When Projects Blossom

When you have camera related issues I suppose that sets you back a little with blog posting. That, and you know, life.

While I intended to post these on Valentine’s day, my camera’s SD card had other plans. Plans to stop working. I was afraid I was going to lose all these pictures of this jacket I’m calling my “cherry blossom” jacket. But, thankfully we were able to recover these, and many other photos. Phew. Crisis averted this time. “Cherry blossom” was a little bit of a process…but thanks to RIT dye, a trusty Vogue pattern, and a little bit of patience, it came together pretty well.

I used Vogue pattern #v9212. This is the third jacket I’ve completed from this pattern, so that should tell you what I think of it. ;) And actually, every one I’ve done I used some sort of dyeing technique. The first one I made, I used an ice-dyeing technique. For the second one, I made dye out of black walnut and used it for the back and sleeves. Those posts are here, and here.

So, I really wanted to find a cherry blossom print for this jacket. I searched and searched for fabric I liked and found one contender, but ultimately decided against it. That’s when the light bulb went off–I’ll make my own print!

I absolutely love dyeing and textiles, but I had never tried anything like this before. So, I knew I needed to come up with a plan if I wanted to execute the project effectively. First, I drew out a cherry blossom design on a sketchpad so I had an idea of scale and repeat.


Then, I cut out all my pieces, and laid them out and sketched my design with pencil on each pattern piece. For this version, I picked up some 100% white cotton twill, so the RIT dye I used would absorb nicely.

Then I mixed my dyes in bowls and used paint brushes to apply (check out my time lapse video on Insta). The red flowers didn’t turn out quite as red as I’d hoped, they actually look much more pink in the photos, too. But alas, the result was basically as I’d hoped.

What’s better than a bright pink lining, I mean really?

I used a lot of steam and definitely a press cloth while working on this. Since I painted on the design with brushes, some areas were a little more concentrated with dye and rubbed off. The press cloth protected the ironing board and iron, and the steam helped to set in the dye. I’m still not planning on throwing this one in the washing machine though, so I’ll likely opt for spot or dry cleaning.

Luckily, I had some extra red twill that I used for the facing–turns out it matched my dress pretty perfectly!

Overall, it definitely took quite a bit of time, but I had a lot of fun with this one. I can’t wait to wear “cherry blossom” through Spring. :)



Have you tried any new projects or techniques lately that turned out as you hoped?


Nuts for Dyeing

I’m not going to lie, I have realllllly enjoyed this beautifully warm “Fall” we’ve been having. Only this week has it actually begun to feel like a more typical Fall with some colder temps. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Fall…but I am also quite the freeze baby–so the warmer it is for longer, I’m more than content with that.

But, you know what this cool weather inevitably means: Jackets! (And coats!) So, for this post I bring you one of my FAVES. I actually made this one last year, but never blogged about it, so I will do that today. ;) And this one my friends, has a really fun story.

I used Vogue Pattern #V9212, and is not the only version I’ve made with it. (Ice dyed: here) Probably because I truly love this pattern. It’s relatively simple and the design is pretty stellar, which is likely why I keep coming back to it. (Expect a couple more in the future).

So here’s the fun story:

I used three different fabrics for the shell of this jacket. Not necessarily on purpose, but because I didn’t quite have enough of any for the whole jacket. But all in all, I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome. Sometimes, the best designs happen through improvisation.

I used 1-Black wool, 2-Tan faux leather, 3-Walnut dyed cotton pique.

Yes. Walnut dyed. For those of you who may know me and my creative endeavors…dyeing is one of my all-time favorite things to do and incorporate into my sewing/designs. And last year, I decided I’d try out black walnut. I had made some walnut stain before and used it on some wooden home projects, so I thought I’d give it a shot with fabric.

I dyed the cotton pique with walnut dye (boiled down walnuts, basically) and really only had enough fabric to use for the back panel of the jacket, and the upper sleeves. The rest of the jacket used the faux leather and black wool. The result is this pretty cool color-blocked jacket that will be one of my forever favorite makes.

Honestly, the pictures don’t do the walnut dyed fabric justice.


I also made the necklace I am wearing. It is made from recycled leather and old mechanic parts that belonged to my mechanic grandfather. I have more like it listed on my Etsy, here.


And the shoes…yeah. Those I re-made. Here’s the thing…I’ve been looking for a pair of metallic booties for a while and of the ones I’ve found, my size is of course sold out. So…I thought I’d make my own. The shoes are by DV from Target, and I did a bit of artistic painting to get them the look I was going for. And as with the walnut fabric, these pictures don’t do the shimmery shoes justice.


Outfit details:

White shirt: Anthropologie; Black skinnies: Gap; Purse: J.W. Hulme

Old Movie Inspired

Ask my husband, and he’ll tell you that almost every time we watch an old movie on TCM, I’m running over to the TV with my phone so I can get a picture of a costume that I find inspiring.

I was totally inspired for this next one…by Ann Miller in Two Tickets to Broadway. I used the same pattern  (M7513) as I did for the jacket in this post. And again, I also did some dyeing for it. Instead of marbling though, I did a full dunk of color. I used RIT dye again, and I did a little bit of color mixing (thanks to RIT’s website full of dye recipes) to achieve this periwinkle hue. Here’s how it came out:


It took a little searching to find some appliques I thought would work the best. I finally decided on these from Mood fabrics. They ended up giving just the look I was hoping for.

Leather look pants helped with that edgy aesthetic I was going for ;)

The trim I used was a combination of a normal braid trim with faux leather.

I contemplated making the collar the same periwinkle shade, but ultimately thought it would do well as a contrast piece.

Outfit details:

Belt: BCBGeneration (many years ago); Leather look pants from H&M (last year); Shoes: hand-me-down from a friend!

Marbled Shibori

On to the next one…

Okay, so my most current make: This marbled shibori jacket…is probably my newest favorite. I am totally in love with this one.

I won’t lie to you…the process included a couple tribulations along the way, or at least what I thought might be tribulations that actually turned out to be moments of delight; like the dye I used seemed a bit too blue when I first took it out but as it dried turned to the shade of grey I had hoped it would…and I didn’t have enough gold silk (again, using up remnants!) to make the collar or cuffs gold on both sides. But! I did have enough of the pale blue lining leftover, and so the underside of both, respectively, became blue.

Honestly, the result of this jacket reminded me of a more modern version of an 1800’s tailcoat. I used a McCall’s pattern (#m7513) and the tried and true Rit dye. My intention was to shibori dye in a way that looked more marbled–hence the use of grey dye. Since grey is a less vibrant color, I thought the shibori wouldn’t appear as obvious. And it didn’t, which is exactly what I was hoping for.


I actually re-made these shoes many years ago. They were a basic heel that I wanted to spruce up a bit. They have a total Marie Antoinette vibe–which works perfectly with my modern looking tailcoat, reminiscent of *around* the same time period. ;)

Luckily, I had just enough gold buttons stashed away to use as closures…crisis averted. Phew ;)

I also wanted to use gold for the facings so that the entire collar would be gold, but alas–not enough gold!



Outfit details: Jeans from Gap; Shoes-Jessica Simpson heels that I re-made; Clutch from Anthropologie (No longer available); earrings from Target very long ago.

DIY Duvet: Shibori Style

On this unusually warm February day, I bring you some more shibori. Who woulda thunk? ;) Honestly, I can’t get enough of shibori dyeing. I think it may be one of my favorite things to make because (and I know I’ve said it before) every piece is totally unique. When you tie something up into a shibori bundle, how it will turn out is a complete mystery and I think that’s what makes it so exciting. You can literally experiment tying and dyeing in endless ways and each way will produce completely different results.

So, the other day a light bulb went off in my head as I was lying in bed staring at my down comforter thinking, “man, I really need to get a duvet for this thing.” But, duvet covers can be very expensive because they are a bit of an investment for your bed and bedroom.

AHA! That’s when it happened. “I could make a shibori duvet!!” And so, the next day the project ensued. Instead of spending a pretty penny buying a pre-made duvet cover, I spent about $28 in total to make my own! And it was *totally* worth it. Now I have this beautiful duvet that is completely original and it will sure last me a long while.

In this post, I’ve laid out a little step-by-step in case you feel inspired yourself. :D

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Really, not much is needed to make your own duvet cover:

  • 2 White Flat sheets (the size of your bed)
  • Fabric dye, I used Rit dye in Denim Blue
  • String or rubber bands for your bundle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Buttons (about 5)
  • A bit pot for your bundle (I used a lobster pot)
  • (And additional sewing supplies of course: Scissors, Iron, Sewing machine…)

I just bought a couple flat sheets made from 100% cotton from Target so that I could ensure the dye would take. I also didn’t want the cover itself to be super heavy, so the weight of a normal sheet is perfect.


  • First thing I did was scrunch up one of the flat sheets, and tie it up with a lot of string.


  • Then I got my dye going on the stove until there was steam coming off the liquid… In went the bundle!
  • I let it sit in the dye for a few hours because I wanted a pretty rich, deep color of blue. It depends on the shade you want to achieve as to how long you leave the bundle in the dye. Obviously the shorter amount of time, the lighter the color will come out. (*Also take into account that some of the dye will bleed when you rinse it out and tumble dry)
  • When you think it’s time to take out your bundle, pour the dye out and cut the string from your bundle. Begin to rinse until the water runs clear. (This step can be a bit more strenuous than you’d think…you’ll get a good arm workout ;) )
  • Ring out the water from the sheet and throw in the dryer for about an hour. (*Unless pre-shrunk, your sheet will probably shrink just a bit. Just remember when you are stitching it together with your second white sheet. To avoid, you could wash and dry the second sheet also)


  • When your dyed sheet is dry, find a large flat surface to spread out both the dyed sheet and your second white sheet and pin right sides together on both long sides and one short side. The un-pinned short side will be the opening for your comforter.
  • Stitch!


  • After your three sides are stitched together, turn right side out and press the three seams flat, so they’re nice and crisp.
  • On the white sheet, fold and press one edge. This will be where you make button holes. And the shibori’d side is where the buttons will be attached.
  • Measure your buttons and mark where you’re placing the buttonholes along the edge. I used 5 buttons and evenly distributed them.


  • Once your buttonholes are stitched and buttons attached, you’re ready to slide onto your comforter!
  • Yay!! :)




Give it a try and let me know how it works! :)

Ice Cold Blue

I did it again. I made another ice-dyed coat. I had been dreaming up this one for quite some time, but only just executed the project. And like a lot of projects in life…it didn’t come out the way I thought it would. But, you know what they say: good things happen by accident.

For this go-around, I first made the coat out of Vogue Pattern #9212 (instead of the basic coat style of my initial sketch) with a white twill fabric and then used your tried and true Rit Dyes to do the ice dyeing.

My sketch here:


I had actually anticipated it including a lot more white–to look more like traditional Shibori with indigo dye (kind of like the stuff in this post from a while ago) But, I think I was a bit overzealous with the dye this time around, so it ended up totally covered with blue. And even though it didn’t turn out how I had hoped…it still ended up pretty awesome.

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I thought I would make the lining totally electric, since the coat shell turned out pretty dynamic.

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I don’t currently have this listed in my Etsy shop, but if there is any interest in a custom version, please send an email my way. ;)

Remaining Outfit details:

Denim-Gap; Belt-an old men’s belt; Booties-Lucky Brand

Design on the Surface

You know, faux fur is actually pretty warm. I realized this when we were taking these pictures in 20 +/- degrees. And then I remembered that the reason I hadn’t worn this coat more was because I had it in my head that it wasn’t that warm. Mmm, yeah…it’s pretty warm.

Like the last post, I bring you more surface design. What can I say? Great surface design just gives a piece that little extra somethin’, somethin’. What’s interesting though, is how surface design has evolved. Today, we see brands like Anthropologie favoring it in much of their selection. But it’s still not as commonly seen on the clothes we typically wear in today’s world (we’re not seeing any embellished leggings, thankfully), but surface design was something that was certainly more prevalent in fashions of the 30’s and 40’s. In the 1940’s, women’s clothing silhouettes weren’t all that interesting because of war-time restrictions that limited the amount of fabric used. Well, the fashionable ladies had to do something to remain stylish–enter, surface design–in many forms. Different trimmings, covered buttons, ribbon, etc. just so women could at least still feel fashionable. And let’s be real, that they were. So, I say…why not bring back some surface design?



Am I the only one who actually really likes the aesthetics created by different shades of white? Off-white and white? Together, they go. ;)

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Outfit details:

Coat, made by me but there is a cape version here; Dress from Macy’s many years ago, similar here; Boots from Aldo, similar here.