While most people tend to make new goals at the start of the traditional new year, I find that it’s never a bad idea to reevaluate and reinforce any resolutions I have made. As I start my 22nd year (feeling happy/free/confused/lonely – love you, Taylor), I find myself excited more than anything, and a little apprehensive. The following is a list of goals I’ve compiled for my next year – some general, some concrete, some fun, some difficult.
1) Maintain relationships – and make new ones! (I’m terrible at keeping in touch – I will change this).
2) Create a fitness routine and stick to it.
3) Become a friendlier person – I’m an introvert raised in the often slightly frigid East Coast. Hopefully, moving to the Midwest will help melt my icy shyness.
4) Embrace change and think (a lot) more about the future.
5) Be more communicative – talk more to people and have more meaningful talks.
6) Become a more positive person.
7) Write an average of 2-3 posts a week (also one of my Twenty in my Twenties goals.)
8) Become more involved in the blogging community (host giveaways, guest blog, and join interest groups)
9) Learn to code in CSS and HTML
10) Start new regular features
11) Continue making every month bigger than the last
12) Learn more advanced sewing techniques
13) Reupholster a chair (hopefully happening soon!)
14) Make vintage-style hat (I have so many patterns – I just need to make one of them!)
15) Create an inspiring yet organized creative space
16) Customize a dress pattern with a muslin
17) Go on a real (hopefully tropical) vacation!
18) Get to know Madison – I want to take advantage of this change in scenery and not let the cold keep me down.
19) Visit the Cheese Museum in Wisconsin (I love cheese. I could literally live only on cheese – some years I have.).
20) Cull and cultivate my closet – I want to love (and reasonably use) every single piece in my wardrobe by my 23rd birthday
21) Visit my friends and family (and explore other parts of the U.S. at the same time).
22) Join a team or group of some sort, whether volleyball (a new-found love), knitting, a book group, what-have-you.
Here’s hoping that 22 will be exciting and fulfilling!
In my drive to clear all clutter out of my room in preparation for my move to Wisconsin, I’ve been going through all of the fabric I have laying around from old projects. This particular floral fabric was actually cut from a dust ruffle that my neighbor gave me a long time ago. While I was originally perplexed as to what I could do with such little fabric (it was about four feet long and a foot and a half wide), I realized that it was the perfect amount for a gathered – or dirndl – skirt.
What’s really useful about making this skirt out of a dust ruffle is that the dust ruffle will come pre-hemmed on the bottom (yay!) and will possibly already have a way to attach to itself. I was very lucky and found that my fabric had cute yellow buttons and buttonholes already in place, which made this project ten times easier. If your fabric doesn’t have buttons like mine, you’ll have to either sew your own buttonholes (here’s a relatively easy tutorial on how to machine sew buttonholes) or add a zipper.
- Skirt fabric – the longer this is, the fuller your skirt will be. You want the width to be the length from your waist to your ideal skirt length, plus a couple of inches for hemming. If you’re working with a dust ruffle, disregard the hemming part. You can use many types of fabric for this – I used a cotton but special occasion fabrics would also give this skirt a little oomph.
- Waistband fabric – get fabric in a matching or complementary color. You won’t need much, just long enough to go around your waist and about 6-8 inches wide depending on how thick you want the waistband to be.
- Matching thread
- Optional – interfacing for the waistband (to make it stiffer – I didn’t do this but you could), buttons, and zippers are all optional.
- Gather the skirt fabric – Baste (loosely stitch – I set my stitch width at 4) two lines across the top of your fabric. Pull one thread from each line on each side, scrunching up the fabric as you go. The fabric should slide pretty easily over the thread. Make sure that the skirt is distributed evenly over the thread with the gathering pretty even overall.
- Sew the fabric to the waistband – With the right sides of the fabric together, pin the skirt to the waistband. Sew the two together (back on a normal stitch – I use 2), making sure that you are sewing lower than the two gather threads (so they end up inside the waistband, not visible to the outside world).
- Slipstitch the waistband closed – Iron the free edge of the waistband over about 3/8 in. Fold the waistband in half, and slipstitch the ironed edge to the other half of the waistband. If you’re using interfacing, apply (iron or sew) the interfacing to one half of the waistband before you sew it shut.
- Optional: Hemming the skirt and sewing it closed While I didn’t have to do this, if you don’t start with a dust ruffle, you’ll have to hem the skirt. Fold 3/8 in. of the bottom of the skirt under and sew it. Then, fold it under again until the skirt is your desired length. Pin it in place, and slip stitch the hem. To close the skirt, fold over and hem the two edges, sewing buttons and buttonholes down the skirt’s length. If you’re using a zipper, figure out how long you need the zipper to be (probably 7-9 in., but it needs to be able to open up to fit over the widest part of your hips). Sew the skirt closed up to that point. Next sew in the zipper, following the above tutorial.
I absolutely love my new skirt, and I’m so glad I’ve finally found a use for such charming fabric. Depending on how you style the skirt and what fabric you use, a gathered skirt can be used for almost any occasion – work, leisure, special occasions. I would recommend wearing it with a tucked in shirt, however, since the gathers might look awkward if the flattering waist is hidden. If you use enough fabric (more than I did), you can also wear a petticoat underneath it, and wear it like a classic vintage skirt – there are so many possibilities.
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!
Right around the beginning of springtime I start falling head over heels for novelty prints – the zanier the better. I think it’s my body’s way of dealing with the frigid temperatures and perpetual darkness. I’ve gotten pretty stir-crazy recently from pretending to work on my thesis and starting up school again, so I can’t help but dream of when I have the time to execute some of my schemes. I’m planning on printing and painting my own material sometime soon, but until then, I just browse the internet, looking at all the pretty prints that stores are stocking.
Once it gets warmer, I plan on breaking out some of my novelty print pieces (I’ve got a couple fruit and map patterned crop tops hiding away until the sun comes out permanently). Until then, I can dream about bright patterns and colors – and plan some DIYs. I want to do at least two novelty print projects:
- Print my own design onto a (probably) pre-made, thrifted dress (see A Beautiful Mess’s project for inspiration). I’m thinking I might do multicolored fruit stamps of pears and apples or lemons and limes.
- Create a feminine, vintage-inspired dress using novelty prints (like the blue Russian nesting dolls dress from Eva Franco for Modcloth, above). Beth Louche’s StashModernFabric Etsy shop has a lot of cute novelty cotton prints, which I would love to make something out of, including the kukla collection if I wanted to recreate the Eva Franco dress, this bicycle print, and this “Asbury Park” ice cream print.
What about you, have you fallen hard for novelty prints?
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.