I started this blog in 2009 when I had extra time on my hands and a new apartment to decorate, and lots of Anthropologie- and J.Crew-inspired dresses designed in my head. Since then I've learned a lot about what it means to DIY, in sewing your own clothes and in everything!, and I'm here to share my story with you.
I believe that doing it yourself is more fun, gratifying, and interesting than buying off the rack or shelf. I'm a DIY-er by nature and I bring that creative energy and drive to everything I do--getting dressed for my day, decorating my home, making dinner every night, or trying a new trend by making over an old piece in my closet. I love combining raw ingredients into something original that fits my needs way better than something store-bought!
Do you feel the same?
- Do you like to express yourself through your clothes, your decor, what you do in your kitchen?
- Do you spend your lunch hour or Saturday mornings collecting inspirations on Pinterest?
- Do you get frustrated on shopping trips when you're surrounded by cheap quality pieces that aren't quite perfect and you know must not be that hard to make at home?
The DIY movement is growing because of people like us. Learning new skills and reviving old ones, join with me as we build better wardrobes and homes custom to our needs and at a fraction of the cost of ordering from a catalog. This blog is about the power and joy that comes from "DIYing." Let me teach you what I've learned over years of sewing, cutting, spray painting, upholstering, gluing, framing, thrifting, remaking, preparing food with whole ingredients, and creating a home and wardrobe in a world full of consumer opportunities, branding, and things I don't need. Follow along with my sewing, decorating, crafty, and food posts and check out my How to Wear DIY posts, Home Tour, and wedding pics to see my creations in action.
Yes, I blog about sewing.
I learned to sew growing up--neither my mom nor I remember exactly how or when I got started. She has a home-based business making amazing historical replica clothing for re-enactors and museums and such, and has been doing it for more than 20 years now. So I've grown up with not only a talented seamstress to watch and shop with, but a historian who insists on doing things the right way rather than the fast way. When I started sewing a lot myself, during the summers during my college years, I got a little experimental and tried things new ways. Some of them worked, others didn't. I've made plenty of ugly things out of cheap fabric, but I've learned by doing! Now, I use a lot of my mom's quality techniques and some tricks and systems of my own.
A lot of my clothes come from thrift stores, which makes me feel better about the planet and human community involved in the new clothing industry, and saves money. Most of what I buy fits me right away, but some of it requires some tweaking. I’ve perfected the flared-work-pants-to-skinny-cropped-work-pants transformation, since no way to spend a lot of money on the latest, trendiest things when I can make them myself out of something old. I thrive in opportunity, to create something awesome out of something “blah”!
One fun feature on my blog is my How to Wear DIY series: street-style photos of me wearing something I’ve made myself, showing the world that I’m proud of my creations and wear them just like I do anything else. Homemade clothes don’t have to look like tea cozies and printed pajama pants. You can make all kinds of stylish things that will impress your DIYer and non-DIYer friends alike!
But not just sewing.
Like I said, I'm a DIY-er, and that means I make my own almond butter and love to cook meals from our CSA veggies. That means I get a chance to create something wonderful every day!
Favorite posts, favorites from lifeI got married in August of 2011, so you'll see a lot of DIY wedding posts from the summer months leading up to the wedding! I am a DIY-er by nature and almost always want to do things myself. It's more meaningful that way, and I can get exactly what I want! I made my dress and the bridesmaid dresses and lots of decor for the wedding. You can read about all the projects here and see some more pics here.
In August 2012, husband and I bought a brand new townhome just outside Portland, and I've been doing tons and tons of DIY decorating, from custom slipcovers to perfectly long, lined curtains to classy spray paint projects. There's always new inspiration to be had!
In October 2016 we bought a cosmetic fixer upper that needed every surface touched, some before we moved in. See the "before" tour here, and weekly reno updates here, and design and projects here.
Fun FactsOh, me?
|DIY patterned pillows and striped pillows, and my crazy huge re-done art DIY|
- I've been an Oregonian since I could walk, based in Portland, and find this funky city is just about perfect for me.
- I met my husband when we were 15, and after some back and forth and incredible growth as individuals and in our relationship, we've been together for a good part of 10 years and married since 2011. I'm so grateful for his love and support, and for how we make each other better! (He has a blog, too.)
- My mom has a business making historic clothing and I grew up surrounded by her love of history, beauty, quality materials, and strong women of the past. And knowing how to wear a corset.
- I'm terrible at sports but I love movement. I did ballet from childhood through college, and yoga and Pilates for half of that time, and had a frustratingly ineffective hardcore cardio phase for several years, but I've really found my groove now in strength training with heavy weights and the occasional CrossFit class (or at-home WOD) plus some serious functional mobility work.
- I love the ocean and warm weather and dream of spending sunny summer days at the Oregon coast, the San Juan Islands where I went to summer camp, Hawaii where we honeymooned, or somewhere else beautiful and tropical I've never been before.
- I'm a bit of a nerd at heart, particularly for Harry Potter and health research studies. I'm a former bookworm-turned-iPhone worm, unfortunately. Dang technology.
- I was vegetarian and then raw vegan for 13 years until Christmas of 2012. Those diets taught me to pay attention to my food and practice discipline, but left me with nearly translucent teeth, debilitating IBS, and no curves or muscle tone. Since then I've been healing my body and body image with a nourishing real food diet--call it Paleo or real food, it's a lifestyle for us, and it's been wonderful for my husband and me.
- I love going to bed early.
Featured Interviews and Writing ElsewhereMy biggest publish work to date is my DIY clothing repair/restyle book, DIY Wardrobe Makeovers! I'd love if you checked it out--and if you read it and like it, please write me a review!!
Some of my favorite interviews and pieces I've written around the web and print...
On DIY home décor:
- Suzannah and Jason's Did-It-Themselves Townhome - House Tour on Apartment Therapy
- DIY, low-cost decorating puts a personal stamp on a Beaverton townhouse on The Oregonian
On sewing and weddings:
- Meet the Maker: Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking! on Kollabora
- DIY Portland Wedding on Ruffled Blog
On life and real food:
- How to Shop for A Balanced, Real Food Diet - [In]Complete Magazine
Featured InThis blog and I have been featured here and there online and in print. My big exciting project is my book, DIY Wardrobe Makeovers, about refashioning and restyling your wardrobe, released in May 2015 from C&T Publishing!
My work can been seen in many places around the blog world... here are a few!
SponsorDoes your company share my values for high quality, beautifully designed, useful clothing and products? I love to share the news about brands with missions I can get behind. Check out my sponsorship page and media kit for more details and send me an email!
Photos by Nakalan McKay Photography (wedding photo by Studio 623 Photography).