Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise
dress: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Seychelles

*Note: I received this pattern from Tilly free of charge. All thoughts, opinions, and crazy fabric choices are my own.*

I don’t even remember how long I’d been wanting a Peter Pan collared shift dress. I’ve made several collared dress with waist shaping/seams but they tend to look a bit twee (and then end up being harder to wear in real life), so when Tilly asked if I’d like to try out her latest pattern, I immediately spent about three hours plotting on Pinterest.

My original plan was to find some kind of shiny/sparkly solid party dress fabric and pair it with a sequin collar to wear to holiday parties, but that kind of fell apart when December became a crazy month. Then last week I wandered into Sewfisticated and this fabric jumped off the shelf and begged to be taken home and turned into a Francoise. Whoops. Fabric diet fail. In my defense, it’s a crazy but gorgeous velvet with some kind of faux leather-ish floral design. Really pretty but kind of a bitch to sew because the velvet has a bit of stretch and the floral part decidedly does not.

Sidenote: I’ve always been terrible with muslins and even though I’d been pretty good about doing them lately, all this costumey self-drafting made me cocky and I ended up just diving right in. Based on the measurements provided, I decided to cut a size 3 on top and grade down to a size 2 in the waist. Turns out, it was spot on! The only changes I made were to shorten the skirt by about 2″ and I took it in about 1/2″ extra on either side in the back.

I sort of skimmed and followed along with the instructions for a few steps but there are so few pieces that it was pretty easy to figure it out. I especially loved that Tilly marked the edges of each pattern piece so you can see at a glance which is the neck edge. As someone who occasionally likes to sew things on upside down or backward, this was a helpful touch. The pattern itself came in a cute, roomy envelope with enough space for me to store my traced pattern pieces on top of everything else already in there. Plus I love when patterns are printed on thick paper; it makes tracing a breeze and I don’t have to worry about ripping things during tracing-Twister-poses.

I was a little skeptical about the darts when I saw the line drawing, but I’m pretty thrilled about how they turned out! I’d never sewn a side-seam dart like that but I’ve also not sewn many shift dresses in my life so I just went for it. The bewb area is PERFECT. Since my brain is lacking in the area that handles understanding FBAs, I usually end up wearing a smaller bra because most of my favorite patterns have smaller busts than I do. This dress is my actual bust size. Happy bewbs!

I’m definitely making another one of these. I’m thinking a plaid one next. I picked up a luscious deep purple plaid last week (another whoops!) that was going to be a circle skirt but might end up being a Francoise instead. And I still want to do one with a sequin collar.

And lastly, in an unrelated note, hair extensions are fun!

Taiwan

Over the holidays my mom, sister, and I took a trip to Taiwan for the first time in ages. My mom went about nine years ago but my sister and I hadn’t been since we were five and nine years old. My mom’s entire side of the family still lives there so it was a bit strange to see everyone again, especially now that two of my cousins have had (adorable) babies.

We mostly stayed in Taichung at my aunt’s house and we took two trips, one to Taipei and Jiufen and that area, and another to Tainan. There was a ton of shopping and I pretty much ate everything in sight. And also a cat village and lots of indoor and outdoor markets.

Brushing up on my Mandarin was also an adventure! Normally when I speak to my mom, if there’s a word I don’t know I just stick in the English word. It’s much harder to do that when you’re speaking to relatives who only know a few English words here and there!

I also posted a bunch of photos on Instagram while we were there. These are mostly ones I pulled from my camera.

Taiwan tripA giant Costco-sized maze of fabric on the second floor of a large building in Taipei.

Taiwan trip
Pretty sure this should say “This way lives an overwhelming amount of fabric.”

Taiwan trip
We went to Jiufen, which was the inspiration for Spirited Away! It was super crowded with lots of lanterns and shops. Also food.

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan tripWe stayed at a shmancy hotel with hot springs outside and two in every hotel room. It was difficult to leave.

Taiwan tripCAT VILLAGE.

Taiwan tripThey’re just sitting around waited to be petted.

Taiwan tripAnd there’s lots of little shops selling cat-related things. (This one’s where I got my tights!)

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan tripWe did a lantern! Each color represents you can wish for (health, success, love, etc.) and then you draw/write on it and they light a fire under it and it flies away .

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan trip

Taiwan tripWe went to a town in Tainan called Anping, which happens to be my sister’s name and mine put together. Somehow no one realized this until my sister and I kept noticing our names written everywhere.

Taiwan tripEven the disposable cutlery is adorable.

Taiwan tripBugs at a night market. I did not try these.

Taiwan tripIMG_5498My cousin dug out a photo from when we were tiny. We used to talk about living on farms next door to each other and having a cat family together. 

Taiwan tripAn Asian-style photoshoot may have happened. (My hair was HUGE.)

Taiwan tripThe most intensely painful massage happened here. The foot soaking/shoulder rub was ok but then they took us upstairs and I wanted to die. Afterward I felt amazing but I still can’t believe how painful that was.

Taiwan tripA market near my grandparents’ house. 

Taiwan tripThe outdoor market-ness on my grandparents’ street! I used to wander around here with my cousin when we were little and we’d go buy Taiwanese hot dogs on a stick (kind of like corndogs but different). Eighteen years later it was still somehow exactly how I’d remembered it.

tl;dr – I ate my way through Taiwan and bought all the things.

Scuba dress

Plaid scuba dress

Plaid scuba dress

Plaid scuba dressdress: self-made, patterns here and here // detachable collar: self-made, pattern here // tights: random shop in a cat village in Taiwan // shoes: Seychelles

Hello 2015! Not sure how that happened. I’m still getting used to it not being summer anymore.

Anyway, sometime in November I wandered into Sewfisticated and they had randomly gotten a quite impressive selection of scuba knits. I briefly considered buying one of each but then came to my senses and went home with only two, a fancy floral and this lovely red plaid.

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make: some kind of a short-sleeved skater/party dress kind of thing. I dug through some patterns and decided to use Burda 7739 with elongated sleeves for the top half and a slashed and widened lady skater skirt. Everything pretty much came together easily!

The scuba knit was so much fun to sew (and to wear! I often end up petting my skirt in public which is probably a bit weird). It’s kind of squashy and does what it’s told. I was entertained. The only issue I ran into was hemming the skirt and sleeves; I didn’t love the way the line of stitching stood out in the squashiness. I might undo it and do some kind of hidden hand-stitching on the inside instead.

I also realized that I somehow managed to recreate this dress pretty much exactly (other than the princess seams vs waist darts). I think this might even be the exact same fabric. Whoops?

I’m also so thrilled to have finally finished this detachable collar! I started it ages ago when Megan Nielsen first posted her tutorial and then got tired of beading and abandoned it. I mostly used her pattern but made the collar tips a little pointier. Of course when I picked it up again two months ago I decided to go even crazier and started hand-stitching seed beads onto it. My fingers were not pleased with this decision but I love the effect! I’ve been wearing it a lot to dress up lazy outfits.

In other news, I’m in love with these cat tights I picked up in Taiwan.

Sidenote: I’m giving the blog a bit of a facelift so excuse please the mess until I get things figured out!

Tiny princess

Tiny princess
I just wanted to pop in from all the Christmas/holiday/preparation/craziness to show you guys what is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever made. I’m dying. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen some sneak peeks.

I can’t remember how I got roped into making this. I’m pretty sure it was because my mom was telling me about my cousin’s two year old daughter who to wear anything not pink and my mom wanting to buy her a princess dress to bring when we visit them in Taiwan (For which we’re leaving tomorrow. Did I mention that? Because that’s happening. I should pack.) and I said “I bet I can make a cuter one for cheaper.” I’m pretty sure I won that, since this dress cost me all of $8.

I started off with this sketch. I knew I wanted pink with a contrast front panel, a flouncy overskirt, and giant puffy sleeves. And tons of embellishments. I made some adjustments but it pretty much came together exactly how I imagined it.

Tiny princess

My aunt sent me a list of measurements, which I used to just sort of eyeball the pattern pieces. This was difficult because a) the measurements were in centimeters, and b) she sent them back in May and tiny humans grow alarmingly fast. I added about 2″ to most of the measurements and ended up putting in shirring in the back and elastic along the back of the waistband to help with fit. And so it’ll hopefully fit her for more than five minutes.

Tiny princess

The other annoying thing is this fabric is such a terrible poly that it was constantly unraveling into fluffy piles everywhere. The fact that I screwed up the skirt and had to unpick the entire thing meant I was leaving fluffy piles of pink all over sewing club. On the bright side, Laney donated a gorgeous little flower patch that I stitched onto the center front. I was originally going to do another bow but I figured a bow on each puffed sleeve was enough and this looks much more polished. Tehe.

Tiny princess

So yeah, fingers crossed it fits her! And merry holidays everyone!

 

Glitter everywhere

Elsa progress
PAX registration madness happened last Wednesday and now I’m all piney and excited about an event that’s still five months away. To entertain myself in the meantime, I decided to get started on one of my PAX costumes!

Last year I wore this monstrosity and while it was super fun to get all dressed up, I was the only one in my group who was really dressed up (Boyfriend wore a Jayne hat) and I was about six feet wide. If you’ve ever been to a con (especially one as crowded as PAX gets), you’ll know this is not the best of ideas. Also not being able to sit down wasn’t so much fun. I think I lasted about two hours as Kaylee before we ran home for a quick nap and I changed into Clara. Much more mobile. I decided that this year I’d do one ridiculous costume day and one more mobile and toned down day. Except I have about seven costumes I want to make and I’m only going two days.

The other part of this (very rambly and probably uninteresting) story is that I hadn’t seen Frozen until about two weeks ago because I had so many projects going on and I knew I’d immediately want to drop all of them to make all of the Frozen costumes. The moral of the story is that I’ve given in to the sparkly and I started Elsa’s costume this week.

Corset

I’ve done some rough sketching and I’m thinking it’s either going to be a three piece outfit or a dress/cape and corset. There’ll be a mesh undershirt with the cape attached, a corset, and a slitted skirt. I haven’t decided whether it’ll be easier to have the skirt/mesh top attached or separate. So far I’ve started working on the corset using Butterick 4254. I added an inch to the length and cut a sharper V for the sweetheart neckline. I cut up some cotton twill curtains that I’m no longer using for the corset and I’m lining it with some rayon challis because it’s the only turquoise fabric I had lying around and it’s super soft.

Elsa progress

Anddd now I’m experiencing that awful twitchy feeling where you reaaaaally want to work on something but should probably wait for the rest of the materials before continuing. Right now I’m waiting for boning and lacing stuff but eight sheets of this stuff in turquoise (please be enough! *fingers crossed*) arrived yesterday and I’ve sort of succumbed to the glitter. I’m cutting the sheets into tiny rectangles and slightly bigger rectangles and then gluing them on to the corset with tacky glue. I’m trying to make them all different shapes so they don’t quite fit together and then gluing the tiny ones on top to fill in the gaps. So far so good! Except I can’t go anywhere near the bottom or the back edges because I haven’t inserted the boning, sewn on the bottom edging, or done the grommets for the lacing.

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