The privilege of being female | DIY peacoat

I made this coat in January I think but I just never blogged it. As you can tell by the drippy nature of this, I clearly wronged you by not sharing sooner, but I am here now just in time for F/W2019.

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Bigger than the coat though, I am here to talk to myself and anyone else who cares to listen about embracing femininity. For so long, I feel like it’s almost become acceptable to despise being female. I know I have certainly had many mixed feelings about what is frankly just my fact of birth. The phrase “Why does the woman always have to [insert high standard that men aren’t held to here]”, has come up in so many conversations and in so many different permutations and honestly, it can be a little miserable.

It’s miserable realizing that your life is expected to be some collection of insurmountable injustices; especially as a black woman, where the intersection of your race and gender presents nothing but emotional labour and unreciprocated effort. This may be why I fought with the concept of womanhood for so long, because being a girl is just a little easier sometimes. You can delay some expectations, you can still choose how you want to interact with the world around you. You are hopeful.

Anyhow, now I’m here. Fully woman and I am choosing to love this. I am choosing to see this as a privilege and not a burden. I have the unique opportunity to wake up each day in this body and I think that is pretty amazing.

I look at my physical body today, and where I would once have complained about it being too much or not enough, I see it as perfectly suited to me.

Where I would have tried to soften my wit to make it more palatable for some, I now speak and expect to be heard.

img_1488I have no time for people who don’t value my time or talents because there is a very strong roster of people who do.

I cry if I need to cry because it’s a healthy expression of my emotions.

I ask for help if I need it because I wasn’t built to do life alone.

I set boundaries on my time, my relationships and my space because I love myself and I want to keep me safe.

I speak positively to myself because it enriches my soul.

I smile at my reflection because it is a privilege to do so.

Our time on this earth is as short as it is long. It is just enough time for us to give of ourselves in tremendous ways. When I find myself staring in the mirror too long because of a breakout, or bemoaning my edges or my nail beds or my cellulite, I will try to remember what a privilege it is to be female. To share this unique human experience of femininity with so many other amazing women. To be called one of them.

When I am in a space where I feel like I am being drowned out by the men in the room, I will remember that my voice is important and I have a responsibility to myself to speak even if they refuse to hear. I will also remember to be a support for another woman if I see her being drowned out.

 

 

 

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When I see another woman doing amazing things, I will celebrate her because I know the privilege that we have in carrying the bodies that we do and pushing boundaries where we do.

When I look at this beautiful life and see the men in my life achieving exceptional things, I will remember that uplifting them does not mean that I am any less privileged to be in this body that I am in. I will remember that their success does not have to mean my downfall. I will take inspiration from their uninhibited love of self and love myself just as fiercely

When it hurts to carry the full reality of this feminine form, I will remember that I have purpose that impacts a world so much bigger than me. Every day that I push past the physical, emotional or mental pressures that this body brings, I am pressing closer to the thing that I am here to do

And on the high highs and the low lows, I will always choose to rest in faith knowing that I am never alone

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9:36pm

“9:36pm I asked for her hand”

I have been trying to be a bit more frugal Fran with my spending habits so I’m opting for the streetcar a lot more these days. You hear, see and smell all sorts on the streetcar. People plotting breakups, people hashing out business ideas, the odd fellow who is really just looking for a fight with anyone who would oblige and ah, the sometimes pungent, sometimes faint, but always present; smell of urine and cigarettes that clings to the inside of your nostrils long after you’re off the streetcar.

It’s virtually impossible not to eavesdrop on some conversations. I never really intend to overhear things but when the conversation is happening right by your neck or like today, right behind my neck, straight into my bun, it’s reeeally hard not to hear. Now for some context, I only heard one side of this phone conversation so I will embellish a little to complete the story in my mind.

He picks up the phone, it seems to have gone straight to voicemail. He says “Hey, I’m calling to ask for your hand”. “I know you’re probably asleep, it’s 9:36, I just want to ask for your hand”. That’s it. The conversation ends. He whispers to himself, “9:36pm, I asked for her hand”.

So naturally, as any normal person would (I think), I build up a couple stories to buttress this limited conversation. Story 1 and my personal default tale; he just worked up the courage to ask her to marry him. Now it doesn’t bode well in my fairytale that he did this over the phone when he knew she’d be asleep. If you’re so scared to ask her, are you sure it’s really the right move? But then, it could just be what a modern romance looks like; boy and girl play like tag on Instagram, he slides into her DM’s or maybe she slides into his and then a few months later he is so overwhelmed with love (or some equally compelling emotion) for her that he decides she is the one with whom he should go the distance. He’s on his way to her place and decides that just in case his nerves fail him when he beholds her ethereal “just woke up, what are you doing at my door” face, he will leave her a voicemail so she at least knows his intent. A perfectly logical move. Who’s to say that this isn’t the evolution of love?

My second story was far more sinister. Did he want her actual hand? I’ve only seen Silence of the Lambs once but it was enough for me to know that life might not be as easy breezy as Lauryn Hill’s voice on a summer drive. What if he was on his way to her house, stalking her, to collect her perfectly manicured hand!! I stole a glance to see if he looked like someone who might be better suited for the first story but from the salt and pepper beard and weathered eyes, I strongly doubted he would be sliding into any DM’s. Certainly not intentionally. I however refuted this sordid tale because I still like to believe there is good in this world.

This brings me to my final tale. He’s been married a few times. He’s always believed in love but with each failed marriage that belief has been marred with questions. Will he ever find that one true love? Is that fairy tale love for someone like him? Then he met her. They were both volunteering at a soup kitchen one afternoon and conversations about the weather evolved into conversations about faith and futures. The more they talked the clearer it became what people mean when they say “meant to be”. So he’s on his way home; to the home he hopes will soon be warmed by her scent, and on this crowded streetcar he has one singular thought; I have to ask for her hand. Unable to wait a moment more, he calls her and proposes. Her answer right now is almost inconsequential because no matter what she says, his faith in love is restored. She calls him back the next morning, hands shaking, almost unsure if this is a dream

she says yes.

Reboot | A vegan dinner

Trying new things

Hi Guys!

This isn’t a fashion post but I still wanted to blog anyway. As you may or may not have noticed I don’t sew everyday so if you assumed that I fill my other days with eating cakes and crumpets well you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. I like good food and I cannot lie. It could be anything from a Kit Kat bar to Epkang Nkukwo but your girl doesn’t mind snacking on a thing or two at any given point. My mum and sister are both food bloggers so even more opportunities to support the snackery.

This weekend, I took my mum to a vegan restaurant. Yes, my Nigerian mother agreed to vegan food. With MINIMAL persuasion!!!! Let’s just sit on that for a quick second. I’m still wondering what the catch was. She only mentioned meat once during the entire dinner and I feel we truly judged the food on it’s merit.

Chana Chaat and Avo, Kale & friends

 

I was really inspired by my mum’s willingness to try something that frankly was not in her comfort zone in anyway. How often do we just play it safe, carry on with business as usual and never try to do something really new? It doesn’t always have to be a big thing like moving to another country or dying your hair spirogyra green. It could be the little things; like walking when you would have taken the bus or talking to people when you would otherwise have scrolled through Instagram for the 15th time in a 20 minute time-frame.

I guess all I’m saying is that you have to be willing to do the unexpected every now and again. Maybe it would work, maybe it won’t but it will be fun to try 🙂

Berry Cheesecake

Restaurant – Hello 123

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. 

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

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.

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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

Kilikili

One dress multiple options

kilikili vlisco

Hi Guys!

Back at it again with a green dress :D. This fabric breathes nostalgia~the beating of wooden drums and little girls *cough* me *cough* popping on stage with our waist beads and kilikili wrappers. I remember this fabric as yellow and red but I am definitely feeling the new versions cropping up.

diy dress

This dress doesn’t really have a front or back per se, it can be worn both ways. Wearing it in reverse allows the option of wearing it as  a summer dress. Alas as winter lingers on I have respected myself and worn a sweater with it.

ibo star fabric

Lining was important for this outfit because I believe it gave a bit more structure. I used a v-neck dress that I currently own as a pattern and extended the neckline  for one side.

In hindsight, as opposed to cutting on the fold, it may have been better to cut four pieces and have a seam down the middle.

green dress

Good to note that while this dress may appear to be very straight, cutting it as such was a mistake. I had to go back in and taper  the top a bit to avoid looking like I was wearing a barrel :/

Other than those points I think it was a simple enough dress with plenty of movement and versatility.

Pictures by Willyverse