Tag Archives: review

progress: Snow White // Irresistible Me extensions

Snow White hair

Irresistible Me sent me these extensions free of charge. All opinions, hair-styling, and Disney obsessions are my own. 

No, I haven’t finished Cinderella. And no, this string of Disney-based cosplays was not intentional. What happened was I was innocently browsing cosplay forums while binge-watching Once Upon A Time, when I came across a thread talking about the screen accurate fabric (Robert Allen’s Diamond Tuft in white) for Snow’s outfit from Season 2. Screen-accurate is just about my favorite phrase, so I did a little more digging. It turns out it’s sold out in most upholstery stores, but there was ONE listing on eBay for one last yard. And they mentioned that if no one ordered samples, the last yard would actually be 1 3/8 yards. (Actually I just checked and as of right now there’s one yard available at this eBay shop if anyone’s looking for it!)

Anyway, before I knew what had happened I had bought the fabric. And then a package of gunmetal beads. It all happened so quickly.


Andd this is what I have so far:

The bodice is pretty much done. I used McCall’s 6819, which was pretty spot on, although I did do a bit of tweaking in the neckline area. I’m tempted to rip out the binding and curve the neckline in a little more but I haven’t decided. The arm bits are also done except for some binding, and then I’ll need to add more grommets for the lower armband thing.

The skirt is cut out and sewn together, but while the fabric itself is perfect, I keep feeling like the color is completely off. It should be darker and more gray. I haven’t attached it yet because I might try dyeing it. Then there are the pants/leggings, which I’m still missing one fabric for. I think I’m going to try to find a thick ribbed knit for the back bits and I magically found the perfect suede-y material for the fronts. It’s satin-y on the back and suede-ish on the front. No idea what it is but it’s perfect (other than being the tiniest bit too dark.)

Also on the agenda is to NOT get distracted by the gorgeous cloak she wears in that one episode with Red. Or Red’s outfits. And hair. Especially the red streak.

And that brings me to my other point. A few weeks ago I had Snow White hair. A few weeks ago I didn’t even need extension or a wig or anything at all because my hair was down to my waist. To be fair, it was not in good shape and desperately in need of a trim.

It did NOT however, need 8″ hacked off. (I’m glaring at my sister through the computer screen right now.) I feel like a shorn sheep.

IMG_9848Here’s the before. I forgot to take one until after I’d finished all the Snow hair-do photos so this one’s a cell phone pic. Wherps.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I was completely thrilled when Irresistible Me contacted me about reviewing a set of their hair extensions because Snow White has long flowing tresses and I currently most definitely do not.

This is what Snow’s hair looks like. 

Since her hair goes down to her waist and is curly, I decided to go with the 24″ Silky Touch hair extensions in Chocolate Brown, which turned out to be the perfect length and exact color of my hair. And holy crap these are nice. I have one set of hair extensions (just one big 4 clip chunk) that I got at a discount bridal supply shop in Taiwan. These extensions make those ones feel like a loofah. To be fair, the Silky Touch ones are real human hair while the Taiwan ones are very fake, but the difference in quality is pretty astounding. The only slightly annoying thing is that I couldn’t figure out a way to browse the Irresistible Me site without making an account, which is just kind of a pain.

IMG_9849My set came with one big 4-clip piece, two 3-clip pieces, five 2-clip pieces, and two 1-clip pieces.

Another awesome thing is that the 200g of hair that comes in this set is divided into different sizes so you can distribute them around your head for a more natural look. That was especially helpful in styling Snow White’s hair since her hair is half up and braided, so I could stick a couple clips up top to fatten up the braid and then place the rest of them below for length and volume. I also LOVE that you can style these with heat. The other set I bought comes pre-curled, but it always looks more natural when you can style extensions with your own hair to get the same texture.

Snow White hair

To do Snow White’s hair, I started with a middle part and put my extensions in. Then curled it for volume and texture and brushed out the curls a bit.

I then French braided either side toward the back of my head, stopping when I had about the top third of my hair braided. I then tied both braids together and flipped the resulting ponytail back up through the loop made by the braids. Then I just fluffed everything to adjust it and pinned it in place.

Snow White hair

Here’s a side by side comparison:

IMG_9848Snow White hair

The moral of the story is that I absolutely love these extensions. Plus, I can even wear them in public since they match my hair (unlike my gorgeous blonde Ella/Elsa wigs that would probably weird out my friends if I wore out). I forgot to take a photo but the first time I put these in I braided my hair just to see what it’d look like and I had a legit fat Elsa braid. It was awesome.

Anyway, up next is the belt, which I found a gorgeous sparkly home dec fabric for, and then the pants. And a million more grommets.

But yay! I can have mermaid hair again!

review // Boundless Style

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dressdress: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Seychelles

I received this book free of charge from Interweave. All thoughts, opinions, and silly anecdotes are my own.

When I was little, I had this flip book I absolutely adored where you could flip heads, bodies, and legs of all kinds of different animals to make weird and cool combinations. That’s what Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos felt like. You get five bodices (some with slight variations), five skirts (with varying skirt/peplum lengths), and five sleeves (some with varying lengths as well).

I chose to do the Catrina bodice paired with the Lydia skirt. I was originally going to add the Moss sleeves but with all the stripe-age going on, it ended up looking like a bit much so I left them off.

This dress was a bit of an adventure, and a really fun one.  When I first flipped through the book, I spent about two hours just trying to decide which combination to do first. (Hint: check out their app if you haven’t already. It’s literally the dress version of that animal book.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.42.55 AM

I ended up deciding on this one because I really wanted to try something fun with stripes going in different directions and I had this specific fabric in mind. My mom had been going through her old stuff and found this gorgeous striped fabric that my dad brought back from a business trip to India at least two decades ago. It was perfect.

What I didn’t realize was that there are extra waist darts next to the style lines that make that gorgeous middle panel, and at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked it with those side pieces sewn up in the stripe. I actually spent a few hours re-drafting it to a wider princess line to incorporate those darts, but in the end it just looked boring. And then someone pointed out that with the way I cut the fabric, the waist darts are symmetrical and I decided that the way it bends the stripes on both sides actually looks pretty cool.

Anyway, I love this dress! The middle panel is lined and I used a bias binding for the armholes, which makes the whole thing really light and quick to put together, while still being nicely finished. Kristiann  gives really great directions on each step without being overly hand-holdy. The only thing I didn’t love was that the patterns come on a CD in the back of the book. I’m not opposed to PDF patterns because in my mind, getting the pattern immediately is worth having to tape and trace. But if I have to wait to receive this book in the mail, then print out the patterns and tape them before I can even trace them, that seems a bit much. Also I’m pretty sure most computers don’t come with CD drives anymore, which would mean I’d either have to take this somewhere and pay to get it printed, buy an external CD drive, or find borrow a friend’s computer. I did read somewhere that if you run into this issue you can contact Interweave to have the PDF emailed to you, but if you don’t like PDFs in general, this won’t solve that particular issue for you.

Anyway, now I have this problem where I can’t decide which combination to sew next! Usually when I buy a pattern with several variations, I only ever end up sewing one of them. With this book, there are so many possible combinations, especially when you consider fabric choice, that I will definitely be sewing up several. I have some of this stuff from Cotton and Steel that screams to be made into a Jackie bodice.

I’m thinking something like this, with the navy print as the main part and either a contrast print or a solid navy as the front tie bit.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.22.17 AM

Seriously, this app (and book) are so much fun!

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!

The Art of Whimsical Lettering: book review + giveaway!

The Art of Whimsical Lettering - jacket art
The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe
Interweave/F+W Media; $24.99

Interweave generously provided a copy of this book for me to review, but all opinions, thoughts, and obscure computer game references are my own.

I’ve been a huge fan of Jenny Highsmith’s lettering prints for ages so when Interweave asked if I wanted to review this book on Whimsical Lettering I had to go for it. As much as I love Jenny’s prints, I never saw one that had a message that quite fit what I was looking for. But now, armed with Joanne Sharpe’s amazingly colorful book (no seriously, it’s like a jar of Skittles for your eyes), I think I’m ready to dive in.

Whimsical lettering

The book is divided into sections and the whole thing is just so inspiring and gorgeous to look at. Some sections talk about styling your font, others give ideas for watercoloring or monochromatic designs, and then there’s a whole section of alphabet ideas!

Whimsical lettering

This one where you write out a message and then stitch it with colored embroidery floss warmed my seamstress heart.

Whimsical lettering

How pretty are these??

Whimsical lettering

Whimsical lettering

Well, I already know that my first print is going to say “Ask me about Grim Fandango.” (100000000 points to anyone who gets it.)

Interweave is very kindly offering a copy of The Art of Whimsical Lettering to one of my readers! Just leave a comment below telling me what message/word/phrase you’d write out on a print. Make sure you include your email so you can be contacted about receiving your prize!

The giveaway will be open until midnight Tuesday, May 20th and the winner will be announced shortly after.

Review: The Shop Company

dress formEons ago when I was a fledgling seamstress my mom brought home a dress form and asked if I’d like to use it for my sewing projects. It was an adjustable blue one that had no stand and was about ten sizes too big for me but for some reason the idea of having a dress form sounded really cool so I said yes.

Except I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. Not having a stand didn’t really help either, especially considering at the time I was pretty much exclusively sewing historical gowns. I vaguely remember propping it up on a stool and just having excess skirt fabric constantly drooping onto the floor. Whoops.

dress formFast forward to college when I decided it was time to invest in a dress form for realsies. Except I had still never learned how to properly use one and how they can be helpful. I bought a random adjustable Dritz one from Joann’s on sale and pretty much ended up using it to display things like scarves and abandoned WIPs (I think my philosophy was that if I had to see it every day I’d finish it.).

The moral of the story is that when The Shop Company emailed me a few weeks ago asking if I’d like to try out one of their fancy professional dress forms, I pretty much jumped up and down for an hour. (Note: The Shop Company provided me with a dress form for this review but all thoughts, opinions, and stupid sewing mistakes featured are my own.)

I chose this model, which I highly recommend. She’s beautifully made and just looks so fancy. They offer sizes 0 to 20 so you can select one that actually matches your measurements. I was a little between their sizes so I chose a 4, which matched my bust size (but was a little bigger than my waist and a little smaller than my butt). I figure of those three I’d rather have the bust be spot on and the waist be a little looser in case of food babies. Plus the vast vast majority of what I sew are dresses so hip measurements aren’t quite as important to me as the other two.

dress formThe model I chose also features collapsible shoulders which is an absolute godsend for those lovely moments when you’ve pinned something just right and then can’t get it off the damn mannequin. You just squash them in and remove the garment! Easy peasy.

Even the stand is fancy! And it’s pretty easy to figure out. I had to enlist Boyfriend’s help in putting it together but I blame an intensive bicep/delt workout that morning that left me unable to lift my arms. You just pop the wheels into their slots, slide the coil onto the pole, the pole into the hole, and then squeeze together two pieces at the top of the pole as you pop the dress form onto it. Don’t worry, the package comes with a sheet of diagrams that does a much better job of explaining it. It took about three minutes to figure out.

dress form

Once it’s all set up you can wheel it around, swivel it around, and make raise and lower her just by pumping the pedal. It kind of reminds me of a barber’s chair. Actually, to be totally honest, it reminds me of this barbershop scene from Monkey Island.

You guys. She has a BUTT. How awesome is that?

dress formAnyway, she’s been teaching me all about fit and I am absolutely floored by how simple that cage makes hemming. I usually stick with rectangle skirts so I usually run into some trouble when it comes to making circular skirts even. I tested her out when finishing up the top of my Kaylee dress and it was amazing how much easier it was to fit it when I could just pin it to something that actually had my measurements! I think my days of sewing in my undies so I can try garments on every five minutes have come to an end.

Sidenote: see this photo for some pretty hilarious evidence of previous statement about sad skirts.

dress formAnd speaking of beginner seamstress mistakes, WHAT is happening with this zipper I can’t even.

dress form

Anyway, my new sewing buddy has inspired me to whip out my longest-abandoned WIP (hah. See what I did there?) and to try to finish it as next month’s WIP Confessions. I think this’ll be my only one for next month, since it’s a bit of a doozy. I think I started this one in 2007? Ish? Here’re a few sneaky peeks. Spoiler alert: there are three skirts.

dress form
dress formdress form

dress form
Anyway, thanks so much to The Shop Company for my new friend! And check out Megan Nielsen’s guide to buying a dress form for more information on the different types out there. I highly highly recommend not going the adjustable route.