The Nerdy Seamstress

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thoughts and direction

I am a planner. I love to plan. It doesn't normally matter who I'm traveling with, usually, I'm the planner. If it's somewhere new, I would plan where we're going and what we're seeing. I would research places to see and organize it by location and distance so we don't have to back track. 

Before you think I'm a complete freak, I like to have a plan when I'm traveling, but it doesn't mean that I have to follow the plan. I like that it's there and it's something that we can do if we want to. I don't want to be stuck wanting to do something, but having no idea what because I didn't do my research. It's completely true if I'm traveling somewhere new or with someone who hasn't been there before. Usually, I'll have a plan and I don't follow it, mostly.

When I started my blog, the direction of my blog was to make Copy Kats of clothing I liked, particularly Mod Cloth because they were expensive if I wanted a closet full of their clothes. I knew I needed to build my foundation before I was able to make the Copy Kats. 

As I was building my foundation, I was bored and I wanted to find another direction. That got me stuck. WTF was I going to do? I've always wanted to have a complete wardrobe. I've had this desire long before I started sewing and it never really subsided. Naturally, I thought that that was my direction of my blog. It makes it easier for me to focus. 

I've debated whether I wanted to self draft my complete wardrobe for no other reason then that I will draft my complete wardrobe. I really like this idea, but I'm not going to be a complete hard ass. I'll draft some and I'll use some patterns. My pattern stash is small compared to my fabric stash, but I'm not in love with all of them. I don't want to be limited by my pattern stash. I most definitely don't want to buy more. I'm at the point where I want to use things from my stash both for patterns and fabric. 

Every year, I like to organize my fabric. Not just for cleaning purposes, but it gets me reacquainted with my fabric stash. This time, I also organized my pattern stash and I measured my fabric pieces. Man oh man, that was eye opening. Let's get to the pattern first. I realized that I have multiples of the same pattern, but from different companies. I hit myself, because I was aimlessly buying patterns and I wasn't being thoughtful at curating my stash at all. So, I decided that I have enough patterns and I have some pattern making/manipulation skills to not need to buy more.

My fabric stash. It's ridiculous! I have 255 2/3 yards of fabric! WTF! So yea, I'll be stash busting and not buying more! Such an eye opener. I'm in Fabrics Anonymous, and I haven't bought fabric in over 6 months! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life + My Favorite Bra



Hi, friends! It's been a while, hasn't it? I've never wanted to force myself to blog because I enjoy it. I wanted to slowly get back into it. That's why I've been completely MIA! I've thought about my blog even though I wasn't blogging. Hopefully, I'll be able to execute everything I have in mind. One step at a time!

I'm not even going to bother recapping on 2015. Even though I've sewn a lot, I want to move forward. I don't have any concrete plans for 2016 either. I know I want to start building my wardrobe, and sew more time consuming projects. I'll just have to wait and see what 2016 has in store for me!

I've been meaning to blog about my bras sooner because I've made a lot of bras, not all of them were successful. A bit after my wedding dress post, we found out that my little sister is abandoning me moving to Seattle. I'm really happy for her, but at the same time I'm sad because I don't get to see her as often as I want. Yes, I am selfish! I'm really close to her, so I've been spending as much time with her as I could. I know we can visit her in Seattle, it just makes seeing her a bit harder. At least when we do spend time together, we'll make the most of it!

I've been obsessing with bras lately. I went to Camp Workroom Social to take a class with Norma. (Camp was so much FUN! If you can, go!) I was so excited, I took the class so I can figure out the fit of her Marlbourgh bra. Atlas, I didn't fit into her patterns. I was slightly a bit busty. I did learn a bit even though it was a survey class.

The amazing thing about New York, is that I met the amazing Tailor Chick at B and J Fabrics. Kistmet! She was very kind and sweet enough to invite me into her home, showed her me her amazing sewing room, and talk everything about bras! She showed me not only her gorgeous bra collection, but also corsets and dresses she's made. I was in heaven! I just wished I lived closer so she can take me under her wing! I left her place feeling inspired. I've been making bras ever since. It's been an obsession. What would make it perfect would be making matching undies!


Onward and forward! I've made this bra and another bra after being inspired by Erin. I made this bra at the beginning of this year, and I'm only blogging about it now! I bought bra tulle from her shop because I wanted to get my grubby hands on the tulle! After reading on the Bra Making Forum that tulle is not as supportive for bigger cup sizes, I decided to line it with cup lining. Then the idea of using polka dotted tulle popped into my head. As a lover of polka dots, I thought it was the best idea I've ever had. I've even added the polka dot tulle between my power mesh. I can barely see it, but I love that it's there. This is my favorite bra because it's polka dots, and I love the black and white combination.


I wanted to play around with "drafting," so I added a power bar. After wearing it, I want to add a bigger power bar and make it curvier. The power bar right now, looks a bit weird because it's so straight and it does not following the curve of my boobs. It doesn't stop me from wearing it though. It's a learning experience!



I ventured to try a new underwire! I decided to give Erin's Bliss wire a try because she mentioned that it would be good for ladies who doesn't have that much space between their boobs. I'm one of those ladies. I love how my boobs are ever so slightly pulled to the front compared to the round wires.


There are so many things I love about this bra, all of which, gets me more addicted to bra making. One of my favorite things? Gold rings and sliders. It just makes it more luxurious. When I bought my supplies, I bought white rings and sliders. I really don't know why because white does not go well with dark colors, especially black. Oh, yes, I did use my white rings and sliders on my black bra! I see more gold rings and sliders in my life!


When people say bra making is addicted, they are not lying! It's the intimidation of quarter seam allowances and precision that gives people pause. At least, it was for me. I love that about bra making and that it doesn't take that long from start to finish. The addiction is real!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our Wedding



Oh, hi! Surprised to be hearing from me? Yea, me too! Let me reintroduce myself. I'm Kathy Nguyen Chang. Yes, I changed my last name. I had this idea of making my own wedding dress, it seemed completely normal at the time. Ha! Not just any wedding dress, a strapless floral dress. Just call me crazy! I've sure called myself that plenty of times as I was working on my dress.


Our wedding day came and went. I was so surprised how fast it flew by and our day was jammed packed. It started with a Vietnamese ceremony, a Chinese ceremony, pictures, a "normal" ceremony, more pictures, and the reception. Plus, my family partied the night before. We're hard core like that or at least my family is. Our wedding was basically one giant family reunion.



Our wedding was not perfect, but who hasn't heard that, right? I decided not to stress over it and tried to enjoy myself, which was hard. I tried really hard just to enjoy our day. I don't like to be at the center of attention. On our wedding day, I found myself at the center of attention with my husband. Husband, it still sounds weird. Anyway, he's more of a natural at it then I am. I had some things to keep my mind off of things, such as making sure our guests had fun and oh, yea I changed two times. Two times! I had three outfits that I made them all. Remember? Crazy.


Our flower girls. Nope, I didn't make their dresses. 
Some how, we had to include traditions in our wedding at the last minute. So, since we were going with traditions, I had to wear a traditional Vietnamese dress, an Ao Dai. Initially, I toyed with the idea of making my own Ao Dai, but decided against it because I'm not that crazy. Oh, how I proved myself wrong.


A couple of months before our wedding, we went to a rental place to try on Ao Dai. Man is it a depressing experience if you're not of typical Asian figure. It's a different experience. I have curves that I'm proud of, but when I went into that store it was deflating because nothing fit. It just wasn't what I wanted to feel on my wedding day. I picked a dress that didn't fit because my sides were showing.



We went home and I looked at my ginormous fabric stash. I looked through them all and talked to the mister. I gave him a selection and he didn't like them. He selected the  Nani Iro. I love that fabric, but I didn't want to use it. I was saving it for something special. Then I figured that an Ao Dai for my wedding day is special. So, we had to go to MomenPlus because I didn't have enough fabric. I had a vintage pattern that was pretty close to an Ao Dai and made my own. In the end, I love it. I felt completely pretty in it.


Back to our wedding. During the reception, we go from table to table to give our thanks. Traditionally, the bride wears the traditional dress. After my Ao Dai, I was going to wear my wedding dress again. I mean, I put all that time and effort into it, why not, right? Well, that wasn't the case. I made a "cake cutting" dress as we call it. Normally, it's fancy, but I wanted to be comfortable because I wanted to dance and have fun. Since I was making it, it wasn't going to be along dress. So, I made a tulle skirt and the Sutton blouse. Best. Decision. Ever. I was able to dance and run around the banquet hall talking to everyone.


Did I mention that I made these two dresses two weeks before our wedding? Oh yea, I did. Crazy, remember? I actually, made two partial dresses. I scraped that idea. I finally decided on the tulle skirt and Sutton Blouse. This outfit was just completely me. For our wedding, it was important that we were ourselves. We were grounded by culture, but we made it our own.



Even though I was looking forward to the day after more then our wedding day, we had so much fun. I couldn't have asked for a better day even with all the chaos that happened. It was a day to remember!

Kid's dance party!

Instead of cake, we had ice cream at our wedding!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sewing Innards

Hi, friends! It's been a long time, and there's a lot to catch up on, but I wanted to share with you this wonderful image I saw on Instagram. It literally changed my game plan!

As I'm making muslins for my wedding dress, 3 so far, I've been obsessed with the inside of wedding dresses and evening gowns. I think the inner structure is more important than the dress itself. If the dress doesn't hold up, then it's not a well fitted dress.

I knew that I wanted to add a corset into my wedding dress. My only problem is that I'm using two different patterns, and I'm not exactly sure how to integrate both seamlessly. I have a vague idea, but I'm not sure if it's the right way to do it. I've seen it in couture garments, and dammit, I want it in my wedding dress too!

Source: Zac Posen
I was going to make a muslin of the corselet out of my bodice pattern until I saw this picture that Zac Posen had on his instagram. It kind of gave me the motivation to add a corset into my wedding dress. It is possible! It will be gosh darn hard, but it can be done! I'm off to make a muslin of my corset!

I am up for the challenge! I figured that this will be my only wedding dress, and why not go all out?

When I'm done making my muslins, and I'm happy with it, I'd share it with you all. It's quite a process even though I've been busy and procrastinating a bit!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Sewing Journey So Far

Juliet from The Crazy Gypsy Chronicles wrote a fabulous post asking us if we're sewing for the sake of sewing. She wrote in a post what I was feeling about 2014. I've tried to write posts, but I've always saved the drafts and never published any of them.

I started sewing clothes for myself around this time two years ago. I was frustrated with what RTW clothes had to offer me. Most of the clothes were not my style, and if they were, they didn't fit or were out of my price range. I didn't like fast fashion, so I took matters into my own hands. I borrowed my fiance's mom's sewing machine as it was easier to transport then my mom's industrial machine. I remember making my first dress straight from the envelope. I didn't understand why things didn't fit. I remember not marking my dart lines or using pins. It was fabulous! ha!

After I learned how to properly mark and fit my patterns, hello FBA!, I was off to the races. I sewed as many dresses as I could. I loved the creativity that it allowed me, through my fabric choices prints and patterns. They came flying off of the sewing machine because I was so engulfed with making a new dress and learning a new skill.

Until I hit a gigantic bump in the road. After the one year anniversary of the building collapsed in Bangladesh, I did a lot of thinking. I personally related to those people that lost their lives in a personal way, but that's for another day. I felt like I was replacing one with the other. I was replacing fast fashion with fast sewing. Sadly, a lot of the clothes I've made in my early years, heck even last  year, were not worn. I felt really guilty. I no longer want to replace one with the other.

Dresses flew off of the sewing machine because I wanted to keep up with my blog, so I was behind the sewing machine all evening, every weekend. I enjoyed it because I was learning something new, but it was at the expense of maintaining my relationships. So, lately, I spent less time behind my sewing machine. I'm okay with that. The time I have behind my sewing machine, I cherish.

With less time and a focus on quality clothing, I want to be selective with what I make. I've always wanted to build a wardrobe, not only for myself, but for my fiance too.There's no reason why I'm the only one with a nice hand made wardrobe. That means my selfish sewing streak has to come to and end.

I can't believe how much I've learned in these past two years. I never imagined making my own clothes years ago.