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!


NEW HOUSE!!!!!! Picture time!

OMG you guys, I am SO excited to share photos of the new house with you. The past week and a half has been a whirlwind and of course we didn't have internet for most of it so my posting abilities were limited! But I stayed up late last night to edit these pics so I could show them to you ASAP!

So, you may have been watching the construction process since we picked the house out in January... we are so excited to own our beautiful new townhome, which is so much nicer (and bigger!) than any of our crappy apartments, and it's ours. Buying a house has been a dream of mine since I was about 15, really, and I'm lucky I've been able to prioritize making that step so early on in my adult life. And I'm lucky my husband has been on board! He wasn't working until just a couple months ago, but he shared my drive to save money and work toward making this huge purchase!

And we are both just over the moon every minute we spend in our new place!! It's just... so nice! We're used to older houses, which have their charm, but we don't trust ourselves to renovate at this point, so for a first house, brand new is good. But, we can't wait to learn some new homeowner skills and build some closets, get creative with paint, recover furniture (me), etc... I'm excited to show you when I have some progress!

But, of course you have to see the blank slate first. Here's our home, with nothing in it, first thing on moving day (well, second thing, after our little sage-burning ritual to christen it!). Tour beginning now!

Entry area and stairs upstairs. I've been told by everyone who comes in that I need a bench in that corner so people can take off their shoes. OK, it's on the list.

The paint color throughout the house is "Snowfall" from Sherwin Williams. We paid extra to choose the color--rather than the standard medium beige-ey tan that the builder uses in the other units. It is super icky. Not my style at all. I wanted grey walls, but real grey would have been too dark to put it everywhere, so this is the pales shade on a card of very warm greys, and I plan to buy one or two of the darker shades to paint other rooms or accent walls.

We also varied from the builder's standard look by requesting brushed chrome handles, hinges, lighting, etc. in the house rather than bronze! (Just cuz it's funny to see--here are photos of the model for this development (2015 update: they've upgraded a few things since they built ours!). How totally NOT ME are those colors????)

Below: Living room, dining room, and kitchen. The builder of this neighborhood insists on real wood and granite, so we had our pick of those, but paid for the upgrade to have hardwoods throughout the living room rather than carpet. And I'm so glad we did, totally worth it. I wanted very dark floors, but these ones will be easier to keep looking clean, and I love that they have little bits of dark coloring in them to pick up on the cabinet color.

The cabinet color was also a special order... the choices they offered us were about 5 shades of medium brown. I was dreaming of a white kitchen, but that would have been another huge upgrade, and also harder to keep clean, so we picked out a custom stain and it turned out perfectly. I love the color of dark wood! And I love my white subway tile backsplash! The builder threw that in as a freebie because she knew it would look better.

The lighting in the kitchen and dining room are from Globe Lighting, which the builder uses and told me I could take my pick from. We ended up paying a little extra for lighting upgrades, but it was worth it compared to what they normally use and what we would have paid at Lowe's or IKEA or west elm to replace them.

Along the other living room wall, you'll see the stairway down to the bonus room and garage on the basement level. The bonus room is pretty bland, and doesn't have a window, but my husband is pretty thrilled anyway since it means he can keep his massive book collection and big TV down there--and I'm happy I won't have to listen to him and his buddies laughing at their video games while I try to have a conversation in the next room. ;) This room will be a bit of a challenge to decorate, though, since it's so pale and the TV and bookshelves are so dark. We'll see. But, this means we won't have to have a TV in the living room!

Let's head back upstairs to the living room, and then turn right again onto the stairs to the upstairs. Not sure what to do with this bland stairway, either--trying to hang art is so intimidating in a blank-slate, brand new place!

At the top of the stairs on your right, you'll see the laundry area doors, and ahead of you is the linen closet. To the right of that is the guest bathroom, and to the left you see the entry to the office/sewing room.

Here were are in the office/sewing room--that closet has got to be one of the first ones to get some construction help, since I need somewhere to put my fabric ASAP! I think I want to fill the whole thing with shelves.

Below you see the entry to the guest room on the left, and sewing room/office on the right. I am so excited to have a guest room, too. I've wanted one for ages. I love decorating bedrooms and having a cozy place for friends to stay--and I'm excited for the extra closet to store out-of-season clothes! Another blank slate in that room, not sure how we want to go with it but it's gotta be fun and full of cool stuff so it's not a depressing, empty, boring guestroom.

And here's the master bed and bath. Yaaaaaaaaay. We've already said "Wahooo! We have two bathrooms!!!" on at least one occasion, and I love our bathroom with its little window and pretty light fixture I picked out. Same dark cabinets up there; again I would have loved white, but I'm working with them.

Our bedroom is great, too--sort of a long, skinny shape but has a high ceiling so feels really open. OMG, I can't wait to decorate it. As you know from my Pinterest, I love bedrooms.

So there you go! The very basics of our house--I seriously can't wait to get decorating and show you some real progress. Been pinning a lot of home dec ideas and shopping Craigslist obsessively. And am looking forward to the holiday weekend and hope to get some painting done on Monday!!

Tonight's date night includes couch-shopping and a trip to Lowe's. And, of course, my Marshalls/HomeGoods/Ross/Dollar Tree/Goodwill list is never-ending. We have been keeping very busy but loving every minute of it! We are so excited to have our home!



Organic fruit and veggie priorities I'm learning!

Organic produce, what a great concept, right? I've been really trying to hit up the farmers' markets this summer, but it's been really busy so it's been hard to get there on a Saturday or Sunday morning! I appreciate the locally owned 24-hour grocery store I shop at for most things, but don't want to eat any more of their conventional produce than I have to. (And I love that our new house is 5 minutes away from the affordable suburban grocery store!)

We want to eat as much organic as is possible and responsible, but can't afford to buy everything we want organic and don't have any room for a garden. We've had a CSA in the past but knew we'd be moving in the middle of the summer so couldn't pick one with a convenient location. But, the farmers' markets are great for local, pesticide-free veggies, and I've been learning which items to spend the extra money on at the grocery store.

Every once in a while I've seen this list of which fruits and veggies to buy organic, because they're often very high in pesticides, and which ones aren't as important to buy organic--generally because they have protective skins or are in some other way more defensive against the chemical sprays. I was reminded of the list in our local paper the Oregonian not long ago, and clipped it out--this one's from the Environmental Working Group. (It was in an article about the apparent controversy over the testing methods, USDA vs. EWG about the number of each item tested, etc.--I'm not too concerned about the exact science, but if they found general patterns, that's good enough for me.)

Anyway, it's super interesting to note and keep in mind. I'm happy that pineapples, mangoes, cabbage, grapefruit, and mushrooms are among the lowest in pesticides. And it totally makes sense that apples, bell peppers, cucumbers, and kale are on the dirty list--I can taste the difference in those organic vs. sprayed! Ick! Unfortunately I eat all of those a lot. Luckily organic kale is pretty cheap at the nicer grocery stores, even when it's not on sale. (I've mentioned before my limited diet--fruits and veggies make up the majority of what I eat!)

So here's the EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce--the Dirty Dozen (plus 2), buy organic if you can. The Clean 15 are safer so it's more okay to buy the conventional. Always helps to have priorities!

What about you? Any tips on where to buy organic groceries, or which ones are easy to grow? I'd love to grow my own in the new house, or just get used to buying farmers' markets in the summer!

Little blogging tips part 4


Little blogging tips part 4

I'm no expert, but every once in a while I've been posting my fave little blogging tips on here for any of you who are newer to blogging. There are tons of great resources out there (at the very least, how awesome are those Alt classes?!) but here are some of my tips for you--and they're sometimes sort of tailored to DIY/crafty/sewing blogs like you may have!

So today, I wanted to share something a little different. I'm thinking now about the blogging process, rather than about blog content or design.

Suzannah's blogging tip #10: Post frequently (at least a few times a week). If you can't do that, tweet frequently. If you can't do that, at least comment on other blogs frequently!  Do something that reminds people you exist.

When I look through blogs, I don't look at the date each entry was posted, and I don't judge how often someone posts.  But I do enjoy seeing quality, varied content on the blog homepage (showing your last 4-10 posts, generally), and of course in order to find your blog at all I have to either follow it (works much better when you post a lot), follow you or see you retweeted or mentioned on Twitter, or hear about you in a comment somewhere.

Suzannah's blogging tip #11: Make your blog easy to navigate.

However you choose to do it. That could mean using tags really well (not over-using, using for simple words like holidays, photography, recipes, personal style, whatever it is), it could mean a few links on your linkbar (I loooooove my linkbar!), it could mean some great buttons with photos or descriptions on your sidebar (home tour, our wedding, tutorials, style posts, whatever).  Blogs are great as lists of articles, but they become even better resources when people can stay on the blog looking for specific posts, learning what they want to learn that day, checking out what interests them.

Of course, tip #4 was have a search feature on your blog, so that will help it be more navigable, too!

Suzannah's blogging tip #12: Make your blog easy to FIND. is fine when you first start out, but what if you shift your focus a little after you've been blogging a while?  What if you find your title is just too long?  What if you started with and now want your blog's name?  Consider this...

You can buy your own domain name for pretty cheap hosted through Google/Blogger/whatever, so you don't have to do any of the fancy work of switching it over.  And, with my domain for example, redirects automatically to, so anyone that had the old URL in their bookmarks or whatever can still get to it, no problem.  Having an easy-to-remember blog URL will make your blog easy for people to go to directly, tell their friends about, share in other ways, etc.  It's a win-win-win situation! ;)

So that's it for now! Hope you don't mind my friendly bits of advice, and best of luck blogging!



Sewing Circle: Very cool ruched knit skirt

Today, on Sewing Circle...
I got this question from Carrie about a super cute James Perse skirt worn by several celebs, looks super cute and I love the casual grey! Here's Carrie's question:

Q: I love this skirt that Mila Kunis wears in Friends with Benefits. AND of course it is sold our everywhere! Do you think you can help me find a pattern or just even a good idea of how to make this gorgeously simple skirt?! I think everyone would look good in it! Fixing about every hip/thigh problem out there and comfortably in jersey!

A: That is a super cute skirt, and I think I saw the same one on Zoe Saldana in People StyleWatch.

I would love to do a tutorial on it but I don't have time!—I’ve never seen a pattern for anything like it, but I don’t think you’d need one. This tutorial for an asymmetrical pleated mini will show you the basic concept you'd need to use. The skirt is probably an enclosed tube, almost, with the front sewn to the back at the bottom instead of a hem.

Small Things

There also may be something vaguely similar on BurdaStyle, but not the same. Here are two that would be a similar idea:
Not the same, but both meant for jersey knits and you could certainly modify them. I'm sure with a little playing around you could make up a pattern that would overlap like the James Perse original.
I can already imagine how it’s put together and it’s really very simple, I’m sure. Hey, readers, have any of you seen a pattern more like what Carrie needs?? I really hope there's one out there!



How to Wear DIY: Amid the chaos, time to wear this dress...

What a week! We moved on Wednesday and have been running around ever since. And going to work. I only took one day off, Wednesday, and so there are still some boxes sitting around and I have shopping lists coming out my ears--would be really helpful to have some additional furniture to put all the stuff in the boxes on...

I can't wait to share house photos with you, but we won't have internet at the new place until Wednesday, so I'm limited to what I can do from work. I came in at 6 this morning with my laptop. =) I hope to get some photo editing done at home and share house pics and photos from the Portland Bloggers event yesterday--photography workshop!--as soon as I can.

So, this weekend was chaos, but in a good way. It's amazing how I can be so stressed and busy and moving nonstop but also be totally blissed out. We love our house. Even now, with nothing on the walls and boxes and curtain rods and folded up rugs on the floor, we are so happy. I am having a problem, though, that my mind won't turn off. I do and do and do and unpack and shop and maaaaaybe find time to eat, but even when I have some unscheduled time when I can just (stand) at the counter and (use my phone! to) scroll through Craiglist absentmindedly, every minute or so I think of something else to add to some list somewhere. So, lalalala relaxing time, then pow! "Oh! I need ____ at HomeGoods..." or "Oh! I need to look up ___..."  It's exhausting. Turn off, brain!!!

Sorry for the little rant. Hopefully I'll get some time to breathe soon and calm down! ;) While there's still a lot to do, it was nice that we did have time to have date night on Friday and see friends on Saturday evening. So I got a chance to wear this dress, perfect for the late summer evening, and luckily my new fave Target wedges were on top of the still-unpacked shoe box.
Necklace: Forever 21. Shoes: Target via Goodwill. Dress: DIY!

So, here's to another busy but amazing week. I seeeeeeriously can't wait to show you "before" pics and then, of course, to decorate!

Weekend inspiration: new house!


Weekend inspiration: new house!

I am sooooo excited for this weekend, you guys. We are 100% moved into the new house in that all of our stuff is there and none of our stuff is at our old place, but there are still a bunch of boxes in the garage that we were too tired and sore to bring up on moving day! Plus, there's all the stuff to organize, plus, I want to buy a couch, nightstands, entry bench, and a million other things...

So hopefully I'll have something fun to report after the weekend. At least I hope we'll have internet so I can share pics of the house on moving day! But for now, I wanted to spread the inspiration I'm feeling... a few of my fave pins that will inspire our decor in the new house.

Such calm, pretty colors... I love Alaina of Live Creating Yourself's home.

Cool, modern dining room...

And, okay, it's pretty crazy, but... what do you think about black bathrooms? Or very dark navy or brown... this would be a very cool stencil project! I'm thinking for the downstairs half-bath.

Seriously cannot decide what to do with either of the bedrooms. I think I want to paint ours, though... kind of scared of the commitment!

That's what's going around in my head these days!! Hope you all have a great weekend, and throw some energy my way if you can! I'm wiped out! =)



We did it!!! We moved! We own our lovely brand new home!!

No internet at the new place yet but can't wait to share pics with you. Of course it's full of boxes right now but I took a bunch of pictures of it empty... the "befores"! Was the second thing we did when we got the keys, right after a nice sage-burning cleansing we did in every room. Was husband's idea to borrow the traditional "smudging" ritual but it was a great way to center us and make the space feel like ours!

Can't wait to share more!!


Sewing Circle: Modifying patterns for backless dresses

This week's two-part Sewing Circle question is from Jennie! She wanted to know about making both of these partially backless dresses--and what patterns to use and modify...

Q: I'd love to make this adorable ASOS dress. Unfortunately, they're sold out in my size :/
Also, how would one modify the back to the urban outfitters inspired, mint-ish lace, backless dress that your friend made (the friend that you blogged about). Again, love your blog and thank you so much for all of the help.

A: Wow, you're adventurous! I don't have any backless dresses myself, but I have some ideas for you.

For the ASOS dress, I would use Simplicity 1913 for the front of the bodice--it has the right princess seams...

...and for the back I would use Simplicity 2444, Simplicity 1873, or, for a slightly looser shape, Simplicity 2215.

Of course you’ll modify the back—cut away from about 1.5” from the center back at the waist and taper it up to almost meet at the center back at the neck, where you’ll put the button loop and button. Looks like the back’s not lined, though the front probably is, so if you use a substantial enough fabric, then just turn the back edges under twice about ¼” and hem. Or, if you give it a full lining (I would), sew right sides together on the center back pieces and assemble as usual, same as if there were a zipper there. Then you’ll just need a short skirt zipper for the skirt at the center back. Super easy and cute! (The skirt you don’t need a pattern for—looks like it’s a full circle skirt. Tons of tutorials online if you need one!)

I offered similar tips to my friend before she cut down the back of her mint dress. It’s really as easy as it sounds—when cutting out the dress (cut the lining out first), cut down the shape you want, accounting for the seam allowance. On the V-back, it’s even easier; you’re basically just making the back of the neckline super low, to the point where there’s no zipper on the bodice part, of course. So cut down from the shoulder seam using a straight edge, to the waist, and sew right sides together with the lining, so you’ll use your normal seam allowance. As long as you’re cutting out a size that you know fits, it should work out just great!

Readers, have you ever made a backless dress?? I never have! They look like fun, though, if you're not worried about not wearing a bra! ;)  Would love to hear your tips for Jennie or your experiences with backless dress-making.



Weekend moving update and How to Wear DIY: When it's too hot to wear anything else, strapless floral!

Well, we had an interesting weekend. Some good, some bad. I shared on Friday that we thought we'd be signing the papers and getting the keys to our new house in time to move over the weekend, but... too much paperwork, things were behind. So, major bummer since we're so excited, but it did give us a weekend with very few plans and some time for relaxing. And more packing.

I did some reading and gave myself a pedicure, and finished up a couple little projects, and hit up three or four Goodwills!! =) It's been a long time since I've really been shopping. I desperately want to buy things for the house but have been really good at only buying things I'm sure about, since I don't know how it's really going to look when we get moved in. We still need a couch for the living room, but that's a daunting purchase! And even the bedrooms aren't designed. So once we get in there, hopefully I'll know where the holes are to fill. I did order this super cool grey/white sketch-ey zigzag sheet set from Urban Outfitters clearance, though--they have some great stuff! Gotta start somewhere.

Annnnnyway, it's kinda a good thing we didn't move on Saturday since we would have been packing the truck Friday night, when it was 99 out until like 8:00 at night. Thursday and Friday were ridiculous! Then it was in the 60's for my run on Saturday morning. Go figure.

But that leads us to today's How to Wear DIY! When it's too hot to wear anything else... like last Friday night's date night...

The lightweight cotton print strapless dress is perfect!! I made this one last year. Funnily enough, I made it right before someone emailed me a Sewing Circle question about how to make a SUPER similar dress Sookie wears on True Blood! I guess it's a great look for hot weather!

It was soooooo hot that night. Had to wear my hair up, of course, and mine is long so to keep it off my neck, the top bun was perfect! Too hot for jewelry, too hot even for much of a purse. The belt was really only my accessory, and it helps keep the dress in place since I've lost a little weight since I made it.

Other summer essentials: new fave Target wedges and orange Essie pedicure. It's a fun change from my usual red!
 Shoes: Target via Goodwill. Belt: Nordstrom Rack.

Whew! I love the summer but am hoping for slightly lower temperatures when we actually do move this week.



The final house construction update: ALMOST moving day!

Good news/bad news. Right now it feels like bad news, because I thought we'd be moving this weekend, but no. But, the good news is it's just because our move-in date was never set in stone anyway and I was just being an optimist, and it's taking a while for the final inspection and title company stuff and mortgage insurance and all that. So I wish I could tell you I was moving today, but it looks like it'll be Monday when we sign and hopefully Monday or Tuesday when we get the keys! SOOOO excited!

If you've been following the progress of our house construction, since, uh, like... January, you'll be excited, too! Great new place! MOVING!!!!!

But this weekend's a little bit of a bummer. This is what our house looks like right now. Partially packed boxes and empty bookshelves and oddly shaped items grouped together. We slowed down with the packing when we realized we might not be moving this weekend, but I swear I'll finish it up soon! =) Crossing fingers for a smooth moving day!

And then the fun part begins, right? I am overflowing with ideas for the new place and can't wait to see everything in the new place. I've been obsessively Craigslist-ing the past couple weeks and really need to stop until I see how everything looks and decide what we actually need! (But, what if the perfect thing is out there now???? I know, stop, stop...)

Anyway. Hope you have a great weekend and hope I have super exciting pictures and news for you SOON!!!



Easy necklace DIY

Super fast and easy project to share with you tonight! I've been wanting to do this one for a while, but when I pulled out my spray painting setup for a furniture project due to the moving we're doing this week... it was time!

I wanted to give this necklace a fresher, brighter look. The metal color isn't really me, but I loved its bib shape. So here's the "before"...

I used spray primer (on the left) and cheap-o spray paint (on the right), white this time. I could have used a more fun color but I thought white would go with a lot. I didn't end up using the spray enamel, in the middle, since I realized it's not really meant as a topcoat/sealant, but as an enamel on its own. So ignore it. 

Step 1: Prime the underside of the necklace. Wait a bit for it to dry a little.

Step 2: Prime the top of the necklace!

After that's dry... Repeat with the spray paint! Then...

Yay! Now it's much fresher. Love how fast and easy a spray paint update is!



Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing--and vintage dress lovers!

Today I get to share with you my review of a super fun new book about vintage sewing, by who else but Gretchen Hirsch of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. I remember being impressed by Gretchen’s projects and blog years ago when I first started blogging, and it’s so cool that she’s put her knowledge into this great book! A lasting collection of ideas and tips for all of us--I can't wait to show it to my mom, who taught me to sew.

Here it is--Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques. It's available for sale September 1st, but you can pre-order a copy now!

It's a beautiful book with high quality paper patters in the envelope inside the cover, and I love the spiral binding--means you can lay it flat while you're sewing, and don't need to worry about it flipping closed on you.

The book is divided into two main sections: Skills and Wardrobe. The Skills section is really amazing, such a comprehensive list of retro sewing techniques. Lots of great methods and tips for creating high quality garments, regardless of what you're sewing! And then of course there's the Wardrobe section, which you'll love if you love vintage style--using several basic patterns, you can make any of the projects or use the tips you just learned to modify them how you please! While using antique and vintage patterns is fun, this way you know you'll get the right fit and size, and you really can modify to get the exact look you want.

Here's just a few of my fave resources in the book so far!

In Skills...

Photos and descriptions of seam finishes, using vintage sewing techniques. Back before there were sergers and so many mass-produced clothing... there are several great ways to finish seams as a home sewer, and Gertie shows you how with great descriptions!

There's also a great section on tailoring, making it seem really not that terrifying. I think a retro-inspired jacket or suit would be a great introduction to making tailored garments!

Maybe my faaavorite part of the book is the Vintage to Modern dictionary. If you ever use vintage patterns or shop for vintage or retro-ey clothes, you'll love this spread!

Another element of the book that's useful for everyone are the parts about fitting, modifying, and otherwise customizing patterns. If you read and learn from these sections, you'll hardly ever need to buy new patterns--you'll just be able to tweak the ones you already have. Great skill!

In the Wardrobe section, there are several cute vintage-inspired blouses, skirts, and dresses. Some for summer, some for fall and winter... and all cute!

Thanks so much to STC Craft for sending this book to me, and I hope you readers get a chance to pick one up soon! You can can pre-order a copy now!



Highly requested Sewing Circle: How to sew on lace!

I've had several of you ask about sewing on lace when I've done posts about dresses I've made using lace fabric, net, or stretch lace or net. I can see how you could be intimidated, but it's really not too hard if you're careful! Here's a Sewing Circle question from Megan about the topic, and my answer, mixed in with questions I've received in comments and other places, answered here! So hopefully this can be a good resource for you about sewing on lace, and please chime in if you have additional tips for us!!

Q: I have a question about lace.  I'd like to make a dress with lace (a lot like your white one with polka dots--I'm even using 2444) but I have no idea how to work with lace.  All of the tutorials I can find are for wedding dresses, which suggest hand-stitching every single seam, which is just not happening.  Any suggestions?

A: For me, sewing on lace isn't really harder or more accident-prone than sewing on other fabric, so don't worry too much about it! And depending on the lace you're using, your seam allowances may not even show through if you construct the dress normally--that's what happened on the net sequin dress I made. But, if you want to be really sure you don't have any lines/cut edges/doubled-up places showing through, you'll want to make the dress the way you would an unlined one--but you use a lining, and treat it as an interlining.

An interlining is an extra layer of lining fabric between the lining and the fashion fabric. Although it's also an interlining if you don't have a normal lining layer; you're basically interfacing the fashion fabric with your lining.  The way I made the ivory polka dot dress is, just the lace and lining treated as interlining. Here's a pic of the inside construction.

As you can see, I treated the outer net fabric and the sturdy lining as one fabric, and put the darts in them together, sewed the seams together, etc. the seams don’t show at all on the outside! If I had wanted the seam allowance to be hidden in the armholes, I could have done a faux French seam (use a faux one on curves, not a normal French seam, by giving them a 5/8” seam allowance, pressing open, then turning both pieces under ¼” and sewing on top of them at the very edge), but I didn’t care. I made this really quickly!

Although—I didn’t totally treat them as the same fabric. The first thing I did was sew the shoulder seams of both the lining and the net, then sew the pieces together around the neck edge, as shown in the picture below. Then, I did the sideseams and darts treating the lining and interlining as one like you saw in the picture above.

If you make a sleeveless dress, you could do this or make a facing at the neckline and definitely make a facing for the armholes, or a partial lining/facing that covers both areas and stops below the armpits. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that. Or, you can do what I did here, where I gave the edges a bias binding rather than a full lining or facing.

Q: I'm scared of sewing with lace - do you have tips on that? My main concern is the visibility of the seams.

A: I’d say get a lining that matches exactly if you can, preferably something not too lightweight. You definitely want something substantial since the lace is see-through! You may want to use an interlining (sew like it’s part of the lace) as well as a true lining (constructed separately, then put with the outside right sides together like you would any other dress). That's what I did on this dress with a lace bodice.

Other lace tips:
  • About finishing the edges: Lace doesn't really ravel, so you could also very carefully cut the edges and leave them alone.
  • If you're worried about hurting the lace: When you're sewing it, a straight stitch along the edge of the pieces will help keep it from stretching.
  • If you're worried about seams showing through: You could use organza to stabilize the lace and make it less sheer.  Cut the lace and organza as one piece and sew or pin them together before constructing the garment--the organza is your interlining and will make it much easier to hem and, depending on your full lining fabric, just a little more substantial.
  • Also: Threads Magazine online has a fantastic issue for working with lace (embellishing it, too). Might even have several posts online to view.
Other Sewing Circle tips and examples of lace projects:
So, I hope that helps out, Megan and other readers! And please, if you have any great tips for sewing with lace, leave a comment and/or link! Would love to hear them.



How to Wear DIY: Upcycled summer

It has been HOT lately. In the 90's and up to low 100's some weekends and I'm loving the summer-ness of it! But, it's the time of year when you really need those simple dresses because they are SO much more comfortable than jean shorts and tee shirts. So I had the perfect chance to wear this upcycled strapless colorblock dress to a casual family dinner.

Remember this is the one I made from an old white Talbots blouse with some cool pleating details in the front. I love the clean whiteness of it--very summery--and the extra detail makes it really fun on this bodice.

(Strapless dresses just totally say "summer" to me, and I have a hard time wearing them until it's really hot. It's like I'd be playing with fate to wear them in June even if it's technically warm enough that day... I dunno, I guess I have a complex! ;) )

Luckily there was a little bit of summer breeze!
Sandals: Old Navy via Goodwill (similar). Bag: Old Navy. Necklace: Forever 21.
Watch: AE. Dress: DIY, upcycled from old blouse and dress!

Have you pulled out the strapless dresses yet???



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