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Weekend Reading: Brand nostalgia, accepting criticism, and the fashion of Twin Peaks

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We’re working hard on getting things set up over here.

Well, Meg and Kenn are working hard. I’m basically doing the same kind of work I always do.

Today’s an especially big day because we’re getting all of our inventory delivered, so that we can bring our shipping back in house after years of having a separate warehouse. I’ll have another very very good announcement regarding that next week. It’s going to be a huge win for everyone.

Weekend Reading:

For more links every week, you can follow me on Twitter, where I’m always posting interesting tidbits I find.

image above via colettepatterns on instagram

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New pattern coming soon! Get on the preview list here.

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In addition to our recent move, we’ve been busy working on our latest pattern for Fall. We recently finished up the photo shoot, where I snapped this picture.

In the last year or so, we’ve experimented with some new kinds of garments, to great success. We’ve done menswear, we’ve done knits, we’ve done cat sweaters (ok, not that one… yet).

But I feel like this pattern goes back to our roots a little bit. The versatility, the feminine shape, the fun fabric options – it’s everything I’ve always loved putting into our patterns.

Our official launch date is October 21st.

Like last time, we’re going to offer a special preview to those on our sneak peek list. You’ll get a first look at the new pattern the day before it’s public, a chance to buy it before anyone else, and an extra thank you discount.

ETA: Since someone asked on twitter, I wanted to clarify: this is a new list just for this pattern. If you signed up for a sneak peek before, you’ll need to sign up again for the new one so we know you’re still interested.

Get on the sneak peek list!

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Have you ever impressed yourself?

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I’ve noticed that many women, myself included, struggle with the concept of pride.

We are, by and large, uncomfortable with holding up our accomplishments. This is true in personal situations, it’s certainly observable in work environments, and I even see it on sewing blogs as we downplay our achievements and point out all the flaws.

The reason usually given for this behavior is that women are consensus builders. Holding yourself up above anyone else, or even giving a hint of the appearance of doing this, is dangerous to group dynamics. It makes it much more difficult to keep harmony if you aren’t trying to fit in.

But I’ve noticed that it goes beyond this socialized instinct. We constantly see women being punished for flaunting their achievements without self-effacement. Even more sad, it’s often other women who do the tearing down.

The reasons for this are complex, but the results impact us all.

In her new book Playing Big, Tara Mohr (who kindly sent me a copy) points out that both research and anecdotal evidence show that it is very difficult for a woman to be perceived as both competent and likable. As a result, we frequently modulate our appearance to appear less competent in order to be liked more.

This is one reason I love the concept behind Ann Friedman’s Shine Theory. It says to me that women can be the agents of change simply by the way we treat each other: as friends instead of competitors.

So today, I thought I’d take a moment for all of us to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

My question is this: Have you ever made something that really caused you to be impressed with yourself?

I mean, not just something you were a little proud of. I’m talking about something that made you feel more capable, confident, or creative. Something that made you feel better about yourself, not just happy with what you made?

For me, it will always be my wedding dress. Not because it required such great technical skill, but because I put my heart into every aspect of it. I chose the beautiful gold 4-ply Italian silk charmeuse, I found the perfect organza trim with tiny seed pearls, I figured out how to apply it to create a carefully scalloped hem. I took my time.

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Everything about it felt like me, and that made me happy. There were no compromises and a lot of creativity.

I don’t know if it’s the dress I would make today (though it might be), but I know how I felt in it.

What have you created that made you proud of yourself?

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Transitions

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I don’t have the usual bundle of links for you today, because we’ve been moving into our new studio all week, giving me zero time to read.

Instead, I thought I’d share some photos of the new digs. I thought about waiting until everything was set up and looking good, but it’s a lot more interesting to see things in progress, don’t you think?

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This move has had me thinking a bit about transitional periods. As fall begins and I start oscillating between sandals and sweaters every day, I realize that there is a certain amount of discomfort that comes in every transition.

You don’t know what to expect next. It feels exciting and new, but it also makes you keenly aware of time passing and the impossibility of ever going backwards.

But mostly, it helps you step out of your head and remember all the possibilities there are in life. And that you have to be ok with uncertainty if you ever want to move forward.

The shots above are mostly before we moved in (obviously!). And below are a few shots from this week, as we get settled in. It’s huge, but we’ll soon be filling the remaining space with inventory and a photo area. I have to say, it feels much more professional and full of possibilities.

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Many thanks to the rest of the team (Kenn, Kristen, and Meg) for all their hard work in getting us up and running. They’re the best!

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Free class: Machine Basics with Amy Alan on Craftsy

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I often meet people who say “I want to learn to sew, but I can’t even thread my sewing machine!”

My answer is always the same: “But that’s the hardest part! It’s all downhill from there.”

What I mean by that isn’t that threading a sewing machine is soooo incredibly difficult. We all know it’s not. What I mean is that, when you’re just starting out, the sewing machine is still a bit of a mystery to you.

Once you’ve unlocked that mystery, when you understand how all the parts work together to form a stitch, suddenly everything else becomes a lot easier to understand. You can understand things on a conceptual level, and so the rest is just building skills on top of one another. The machine knowledge is the foundation.

If you’re in that initial stage of coming to terms with your sewing machine, I highly recommend this free class by local-to-me teacher Amy Alan. It’s called Sew Ready: Machine Basics.

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In the series, Amy walks you through all the basics of your sewing machine. Here’s what’s included:

  • Threading your machine
  • Winding the bobbin (this was the worst for me at first!)
  • How to use common presser feet that you might have
  • Common stitches
  • Replacing your needles
  • Solving common problems, such as tension issues and broken thread
  • Caring for and maintaining your machine

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If you’re a more experienced sewist, you may have had others ask you about learning to sew. I think Amy’s class would be a great place for the total novice to start, and the fact that it’s totally free is also helpful for beginners who aren’t sure how much money to invest at first.

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Plus, everything is covered in just 4 video lessons, with a total runtime of under an hour. It’s a really fast and easy way to get to know your machine, no matter what type you have.

Enroll for free in Machine Basics with Amy Alan >

{This free class is brought to you by Craftsy, one of our partners this month. Thanks Craftsy!}

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