Ginger Made: Belladone, v.3 (Or, the “I Call the Big One Bitey” Dress of Maximum Happiness)

Duuuuuuuuuuuuudes! I like this dress very much. Very, VERY much. IT HAS PIRANHAS ON IT. I felt completely and totally exuberant the moment I put it on!  Can you tell?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

But let’s back up for a minute. So, if you’ve been involved with the sewing community for a while, you probably know that people who sew are some of the kindest, best, most generous people around. True story! I’ve made so many wonderful friends through this here blog that have come to mean so much to me, and even though I know sew-y types are amazing, I’m STILL continually surprised by their kindness. Just one recent example: I commented on Mary‘s Sweden-inspired dress post that I had a trip to Stockholm planned, and the lovely and sweet Naomi Molly emailed me a gazillion tips about her town. Man Friend and I have enjoyed SO much good food, window shopping, and delicious coffee this week thanks to her expert recommendations. Take it from me- people that sew are amazing!

Deer & Doe Belladone Dress | Ginger Makes

In that vein, this AMAZING fabric was a gift from Jennifer. I skipped the #NYLon2014 trip because of the aforementioned trip to Sweden, but Jenny saw this fabric in London, thought it was my style, (should I be worried about this, readers? Heeheehee!) and grabbed some for me as a surprise. How awesome is that?! I can’t even tell you how much I love this fabric, dudes! But I especially treasure it since it was a gift from a friend.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the thing: I know that it’s easier for me than most to get to know other people who sew since there are quite a few who live here in the city, and even more who trek here for visits from all over the world (it’s a perk of living here that I remind myself of every time NYC gets me down). But, I’m guessing no matter where you live (OK, except for maybe you, Em!), there’s SOMEONE in your area who sews (and if not, internet friends are awesome, too!). I think I’m one of only a few major extroverts in the sewing community, but even if it’s a struggle for you to make the first move, I really encourage you to reach out and get to know someone who shares your passion. It’s really worth it! It’s just so energizing to spend time with other creative people. So, if you’re feeling too shy, nervous, or busy to connect with other people, but deep down you’d like to get to know someone, I really encourage you to take a small step today. Tweet about your next project! Email someone to tell them how much you like something they made! Offer to walk a friend through an easy sewing project! You can do it!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

OK, I’m done cheerleading. FOR NOW. Let’s talk dress! When Jenny gave me the fabric, I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew it needed to be good! Oona suggested I make the Belladone dress since I really love the pattern, and I loved the idea! So this is my third Belladone (here’s #1 and here’s #2)! I just love this pattern. It’s so cute and wearable!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t really do anything differently than I did on round 2. I stabilized the bias edges of the back cut-out with Hug Snug (I bought two rolls from ZipperStop ages ago and it lasts FOREVER) to keep them from stretching out like I did last time, and I just serged all the seams (no lining this time around). I love how easy it is to sew a garment from a pattern you’ve made before!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t bother matching the print since it’s so random, but I did place the pattern pieces on the fabric carefully to feature my favorite dudes. I also lined up the waistband pieces so the waistband would be a row of ferocious teeth, which is fun, but probably not too noticeable. I made yards and yards of matching bias tape- not my favorite thing to do, but I like how it looks.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

So yeah. That’s the story of this dress! It’s a fun, fun, fun dress, and it will always be extra special to me. Thank you, Jenny, and thanks to all the rest of you for being so supportive, kind, and generous. Now, tell me! Have you made any friends since you began sewing? If so, was it easy for you to reach out and make friends? What tips would you give to someone who’s looking to make friends? Have you ever received an awesome sewing-related gift?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes


Supporting Makers Around the World!

Hi, friends!  This is a little bit different kind of post, but I hope you’ll indulge me and allow me to share a little more about a group that I feel really passionate about.  Like many of you, sewing is one of my great passions, and it’s brought me lots of connections with other seamsters and fiber artists across the world.  So, when I learned about this special group of handmakers halfway across the world, I just had to share about it!

Free-hand drawing the cross-hatch pattern onto the material with wax

My dear friend Lori has lived in Uganda for the last four years, working for Fount of Mercy.  Uganda is home to nearly 2.5 million orphans, victims of civil war and AIDS.  Fount of Mercy exists to support the grassroots community organizations that have sprung up to care for these orphans.  In their words, “Fount of Mercy’s mission is to build indigenous African organizations’ capacity to provide educational and vocational opportunities for the orphans, vulnerable children and caregivers in their communities.”  It is Fount’s goal to work behind the scenes building upon the vision, foundation and capacity of local indigenous organizations by providing technical support, resource mobilization, and grant making.

Using a template to create ziggyzaggy chevrons of fun!

One of the most amazing things about the Ugandan community that Lori lives in is the way that people have opened up their homes to orphans– nieces, nephews, neighbors, and other children in need.  But since un- and under-employment is really high in Uganda, it can be really hard to make enough to provide for these large families.  Vocational training is a frequent request from these grassroots organizations, so Fount partnered with NYC fashion types to develop courses in, among other things, sewing and tailoring.  But their brand-new project is making and selling hand-batiked scarves!

Mixing the dye!

At this time, Fount has a team of 12 artisans who are working full-time crafting these scarves– that means that scarf sales are supporting 12 families!

Tending the dye bath

I’ve eagerly watched Fount of Mercy develop from an idea into a thriving non-profit, but I feel particularly connected to this small group of artisans.  I sew for fun and community, but am not struggling to support my family with my handiwork.  It means so much to me that I can support handmakers across the world, and by extension, orphans, through an organization that my sweet friend has worked for since its genesis. (I’m also excited to get some of my Christmas shopping done way early… heeheehee…)  So, if this excites you, too, you should check out Fount of Mercy’s website, and if you’d like to buy a scarf, head on over to their shop (and be sure to name “Fount of Mercy” as the affiliate if you decide to make a purchase).  If you’re the social media type, you can follow Fount of Mercy’s Sewing Hope Facebook page to keep up with their stitchin’-related news.

Hemming the scarves

ALSO— for those of you in the NYC area, another cool thing you can do to support handmakers across the globe is to stop by the Be. The. Voice pop-up shop at Vocedi, 43-45 Grand St. in SoHo.  The shop is filled with garments and jewelry made by women who were former victims of sex or labor trafficking, but who have new vocations as artisans.  My friend Maggie is organizing and staffing this event.  She’s a fellow evening student at FIT and has a real passion for ethically-produced fashion.  I can’t wait to check out the shop!  It will be open Mon-Sat 11A-7P from October 7th- 29th.  You can read more about it here

Ta-da! Finished!

Meetup Mania 2.0: I Double Dog Dare Ya

So you’ve all seen this #sewingdares nonsense swooping around the internets, yes?  Blame Gillian— it’s alllllll her fault.  Well, in my hubris, I dared Oona to finally sew a shirt for Ruggy, which naturally led to me accepting a dare from her.  THIS MADWOMAN DARED ME TO LET HER CHOOSE THE FABRIC FOR MY NEXT MOOD SEWING NETWORK PROJECT.  Obviously, I don’t back down from a dare, so we set a date and headed to Mood this weekend to decide my fate.  But shopping is WAY more fun in a group, so the ridiculously cool Suzanne, Wanett, and Peter joined in on the madness.

Suzanne, moi, Wanett, Peter, and Oona yukking it up (photo by… someone else who knows how to use the self-timer on their camera)

As you can see, we had a great time!

Does Wanett not OWN the color yellow??

We tore through the store laughing, shrieking, and petting bolt after bolt of fabric.  I think we terrified all the poor Mood employees!  (Thanks for all your help, Kendrell and Eric!)

No, girl, YOU totally look prettier!

Oh, and we took LOTS of pictures.  After much deliberation, a fabric selection was made (and I’m only a little terrified).  I’ll reveal the project next month– hold your breath and WAIT ANXIOUSLY.

Peter’s a summer, def.

After Mood, we popped a squat, had a bite to eat, and chatted for AGES.  Friends, I don’t want to make you even more jealous, but these folks are smart, cool, interesting, and FUNNY.  I’m so grateful to have met such a great group of peeps.

To summarize: A) it was the best day EVER.  B) I’m a little scared to make the Oona Dress of Doom And/Or Destiny.  PRAY FOR ME.  C) If you’re ever in NYC, for the love of all that’s holy, schedule a meetup, dood!

Top 5 of 2012: Hits!

Hi, everyone!  Hope your Christmases were lovely (if you celebrated) and that you’re looking forward to the New Year with hope and optimism!  I’ve so enjoyed reading your Top 5 of 2012 posts that I couldn’t resist and had to join in on the fun!  Thanks, Gillian, for the great idea!

Here are my favorites for 2012!

1.) The Mello Yello dress

This dress ticks all of my boxes– it’s a flattering shape, is simple but has great details, and is a fun, bright color.  I love it!  The only thing I’m not crazy about is that I started it back in September 2011, before my sewing skills were very strong, so it’s not finished as nicely as I would have liked.  But that’s OK.  🙂

2.) Blue Stripe-y Renfrew

Sister baby birds!

This is one of my simplest makes of the year, but I wore this shirt sooooo many times this year.  It’s just a nice, basic top, similar to what I would buy RTW if I was shopping much these days.  Isn’t that the goal of sewing in some ways?  To make stuff that you love AND wear?

3.) Tiny Pocket Tank v.3

Here’s another super wearable favorite.  I love the shape, and it’s just so easy and breezy.  Love this pattern so much!

4.) McCall’s M6553

Here’s another dress that I love– it’s swingy and unusual, in a vibrant color.  I love that it looks completely different belted and unbelted, which makes for a variety of ways to style it.

5.) The Wild Side Pencil Skirt

A late entrant to the competition, this one just barely squeaks into 5th place!  I love the shape of this, love the print, love the weight and drape of the fabric– it’s a real winner.  I feel so grownup and sophisticated in this, but still a little playful and fun.

I spent lots of time nitpicking stuff that I make, so it’s kind of refreshing to look back at what I actually loved this year!  And it’s helped me to figure out what works for me and what I tend to gravitate towards.  I’ll definitely be taking a long look at this list before I start in on my sewing plans for next year.

Pattern Geek-Out: Papercut Patterns!

I don’t know about you guys, but I could sure use some cheering up today!  I’m having a hard time conjuring up a good attitude about going back to work after a holiday weekend (not to mention dealing with the newly-chilly weather here in NYC after enjoying sunny Florida for Thanksgiving).  But, if there’s anything that can put a spring in my step, it’s new indie patterns, so it was great timing that these landed today!  Wanna look at some photos and feel better about life with me?

Midsummers’ Night Dream dress (includes tank variation)

Here we go!  This is Papercut Patterns‘ new spring/summer collection (ha!  Why do you mock me, o warm and beautiful southern hemisphere?  Seriously, you guys, I HATE winter and am NOT emotionally prepared for this weather), Covent Garden.  Isn’t it too beautiful?  How dreamy is that dress above?  The color is RAD, I tell you!

La Sylphide dress

I can imagine quite a few of you in the dress above!  How cute is it?!  The La Sylphide pattern also includes separate blouse and skirt variations, so that’s pretty fun.

Petrouchka top and Rite of Spring shorts

Guys.  Do you want to hear a deep, dark, disturbing confession?  (Of course you do– you’re sick in the head!)  This whole time you guys have been freaking out about peplums, I’ve been all, “WHATEVER”.  There.  I said it.  NOT INTO PEPLUMS.  But for some reason, I actually really like this little top!  It’s sort of casual and flirty at the same time and also, raglan sleeves, dudes!  My fave!  One last thing: how much do you want a pair of orange wedges now?!?!?!

Coppélia cardigan (and the Rite of Spring shorts, again)

Look at this adorable wrap cardigan!  I’m so tempted to make this cardigan and use By Hand London‘s too-f-ing-cute tutu tutorial so I can dash around the house pretending to be a beautiful ballerina and not at all trying to fulfill some sort of crazy childhood fantasy… what?

Oh yeah– I should probably mention that Katie is running a free shipping special until Dec. 16th, which definitely makes a purchase more tempting since New Zealand is FAR, FAR AWAY IN THE LAND OF SUNSHINE AND DREAMS.  Definitely go check out the rest of her collection– it’s always such a treat when new indie patterns pop up!

What do you think, guys?  Do you like these?  How would you wear these styles?  Lastly, what are your strategies for beating the back-to-work blues?  Putting up Christmas decorations, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Christmas Vacation lessened the sting of re-entry a bit last night, but I’d love to hear your tips!

Happy Birthday to Me (and You)!


Guuuuuuyyyys!  Look!  My internets are back today, just in time for my [deep breath] 30th birthday!  It’s been a craaaaaaazy week at work (I got home today at 8:00am!  Eek!), but I’m determined to celebrate even if I’m a little sleepy today!

I had grand plans to unveil a brand-new party dress today, but with the crazy week that I’ve had, I just couldn’t get it done.  There was a late night earlier in the week when I was frantically working on it even though I knew I’d never finish before the weekend, and I caught myself thinking up compromises and shortcuts to make it work and realized that I wouldn’t be happy with any dress I slapped together shoddily.  So, we’re pumping the brakes on that operation and I’ll be back eventually with a dress that I’m proud of (hopefully).

Brass Tribal Necklace

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to do a little birthday giveaway!  I couldn’t decide what to give you guys, but this morning I received my necklace from Stephanie‘s Etsy shop, Native Clutter, and loved it so much that I thought I’d offer you a piece from her new collection!  Hop on over to Native Clutter and pick out your favorite piece, then leave a comment below for a chance to win.  I’d love to know what your favorites are!  I’ll accept entries until Tuesday, November 13th at 11:59pm, then I’ll pick a winner at random!

Grey Smooth Quartz Briolette Earrings

* I’m not sponsored by Stephanie or anything like that.  🙂  I’ve just been a fan of her blog for a long time and I’m so excited to support her new venture!

** That said, if I was a celebrity, I’d line up ridiculous endorsement deals with shameless abandon!  I’d shill for exercise machines (hopefully while wearing some kind of goofy warm-up suit), my own brand of hot sauce, President’s Day sales at local mattress stores, you name it!  7-Eleven, are you listening?  I’ll be your international Slurpee spokesperson!

Fall Sewing Plans

OK, OK, I know, I know… I’ve been absent for ages and I don’t have any finished objects to show you!  It’s been a BUSY couple of weeks and I just haven’t had time or energy for sewing.  But I’ve really been enjoying reading everyone’s fall sewing plans (and I’ve been spending a shocking amount of time while I’m on set dreaming about what I’d like to sew) and I thought that, just this once, I might put together a little sewing plan for the fall/winter.

Like some of you, perhaps, I love to plan and dream about what I’m going to sew next, but I’m REALLY bad at actually following through and making things!  (This isn’t limited to sewing, sadly– I make giant to-do lists and very rarely check anything off the list).  But I really, REALLY want to wear everything on this list, so I’m hoping I’m able to focus, be productive, and actually make a majority of these.

I’m all about separates these days– I just don’t like to wear dresses outside of really warm weather, and I hate wearing tights.  I freeze easily, so it’s all about pants and tops once it gets cold (read: under 65 F).  So, with that in mind, I’ve picked out some separates that I could see myself wearing constantly.

#1). The Banksia Top

I’m participating in this sewalong, although I’m behind (surprised?).  This is a pattern that I’ve loved for ages, and it fills massive holes in my wardrobe– I have so few tops that I can wear to work and I don’t really want to wear t-shirts every day anymore (I’m a professional, y’all!), so I’m stuck wearing the same three or four shirts over and over again.  After my first version, I’d like to try a knit version– cute AND cozy?  Yes, please!

#2.) The Anise Jacket

I don’t have a nice jacket, so this fills another in-between season wardrobe hole.  I have a big parka, and I have a shoddy wool peacoat, then I have a few lighter athletic-type jackets, but nothing to wear in the spring or fall that’s a little dressier than a Patagonia jacket.  It was a little hard for me to see past the very feminine samples of the jacket, but I think in a bolder color I will really like the young, ’60’s vibe of this style.  I’m hoping to make this quickly (ha!) so I can get some wear out of it before it’s super cold.  My goal is to finish with the sewalong, but since the only task I’ve completed is printing out the pattern, I’m not too optimistic.

#3.) The Minoru Jacket

OK, this is probably overkill, but I really want a Minoru jacket, too!  I’d love to have this as my everyday jacket, as it’s probably warmer than the Anise and definitely something I could wear every day.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make two jackets this year, since that’s really a lot of time sewing, but in a perfect world, I would LOVE to have both.

#4.) Pleated Pants

OK, so we all know that pants and shorts have basically kicked my butt in the past.  I’m just terrible at fitting them!  But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to face my Bottom Fears (haha!) and make these trousers because I freakin’ LOVE them.  I’ve seen so many of you guys in your adorable Thurlows and Clovers, and they look amazing, but they’re just not quite my style.  These, however, are EXACTLY what I want to wear and would buy RTW– menswear-inspired, slim (but not tight), and just a little bit fashion-forward.  I could see myself wearing these 24/7.

#5.) Knit Tops

Look how cute Cindy looks in her top!

I love to wear tees, but I want to be just a bit dressier for work, so I could use a few more Renfrews or perhaps one of Cindy’s Dolman Sleeve Tops.

#6.) Moss Mini Skirt

I may break my “no dresses/skirts past Labor Day” rule to make this skirt.  It’s very simple and wearable, and I could actually, maybe, sorta see myself wearing this with knee-high boots and tights (plus, I’m basically addicted to Grainline patterns and somehow find myself downloading EVERYTHING Jen designs).  It might be nice to have at least one option if I feel like putting on something other than jeans.  I should probably make this in a practical color, but I’m leaning towards using the rusty orange printed linen that I bought on my last Garment District meetup.

#7.) Party Dress

OK.  So this one doesn’t fit into the wearable separates category, but shoot, I’m turning 30 next month and I really think I need a killer dress!  I’ve been a teensy bit down in the dumps about turning 30, but I’m trying to change my tune, and I think that a ridiculous, over-the-top, feel-like-a-million-bucks dress might be just the thing to raise my spirits (and keep me from spending my birthday crying in a corner all alone).

Thoughts?  Would you wear any of these things?  Are you making any of these patterns?  What are your fall sewing plans, if you haven’t posted them already?

Hello, Mood Sewing Network!

GUYS.  I am so GOSH DARN EXCITED to announce the Mood Sewing Network to you!  I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but the good folks at Mood Fabrics picked me as one of nine sewists to kick off their new blogging network, and I couldn’t be any more stoked (seriously, when I got the email, I started screaming and jumping around the house)!  You can read more about it on the Mood blog, but long story short, we receive an allowance every month to try out new fabrics and blog about our projects as we normally would.  Luckily for me, nobody’s upset if I have an epic failure (well, except for me), and there’s no pressure to make anything specific.

I’m so thrilled and honored to be part of this project, and the other lady sewasaurii are seriously the coolest of the cool! You should definitely check out their blogs if you like style, inspiration, and general awesomeness!  What’s particularly fun about this group is that the ladies are different ages, have different styles, and do completely different things in their real lives, so they’re all really unique and make very different garments.  So fun!

Thank you, Mood!! (Ack, I’ve always wanted to say that!)

Now, RUN and add these guys to your blogroll:

Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing

Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

Erica B’s DIY Style

Frabjous Couture

Goodbye Valentino

Miss Celie’s Pants


Sew Well


Pretty Things

Hey, dudes!  Oops– I’ve been super MIA the last week or so!  I’m steadily working away on my next project, but it’s been pretty slow going.  I had a bit of a serger accident the other night, so spent last night sorting out that mess.  I’m trying to take my time and do things right (with a varying degree of success), but I’d be lying if I said this project hasn’t been accompanied by buckets of tears!  What can I say?  I’m an emotional sewist!  🙂  I’m really looking forward to finishing up, having a cute new FO, and moving on!

Lest you think I’ve been all work and no play, look!  Pretty new fabric!  I found this at Mood, basically fell in love, and spent a decent chunk of time at home stroking it, rubbing it on my cheek, and cooing to Man Friend, “Isn’t this the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?” (pretty sure he thinks I’ve finally lost it completely!).

What do you think?  Prettiest fabric ever?

I want to move into a nice home in the country with this fabric and raise a beautiful family.

I was convinced that it was… UNTIL…

Wipe the drool off your keyboards!! It’s bad for computers.

This came into my life!  The lovely and unbelievably generous Miss Dibs sent me this BEAUTIFUL silk twill from Liberty of London.  GUYS.  It is soooo soft, the weight is truly unbelievable, and this print is KILLER!  I’m honestly a little intimidated by it!  THANK YOU, Dibs!  You’re the sweetest!!

What about you guys?  Any fun new fabric crushes?  What are you working on these days??

Summer Sewing Swap!

Hi, everybody!  Boy oh boy, if you didn’t participate in Kerry’s Summer Sewing Swap, you missed out on some real fun!  I was paired up with the lovely and talented Lauren at Lladybird, and oh man, I was SO EXCITED to shop for her!  You guys all read her blog, right?  If not, get over there RIGHT NOW!  Anyway, this swap was just like Christmas (but without the dreaded moment that comes every year when you realize you have NO IDEA what to get for one of the males you’re related to… seriously, doesn’t everyone have a brother or dad or father-in-law or something that is CRAZY hard to shop for?  Sorry, tangent…)!

If you want to see what I finally decided on for Lauren’s package, you can read her post here!  As for me, I scored pretty big!


Look!  A fun booklet about sewing zippers from 1960, a belt buckle kit, some lovely knit jersey (another Renfrew?  Well, if I MUST…)… so fun!

But look at these patterns!!


One-yard shorts!  I’m determined that I WILL successfully make a pair of shorts this summer, even if it kills me!  This pattern looked so familiar to me, and after a quick bit of Googling, I realized that Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes made these shorts back in December, and they look super cute on her!

But the dress… oh, that dress!  Look how cute it is!  I’m digging around in my stash to see what I can make this with!  I love the sleeveless version– isn’t is too adorable?  I love those early ’60’s styles that make me look like I have curves!  I’m so excited to make it!

Thank you so much, Lauren, and a huge thanks to Kerry for dreaming up and organizing this swap!  I hope it becomes an annual tradition!