Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 is here! Time for an Update!

As you might be able to notice, this blog is my least updated form of social media. I've greatly embraced Instagram and Facebook for showing clips of my sewing life and sharing small thoughts on my day to day.

If you don't already follow me on those platforms, please do as they are much more interesting and easier for me to update than this blog which is more or less a landing page.

I will be updating the prices for my business and posting those in this next week. I haven't changed my prices in 10 years and it's well overdue. I've put it off for a few years and I can't put it off any longer. To those of you who find me unaffordable now, I appreciate your business and I hope you'll find someone with similar quality for your future needs. To those of you who will stick it out with me through an increase, you will hopefully find that my turnaround times decrease and that I'm a little easier to get ahold of.

My goals in this increase are, overall, to reduce my stress and to provide better service and quality across the board. I hustle every day and I'd like to balance the hustle a little better for the sake of my health.

If you're curious how I increased the prices... I didn't do an even percentage across all items as that just doesn't make sense for this kind of work. Everything factors across my hourly rate and I used some other local sewing shops for comps. I'll still never be able to charge as high as some places charge for certain things... this price increase is baby steps for me too. As I get older and gain more experience I'm understanding where I fit into the spectrum of seamstresses based on my quality and so this increase is reflective of that as well.

I'm no longer going to worry if the lady down the street offers a $5 pant hem... I'm not her and she's not me... and that is ok.<3 br="">

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why I Do What I Do (When I Do What I Do) And Why I Love Doing It

Why I Do What I Do

(When I do what I do)

And Why I Love Doing It

Lately I’ve had a lot of opportunities to speak up about why I love what I do and why I want to do it. Opportunities like this usually come up as questions regarding the odd lifestyle I’ve chosen to live… I live in a constant pile-acious mess of fabric, thread, invoices, bills, scissors, pins and million unsorted things. I work when I feel best which sometimes is at 3 am. My ideal workspace is a big empty room with great lights where I can put all my toys and take naps under the cutting table. I can put in 60+ hours a week on my various client work.  I don’t punch a clock or wear a suit; pj’s and Post-it’s are more my speed. My client products range from leather work to scuba gear.

And I love it. I struggle daily to keep my business going because I love what I’ve made.

Early on in my business someone told me that I won’t be without problems, like I assumed that running my own shop would be easy. Certainly I never expected that I wouldn’t have problems. Having a business is hard. I don’t like doing paperwork, dealing with hard clients or spending time writing quotes; anything not sewing feels difficult. I’ve learned that all those things that I hate doing are worth it when I see what a difference I make to my clients.

Perhaps for some people it’s hard to understand why I make the decisions and take the risks I do. I won’t ever be happy working a 9-5, it’s just not me. That’s not how I work best. One of the strangest things people see in me is how weird it is that I want to live in my workspace. My current search for a live/work shop has been full of questions about exactly why would I want to live like that. It’s hard to not take it personally but I know what I need for me. I know what I put into my work and for me it is personal. I have devoted my life to becoming the best at what I do and I am fortunate enough to be able to operate in a way that allows me to do what I love every single day. When you find a job that you love that much… doesn’t it make sense that you’d never really want to leave it? Maybe everyone else hasn’t found their passion but I’ve found mine and these are just the things I have to do to make my dreams into a reality.

Calm before the storm...

My love of sewing goes beyond any hobby. My love of teaching my craft goes beyond any work book or lesson plan. My joy in creating the built world goes beyond anything that I have ever felt in my life. In everything I make, I find consistently that the joy is always there through the discovery of handling new fabrics, building patterns that work, helping clients reach their goals.

Sewing is not a dying art to me. I make money with it. I pay my bills with money that I have made making patterns, cutting fabric, and sewing together all kinds of products. Sewing is the most flexible industry for growth and I believe it will be the job that will help turn around the crap-ass state of affairs in our country. Anyone can sew if they are willing to learn and I will be the one to teach them. Give me an outlet, a machine and a willing victim and in no time I’ll give you a line seamstress able to be employed in a sewing shop.

This is what I was put on this earth to do.  I am not getting out easy. I not only expect a challenge, I welcome it. I belong in a position where I can help others through my sewing knowledge. My passion for sewing is deep and I won’t quit being weird to you so love me anyway. Support me as I grow this business. I am going to change the world, I just know it.

I’ve said it a million times, I just want to work and make people happy, and so that’s what I’m going to do.

xo Adrienne
Thanks for indulging in my ridiculous titling of this personal essay ;) 
And, yeah, I said "crap-ass." It's the truth and you know it. Forgive the language lol

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Year...

Holy cows, has it really been one year? I stopped in to visit the crew at the last shop I worked for and I realized that my leap from working for the man to working for myself occurred one year ago this month. Where on Earth has the time gone? Granted, I technically still work for the man, many different clients both men and women hahaha but generally it's acceptable to say that I work for myself.

One of my interns learning to use an industrial machine
I have spent this time making lots of mistakes and lots of leaps forward. Gotten paid, gotten not paid. I had some wonderful interns work with me this summer. I have joined the Peoria Chamber of Commerce in order to begin reaching a new local audience of other businesses that might need my services. I am really so thankful for all of the wonderful people I've met along my journey who have given me great advice and been great clients. I am super proud of the clients who are now able to grow to wholesale some of their designs, and some of my clients who are able to move to larger manufacturing facilities after all the beginning steps of working hard together.

Working in a pop up space at the SeedSpot office

I still have a long ways to go yet. I am currently looking for a merchant service to take payments and serve my clients better. Always looking for a next great big cutting table. Always working to get the sewing room in order... don't tease, if it's clean, I am clearly not busy enough hahaha. Always looking to add new clients with awesome projects to my list.

I am tired, but extremely happy and I wouldn't trade all the lost sleep for anything. This is a hard road in almost every aspect but the sewing, got that locked down, but I love it. Helping new businesses grow is worth all the work when I see them reach goals and get to the next level.

Time to send out some thank you cards to all my clients and to update my policies to reflect the needs and capabilities of my growing business.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Over the years I have made purses of all kinds. Simple purses, purses with lots of pockets....purses made for no reason, purses made for specific people. The best part about making a purse is that you can make them exactly to specification. No two designs are ever alike.

Wristlets, clutches, tote bags, purse...however you call them I love making them all. Each has it's own personality and is a great way to experiment with new techniques or play with expensive fabrics on a smaller scale in a responsible way.

 I've collected here all the purses I've made that have pictures of them. I am saving messenger bags for a separate post since I am working on a new style that I'll want to include in that. So many purses, where should I start?   Chronological makes sense but I think I'll start with sparkliest.

This is a quick little zippered wristlet shaped like a lime because what else would go with a Dos Equis bottle costume? It's made from eco felt in two colors and outlined in sequin trim so it really pops. I didn't make a pattern for it, it was one of those cut as you think and sew as you go projects but I am thinking of making it up as a quick pattern soon.

This one is another simple zippered clutch shape made in wool felt and lined in purple satin. I made this in a Day of the Dead theme with a skull butterfly of my own design worked out in hematite seed beads and bugle beads.

I made this bag on a slow day at the shop when I worked alterations. I had a bunch of belts that were going to be tossed  and instead I wove them up like this. I thought they made a great textural detail for a pocket on this simple square tote. It's lined in black satin and the straps were made with wavy topstitching lines.

Yum! silk. This bag was made custom for a lady using the Alchemy feature on Etsy. I loved bidding on jobs, so sad that that feature no longer exists. Any who, we came up with this design that included her initials embroidered to match the lining, two lengths of straps, a tissue holder and a lip gloss finder. The lining was a gorgeous watermelony pink and featured a lot of  pockets to be organized.

This bag was made for a swap on Craftser about a million years ago. I called it "the bag that made itself" because it made up in an hour or so start to finish. I was so excited to make it that my brain willed it into life in a flash. This was the first moment that I realize now began to foreshadow my new life at higher speed tactical sewing. The shape of these pockets are basically the same shape, minus the flap, of the magazine insert pocket on a rifle case that I made... These zippers were sewn in the same fashion as many of the tactical pouches... Boy if I knew that my life was going to explode into the world of tactical gear when I made this bag hahaha If only they knew that my skill at sewing tactical gear came from my skill of purse sewing I am sure they too would be laughing.

This wristlet was made as a makeup case for travel. It's made of two side panels of cotton with bamboo batting quilted through. They were sewn together using a neon pink binding for finishing and an exposed zipper with blue tape. It makes a fun combination of colors and textures. I have a few more in various fabrics cut out, it's a great stash buster pattern. I am testing it out for my someday line.

These totes I made while working at the above mentioned tactical company Wilderness Tactical. During a cleaning flurry/ run in with the scrap box I flexed some of my creative muscle to show how we could make a whole product out of the scraps too small to cut a regular product out of. The strapping was a roll of strong cotton webbing that we never used so it was a real win win and true to form "overkill never fails" Wilderness mentality. It is a version of this shape that we made up originally as a quick Christmas gift idea which got added to the line. 

This last large tote is a test pattern I am working on for my someday line. It's made of a cotton with bamboo batting. The outside has a pocket between the handles but it's in matching fabric so it's hard to see from this quick picture. The straps are neckties and are just long enough to wear both cross body and over the shoulder. I am short though so maybe that's why it fits me cross body haha. I added vintage pom poms under the tie as I sewed it down just for funsies.

Each new purse that I tackle bring new and exciting challenges. I am a total hardware junkie and purses are a great way to utilize the world of hardware. Each pattern has new sewing order and techniques that keep me refreshed. The best part about sewing a purse is that it is something useable that can be enjoyed. It's a great balance between form and function.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Who Taught Me How to Sew?

Who Taught Me How to Sew?

The most asked question that I get from inquiring minds is always to find out who taught me how to sew.  Sewing is a topic that I am constantly learning through reading and picking the brains of other seamstresses. I consider that every person and book I have come in contact with has added something to the arsenal of skills at my ready. Take the good with the bad even; certainly we can even learn what not to do by watching others and sometimes that is a more valuable lesson.

The first garment that I recall seeing be sewn was made long after I was interested in sewing but it grew the spark for the needle and thread that was deep in my heart already. The act of creating things is part of who I am as a human being. I do not recall a day where I sat without something in my head or a mess of cutting growing around me while I sat on the floor of the living room. That first garment was my 8th grade graduation dress and it was made for me by my Aunt Petey. We chose the fabrics and pattern together while she was on vacation and she constructed most of it while I danced around visioning how pretty I would look while I gave my speech at graduation.

From there I began searching the library for anything I could read about sewing. Old sewing books, rug hooking, hat making, shoe making... any topic I could find. I commandeered my mother's sewing machine and made huge messes in the living room trying to achieve my goals. Through sheer force of will I made wobbly bags and skirts that I wore with pride during high school. I even managed to squeeze out two homecoming dresses for myself and one for a friend as well as neckties for my date to match me. During high school I worked in a fabric store. Being around fabrics and notions and women with experience in sewing brought my sewing curiosities to a higher level of thirst. I began more detailed experiments with better fabrics and corect techniques. Slowly I began paying attention to the steps and not skipping parts. I noticed that the designs came easier to me in construction and that I wasn't needed the instructions in the patterns. Half the time they seemed harder to me any way.

One of the women that I worked with owned her own alterations shop where she invited me to work with her. Through college I worked with Blanca and she shared with me all the wonderful secrets, all the wonderful things she had collected in her life. Under the warmth of her sharing kindness I grew unafraid to take larger projects. She taught me to take every kind of work and just figure it out. Her certainty that I would figure it out grew in me.

That lesson lives with me daily as I take on all sorts of unusual sewing work. It's not ego at all but that spirit that she imparted to me that if I dive into myself, into my brain, and heart that my fingers will know what to do. That spirit has led me to make luggage, wedding dresses, back packs, a tent, and numerous patterns for clothing. That spirit guides me in knowing that I am on the right track in my life. I am at home with my sewing machine and with my tools. I thrive with a challenging project on my plate. I thirst for new problems to solve. I live to share all that I have learned in the same way that Blanca shared with me.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Katie Jean

One of  my favorite services that I offer requires me to step out of my at home studio and into the shops of other local seamstresses to provide back up sewing for their lines. When I go sew for these types of clients I can find myself cutting dresses, prepping orders, steaming, cleaning, assembly line sewing or anything required to get the days job done.  This allows me to keep in touch with the local sewing community and have a fun working day chatting away while we sew. I also have the benefit of dipping into a variety of projects to keep my skills sharp on many fabrics and techniques which keeps my brain satisfied.

Katie Jean is a local designer who I work with at least once a week on her ever popular and ever lovely wedding and special occasion dress line. She sources local vintage fabrics and high quality silk and lace to create a line that is both eco-friendly and a soft, romantic choice for those ladies looking for something really unique for their wedding.

 When I visit I am greeted by Katie and her sister Amy. Amy provides sewing assistance and runs the day to day office and communication needs. She takes pictures of slips to send to customers looking to buy the famous ruffled lace slip dress because the base of the dress is a  hand picked vintage slip found locally.

A noteworthy detail... Katie includes handwritten cards thanking each of her customers for their order. Little touches like that are what sets her work apart. In a world where the love of handmade is growing I think that all the fine touches of Katie's work should be shown. These are the kind of dresses that you can feel care and love tenderly sewn in with each stitch.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Custom | Pillows

  Pillow cases are a great way to freshen up an interior space because they are cost effective to make and simple enough to change out with seasons or on a whim. Pillows can be made in any size or shape, as permanently filled shapes or as cases with closures to allow for insertion and removal of a pillow form insert. Pillow inserts can be purchased or made in a custom size.     These simple styles feature two popular types of closures: a zipper closure and European sham style where the pillow gets inserted in through a fold over slot in the back side of the case. 
This pink and chocolate brown set was made as a baby shower gift. What looks more appealing than a stack of fluffy, fun colored pillows tied with an over-sized satin ribbon bow? They were made by piecing fun cotton prints, sewing a basic square pillow and are stuffed with filling then sewn shut. They can be refreshed for cleaning with a tumble in the dryer with a dryer sheet or a spritz of water.


Saturday, May 19, 2012



Small Batch Manufacturing: Dapper + Dash

One of our small batch manufacturing clients is a new local business called Dapper + Dash. For them we cut, press, sew, label and deliver quality bow ties to spec.We've been working closely with the owner Aaron Kimberlain since November of 2011 to bring his product off the page and  into the built environment. He came to us with a detailed packet of his needs and expectations required to make his bow ties. He designed three styles of bow ties, each end shape dictates the tied volume and relative bow shape, Huckleberry, Dagwood, and Churchill. 
Aaron gathers long retired neckties and puts them back to work as the main material for his collection. From there we open each tie and begin the process of cutting and sewing them til they are ready to once again grace the collar of a dapper man. Also available is the option to take your current neck tie collection and have them revamped into bow ties. They are available online at Dapper + Dash , at a Frances on Central and Camelback and at The Mercantile on Central just south of Roosevelt.

Make It Be

 Custom | Small Batch


 Make it Be

One of the advantages to our sewing services is that we can take our rules and mold them to suit the needs of your project. One particular instance is our work with Make it Be purses. These lovely bags are hand knitted with delicious colors of yarn, felted, and then decorated with a knitted flower or brooch. Each bag is unique with ruffles or stripes, fun linings and handles.

Our side of the work comes in with the linings. We receive the knitted bag shell and fabrics with which to make a sewn lining with an interior pocket and a top closure. We measure each bag, cut linings and pockets, make handle attachment straps, create a zipper top panel with zipper stops to finish each end and then the whole assembly gets fitted and sewn into each knitted shell. Each lining gets a label too! Can't forget to sign your name to your product.

Though the process is the same every time each bag can vary in width and depth. We combine a standard method and a custom fit for each bag. Each bag looks uniform in execution for a consistent finished product but is tailored to allow for the various sizes of bags by design or by expected handmade differences.

We truly love that we can be a part of the finishing steps that make these beautiful bags become a staple accessory in a woman's daily life.

How can we apply this same custom small batch concept to your product line? If you have a product that you create that needs a sewn step consider our shop to bring polish to your line. We understand that handmade means variety in size and we can work with you and create a look that unifies your items for branding stability. Whether you make hats, purses, need someone to sew finishing step or cutting contact us today to see how we can bring your products to the next level.

shop Make it Be

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Custom| Slip

Custom: Half Slip


One task we at Creatable Lady find most difficult is clothing shopping specifically when you are looking for one particular item. it seems then if you do happen upon something that might pass for the intended garment it still might have fit issues or design elements that you weren't looking for. You buy it with hesitance and it sits at the back of your closet till you see it again and wonder, Why did I buy that?

The worst shoppers remorse is any kind of lingerie or under garment mainly because any piece is a real investment. Buying a bra or fitting garment that you aren't in love with is jurried, for us at leas, by that price tag. 

If you have ventured out lately to find any type of classy undergarments whether for yourself or for a gift you know how  tiring it can be to sift through piles of string-a-ling undies, crazy patterns or on the other extreme, the Grandma beige full coverage collection. Granted, every leopard print demi cup bra and high-waisted brief have their time and place but where do you look to find a classic silhouette?

This classic half slip was a custom item commissioned by a husband as a gift for his wife. He came to us after ordering one online that didn't meet his expectations in quality. He specifically wanted nylon tricot [tree-coh] material which is what slips were typically made from but now are available in all kinds of blends. Nylon tricot is great for a slip because of it's natural non-static, wrinkle resistance and non-snag qualities; perfect for a slip. Tricot is a knit and one of very few fabrics that is easier to work with if it is not laundered first. It keeps its shape and shine through washings and is very comfortable to wear.

We ordered this lovely red nylon tricot from an online source that specializes in fabrics, hardware and trims for lingerie building. Sometimes shopping for supplies via the internet sight unseen can be a little nerve wracking but they were able to help us also get a beautiful matching 4" lace for the trim and a sweet picot [pee-coh] elastic trim for the waist. We created side vents from the hem up the side seam for ease of motion while wearing the slip. 

Upon receiving this slip the husband was so excited. He couldn't wait to get it home to wrap it for his wife. His enthusiasm was endearing.  We can't wait for our next venture into the world of undergarments!...

2018 is here! Time for an Update!

As you might be able to notice, this blog is my least updated form of social media. I've greatly embraced Instagram and Facebook for sho...