Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

Sewing: Maternity and Beyond Silk Kimono


When in LA earlier this summer, I found the most gorgeous silk print for $5 a yard. I snatched up two yards for the sole purpose to make a kimono out of it. After seeing Leanne’s amazing kimono (tutorial here), I’ve been on the hunt for the right fabric to make one. The stars aligned!


Because of the nature of the print, instead of only using a yard to construct the kimono, I ended up needing all two yards and even then I barely had enough to match up the patterns symmetrically.


I wish I took a photo of the front, but the patterns match up perfectly along the front as well for the perfect balance.



Between the the print and the silk, this piece took significantly more time to cut than to construct. Instead of just measuring out the pieces and cutting directly on the fabric as it instructs in the tutorial, I made pattern pieces so I could get perfect placement of the print. It also proved to be helpful when cutting the layers of silk out as the pattern pieces and weights provided stability while cutting.

I was stoked Leanne published her measurements for her pattern pieces. I ended up using those measurements exactly to put together the kimono. It’s sort of a one-size-fits-all piece, so I figure it would work well. And it did!


It’s the perfect layering piece without adding warmth to my outfits. The fewer layers I can wear, the better!

I didn’t mean to have such an annoyed look on my face when I took pictures today, but 99% of them came out looking like this. Perhaps I’m a little impatient to get this little one out of my belly and into my arms? I’m hoping this weekend is the weekend. Thursday would be perfect because it’s my grandma’s birthday. And that would be pretty sweet for the two of them to share a birthday. I share a birthday with my aunt, and it’s pretty awesome.


Outfit details:


Was that a contraction I just felt?!? Oh don’t get my hopes up little one!

Sewing: Comfy Sweater Raglan with Kangaroo Pocket


A long-sleeve raglan tee is a favorite wardrobe staple of mine that I’ve longed to make for the last several months. It took me so long to finally get around to making one for the simple fact that I tried to draft one up on my own and failed miserably. The first one I drafted was too straight-edged (literally, I just drew straight lines) and didn’t fit right. The second was too curvy (draped on my dressform) and also didn’t look right. All around too baggy or bulky in the wrong spots. So I went for a pattern instead. Shoulda done that from the get-go. WAAAY easier in this case.


I used a rayon/polyester blend double knit for this top. I fell in love with the print a week ago. It reminds me of something art-deco/the matrix (minus that hideous computer green), but I wasn’t totally sold on the texture. I tend to steer clear of polyester because I’m so particular about texture. Thankfully, a cycle in the washer and dryer softened it up to perfection.


The Hey June Lane Raglan pattern* I used recommended I sew up an XS based on my waist measurements (although I wonder if those were meant to be bust measurements?). Since the double knit didn’t offer a 50% stretch like the pattern recommended, I sized up. I almost wish I would have sized up to the medium for a hoodie-like fit (a little closer to what I had envisioned), but the tighter fit is still very comfortable, and lends itself towards a more polished look.


The fabric pattern is pretty busy – borderline overwhelming – breaking up the print with jersey knit piping around sleeve lines solved the issue.

I winged it with the pouch, and if I were to do it all over again, I’d shorten the top trapezoidal part of the pouch by about an inch and a half.


The pocket does add a little extra weight to my middle section; but I’m so over the moon how this top fits, I couldn’t care less. I’m sure if I zipped up the sides tighter it would reduce that visual weight. Or I could simply add a structured jacket overtop, no extra sewing required!

It’s been so cold around here, I’m not ready to part with my winter wardrobe just yet. I have plans to make even more early spring transitional pieces in the near future. It’s all about comfort, medium/lightweight fabrics, but long sleeves and hemlines to cover the skin from chilly breezes.



I finished the top just in time to throw it on and pick up the kids from school (Felix is loving his preschool, btw!). I felt comfortable, warm and put-together. All three major wins in my book. I will definitely make more of these in the near future.


Outfit details:

  • glasses:
  • earrings: c/o Pamela Susan
  • necklace: handmade by my dad
  • bracelet: THP
  • purse: Basik 855, c/o UmbaBox
  • raglan: handmade by me
  • denim: Forever 21
  • booties: Seychelles

A few simlar raglans, in case you don’t want to make your own.

*Pattern courtesy of Hey June. Just a little shout out about her patterns: they’re awesome, well drafted, well written and 25% of all patterns sold goes to Christian Care Foundation, an organization that provides care for special needs children in Thailand. This hits close to home since Felix is now technically “special needs”. We’ve been so blessed to have such great resources at our fingertips to help felix and our family grow together. I think it’s pretty awesome that there’s an organization out there providing supplemental help out there to families that may not have access to the same care that we do.

Sewing: Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial


This is the last of the pieces I made for Alt Summit. And sadly enough, I’ve barely used my sewing machines for basic mending since mid January. It’s time to get my rear in gear and sew some more! I’ve got a few great ideas for clothes for Penelope and me. Penelope is finally at a point where she’s not destroying her clothes, so I’m excited to start sewing for her again.

Here was the basic vision that I had for the first day of Alt Summit. It was something simple with the letter lover sweatshirt and skinnies (blogged here), but then kicked up a notch for the evening with a blazer and leather skirt.


The outfit pictured below isn’t what I actually wore the evening of the event, but it’s something I’ve been doing a lot lately: mixing neutrals. I’ve been mixing browns and blacks a lot lately. I find that it can be easily done, if browns and blacks are the only “color” introduced into the outfit. It’s much harder to mix neutrals (for me at least) when other colors are introduced into the palette.


Instead of going for a black leather like I had originally sketched out, I went for an oatmeal/white leather. It breaks up the brick pattern nicely and it’s a little more casual.


Constructing this skirt after my last leather skirt was a BREEZE. I didn’t insert any invisible zippers on leather. The fact that it’s mostly ponte knit allows for more wiggle room when moving around.


Between the knit and the yoga waistband, I can wear the skirt lower or higher depending upon how I want the overall look to come across. It’s nice to have flexible, comfortable pieces in the wardrobe.

So I’ve been meaning to write up this post for some time, but the biggest hang-up has been the tutorial. It’s so easy to make your own, I thought I would include a tutorial in the post. Click “read more” below to view the instructions.


Outfit Details:

  • earrings: c/o Ardor
  • necklace: Ann Taylor Loft
  • watch: c/o Feral
  • bracelets: handmade, gift
  • top: Forever 21
  • skirt: handmade
  • shoes: c/o Sole Society




Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial



  • 1 yard ponte knit (heavy knit with 50-65% 4-way stretch, see here)
  • garment weight leather (see measurements below for amount)
  • bulldog clips, or paper clips
  • large paper
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • regular sewing machine
  • universal sewing needle


Sewing: Alt Summit Look Thursday


This look didn’t come together quite like I had envisioned. I opted for more neutrals than florals, but I still mixed prints like I had originally wanted.


I couldn’t find a floral blazer like I had in mind, so I ended up finding this really cool textured blazer from H&M, then busted out some really rad geometric stretch fabric I scored in LA way back when.


Since I bought the fabric, I knew I wanted it to be a pencil skirt, but I was just too lazy to sew it up. I already have a pattern (that I use ALL THE TIME), it’s not like I had to draft up a new one! It was just a matter of changing the thread colors on my serger. My machine is actually really easy to thread, but I do find myself dragging my feet on projects just because I’d have to change threads. Anyone else do that?


I wanted this outfit to be comfortable, yet very business-like. The heels were the perfect balance of height and comfort. The skirt the perfect balance of something I could easily wiggle on just minutes before the first sessions of the day and still look put together.


I feel like in some ways this outfit was a little bit of a cop out. I wasn’t particularly creative with the silhouette and I had already made the top back in September. Just because this was a low-stress ensemble to pack, I felt I had less ownership over it. Maybe it was the fact that the blazer was clearly not self-made.


No matter. I was stoked to have squeaked out a midi pencil skirt out of the 3/4 of a yard I rummaged from LA and managed to match up the side seams. Those side seams are glorious, if you ask me!


I also perfected my machine serged blind hem. It’s my favorite binding to use on hems that will get a lot of stretch. I don’t have a coverstitch machine (yet?), but this is easily done with my serger with just a few tweaks to the settings. It’s cleaner than an overlock stitch on my regular machine and lot less time consuming than a hand-stitched blind hem. Also, did I mention the threads don’t break with stretch and movement?


Outfit details:


Sewing: Pussy Bow Blouse & Skinny Jeans


I finally feel like I’m back in the land of the living! I started laundry today (first time in 3 weeks), so I expect each and every one of you to give me an enthusiastic pat on the back. Just kidding! Chris has been picking up a lot of slack lately, so I’m glad to be taking back some of my household responsibilities.

I’m also back to sewing. Well, blogging about sewing. I haven’t touched my sewing machine since before Jan 21st. I’m aching to get back in the saddle. Too much pretty fabric just sitting, doing nothing.


This year with Alt Summit, I wanted to sew even more of my outfits (last year it was usually one thing, whether it was a piece of jewelry or a top or skirt). And this year I wanted to make pants. Like real pants. So I sketched up plans for outfits for each day (see above for Friday day and evening looks). My friday day look turned out nearly as planned (the oxblood leggings didn’t happen, obvi, but that’s okay). The Friday night look turned out completely different, but in a good way. More on that one later.

The limitations for Alt Summit:

  • I didn’t have time to go out and buy fabric or notions, so I was going on what I had.
  • I wanted each of my outfits to be *mostly* interchangeable in case I changed my mind about an outfit last minute. This meant a simple color palette.
  • I wanted clothes to be comfortable.
  • I didn’t want to spend too much time testing out a new pattern or fussing with zippers and enclosures.


That said I went pretty simple with my ensembles, but little special touches here and there. My wardrobe paled in comparison with Merrick’s and Leanne’s amazing duds. Seriously. Equal parts jealous and in love with their creations. Those ladies inspire me to push my sewing further.

For Friday’s look, I wanted a sweet and romantic pussy bow top with bishop sleeves. It turned out almost exactly how I envisioned it. Almost. I sewed everything up and was going for a final press when I forgot that my iron was set to the cotton setting! Unfortunately I melted half of a sleeve onto my iron. I’m thankful it was the bottom half so I could salvage the sleeves without much hassle.


I used Jessica’s Simple Blouse pattern (another variation here). It’s a very simple sew, perfect for variations. I used a rayon jersey print I got at Mood for the bodice and a polyester chiffon for the arms and necktie detail. Often times synthetic chiffons are a little scratchy to the touch, but this stuff is magically soft!

Attaching the neck to the top was easy, easy. I made the necktie first (sew wrong sides together, turn and press) then sandwiched it between the neckline and biased tape when I bound the neck. It was a lot easier to put together than I thought.


Because of the drape and cling of the jersey, I opted for a banded hem to give the bottom some structure. I was afraid this would date the shirt too much, but because of the light weight of the fabric, it still allows to be tucked in and styled differently unlike most shirts with hem bands.


Now for the pants. I found this awesome tie dye print at Michael Levine Loft in LA. I was stoked to figure out a project for one of my favorite LA fabric finds! This stretch denim has about 40% stretch, so I figured if I loosened up the seam allowances on my self drafted leggings, I’d have a perfect fit.

I made the mistake of cutting the first pant leg on the wrong grain so there was no stretch horizontally. Thankfully I had enough fabric that I could re-cut the pattern pieces on the right grain, no problem. The pattern worked out perfectly, except in the knees. The knees were too loose in comparison to the tightness in the calves. I thought it wouldn’t bother me, but minutes before walking out the door to Alt Summit, I decided to fix it. I’m SO glad I did.


Too lazy/intimidated to try and figure out how to put in a fly zipper, I opted for a yoga band. This actually works to my benefit as I’m CRAAAZY baby hungry right now. At some point down the road (no announcement, yet) I want to have another baby, so it’s nice to have pieces that will stretch with me. I’m at that awkward point where I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get pregnant. I don’t want to jump the gun on maternity clothes, but I also don’t want to invest serious time into making something I love if I can only wear it once or twice.

Beyond my future plans, having a yoga band pant was awesome at Alt Summit. I was incredibly comfortable while sitting at sessions and running around decorating our party.


There’s a lot going on here with the two patterns, but I think they work really nicely together. Kinda how stripes and dots just work. The neutral color palette makes it easy for me to mix and match each piece with just about anything.


Sewing these pants together made me think that I should try even more woven pant variations. Maybe have another go at Harem Pants?

Outfit Details:


Next year, I think I’m going to clear my plate a little more before Alt so I can spend a ton more time designing and sewing clothes. ‘Cause that was my favorite part of prepping for the conference!

Check out the links above for similar tie dye pants (all under $50).

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