Ntokon | DIY high waisted wide leg pants

Red wide leg pants and a conversation on confidence

Heya!

Yes you my address me as the associate VP of the Pepper Dem Gang. For those of you who may not be familiar, “Pepper dem” references a state of being wherein your slay is so severe that it is heartburn inducing. Marinate. On. That. Hunnay!

Remember the overalls I made for my brother? Yea that experience came in super handy with this project. I mean check me out, coming through with that front fly zipper. Trust me when I say the process of learning how to do this was grueling but look at me approaching this with so much confidence now. Also, looking back at some of the pants or shorts I made in the past and comparing them to this, talk about a progress!

Speaking of confidence, I was at a women’s conference recently and something that the speaker said really stood out to me. She said -and I am paraphrasing a little- as a woman, you need to understand the space you occupy and the value you bring. I let that sink in a little because it one of those things “you know” but I had to question how often I fail to apply these principles

For me, understanding the space I occupy means understanding my strengths and weaknesses for what they are. I’m a great listener, pretty insightful, resourceful, creative, intelligent, cute in the face and funny too. I am also often inconsistent and undisciplined, a little lazy with a tendency to wallow in self pity once stressed and not great at taking criticism (even when it’s coming from me to me – seriously, this portion of the post is aggravating me already). All of these things and more; good, bad or somewhere in between make a pretty amazing person and it important for me to move through my daily interactions with the  consciousness of who I am.

The other side to this is understanding the value I bring. Yea it’s one thing to take a personality test and say “ugh that’s so me” but so what? How does being me with all my quirks and dazzle impact the people in my life and the work that I do? Understanding who I am allows me to assert myself in my space. My strengths allow me support and uplift my friends and family and my weaknesses could be a source of inspiration if I let them or at the very least a recurring joke between me and the people who love me. Of course as my social reach expands, so does the impact of my being.

Another key portion of all of this for me being Christian, is the understanding of not just who I am but Whose I am and what that means.  I was carefully crafted by God with a unique purpose. Then not only did He make me, He loves me. That’s a pretty big deal to me because the way I see it, He looked at me and thought “Wow, I did a really good job with this one.” Soooooo, if you think about it, I already got the seal of approval from the manufacturer which would make me an asset just about anywhere!

I think bringing all these pieces together is where I find confidence. This is where I find the strength to try again after failing because my worth is not in the outcomes of an isolated event but rather grounded in the unique truth of my awesomeness. I’ll try to remember these things the next time I stop sewing because I think I suck at it or when I fail to speak up at work because I think someone else would have a better suggestion to bring forward.

This does not mean I’ll always be right or that everything I touch will always turn to gold but the confidence (and courage) to keep pressing on and trying better each time, that’s true excellence.

Pictures by Willyverse

Roll tide |DIY Houndstooth pinafore

Mini length pinafore

Heya and happy new year!

I’m back again with another DIY, however I kinda like the format of my last post where I kinda spoke about something completely unrelated to the outfit. I’ll try to balance my regular style of briefing you all on my creative process with my general musings in the next couple posts and we’ll see how that goes mmkay?

Now a little backstory, I was in Nigeria last summer and as my mum and I do, we were pow-wowing over fabrics and fashion and generally being girlie girls when this delicious fabric turned up. She mentioned she’d had it for ages and was highly unlikely to use it so I swiftly scooped this bad boy up amidst promises to make a skirt or co-ords set before she had time to reconsider. Truth be told, I had no real idea what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I had to have it.

 

This segues beautifully to a thought I’ve been grappling with lately. I strongly believe in the value of learning and absorbing information however I’ve recently had to explore the “why” behind all this data gathering. As many people may be able to relate to, we spend so much of our lives gathering data about the strangest things, some of which we may never use outside of awkward small talk on a second date with that guy you met at the gym. For example, the plastic on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet. Now, it’s highly unlikely that I’d ever utter the words “Oh you just stepped on my aglet” or “My aglets are really shiny today” but it’s a word I know and enjoy knowing.

I suppose my dilemma is really this: if there is no purpose or direct use for this information, do I still need to gather it? Should we only learn things that are relevant for our goals and if yes, how do we determine the bounds of relevance?

To answer my question –and please feel free to leave any dissenting thoughts in the comments– I don’t think all learning must be geared towards a particular goal. I say learn the cookey, quirky, random bits and roll with the tide! Just as I had no idea what I was going to do with this fabric when I picked it up, take on something new even if you don’t know where it fits. As long as it piques your interest, what’s the harm?

Another fine example of the value of rolling with tide would be this pretty little frayed hem I got going here. I saw this technique in a video about a year ago but hadn’t tried till now. When I watched the video, I was probably on a YouTube binge but somehow it’s found a purpose.

Is it okay to know, just so you know or must you know so you can do?

Pictures by Willyverse

In consistency | Floral jumpsuit

Hi guys!

Floral jumpsuit 1As promised, I am back with this jumpsuit I made a while back however, I wouldn’t really be talking about the jumpsuit today. You already know the drill, a stitch here, a snip there and the inevitable complications with finishing touches. Instead, I want to talk about something that’s been gnawing at me for weeks/months now.

Floral jumpsuit sleeveI have been so inconsistent with blogging, posting for my business and sewing in general this year. I basked under the cover of being busy at work for a while then eventually soaked in my lack of motivation. Neither of the two being particularly untrue, I still feel like I could be doing more.

So here’s are a few questions I’ve asked myself regarding my lack of motivation:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Am I blogging/sewing because I feel it is a genuine outlet for my creativity or am I doing this because I feel like I have to?
  • Why did I start blogging or sewing in the first place and what did I enjoy when I was at the peak of consistency?
  • Do I still feel like this blog is the space for my creativity?
  • If I never earned a dollar from sewing or creating content, would I still do it?
  • Am I happy with my work?
  • Is it time to grow?

Now of all of these questions, the one I found to be pivotal is the last question. I feel like I have been comfortable in this space for a bit too long. If I am going to be more consistent, I need to set clear goals for myself. These goals cannot be tied to external feedback or influence because my motivation will start and end with those bursts of views or comments. Floral jumpsuit 4

Now when I started this blog, I was also just starting out with sewing and as such the name “Begin” held personal significance for me. While the message of taking the first step continues to be true, I feel that I have evolved past that starting line. While I am yet undecided on a new blog name, I feel like the name of my blog will be changing soon.  (suggestions welcome).

All this being said, how do you guys stay motivated? Some days I really just want to lay in bed, eat and watch baby goats learn how to walk. Growth

could be so high energy.

Floral jumpsuit 3Photos by Willyverse. 

Ode to Summer – DIY Chambray Romper

DIY Chambray playsuit

Summer is coming to an end friends and I have not been very present here. No excuses just acknowledging my absence and letting that hang in the air for a few seconds. Alright now shall we?

Soooooo…I may not have blogged as much as I would like this summer but I haven’t left my sewing machine to rust and croak. Presenting my new and dare I say improved take on a romper. You may remember a couple years ago now my first successful attempt at a one piece with leg holes 🙂 ahh simpler times ❤ . Anyhow now we have grown and started adding zippers and trimming and bias tape like it’s not a thing!

Putting this together went relatively well however, no project is without it’s challenges so I will be remiss if I didn’t mention the challenges of sorting out a fly zipper. This is a newly acquired skill for me so I have to follow along with the YouTube tutorial. Between watching the screen and flicking away at seams with my seam ripper, I may have knicked the fabric once or twice (or four times). All things considered I am pretty happy with how things turned out.

To finish off, I will leave you with a quote that’s been getting me through the last few days of summer, amidst trying moments and moments of fear and trepidation:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” – Isaiah 26:3

My prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and many others around the world displaced by war, nature or economy. I pray for perfect peace.

 

S’no white | DIY satin wrap skirt

Yellow satin wrap skirt

Hi interwebs 🙂 it’s been a while.

I’ve been pretty occupied with day to day living. Its kind of funny how easy it is to get looped into daily routines and to stop challenging yourself. Anyhow, I’m bringing you a wrap skirt I made for Gospelfest (Gospelfest is UTGC’s spring concert *X Soprano squad X*). Our colours for this year were White, Grey and Yellow so I decided to have a little fun with my outfit.

Snow white vibes no?

Now before I go any further, this outfit taught me just how important it is to be stocked on fresh, sharp needles. (cue tears)

I opted for a full circle midi length skirt. Simple enough to cut out and a google search yields many formulas on how to calculate your circle skirt length and circumference. Seeing as I wanted it to be a wrap skirt, I added half of my waist measurement to my actual waist measurement to get my wrap skirt measurement. That may have been a little convoluted so see the formula below

AW+ 1/2AW= WW

Once you cut out a circle skirt, you’re about 75% done 🙂 .

  • I cut out a waist band which was long enough to go around the waist of my skirt and have enough left over to tie
  • Another piece of equal width to the waist band also for me to tie the waistband
  • Finally two thinner pieces to tie on the inside of my waist band.

I decided not to go with a wrap belt that pulls through the waistband just because my sewing machine can’t make button holes and I didn’t want to have my fabric fraying as a result of that.

Now I began to sew and much to my utter dismay, my fabric kept puckering, my thread kept breaking and I started sweating. Who had I offended? Why do these problems have to start now? Oh and I should mention that I was sewing this skirt hours before I had to head out to the event. A couple YouTube videos and plenty of whoosas later, I managed to troubleshoot my issues enough to pull through.

I wore it on the matte side (glossy side pictured in this post) but honestly I think it could be rocked on either side depending on the occasion. Got lots of compliments on this skirt in the end so that definitely made up for the hassle. Nevertheless, I learned shortly after that majority of the issues I was facing were brought on by a blunt needle. Apparently you are supposed to change your needle  after every 72 hours of sewing.

Who knew?

Pictures by Willyverse

A toast to forever | The time I made a wedding dress

Satin wedding dress and Cape

Hi guys,

In time for wedding season, coming at you with some wedding realness. So if the picture didn’t make it obvious, we have yet another piece I created for someone else! (Can I get a whoop whoop?). Before we get into any wedding story, what everyone wants to hear about is the proposal right? So my friend who we will call M for this story, had been setting this up for a while. She found her forever love and dutifully introduced him to her inner circle. It was all going swimmingly until one evening she sat me and my brother down and let us know she would be getting married!!

Now being the person that I am, my eyes were already brimming with happy tears before she could get all of her words out. Tears accompanied with “i’m so happy for you’s” and “I can’t believe it’s” and then she whipped out her phone and asked me to make her dress. I was beyond taken aback! While it was no candle light dinner or proposal at the beach, I was moved beyond words and swiftly nodded my head until I assessed what she actually wanted me to make. While I appreciated her confidence in my abilities, I felt no where near prepared to replicate the intricate jumpsuit that she wanted.

At this point, my mouth was a little dry. I asked if she had considered other options like gee, I don’t know, maybe buying the dress or having a back up dress at least. She said she had looked into it but she still felt I could do it. With her overwhelming faith in me and lots of pins back and forth on Pinterest we finally arrived at this style. I sketched out my vision and fabric shopping we went.

My top tips if you’re going to attempt this are

  1. Do plenty of research! Knowing exactly what you want will only do you good
  2. Have scrap fabric. I sewed this dress twice before I even looked at the actual fabric. It’s nice to make your mistakes elsewhere
  3. Take good measurements. The wrong measurements  can have you second guessing everything
  4. Leave plenty of allowance. Even with great measurements, having a little extra allowance is a nice safety blanket
  5. Be patient. Both with yourself and the processes. Sometimes coming back to look at the outfit with fresh eyes may be all it takes.

Three fittings and a whole lot of collaboration later, it was finally done! After all was said and done, M made this dress glow! Like can you fave ever even??? Of course as you can imagine I cried when I saw her. Designing wedding dresses was a favourite past time at some point in my life and to be trusted enough to make one was simply incredible.

Wishing M and B so much happiness on their new journey and a love that gets deeper with every passing day ♥

Pictures by Willyverse

Issa Look | DIY Men’s Versatile Overalls

Convertible men’s overalls

Hi Guys!!!!!

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As you can tell this post isn’t really about me (for once). Meet the man behind my pictures, photographer, brother, art director extraordinaire, Willyverse himself :D. Late last year I was reflecting on just how many shoots we had done and how kind and supportive he had been of all my endeavors and not once had he asked me to make him anything so I offered. I’ll be honest, I was halfway expecting him to shrug and say he didn’t want anything but then he actually had a request. He had an idea for a multi-functional “super suit” as he calls it or deconstructed overalls. Clearly we think alike because I feel an outfit maximizes it worth when it can be worn a few different ways.

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So I began my research and found a super helpful video on men’s overalls by StyldByChris. It seemed simple enough to start with; make pants, make a top, add loops to attach them and fin, oui? Mais non! First there were the issues with the pant legs, then the challenges with the zipper where it would disrespectfully slide open every time he bent even slightly and then the top was a good width if the two parts of the overall were attached but way too wide for the super suit.

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I have to commend William for working with me through the issues and making suggestions to fix the problems we faced. I was really just the tailor in this creative process, he fully committed to fleshing out his vision to the very last detail.

dscf0338

In terms of making clothes for men as opposed to women, there really wasn’t a stark constructive difference if I’m being completely honest. I thought there would be for some reason. Nevertheless this was a great challenge and I learned plenty from the experience. Pluuuuusss I took my own blog pictures!!! What an unexpected turn of events eh?

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Until next time folks

Move Mami | DIY Turtleneck dress

Turtleneck dress with raglan sleeves

Hey hey!

 

melanin-infusion

This week I’m serving up some loose fitting, ideal for layering, ultra-chic realness. At the start of winter there were rumors about how this would be a brutal winter but save a few snowy and chilly days it’s really not been so bad. Word on the street though is that February is going to be a frosty one so I’m not getting too comfortable. Now because I love you all so dearly, here’s a piece that is ideal for layering but would still have you feeling like a bare fox this winter 😉

turtleneck dress.jpg

I used about 1.5 yards of fabric but feel free to opt for 2 yards for added volume. I used a top that I own in a similar style to cut out the top half and a dress that hits right at my knee to cut out the full length of the dress. I decided to make the back a little longer so I extended my curve a bit, nonetheless it was a relatively simple cut out. Please let me know in the comments if you would like to see visuals for how I cut this out.

The turtle neck wasn’t too hard to execute either. My fabric has quite a bit of stretch so I could have gotten away with making this a little tighter but I like the loose fit. When attaching a turtle neck, treat it like you would a waistband or cuffs

texture-shot

One more thing before I forget, I was asked what kind of sewing machine I use so I have a picture right here, It’s pretty basic, straight stitching and zig zag. Offers varying stitch widths as well. Specifically its the Brother LS-2000 if you’re looking for a beginner sewing machine. It has lasted me quite sometime and I really haven’t had any issues with it that weren’t self inflicted so I would definitely recommend 🙂

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Brother LS-2000

Until next week folks, I’ll leave you with a thought that has been heavy on my mind these past few days: “Don’t just talk about it, be about it”. I have felt this way specifically regarding social justice but it applies to so many things. Hoping we can all challenge ourselves to do more than just talk about the changes we want.

Pictures by Willyverse

Plaid Illusion- DIY Two Piece work outfit

Plaid two piece

work-jumpsuit

I didn’t come to play in 2017 homie!

Jumpsuit? Two-piece? does it matter? Still hella fly though 😛 Okay I’ll stop tooting my own horn and get right into it. First, my inspiration; I was scrolling through a few blogs that I follow and I stumbled on Beaute J’adore‘s neck tie dress and I was like ooolala this is looking like a winner. A couple sketchy sketches later and I wanted a jumpsuit but jumpsuits are stressful so I decided to make two separate pieces a decision that also gives me flexibility to wear each piece on its own.

back-view-of-plaid-two-piece

A major contributor to the success of this outfit was- surprise surprise- PLANNING! I picked out clothes that had a similar fit to what I wanted, laid them out on tracing paper and traced around them. I made sure to add a lot of seam allowance just in case I messed something up.

plaid-jumpsuit

For the waistband of the pants I added pleats to add a little character to the pants and added a thick elastic to cinch in the waist. I haven’t (successfully) made a lot of pants in my sewing career so this was definitely a fun challenge.

work-outfit

The neck tie was also a new venture for me but it definitely wasn’t too difficult. The hardest part was really figuring how far down to cut the slit where it wouldn’t be too cleavage-y and not too prudish. I attached the neck tie in a similar way to how I would attach a waistband. I finished some of the raw edges with red bias just to add a little something extra. I could have hemmed it but nahhh your girl had to do a likkle extra.

pussy-bow-top

Here’s to more fabulousness in 2017

diy-jumpsuit

Pictures by Willyverse

 

Crop of the Cream | DIY loose Floral Crop top

DIY Short blouse

crop-top-and-pants

Hi guys!

I’ve been listening to Noname’s telephone mixtape a lot lately. Just plain vibes I tell you. But anyhow she had me pondering what it means when people say “Everything is everything”. I mean a bunch of artistes have used this line, a lot of my faves actually but what does it mean for everything to be everything? Ponderings and musings aside, I have my last DIY for the summer here. Summer is by no means over despite that morning chill but its safe to say I need to accept my Torontonian realities and prep for the cooler months.

tied-crop-top

To create this top, I used a top I already owned as a pattern and just made this slightly shorter<Partly due to fabric constraints, Partly intentional> I felt this would be a great piece for times when I wanted to look playful but still a bit put together.

summer-dinner-outfit

This was also my first attempt at bias binding and I think I did pretty well! Initially I only tested it out on the neckline but when that went well, my mum suggested I do the same on the sleeves cause it would give a nicer finish and she was right :).diy-blouse

floral-crop-top

Now if you’re wondering what the big hoo-ha with bias binding is here are a few thing I noticed from my experience. Firstly, it could be slightly more visually appealing than your basic hem. Its just one of those things that says “I went the extra mile” even though it wasn’t much harder than the basics. Secondly, it could help some necklines lie flatter. Hemming doesn’t always cut it with some fabrics so binding could be more of a necessity than an option. Finally its superb for those curved edges! Now that wasn’t much of a concern with this project but hemming a curved edge takes mad skill and patience but with some bias tape a lot of your worries could melt away.dinner-outfit

Now time for a quick side-bar. Blogging has it’s hazards :’D . This flawless image of me plummeting to the ground was supposed to be a graceful skip into the woods. I still crack up thinking of how slowly I fell. Until next time folks, stay cute 😉

blogging-hazards

Pictures by Willyverse