How I started with sewing + a fabric haul

How I started with sewing + a fabric haul

I’ve always loved making clothes

Ever since I was a very little girl, my sister and I would drape blankets and sheets into gowns and have mini fashion shows in our shared room, with a table as a catwalk and everything. I taught myself how to sew and crochet in high school, and asked my parents to buy me a sewing machine. They gifted me with my first Brother sewing machine, bought at Costuless at the time. I’m so grateful that my parents were always supportive of my creative pursuits, whether it was my sticker collection, diy scrapbooking, digital collaging, photography, crocheting, and sewing. Now that I think about it, all my hobbies back then are still what make me happy and fuel my passion for creative work. I owe my inspiration to my Nona (my grandma on my dad’s side) though. She was a very crafty woman, and I still strive to be like her.

Anyway, I’m still an amateur sewist. I can still barely sew straight lines, especially on thin twice-folded edges. I’m still learning, but as you may know, I love learning! I’ve mostly done easy sewing work, like pillowcases, curtains, and tote bags. I’ve made a couple items of clothing over the years, but I’ve always kept it super simple, and I avoid buttons and zippers at all costs… The hard part is putting a pattern together for clothing. I’m slowly getting the hang of conceptualizing and piecing together pieces.

I also loooove fabric and textiles. My dad used to have a swatch book of furniture textiles, and when I was a kid I loved pulling it out and touching everything, observing the fabric weights, textures, and knits. These days, I enjoy taking my time and touching all the different fabrics at the stores. We have limited options, but the selection has definitely gotten way better since I was in high school. I always gravitate towards sustainable, naturally sourced fabrics such as cotton, rayon, mull, and linen. We only have certain types of cotton and rayon, but I’ll take what I can get. The soft linen on island is usually a polyester mix, so I avoid those.

Here’s my most recent fabric haul from the Manu’a Store in Tafuna. So excited to be picking up sewing again, slow and steady. Hoping to make more of my own clothing this year, as it’s been my goal to have a fully sustainable versatile and repeat-worthy wardrobe.

My Haul

I personally love the Manu’a Store fabric aisles! These are the fabrics I picked out:

  • Plain white 100% cotton – 3 yards at $1.25/yd — finally, some decent white cotton on island!! Contemplating stocking up on more of this fabric. (PS – I made this really cute wrap top with this fabric, and it’s my favorite piece to date!)
  • Elastic gold crepe – 4 yards at $1.99/yd — This marigold color has been a recent fave, and I’m obsessed with it! It’s actually one of my main colors for my wedding, along with other favorite colors, green and blue. The crepe isn’t really elastic even though it says it is, but I love how thin this crepe is and the value for the fabric is amazing so I bought the last 4 yards. Thinking about making a dress that I could wear at my wedding party… we’ll see!
  • Yellow spun rayon – 2 yards at $2.99/yd — I love how soft and flowy rayon is, and this color is a winner. I can’t wait to make something flowy with this.
  • Gray/black cotton with Polynesian tribal print – 2 yards at $3.99/yd — already have about 2.5 yards of this fabric at home that I used to make seat covers, but needed more to make a matching cover for our papasan chair.

I also bought:

  • Assorted plastic needles – $1.50 — got this because I’m going to try using them as loop turners, because I’m over using safety pins to thread a loop through. Hopefully this works.
  • Elastic – 10 yards at $0.40/yd — I avoid buttons and zippers, so I use elastic a lot haha. I also need it to make the seat cover for the papasan chair.
DIY Upcycled Tahiti-Inspired 2-Piece Outfit

DIY Upcycled Tahiti-Inspired 2-Piece Outfit

My best friend was doing a closet clean out, and said I could keep whatever I wanted.

This bright red puletasi skirt, a hand-me-down from her mom, stuck out among the pile, and the color and print reminded me vividly of French Polynesia.

During that amazing trip last year, I actually really wanted to get a lavalava with pretty much this exact color/tropical print, but I couldn’t find it anywhere except on the beautiful dancers at the Heiva i Tahiti.

So I was stoked to get this skirt, and continue its life cycle in slow fashion.

It took me a while to figure out what I should do with it, but I loved the simplicity of what the skirt was before and decided to keep the structure of the skirt, only shortening it to use the rest of the fabric as a stretchy tube top.

It was a quick and easy upcycle project, but I loved the end result!