Posts Tagged ‘style’

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).

Letter Lover Calligraphy + 30 % Off Silhouette Promo


Chris keeps asking me why I’m going to such great lengths on preparations for Alt Summit. He’s very supportive; buying me more decal material when I mess up the one sheet I have, meeting with one of my friends to pick up the surprise for this year’s business card (still not done) and feeding kids while I’m sewing and lettering like a maniac.

As I was planning my outfits, I decided I needed to do another printed shirt as a “resume” of what  I can do (see last year’s). I was trying to come up with something cheeky like “this is what a calligrapher looks like”. Alas pretty words, not clever ones, are my expertise. So I opted for a simple “Letter Lover” in the shape of a heart. A nod to Megan’s brilliant heart sweater.


I struggled to figure out if I should go with a black decal or go blingy with a shimmery metallic. The metallic won out.


I’m loving the mixed metallics trend I’ve seen pop up here and there, so I decided I need to roll with that next week. This will be part of my Wednesday outfits at Alt Summit. I can’t wait to go! Oh wait! I can! There’s so much to do! I haven’t even started printing my business cards (letterpress plates coming tomorrow!).

Yesterday, I designed and finished this shirt, sewed another shirt and tie dye skinny jeans from scratch. All that’s left are cards, signage, one shirt and two skirts! Totally doable in 7 days.


As I was working on the design for this sweatshirt, I was thinking about the actual time it takes me to write a post like this. Just an FYI (since we’re all about blogging and prep work at the moment), here’s the breakdown:

  • drafting and designing the decal: 90 minutes
  • cutting and ironing: 30 minutes
  • minor fixes to the fit of the sweatshirt: 5 minutes
  • hair, make-up and styling: 60 minutes
  • shooting and editing photos: 30 minutes
  • writing the post: 30 minutes

That’s just over 4 hours for one of my smaller posts (no tutorials included). I’d like to get faster in these processes, but I don’t know how much faster I could really get sometimes. Blogging just takes a lot of time. I still love it anyway.


Outfit details:



Also, Silhouette is offering 30% most items in their shop. This basically applies to supplies and extras like heat transfer and vinyl (my two favorites), stamps and more. Use code MELISSA at check out for the discount. Click here to shopThe 30% discount does NOT apply to the machines, gift cards, $10/$25 download cards, shapes, out of stock items or subscriptions. 


I am a Silhouette affiliate. I wouldn’t blog about their products unless I really loved them. And I do. I receive a portion of sales made with the promotional code MELISSA, so thank you for your support!!

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!


Tutorial: Beaded Turban Ring


I’m a last-minute gift-giver. 90% of the gifts on my list have not been bought or made. . . yet. I’m that on the ball this year. In fact, does anyone else feel like they’re just dragging behind with holiday prep?


Each year I try to make most of my gifts. It’s become increasingly harder with two kids and calligraphy work. So I like to go for things that are simple, thoughtful and/or cute. I was playing around with an idea for a ring design using only these small beads and gold wire. That’s when the idea for this little ring struck. It’s so easy, you could make up a bunch for  of your besties this winter!

Beaded Turban Ring




Cut the wire about 8 inches long. bend one end about 2 inches from the end. The bend will keep the beads from falling off.

With the straight end, string the beads, about 4-5 inches. Some glass beads won’t fit at all, while others will slide on smoothly. Just keep picking out more beads until you find one that fits.


Wrap the beaded wire around a marker or finger. Above I have 4 wraps. Only wrap the marker twice. Remove any excess beads, then trim and kink the straight end about an inch or so in.


Coil one wire around the other, tucking the end in as much as you can.


Coil the second end around the first coil tightly.


Now enjoy!

Outfit details:

More tutorials are on their way!

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!



Sewing!!!!! An Open-Knit Sweater Hoodie


Last week it took a melt down for me to carve some time for selfish sewing. I’ve been really busy with black friday business for I Still Love Calligraphy, prepping for Alt Summit and taking care of kiddos. No complaints though!! We’re flabbergasted at how quickly the calligraphy kits sold out (buying supplies for more kits tomorrow!). Your support has made putting food on the table and a roof over our heads possible. Thank you for keeping us busy!


In addition to being busy, it’s been cold around our neck of the woods. The chill has been anywhere between -14º and 5ºF. Our furnace chugs nearly 24/7.  Naturally, if I’m going to sew anything, I’m going to sew something cozy and comfortable.


I found this crochet-like sweater knit several months ago. I can’t remember where, but there were only 3 yards left. I bought all 3. This yardage called my name every day since September, begging to be something warm. It took me until a few weeks ago to figure out how I was going to finish the edges. It’s a really loose knit, so I couldn’t do a blind hem and call it good. It’s also too bulky to use for a cuff. That’s when I found this lightweight oatmeal knit that matched perfectly.


I used the oatmeal for a lining (this hoodie is technically reversible), for the cuffs and the hood. The hood is technically functional, but it works more like a scarf than anything.


The briar sweater pattern fit the bill for this piece. I straightened out the hem at the bottom and raised the neckline at the top. I traced a hoodie I had lying around for the hoodie pattern.

This hoodie took some time to complete since I lined it (sewing both inner and outer tops separately, then connecting them with the hems). I also reconstructed the bottom hem. I originally sewed it too loose and long, making the proportions look bottom-heavy. Reworking that hem wasn’t fun, but I knew I wouldn’t wear it if I didn’t make those changes!


I also sewed the leggings from the block I made back in September (you can get a PDF pattern here, too). They’re made out of a super stretchy brick-patterned ponte knit. They’re really thick, making them more passable as pants than other leggings I’ve made in the past. They’re my new leisure pants. I have enough yardage to make a wiggle dress or some more leggings. Which should it be? Hmmm.


I just love the striped patterning in the texture!! I’ve seen so many great oatmeal/off-white/angora colored sweaters this season, maybe I can fit in with the cool crowd?


What are you wearing non-stop this winter to stay warm?


Outfit details:


Looking for similar sweaters? Above is a list of similar sweaters for under $45.


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