Tuesday, March 7, 2017

White Linen Jacket Inspiration

I've been going through my spring wardrobe, and I realized I have a need for a lightweight, neutral jacket.  I have a really lightweight black rayon bomber jacket that I purchased at a thrift store that has previously filled that role, but I've decided I don't like the silhouette on me, so I thought I might add a piece to my March sewing list.  I have some white linen that was previously earmarked for a skirt, but I think it would be much more wearable as a jacket.  I did a little research, first falling down the rabbit hole that is searching on pinterest, and then looking at some patterns.

I'm thinking collarless, some trench details perhaps, hip-length, and I'm wavering on doing a drawstring or gathered waist.  I'm loving the back on the first photo, but it's not quite what I was originally envisioning.

I perused my Burda Style magazine stack, and as little as I like to trace the patterns, I did find that I already had a pattern very close to what I was thinking about:


I'm not sure how I feel about the asymmetrical front, and it doesn't have the gathered waist/drawstring.  What do you think - sew it up as is, or make changes or keep looking for a new pattern?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Sewing Plans

Since I just kind of vomited my massive sewing list yesterday in my February check-in post, I thought I should narrow things down and actually select just a couple of projects to focus on for March.  If I get these things done, I can work on whittling away at the long, long list, but these FIRST! :)

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse - This one has been on the list and cut out since September, and I'm super excited about the fabric/pattern combo, but for some reason it keeps getting put on the back burner!  This one is my top priority, as it will be perfect for spring.

Sallie Jumpsuit - I started this for our trip to Thailand over a year ago, and didn't finish it up in time, so it's been sitting in pieces ever since.  I was thinking about starting something new for Easter, but then I figured this jumpsuit would work well, so now I have another deadline for it!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Sewing Check-In

February went by fast!  Knowing I would have to be writing this post did help keep me on track though, which was a good experience. :)  There were a few changes along the way, but all of them were totally defensible.  I've changed the format a bit, leaving the major categories, and just either crossing things off that are finished/abandoned, and adding in notes about how they each went.  I've not been able to actually take pictures of most of them, so there aren't associated blog posts yet for anything I finished - I'll work on getting those up at some point.  Let's dive in!


  • Free People orange/pink voile tunic - didn't get to hemming it in February - still on the list!
  • Marine Layer eye tee - I attempted to salvage it, but it didn't quite work as well as I hoped.  It's been relegated to a workout shirt, but it is coming off the repairs list.
  • Me-made geometric toaster - I wanted to add cuffs, but I decided to leave it as is for now.  

Sewing - In Progress:
  • Clay linen Hemlock tee - This is one of those projects that I just kept trying to salvage, but it wasn't working.  I first ended up cutting off the sleeves, as they were too tight, and then as hard as I tried, I couldn't get the neckline neatly finished.  I should have staystitched the v-neck, but because I didn't and it's a loose-weave linen, it got all sorts of wonky.  I've thrown it into my bin for making pillow covers now. :)
  • Beige/black Dove blouse - I keep pulling it out and then not actually working on it!  Top priority for March
  • Embroidered pillow covers (2) - I worked on my first pillow a bit more this month, but didn't get far.  Still on the list!
  • Pink floral tee - done!
  • Ivory Toaster #1 sweater - I ended up turning it into a cardigan, which I was a little unsure of when I finished it.  I wore it and Eddie jumped on me, getting it dirty, so I put it in the wash without thinking about it.  Needless to say, it was wool, and is now suitable for a toddler - whoops!
  • Oscar De La Renta silk tank - Successfully sewn up as my first Odgen cami!
  • Poppy silk kimono - I've re-cut it out as an Odgen cami, but I think I'm going to leave off the facing, and do some narrow hemming instead.  We'll see how that goes.
  • Ivory silky tank - cut out and partially sewn. Need to find facing materials. (no change)
  • Grey linen throw quilt - Came up with my quilting pattern and have it rough cut out.  Need to cut everything precisely to size and start quilting!
  • Clay linen capris - cut out, but on hold until warmer weather (no change)
  • Tote for mom - won't see her until the spring, so low on the priority list. (no change)
  • 4 placemats - done!
  • Turquoise striped Galleria culottes - cut out and started sewing.(no change)
  • Purple/red Sallie jumpsuit - same as above. (no change)
  • Bra/underwear sets - Seven pairs of underwear down, and I've adjusted my pattern and figured out I like one-way stretch fabrics.  Next steps are to get some nude and black all cotton fabric.
  • green floral Rosari skirt - all cut out
  • green floral Odgen cami - all cut out

Sewing-Not Started:  As you can see from my picture up top, I've been busy sketching out and planning! This section has expanded greatly this month. These are focused on warm weather, which while close, is not quite here yet, so I'm focused on wrapping up all the started projects first.  
  • Polka-dots/floral top and skirt - I wavered on this one a bit, but ended up not actually going to the event I thought I was, so it wasn't necessary after all!  I've put the fabric back in the un-assigned bin.
  • Black/white hemlock tee - this wasn't on last month's list, but was something I added in.  Super comfy and I love it - basics for the win!
  • Clay linen pillow cover - no change
  • white/black cotton sleeveless button-down - this was an impulse fabric purchase, but  those usually end up making their way to the top of the list. :)  I don't have a pattern yet, but thinking about the Grainline Studio Alder shirt-dress (shortened).
  • coral/beige window-pane peplum top - ordered along with the white/black cotton above!  I've been thinking about this shape for a while (see this and this), and am excited to make this one up.  
  • turquoise/green african wax print peplum top - this will be my wearable muslin for the previous shirt
  • japanese cotton red trousers - still deciding on the pattern here, but thinking about the Chi-town Chinos
  • pale denim trousers - will use the same pattern as for the red ones
  • black/white/blue woven trousers - I need some new trousers in my life, apparently!
  • red silk jersey dress - I've been wanting to make something along these lines for a few years now (like here, here, and here), so I've added it to my wall.
  • embroidered organza mini dress - I've had this Marc Jacobs fabric for years at this point, and haven't been able to figure out what to do with it.  I finally made up my mind that it would be super cute as a mod little mini-dress, and now have a goal to make it up as my Easter dress this year.  I think the Willow dress will be a good starting point, which I've already made up twice, so should be a quick sew.
  • white linen wrap skirt - I've been dreaming about this skirt for a few months now, and will try it out in a hefty white linen I've been sitting on.
  • blush Odgen cami dress - I've been wanting to add more blush to my color palette, and I bought three yards of this fabric at JoAnne's last month.  It's synthetic, but it's so deliciously soft, like a sanded silk. 
  • blush Odgen cami - If I have enough left over, I want to whip up a little cami as well.
  • green knit tank - I ordered this knit a while ago from Mood and it wasn't quite the color I thought it was (more olive than leaf green).  It does match the fabric for my Rosari skirt though, so I might experiment and try to make a top something like this.
  • navy/blue polka dot v-neck tank - was originally going to do yet another Odgen, but might do something with pin-tucking - we'll see!
Whew, that's a lot!  Good for you if you actually managed to read through it all!  My goal is to whittle the lists down by the end of the year, so next year I can focus on my seasonal projects.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A cape refashioning

I typically hate surprises, mostly ones that I know are coming, but I don't know what it is.  That said, I love any kind of sample box.  I've done Birchbox, Ipsy, Glossy Box, a couple different Amazon boxes, This is Ground, and Rachel Zoe's Box of Style.  Back in the fall Box of Style, I got this amazingly soft cape/poncho thing, but I just couldn't quite make it work (hint - John kept calling me Cruela DeVille).

My immediate thought was that it was basically two large rectangles of fabric, so I stuffed it on the shelves in my sewing room and left it alone for a while.  I finally got around to it this week, and made a simple color blocked 3/4-sleeve tee.  I used the Grainline Studio Hemlock tee pattern.


It was a simple and straightforward top to sew up.  The only thing that I was careful about was to line up the color-block line with the armholes.  It's hard to see here, but if I hold my arms out to the side, there is an unbroken line of the white, which was my goal.  All in all, I now have a very wearable garment that was a quick refashion!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nailed It!

I'm always on a quest to simplify my life and create the perfect routines, and my beauty regime is a particular focus area for this quest.  I've finally come to the conclusion that I don't like my finger nails painted, except for the occasional gel french manicure (which I'm not good at doing myself).  I do still enjoy painted toe nails, and pedicures are my summer luxury.  My at-home kit is simplified though, and I figured I would share it here (mostly because I haven't had time to take any more photos of my sewing progress lately).

One thing that gives me great satisfaction is a perfect container to corral the perfect things, and my nail kit fits the bill.  I think the box originally came with a pair of sunglasses, but I've used it for multiple things since then, but it has come into its own as my nail kit.  I'm not going to lie, I bought this particular nail polish remover because it was square and fit so nicely! :)


After I figured out my perfect tool kit, I made my own leather roll-up to hold them all (again with the perfectly fitting thing).  I just took a piece of leather, laid out my tools and measured how bit each of the pockets had to be, and then hand-sewed them in place.  I added the two snaps to keep everything in place.  My tools are:
  • Seki Edge Stainless Steel Fingernail Clipper:  I've had these for about four years now, and I love them.  I found them via a recommendation on some other blog, I think, and they are sturdy, sharp and do a good job.  They are a uni-purpose tool though, and don't have an attached nail file or nail cleaner, so that brings me to the next tool,
  • Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner:  I use this to both push back my cuticles (more on that below) and clean under my nails.  I used to use orange sticks for my cuticles, but this works great.
  • OPI Crystal Nail File:  For simple filing, I use this crystal nail file, which has lasted forever and works great.  I've read that crystal is a good material for nail files because nails are less likely to crack or chip.
  • Tweezerman Shape and Shine Nail Tool:  Just because I'm leaving polish behind doesn't mean I want to have ungroomed nails!  I've found this tool super helpful and it's the star of my kit.  One end has three different levels of filing for nail tips (if I want to go more in-depth than with my crystal file) and the other end has three levels for buffing.  I only do it every two weeks or so, because it can be bad for your nails to do it too much, but I can buff them to a shine that rivals clear nail polish!  One thing I had to do though is number the sides in the correct order with a sharpie, because it's only listed on the package, and I would easily forget the order otherwise.

The rest of my kit fluxes a bit more, but here are the general details:
  • On the left are my three nail colors I kept for my toes and for when I eventually break down and decide to paint my nails again (nude, maroon, and a pale blue-grey).
  • Because I've been using 100% acetone remover, it's hard on my nails, so I like to moisturize heavily.  I used to use an oil, but I ran out and am currently using Dr. Lipp nipple balm, which is actually intended for lips.  It's 100% lanolin, and super moisturizing.
  • Before I push back my cuticles, I soften them with Deborah Lipmann Cuticle Remover.  I let it sit for a minute, rub it in, and then push the cuticles back with my stick.
  • The last item was previously the reason I was ok with painting my nails - the Sally Hansen miracle gel top coat.  It used to make my nail polish last several times longer than it used to, but they switched their formula recently, and it just doesn't work as well any more.  
There you have it!  Do you have any must-have nail items or tips?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Teal Wool Jumper

As part of my teal/turquoise mix-and-match wardrobe from my fall sewing plans, I planned this wool jumper.  I was inspired by the general mod, 60s vibe of this dress from one of my favorites, Boden:

I had saved the free Simply Shift dress pattern from Grosgrain a while back, and thought it was a good start.  I left off the sleeves and the lining, and lowered the neck a bit, as I wanted to wear it with my blue tie-dye blouse and wanted to show off the pattern a bit.

I used a delightfully squishy wool/viscose knit blend from Emma One Sock, which is still available, here.  It was pretty straightforward to sew it together, but there are a few tweaks that I wish I would have done.  My waist seam is too low, and it looks a bit unbalanced, I think, and I should have made it closer-fitting.  I could technically still do the last tweak, so we'll see if I get around to it at some point.  Overall, it came out OK, but I'm not sure how much actual wear it will get.  We'll see!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


A bit of a divergence from my usual theme, but today I want to get back to one of my old loves - interior design!  We've been in our house for about 2.5 years at this point, and after the major renovation of last summer (completely redoing the HVAC system), which still has on-going impacts (insulating and drywall stuff), I'm eager to finally get the house the way I want it to be.  While everything is still very much a work in progress, I've finally nailed down my color palette for the first floor, I think.  A few elements I still want to change up eventually (like in a few years), but this is how it will be for the near future, at least.

Living Room
The entrance to our house is right in our living room, and I'm currently fairly unhappy with how it feels at the moment, as there is just a lot going on, particularly color-wise (despite the fact it still feels super neutral).  This room still has a lot on the to-do list to even get to a semi-finished state, but after getting a quote for reuholstering our lounge chair yesterday that was approximately 4-5 times what John paid for it, I think I've taken off reupholstering/replacing any of the seating (of which I wanted to do with all of it).  That narrows my color scheme quite a bit, so now the major pieces of the plan are:

  • finish up the corner green plant wall (where there is currently brown craft paper hanging)
  • John is going to build a new coffee table
  • I want to replace the TV stand with something much smaller
  • new curtains (either roman shades or curtains in white)
  • decide what to do about the rug (currently has a large hole hidden under the couch as well as doesn't fit the color scheme)
  • figure out better lighting
  • paint the walls  
I've never been a fan of the yellowy-cream that most of our house was painted, and it will be nice to get rid of the last bit of it downstairs.  I haven't gotten the paint yet, but it will basically be just a much lighter version of the dining room color.

Current state of the living room

Dining Room
The dining room is right off the living room, set off by a large entry way with columns.  This room feels more finished (mostly because it's freshly painted), but there are several large elements holding out on me still.
  • Find better sideboard/buffet.  I want one with closed storage on the bottom, as this one is more of an entry table and I've never been crazy about in in general and the wood is much darker than the rest of our wood furniture.
  • New rug - I have my eye on a creamy cable textured Flor rug.  Cream is not ideal under the dining room table, but I think it would look nice, and I really like the idea of using Flor tiles, so if Eddie eats a piece or it gets a stain, we could swap it out.
  • Find a piano.  We had a piano in here for a while that was John's dad's old piano, but it didn't work, so we eventually got rid of it.  I really want to play again though, so I've been scouring Craigslist now that the room is painted.
  • Put the overhead light on a dimmer.  We tried to do this before, but there was an awful buzzing sound, so John needs to upgrade the electrical a bit.
  • Decide about putting back up the gallery wall.  We used to have several large photos/prints above the buffet, but I'm currently enjoying the simpler view.  They may go back up on the wall across from the window, which is completely blank at the moment.  Eventually the piano and the door to our half-bath will be on that wall, but the half-bath at the very least is quite a ways away.
Current state of the dining room

The kitchen is fairly segregated from the rest of the house, but you can see the doorway in the dining room photo above.  I started painting the kitchen last summer, but it was quite tricky and still needs some finish work.  John's much more of the detail-oriented one, so that's on his list, but his list is miles long at the moment!  The previous owners redid the kitchen maybe 10 years ago, so it's definitely not due for replacement any time soon, but they made some choices that I'm not a fan of (primarily the countertops and floor being beige, which I HATE).  The muddy deep green they painted it was also a silly choice, in my opinion, because it is a tiny room, and that just made it super dark and ugh.  I don't mind dark colors in a small space, but it was just a bad color.  Anyway, I inadvertently painted it the color of a post-it, and it's on its way to being a bright and fun kitchen.  Remaining elements include:
  • Finish up all the painting stuff (paint the ceiling, edging, etc)
  • Turning the pantry into a half -bath, and then moving the fridge over where the pantry door was
  • Putting an old wooden cupboard where the fridge was (to replace the pantry storage space)
  • Replace the linoleum floor.  We had some leaking under the sink, and the edges of the linoleum are curling up as a result.  I want to replace it with something dark, either slate-colored or black/white tiles.  Whatever we do it will just be something in the linoleum/vinyl range though, as I don't want to invest too much into it.  My dream (at which John cringes every time I mention it) is to cut a hole in the back of the house and extend both the kitchen and the bedroom above, and add another bath on the second floor).  This is obviously not a simple renovation though, so it's on the long-term plan (at least in my head, John may argue that it's not in the plan at all). :)
Current state of the kitchen