Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Very First Hat Pattern and Tutorial for Sale at Nelesc Designs

I know that I wrote about my Helmet Hat Pattern/Tutorial back in April but since it's getting nippy out there, I thought I would reintroduce today. I love this hat! It's a great autumn/winter wardrobe staple and is available in my shop, for a limited time, for $5.00!  

If you have read my "about" page, you know I have been wanting to start selling my patterns and tutorials. I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge here through my free tutorials every other Tuesday and now I would like to expand on that through the tutes I'll be offering through my shop. These tutes will be more extensive and some will include actual pattern pieces as this new tutorial does. 

 This unlined hat is composed of a base with the surrounding leaf shaped pieces appliqued on. The leaf pieces are quilted with thread. The pattern/tutorial shows you how to make a HELMET HAT that fits a 22 to 24 inch sized head. 

This 27 page HELMET HAT pattern/tutorial includes color photographs, step by step SIMPLE tutorial instructions, and three pattern pieces that print onto multiple sheets. You will then need to match the triangles, connect them correctly, and then tape them together.

As you also know, I like to refashion garments so this helmet hat was designed to be made from upcycled/recycled fabric like sweatshirts or t-shirts. It gives you a chance to reuse those sweats and tees you have around the house. However, you can use most fabrics with this pattern/tutorial, new or old.

Since I launched in in April, I have had several sales of this pattern. This is what one customer said, 

"The tutorial downloaded safely, thanks - and it looks to be very detailed and comprehensive. Now to decide which sweatshirt is to be sacrificed first." 

So there you have it, and, until Nov. 5, you will be able to get this pattern/tutorial for only $5.00 in my shop. After that, it will go up to $8.99. 

If you decide to purchase it, please let me know what you think. I am also, always here to help if you need it. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hi all! I will be posting less often in the next couple of weeks. 

My husband had minor surgery. He is fine but still requires care so I'll be sewing when hubby is napping or doesn't need me as much. This is what marriage is about, for better or worse. We had a great, deep talk last night so I am actually happy to be taking a break from the day to day to spend time with him, care for him, and reconnect.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Circle/Spiral Pants from Pattern Magic 3 by Tomoko Nakamichi

As promised, I give you the circle/spiral pants I made the other day. It is from the book, Pattern Magic 3 by Tomoko Nakamichi. I love them!

Here's how they look in the book.  It is such a cool concept that I wished I would have thought about it myself, my loving draped clothes and all.

Here's my version. I didn't make them go all the way around in a full circle since this would have made them too long and super drapy...and I'm a shorty.  I already practiced on other stretchy fabric so I know what I'm talking about.

Here's what they look like held out. Weird right? Like a giant flounce.

Here they are on me, I love them!

I especially like them because I can get the whole leggings concept without them being super tight.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Reconstructing Jesus

Top is" before" and bottom is "after"
I print cultural icons on t-shirts. I love that I do that, I love bringing attention to heroes from the past, especially, African American and Latino/a heroes that people simply don't know enough about. These images have empowered me immensely and it brings me great joy to be able to share them with others through my shopHowever, my most beloved hero is Jesus Christ. He stands for, love, justice, redemption, everything I am passionate about.  

A long time ago, I decided not to design an image of Jesus in my cultural icons collection. I knew I would never be able to do Him justice. Actually, this image, also falls short. He looks too white, and most agree that Jesus most-likely had olive skin and "wooly" hair.

"While forensic anthropology is usually used to solve crimes, Richard Neave, a medical artist retired from The University of Manchester in England, realized it also could shed light on the appearance of Jesus...For those accustomed to traditional Sunday school portraits of Jesus, the sculpture of the dark and swarthy Middle Eastern man that emerges from Neave's laboratory is a reminder of the roots of their faith. 'The fact that he probably looked a great deal more like a darker-skinned Semite than westerners are used to seeing him pictured is a reminder of his universality,' says Charles D. Hackett, director of Episcopal studies at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. "And [it is] a reminder of our tendency to sinfully appropriate him in the service of our cultural values."  - Mike Fillon, The Real Face of Jesus. 

I do however, love this shirt, the image is super powerful and I love that it says "won by one", more on that later. 

Anyway, I bought this t-shirt about 12 years ago. It was of course, giant, too big for me, so this is how I reconstructed it then. I simply made it smaller on the sides, cut the length, and opened the sleeve.

The length became a little awkward as years went on and it was still too boxy. Last week, I decided to reconstruct it yet again.

I added black t-shirt material on top in order to lower the image and make the shirt longer so I can war it with leggings or slimmer pant. I then scooped it out...a lot, maybe too much, but with a tank top underneath it looks fine and I actually like having it off the shoulder, giving it a little edge.

So here it is! Tell me what you think, oh, yes, the "won by one" actually reminds me of Sting's song "All this time." One of the lines in the song is "men go crazy in congregations but they only get better one by one." I LOVE this song and I always substitute the "one by one" in the song with "won by one" from the t-shirt. I'm on this journey to becoming a better person. I can't do it alone though. The whole idea of Christianity is that you can't save yourself. I need someone greater than me, I need a Redeemer and I also need people. You don't win in isolation. I know this isn't popular these days with the idea of self-glorification through social media, fashion, art, etc. Recently, I have been relying on God and people more and more as I go about my journey. Asking for help, trying to be of service. I'm a work in progress, a reconstruction of sorts, if you will. Who would have known a t-shirt reconstruction would bring about such deep thoughts, lol. 

On a lighter note, I m going to blog about these cool drapy pants next!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Be The Voice, October 7th-29th, 2013

Today, I am so happy to be able to introduce you to Maggie Duckworth and her involvement with an incredibly impactful event taking place in New York City next week, Be the Voice. 

I met Maggie a month ago during a FIG (Fashion Industries Group) meeting.  I have been wanting to combine my love of fashion to my faith in a more concrete way which lead me to attend this faith and fashion group. Maggie and I bonded immediately especially after she told me about Be the Voice. This cause is close to my heart as my mother worked in a garment factory under very poor working conditions,  for many years, after she arrived here from Puerto Rico. As you might recall, I also participated in Stop Traffic back in 2011, a fashion show that  raised awareness of human trafficking within the fashion industry.

These shared interests made for an instant connection between Maggie and myself and I just had to invite her to explain, in her own words, what Be the the Voice is all about. Fashion does not happen in a vacuum. There are many people, global societies affected in the process of making clothes and accessories. I am on the journey to continued awareness in this area, I hope this helps you to travel on the same road as well.

When I was a young girl growing up in a small community in Northern Georgia I dreamed of one day moving to New York City and pursuing an education in fashion design.  It was all I could talk about.  I would fill notebooks full of drawings of fancy dresses and wedding gowns.  I do not know where this dream came from but I held it close.

Earlier this year I was heartbroken as I heard the stories that came out of Bangladesh about an eight-story garment factory that caught fire and collapsed on the employees working inside.  Over 400 people died that day. Human beings died making clothes!  That thought is unimaginable to me, but it is very real.  The workers had families.  My own grandmother worked in a sock mill in Alabama until she retired.  She was so very poor, but at least she had been paid minimum wage and never went to work worried if she would die at the factory. 

As I thought about my grandmother I began to think about all of the children who were left orphaned by the fire.  Tears flowed as I thought about the holes left in these families.  I then thought about the workers and all of the dreams that died that day with them. Dreams to build better futures for themselves and for their children.  It has been many years since I was that young girl dreaming of a life in New York pursuing fashion.  It took many years and hard work, but I have been able to make those dreams come true.  Why couldn't the factory workers enjoy such blessings?  These questions began to plague me.

I had known peripherally about the horrors of sweat shops and modern day slavery, but I had not put much thought into how my actions contributed to the harm of others.  Out of sight out of mind.  I then began to think of when I (someday) create  my own line of clothes.  Who would make them?  Would I show integrity in the conditions the designs were produced or would I just look at the financial bottom line? 

I began to research and I learned a lot about human trafficking. There are so many gruesome facets of modern day slavery that many of us know nothing about. Sex trafficking has wrecked havoc in the lives of many. Then there is labor trafficking which can range from someone being forced to work in a person’s home as a servant, forced to work in fields to gather crops, or to work in factories making consumer goods in inhumane conditions with little or no pay.  
I started to wonder what I could do to help make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.  How could I educate consumers on where the products they purchase come from but also give them an alternative?

On a Sunday a few months ago I confided those thoughts to a sweet friend over a slice of carrot cake.  She happened to work for Price of Life (www.priceoflifenyc.org) an organization whose mission  is "to educate and mobilize the community to fight modern day slavery.”  My friend then told me about a partnership that was beginning between Price of Life, Nomi Network (www.nominetwork.org) and Bajalia Trading Company (www.bajalia.com).  In October the three organizations, as partners, would put together a pop-up shop in Soho.  This pop-up shop was envisioned as a way to reach consumers and give them the opportunity to purchase products made by free people from all over the world who had been rescued from slavery or who were at risk. These three organizations  are out there in the world changing lives.  I got really excited about being a part of this mission.   My friend put me in contact with Nomi Network and I became  the Volunteer Coordinator of the shop now known as, Be the Voice: Speak Up and Shop ("Be the Voice").  The creation of Be the Voice has been an adventure.  The team is made up of volunteers and members of Price of Life, Nomi Network and Bajalia staff.  It has been a joy to work with this outstanding team.

I am happy to announce that Be the Voice will be open October 7-29th in Soho at Voce Di (41-43 Grand Street).  The shop will sell all slave free/free trade products created by free people across the globe.  The launch party will take place, 
Tuesday, October 8th at 6:30 PM.  Bring a friend, shop, and hear the Voice of Child Soldiers during the panel session.

As part of the effort to educate consumers there will be two additional evenings of panel discussions at 6:30 PM: October 16th: Voices of Sex Trafficking and October 22nd: Voices of Labor Trafficking. You are welcome to join us for these informative events as well.

If you would like to attend the launch party or one of the panel discussions please visit: http://www.nominetwork.org/en/voiceoftrafficking/.
Be the Voice is still in need of volunteers to work 4 hour shifts.  The store will be open 11 AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday and until 8:30 PM on October 8, 16 and 22.  Be the Voice will also need people to assist with hospitality during the three evenings.  If you are interested in volunteering or would like to learn more please email me at: bethevoicevolunteer@gmail.com

Maggie Duckworth is the author of this guest blog and the Volunteer Coordinator for Be the Voice: Speak Up and Shop.  Maggie would like to thank Nellie Escalante for giving her the opportunity to share today and for Nellie's tremendous support in this endeavor.  Nellie--you're the best!