Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

Sewing: Pussy Bow Blouse & Skinny Jeans


I finally feel like I’m back in the land of the living! I started laundry today (first time in 3 weeks), so I expect each and every one of you to give me an enthusiastic pat on the back. Just kidding! Chris has been picking up a lot of slack lately, so I’m glad to be taking back some of my household responsibilities.

I’m also back to sewing. Well, blogging about sewing. I haven’t touched my sewing machine since before Jan 21st. I’m aching to get back in the saddle. Too much pretty fabric just sitting, doing nothing.


This year with Alt Summit, I wanted to sew even more of my outfits (last year it was usually one thing, whether it was a piece of jewelry or a top or skirt). And this year I wanted to make pants. Like real pants. So I sketched up plans for outfits for each day (see above for Friday day and evening looks). My friday day look turned out nearly as planned (the oxblood leggings didn’t happen, obvi, but that’s okay). The Friday night look turned out completely different, but in a good way. More on that one later.

The limitations for Alt Summit:

  • I didn’t have time to go out and buy fabric or notions, so I was going on what I had.
  • I wanted each of my outfits to be *mostly* interchangeable in case I changed my mind about an outfit last minute. This meant a simple color palette.
  • I wanted clothes to be comfortable.
  • I didn’t want to spend too much time testing out a new pattern or fussing with zippers and enclosures.


That said I went pretty simple with my ensembles, but little special touches here and there. My wardrobe paled in comparison with Merrick’s and Leanne’s amazing duds. Seriously. Equal parts jealous and in love with their creations. Those ladies inspire me to push my sewing further.

For Friday’s look, I wanted a sweet and romantic pussy bow top with bishop sleeves. It turned out almost exactly how I envisioned it. Almost. I sewed everything up and was going for a final press when I forgot that my iron was set to the cotton setting! Unfortunately I melted half of a sleeve onto my iron. I’m thankful it was the bottom half so I could salvage the sleeves without much hassle.


I used Jessica’s Simple Blouse pattern (another variation here). It’s a very simple sew, perfect for variations. I used a rayon jersey print I got at Mood for the bodice and a polyester chiffon for the arms and necktie detail. Often times synthetic chiffons are a little scratchy to the touch, but this stuff is magically soft!

Attaching the neck to the top was easy, easy. I made the necktie first (sew wrong sides together, turn and press) then sandwiched it between the neckline and biased tape when I bound the neck. It was a lot easier to put together than I thought.


Because of the drape and cling of the jersey, I opted for a banded hem to give the bottom some structure. I was afraid this would date the shirt too much, but because of the light weight of the fabric, it still allows to be tucked in and styled differently unlike most shirts with hem bands.


Now for the pants. I found this awesome tie dye print at Michael Levine Loft in LA. I was stoked to figure out a project for one of my favorite LA fabric finds! This stretch denim has about 40% stretch, so I figured if I loosened up the seam allowances on my self drafted leggings, I’d have a perfect fit.

I made the mistake of cutting the first pant leg on the wrong grain so there was no stretch horizontally. Thankfully I had enough fabric that I could re-cut the pattern pieces on the right grain, no problem. The pattern worked out perfectly, except in the knees. The knees were too loose in comparison to the tightness in the calves. I thought it wouldn’t bother me, but minutes before walking out the door to Alt Summit, I decided to fix it. I’m SO glad I did.


Too lazy/intimidated to try and figure out how to put in a fly zipper, I opted for a yoga band. This actually works to my benefit as I’m CRAAAZY baby hungry right now. At some point down the road (no announcement, yet) I want to have another baby, so it’s nice to have pieces that will stretch with me. I’m at that awkward point where I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get pregnant. I don’t want to jump the gun on maternity clothes, but I also don’t want to invest serious time into making something I love if I can only wear it once or twice.

Beyond my future plans, having a yoga band pant was awesome at Alt Summit. I was incredibly comfortable while sitting at sessions and running around decorating our party.


There’s a lot going on here with the two patterns, but I think they work really nicely together. Kinda how stripes and dots just work. The neutral color palette makes it easy for me to mix and match each piece with just about anything.


Sewing these pants together made me think that I should try even more woven pant variations. Maybe have another go at Harem Pants?

Outfit Details:


Next year, I think I’m going to clear my plate a little more before Alt so I can spend a ton more time designing and sewing clothes. ‘Cause that was my favorite part of prepping for the conference!

Check out the links above for similar tie dye pants (all under $50).

Sewing: Leather Handmade Tote


I had hoped to make more of my Christmas gifts this year, but alas, it was only one (besides teacher’s gifts). I made a leather purse for my brother-in-law’s new girl. We all just adore her, so maybe I got a little excited about making something a little extra special for her.


My friend Susan gave me this rad embossed suede a couple months ago. It’s just a killer color and texture, it was begging to become a purse.

It’s something like a 3 ounce leather, so I couldn’t get too fancy with it with my sewing machine so I made a simple box-bottom tote out of it. My machine didn’t like the leather a whole lot, but it submitted to my will in the end.


The inside is partially lined with leather, so I didn’t want to sew the straps on to the actual leather (3 layers of leather would have made my machine go out for a pack of bubble gum and never come back). So I punched a hole and affixed brass rivet thingies instead. The rivets took considerable amount of work  as a two-person job. Thankfully I had Chris at the ready to help me make the rivets happen.

Despite the possible headache of the rivets, they’re nice and snug on the leather, so I’m hopeful that they will stand the test of time.


The inside snaps together with a brass magnetic button. It was kinda evil genius of me to line the top part of the purse with leather since this provides a considerable amount of stabilization for the closure.


I made two pockets in the interior. They were hard to photograph, but you get the idea. The first pocket is an open pocket that’s flush with where the suede and lining fabric meet.


The second pocket is my favorite: a zippered pocket for secret surprises. It zips all the way across the tote with pink leather details (not pictured) on either end.

The interior fabric is Jay McCarroll’s Los Angeles City Center. Gifted to me by the lovely Kristin. It’s even more rad in person.

Having finished this first leather tote, I’m stoked to make another! It was a little intimidating, but not as hard as I originally thought!

Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book


I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.


I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:


They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial



Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!


Elsewhere: Adventures in Dressmaking


It’s been at least two weeks since I’ve been able to enjoy some un-interrupted sewing time. The only sewing I’ve been able to lately has only involved felt squares to make cases for our gadgets. To say I’m antsy to break out the scissors and fabric would be the understatement of the year. I have an idea for the raddest sweater hoodie, and I want it yesterday. 

The fact that I bought the sweetest emerald velvet and it’s just sitting (prewashed!) on my desk is just killer! I’m mostly okay with it. Chris and I have been working our tails on polishing off the finishing touches to I Still Love Calligraphy before Cyber Monday. It’s been brutal, but I’m so excited about the upcoming changes to the site.


Meanwhile, I’m over at Adventures in Dressmaking sharing my favorite handmade outfit for the Holiday season. Click here for the full post.


Outfit details:


Also, I’m over at the Curious Calligrapher sharing tips on calligraphy! Click here for the full post


Sewing: Sporty Maxi Dress with Leather Details


I didn’t initially plan on making this dress. It happened as I went along. I was hoping to use a knee-length version of this pattern for my ikat fabric.


Before cutting up the precious yardage, I wanted to test out my vision. I’m glad I did! I love how this dress turned out with the fabric I used, but I don’t think it would’ve made a good fit for my Mood yardage. I’m still trying to figure out my plans for that fabric.


I used a basic t-shirt block, and cut just above the bust line for an overlapped v-neck with leather piping at the seam. It turned out to be a really nice subtle detail, but if I were to do it again (and I just might), I think I’d create a slight curve to the line so it hits at a more natural spot at my under-arms.


The fabric itself is a soft knit with silver bumpy dots on it. The texture is really neat, actually. The thin knit is quite stable and opaque as well. I’ve mentioned my need for long sleeves this winter, but I decided that I’d much rather layer sweaters with this dress than tights. I love how it looks with this chunky knit sweater.


It’s been a really warm fall this year, so it’s been fun to be able to wear long skirts and dresses while out and about.


Outfit details:

  • earrings: etsy
  • necklace: H&M, Cambria Cove
  • dress: handmade
  • scarf: hand-me-down
  • sweater: c/o SheInside (here)
  • shoes: Forever 21

Check out above for similar grey maxi dresses.

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