On the path to you… | Launching Lavendame

Self discovery

Every year, I find myself a little bit more. I learn more about my fears and how to challenge them, I learn more about what I like and what I don’t like. When I feel most and least confident. Frankly, the answers to these questions change and I expect that will remain true as I carry on with life. However, as I approach my first quarter century, (yes I turn 25 this year) I can honestly say that some things that are core to who I am are becoming a little clearer.

This weekend I hosted 8 beautiful women at a sewing workshop as my pilot event for Lavendame. Now before I take you on the who, what, when, why journey of Lavendame, I remembered a little plan I had when I was about 14. I wrote all about it in a blue hard cover note book. It was going to be called “Purple touch” and while I don’t remember all the details but it was definitely about empowering women. I remember being fussy about the little details like what shade of purple would be my theme and what my logo would look like. I knew I wanted to make an impact with women in my community but that’s about all I remember.

This brings me back to the core things that make me tick. Empathy, Empowering women, Art, Family, Faith and Community. Everything I do draws from these pools. I suppose I’ve known this for a while but only subconsciously so. The idea for Lavendame started brewing years ago when I first started plotting my vision for my life, a vision of building economically sustainable communities. At the time it wasn’t called Lavendame; it wasn’t called anything. The idea of Purple touch was then a distant memory and I was feeling a little lost for purpose.

Fast forward to December last year and I had a yearning to create an arts based community of women in the city. Women like me, who spend the greater part of their day at a job, being a polished and professional version of themselves, spending too little time doing things that ignited their passions and investing all of their creative energy in developing decks and finding the best way to tell the client that they need to make a decision or kick rocks. I missed sewing, I missed blogging, I missed experimenting with other creative outlets like painting and knitting and baking and writing. I missed being well rounded and doing things for me! I was certain that there were other women in the city that felt the exact same way so I was determined to make that community happen.

I talked the idea over with my family and inner circle and slowly began to gain confidence that this idea was worth pushing for…Then the fear kicked in. What if there are other people doing the same thing or similar things (there are). What if I jump into this too soon and it’s half baked and everyone hates it? (Welp!). What if there’s no reasonable way to sustain this (still figuring this out). I wrote my ideas out in painstaking detail, mulled over them and wrote some more. I talked about it again with family  and with God and everyone’s feedback was Just Start Already!

The first time I reached out to a sewing studio for this, I literally had to psyche myself up; “pretend this is just like reaching out to book an event for your birthday” “Just ask if they even do private events” “Just try!” I am so thankful to the lovely people at The Make Den for answering the thousands of questions I had and making great recommendations. After I finally locked down the location, I psyched myself up once again to reach out to my friends to see if they would come. Fear and fulfillment are neighbors I guess because with shaky fingers I typed up the message and sent it out to a few friends, anxiously awaiting any kind of response. The yeses trickled in and I sat on my bed bawling and laughing because I was just so happy anyone would be willing to take that chance on me

The dust has settled now from my first event, feedback is coming in at a steady pace and it’s generally positive, constructive and very actionable. More events are coming up for Lavendame so stay tuned on our Instagram. There’s a peace that comes with doing something you were made to do and I definitely feel this is one of those things

Let me know in the comments if you have any stories of finding yourself, where are you in that journey?

Something Borrowed…

Begin styling a midi skirt

This post is a classic case of “borrow borrow make me shine” (I don’t know if that really requires translation).

Being in Nigeria, with full access to my mum’s closet is absolute perfection! She has acculumated so many charming pieces and valuable resources over the years so naturally as her daughter, I think its my responsibility to give her possessions a whirl no? Well whether or not you agree with me, I did just that. My mom found this gorgeous fabric that she’s had since she graduated university and she hasn’t used it since, so I decided to help her by taking it off her hands :D. Surprise surprise…she also had a sewing machine (how amazing is this?? and how have I never known this?!). The minute I saw that fabric the first thing I thought was “Midi Skirt”and right after that I thought “I can’t afford to screw this up”. Now this wouldn’t be the first midi skirt I’ve made so maybe I was feeling a pinch too confident about my abilities but this skirt was w.o.r.k! The last midi skirt I made was an upcycle so I didn’t anticipate the challenges I might have making this from scratch. Basically, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Begin Midi back view

I started by measuring my waist and how long I wanted it to be. From that point on I felt like I was on an island with no map and only a picture of my destination. I knew what I wanted to get but I had no idea how to achieve it. In hindsight, planning might have helped me here. If I had done a teeny bit of research before starting I would have know to cut  the fabric to 3 times my waist size so when I added my pleats, I could achieve the fullness I wanted. I started off with something that looked like a pencil skirt gone wrong. Then I tried to make it more a-line but I only wrecked it more. It was only after research and lots of redone stitches that I managed to get it looking like this.

Begin Midi Skirt

For difficulty, I would rate it a 5/10, it was not my easiest project but it would have been a lot easier if I had started properly. Oh and while we’re on the topic of difficulty, I think I’m starting to really get the hang of zippers! It took me a few attempts but I managed to keep my invisible zipper relatively invisible 😀

Begin invisible zip

When I remake this skirt (note I did not say “if”), I will look into the slip stitch more seriously, I tried looking at a Pintrest picture tutorial when I was making this skirt. When that failed miserably, I decided to follow my heart and I managed to hem it somehow, not sure what that stitch is called but it did the job 😛 (the too-lazy-to-follow-the-pintrest-one stitch?)

With the many up’s and down I faced making this skirt I was reminded that this is what I signed up for when I decided to teach myself to sew. I signed up for trial and error, for hours spent redoing one seemingly simple thing, and of course for the absolute pride I feel when I’m done. It’s frustrating sometimes but its always worth it.

I decided to maintain the theme of “out of mama’s closet” and took her old sunglasses (which I intend to own), her scarf, and her book to accessorize this look. The humidity also lent me a ton of volume so as I said in the beginning…borrow borrow make me shine 🙂  Begin something borrowed

pictures by Willyverse

K is for Kimono

or  Kermit, have it as you would like :).

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Hey peepullss

So at long last I own a kimono! I’ve been stalking this little wardrobe addition since last summer. Brandy Melville was killing me with their floral kimonos last summer. I’m sure I went to the store about 4 times just to check on “Alexis”. Anyhow I decided to make one of my own since we’re right on the cusp of summer. Despite the chilly weather in Toronto I continue to believe its spring. If I believe it then its true right?

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Making this kimono was relatively easy. The most challenging part was working with chiffon which is an eternal pain as I’ve mentioned before but I shall overcome! Another issue was that I had to make do without my scissors. I recently moved so I don’t quite have all my tools in one place but my exacto knife did the very best it could . Other than my cutting issues and the slippery fabric this was a 3/10 for difficulty.

Kimono: Begin

I love how flowy and light this piece is. It won’t keep you warm in 7 degree weather but it would be perfect for those 16 degree days when you don’t want anything too heavy. Plus taking pictures for this post was so much fun! I felt all downtown (okay that doesn’t make sense but I know what I mean) I think my brother did an amazing job making me look super cool! Begin Kimono

I’m looking into making a couple more kimonos for sale but I would like to gauge interest first. If you would like to purchase one either comment below or send an email to maks_u(at)hotmail.co.uk with “kimono” in the title. Depending on the responses I get, I’d let you all know whether or not sales would be happening.

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pictures by Willyverse: http://willyverse.tumblr.com/

The trip to midi

Hey hey!

It’s been a little while since I posted about my sewing so here we go :). At the start of the year, my cousin asked if I could upcycle a dress for her. (Upcycling is basically recycling old clothes). This particular dress was custom made for her but well…things didn’t quite turn out so great. It was challenging but exciting to remodel this skirt. I was quite pleased with the results. Made me want a midi-skirt for myself actually, I guess that will be a project for another day.

My main challenges with making this skirt were;

-fixing previous mistakes

-attaching the zipper (as usual)

-attaching the lining and *wait for it*

-pockets!!!

The lining was really only difficult because I wasn’t working from scratch, or maybe not. Either way it was more than just a little difficult to basically sew a skirt within a skirt. As this was my first time SUCCESSFULLY adding pockets to anything, I was pretty excited.

I would rate the difficulty of this project at a 6/10 if you’re making a skirt from a dress or a 4/10 if you’re starting from scratch (I would assume).

Ibegan-Trip to MidiBegin- Trip to midi

I started off by cutting off the top piece of the dress and cutting the bottom of the skirt to midi length then I hemmed it.

Trip to midi- BeginBegin-Midi Skirt

I opened up the sides of the skirt and added pockets. Finally, I took off the waistband, adjusted the size and reattached it to the skirt, being careful to maintain preexisting pleats.  While this seems fairly basic, it was rather time consuming.

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I feel it turned out pretty well all in all. Seeing her in this skirt made me really really want it though, 0_0. *skips off to sewing machine*

 

 

Midi Skirt- Ibegan

 

Twirl baby

Twirl Baby_Begin

Hey there!

So I was in Nigeria a few weeks ago, all I’d say about my trip is; food, heat and family. I had an amazing time and got a couple of interesting pieces while I was there. First thing I got done was this skirt. When I first started sewing, the very first thing I made was a circle skirt. I had several glitches but I was and still am very proud of it. Nevertheless, circle2.0 was a necessary upgrade. I didn’t sew the skirt myself but I cut the fabric and well I guess that’s half way there eh?Twirl Baby Begin

This skirt was a bit of a struggle though, because there was a sudden zipper scarcity. We opted for an elastic waist but that  just looked bleh. Then my super styling mama suggested that we add a belt and BAM! we got this baby.Twirl baby.Begin

I love how effortless circle skirts are to make and style. They make me feel extra girly and  being the girly-girl that I am that’s a major plus.

Twirl Baby, Begin

Just had to throw this in there 🙂

No More Excuses

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Hey Hey!

So I know its been a little while since I posted something here, specifically something fashion related. I have made a thousand excuses about why I shouldn’t or dare I say “couldn’t” post anything. “oh I don’t have any pictures”, “Oh I have work to do”, “Oh Peter Panky stressed me out and now I can’t post” weeell I’m done making excuses. I made this sweater in September and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it and even a few requests to recreate it for others (which I am going to do btw).

Begin Grey sweater

Firstly I would like to say thank you to WithWendy on youtube for posting the amazing tutorial that I used to make this sweater. I made a couple of adjustments and I think it turned out fabulously. I used 1.5 yards of double knit fabric. I would rate the difficulty of this project a 4/10. It was pretty basic once I cut everything out, my main challenge was when my sewing machine got drunk and did this…

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My sewing on this project was also not quite straight but I’m getting better though. At least it was straight enough not to make the sweater bunch up weirdly. I thought it would be a cute touch to add the little gold buttons on the cuffs. To be perfectly honest, I had a completely different sketch for this sweater but somehow I just ended up sticking to this. I have no regrets though, I would certainly revisit my initial sketch for a future project.

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One last thing; where is the best place to get fabric downtown Toronto? Cause my fabric shopping experience was so-so.

Skirting about with the magic of patterns

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Ooh la la!!!!!!!

I had no idea how amazingly fantastic patterns were! And no I don’t mean patterned fabric (although that’s also uber fantastic and relevant to this post). I’m talking about patterns that help you craft the perfect piece every time, much like a stencil if you will.

I feel the need to explain what a pattern is because I had never heard of one up until a couple of months ago when I first started researching how to make my own clothes. There are tons of blog posts that explain better what a pattern is but basically its a cut out that helps to guide you on how exactly to cut your fabric for a specific piece of clothing. You could buy your patterns ooooor make them which is what I decided to do. I would discuss how to make your patterns in a future post as I’m still learning and trying to perfect it myself.

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Anyhow, I made a pattern for a pencil skirt and seeing as I had quite a bit of fabric left over from the shorts I decided to make myself this pretty little number!

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For difficulty I would rate this a 5/10.

My main challenges were:

*attaching the invisible zip. (I find Zippers in general to be a little tricky)

*When I had finally succeeded with the zip, I decided to add a little pearl button to hold the waist together but unfortunately I had not accounted for a button hole so that bit is still a little wonky.

*Finally there was the huge debacle of the pointy hips. This was a problem that came from my pattern. (Note to self: don’t try to draw a curved line with a straight ruler, it just won’t work boo!). Anyhow that was fixed by trying it on, pinning things in place and sewing down.

I’m pretty happy with the outcome, well i’ll be really happy as soon as i find a way around that wonky button hole 🙂Begin-skirt back