Let me tell you a story. It is a timeless tale of pride and humility, of lessons learned and sadness mended. Be warned, this story is not for the faint of heart - it is heavy with treasure, peril, sorrow, and redemption.Read More
Let me tell you a story. It is a timeless tale of pride and humility, of lessons learned and sadness mended. Be warned, this story is not for the faint of heart - it is heavy with treasure, peril, sorrow, and redemption.Read More
Got a quick finished project for you today. I've been feeling real under-the-weather with one of those crazy stomach bugs (which is the absolute worst in the summer, I might add), so blogging about a simple project is right up my alley today.Read More
Happy post holiday weekend! Even though it's technically a shorter week, the days feel soooo looooong. I hope everyone had a lovely and relaxing long weekend, but I hear ya. Post-celebratory days are hard.
Which is why I'm here, with another fun-filled finished project! I hope the beauty and style, grace and poise, exuded in this picture will help you sail through the rest of the week:Read More
I have actually made a bra!! And by the time this post goes live, there will likely be more in the works!! So excited!! More exclamation points!!!
Seriously, it feels like the most of the internet sewing community have not only tackled the task of bra and lingerie making in the last few years, but perfected it. And as is my custom with being perfectly on trend, current, and hip (insert laughter here) I have finally
summoned up the courage decided to give bra-making a go.
I chose the Watson Bra to start off with for several reasons: First, there are soooo many pretty and inspiring versions around the internet. A quick Google search will pull up hundreds of images. Second, it's designed for beginner bra makers who want to be up to the task but need somewhere simple to start. Cloth Habit, the blog/designer behind the pattern, has an amazingly helpful step-by-step tutorial here. Third, there are no underwires so it's relatively quick and painless to sew.
The test version I made was definitely too big. I followed the sizing chart included in the pattern, but that's why we make a test version, amirite? The band was too loose and the cups were too big, so that the bra basically rode up to my chin throughout the course of the day. So for the second (and fingers-crossed wearable) version, I went down two sizes and was extremely careful in sewing my seam allowances. And it turned out beautifully! The fit is comfortable yet secure, and I absolutely adore the fabric. There are a number of Etsy shops that sell "bra kits" - all the findings and fabric you need to make a bra. I bought this kit from TailorMadeShoppe, since I absolutely was not about to go finding all these.....ahem......findings myself. Not for the first real bra, people. No way.
Bonus points because I know that this bra was ethically made (I promise I gave myself lots of breaks whilst making it, and plenty of encouragement in the form of tea and dark chocolate) and fits me perfectly. It's difficult to find ethically sourced fabric, especially bra and lingerie materials, but I figure at least making it myself is better than buying one that was questionably made.
Overall, I'm so happy with how this turned out and cannot wait to start on the next one. Hope you all have a great week, friends!
Happy day-after-Halloween! I hope you all had a safe and fun day, and partied late into the night. I love so many things about Halloween - the candy, the parties with friends, the candy, Halloween movies, the candy (ahem).....However I especially love the fact that it's socially acceptable to wear full out, ridiculous costumes in public for one night. I think I saw a giraffe, Poison Ivy, and Marty McFly walking down the street together last night while a vampire flew past on a skateboard. Pure magic.
Halloween is also one of the worst days for sustainable fashion. The dropping prices of clothing, and specifically, Halloween costumes, means that more people are spending money on cheaply made costumes that will be worn for one night and then thrown away. And that process will be repeated year in and year out. This year, the UK is expected to spend £157 million on costumes, while the US is projected to spend close to $2.6 billion. And most of that revenue will eventually end up somewhere like this:
So in light of all that, I wanted a costume that I could make from thrift store items and still expressed my creativity. I decided on Joy from Inside Out because (a) that movie made me sob unashamedly in a movie theater and (b) Amy Poehler is my spirit animal. Plus, Joy is so cute and fun!
I found an amazing tutorial from coolirpa on Youtube for making Joy's dress from T-shirts she found at the thrift store. Check it out here! It was a pretty easy make. First, you cut off the arms and neckline of a T-shirt, fit it to your sides and cut it at the waist. Then, cut the arms and neckline off the other shirts, sew them together to create a long piece of fabric, and cut out a 3/4 circle skirt based on your body measurements. Sew those pieces together and attach it to the bodice. The video explains it all really well. At that point you have something like this:
At which point you are ready to start adding the starbursts on Joy's dress. I used puffy paint and glitter, which means that my floor is now covered in glitter and will be for all eternity. Because glitter is like a bad guest - it just won't leave.
I used a bobbin as a reference point for the starbursts and drew them freehand. Below is the front side waiting to dry:
After you let the front dry and do the same process on the back, you have a finished costume!
So there you have it - a costume for Halloween that is sustainable and fun. Have an amazing Sunday friends!
Sorry for my absence in the past few weeks. Right after the last post - BOOM! Work exploded. Not literally. That would be crazy. But there was just, like SO MUCH TO DO. It was insane.
Thankfully, the amount of work has slightly decreased, and I can see cleeaarrly now the RAIN is gone (please feel free to sing that song with me, out loud or in your head). So I finally have time for another blog post!
Which brings me to today's short and sweet, easy number:
This is a suuuuuper simple top that I made from a gorgeous cotton voile from Mood linked here (seriously, I can't say no to their stuff). It's somewhat see-through, so I lined it with a silver lining fabric I've had in my stash for ages.
I wanted a simple, Kimono sleeve top that was loose, breezy, and QUICK. There's nothing quite like drafting, cutting, constructing, and finishing a top in one evening. To acquire this self-drafted pattern (which I've reused several times now - if it ain't broke, don't fix it amirite?) I laid two shirts that I wanted to combine on the floor over some wax paper and traced, because why not?
This top is so simple I won't even take any inside construction photos. Partly because it really doesn't need them (seriously, it's like two straight lines and that's it) and partly because the neckline and sleeves are cut with pinking shears, turned under and stitched. Not my prettiest construction, but it gets the job done and I don't mind it.
So there you have it! One of my easiest projects to date and I've loved wearing it this summer. Now to begin fall project planning! Do you have anything you're just itching to make for fall/winter?
It's a beautiful Saturday here in Chicago. I hope you are enjoying the bright sun and crisp fall air wherever you are. I, on the other hand, have been laid out sick this weekend. I don't know if it's the flu or what, but my roommate and I have been laid out on the couches, groaning and praying for the end to come swiftly. We make quite the pair. Don't you wish you were here?? Huh??
Anyways, I'll spare you the details of my weekend stuck indoors (seriously, is there anything worse than that when it's beautiful outside?) and instead share some details on a dress I made recently.
The pattern is McCall's M7121, and the intense obsession to make this dress was inspired by MimiG's review here. The obsession was so encompassing that I probably should've picked a different jersey that had a bit more structure to it. But I threw my cares to the wind and jumped in.
I had been wanting to make a long maxi dress for the summer and was pretty swept away by this fabric. It's a lightweight, mid-stretch jersey that has a beautiful drape to it. I bought three yards but almost didn't have enough for the pattern to be cut against the grain line like the pattern directed. Hence the awkward placement of the flowers on the bodice.
I love the cut of the pattern. It's got a nice v neck in the front and back, and the skirt is cut in such a way as to hang off the body in a flattering way. Plus it's super quick and easy to sew, (only 4 pattern pieces) and sometimes you just need some quick satisfaction, right??
In a few of these pictures, the back bodice has an unsightly bulge, but that's just the way I'm standing. I also did a photo shoot a few weeks back in this dress with a friend of mine who is an amazing photographer. Check out his website here, and below are some pictures from that shoot. I'm off to drench myself in more tea and soup. Have an amazing day friends, and be well!
I'm generally not a fan of getting my picture taken. It seems like there's always something off about any picture that I'm a part of. It's a great photo, full of smiles, coy laughter, then BOOM - I jump in and it's all half-shut eyes, weird crinkles of skin, and crazy hand motions. I exaggerate (only a smidge) but I've always been self-conscious in front of the camera. It's just not my scene. I'm all, "What do I do with my hands?" and "Why do my eyes have to be open?" You may think the photos I take for this blog are ok, but you haven't seen what doesn't make it on here.
Which leads me into today's post. As I was editing photos of today's dress, I realized something - I actually like a lot of these pictures. I mean, I actually feel pretty positive feelings towards these pictures. Which got me thinking about why I liked these pictures and I realized it came down to two things:
My Quick Tips for Better Photos:
Ok, now that that's out of the way, let's get on to the dress! Disclaimer: There will be lots of pictures in today's post. Bonus to the disclaimer: I'm going to throw in some terrible pictures of me at the end.
I made this dress from an old tablecloth I found in the recycle bin at a former job. We hosted lots of events and one of the vendors had left a lot of stuff behind. Score! My boss thought I was totally weird to take it for clothes making. Which may be true, but also YOLO.
The bodice is from the Gathered Sundress pattern by Pattern Runway. It's one of the first patterns I ever bought, and also one of the first to fit me relatively well. If I use this pattern again, I think I'll shorten the back pieces by half an inch to take out some of the excess fabric in the back. But beginner sewist me didn't know about things like fit. I generally really like the fit and style. The skirt is a self-drafted full circle skirt. Which gives it a lovely twirl.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with this dress. Most of it is handpicked, including the zipper and the hem. It's the best way I've found thus far to get a beautiful, clean zipper. But very time consuming. Anyway, it seemed to work well on this heavier weight polyester fabric.
And as promised, if you're still reading, here are some bad pictures from this photo shoot. Proof that it happens to everyone! Until next time, have a fabulous weekend!
Hi friends! Today is all about sustainable and organic fabric options for the consciously minded sewist. In my quest for a handmade, ethically sourced wardrobe, it's been difficult to find fabric manufacturers that are well known and also conscious of how their fabric is made. Part of the issue with the clothing industry is not just who makes the clothes and how they are treated, but what fabrics are used and how those fabrics are processed. For example, did you know that cotton is one of the dirtiest crops on the planet? And not in a Christina-Aguilera-music-video kinda way. I've had to do some searching to find sustainable, organic fabric, and even then my options are limited.
Obviously, one of the best ways to acquire sustainable clothing is hand-me-downs, clothing swaps, or the thrift store. I'm all for that, and I'll do plenty of re-fashioning on this blog, don't you worry. But sometimes a girl just wants some brand new, shiny fabric to make something and indulge her creative process, amirite? So cultivating a list of places that will indulge my creative urgings while also satisfying my need sustainability sounds like a win-win to me.
This is a list I hope to keep updating and expanding as I learn of more companies who are purposeful in their ethical business practices, so feel free to share any that I don't have listed here. The more, the better, in my opinion!
Sustainable, Organic Fabric Resources:
I'm looking forward to sifting through these retailers to see what goodies I can come up with. What organic or sustainable fabric retailers do you know that aren't on this list?
Hey friends! I hope you are having a lovely Saturday thus far. It's a rainy, blah-ish day here in Chicago. You know, one of those days that's a perfect excuse to stay inside all day and work on sewing projects? Yeah, well unfortunately, that's not in my future. Some good friends are moving today, and I promised to help out. Helping friends friends move in the rain - that's true love, folks.
Anyway, before I force myself to function for the day, I wanted to share a finished project with you all. And guess what?? It's another McCall's 5845 hack! The first one was the silk taffeta bridesmaid's dress I blogged about here. This one was the eh-I-have-time-so-why-not version.
Remember how I said there have been weddings on weddings on weddings this summer? I wore this to one or two of them, plus a few fancy events.
I think this is one of my favorite garments I've ever made. The fabric is a ponte knit that I've had in my stash for a while, so there is enough give to make it comfortable while still maintaining it's structure. Bonus: The teal heels I'm wearing have been in my closet for years, and matched the colors in the fabric perfectly!! It was meant to be, ya'll. Extra bonus: The earrings I'm wearing are my go-to pair from Mata Traders. They're a sustainable fashion company based here in Chicago. They employ women in India and Bangladesh and provide the ladies with a fair, living wage so they can support their families. Mata has some beautiful items, check them out!
The bodice of the dress is another hacked version of McCall's 5845. I lowered the neckline 1 1/2 inches and scooped the back. The skirt is a self-drafted half circle skirt. There are tons of great tutorials out there, just give it a Google and you're sure to find one.
Construction was pretty standard, I bagged the bodice using the same tutorial from Neeno (that tutorial is linked in this post) and attached the skirt. I'm very proud of how straight that waist seam line is! It's the victory in the little things.
All in all, very happy with this one and looking forward to years of use out of it. May you enjoy your clothes and find something silly to laugh about today.
Hey friends! Happy Saturday! I love this time of year. The sun, the heat, the beach - August is when things get good and hot here in Chicago. People are happy and nice because there's sunshine (no polar vortex or snowpocalpse can keep us down!), and there's so many free things to do! Movies in the park, dancing in the parks, street festivals - Chicago is a great place to be in the summer (*end of shameless plug*).
You what else there is to do? Weddings. So. Many. Weddings. For three months this year, I was either in a wedding or attending some wedding-bridal-bachelorette festivity every weekend. I'm really happy for all my friends and family who've gotten hitched this year, but sometimes a girl needs a weekend of Netflix, sweatpants, and ice cream, ya know? My couch and my cat felt sadly neglected.
But one of the nice things about weddings upon weddings upon weddings is that I got to make a lovely dress which was first used as a bridesmaid's dress (been one of those 7 times now, *self-five*) and then re-worn to a friend's wedding two weeks later.
This was my first time working with silk taffeta. I was more than slightly terrified to cut into it (and put it through the wash when I wasn't supposed to, oops) but all in all I think it turned out pretty well. The fabric is from Mood, and was a beautiful, rich navy blue. I love the descriptions and pictures on that website. So far, everything I've bought from them has been true to what I read about it online. Yay for consistency!
The pattern is a super-hacked version of McCall's M5845. I lowered the front neckline by 1 1/2 inches and changed the back to a low scoop. I was originally going to draft a box pleat skirt pattern a la Zooey Deschanel from New Girl to copy this dress:
But in the end, I ran out of time and went with a simple gathered skirt. I think it was for the best, as the silk taffeta shows a lot of wrinkles, which are less obvious in a gathered skirt where intentional wrinkles are kind of the point.
Please excuse that invisible zipper insertion. I have since figured out how to *actually* do it right. Who knew that when tutorials tell you to sew as close as possible to the zipper, they literally mean in that little groove right along the zipper teeth. I know.....just give me a break ok?
I lined the bodice using this tutorial from Neeno over at SewMeLove. The idea to hack the M5845 was also inspired from her many hacks of that pattern. What, imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?? The cut fits my shoulders well, also I need to tweak the pattern a bit across the upper bust.
I also inserted pockets into the skirt pattern. The fabric is made from an Indonesian batik print that my mom got for me as a present. Woo-hoo! I love the small pop of color.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with how this project turned out. I'm looking forward to re-wearing this one throughout the years, as it's fairly classic and not likely go out of style soon. Enjoy the rest of your beautiful Saturday, friends!
Hello all! I haven't been able to do much sewing in the past month or so, due to the vast mounds of books and schoolwork that overtook my sewing table. But now it is that magical time of year - spring break! And with it comes a little more time to sew. And with that, I give you my latest project:
I found this shirt as a men's XL dress shirt, living a lonely life at my local thrift store. I decided to take it home and give it a home. It was my first refashion and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I cut off the collar, shortened the sleeves, cut two inches off the bottom, and took in several inches along the sides. I accidentally deleted the photo of the original shirt (whoops!) but if you take a look at my Instagram feed, you can see it there.
There is a personal story behind the green bias tape that I used to finish the raw edges. I found it in my grandma's sewing stash, which was given to me after she passed away several years ago. I haven't dug through it too much, but I'm really glad I decided to take a look.
I'm hoping to get more posts up soon, but until then, have a wonderful day!
Hey there! I wanted to share a quick project that I did this week. My step sister-in-law is having a baby, and she's due in April. Yes, that is my stepmother's son's wife. Families can get so complicated. Anyways, since I've been on a slight sewing withdrawal due to excessive amounts of work and snow, I decided to share this project that took me all of an hour from start to finish.
I found tutorials on Pinterest for two different kinds of baby blankets. One is for 3 minute receiving blankets, and while it wasn't quite 3 minutes on each blanket, it wasn't much more. I don't have a serger, so I just used the fake serge stitch on my sewing machine, which I think worked just as well. I will definitely be making more of these in the future. What's that, you say? You're having a baby?? I have just the thing to make for you.....
The second tutorial was a little more labor intensive, but still took about 30 minutes. And it was so soft I kinda wanted to keep it. But since April in the Midwest is hardly ever warm, I think the new little one will need it more than me ;-). The tutorial was easy to follow and the blanket turned out great.
I can't wait to mail these out! I hope that you're staying warm and enjoying what little is left of the winter. Can't wait for spring!
The Anna Dress by By Hand London. An internet classic. The pattern came out just around the time I started sewing. It felt like I couldn't turn around without seeing another version, a hacked version, etc. I've been wanting to try it for myself for a while now, and finally had a reason to give it a go.
A recent school project asked for us to address an issue of social justice with a creative project. I chose to make a dress out of organic, fair-trade fabric, and decided that the long-awaited Anna dress was the perfect pattern to use. Let me just say, it is extremely difficult to find certified fair-trade fabric, even on the internet. I finally settled on a navy blue cotton from Organic Cotton Plus. They are a family owned business that sources their chemical-free cotton from a farm in Texas. I will definitely be using them again, as the service was great and the fabric has held up beautifully.
Back to the dress! Really, what else can be said about the Anna? She's beautiful, easy and quick to sew, and just looks so feminine. I chose to do the floor length version because I don't have too many long dresses and they make me feel super elegant. And that slit soooo says I'm-Angelina-Jolie-at-the-oscars-sexy.
I added pockets to mine, since I absolutely love having pockets in everything I own. I can finally say I understand what all the fuss is about and am totally on board with By Hand London's designs. I can't wait to try the knee length version in the future.
Bonus: My friend who took the pictures has a cat named Lucy. Isn't she adorable??
Happy Thursday!! I personally can't wait for this week to be over, can you? The first full work week after the holidays is so rough. I mean, how can they expect you to work 5 days in a row?? And here in the Midwest, it's been extremely cold. Like, hurt-your-face-when-you-walk-outside, dear-god-why-did-I-walk-outside, kind of cold. Which leads me to think about warmer days and sunnier times, like this wedding I was in this summer:
A dear friend of mine got married in August, and the only guidelines she gave her bridesmaid's for their dresses were the color and length. Otherwise, we were free to choose whatever we wanted. I, of course, got really excited about the ability to make my own dress and started dreaming. For the bodice, I used Simplicity 1497, I used chiffon for the first time (which was a project unto itself), added pockets using this tutorial from Burdastyle, and drafted my own pattern for the skirt and sleeves.
This was the biggest project I have attempted so far, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. So while it is snowing sideways outside, I will sit inside, sip my tea under a blanket, and remember happy, sunny times.
So remember that fabric I bought a few weeks ago? It has now officially become a shirt - actually, more like three shirts. The pattern is a sketch I made after laying several shirts on the floor on top of each other and haphazardly tracing. I'm trying to incorporate more color into my wardrobe, as I looked in my closet the other day only to realize that I could really only wear some variation on the color gray. Although all three shirts were made from the same pattern, the different colors and textures lends a unique feel to each shirt, in my opinion. I love their loose, slightly unstructured feel. Until next time, be well!
It’s that time of year again. No, I don’t mean fall, or the holidays, or anything that resembles anything even remotely joyous. I’m talking about: FINALS.
Yes. The dreaded tests and papers that move like an iceberg through your life, slowly flattening and crushing it with soul-sucking destruction until there is nothing left.
Am I being too dramatic? Probably. But sometimes it’s just too much and you need a break. When that happens, I do what all sane, rational people do:
I buy fabric.
I’m excited to get my hands into some sewing again. It’s been a little busy around here lately, and I’ve missed my evenings of sewing with some chill jazz playing in the background and a glass of wine next to the sewing machine. Drinking wine while using fabric shears and sharp needles, isn’t that a terrible idea, you might say? Well, I guess I just like living dangerously.
I’ll post back as soon as I get some lovely shirts made out of this fabric. Until then, happy holidays!!