Tag Archives: sewing

XS, S, M, L, XL

I just finished producing my very first run of a garment in a range of sizes!  It’s a tank from my upcoming microcollection called prysm.break.  It might seem like just a regular studio day, I mean, five tanktops, what’s the big deal?  But so much prep work has gone into this process.  I’ve been trying to combat the whole “Yeah I love *insert garment* from your shop, but it’s not in my size” problem for a long time.  This is a solution I’ve been working towards for the past couple years, so I’m soaking this moment in and falling in love with what I’ve just made.  Five tanktops?  Yes.  But in five sizes!   Perhaps in YOUR size!

XS, S, M, L, XL


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Vintage Tracing Paper

The old ladies that volunteer at a thrift store that I like to go to saw that I intended to purchase this obviously old package of tracing paper.  They refused to let me pay for it.  They insisted it was no good because of its age. I protested a little, but it was like four or five against one I was afraid they’d win if it got physical.  Plus, free stuff….why am I arguing again?

Vintage Tracing Paper

They almost just threw it out on the spot, but I talked them into let me at least take it home.  And, it works just great.  I’ve been using it quite a bit.  Plus, I like the vintage packaging.  Free to me!  (It was only priced at a quarter or something, but free is always something to get at least a little excited about.  Small victories!)

Too bad the old ladies don’t trust the old sewing supplies.  I do.


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Backstage Glasses Disaster

There’s always some sort of disaster backstage at a fashion show.  Same goes for a theater performance.  Even though I always pack an emergency sewing kit, sometimes the mishaps are beyond what my sewing kit can handle.  A disaster of this non-sewing nature happened to me at Omaha Fashion Week this year.  I had planned for all of my models to wear a pair of oversized glasses on the runway.  I talk about they were tedious to create here.  Since each pair had quite a bit of time invested in them, I didn’t make any extras. (Oh, regrets!)

So, when a pair of these glasses snapped right in half shortly before my models were supposed to lineup to go out on the runway, all of my experience dealing with backstage theater emergencies rushed forward and I went into hardcore theater mode.  I started flying through this list immediately:

1) Determine the situation’s WORST CASE SCENARIO and start coming to terms with that, just in case it is reality. (Also, make sure you actor/model is focusing on THEIR job and not getting caught up in a guilt/apology cycle.)

2) Assess the damage.

3) Sift through all supplies/tools on hand.

4) Brainstorm all supplies/tools that could be acquired QUICKLY.

5) Disperse all hands on deck to start taking action.


For this, the worst case scenario was we’d be short one pair of glasses. Or one model would wear a regular pair of prescription glasses that didn’t match the others.  In reality, really not TOO horrible of a situation. In the moment of panic after months of months of prepping for this, it felt like a bigger deal.

We tried the standard masking tape over the broken bridge of the glasses like the classic nerd-style,which would’ve worked okay with my collection’s theme but tape didn’t hold.  I sent my partner out for Super Glue, and that didn’t work either.  (Although I can cross “Super glue your fingers to a pair of broken, handmade glasses” off my bucket list. And then maybe make a cooler bucket list.)  This is when another model pointed out that the pair of frames that I was wearing that night didn’t have lenses and could used as part of the solution.  We located some black stretchy elastic thread from another backstage designer and started strapping the two broken pieces onto my lens-less frames. It looked like a sad, haggard mess of a repair when you were up close, but at that point it was time to throw the glasses on the model and step up to send models out onto the runway.

Assess the damage: Yep. Totally broken.

The “beautiful” result of a last minute backstage repair.

That elastic thread is hard to handle in the dark!

A close-up of the chaos.

Strapped down and sent out on the runway.

I am so committed to great craftsmanship, clean stitching, high quality, etc, that this was really hard for me to put on the runway in front of an audience!  Luckily, I really only had about 12 seconds to hesitate and then I had no other choice!  Although, I will admit that I’m pretty impressed with the overall result.  I asked a few friends that were out in the audience if they noticed and not even one of them had a clue.  And, check out this photo from g thompson higgins gallery!  The model looks amazing and you’d never know there had been this huge flurry of repair brainstorming going on minutes before my models stepped out on the runway.  (Except for the fact that I blogged all about it…..)  There are definitely no hard feelings between me and the model.  He was assured MANY times of that fact, and he looked great on the runway even with a pair of makeshift glasses.  Actually, I suspect his were far more comfortable than the other models’ anyways.

Photographer: g thompson higgins gallery
Model: Nolan Nuzum
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft


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Danger! Danger!

Even though I KNOW it’s a really bad habit, I still put pins in my mouth while I’m sewing. I’ve heard so many horror stories about people swallowing straight pins, but I just can’t seem to break the habit. Hopefully, I don’t learn the hard way.

Danger! Danger!


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Time to catch up on my reading….

I love books. I love reading. I love libraries.

But, I’ve been working nonstop ALL summer, so I haven’t had much time to read.  This is the pile of reading material I gathered up right when Omaha Fashion Week was finished. I can’t wait to dive in. Okay–so they might all be textile/fashion related, but can you blame me?  I’m kinda into that.

Pile of reading material….


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In the studio.

Working hard in my studio. Making some red quilted denim coveralls.

Although I work in my studio ALOT, I have very few pictures of myself doing this. I thought I’d post one of these rare shots.


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Studio upgrade: Consew Industrial Sewing Machine

I’ve been wanting an industrial machine ever since I first used one 5 years ago. I’ve had a few different jobs where I sewed on them all day at work and then had to come home and use my little Janome for my own designs. It seemed so slow and weak when I knew what it felt like to sew with SPEED and POWER.  I never purchased one before because I never had enough extra space or money.  One day while patterning, I accidentally thought of a brilliant plan on how to rearrange everything in my studio that would make just the right amount of space for an industrial sewing machine table.  And, thanks to years of saving, a string of successful sales events in my etsy shop, and my super awesome (and super generous) grandparents, money wasn’t an excuse anymore either. I realized that NOW IS THE TIME FOR POWER!!! (Cue gong. Seriously, I need a gong.)

The Consew arrived assembled, bolted down, and plastic wrapped.

I had to use power tools to release the POWER from its cage.

My pups meet the machine.

And then I realized there was NO way I could get my machine into my studio myself. I recruited some helpful muscles, and awaited their arrival.

This machine is a beast.

Look at those MUSCLES! And look at that MACHINE! *swoon*

Consew 2053R-1

The machine I purchased is a Consew 2053R-1. I looked at pretty much every brand of machine I could come across and then narrowed it down to the 4 or 5 brands that I’ve sewn on before. So far, I love the machine I picked out. The manual is rubbish, so I’m figuring out all the settings on my own. It sure does look good in my studio.


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New-to-me Sewing Machine

This is my new-to-me White sewing machine.  I love that it’s two-toned.  And sturdy.

Blue & white White sewing machine.

This guy’s full of shiny metal guts.

Hope this machine can handle what I’m gonna throw at it.

My favorite part about the look of this machine: the handcrank wheel reminds me of a chrome baby moon hubcap on a hotrod car. AWESOME!

So far my only complaints have been lame ones like “Waaaa, I’m used to having a needle threader attachment and now I have to do it MYSELF!” and “Waaaa, I still haven’t downloaded a manual or picked up a zipper foot for this machine because I am busy and forgetful and feel like complaining.”  So really, no actual complaints as of yet.

Besides, who complains about using a sewing machine that’s reminiscent of a hotrod?!


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Goodbye, Dear Friend “SSHAMPOOOO”

I’ve been sewing on the same machine for about 10 years. It’s not a super fabulous machine, but it is MINE and I’ve pretty much learned everything I know on it.

Janome Harmony 4052

It’s labelled “SSHAMPOOOO” because I have a label-maker so things get labelled (and mislabelled) often.

My Janome didn’t die a horrible death or anything. That thing is still chuggin’ along, but I sew way too much and way too hard for it.  And I pretty much push it at full speed every time I use it. I like to go FAST and this Janome was not built for a lead foot with an affinity for leather and denim.   I just picked up a new-to-me vintage machine and an industrial machine for my studio, so my Janome has been demoted to “backup sewing machine.” I feel bad, but I’m sure this guy could use a rest. Rest happy, dear friend.


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Side Project: Mole Friend

In addition to creating clothing and accessories, I like to make creatures.  Secretly, I want to grow up to be a monster-maker (okay, not so secretly).  My passion is creating: clothes, costumes, creatures, whatever.   When I interned at the Sesame Street Live costume studio, I went to work each day in a building labelled “COSTUMES & CREATURES.”    So perfect.

A few months ago, I started painstakingly working on patterning some plushies. It’s hard for me to think three-dimensionally.  I know patterning for clothing requires three-dimensional thinking and planning, but I’ve been able to figure it out after years and years of working on it.  Plushies seems EXTRA three-dimensional (does that even make sense?!), so it’s super hard for me.  Like most people, doing things that are tediously difficult is annoying.  Most people tend to enjoy doing things they are naturally good at. But, if I had followed this model for my career, I’d be a mathematician instead of an artist/designer (not kidding, not even a little).  But, I ENJOY designing and creating patterns even though it’s tough for me.

Using the muslin to double check shapes.

The first creature I made was an adorable, chubby beaver.  He turned out really cute, but it took me quite awhile to get him there.  I decided the next creature challenge was going to be a mole.  Why a mole?  Why not.


This mole was going to be sewn out of an old faux suede winter coat that was given to me with hope I’d turn it into some awesome.  (Moles are awesome. Maybe not a real one that’s messing up your yard…..but this one will be awesome.)  I really do love to recycle fabric.  Actually, I ended up turning the lining of the coat, which was a nubby faux fur in the same color, into a second mole.  (You can see the nubby fur in the picture below.)

Spare parts (aawww, look at the cute little mole tail!)

Creepy Deflated Moleskin

I needed these moles to have some rockstar digging claws, so I brainstormed lots of different materials to make them out of: fabric, interfacing, felt, plastic, clay.  Then I remembered I have a pretty stellar leather scrap stash.  Leather claws would definitely look pretty gnarly.

Claw time: getting his nails did.

When it was finally time for stuffing, I was so ready to see him.  The anticipation was killing me.  He also turned out SO CHUBBY AND ADORABLE!  I was hoping to create a mole that looked sleepy, vicious and cute all at the same time.

Cutest chubby mole and chubby beaver I’ve ever made.

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Posted by on 07.11.12 in Side Projects


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