Hot! Why Hello There! So Very Nice to Meet You…

Let's just call this a "before" picture...or the "I need a better camera and a professional photographer to follow me around" picture...

Name & Location: Tina Crossgrove, Philadelphia, PA

Blog: Down the Retro Rabbit Hole

How long have you been sewing: On and off (but not very seriously) since I was a wee thing!

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge: When I returned from living abroad for a year (early 2011), I went shopping at my local mall for some new clothing. It was about mid-spring and all of the summer clothing was out on the sale floor. I realized, as I looked around, that I had outgrown most of the clothing stores in the mall and yet, I wasn’t ready to trade in my low-rise for a pair of mom jeans (if you catch my drift). What little I did try on did not fit my curves. Disgruntled and increasingly grumpy, I ended up purchasing a couple of tank tops, all in the same size. I didn’t try them on, figuring clothing within a specific size group, being mass produced and all, should be the same size. Oh, foolish girl! When I tried the garments on at home, not a single one was constructed the same way as another. Some were too big in the middle, other had gaping arm holes, and one was even too tight across my chest. Right then and there I realized something: If I ever wanted clothing that fit, I was going to have to make it myself. However, 2011 didn’t pan out the way I expected it to and I spent a lot of the year being creatively frustrated (read: not being creative at all). The Sew Weekly Challenge is a way for me to get my creative mojo back AND get some desperately much need new clothes!

What do you love most about sewing garments: Having something that’s one of a kind

What do you hate most about sewing garments: Finishing the insides. By the time I get to the point where I’m almost done, I just want to be done and wear the darn thing!

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge: One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to not buy any mass-produced clothing (with the exception of underroos… I don’t think I’m up to the challenge of making delicates). Part of that resolution is to learn five new techniques in order to create garments that don’t look “homemade.”

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: I have two other resolutions for this new year. First, be healthier including getting up off my duff and outside away from the TV/computer/housework/inside for at least 30 minutes a day. The second resolution: write every day to (re)establish good writing habits and get published.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs: In addition to Sew Weekly, I also stalk follow religiously Three Hours Past the Edge of the World, Casey’s Elegant Musings, Colette Pattern’s blog Coletterie, Cotton and Curls, Sew Country Chick, We Sew Retro, Tasia over at Sewaholic, JuliaBobbin, and Seamless. (Do you see, now, why it is I HAVE to get out of the house for at least 30 minutes a day!)


Tina C.

Tina C. is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA with her beau and her two ridiculously spoiled Siamese cats (this does not a crazy cat lady make!). She's not buying any off-the-rack clothing this year, so she better get cracking and learn how to sew!


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  1. I agree, “mall” clothes are completely overrated. Kudos to you for taking a stand.

  2. It’ kind of fascinates me, actually, to walk through a mall and see who has buying power. Clearly, it is high school/college aged kids OR grandmothers. I’m so NOT knocking either group, but I’m 32. This is not old–and I see no market for people like me (young, professional, educated, employable, etc.) that is affordable. I love things like JCrew, Anthropologie, etc. but cannot afford (as I am still mostly jobless as freelance writing barely pays the bills) to drop $200 on a skirt/dress/shirt. Most of the time, these lovely clothes don’t fit anyways… specifically, they don’t fit my bust to waist ratio. I discovered this year that i actually need to make a full bust adjustment and I’m beginning to suspect I also need to make a sway-back adjustment. I want pretty, but I don’t want to break the bank!

  3. “I want pretty, but I don’t want to break the bank!”

    Yes! Exactly! That’s how I feel about it too… And its funny, because I find the clothes I make myself, the ones I love, last much longer than things I buy. That pays off in the long run, because I end up spending less on clothes over time.