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some interesting stuff!
Hello there!
Thanks for checking out my creative space and wanting to get to know more about me.
My name is Chioma and I want you to consider this space as a haven of knowledge, learning, sharing and sisterhood.

So......What are the benefits you gain from sewing?

21 July 2018




 Or more to the point................................WHY DO I SEW?

Stranger: Oh I love this your top
Me: Thanks a lot, yeah I love the yellow fabric
Stranger: Yeah it's very lovely, where did you get it?
Me: I sewed it
Stranger: Oh ok, which tailor?
Me: No, I mean I sewed it myself
Stranger: You sew? (Startled face). Please sew for me.
Me: Oh sorry I don't sew for people
Stranger1: (baffled look) You sew? WHY?
Stranger2: (baffled look) You don't sew for people? WHY?

If you sew, then this conversation is not strange to you, especially for me as a Nigerian where sewing as a hobby is not the norm, people don't get it at all at all.

Sewing is a proper business in Nigeria, a very lucrative one at that.

But this is the boat I find myself in and I'm happy with it and the community I have found online. We can all gush over a pair of scissors and our day is made.

But getting back to this post, I find that this is a question I get a lot and have struggled to explain to people.
Some of the reasons/benefits didn't even make themselves clear to me until years later.

Or is the real question, "Why do I need to explain myself and my sewing?" (I've actually been called selfish for not sewing for others, has this happened to any of you?)

I have always been a lover of fashion and style but never really liked most things in the shops. I'm that annoying friend you take to the shops and she doesn't like the fabric, or she wishes those pants were just an inch or two longer? etc
Well, since I didn't like most of what was in the shops, the next logical step for me was going to tailors to sew my clothes which is a normal thing in Nigeria.

So, off I went to the tailors with my bright ideas I'd gleaned from magazines etc and of course, I was met with disappointments.

Now you have to understand, this was many years ago and this skill of the average tailor then was lacking.
No real attention to the details, they were sewing a lot of caftans and fabric choices were very limited.
It was around this time that I came to the conclusion that I'd make my own clothes so that I could wear WHATEVER I WANTED.

And I feel that this is the line or bridge if you will, that separates us sewist, dressmakers, creatives etc from other people.
Because I think other people despite the bad experiences with any tailor would just continue looking for a good tailor instead of trying to DO IT THEMSELVES.

So, I found a local neighbourhood tailor to teach me how to sew and I've never looked back.

Are there times when I have thought, gurlllllllll go buy yourself this top instead of stressing out trying to draft out this pattern.
Yes, I'm not gonna lie, but as the years go by, the perks of this sewing gig are growing right in front of my eyes and those voices, no longer as loud or frequent.

Here are some of the perks/benefits I get out of sewing and why I feel it's so worth it.

A unique wardrobe, fit for my body

Walking into a room/down the street and wearing the same thing as other people is not something that happens to me anymore.
Some may call it selfish but, what's the point of having this superpower and still look like everyone else.
With sewing, you have a truly unique wardrobe, that reflects you and your style regardless of the current trends. YOU LOOK LIKE YOU WANT TO.

Another thing sewing is absolutely great at is helping/making you come to terms with your body and loving it with all its wonderful flaws. Whether it's one thigh being bigger than the other or one shoulder being more sloppy than the other.
It's just something you have to come to terms with because, if you measure a 44" hip but sew up a 43" because that's the size they were last year, well, it's not going to fit.

But when you know how to sew, you can sew to fit your uniqueness, dress it super fabulous like you feel you should look.
That gives you a shot of self-confidence like nothing else.

Complete design control


So, I don't know about you guys, but, I find that most times when I'm in shops, I pick something to try on and I catch myself wishing it had or didn't have some elements. 
Like when Peter pan collars were on trend so errrrverything had to have a peter pan collar, which I don't care for.

If you sew, you have control over how everything looks and feels. Fabric, colours, embellishments, where your peplum starts etc, all depend on what you want.

You can also nurture your design skills, even if you feel you don't have any.


The thrill of a new challenge

I'm a slow sewer, I'd be the first to admit that, but starting up a new project puts me in a good mood because it means new ways of improving my skills.

If I'm making something I've made before, I find myself doing things in half the time, and I can literally see my skills improving.



It makes you feel like you're in control of things.


The sense of accomplishment

At the other end of that the absolute high you get from finishing a project. 

I promise you, nothing compares to having an idea for a finished item and watching flat fabric transform into a top, skirt, a quilt etc


You don't even need to be a sewist to understand this feeling.
Meeting an official deadline for a project is the same thing.


Mental health


The positive effects of sewing on mental well being cannot be overstressed. Sewing lets us take time from our busy schedules and lives to do something we love, this centres us and stops us from running on fumes.

The busy world around us with smartphones, tv etc can have us multitasking, sewing makes us concentrate on one thing at a time, whether it's drafting a pattern, sewing a curve etc. This concentration and focus on one thing at a time reduces the sensory overload of our busy lives.

Sewing is also sometimes recommended for people who suffer from depression as a coping mechanism. The sense of accomplishment from finishing a project puts them on a healthy path to recovery.

I hate fast fashion

I think this statement speaks for itself. And some might argue that's it's a harsh statement, fast fashion creates jobs for people etc.

I believe it does but I hate fast fashion fit different reasons.
I even hated fast fashion before all the collapsed building fiasco, back then I didn't even know what"fast fashion" was.

I just knew that I hated these shops that kept telling that the clothes I bought last month were dated and not fashionable anymore.

Like seriously, why spend so much money, especially on poorly made clothes.

It's a marketable skill

For most people sewing is a cheaper alternative to buying clothes because you can get cheaper fabrics, I don't personally think so.
Sewing takes time and effort, that I sometimes feel is more expensive than buying RTW clothes. And the longer you sew the more you realize the importance of good fabrics so that your makes last.
Right from the beginning, I was never interested in getting cheap fabrics, just the skill.

Where I feel sewing shines is that it's a marketable skill, it can make you money.
I don't sew for money but I won't lie that I've been in a pinch money wise and taken on a job/commission or two to tide me over.

There are so many avenues of making money from your sewing. Like you can be in the business of mending clothes and making alterations, you can work as a pattern designer, you can work in the wardrobe unit on film sets or also make custom clothing, home furnishings and even vintage clothing for people.
There are also other things you can do where a knowledge of sewing is not necessarily required but it's an added benefit like in being a fashion designer or working in a sewing factory.


It's a lifelong skill


I consider myself fortunate to see family friends and relatives reach retirement age, still agile. 

But, I have also noticed that after the excitement of getting to the end so to speak, receiving all the accolades from your colleges. There's this confusion over what to do with all this free time.

Everyone thinks travel, take a cruise etc but, how mentally engaged does that keep them? This is one of the harsh realities of retirement, there seems to be nothing to wake up to anymore.


At retirement age, the last thing anyone wants is to learn a new hobby, from scratch. Few might, most won't.

This is what makes me so grateful for my sewing skill.

It's mine FOREVER, no one can take it away from me.


So........... RETIREMENT PLAN ☑

Now that you know what answers to give about your love/passion for sewing, how about ways of taking your sewing skills to new heights.

Did you know sewing was this badass? Do you agree or disagree with any of my points? Do you have anything to tell us?

Let's have a conversation in the comment section, I'd love to hear from you.

Don't forget to join other sewing friends by dropping your email address, like us on facebook etc




                                                   
                                                                 

Sew and Tell: Every girl needs a wrap skirt, right?

29 June 2018


"Every girl needs a wrap skirt"
I can't say this is a statement, I have ever agreed with or totally agree with now since my new skirt was made, but as imperfect as my new wrap skirt is, I'll have you know that I love it.
I am now a very proud member of the wrap skirt gang.

4 ways to sharpen your sewing skill

19 June 2018

So, you started sewing recently or maybe you've been sewing for a while, and, have taken on a few projects here and there. You've mended a few clothes, made a simple skirt or two even made a pillowcase with invisible zips.
But you still feel like your skills arsenal are a bit lacking, your seam lines are crooked(even the best sewists suffer from this, so, all is not lost) your tire out and get irritable easily when you are sewing and you wonder..... IS THIS IT? How do the other sewists do it? will my projects ever look as good as theirs?
All these are fair and necessary questions, your asking and wondering this means you are on the right sewing track to further and sharpen your skills as a sewist.
So, I put together a short list of things that will get you there.


1. BUY THE RIGHT TOOLS/ EQUIPMENT

Honestly, the amount of time and stress using the wrong tools or equipment for a sewing project takes is shocking.

I'm not saying you have to buy everyyyy single foot for your sewing machine, you certainly do not need them all, and, these things can start to really add up in costs. But I will encourage you to invest in something if it's a sewing task you love and use in almost all your projects.
In my case, I discovered that I loved finishing my edges with bias tape, liked using them to make straps, and as details on sewing projects etc.


Afer suffering iron burns and uneven bias folds for years, I finally caved and got the bias binding toolset, and, I cannot tell you how much easier my life has been, I kept kicking myself for not buying them sooner.

2. INCREASE YOUR SEWING KNOWLEDGE

When I first started sewing I thought well I can sew a straight line and install a centred zipper, I'm golden now, no more skills required, these techniques can sew me anything I want, erhhhhhhh bump the brakes right here, this is not so true.
As you go along on your sewing journey, you will see fabulous dresses, tops etc in the shops, it might even be a pricey designer brand that sparks your interest.
Getting in closer to examine the garment, you see some details that look interesting, and, you feel will look great on that maxi in your sewing projects pile, but, bummer, you don't know how to make it. 
Its times like these that having knowledge of different sewing techniques in your arsenal come in handy. And, honestly such knowledge help you take your sewing further by creating more unique one of a kind garment, which is one the best perks of sewing.

WHERE DO I GET THIS KNOWLEDGE? I hear you ask, there are all sorts of sewing resources for sewists and creatives out there if you check.

Threads magazine has been around for a long time, the site is chock full of ideas, patterns, tutorials etc.
Then there's Craftsy, which is another one of my favourites. There are also classes for baking, quilting, bag making etc.
These sites also have youtube channels, speaking of youtube, it's another great resource hub, just type what you are looking for in the search bar and watch your sewing skills flourish.
There are also personal sewing websites such as mine, where we document our sewing journeys and answer some of your sewing or crafting questions along the way, so do please have a look around before you leave.

3. SEWING ERGONOMICS

I first came across this term from a lady on youtube called Janet Pray, and immediately it was like a light bulb went off in my head. So, this is why I was having such backaches that the thought of continuing a project filled me with so much dread.
Basically, sewing ergonomics just means designing your sewing workspace in a way that reduces stress to your body, keeps your body in a neutral position and reduce repetitive motion stress especially when your sewjo is turned all the way up, and you sew for extended periods of time.

So what are the things and tools that could make our sewing ergonomic to keep us sewing and thereby increasing our sewing skills?
Well, there are a couple;
Good lighting: Have you ever tried to sew with bad lighting? It's so terrible, I won't even bother explaining, and if you think you are managing ok, take another look at your stitches in the daytime, you'd be surprised. get good bright daylight bulbs, they also reduce eye strain.
Seating Position: You don't want to be hunched over during sewing, that leads to so much back pain, you should keep a neutral seated or standing position(yeah some folks like to stand while sewing). This position is also directly influenced by your chair and table.
Your chair should be adjustable for height and your table should be low to where your arms are at a 90-degree angle from your body.
The table should also allow your legs to be bent at a 90degree angle with space to move around.
Sewing Tools: Compression gloves, spring action scissors, rotary cutters etc are all tools designed to make sewing less stressful and reduce the strain of repetitive actions.

Bottomline, If you don't feel good when you are sewing then chances are you won't want to sew, you won't have it in you to finish a project and even if you stick with it, your work will probably not be as good as you could make it.
You should be relaxed in your sewing position, sewing should not be stressing you out.

This video helps explain it better.

This is another video that helps



4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

We are always told to do this for everything so why not sewing right?

The idea is that if you carve out time from your regular sewing to practice and concentrate on one skill at a time you'll inevitably get better at it.
Which will lead you to feel confident enough to add it to your next sewing projects to make them more unique and more you.

So, I hope I've enlightened you in some way and made you consider taking your sewing skill a step further.
Please do feel free to ask me any questions you have.
Have you experienced such pains in your sewing? Are you taking sewing classes in general or just to learn a particular skill?
Let's have a conversation in the comment section and do join in the fun by signing up to our email list to get these types of content delivered straight to you.




                                                
                                                              

Sew and Tell: An honest review of my first high waist culottes

27 May 2018

I remember when I started hearing the word culottes thrown around in the fashion sphere, I kept going "what the heck are those?" till someone pointed them out to me and I said...........but those are palazzo pants, and, they are, but every recycle has to come with a new name to be bonafide recycle, but you'll forgive me if I use the names interchangeably


How to sew up the awesome Spring/Summer 2018 fashion trends

14 May 2018


Today I'm excited to talk some fashion trends that graced the designer runways. Considering where I live I'm usually most excited about the spring/summer trends because those are things I can/will wear.

I know some people cannot abide runway fashion, either because they don't follow fashion trends, or, they find some of the trends these designers come up with questionable.
 And, let's face it sometimes these designers come up with unrealistic and quite frankly annoying trends IMHO, case in point, the whole see through to your underwear(if you're wearing any) trend, ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! please don't get me started😃😃.
Some people are also put off by the combination of outfit pieces, that just make no real-world sense, my take, treat some of these fashion shows like art exhibitions(which, fashion is an art form) it's not always gonna conform to real life, just hone in on one item of clothing you like on the model and think of how you would style that particular piece.

This is why we regular folk rely on the trusty high street for their wearable, real-life albeit poorly constructed, cheaper fabric interpretations.

SEWING CHALLENGES & HASHTAGS: MAY 2018

5 May 2018



So I'm back for the usual roundup and while we're at it do check up the posts from previous months round up as some challenges do run for 6 months or the whole year.

JANUARY
FEBRUARY
MARCH
APRIL


SEWING CHALLENGES & HASHTAGS: APRIL 2018

22 April 2018


 So its another month, and, another roundup of sewing hashtags and challenges to keep you creative and productive for the new month.
Now as always, there are year long, 6 month long challenges that started since the beginning of the year, so, do please check them out.

January 2018
February 2018
March 2018

But these were what I could gather that was kicking off this month.


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