Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Fabric Haul and Sewing Institute visit

My visit to Made Institute in Philadelphia, PA.

Have you ever felt like you just fell into the right place at the right time?

That was how I felt when I arrived to Made Institute in the historic part of Center City Philadelphia.

It started when I received this Facebook tag from my Big Sister Angie.  At first I was thinking, where in the world is there a sewing school in this city outside of Joann Fabrics???  I already made plans for this day and Plans that were on the other side of town.  However,  Who can pass up a $25 Fabric grab bag?  Not me.  Usually I travel to NYC and hit the Fabric district to hit my favorite grab bag spot but was happy to save on the bus ride fare, so I changed my plans to go.

Now, having lived in Philadelphia all but 3 years of my life, I couldn't figure out where this location was.  I actually had to Google map it only to find that it was a few blocks away from where I worked.  Being located near one of my favorite spots, Penn's Landing (our waterfront),  I figured that I could make a stop there afterwards and just relax, people watch and read.

In case you don't know - A grab bag is when you pay a fee (in this case $25) and they sponsors hand you a bag and you fill it to capacity of the bag.  ANYTHING that you can fit into this bag, you get to walk away with. So the day came for me to make my venture to the unknown.  I went with suitcase in hand - Just in case it was too heavy to carry.  I went early but The day was already hot.  As I was walking, I had the opportunity to explore all that was around me.  Places I've heard of but never seen. One place in particular was, The Betsy Ross House.  So I marked that down as a come back to place once I finished.

I arrived to the small street that housed the designated location.  As I look down the block, I thought, this clearly looks like a residential area, where could a school fit on this block!  Yet, I kept walking thinking, either I'll find it or I'll find something else historical.  Low and behold with a few more steps there was an opening that set in a little off the street and there was MADE!

So I walked inside and was greeted at the door.  II was given the run down on how the process was to go for my time there.  I paid my $25 and proceeded with caution as I was not the first one there and the excitement was flowing.  Before picking up anything, I walked around the entire store to see what was all there.  After getting permission to take photos from Rachel, I realized that this would become a 2-fold mission.  Not only will I be grabbing some great pieces of fabric, but laying down the work for my next blog post.

They had everything from Fabric to Patterns, and sewing machines.  I must have walked around the school 3 times, asking questions and taking pics.  I even stumbled upon this historic beauty here hiding behind a door. I thought it was just an old fashion sewing machine but it was actually a Button Hole Maker.


I finally made my way back to the front and chatted with Rachel, who incidentally is the owner,  while I was putting my bag into my suitcase, I looked over and immediately started asking Rachel questions. Now to know me is to know I am an introvert and somewhat shy, I don't normally just start asking questions to people I don't know.  What was even crazier than that was, as soon as I asked Rachel who was the owner and how long this school has been here, her response came as if I were doing an interview.  So what did I do?  I pulled out my phone and started taking notes!!!

Made Institute started right in the apartment of Rachel just a few short years ago after attending Moore College of Art.  It wasn't long before she started receiving  request from eager students waiting to learn. So much so that Rachel had to start looking for a new place to hold classes.  It was then that she stumbled on the current location of 305 Cherry Street, Philadelphia.  Which she holds the location WITHOUT A LOAN and owing NO ONE!!!!  Rachel made it a point to be business savvy with her dollars.  She explained that with every student having paid tuition, she purchased a dress form and sewing machine.  To see this building along with the location, you would think that she took out quite a few loans.  But she didn't and I was soooooo amazed!!!  Even more, she is leaving this location here to continue her journey and expand at their NEW LOCATION of 448 N. 10th Street 5th fl, Philadelphia, PA

All in all, this is the last place that I thought to get my next fabric haul from!!!   So to my readers, check out your local sewing schools / Institutes and check out if and when they are doing and downsizing or giveaways.

To see what made it to my grab bag, check out my YouTube video..

For more social information on Made Institute, you can follow them on IG @made_institute and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MadeInPhiladelphia/   To sign up for classes or to hear more about the school head over to their website: www.made-institute.com 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Sewing Bucket List

In following behind my sew sistas, Robert's Wife Collection and Fashion Behind the Seams, I've decided to create a sewing bucket list.  I've only been sewing for 3 years and haven't yet been exposed yet to all the techniques and fashion but I thought I would list my Bucket List by pattern number until I had to search for them.  So here's the basic list.

  1. Jumper
  2. Wide Leg Pants
  3. Bow Top
  4. Pleated Color Skirt
  5. Wrap Dress 
  6. High-Lo dress
  7. Maxi Skirt
  8. Blouse / Shirt with Lining
  9. Dress w/ lining
  10. Blind hem stitching
  11. Clutch
  12. Detachable shoulder Bow
  13. Tulle skirt
  14. Bishop sleeve top
  15. V slash neckline dress/top
  16. Exposed zipper
  17. Fly zipper
  18. Blazer
  19. High-lo Peplum
  20. High-lo Maxi skirt
  21. Hair Bonnets
  22. Lap scarf
  23. Tunic Dress
  24. Bind a Neckline
  25. Apron
  26. Attend Pinterest Conference 
  27. Attend the Mimi G
  28. Decorative Pillow
  29. Outer wear jacket
  30. Wool Coat
Sheesh!!!  That's a lot!  I've already completed a few of these items.  So that helps.  SOME.

Disclaimer: I do use affiliate links in my blog. There’s NO charge to click on any of these links. However I do receive a small percentage from the advertiser if you decide to purchase after following that link. Thanks for your support.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Jumping The Broom!!

Ok so I didn’t jump the actual broom, but I did start a new marriage.  I’ve decided to join the millions of creators, entrepreneurs, and just regular people in the new wave of being a YouTuber!!!!

Yes, I, Shawn Jones Harris creator of Zariah Sews, now has a You Tube page.    I’ve actually been engaged with YouTube for the past year.  Going through cold feet as to whether or not I am actually going to walk down the aisle and click that upload – “Marry ME!” button.  My sister, Lailah Lynn, has been a YouTuber for a few years now and has been trying to encourage me to take the plunge.  Even my Mom, AskMarie, joined the team before I did.

Me being shy and an introvert (yes there is a difference) I struggled with putting myself out there visually.  I know that you all can’t actually see me out there live, but I know you’re there – somewhere.  I didn’t want to be filmed myself.  So I started with just playing around with the camera and actually doing a short segment will I was on the floor working on a pattern.  When I say playing I mean it.  No lights, a cheap camera, and I am on the floor.  Not only that, I did while trying to container my grand-daughter from stepping on my project. Let’s not forget, I had no editing class or even watched a YT video on how to be or upload videos. It was just a shoot and upload moment that got captured in the momentum of bravery.

So my moment of bravery with horrible lighting, editing, and upload skill, actually captured a few views.  I had already set myself up to thinking that the only people who would even see the video would be my sister, mom and I.  Who would think 2 minutes 8 seconds in and 2 months later this video would have captured 234 views??? Surely not me!!!!

Alright.  Now it’s done.  The anxiety is over.  Then they tell me, you have to do more!!!!!  MORE????!!!  Sheesh Louise! Do you know how hard it was to do that one?  I don’t want my face on video.  What would I even have to talk about without being present?  My sister and Mom then taunted me with their monthly earnings and how they are able to pay bills.  My sister (baby sis at that) is so good at it, it affords her to be a stay at home mom.  I was totally amazed that this was even possible to do.  Then I thought, I could use that extra money.  On top of that I thought, this could be a 2 fold ministry.  I love helping people – doing videos based on my sew journey could help or teach someone else and eventually get paid for doing what I already love.

Hmmmm… I think I can this – with that mindset of course.  So I began writing ideas that came to mind in my journal.  I came up with a jumpstart of 10 videos.  Oh my goodness!  Am I about to 10 videos?!  Here comes that old anxiety again.  So I sat on the idea of it for about a month.  Then out the clear blue I get a comment from my Sew Sista, NaturalDane, after I posted a pic of my fabric haul at one of my favorite stores that said, “I hope we get a haul video”- smiley face with hearts.  Huh? A what??  She must be kidding! Or maybe not.  Her statement had my mind going again.  Then I asked myself (once again – “Can I really do that?”   I started watching others and how easy it seemed to shoot, then I did it for myself. I recorded another video.  This time, you can see me.  You can view the, “What’s in my Bag” video here.  After doing that one video I realized I had another bag so again, as I moved in the moment of momentum, I shot another video.

Breathe Z!  I just shot and posted 3 videos!!!!!  Not only that I received likes , subscribers, and comments!!  So in that excitement, I went back to my list that I made a month before and thought – I can do this!  So here we are.

My channel will not only be filled with sewing videos, but crafting and etc.. as well.
So please check out my videos by clicking on the link.

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Want to learn how to sew?  

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Look Pattern 6469 - Sew Along/Pattern Review

So I've been sitting on this pattern for quite some time now.  I must have grabbed it when it was first released as I have the sample envelope.  As soon as I saw New Look 6469, I knew I had to have it in my collection.

What first caught my eye with this pattern was the style.  I am 5' 9'' and have not only a lot of leg, but almost an equal amount of torso.  Not to mention the extras in the middle.  So I wanted something cute and sassy, plus easy to make and in looking at this pattern, this was it.  

When I first opened the package, I went right into cutting my pattern size out.  It was my intention to make this dress right away.  I had a fabric choice in mind at first glance.  Only once I went to lay the pattern on the fabric,  My fabric wasn't wide enough to accommodate the pattern.  So I folded it back up and stuffed it in the envelope and it sat on a shelf for months.  Maybe even a year.  I was disappointed in that I had to start my fabric search all over for this pattern.

In the meantime, I went fabric shopping a few times since then and had fabric just sitting up on the shelf.  I confess, I am a mini-hoarder.

Recently I came across a YouTube video created by one of my sew sisters, Brittany J Jones.  It was for this exact pattern!! After watching the video and seeing how easy she made it seem, I went searching through my stash and came up with this fabric choice.  This is a denim look-a-like that is a stretch knit.


So here's my review:

Pattern Sizing: Size 18 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I'm going to say yes here.  I actually did not use the pattern instructions, but did it as a Sew-A-long with Brittany.  I thought the sleeve insertion would be shake me a little, but I had no problems.  Especially since I had a video tutorial to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I actually found no fault in this pattern at all

Fabric Used: Stretch Knit.  I really love this fabric.  It's so comfy.  

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added a few inches to the length since I am "leggy"  only thing is.... I have no idea how many inches I added.

Would you sew it again? Definitely!!! I will definitely make a number of these in the future using various types of fabric since there is a zipper involved.

Would you recommend it to others? YES!!!

EXTRAS: Having Brittany's video really helped me as I am a visual learner.  It allowed me to stop and go as I went and have a clear understanding of what the directions were probably saying.

I made an attempt to do a mini photo shoot after church, but my grand wouldn't let me go solo.  Once she saw what I was doing, she jumped right in and refused to move.  So here she is in her first public blog post.

This dress was so easy to make.  If I can do it, You can do it too!

Happy Sewing!!!

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Want to learn how to sew?  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Girl's Night Out with McCall's 7021 and 6173

No matter where we work, my girlfriend and make it a point to get together every few months.  Being as though I'm more of a home and church girl, I didn't really have "going out" clothes.  So I decided that I would try my hand at making something other than a dress or skirt, very easy, stylish and comfortable. These two McCall pattern's were the very thing I needed.

Since I don't consider myself to be a professional seamstress yet, I tend to stay away from pants altogether.  What drew me to the leggings was that it had an elastic waistband and only 2 pieces.   Both of the fabric choices for this project were knits that I purchased from New York City fabric stores.  I had been searching for the fabric choice for the top for a few years after seeing it posted on Facebook by another seamstress. I fell so much in love with it that I dreamed about it.  While on a fabric shopping spree, I decided to take my time in the fashion and go in and out of various fabric stores to first scout what caught my eye before purchasing it.  Then I stumbled into Fabrics World USA.  Just during a random search.  All of a sudden while not looking for this particular fabric, it stuck out to me like an angel with a glowing halo.  AHHHHHHHHHHH...........  The hard part was figuring out what was I going to make out of this.  I had enough fabric for a cute skirt.  Then with the left over, I made a Peplum top using McCall's pattern 7021.

When I picked up the bolt, there was only about 3 good yards of it.  A half a yard was a little spotted on the back of the fabric.  At first I was disappointed until one of the workers said let me check in the basement. "O.k, I'll wait!"  I was in no rush to get out of there once I found my fabric.  He did take a long time to come back up though.  Thank God, he did NOT come up empty handed.  He found a full bolt of the same fabric!!!  So I grabbed 2 more yards and they threw in the and batch for free!! Woo Hoo!!  I had no clue what I was going to make out of it, but I had it and that's all that mattered.

The leggings were just something I wanted to try because it looked quick and easy to make.  I actually brought that fabric on my trip to NYC as well.  Thank God for proximity and rolling luggage!  McCall's pattern 6173 seemed to do the trick.  

I've used this pattern before and with the fabric choice I used, It turned out a little bigger than I wanted.  This denim like knit that I used for this outfit came out just perfectly.

Pattern Sizing: Size Large for the leggings and 18 for the Peplum.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Surprisingly yes. I thought the Peplum would be difficult, but not.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the fact that it was made out of a spandex and knit fabric without zippers!

Fabric Used: Stretch Knit (leggings) and Spandex(top)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 2 inches to the bodice of the peplum as I have a long torso.  The leggings had to be cut shorter for my height. 

Would you sew it again? Definitely!!! I'm positive that I will be making at least 5 more of this pattern before years end, tweeking it up here and there. This is a quick Go-to pattern.

Would you recommend it to others? YES!!!

Put them both together and you get this...

Happy Sewing!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quick Tip - Project Prep!

For ages the Girl Scout motto has been, "Be prepared!".  As I gotten older,  I've tried to apply this motto to my everyday life.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes..... I miss the mark.

Last year I was on a mission to create all of my garments for a Church Conference.  Since I decided at such short notice,  I had to come up with a way that would make things easier for me.  Especially since I had a feeling that my machine was going to end up on this trip as well. 

As an Event Planner I plan out upcoming  projects.  I figured the only way I would be able to pull off this project was to put on my seamstress planner hat and prep ahead. 

The first thing I did was decide what patterns I wanted to use.  I put them in a big clear Ziploc bag.  Then I was in a mission to find the right fabric for the dresses I wanted to make. Not so easy.  I purchased everything that I would need to go with each garment. Thread, zippers,  pins, etc... I put those things in the Ziploc bag with the pattern selected.

Whenever I found a few free minutes. I would  cut out the patterns then place then back in the envelope.  I did this for all 4. Then when I found more free time,  I grabbed the Ziploc,  removed the cut pattern and cut out the fabric.  Once cut,  and pins still attached,  I placed all the materials back in the Ziploc bags.  Everything was kept in one spot until I could schedule time to focus on creating the garment. 

I still do this when I buy patterns or fabrics.  It makes for easy prep and planning. Of course the universal tools that I use for every project (scissors, seam ripper, marker) don't stay in the Ziploc, but I keep them near by for easy access.

Today was just a quick tip to help get you to Project Plan.  

Leave me a comment and tell me what are some of your project prepping steps?

Happy Sewing!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

And the Go-To Award goes to..... McCall's 6886

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So........ I did a quick inventory of all the patterns in my stash. My patterns are out of control and need to be tamed. I've been sewing consistently for about 2 1/2 years now and I haven't touched half of them. A few in particular I loved so much I have repeated them. One of my favorites is McCall's 6886 .

This pattern only comes with 4 pieces. ONLY 4!!!!! Wait Excuse me. There are 3 pieces to cut, but 4 in total to sew to piece together the garment. The garment requires that you use a stretch knit or stretch fabric. Although I used a stretch denim for one of my creations (seen below), it's definitely better to go with the suggested fabric on the back of the envelope. Trust me. I chose this stretch denim because I fell in love with the fabric when I purchased it.

I was making it for a conference and I had to make it fast because I was due to pack up to leave. This is a great beginners pattern to start off with for a dress. There are no zippers, no pockets, and the seams are pretty straight. You do have to know how to set a sleeve which isn't too difficult at all. This is definitely a good dress pattern to learn on. I recommend that you purchase 2 of these just in case.  I purchased my patterns from Joann Fabrics during one of their pattern sales..

This is definitely my go to dress when I have to make something quick in a particular color.  What makes it so fabulous is that I can change up the sleeves, shorten it, make it long, add a flounce or ruffle.  Below are the many ways I have made this quick fix.  Most people make this dress to fit their body a little closer than what I have, but....  I move around a lot and need to be sure that I have room and comfort as I go.

Pattern Sizing: Size 16

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very much so.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I only wish that it had a neck facing

Fabric Used: Stretch Knit or Stretch fabric

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The only pattern changes that I had to make were adding length, becasue I am 5' 9'' and with the shoulders.  I was born in the shape of Olive Oyl. 

Would you sew it again? Definitely!!! I'm positive that I will be making at least 5 more of this pattern before years end, tweeking it up here and there.

Would you recommend it to others? YES

Here are some other pictures of me using this same pattern.



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