Christmas Looks with Velvet Dress

Christmas is almost here, and this is 2018’s last blog post. I’m going to take a little break from work now, and will return to blogging on January 8th. Before the Holidays, I wanted to show you looks with The Velvet Dress from Tuesday. As you probably remember, I shared a dress make-over, but didn’t show you how the dress looks on me. Let’s look at it now!

The original dress had a front that was way too open. I sorted out that problem by turning the dress around, and giving the back a V-shape. To make the back more secure, I closed the V with skin-toned mesh. I have issues with necklines that fall open at the slightest careless move, but have absolutely no problem with showing some skin at the back! Also, since the dress will reveal bra straps no matter what I do, I decided to go to town with them. I picked a bra with a butterfly at the back, and kinda like the way it shows through the mesh.

The front of the dress is now nice and smooth, and has a very modest neckline. I’m really happy about this alteration. It made the dress look less like it escaped from the eighties, and made it much comfier to wear.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to wear on Christmas, and have finally settled on this modded Velvet Dress.

Christmas

When I was growing up, my family had a very specific Christmas routine. We’d get up, watch The Snowman followed by the declaration of Christmas peace on TV, and then decorate the tree. We’d get dinner started, and while everything cooked in the oven, we’d have a sauna. After, we’d put on beautiful clothes, usually with something red, and eat until we were ready to burst. Then, we’d open presents, and maybe eat some more. Food and clothes were the things I remember most from childhood Christmases, and I still want to wear something extra nice during the Holidays. This year, I plan to wear this velvet dress look with a red and black sash.

I hope you’ll all have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest New Year. I’ll see you on January 8th!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Velvet Dress Mod

Last summer, I found a dress at a flea market. I liked the fabric, and I liked its sleeves, so I bought it. At home, I tried it on, and decided it needed a dress make-over. The sleeves and hem were good along with the fit, but the front… well, see for yourself!

I have nothing against a wrap-cut front, but this dress completely failed at it. The front was too loose on me, and fell open if I leaned over. In order to wear it as is, I would have had to use fashion tape to hold it put. A dress make-over was most definitely in order!

I started by ripping the front open. At first, I planned to give the dress a basic wrapped front. Then I started thinking.

The front didn’t have all that much fabric, and cutting it to shape would eat a lot of it. A wrap front would be flimsy and low, and this dress sort of needed to be toned down.I gave the dress a closer inspection, and found that the sleeve scythes were cut symmetrically. The front and the back piece were exactly alike. This meant that I could do the easiest mod ever: wear the dress backwards! Despite this, I still needed to mod the neckline. I continued my dress make-over by shaping the wrap-cut shape I originally had planned. I also lowered the front a bit at the neck. Not a lot, just enough to make it comfortable.

I used elastic lace to bind both the neckline and the wrap-cut back before changing my mind yet again.The wrapped back, as I tried the dress on, proved to be a touch on the slippery side. It really-really wanted to fall off, so I took a piece of skin-toned mesh, and used it to make the back more secure. And when I tried the dress on again, it was perfect!

How perfect, you ask? Well, I’ll show that to you on Friday!

See you then.

Love,

Heather

Shoe Mod

My favorite shoes broke in the spring. They were very, very old, and I loved them. I’ve been on the look-out for a replacement pair ever since. Finding a pair of shoes that scream nineties is surprisingly difficult, I tells you! Finally, I found a semi-acceptable pair on H&M.Nothing spells quality shoes like H&M, so I was pretty happy to see them on sale for only 18€. I ordered them, got them, and said “ain’t it a good thing I’m a professional, and can give this pair a shoe make-over”. Here’s where we started from!

Originally, I planned to use lace for the shoes. Later, I changed my mind, but that’s the reason why there’s lace in the photo.

I started by using my scissors to cut the leg of the shoes. That was pretty easy since they were made of fabric, and the actual shoe part was stitched to the fabric bit. The picture shows it better than I can explain it!

This wasn’t the first time I did a similar shoe make-over. That’s probably the reason why I went ahead and ordered a pair of shoes just to cut into them… The first pair I modded was so good I wore them until they fell apart on me. Literally, I was walking along, and they started to disintegrate. Luckily, I was quite close to home, and made it there without injury.

Anyway, after cutting the shoes to shape, I took black bias tape, and hand stitched it to place. That does sound like a lot of work, but sewing keeps the binding in place better than gluing, leaves a tidy finish, and can be replaced if need be.

The finished shoes are very, very basic and super plain. They’re also very high, and I feel that decorating them would make them appear a bit too much. In their current basic form, they fit all outfits, and won’t clash with styles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s shoe make-over. I promise to show how these look on me in Friday’s post!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Taking in a Tardis Tee

A while back, I stole a T-shirt from Charming. I’m not a T-shirt person, but this one had the coolest Tardis print, and I had to have it. Needless to say, the Tee was designed for a boy, and would not flatter a girl. Since I really wanted to wear it, I decided to go on a T-shirt resizing quest. Here’s what I had to work with!

The T-shirt was pretty OK around the shoulders, but below that, it was a disaster. Way too wide at the waist, and a touch tight at the hip. I started my T-shirt resizing by putting it on inside out. While wearing it, I pinned down the sides using safety pins. Next, I opened the side seams, and removed the sleeves.

I shaped the side seams to gain a narrower waist. To add room to the hip, I decided to add wedges. Cotton jersey was a bit sparse (I don’t really care for it, cotton has a tendency of clinging to itself and that makes me fidget) so I settled for left-over lace.

I closed the side seams while adding in the wedges, tried the Tee on, and found that it was good. Also, I found that I needed to change my original plans a bit. The shoulder width was fine, but arm scythes were waaaay too big!

To remedy this flaw, I ripped off the neckline binding. Then, I cut off a bit at the shoulder, and shaped the neckline on the back piece. This does seem like a lot of work, but it is the most efficient way to shorten an arm hole.

After closing the shoulder seams, I returned to the sleeves. They were the basic boys’ Tee shape, which can only be described as “boxy”. I could have cut them into a narrower shape, but instead, I merely shaped the cap a bit.

To hide the extra width, I pleated the excess around the shoulder to gain a puff sleeve.

Though the Tardis Tee needed a lot of work, the actual T-shirt resizing only took two hours. Putting a Tee together is pretty straightforward, and I think I spent most of the two hours seam ripping and taking photos. The finished product is still a bit loose at the waist, but I don’t think a T-shirt needs to be super tight. What matters is that it’s no longer baggy at the waist and small at the hip!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s T-shirt resizing adventure!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

The Basics Morphs

The Pretty Basics are my favorite part of our collection. The Basics are designed to go together, and to make getting dressed easier. Our basics designs have a bit more in common than you’d think: these dresses, skirts, and tops are crafted from the same basic elements. That means that pattern pieces fit together, and you can actually Frankenstein these together to create bigger and better basics!

Let’s take The Sleeveless Wrap Dress for an example. Sleeveless dresses are comfy and cool during the summer, and most women love them. I’m one of those who just don’t like the basic sleeveless shape. For obvious reasons, I had a Sleeveless Wrap Dress that just sat in my closet dreaming about sleeves. I didn’t have any fabric left after making it, and a while back, I decided to shorten it, and use the extra bit of hem to sew sleeves. For sewing the sleeves, I used our Pretty Basic Jersey Top Pattern. I took the sleeve pattern from The Jersey Top, shortened it, cuffed it, and sewed it onto the dress. No alterations needed!

Another thing I did with The Basics is my spaghetti strap dresses. Tops and skirts are a perfect combo for the summer, but personally, I prefer dresses. I want clothes to stay put, and dresses behave better. Again, for obvious reasons I had a long skirt and a spaghetti strap top made with the same fabric. I wanted these two to be a dress, so I took off the elastic on the skirt’s waist, cut the top’s hem to length, and sewed. For this, I did need to take the skirt’s waist in a little, but if you’re morphing these two patterns together, the difference in waist width can easily be removed when cutting.

After combining my Spaghetti Strap Top and Jersey Skirt into a dress, I realized I liked it so much I needed another one. I used lace and skin-toned mesh to create a spaghetti strap bodice, and made the hem with black lycra. This dress is super-comfy, and so pretty I want to wear it all the time!

The Pretty Basics are on sale until August 6th, so now is a good time to pick up some patterns and use them to create wicked morphs! If you do, feel free to share your creations on our Facebook page.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Fun Looks for Fun Times

This week, we’ve been focusing on Amanda’s Dress. This design is A-lined, and fit for summer parties. It’s best made with two kinds of light fabric, but it can work made with only one layer. I made mine with lace and a matching lining, but Amanda’s Dress would look stunning made with satin alone. Today, I wanted to share a few fun looks based on a modded version of Amanda’s Dress.

Blouse and Skirt

A blouse-skirt -combo is an ever-popular favorite of the fashion world. For this look, I did it a bit differently.

This dress used to be a skirt. I loved the fabric and the wide handkerchief hem, but wasn’t that crazy about the color. The material tints toward shades of grey and dark blue, and as such, it went with none of my tops. After a few years of wondering what to do with the skirt, it suddenly dawned on me to turn it into a dress. I jumped to action, and an hour later, I had a cool new dress! The color remained the same, of course, but now it’s easier to combine with other shades of black colors.

For this look, I paired the dress with a see-through blouse I have yet to properly introduce to you. I made this a while back just for the fun of it. It’s also a bit challenging to pair with, so I wanted to see how these two difficult garments play together. I’m a bit iffy about the results: I like the shape of the collar combined with the dress’s neckline, but the lace details on the sleeves might be a bit much for this look. What do you think? Leave a comment to vote yay or nay!

Laced Up

This dress, just like Amanda’s Dress, is A-lined. This particular cut flatters most body types. I don’t feel all the comfortable in A-lines, so I like to add belts to my dresses. Drawing out the narrowest part of the body does make one appear smaller, and also helps keep loose dresses in place. For this look, I wore my handkerchief dress with our Reversible Waist Corset. I also wore a mesh top under the dress to give it a bit more coverage.

I love everything about this look. It’s comfortable, the details work wonderfully for my personal taste, and it’s warm enough to wear on colder summer nights. Lately, we’ve gotten to enjoy those up here, and I for one could not be happier!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s fun looks!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Skirt To Dress

A long time ago, in another life if I recall correctly, I found a skirt from a flea market. It had a wide handkerchief hem, and I loved the way it moved as I twirled. Sadly, the skirt went with nothing I owned. It tinted toward grey, and most of my clothes have a brownish undertone, if any. The skirt sat in my closet, sad and forgotten, until I had an epiphany. Instead of wasting time searching for the perfect top, I might just turn the skirt to a dress!

I wasted no time after the initial idea. I literally took the skirt out, said “hey you should be a dress”, walked to my sewing machine, and just did it. Nike would be so proud! The transformation took less than an hour, and I forgot to take phase photos. Sorry!

The skirt was long, down to my toes, so I had to shorten it a little. I wanted a dress that fell to my knees, not past them. Instead of chopping the hem, I took out the extra length from the top as I shaped it. I pretty much just ripped out the zipper, cut off the waist, closed center back seam all the way, shaped back and front necklines, shaped arm scythes, bound the whole thing while sewing down pleats to get rid of excess width, and popped straps on. I was half-way expecting the dress to fly down the garbage chute, but it surprised me by turning out super-awesome!

 

It was early spring when I turned this skirt to a dress, and I feared summer to be close. I gave the dress straps so it would be cool if the weather got warm, and easy to layer for colder nights. I got these straps on eBay for pennies, and was surprised by the quality. Though meant to be replacement straps for lingerie, I’ve used them for dresses. They’re sturdy, pretty, and comfortable.

The handkerchief hem was the thing that drew my attention when I first saw the skirt. It has an unbelievable amount of fabric! I love the way the material moves with a slow grace, kind of drifting behind me. Though the material isn’t particularly heavy, the volume makes it slow.

Instead of shaping the dress and giving it a defined waist, I allowed it a wide A-line. Most of my dresses are on the skimpy side, and I wanted one that would hide everything. This one most certainly does! The best part about this thing is that I can wear it as is, or shape it with a belt. There’s a lot of fabric, yes, but the crinkles make it easy to scrunch up. I’m going to show you a few looks with this dress next week!

… why not Friday, says the eager crowd. Well, because I have a surprise planned for you on Friday, so stay tuned!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Sleeveless to Short-Sleeved

Summer usually starts slowly here in Finland. It gets gradually warmer until mid-summer, when temperatures reach a high of 20 C. It’s rainy most of the time, and after mid-summer, the weather starts to cool down. Well, this year, we got a surprising heatwave on May 1st, and there is no end in sight. I’m not a big fan of summer, so the weather right now is killing me a bit. A photo session was out of the question yesterday, so I decided to show you guys something I altered yesterday.

Wrap dresses are a big thing right now. I can’t recall the last time they were this popular! I love this turn of events, since wrap dresses are cute, comfy, and fun to sew. This week and next, our featured products will be All Things Wrapped, aka all of our wrap styles. These include The Bishop Wrap, our Wrap-Cut Tops, and The Sleeveless Wrap Dress. Which is the thing I altered on Monday.

sleeveless wrapdress, four

I’ve mentioned many, many times that I have minor issues with sleeveless dresses. Short sleeves are fine, but sleeveless styles leave me somehow uncomfortable. This has resulted in a difficult relationship with The Sleeveless Wrap Dress. I love the fabric I chose for the dress, and the shape is super-comfy. But the sleevelessness bums me out big time. I’d love to wear it during the summer, but for my style, it needs to be paired with blouses, and that makes it too warm.

I went through my wardrobe on Sunday, and tossed out things I don’t enjoy that much. This dress was on the verge of the charity bin when Something Dawned on me. The dress would be perfect if it only had sleeves. It’s also a bit on the long side.

I literally facepalmed as I finally realized I could just shorten the dress by 6”, and use the strip of fabric to sew sleeves. I feel stupid at least thrice a day, but this was a major derp-moment.

So yesterday, I took my scissors, cut the hem, turned to my newly-serviced serger, and spent 30 minutes perfecting the dress. I seriously cannot believe I hadn’t thought to do this before!

As I only had 6” of fabric, I sewed short sleeves for the dress. The piece I cut off was long, and I used the rest to create wide cuffs. I really like cuffed sleeves on jersey dresses. They tie the garment together, and give it a polished look with a minimal amount of fuzz. I used our Pretty Basic Jersey Top Pattern for the sleeves. They’re designed to fit this dress just in case!

I was a bit apprehensive about shortening the dress. 6” sounds like a lot, but the original hem fell below the knee by an inch or two. Cutting the hem didn’t make as big a difference as I thought: the dress still has a decent length!

I’m going to defy the weather on Thursday for fresh outfit posts to share on Friday and next week. I’ll include The Sleeveless (now Sleeved) Wrap Dress I altered today so you’ll get to see the difference!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Handbag Mod

Once upon a time, I decided I needed a new handbag. I turned the internet upside down in search of the perfect purse, and came out empty-handed. I even ventured outside into the real world in search of one! As I am a little bit picky, and didn’t want to spend a fortune on an accessory, I went on eBay. That’s what I usually do when I “need” something I’m likely to grow bored with in less than a year. Going in, I had no idea what kind of a bag I actually wanted, and finally settled on a slouchy one. The decision is based entirely on material: I figured if the purse was a total bust, I could just rip it apart, and use the fake leather for a new one!

The bag arrived in due time, quite quickly actually, and it was fine. A bit larger than expected, and lacking a sturdy bottom, but OK in quality. I could have used it as it was, but I really wanted to add a reinforcement, and minor details.

This bag is soft, and frameless. It’s sewn with light fake leather, and fully lined. The design is very basic, and it’s large enough to house a notebook and other essentials, such as wallet, phone, make-up kit, hairties, knitting, and a bottle of wine along with a change of clothes. Seriously, this thing is huge. As it is “just” sewn, I felt confident to go under the lining.

I pulled the lining out, and carefully ripped open the bottom seam. Then, I proceeded to cut out a piece of sturdy cardboard in the shape of the bag’s bottom, and an extra pocket. I also took a D-ring.

As I was inside the lining, attaching the patch pocket was a piece of cake. Securing the D-ring to the lining was also easy. And now you ask why on Earth do I need a D-ring attached to the inside of a purse. Well, the answer is simple. I have a snap hook on my key ring. Clipped onto a D-ring inside a purse, it saves me from losing my keys inside my bag. I always know where they are, and never have to stand in the middle of a sidewalk digging around my bag. Literally the best idea I’ve ever had.

After the pocket and the D-ring were in place, I proceeded to anchor the cardboard to the bag. I cut out a piece of lining silk to match its shape, and sewed it onto the sole. The fabric keeps the reinforcement from moving around.

The entire process took about an hour and a half, and cost pennies. It didn’t alter the bag’s look, but made it sturdier, and easier to handle. I’m so glad I took the time to do it! This humongous yet still sleek carry-all is now my new favorite. It goes with any outfit, and is so easy to carry around. With the make-over, it can even stand on its own!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my little purse make-over.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Dress Make-Over

Once upon a time, I had a dress that had never felt quite right, and a top that just didn’t work. I made the dress a while back, felt displeased, and modded it a bit. It still didn’t feel right, so it got buried in my wardrobe.

The top I got as a souvenir from Mom a long, long time ago. That was back when she still tried to understand what I like. Sadly, she forgot that I’m horrified of spiders.

A few weeks ago, I found both the top and the dress, and asked them whether they’d like to get tossed, or play nice together.

The answer was obvious. Dress make-over!

I liked the shape of the top along with its mesh sleeves. The dress had a nice hem, so I decided to combine them. This way, I’d get to make the best of both item’s good qualities.

I started by taking out my scissors. I got these from my ex-mother-in-law (she didn’t die or anything, I just got divorced) a few years ago. I’m not really into the Moomin-thing, but Fiskars makes the kind of scissors I love. They’re durable, easy to sharpen, and comfortable to use.

The scissors are available on amazon in case you’re into Moomin characters. If you get them through the link below, I might earn a little extra.
Moomin Stainless Steel Moominmamma Scissors

I cut the dress at the waist so that I could use all of the hem. I ended up shortening it a bit, though. I like hems to fall mid-thigh, knee, or all the way to the floor, and this one ended up in the gray area of “below the knee”, commonly known as eww in my world.

I also cut the top at the waist. I like waistlines to sit at the narrowest part of the waist. Through this procedure, I gained a bit of cobweb-print material. I used it cut out basic cuffs to replace the ragged ruffles at the sleeves.

I like those, basically, in this top they were just too small and a bit sad.

I serged the pieces together at the waist, installed cuffs, and voila! Two not-so-happy garments turned into a cute dress!

I really like giving sad clothes make-overs, and this trick is among my favorites. Combining a top with a hem to gain a dress is quick, easy, and rewarding. This dress make-over resulted in a comfy and cute dress with just a bit of edge. I might show this to Mom someday to see whether she remembers the top she gave me, or just serve me the good old “dear lord, what on earth are you wearing”-shriek.

With a seam at the waist, this dress needs a belt to ease out the contrast created by two different kinds of fabric. I like to wear this with an elastic belt, a tight petticoat (the hem flies a bit and it makes me uncomfortable), and small, sparkly bits of jewelry. This dress is basic enough to wear for running errands, and still cute enough to style up for a Friday-night outing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my dress make-over!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather