Soooo if you hadn’t guessed it’s my birthday 🙂 . I will be posting about this jumpsuit soon btw jsyk ;). Anyhow, I’m really here to leave a note to my self. I thought it would be a fun exercise to think of 3 things I have learned in my now 23 years of living and 3 things I want to learn going forward. So without much ado, here goes:
Things I have learned
With friendships and relationships, quality trumps quantity. It’s easier and far more fulfilling to keep up with a select few knowing that you are giving the very best of your self to them and receiving the same.
It’s okay to be afraid. Not to borrow too heavily from Mulan here but it really is. Bravery is acting in spite of your fears. You can achieve great things when you challenge your fears.
Second chances are a beautiful thing. To be given a second chance is one thing but to give a second chance and see meaningful change is truly special.
Things I would like to learn
To be truly confident in my abilities and my beliefs even when it is uncomfortable to be
To let go.
To learn when to use my voice to initiate change and when to draw back
That being said, I feel very calm about the year ahead. I am grateful to God for so many things but on this day, I am especially grateful for life, family, friends and love.
“You will never attempt anything greater than your self-image”
I went zip-lining for the first time this week and I should preface that by saying I am deathly afraid of heights so this experience was truly ground breaking for me. When I opened my eyes for the first time as I zipped over the lake, the first thought that came to mind was how breathtaking the view was. I completely forgot in that moment all the fears that had glued my feet to the starting board and when I made it to the other side, zipping back didn’t seem like the most terrifying thing to do anymore.
I’ve been thinking a bit about self-doubt, fear and the relationship between the two lately and I have concluded that self-doubt just gets in the way of being your best self. I’ve also thought deeply about who “self” is and why “self” is so easy to doubt but I wouldn’t get too into the weeds with that. Point is, in a world where we are almost constantly required to seek validation from one source or the other, it gets easier to fear that you don’t quite measure up.
Seeking validation is exhausting. Am I smart enough to graduate yet? Am I qualified enough to get this job yet? Am I good enough to keep this job? Am I cute enough? Fun enough? Creative enough? Talented enough? Have I pushed hard enough? Am I enough?
Whether it’s worrying about what other people will think, worrying that you would let people down or worrying that you are already not good enough, I say try anyway. Try because in the middle of the line, the view is unparalleled, you are that much closer to succeeding and the fears you feel now fade into memories.
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.
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.
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
Do plenty of research! Knowing exactly what you want will only do you good
Have scrap fabric. I sewed this dress twice before I even looked at the actual fabric. It’s nice to make your mistakes elsewhere
Take good measurements. The wrong measurements can have you second guessing everything
Leave plenty of allowance. Even with great measurements, having a little extra allowance is a nice safety blanket
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 ♥
Bringing the Nigerian woman series back with some wise words from my Granny. For some reason, this memory has been at the forefront of my mind lately so I thought I’d share. On my first day of Primary school, she sat with my mother as my mum helped me into my “big girl” uniform. When my mother stepped out for a few minutes my Granny proceeded to hand me some major keys. It’s kind of funny to me how with the passing of time, her words have renewed meaning to me. Anyhow I’ll stop babbling on and get right into it.
The first thing she said to me was “neither a borrower nor a lender be”. Yes I’m aware that this is Shakespeare now but at the time I was none the wiser. At five this meant that when other kids at school would ask me to rip out paper from my notebook for their games, it was my responsibility to consider the consequences. First, my mother would have my ass if I ran out of pages in my book cause I was being the community vendor for table soccer. No friendship was really worth that. Plus the reverse of being the borrower was not safe either. Kids are mean and once you get that reputation of being the one who is always borrowing; its hard to shake the mockery. Later in life however, being discerning with borrowing and lending can save your friendships. There is nothing more uncomfortable than that feeling of debt whether you borrowed or loaned. You know that feeling when you see someone who owes you money faffing about on Snapchat or Instagram without a care or as would be the reverse, the feeling that you can’t take a breath without your debtor glaring at you. Either way, this is a philosophy I would recommend to anyone.
The second thing she said was “don’t let anybody see your pant”. This one caught me off guard to be honest but it was a lesson on avoiding pedophiles and men being scum 😛 . Okay maybe I’m reaching with that last bit but not by much I assure you. At five as you can probably imagine I took this very literally. There was nothing to suggest that this was really veiled caution against sexual predators. This lesson however came in handy a few weeks into Primary 1 when a two of my male peers at the time thought it would be cool to bring a small mirror to class and place it on the floor as a “peeping” apparatus -_-. When I found out, I stared the offender in the eye like Mowgli did Shere Khan and slapped him :). Ah the thought of my righteous retribution still makes me smile today. Fast forwarding a few years though, I feel what my Granny is saying to me now is that many people will make a case for why they are deserving of you; some convincing, some just creepy, but your vulnerability comes at a high price so act accordingly. I was raised in a society that constantly sexualizes women and like a double edged sword, shames them for indulging in anything sexual. For this reason I feel she was telling me to guard more than just my itty bitty fruit of the looms but to guard my heart as well.
Lastly, she said to me and still says to this day “be a good girl”. These are the all encompassing words of caution. If showing discernment in my dealings with others and guarding my heart weren’t enough to steer me on the right path, these were her final words to me that day. These words say to me remember where you come from, be kind and honest, honor your parents, be a blessing to all those you meet and live in peace with others.
Sometimes I wonder why she chose to tell me these things on my first day of school or if she told my mother these things as well but whatevrr it was, I’m glad she did.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 😉
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
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 🙂
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.