Leopard Print

Do know the feeling of coming across a photo of someone where they look so blissfully happy, like they’ve been caught in some secret joyous moment, and they just radiate? Those photos are my favorite ones. They are often photos of real life; in-between moments snapped quickly and carelessly. No one is posed, they’re not trying to be perfect, they’re just being. You’re just walking along, and all of a sudden the person you’re with says, “Hey, turn around,” so you do, and in an instant, they snap your picture. I love it when the photos are blurry, too. Blurry photos feel the most lifelike to me. The photographer moved because they’re a human being, or the subject was caught mid-movement, and so a dress is twirling, or hair is moving, and it’s all just the best. 

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Updated Gypsum Skirt

Last year when I started my Basics Project, I had a list of items I wanted to make— simple dresses, tops, and pants. I was in love with the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde skirt and was hoping to find a pattern for something similar when Meg of Sew Liberated put a call out for testers for the Gypsum Skirt, and I was so excited to be accepted as a tester! You can read all about my first version and the testing here. Oddly enough, I didn’t find myself wearing it much. I LOVE the design, but the fabric I chose was a medium/heavy weight linen that was heavier than I wanted to wear in the weather this skirt is appropriate for, spring-fall. Also, I had used a thick elastic and made it a bit tighter than was comfortable. At the time when I made this skirt last year, I had gained a little weight after going through a challenging season and hadn’t accepted my new waist size, hoping that it’d shrink back down again in the summer. A year later and my waist has stayed the same measurement; I’m learning to accept this as a new normal for me. I’m turning 30 in a few months, and over the last few years, I’ve noticed how my body has changed in ways I hadn’t expected. Even though my weight fluctuates (which is why I prefer elastic waistbands), certain areas, like my bust and waist, now stay the same size. Lesson learned, do yourself a favor and don’t make clothing small in the hopes that you will one day be smaller and can comfortably wear them, just don’t. Love yourself where you are, just as you are. 

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Here With Me

One of the most meaningful things that happened to me in the last week was the sudden realization that I need to slow down and center myself. Lately, I’ve been finding myself in extended moments of silence and stillness, not much intentionally either. I’ll drift outside to my balcony and plant myself in the sun for a moment, but in those moments I linger for longer than planned. Usually, I’d reach for my phone or a book, but lately, I’ve not been reaching for anything. My body and mind go still in a sort of mediation. My attention gets stolen by a bird chirping over on that branch, or the way the clouds are moving and forming up there, even the way the breeze feels as it floats along my skin mesmerizes and enchants me. Sometimes I stare out my kitchen window to the hills and trees in view and find myself studying them as if it’s the only important thing that exists right now. I have plenty of important things to do, but I remember Mary Oliver’s words in The Summer Day, “Tell me, what else should I have done?”

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Linen Hinterland Dress

So, I think we’ve established that I love the Hinterland Dress pattern. I mean, this is my fourth version of the dress, so I think that alone is a testament of my love for it. My first was the patchwork dress, still one of my proudest and most artistic makes. The second was a hack together of the Hinterland dress bodice and the Ninni Culottes (another one of my absolute favorite patterns). The third was a purple raw silk holiday dream that was one of those things I got the idea for and just had to make. The fourth is this one—the most simplified, basic, and practical of all four makes. I’d been wanting this exact dress for over a year, and since I started my Basics Project, so I don’t know why it took me so long to make it! But I’m glad I finally did. What led to its making was a black version by the lovely Nicole of Naturally Nora Daily, seeing her simple, beautiful dress finally put me over the edge—I had to have my simple linen one. When I find a pattern I love, I typically make it over and over again because it fills a basic need in my wardrobe. When I come across a pattern like this, and it calls for a woven fabric, which most of my basics do, I always want to use the unbelievably beautiful material that is Merchant and Mills European Laundered Linen. I’ve raved about this fabric for years, but it’s because this linen is the most beautiful, soft, wild, high-quality linen out there. I do use other linen sometimes, but theirs is my favorite. The only downside of this fabric is that it’s quite pricey, and also a good chunk of change to ship here to the US, so I don’t order it often. Luckily, I had a pretty large piece of the fabric sitting in my stash that was just the perfect size for this dress. For this version in my size, I got away with less than 2 yards. 

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Yellow Top & Pants

My grandparent’s hadn’t known each other very long when they decided to get married, and it’s a sweet, classic story that starts at a bar in November of 1970. My grandmother and her cousin loved to go dancing on the weekend, and my grandmother’s sister, my Tia Carmen, would watch the kids (my mom, aunt, and uncles) so she could get out and have a little time to herself every once in a while. My grandma said she loved to dance. As the story goes, there was this bar in Garden Grove called the Playgirl Club that had dancing on Saturday nights. On this particular night, there was some drama at the club… a woman was there with her boyfriend and was trying to make him jealous, so she went up to my grandpa and started talking to him, putting her arm on his shoulder, being all flirty. Her boyfriend saw this and started to walk over to them. My grandma and her cousin had been watching all this happen, and when my grandma saw the boyfriend headed toward my grandpa to confront him, she walked on over to them. The boyfriend started asking my grandpa what he was doing, “Nothing, I don’t know who she is,” my grandpa said. My grandma interrupted and said, “He’s with me,” grabbed my grandpa, and walked away with him. For the rest of the night, my grandma, her cousin, my grandpa, and his friend sat talking until 4 am. She told me that after 2 am bars had to stop selling alcohol, so they just drank coffee and water until the wee hours of the morning. When it was finally time to leave, my grandpa asked for her number. She figured she wouldn’t ever see him again, but gave it to him anyway by writing it on a napkin with lipstick. How adorable is that? 

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Joshua Tree With Making

Last October, I had the privilege of spending a few days out in Joshua Tree with editors Ashley Yousling and Carrie Hoge of Making. A while before, they had emailed me and asked if I would be interested in modeling for them in Joshua Tree for their upcoming issue…of course! I was honored to have been asked and so excited for the opportunity. On a very windy fall day in Orange County, my grandma and I headed out to the desert. We’d been having a severe case of the Santa Ana winds here, and I was a little worried it might be just as windy in the desert, or worse. By the time we made it to Joshua Tree, the winds were gone, leaving a slight breeze and a beautiful evening. The first day we shot in the park until the sun went down. If you’ve ever been to Joshua Tree, you know how gorgeous the sunsets are. If not, the place is definitely worth a visit, especially at night. They say that in 30 years you won’t be able to see the Milky Way from anywhere in the USA because of light pollution, and even now in Joshua Tree, it’s a difficult feat and only possible on rare occasions. But coming from living in the city and the minimal stars we’re able to see here, the desert sky is always breathtaking. 

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Romantic Adrienne Blouse

AKA ”Anne”

“Oh, I am grateful,” protested Anne. “But I’d be ever so much gratefuller if–if you’d made just one of them with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves.”
“Well, you’ll have to do without your thrill. I hadn’t any material to waste on puffed sleeves. I think they are ridiculous-looking things anyhow. I prefer the plain, sensible ones.”
“But I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself,” persisted Anne mournfully.
–From Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Ana Kimona Pattern

I’m so excited to introduce my pattern line, Endearing Cloth! Endearing Cloth originally started as a small line of linens and small-batch clothing handmade by me. I have loved doing this work over the last three years, it’s brought me so much joy to see the things I sew being loved and cherished. 

Over the last year, I started to sew a lot more of my clothing, and this led me to fall head over heels in love with the sewing community I discovered online. As my love for the sewing community has grown, something began to spark in my heart—the desire to contribute more and take a step forward into the world of home sewing. I am passionate about helping other sewists in their handmade journey, so it felt like natural gravitation for me to start working toward creating sewing patterns.

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Nana and Sewing

My grandma (Nana), my mom, aunt, and uncles.

My great-grandma was named Hortensia, which is the Spanish word for Hydrangea, and the reason hydrangea flowers have such a special place in my family. These flowers grow in my grandma’s backyard, were used in my wedding, and are regularly placed at the gravesites of family members. My great-grandma, Hortensia, was a homemaker, and mother of eleven children, one of whom is my grandmother, my Nana. My Nana talks about how wonderful of a woman my great-grandmother was, and every time she tells me a story it makes me wish I could have known her. She was deeply religious, a Catholic, and believed in kindness and generosity above all else. When I learned this, I realized how much of my Nana’s character was shaped by her own mother and faith. I think some people are born with more natural tendencies toward kindness, empathy, generosity, as was with Saint Therese of Lisieux, who my grandma was named after, her full name is “Ana Therese.” And I think in my grandma’s case, it’s a combination of both her natural spirit and the nurturing of her mother. My great-grandma passed away when she was quite young, in her 40s I believe, when my mother was a baby. Sometimes, when we see hydrangeas or a photo of Hortensia, my Nana talks about how she still misses her. And even though I never got to meet grandma Hortensia, I know that a part of her lives in my Nana, and that that beautiful, kind spirit is something I get to experience through her, and something I hope takes hold in me as well.

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