Category Archives: diy

pax east 2019 + simplicity1419

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I feel like this whole blog has become me trying to catch up on posting old photos/outfits/sewing projects. But out of all of them, this one is by FAR the oldest!

Although the photos were just taken a little over a year ago (haha, just…), I made this dress many years prior (maybe 2014?). It was actually the first garment I ever sewed for myself that wasn’t a costume.

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I was so proud of it then, and I am still thrilled every time I put it on! I love the sweet Peter Pan collar, little cap sleeves, and of course the crazy Nintendo fabric.

Little did I know back then that the pattern I used, Simplicity 1419, would become a favorite and used for 5 other dresses in my wardrobe!

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Unfortunately, this pattern is now out of print – I better treat her well!

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To accompany the dress, I made a fun little Bullet Bill purse by sewing a chain onto a Nintendo DS case. It was such a quick and easy project, and I think it adds SO much to the outfit!

This is not the first time I used a DS case as a purse. I’m hoping to write a post soon featuring an old cosplay that never made it to the blog. It features a different, yet equally adorable Nintendo icon.

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I wore this dress to PAX East 2019 for our non-cosplay day. I have no idea how people go to these shows for multiple days and wear a costume each time. Having to constantly worry that your makeup is fine, nothing is falling off, you didn’t leave your prop in a booth somewhere, and stopping every two minutes for photos is exhausting!

(Although even in this outfit, I got stopped a few times for photos! SO many people loved this dress!)

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bird dress + b6674 pattern review

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This dress!!

I have to say, between this dress and my last sewing project, I hope you can tell I have been trying to break out of my comfort zone! In the past, I almost exclusively sewed fitted bodices with gathered skirts and side seam pockets, or costumes ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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However, this dress (the lovely Butterick 6674) features princess seams, patch pockets, sash, AND a button placket!

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I have had a fear of buttons for the longest time (something about the button hole thingy intimidates me), so my sister-in-law recommended I try the plastic popper fasteners.

MY LIFE HAS FOREVER CHANGED.

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These things are amazing. I got a KAM Snaps kit off of Amazon and they couldn’t be easier to install!

This pattern was really easy to sew, however it ended up around 2 inches too big in my waist and bust. Why do the Big 4 patterns always have so much ease? I sewed a size 8 but definitely could have gone with the 6. By the time I realized it was too big, the dress was 80% finished.

The RIGHT way to adjust at this point would be to rip open the seams, but I had already finished everything so neatly inside the garment! I also painstakenly sewed the armhole and neckline bias binding by hand with invisible stitches. I was not about to go ripping that out! (I know there is a lesson here about making a toile/muslin before jumping into the fabric that you have been hoarding for a year, but I digress…)

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Instead, I just gathered up the extra fabric in the back and sewed a seam down the middle. It actually looks pretty good, but I was sad to see the clean finish of a single-piece back bodice disappear. I decided not to trim off the extra fabric – if I gain weight I can simply rip out the seam and continue to enjoy the dress in a new larger size!

I had some leftover scraps so I went ahead and made a matching mask. Man, once we are allowed back to school I am going to have the best matching dress/mask wardrobe!

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I already have plans to sew this beauty in another fabric (check my IG for a sneak peek!), and am almost done sewing the tote bag pattern that came with B6674. Stay tuned! ๐Ÿ™‚

the freja dress + pattern review

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I know, it’s been a million years since I have posted. I think that’s just how it’s going to be. I am too busy to update as regularly as I used to!

I have quite a few sewing projects to share, starting with this adorable Freja Dress! The pattern is from Simply Sewing Magazine, a UK publication. I got the pattern for free from last year’s #patternswap19 on IG, and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally make it!

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The pattern comes with two options: a high-waisted skirt and a pinafore dress (you simply add the bib and straps). I KNEW I had to go for the pinafore, and I had some thin stretch denim in my stash just waiting to be used. A match made in heaven!

Based on my measurements, I would be a size 8 – but I saw how loose the dress looked on the model and assumed there would be more built-in ease than I would like. I went with a size 6, and I am so glad I did! I had to take it in even more at the waist, so I think had there been a size 4 option, it would be the best fit for me.

I did make some adjustments, the first being a redrafted neckline. I thought the straight-across neckline was a bit too apron-y, and you can never go wrong with a simple sweetheart shape. (to be honest, though, I still get some apron vibes from this dress…)

I also interfaced the bodice facing and the waistband facing, even though the pattern didn’t call for it. You may also notice that I omitted the front seam and just cut that piece on the fold of the fabric.

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Next came a minor bodice adjustment. It was a bit too long for me, so I had to shorten the bib by about half an inch. Looking back, I think I shortened it a little too much since now it seems as though the darts aren’t quite hitting me in the correct spot. Or, it’s possible that I just needed to make the straps a little higher to hike up the whole dress.

Another thing you can see in the photo below is my poor topstitching at the lower waist. I was so unhappy with it, that I put off doing the topstitching at the upper waist, and then completely forgot to finish it! I would probably prefer no topstitching at all, but as you can see in the following pic, it is what is holding down the waist facing.

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My final adjustment was done to the pockets, which I ended up leaving off of the dress completely in the end (again, apron vibes). But I’ll show you just in case you end up sewing this pattern – it’s a good tip I promise!

To help get perfectly rounded pocket corners, I basted close to the edge and pulled the bobbin thread to gather it up a bit. This made it SO much easier to get a nice rounded shape, which was then pressed with an iron.

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This was a really easy pattern to sew and I think it can be handled by an advanced beginner. That being said, there were a few parts of the instructions which I personally found confusing. There weren’t many photos in the instructions and some things were worded in a misleading way. I kind of ditched them partway through since the basics (sewing darts, inserting straps, inserting a zipper, etc) are easy enough to do without instructions anyway. However, a novice beginner won’t have that experience and therefore may struggle a bit.

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I just LOVE the criss-cross straps! โค๏ธ

This will be a great dress throughout the summer, and I can layer it with tights and long-sleeves for the fall.

One more thing to note: It was super sunny when I took these photos, and the color of the denim ended up looking oddly bright. Keep scrolling to see a more accurate representation of the color on the dress form ๐Ÿ™‚

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the christmas dress!

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Or more accurately, the Christmas dress that almost didn’t get made.

Let’s start from the beginning. Around 3 years ago I bought the most ADORABLE reindeer cocktail party fabric from Joann’s along with a bolt of lining fabric with the intention of making a Christmas dress that year. Well, if you know me, you know how I procrastinate so it’s probably no surprise that I didn’t make one.

Fast forward to last year. Dave and I were planning on having friends over for Christmas, so I knew it would be the best opportunity to grab that fabric out of the closet and make the most perfect dress.

I decided to use Butterick 4512, which is a re-release of a 1957 pattern:

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View C was calling my name!

(note: I swapped out the circle skirt for a gathered skirt, and added pockets)

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Although I planned this project a good 2 weeks in advance, in typical Jen style I didn’t start sewing until the morning of the party.

I was running into trouble with the fit from the get-go, partly because I re-drafted the back to come up a bit higher (I think if I were to make this pattern again, I would bring it up even higher to accommodate a bra and maybe add some boning).

Thankfully, with a little finagling, I was able to get it to work.

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Then, we got to my least favorite part of sewing: zipper installation. And at this point guests were due to arrive in about an hour. Unfortunately, as I was putting it in I sewed a little too close to the teeth of the invisible zipper, making it so I couldn’t zip it up.

I assessed the time it would take to rip out the zipper, re-do it, then hem the full skirt, and decided it just wasn’t going to happen. I threw on my handmade Christmas dress from the previous year, and put my beautiful 90% completed dress onto the dress form. If I couldn’t wear it, I could at least display it, right?

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Okay, now fast forward one more time to this year. Dave and I were once again throwing a Christmas party so I took the unfinished dress out of the closet and was excited to finally fix that zipper so I could wear it.

Guess when I started working on it…

…That’s right! The morning of the party! But this time it would be easy since it was almost finished, right? Well, I didn’t consider that since last year I gained around an inch and a half in my waist. I had to unpick the side seams and try to re-fit the entire bodice and lining. There was barely enough fabric to make it work, and when I was done the zipper was pulling and the back looked terrible.

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I’ve watched enough episodes of Project Runway to know that when part of your garment looks bad, you simply cover it up. I hemmed the dress and threw on a cardigan literally minutes before guests arrived, and I have to admit, it was a pretty cute look ๐Ÿ™‚

Our party was a week before Christmas, so that actually gave me time to properly fix and finish the dress before we went to see my in-laws in NJ. I didn’t have time to tack down the lining before the party, so I was able to sew in some cups so I wouldn’t have to worry about a bra. I also fixed the pulling near the zipper, with the narrowest seam allowance possible without it falling apart.

I considered shortening the torso (it’s about an inch too long for me), but I honestly didn’t want to mess around with the dress anymore. At that point, I called it done! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sorry for such a long story! I really love how it came out, despite my issues.

I’m hoping to post again soon, with the tale of my New Year’s Eve dress (though I’m sure you can guess how that went! lol!)

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Dress: made by me ๐Ÿ™‚ (Butterick B4512 pattern and fabric from Joann Fabrics)
Belt: borrowed from another dress
Tights
: Primark
Shoes: ย B.A.I.T. Black Roni Heel via Modern Millie Shop
Hair Accessory: made by me ๐Ÿ™‚ (I glued a plastic sprig to a hair clip)
Petticoat: Amazon

diy pixel dress

I think this is the best garment I have ever made.

I still consider myself on the beginner side of intermediate when it comes to sewing, since I have followed commercial patterns and not much else. ย But I felt as though my skills got a little more refined with this one, since I adapted a pattern, and had to deal with print matching (a new concept for me!).

It all started when I found this incredible pixel fabric, and knew it would be perfect for a dress to wear to PAX East (on our non-cosplay day). ย For some reason, I see it as a floral print – but maybe I’m just imagining things? ๐Ÿ™‚

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frankenpattern apron

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There’s no new outfit for today, but instead I will be showing you how I hacked together two sewing patterns to create this apron that I made for my friend Sara from In A Nutshell (and please check out yesterday’s post to see our photos together!)

Although this isn’t a full tutorial, I will be sharing tips on how I combined the patternsย  (hence “Frankenpattern”)- in case you ever want to tackle something similar!

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