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

DIY Fashion Remix Kick Off and Upcyled Look #1 w/ Tutorial

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.” Galations 6:15 (NIV)

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday!  So I am super excited to kick off the DIY Fashion Remix!  For the whole month of July I will be cutting, sewing, remixing old looks into new ones.  This is not a new thing by any means of the imagination! People have been doing this for centuries.  But it is something that i’ve wanted to fiddle more with for sometime now.  and woohoo! the time has arrived! Praise God! Hallelujah! lol!

Just to give you a little preview of what to expect over the next couple of weeks…

Each post this month will feature upcyled pieces that i’ve created from either thrifted items or something that I have in my existing wardrobe.  Its also my goal to share a tutorial of each of my makes.  There are a few ways to approach upcycling and some require little to no sewing skills what so ever.  My makes will require some basic sewing knowledge.  My goal is to demonstrate various ways to upcylce garments while showing how basic sewing skills can affordably extend your existing wardrobe.

Each tutorial will feature the sewing skill level, materials needed and step by step photos of how I created my re-makes.

So on to my first look…

Garment Inspiration/Description: I absolutely love the 2 piece set that I created from this very oversized dress. I found it at Value Village and I think I paid like $4.00 for it.  The tags were still on it and at first I was like yuck!  Frumpy and outdated.  I heard Madea in the back of my head saying: “Hellrrrr!  I wants my dress back.” lol!Lol!.IMG_8513

It also reminded me of what plus size clothing was circa the pre- curvy girl revolution in plus size clothing.  Thank God for size equality in the fashion industry.  This garments saving grace was the pretty embroidered sweet heart neckline along with those very cute floral buttons and the inseam pockets.  It had a very vintage quality to it that caused me to think of the women’s playsuits of the 40s and 50’s.

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I already knew that there was enough fabric to size down the garment into what I wanted. So I decided to make a crop top and gathered skirt set.  I styled the look with bright pink pumps, gold hoops and I styled my roller set hair in a high pin curled bun and tied a brightly colored striped scarf around my head.  I wanted to continue to play on the vintage inspiration with the final look. Below are my styled shots.  For the tutorial continue to scroll down past the photos.

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And thats it.  I have to give my sister in law Tane Acevedo a special thank you for using her photography skills to take these shots for me!

Tutorial

Skill level: Advance Beginner/Intermediate

Materials needed: an oversized dress, metal jean or all-purpose zipper, scissors, dressmaker pins, bias tape, matching thread.

Skills used: installed a metal zipper, Shortened a skirt hem, created and attached a waistband, gathering, basic tailoring and alterations techniques, hemming using bias tape, topstitching.

What I did…

  1. I examined the dress and began deconstruct it, removing the things that I know I didn’t need.  For this project I removed the shoulder pads, cut the sleeves and the waist tie that buttoned at the front and tied to the back. I also unpicked the dress zipper from the skirt portion of the dress all the way up to about the mid back portion of the top.  I knew I could shorten the zipper and repurpose it to be used to close either the top or the skirt.  Since I had to gather the skirt and make a waistband I thought it would be easier use it for the top.

2. I cut the skirt away from the top just below the seam line.

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3.  Next I shortened the hem of the skirt by about 7inches (but you can shorten to your desired length). By simply using tailors chalk to mark the hem line directly on the skirt the length I wanted to remove and using my scissors to cut.

4.  From the fabric that I removed from the hem I was able to make my waistband.  I measured my waist which is 36″.  I added 1″ for ease and another 1/2″ for seam allowance which was a total of 37.5″ (note: because the skirt hem was already attached at the side seams I used one side seam to count as the fold of the fabric which meant that I only needed to add enough seam allowance for 1 seam which opened at the back of the skirt). I then devided this number by 2 which was 18.75″. This was for the length.  For the width, I wanted a 1.5″ wide waistband so I took 1.5″ and added 1/2″ to the top and bottom for a total of 2.5″ and I multiplied it by 2 for the facing for a total of 5″.

Once I figured out my measurements I used tailors chalk and a clear ruler to draw the waistband directly onto the fabric. and cut my new waistband.

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4.  I cut fusible interfacing 1.”x 37″  and fused it to the facing side of the waistband ( I don’t put interfacing in the seam allowance.  I find it makes my seams extra bulky and constricts the ease of my waistband)

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5.  I Put the waistband aside and took the skirt to the sewing machine and with a long running stitch (I put mine at 5 which is the longest stitch that my machine will make) I sewed along the waist end of the skirt leaving long thread tails at each end.  I then pulled on the thread tails and I evenly gathered the fabric until it reached the same size as the waistband.

6.  I then pinned the skirt to the waistband and sewed the waistband to the skirt. Once the skirt was attached, I folded the facing portion of the waistband over, pinned it down to the waistband and  pressed it flat. (note:  I serged raw edge of the facing side of the waistband.  If you don’t have a serger then you can just fold up the raw edge by about 1/2″.  This will give you a clean edge when you hand finish the facing to the waistband). Below is what it looked like once I finished.

7.  I serged the hem of the skirt first and then I thread marked the hem 1″ by running the skirt hem through my sewing machine along the 1″ mark.  This helped me to keep the hem even.  I then folded it up along the thread the basting as I ran the iron over the folded fabric (this helps to keep the fabric in place when you top stitch the final hem).  I finished the hem by topstitching at 3/4″ from the bottom hemline.

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8.  I finished the skirt by inserting a metal zipper at the back waistline (you could use any zipper application for this style of skirt but a metal jean zipper is what I had on hand and matched the metal zipper that was originally on the dress and what I used for the top). I then hand finished the waistband using a slip stitch.

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Top

9.  The first thing that I did for the top was to cut the sleeves.  The original sleeve seam was finished with a flat felled seam which was great!  This allowed me to carefully cut the sleeve off and still leave the seam finish in tack.  This made it so that I didn’t have to finish the sleeve hem and It now looks like a drop shoulder sleeve.

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10.  I then draped the top on my maniquinn and pinned the shoulders in place as well as lined the princess seams on my top with the princess seam line on my manequinn (pinning it this way ensures that the garment remains on grain when you begin to reduce the size of the top at the side seam).

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11.  I then pinned out the excess fabric at each side seam and cut off the excess fabric.  Making sure to leave enough excess fabric to sew the new side seams.

12.  Next I sewed the side seams.

13.  I shortened the zipper by carefully sewing across the bottom of the zipper back and forth several times before cutting off the excess zipper.

14.  I ended up removing 2 of the buttons from the bottom of the top in order to make room for hemming.

15.  Hemming the top using the self fabric was a little wonky for some reason so I ended up having to use bias tape in order to get an even and flat hem.  Once I attached bias tape to the hem of the top, I pressed out the seam and folded under the bias tape so that it was completely on the inside of the top and pressed it flat.  I then top stitched at 1/2″ from the bottom hem. Below is a picture of the finished bias tape hem from the inside of the top and the zipper from the outside.

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At thats it! From frumpy to modestly chic! I have a new outfit that I can’t wait to wear to a summer brunch or a day party with some of my lady friends!!!

Well I hope that you enjoyed today’s post!  I can’t wait to share my next fashion remix look!  Until next time!

xoxo!

Iris

The FIRE Awards and DIY Evening Look and Pattern Hack using Vogue 9253 and Simplicity 8655

“Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and dressed him in [official] vestments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:42

“Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and dressed him in [official] vestments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:42

Hey Ya’ll!

I pray all is well with you!  I had an amazing weekend that included sewing and spending time with my family,friends and going to church.  It was like my favorite hit list of things to do wrapped up in a few days!

I had a great time doing it all but I really wanted to spend sometime talking about this event that I went to Sunday evening called the FIRE Awards (Females in Recognition of Excellence).  A friend of mine was being recognized and I decided to go because I wanted to support her but I also liked that you could dress up and was like….. “who doesn’t like to do that.” So I made the DIY statement top and pants that I’ll talk about in a bit.

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I had never heard of it until this year but apparently its in its 3rd year.  It recognizes women and girls who are making a difference in the Milwaukee community.  While I went for my friend, there were a few awesome women that i’ve known for many years who were being recognized as well. Below are a few shots with just two of the women that I knew.  But there were a few others that I knew as well.

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There were various categories of recognition that included entrepreneurship, community involvement, perseverance, sistahood, image and art and one award called the Josie Mae Thomas Award.  Each of the women recognized had an amazing story and journey that led them to the work that they are doing here in Milwaukee.  Which was so inspiring.  And each of them when they accepted their awards offered a word of encouragement and some even shed tears when they shared their testimonies with the audience.

What impressed me so much about this event was its sincerity.  It was clear to me that this event was birthed from someone’s heart and sincere desire to uplift girls and women.  I was also impressed with the fact that their sponsors were small local businesses and individuals who contributed to make sure the event costs were covered.  The venue and decorations were beautiful along with all the guests.  Everyone was dressed very well, with some wearing evening gowns and others wore dress casual.  I chose to live somewhere in the middle.  I am really not the evening gown kind of girl.  However, I do love what I call “red carpet casual”.

Which leads me to the pattern review and design details of this post.

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The entire look was 30’s and 40’s inspired with a modern twist.  It featured dropped shoulders and a  peplum with a plunge neckline and midriff that I used Vogue 9253  to create the upper bodice and the midriff and peplum were self-drafted. While I love the idea of a plunging neckline the original pattern’s version was a little too plunging for me.  Which led me to make the decision to remove about 2.5 inches from the hem of the bodice and create a 3 inch wide midriff instead.  This way I could still enjoy the plunge style without feeling too naked lol! I also needed to add an invisible zipper all the way down the back bodice, through the midriff and a few inches down into the peplum in order to be able comfortably get in and out of the top.

The peplum was a bit of a pain as I was playing with the shaping of the peplum.  I didn’t want it to be a traditional peplum I wanted it to wrap in the front to create a little bit of drama but still be figure flattering and not look too big.  So I spent a little bit of time draping it on my dress form until I got the shaping the way I wanted it.

The pants I’ve made before is Simplicity 8655  view C a mimi g style pattern.  I just tapered the leg at the knee on this one and reduced the flare at the hem to a slim bootleg cut and added a 1.5 inch self- drafted contour waistband instead of the facing.  Overall, I like the fit of these pants but I could have left a bit more ease in the knee and calf.  I am still working out how much ease to leave in a garment because I hate baggy clothes that lose their shape once you wear them so I tend to take it in a little too much.

The fabric was left over from my Junior Collection that I designed last spring for the annual student fashion show when I was in design school.  The Top is a metallic gold, brocade with charcoal grey, black and mauve pink accents that I sourced from Moodfabrics.com. Its lined with a black matte satin that I recently purchased from Joann Fabrics and the pants were made from a stretch wool suiting that I also sourced from Moodfabrics.com last spring for the show.

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I also have to give a shoutout to my hairdresser for this hairdo I’m wearing. You can find her on instagram @Liz_mke.  She’s pretty dope with the braids but she does it all.  Color, cuts, styling she great at as well.  If your in Milwaukee you should check her out.  Make-up was me and the shoes i’ve had for about 3 years now but seem to have an inifinite life cycle as they go with so many things in my summer wardrobe.

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And the final blessing of this evening is that I designed this look under my clothing label Virtuous By Design.  Its been awhile since i’ve created anything under this lable.  So it felt extra special.

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Well 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming of Spring & DIY Peplum Hem Pencil Skirt Simplicity 8394

You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head.  Psalm 3:3 (amplified)

Hey Y’all!  Happy Friday! I finally caught a break on the weather.  After the 2 snow storms earlier this week the past two days of sunshine and 50+ degree weather has been glorious! Further to my delight was my daughter having the day off from school.  Good weather + photographer = photoshoot.  Which I have been trying to have since just before Easter.

I originally sewed this skirt using Simplicity 8394 a Mimigstyle pattern for Easter.  My daughter and I worked on making ourselves mom and me skirts for church and I bought my son a suit in a complimentary color.  However, that was a total bust because he got sick with strep throat and we were on lock down the whole Easter weekend.  bummer right..? So I decided that we would give it another try for Mother’s Day.  (I’m planning a future blog post for that as well featuring my daughter’s skirts that she made using Simplicity 8609).

We used this vintage inspired scattered floral print stretch twill fabric from Joann Fabrics.  I let her choose the fabric and at first I wasn’t feeling it until I saw this pattern.  The 1950’s vibe of the skirt along with the fitted silouhette of the pencil skirt worked well with the vintage vibe of the fabric without making it look old fashioned.  The top I bought from NY and Co and the shoes are from my closet.

Overall. I  this pattern!!! Fitting it was easy. I added a contoured waistband instead of using the facing and I finished the flounce by adding a lining.  I hate double fold hems. Its one of my least favorite finishing techniques.  So I attached the lining to the flounce at the hem and folded it up/ understitched and attached it to the hem of the pencil skirt.  I like the clean finish of the hem and it gave a little weight and extra fullness to the flounce.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this pattern was that the sizing ran small. I had to add 6.5″ to the hip and 3.5″ to the waist.  It came in plus sizing as well, which would have given me the room I needed in the hip but would have been huge on me everywhere else.  I opted instead for the smaller misses sizing and increased only where I needed to,  which worked out perfectly.  Other than that I noticed after I finished it that the side seam needs to be moved foward by about 1/2 “.  I’ll do it next time by adding 1/2″ to the side seam back and subtracting 1/2” to the side seam of the front.  I plan on making this a go to pencil skirt sloper for future skirt projects.  It’s figure flattering without being tight which for me is always a good thing!

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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

15 Confessions To Help Build Your Identity in Christ

Over the course of my journey with Christ I have learned the power of confessing the truth of God’s word as a prayer strategy against negative thinking, negative self-talk and low self-esteem. 

“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)

A few weeks back, I was working on a sewing project for the blog and I was listening to  Pandora; when I noticed this song by Casey J called “journal”  was playing.  I have heard this song play countless times on this station, but for some reason on this day the lyrics began to minister to me. The song starts with the following lyrics:

Failure
Not worth it
It’s too late to start again
And I’m sure I’m useless in the hands of the Creator
I’m not enough to salvage
And I’m not enough to build with
So don’t try
No, I won’t try
But then came your word

Healing
Affirming Word

Writing on my heart
Writing on my mind
So I’ll never forget it
Your word

Psalm 119:11 (NIV) says: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” 

The lyrics to this song gives a clear image of why it is so important to keep God’s word hidden in our hearts.  Seriously….  How often have you experienced your mind bombarded with negative thoughts and untruth about your worth…?  your identity…? Telling you that you aren’t pretty enough, good enough, smart enough and the list could go on and on.  Yet in the bible there are so many scriptures that clearly tells us that in Christ we are called to live an empowered life. Not a life filled with negativity and doubt.

Over the course of my journey with Christ I have learned the power of confessing the truth of God’s word as a prayer strategy against negative thinking, negative self-talk and low self-esteem.  In today’s post I wanted  to share with you 15 of my favorite confessions that I have stored up in my heart to help build my identity in Christ. I hope they bless you as much as they have me!

15 Confessions To Help Build Our Identity in Christ

1.  I am a child of God (John 1:12 NIV)

2. I am rooted, built up and strengthened in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:7 NIV)

3. I am victorious (1 Corinthians 15:56 NIV)

4. I am always on top and never at the bottom (Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV)

5. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 NIV)

6. I am virtuous (Proverbs 31:10-31 NIV)

7. I am redeemed (Galatians 3:13 NIV)

8. I am the lender and not the borrower (Deuteronomy 28:12 NIV)

9. I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37 NIV)

10. I am strengthened in Christ (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

11. I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

12. I have a purpose (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

13. I am loved (John 3:16, John 16:27 NIV)

14. I am prosperous (Deuteronomy 28:11 NIV)

15. I am blessed (Deuteronomy 28:2 NIV)

I hope they bless you as much as they have me over the years. 

XOXO,

Iris