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!


ASOS dress DIY: Sewing Circle reader question

I'm so excited about this question--I'm pretty sure I found the right pattern to help this reader out copying this adorable dress!  Read on and chip in, as I love when you do on Sewing Circle posts =)

I got this question from Stephanie:

I've been a fan of your blog for a while now, and it's actually been a large part of the inspiration that got me to start sewing clothing. There's a particular project I'm hoping to do (even found the perfect fabric for it), but I haven't been able to find a pattern that has the bodice the way I'm looking for it (only patterns I could potentially combine - I'm still rather inexperienced though and would prefer not to have to improvise my first sleeves). I wonder whether you've maybe seen something like this with a scoop neck and sleeves (it seems fairly basic so I imagine it's floating around somewhere!).

Here's where I first saw it - on this blog:

I just love the look of the brocade and found a beautiful fabric on red tag clearance at JoAnn. I'd love to make this for the holidays!


What a great question, eh??  That is a super cute dress. I saw it on The Clothes Horse too and pinned it right away! 

After looking at the full dress on the ASOS site, and thinking about patterns, my first thought for copying it was a discontinued pattern I used to have by McCalls, M5686—you may be able to find it online.  Bodice from the green dress, style A.

And the skirt looks like a 6-panel gored, but you could get the same look with a circle skirt like Simplicity 2233.

But then, luckily, I also found what seems like pretty much the perfect pattern from Vogue!  So it’ll be spendy, but sometimes they go on sale at JoAnn for $3.99 each.  Seriously, this contains the right bodice (darts under the bust and under the arms), sleeves (except ASOS's are shorter, but it's easy to make sleeves shorter), and skirt lines!  Vogue Easy Options V8766.

One difference--the ASOS version has a lower-cut neckline than the way this looks on the model.  Also, make yours fit you better than Vogue's fits her.  But yeah, cut down the scoop neck an inch or so, cut the sleeves shorter, and you should have a remarkable similar-looking dress!

It’s a super cute look, great for the holidays--I may have to make something like it for myself this winter! Readers, please chip in your ideas, too, if you've seen a more perfect pattern!


$75 Violette Field Threads pattern giveaway!

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

So excited to announce another lovely and inspiring sponsor (two talented ladies, in fact!), Ericka and Jessica of Violette Field Threads.  Their shop features all kinds of patterns for girls and women, clothes, accessories, flowers, and beautiful ideas for things to create.

Take a look at some of their pattern ideas!

Here's a little bit about Ericka and Jessica, owners of Violette Field Threads!

We are best friends that have a passion for design and sewing. We both began sewing from an early age. After we each married and had daughters, our sewing interests turned to children's clothing and accessories. We both created our own boutique clothing lines and the demand quickly outgrew what we each could supply on our own. Our real passion is in the design and creative side of our work, so we joined forces and Violette Field Threads PDF Patterns and Tutorials was born. 

We are inspired by our daughters, vintage fashion, and couture designs. We strive to stay on the cutting edge of fashion and trends. Our patterns are thoughtfully written down to smallest detail. This allows for even beginning sewers to create designer looks. We are happy to allow our customers to sell the products they create from our patterns on a small scale. We enjoy knowing that we are helping other talented people have a successful business, and in turn they are helping us.

What a great business model and parternship!

I'm happy to host a giveaway on this blog for a $75 gift card to Violette Field Threads for whatever patterns or tutorials you like!  Christmas is coming up, you know... I'm sure you'll get lots of gift ideas from perusing their site!

To enter the giveaway, here's the simple rules:

  • Visit Violette Field Threads and tell me what your favorite pattern or tutorial is!  **Be sure you leave your email address or a way to contact you if you win!
For extra entries:


Giveaway ends at midnight PST on Saturday, December 10th and the winner will be announced December 11th. Good luck!

And until then... Violette Field Threads has generous discount offers if you buy multiple patterns, up to 35% off!  Check it out for some instant gratification!


Pretty drastic experimental tee makeover

Ready for an experimental shirt makeover??

I've talked before about how I'm learning to wear more loose tops.  Big fan now, but still don't own many--most of my tees are more fitted and look boring to me now.  Gotta get my wardrobe up to 2011.

You also know that I looooooove stripes.  So, inspired by a few of these tops from various inspiring sources on Pinterest...

I went to Goodwill in search of stripes I could make over.  I bought this men's XXL polo shirt, the Target brand from the 90's, in hopes of making it cute.

I love the loose, dropped shoulder look, and you almost don't need a pattern for that--I have a dolman sleeve top from Old Navy this year that I could have traced, I guess, but I did want more of a tee shape.

I looked around at JoAnn when Simplicity patterns were $0.99 last time around, and had a hard time finding what I needed.  I bought Simplicity 2191, which is a pretty dern dumpy pattern if you ask me--but the shape of the sleeves was what I wanted, so I went with it.

I ignored the slit at the center front, and made the length whatever worked with the fabric I had.  I made the sleeves a little bit longer/more substantial.  My thought was that the princess front/side seams would sort of disappear and would just shape a little.

The transformation?

Whooosh--I like this pic even though it's blurry.

It's pretty easy to wear, as was the goal, and I love the stripes.  And the polo shirt fabric is way more substantial than what you can get at Forever 21 or wherever else I would have been willing to spend the few bucks on a storebought one!

I highly recommend the upcylcing route if you have any specific clothing needs and know you can make them yourself.  Often it's cheaper than buying new fabric, and it's eco-friendly!


It's the Christmas season--know what I'm sayin?

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!

Are you braving the crowds today?  The newspaper yesterday was SOOOOO big with tons of ads for all these stores, it's overwhelming.  Some of them opening at midnight after Thanksgiving, and I remember Gap was open 24 hours last year.  Aack!  Uhhh, probably not worth it to shop at 2:00 in the morning.

My parents' local paper yesterday also urged people to shop locally, with ads for the downtown businesses in their town. Seriously a great idea.  I don't usually go overboard on gifts, so I really hope to do lots of small business and local stuff.  Etsy, funky stuff from, etc.

A few items I did put in my Amazon cart... must-haves for this year, right?

3.  My Mom, Style Icon. I read about this blog in my Lucky mags.  Such a fun idea.  I love the nostalgia of what our parents and role models wore and how great they looked!

2.  Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home.  By Holly Becker or decor8.  Came out around this year and sounds so great!

And, the #1 TOP THING I want from Amazon... Design*Sponge at Home!!!!

If I don't get it for Christmas, I'll just buy it for myself anyway, eventually.  Can't wait to flip through the pages of best-of Design*Sponge before/afters, tips, hometours, and ideas.

So, what's on your Christmas list this year??  Any of these or other inspirational books?

Or, are you inavoidance mode because of the ridiculousness of this year's Black Friday situation?  I wouldn't blame you.  ;)


How-to question: Emma Watson's uhhhmazing dress

I got an email from a reader the other day that I just had to share with you--not quite a Sewing Circle post, but a fun question and my attempt at answering it!

Here's Quinn's question:
My name is Quinn Emery.  I'm 16, I love to sew, I'm a junior in high school, and I'm also homeschooled.  Thrifting is my passion!  The reason I'm emailing you is because I am wondering if you could help me.  I have seen this dress, as I'm sure you have, the dress Emma Watson wore to the London premiere of Harry Potter.  The Oscar de la Renta one.  It's beautiful!  (here's some pictures from Pinterest!)

Pinned ImagePinned Image

I am utterly in love with this dress, but have no idea how to even go about making something like this.  I can see myself wearing something like this to prom.  Do you possibly think you have any ideas on how to do the tulle skirt?  Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear from you!

It's SUCH a great dress, Quinn!  How wonderful it would be to replicate something like it for a prom dress!

As for making it.  The skirt—I honestly have no idea what it’s like on the inside/under all those layers, but it looks to me like you could get the look by making a flared skirt ( a 6-panel one would be simple) of a pale grey fabric and then attaching lots of squares of tulle. It looks like they took 2-3 layers of tulle in handkerchief-sized squares and attached them from the middles—does that make sense? You could play around with lots of tulle squares of different shades of grey (JoAnn has lots) and starting at the hem of the skirt, work your way up adding them in random sort-of rows! Overlapping etc.

 As for the bodice, I’d recommend a simple strapless dress pattern, and then the sheer piece under it. You could use this pattern but only cut out the sheer layer to about 2” below where it overlaps with the bodice, and attach it by hand underneath. You could even use the skirt from that pattern and make it floor-length, although that would make it super full!

 Do those ideas get you started?

Readers--rise to the occasion, if you like!  Any other tips or ideas for making this?  Or maybe you've seen the perfect pattern somewhere.  Please, chip in!


I needed a playful fall skirt.

So for a while now I've been collecting pics of cute outfit looks with playful skirts.  Seems all I have are pencil skirts and lightweight summer skirts--not a whole lot in between.  Nothing like any of these lovely, generally fuller, fun skirts.  What a wearable length, right??

I love the bright colors, and they look great with tights.

I had some red sateen left over from this dress.  I love red and brights this year (have you seen my Pinterest board dedicated to them?) and something about a fun red, rather than a sexy red, appealed to me.  So I went for something playful and fuller--not tight or clingy.

I wanted to do pleats for the fullness, and a simple waistband.  You hardly need a pattern for a pleated skirt but I used Simplicity 2512 as a base, just for proportion.  I cut out the A/B skirt but just used a straight waistband (and rather than gather, I pleated the skirt into it).

Here it is!  Bright, fun, and sort of trans-seasonal.

Wow, I need to press things better.  This is embarrassing.  I promise I'll press it before I wear it out!  I pressed it when I finished sewing, I swear, but then it was folded.

Gotta put together an outfit with it soon for How to Wear DIY!  It looks like it'll be pretty versatile, right?

Anyone have any brilliant outfit ideas for it?


My husband has become an Etsy enthusiast!

My husband discovers things on his own time.  So I'm kinda proud that he's recently started checking out Etsy for all kinds of cool stuff--he loves looking through independents artists's designs and products and has bought several very cool things of late!  (I mean, I coulda told him Etsy was awesome, but it's better he found out on his own!).

He also shops on some of those cool one-day-only sites like TeeFury, where every day a new artist's funky (usually nerd-centric) tee is posted and sold for like $10.  I'm very excited he'll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping on Etsy and some of these smaller sites this year. also has some really awesome trendy gift ideas.

His latest Etsy score?  This shirt.  I like it, too.  From this shop that has all kinds of neat prints on tees.

I'd post pics of the other stuff, but who knows who's reading this blog... wouldn't want to give away any gift surprises before Christmas!

How about you?  Do you have any great new sources for unique and interesting gifts this year?


What I'll be buying this weekend

It sort of just hit me that Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  I do my grocery shopping on the weekends so that means it's time to buy the things I'll need for Thanksgiving!

For me, luckily, all I'm making on my own is my fave raw cranberry relish.  My husband's family and my parents and I are all having Thanksgiving together again this year, and the moms are cooking most of it so I have it pretty easy.  But I have a very limited diet, and last year I made the most amazing raw cranberry relish (no processed sugar or anything, all raw ingredients--I don't do white sugar and try to eat as much fresh food as possible).

I wanted to make it again, but couldn't quite find the recipe... I found these lovely, similar ones...
I poked around in my bookmarks and did some Google searching, but wasn't sure which recipe it was... and I wondered if maybe I had posted the recipe here on the blog?

Well, I had.  Now I feel silly.

I loved this recipe so much last year (Sooo tasty!  Totally guilt-free!  No sugar aftertaste!  Fresh and delish!) that I posted about it here.  Here's the recipe again--I think I had used this one last year as a starting point.
  • A bag of cranberries 
  • An orange 
  • An apple (I used a large Jonagold) 
  • 0.5-1.5 cups whole dates (not the chopped ones dusted in oat flour, just regular dates) 
  • Optional: a handful walnuts or pecans
Put in food processor.  Turn on food processor.  EASY!

If you like yours smoother and more sauce-like, pulse for longer. If you like it chunkier, puree the dates in the food processor first, then add all the other ingredients.

Can't wait to enjoy this tasty dish again this Thanksgiving!

Hope your weekend is going well--are you getting ready for any special recipes or traditions this year?


How to Wear DIY: Grey sweater transformation

Lots of us take in and change sweaters, right?  I know I do, and some turn out better than others.  But I've really been loving this one that I took in last year--technique I used in this tutorial.

Anyway, I took in this huge but lovely grey-and-grey sweater from Banana Republic--here's the before and after, and made it sort of a totally different look than it was intended for because it's so long and tunic-ey.  I pulled it out once the weather turned cold again, and it's become part of my Fall 2011 uniform, basically, layered with a couple shirts under, and my fave greige-ey boots (Target last year, but I got them brand new at Goodwill for $7--score!).    Seriously, I've worn some variation on this like three times in the past month.  And I love layering to keep warm!

Wish I had more checkered shirts.  I love this one.

What do you think, better with or without the belt?

Boots: Target via Goodwill. Checkered shirt and tee: Old Navy. Watch and necklace: American Eagle. 
Belt: Vintage/Goodwill. Jeans: Levi's. Sweater: DIY, made over from Banana Republic via Goodwill Outlet.

Cozy, long sweaters, jeans, boots... seriously, cute and fun uniform for cold weather.  And necessary!



Our wedding on Ruffled

Super exciting news today--our wedding (remember how I wouldn't shut up about our wedding preparations like, all summer, and then you never saw all the pictures when it was over?  Sorry....) was featured on Ruffled yesterday!

So you can see all the lovely pics there, although I really should post a bunch of my faves here, too, shouldn't I?  I'm so grateful for my wonderful photographer Becky of Studio 623 Photography for making my vision turn out so beautiful for us to remember for years to come, and I'm so excited to be featured on one of my absolute fave wedding inspiration blogs!!  I LOVE Ruffled.  So much great vintage and DIY inspiration; I was pinning and saving pics from there a ton when I was planning our wedding.

So check out the wedding post here with all my babbling and the gallery with all the 100+ pics here.  And seriously, if you live in the Portland area and are getting married any time soon, check out our photographer. You're reading this blog, so I imagine we have similar tastes in some things, and let me say I am SO happy with what she did with our wedding, and she was so wonderful to work with, I can absolutely recommend her to you!

P.S. In the comments--people are saying nice things about my dress!  If you want to see the whole story of how I made it, you can follow along here (read from the bottom to the top if you want!).



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