Weird-o party skirt restyling

12.31.2010

There are tons of holiday sales right now, of course, and while at the mall recently I wandered into Charlotte Russe and bought this jacquard bubble-ey skirt off the $5 rack.  It is cool fabric, quite reminiscent of some ModCloth and Anthropologie ones, but shaped almost like a circle!!  It looks weird laying flat, but trust me, that's how it looked on, too!
My cheapie skirt before alterations:
ModCloth:
Anthro:
You've seen jacquard skirts here and there other places, too, I'm sure.  Fun for festive party looks!

Anyway I just took in the side seams from just below the waistband to just above the hem, so I didn't have to disturb any of the other construction of the skirt.
It ended up making the pockets smaller, but it's not like I need to put huge things in them--my hands still fit.  And it made the skirt still sort of bubbly (narrower at the hem), but in the way lots of cute tapered skirts are.
Yaay!
(Still don't know what I'm wearing tonight for New Year's festivities... could I wear this with a cute top?  Separates are hard... what are you wearing?)

Sewing Circle: Reader request for skirt pattern

12.30.2010

I recently got an email from a reader asking for a pattern for a skirt like this one she'd found:
Image of Kelly Skirt - Khaki
Yael said, "I like the high waist and the pleats, but I am not so attached to the buttons (they are cute, but I don't need them)."  Well, Yael, I've seen some similar skirt patterns here and there, so let me offer my ideas...

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on up at the top, but it looks like the skirt has a 1-2" wide waistband with an inverted box pleat to bring the fabric in to the waistband.  You could probably make this kind of skirt without a pattern, but let me suggest a couple similar ones:

  • Simplicity 2413.  Make the full-skirted style with the waistband, rather than the paper bag skirt, in the length you want and without the details on the waistband.  You can cut the center front on the selvage rather than the fold and add 4" or so extra to the right side, add 2" or so to the left, and turn them into buttonhole and button carriers if you want the buttons (make sure you mark the center front to match the pattern!).  If you want the buttons to be the functional fastening, do the same thing to the waistband piece and don't put a zipper in the back or side.  Or, you could just do the buttons up the front of the skirt and let the waistband be solid in the front, fastening with a zipper in the side or back seam.  Note: this skirt has knife pleats, but you can do them as inverted box pleats when you pin them in.


  •  For a slightly wider waistband, do one of the skirts from Simplicity 2698.  This one has a pleat in the center front, but again, instead of the pleat, you could make it button down the front as I described above.  This one has box pleats, like the original.


  • McCall's M5591 version A is similar, too (the other two are fuller).  Do the same thing with the buttons if you like.  This skirt also has box pleats.
Any of these skirts may be a little fuller than the original, but that's easy to remedy by cutting them out narrower than the original and giving them fewer pleats.

Also, check out this info about pleats to understand what I'm talking about when I say box pleat, inverted  box pleat, and knife pleat:
Hope that helps, Yael!  Thanks for reading and thanks for your question =)

Happy holidays!

12.26.2010

It's been a busy holiday for me so far... at my in-laws' place all day Christmas Eve, at our house Christmas morning and then at my parents' on Christmas, and a busy Boxing Day too!  (Did you know that December 26th is the busiest shopping day of the year, bigger than Black Friday and everything?)

Wanted to share a couple pics of our humble Christmas tree (I feel like I've been so busy, I hardly tried to make things festive and didn't do a single Christmasey craft project!!).  It did seem like we had a TON of presents, though.  I have four siblings-in-law, and got presents for both my fiancé's and my parents and my cousins I'm close to, so that plus six or so presents for Jason (I went a little crazy) led to there being soooo many gifts under our tree, I was overwhelmed!  As an only child from a home that doesn't do a ton of gifts on holidays, it's always a little shock to spend the holiday with my in-laws, although it is a lot of fun over there.

I do love Christmas.  Happy Holidays, everyone!  What have you been up to over the weekend?

Awesome dresser-to-entertainment center makeover

12.23.2010

We moved into this house in September and haven't bought all the furniture I was hoping to find, so things were still a little frustrating in their temporary status--we had the TV sitting on a low bathroom cabinet with the doors open and it was driving me crazy!  So I just had to keep checking Goodwill Outlet, and one recent evening I found the perfect thing to put the TV on!

Ideally, I'd have found some cool Danish mid-century thing with the pointy legs and the perfect size for a TV and its accessories.  But I decided I'd settle on a vintage dresser, since most low ones are about the right width and height.  There are quite a few worn out retro dressers in the Goodwills here, but I found this one almost perfect: (here's the Before!)
So, missing some knobs, a little dinged up... That's okay, I had a great solution!

I took out the top two drawers and drilled openings in the back pasteboard stuff.  We can put the video game systems (what we use to play DVDs and stuff too) on the top shelf, and let their cords go straight back.  The wood frames around the drawer openings were unfinished wood, so I stained them using some close-to-matching wood stain, which I also used to touch up some scratches.

The After:
Pretty cool, huh?

It's sooo nice to have a good place to put all the DVDs (the bottom drawers) and the cords, remotes etc. (the  now-top drawers).  I used to hate that mid-century wood finish color, but now I kind of like it in a funky context.  Great furniture makeovers are so fun!

Sending out save-the-dates

12.21.2010

It's finally feeling so real!
We have been engaged for what feels like forever, but this weekend Jason and I addressed and mailed almost all our save-the-dates (still need a few addresses...).  It was fun to have a little assembly line--I addressed, he stamped, stuck with return sticker, and sealed.  We ordered our save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, enclosure cards, and thank yous all online and they look even better in person than they did on the website.  I am pretty happy with them.  I couldn't find the perfect style to echo our wedding theme, but these work pretty well! Jason, like most fiancés, I assume, isn't too set on most of the details, but he did really want to do save the date magnets like some of the ones we've received before.  So that limited our invitation suite choices, also.  But it's very cool to have all the stationary for the wedding match!

We sat on the living room floor watching a Christmas movie and going through our moms' address books...
The box was super heavy with those magnets in it...
I used my cutting board as a surface!  Here's basically what the magnets look like, and can you see the cute matching return address sticker on the envelope?
I wanted to send out the save the dates in place of a holiday card, so I wanted to get them out before Christmas.  Even though the wedding's not till early August!  Also, don't people generally make their vacation plans for the year around the holidays and New Year's?

Of course we didn't have to do save the dates at all, I suppose, but Jason was really excited for the magnets.  And I guess we'll send out our invites... what, sometime in June?

Reader request: Ruffled peplum skirt tutorial!

12.20.2010

A while ago a reader wrote to me and asked if I could do a tutorial on how to make a skirt like this one, the "Full of Pep-lum" skirt from ModCloth.
It is darling!  It's actually a skirt with a detachable ruffled peplum belt.
It is a lot of fun!  I gave it some thought for a few days... and then I also saw it in a wardrobe board from the great blog What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?.
So, I went to JoAnn and bought some cheap and sort of icky polyester suiting.  I wanted to try it out without wasting too much money just in case... but here's how it went, and here's a little tutorial (not as many pictures as usual, since I was learning as I went!)

To do this, I recommend you use a simple pencil skirt pattern.  I used the pencil skirt part of this pattern, Butterick B5147:
  • Cut out the skirt front and backs, making it your preferred shorter length (ModCloth tells us that the skirt is 18"-19" long).  Also cut a waistband, 1.5" longer than your waist (1/2" seam allowances, plus 1/2" wearing ease).  Make the piece 3"-4" wide, depending on the width you want.
  • Assemble the skirt as per the pattern instructions, zipper and all, except instead of the facing or lining or whatever you'll add your waistband.  INSTEAD of making darts in the skirt, turn them into pleats.  Use the lines where the pattern marks for darts, just pleat them and don't sew them down instead.
  • OK, great.  Now, for cutting out the peplum belt...
  • You'll need another waistband, this time one with a front and back rather than a fold-in-half, and you'll need a top ruffle and a bottom ruffle.  Here's my top ruffle (the 3" wide one) and my bottom ruffle (the 4-6" wide pieces)


  • Here's how I cut them out--you'll want them about 1 1/2" times the circumference of your waist, so they gather the right amount.  Here's my approximately 40" long pieces... and, yes, just cut the bottom ruffle, the one that gets wider at the back, by eyeballing it.

  • Also cut out a waistband!  Cut two pieces, again 1 1/2" longer than your waist is around.
  • Hem the top of your top ruffle and the bottom of your bottom ruffle.

  • Sew a row of looong gathering stitches on the unhemmed sides of your ruffles.
  • Right sides together, sew your ruffled onto one piece of waistband.  Then, sew the lining/underside of the waistband right side to wrong side of ruffle to cover the raw edges.
  • Uh oh... here's where the pictures stop.  Sorry.  Now you should have a closed tube of a waistband, with your ruffles inside.  Turn it right side out and press as best as you can.  
  • Top-stitch 1/4" or less from the top and bottom edges of the waistband piece, keeping your seam allowance in place.
  • Close the short ends of the waistband by pressing and turning, and top-stitching them as well.
  • Chose a closure, and install it.  The ModCloth version has a button and buttonhole, but I didn't have any big buttons so I did hooks and eyes.
  • Wear together or apart!
Add another belt if you like!
So fun!
I may make another one of a nicer fabric... maybe a variation on the belt, like a pleated peplum??  So cute, so many ideas!  What do you think?
And, what could I pair with it to make it more office-ey and professional?

Unique new sponsor: Fabric Deals Club

12.18.2010

Well, readers, I'm happy and excited to announce a new sponsor today: a revolutionary service called Fabric Deals Club that alerts you of sales and discounts you'll want to hear about when you're in the market for fabric!
Here's a little bit about Kate, the founder:


I started in the fabric business years ago with a mail order catalogue business, before the internet was ever available to most people.  I ran it from my home when my children were small.  Now that they are grown, and technology has changed so much of how we shop, I provide marketing for fabric retailers by including their promotions within my daily and weekly emails, and a service to fabric shoppers by bringing them the best deals on fabric every day. 

Fabric Deals Club offers three different lists that sewing enthusiasts can choose from.  The first list is what I consider the "Queen" of the three lists and it is published daily with discounts, coupon codes, sales, etc over 25%.  I personally email these deals directly to my subscribers. Fabric deals come from retailers both big and small. I work for the subscriber to find the best discounts, coupon codes, shipping deals, give-aways, freebies, sewing tutorials, and more goodies to deliver directly to their inboxes to save them time and most importantly, money! 
This list is currently available to subscribers for $3 per month.  
You can cancel at any time via paypal.com
You can sign up here to subscribe.

The second list is sent out to subscribers who want deals of at least 20% off. This list published once per week with deals, coupon codes, & sewing tutorials offered within the daily deals list. 
This list is currently available to subscribers for $2 per month.  
You can cancel at any time via paypal.com
You can sign up here to subscribe.

The third and last list is available to everyone and offers deals on fabric less than 20%.   This list is published once per week and includes one featured tutorial and deals of 20% off or less. 
This list is currently available to subscribers for $0 per month. 
You can sign up here to subscribe.

You can see a sample of an email for one of the lists to get a better idea. 

The blog i available to everyone and I try to keep it simple.  My goal is to keep it clutter free, clean, and easy on the eyes.  I'll be sharing some great tutorials by other certainly-more-talented-sewers-than-I found elsewhere on the web, to inspire my visitors.
If visitors have a sewing related blog, and maybe even some really wicked cool tutorials they'd like for me to feature, they can contact me!

Please note: The tutorials shared on the blog, will not be tutorials provided within the premium email lists.  Those are super-special!

Please feel free to add my blog to your sewing blogrolls, and I'll add you to mine :)  If you follow my blog, I will follow you back.  I love to network and share.

If you are a fabric retailer, and want your deals featured within the lists, or on the web site, please contact me.  My ad rates are very reasonable, and sometimes, if your deal is SUPER HOT, I share for free.  Yes, free.  

~Kate
Sincerely,
Kate Edwards

How awesome is that  If you'd like to join the club, email Fabric Deals Club!  And when you order great discounted fabric, tell us all about it!

DIY ruffled plaid shirt makeover

12.17.2010

I love plaid, and there's lots of plaid around this season.  I've been seeing these cute plaid shirts with ruffles down the front... here and there.  Tina Fey wore one on 30 Rock, I've seen them in the JCPenney ads, and here's one from Banana Republic in a couple colors:
Cute, right?  A fun and feminine twist on the plaid shirt that eliminates the danger of looking like a lumberjack. So when I saw this long, tunic-length plaid shirt at Marshall's on clearance for $6, I though it looked like a good candidate for a DIY version!
It was a super awkward length... I don't know who can rock the plaid tunic look, but I can't.  I cut off the bottom part and cut it into bias ruffles.  I zigzagged the edges to finish them just in case, and gathered one long side.  I sewed two bias ruffles onto the front of the shirt.  Oh, and I also hemmed the bottom in a classic shirt hem shape.  And, the sleeves were HUGE so I took them in.
Ta-da!
It was fun and easy, and now I have a cute shirt to show off!

Oh, and I won't wear it with leggings like I am in this picture.  I have been wearing leggings and riding boots a lot these days, with a long sweater.  Super comfy but more polished than jeans.

Anyway.  Are you enamored with plaid as much as I am these days?  What do you think of the variations they've been doing to the basic plaid shirt?

New sponsor and Colette Patterns giveaway!!!!!

12.15.2010

This giveaway is now closed.  Check back soon for more!

I'm so excited to announce a new sponsor, The Paper Dart, a fantastic online pattern shop.
Andrea sells a great selection of patterns from boutique designers, including these cute ones:
What a fun way to get inspired to do more sewing!  For yourself, or, if you're like me, sure, there's time to start a new project before Christmas! ;)

Here's a little bit about Andrea, who's behind The Paper Dart:

Hi everybody!
My name is Andrea and I run the little Etsy shop called "The Paper Dart". I'm a twenty four year old mother of one spunky little girl Sophia, and wife to my lovely husband Patrick. I majored in Fashion Design, and have a specialized interest in pattern-making and garment sewing.


As for my shop, I specialize in fun, retro, yet modernized sewing patterns for the seamstress who wants to wear beautifully designed clothing, that they can customize to their own individual style. Handmade is always better!


Like most out there, my favorite pattern company right now is Colette Patterns. I currently carry some of my favorites from them, like the Crepe Wrap Dress as well as a new Negroni Men's Shirt which I couldn't be more excited about! I'm hoping to offer unique notions and trims in the near future too!


Right now, I'm offering free gift wrap AND taking 5% off with coupon code "Holiday5off". Sale ends December 23rd at 12:00 am PST. In most cases I'm able to ship same day! Feel free to email me at thepaperdart@gmail.com if you have any questions about any of the patterns.


Thanks so much!
Andrea


So, readers, definitely check out Andrea's shop to take advantage of that discount, but also enter the giveaway here for the Colette Patterns "Crepe" Wrap Dress pattern!  Here's what Andrea's offering one of my readers:
Such a cool design, a little retro and also fun--I've never seen a back wrap closure anywhere else!  What a lovely dress this could be made of nice fabric for summer or winter.  I'm sure you've seen the great designs coming from Colette Patterns--and I love that they're from Portland, my city!

Anyway, to enter the giveaway, the rules are:

  • Visit The Paper Dart and tell me which pattern is your favorite AND what you'd do with it!  Who would you make it for?  Have fun!
  • You must be a follower of my blog.
  • Leave a comment on this post (make sure I have a way to contact you!),
  • and/or share this giveaway: Facebook, Twitter, your blog--tell me about it in a comment on this post!

You get one entry per comment, so if you share this in two or three places, make sure to leave two or three comments! (But only once per venue).

I will announce the winner next Wednesday, December 22nd (giveaway ends Tuesday the 21st at midnight)... good luck and have fun shopping at The Paper Dart!

Pretty, pretty lace and bead sweater embellishment

12.14.2010

I am always on the lookout for cute crewneck cardigans, classy and classic in nice colors and fibers.  And, a great fit is important, too.  I like to find them at Goodwill and such partly just because they're good basics that can be made over into cute embellished looks!  I love the contrast of a classic style with a funky new twist.  So when I found this BP Nordstrom cardigan at Goodwill in a color I wasn't super excited about, I knew it would be a good candidate for a makeover!
I actually wore it once without any embellishment, but dressed it up with a statement necklace and thought I looked okay.  But once I had some time, I pulled out the trim drawer and looked around.  I found some very wide burgundy lace that I cut into a square shape.  I gathered the center of it to make it into a bow, and sewed it on by hand to the front of the sweater.  I went all the way around the lace to sew it all down, letting the gathers take the shape they wanted.

I also had some little maroon iridescent seed beads that I sewed onto the center of the bow!
Look up close and you can see the faint sparkle of the tiny beads...
It was super easy and fun, and now I have a more interesting cardigan!

Finally: Our engagement pics!!!!!

12.13.2010

I am so excited to finally share with you our engagement pictures that we took last September.  These were taken as a favor by my friend who's a photographer but doesn't usually do people, so doesn't want to share her business info.  But trust me, she did a great job and we're so excited to have them!

We did two locations, three outfits each.  I went for a different theme or feel on each of them (I got to be the stylist!!).  You'll recognize the dresses I'm wearing from when I made them here and here.  Here are the pics!
Lots of pics!  I ordered some prints online and still need to put a bunch together for a photo book.  I want to do some in black and white, some in the "vintage" effect iPhoto has.  So hard to decide which ones to include!  I've narrowed it down to 123 good ones, so I'll need to pick 50 or so for our photo book which people will sign like a guest book at the wedding.

What do you think?  Which are your faves?

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