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!


Halloween!!! I actually made a costume this year and it rocks!

Big news from a DIYer at Halloween! I haven't had a reason to make a costume in years, and in college when I had parties to go to I usually just wore some funky vintage combination and called it a character. But this year I'm so excited--I actually made myself a super awesome costume, put a lot of work into it, and had lots of fun!

In August I finally saw The Avengers, and decided: Yep, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow would be a pretty cool Halloween costume. Gee, if only I could sew my own... (I'm sure there are storebought ones out there, but I've never liked the look of those packaged Halloween bag costumes... I'm a DIYer, anyway.) Here she is:

Jumpsuit with cool accessories, right? I studied it closely, and bought some heavier stretch suedecloth from JoAnn and used the wrong side, which looks kind of like the neoprene-ish fabric of her suit. I couldn't find a unitard or jumpsuit pattern, so I bought a dumpy fleece jacket pattern and cut it WAY smaller for the bodice. Then I traced a pair of skinny pants and cut them way larger, and then folded halfway down the center front and back of each leg and made a tuck, which I topstitched for the center seam look. I sewed the pants and jacket together, and the seam is covered with the waist belt.


Another photo I studied, for the sleeves, collar, and V-shape panel details...

My version!

I was so excited about being something from a cool movie that I really wanted to do themed costumes... I wanted my husband to wear another cool costume from the Avengers, but the only one he wanted to be was Iron Man. And of course you can't just be Iron Man, without a 12' tall metal suit and all... but as we were getting the fabric cut for my costume, the girl at the cutting counter mentioned that ThinkGeek makes an LED arc reactor t-shirt that lights up and everything!

That gave us an idea. I figured, we could buy it for the $30, not too bad, or... maybe we could make one. So I picked up a bunch of stuff at Dollar Tree and I MADE this little "arc reactor" out of a closet light, circular pill organizer, and some strategically trimmed tape. I found a sort of sheer but dark t-shirt at Goodwill that the LED light showed through super well. It was a closet light base, so it already had an adhesive circle, and he just stuck it on under the shirt! Haha!

So we had a pretty cool themed costume look to wear at a party last weekend. If you follow me on Instagram (@adventuresindressmaking), you saw the sneek peek! Jason tried to make a smug Tony Stark face, haha.
I do really like Halloween, and love when everyone gets creative and dresses up! But like I said, never really made myself something before. I hope I have an inspiration next year and can do it again (although, this Black Widow costume will have to come out of the closet again sometime... too much work and too cool not to wear more than once!). Did you DIY your costume this year??!


Self-made dress makeover, into a top!

I just did an upcycle/makeover of a clothing item I made myself to begin with--how "meta" am I?? ;)

I made this dress last year and totally liked it--the iceskater shape, the flattering waist and neckline, and that great cottony double-knit (worn here). But I didn't wear it much, and this fall I wanted more peplum tops! Since I loved my springy/summery ones so much.

So I cut off the bottom of the skirt all the way around and hemmed it, and turned the sleeves into facings (cut off most of the sleeve, pressed and understitched), and voila! New top!

Much more wearable for every day. Although I haven't yet mastered layering with a peplum top... always worn mine in the hot weather. Ideas?


House projects--recent easy home dec sewing projects

We've been doing a lot of projects for the new house, and of course that includes some sewing!! You may have noticed some of these pieces in other house-related posts, but here are the juicy details. ;)

Living room curtains. It's so hard to decide on colors and styles for curtains in a room with no predetermined color... and before I painted the painting above the couch, this room pretty much only had grey, white, and gold in it! But you've gotta start somewhere, and early on during one of my extensive JoAnn clearance rack trips (when they give an extra 50% off!) I picked up this pretty shell pink poly crepe, very drapey and pretty, and bought what was left of the bolt--7 yards, about. Which was exactly what I needed for my living room curtains, which are about 108 long since we wanted the curtain rod at the ceiling and nice and wide. I thought about putting these elsewhere or making... something else... out of them, but really, what better use for 7 yards of fabric?!

I also bought 7 yards of curtain lining, the Roc-lon® stuff in 100% cotton and white. It was a pain to cut these out and pin them together, had to use the whole living room hallway floor!

OMG, windows are hard to take pictures of. Here they are with the icky overhead light at night, but at least they're not backlit. Here you can see them a little better. For now they're attached with curtain clips, but I'd like to switch to something more formal (sewn-in rings?) sometime.

Now the big question is what to put over the dining room sliding glass door, which is opposite this window across the whole first floor. If they were neutrals, I'd say I should do matching on both, but since they're pink... I won't ask my husband if we can do MORE pink curtains! ;)

Striped pillows. More living room sewing. I've planned to make black and white striped pillows out of the leftover Premier Prints fabric from this jacket project. Didn't have a whole ton left, but all you need is a little pattern, right? So I made them for these small pillows. Currently they're sitting on these still-to-be-recovered side chairs...

...but I think they're pretty versatile. I also tried them on the couch under my DIY ikat-ey zigzag canvas, to pick up on the black. I also tried them on our bed once! I do love black and white stripes. The funny thing is, when I made them I thought it would be cool to have them be the reverse of each other, like one black-white and the other white-black, but now I think it looks weird. Oh, well, haha!

Pink patterned pillows. Speaking of the master bedroom... I showed you the DIY tufted headboard in the tutorial, but here's the latest on the pillows. The fabric for these was also at JoAnn on half-off the clearance, so a great price, and I looove the classic fabric pattern, can't remember the name of what it's knocking off right now.

The bedroom is still far from done, but the pillows help give me a little direction. Now we seriously need a nice throw at the foot of the bed, and maybe a repeat of the color or preppiness of the pattern somewhere... and of course, maybe some art above the bed! Aack! I haven't done much in the bedroom yet! Any great decor ideas, feel free to share!

So that's a few of the sewing projects I've done for the house so far. Plenty more to share, and more to do!


Nice to Meet You: Favorite tools

As part of the "It's Nice to Meet You!" series some of us Alt class bloggers have put together, today's question for all of you! is, what are your favorite TOOLS??

In the past we've talked about what you like to do at home and your favorites of the things you've made. So much fun to see everyone's posts and lists!! This time, we're each sharing 6 of our favorite tools for whatever our crafts or skills are.

And so can you! What are the top 6 of the tools you use? It's so hard for me to pick only 6!! I think I'd have to say, for sewing...

1. Sharp, tiny scissors. You never know when you’ll need a pair of these—to open up a seam, to snip off a button, to clip a seam allowance. The precision you can get with a tiny pair of snips is essential for clipping without hacking and chopping too far or too much. I like thread snips with pointed ends (like these classics) so that you can use one side to go under a stitch if you need to, or if you don’t have a seam ripper. Snips with rounded edges will also work. Nothing worse than trying to snip your threads and leaving them attached and pulling out with the scissors!

2. Fabric scissors. For cutting more than a few inches of fabric, particularly lightweight or finer fabric, you need sharp, large scissors that cut cleanly and don’t pull or snag your fabric. Get a good pair of strong sewing scissors, and don’t ever use them for paper or anything else--it will make them duller and harder to cut fabric. My mom and I both swear by these spring-loaded Fiskars.

3. Fabric pen. A disappearing ink fabric pen, or a piece of tailor’s chalk for dark fabric, is extremely helpful for marking where on a garment you need to make changes. I use them when pins might fall out, such as on very lightweight or stretchy fabric, and when marking where buttons or buttonholes go.

4. Iron. It's amazing how properly pressing a project can make all the difference--really can tell the difference between professional and homemade, not-so-thorough sewing based on how well each seam is pressed before being sewn together. I also rely on my spray bottle for water when pressing, for those really tricky wrinkles or heavy fabric. The cheaper irons don't get as hot, so don't press as effectively especially without steam or water. I had a crappy $10 iron for a few years until it broke, and then did a bunch of research and bought this one and am in love!!!!

5. Sewing machine. Of course I need one of these! I don't have the patience for quality hand-sewing for whole garments, and have been using a machine since I was a little kid. I have a vintage Viking Husqvarna but for most sewing, you don't need a super high end or sturdy machine. My friend just bought this one for a great price on Amazon and is really happy with it.

6. Pin cushion. I love the magnetic pin cushion/pin caddy system I have—you don’t have to put your pins back with absolute precision, since the magnet will grab them if they’re close, and they don’t fall off or spill if you knock it over. Which I often do.

Here's a fave sewing room organization inspiration of mine... in fact, I just bought those clear pegboards in a kit from Amazon--they are incredible!! So cool! I can't wait till mine are as organized as these!

Source: via Suzannah on Pinterest

Now, what about you?

To participate in the link-up, see the rules below. Non-bloggers can participate, too! You can share a link to a Pinterest board, tweet, Facebook, whatever you want. 

And of course, if you're not up for linking, I'd love to hear more about you in the comments to this post!

RULES: If you're a blogger, please include this button and a link back to this page somewhere in your post. Make sure to use the permalink for your blog post when creating your link. (In Blogger the permalink is under the scheduled posts on the right side.) The linky tool is open until the end of the day Sunday, October 27.

You must follow at least 4 of the hosts. See more about them here to help you pick out some new faves!

Ashley @ Bricks & Baubles
Jeanette @ Artchoo
Ashley @ She Makes A Home
Erika @ Fox Trot Press
Sentrell @ Suite Seven

AWARD: Each of the hosts will select one blog from the new followers who linked up to receive the "It Was Nice To Meet You Award." You may proudly post the award on your sidebar, or in a blog post! You will be introduced in a post by the hostess that awards you. Check back with each of us next week to find out who won. 

So have fun thinking about your 6 fave tools! Leave a comment here if you're not up for linking or not a blogger!



The one-year anniversary... dress!

I seriously can't wait to show you the pics once we get them back (any day now!), but had to share the dress I wore in our... one-year anniversary pics!!

Yes, extremely belated one-year anniversary pics. We got married last August but wanted to do an anniversary session in the new house, which we were supposed to move into this June. It wasn't done till late August, though, and then we had to decorate... so we did our belated one-year anniversary session at the beginning of this month. Better late that never! We love our wedding photographer so much, we definitely wanted to bring her back for these pics which we'll use on Christmas cards etc. and frame around the house. Currently all the photos we have hanging are wedding pics!

The wedding dress I made myself was pale silvery grey, peachy pink, and ivory, but I wanted to do a different bridal look for our shoot... inspired by pretty white lace dresses, in a short '60's shift shape.

So pretty! Of course one hard thing about making a lace dress is finding the fabric. The cheap lace fabrics at JoAnn or whatever are scratchy. But, lucky, lucky me, my mom had ordered a whole bolt of this beautiful cotton/nylon blend lace from one of her wholesale sources, and she was happy to give me a yard and a half or two for this little dress. She even gave me a nice cotton/spandex satin to use for the lining, which, on a sheer dress, will show--this one was the perfect color! (Tips for sewing on lace on Sewing Circle if you're curious).

I used a basic sheath dress pattern I had and cut the scoop neck out. I decided I wanted a little more skin to show than the crew neck of the pattern, since I'm not very curvy and a straight sheath dress could take away all my curves if I'm not careful. This one has small bust darts, but still. I used the sleeves from another pattern for the little half sleeves.

I threw this together in about two hours and, of course, was finishing it the morning of the photo shoot. Ooops. We've all been there, right? ;)

So, I wore it for the photos (will share soon, I'm sure!!) but I may get another chance to wear this sometime soon. Perfect timing, last week I saw Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely shared how to make a pale lace dress work for fall. Imagine, red tights, brown belt, brown glasses... cute cute cute!! What do you say, would you wear white lace after Labor Day? ;)



How to Wear DIY: Double DIY outfit for fall

After our long Indian summer warm weather, it's back to practical fall wear this week, so sharing a look I've adopted again this fall now that it's gotten really cold all of a sudden! I modified this olive green cargo vest last year, giving it waist definition and making it look like it fits me rather than a giant;), and you'll notice I'm wearing it here with my new fave DIY boyfriend jeans. I was so into the vest look last year, but I wanted to make it look fresher, updated somehow... I'm seeing them again this winter but want to give it a 2012 spin! So the boyfriend jeans helped, and my new suede smoking slippers, and that score of a sweater from Goodwill--J.Crew, awww yeah...
 Sweater: J.Crew via Goodwill. Necklace: Target via Goodwill. Shoes: Ross, $9.99 on clearance and real leather!

My husband loves the cold weather because he can wear his sweaters--he gets hot all the time but likes wearing layers when he can. Me, on the other hand? The weather has gone from 70's and 80's last week and the week before to 50's this week, and I am not adjusting well. I have to put on a jacket now before I go out on errands?!?!!?

Here we are out on a fall walk, but I won't be able to get away with this much longer. Next shoe shot may have to be in riding boots and woolly socks! ;)

Fall is here!!!



We've painted a LOT of furniture lately.

Get ready for lost of house posts this week! Have lots to share with you. With all the house projects and decorating going on, and with rushing for the housewarming party a few weeks ago, we've painted a LOT of cheap furniture lately. Particularly nightstands. ;)

I shared the little table spray paint project I did and am very happy with, but we had such a shortage of horizontal surfaces, as my parents like to say (usually in reference to collecting clutter...) that I seriously had my lamp on the floor next to the bed, and my books and magazines and glasses all splayed out next to it, which was seriously annoying. The guest room was depressingly empty, and there was nowhere near the front door for a lamp or place to put a purse... all of which sort of leads to feeling like your life is in chaos and the simplest things are missing. ;)

So I went a little Craigslist crazy in the weeks before the move and the housewarming party, and found the following scores...

This little night stand for $5. Broken handle, but I spray-primed it (just in case, old surface...), spray painted it white, and gave it some new handles from Fred Meyer. Not sure where it'll go in the end, but for now it sits near the front door and has a lamp on it. We have a little corner it fits perfectly into until we get the perfect shoe-taking-off bench!

I actually bought the $5 nightstand for use as a nightstand, but went back and forth on what to use for our nightstands and the nightstand in the guest room. Then I found this matching set of nearly identical little nightstands on Craigslist for $30. I do like matching nightstands!!

So I bought 'em, washed 'em down with TSP, and spray painted them this pretty pale green pistachio color. I wanted pale minty aqua, but there are only so many choices of Krylon spray paint, and I didn't have time for real-painting and the surface was so smooth, I didn't want brush strokes. I wanted a really pale color, so pistachio it is!! The bedroom colors aren't nailed down yet, anyway. I also added some gold spray paint to the handles to freshen them up and cover up the chipping ivory paint in some of the dips. Here's mine...

Husband has, erm, styled his a little differently than mine... at least the lego storm trooper alarm clock is white, matches everything else, haha!

So now we have matching nightstands in the bedroom! And an extra in the downstairs, it turns out.

Also not really knowing what exactly I wanted it for, I bought an Ikea Rast dresser on Craigslist for $10--I love all the DIYs out there for this little lightweight wooden dresser. Inspired by this Apartment Therapy Rast makeover and this Design*Sponge one and loads of others, I wanted to do the two-tone look and rather than stain the pine, I used some dark brown paint we had left over from an old dresser-painting project. And used the high gloss white of the baseboards, and bought some little gold knobs... and voila!!

It looks great in the guest room. I love Rast dressers as nightstands--the straight lines are so simple and elegant... (in our lovely guest room currently on Apartment Therapy in the Room for Color Contest! "Favorite" it to vote for me! ;) )

Phew, lots of painting--but it's so great to be able to transform bargain pieces with paint and handles and make them fresh and new!!



I'm on Apartment Therapy! I'd love your vote!

Wahoo, I'm SO excited that my guest room is featured on Apartment Therapy as part of the Room for Color Contest! The prizes include all kinds of neat goodies from Sherwin Williams and others, but mostly I'm just SO excited to have some images from my home on this inspirational community site.

Our guest room, with its dramatic navy blue wall, is in the "Dark" category and needs more "Favorite" hearts than the others to progress to the next round (by October 29!). So help me out, and log in to Apartment Therapy or sign up if you're new, and at the bottom of the post about my guest room, click the "Favorite" heart button!
**I'm hoping I can get them to change the title of the room; I must have been confused when I entered it, but obvs a more appropriate title would be something about the room, not me! Hopefully I can get that clarified, and mention my blog separately. :)**

Also, pin away if you like the room and want to share :)...



Favorite new old boyfriend jeans--my jeans-mending method in action yet again, plus making skinny jeans.

My jeans-mending method comes to the rescue again! I did a tutorial ages ago for how I mend holes in jeans to give them an "I meant to do this" look like the trendy pre-worn jeans sometimes have, but also with a super EASY technique that keeps the patching in place as you sew.

I've used this technique a mazillion times, to be exact, and the latest iteration is particularly successful. My friend gave me an old pair of Sevens that didn't fit her and had holes in the knees, and she bought them in a lot on eBay anyway. Oh, if my 15-year-old self could see me now... I FINALLY own a real pair of Sevens!! My fave designer from those days. Still good jeans. Anyway, these were the classic bootcut style, so I did two major things to them: I made them skinnier, so now they're a straight cut, kind of like boyfriend jeans but a little tighter everywhere. Of course, I also mended the holes.

Plenty of detail on that for you... also check out the follow-up tutorial I did on how to mend jeans when the holes are in the knees or other hard-to-maneuver places. It can be done!! Using my same 'ol fave method.


DURING! Turning the jeans inside out...

Applying the fusible interfacing...

In this case, had to reinforce with some cotton on a particularly thinly threaded hole...

MADE SKINNIER.... no pics, oops!


Totally gets that casual boyfriend look, right?! These are like my new fave jeans!! I've been wearing them around partially mended, but now they're done and I can share pics. Love these!

I totally encourage you to take care of your fave jeans and make them wearable for even longer! That ripped look is in and it's quite convenient for those of us who don't like to buy new stuff all the time. ;)

Tutorials here (basic method) and here (tips for knees, tough areas).



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