Guest post by Michelle Brisebois (IG @michellebrisebois_marketing)
When I signed up for my first Needle Sharp sewing box two years ago, I was looking to boost my sewing creativity because I believe that subscription sewing boxes offer the “power of constraints”. The power of constraints is a creative concept driven by the fact that by having some of the creative decisions made for you, energy no longer tied up making those decision is available to stoke your creativity. The power of constraints was the secret weapon of Dr. Seuss. He was challenged to write a book using only 50 different words. That book became the much-loved Green Eggs and Ham.
I love that the Needle-Sharp sewing boxes give me several options within each monthly theme. Each month there is an overarching style story – skirts, jumpsuits, outerwear, loungewear, jeans, are some of the themes Needle-Sharp has explored over the past few years. Within those themes I can choose the pattern design that appeals most to me and then choose one of three gorgeous fabrics curated for that design. Needle-Sharp always has something for everyone, so one combination of design and fabric will surely resonate whatever your age, body shape, budget, or taste.
April’s theme was overalls and I initially thought I might have to sit this month out. I’m in my fifties and well-established fashion “rules” suggest that if you’re old enough to have worn a trend the first time it was in vogue, then you should give it a hard pass the second time around. As a child of the seventies, I definitely wore overalls in junior high. I was worried that wearing them now would look silly on me – like I was trying too hard. Ironically, if I see older women wearing funky clothes, hair colour, or fashion trends, I tend to think they look like they’d be a lot of fun to hang out with so my hesitation became my creative challenge: “Could I, at this stage of my life – rock a pair of overalls?”
All of the overall designs featured in April were lovely with unique design elements. My eye was drawn to the Jenny Overalls by Closet Core Patterns. In particular, I got excited about the Fiona hack that Heather Lou at Closet Core patterns had created by combining the button / pocket details of the elegant Fiona sundress with the Jenny overalls. Mary at Needle Sharp had pointed this out in the description of that box and this design mashup takes the overalls to a whole new level in terms of making them a bit more polished. The wide legs of the Jenny overalls in the cropped length meant it would pair beautifully with heeled sandals in the summer or funky boots in the cooler months. The pattern pieces for the hack were included in the box.
I chose the black floral denim with a touch of spandex. I felt the black color would be elegant and the subtle embossing of the floral pattern added to the upscale vibe. I managed to get a good shot of the fabric in the sun so you can see the pattern which will reveal itself more over time with a few trips to the washing machine. This kit also came with gorgeous hardware from Kylie and the Machine. The distressed silver finish with the buttons to match is the perfect complement to the black fabric. I wanted all of the buttons up the front to be the distressed silver, so I bought another package of them to give me the 9 I needed for the garment.
This project was my first “pattern hack” where I combined elements from two different pattern designs to customize the look – another creative first for me. I’d never have attempted a hack without the inspiration of the Needle-Sharp box. The directions for the button-front Fiona hack are on the Closet Core site available for free if you subscribe to their newsletter. I found the instructions very clear and even when it came time to poke holes for the buttons to hammer them in place, it all went smoothly. I’ve had problems with garments I’ve made before where I didn’t choose a fabric and interfacing robust enough to hold the button and it eventually tore apart. With the fabric and interfacing curated especially by Needle Sharp for this project, the results are perfect.
My Jenny Overalls fit perfectly. I did grade down a bit on the width for the legs and I made the back pockets smaller to look a bit more proportional with my body. This leg shape on the Jenny Overalls is the perfect degree of flare to make the garment totally on-trend, and dressier. I’ll wear the Jenny Overalls with a blouse in the summer and probably with turtlenecks in the fall and winter.
The Needle Sharp sewing kits are so beautifully curated – everything you need is in the box (including Kylie and the Machine garment tags and treats). By having some of the decisions made for me, the sewing boxes push me to learn new skills, be introduced to new fabrics, or…to play with a trend that I might otherwise pass up.
The acid test was to wear the Jenny Overalls out in public. Both my husband and father raved about how nice they looked and neither of these guys would ever pass up a chance at a hoe-down joke if they thought it was warranted. I wore the Jenny Overalls out to run errands and felt totally comfortable in them which is a great sign that they will be much loved and worn.
Can a woman in her late fifties rock a pair of overalls? She can with the right inspiration, gorgeous materials, and the creative space to take a few rewarding risks.