How to re-create this year’s biggest fashion trends at home, according to a sewing influencer

Summary List PlacementMimi G's influence on the DIY and sewing scene is monumental.  What started as Mimi G sharing her sewing projects and patterns on her blog blossomed into an online phenomenon, with fans praising her relatability and approachable teaching method.  While some DIY enthusiasts might know Mimi G from her...


Summary List Placement

Mimi G’s influence on the DIY and sewing scene is monumental. 

What started as Mimi G sharing her sewing projects and patterns on her blog blossomed into an online phenomenon, with fans praising her relatability and approachable teaching method. 

While some DIY enthusiasts might know Mimi G from her face-mask tutorial that went viral on YouTube, many know her as the founder of the design school Sew It! Academy, which she started for beginners who have little to no experience with sewing.

“We’re in this time where people want to have their own individualized style and sense of being,” Mimi G said, noting that DIY projects surged in popularity during the pandemic

In a conversation with Insider, Mimi G revealed her sewing tips and trick for crafting five of the year’s biggest style trends at home, from bralettes to trench coats.

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Bodacious statement sleeves are an effortless and chic runway trend to emulate this year.

Sophia Mitrokostas previously reported for Insider that statement sleeves plucked straight from the 1980s will have their moment in the spotlight this year. 

Runway models for Givenchy, Balmain, and other luxury fashion houses wore the bold, big-shoulder look during the Spring 2021 season. Fashion stylist Lana Blanc pointed Insider specifically to bell and balloon sleeves, which are visually dynamic but don’t sacrifice warmth.

Mimi G is totally on board with this particular trend. “You know what’s fun about the statement sleeve trend is that it can transform the most basic thing into something so amazing,” she said.

According to Mimi G, whose Sew it! Academy offers a course on sleeve designs, this trend is easy for beginners to tackle. What can send newer sewists into an accidental tizzy, however, is proportions.

“If you ask almost any sewist, they’ll probably tell you they sew half-naked because they’re constantly sewing and checking how it fits,” Mimi G said with a laugh. 

“The size of your shoulders, the size of your bust, or the difference between your upper body and your lower body — you really have to know those things,” she added. 

Mimi G suggested that people follow their instincts rather than a set pattern and reference a mirror.

“I think so many people, when learning something new, feel like they have to follow the instructions exactly,” said Mimi G, “but a lot of times it’s basic common sense.”

“You can look in the mirror and say, ‘I should bring up this hemline a little bit because I’m short and it’s not flattering,'” she continued.

Her YouTube tutorial for a DIY Puff Sleeve Bodycon Dress has more than 143,100 views so far. 

“You have to be adventurous in your sewing journey and understand that small changes make a big difference,” she said.

The versatility of knits and ribbed fabrics make them ideal for cold weather, but it’s vital to know the correct needle and stitch to use.

Loungewear became the unofficial uniform of 2020, and comfortable clothes like two-piece knit sets will continue to be trendy well into 2021.

While everyone likely has their favorite knit sweater hanging in their closet, working with ribbed and knit fabrics is a task best suited to sewists at the intermediate to advanced level, according to Mimi G.

“Most people would tell you not to start with knit fabrics,” said Mimi G, whose Sew It! Academy broke ranks by offering a “Sewing with Knits” class early among its courses. “Knit can be a little fussy to work with, specifically if you make something and you don’t understand that you should be using a specific needle or that you should be using a specific stitch.”

She told Insider that the key is to use a ballpoint needle and a zigzag stitch for knit and ribbed fabrics. 

“If you make something from a knit fabric, sew it with a straight stitch, and then pull it all to your body, the stitches are gonna snap because it’s not stretching with the fabric,” said Mimi G.

Using a narrow zigzag stitch or a serger sewing machine are the best ways to avoid a wardrobe malfunction.

“Use a ballpoint needle, use a zigzag stitch, and start stitching a little further into your fabric instead of the edge and then go backward — it’s literally those three things. The reason I have people start with knit fabric is that you’re going to be less frustrated if you make something and it stretches over your body to fit, right?” said Mimi G. 

Plus, knit fabrics are fantastic because of their versatility in different clothes, including dresses, pants, and jackets.

Fabric choice can make or break a trench coat, which was named a big style trend for Spring 2021.

Trench coats are a classic look, according to Mimi G, who calls them “so sexy.”

While copying Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram trench coat would require some serious skill, basic trench coats are a relatively easy piece for beginner sewists.

The outfit requires two front pieces (left and right), a back piece typically cut on the fold, two sleeves, and a storm flap. 

“I think one of the biggest mistakes, specifically with something like a trench coat, is fabric choice,” said Mimi G. “You have to understand fabrics, and that’s one of the things that I think most people, especially when they’re new to sewing, struggle with.”

Mimi G’s obsession with fabrics led her and Brittany J. Jones, a popular DIY influencer and instructor at Sew It! Academy, to launch Melanated Fabrics last year. The online fabric store curates an array of options and highlights the need for inclusivity in the industry.

Fortunately, finding the right fabric can be as easy as opening your closet.

“I always tell people to go into your closet and look at the garments that you like. The things that feel good to you,” she said. “If you want to make a pair of pants, go in your closet and look at a pair of pants that you like to wear. Look at the content — is it 90% polyester and 10% cotton?”

Mimi G suggests keeping fabric swatches in a book and labeling each with their fiber type for future reference. It’s also easy to embellish trench coats to show personality with buttons, belts, and buckles. 

The fashion industry will be bundling up in bright and bold statement coats this season.

In January, Mimi G shared a DIY Kimono Jacket using Vogue Pattern No.1610 and boucle fabric with her followers. The original pattern called for lightweight materials, but she styled her version with the heavy fabric instead. 

“I’m going to make this coat in every fabric, and this is all you’re going to see me wear, okay? It’s going to be like the Anna Wintour bob of jackets for me,” Mimi G joked. 

“When I first saw the fabric, I was like, ‘this would make a great jacket.’ Initially, I was going to make more of a traditional-style coat, but then I remembered the Vogue pattern and decided not to cut into the fabric too much,” she said. 

Her new “signature jacket” is a great beginner’s project because it can be crafted using almost any fabric and has very few pieces.

“First of all, it doesn’t have an inset sleeve, and it’s all one piece. It’s only the front piece and the back piece,” said Mimi G. 

One thing to watch out for is the side and shoulder seams. 

Sewists should make sure to secure their seams and the hem on the sleeves and the bottom of the kimono jacket.

Luxurious bra tops and bralettes will help welcome in the warm weather.

Mitrokostas reported that the bra top,  a fun mix between a crop top and a bra, will be everywhere this summer. While some resemble sports bras, others are crafted from lush silks and eye-catching patterns.

The bras can be styled underneath sheer tops and sleek suit jackets or worn alone.

“One of the things about making bralettes is it depends on what you choose to make it with,” said Mimi G, who noted that this type of project is best for someone with intermediate-to-advanced sewing skills.

“I think lace, in general, is a little more difficult because you’re working with something very delicate and semi-sheer. You have to know what needle you need to use and how you’re going to make that lace work,” she added.

But for any sewists determined to conquer the bralette, Mimi G first suggested finding lace that’s not too slippery and has some additional texture to it. She also admitted to using a very handy sewing hack.

“What I like to do is use temporary spray adhesive,” she said. “So you spray your pieces together to keep them from slipping as you’re sewing. That makes a huge difference.”

Mimi G overcame several obstacles, including homelessness and sexual abuse, to become a popular DIY fashion influencer.

Before Mimi G became a top DIY influencer with millions of followers, she was a young girl watching her aunt craft gorgeous gowns in Puerto Rico. Raised in Chicago, Mimi G spent her summers in Puerto Rico with her father and family. 

“One of my aunts was a seamstress, and she had a little studio attached to her house. I remember just sitting in her studio, watching her and being mesmerized,” said Mimi G. 

“I would sit in the corner of her room and she would cut off scraps. I started hand sewing clothes for my Barbie, and that’s how it started,” Mimi G said, adding that her father later bought her a sewing machine.

But her passion became hard to continue when Mimi G, a sexual-abuse survivor, ran away to California at 15 years old, faced homelessness as a single mother, and encountered domestic violence.

The turning point for her career sparked when she launched her blog, Mimi G Style.

In 2012, Mimi G shared photos of the regal maxi skirt she created, and the design quickly caught people’s attention. 

“That maxi skirt just went crazy on the blog. Everybody was asking me to make it, and I was like, ‘nope, I don’t sew for hire — it’s not my thing,'” said Mimi G. 

Instead, she eventually created a step-by-step tutorial that energized fans online and helped her emerge as a major figure in the sewing community. 

Today, Mimi G has amassed more than 2.1 million followers on social media, emerging as one of the most visible influencers in sewing, and signed a licensing deal with Simplicity, which allows her to share her patterns with DIYers around the world.

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