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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 🙂

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! 🙂

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

but she won’t discover that it’s him…

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…’til chapter three!

Beauty and the Beast has always been my FAVORITE Disney movie! I have watched it so many times that most of it is memorized, and I have even seen the Broadway play multiple times. Plus, the recent(ish) live action movie was surprisingly good!

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I’m not sure why I always connected with her. Maybe because she was intelligent and spoke her mind? Maybe because she wasn’t born into royalty and thus more relatable? Or it could simply be that she was the only Disney princess I knew with brown hair like me 🙂

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This dress was a costume I sewed AGES ago – one of my firsts. I made it out of a bedsheet from Walmart and used iron-on hem tape since I didn’t know how to sew a proper hem. It doesn’t really fit great and the zipper is kind of a mess, but I was always proud of it and have worn it many times. Since I teach elementary school, it’s a good go-to costume for Halloween at work.

When a friend of mine was having a Disney costume party for her birthday in September, this again became the obvious choice. I no longer have the same locks as my favorite heroine, but I think I still can pull off the look 😉

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I paired my dress/apron with simple flats as well as a Beauty and the Beast book purse and a rose pin from Disney.

Hope this inspires you for Halloween! (ps, this is not my costume for this year. I’ll share photos of my actual outfit soon!)

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Dress and Apron: made by me 🙂
Blouse: Candie’s via Kohl’s
ShoesJessica Simpson Mandayss Ballet Flat via Amazon
Purse: Target Girls Beauty and the Beast Purse (not sure why it is popping up at $44…I think I paid around $12)
Pin: Beauty and the Beast Stained Glass Pin

new home, new me

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Dave and I finally moved out of our tiny apartment and into a house almost twice the size! Yay! We have been talking about doing it for years. The place we rented when we moved from NY back to MA was “temporary,” but we ended up staying there for 8 years!

We are still renting (the housing prices around here are insane), but it feels good to have a dining room, more than 1 bathroom, a porch…and a porch swing!

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The front of the house is definitely my favorite, with the red swing, red chairs, and red door. It’s like the owners KNEW I was coming to rent it!

Although we moved to a better location and have more space, unfortunately the stress of the move really triggered my anxiety. It was AWFUL. I didn’t feel like myself for weeks over the summer, and my parents had to come up twice to help me through.

Starting with my first move to college in 2001, I have moved 6 times (this most recent is #7), so I really wasn’t anticipating any issues.

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This week we had professional development at school, and it felt really good to be back to my normal routine. Next week is when the kids start, so I’m excited for that too! I think the routine will help me with some of the anxiety.

These photos were taken right before heading to Sara’s bridal shower. The theme was “Sara’s Favorites,” so we had all of her favorite food and desserts, including my (now famous) mac and cheese! Additionally, all of the guests were instructed to dress like Sara.

Well, considering I typically dress like Sara on a day-to-day basis, I felt like I had to step things up a bit.

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Sara has this Bernie Dexter print in a different dress, so obviously it was the right choice. I also wore a petticoat (though not as full as I would have wanted) and LIPSTICK! I rarely wear it other than for costumes, but I must admit I like the look.

To up the ante I went for a 1950s-inspired hairstyle, which I kind of botched…lol! I had the foam rollers in my hair all night, I woke up to curls (just like in the tutorial videos I watched), but could not tame it for the life of me once I started brushing it out. I resorted to LOTS of hairspray, so if parts look a little crispy…they are.

I had to bust out my most “Sara-like” pose, so here’s what I managed:

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Wowza! I didn’t know I could pull that off! I’m sure if the sunglasses weren’t there my eyeballs would be doing something weird (they usually do), but the whole look really works.

I feel conservative and saucy all at once. Who knew it was possible?!

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The belt was a last-minute Amazon purchase, since I wanted one that was wider than the red belt the dress came with.

And if you look verrrry carefully, you may spot the little pin I have on the left side of my dress. (It’s a negroni pin that I borrowed from Dave – but I am not a fan of negronis! I just liked that the colors matched, hehe)

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Thanks for stopping by!

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08-25-18

DressBernie Dexter Kelly Technicolor Honeycomb via Modern Millie Shop
PetticoatHearts & Roses via Zulily
BeltSunny Belt Unisex Kids 1 1/2″ Wide Faux Leather Belt via Amazon
Pin: Love & Victory Negroni Pin
ShoesPayless Comfort Plus Karmen Pump
Sunglasses: Target A New Day Round Red Sunglasses

christmas in orlando

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Every year, we alternate between spending Christmas with my family and with my in-laws (we do the same for Thanksgiving).

Last month we celebrated Thanksgiving in New Jersey, which would usually mean Christmas in New York with my family.  However, my parents also have a house in Florida and that’s where they were going to be this year.  My brothers both live in FL full time, and the older one kindly offered to host.

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