Happy New Year friends! 2019 was filled with SO much sewing–I tried to put together one of those nifty grids that showed all my sews and, well, it took a really long time to get through. I got up to some 150 sews and I was barely halfway through. Amidst all of my sewing, I was also doing some pretty cool things–including being invited to be a 2020 Sew My Style (SMS) Leader!
2020 Sew My Style (SMS)
This year Sew My Style (SMS) is being more intentional about including the face of all sewists–including more inclusive sizing, different cuts, and styles that support different fits. Just like how the world is changing, so is that of sewing and it’s something that should be reflected in SMS. This year’s head leader, Paulette, has been intentional about choosing leaders, patterns and more that make ALL of us feel welcomed.
What Is SMS?
Sew My Style is an online sewing challenge. Each month we all sew up one of two patterns and then show off our garments together on the last day, as one community.
It’s also one of the longest-running sewing challenges, having started in 2017 and run continuously since then thanks to a number of volunteer vloggers and bloggers.
Originally it was called Project Sew My Style and started by Alex Bartholomew to raise awareness about the slow fashion industry movement and encourage young women to take up sewing.
Since then, the online sewing community has grown tremendously and standards of inclusivity and diversity have evolved.
The challenge is no longer focused on a small segment of the sewing population. Instead, we actively encourage participation from all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, and genders. The make-up of the 2020 leadership team of sewing bloggers and vloggers reflects this evolution.
So yeah, it’s a super dope YEAR LONG sewing challenge.
Why I Decided To Join SMS
Full disclosure: Before Paulette told our House of Curves group that she was going to be taking over the responsibility of the challenge, I didn’t know what it was. I volunteered because I really respect her and was looking forward to something that would get me out of my sewing comfort zone. And then I got excited about the patterns. Then I got excited about the things I could do with the patterns.
And then I got excited because I get to represent some amazing people. Being a plus-sized black woman in an area that doesn’t always welcome us can be hard. It doesn’t feel good to not see myself in patterns, fabrics and represented in an area I love. But this is rapidly changing and I’m happy.
I’m pretty excited to be sharing this here first. I’m launching a monthly box of goodies that are both hand-crafted and hand-selected by yours truly.
This is NOT subscription box as it will not be put on auto-ship but this is a box that can be purchased monthly. I’ve been wanting to have a box for some time now and I’ve finally settled on what I wanted it to be. Whenever I share pictures of pieces that I’ve made, people tend to want the exact thing that I’ve made but I’ve run out of that fabric! Some people have even just remarked that they love my fabric choice and would want me to just style them.
This box will be a happy medium of both of these things here. And I really hope that it’s loved by all!
Ok Aaronica, I’m excited… Give me the deets now!
These are still being ironed out as we speak BUT here is what we’ve got so far:
Box contents will include the following:
1 custom piece made by me
Between 3-5 of my favorite artisan items. These will range from body butters to washes to wax melts and more
Things that I think you’ll love
Pre-selling starts right away
There will be 10 boxes for the first month
Depending on how thee boxes sell, there will be a waitlist
All boxes will be shipped out by mid month
Hashtags to track and share what’s in the boxes will be provided in the box but will include #AaronicasBoxOfFaves
This is what I have for now. Once I figure out how to get WooCommerce up and running on this site, I’ll be posting the boxes for purchase! #LettucePray they sell out so I’m motivated to do this again!
Want to be kept abreast of what’s going on with Aaronica’s Box of Faves? Sign up for the mailing list and you’ll be notified of what’s going on with the boxes!
Up until last year, I didn’t know PDF patterns were a thing. The very first pattern that I bought were the Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates. I struggled trying to piece together the pattern and my stubbornness wouldn’t let me watch their YouTube video on the ease of putting it together. As Hancock Fabrics was going out of business, I stocked up on all the traditional patterns I could.
And I haven’t used not one of them.
Bye Bye Traditional Patterns
I’ve tried to use traditional patterns since I started sewing over 20 years ago. Geez… I feel really old all of a sudden but I digress… Back then I couldn’t understand the directions and when I started back up sewing 10 years ago I tried again with all the easy patterns only to find myself lost amidst thousands of pieces and terrible directions to create a semi-mediocre piece of clothing.
The sad thing is to this day, I can still count on one hand how many things I’ve successfully made from using a traditional pattern. Even though with the help of Hancock Fabrics I now have some 100+ traditional patterns, I still refuse to use them. Ok, not all of them. I will use the Kwik Sew patterns because they’re made of a thicker paper so it’s not so hard to cut out. Their directions are also way easier to follow than most others.
The main reason I don’t like the traditional patterns is because once you cut your size you’re using, that’s it. Sure if you’re experienced you can grade out but if you’re a lazy seamstress like myself, this sucks. In this moment, I’m wearing plus sized maternity but this is about to change. I do plan on getting smaller and traditional patterns just don’t account for size changes in women or children.
PDF Patterns Are Bae
Ok so I struggled through my first one and possibly my second one but now? I’m like expert level at piecing together these patterns. It only takes me about 15 minutes to put together and cut out the pattern to use. The best part about these is as my family and I change sizes, I can always reprint so I don’t lose my favorite clothing!
PDF patterns are also tested on the everyday woman–all of us. I love being able to be part of a community of PDF sewists and get questions answered from the pattern designers or other experts. You don’t get that with the traditional patterns. And the instructions are always so much easier to follow. All the tester groups I’m apart of have been intentional about making patterns easy to understand for all levels of sewing.
If you’re struggling to get started in the sewing arena I totally recommend ditching the traditional patterns and going the PDF way. Not sure if you want to make the investment? Most PDF designers offer freebies for joining their groups!
About a year ago I joined a blogging tribe started by one of my sewing buddies. Since then, I’ve gotten pregnant, started this blog, been sewing up a storm and had a baby–in that order ha! Now that things are finally settling down, I’m joining these ladies for their blog prompts!
Sunday Lately #146
My bank account. I checked that baby this morning and boy have we been eating out a lot! Our bank account is totally telling on us right now and it needs a rest. This week I’m back to meal planning and prepping dinners for 2 weeks at a time. Both my pockets and waistline need this!
My blogs. Things over here, The Crunchy Mommy and Aaronica Cole are looking might desolate! I’ve got deadlines coming up and maternity leave is just about over! Time to shake things up on all my sites and finish this year out strong! I’m working on editorial calendars now along with photography calendars since that’s what really holds me up.
My workout regimen up! Yeah baby! Mama is cleared for workouts and I really want to get back to the healthy lifestyle I once embodied. This means I’ll be fighting for tester spots bc I’m going to be a skinny bitch but whatever!!! I’m also shaking my head that it took me so long to break out my Silhouette Cameo to make vinyls for shirts!!! I finally sat down and watched a YouTube video that broke everything down that I needed to make this happen. I mean seriously, how lazy was I being?!? I made the kids some shirts this week to celebrate Halloween–the vinyls are 30% off at Thread & Grain so get on grabbing those! How cute are they though?!?
A million dollars. Ok, but really I want to get back on track with everything from our homeschool schedule to eating right and making time for all the kids. I know, a lot. Totally doable though!!! Homeschooling kids of totally different ages can be difficult bc of the activities available for each of them so it’s a juggling act.
Positive vibes only. Its Q4 and I’ve got some great goals for myself that are specific to all parts of my life and I don’t need people telling me that it can’t be done. I need encouragement and positivity only! Oh and caffeine ha!
My name is Aaronica and I'm the sewist behind The Needle and the Belle. I started sewing when I was 13 and then fell back in love with sewing through PDF patterns. I now document my pieces I make here!