This past week my family, Lucas, and I went to the beach for mini-vacation at my uncle’s beach house in Long Beach, Long Island. As Charles Dickens’ once wrote, “It was the best of [weeks], it was the worst of [weeks]”. My uncle’s house doesn’t have air conditioning, which, in conjunction with the recent heat wave, was unbearable. Luckily, we also had the ocean. It’s a toss up.
While there, Lucas and I tried a new doughnut shop, Dough Hut, and sampled every single one of their flavors. My personal favorites included Maple Bacon and Vanilla Crumb, while Lucas liked Pistachio and Jelly.
Long Beach was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy, so it’s nice seeing it get back on its feet. There’s more art around, including this cute (and resourceful) mural on a low dividing wall. It’s made of thousands of bright bottle caps.
I also got my traditional beach mani/pedi while there in Essie’s Bikini So Teeny. (Pictured with my own personal almost-matching teeny bikini).
We also made a stop at family-favorite Rockaway Taco to get their delicious fish tacos. They are simply divine. I highly recommend visiting (except not while I’m there, because that place is crowded enough as it is, thanksverymuch).
How are you beating the heat?
For a post-Fourth of July date, Lucas and I visited Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a great outdoor 43 acre sculpture park filled with all sorts of statues and definitely worth a visit. The date gave me an opportunity to take out my new safari clothes I picked up from Banana Republic.
I’ve developed a recent obsession with tropical prints (I’ve got a couple dresses currently in the works on my sewing table). I love how summery they feel, and how playful they are while still being stylish. I’ve also started loving excessively matching prints. When I saw this shirt and pants combo at Banana Republic, I knew I couldn’t leave it behind.
Grounds for Sculpture is filled with kooky realistic sculptures of people, including recreations of famous paintings. Some of the statues are really startling – you have to look twice before you realize what they are. Peacocks also roam the grounds, amping up the surreal nature of it all.
If you are ever in the area, you should definitely visit Grounds for Sculpture.
When summer comes around, I can’t help but be drawn towards preppy staples like nautical stripes, navy blue, and kelly green – all I can dream about is lounging on the beach or on the back porch in classic-looking clothing. When I saw the “High Hamptons” collection in Joann Fabrics, I knew that I had to make something with it. I’ve also seen a lot of chevron patterns and textiles all over Pinterest recently, which inspired me to take the stripe fabric I found and play around with it a little.
The most important part about making your own chevron clothing is making sure that the stripes line up. That’s really the key to making your dress (or skirt) look expensive. Overall, it’s it’s pretty simple, you just need to be extra careful when cutting and sewing your pieces.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- 1-2 yds striped, knit fabric – I ended up doing chevrons only on the front panels, so I needed a bit less. The amount you need will depend on the size you’re making and the difficulty of matching the stripes. It’s usually better to err on the cautious side. My fabric is a lurex blue and green stripe poly blend from the High Hamptons line at Joann Fabrics.
- 1 yd matching knit fabric (Optional) – I chose a kelly green knit fabric to complement the front of the dress. If you instead want to do chevrons on the side panels as well, add this amount of fabric to the striped fabric requirement.
- Matching thread – I chose to use navy thread to match the darker of the stripes
- An old tank top – Grab an old tank top, skirt or knit dress that you like the fit of. This will provide a loose template for a pattern.
- Large sheets of paper – This can be any type of paper – we need it to create a paper pattern to help us cut out the pieces. I ended up using a couple sheets of newspaper.
How to make it:
- Step one: Create a pattern
Spread your tank top or dress down on your paper. Sketch out a loose outline of the clothing. Each half of your body (top/bottom) will be covered by eight pieces. After tracing out a loose copy of your tank top, cut it in half down the middle (where the two “1” pieces separate). Draw and cut a line where you want the front panels to separate from the side panels (i.e. cut your pattern into “1” and “2” pieces). Cut the pieces apart. Decide where you want the waistline to fall, and cut the bottom of the pieces off there. Now, sketch out a pattern from the skirt. Again, cut the piece in half and then into front and side panels (cut 3 from 4). Made sure that the top and bottom panels meet each other at the right place and are the same width there.
- Step two: Cut out the fabric
This is one of the most important steps – cutting out the fabric and matching stripes. For each pattern piece you’ve made, you’re going to cut out four copies. I started with the “1” pattern piece. Position your pattern on the fabric so that the stripes are going at the angle you want them to – I did a pretty steep ~45 degree angle, but it’s up to you. Cut out that pattern piece. Now, here’s the trick. Place that piece of fabric back on top of your striped fabric, and line it up so that it intersects with the stripes next to it when they are also at the same (but reversed) angle. A good way to check this is to look at how wide the stripes are at a given point, and make sure their widths match up. They should form a perfect chevron together. When you’ve finished matching up the stripes, place the paper pattern down on that section of fabric, so that cut fabric and the paper form a mock-up of the whole front “1” panels. Pin that pattern down, and cut it out. You should now have matched, cut “1” panels. Continue this for the two back “1” panels. For the “3” panels, using the same method, match the waist stripes from the “1” panels into chevrons, and then match the center chevrons again. Do it again for the back “3” panels. The end result of all the matching and cutting should look like the right image in the above illustration. For my version, cut “2” and “4” panels out of your complementary fabric. If you also want to make chevrons there, follow the above method to match stripes.
- Step three: Sew, sew, sew!
Now’s the time to sew all the pieces together! It’s really important to match up the stripes, so carefully pin each piece together, matching stripes as you go. Sew all the pieces together following the diagram above. You should probably use a “stretch” needle to sew the knitted fabric. I also used a zigzag stitch, because I find that straight stitches tend to be less forgiving on stretch fabric. Hem the bottom, neckline, and armholes of the dress, making sure the seams hit the same place on the dress (the stripes will make it painfully obvious if the neckline isn’t hemmed evenly).
There, you’re done! Wear it with classic wayfarer sunglasses and cute sandals on a sunny summer outing or with a cardigan for casual summer work attire. What I really love about this dress is that it’s so easy to wear but still so cute (also, let’s be real, the chevron stripes are visually slimming and create a pseudo hourglass shape). Enjoy!
Two weekends ago was Princeton’s traditional spring concert party, also known as Lawnparties. It’s a fantastic day where girls break out their sundresses for the first time in a while and boys dress almost ludicrously preppy (or is that just Lucas? Actually, no, it’s not. It’s everyone). This year, we were lucky enough to have Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as our main act, a band I’ve been desperate to see since freshmen year.
They did not disappoint. In fact, it may have been the best concert I’ve ever been to. I got to the stage about an hour early to make sure I had a good spot, which meant that I got to be in the second row for the entire performance! They opened with “40 Day Dream,” a personal favorite, and closed with “Om Nashi Me,” one of my favorite songs off of their first album. During “Home,” probably their best-known song, Alex, the lead singer for Edward Sharpe, asked audience members for stories they wanted to share. Lucas grabbed the mic and told everyone about how we had fallen in love to that song. I’m not going to lie, it brought a couple of tears to my eyes.
Anyway, as per usual, Lucas and I matched outfits. I made this dress from the New Look 6776 dress pattern (B, I think?). I really wanted to make something light and summery, so I chose the yellow polka dots and the uneven pink check patterned fabrics. I think they look like pink lemonade together. I made Lucas a matching bow tie out of the yellow fabric using the tutorial I made last week. He wore a checked pink shirt from Banana Republic and the new boat shoes-embroidered pink shorts I bought him from Brooks Brothers for his birthday.
If you want to see our outfits from last fall’s lawnparties, click here. We just discovered that the second photo is featured in our senior yearbook, so these outfits will be remembered for years to come!
I hope everyone’s having a good end of the semester!
I’ve now got a little over a month left until my thesis is due and a little over twenty out of eighty pages written. To say that I’m stressed out would be an understatement. Appreciating the beauty around me helps, though. These pictures were taken over Intersession, when I was trekking back from the library after struggling to progress on my thesis. I usually miss golden hour and the sunset, because I’m either studying, at work, or just not paying attention, but the orange glow is too beautiful to be ignored.
I’ve found that making small goals helps, with infinitesimal rewards along the way (typing this is a reward for writing a paragraph). I’ve also made a time table for progress, that puts me around ten pages a week until Spring Break, which will be super-crazy-crunch-time. At some point, I may just have to lock myself in one of Princeton’s many towers and not let myself out until my thesis is done.
I’m going to do my best not to turn into a hermit though, and keep writing on here and doing fun things. I have a rough plan for a dress I want to make, based on the Russian nesting dolls dress from Modcloth, the Asbury Park ice cream fabric, and a little seersucker. Maybe I’ll post my sketch of it here along with some fabric samples. I think I might let myself order the ice cream fabric once I finish my second chapter of my thesis as a treat.
Until then, I’ll keep dreaming about a post-thesis world in April, where every night I’ll stay up late talking, and every day I’ll work on whatever project I want, and I will be blissfully, blissfully happy. It’s hard not to daydream too much, but I know I’m less productive when I do so, and the less productive I am, the less likely I’ll have time to actually complete the projects I dream about.
Good luck to everyone else struggling with their (lack of) thesis!
When I first started seeing Anthropologie’s Karinska Tulle Skirt around the blogosphere (specifically on Atlantic Pacific), I knew I had to have it. I also knew, however, that at $188, I wasn’t in a hurry to buy it. Then, when I saw that it went out of stock on Anthropologie, I realized I could make it for a fraction of the cost. Over winter break, as part of my resolution to do more creative projects, I took on the task of recreating this skirt.
- 16 yards of ivory tulle – This is going to depend on how large your waist is, how long you want the skirt to be, and how many layers you want. For me, I wanted the skirt to graze the top of my knees (it’s a little shorter than the Anthropologie version) and I wanted six layers of tulle. To get the “candlelight” look of Anthopologie’s skirt, I used ivory tulle over a white lining, but you can of course make this skirt in any color scheme.
- 2 yards of white silk lining – This again will depend on what length you want your skirt to be. You can pick any lining style you want, I chose one of the white fashion fabrics at Joann Fabrics. It’s going to be covered by six layers of tulle, so it doesn’t need to be incredibly nice.
- An “invisible” zipper in matching color – This should probably be between 5 and 9 inches long, just long enough to reach from your natural waist to the widest part of your hips.
- Ribbon – This should be at least the length of your natural waist (the skinniest part of your body) and can be in either a matching or a complimentary color. I chose white because of the Anthropologie model, but a bright contrast could look great too. I chose a grosgrain ribbon, but you can choose another if you want. I would avoid “wired” ribbons, though.
- Thread in a matching color
- Start by cutting your tulle into circle skirts (here’s a good tutorial, if you’re fuzzy on how to do this). Make six circles of tulle with the length of the skirt the distance from your natural waist to your desired length. Try to keep the edges neat because you do not want to hem all that tulle. Also, when measuring your waist, cut it out a little on the smaller side, because parts of the fabric will stretch when cut.
- Stack the tulle layers and baste the waists together for stability. If the tulle is a little bit bigger than your waist, pull the ends of your basting thread to scrunch up the tulle.
- Cut out another circle skirt, this time in the lining fabric. Hem this fabric along the bottom edge of the skirt.
- Sew the lining to the tulle, and finish it either by serging if you have a serger or with a doublestitch (sew a straight line, then sew a zig zag line close to it and trim the fabric up to the zigzag line). Cut off the excess seams beyond the stiching to make the skirt nice and neat.
- Measure out a piece of ribbon a little longer than your natural waist. Pin it tightly to the waist of your skirt, and sew the two pieces together, trimming the seam to make it neat.
- Cut a slit into the back of your skirt the length you want your zipper to go (probably around six inches). Following your zipper’s sewing instructions, sew the zipper in the lining layer, letting the other tulle layers float free. Trim all dangling threads and jagged edges.
Voila! You’ve finished your skirt. Wear it styled with a bustier as in the Anthropologie ads, or wear it with a plaid shirt and pearls like Atlantic Pacific. The possibilities for ethereal glamour are (almost) endless. The Sartorialist even recently posted about the ballerina look. And don’t worry about it being too fancy for whatever occasion – it’s always the best time to look your best, even at the grocery store.
I looked out the window and saw that, due to erratic New Jersey weather, a London-esque fog had settled over the street, cloaking all the eating clubs in an orange haze. It was beautiful. Moments like these are what being in college is really about – realizing the magic in the wee hours of the morning, in happy exhaustion, whether you’re alone doing work or having a late night chat with friends.