Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


ModCloth dresses for weddings or work

A friend of mine is getting married a few weeks before we are in August, and has asked her six bridesmaids to wear a red or orange dress of their choosing.  Of course I want to make mine!

For inspiration, I went to ModCloth, thinking--red dress, outdoor wedding... I'm seeing a retro 50's full-skirted number!  I found some things...

But instead of just finding inspiration for a solid-colored or simple, bridesmaid-ey dress, I found (of course!) so many cute summer dresses and more!

I don't have much use for cute summery dresses these days, however; so I was excited to see lots of work-appropriate dresses on ModCloth.  I love their funky vintage style, but how can you wear it to work?

I remembered I like to look at ModCloth every week or so, when I'm sewing a lot and particularly summery things, since they have so much great stuff and tell you "New today!" and "New yesterday!" so you can keep track of what you've seen and what you haven't.  Here are some more of my faves of the wear-to-work persuasion...

They've done it again... an amazing retro-inspired look that's totally wearable in 2011.

Do you have any tips for balancing a vintage-ey look while being professional at the same time?  Sometimes I find myself stuck in the black blazer trap... black blazers go with anything and make you look polished.  But I can't wear mine every day.  Tips?


Springy polka dots on an easy dress!

Time again for Adventures with Sweetie Pie Bakery!  Take it away, Jessi!

It is finally spring! I'm not sure whether Spring knows it yet, but it is...We've had some chilly weather and even snow the other day! Regardless, I can't help but sew for the warmer days. Besides, when you can make a dress in a couple of hours, why not?

I worked with the Tara top from BurdaStyle. It's one of their most popular patterns, as it makes a very simple sun dress. There are no closures or fancy notions involved, just some elastic under the bodice, making it a perfect pattern for beginners!

The only intimidating factor may be that the dress is derived from a top pattern. However, all you need to do is take the main section and cut it on a straight line, then line up the diagonals with the length you'd desire for your skirt.
You can use this trick to turn most any top pattern into a dress. (Kathleen did a sew-a-long with this little number as well, so you can get step by steps from her if you'd like to try it out and are newer to sewing)

It's comfy and cute which are two pluses in my book! I made a few of these dresses since they are so fast. Do you have any favorite summer dress patterns?

Thanks, Jessi!  I myself have several fave summer dress patterns, and some of them are super easy... read about them here.

Readers, find more Adventues with Sweetie Pie Bakery with this button!


Embellishing to cover stains--tutorial!

I am so excited to share a tutorial with you, the first one since I started working full-time in January.  I love doing step-by-step tutorials but it does take time to do fun little projects that I can share with you and do instructions on!  So I am super glad to bring you this one, a technique for covering up stains on otherwise perfectly good clothes =).

I bought this cute Ella Moss tee at Goodwill on sale for $2.50--it is flattering, cute, and such a great brand!  I love her striped tees and tanks.
It looks fine sitting or hanging, but when I put it on I noticed a very visible stain on the left-center front.  It's funny, you can see it on the tee also, but it was soooo much more apparent when I looked at myself in the mirror from a few feet away.  Must be something about the stripes...
I bought it anyway (did I mention, $2.50 for Ella Moss? ;)) and brought it home to be embellished/mended.

I thought about ideas to cover up the stain in a cute way, and my favorite was adding black knit flowers around the stain and up the neck.  Asymmetrically/artistically, since it's a less structured tee to begin with.  The tie neck and blousing at the bottom make it a candidate for an organic trim pattern, rather than something structured and on the straight lines.

I had some 1" wide swatches of three different types of black knits, left from another project, although still all free from JoAnn's.  1" was really all the width I needed for making petals and flower centers...
So, here's the tutorial.

  • Cut out the flower shapes you want.  Or stars, or ruffles, or whatever.
  • Place the largest petals as a base layer on the tee where you want them.  If they're really unruly, you can put spray adhesive on the back before laying them down.
  • Carefully pin the petals down (not necessary if you used spray adhesive).
  • Sew along the outside edges of the petals or shapes to keep them down for good.  I used contrasting white thread!  If you had a colored shirt you could use one of the colors of the stripes.
  • Trim all your threads.  Trust me.  Do it.  Before you add more layers...
  • Add a second layer of petals.  You don't have to, but it really makes it more fun to have a more 3-D shape.  You don't need as many petals or shapes on this top layer.  Pin or adhere them down.
  • Do your topstitching on that layer.
  • Trim threads (back and front!).
  • For fun, add a decorative center!  If it's on a fancy top, you could hand-sew some beads or sequins on, but for this simple tee I just did a machine-embroidered star in the center of the flower.
  • Wear!
I love the open neckline.  It's so easy with a black and white tee, since I can easily find black fabric and white thread, but this would be super cute on a more pastel or netural tee.

Like I originally thought, you could add more flowers going up the necklines.  I hope it doesn't just look like a shirt with a flower on the boob...

After I finished this project, I looked around in my saved "embellished tops" picture folder and found some of these cuties from Anthro over the seasons:

(See?  Striped things are super cute embellished!)

Love that last one.  I have seen so many nautical stripes in stores this season, and I loooove them.  This makes me want to do more tee-embellishing (one of my specialties, you may remember if you've been reading a long time!).  How about you?  Do you have any tees or tops that you could try out some fabric love on??


Inspiration + fabric shopping

Yesterday morning I was running some errands and was near an Anthropologie... of course I went in for a bit just to look around and be inspired!!

What caught my eye this time more than the springy fashions was the home decor.  I love the bohemian/French country/industrial look they have going on... I would love to pull it off in my living room, which desperately needs a unified decor scheme.

Of course the store has that whole thing going and it all fits in to the atmosphere there.  I can't do it all, but here are some of my fave looks:
I love all the throw pillows so much!  Time to pull out some random colorful scraps and make my own...

But I have more fave inspiration sources for home dec!  I used to be a Pottery Barn kind of girl, now I've shifted to the company's more modern line, West Elm.  I love how it's a balance between the funky/vintage-inspired Anthro-ey stuff and the super modern lines it had 10 years ago.


Modern, but with some retro touches!  Love the owl lamp.  Of course the loft lighting helps the products pop, as well...

For our August wedding we are registered at Crate and Barrel, as well as Macy's and Alternative Gift Registry, so sometime when I have time I should go through our registries again and add a few of their newer items; we stuck with basics when we registered a while ago since so much of their stuff changes seasonally.

But for the meantime, I'm all inspired to redo the living room, and I have to find the right balance between modern and funky.  Right now it's just got all the stuff from the old living room, which sort of bums me out.  New room, new paint, time for a new look!

So when I went to JoAnn's yesterday it was the last day of a great sale on quilting calicos.  I don't usually buy these, since I don't quilt and they're not very good for clothing.  But some of the prints are so adorable.  So with this patchwork Anthro pillow in my mind, I bought some 1/2 yard pieces, and I bought some bigger pieces for a new shower curtain possibilities:
While I like some of the natural shapes and colors, I obviously also still go for my fave Danish modern look.

I guess my style is a mix of IKEA, Anthro, and other sources...

Have you seen any smaller retailers I might not have checked out, or any creative Etsy stores that fit this description?  I could still use some pics of whole rooms with the hybrid look. Decorating is so fun!!


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