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