Thinking Summer...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yesterday it felt like -31° C, but I'm day dreaming about much warmer weather...

I always find this time of year hard, but this winter has been particularly difficult.  We can't see past the snow banks to pull out of our driveway, temperatures seem to hover around -20° C, the side walks are so icy and lumpy and hard to walk on, the roads have deep grooves in the packed down snow that make it hard to drive... it feels like it's been snowing since December 1st! At first, the excessive snow was a bit of a novelty, even for this seasoned Canadian, but now it's just depressing... 

I am really itching to get back out into my garden.  In the meantime, I've been making frequent trips to the florist up the road to buy fresh flowers for in my house.  The smell alone is just so uplifting! 

I've also been using these flowers as props for the photos of my new items! I am really excited about these pieces.  I've gone back to basics with this collection.  The first thing I need to mention is that this collection is huge.  I get tired of sewing the same things and using the same fabrics, so I've got a huge variety for myself to work with.  Secondly, I wanted to be able to mix and match a lot of these pieces.  Third, I did a lot of thinking about what Ohhh Lulu meant to me when I started it back in 2010.  I remember clearly, sitting in Dan's cramped, wood-panelled living room, and telling him how I pictured Ohhh Lulu.  The thing that I wanted Ohhh Lulu to capture is how beautiful you can feel when you are wearing the simplest garments that show off your natural shape.  I don't know about you, but there are days when I roll out of bed and my hair is a glorious mess, and the sun hits me at just the right angle, and I'm just wearing a simple tank top and panties, and I feel like the most beautiful person in the world! That is what I want to capture, that relaxed and natural state of beauty. Something I struggle with in my personal life as well as in my "designer" life is doing what I want to do as opposed to what I think other people want me to do. I kind of feel like I veered off course a bit... not that I am not happy with what I've done, but I feel like these pieces are really "me." I made a point of just makings things I like and that I want to wear (and that I am frequently wearing!).

One thing I do whenever I design a new collection is think of a loose theme... often a place or an era and how that makes me feel. Capturing a mood or a feeling through my lingerie is something that is important to me, and I hope comes through in my designs! I've been thinking a lot about morning and the sky, and how that is my favourite time of day.  One of my favourite memories is from my honeymoon.  We camped for a week, and got up bright and early each morning.  We would walk down to the lake and sit on the dock, listening to loons and watching the sun rise.  Then, we would do the same in the evening and watch the sun go down.  If you haven't stopped to watch a sunrise and sunset, you need to do it ASAP because it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Inspiration: Untitled Photo by Angela d'Avignon, Clouds via Pinterest, Flowers via Pinterest, Sky at Dusk via Pinterest, Beach via Tumblr. As for the lingerie, you can find it in my shop!

I've been slowly posting new items in my Etsy Shop.  I have to say, I am personally wearing a lot of these pieces day to day.  I have a couple of new styles, with my favourite being the longline bralettes, like the one show below in midnight blue velvet.

Midnight Velvet Lingerie Set

I also am doing triangle bras (yes, the bra below is a hack of my Brigette Triangle Bra Pattern, and showing you how to do this is on my To Do List!).  I'm a fairly busty lady, and I have to say, I've been wearing nothing but the long line, triangle, and cross-over wrap bra for the last few months. I try to put on an underwire bra and I just can't make it through the day.  I get quite a few messages asking if I do underwire bras, and the answer is, "no, and I don't plan to." First of all, there are plenty of nice underwire bras out there in a variety of price points points and styles.  If you disagree, just hop over to Figleaves and try to tell me you can't find something you like!  But most of all, I really like the shape that a soft bra gives.  Most people are used to the super round, bowling ball shape that foam push-up bras give, and while that is all fine and good and has it's place, there is also a place for a comfortable bra that feels like you're wearing nothing at all.  I have to say, the natural shape and curve of the bust, waist, and hip is just so pretty... why not show it off? A soft bra provides a bit of support while still showing off your natural curves.  One thing I will say is if you have exclusively worn underwired, padded bras your whole life like I had, switching to a soft bra does feel strange (kind of like you're half naked), but for me, it's hard to go back to the bowling ball boob look.

Tropical Floral Lingerie Set
 The other thing that was really important to me when I started Ohhh Lulu was trying to represent a realistic body type.  I don't think I've always been successful at this, and the longer I run this business, I realize how hard it is to try to represent everyone.  My resources are minimal and models and photo shoots are costly. Some models and photographers will work on trade, but there is still the time and cost involved in preparing and sending samples...  When I first started Ohhh Lulu, I thought I'd use myself as a model. I'm petite, but otherwise a fairly average person (ie. I certainly don't have thigh gap). I soon found that modelling/taking photos is not as easy as one might think and that it is also extremely time consuming.  However, I think there is some merit in seeing clothes on your "Average Josephine."  I really do wish I had the resources to represent multiple body types, skin tones, aesthetics, etc, but as a DIY shop owner, it's really hard... way harder than I thought it would be! There is a lot of pressure and competition to have the right look... I was spending so much time worrying about my photos and stressing that I wasn't living up to the competition that I feel like my designs suffered. So, I said "Screw it!" and I diy'ed it.  I still plan on doing some professional photos down the road, but as I said earlier, I'm going back to basics.  I am a DIY'er.  DIY is what I do! DIY is what Ohhh Lulu is all about. All the power to the DIY'ers!

Black Satin Basics
 So, I'm pretty happy (despite this miserable weather). In the past year or so I found it really hard not to compare myself and feel a sense of competition with other businesses, and I really hated that feeling.  Of course, I want to run a successful business and be the best that I can be, but most importantly, I want it to be fun.  For a while, it wasn't so fun... it was really stressful! I was trying to run my business the way I saw others run theirs... and that's not for me. Like a lot of creative-types, I'm highly self critical.  I looked at what everyone else was doing, everyone else looks so professional and like they've got it all figured out.  I needed to remind myself that what I do is for me, not for the approval of anyone else (but in the hopes that other people will share my passion).  I am glad I was able to take a step back and concentrate on what's really important... Pretty lingerie!!!

Black Satin Basics


  1. I love how you talk about the simplicity of a tank top and a beautiful pair of relaxed. I love it.

  2. I have been following your business and blog for quite a while. I adore the simplicity of your styles. Any chance you will be selling your long-line bra pattern? This post has got me convinced to try wireless styles. I currently sew bras with underwires for myself and want to try something new.

    1. Yes! Eventually I will do a pattern for this style :) Not sure when, but eventually!

  3. I really love your input on being yourself in your business and not to compare yourself (too much) with others. I struggle with this a lot in my branche as well. So thank you for putting this in another perspective.
    As for your designs: I love literally all of them in this post. It's exactly what I've been looking for (pretty much since I started wearing a bra at age 12) I think this do what you love thing is working, at least it is for me.
    The fabrics and lines are absolutely beautiful.

  4. Every single thing you said in this post applies to me. Never wearing underwire bras and preferring your style...check (I'm always surprised that people find a non-underwire wearing person strange)! Getting caught up in trying to figure out the professional model/photographer situation...check! I always compare myself to other people to the point where I completely freeze and am unable to work which makes me hate everything I'm doing and get so bummed out. Just wanted to say, there's another one of you out here!! From over here everything you're doing looks fantastic!

    Unrelated to that I JUST got notions in the mail to try out some of your bra patterns. It is weirdly hard to find non-underwire bras lately so I can't wait to stitch up the Jasmine and hopefully the Brigitte after that! I almost bought some stretch velvet but figured I should start easy...perfectionism + new techniques + crazy fabrics almost never go hand in hand!

  5. I'm new to sewing (and thus sewing blogs/DIY businesses etc) but I must say I'm absolutely in love with what you do. I think your products and pictures are fantastically beautiful and professional - please don't be worrying about comparing yourself to other people because it looks brilliant to me, and since I've only just found you it would be very sad if you went and changed. As soon as I've mastered a few more techniques I'll definitely be trying some of your patterns, they're a real inspiration to a novice like me.

  6. I absolutely adore your style and design choices <3
    with every paragraph I read, I wanted to scream YES! louder :3
    really loved that post, thank you so much for everything you said and made, it's just so beautiful

  7. They look so cute and comfortable! Love them.

  8. I am in love with the black satin basic bra!!!!

  9. I love your long line bras, and would love to see a pattern in the future :)

    I've never tried a non-wired bra out in earnest (I have a couple of bralettes that I wear around the house sometimes) and am curious. Do you mostly wear them under tshirts, or do they have a place with form-fitting dresses as well? As a fellow busty-lady, I feel like a soft bra would, um, smush the girls in something really form-fitting. Maybe I'm wrong?

  10. I think it's so important to remain true to who you are, and I think it's one of the hardest things in the world because it's only natural (at least for me) to want to lean over and collaborate or whisper, "Hey, what are you doing over there?" This winter has been really hard for me, not only because I hate excessive cold and snow (though my goodness, you had it so much worse!) but because I felt so much pressure to conform and be like other bloggers/creators/etc. I've been working on finding my own voice - and it's very strange because as soon as I "found" it, it seemed so natural and perfect. Now to go about implementing that...

    Anyway, I especially wanted to comment because I absolutely LOVE all of the new stuff you're coming up with. I love the colors, the new patterns, and the new models. I'm so happy that this is you returning to what you love and your own voice because I think it's incredible.

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  12. You have no idea how many people look at YOU and think "man shes got it so together".


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