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!


The year of the wedge?

Allow me to share my enthusiasm for wedges this year.  I know they've been around for ages, and we've probably all had them since sometime in high school, but this year I just feel like they're everywhere and making everything look cuter.

So I've been seeing them around in mags, on people, on blogs, on Pinterest, and in stores of course, and let me preface by saying I have some SERIOUS shoe DIY's planned... I'm talking, a minimum of two wedge makeovers.  We'll see how adventurous I get.

But, until I finish and post about my wedge projects (open to your ideas, BTW! How would you make some over?) I thought I'd share some inspirations!

Tan with white jeans...

Tan with colored jeans (such a great neutral! Summer's answer to patent nude pumps!)...

BRIGHT wedges!

Red and tan wedges...

Love the casual look of black on these!

Liz makes skinny jeans look so cute with her curvy wedges...

They even go with shorts...

NOW, for the shopping!  I've been poking around online having lots of fun getting more wedge inspiration.  Here are some faves...

Here are some actual nude wedges, very elongating for the legs ;):

Jessica Simpson, her stuff always has such fun shape!

Love these from Target... a great shape! So flattering, I bet!

How about these bright colorblock wedges from Old Navy?

Basically, it seems to me that a pair of tan wedges and a pair of bright ones are essentially staples for this summer.  I have a couple pairs I really dig... and like I said, I hope to be DIY improving a couple more!

Have you done any wedge upgrades at all?  Inspire to get anything new this summer??



This dress might be a little too sweet.

As I finished this dress, I realized... it might be a little too sweet, in a cutesy and girly way.  But let me tell you the story.

I bought the Lisette print cotton lawn (relatively new line at JoAnn) half off when it was on clearance, and I love the prints in the line but really liked how this one was such a lightweight, finer quality of cotton, like batiste.  Not at all scratchy or thick like quilter's cotton, and nothing like the cute print twills they also have of the Lisette brand.  They have some great colors and ikat-ey prints!

So because it was lighter and finer than some of my usual dress fabrics (I often go for more substantial!), I envisioned it with some gathers somewhere on the bodice.  I kind of imagined a vintage-feel, Sookie Stackhouse-ey sweet bodice, I guess not unlike a summery Zooey Deschanel dress.  In fact, we've talked before about a cute Sookie dress on Sewing Circle.  See what I mean, with the gathers?

And I had a pattern in mind.  Out of context, it's totally different, but I think of this pattern as having sort of a vintage, 50's-ey shape, with the flattering scooped midriff panel under the bust.  I had McCall's M6162, which is now out of print, but you can still find online, and used it but with gathers instead of the darts!

So it's not a whole ton of gathering--I guess I could have added at the center front and done more--but it's cute if you notice it.

Also, I thought this needed some contrast.  So I added white piping at the curved under-bust seam, and--here's the cutesy part--white scalloped crocheted lace at the neckline.  How cute, right?

Oh!  Another cute touch--the little slightly puffed sleeves I added, drafted from another dress pattern.  Cute on top of cute!  (What was I thinking?!!?)

Okay, so tell me. Should grown women not walk around in such girly-sweet dresses, or can I pull it off??  I know Zooey can, and I bet Taylor Swift, too, and fictional characters in the vampire-ridden South, but... can I?

And if I can pull it off for the next couple of years, what should I wear with it? ;)

Sewing Circle: To wear to a wedding...


Sewing Circle: To wear to a wedding...

It's almost wedding season, so I've been getting lots of wedding-related Sewing Circle questions!  Here's one about a cute summery party/cocktail dress, that Cara sent in...

Q: I found the perfect dress on Piperlime recently and didn't purchase it quickly enough! It has sold out, and I can't find anything else I would rather wear to a summer wedding this year, and would love to try to make it. Do you know of any patterns that might work for this? 

I found a fabulous out of print Vogue pattern, but can't find it on sale anywhere. Has anyone replicated it or made something similar?

A: Hello Cara,

I’m sure you can replicate a dress like that, and I found a few options that are even closer than the vintage Vogue pattern! Here are a few choices:

Vogue V8380. Really super close, even has the tie at the neck. Has a waistband instead of an elastic casing like the Piperlime one, but I think it’d actually be more flattering that way!

McCall's M6029. A little more structured, again, waistband—you could easily add a not-too-full gathered skirt to get the look.

Simplicity 2406. Not quite as close, but would be super simple. It has no waist, just a sash that you wear with it, but you could easily add an elastic casing at the waist.

So, nothing exactly the same, but hopefully you like one of those!

Readers, which one do you think is best?!?



How to Wear DIY: Bowling, and double DIY

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  Hope you're all enjoying the long weekend, if you got one, or celebrating however you choose.

Wanted to share a How to Wear DIY today--I've been wearing my yellow jeans a lot recently!  Seen here not long ago, I also wore them over the weekend to a bowling party our Realtor threw for her clients. =) Our house isn't done yet, of course, but we're really happy with our Realtor and were excited for her party anyway!

Oh, and--serious How to Wear DIY here--I wore two DIY'ed pieces!

It must be like an unofficial rule of bowling alleys that they have to be sort of run-down.

And have vintage machines.

Husband got quite a few strikes!  I made him pose with the "X" screen.

Anyway--I wore two DIY'ed pieces!  Yellow jeans, new love of my life, and this striped top I majorly took in.
Necklace: Forever 21 (similar). Flats: Land's End. Watch: American Eagle. 
Bag: Wilson's Leather via Shirt: DIY altered!  Jeans: DIY, dyed and made skinny!

Pretty sure I need some more pastel jeans before jeans weather is out for the summer.  But then--I might be dying some shorts soon!



My Saturday morning has been awesome.

I don't normally do "here's what I did this weekend" posts, but the past few hours have been soooo awesome, I just had to share.

My husband's working most of the weekend, but I have good plans to head out to my parents' place and help my mom with some fun things, so I'm keeping busy.  I'm also going appliance-shopping for our new house!

But this morning, I woke up earlier than I do on weekdays, just so excited to start doing fun things for my blog, new house, summer wardrobe... etc.  Oh, the plan so far is also to go on a run.  (I'll let you know via Twitter if that ends up happening. ;))

What has happened so far has been a lot of fun and much-needed downtime!  So far, last night and this morning, I have...

1.  Finally made the plunge and ordered a serious upgrade for my camera. Heard nothing but good things about this affordable and essential 50mm lens. If you don't have one yet, apparently you need one, too!

2.  Done lots of pinning.  Like, caught up on my pinning for the week!  I'm in love with some of my new pins... like:

Source: via Suzannah on Pinterest

3.  Felt pretty smug that I watched (and retweeted) the live lip dub proposal (it happened in Portland!!) before most of the world because I follow NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See on Twitter.  (Just found the blog's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts, and am totally hooked!  Listened to the entire archive on my NPR News app.)

4.  Gotten totally inspired to make jewelry, which is seriously a first (first in like 6 years, at least) because of the easy style and tutorials of Andrea's blog For the Love of.  This one was on Making it Lovely and led me to go though like, all of Andrea's blog.

I'm planning to hit up JoAnn's later today (Memorial Day sale! What-what?!) and will DEF have to check out the beads section.  Normally I am so intimidated by jewelry-making, but Andrea's simple tips and lovely photos got me all inspired!

4.  Actually read some of my Glamour mag.  I only get a few magazines, and I loooove them, but I never have time to read!

5.  Joined  I'm seriously trying to read more, and I love the idea of this site... helps you remember what you've read, for one, and lets you check out recommendations from friends and just other people who like what you like.  I need to make my husband join so I can read his recommendations and remember what books he's like and not liked.  He reads waaaay more than I do and I am so impressed!  (I've also been getting lots of book recs from Pop Culture Happy Hour, and want to remember them!)  Do you have GoodReads??  Find me if you wanna be friends!

Unfortunately, I have not yet done some of the writing I was hoping to do... or answered a couple emails... but I think I'll have time later this lovely 3-day weekend!

P.S. The summery tote bag or scarf giveaway from Ooh Baby Designs ends tonight, so be sure to enter if you haven't yet!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

AllFreeSewing newsletter feature


AllFreeSewing newsletter feature

Just a heads-up!

Check out my new feature, 'Inspired by Suzannah' in today's issue of Sewing It Up! It's a free weekly newsletter published by my friends at This week I talk about fave tips and techniques for relatively new sewists--some basics I recommend you learn that will really improve your sewing!

Head on over to to sign up for the newsletter so you can read my faves each week. =) And discover some great projects and tutorials over there.

1 comment

Wahoo!! Leather-trimmed tee tutorial, totally easy.

You can totally do this, people!  This may be the easiest tutorial I've ever done, and it's one of the coolest, too!  IMHO. ;)

So, I was inspired by this (sort of mod, a little too edgy for me) tee from Zara.  I don't normally wear super long short sleeved, loose, open neck tees like this one, but I thought the leather trim idea was a good one--fun and sort of odd juxtaposition between soft tee and edgy leather-ness!

While Google Images searching, I also found this one--perhaps an earlier season Zara?

So you get the picture.  Now I'm gonna show you how to do this to one of your own tees!  Warning: This tutorial is SUPER simple!  I won't waste your time with too many words, but you can follow along with the pics and some simple steps.
  • Start with a t-shirt.  This is an old one from Target that always gets super stretched out when I wear it, so I feel too sloppy in it.  Might be perfect for this look, though!
  • Get some small pieces of faux leather.  It comes in alllll colors at JoAnn, and is often on the clearance shelves--and you need soooo little, it should be very cheap.  Cut it into the shapes you want.  I had this narrow strip left over from a purse handle, so it was already sort of small--if I'd had raw materials I might have preferred pieces more like 3-4" wide.
  • Place the pieces where you want them. I went for shoulder caps, sort of military-inspired, and the front pocket area (covering up an existing tiny pocket, actually!
  • Using a leather needle, sew through the faux leather.  All the way around on the shoulder pieces, just the bottom 3 sides on the pocket.  **Note that faux leather doesn't want to be pinned, so either use some double sticky tape to make it stay or just hold it really well.
  • Done!!  Wear and feel like a bad a**.  Kidding.  It does feel sort of edgy, though!!

How cool am I? ;)

See?  I told you, sooooooooo easy.  Great first or beginning sewing project, and great way to make an old tee more exciting.  Have fun!



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