Wednesday, October 30, 2013

(Shan) WEARs: Leather and Layers

It's fall! Yay!  That means scarves, layers, boots, sweaters and.... LEATHER!  Or, vegan leather as I prefer.  I am a huge fan this season.  I've found that Target has an insane selection of vegan leather styles that are super cute and super affordable.  Perfect combination!

To soak in the perfect fall weather, I spent the day Sunday having fun, indulging in deliciousness and prancing around town.  We had brunch at Park Bruges. (Amazing!  If you're in the Pittsburgh area sometime, you must stop by!)  After brunch my sweet tooth decided to flare up, so we swung by Gaby et Jules... the most amazing, delicious slice of heaven that ever graced Pittsburgh.  Holy macrons.  As you can see from the photo below, I take my sweets shopping very seriously.  

The day concluded with an accidental 3 hour nap.  Whoops.  It was meant to be only 20 minutes.  Oh well.  Fortunately, I had nothing pressing needing to be accomplished, so I felt absolutely no guilt whatsoever about sleeping half of my day away.  

I have also decided that brunch is my favorite thing on Sundays.  I don't know exactly why, I just know it makes me insanely happy.  Maybe it's because mimosa's are always a part of it??

Outfit Details:
Booties: Ecote Mixed Slouch Ankle Boot via Urban Outfitters
Pants: Zella 'Live In' Leggings via Nordstrom
Baseball Tee: HM
Blazer: Mossimo via Target
Scarf: Nordstrom Rack
Crossbody: Kate Spade (2 years ago)
Sunnies: Elizabeth & James via Nordstrom

Monday, October 28, 2013

DIY Sushi Costume for a Dog

Can you believe Halloween is in 3 days?? My kids have already gotten over a pound of candy each from a parade and church event we attended this weekend, so I know we're going to be up to our eyeballs in candy come Thursday. Not that I'm complaining. I'm actually eating one of the kids' Twix bars right now because I had to make sure it was safe. You know, for the kids.... Unfortunately for them, it seems all the Reeses cups and Twix bars are unsafe. And the Snickers. And pretty much everything that involves chocolate in some way, those were all confiscated.

You can never be too cautious ;)

After finishing up Connor's hooded dragon cape, I called it quits on costumes for season. Then, while I was pinning stuff on Pinterest (you can follow us here!) I came across this adorable DIY baby sushi costume. Right then, I decided I needed to make a sushi costume for someone, and who better than Shannon's little black jack russel/black lab mix, Atari? I used some of the leftover orange and green felt from Michael Levine and put this together in a little over an hour.

SUPPLIES: 1/4 yard green felt, 1/4 yard orange felt, 1/4 yard white felt, 1/4 yard white cuddle fabric (you can use felt for this too, bu, 1/4 yard black fleece, disappearing ink marker, small amount of polyester toy filling, velcro, sewing machine and supplies.

ONE: since I didn't have the dog handy to measure, I used a dog shirt as a template for my measurements. First, measure how long and wide you'll want your sushi roll to be. (Mine was 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.)
TWO: cut out a green rectangle of fabric in the measurements you wrote down.
THREE: next, draw a shrimp template. I just drew half of a shrimp so I could lay the pattern on the fold and get a uniform shape.
FOUR: lay your pattern on the fold of your orange felt and trace around. Cut two shrimp from your orange felt and one from your white felt.

You should now have 2 orange shrimp, 1 white shrimp, and a green rectangle.

ONE: place the white shrimp on top of one of the orange shrimps. Pin, then sew all the way around.
TWO: on the orange side of your shrimp, draw V's on your shrimp with disappearing ink marker. Sew on top of the lines you just drew.
THREE: use a pair of scissors to cut away the top layer only of your V's to reveal the white felt underneath.
FOUR: here's what it should look like as you cut.
FIVE: with the "V side" facing up, place your other orange shrimp felt piece on top and pin all around. Sew to attach, leaving a 1 inch hole for turning.
SIX: turn inside out and stuff with polyester filling.

ONE: cut a rectangle from your snuggle fabric as long as your green felt but slightly less wide (I chose snuggle fabric because it has a texture that looks just like rice!) Pin and sew around the edges of your snuggle fabric to join.
TWO: use your scissors to cut small slits along the long sides of your green fabric.
THREE: cut a long strip of black fleece for the seaweed band that will hold everything together.
FOUR: sew the hook portion of your velcro to one end of your band and the loop portion to the other.

Place your shrimp on top of your snuggle fabric, then wrap your seaweed band around and you're finished!

Then all you have to do is attach your sushi roll to your victim, er dog.

Atari was clearly thrilled about my decision to make him into a sushi roll ;) I had a lot of fun making a costume for my little fur nephew, even if he wasn't as excited to wear it.

Check out our Link Party Page to see where we link up each week!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Shirt That Took 3 Hours

I had great plans to sew up a bunch of stuff for Kid's Clothes Week this week, but fall had other ideas and all four of us came down with colds. Colds aren't so bad when it's just YOU dealing with the cold, but when kids are involved it's all over. Everyone wants to be held, given specific snacks, and given drinks allllllll day long. And all you want to do is take a nice hot shower (and for maybe somebody else to give you snacks and drinks?)

On top of being sick, I also babysat for a friend's 2 kids yesterday when she was in a bind. The kids were great, but oh my gosh you guys. All. The. Things. Do you know how many toys 4 children under 5 can take out in the course of 30 minutes?? A lot. And they always want to play with the messiest stuff, like Play-Doh and finger paints. In my sickness-clogged state, I didn't have the strength to tell them no. Let's just say I treated myself to some chocolate and a long shower after that.

But  guess what, I did manage to make one thing for KCW! Too bad it wasn't for the kid who actually needs the most new clothes.

I found the yummiest remnant of blackberry colored reversible knit at Joann's the other day. It was sparkly on one side, and had small stripes on the other, which you can see better in the picture below. I also got this crazy idea that I wanted to try to show off the reversible knit by sewing with flat felled seams (usually reserved for pants and delicate fabrics) to encase all the raw edges, that way it would look nice and finished whichever way it was worn.

Great idea in theory, but I quickly discovered why flat felled seams are reserved for woven fabrics. Oh, and also pinning all those flat felled seams on knit takes, which is ultimately what took me 3 hours to make this baby.

I cut all the fabric so that the sleeves were attached, dolman-style. The sewing went relatively smoothly until I hit those dang sleeves because I was basically shoving my sleeve into the machine toward the neck hole and eventually ran out of wiggle room. The result is some wonky lines as you can see above. All that finagling added extra time (and stitch picking.)

But I did get the result I was looking for, for the most part. I flipped the cuffs of the sleeves and bottom hem up to show off the other side of the fabric, and I flipped the neckline casing so that the reverse side shows as well.

You know what though, despite the 3+ hours I spent sewing this top, I really love it and so does Haley. I really want to make up a few more and try out a different method next time (maybe french seams instead?) The only problem is that I can't find any more reversible knit anywhere! Any helpful leads??

Maybe I'll have better luck with the next season of KCW. How about you guys, anyone else manage to get anything sewn up for KCW?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DIY Test Tube Vase

So... I have this crazy obsession with scientific equipment at estate sales.  I have a ridiculous amount of beakers that I've scored for ridiculously awesome prices.  So when I found this box of test tubes at an estate sale of a former geologist for a mere $3... I literally did a happy dance.  Seriously, did a jig in the middle of the old stinky house.  (This really isn't a rare occurrence for me when finding something exciting, my husband can attest to that.)

Let me just say this is the first of many projects that will be coming from this box of awesomeness!
Now that's not the only amazing deal involved in this project! That adorable leather belt wrapped around it... I got it at Forever 21 on clearance for a mere $0.25!

You will need:
12 test tubes
Glue gun & glue sticks
Adorable little belt

After cleaning the test tubes, I figured out how I wanted them arranged and then started gluing them together.  Then I used tiny little stick slices to fill the bottoms of the tubes, wrapped the belt around them, and put some little evergreens in so you don't have to use water if you don't want to.  The great thing about the belt is that you can change it to match whatever holiday it is or whatever themed party you are throwing!

Check out our Link Party Page to see where we link up each week!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Piped Peplum Top + Free Pattern!

In honor of kid's clothes week starting this week, I thought I'd bring home my piped peplum top tutorial and free pattern! With the weather getting chillier around here, I've already made four of these shirts. It's kind of weird being prepared for the seasons changing ahead of time, but I just can't get enough of peplum tops! I suppose I should probably add something to Haley's wardrobe other than peplum tops, but that's a project for another day :) If you want to make a few peplum tops too, read below for the tutorial and free pattern in 4T.


Peplum tops. I can't get enough of them! I love that they're trending right now because it was the perfect excuse for me to make one for my girl in autumn colors. To tell you the truth, I made 4 of these tops for my daughter because I couldn't stop myself after making one. Peplum tops are flattering on both adults and children, but my daughter is especially fond of this particular shirt because the peplum does a little twirl when she spins.

And what little girl doesn't love to twirl?

To make this top a little more appropriate for colder weather, it is fully lined and the sleeves are 3/4 length (though they could easily be lengthened if you prefer long sleeves.) The thing that makes this shirt special, though, is that it includes piping on both the bodice and peplum. If you've never worked with piping before, don't worry! It's super easy and adds a lot of visual interest to the top.

Ready to make one??

SUPPLIES: (for 4T) my free downloadable pattern in 4T found HERE, 3/4 yard cotton main fabric, 3/4 yard cotton lining fabric, 1 package piping, 5+ buttons, rotary cutter and mat, zipper foot, disappearing ink marker, sewing machine and basic sewing supplies.

First, print out my free pattern HERE (and join and tape together A and B where indicated), and use it to cut out all of your fabric pieces (12 total).

You'll need 2 front bodices cut on the fold (one from main fabric and one from lining fabric), 4 back bodice pieces not on the fold (one right and left from main fabric and one right and left from your lining fabric), 2 peplums cut on the folds (one from main fabric, one from lining fabric) *note: in the picture above the peplum is folded in half, but you should have a full circle, and 4 sleeves cut on the fold (two from main fabric and two from lining fabric.) Phew!

Note: if you've never cut out a peplum before (which is basically a circle skirt), it may look a little strange. You'll need to fold your fabric in fourths and then lay your pattern so that the flat sides of your pattern are on the folds as shown above. If you're still confused, Dana has a great tutorial on how to make a circle skirt HERE.

Attaching Your Piping:

ONE: after you've cut out your main bodice piece, fold it with wrong sides together (WST) and use your ruler and disappearing ink marker to draw a line from the neck to the bottom along the dotted lines indicated on the pattern. Use your rotary cutter to cut along the line you just drew.
TWO: your main bodice piece should now be cut in 3 pieces, which I've labeled A, B, and C for clarification.
THREE: cut out 2 lengths of piping approximately 10 1/4 inches each. Pin the raw edges of one piece of piping to the raw edges of piece A. Pin the other length of piping to piece C.
FOUR: switch to your zipper foot and set your stitch length and width to the highest numbers. Sew a basting stitch along the length of each piece of piping close to the edge.
FIVE: piece A and C should now have piping attached.
SIX: now, place piece B on top of piece C with right sides together (RST) and pin. Set your stitch length and width back to your normal settings, and use your zipper foot to sew as close to the piping as possible. Repeat to attach piece A to the other side. Iron.

Your main bodice should now look like the one above!

Bodice Assembly:

The pink floral fabric I changed to in these next few steps is still the main fabric. I just made a couple different versions to perfect the assembly, so don't be confused!

ONE: to attach your back bodice to your front bodice, place your right and left back bodice pieces on top of your front bodice with RST. You'll notice the back bodice pieces overlap an inch or so, that's what you want! Pin along the shoulders only and stitch with your regular sewing foot to attach.
TWO: open your top and lay it flat so that the right side, or pattern side, is facing up. Find the middle of the curved part of your sleeve and the middle of your armhole, and pin with your fabrics RST.
THREE: ease the curve of your sleeve along the curve of the armhole and pin all along the armhole. Sew to attach and repeat to attach the other sleeve.
FOUR: when your open your top back up, it should now look like this.
FIVE: now fold your top together so that it's inside out. Pin along the bottom of each sleeve and down the side. Sew. Repeat for the other side.
SIX: Turn right side out and press. Now repeat steps 1-5 above with your lining fabric to create a second bodice.

To join the main fabric and lining fabric, place the top you made from your main fabric on your lining with RST, and match up the raw edges. Sandwich the sleeves inside of the two tops so they wont get caught up when you sew around the edges. Pin from one side of your shirt to the other and sew, leaving the bottom unsewn.

Turn right side out, and push the sleeves of your lining inside those of your main fabric. Press. You should now have a nice lined bodice!

Before you do anything else, create your button holes on the left side of your button placket, then overlap the button placket 1 inch (shown above) and sew a basting stitch along the bottom to keep the lining and main fabric together.

Now let's take care of those sleeves...


Line up the raw edges of your sleeves. Press both edges inward about 1/4 inch, then sew by hand or machine to encase the raw edges inside.

Peplum Assembly:

ONE: place your main peplum and lining peplum RST and pin all around the outer edge. Sew outer edge only. Turn right side out and press, then sew a basting stitch all around the inside edge to keep the main fabric and lining fabric together.
TWO: measure the diameter of your inner circle, and cut a piece of piping 1/2 inch longer. Match up the raw edges of your piping fabric and peplum and pin, making sure to overlap the ends of your piping. Switch to your zipper foot and sew a basting stitch to secure the piping.
THREE: match up the raw edges of your bodice with that of your peplum and pin all around. Use your zipper foot to sew around your peplum as close to the piping as possible. Serge or zig zag the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Finally, add buttons! You can't go wrong with purple buttons.

Careful. After you make one piped peplum top, you may find yourself addicted like me :)

This shirt has already gotten a lot of wear so far! I can tell I'm going to be making even more of them as my daughter grows.

If you loved the top, make sure you go HERE to learn how to make the cuffed corduroy knickers that I made to go with it! They're great for those "in-between" fall days when it's a little chilly, but not enough to break out the sweaters yet.

Check out our Link Party Page to see where we link up each week!
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