I Learned “Sew” Much About Life In 1 Year!

I can’t believe it was a year ago that I was in Urban Outfitters shopping for my birthday dress.

Refusing to pay full price for it and determined to learn how to sew. It seemed silly then, but it is totally my reality now.

I am “sew” grateful for this year of refashioning my life, and to celebrate I wanted to share the many lessons sewing Georgia’s Gems has taught me about myself. I appreciated your support along the way and hope you enjoy this recap of the last 365 days.

P.S. I totally replicated that Urban Outfitter dress from my birthday a couple months ago. Two months before my birthday (which is this Friday, yay) to be exact.

Here is the Urban Outfitters dress…summer 2015.


Here is the Georgia’s Gems version…spring 2016.


And here are the life “gems” I’ve learned the past 365 days…


Own Who You Are

Sewing newbie. Beginner. Faux fashion designer. Self taught. These are a few of the titles I would throw around when others inquired about my new sewing adventures. Always an awkward conversation when trying to explain to others how I made my dress for my work holiday party, or how I was able to look at a jumper on Pinterest and recreate it. But then one day, I just made it simple, and true: I am a fashion designer.

It took some time to grow into the confidence that this title required and it has taken some time to grow into who I am now that my mother is gone.

It is really hard to explain, but I truly feel like in addition to mourning my mother I have had to mourn the woman I was when she was alive. It is like meeting yourself again, only not as yourself.

This “new normal” used to upset me, however I can say that this gem about “owning who you are” in sewing has motivated me to embrace a new level of acceptance in life. Saying now, “I didn’t use to be (fill in the blank), but now I am (fill in the blank). And that is okay.”

Humans evolve, and that is a gem we can all accept.


Pay Attention To What Is Coming In, Not What Is Coming Out

The fun in teaching yourself how to sew is that every single project is a chance to learn something new. From darts to invisible zippers, it is never a dull moment with my Singer sewing machine.

However teaching yourself to sew can initially be challenging when you’re literally learning the basics. Don’t even get me started on how long it took me to thread my machine the first time. So, to keeping 100% real, YouTube and instincts are my sewing teachers.

In fact, one day when I was having a hard time sewing a straight line (don’t laugh) I literally Googled, “how do you keep your stitches straight?”

This adorable DIY Sewing Tips for Beginners video popped up and not even 30 seconds into the video I was sobbing all over my crookedly sewn project.

“The key is to pay attention to what is going into the machine, not what is coming out,” the instructor said.

This seemed simple, and now I know that a lot of new sewers make this mistake. However this gem spoke to more than just my new hobby. It spoke to my emotional wellbeing overall.

The hardest part of grief is the all consuming power of recalling, retelling and thus reliving the loss. Memories sustain me indeed, but the healing that has taken place over this past year has come from my commitment to focusing on “what’s coming into” my life, not what’s coming out.

Short version: living in the moment has brought so much peace to the pain of missing my mom.


Patience Is A Virtue (That I Am Learning To Possess)

The overachiever in me challenges my patience in life, so I wasn’t shocked when I dealt with this same issue in sewing.

I mean, sometimes I would bust out projects in lightning speeds – like my favorite summer dresses this year. However many projects took endless hours and weeks to complete – like this dress I made for my line sister’s wedding.

Every project, like every day, is different. So the only true option for peace of mind (and not sloppy projects) is to take it one day at a time.

During the journey it can feel like it is taking forever. Forever to build your savings, forever to meet the right person, forever to lose weight etc. But if the finish line is our only focus then we may miss out on the journey.

This gem has been life changing yall. I am still working on patience in general, however I see a significant difference in not only how many goals I’ve reached over last 365 days, but also the joy I’ve experienced during the journey toward achieving them.


It Is Never As Hard As It Seems

Remaking my birthday dress was the ultimate goal this year. In the beginning I was sure that it would take me all 365 days to figure out how to draft the pattern, get the piping just right all while making sure it didn’t look homemade.

Every time I thought about taking on the challenge I would remember the frustration that my first go round provided, and was like, “no thanks!” Then one day, I wore my birthday dress out to a rooftop party and when I put it on and inspected the seams I realized it actually wasn’t as hard as it seems. Pun’s wild.

Also, that night my sister-in-law sent me a voucher for a fabric store here in New York city – Paron Fabrics. Ironically this was the fabric store that I bought the fabric for my first attempt 365 days ago at. So when I saw this fabric, a printed version of the solid fabric I had bought last year, I bought it. I came home, turned my birthday dress inside out and got to work. Step by step, day by day I remember turning off my machine thinking, “girl, you got this!”

And one week later, I did!


You Don’t Have To Lobby Your Hobby

Last but not least, the greatest lesson I learned this year is that a hobby doesn’t have to become a business. In a world where entrepreneurship is on the rise, it is hard to not see an opportunity and instantly want to monetize it. This is what happened very quickly for me.

By the holidays people were asking me recreate my gems. I was flattered, yes, but I also felt like this could be a slippery slope toward my new hobby becoming a chore. And that it did. It was fun indeed, but see I actually already have a business. A business that takes up a lot of my RAD time (shameless plug), so two seasons into designing and sewing gems on Etsy I decided to no longer “lobby my hobby.”

It has been a couple of months and I am glad to be back to my YouTube lessons. Who knows, maybe one day I will make “fashion designer” my career. But right now I love it as a hobby.

After all, the fun is what has made these 365 days of refashioning my life enjoyable.

I don’t want to lose this feeling just yet.

Thanks again for following along!

Off to celebrate my birthday week and daydream about future gems!


A Heavenly Refashioned Sports Bra

When I’m not sewing, 99.9% of the time I’m sweating – simply because my fun and sweaty career (RAD Experience) requires it. So I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started pumping out some sweat wicking gear on my Singer.

Fashion and function are important to me when it comes to my “work out then hang out” style, so until I’m able to hunt down some sweat friendly fabrics I’ll just be busy refashioning some of my current fitness fashion finds.

Here goes number one of what I’m sure will be hundreds.

To start I decided to go for the piece of fitness fashion that’s super special to me- sports bras. I used one of my favorites from Vimmia as my inspiration, and with the help of an old Target racerback, a running top that I got for running the Brooklyn 1/2 marathon last spring (for the lining), some elastic and a bit of lace I was able to produce this gem.


So why a sports bra? Well unlike my mother, I’m not well endowed up top. Therefore finding the perfect sports bra is not a hard feat at all. The opposite was true for my mother. As far as I can remember I always wondered, “when will my boobs grow as big as my mom’s.” Ha! I was obsessed with my twins being “large and in charge” and my mom found this fascination very funny. Usually she would reply to my silly wishes with, “You have no idea how much trouble these juggers cause!”

Speaking of trouble, in 2008 my boob obsession transformed into devastation when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This news certainly rocked our entire family since there was no history of the disease in our family, however my mom wasn’t as affected by the news as we all were. In fact when she told me about her diagnosis (weeks after she found out) she jokingly said, “Now I can finally get that breast reduction I’ve always wanted.”

Having a perky set, not having to wear bras unless she wanted to and being able to buy the pretty ones they sold in stores (not online in the “special sizes” section) was something we talked about a lot that Thanksgiving morning in 2013 when she had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She was so calm that day and I was so thankful for this one thing – cancer was on it’s way out of my mother’s body.


My mom beat cancer. That time. However when it came back in her bones in 2013 (metastatic breast cancer) we all prayed that the outcome would be the same. But despite our prayers, nine months later, cancer had it’s way and my mom was gone.


I truly believe there will be a cure and therefore I refuse to complain about my bra size any more. Instead I choose to be grateful for the healthy breasts I do have. In fact whenever I see pretty bras I think of my mother’s joy and attitude about her new post-breast-cancer-diagnosis-breasts. Her positivity in the middle of a travesty is something I will never forget.

So here is a pretty little bra I refashioned in honor of my mother’s spirit. While I thought of doing a pink one for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I decided to go with blue since it represents faith, truth, and the place where my mother now lives – heaven.