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Lessons from Mimi

mimi41 Lessons from Mimi

We women pioneer intrepid style. Combing through Pinterest, looking to other vogue ladies, and for us seamstresses, sewing our own clothes, we are on an ongoing journey to construct the perfect wardrobe. It’s a concept I call a considered wardrobe and I have written about many, many times. It’s that old-world notion that banishes throwing tops and bottoms together and calling it bohemian ,and embraces planning what you wear and thinking about how it reflects your station in life. Yes, we all have those days where we fail at looking put together, but those are exceptions.

The argument against a considered wardrobe is that we are too busy and too chaotic to consider, let alone compile, an entire wardrobe. But like anything vintage, it can be resolved with modern life. I am proof, or I try to be proof. As I go through this transformation and try to embrace this way of living and dressing, I am turning to a woman who has sauntered through the decades with polished, precise and well-bred taste. Her name is Mimi and she’s my grandma. A widow in her twenties with three children to care for solo, she had to fuse function and fashion. But because she was in the fashion industry – she was a model for Life Magazine and Ladies Home Journal – she never looked like a schlepp.

mimi 2 01 Lessons from Mimi
HAUTE Lessons from Mimi
Just because your outfit ventures into ornate territory doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Sequins, lace and leather can be worn in relatively quotidian occasions. I kid you not.
heels low Lessons from Mimi
If you’re going to put your best foot forward, take that step not only in style, but with comfort and practicality. Low heels don’t have to be as passé as an orthopedic. If done right, they can be just as swank as their towering counterparts. Take a cue from Mrs. Obama. She keeps the toes pointy and the fabric and hardware modern. Rhinestones are a great addition too. Trust me, when you make it to the end of the day sans blisters or bruises, your tootsies will thank you. Cuts and nicks are just as much a fashion faux pas as VPLs.
PASSION Lessons from Mimi
The sexiest trait is not cleavage or a tight ass, but passion. Passionate people make their lives count for something, and that aura is captivating and gets noticed by both men and women. A phone call to Mimi usually involves a diatribe about my stressful day or week, and her retort is always the same, “Well, it’s good that you love what you do.” In my opinion, passion and purpose are ‘sexiness’ personified. Do you know someone who sits around and waste ungodly amounts of time doing nothing? Are they sexy? Not at all. Do something, be somebody, accomplish anything!
tissue Lessons from Mimi
Last lesson, always, always, always have an extra tissue and sweater on hand. Why? Because you never know when your nose will run or when you’ll get a chill. You will be surprised how handy this actually is.
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Guest Post: Natural Dye Tutorial from Argaman & Defiance

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Weekend: Last Day to Enter Bra Making Giveaway

weekend bra making class Weekend: Last Day to Enter Bra Making Giveaway

Did you hear? I teaching a bra making class at The Sewing Party, an online conference with over 30 classes relating to sewing and crafting! On November 8, 2014, I’ll walk you through choosing a bra pattern, finding your size, fabrics and trims, tips for tracing and cutting and constructing a full band, underwired bra. It is my goal that you “leave” not only understanding how to sew a bra, but why it is sewn the way it is. The why is important to me.

I’ve always wanted to teach – one of my many mottos in life is it “pass it on” – and this experience was a great opportunity finally fulfill that goal. I also hope it will be a stepping stone to host in-person classes (see below for more details on that!).

As a teacher, I am offering free tickets to 5 Madalynne readers. To enter, like Madalynne and The Sewing Party on Facebook. For additional entries, follow Madalynne on Bloglovin and/or share the contest on one of your social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc). When you have entered, tell me so in the comments below. And be sure to leave your contact information! Winners will be chosen at the end of the day today, July 25. Contest is open domestically. Good luck!

Last, if you live in the tri-state area and would be interested in attending an in-person bra making class in Philadelphia in the fall, please email me. I’m putting together a contact list as I firm up dates and details. Even if you’re not close, but would make a trip, give me a shout out! My email is on my contact page.

post footer weekend Weekend: Last Day to Enter Bra Making Giveaway

Finished: My Sewing Space

sewing space 3 of 11 Finished: My Sewing Space

It’s easy to forget that the garments we make are the end product of a process not only involving creative inspiration, but also plenty logistical details. Most often, these mundane and unglamorous operations occur in our sewing studios and go undocumented, save for the work in progress (WIP) Instagram uploads. Whether it is a separate space solely dedicated to the hobby or a dining room table turned workspace, it’s our place of zen. It’s also storage facility for supplies, piles of junk and all the other quirky doohickeys that we have on hand for no apparent reason. In my case, that’s a vintage Barbie doll. More on that later. You can’t hate until I explain.

If you didn’t know, I just moved. When I settled into my previous apartment, which was four years ago and in West Philly, I wasn’t as active in sewing. Now, I’m a very passionate seamstress who doesn’t go more than a day or two without touching her machine. So, the first decorative element I considered when I settled into my new digs? My sewing space. It had to be special and it had to be me, but at 550 square feet, finding and fitting room to sew comfortably would take some creative thinking. An image I’ve always kept on Pinterest featured a closet turned sewing. With all the right elements – florals, wallpaper and simplicity – it served as the basis for what I was going to do.

The splurge was the wallpaper. Boy did I splurge. I went back and forth between several patterns, but I couldn’t get my mind off flamingos. I guess I’ll always be a Florida girl (I was born and grew up in Ft. Lauderdale). The blue desk was a serendipitous purchase. On my first search for a desk, I found not just any desk, but a blue desk that matched the color of the wallpaper. Destiny. It’s from the Etsy shop, Nan and Pops Attic, and the owner, Linda, refinished it herself. Did I mention it’s maple wood? Just thought I’d throw that in there. The shelves are simple and cheap IKEA shelves. I hung them myself, but let’s just say I’m not the handiest handywoman, and there are many holes behind each one. On top are my most prized items and authors that represent me as a sewer and a person – Edna Bryte Bishop, Claire Schaeffer, pictures of my mom, pictures of my grandma, spools of thread, and pink hyndrageas. They’re not my best sewing books, but definitely my “prettier” ones. Oh, and that Barbie? What’s the deal with that? Well, when I was creating the post for Leslie’s interview, I spotted an item in one of the photos she sent me. It was a vintage Barbie. I told her that if she ever wanted to part ways with it, I would give her a new home. After much reminder, she caved and sold it to me. Iconic and controversial, I think she’s a cool, American knick-knack to have. A little kiddish, but that’s okay. Last is the orange polka dot rug. Another IKEA buy that in my opinion, pulls everything together.

Happy sewing to me, amirite?

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      Did you hear that I'm teaching an online bra making class? In one hour, I walk you through constructing a bra from start to finish, and I'll cover choosing a bra pattern, finding your size, tracing and cutting tips and construction. Click HERE to sign up now!


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