July 4th and Summer Sangria

july 4th porch party sangria sparklers

Happy Independence Day everyone! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the holiday. We had a relaxing party on my back porch with a hodge-podge of red, white, and blue decor. I used a lace table cloth and a red and blue star printed burlap cloth as a table runner, along with some blue plates and red chargers to get into the holiday spirit. I’m loving the idea of using burlap as a table runner for summer parties – Joann Fabrics has such cute patterns that add such spunk to the table.

july 4th porch party sangria sparklers

For our main drink, I made a patriotic sangria. The recipe is fairly simple:

Patriotic Sangria

  • 2 bottles dry white wine (I used Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup of vodka (I used whipped vodka, which gave the sangria a lightly vanilla flavor)
  • 1/2 cup of limoncello (you could also replace this with triple sec or maybe peach schnapps)
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • 1 package of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pineapple, cut into chunks

Combine all of the ingredients into a pitcher and let them soak together for a couple of hours, then, enjoy!

We also used a couple sparklers I found in my desk drawer that have been languishing there since I don’t know when. They were so much fun that I think I might track down more for my birthday.

july 4th porch party sangria sparklers

I hope everyone’s been having a good week,



DIY Chevron Hamptons Inspired Dress

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

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.

Chevron pattern inspiration

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.

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

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.

DIY Chevron Dress Pattern Illustration

How to make it:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

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!

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical


Stylish Scraps: DIY Fixed-length Bowtie

DIY bowtie
I got a little crazy over spring break with sewing projects (sometimes, a girl really needs a break from writing an eighty page academic paper). About halfway through the week I decided that I deserved a break from writing so I went to Joann Fabrics to pick up a simple chiffon for a circle skirt. A trip to Joann’s, however, is never that simple for me. Needless to say, I left with three other fabrics and the patterns to make two different tops. Also, many, many dreams for their new “High Hamptons” collection. Trust me guys, it will be like Revenge, but without all the subtle innuendos and even more nautical prints.

DIY bowtie
Anyway, one of the fabrics I picked up was the amazingly adorable slightly stretchy bubblegum pink cotton printed with little white bicycles (don’t say I didn’t warn you about my novelty print obsession). After several hours slaving over the library table, I completed a very cute peplum top featuring the fabric. When I was done sewing, however, I realized that I had a significant amount of fabric left over, and I love this fabric. I couldn’t just throw it away. I couldn’t – so I came up with the idea to make a matching bowtie for Lucas.

DIY bowtie
I wanted this to be a simple project, so I decided to make the bowtie fixed-length instead of adjustable. I used one of Lucas’ other (fitted) bowties to trace out a pattern. It’s actually a very simple process.

  1. Fold your material in half and trace out the outline of the bowtie, making sure to add room all around it for the seams.
  2. Cut out the bowtie. Compare the two sides to make sure that they are about even.
  3. Placing the printed sides together (wrong sides outward), pin the bowtie together.
  4. Sew around the perimeter of the bowtie, leaving an unsewn section somewhere in the middle (this is where you’ll be turning it right-side out and sewing it shut, i.e. you don’t want it too visible).
  5. Turn the bowtie right-side out. This part can be annoying and tedious. I suggest turning on one of your favorite TV shows while doing this (Revenge, anyone?). Also, use tweezers to grab the inside fabric and pull it out.
  6. Iron your bowtie flat, making sure that all the seams have been fully extended.
  7. Sew the hole closed.

That’s it. It took me less than an hour, and I think it turned out really cute.

DIY bowtie
Aren’t these flowering trees gorgeous? I can’t help but take a million photos with them. I’m so excited for all the flowers that are blooming around me. It actually makes all the rain we’ve been having seem worth it.

DIY bowtie
I love being able to use up all of the fabric I bought (especially when it’s this cute). I’m currently trying to think of other ways to use excess fabric, especially in ways that I would use and treasure. Do you have any small projects you like to make?

DIY bowtie