Just a quick update after a brief period of not posting!
Hi y’all, it has been quite a while since my last blog post! This one itself is just going to be a quickie-update-teaser of things I’ve been working on lately.
Most of these things will have their own posts coming soon, but I haven’t had quite enough time to sit & write a full post. I’ve been very busy lately!
I don’t like going this long without blogging though; makes it too easy for me to fall out of habit!
So here are the quick updates of what I have been working on since my last posting:
I did two events. They didn’t go quite as well as I wanted BUT I learned what I need to adjust to make them hits in the future. Every event is different, so you really have to just approach them all as a learning experience in order to be successful in the long run.
Been working on finishing up some very old UFOs (un-finished objects). These are all projects that have been sitting in storage for years. A lot of them will be for sale soon!
Started teaching some more beginner projects! My students are doing great with them & I’m already looking at what intermediate level classes I can start rolling out.
My day job at the law firm is moving office buildings. I’m in charge of coordinating most of the details so I have been very preoccupied with this.
But, with the office moving I’ve actually had a brain-wave for some new products! Working out the dimensions, details & designs, but definitely stay tuned for some cool new shit!
I’ve started some new personal projects from my stash. It’s an attempt at both adding some more me-mades to my wardrobe & reducing my ever growing giant stash of fabric.
Zach & I house sat for two weeks. The view was beautiful, but holy crap the real hills of San Francisco hurt my legs. It was a wonderful escape from my house though & helped me fall back in love with the beautiful city.
I’m desperately trying to clean out my sewing room so it can become a storage space/home office for me. Trying to be more productive with my work from home days going forward.
Welp, I think that’s it! There’s a bunch more but I wanted to keep this quick. Really just trying to break this no-posting streak & keep you all up to date with what I’m working on behind the scenes.
Stay tuned to some more detailed posts & new products coming very soon!
Just a collection of pictures & a few words about our recent trip to Arizona!
Just a small collection of pictures from Zach & I’s recent trip to Arizona. We drove there & back so most of these pics are taken from the road. We had a wonderful time. It definitely reminded me that we should vacation more often!
We made the trip so Zach could participate in the annual Art in the Yard show. He rocked his new shirt, there was a rad metal work artist & we got in a round of mini-golf the next day. Successful trip all around!
It was fun but it was brief. In no time at all we were back on the road.
We took the long way home this time & stopped off in Bridgeport, CA for the night. We stayed at the best little family owned lodge and enjoyed the quiet.
These views were from our literal doorstep at the lodge. Absolutely gorgeous!
I cannot recommend Big Meadow Lodge enough! The owners were extremely sweet & we chatted for a while before hitting the road again. Wonderful people with a fabulous business.
We made one last pit-stop before finishing our stretch to San Francisco. Since we’d be driving past it anyways, we stopped so I could show Zach my family’s cabin. However, it was completely buried in snow!
We made it home safe & I jumped right back into my work. I can’t wait to go on another trip like this with Zach again soon!
Read about how I made Zach his shirt for the Art in the Yard Show here.
I made Zach a shirt overnight so he could rock it to his annual Art in the Yard show in Arizona.
A couple weekends ago, Zach & I were in Arizona for the annual Art in the Yard show that he participates in each spring. Lots of family came out to support him & we spent the weekend in a very full house of parents, aunts, uncle and sister.
We drove out this time around in order to try to enjoy a little bit more of the trip. I have a whole other post planned for that since I got some gorgeous pics during the drive home.
However, with four jobs it is very difficult for me to take an actual vacation. I almost always have some kind of work I need to do during my time off. It’s usually a report I need to generate, an invoice I need to send, or a post I need to publish.
This trip it was creating the curriculum for an upcoming class and sewing the sample. Thankfully, Zach’s mom is a phenomenal sewist and has a well equipped sewing room ready for use at a moments notice.
Second day there we went to Joann’s and got a fat stack of fabric. I may have broken my no buying new fabrics rule for an absolutely gorgeous embroidered, black nylon fabric. I really couldn’t pass it up and am adding it to my upcoming makes pile pronto.
Zach had already agreed to model the shirt I wanted to make if he got a new shirt out of it. Valid, since I still owe him a finished shirt from years ago, so he picked out a couple fabrics. A solid for the torso & two different sleeve options so I could get a few rounds of practice in before teaching the class.
From there we got a little carried away in our fabric excitement. Zach asked if I thought I could make the shirt in time for him to wear to his art show. I tend to get a little cocky when it comes to my sewing abilities and said yes without hesitation.
I then had less than 24 hours to make a shirt from a brand new pattern I had never used before. Ooof.
Thankfully by the time we were done running errands for everyone the kitchen was cleared out & I was able to jump right into cutting fabric. We bought enough solid white jersey for three different shirts, so I wanted to cut all those pattern pieces out in one go to prevent the fabric from stretching odd in between the first cut & traveling home.
This meant I needed to trace my pattern pieces onto the fabric instead of just cutting. It was made a little slower by me having to use a fabric marker instead of tailor’s chalk. I’m not a big fan of markers since they often dry out quick, leaving you hanging halfway through a project. Zach’s mom doesn’t often use chalk though, so she only had the marker. I made it work, just took a little longer than expected.
Once the torso pieces were cut, the sleeves went super quick. The pattern was made to have different fabrics for each sleeve so they provided two pattern pieces. Score, I didn’t need to trace those guys!
I was however delayed further by the discovery that Zach apparently picked a really slippery, bitchy stretch for his sleeves. Fun.
I recently learned a new trick at Sips N Sews to help with this very problem though! If you put tissue paper (or the left over scraps of tissue paper from cutting out your pattern) on either side of the fabric the machine won’t eat your project! It acts as a stabilizer to prevent your feed dogs from scrunching everything up.
The neckband was the only real bitch though. It needed to be stretched & tissued in some spots. It was a snag I wasn’t expecting but still glad it happened since now I know how to handle it if a student shows up to my class with a similar fabric!
By 1 a.m. Zach’s mom came out & told me it was time to go to bed. She didn’t want me overdoing myself. Due to anxiety I still woke up early the next day ready to get back to work.
Thankfully, by then all it was missing was a couple trips to the ironing board & some hems. I finished it off just in time for Zach to wet & dry it so it could shrink a little. I don’t like that fresh sewn look. Washing & drying gets rid of that overly crisp feel.
Zach rocked the shirt to his art show & got lots of compliments! We got lot’s of pics for my class promos and he got to show it off for me. He makes a good model!
My favorite part was getting to make the shirt though. Even with all the stress of a tight deadline, I loved being able to make a project with Zach’s family around.
Zach’s mom & aunt both sew but only quilts and crafts. They stay away from garments so they took advantage of me being around to ask questions. It was awesome!
Nothing makes me happier than getting to share sewing with people I care about. It’s a very special experience to me. I can’t wait to send them pics of the other two shirts when they are done!
You can sign up for my baseball tee & other classes right here.
Alright y’all, last Tuesday marked exactly a month since I taught my first class at Sips N Sews. Figured that meant it was time to update everyone on how it’s going!
Update 1: I love it! I absolutely love it. It’s so much fun and exciting every class.
Update 2: I am absolutely exhausted. I am passing out hard at the end of each day and am yawning every 30 seconds while typing this.
Update 3: I am sewing all the time now and I love that even more!
Update 1: Why I love, love, love it!
As of now I am focussing on beginner level classes. That means most of my students have never seen a sewing machine before or are very shaky in their understanding of how to operate one. I get to help change that!
By the end of a Bootcamp class, everyone can operate, thread and troubleshoot a machine. We cover all the starter basics and I get to learn more about what brought my students in to begin with.
By the end of an Introduction to Construction class, students have learned how to buy supplies for their own projects and properly read a pattern they pick out. We also make a pillow case for them to keep or donate!
By the end of project based classes, each student has a finished product and skills that can be applied to other projects in the future.
And by the end of every class I have helped a room full of people start or grow their sewing journey! It’s rewarding as hell and leaves me feeling like I am making a difference in preventing the skill from dying out in future generations.
Update 2: I am fucking tired.
Teaching is now my fourth job. I often work 10-14 hour days split between multiple locations. I rarely eat a meal at home and probably need to shower more often than I currently do. I pass out without washing my face or brushing my teeth most of the time. My mental capacity is shot outside of work hours because I just can’t do it by the end of the day.
This blog post itself has taken me a week longer than I expected it to because I keep zoning out while typing it. I’m finally finishing it with the aid of coffee and forced concentration.
Update 3: I am sewing again!
I took a break from sewing for quite a while. I’d work on projects occasionally but I wasn’t very creative or inspired. I also almost never finish a project because I’d lose steam halfway through it.
Being in a sewing studio, talking about sewing, teaching sewing and seeing other people sew kind of makes you want to sew. Like, all the time.
And I am sewing all the time! I feel creative and inspired and motivated. It makes the extreme exhaustion worth it. After years of working hard for other people, I am happy to working hard at what I love for a change.
Update Roundup: I am really, really happy and can’t wait to see what comes next with this wonderful new job!
When I shaved 2/3 my head 4 years ago I gave/threw away most of my hair accessories. I didn’t need them/was moving in with Zach & just didn’t have space for them.
It was great! The top of my dresser could be dedicated to aalllll my makeup. I used my curling iron to touch up some bedhead here & there, but otherwise never needed much more than a bobby pin or two.
Then I decided grow it all back.
It was awkward.
The non-shaved part of my hair started at about six inches long. The shaved side at 1/2 an inch. This made for weirdness as they both grew at the same rate but at drastically different lengths.
Thankfully, my hair grows SUPER fast and the awkward phase passed quickly with lots of creative braiding in the meantime.
Got a hair cut six months later and it was all evened out!
I had forgotten how much damn hair I have though. It’s thick, curly and has a damn life of its own. I needed something that was going to keep my new mane out of the way.
I bought a wrap headband because a friend wears them all the time. They’re super cute and can add a pop of color to my mostly black wardrobe.
It was too small. It looked ok, but kinda weird on my giant ass head with all my damn hair.
So, it was time to make my own.
I used some fabric leftover from a skirt I’d made previously. Cut it extra wide and gave it an encased elastic back so it would fit snug but not too tight. Easy to put on in the mornings, but still makes me look put together for my job at the law firm.
The first one came out a little big but still wearable. My second one was perfect and I found them so much fun to make!
They are quick, easy & let me use up the small extra bits of fabric I always seem to have. Plus they are a simple way to wear something handmade on a semi-daily basis.
That’s why I decided to start selling them. I’ve been looking at ways to start introducing more small batch items to my shop. These were an obvious choice!
I’ve started with a few different fabrics, all very small batches. I’ve chosen to use only remnant fabrics for these, meaning I can usually get about 3-5 headBANDs max out of a cut.
For my non-sewist followers: remnant fabric is what the fabric store has left over from a bolt, is an odd cut or slightly flawed. They sell it at a reduced price instead of throwing it away. I LOVE using remnants for my products because it helps reduce the environmental impact of my production. Plus, it keeps my products more one of a kind!
HeadBANDs are a great product to make out of remnant fabrics, since they don’t require much yardage. I’ll also be able to make a few one offs from the large scraps that come with making my own clothes. Yay to recycling fabric!
You can shop my headBANDs right here. Remember, designs are limited. Once they are gone, that’s it!
What I listened to while writing this post & editing pictures to go with it: Who You Selling For by The Pretty Reckless.
Those that can sew, teach. Those that can’t teach, teach gym.
A few months ago I was laid off from the social media job that was my main source of income. It was a hard blow but something I saw coming. Thus, the job hunt began.
Applying for work during the holidays can be very dodgy. No one is seriously hiring for long term, and a holiday position is exhausting. You learn how to do the job right as it ends, making you either start all over again or have to prove you should be kept on board.
So, I casually looked & applied until the New Year broke. I work part time for an attorney, so the matter wasn’t pressing, but definitely needed to find something if I wanted to do more than just make ends meet.
Social media work is great. It allows me to have a flexible photography schedule, travel regularly and do a job that is relatively fun. However, it has always been a job I did in order to pay my rent. It’s taught me a lot about marketing but it’s hard to be pouring all of your energy into someone else’s brand every day. I don’t love it in the same way I love sewing work.
I spent November & December looking at marketing jobs though, with only the occasional sewing position coming across my radar. Whatever I did this time around I wanted it to be right. Zach, as always, was extremely supportive of me taking my time to find something. Things got tight, we scraped by. But we were confident that something would come around if we gave it time.
Then I saw the post on Sips N Sews’ instagram looking for new instructors to teach at their studio.
I honestly applied on a whim. Figured that worst case, I learned something through the application process and would be able to apply stronger to something in the future. Really did not expect to get the job as I’ve taken a brief break from sewing professionally.
The interview went great though and quickly turned into myself & the owner talking about sewing for two hours before we realized how long it’d been. She gave me a tour of the studio, a wonderful space full of sewing machines with a lounge area in the back dedicated to relaxing with a cup of tea.
I loved all of it. It’s a great studio with an awesome woman running it. I couldn’t wait to get started!
The teaching program is flexible in a way that can still give me time to concentrate on sewing for both myself & my business. I’ll be able to come in, use the studio space to work on projects, meet other sewists and be more active in the local sewing community.
My classes are up to me. I’ll be doing a good variety of fun garments and accessories. The goal will be to find pieces that can be implemented into anyone’s wardrobe, so projects have a use long after the class is done. I’m slowly working on getting my own wardrobe to feature more handmade garments & want that to translate over into my classes.
The part I am most excited about is that I will be able to help increase the number of sewists out there. Sewing is a dying trade that was passed to me from my great-grandmother. I am looking forward to sharing her knowledge with others so her legacy doesn’t stop at me.
I am sew happy that I took the risks that got me here. I didn’t take the first job I saw, I waited until something I wanted came along. And even though I felt under-qualified, I still applied. I still went for it. And it paid off. Big time.
Now, I’m off to listen to some music & dig through my fabric stash for inspiration!
You can find my class schedule here. And be sure to still follow along on the blog, as I’ll be sharing lots more about my own growth during this wonderful new stage of my life!
I’m very excited to start 2019 off with a new website! I’ve been working on this site for quite a while and though it’s not perfect yet, I’m trying to let that go and release it as a work in progress project. I’m just ready to start sharing my current projects with you!
With a new site comes new projects as I’m going to be expanding the Summer Sapphires brand as a whole. Here are a few of the things I’m most excited to release in the coming year:
Blogs (Like what you are reading right now.) Here will be the place to read all about what I’ve found inspiring, what I’ve been cooking lately (with recipes), and whatever else is going on at Summer Sapphires lately.
Products It’s been a while since I released any new sewn products and I am very ready to change that! I’ve got a make list for 2019 and it is very exciting.
Playlists This is something I’ve dabbled in before but haven’t done as much as I’d like. I live off music and want to share what I’m listening to while working on projects.
Tutorials Some simple how-to’s that every person should learn to increase the longevity of their wardrobe or jazz it up a little bit. The number of people I know who can’t reattach a fallen button bums me out.
So, cheers to a new year & all the new things coming to Summer Sapphires!