Sunday, April 15, 2012


I apologize for not putting up a new post last week, and I will apologize in advance for not putting one up this week. The reasons why include:

  • It's gardening time! I spent this weekend and the last one weeding, shopping for supplies, planting, etc. Since there's a limited timeframe for this, and I'm already late to the party, I had to do it immediately. Normally, I would have shopped earlier in the season and started my seeds from scratch, but this leads to the next entry.

  • I have been under a HUGE amount of stress lately. My work situation had become intolerable, which led me to decide that it was time to quit. Because of several factors, I couldn't start looking for a new job right away - I had to wait a few weeks. And once I did start, job hunting is very time-consuming and stressful.

  • Once I found a new job (which was only two weeks after I started looking), the paperwork for it took three weeks to complete and process, and it all had to be done before I could put in my notice. Meanwhile, I had to keep on dealing with the same awful situation at work without letting on that I was on my way out.

  • Once I did put in my notice, the reason I had decided to quit decided to make my life (more) miserable for the remaining two weeks.

  • I started taking home all the books, plants, and decorations in my office. Since I'd been there for almost five years, that's a lot of stuff. Even taking home a backpack full of books and at least one shopping bag full of stuff a day, it still took the full two weeks, with now-former co-workers helping me on multiple trips the last day. All that stuff has to go somewhere, and it is currently occupying the floor of my sewing room.

  • The project I have been working on in the few spare moments I have is taking much longer than I thought. Two weekend afternoons seemed like it would be plenty - instead, it's taken that and five evenings, and I'm still not even close to done.

  • I stupidly planned an event/secret birthday party for myself next month, and that is taking up my time too.

I start my new job tomorrow, and it make take me a while to et into the swing of things. From prior experience, I am guessing that for the first few weeks, I'll just want to come home and crash. I will try to post outfits of things I've already sewn until life calms down.

Once again, I apologize. It was stupid of me to start the blog the very day I decided to move on. I've been a a bad, bad blogger.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coffee Dress: Full Outfit

The fabulous Trystan of This Is CorpGoth suggested I accessorize my coffee dress with red. I rummaged through my closets and jewelry box, digging out things I forgot I had or hadn't worn in a while. Here's the full outfit:

Since the dress is somewhat vintage in style, I wanted to use accessories with the same flair. This hat certainly fits the bill. Whenever I wear it (which is usually to funerals, since this is really too fancy to wear elsewhere), I get loads of compliments. These pictures don't do this hat justice. It's truly elegant and makes me feel like a million bucks (at a funeral - oh how morbid!). It was custom made for me on Etsy by My Treehouse Studio.

The gloves were purchased from Target's Halloween 2011 clearance. Being the cliche that I am, I also bought two pairs of stripe-y tights at the same time (fuchsia/black and orange/black). While I wear the tights frequently and they have held up well in the months since, the same cannot be said for these gloves. The bottom seam fell out and the edge isn't finished, so it started fraying. Unfortunately, I had to take them off shortly after I got to work. It's an easy enough fix, but it's annoying and once again demonstrates the value of hand-crafted items. Wrist-length gloves probably would have been more appropriate here, but I don't have any. YET.

The earrings I've had for forever. I probably got them at Claire's as a tween. While digging through my jewelry, I discovered I have far less red than I though I did most of the vintage stuff is just too fancy. (You know what that means, right? To Etsy to purchase things I don't need!) I went for hoop earrings here, as that's pretty neutral as far as my earrings go.

The fishnets are from We Love Colors. If you haven't shopped there before, you should definitely check them out - 51 colors to chose from in tights, fishnets, thigh highs, etc! They also things like carry dancewear and gloves. And don't feel left out, guys and kiddos, they've got stuff for you too. I know some people - including myself - have had some issues with their sizing, but their wares aren't so expensive that one pair of ill-fitting tights is the end of the world.

I did almost go with solid red tights, but for one, it's just too warm for that here, and two, I thought it might be too much here. The fishnets do have a vintage flair to them that regular opaque tights don't have (IMHO).

While they're a little bit tough to spot, you can see that I'm wearing red barrettes here. These came from Etsy seller Nattie's Place (who seems to have closed up shop). I likely bought them in a lot of 10 or 20.

The shoes are from Famous Footwear and feature wingtip styling.

My hair is about shoulder length (this is after growing it out for a year - it was about nose length before), so there isn't a lot I can with it (not to mention my lack of talent and experience here). While it's difficult to see, I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and then flipped it under and wrapped that in the hair elastic. It looks somewhat like a bun, which my hair isn't long enough for. If there's a name for this style, I don't know about it. Also difficult to tell from this picture (partially because of the lighting and partially because my hair was wet), my hair is actually purple in the front and brown in the back.

As I mentioned previously, I did have issues with the sleeves of this dress. I did not like how they turned out and they won't stay where they were supposed to. I had to yank them all the way up to my shoulders, which is not how the dress is meant to be worn. While it looks okay that way, the slightest movement sends the sleeves cascading down my arms. I am definitely going to have to do something about it, which means ripping apart the dress I just finished. Harumph.

I apologize for my bra straps showing. I didn't realize that until it was too late. A strapless bra would probably be the way to go with this dress (especially if the sleeves actually would sit where they are supposed to). Lesson learned.

Cost breakdown:
Shoes: under $50 from Famous Footwear
Gloves: under $10 from Target
Fishnets: $9 from We Love Colors
Barrettes: ~$2 from Etsy seller Nattie's Place
Hat: $55 from Etsy seller My Treehouse Studio
Dress: ~2.5 yds of Lucy's Crowd Coffee Cups @ $7.21/yd (but I had $20 coupon!) from

Thanks to my dear husband for taking the pictures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Coffee Dress

I mentioned this pattern previously. I made view A, 'cause I loved the sleeves.

I was going to go with a Halloween print, but ended up picking a coffee print instead. Think it'll look perky? Ha ha ha! Ha! Anyway, I found out after the fact that this is actually an I Love Lucy print. That doesn't really matter, but I thought I'd mention it.

Most of the construction of this dress is pretty straightforward, except the sleeves. There's some gathering in the bust, but that's nothing too big. Here's the bodice:

Rather than go over every little detail of the sewing and then showing the final product, I'm going to show the final product and then go back to the details. This was another dress where it needs to hang (overnight, not 24 hours!) to stretch before it's hemmed. I was impatient, so I went ahead and took pictures of the unhemmed dress.

Here's a close up of the gathering:

NB: those sleeves don't really look anything like the pattern envelope. I could tell as I was sewing them that they weren't going to work; the elastic was just too long and inserted in a stupid way. They're supposed to hang off the sides, but the only way the dress will stay up is if I pull them all the way up like I've done here. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it that way or try to fix it yet, but I was pretty disappointed by how this turned out.

I will probably go back and make the bolero featured in this pattern at some later date. If I do anything to the sleeves, I will do a post on that also.

Other than the sleeves, this is a pretty easy pattern. The gathering aside (which isn't even in all the views), the only other challenges would be inserting the zipper and the understitching. While I haven't tried the other views, I would say going with either the straps or the sleeves of view C would be the way to go here. A beginner could probably handle this pattern.