Winter Cozy

It’s that time. Time to start cozying up for winter. The cold kind of stinks, yeah…but that just means there’s all this opportunity for warming up and staying toasty :) To be honest, in the winter I am often donning a hat and scarf when I’m sitting at my sewing machine and with tea or cocoa nearby. Mostly because, I am inherently cold…as is my sewing room.

One of my sewing goals lately (and for the upcoming year) is to make more practical wardrobe items for myself. I tend to go for the novelty, both to sell and for my own closet–which I am okay with because you certainly need that fun stuff too!–but I want to incorporate more ‘everyday’ items into my sewing repertoire.

That’s why I recently made this sweater coat with a New Look pattern #6536. The pattern itself is an “easy coat pattern”, so by making it from a knit, there were a couple adjustments necessary.

The pattern didn’t call for any lining, again making it super compatible for a knit. Instead, I just left some of the raw edges exposed.

The knit I used was from Joanns (#15488166). It’s a double knit, so I thought I would make the seams contrast (wrong sides together) to add a little interest.

One of the adjustments I had to make was with the sleeves. When it was all said and done, the sleeves looked much too large. Had I used a heavier fabric so it was more of a coat, they probably would’ve been fine. But with a knit, the roomier sleeves just looked off. So, those got nipped in from the armpit to the wrist.

I’ve been making it a yearly goal when winter comes ’round to make myself a scarf. Last year I made a pretty slate blue infinity…and this year I opted for a cranberry red one. I’ve been wearing it with basically everything, so I’m thinking it was a good choice. ;)

I also made this favorite blue wool coat last year. It’s a Butterick pattern (#6385) that I made from blue wool that belonged to my grandma–which she so wonderfully preserved over 40 some years (!!!) More about it on this post.

Even though everything is frozen and dead for the winter, there’s something so peaceful and calm about nature in winter. It’s always a very quiet and tranquil experience. Don’t you think?

 

Outfit details:

Jeans-Gap; Booties-BedStu, similar; Carpet bag/purse-Vintage from FlowerChild in Columbus, OH.

 

Coming up next: Some holiday sparkle ;)

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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

From Summer to Fall

Don’t get me wrong, I love Fall and think it’s a great season–probably my favorite–but this year, I’m just not excited for Fall quite yet. It seems like the cooler weather came on so fast this year, whereas other years we often get a nice, drawn out Indian summer well into October. It’s like I can feel part of me being tugged in the direction of Fall acceptance…cozy clothes and hot drinks; then the other part of me fighting back with all its might…”No! It CAN NOT be Fall yet! It wasn’t even that hot this summer!”

When the Summer to Fall weather transition begins…I’m always finding myself somewhat stumped with what is appropriate to wear for the warm-in-the-sun-but-cool-in-the-shade-and-at-night temperatures.

This is when the light jacket or coat comes in handy, many times over. Preferably one that is ‘sunny’ on the outside, but serves it’s cozy purpose when you put it on. The one I bring you in this post is pretty perfect for these weird weather days. It meets those ‘sunny’ color requirements, but is also utilitarian with its right amount of warmth.

 

I admit, I didn’t know how I felt about the colors at first. And I should preface that by saying that this was more fabric that my aunt gave me which belonged to my grandma. So, it has some significance to me. But again, I had mixed feelings and didn’t know what to do with it.

Ultimately, (and no surprise here) I landed on a light weight jacket–with some color supplementation. I had to use some solid red twill for the underarms and back panel which I think broke up the print in a pretty interesting way.

And since this coat was already a sea of color, I thought…why not make the lining a fun color too, hence the golden-rod yellow.

I will say, despite my doubts at the beginning…after I finished it, this one has indeed put more than one smile on my face and I’m sure will continue to as it gets a bit more show-time this [transitional] season. ;)

 

Outfit Details:

Coat: made by me; Jeans: AG; Sandals: DSW; Purse: J.W. Hulme; Sunglasses: vintage store

What a Mint

If you’re a designer or maker, you will understand when I say that there are some things you create that feel just a bit more special than the others. Maybe it’s a project that you dreamed of and made it come to life, or maybe it was something you had a long-time idea for and then finally took the steps to actually execute, so the whole process seemed like a long time coming. Or maybe just certain ones make you feel more excited than others.

Today, I bring you one of those pieces. One that makes me feel just a bit more excited. This was something I thought of making for a while, and didn’t actually take AS long as I expected it would altogether. Which is always welcome.

I won’t lie. I’ve really been loving this kimono trend. They really are great pieces to just throw on. I had the idea to make this for a little while, knowing that I wanted it to be mint green and have a lot of beading. Then I decided that a kimono style would be perfect because it’d bring a different take than what most of the retailers are carrying right now. And just as I’d hoped, the mint green works really well with all the silvery embellishment.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a lottttta beading.” Yes, it is. But I most certainly did not do that myself. I’m all for finding new uses for old clothes, so this beautiful beading came from a formal top I found at a thrift store that I cut up into pieces to use as appliques for my jacket.

This was the first time I’ve actually experimented with scuba knit. And I must say, it was a good experience. So you can probably expect to see more scuba-knitted pieces from me in the future. ;)

I like the idea of styling this jacket in a sort of semi-formal way with jeans and heels, but I am already imagining how I can wear it for a more formal occasion–like under a dress or with a great pair of pants.

 

Outfit Details:

Jacket: altered pattern #V9253; Jeans: Gap; Sunglasses: Jessica Simpson; Shoes: DSW (no longer available) but similar here; Clutch: Anthropologie (no longer available)

White Cotton Dresses

I had a summer sewing resolution this year to make more dresses. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that I have actually come through with that resolution, thanks in part to the McCall’s #V9253 contest from my last post, and also thanks to the fact that I’ve been a little bit better with the sewing self-discipline this summer.

As seen on my Pinterest boards, I’ve really been into flowy white cotton dresses lately, and one has been on my Make List practically the entire summer. The design I had in mind included something easy breezy with brown buttons, going either mid-way or all the way down. So when this Butterick pattern (#6363) appeared in my stash ;) it was a light bulb moment…! My perfect white dress pattern. Wooo!

Given it is white, and cotton…a slip is necessary to wear underneath this number. I admit, I don’t mind slips. I know most women (especially younger) feel slips are a bit of a hassle–but seriously, there’s a reason for them. Not only are they are saviors for unlined white dresses, they also bring back a little nostalgia and femininity to the art of dressing, because ladies…dressing is in fact an art form. Mmmhmm.

These peep-toes round out the entire ensemble perfectly. ;)

Complete with the brown buttons ;)

What I really love about a great white dress though, is of course the versatility. ^ This would totally be an appropriate dinner outfit, but if I wanted, I could make it more casual with some sandals, a sweater, and soft waves and take my basket purse to a picnic. ;)

Outfit details:

Bracelet-H&M (no longer available); Earrings-Vintage (mom’s); Basket purse-Vintage (etsy); Shoes-Target (no longer available)

Dressing for the Summer

I’m sitting here writing on a verrry brisk August evening, and I’m trying to think of where the summer time went.

Oh yeah…I was sewing. I’ve sewn a LOT this summer, and honestly haven’t been able to keep up with posts the way I intended. Included in one of these summer sewing projects has been #v9253 as part of another McCall’s sewing contest. This was a pattern I had really wanted to try, so when they announced another contest, I was definitely up for it.

 

The pattern sort of reminded me of a Kimono robe, so I thought a floral print would be fitting. This fabric is from JoAnn’s and is a rayon Challis…which was lovely to work with and drapes very well for this particular pattern.

I love when a dress gives a great spin ;)

The pattern itself easy to work with and pretty quick, which is always appreciated in my book. ;)

 

Outfit details: Purse-Vintage from Etsy; Shoes-from a friend; Bangles-from various places.

Summer Making

As an experienced fabric hoarder, I will say it is always extremely exciting to have that “aha!” moment when deciding what to use specific fabric for.

I had been hanging on to this printed cotton for 8 months or so because I just couldn’t decide what to make from it. Especially because there was only about a yard and a half, which meant I was somewhat limited, project-wise. Finally, I found that perfect something (M7603) after my most recent McCall’s pattern haul ($1.99 patterns? Yes. Please.) And hey, look! Another print! I’m on a roll… ;)

This McCalls pattern was very simple, and definitely a great basic to add to the summer wardrobe. I already have plans to make a few more versions.

The fabric I used was more that belonged to my Grandma… I guess I now know where my fabric hoarding habit came from. And the buttons are vintage that belonged to the other Grandma. ;)

Since I didn’t quite have enough of the printed fabric to use for the neck and shoulder binding, I used some solid dark pink which added a great contrast.

I am loving my new [vintage] basket purse. I’ve been searching for one of these for two summers now. I just couldn’t find one I liked enough, so you can imagine how happy I was when I found this one on Etsy from ThreeSparrowVintage. It’s the perfect summer bag because it coordinates with just about anything, plus it’s cheery and puts a smile on your face. ;)

 

Outfit details:

Jeans-Gap; Shoes-DSW; Earrings-Earthbound; Sunglasses-vintage; Basket purse-Etsy