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!


Girl's World, lovely book--a dress and a review!

A while ago I came across a mention of Jennifer Paganelli's book that just came out--Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls.  I loved the cute style and bold prints (Jennifer is a fabric designer and owns Sis Boom, so they're all her own!), and am usually excited about new sewing books.  Jennifer sent me a copy of her book and some beautiful yardage of her yellow print, for me to try out and review for you!  Of course I don't have any little ones to make things for, but my cousin's 3-year-old got a new dress out of the deal!

So here's the book:
Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls
I love the bright colors and florals.  Here's a look inside the beautiful book...

Comes with all the patterns in the front...

Such fun for little girls!

Got all the essential tips and diagrams in the beginning...

Here's the dress I made, the Josie dress.  So sweet!

The book has all kinds of projects in it, too.  Aprons...

I LOVE this pillow.  Now I have a pattern for it!

More home dec projects...

And of course the patterns are a good quality paper, and they're all included.  Here's some of the Josie Dress pattern I used.

The instructions were totally simple and easy, even for me when I've pretty much never made a little girl's dress before.  A few things are different than for women's dresses!  But I followed along just fine with the pictures and descriptions.  And enjoyed having the beautiful book at my side in the sewing room.

I cut out the smallest size, the XS.  Brenna is only 3 but she's very tall for her age, and while I don't know her actual size in storebought clothing, I think I had some basic measurements from her mom.  Kids aren't hard to fit clothing on, I guess... they're sort of barrel-shaped, so as long as the lengths and basic circumference are right... of course, I don't have kids so I don't really know.  But, the XS fit her perfectly and the ties at the back took it in a teeny bit so it fit more closely.

Also--this is not your average cheap-o quilting fabric.  The Sis Boom yellow Carrie print was so substantial and smooth, even after I pre-washed it!  It held is shape really well and did feel suitable for a dress, when I almost never use quilting fabric for clothing.  I used a pink homespun cotton I've had for a while for the midriff panel and ties.

And it turned out great!  Here's my lovely model enjoying her new dress!  Thank goodness we got some beautiful days last weekend and it was actually warm enough for us to take these pictures outside.

However, disclaimer: as cooperative and sweet as Brenna was to model her new dress after I gave it to her, she WOULD NOT allow her hair to be re-braided, taken out, or touched at all.  I got a little lesson in three-year-olds when I tried.  Not happening.  She still looks cute, though!

You can see the bright turquoise zipper I gave it peeking out!  I was inspired by Jennifer's beautiful bright colors that somehow all go together--thought the color would be fun, and I had it on hand!


After making this I seriously think I need to carve some time out of my schedule to make this little cutie some more dresses.  It was so fast and easy (did I mention, not counting cutting time, this little dress took me just over 1.5 hours to make?!!?!?!), and she's so cute in it!

So, if you have any little girls to sew for, definitely check out Jennifer's book and amaaaazing fabrics.  Have fun!



How to Wear DIY: Is it too late for scarves??

Two How to Wear DIY posts in a row??  Fun, fun!  Yesterday's was a bonus, promoting Simplicity's pattern giveaway.  Today's is as usual.  I love to share pics of pieces I've made in outfits you can wear for everyday!  So, this week...

It hasn't been feeling much like spring yet around here.  We had some really awful weather days last week, including several inches of snow!!  (It's spring, Oregon; can't you tell?!?  No, it can't.)  Although we did have some gorgeous sun this weekend, and earlier this week.

So it's still pretty chilly, but I am SO ready for happy colors and less clothing.  So I pushed the envelope a little for going out to dinner the other day, and wore springy navy and white stripes and three-quarter length sleeves with my infinity scarf I made with this tutorial.  I love this scarf, btw--totally simple French seam you can do to any old, tired scarf to make it an infinity scarf.  I've worn it a lot and it feels so much fresher than before.

But I was wondering, is scarf season over?  Should I be denying the cold weather and dressing for spring?  Or am I allowed to keep a few wintery pieces because I need them?? ...I think it's a grey area (pun intended...?).

Infinity scarf excluded, the high waist megaflares and stripes give it sort of a 70's vibe, right? Except for the mint nails! ;)
Jacket: Necessary Objects via Goodwill (similar). Tee (similar), bag: Old Navy.
Belt: Vintage, was my mom's. Jeans: Express via Goodwill. Wedges: Target via Goodwill. 
Earrings: Forever 21. Scarf: DIY, recycled!

Also--the lipstick is Flamenco by Radiant (thanks for your suggestions!!) and the nail polish is Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet.  I've been dying for mint things (who hasn't?!) and loving this nail polish recently!

Here's to better weather this weekend!



Vintage-inspired Simplicity patterns giveaway! And, How to Wear DIY.

Very exciting post today.  Simplicity has asked me to spread the word about a super fun giveaway they're doing, inspired by looks of the past!

They're giving away five packages of three patterns each--consisting of patterns 19132282, and 2444.    .  And, to get you in the mood, they've asked me and several other sewing/style bloggers to make up one of the patterns!

(Perfect timing, right?? Mad Men just came back!  We're all in a vintage mood.)

Here are the patterns you could win!

Simplicity sent me these patterns and asked that I make one of them up to share with you.  Now you may remember that I use Simplicity 2444 all. the. time. for many, many dresses (some: my ivory net dress, a party dress with vintage lacethis brocade dress, this circle skirt dress, vintagey dress I wore in engagement pics, and more--I recently traced it into a permanent pattern!).  So I thought I'd try something new this time, and I was very happy with Simplicity 1913 as well!

Here it is--the basic nuts and bolts of it is the princess-seamed bodice and your choice of sleeves, collar, skirt, and details.

I used a vintage pale pink twill.  It's not that vintage, but I got quite a few yards in the fabric section at Goodwill and it had that moth balls/attic smell.  Don't worry, I washed it!  I love the faux Peter Pan collar option 1913 has, and I used a classic 60's-ey white pique that my mom had some small pieces of.  I used a crisp cotton batiste for the back of the collar rather than self-fabric; would have been too bulky.

One thing I did change was, rather than use either of the skirts in the pattern, I just did two panels of fabric and pleated them to the waist.  Directional knife pleats away from the center front and back.  It's definitely shorter than June Cleaver would have worn, but that keeps it feeling current.  I like having a full skirt on a girly, vintage-inspired pastel dress!

I gave the bodice a full lining of a lightweight pale pink cotton, and the skirt was a great weight as-is.  I love working with cotton twills, really; they're substantial and easy to press and cut and they stay where you tell them to!

So here it is!

So girly and fun!  And, to keep you excited about the vintage-ey them of the giveaway, I thought I'd give you a How to Wear DIY portion of this post, as well... how about some outfit pics!  Imagine the vibe of Easter, 1962, or something... ;)

The belt is probably vintage '80's, but... oops.  The dress was made for being belted!
Sweater: Nordstrom Rack (similar). Earrings and belt: Vintage. Shoes: Liz Claiborne, Marshall's (similar).
Nail Polish: Essie Tart Deco. Dress: DIY!

Hopefully you're inspired for some vintage-ey sewing, but either way--check out the Simplicity giveaway and good luck!  It runs today through April 15th.

You can also check out the other bloggers participating this week, and their vintage-inspired takes on the three patterns you could win!  The others are:
Have fun!


Sewing Circle: Mystery: Draped crossover bodice for a bridesmaid dress

Totally fun, inspirational dress on Sewing Circle this time!  Especially with wedding season coming up!  Katie wrote me this email:

Q: My friend is making my bridesmaid dresses for my wedding in the summer and we are looking for a pattern that looks something like this ModCloth dress, which is sold out!:

Are you aware of any?! Any help would be much appreciated :)

Hi Katie,

Thanks for your email, and thanks for reading! That is a super cute dress! But, I don’t have any great news for you… I have never seen a pattern for something like that, and the draping, while not terribly difficult if you know what you’re doing, isn’t something I’m super familiar with. I don’t know what level seamstress your friend is, but if she doesn’t know how to drape on a mannequin and use a base strapless dress pattern, it may not work out terribly easily.

 I did find some patterns that could give the same feel, however.  For the bodice, try:

  • Simplicity 2250.  Imagine it in a dressier fabric and without the straps, and it's pretty close!

  • Vogue V8150, and cut it off at the natural waist and adjust to make it strapless.

So, sorry, nothing exact! But maybe you like some of those.

As for the skirt, you don't need a pattern and can easily make it with panels of fabric to the length you want, but you could use a pattern like version C or D of Simplicity 2512--except modify it to make sure it will fit a dress with a natural waistline, unlike the skirt by itself with a slightly dropped waist.

Although if I were you I would just try out making a muslin of the skirt and play with length, draping, etc.  Since you'll be making multiples, it may really be worth the extra time!

Its SUCH a cute dress.  I'd like to have one for myself, and I think I have some extra grey fabric... you've inspired me!

Readers, what suggestions do you have for Katie and her friend on their bridesmaid dress efforts?  Do you vote for any of the patterns I suggested, or do you have other ideas?  Have you played around with crossover draping?



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