The long story of how I ended up here.

Hey there! I’m Stéphane, welcome to my blog!

I’m a 20-something fashion design graduate with a passion for making wearable things. I created this blog to connect with my fellow makers and share my work, but also to push myself to try out my introverted boundaries.

Where does that passion come from?

I’ve always loved fiddling with textiles and fibres. As a child, I often fell asleep with my crochet hook in hand, working on some doily or dress, and terrifying my mother in the process.

I grew up in Côte d’Ivoire, a beautiful country in West Africa (the best country in the world, in my opinion!). i was always surrounded by makers: there was (and still is) a tailor or a dressmaker in every neighborhood, making everything from school uniforms to church dresses and wedding gowns.

I’ve always been fascinated by how they could turn beautiful wax prints into even prettier outfits. Growing up around all these beautiful people wearing well designed and properly fitted clothes brought me happiness and self-confidence (second-hand glow, I guess?). I felt like no matter what my shape, height or weight were, I could always look good in my clothes without changing my body. But so far, it hasn’t been so rosy.

After high school, I moved to my father’s country, France, and lived there for 4 years. Being in this gorgeous, first-world country where you can do pretty much anything you want at anytime was an amazing experience, except for one thing: nothing ever fitted me quite right. I’ve always been on the plump side, with a very pronounced pear shape. No amount of diet or exercise ever made my hips go under 40 inches, but I still had a tiny torso. Plus size clothes were too big on my waist and thighs, (when i could find cute ones, that is), and clothes in the size I was “supposed” to wear wouldn’t go past my bum without some unpleasant stretching on their side and crying on mine.

And so I did what every normal, well-balanced teenager would do: I bought a sewing machine and started teaching myself sewing and patternmaking, picking up from where i left it in middle school (Catholic all-girl school ftw!). I LOVED IT. For the first time in a while i felt like I was supposed to be there, in front of my sewing machine, putting these bits of fabric together.

Fast forward half a decade, I now live in sunny South Africa with a growing menagerie of fabric and yarn. I recently graduated from fashion school (this one) and it was one of the hardest, most wonderful experience of my life. While still in college, i realised how taxing this industry is on the planet. A particular textile class left me questioning if this was really what I wanted to do: do I want to keep making more clothes, creating more waste, polluting more water, exploiting more people? Or is there a better way?

I kept wondering, then graduation came, right in time with the infamous quarter life crisis. I decided to take a break from it all and figure out what I really wanted to do. I put the scissors down and looked inside, then looked around me and rediscovered the wonderful worlds of slow fashion and home sewing. This is where I was meant to be all along!

So i thought some more, and then a bit more, and finally got over myself and started this blog.

Cool story, but what’s with that name?

I named my blog after two of my favorite things: bees, because they’re awesome and we must protect them at all costs (seriously), and the Holy Spirit, since I love religious things and I aim to be constantly in prayer because I’m a loner weirdo who’s trying to be besties with God, basically. More precisely, I stumbled upon  these beautiful verses in the Qur’an  one fateful evening:

And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.
Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].” There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.

(Surah Nahl, verses 68 and 69)

How beautiful and inspiring is that! I wanted to be like the bees, making my way through the world, directed by God’s will for me, creating things that help the people around me.

And what’s the point of  this blog?

It’s basically the same as my goal in (professional) life: making clothes for myself and others, and helping people make their clothes the best way possible! I’m a patternmaker at heart, so the most obvious option for me to achieve is to make patterns and tutorials and share them with the world!

My personal goal is a lot more selfish. I want to renew and improve my wardrobe. As a young adult, I have different needs than when I started designing. I need to look and feel more grown up and sophisticated, while remaining stylish. I’ll be a completely new wardrobe, and that comes with a few challenges:

  • I live in a very warm country, and despite living in Africa most of my life,  I despise the heat. I wish Autumn would last forever just so I could breathe normally, but we don’t live in that sort of world.
  • For personal and religious reasons, I wear modest clothes: everything has to be loose-fitting and cover my body from the neck down, without showing too much. On top of that, I’m a walker: I (try to) walk at least 10k steps a day, and I like to do that as fast as possible, and fashion cannot get in the way of my escapades.
  • My body is weird: not really, but still. Like I said earlier, I have a very pronounced pear shape. I can work out all I want (and I do, #gains), but I will still have thick, muscular thighs, wide hips and a curvy bum. There’s not much I can do about it. While studying I played around with pattern drafting a lot, sure, but I never really drafted for myself until recently. I need to figure out how to fit of this jelly in and make it look nice and decent.
  • My sense of style is all over the place: this is the fun bit of the challenge at hand!I love  bold colours and prints, but I also love cool, monochrome , “tumblr girl” outfits. I love contemporary fashion, but I also feel like I was supposed to be a Gibson girl.  I want to try to make all these colours, styles, eras and prints  work together in a cohesive way.
  • I really want to improve my sewing: Technically, I can sew. I can put two pieces of fabric together in a way that makes sense, add a fastening, hem it up and it’d look okay. People have worn my clothes. Are they up to my self-imposed standards? Not quite… and it’s been a hinderance lately because I’m the type of perfectionists that’ll care so much about that one mm over the seam allowance that I will procrastinate until the very last-minute to cut my fabric and sew it, which means more mistakes and more trauma to stock up in my anxiety bank (it’s like a spank bank, but for anxiety? fun.)

So… yeah. I can’t wait to see how it all works out! I’m really excited to start this blog and see where it takes me, and if you took the time to read all the way to this last line, thanks a lot and I can’t wait to share my creations and interact with you!

Love,

Steph