Tag Archives: fashion sewing

TIPS ON HOW TO SEW FAUX LEATHER!

leather fall 2014

Leather is a major trend this season and continues on into the spring, yes leather for spring and summer!  Here are a few tips to get you started:

TIP 1. FABRIC

Check the fabric for flaws, especially in faux leather you might find scratches or cuts that you will need to work around when cutting out the pattern pieces.

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Consider the weight and feel of the fabric for the design.  For example a biker jacket will need a thicker fabric than say a peplum style jacket.  Also, squeeze the fabric in your hand and if it has deep creases or wrinkles, that is how it will look after wearing it (better to know now :))

ANGELA WOLF SEWING LEATHER TIPS2ANGELA WOLF SEWING LEATHER TIPS1TIP 2. NEEDLES

Use a Leather Needle in the sewing machine.  Start with a size 12 or 14 for light to medium weight fabric.

Go up to a 16 or 18 for heavier fabric, but be sure to CHECK your sewing machine as to what is the largest size needle it will accommodate.  One of my older machines will only allow up to a size 14.

For sewing faux leather I prefer using a Jean Needle size 14.    If you are having a problem with skipped stitches try this needle.

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When it comes to hand-stitching, standard needles have a difficult time piercing the fabric.  Instead use a Leather Hand Needle, this needle has a triangular point that pierces the fabric.  Just be careful, the tip is REALLY sharp!

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TIP 3: NO PINS

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Just as difficult as it is to pierce leather / faux leather, once you do pierce the fabric the hole is there forever!  Use clips to hold the fabric instead of pins.  They are lightweight and don’t damage the fabric.

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I got these getta grip sewing clips from my friend Paul Gallo.  I met Paul at Craftsy while we were both shooting classes.  He showed me these clips that he designed and I have been a fan ever since.  Awesome guy!  Have you ever met Paul or taken any of his classes?

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FASHION DRAPING: DRESSMAKING BASICS with PAUL GALLO ON CRAFTSY!

 

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FASHION DRAPING: BIAS DESIGN with PAUL GALLO ONLINE CLASS ON CRAFTSY!

TIP 4: TAPING SEAM ALLOWANCES

ANGELA WOLF HOW TO SEW WITH LEATHER9When sewing garments, pressing the seam allowances open with a Tailor’s Clapper is the best option.  Unfortunately with leather, faux leather, vinyl, and suede, even if you safely press the fabric with an iron shoe, the seam allowance will not stay open.  The best solution for securing seam allowances and hemming is either topstitching or leather tape (a special double-sided tape).

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This is how easy it works:

1. Place a strip of LEATHER TAPE in the seam allowance with the sticky side down.

2. Remove paper backing, revealing the other side of the tape.

3. Fold back the seam allowance or hem allowance.

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I use the 1/4″ wide tape for seam allowances and 1/2″ wide tape for hems.  I purchase the tape from WAWAK SEWING and the rolls come 60 yards.  Don’t be caught off guard by the quantity because you will use more than you think and the price is incredible!  Well, this should get you started – next in line is quilting and embroidering faux leather.

Cheers,

Angela Wolf

 

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How to Sew Exposed Zippers in Jeans and Jeggings!

With October’s Wardrobe Challenge including zippers, I thought now would be a good time to share a few easy ways to embellish with exposed zippers.

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A fun way to change the look of a pair of jeans is to embellish the leg with an exposed zipper.  Follow along:

angelawolfexposedzip1Supplies Needed:

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Step 1: On the wrong side of the fabric, mark the center of the pant leg (could be front or back, wherever you want the zipper).

If marking an existing pair of jeans, rip out the hem at least 5″ from each side of new mark. Press the fusible interfacing along the newly marked center line.

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Step 2: Mark the hem, hem allowance, and the length of the zipper opening down center of the pant leg.

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Step 3: Determine the width of the zipper opening (depends on the width of the zipper teeth).  Draw in opening, top edge, and then add a triangle from the center cut line to each corner (as shown above).

angelawolfexposedzip5Step 4: Cut along center marking.  Cut each triangle point (if you are worried about the fabric fraying, add Fray Check to the top corners)

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Step 5: Press the seam allowances back and press triangle tip up.

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Step 6: Line up the zipper with the metal teeth in the center of the opening.  Check the placement of the zipper stop and zipper tab.

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Step 7: Fold back the zipper tape and press in place at the hemline.

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Step 8:  Pin zipper in place.

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Step 9:  In this example, I am using standard polyester thread, cotton or silk thread would work too.  Set the sewing machine to a triple stitch and lengthen the stitch length to 4.0.  (Note:  if you don’t have this feature, use denim thread, straight stitch, stitch length 4.0)

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Step 10: Stitch along the edge of the zipper.  Open and close the zipper as needed in order to get the foot by the zipper tab.  angelawolfexposedzip17Step 11:  Notice how I have lined up the edge of the zipper foot with the metal teeth, a very easy to get a straight stitch  … or this would be a great time to utilize the laser vision guide feature on your machine! 🙂

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Step 12: Press up the hem with the tailor’s clapper for a crisp crease.  By the way, did I mention WAWAK Sewing is now carrying my tailor’s clapper!  Yeah!

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Step 13: Hem the jeans and move onto the other leg.

That’s it! Now this is just one quick, easy way to install a hidden zipper.  I will give you some more ideas next time.

Cheers,

Angela Wolf

 

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Are your photo’s showing up on Flickr? Wild Card Entries in the Wardrobe Challenge!

WILD CARD ENTRIES
You will notice August and September offered a Wild Card entry and there are a few reasons for this:

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NEED HELP JOINING FLICKR?

Many of you have emailed needing help with Flickr, which is the primary method of entering the contest.  Hopefully you are getting the hang of it now, but in all fairness, if any of you need help setting up your Flickr or navigating around the site, please let me know and I will be more than happy to help you get started.

ARE YOUR PHOTOS SHOWING UP ON THE WARDROBE CHALLENGE FLICKR GROUP? 

More importantly, are your photos showing up in the Wardrobe Challenge Flickr page?  As you upload a photo for a certain challenge, make sure that you click on “add to groups” (on the left hand side) and then click on “Angela Wolf’s Wardrobe Challenge”.  After the photo is uploaded, click on the Wardrobe Challenge Flickr Group page and make sure your photo is there.  If you don’t see your photo on the group page, the judges don’t either.  Again, let me know if you need help with this, and I would be more than happy to help.

WHAT’S A WILD CARD?

The idea for this challenge is to inspire people to sew garments and fill their wardrobe with your own designs.  Of course I can’t possibly add a theme that suits everyone, so the Wild Card entries are in case you want to sew a garment outside of the themes.  Just add “Wild Card” to the description of your garment along with either the month “August” or “September” (again check that it show up on the Flickr page) and your entry will qualify for the month indicated.  Wild Card entries will be judged at the close of the official challenge and must be received by January 31, 2015.  Yes I did say January 31, 2015 – read below for details.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE …

I would like to thank everyone for participating in my wardrobe challenge.  So far, the garments are fabulous and the Pinterest page is fun too, what a great place to share inspiration!  The idea of filling my closet with my own hand-sewn apparel is a mission of mine (hope I live a long time to fulfill that one 🙂 )  and my wish is to inspire you to do the same.  I could have called this challenge a blog-athon or sew-along, but I chose to go out on a limb and ask some of my favorite sewing businesses to donate gifts and prizes – which they so generously offered; thus creating a full-blown contest.  The response has been phenomenal and I have enjoyed every bit of watching what you all are working on.  But with any long-term contest or event, some changes need to be made in order to better the experience for all involved.

This is the reason for August Wild Card month:  As I mentioned many of you were struggling with the Flickr group, I was waiting for others to reply to our emails about winning past challenges, and a few other kinks that needed to be worked out.

This was not the reason for September’s Wild Card:  I don’t usually share my personal life too much, but I think this one is important.  Labor Day weekend I was notified of my Grandmother entering the hospital.  Although it didn’t seem serious at first, she passed away shortly after.  My Grandmother was my best friend.  After losing my Grandfather 2 years ago, this was almost unbearable.

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Those of you that know me will attest that I always take all my work seriously and give 100%, if not more – even if it’s donating time working on my Wardrobe Challenge or helping a fellow sewer with a sewing dilemma.  There is a fine line though; my family comes first and always will.  So during this difficult time, which has been very emotional for me, I stepped away from the office for a short period to be with family.

On a positive note, last week I taught at the American Sewing Expo, which is as invigorating as it gets. So many of you came up and showed off your new outfits that you have been sewing in the Wardrobe Challenge.  Thanks, you really made my day and reminded me of why this challenge is going on.  So now you have 2 chances at a Wild Card Entry 🙂

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Not only that, I am extending the contest to January 31, 2015 – simply because of the Holiday’s.  Please remember this challenge is supposed to be fun and inspiring!  Now, for those that like zippers, October’s challenge is “All Zipped Up” and I have some exciting tutorials on inserting zippers coming your way this month.

cheers,

Angela Wolf

Designer Wardrobe Challenge – Fabricate with Applique!

win-n-angel fishingMany of you have asked about the design on the cover of June’s wardrobe challenge and I can’t think of any better way to get back on the blogging roll. Where have I been hiding? Actually, I have been traveling quite a bit: some for work, visiting family, and of course getting a little fishing in.

I keep my blog notebook with me and write ideas and topics when the inspiration comes. The book is getting pretty full, so the good news is I am back from my trips and have caught up on all my crazy tight deadlines (what a breath of fresh air 🙂 ) and now I have the time to blog, yeah!

I have spent the last two weeks sewing and embroidering up a storm. I am excited to share what I have been working on and ready to get going on the wardrobe challenge … I need some summer clothes!

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June’s Challenge – Fabricate!

First, I have some great fabricating techniques to share with you; therefore, I am extending the deadline for June’s Challenge until July 31st. There will still be a separate July challenge, but with summer in most of our backyards, this will give you more time.

Fab-ri-cate (from dictionary.com unabridged – based on the Random House Dictionary)

  1. To make by art or skill and labor; construct
  2. To make by assembling parts or sections
  3. To devise or invent
  4. To fake; forge

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That definition pretty much leaves the door open for ultimate creativity, wouldn’t you say? One idea includes designing your own fabric or altering a fabric into something totally different, which is what I did with the above jacket.

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The fabric used for the applique trimming is a polyester / satin. A lightweight fabric with fabulous drape, perfect for a blouse or lining (both of which I plan to add to jacket).  That fabric, if left alone, would be a nightmare to create appliques or cut-outs, so I fabricated – sounds like a bad word 🙂 !

heat and bondThe trick – Heat N Bond, now available from my favorite place WAWAK Sewing and comes in 5 yard and 35 yard pieces. At first I wasn’t too sure about this stuff, but basically you iron it to the back of the fabric and it makes it easier for you to cut out an applique – especially if you are using the Brother Scan-n-Cut

 

 

 

This is how easy an applique can be:

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  • Choose a design – for the sleeve I enlarged a design already in the scan-n-cut memory.
  • Place the bonded fabric onto the cutting mat (the paper backing on the heat –n-bond makes it easy to stick)
  • Press the start button (told you it was easy!)

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Peel off the backing and place the appliques on the garment.

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Once you have the perfect placement, use a press cloth and press the applique in place.  Notice I attach the appliques before sewing the sleeve together.

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Even though the cut of the scan-n-cut prevents the fabric edges from fraying, I still stitch the applique in place. I choose the blanket stitch and stitched around each applique. That took some time, but it looks great.  Almost looks like leather!

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I followed all those steps for the jacket front and again used a blanket stitch.

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Of course I could cut these appliques by hand, but I really like the fact that all the front pieces are exactly the same! By the way, don’t look too closely at my studio – can you tell I have been working 🙂angela wolf #wardrobechallenge

 

Well, that’s one fun way to fabricate, much more to come.  Have you ever tried appliqueing apparel?

 

Cheers,

Angela Wolf

Simply Serged! April’s Wardrobe Challenge How to Sew Simple Apparel

April wardrobe challenge short

As we plug along with the wardrobe challenge, last month offered a chance for sewing designer jeans.  Jeans have become a staple in many of our wardrobes and after you get the hang of the fitting (I still have a few blog posts coming to help) and sewing techniques, jeans can really be fun to sew!  Taking in consideration that jeans can take a while to finish, I am adding an ongoing monthly prize for the best jeans on the Wardrobe Challenge flickr group!  I know many of you mentioned you were not finished and others might join the wardrobe challenge throughout the year – jeans are my favorite and now you can win each month by adding a new pair of jeans 🙂

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Onto April’s Challenge – Simply Serged!

This challenge is to come up with fashionable apparel that is quick and easy to finish, yet doesn’t look it.  I am a little selfish on this challenge as I am trying to finish my new serging book (available next spring) and if you all are working on serged outfits, I thought that would inspire me to finish faster 🙂  Also, this month is National Serging Month – not sure what that really means, except you will probably get a good deal on buying a serger if you are in the market for one. 🙂   The serger offers so much more than finishing seams and after sewing jeans or a couture jacket, it is so nice to jump on the serger and finish a silk top in less than an hour!  Take a look at this top:

The Angel Skinny Jean  #AW4212    Angela Wolf

Fabric:  Silk Charmeuse    Time: cut to finish 1 hour 30 minutes

Stitches: 3-thread overlock, coversitch, narrow rolled hem

This is just one example, but I will try to include some of my favorite creative stitches throughout the month.  I just received my new order from WAWAK Sewing  with a batch of thread.  I am trying out new ideas for the serger … I can hardly wait to test them and let you know the results!

Don’t have a serger?  Well, now is the time to buy one, but if you are not quite ready for one you can still participate in the wardrobe challenge on Pinterest.  I am still offering a prize for jeans on the Flickr group and you can still sew simple garments adding to your overall wardrobe.

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Make sure to say Thanks and Like the sponsors pages on Facebook:  Brother,  Threads Magazine, Sew Stylish Magazine, WAWAK Sewing, Coats & Clark, It’s Sew Easy TV, and me 🙂

That’s all for now, onto laying out my fabrics.   Are you enjoying the challenge so far?

Cheers & Happy Serging,

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February’s Wardrobe Challenge Ruching and Shirring! January’s Winners Announced …

February Challenge logoJanuary’s challenge was just to get you in the mood to sew and it looks like it worked!  So many of you are posting fabrics and patterns you plan on tackling this year.  February’s challenge includes ruching and shirring.  If you can’t tell I am a little addicted to ruching, well that and dyeing fabrics.  I can hardly stand to wear a top without ruching somewhere and the best part is that it can be done so quickly!  I have used this technique on so many garments, which of course I will share all month.  The look is flattering and adds a custom look.

Here is an old post or below is a quick video showing my simple technique (by the way, this is an old video and there was obviously an issue with sound and it’s not in stereo.  Ignore that and enjoy the technique :))

For February, add anything and everything ruched and shirred.  This can be a casual garment or go all out with an evening dress, whatever will inspire you to sew  🙂  In case you missed this, the challenges will be listed above under the link “Angela Wolf’s Wardrobe Challenge”.  At first I didn’t realize I had hidden the pages, so thanks to those that let me know. February’s challenge still takes place on Pinterest and adds another social venue for sharing photo’s, a flickr group.  This will be the location to enter your sewn or restyled garments.  For details on adding photo’s to this group click here.

February’s Pinterest: 

  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Follow my Wardrobe Challenge 2014 board
  • Create your own board Wardrobe Challenge 2014 (you might have already finished the first 3 steps in January, you will be using the same wardrobe challenge board all year J)
  • Pin
    • adding hashtag #wardrobechallenge to the comments section pin inspiration for ruching and shirring.  Add at least one pin from each sponsor.
    • If you are entering February’s contest post a comment and link to your board right here.  It’s important to add a link to your pinterest board each month, then we know if you participated or not.

January 2014 Winners:

First of all, everyone’s boards are so inspiring!  Not that any of us need to spend any more time on Pinterest LOL, but this is really fun.  I have been scanning each of your wardrobe boards at night, it makes for really creative dreams 🙂  The judging was difficult, so the panel picked 3 top winners and randomly picked 2 more.  Congratulations Everyone!  If you are a winner contact me at info@angelawolf.com
Overall Best Wardrobe Ideas and over 100 pins!
1 year Threads Insider Membership winner Susie Dodd

Excellent pins and really went overboard supporting all the sponsors, not to mention she has well over 100 pins on her Wardrobe Challenge Board! 
$50 WAWAK sewing gift card winner Karla Hollett

This board is filled with fitting advice and tutorials, which is one of the most important parts of sewing success!
One Pattern, Many Ways Vol. 1 DVD winner Sandy Heller

The judges scanned all the Pinterest boards that were submitted in the January challenge and the ones that followed all the instructions, including pins from each sponsor were thrown into a hat … and the winners are:

It’s Sew Easy season 5 DVD winner Lori

Angela Wolf’s Create a Jacket Muslin on PatternReview.com Shawn Heiestand

Time-saving Sewing Tip! Pre-cut interfacing with Olfa in minutes!

I am thrilled to see all of the excitement for my 2014 Wardrobe Challenge! The month of January is so full of new years resolutions, crazy weather and catching up from the holidays, I wanted to make this month’s challenge simple and fun.  All you have to do is create a Pinterest board “wardrobe challenge 2014” and pin photos that inspire you. This is not a trick, just post anything that inspires you to design and sew, this can be absolutely anything.  Ideas: colors, animals, architecture, food (that is the downfall of pinterest, everyone posts such fabulous looking food, I swear I can smell it through the computer screen!)  Pin something from each sponsor – that can be a repin from their pinterest board or pin something from their website and leave a comment here or on my pinterest board with a link to your new board.  In case you need the links to the sponsors here they are again:  Brother, Threads and Sew Stylish Magazines, WAWAK sewing, It’s Sew Easy, Angela Wolf Patterns, and some of you couldn’t find my pinterest page.  Again, if you need an invitation to pinterest email me info@angelawolf.com.  For more details on January’s Challenge, there is still a week to enter, then we move on to February’s challenge!  Good Luck 🙂

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Olfa 60mm Rotary Jumbo Cutter, Replacement Blade, and Cutting Mat from WAWAKsewing.com

Now, onto a quick time-saving tip.  When I sit down to sew, there are a few items that I quite often need and I find it faster to prepare these in advance.  One example is fusible interfacing: hemming jacket sleeves, plackets, zipper placement, bound button holes, these are just the first few areas I need the interfacing and to get up, unfold the interfacing and cut 1 strip is a total “time sucker”, my new word for the year!  For jacket hem’s I typically use 3″ to 4″ wide strips of interfacing and for the zipper placement 1″ to 1-1/2″ strips.

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This is light-weight fusible interfacing (HTC fusi-knit) and with two layers you can still see through the interfacing to line up the 1″ grid on the Olfa cutting mat.

Keeping the grainlines and stretch of the interfacing in mind:

  • cut strips parallel to the selvage 28″ long by 1 1/2″ wide.  The most common use for these strips is to support the center back seams on a dress when inserting a hidden zipper (I am hooked on sewing dresses lately!) and it is rare that I would need longer than 28″ for a zipper.

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  • cut strips perpendicular to the selvage 4″ long by the width of the interfacing (in this case 22″ wide).  These strips are perfect for re-hemming jackets and sleeve hems.  If you do alterations, this is really a bonus to have these cut strips on hand.

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Store these strips in a photo box next to your sewing station and you are all set!

A few tips on the rotary blade:

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Always clear your cutting area from pins!  It always amazes me how one little dent in the blade can ruin the cutting, but it is true.  Maybe it’s not quite as noticeable when cutting thick fabric, but try cutting bias strips of silk chiffon.  If the blade is damaged, even in the slightest bit, the cutting is fragmented and you end up cutting the strips over with scissors.  Pain in the tush 🙂   I used to try to sharpen the blades, but seriously I am trying to save time not cause more work.  The blades are not that expensive, especially this month they are 25% off at WAWAK sewing, time to stock up for a few months!  The replacement blades come in a nice plastic container.  As I am always fearful of throwing a blade in the trash, I use one of the containers to store bad blades.   See the blue dot in the photo above, that dot tells me this package is bad blades.  When its full, snap the container closed, add a piece of tape for extra security,  and toss with no worries.

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Lastly, take extra precaution and close the blade cover when not in use.  It makes me crazy when anyone in my studio leaves the blade exposed when they are not using it!  I have a pretty long cutting table and I am often grabbing bolts of fabric and sliding patterns around, one slip could end up being a bloody mess.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I have heard a few horror stories 😦

My question to you – Have you ever tried sharpening your old blades and did you have any luck or do you prefer stocking up on replacement blades when a great sale hits?

Have fun filling your pinterest board, remember to add #wardrobechallenge when sharing your experience!

cheers 🙂

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Angela Wolf’s 2014 Wardrobe Challenge

January 2014 Wardrobe Challenge with Angela Wolf

Angela Wolf’s Wardrobe Challenge of 2014

I told you I had something in store for you, well here it is!  The inspiration for this challenge came when I changed my closets over from summer to fall.  I stepped back to admire the organized closet and realized I had made almost every outfit!  Wearing all my own designs has been a desire of mine from the time I started my custom apparel business in 1994, yet time has a tendency to hinder any quick results.  I blogged about my excitement with my closet of home sewn garments and received an instant response from many readers.  It turns out, many of you have this same goal of sewing all their own clothes, yet again time seems to be the crutch in achieving this goal.  Thus the idea of the wardrobe challenge came about.

The goal of the Angela Wolf Wardrobe Challenge is to inspire, mentor, and challenge you to fill their closets with your own home-sewn and re-styled garments … one garment at a time!

The challenge will start with planning a coordinating wardrobe (I can’t tell you how many jackets I have sewn and never worn, simply because they don’t match anything). Each month there will be a new theme with a certain garment to challenge you to sew.  Participate in 1 month, all 12 months, and/or just focus on a killer wardrobe for the overall challenge!  I will share more details soon, but I want you to get started on January’s challenge.  The details of the challenge are listed above and will take place on Pinterest.  Not on pinterest, no worries, email me at info@angelawolf.com and I will invite you.

January’s Challenge focuses on creating story board!  Pin anything you like that will inspire you to start adding to your wardrobe.  Fabric, Colors, Sewing Tips, basically anything that inspires you.

1 year … 13 challenges … GET INSPIRED TO SEW!!!!!

Are you up for the challenge?    Good Luck!

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