Posted in DIY Tutorials, Sewing

DIY Kate Middleton Hat Band

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Back in December, my friend Rose and I got together to DIY some headbands inspired by Kate Middleton. We hope people will find this tutorial to be a nice distraction during this time of social distancing. You can find it on Rose’s blog, Royal Caffeine, here.

Let us know how we did in the comments. And if you make one of your own, tag Rose and me on Instagram so we can see it! Happy Crafting, everyone!

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Posted in Sewing

Embroidered Floral Emery Dress

Around this time last year, I started working on a dress to wear to a dear friend’s wedding. Since I know what I like, I resorted to using my go-to pattern for special occasion dresses- Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress pattern. However, this time I wanted something a little different than my previous versions, which I blogged about here. My friend, Sara, had worn a really pretty embroidered floral mesh dress to another friend’s rehearsal dinner recently and I became obsessed. So I set out to find some embroidered floral mesh fabric of my own. I spent a couple of hours pricing fabric in the Garment District in NYC one afternoon after work. After going around to various stores, I finally settled on this fabric I found at Hollywood Fabrics. It was a pretty good deal at $18/yard when everywhere else was quoting me $20-25/yard. The under layer is a polyester satin from Elegant Fabrics that I think was somewhere around $10-12/yard. I would have loved to use some beautiful silk satin but it was all way out of my price range.

I started by flat lining my bodice pieces together by hand because I found the fabric to be too shifty to just pin and run under the machine.

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It probably felt like this took longer than it actually did, but I’m so glad I did this.

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Here’s the bodice all stitched up!

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Next, I attached the skirt pieces. I added 1/2″ horse hair to the hem of the under layer to make the skirt poof out just a little. It was looking a little too limp on its own.

Then I let it sit around for months because as the calendar says, it was May, and I didn’t need this dress to be finished until January. It was nice having a pretty project on hold, ready to resume work on whenever I needed a pick-me-up.

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The time for a pick-me-up finally arrived, and I decided to put the zipper in. I chose a lapped zipper insertion because this is how I always insert zippers into my dresses. I learned early on in my sewing journey that although invisible zippers look nice, they are the devil and break too easily. Working in theater, invisible zippers on ready-to-wear garments always get switched out before they even have a chance to go on stage because no one wants to deal with an invisible zipper breaking in the middle of a quick change.

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Then it sat around a little more, adorning my dress form like the eye candy it is.

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There was actually one day I was really sad and put the dress on in this state to make myself feel better. And I have to say, it really worked.

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Finally, the wedding was drawing near and I decided it was finally time to put the lining in.

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I had originally planned to add a full lining but was afraid having three layers of gathering at the waist would be too bulky and make the dress too tight. So I decided to just line the bodice as the pattern instructions called for. Also, french seams! Since the skirt and sleeve seams would be visible, I went with french seams. The bodice has regular seams since you can’t see them with the under-layer backing the mesh.

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Lastly, I added 1/4″ beige elastic to the wrist of the sleeves to make them poof a little. I felt like they looked weird without being cinched in towards the bottom.

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For the wedding, I paired the dress with these gold shoes from Anthropologie. I bought them to wear as a bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding and was glad to have another use for them.

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The photo booth at the wedding was awesome! I’m glad to have this nice memento of me and Kevin looking all gussied up together since we’re usually in our pajamas around each other.

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Here I am trying to look sassy with my beautiful friends. Doesn’t the bride look gorgeous?! Her dress was custom made! These women have lifted me up since we were 5 years old and I love them all very much. So I’m including this photo in this post in honor of International Women’s Day. Happy International Women’s Day to all the fierce women out there! 👊

Posted in knitting

Find Your Fade x 2!

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It all started with some remnant yarn. I have a few jars full of fingering weight yarn leftover from sock projects that I didn’t know what to do with so I decided to cast on this Find Your Fade Shawl by Andrea Mowry sometime last year. I began with this dark purple yarn I bought by Dyed By Darrin from Lion Brand Studio (RIP 😔) which I had leftover from a pair of socks I made my brother.

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I then added in some Madeline Tosh yarn I had leftover from a pair of socks I made my mother-in-law. After that came some blue yarn I bought on sale from Yarnia which I unfortunately can’t remember the brand name of. I had used it to make a pair of socks for my sister.

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I was enjoying the faded shawl making process so much and was feeling so satisfied at using up my remnants, I decided to cast on a second shawl while still working on my Find Your Fade Shawl. The shawl to the left is the Free Your Fade Shawl, also by Andrea Mowry. I guess I’m just an Andrea Mowry fan girl.

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After the blue yarn from my sister’s socks, I was running out of skeins large enough for the rest of the sections. So I decided to take my time and pick each additional color out as I came to it. The fourth color I added in was by Spun Right Round, which I also purchased from Yarnia. After that, I added in another Madeline Tosh yarn in grey that I purchased from Knitty City.

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The next yarn I added was special. I was becoming a little anxious about how much this shawl might cost me when I came across a post on Instagram by someone in need of a project bag. I noticed she was an indie dyer and was a little smitten with one of her yarn colorways called “Crackle.” I messaged her and asked if she would be up for a trade. I would give her a project bag in exchange for a couple of skeins of her yarn. It was a while before I heard back from her and I was afraid she might think I was crazy. Luckily she was into the idea and we made the exchange! I loved working with her yarn so much. You can find her Etsy shop here.  Below is the project bag she selected and I’m so glad she liked it in return.

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For the last yarn, I really wanted to support an Asian American indie dyer. I had discovered Marianated Yarns online and loved all of her colorways. The NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival was coming up and she was listed as a vendor so I anxiously waited for the festival to arrive to purchase her yarn in person. I knew exactly which colorway I wanted and my husband was keen on buying it for me for my birthday. When we finally arrived at the festival and found the barns with all the vendors, I became overwhelmed. Clutching my vendor layout, I tried to make my way through the crowd looking for Marianated Yarns. Luckily we found her before long and I found the yarn I wanted right away. Then I did a quick pass around to see what all the other vendors had to offer. I purchased only one other skein of yarn from Wobble Gobble, another Asian indie dyer. I think I spent all of 20 minutes shopping the booths altogether, subconsciously searching out faces that resembled mine the whole time. My husband, Kevin, was surprised I didn’t need more time. I had been talking about shopping at this festival for weeks. It wasn’t until we got to the car that I confided in my white husband that I felt overwhelmed and anxious being in that large of a crowd with mostly white people. I felt very out of place and insecure. It made me feel a very deep sense of the anguish people have shared on Instagram. Luckily no incidences occurred, but I couldn’t help but feel a little alienated. That’s why I’ve loved seeing the #AsianKnittersofInstagram hashtag on Instagram and seeing so many faces that look like mine enjoying the same craft. Even if it’s only online, it’s very comforting. I hope to meet some of them in real life one day.

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As much comfort as I find seeing other Asian knitters on Instagram, I’ve always felt uncomfortable sharing pictures of my own face online since the internet can be pretty creepy. So I’ve resorted to mostly sharing my makes on my dress form. So here is my finished Find Your Fade Shawl on my good ol’ dress form. Maybe at some point I’ll feel more comfortable adding my face to the mix with all the other #AsianKnittersofInstagram but for now my dress form and the cartoon graphic my sister drew of me as my profile picture will have to do.

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I recently began a new job and was looking for a knitting project to keep me occupied on the train. Thus, I dug through my yarn remnants and cast on yet another Find Your Fade Shawl. It’s a little cumbersome to work on during my train ride, but I love that I don’t have to think too much while working on it at this point.

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It was also soothing to start out my day by working on it and sipping my tea. Settling into a new job with a new setting and co-workers is always a little stressful even though I’m a freelancer who’s used to it. I don’t know if it ever gets easier but having worked so many jobs at this point, I know in the back of my mind that I will settle in eventually and that is comforting at least.

I started this shawl with some leftover yarn I had from my Bennet Sister Shawl by Mockingbird Fiber Co. Then I melted in two yarns I had leftover from making a Boxy Sweater by Joji Locatelli by The Farmers Daughter Fibers and Autumn and Indigo. For the third section, I underestimated how much yarn I had and needed to supplement it with another yarn I had leftover from a pair of socks in a similar color. After that, I used some metallic yarn from Earl Grey Fiber Co. that I purchased from Wool and Honey using a generous gift code for $25 that they gave out during the holidays. The yarn that followed that was more leftover from my Boxy Sweater by The Farmers Daughter Fibers. Finally, I finished with some Brooklyn Tweed Peerie yarn. It was perfect in that it included 210 yards and I only needed 200 yards for the last section.

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I’m so happy with how these both came out and I know I’ll have trouble deciding between the two to wear from now on. But they were both very fun projects to work on that helped relax me during stressful times. And I love that color melting allows me to combine yarns from all different dyers and spread my support around. The knitting community has been very tense online lately and I think that we could all use some more unity, which is what these shawls represent to me.

Happy Knitting, everyone!

Posted in knitting, Sewing

2019 Christmas Gift Roundup

During the month of January for the past few years, I’ve found myself newly unemployed after coming off of working on a Christmas show. Having missed most of the Christmas celebrations with my family due to work, I usually feel a mix of what I’ll call post seasonal Christmas spirit along with a vivid sense of the stress that came with having to gather gifts for everyone in our family. So I’m that crazy person who works on Christmas gifts starting in January and I’m always grateful to my past self come December. Here is a roundup of what I made everyone in our family for Christmas 2019.

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I tried to be as low waste as possible when it came to wrapping our gifts due to the fear of impending doom caused by Climate Change and also laziness. I bought these Furoshiki wraps while we were in Japan to wrap the gifts for our female family members and I wish I had bought them for all of our gifts because they’re so pretty and easy to use! All of the other wrapping supplies I used were leftover or recycled from previous gifts.

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More attempts at being greener with our gift giving. We gave my aunts and uncles reusable bamboo utensil sets along with these Stowe bags.

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Every year my extended family on my mom’s side does a Secret Santa exchange with a theme. We decided 2019 would be the year of the hat and the online name generator I used drew my own father’s name for me. We like to make it funny when we can and when I came across this print on Spoonflower I knew it was perfect because my dad is known for making an expression that my sister affectionately refers to as “Trout Mouth.” He also blessedly passed this facial expression down to all three of his children.

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I love this backpack I self-drafted for our niece using this corgi drawn by my sister. You can check out her Etsy shop here.

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This year was also my first time participating in an online gift exchange. Jessica of Shop La Mercerie organized it through Instagram and I sent my partner a skein of Early Grey Fiber Co. yarn along with a project bag I made.

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And the final Christmas gift I made wasn’t completed until today. But that’s OK because it’s for my husband and I live with him so I could just hand it to him when I was done. It’s a mash-up of the Negroni shirt by Colette patterns and the Fairfield Button-up by Thread Theory Designs.

 

 

Posted in DIY Tutorials, knitting, Sewing

My Rift Tee Plus Knitting Project Bag Tutorial with Free Pattern!

I’ve never understood the point of short sleeved sweaters. Weren’t sweaters supposed to keep you warm? But then I came across Jacqueline Cieslak’s Rift Tee pattern and my life changed. I saw the sneak peaks on Instagram and I knew I had to make it. I had just made her Ursa Sweater and really enjoyed it. It had given me a little bit of difficulty at first because I didn’t understand the half brioche stitch but overall it was such an addicting project I couldn’t put it down. In comparison, the Rift Tee went much smoother for me and was a really easy project to complete fairly quickly. It contained a decent amount of stockinette stitching that kept me occupied on my commute to work for a few days, which is always nice. And knitting in the round is especially good for commute knitting. This sweater also doesn’t take much yarn which my wallet always appreciates. I bought two skeins of Amano Awa yarn in 1108- Cochineal and still had enough left over afterwards to make my nephew a hat. Whoo!

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Here I have it styled over a Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated to show it off. I actually entered this into Mockingbird Fiber Co’s Sweater Knit Along and won! It was a pretty general knit along, with entrants able to make any sweater of their choice in any yarn just as long as it was a finished object. I received my prize in the mail and it is the most gorgeous yarn!

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I also recently made a new project bag using this canvas fabric from Fabrics Wholesale Direct and the best part about it is that it’s waterproof! So I know whatever project I store in here will be safe.

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I carried it around for the first time paired with my Rift Tee and Ogden Cami Dress. It was the perfect outfit to roam around the NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival in during a warm, late summer’s day. Just a side note though, I thought I’d save myself the trouble of carrying my purse by throwing my wallet in my project bag and the shawl I had in there got snagged on it when I went to pay for some of the yarn I bought. I was so frustrated with myself but thankfully was able to fix the snag. Never again will I put my wallet in my project bag though. Anyways, I now understand the point of short sleeved sweaters!

 

The tutorial can be found here and the free pattern can be downloaded below:

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Posted in DIY Tutorials

Paperbag Waist Skirt Tutorial

A couple weeks ago, I got together with my best sewing friends for a day of fabric shopping, lunch and ice cream. We also went to the farmer’s market and I tried a lame attempt at #posingwithproduce since the squash I bought matched my skirt. To make one of these skirts for yourself, you can find the tutorial I wrote for Fabric Wholesale Direct here.

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Posted in Party Time!

Cake and Crafting Party!

Every year, I exchange Christmas gifts with my college friends, Hannah and Erin. Since we finally have a suitable apartment to invite guests to now, I decided to host this year. I had a Christmas paper flower wreath kit from Paper Source in my stash that I hadn’t gotten around to yet and then while browsing their website one day, I found more kits on sale for a really great price. I believe they were less than $10 each which is really good considering they were originally over $20 each.

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I loaded up on snacks for the party at Trader Joe’s but forgot to get something for dessert. So I ran to my local Foodtown and couldn’t resist buying this cute cake with white frosting and sprinkles when I saw it in the dessert section. Thus, the name of the party was born! I made this chalkboard using an old frame I bought at a flea market for our wedding and now I use it to write something on every time we have guests over.

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We had a really great time snacking on food and crafting while listening to 90’s pop music.

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Below is my finished wreath! I think it came out really cute but I had so many pieces of the green pine leftover. I may use them to decorate wrapped gifts next year. Since I work crazy hours during the holidays, we got together in January once I was finished. Even though Christmas was long over, I still hung this up in the apartment for a little while because who doesn’t want peace, joy and cheer all year round? It’s sitting in my closet now and will probably need some maintenance when I pull it out again for the holidays later on this year. The sticky tabs that the kit comes with don’t hold up that well and all the instructions said to do to add the ribbon to the back was to use scotch tape so that’s falling off too.

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For our second Cake and Crafting party this past Spring, I had found some really cheap paper flower kits for sale on Lia Griffith’s website. They were each around $2 and I was so happy to come across them because if I invite friends over, I don’t want to have to charge them 😂.

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I think they look amazing and it was so nice to just have to punch out the pieces for both of these kits. When I made a paper flower bouquet for my wedding, I hand traced and hand cut all of the pieces because I don’t have a Cricut and it just took forever!

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I’m so glad I have other friends who love sewing and crafting as much as I do because it’s so much fun to get together over activities we all enjoy.