I met Jimita last year because of my sewing skills!
I met her when my friend invited me to join the Junior League Holiday Ball Committee (which Jimita was a member of). Basically my role as a committee member was to help decorate and sew the tablecloths for the cocktail tables at the dinner event.
Photography by Josephiney
During our last Holiday Ball Committee meeting, Jimita asked me to make her dress for her daughter’s wedding in April. I was honored and even nervous to be asked to do this project for such a big day! But with Jimita’s energy, cooperation and encouragement, I was able to deliver the dress she wanted!
Vogue 1242 Pattern
We didn’t have much time before the wedding, so Jimita chose patterns for me to use or refer to for guidance. For her dress we used Vogue 1242 (Designed by Kay Unger New York).
These were all the samples I gathered for fabric options. We originally wanted to do silk wool for the dress and a brocade jacket, but it would’ve been quite expensive. Jimita ultimately found a silver cotton/poly fabric to use for the dress and jacket.
A couple weeks ago, I was asked to (literally) whip up a bridesmaid dress.
Photo taken by Allison D’Ambrosia
On Sunday, I was approached by the bridesmaid and asked if I could make her a blue bridesmaid dress before her wedding on Saturday. The first dress she bought no longer fit her and ended up being much shorter & casual than how it looked online.
I told her if she bought fabric and a pattern before Tuesday, I would drop all my projects and sew her the dress!
She chose a royal blue polyester (which resembled a thick dupioni silk) and the 2444 Simplicity pattern.
The pattern did not require lining, but I told her we should line the dress. Ultimately she didn’t buy enough lining, so I only lined the bodice and sleeves. The fabric didn’t need lining or interfacing, so we were in luck!
One of my favorite scarves is acrylic. However if I wear it for too long, it makes me sweat and agitates my skin.
So when I was out shopping for gifts (in particular scarfs), I searched for ones made of natural fabrics, but they were difficult to find. It’s a shame because there were some scarfs with beautiful design!
So instead, I bought some silk and made the scarfs myself! I hand stitched all the edges, so it took quite a bit of time. But it made the gift that much more special and worth the extra time!
The block M purses were last minute projects for friends before I left for an M football game.
I thought they would be perfect for the girls to take to the game and hold their necessities.
But unfortunately, the stadium restrictions were very strict and they wouldn’t allow us enter the stadium with them.
Oh well– they’re still cute to carry around town!
Since I made these at the last minute and quickly, I didn’t have time to line them.
I wanted to make something special to wear to my friend’s rehearsal dinner.
Instead of traveling elsewhere for fine fabric(s) and spending money, I tried to find a fabric to use from my fabric stash.
After searching for something simple and classic, I found some beige silks I bought from Mood Fabrics in NYC last year. I originally intended to use the beige silk for a gown. But after using some of the silk for the mother of the bride dress, I didn’t have enough left for a gown. Instead, I decided to use the silk for a skirt and blouse/tank.
Designed by Jo No Fui (Alessia Giacobino) for Burda
Just prior to the wedding, I received the new Burda Style magazine. The recent edition featured guest Italian designer Alessia Giacobino (designer forJo No Fui). I enjoyed reading her interview and decided to attempt her silk skirt pattern (pictured above). Her skirt pattern was simple yet chic. Burda describes the skirt above with this statement, “Excitement is added to the outfit by the austerely-cut skirt with couture-style volants.”
The silk top and skirt are slightly wrinkled because I snapped these photos after sitting through a wedding.
At the start of summer, I found out I would be a featured artisan on BRIKA! I was so excited, but little did I know how crazy my summer would turn out to be!
In addition to my sister’s wedding preparation, I’ve been preparing for my Brika launch!
BRIKA will first feature some of my clutches and a canvas tote bag. The tote bag is made of a colorful kilim style fabric with genuine leather straps. This eastern European/Turkish style is said to be replacing the chevron trend! (So I’ve heard.) But, I didn’t choose the kilim pattern for that reason! Instead, the print looked wordly, modern, and reminded me of Ukrainian artistry!
I think the kilim design will look really nice with fall attire.
BRIKA is a Toronto based ecommerce website started by two women, Kene Parajape and Jen Lee Koss. Their mission is to “build a beautiful life through well-crafted, everyday objects” and create “a unique online shopping destination that offers a curated selection of special pieces that are destined to become heirlooms.” Everything on the website is handmade with a story behind the product and the maker. Below is Brika’s YouTube Video:
Professional product images (or photos with proper lighting) are extremely important in ecommerce and without them, I’m not sure if anyone can successfully sell their products. Luckily, I have some talented photographers in my family and resources that have allowed me to take professional looking photos! (I’m still learning though!!) My hometown has a family owned camera shop (Gene’s Camera) which recently opened a new studio space that allows photographers to rent. The equipment and space is state of the arc and the owners have been EXTREMELY helpful to me! Also, I’m fortunate to have some lovely sisters who I can persuade to model for me I persuaded my sister Kate to spare some time to model garments, purses, etc. in exchange for all the time I spent sewing and preparing for her wedding!
The pictures turned out better than I imagined and I was extremely pleased! However, early last week I needed to take more LASTMINUTE photos! This time I was in a pinch for models (they were all back at school) and so I had to do the modeling myself. I don’t feel comfortable posting so many pictures of myself, but they say a product sells better on/with a live model. (Plus it saves me money to not hire models!)
If you can’t find a photographer to help you out with product photos, Kollabora just posted a DIY product images video. Click here to check it out!
Please PLEASE please PLEASE go check out Brika and read my story!
It’s a great website and I’m humbled that I get to be a part of it!
Below are some of the photos from our photo shoots! Enjoy!
Ukrainian hand embroidered dress in honor of my babcha
My Babcha was a special woman. Her story is quite remarkable and the lessons she taught me were even more so. I only hope to be as strong as her and pass on her spirit to others.
Aside from her wisdom, her love of sewing was passed on to me. My babcha was an incredible seamstress! She was self taught and used her skills as a seamstress when she moved to America.
Before my babcha’s passing in March (at the age of 93), I finished my first Ukrainian embroidered dress. My babcha was very sick and it was uncertain whether she would make it to Easter. However, she always wanted to die on Easter and we all believed she would make it to Easter day. (There is a Ukrianian myth that if you die on Easter, you go straight to heaven.) But sadly she didn’t make it or see the ukrainian embroidered Easter dress. But I’m sure she got a glimpse of it up in heaven! (And I have no doubt that she is guiding through my current projects!)
Dress is hand embroidered (took lots and lots of time to stitch)
Invisible Back Zipper
This is a compressed story of my babcha’s life (Written by my aunt but modified to be in my voice).
My babcha, Kataryna, was born in 1920 in Western Ukraine. Her father, prior to World War I, voyaged to America to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, while he built a homestead for his family in western Ukraine. My babcha’s parents settled to rear eight daughters, farming and woodcarving in that quiet, picturesque village in the rolling foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. As a child, my babcha vowed never to leave her home or her family. Little did she know of the adventures that lay ahead!