Sewn by my own hands

Over a year ago, when I began to explore to world of responsible fashion after the Bangladeshi clothing factory tragedy – it pushed me to approach this whole thing (both blog and real world-wise) in a more ethical and human way that celebrates the people dressing you, not punishes them. I did this in several ways (we each find our own path, mine is no better than anyone else’s). This was done by thrifting (and thrifting Made in USA when possible), buying vintage, shopping Made in USA for new items, wearing things my mom made for me, getting rid of everything in my wardrobe that was Forever 21 (almost there with all H&M things too), and the last goal was to begin making clothes for myself.

I found a step-by-step instruction book at work that allowed me to see, read, and cut patterns (I shared that post here and you can get the book here.) I visited a fabric store on the way home one day and finally decided what fabric to get. I chose something relatively inexpensive and forgiving for a first timer since I would probably make mistakes – in this case, a cotton slub knit fabric. It has a nice stretch to it, and the slub means that instead of being smooth, it has tiny knots throughout that gives it a textured feel. I knew I wanted to make the baseball raglan first! So I cut my patterns and set off.

This is my first thing ever cut from a pattern and sewn by my own hands. It’s nowhere near perfect (I accidentally cut short, it’s too cropped for my day-to-day style, but looks fine when tucked in) but I made it! I’m using it as a prototype of what not to do the next time. Because next, I want to make myself a short sleeve raglan dress. This is a great start – not only in making things myself, but also rethinking what I want my wardrobe to be and also what kind of shopper (or better yet, nonshopper) I am.

tl;dr I made a shirt!

Top: me, using Built by Wendy Pattern. Skirt: Elizabeth & James, thrifted. Tights: DKNY. Boots: Dolce Vita (mine are from a few seasons ago, these are the new ones). Lipstick: NARS.

Thrift Eye, using built by wendy pattern, sewing raglan, black and white outfit, fashion blogger, style blogger

Thrift Eye, using built by wendy pattern, sewing raglan, black and white outfit, fashion blogger, style blogger

Thrift Eye, using built by wendy pattern, sewing raglan, black and white outfit, fashion blogger, style blogger

Thrift Eye, using built by wendy pattern, sewing raglan, black and white outfit, fashion blogger, style blogger

Thrift Eye, using built by wendy pattern, sewing raglan, black and white outfit, fashion blogger, style blogger

It’s only the beginning!

My sanctuary

Hope you had a nice weekend, I’m already gearing up for the next one! I took a nice long break because I got caught up between two separate out-of-towner guests and being generally exhausted from work like everyone else! I have had blogging on my mind quite a bit though – generally the state of it and my footprint in it. When I started my blog in 2006, I had no clue that I’d still be doing this and taking it in this direction. But I’m very happy about where this has all ended up and where it heading. Something I cannot say for others I see blogging out there, you can tell when people don’t like it anymore. The bigger you grow, the more pressure it all becomes. From both outside influences but also yourself. I feel pretty confident in doing my own damn thing now :)

One thing I am now forcing myself to do more is to pick up the real camera again, and start shooting non-blog photos. I’m finding pleasure in capturing shadows again. I kick myself for having fallen so reliant on my iPhone for photos, when I have this amazing camera to use. So when I saw the light hitting my living room so perfectly, I knew I had to take these photos. In the almost four years I have lived in this apartment, I have rearranged the furniture more times than I can now remember!

My living room is my happy place, as I’ve collected things that serve a purpose and have meaning. The couch used to belong to our good friends, who no longer had room for it. We gladly took this lovely thing into our home. I made the alphabet myself! It hangs as a memory that I can do anything I put my mind to it. The tree sat at my former job, dying from neglect until I saved it – I rescued it back to health and brought it home with me when I quit because I knew they wouldn’t take care of it! We recently had a friend move away to Africa, and while very sad about it, we bought this furry blanket from her at the yardsale she hosted to sell most of her life she wouldn’t be able to bring with her! It’s bittersweet. Oh, and my dream coffee table – I went three years without a coffee table while we lived in San Francisco because I saved up to buy this one!

Living Room Style, blue Chesterfield couch, cb2 peekaboo acrylic table, fiddle leaf fig ficus, alicia paulson daisychain abc, apartment style, san francisco apartment

Living Room Style, blue Chesterfield couch, cb2 peekaboo acrylic table, fiddle leaf fig ficus, alicia paulson daisychain abc, apartment style, san francisco apartment

Oh yeah, and my library books in the corner!

My home, my work in progress, my sanctuary. My blog is my home.

Suit for a woman

Are you guys familiar with the term Le Smoking? It goes beyond just a suit women wear, but carries a lot of meaning in breaking the rules of fashion. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea and how to incorporate it into my wardrobe. So when I separately thrifted this tuxedo pant and then this tuxedo type of jacket, I was just waiting for the right moment to wear them together.

This isn’t an outfit to hang around the house for sure – we had a special dinner for a friend that was here from out of town. A classy place, calls for a classy outfit. And AHA! This was the perfect moment where I could wear my Le Smoking. I still felt very feminine, and I think that is what’s so special about wearing a suit as a woman.

Jacket: Akris, thrifted. Blouse: Equipment, thrifted (different color here). Pants: Trouve, from Buffalo Exchange. Wedges: Yves Saint Laurent, from Buffalo Exchange (there’s always a pair for sale on ebay!) . Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs. Lipstick: Revlon Colorburst in Tutti Frutti.

Thrift Eye, fashion blogger, woman wearing suit, suit for women, le smoking

Thrift Eye, fashion blogger, woman wearing suit, suit for women, le smoking

Thrift Eye, fashion blogger, woman wearing suit, suit for women, le smoking

Thrift Eye, fashion blogger, woman wearing suit, suit for women, le smoking

What do you think? As a woman, would you wear a suit like this?

Sew U

My fingers are restless. A few months ago I challenged myself to do something new – I picked the tools to do a whole big embroidery project despite never having embroidered before. And then I finished! It’s awesome, and now I’m ready to go back to sewing – I haven’t sewn in a while, but I always just freestyled it.

So I’m ready for my next challenge. I want to sew correctly. I picked up a copy of Sew-U at the library, a book by Built By Wendy that includes patterns – but also the instructions on how to use them and how to adjust the patterns to make even more things!

Thrift Eye, Sew U Built by Wendy

I find the whole concept really awesome and can’t wait to find the right fabric to start making something, anything! You see the patterns, and learn how they work (which I knew very little about) – for these types of patterns, a good stretchy fabric will do, since they’re for items that don’t have buttons or zippers (zippers are very difficult to sew, so that’s a whole other book).

If the patterns don’t make much sense, it’s because some of the pieces are meant to be traced & cut over a piece of fabric folded in half so that the two sides match! Can you tell what these patterns will make?

Thrift Eye, Sew U Built by Wendy

Thrift Eye, Sew U Built by Wendy

Thrift Eye, Sew U Built by Wendy

The patterns that come in these books are thin pattern paper – because I obviously had to return the library book, I had to somehow save these patterns for myself. My mom had already told me that saving your patterns onto good sturdy fabric is the best way to save a piece you want to make over and over again. She suggested cutting the patterns onto denim because it is long lasting, but that’s expensive. I had actually been given a roll of stiff canvas fabric at a previous job and just used that! Now I can use them over and over again – where as paper patterns may (and probably) eventually deteriorate or rip.

I’d love if any of you seasoned sewing folk out there had any tips you’d like to pass along! I’m excited to do this, no matter how it turns out :)

I’m anxious to find a really nice fabric, taking the time to add some nice finishing touches. I even want to buy name & Made in the USA labels! Wish me luck.

Camping crew

Why am I continuing to torture myself with wanderlust weekend pictures?! (is it Friday yet?!)

Well with this view, how could I not want to go back?
thrift eye

See, double denim IS perfect for the weekends!
thrift eye, double denim

thrift eye

thrift eye

thrift eye

Hello summer, I see you around the corner! Are you a city mouse (like me sadly) or do you like to go out in the wild? If so, what is your favorite adventure?