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??

Silver & Gold

I told you there was more shiny coming! I said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again. I’m into the metallic fabrics this year. I’ve sewn more than one (or two) pieces from shiny fabrics this year.

They just add a little extra somethin’ somethin’. But I think the greatest thing about metallic garments are that they are never really out of season. Yeah, you tend to associate them for the holidays–and they are definitely appropriate for this time of year–but in reality, they kind of fit in at any time of the year, especially for those more formal occasions. There are certainly ways to wear metallic fabrics not only for a New Year’s Eve party.




This is one of the most recent shiny pieces I made. A metallic silver wrap dress. I thought I’d use black sateen for the collar, cuffs, and sash since they interfaced better and would add a little more structure.

It’s hard to tell from far away, but the fabric actually has really narrow pleats (from JoAnn’s), which meant it required a little more patience to work with.

Spin tests. ;)

The second part of this shiny ensemble is a gold pleated A-line skirt I made earlier in the year. I think this is that one thing that started my metallic fabric craze. It’s great by itself, but it also looks awesome under dresses and skirts to add a little extra element of fun and surprise.

This coat is an *awesome* vintage curly lamb coat. The label is from Halle’s department store (Cleveland based, back in the day) and the lining is beautifully embossed with some embroidered initials. If you’re loving it, you can find it hereย with some more photos! (And bonus: it’s 20% off until New Year’s Day ;) )

I wore these beautiful earrings from Anthropoloie for my sister’s wedding a few years ago…unfortunately no longer available, but they definitely have some other beauties right now.


What shiny things have you made this year or season? Do they include party plans??


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! ;)

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

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

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