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, butย 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?


Black, White, and Orange Allover

It would be a lie if I told you every single thing I sew makes my heart flutter with joy and love. Because sometimes, things just don’t turn out as planned. But, it is NOT a lie when I say that about this newly completed project. This is one of those things that got me reallly excited.

I’m sure many of you can agree with me when I say, I think my very favorite thing about the entire process of design and sewing is the process of making. There is really not much that stacks up against that feeling of accomplishment/gratification/satisfaction you get when you turn something that started as an idea, on paper into something three-dimensional with form and function. Taking something from concept to completion….gets me every time.

You can’t go wrong with a clean black and white color combo. Add a pop of color, and you’re golden. Unsurprisngly, I was totally movie inspired (hey, Gatsby) for this lovely kimono-esque jacket. And to get the result I was anticipating, there was a bit of pattern hacking involved.


The fabric on the back is actually a velvet burnout panel from Moodย  (#319285) Since it was sort of a weird size, I got 2 and used it just for the back and upper sleeves. I sewed a white underlay because I really wanted the beautiful pattern to be visible–which probably wouldn’t have been as noticeable had I just left it. An underlay on the back and sleeves also helped with stability and allowed me to add the orange lining.

The outer front and lower sleeve front is a black cotton sateen. The back and upper sleeves are velvet burnout with a white underlay. As I said…I had to do a bit of pattern hacking. I combined the body from #m7132 and the sleeve from #m7542 and created a lining for the whole thing. Other than a bit of adjustment to the armscye, they were a pretty good hybrid.

The orange really gives that perfect burst of color.

Yep. All the appliques were hand-stitched because I did not want to hassle with the machine. It took quite a bit of time, but it was worth it in the end. :)

Necklace from local Cleveland shop: Land of Plenty

The Venice lace appliques came from a few places. Some I had in my stash, and some I had to order online. I will tell you, finding the right appliques in the right sizes was more of a task than I anticipated. But alas, I found the ones I needed from Lace Heaven and they worked out perfectly (Isn’t the one on the back awesome? 8) ) They were super fast to ship, too.

At least while it’s snowy and grey outside, this fun kimono is smiling with sunshine-y color. ;)

What’s everyone else sewing right now to forget about all this snow??

Holiday Sparkle

Last year it seemed like the holiday season came and went and there wasn’t too much time to enjoy it ( I guess it often feels like that), but this year I made it a point to slow down a little and really enjoy the season. I’ve made several pieces (yay!) I’ve watched a bunch of Christmas movies and listened to lots of different holiday music. I’ve also already made quite a few batches of cookies. I. am. embracing it this year.

And since I don’t recall making anything fun and sparkly last Christmas, I thought I’d keep with the festive attitude and make something RED and sparkly, because how much more holiday can you get than that?!

What actually inspired me to make this dress was Grace Kelly’s character, Margo, from Dial M for Murder. As far as Hitchcock films go, Dial M is definitely up there for me. I absolutely love the gorgeous red dress that Margo wears in one of the first scenes.

Google image

How can you not love this beautiful frock?! It makes my heart flutter with joy.

Here is my version, using Vogue pattern #v8280. What I really like about this pattern is how it looks like the sleeves are a separate bolero kind of piece, but it’s all attached.

So I made the sleeves and back with the sparkle red fabric from Joann fabrics. And the solid red is a peachskin fabric.

By some form of magic, I already had this red belt which literally matches perfectly to the red color of the dress.

Like with most projects, there are some tribulations along the way. And this one was with the zipper. I first put in an invisible zipper, and it just did not look right. ( I think mostly because I need to get an invisible zipper foot for my machine) So I ripped that one out and put in a normal zipper and it looked 100 times better.

Also for the back, I made an underlay for the sequin fabric with lining. It just made it a heck of a lot easier to work with by keeping it from shifting and getting sequins caught in the machine.

Kick pleats!

This fabulous coat is an Oscar de la Renta coat I got on MAJOR sale one year. I don’t remember how much it was exactly, but I do remember that it was an absolute steal and it would’ve been stupid not to buy it. I always wear it around the holidays because it is a heavier coat, but also partly because it has the vibrant and festive red lining…which just matches this dress wonderfully. ;)


Outfit details: Seamed nylons-Dillard’s; Coat-Oscar de la Renta; Clutch-Anthropologie, no longer available.


Watch out: More shiny things, coming your way! ;)

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 ;)

Fall Jacket: Quilted

Brrrr! It’s a bit chilly on this first day of October as I sit here writing this, but it is the morning, and I know that it will likely warm up throughout the day especially as the sun comes out. Like I talked about in my last post though, these are the weather days that confuse my dressing habits. It’s cold in the shade and warm in the sun…cold in the morning, warm during the day, and cold at night…howww are you possibly supposed to stay comfortable without changing 100 times throughout the day??

Every year, I also find myself facing these issues with outerwear. And I admit, I often classify my multiple jackets and coats based on what temperature they’re most appropriate for: “40 degrees coat”…”50-60’s appropriate”…etc. Sounds silly, but honestly it helps to know what coat or jacket is the one I’ll be most comfortable in.

I will say, I have a lot that land on either end of the spectrum, and not many that are appropriate for those in between weather extremities—like for October weather in Ohio. That is why I made this quilted jacket. It’s pretty perfect for Fall. It’s really cozy for this chillier weather, but not super hot in the sun.



Outfit details:

Coat: If you like, request custom here ;) Necklace: made by me, find others like it here; Jeans: Gap; Shoes: Clarks Desert Boots; Purse: J.W. Hulme; Sunglasses: Jessica Simpson

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 ย (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!

More Adventures in Sewing…

I told you a sequel to my last post was coming…so here it is.

For the McCall’s contest, I made another version of pattern #7542 with a different sleeve variation.

With this one, I wanted to use up some extra faux leather and lace. Since I love mixing those highs and lows in designs, I thought I’d marry the two drastically different fabrics for this top.

Because you know what they say… opposites attract.


While this certainly had some challenges during the making process–it wasn’t AS much of a headache as I anticipated it could be. And that is always a nice surprise.

This top certainly turned out to be one you could dress up or wear a little more casually for that edgier vibe.


Outfit details:

Jeans-Gap; Belt-came on a BCBG top; Shoes-also BCBGeneration, here