News

This Friday, Join Us for Vintage Happy Hour

Vintage happy hour

 

You’ve been told, come this Friday and get 15% off any alterations or repairs on your vintage duds, have fun making your own champagne cocktail, and a curated exhibit of vintage from the 1920s- 1970s. Owl N Wood will be open down stairs with their own fun First Friday events, so come see everything happening in this dynamic space. RSVP here on Facebook! Looking forward to seeing you there!  45 Grand Ave, Oakland  5pm-7pm

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Oaklandish With Repair Revolution 2/27

For all of you who have been paying attention to Sweet Potato’s progress over the coming months, a heartfelt thank you. We’re on our second month of an extended pop-up with Repair Revolution at Owl N Wood, and busier than ever.  I’ve so enjoyed repairing and altering your clothes, and breathing life back into garments that are special but need some TLC.  Now, because I just can’t get enough of repairing your clothes, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be at Oaklandish with Repair Revolution THIS SATURDAY (2/27/16) from 12pm-4pm.

What will I be doing at Oaklandish? Repair intake only, talking to you about why repairing your clothes is important, sustainable, and the next big thing, and hopefully meeting fresh new faces.  Jamie and the Repair Revolution team will be there as well to answer questions about Repair Revolution, talk to you about repair, and give you the chance to meet other repair professionals who want to make your life easier.

Who will be in attendance?

  • Sweet Potato Seamstressing, Clothing, vintage clothing restoration, (obviously)
  • Kay Chesterfield, Upholstery  (because you know your furniture needs some love after your ex-girlfriend’s cat clawed it. Her work is GORGEOUS.)
  • Shoe Clinic, Shoe Repair (because you need to stop walking around in those stubby healed boots. Your chiropractor will thank us.)
  • Cole Hardware, Lamp Repair (Oh what, you thought that lamp was busted because it stopped turning on? Think again.)
  • iSave iPhone and iPad Mobile Repair, Apple devices (Don’t spend $700 on a new phone with this guy can fix your’s for cheaper!  You know you want to spend that money on better things!)

Now, I expect to see each one of you there to spread the love and say hi! And if you can’t make it to Oaklandish, you definitely should come down to our Owl N Wood pop-up.  We’ll be there until March 15, so you still have time to have me repair that vintage dress you love so much you wore out the armholes.

xo

Elana

Owl N Wood Pop-Up now extended!

If you haven’t heard yet, our pop-up at Owl N Wood has been extended until March 15! I’m so excited for the opportunity to stay another month, connect with the community around me needing clothing repair, and enjoy everything that this wonderful location and space as to over.  Being at Owl N Wood has been so wonderful for growth, meeting more friends, and sewing in a space that is absolutely dedicated to beautiful, seamless design and artistry.  Looking forward to meeting new people in the space! Come say hi to us in Uptown.

Located at 45 Grand Ave, Oakland.

We’re getting a temp spot in Uptown!

Hello Lovely People! I hope your 2016 has gotten off to a great start.  I’m happy to announce that on Wednesday, January 20th, Sweet Potato Seamstressing will have a new temporary residence with Repair Revolution on the top floor of Owl N Wood in Uptown.  Remember the Repair Revolution pop-up this past October at Owl N Wood?  Well, the sweet potato is being transplanted for an extended visit!

What does this mean for you?

If you would like to get your clothes serviced between now and February 15th, come visit me at Owl N Wood. You might want to give me a heads up just so I know you’re coming, but walk-ins are totally welcome. When your clothes are ready, just come back to the shop to pick them up!

After February 15th I will send around another announcement updating you on our location.

The pros of our new space:

  • Even more BART-able. We’re just a short distance from 19th Street Bart at 45 Grand Ave, Oakland.
  • You get to peruse Owl N Wood every time you come and see me.
  • Our relationship with Repair Revolution means less running around for you, and more time to chill.  Take advantage of Repair Revolution’s network of repair people so you only have to make one trip to get your stuff fixed.

Wait, what’s Repair Revolution?

Repair Revolution is a fantastic new business run by my friend and colleague Jamie Facciola. Repair Revolution repackages and elevates the repair experience. Their goals are to support local skilled artisans (like me!), raise awareness of how many things are repairable, grow appreciation for the associated environmental, social, and economic benefits, keep materials in use — in one form or another, and inspire community around the time-tested, beautiful art of repair. That way, repair people like me can network with other repair artists, and you can get your repair errands finished in one trip.

So if you’re coming to see me about a pair of pants with a rip in the seat, also consider bringing in your knives to get sharpened, or your busted cell phone.  For more information about Repair Revolution, check out their beautifully created website.

What about accessibility?

The new temp space is up a flight of stairs, which I understand is not accessible to all of my wonderful clients. If accessibility is a concern for you, we can set up an appointment outside the office as usual.  It’s no problem.

Holiday Craft Fair was awesome!

This is just a quick post to share some lovely visuals from Sweet Potato Seamstressing’s first ever craft fair! The craft fair was to benefit Malcolm X Elementary, and it was a huge success. Amanda and I had such a wonderful time meeting tons of great kids, parents, and holiday shoppers, as well as selling wallets, bow ties, pins, earrings, necklaces, and bags. Below are the best images of our display.

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For this event we offered a new new items, specifically stud earrings made from vintage fabric, and heart pins with vintage fabric embellishments.

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Amanda and I (But really, it was Amanda’s brilliant idea and I owe her all the credit) came up with the cutest bow tie tree for the festive holidays.  We will definitely be bringing the bow tie tree back.

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Our passport sized strap wallets were a big hit at the craft fair. Definitely planning to bring them back again, so stay tuned.

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I had way too much fun with our shopping bags, which contained helpful notes about how to dispose of them properly.

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My friend Miah actually stamped the front of the bags for me which was so helpful and lovely.

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Preparing for this little craft fair was a lot of work, but we’re ultimately happy with how our table turned out and we gained some great insights.  It was the perfect place to do more market research and get ideas.  Looking forward to the next event!

Client Spotlight: Roxana’s Burgandy Bridesmaids Gown

It’s been too long since I’ve featured a client here, in fact I think Terra’s vintage YSL suit was the last post where I blogged about actually tailoring something.  This is so strange, because in actuality tailoring and alterations are what I do for a living. Sure sometimes I make pretty things like wallets, and sometimes I make stuff for myself, or custom made pieces for clients, but my everyday life consists of taking clothing apart and putting it back together.  And I love it. Really and truly I get such a rush from altering garments for people.

Roxana found me via Facebook and came to the Repair Revolution Pop-Up with this stunning burgundy dress for a wedding taking place this month.  The dress was too large for Roxana, and she was kind of enough to let me pin the entire dress up in the window of Owl N Wood, essentially becoming a live demonstration for fitting a dress.  This was definitely when I decided that Roxana was one of my favorite clients ever, because this was pretty cool.  After pinning the dress up in several different places I took it home that night and it was the first project I worked on post-pop-up.

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This dress was fun to take apart, and believe me, I ended up doing a lot of adjustments. I detached the lining from the straps and neckline, altered the shape in 4 seams, took up the straps, and reattached everything.  I could tell this bridesmaid’s dress came from a retailer that probably specializes in custom made generic bridesmaid’s dresses, because the inner seams were pretty simple, the lining made from acetate, and it was easy to take apart. Whoever made this dress was well-aware that someone would be altering it eventually, thus is the case with these types of dresses.

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The finished dress fit much better! And when Roxana came over to pick it up we scurried outside to take photos in the front garden.  Lovely dress, lovely person, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work on this project.

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Repair Revolution Pop-Up a Huge Success!

IMG_7346I feel like running a creative business is about partially juggling the actual work with the fluff. I love posting on this blog, but as my business grows it’s harder and harder to make time.  Why? Because I’m altering people’s clothes! The other day I said to my partner in passing, “I’m living the dream.” I didn’t even realize that I said that until later that evening over dinner she mentioned, “Do your realize that earlier today you said to me that you were living your dream?”  It was a moment of absolutely realization, and it felt really good.  And one of the major reasons why I’ve been able to turn this dream into something real is because of the Repair Revolution Pop-Up.

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A little backstory, Jamie Facciola, the lovely person behind Repair Revolution emailed me back in August asking if I’d be interested in talking about her dream: to open a repair salon that incubates small repair based businesses in Oakland, to bring repair and circular economy principles to the general public.  Think about how much stuff you throw away because it stops working. Jamie’s vision is that the stuff you love you don’t have to toss, you can get it repaired.  We met up and had such excellent work chemistry that the idea behind Pop-Up on October 24 (which was also my 29th birthday) was born on the spot at that meeting.

There was so much work leading up to the pop-up, physical work to prepare but also mental work. I spent weeks asking questions like, “How am I going to get all materials to this shop in Uptown to do repair on the spot?”  and “What if someone wants to be fitted right there?”  I had to create a lot of systems to deal with potential overflow of orders without knowing if we would be successful or not.  Meanwhile Jamie and her fantastic intern Rachel were tweeting, instagramming, and marketing up a storm, so I was pretty sure that at least a few people would show up.

I was wrong.  Not only did a few people show up, a ton of people showed up! And thanks to these wonderfully flexible, and kind people I went home with 20 bags of clothes to alter and repair.  The pop-up was a huge success, and I’m so grateful to Jamie for pulling me into it, but also to everyone who showed up and gave me business that day.  My dream wouldn’t be possible without clients, and I felt blessed to meet so many great new people.

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Which leads me to my next point: If you are a client who gave me clothing during the pop-up, I’m slowly getting in touch with people as I finish your orders.  I’ve had a lot of clothes to work on, but of course all of this takes time and I’m a one-person act.  Thank you so much for your patience as I finish up your stuff.  And to those of you who have already picked up, thank you as well! It was a delight working on your clothing.

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Now I’m off to you know…work.

Sweet Potato’s Sweet Little Purses Made with Vintage Fabric

Sweet Potato Seamstressing : Crossbody floral purseI cannot tell you how long I’ve been fantasizing about adding purses to my collection of handmade items. Forever. Since I started making wallets, I’ve always dreamed about adding a simple little crossbody purse. Well my friends, that time has come.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // Crossbody floral bag vintage

My first stab at purses over the summer was just all wrong, but it allowed me to revision certain design elements of the ideal purse. I wanted it to be compact, the kind of purse you take on a brisk walk around down. I wanted it to be sturdy and hold a rounded shape. And I wanted to keep using vintage fabric because vintage materials are the jam on my toast. All of this to say is that when I scaled my first drafted pattern down by about 35%, I ended up with an adorable little purse.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // Mini Crossbody floral purse zipper

So here is what you need to know about the purses:

  • Simple fold-over design with a magnetic snap closure.
  • One outside zippered pocket for your valuables.
  • One inner pocket for little treasures.
  • Detachable eco-cotton strap, that I can make longer for you depending on your crossbody needs.
  • Quilted for durability and cuteness.
  • Reinforced and made to last.
  • Go to www.etsy.com/shop/sweetpotatoseams  to purchase

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // Vintage fabric into little purse

Needless to say, the purses are glad to make your acquaintance! Right now there are only 2 in the shop, but definitely expect more over the coming weeks, just in time for the holidays.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing: Foldover purse

Join Me on October 24th for the Repair Revolution Pop-Up + Get 10% Off!

IMG_6800I’m thrilled to invite new and prior clients alike to come down to vintage shop Owl N Wood on October 24 for the Repair Revolution Pop-Up. I’ll be taking place in the pop-up, offering small repairs done on site, and giving you a chance to drop off hefty repairs and alterations in this beautiful, lovely space.  If you bring me a project at the pop-up, I’ll be offering 10% off, in honor of this fantastic event, but also because it will be my actually literal birthday! A little tip- wishing me a Happy Birthday will go a long way in me prioritizing your clothes first.

Here are the details:

  • Click Here to visit the event page and RSVP
  • Owl N Wood is located at 45 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (this is in Uptown)
  • The pop-up will be on October 24 and run from 12-4pm
  • You’ll come to the pop-up, browse Owl N Wood’s stunning inventory of new and vintage pieces, and sign up to see me.
  • When I’m available to chat with you about your repair, I’ll call you over, and we’ll get down to business either fixing your stuff, or making plans for me to get your stuff back to you.
  • I will have my sewing machine, and tool on site.
  • I will accept credit card, cash and check on site.
  • You won’t forget to wish me a Happy Birthday 🙂

If you have any questions prior to the event, definitely contact me! I’m looking forward to spending my birthday with your rips, tears, and needed repairs.

 

 

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // printed lounge set

Handmade Printed Rayon Set: Pants and Crop Top

IMG_6585Just as summer weans into it’s final month, I’m finally able to share and show off this lovely set that I whipped up a little while ago. As some of you may recall, I made linen joggers not too long ago. Because I loved those joggers so much, I decided to make more festive ones in a light weight rayon with this beautiful floral print. I actually made the pants back in June and even took them to Montreal, assuming I’d photograph them while there. That never happened. Something also kept telling me that the project wasn’t complete. Lo and behold, I also had enough material left over to draft this little crop top, the style of which was inspired by all the 70s fashion making it’s way around right now.

You might recognize the top from my last post all about a trip we took to Atlanta. I wore this outfit a few times while soaking up the Atlanta heat, finding it breathable, classy, and practical both for exploring, and lounging.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing - Drinking smoothie from Rawsome Juicery, Atlanta, GA

 

Because quality means a lot of me, I french seamed both the entire pair of joggers and the little top. When I discovered this material at Piedmont Fabrics I knew immediately that I wanted to use the boldest part of material for the waistband, but didn’t want to commit to it anywhere else on the pants. I was glad that I was able to incorporate it into the top, however, creating a kind of middle explosion that stands out but isn’t too much.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // handmade rayon lounge set

I also incorporated pockets, which are a little hard to see in these photographs but exist all the same. Since using this pattern to create pockets, I’ve actually started incorporating pockets into many more pieces by default. I’m a little obsessed. It’s actually relatively easy to re-design most patterns to incorporate pockets with little easy.  Try it out, it’s such a fun and practical element to experiment with.

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // joggers and crop top

While I didn’t discover that I had enough material for the top until I made the pants, I had been wanting to try out sets for awhile now. Though I know sets are at thing right now, I think they have the ability to transcend the current fast fashion craze. If you have enough sets that go together, you can forever mix and match. Plus, sets are solving what I call, “my jumpsuit dilemma.” While I love the look of jumpsuits, It occurred to me that I wasn’t actually wanting to invest in a jumpsuit as I’m worried about what will happen when it goes out of style. I’m much more interested in sewing things that I can wear for a long time, or at least restyle for a long time versus things that will likely move out of fashion by next year. That and….how does one pee in a jumpsuit? This is a real question. I don’t want to have to get completely naked whenever I need to use the bathroom. Just saying.

The set allows me to have everything that I love about jumpsuits rolled into one grouping of very versatile pieces. Not to mention comfort. One of the reasons why I’m such a huge fan of joggers is because they’re essentially pajamas. Classy pajamas that no one faults you for wearing out to dinner with heals, but that you can also throw on to go run errands. Who doesn’t love that?

Sweet Potato Seamstressing // Printed crop top and pants

 

The only caveat about the top is that I still haven’t figured out a bra situation. It almost seems like I need a bra that crosses in the front. Do they make those? So far the dark fabric and my small bust has made it easy enough for me to just forgo a bra, but I’d feel more comfortable with one on. If anyone has any suggestions, definitely let me know.

Wanna make your own set with joggers? Check out the either the Alexandra Trousers by Named clothing or the Harem Pants by Pattern Emporium. You can use any woven tank or tee pattern in matching fabric, or draft your own.