Starting Over In Christ

Most importantly, starting my life over in Christ gave me the opportunity to see and experience the fullness of God in my life.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (2 Corinthians 5:17 amp)

Hello Everyone!

This week God placed it on my heart to share a piece of my testimony about starting over in Christ.

As a single woman with primary custody of my 2 children i’ve had to work hard the past 6 years to reframe my expectations of life.  When I got married in 2003 to my now ex-husband, I thought for sure that I had finally got to a place of stability in my life.  Prior to being married, I had made alot of poor decisions that cost me time more than anything else and at the age of 25 I decided that I wanted to shift somethings.  I decided to go back to college and finish getting my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to really make a difference in my community and got involved in activism, and I knew at some point I wanted the American dream.  Find a fulfilling career, get married, have kids, buy a house and enjoy life.

While all of that has happened for me. There were some major detours, pitfalls, and setbacks along the way.  The first one being that my ex-husband about 4 years into the marriage didn’t want to be married.  We separated for almost 2 years and then got back together had our second child and we tried to make things work but after 10 years it was over.  At the time I was an at home mom living on the East Coast trying to build my sewing business and pick up temp jobs along the way.

The marriage had become very toxic and abusive.  I wanted so bad to work things out with my ex-husband that I began to settle for whatever he was willing to give (which was pretty much nothing).  I also didn’t really believe in divorce.  That’s not really something that exists in my family, along with the fact that I was a Christian who had been praying and believing God for a miracle in my marriage.  All of this caused me to hang on much longer than I should have.

Then one day God released me.  He sent me someone who really encouraged my heart and helped me to see that if this marriage didn’t work out, my life would be okay. That God’s grace was bigger than a divorce.  It was the courage that I needed to walk away and let go.  I talked to my husband and told him that I would agree to the divorce.

That was the beginning of the journey to where I am now.  My initial response to the separation was a huge amount of denial.  I had enough faith to wake up every morning and tell myself your starting over, its going to be okay.  But I wasn’t really dealing with the emotional side of things.  I pretended like I had it all together but I didn’t and to be honest I don’t think it looked like I had it all together either.  On top of my own emotions, I had to still parent my children, deal with my families emotions regarding my situation, move back to Wisconsin and into my parents home, and deal with the fact that my ex-husband chose to live in another state leaving me primary responsibility of raising our children through one of the toughest seasons of our lives.

I felt like the roof had fallen in on me.  I was embarrassed by the idea of being divorced, I was struggling with my son who had a speech and cognitive delay issue (he’s completely fine now), I took a job as a nail technician and started to crochet hats and scarve sets to make extra money on the side, and my daughter really needed my love and attention.  It was hard, completely imperfect, But it was my faith in God, my family and my church family that helped me to keep going.

As hard as the situation was to deal with, I’m thankful that I went through it.  It hasn’t been easy but I can say that without a doubt, my faith has been strengthened and my life has greater purpose.

What I realize now is that the life that I planned for myself was not exactly the plan that God had purposed for my life.  When I got married I was not saved, I knew God but I wasn’t living in holiness.  Many of the choices that I was making was based on what I thought a good life was suppose to be.  The life that my parents raised me to have.  Which wasn’t a bad thing, but I was doing all of this absent of the wisdom of God.

Psalm 37:23 says:

“The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].”

When I gave my life to the Lord 14 years ago, I was desperate for a change in my life and my marriage.  I wanted to become the wife and mother that I thought my family needed and I felt like I was lacking, because back then I blamed myself for everything.  I thought for sure if I got myself together then my husband would love me.

I was looking at myself and my situation through a faulty lense.  While there were definitely somethings that I needed to change, there was something bigger at work.

I wasn’t living my life lined up with God’s true intentions for my life.  It was like everything shifted when I got saved and I wanted my life previous to me getting saved to live up to the expectations of salvation in Christ Jesus.  I wanted all of my friends, my husband, my kids, my family, my career, everything to still be in my life and I wanted everything that came with salvation. Except thats not how salvation works. The word of God says:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (2 Corinthians 5:17 amp)

What I came to learn was that I was the one who accepted Christ into my heart not the life I was living.  I became a new person in the spiritual realm but my life had to catch up with my salvation.  The way I thought, the way I talked, the way I made decisions, my overall lifestyle was headed for a major shift at the point of salvation and I didn’t know it. The more I read my bible, attended church and bible study services, the more I wanted to know more about Christ and living a holy life. And the more it seemed like life as I knew it was crumbling.

I experienced a lot of shifts and changes that I wasn’t expecting. Overtime, my friend circle changed, my marriage got worse, I felt like God was positioning me for a career shift from University Academic Advisor to seamstress entrepreneur.  (Which did not bode well with my then husband.) The closer I got to God the more I became detached from my previous life.

Not all of it was hard, It was a gradual shift.  Alot of which was welcome, because with those changes I found more inner peace.  With the loss of certain friend circles came new friends, with the loss of old mind sets, came more wisdom, understanding and compassion.  With the loss of my marriage came the opportunity to completely start over and become the seamstress, designer, sewing blogger entrepreneur that God created me to be.  Single parenting has become easier over time. My children enjoy the summers away with their father and I get a parenting break along with an opportunity to socialize more, build my business and contribute more to ministry. My ex-husband and I have a better relationship and he’s become more supportive of my entrepreneurial calling and financially supports me and the kids while I build my business. I no longer live with my parents and less than a year ago purchased my first home.

Most importantly, starting my life over in Christ gave me the opportunity to see and experience the fullness of God in my life.  God as provider, God as comforter, God as restorer, God as my peace, God as protector, God as my counselor, and the list goes on.  Every trial that I have encountered in the midst of re-building my life in Christ was meant to root, build and strengthen me in my faith.

There is a cost to living in Christ but the blessings that I’ve received far outweigh the things that I’ve lost.

That’s all for now. I pray that my testimony has blessed you. Until next time….

 

 

 

 

 

God Will Qualify You

When God gives you a gift its not always something that you might be naturally good at.  Sometimes its something that is in you but requires a process of cultivation.  

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected[and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Its been a while I know since i’ve blogged.  I have been super busy sewing for an upcoming fashion show and website launch for my Clothing Label Virtuous By Design.  I am super excited for this because i’ve been working really hard for the past year behind the seams researching the best business strategies, designing and testing markets for this  launch.  I’m believing that this is going to be a very successful and busy season.

Which leads me today’s post. The launching of my apparel line has me a bit reflective lately. As I was journaling yesterday morning I began to think back on my sewing journey. I really sucked at sewing when I first started, but I also really enjoyed it and soon found that I had a passion for it.  This journal entry very succinctly gives an accurate picture of the last 14 years of my sewing life.  I thought i’d share it with you.

April 2, 2019

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected[and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (amp)

I remember all the tears I shed, all the countless moments where I doubted my sewing abilities.  All of the grueling late night sewing sessions where me and my sewing machine were battling in the process of getting a project done.

The moment when God called me to sew professionally and I told him “i’m not good enough yet.” but He told me “do it anyway”.

The moments when God brought me clients who had more faith in me than I had in myself and when I cried over every sewing mistake that I made.

Every sewing book and blog post that I read, tutorial that I watched, online classes that I purchased, every successful sewing project that kept me encouraged and every sewing failure that kept me humble.

Countless prayers for sewing mentors and instructors that I could turn to for confirmation that I was doing it right. Only to find out that your Holy Spirit was guiding me the whole time.

Fashion Design school, to teaching others what I know and now the official launch of a dream that was conceived before I was even born.  For your word says in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Every triumph, every battle, every struggle, every mountain and every valley.  It was all in preparation for this very special moment in my life.  I now understand that my journey had to be painful…. You were teaching me that I didn’t need to be perfect to serve you.  I just needed to be willing to put in the work.  Thank you Lord for strengthening and perfecting me in the journey.

If there is anything that my sewing journey has taught me is that “God does not call the qualified.  He qualfies the called”.  When God gives you a gift its not always something that you might be naturally good at.  Sometimes its something that is in you but requires a process of cultivation.

Well that’s it.  I pray that my testimony encouraged you.  Until next time…..

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Sewing and Self-Care

“She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

Hey Everyone!

I pray all is well with you!  With the new year swiftly approaching 2019 goal setting or re-setting has been high on my priority list.  One of those goals is always self-care.  Tis’ the season to overeat then diet and detox. lol!  That’s not what today’s post is about.  I actually have been thinking about self-care from a sewing perspective.

What do you mean a sewing perspective…? Isn’t wellness a universal thing…?  Yes it is.  It is also my belief that no matter what you do professionally we as humans should strive to live a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are certain professions that physically demand more from us than others.

Sewing is one of them.  I didn’t notice it when I was hobby sewer, because I made a garment for myself or a loved one and worked at my own pace.  But when it became a vocation for me and I started to sew for others.  I began to really notice the effects on my body.

I began to have lower back and neck pain.  I would feel physically drained from the stress of sewing under constant deadlines.  Which had its affect on my cortisol hormone and caused belly bloating and sudden weight gain.  I had constipation.  Overall, I was pretty miserable.

At first I didn’t understand what was happening but as I met some older women who worked for factory sewing companies they began to share their stories with me about the strain of sewing on their health.

One woman told me she had suffered a stroke from the strain and stress of her job. Leaving her slightly paralized on one side of her body.  Another woman shared that her eye sight had weakened from so many years of sewing.  One of my professors from design school use to contract sew like I did and she told me she had to give it up because of the stress as well as wore a back brace when she would have to sit sewing for long periods of time.

After hearing all of these stories, I began to realize that I needed to figure out a way to live out my sewing dreams without the expense of my health.

Proverbs 31:18 says: “She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

When I read this scripture two things dawned on me 

  1. While health is a promise from God; we have a responsibility to take care of our bodies.  It has been my experience that God will provide opportunities, resources and tools to aid in the journey.  But we still have to do the work and make the right choices.
  2. I also quickly realized that sewing for me has to include a self-care component.  When I workout before going into my sewing studio I noticed that I have less body aches, my mind is clearer and I can even sew a little longer or it doesn’t take me as long to complete projects because I make less mistakes.

However, like many people prioritizing self-care can be a struggle for me.  It is also something that I have to be intentional about. Through self-examination, I have been able to pin point stress triggors and map out wellness strategies that help me maintain a balanced life.

Here are just a few things that i’ve learned along the way.

  1. Rise early, pray and the read the word of God and journal often.
  2. Exercise at least 4 days/week.
  3. Eat healthy plant based meals.  I’ve tried to be a vegetarian for many years now and its not easy, especially because my family likes meat.  So I strive to eat plant based meals as much as possible and sometimes I include meat and fish.
  4. Drink a lot of water daily.
  5. Take a multi-vitamin.
  6. Limit sugar and caffeine.
  7. Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.
  8. Enjoy my life. As a single mom I tend to get tired easily from work and kids.  Going with friends or socializing beyond phone conversations isn’t always on my list.  But I have afew activities that I try to hold onto when i’ve got a little free time.  Like salsa dance, lunch with a friend, or taking a yoga class with a friend.

9. Stay organized. Even if its a simple To Do List and a calendar app

10. Attend weekly worship service and bible study at church.

I know it seems like a lot but its not.  Outside of my church acitivies all of these things can get done anywhere from a few minutes to an hour at most.  And when I do these things consistently, I get to a place where I have energy, a focused mind, increased productivity and i’m a nicer person and mom.

So as your preparing for the holiday season and thinking about your 2019 goals, I hope that you include a strategy to maintain your health so that you can keep sewing for a long time.

Until next time!  Have a blessed rest of your week!

xoxo,

Iris

Sew the Look: DIY corduroy pencil skirt using Simplicity 8394

“Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.” Galatians 6:9

Hello Everyone!

Happy Hump Day!  Every now and again I come across a ready to wear garment that I really like and want to add to my wardrobe only to find out that its either out of my price range or not in my size.  When that happens I try and see if its something that I can easily make myself.  So is the case of this cute denim pencil skirt I came across one day while scrolling through pinterest.  I posted the original image below.

Grazen Blue Jeans Asymmetrical Midi Skirt | La Petite Garçonne

I particularly loved the assymetric hemline and raw hem on the peplum.  I’ve been on an unfinished hem kick lately.  I like distressed finishes on a garment but in moderation.  And this skirt offers that balance for me. Below is picture of the inspiration skirt.

What I did

I used simplicity 8394  as the foundation for this skirt.  I’ve used this pattern before and I already knew that I liked the fit so all I had to do was alter the pattern. What was great about using simplicity 8394 is that I only had to alter the hemline of the skirt.  It already had the peplum in the pattern.  If you want to create this look for yourself but don’t own this pattern, I created an illustrated tutorial on how to alter this pattern using a pencil skirt. It includes how to draft the peplum pattern.  I’ll be posting that either tomorrow or Friday.

For my version I chose to use a rust colored stretch corduroy fabric that I purchased from Joann Fabric.  I wanted a heavier weight fabric so that I could wear tights during the colder months.

Style it

Fall weather is so tricky and dressing in layers is definitely the way to go.  So I created a sleek layered look with a black turtleneck, black leatherette jacket, black fishnette tights and my Madden Girl peep toe stilleto booties. The skirt gives the look a nice pop of color  and I added a cheatah print belt to add interest and definition at the waist.

DIY Maxi Skirt using New Look 6213 and Pattern Review

“So I have seen that there is nothing better than that a man should be happy in his own works and activities, for that is his portion (share). For who will bring him [back] to see what will happen after he is gone? “Ecclesiastes 3:22 (amp)

“So I have seen that there is nothing better than that a man should be happy in his own works and activities, for that is his portion (share). For who will bring him [back] to see what will happen after he is gone? “Ecclesiastes 3:22 (amp)

Hello Lovelies!

I pray everyone had a great week! I’m not going to lie. My week felt like such a struggle. Sewing, caring for my family and just general tasks felt like a burden. I found the above scripture during my study time the other day and it reminded me that everything that I’ve been called to do is important. And I should remain thankful instead of complaining. I found myself praying and remembering this scripture every time I started to feel burdened during my day. It helped me to stay focused despite how I felt.  I feel better now too.

How about you…? Do you have a favorite scripture that you remember or pray when your feeling burdened by life? I’d love to hear what it is.

As for this week’s make. I was so delighted to make this week’s skirt for the skirt making series.  If you missed my earlier makes you can check them out here and here .  I also shared a few tutorials that you can check out herehere, and here.

Inspiration

The inspriation for this week came when I stumbled on about 4-5 yards of a very colorful and lovely rayon crepe fabric at the Goodwill.  I only paid $5.00 for it.  I was so excited!  The print and color emits a bit of a boho vibe. Below is a close up of the print. Isn’t it pretty!?

I decided that this fabric would make a very chic fit and flare maxi skirt but had a hard time finding a pattern in the maxi length.  So I ended up lengthening New Look 6203 View J.  The skirt is a bias cut A line skirt.  Which is very figure flattering and reminds of a slip.  This pattern was a very easy make.  It was one pattern piece and the front and back were cut flat on the bias.  Which is gives it its shaping. and allows the skirt to skim over the hips and then flare out into the hem.

What I did

I lenghtened the pattern by about 8 inches to create the length I wanted and had to add about 6 inches at the hip and waist.  The one thing I don’t like about New Look Patterns is that their sizing runs small.  The other change that I made was the way I finished the waistband. The pattern did not call for a separate waistband.  It just folded over the fabric at the waistline and top stitched to form a casing for an elastic to be inserted.

Since the skirt reminds of a slip I decided to finish the waistband like I would a slip.  I found a great slip making tutorial on the craftsy website blog and I found white lingerie elastic at Joann’s.  It was super easy to finish the waistband this way and gave the skirt the desired look I was going for.  My only regret was not finding black lingerie elastic.  Because the elastic is meant to peek out at the top having a matching color makes a difference. Outside of those adjustments I followed the pattern as directed and it was very easy to read and follow.

Style it!

Ironically this look reminds me of a deconstructed kimono.  I didn’t plan it that way.  I actually wanted a look that was chic yet cozy and comfortable to wear. As the weather is shifting to cooler temperatures I have to resist the temptation to put on anything that looks like a wearable blanket. lol!  The obi belt gives me the shaping that I need in my waist area and keeps me from looking frumpy as the skirt and cardigan have very soft silohuettes.

Well that’s all for now…. Until next time!

xoxo!

Iris

DIY Ankara Print Circle Skirt

“They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing.” Psalm 126:5 (amplified)

“They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing.” Psalm 126:5 (amplified)

Hello Everyone!

I pray your week is off to a great start! I wanted to start this week’s post off with a short testimony about the photoshoot for this weeks make.  These pictures caused me to reflect quite a bit. It started with a conversation that I was having with my daughter after she took my shots. As I was looking at them I had mentioned that they were some great action shots and that my smile looked nice. She said: “yeah mom! Because that’s your actual smile!” Her words blessed my heart and caused me to look more closely at the photos.  She was right. I was genuinely smiling and laughing.

My divorce brought a series of major life changes along with a series of trials that really shook me. I cried out to God so many nights worrying about my and my children’s future.  but I stayed steadfast in God and He used all of it not only to make me stronger; but to give me a testimony about the restorative power of a life in Jesus Christ.  His love has been restoring me from the brokeness and pain of my past.  One of my prayers for 2018 has been for God to restore my joy. When I saw these pictures it became evident that God was answering me. It really blessed me. I wasn’t just posing, but for the first time in a long while, my soul feels light and my smile is reflecting it.  To God be the glory!

As for this weeks DIY post! This skirt is already a favorite of mine. It’s a self drafted half circle skirt and let me first tell you that I messed up my measurements when I cut the fabric lol!. I forgot to add the seam allowance for the back seam. So it was a tight squeeze at the waist lol! But I didn’t want to scrap it and I only needed like another inch. So came the genius idea to add an exposed elastic waistband at the back along with an exposed zipper which I’ve been wanting to play with for a while. I love it !!!! It came out sooo cute and gave the skirt a ready to wear aesthetic that I like. Not to mention that it gave me the waist room I needed. It’s still a bit snug but I’m not struggling to breathe in it lol! I’m calling it my happy accident skirt!

I plan on intentionally remaking this skirt with the right waist ease and a thicker waistband.

Fabric

The fabric is an Ankara print that I bought I believe from House of Mami Wata. I love the print but the print quality and weight of the fabric I was not impressed with. It’s more of a quilters weight cotton and I considered lining it to give it more body but opted to leave it unlined so I could wear it in summer. I chose this print for the skirt because I felt like the colors were a great transitional fall look.

Style it

It took me a little bit to figure out the styling for this because I wanted to do something out of the box but remain true to my style. The top is actually a men’s shirt I bought to use as an up cycling project but liked the idea of print matching with stripes. So I just tucked it in and rolled up the sleeves and voila! The yellow necklace is from Ashley Stewart clearance and the shoes are Forever 21. I think this a great and vibrant transitional season look.

 

Well thats all for now! until next time!

xoxo,

Iris

DIY Fashion Remix Look#2 and Step by Step Tutorial

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name 

lead and guide me.”   Psalm 31:3

Hello Everyone!

Happy Wednesday!  I am so filled with joy today!  God is doing some amazing things in so many areas of my life especially in the area of the restoration of my hope and the strengthening of my faith. Things have been a little shaky the last couple of months but I made the decision at the beginning of the year to hold on to God and walk out His purpose and plans for my life no matter what it looks like.  I want to encourage any of you who maybe going through a storm or are walking out purpose.  Keep trusting God even if it looks like things in your life are dead.  I pray that God will breathe new life into every dead place and restore the joy of your salvation!!!!

Now on to the DIY portion of this post!

Let me just say!  I am loving upcycling!  It is very gratifying and a wonderful way to challenge your sewing skills and creativity! One of my design instructors would say that you can only create what you know how to do.  The more skills you have the more you can create!  So true!

Garment Inspiration/Description:This weeks DIY Fashion Remix is very easy and a beginner can do it as long as you have a sewing machine and can sew a line.  I found this cotton dress in yellow and blue at the thrift store and paid $4.00 each of them.

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At first I thought is was handmade because one of them didn’t have the brand label in it.  but then I found the second one and saw that it was made in Mexico by a label called Maria de Guadalajara (Maria from Guadalajara) not to be confused with Maria from Jalisco or Maria from Mexico City or any of the millions of Marias that exist in Latina America lol!  (a little Latina humor.  Maria is a very common Latina name. As a matter of fact its my middle name)  I took a picture of the tag because it had a vintage quality that I really like.

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I was originally attracted to the simple aline sillohuette and instictinctively new that I wanted to make it a hi/lo top and I’ve been wanting to play with this shoulder bow embelishment thing that I’ve been seeing other bloggers and sewers playing with.  And thought I could make a bow with the leftover fabric.

However after taking it back to the studio I began to appreciate this garment even more for its fabric (Its made from 100% cotton).  This dress was lovingly warn and washed quite a bit.  The cotton is so soft which is a sign that its a quality cotton.  Good cotton can stand up to a lot of washing and wearing and will soften with time.  This fabric feels like silk thats how soft it is.  At first I was going to just cut the hem and re-hem it with a clean finish.  Then I thought that the worn look of the fabric and the natural fading of the dye pigments from wear would look better if I left the hem unfinished and just frayed the edges.  So that’s what I did!

I love! Love! LOVE!! this top! Its a perfect example of how simple can be beautiful!

Below are the after shots.  For the tutorial of this make just scroll past the photos.

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Tutorial

Skill level: Beginner

Materials needed: scissors, ruler (preferably a curved hip ruler), sewing machine

Skills used: I drew in a new hemline, I cut , I sewed.

What I did…

  1. First I pressed the wrinkles out of the dress to make sure that it would lay as flat as possible when I cut the hem
  2. I then tried on my dress and measured down the front of the dress using a measuring tape from the center front neckline and down to wear I wanted the hemline at the front.  I then did the same for the back starting the center back neckline.  For me it was 18″ for the front and about 30″ for the back. I also added about 1/2″ extra for the fraying.
  3. I layed the dress flat on my cutting table folding the front pieces on top of each other and the back pieces on top of each other.  Making sure that the side seams were lined up on top of each other and in the middle of the dress. Below is a labeled picture. I drew in a redline to highlight where the sideseams of the dress are.

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3.  With your hand, smooth out as much of excess fabric from the hemline as possible and match up the hemline and pin both layers together.  This will help you to cut your fabric evenly.

4. Using your measuring tape, I measured from the center front neckline down to my desired hem length using the numbers I mentioned in step 2 and using a colored tailors chalk I marked the fabric with a small dot at my desired hem length (this is will be where my hi hemline starts).  I then did the same for the back using the back hemline measurement (This is where my low hemline will stop).

5.  Using a curved ruler (if you don’t have a curved ruler you can use a straight edge ruler and drape in the curve.) I began to draw a curved line from the hi point at the front to the lo point in the back.

6.  Carefully cut

7.  I then stitched two rows of straight stitches to control the fraying at the hemline.

8.  Using my finger nails and a seam ripper, I began to fray the hemline until it had my           desired look.

For the bow

9.  I cut 4 rectangles from the left over fabric. 2 were 8″x14″(the bow) and the other 2 were 4″x20″ (the bow ends).

10.  For the bow I took the 8x 20 rectangles and stitched them together leaving a small opening on one of the long edges.

11.  I then turned the bow right side out through the small opening being careful to push out the corners.  I edge stitched the opening closed.

12.  I then took the 4×20′ rectangle pieces and top stitched all the way around using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Because I planned to fray the edges of the “bow ends” I topped stitched all the way around.

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13.  I then layed the smaller rectangle (bow) on top of the longer rectangle (bow ends) and scrunched the bow together at the center.

14. With a hand needle and thread I sewed through the scrunched center of the rectangles forming the bow.

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15.  I then cut a 3″x 8″ strip and sewed them together, turned it out and pressed it.  This is the strip for center of the bow.

16.  I then tightly wrapped it around the scrunched center of the bow, cut the excess fabric from the strip and turned under the raw edge about 1/4″ and handfinished the seam with a slip stitch.

17.  Finally, I stitched the bow to the shoulder strap after I frayed the edges of the bow ends.

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to check out my instagram page later this week to see how I styled this new blouse.  If you’re enjoying what i’ve been sharing be sure to subscribe. all you need to do is enter your email under the follow me section.  You’ll be able to see future makes and I promise not to send you any junk.

Until the next time!

xoxo!

Iris

Pattern Review: DIY Pants and Top Simplicity 8655 & New Look 6519

“That my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 31:12

Hey y’all! it’s been a minute since i’ve posted here but I’ve been crazy busy with moving the business into our new studio space. woohoo! right…!

After 2 years of working at school and home I am finally at a point where I can afford dedicated sewing and creative space.  I’m also in the process of buying a house!  I’m super excited for this new season in my life!

In between it all I have been working on pants fitting.  Even in design school this was a challenge for me. But I decided that I was going to use the blog as a platfrom to tackle all the hard stuff and share my journey and lessons learned with my readers. This post is more a pattern review but I plan on posting later this week some of my top lessons learned.

On to the Pattern Review.  Beginning with the pants.  I used simplicity 8655 new Mimi G Style pattern.  I chose these pants because they seemed easy enough and I really liked the high waist and leg options.  I made the flare leg option first and I really liked the pattern.  It was easy to make all of the pattern adjustments and it sewed together quickly.  These are basically my final muslin.  I used a bottom weight stretch sateen from Joann fabric.  I had to add 2inches to the back rise and take about 2.5 inches off of the front crotch. I also had to shorten at the knee by about an 1in.  The one thing I will say about this pattern is that I don’t like the facing at the waistband.  I plan on making these again in a better quality fabric and just add a 1″ waistband.  Overall I like the fit especially in the butt and hip area but next time I think I will take in a little bit at the leg and knee and I may also reduce the flare at the hem to fit more like a bootleg.

The top is  New Look 6519. I really liked this pattern it came together quickly and I went straight into fashion fabric.  The only thing I changed was to create the bell sleeve that I attached to the hem of the drop shoulder for a little bit of drama and contrast.  The fabric I purchased at Joann Fabric. Its a houndstooth stretch suiting.  Its very soft and has a nice weight and drape to it. The bell sleeve is made from a black stretch sateen.

I wore this outfit to church today and felt very feminine and chic!! uuuuwww Lala!  lol!  I paired the black and white with pops of color with the pink in my shoes and my necklace.

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Well thats it for now!

As always I hope this post was a blessing to you. Until next time!

xoxo

Iris

 

Love Yourself

I have been declaring this scripture alot since I made the decision to work on accepting who I am in Christ. Whatever my body size or life situation I am choosing to remember that I am everything that God’s word says that I am.

 

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:14 (AMP)

Recently I had the opportunity to challenge my self-esteem.  A friend of mine invited a group of Christian women entrepreneurs to collaborate on a photoshoot.  It was partially to update our professional headshots and website photos as well as to celebrate each other.

This was a big challenge for me personally because despite the age of selfies, I am not a huge fan of taking pictures of myself, especially since I have put on about 25 pounds over the past 3 years.  However, I decided to use this as an overcomering opportunity. So instead of running for the hills I decided to stand on Psalm 139:14  “I will give thanks and praise to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” 

I have been declaring this scripture alot since I made the decision to work on accepting who I am in Christ. Whatever my body size or life situation I am choosing to remember that I am everything that God’s word says that I am.

So…. armed with my scripture I pressed my way forward praying and asking God for wisdom every step of the way.  From my garment selections, to make-up, hair and even my poses I asked the Lord to guide me.  My goal for the shoot was to be pleased with myself and that’s exactly what happened.

I am soooo glad that I did it! Despite a few nerves in the beginning I ended up having a great time and when the photographer sent the sneek peak photos I was delighted to see how amazing everyone’s images turned out.  Below are some of my favorites.

These first couple of photos are some fun shots of me. I chose a selection of garments that reflected how I really like to dress.  I love my jeans and try to build alot around them. So I used these jeans that I recently bought from Forever 21 as my wardrobe foundation.  I also love my pumps especially if they have a pop of color.  Classic, pretty, mulitfunctional.  

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This jumpsuit was a bit of a wildcard so to speak for me.  I love to sew them but until this one haven’t bought or made one for myself to wear (which is about to change). I got it at NY and Company on super clearance. I only paid like $12 for it and overall I like the fit.  

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This shoot also was an opportunity for our group to take some more professional photos for our websites.  This was a staged photo of me consulting a client.  The jumpsuit the model is wearing is one of my designs from my first collection. I plan to use this photo for my business website (coming soon!).  As you can see I paired my same jeans with a white blazer, t-shirt and necklace.  You can’t see my feet in this shot but I have on some blush colored pumps.  

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This final shot was one of a series of group photos we took at the end of everyone’s session.  There were so many awesome ones that conveyed power and unity.  This one is my favorite.  I love the laughter and sense of sisterhood this one conveys.

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I am so thankful for this opportunity and my biggest take away from this experience was that my decision to shift my mind set allowed me to see the glory of God manifest in me; instead of overfixating on things like body image. This caused me to really see myself and not my perceived imperfections. Hallelujah!

As always I pray this post was a blessing.  Until next time!

xoxo

Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Lessons I learned from the story of the Widow with Oil

This story has encouraged me quite a bit over the last 5 years primarily because I feel very much like the widow with the oil.  I am a single mom trying to raise two children while building a business

“Then she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” 2 Kings 4:7 (amplified)

Since the beginning of the year I have been working on paying down my debts, saving to buy a house and rebranding my business.  All of these things are very ambitious goals on their own; but after putting somethings on hold for the last 2 years in order to complete design school I feel like I really don’t have a choice.

Which leads me to today’s post.  I recently went before the Lord in prayer asking him for direction regarding my business, and some concerns that I had regarding my current financial situation and I was reminded of the story of the widow with oil found at the beginning of  2 Kings 4:1-7.

“Now one of the wives of a man of the [a]sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha [for help], saying “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant [reverently] feared the Lord; but the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves [in payment for a loan].” 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers from all your neighbors, empty containers—and not just a few. 4 Then you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out [the oil you have] into all these containers, and you shall set aside each one when it is full.” 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing her the containers as she poured [the oil]. 6 When the containers were all full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” And he said to her, “There is not a one left.” Then the oil stopped [multiplying]. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” 

This story has encouraged me quite a bit over the last 5 years primarily because I feel very much like the widow with the oil.  I am a single mom trying to raise two children while building a business, and in addition to the cost of living, I have credit card debt Inspiration(i’m about 1/2 way finished paying off by the way yay!) and student loans.  So there are times where like this widow I feel stretched.  So when I revisited this scripture there were some new insights that I gained and I wanted to share with you.

1. God will use what you have to bring a turn around to your financial situation.

Elisha didn’t respond to the widow’s distress by giving her money, he didn’t offer to speak with her debtors.  Instead he asked if she had anything of value? Olive Oil in biblical times was used as a commodity of trade or personal income (www.biblestudytools.com).  In other words Elisha was asking her what do you have of value that you can sell.  He told her to start a business.  This caused me to think and ask the question… “If you were in the widows shoes and Elisha were to ask you right now?  What do you have of value? or what gift, skill or talent do you have that God could use to help you generate income or start a business with, what would it be?  For me it has been sewing, nails, or crochet?

2. The widow was obedient.

She didn’t fight with the man of God when he told her to take the oil and ask her neighbors to borrow pots to pour the oil in.  She did what he told her to do. This is so important.  Like any good advise.  Its only good if you apply it to your life.  God cannot do a work in our lives if we aren’t sensitive to his voice and guidance.

3. God will show you favor with others.

Just like the neighbors who borrowed the widow to the containers, God will use people who are around you or put you in places to surround you with the right people who can help you. Maybe its not money, maybe its resources, skills, expertise, or new connections.

4. God will meet you where you are at.

The widow didn’t have a whole lot to offer,  She says in verse 2 “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” However, the little bit that she had God took as a seed and multiplied it.  I remember a few years ago when I first separated from my ex-husband, I was in a rough financial situation and I needed a miracle.  God told me to use my gift of crochet to make winter scarves and hats to bring increase.  All I had were some crochet hooks and a box full of acrylic yarn.   I used this scripture to encourage my heart and I did what God told me to do.  In a 6 week period of time I was able to make an extra $500 that I used to supplement my income and buy my kids some christmas gifts.  The following winter season I did it again but started earlier and tripled my increase from the year before.

5. Have confidence in the gifts that God gives you.

Sometimes we don’t think that we have anything for God to multiply because we lack confidence in the gifts and/or resources that God has given us.  I have struggled alot in building my business for this very reason.  This lack of confidence has caused me at times to hesitate and walk away from opportunities that seemed too big for me.  A lack of confidence is a form of doubt and doubt is a lack of faith which blocks God from moving in our lives. We have to believe that if God brought it to us he will help us to see it through.

6. You can’t do it alone.

The widow poured the oil as her sons brought her the containers.  When you are in business or maybe trying to grow a ministry. You can’t do it all and you can’t do it alone.  The widow was wise. She turned it into a family business. Don’t be afraid to delegate and/or collaborate with others who are in a similar situation to help bring  vision forward.

7.  As long as there is a container to pour your oil into it will never cease to  multiply.

The little jar of oil kept flowing until she no longer had vessels to pour it into. I always looked at the vessels in this portion of the scripture as people who need whatever it is that God calls us to offer.  When you look at it this way it suggests that as long as there is a person who needs what you have, your oil(gift) will always be there to provide.

8.  Her oil caused her to struggle no more.

This revelation caused me to be filled with so much joy.  As I realized that God not only encouraged my heart but he also through this story gave me a strategy to move my business forward and bring me the increase that I need.

What about you?  Are you like me finding yourself in a situation where God is calling you to use your gifts and skills to create a business opportunity or to generate extra income?  If so I would love to hear what it is. Please leave a comment below and I would love to come into agreement in prayer with you that God will provide you with everything that you need to launch that idea. Matthew 18:19 says:Again I say to you, that if two [h]believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 

Well thats all for now! I pray this post has encouraged you as much as it has me. Until the next time.

♥ xoxo,

Iris