Archive for the ‘handmade’ Category

Sewing Style: Split & Sparkle Kimono

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OMG. Prior calligraphy student Marilenne sent me a load of beaded collars she bought from the Philippines and I couldn’t wait to get sewing with them. What was likely supposed to be a beaded waist detail ended up being a popped collar of sorts for this lightweight linen kimono I sewed for myself.

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The fabric is a lightweight linen I got from Miriam (turns out she bought it from Walmart – seriously sometimes they have fabulous fashion fabrics!). It’s breezy, which is perfect for the long hem, so it catches in the wind and looks freaking awesome. Paired with the black faux leather leggings, I’m channeling Trinity over here (minus the shiny leather).

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Sewing the beaded collar wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I ended up relying heavily on my zipper foot and it worked like a champ.

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Pattern-wise, I went off Leanne’s Kimono tutorial. I made some adjustments from the previous iteration, but I ended up making the sleeves too tight. So small, that they didn’t fit my shoulders (oops). I ended up unpicking the side seams and adding a gusset in the armpit to accommodate. Worked like a charm. Putting in a gusset wasn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it would be. The trickiest part of the whole thing was unpicking the serger seams (which isn’t so bad with this tutorial).

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I love how this blazer/kimono/blazono works with black leggings. I’d like to try it with a floor length chiffon skirt (black or marbled grey?). I’ve been thinking about black tie attire lately. I’d like to have a go-to outfit for fancy stuff. So far I don’t have anything like that.

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Outfit Details:


DIY: Simple Rope Necklace Tutorial


It’s unreal how long I’ve had this DIY in the queue.


I made these necklaces back in 2013, just before I went to L.A. for a girls’ weekend. Back when I made this, I had an idea for a giant rope necklace, but didn’t have any giant rope. Turns out you can find this type of stuff in the upholstery section, but making your own rope is hyper fun. And insanely easy.


It adds a little bit of quirkiness, but it doesn’t look nearly as home made as it is. I love that.


For the simplest of necklaces, here’s what we’ll need:

  • Cotton twine: any kind (I found mine at Home Depot)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • jump rings
  • chain (16+ inches)
  • pliers

Click the link to see the full tutorial.


Sewing Style: Floral Button-Up

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This outfit has been in the queue of things to blog for MONTHS. I got the skirt just in the nick time for Inspired Retreat. It traveled marvelously well and proved to be just the perfect statement piece I needed for a dinner there.

The top was something I sewed in May for Silhouette Summit. There’s something about going out of town that urges me to sew like crazy!

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I had this fabric in my stash from an excursion to the fabric district years ago. I thought I would just make something for Penelope with it, but it just sat. And I never made anything for her. The bright, tropical print was screaming at me the second I purchased my flight to Hawaii, so I did something about it.

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I made this button up without a collar. Basically using Grainline’s Scout Tee, extending the middle front and adding buttons. It was easy enough. I sort of wish I would have made a collar for it. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with, but I think a collar would have looked nice.

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It was part laziness, part strategic planning that I opted for only 4 buttons in the front. I tie the front of most of my button-ups anyway, so I just omitted them for that very reason. Tying up the excess like that makes for a sleeker line with the skirt since there’s no bulk of a shirt underneath the skirt. I know. I’m genius. It’s not a matter of style, but a matter of comfort in this case. I don’t like bulk.
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It was an easy enough sew, taking me just under 2 hours to make it happen from beginning to end. I feel a little Miami granny-ish with the florals, but paired with the metallic knife pleats I just own the look.

Outfit details

I was stoked to find Pleated Empire is local to Draper! I’m a huge fan of the rebel skirt (featured above) and their Floral Blazer and Mesh Ribbon Skirt.

Sewing: The Feminist Bathing Suit


When I tell people that I like to sew my own swimming suits, I tend to get the same reaction of awe and I-could-never-do-anything-like-that self-doubt. Sewing a swimsuit isn’t that hard. Shopping for one is hard.

Let me put this in perspective. How many women out there go to the store, pick out the first suit they like, try it on, love it and go home? And if you’re reading this and you do that, you’re either pre-pubescent or a freaking unicorn. Because that doesn’t exist.

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Every woman I talk to spends at least the double-digits in hours either searching for, trying on, buying/returning a swimsuit. It’s a laborious task finding the swimsuit of the season. It is!

I’m thin. My BMI is in the “you need to gain weight” range. It always has been. So many think it might be easy for me to find a suit I just love. It’s not. I always end the swimsuit excursion feeling emotionally bankrupt, thinking: My boobs are too small, my torso is too long and my body is too pasty. 

Why? Why on earth put myself through that kind of torture? WHY?!?!?


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You know what? I have an amazing body. WE ALL HAVE AMAZING BODIES. It’s just that 99% of the time our bodies don’t fit the block created by one manufacturer or another. And is that bad? NO.

So I’m not going to waste another minute feeling upset that my body doesn’t fit a man-made proportion, or spend a second on the things I could do to enhance or change my god-given proportions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it. It’s just not for me. Not right now.

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Now I spend that half-day obsessing over muslins and sketches. I huddle over my sewing machines finishing every detail as best as I can. I’ve drafted my own sewing pattern through lots of trial and error (version 1.0 here), so now I have a pattern for swim bottoms that fits me perfectly. I can adjust that pattern to the style I’m going for. Drafting a top takes more time, but it’s worth it.

At the end of the experience, I have a swimsuit I’ve made. A swimsuit I’m proud of. A swimsuit that fits me. 

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Some may think that sewing is so antiquated. I’ll tell you there’s nothing more empowering than that sewing machine. If you’re on the fence about sewing a swimsuit this year, get off the fence and start making one right now. It’ll be the best investment in you you’ll make this summer.

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Outfit details:

  • floral knit: L.A. Fabric District
  • scuba knit:
  • necklace: H&M
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bracelet: THP shop

I drafted each pattern from scratch. I would consider starting at Burdastyle, if you download their patterns make sure that patterns have seam allowance before you cut them out. :)

If sewing isn’t for you, check out my swimwear inspiration board.

All images by Sam Pierson

3 Fun Things To Do With Bleach: Tissue Paper

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3 fun things to do with bleach. The perfect last-minute craft you can do with your kids in-time for Mother’s day. Wouldn’t an artistic tee or apron be the perfect gift for grandma? Click here to see all the posts in this series.


Jazz up some plain tissue paper with spritzes of bleach!


Grab an old toothbrush, dip in bleach and spray onto the ends of the tissue paper. It works best on dark colored papers. I love black tissue paper. It works well for EVERY occasion.


Allow paper to dry (2-3 minutes) before stuffing in a gift bag. Be sure to spray bleach in a well ventilated area!! If you’re DIYing with kids, make sure at least one adult is supervising at all times!

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