About Me

Why is your blog called "Unlikely Nest?"

My mom was a stay-at-home mom who sewed and did crafts and made jam, etc. I grew up thinking that to have a career, I'd have to give up that kind of creative, handmade lifestyle.

But I've found a way to have a career, be a mom, and still live a lifestyle that doesn't rely on so heavily on ready-made consumer products. We cook almost everything from scratch, we eat from our garden in season. Almost all of my clothes are handmade, and an increasing amount of my daughter's clothes are handmade or thrifted.

My Unlikely Nest is a work in progress and I want to share what I've learned with other people trying to build their own unique homes and lives.

How did you get into sewing?

My mom taught me to sew in grade school. When I was pregnant and my body was changing, I had such a hard time finding clothing that I started making my own, traced from items in my closet that I loved. I had no patterns and no directions, but there are so many great bloggers out there that helped me find my way. Previously I had always followed the directions in the pattern envelope to the letter, and it was freeing to just do what made sense.

At a certain point I needed more variation in my wardrobe, so I started using patterns again. But now I understand how the pieces fit together, so I alter them freely, and follow the written directions only when they make sense.

I discovered that I love chosing patterns and fabrics, and being able to make styles that fit my personality and body. I love black and white, texture, and natural fibers. There are so many possibilities to explore. I just recently got a dress form, so I'm eager to try my hand at draping and creating my own designs. I'm also interested in creating my own textures and possibly dying fabrics.

You mean you don't buy any RTW clothes?

Well, I do buy a few things... in the last year I've bought one pair of jeans, one dress, and one blazer. I'm sort of regretting the latter- I spent over $100 for it from a company that will remain unnamed, and the quality is inferior. The things I make just fit better and are made with better quality materials than I can afford to buy in RTW.

Doesn't it take a long time to make clothes?

I can make a top or a simple pair of pants in 2 hours. A serious shopping trip would be at least that long, and I might come home with nothing at all. Not to mention all the time I used to spend looking for sales and shopping online.

It is certainly true that other things take time-- a blazer takes hours of work. But I have a closet full of blazers that I dislike or don't fit well, so the time spent to make one that I LOVE is totally worth it.

Is it a cost savings to make your own clothes?

You could certainly find ways to make it super-cost effective and many people do. But since I'm making clothes for a career wardrobe and my time is valuable, I tend to spend more on quality materials. It's hard to really judge since I do spend quite a bit on fabric and quality sewing notions.

I've been making linen tops this summer with about 1 yard of $20/yard high quality linen, and similar tops I admire run $50-$70. This past winter I was in love with body-skimming ponte tops. My version costs about $24 for a yard of super-stretch high-rayon content ponte, while the ones I admire are about $80. So probably cost effective, although it depends on what you are comparing it to!

Is Dala Chin your real name? Are you really Chinese?

Nope, Dala is my cat's name! But my father is Chinese-Jamaican, so that makes me a little bit Chinese! Ni hao!

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