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Weekend: Dealing With Negative Comments

weekend 10 31 Weekend: Dealing With Negative Comments

Can we talk about negative comments?

This week, I received two negative comment regarding my writing style. The first one brought me down quite a bit, and I was pretty upset and hurt by what was written. Then the second negative comment was posted, which agreed with the opinion of the first.

My readers – I don’t even think I should call you that – my sewing friends, mean a lot to me. More than most people know. I read their comments at one in the morning when I should be sleeping, during work meetings when I shouldn’t be on my phone, in the middle of a conversation when I should be present in the moment. You inspire my projects and you keep me going when I don’t think I can go anymore. I spend too much money on patterns and fabric just like they do, and I travel to different cities just to see them. All my extracurricular time goes to them – mornings, nights and weekends.

Call me naïve, but I don’t understand the negativity. The sewing community is one of the most accepting, convivial, good-humored and definitely lively circle. Many of my real-world friends are shocked when they find out that I personally know “my readers.” My best friend is someone I met online through blogging. I don’t care if you’re just starting out in the game or have been at it for twenty years, you are a welcomed addition to us hamlet of stitchers.

I consider everyone’s blog their homes – a place where they can be whoever and create whatever, however they want. It’s your space! As long as you’re not affecting me and not stating incorrect facts, you can make a top with the ugliest, hot pink topstitching, wonkiest bias binding and most uneven hem. The seams could not match and the stripes could not be centered, but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy. It’s like a 2-year-old wearing a pretty pink princess outfit with lipstick smudged all over her face and her mother’s pearls wrapped around her neck. She thinks she’s beautiful and I think she’s pretty awesome because of that.

I’m all for constructive criticism – it makes me a better sewer, writer and person and it’s definitely welcome on this blog – but there’s a line between constructive and hostile.

A very wise woman – she will know that I’m referring to her – used an on-point metaphor to describe the situation. I won’t mention her name and I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for using her comparison. Actually, I’ll quote her. What makes a community go from happy to bitchy all of a sudden? Maybe it’s something similar to The Matrix. The machines have created a perfect environment for humans and found that humans wanted, actually needed, conflict and drama. That’s interesting…

I’m careful not to make Madalynne my diary, but today, I’m getting personal. Why? Because if there is one thing I have learned in the past year, it’s to stand up for myself and not feel ashamed. I slightly regret my reply – it was just as negative as the comment and two wrongs don’t make a right – but it’s not the first time someone has written harsh statements. People have had negative things to say about my looks, the way I pose in photos and more. I’m human and I have feelings.

My mom and I connected with words. When I got home from school, we would fill out the crossword puzzles from the local newspaper and laugh at the ridiculous verbiage Bill O’Reilly would say during his evening show. Even when she had no hair and was in a wheelchair, we still continued our tradition.

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What i Made: Aurora Grace

sabrina grace1 What i Made: Aurora Grace

Matthew McConaughey was just a graduate student at the University of Texas when he walked into a bar, introduced himself to a producer who after a long night, cast the Don Juan in the movie Dazed and Confused. Now a box office blockbuster, McConaughey’s iconic line in the movie goes as such: “Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get, the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” While Wooderson, McConaughey’s character in the movie, would think I was a lot cooler if I had a joint in my hand, I think I’m equally fly with rhinestones around my neck. Whether lighting a doobie or wearing a plaid maxi, do it wearing some shine. It’s a Madalynne-ism.

After several weeks of tending to Portia Blue, which involved careful cutting, meticulous hand stitching and callus-causing finger pressing, a quick sewing project was what I craved. I’m not the type of sewer to cut and sew on the same day – I did it once New Year’s Day and the result a bra unfriendly LBD – but every once in awhile, that racy side of me comes out and I get a massive surge of sewing mojo, and need to make something now.

If you haven’t noticed, many of my makes this year have been super simple silhouettes. Orla Madison was a basic pant and so was Wexler Rose. Even Portia had a simple shape. Don’t blame laziness, I have a motive. Over the past year, and as part of Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect (let’s not forget about that!), I’ve been building the core silhouettes for my me-made wardrobe – pant, skirt, blouse, dress and jacket. Unlike RTW where you can simply buy your foundation items a la Gap and J.Crew, making them takes a lot longer. But once I nail these 5 pieces, I can then move on and add more interesting shapes. I can also alter those pattern to create new ones. It’s all a part of my evolution of a seamstress and pursuit to craft an entirely me-made wardrobe. Ooo vey.

While the skirt in my basic 5′s is pretty basic – Sewaholic’s Gabriola – I needed something even more stripped down. A simple gathered number. Even though it’s the easiest skirt to make, there are variables. Waistband height? Shirring ratio? The right maxi, midi and short lengh? Aurora Grace was an experiment to figure out all these components, and through it, I found that generally, I like a 1 inch waistband with a shirring ratio in the range of 1 ½ : 1. A waistband that is 2 inches is too wide and a shirring ratio of 2:1 is too much. Also, maxi for me is 40 inches long and short for me is 18 inches long. Of course, there are many factors that could change these numbers (choice of fabric, where on the waist/hip it is worn, cut on the bias or not), but this is speaking broadly.

The fabric came from a thrift store and it has a plaid pattern printed on the right side. I scored a lot of yardage and had just enough after I finished another project. The skirt is constructed just as any shirred skirt would be-  two boxes sewn together with a waistband attached and zipper closure and the center back (please excuse the photo showing the skirt shifted to one side; if worn correctly, the zipper is at center back). The bottom hem is 3” to encourage a nice hang and the waistband is interfaced with hair canvas to add stability (I like my waistbands to act like a belt).

sabrina grace2 What i Made: Aurora Grace sabrina grace7 What i Made: Aurora Gracesabrina grace6 What i Made: Aurora Grace sabrina grace3 What i Made: Aurora Grace sabrina grace4 What i Made: Aurora Grace sabrina grace8 What i Made: Aurora Grace

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Best Sewing Blogs 2015: Vote Now!

best sewing blog 2015 01 Best Sewing Blogs 2015: Vote Now!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – time to vote for the best sewing blogs for 2015!

In January of this year, I emailed every blogger on my blog roll, which amounted to more than 100, and asked them to submit their picks for the “best of” categories that I created (most inspirational, fastest, funniest, etc). I gave them a little more than a month to respond and in early February, I rounded up the winners and posted the final results. The purpose of it was to provide a resource for new and seasoned sewers where they could access a list of current sewing bloggers, blogs and companies according to skill, personality, category, etc. in one place.

Unexpectedly, there was a lot of feedback, which I have taken into account this year (additional categories, more effective and accurate methods of voting, etc). For 2015, voting will be up to you. Starting today and through Friday, December 12th, email your votes for the categories below to You can vote only once, but your vote can include as many or as few names as you like. If you can’t decide who the funniest sewer is, give me 2 names. The max is 5 per category. Also, one person is eligible for more than one category. So, if you think “Jane” is the funniest and most inspirational sewer, vote for her twice. Just like last year, the results will include anonymous quotes from fellow sewers, so be sure to provide a sentence or two explaining why you are voting for that particular person (optional). Last, if you believe a category has been left out, comment below or email me and I’ll add it to the list.

Between December 12th and the first week of the new year, I will tally all the submissions and format a GIANT post, which will be published in the beginning of 2015. What a great way to start off the year, right?

I’ve also included social media icons below that you can put on your blog and/or post to Facebook and Instagram that will link to this post.

Good luck and let the voting commence!

Please note that all categories are either a continuation of last year’s or at the suggestion of readers. In no way is one meant to offend or exclude (i.e. best over 30 blog). I hesitated slightly to include some requested categories, but rather than leave it out and spark a furry (Are you discriminating against older sewing bloggers? Why did you leave it out? This is only an awards for the popular/younger bloggers), I included it. I feel a big push pull because I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

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Weekend: James is Coming to Town!

weekend1 Weekend: James is Coming to Town!
My relationship with my brother James is and will always be different than others. For one, it’s the longest bond I’ll ever have. I’ll know him before and after any significant other and will probably know him longer than my dad. That is, if I don’t ax him before my pops goes to the grave. But what’s most interesting about kin, especially this kin in the photo above, is that they help form your identity. By relating my traits to James’, I have developed my own concept of self. James parties a lot while I don’t, and I have come to define myself as reserved because of the dichotomy. Some might say recluse, in which I say sewing recluse!

James came to town last night; that’s him in the photo above. He’s more casanova than cute these days, and through Sunday, he’ll be living it up, Madalynne style. He’s never been to NYC, so we’re taking a day trip to see the big apple. He insisted on seeing his friend’s clothing store in the East Village, and I agreed on one condition – that we go to the most magical place on earth. No, not Disney World! Mood Fabrics! I got light pink wool coating on my mind.

Wish me luck – he’s a handful!

post footers giveaway winner jennifer Weekend: James is Coming to Town!

      Did you hear that I'm teaching an online bra making class? In 1 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! If you can't attend the class, I will be teaching it in person this winter here in Philadelphia; EMAIL ME to be put on the waiting list.


      GRAINLINE STUDIOS just released its newest pattern, the Linden sweatshirt. A modern update to the classic sweatshirt, it features a relaxed fit, raglan sleeves and a scoop neckline. Ladies, this is the perfect winter staple!


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      JEN shares a great way to finish the neckline of a wrap dress.


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