Posts Tagged ‘style’

Understated Style: My Momiform


Finally I’m getting around to posting some of the many things I’ve made lately. I’ve been busy with projects (some secret and some not so secret) that I haven’t had much time to update this blog. I miss blogging. Instagram has kind of taken over, but I still love the accountability that blogging gives me.


I found this slub open-knit fabric as a remnant at Michael Levine loft for $3 per pound which means the fabric came out to a whopping $1. Yes. You read right. I love the L.A. fabric district!



I wanted something light-weight for summer so I whipped up a simple raglan. I don’t like making super basic basics because you can buy those things über cheap at places like Target so I added a couple of fun details that make it unique (at least to me).

I did a reverse hem on the sleeves so you see the underside of the fabric and the raw edges. Since it’s a knit and doesn’t easily fray, it looks purposeful.

I’ve had a heck of a time telling which side is which when I’m racing to throw on my clothes in the morning to get the kids into their routine so I wanted to do something fun to differentiate the front and the back. Instead of sewing a tag only I can see, I added a suede detail on the back side of the shirt. It adds a fun bit of visual interest. I used the raw edge of the hide, but I may go back and cut it at an angle.



This and a pair of jeans has been my go-to.


And leather chucks. I wanted to be part of the cool crowd with some rad convers shoes. But between my kids and me, canvas shoes wouldn’t stay nice very long. So I bought leather ones. Good choice, if you ask me. They’ve held up well against vomit, sumi ink, otterpop juice and mud.


Outfit details:

  • necklace: gift from a friend
  • bracelet: DIY (here)
  • top: handmade (I sized up on the Lane Raglan)
  • purse: c/o Lily Jade
  • jeans: c/o DownEast
  • shoes: Amazon (affiliate, but really this is where I bought them)

Style: Easy-going Palazzo Pants


These last few months have included a lot of fun travel. I’m getting worn out, but I’m also meeting so many fabulous people and having a wonderful time seeing new places.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

All photos by Brandi Gard

This month has taken me to Nashville, Tennessee area for Inspired Retreat.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Naturally, I was bored with my current selection of clothes. I had to make something new. I had some fabric that I knew needed to be palazzo pants or culottes. It’s a very breezy fabric I found at Michael Levine Loft in L.A.’s fabric district. I love visiting there, but I need to sew up more of my fabric stash before I visit again. I have too much fabric now!

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I used a vintage patternsimplicity 8550 for the pants. The size I got measured for a 23″ waist (who has a waist that small?!? NOT ME. but looking at the technical drawing and the flat pattern pieces, I did the math and it was a simple gathered pant with a straight waist. I could alter the waistband without having to change anything else. I did add an extra 2 inches in the length just in case. I’d rather they be too long than too short.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

The fabric I chose is a glorified broomstick fabric (you know broom stick skirts from the 90s?? Yes. Like that. I ironed the fabric before sewing with it, which may cause a problem down the line, but I like the feel of them better when the crinkles aren’t SO dramatic.

In an ideal situation, I would have let the fabric rest before cutting into it. I didn’t, which is why the patterns don’t quite match up at the seams. It kind of drives me nuts, but I’ve actively decided not to care about it because at the end of the day I crossed a project off my list that I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I decided to sew and complete these all on Saturday (the day before leaving for Tennessee). I’m thrilled that I finished them and they worked! I plan on making another pair, but with a few slight changes.

It was a real treat to have Brandi of Brandi Gard photography photograph this session. It’s not often I get to take direction from a pro. Feeling so glamorous.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Outfit details:

  • top: thrifted
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: The Haute Pursuit
  • pants: self-made
  • shoes: TOMS
  • sunglasses: c/o TomKat Studio

Next I plan to finish my Easter dress. And upholster a chair.




Sewing: Easter Dresses for the Girls


Easter came and went so fast. I can’t believe it’s been over a week since that glorious day. We kept festivities simple with new Sunday Best and a basket of candy for each kid (minus J – she’ll get one next year ;)).


I made dresses for the girls and bought Felix pants and a polo. It’s kind of unreal how Felix’s pants match the fabric I picked out for the girls.


I found this great polyester (I’m assuming it’s polyester) in the fabric district in L.A. last month. It’s very drapey, but with how light-weight it is it’s completely opaque. I’ve had trouble finding fabric with good drape and opacity these days. The print and colors aren’t what I would normally gravitate towards, but it’s growing on me. I like the little tulips and the unexpected blue. I love dressing girls up in blue. Little known fact: Pink used to be a boy color and baby blue was a girl color because they were the pastel versions of red and blue. Red being viewed as more masculine than blue. I don’t think color should be relegated to just masculine or just feminine. I like mixing it up.


Back buttons and pleats for Juniper’s dress

For the dresses, I made up the patterns. I drafted both dresses from clothes that Penelope and Juniper already had and fit. I kept them simple with pleats instead of gathers (whoever says gathering is easy is crazy). I wanted them to be simple enough that they could be pulled over, but with some thinking, that wasn’t going to happen with a woven fabric. Some kind of fastener had to be involved. Due to the fabric’s drape, I decided buttons were the best fit. I hate putting on buttons. Executing the button holes was a breeze. I’ve got an amazing automatic button hole setting on my machine, so I would set it then let it do its thing while I sat or left the room to take care of something else. It was sewing the buttons on that was a pain.


Front pleat detail for Penelope’s Dress

Overall, the buttons add a sweet element, particularly to the simple silhouette of Penelope’s dress. Both girls have to have help getting dressed, but closing a button isn’t a big deal.


Back button detail for Penelope’s Dress

The fabric has been a dream to work with. Now I want something in my size. I’m still trying to decide what to do. I’ve got about 2 1/2 – 3 yards left so the possibilities are nearly endless. Culottes? Wrap skirt? Pleated dress?


Also, I think I have the most beautiful children. I might be a tad biased.

Sewing: Maternity and Beyond Silk Kimono


When in LA earlier this summer, I found the most gorgeous silk print for $5 a yard. I snatched up two yards for the sole purpose to make a kimono out of it. After seeing Leanne’s amazing kimono (tutorial here), I’ve been on the hunt for the right fabric to make one. The stars aligned!


Because of the nature of the print, instead of only using a yard to construct the kimono, I ended up needing all two yards and even then I barely had enough to match up the patterns symmetrically.


I wish I took a photo of the front, but the patterns match up perfectly along the front as well for the perfect balance.



Between the the print and the silk, this piece took significantly more time to cut than to construct. Instead of just measuring out the pieces and cutting directly on the fabric as it instructs in the tutorial, I made pattern pieces so I could get perfect placement of the print. It also proved to be helpful when cutting the layers of silk out as the pattern pieces and weights provided stability while cutting.

I was stoked Leanne published her measurements for her pattern pieces. I ended up using those measurements exactly to put together the kimono. It’s sort of a one-size-fits-all piece, so I figure it would work well. And it did!


It’s the perfect layering piece without adding warmth to my outfits. The fewer layers I can wear, the better!

I didn’t mean to have such an annoyed look on my face when I took pictures today, but 99% of them came out looking like this. Perhaps I’m a little impatient to get this little one out of my belly and into my arms? I’m hoping this weekend is the weekend. Thursday would be perfect because it’s my grandma’s birthday. And that would be pretty sweet for the two of them to share a birthday. I share a birthday with my aunt, and it’s pretty awesome.


Outfit details:


Was that a contraction I just felt?!? Oh don’t get my hopes up little one!

Style: Raglan Maternity Top


My midwife says that I could go into labor at any time. I’m thrilled with this news as we’ve experienced a little heat wave in our neck of the woods lately. As I keep mentioning, I just can’t wait. We don’t have everything in order just yet, but we’re getting closer. I still need to sort through all the little miss’s clothes and blankies. I may end up making a few new pieces for her. I’ve had this design for itty harem pants in my head for some time and I need to actually make them!


Not long before making the wiggle skirt last week, I busted out this maternity top. I used the same pattern here as I did in my long sleeve version blogged here, but I ruched the sides. The side ruching helps the top duck under my belly just a little bit, so it doesn’t quite have a tent effect.


Putting this piece together was easy since I had the pattern already cut and ready to rock and roll. The ruching adds a little different detail than my other version. I like that it goes high on the sides (like many popular tunics these days) to elongate my legs. Since I’m rarely wearing heels (save for Sundays, I can wear heels for 3 hours of sitting no sweat!), I want that extra length, but I also want the behind hider of the tunic. It adds a teensy bit of drama to an otherwise plain tee.



I may or may not have been feeling a contraction when I took this photo. I’m looking forward to lots of long evening walks in the coming days.

Outfit details:

  • earrings: thrifted
  • necklace: handmade by my dad
  • top: handmade
  • leggings: c/o Agnes & Dora
  • shoes: Sole Society



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