elastic and plain black elastic on the inside. I was surprised at how easy it was to sew over sequins–although, black is a very forgiving colour and the thread remains undetectable, even with squiggly stitching!
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Tutu
Finally, the outfit is completed with a warm, fuzzy vest. To draft my pattern, I traced Boo’s H&M vest onto Swedish tracing paper, made some modifications and stitched it up to make a muslin. The quilted cotton Sherpa was a bit of a splurge, purchased in Vancouver, at Dressew for $19.99/m. But I just had to buy it and I’m so happy I did! By cutting pattern pieces on the bias to get a diamond-shaped grid and adding gold hardware, it began to resemble an iconic Chanel handbag. The lining is the same cream gold-dot knit. I used fusible fleece (ironed on low heat with a pressing cloth so the dots wouldn’t melt) to back the knit for stability and extra warmth.
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Fuzzy Vest
The shape of the vest itself is rather simple. I chose some design elements to give it a fresh and updated style: a rounded hi-low hem, overlapped front pieces and offset placement of the closures. I attached the collar using the Wiksten Tova method and finished it with hand stitching because the layers were really thick. I found the ornate golden hook closures at Dressew for $0.99 each and I can’t imagine the vest with any other buttons!
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland Fuzzy Vest
That’s it! Four coordinating pieces that can be worn layered altogether, or mixed and matched to create multiple looks.
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo was pulling faces while getting dressed. Hence, no face:
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
I took oodles of photos of Froo at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. You’ll notice that the buttons on the coat dress are undone from the waist down. One of the buttons popped off in the car and I didn’t have an emergency sewing kit. Yikes. I still took some photos, despite our minor wardrobe malfunction. The next day, we took the kids to the San Jose Christmas in the Park to take some more photos of the coat dress. Froo & Boo are thoroughly enjoying their winter in the San Francisco bay area!
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Froo & Boo: Winter Wonderland
Thank you for visiting my blog! I’ve loved every moment of designing and sewing up each piece of my Winter Wonderland collection and it’s an honour to share it with you. I would love for you to vote for me, over at the Project Run & Play website!

Some sewing happened in 2013

I feel like it’s really late for a year-end review. It’s not even the full list, just a partial selection of sewing projects by the pattern co. oliver+s, designed by Liesl Gibson. Every time I use an oliver+s pattern, I learn something new: a sewing technique, a better way to do things, elements of style and functional design–all things that make me a better sewist (sewer, seamstress, home-sewing enthusiast??). It’s one thing to churn out handmade clothing, but to thoughtfully grasp the meaning behind the process–this is what I am striving for.

I’ve always thought the term “self-taught” was a complete misnomer. It discounts the significance of teachers in all forms: bloggers who write/photograph online tutorials, authors of how-to books, pattern designers, mentors, and the list goes on. As a former teacher, I used to spend hours creating lesson plans to teach students computer software skills that they could pick up rather quickly on their own. My goal was to put together a framework for those skills to be used in a meaningful way–that there is a purpose behind everything. That way, new skills can build upon previously learned skills, opening up possibilities for incredible and original work.

I think a better term would be “self-learned” or even more specific, “self-motivated learner”. It somehow implies that the learning never stops. Even though my basic sewing skills were learned in my home ec. class over 20 years ago, I have learned from countless sewing blogs, YouTube videos, online courses, books, patterns and my mom. This blog helps me document what I’ve learned and also, to give back to the sewing community, from which I have gained so much. (Although, most of my sewing is virtual and only happens in my mind as I scroll through Pinterest…)

For me, improving as a sewist and learning new skills means that I can take my own designs and actually create them into wearable garments. I find this incredibly exciting! On January 13th, I will be sharing my original designs on the Project Run & Play website. I am still amazed at this opportunity. I have gained so much confidence from my continual effort to keep on sewing new things. Receiving positive feedback from this blog is immensely rewarding and gives me that extra “oomph” of motivation.

A couple of my Project Run & Play designs were inspired by the designs of oliver+s. They have my style stamped on them, but were only made possible by the skills I have learned in the past year, from using the patterns. Thank you so very much, Liesl!

For all the sewing tutorial writers out there, keep doing what you do. Chances are, I’ve been to your blog, but haven’t left a comment thanking you for your time and effort. 2014 will be a new year for me to try my best to leave thank-you notes, in the form of warm fuzzy comments. If a retroactive thank you counts, a HUGE “thank you!” for teaching me on my journey to learning new things!