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!


Sewing Circle: What to make with one yard of fabric?

Welcome to Sewing Circle!  Today's question I'm sure you'll have some experience with--and if you don't, this may be helpful for you in the future!

I got this question from Liz:

Q: I have a not so much a question, but I am having trouble finding a pattern.

I found this great fabric in my mother's salvage box, however she only had about a meter of it. My question is, do you know of a dress pattern that only uses one meter of fabric? I've had a look around and can't really find anything I could make with it.

I'm rather thin and I like short hems so anything you could suggest would be great.

Thank you! 

A: That’s a great question—and I’m definitely one to try to stretch my fabric as far as I can, and I often make things with just barely enough fabric! I think in yards, but luckily a meter is almost the same size as a yard, so I can tell you my experience with one yard projects.

If you’re looking for dresses in particular, I’ve made some short summer dresses with a yard, easily. I have no idea what your fabric looks like, what texture it is, etc. but I can offer my fave shapes and silhouettes, and you can use whatever pattern you have at home or have an eye on.

The easiest shape for a small piece of fabric is probably this style for the bodice--just strapless, very simple, and then make a skirt (gathered is super easy, to whatever length you want—it may use up the rest of the fabric!).  And add skinny straps if you want!

Here are some others that would work:
This one, if you used a similarly colored fabric for the facings if you don't have enough of your outer fabric:

Or go very simple and plain, like this dress: 

You could make this without the sleeves: 

Depending on your size, you might be able to make a dress like this:

Or this, but the skirt could be very short!!

You can easily mix and match skirt and bodice, to work with the amount of fabric you have. And of course, no matter what you make, think about adding a coordinating fabric as a hem band, waistband, the bias binding around the neck and armholes, whatever. And, plan to use another fabric for the lining if you choose a dress with a lining.

For fun, you also may want to look at this book: One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects.  I don't remember how many clothing projects are in there, but it's a great way to think about how you can cut up that fabric in an efficient way!

Hey, readers, I'm sure you have some ideas for Liz!  What have you made in just a little bit of fabric??



Househunting part 3

You may have been following along our househunting progress... Update from my last post:

We made an offer!  On the brand new home, "Lot #35"--it could be ours when it's done in July!  It's still a back-up, really, because it is quite a bit more than I was hoping to spend, but honestly I am so frustrated with househunting I don't expect to find the perfect thing and get our offer in on time.  There've been some places we've found that are okay, but already have offers on them.  And we did lose out on the short sale we made an offer on--other buyers had put an offer in right before ours.  Annnnnyway, assuming the perfect thing doesn't come up before July (we can still back out of this one), here's our new place!!

This is where our front door would be!

The view out our front door... the poles in the background are from the driving range next door.  We could have worse neighbors.

I love the park areas that these townhomes have.  You get TWO decks and NO yard, but a park strip right in front of your house!  Sounds perfect to me because I am terrible at yard work and hate the muddy splashes that everything gets in Oregon when it's kept outside over winter.  And the lot that we chose is of the set with the largest park area in the complex.  Pretty cool!

I still have a hard time being okay with spending oodles and oodles of money and taking out the largest loan I've ever had!  But thank you all for your comments on my last post... I really appreciate hearing from those of you who've bought new homes, older homes, built your own... I'm sure it'll all be worth it in the end!  I cannot wait to get out of our little apartment!!!



Cargo vest made much more flattering!

So I'm sure you've seen cute cargo vests, like I've been pinning this fall and winter... vests are awesome, and I love the casual look of a long, soft cargo vest or jacket.

Anyway, so I got lucky on eBay and found this vest (Olive & Olivia brand... random!)--I've bought things on eBay like basically 2 times my whole life, with the exception of a couple of $0.99 leopard print iPhone cases, so it was a little crazy to be bidding on something.  Anyway, I "won" it, and here it is...

A little too big!!  Eeek!

I knew it was a Medium, but I didn't realize it would be so substantial/stiff, so that it doesn't collapse or soften around me.  And it had drawstrings on the bottom edge!  What am I supposed to do with ties at the bottom edge??  They just get in the way!  So, what I decided it needed was a tie at the waist instead!

I tore a strip of cotton sateen, pressed under both edges, and sewed it along the waist area of the vest.  I put grommets in the outside layer, and the facing on the other side of the zipper covers the edge of the casing/join.  I untied one knot and threaded the tie from the bottom through the waist casing.  See?

MUCH better!  Amiright??  Empty grommets at the bottom edge, but oh, well.

This thing is super comfy, and I've needed the extra layer of warmth recently.  It's nice to have a slightly more structured layer (compared to a hoodie or something) and I rocked it both days last weekend!


Little Shoes Pattern giveaway!

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

Giveaway today, for a Little Shoes pattern!  This shop has so many cute little patterns for baby and toddler shoes, adorable but simple and easy to make!  Here are a few of my faves, though I don't have a little one to dress so I just go on looks. ;)

Cute tie possibilities!

Little Shoes is offering one lucky reader a PDF Little Shoes pattern!  To win, visit Little Shoes and tell me which patterns are your faves, in a comment on this post.

For extra entries, tell me about how you:
You must be a follower of this blog (with whatever follow tool you please) to win. And I MUST have your email or some way to contact you if you win!!!!!!

Giveaway ends Saturday, March 3rd and I'll announce the winner Sunday. Good luck and have fun shopping!



Fun lines on a classic skirt for work

As much as I love clothes, and being creative with my outfits!, for work I often stick to pretty classic looks.  Sometimes with a fun twist, of course, but I've always enjoyed having basic pieces to start with.  Several pairs of black pants, and pants in brown, tan, grey, and summer weights of tan... several black skirts, some grey skirts... and a brown skirt.  But I haven't had a brown skirt in a while.  They're sort of hard to find in a basic pencil shape, actually, and I made myself a nice wool one a while ago but I've changed shape since then!

I had some dark brown fine wale corduroy left over from a project a long time ago, just under a yard left.  It was enough for a basic pencil skirt, but to make it more fun, I wanted something with a little more shape or interest that still wouldn't use too much fabric.

I had this pattern, Simplicity 2343, and thought it was a nice way to give a little detail to a simple skirt.  I used basically view D, in a shorter length.

Here it is!
(Also: check it out! I took these pics!! With my new remote. I feel so high tech. ;) )

If you look real close, you can see the triangle shape in front... flattering, I think!

Pretty practical and wearable!

I'm sure I'll get at least a little wear out of it before spring comes and I'm not in the mood for corduroy or dark brown anymore! ;)

And don't worry, I won't wear it with a white blouse by itself.  I'll think of something much  more interesting. How would you wear it?



Sewing Circle: A beautiful 30's retro dress!

You're going to enjoy this Sewing Circle...

I know I've seen this image around Pinterest and the fashion blogs, and you may have, too--this dress is just lovely!
So, Melissa wrote to me with this question:

Q: Not only is this 1930’s dress absolute perfection, but I definitely saw a gauzy navy polka dot at Joanns recently. I know we can make this happen :)

I’m just an intermediate sewer, so I’m not completely confident in my ability to pull off those pintucks pleats around the bodice and skirt. I’d be happy with something simpler there as long as the skirt is still floaty and swingy. The gathering at the shoulders, the drapey neckline, and the gorgeous floaty sleeves are my favorite parts.


A: Hi, Melissa! I haven’t seen a pattern for that sort of collar before, or for a bodice with so many pleats to create the fullness at the bust. But I’m sure there’s a pattern out there that will give the right look. Here are a few I found!

Here's one. Made of a soft fabric, this collar could flop over. Use a puffy sleeve pattern, full length, or lengthen a short-sleeved one. Cut the cuff to fit your wrist with and inch or two of wearing ease. Don’t use that skirt, of course; the skirt can just be two rectangles, pleated with knife pleats, like the original. Measure from your waist to the point on your leg you want the skirt to hit, and cut two panels of fabric that length plus ½” at the top and 2-3” for the hem.

If you want something simpler, you could try this basic bodice:

A really cute one that’s similar, but doesn’t have the same basic construction, is this one. You could almost make that one just like the pattern, but of course add the long, puffy sleeves.

This one also has some cute options. You could use either collar, really, and make the skirt like I described above with the 1” knife pleats.

You don’t need a pattern for the gathered sleeves, but if you want one, you could use this:

or the puffy sleeve on this and just lengthen it to your arm length. That kind of sleeve would work with any of the dresses above, and you’ll gather the puff at the top, anyway, so it’ll fit any armhole.

Readers, I'm sure you have ideas, too!  Have you seen the perfect (vintage?) pattern?  Have you made a sheer crepe dress like this one before?  Any other ideas for Melissa?

Guest post: STRIPES in decor!


Guest post: STRIPES in decor!

We've got a guest post today, all about one of my favorite patterns, stripes, in home dec!  Perfect considering I'm thinking about decor for our new place and I have dreamed of painting stripes on a wall since I've seen several stylish bloggers do it themselves with painter's tape.  So cute, right?!

Here's a bunch of inspiration on the stripe vibe!

Hi! I’m Joanna, a writer for Arcadian Lighting, a terrific online source for everything lighting, including beautiful light fixtures and the latest in lighting. On any given day, you’ll find me eagerly searching the internet for the next big trend, the latest images of gorgeous designs and all things interior design. Luckily, I get to share my finds with blog readers like you. Thanks to the lovely Suzannah for allowing me to share with you today. 

If you are one of the faint of heart when it comes to decorating with color, then you might want to think twice before decorating with big bold stripes. They definitely make a huge statement by the fearless decorator. I love big stripes, but only in certain spaces, if you’re not careful your house can turn out looking more like a circus than a home. Are you daring enough to decorate with them?
Bold Stripes
These chartreuse and white stripes are the most subtle ones featured in this post. I think it would be lovely to wake up to this cheery room every day.
Bold Stripes
Wow! I love this entry. The contrast between the red and white striped wall and the black and brass oversized table lamps works perfectly to create a big impression. Chrome wall lamps hinder in the back ground of what seems to be an all white room.
Bold Stripes
I had a black and white striped bathroom in a 1930s cottage like this one and absolutely loved it. I like how the stripes follow the flow of the room even over the decorative molding.
Bold Stripes
This bathroom is the perfect example of what to do if you’re not sure if you are a big stripes person. Add just a bit of stripes, like this towel for instance. It can be easily replaced if you decide against the idea.
Bold Stripes
I can’t decide what I like more the pink and white striped floor or the gorgeous pink and black table lamps. And then again, the table is simply lovely too.
Bold Stripes
What do think of these avocado horizontal stripes? I’m not really sure about them myself. They do give the space a modern, fresh feel though.
Bold Stripes
Big candy colored stripes on a big plush bed is a terrific way to use this bold design element. Who knew an upholstered bed could be so ornate and so stylishly contemporary at the same time?
Bold Stripes
Just a hint of big vertical stripes grace the tall windows on the far wall of this beautiful living room with multiple seating areas. Again, the table lamps are one of my favorite elements in the room. Once again I've fallen for the well blended mix of table lamps and ceiling lights

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Are you ready to start throwing some bold stripes into your home? Don't forget to stop by Arcadian Lighting for a large variety of light fixtures.

Thanks, Joanna!



How to Wear DIY: My iceskater dress

You don't mind two circle skirts in a row, do you?

Like you saw in yesterday's post, I'm into circle skirts these days and have been, uh, experimenting in finding the right length for me.  Here's a How to Wear DIY for this dress that I made recently and wore this weekend.  It is also... "tights length."  After wearing it, I can say the length works just fine, but I might not have minded having it a little longer! ;)

But, it was fun to wear with a biiiiig looped-up scarf and my new-fave faux leather jacket--and any excuse I get to wear these Target wedges makes me happy.

Wanna see without the jacket?

The full skirt is so fun!!

The scarf is a regular one I just looped around to make it seem like an infinity scarf.  They are much easier to wear, as well as a little more stylish, than a hanging scarf!

Love the darts on this Simplicity pattern.  The angle is flattering, I think!
Scarf: Banana Republic via a resale shop. Watch: Forever 21. Belt: ? 
Wedges and jacket: Target. Dress: DIY, here



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