Saturday, September 30, 2017


After my in-process post about my handmade wedding dress, I couldn't just leave you guys hanging! So let's talk about the wedding (dress). I plan to post a completely separate post about all the other stuff I made, so these pictures (and there are... several... of them) are picked mostly to show the dress.

The dress consisted of four parts: padded bustier (which I purchased, and am so glad I did!), slip, skirt, and lace bodice. The slip was made by me and my auntie Jean two days before the wedding. I probably wouldn't have gotten it done without her! It was out of white rayon challis. My skirt was silk tulle (SILK. TULLE.), which I didn't even know existed until I tried on dresses in November to get an idea of what I wanted. It's just a divine fabric. It has the prettiest drape, the softest hand, the most delicate appearance, the most expensive price tag. After ordering a swatch for fun, along with several others, I was just totally and completely taken with it. But not so taken with the price - at $50/yd, it felt a little insane to purchase it. Half the point of making your own wedding dress is to save some money, right?

But then they had their Black Friday sale, and I just knew I wouldn't regret buying it. So I purchased 6 yards, and got on with it.

The skirt is lined in silk crepe from Dharma Trading Company, which is always my favorite source for undyed silks. I've always had wonderful experiences with them! The crepe was a great lining because I didn't want to get too warm, but it was just a tad too transparent to leave as is, hence the additional slip.

The bustier caused me the most initial anxiety, as I had fully intended to make it from scratch. But after the Mom-tervention weekend and some online research, I decided to purchase one from Amazon. It took a couple tries to get the right fit, but having that tricky part of the dress taken care of was such a weight off my shoulders.

The bodice was the true labor of love. It did not come together quickly, as nearly every inch of it was handstitched. But how wonderful is that? To have sewn, needle and thread, curled up on my couch with Pronto (my cat), almost every single stitch that held this bodice together - I just love the love that goes into handmade things. 

This was my first time sewing lace, so I had to redo a couple seams, and keep taking seams in as I went through the fitting process. I overlapped the panels, sewed two seams following the pattern of the lace, and then at the very end, trimmed the excess seam allowance from the overlap. But I waited until the VERY end to be sure, because once lace is trimmed, there is no going back. I'm still not quite sure how I achieved this perfect of a fit, given most of it was self-fit or pinned in bathroom stalls at work with my friend, but I don't think I've ever made anything more perfectly fitted. 

And, of course, I must talk about the raglan seams with the lattice stitch. My mom figured out how to get this look and made a swatch for me to reference. I had to pin the two pieces (sleeve piece and front or back piece) to pattern paper with the gap in between the two bindings, and then put that in an embroidery hoop so the fabric was taut, even, and straight. I do love to handsew, and seeing the instant results with a heavier floss was super gratifying. While this detail looks like a lot of work, it was actually those invisible princess seams and side seams that took the most time and effort. But 100% the best part of working with lace? It requires no hemming!


It was truly the best day ever. Everyone told me it would fly by, and while it did, it also didn't feel too fast. I was so happy and so present all day long, and got to enjoy every second. And I am beyond glad we DIY'd everything that we could, because all those memories of making things with my friends and family are so, so special, too.

Here are some detail photos I just took. I'm afraid I haven't washed the thing; it's been lying in a crumpled heap on the floor of the closet until now. Any advice on handwashing this thing without compromising the fabric?

If you made it this far - thank you! I hope you enjoyed these peeks at our wedding day and the details of this crazy dress I created. 

All wedding day photos were taken by our incredible photographers, Ray & Kelly. They were so kind, funny, and charismatic, and even gave me an icy La Croix on the way to the ceremony! Seriously the best.

Follow along:


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cropped Linen Top (++ How to make it!)

Lately, I've been trying to work out of my stash, rather than ordering new fabric. This fabric is something I've held onto for about 5 years, so I suppose it was about time I use it. The reason I held onto it was that it was a gift from my first internship, working for a lady in Chicago. It was unpaid, but she gave me cuttings of some of her fabrics - really amazingly unique stuff. This is a double weave linen, a beautiful burnt orange color on one side and light tan on the reverse. It's loosely woven and crumples in the most delicious way, as linen often does. It also has a great sheen and iridescence. I decided to make an airy little high-low hem shirt with some frayed edges to take advantage of the looseness of the weave.  

As I've been trying to make more videos, I'm learning a lot about how much I need to improve what I'm explaining! Legitimately, guys? I have no idea what I'm doing in this tutorial-making-process. How fast is too fast to speed things up? Is it better to jump cut than to do 8x speed? Am I under-explaining or giving too much detail? These are the questions.

But I guess, maybe I'll get better with time.  Check it out - let me know what you think! 

Follow along:


Friday, August 25, 2017

Indigo Blue Handmade Dress (Plus a DIY Tutorial!)

While I hate getting dressed up in my day-to-day life (hi, leggings), I do really love the occasion to get fancy and have a good time - as long as it is occasional. This, I will note, is a huge shift from my style about 6 or 8 years ago (history of which is well documented on this blog). I used to love wearing heels - when I had nowhere to walk to. Now, comfortable shoes dominate my life, and tight dresses kind of make my stomach hurt. Is this what getting older feels like? If so, I'm into it. Comfort all the way, please!

That said, we have 3 weddings to attend this fall, and I'm a huge fan of getting dressed up for weddings, because they don't come around all that often. And if you're wearing heels, it's usually just for a few hours. (Spoiler alert: I don't wear heels even then.) But due to my style and taste changing, weight loss, and finding different priorities to ask of my clothing, I don't really have much wedding-appropriate attire. So obviously, I need to make a few dresses between now and November. :)

This is a little dress I made over the course of a weekend out of some lovely indigo-dyed cotton twill. I got the fabric in Chicago at the same place I picked up the fabric for this other dress - along with lots of other fabric you'll see being used sooner or later. I think all told this dress cost me about $5 in materials.

Part of the reason this dress came together so quickly was that I was using pattern pieces from my wedding dress! Having a princess seamed pattern that fits well makes designing so much quicker - I just frankensteined the pieces a little bit to make this high-necked sleeveless cut and low back.

And of course, it has pockets! If you're making your own clothes, putting in pockets is a must. 

Okay and finally.... here is a tutorial for it! I'm working on improving my video skills, and I think I can get a lot better at explaining how to do things. But I want to learn by doing, so I'm going to probably keep making imperfect tutorials and get better as I go! Hope you enjoy and maybe learn something! :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

diy little black dress

Man, I don't know what gets into me sometimes, but there are days where I decide I need to make a new outfit, right now, for an event that might be a mere few hours away. Ask my college roommate about the times I would stay up late sewing something to wear the next day - it happened quite often. It has been a while since I've been struck with this pressure - I mean, I was busy sewing a certain other dress for a few months there - but Saturday, with plans to go out dancing, I decided I had nothing to wear, and only a new dress would do. So I dug through my fabric stash.

By the way, I am now totally down for having a modest fabric stash if it is filled with things I've bought in recent years. Last time I moved, I went through my big bins of fabric and sold a bunch of it in a facebook group. I had been holding onto fabrics from high school. There was also a ridiculous amount of scraps amassed from old projects. It felt so good to pare things down to only the fabrics I really loved, even if I didn't have specific projects intended for them. 

In my stash I found an interesting cotton baby french terry, which I honestly don't remember purchasing. Apparently I got it from Mood. Maybe during their Black Friday sale? I wouldn't normally be drawn to a french terry for a summer dress, but it is actually a really nice weight for this swing style. It holds its own in the breeze, and basically feels like I'm wearing pajamas. It's super sleek on the face side so it doesn't collect cat hair very much at all, which makes it a pretty magical fabric for a girl with a tortoiseshell colored cat that loves to sit on everything.

So Saturday at 2pm, I decided to make this dress, knowing I had to leave for an engagement at 3. Good thing this baby's got FOUR SEAMS! Easy as pie. Once I nailed the fit, I just serged the whole darn thing, including the edges. Who has time for binding these days?! Mostly joking, but this fabric doesn't necessitate it at all. The overlock edge finish works just fine!

If you were wondering, it's pretty great for dancing in, as long as I don't spin too much. It's also great for wearing to work on those days you don't want to get out of your jammies. (Every day for me.)

My sunglasses and necklace are both gifts from Mike, and my shoes are from Etsy - I wore them for my wedding and now they are getting a lot of use because they are comfy as can be!

Follow along:


This post contains some affiliate links to products I love. Thanks for your support!