Thursday, October 4, 2018

Frappuccino sweater and Paprika Patterns Jade Skirt

It's funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Aside from my amazing rainbow staircase I painted....

Other than that, I am back to taking photos in front of my orange bookshelf! I think that's what I mean about things staying the same. I used to take photos in front of it in the bungalow house I rented in Chicago from 2009-2014.

By now, I am fully moved in and settled into my house in Grand Rapids, Michigan -- one WE BOUGHT. I know I mentioned it in my last blog post, but it's my biggest accomplishment so far in my entire life. We didn't accept any help from anyone in our family either -- so it was ALL us making the house thing happen.

 During my settling in time, I have been able to already crank out 3 new items -- one being this ridiculously fun frappuccino sweater. I used a sweater knit from but found the Starbucks patch online.
 I'm sure there is some sort of licensing issue with the seller of the patch and Starbucks itself, but .... kinda not my deal to worry about! Haha. Funnily enough, I have never necessarily been a huge Starbucks person myself (I drink basically only teas). I indulge on the pumpkin spice train for sure but I have taken a liking to the mocha frappuccinos in place of ice cream sometimes.

 The top here was super-easy -- I used KwikSew's K4207 but edited the pattern to have long sleeves. I also added a bottom hem cuff and sleeve hem cuff. It's just a basic knit pattern tee, so that works really well for any knit top.

 And here is the pretty accurate patch.
 I ended up making a 2nd Jade Skirt by Paprika Patterns recently, and here that is!

I accidentally ordered a slightly thinner ponte knit than I really wanted (I wanted that nice medium weight!) so I had to make a few adjustments to how I sewed it. Normally, you would leave the folds not stitched on the top, but there was no way this fabric was going to behave otherwise. I ended up using a double-needle to secure the folds and went on my way with it.

 The inside has this fun zigzag lining! It was cheap and I thought it would be fun to have a nice surprise inside of a plain black skirt.

Grand Rapids has been really great so far. I'm familiar enough with it since I used to "escape to the city" over here in high school. However, 15 years ago, Grand Rapids was a fairly boring city. Sure, I went to the free GRD shows in Rosa Parks Circle in 2003-ish and saw bands like Eve6 and more local-ish bands like 19Wheels in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, but other than that? There wasn't a whole lot going on. 

It would be a full 5 years after I left for Chicago that they would start world-renowned public art party, Art Prize. 

I think that's what's so nice about this city now -- it seems like they really embrace their art culture and help it along. I find they are open to new ideas and trying new things as a whole. (They are testing driverless shuttles next year downtown!) It seems like GR is a very recycle-heavy city and they love alternative energy/solar power where applicable.

I have almost anything I would ever want right near me -- from big concert arenas like Van Andel to smaller venues like The Pyramid Scheme (fully equipped with old school arcade games), to authentic food like bowls of pho about 2 miles down the street from me (buy one get one 50% off!!!), a good Thai place, and a great Mexican place right nearby where I live. Also plenty of Middle Eastern food and even Albanian which I had never had until recently!

If a store you like isn't on 28th Street somewhere or within the mall, you probably don't need it. I can see myself being sucked into the Shops at the Centerpoint Mall with all of my favorite things in one place --Joann Fabrics, World Market, DSW, and TJ Maxx/Home Goods.

I think the best thing so far about GR is the people -- out in public people are decently nice and accommodating. (I am NOT used to anyone saying "excuse me" in public places like a grocery store or mall. Often times now I am the "rude" one out here because I got so used to standing in random crowded spots, not paying attention, and not moving!)

I also have old high school good friends who still live nearby, plus Patrick's family. It just feels like everything is in the right spot right now and that's amazing. 

Although we are right in the city proper, my house has trees surrounding it so it feels like you are in a slightly more wooded area. If I got tired of the city, then not even 5 or 6 miles away from me is the country. We went out to a corn field/apple orchard/winery this weekend called Robinette's and were able to do apple cider and donuts and a corn maze! There is also a nice-looking heavily wooded park called Millennium Park (haha) that I haven't had a chance to visit yet, but it's on my list.

Grand Rapids is a smaller city with a big city heart. I think it matches my personality very well!

Glasses by Wherelight .

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Burda's Changeable Infinity Dress

Well, I honestly didn't know these infinity dresses were a "thing" but I guess I do now!

I can see why they make a popular choice for bridesmaids dresses as everyone can have their own look and yet remain uniform.

This pattern is pretty new and I bought it on sale via Burda's website. I was intrigued by how it worked and it's much simpler than you would think!

It does take a LOT of yardage (6.5, though I recommend 7 with seam allowances). The pattern wants you to use a medium weight jersey but honestly, the lighter the better if you ask me!

My fabric is from (as always!) and is a super soft double-brushed knit.

I knew instantly I wanted a print for this dress so I set off to find a nice printed knit.

I only have 4 examples of tying this dress but there are countless ways of doing it!

 I tend to like it a little twisted in the back although there are various ways of situating the back.

 This way could be great for fall since it's more covered up. I like how you can vary the back even with more fabric here.

I've never owned anything with one shoulder so it was so cool to have that option!

The final way we tied it for photos ended up being maybe one of my favorite looks. 

This is a really quick sew! It's a good travel dress too, great for summer.

I would have had this done quicker but my ass had to go ahead and get food poisoning and feel unwell for almost 3 frigging weeks! I never get sick so that illness really got me good.

We're set to move into our *new house* in Grand Rapids, MI soon so I'm not sure how many more projects will be able to be completed before all of that.

We had many choices of where to move but ultimately we picked Grand Rapids because the houses were affordable, it's a HUGE art city (look up Art Prize which happens in the fall every year), it's close enough to where me and Patrick grew up even though only his family is in the area. I have a lot of friends nearby from high school still which is pretty nice. And, if we so felt like it, Chicago is only an Amtrak ride away!

Weirdly, I don't really miss Chicago. I spent almost 15 years there and I felt it was time to move on. I felt like I exhausted all of the opportunities that were out there for me personally and just wanted a calmer place to live.

I've always wanted to own a house and I saved almost the entire time I was in Chicago for it! Grand Rapids still has good cultural foods if you know where to look and it's a growing city.

I definitely will have a nice sewing space downstairs and I can't wait to expand my creativity to redoing house items.

We plan on having a colorful, artsy home as Patrick also loves color and creativity. So this will be exciting!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Burda's jersey knit twist top

Super quick make = super quick post! 

I made Burda's jersey knit twist top which has a dolman sleeve-like effect. I have a top like this in all black which is one of my favorites. This one is a little more special because it does what seems like a Pattern Magic twist within the pattern making.

Here is a photo with the 1st seam sewn. It only has 4 seams and then sleeve and bottom hem plus neck stitching!

I actually had this fabric in my stash since November. It is one of those trompe l'oile prints where it appears to be knitted but is really just printed. 

Good for me because while I like sweaters, I also tend to run hot and sometimes sweaters are constricting. 

This was a fabric I added onto my cart on to get free shipping! 😆😆 Initially I thought I might make a plain turtleneck out of it, but this is so much more interesting!

I probably will make a few more of these when I get a chance!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Butterick B6554 Wrap Dress

I'm on a roll lately.

I'm just gonna keep cranking out new pieces and buying new fabric because that is what my life is currently all about!

I finished Butterick's B6554 recently and finally got around to taking photos today.

This is my 1st mobile post because my laptop's fan recently died and I would prefer not to overheat my computer while the other replacement fan is being shipped! 😆😆

We decided that today we needed to take photos in our soon-to-be-new city of Grand Rapids, Michigan! More details forthcoming but we are really excited for a change of scenery and a new life.

 We goofed off quite a bit in these photos as you can see. The backdrop is downtown Grand Rapids on the iconic blue bridge.

For this dress, I used about 5 yards of fabric from (my go-to!) of Kaffe Fassett's "Lake Blooms" fabric. Fitting that it would be called "lake blooms" since now I am on the opposite side of the lake from Chicago.

The colors of the fabric are gorgeous! 

 So Patrick's mom is in the background here yelling "fritos!" instead of "cheese". Interesting choice, but it works I guess?!

 I just love how this dress came out!

I'm glad I ended up having to choose another fabric since my original choice was not enough yardage. It was just one of those happy accidents.

Carlos from Vogue Patterns posted a "Sew the Look" on this dress. I was inspired so I went and bought the pattern! Screencap below.

Overall, this dress was such an easy sew! I made the top a size 10 and graded the waist into a 12, but I probably could have done a straight 10 as it is a wrap dress. 

Now I want to make the 2 other versions of this pattern! There is a strappy tank version as well as a shorter wrap look. 

And here we are all on the bridge together!

I've really been taking some time this summer to relax, regroup, and get ready for the next adventure and phase in my life. It's been more than time to do this and it's been really cool to sew and be creative for a bit while in transition to a new life.

Hope everyone else is having a nice summer too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New Look 6514 -- Quick Duster jacket

Finally got out to take some photos of this long duster-top thing!

 This one happens to be New Look 6514 which I have had in my stash for a minute. Making this was all actually a happy accident!

Originally, I bought this Art Gallery fabric named Carnaby for a Butterick Dress "sew the look" that Carlos from Vogue Patterns posted. I have been needing some sewing/design projects to keep me occupied lately since we are moving permanently to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

I don't know how/why I spaced on the fabric yardage but the Butterick dress needed 5 yards and there was only 4 left in this print! I pulled New Look 6514 out of my stash and it only needed around 4 yards! Yay!

Above, I ended up buying 5 yards of a Kaffe Fassett "Lake Blooms" fabric (left) for the "sew the look" Butterick dress. I actually am most of the way done with the Butterick dress too! 

(See below for the post by Carlos.)

Lately, I feel like my looks runs from "cool badass" to "boho beauty" and so much less vintage/retro than before, but that's just fashion if you ask me. I also am super-into black lipstick though I don't wear it out as much as I should. Some people have signature red? My signature lately has been black lipstick!

This top/duster was super-easy to make. The hardest thing about it may have been ironing my 4 yards of fabric (haha) and this sewed up very quickly.

I made no adjustments to View B in a size Small on the pattern. I actually wanted to make the longer version but when I measured, I noticed  that this was the perfect length for 5 foot me!


Michigan has been fun lately. There is SO MUCH more to do here than there used to be. They are really building up areas like downtown Muskegon (food trucks, Taste of Muskegon, cool cocktail bar with live jazz or blues, farmers markets, indie shopping, outdoor concerts, etc.)  Not to mention that there is a ton of nature-related things to do here like hiking, kayaking, exploring, or outdoor museums like historic White Pine Village. 

I have missed walking around and feeling relatively safe. Chicago just got too nuts for me and all of the violence and rudeness. (Yup, ruder than NYC!) People in Michigan are SUPER nice and Grand Rapids is a huge art city. I think we will really settle in here nicely.

My long-time post as a manager of clothing store Brooklyn Industries in Chicago closed the end of March so me and Patrick decided that now was the perfect time to pick up, move, and change our lives for the better! It had been almost 15 years of Chicago for me (minus that brief 8 months back in Michigan) so it was long overdue being time for a change.

I weirdly feel more free to be myself out here in Grand Rapids than in a big city like Chicago.

Another random note: I stopped dyeing my hair maybe 4 months ago with the exception of a little Touch of Sun spray here and there, so this is mostly back to my natural red color. I'm surprised to see it like this after soooo many years of dye. It's been really hard to get back to it but I am more there now than ever! 

 Until next time!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sewaholic's Robson Coat

Hey guys! I know it's been a bit, but here is the latest -- a really fun quilted faux leather trenchcoat using Sewaholic's Robson Coat pattern!

Weirdly enough, I think this was my first indie sewing pattern as the past few years I have used Big 4 patterns or even further back, made my own.

I used leftover quilted leather from a jacket I made about 3 years ago with a Burda pattern. I knew it would come in handy someday! We were in town in Grand Rapids, Michigan and were able to take these photos.

I ended up underlining my jacket (since I hate jackets with no linings!) and ended up using this guide I found online for reference. Although I know how to design myself, when I sew for my own use I generally don't want to think too hard and will just follow instructions of other's.

I had a Brooklyn Industries trenchcoat that I loved but it is nearing around 7 or 8 years old and I have worn it SO much that it started to shred. So, I decided that this coat would be a perfect upgrade!

I made minor mistakes along the way (that most probably won't notice) but since I was taking my sweet time making it (like 5 months!) I tended to not be as picky with whatever I did that was a teeny bit off.

To be clear, it doesn't take 5 months to underline and make this -- I just have had a lot going on work-wise.

I actually edited the length on this pattern by quite a bit. If I recall, I took out 3 inches in the body length and 3 inches in the arm length as well. I am not sure why it was so long to begin with, but I also am 5 feet tall! In the end, the length came out perfect with both things.

And here are some more photos of it on my dressform! 

At this point, I have actually run out of my main list of projects that I had lined up to sew. While I definitely have some patterns around that I haven't used, I either don't have fabric at the moment or not really in a rush to make any of them.

I decided a while ago to begin primarily making my own patterns again and see what else I can do with them. It's something I just keep pushing off. For what reason, I don't know. Maybe it's just easy to cut and sew? I definitely have been wanting to re-focus myself again as a designer and make up all kinds of crazy things that have been in my head. I've been doing a ton of digital sketching and playing around with things.

I have much more free time than before, so hopefully this will help lead me down a path that I think I am more suited for in life. 

Stay tuned!
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