Learning to love yourself Hey guys! So late last year, I made this jumpsuit which modeled after a jumpsuit I was supposed to ( but failed to) make for my mom. Turns out it… More
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
As 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.
I 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.
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.
Photos by Willyverse.
Happy birthday to me
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.
Or maybe not. Let me know when you try 🙂
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.
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.
Pictures by Willyverse
Satin wedding dress and Cape
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 ♥
Pictures by Willyverse
Advice from my Grandmother
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.