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.

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Posted in Sewing

Restyling Exchange 2019

Last year I took part in the Restyling Exchange challenge hosted by @amynicolestudio and @pilar_bear and I had so much fun doing it. But this year I was extra excited when they announced the option of choosing our own partners. I obviously chose my friend, Erin, of Poetic Memory Sewing, who I’ve known since college.

I actually sent her something I made during our freshman year in college during one of my sewing classes but only wore once for the fashion show that served as our final exam and then never again. I chose the style because I knew those intricate pleats would get me an A if I executed them well even if the design didn’t exactly fit my style. I believe the pattern was from Vogue but I don’t remember the pattern number since it was so darn long ago.

I just love how she incorporated the pleats and was able to keep them completely intact. I also love that she used the sleeves to add godets to the side seams. This top is so comfortable and something I will get so much more wear out of now.

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She even saved the main portion of the blouse for me because she thought it might still be wearable. There were some holes where she trimmed the pleating off but this was easily remedied with some patches that I covered up with lace trim. She felt bad about the holes she cut into the blouse but I think it was a happy accident because I probably wouldn’t have added the trim otherwise. I was also glad to finally find the perfect project to use these black antique buttons I got at a flea market on. They’re so much prettier than the plain red buttons I originally used. So this is my bonus refashion!

Now onto what I made for Erin…

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Erin sent me this Liberty of London x J. Crew blouse that she had thrifted. I really wanted to incorporate some one yard off-cuts  I had bought during one of Fab Scrap‘s Instagram flash sales since they were hosting their own refashioning challenge this month.

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These were the three fabrics I had to choose from. It was a difficult choice because I was worried they all might be too much mixed with the Liberty of London fabric. So I played around with it until I finally decided on the polka dot/floral mixed print, which is what drove me to buy this pack to begin with. I just thought it was so pretty!

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Having a dress form this year helped so much. It allowed me to test out my fabric choices before I settled on one and it was especially crucial in draping and fitting my garment.

I asked Erin for her nape to waist measurement and she said it was 16″. However, this seemed extremely long so I just used my dress form as a guide. I tied a ribbon around the blouse at the waist and marked it with safety pins to get my cut line. The straps/neck binding were done out of a Cotton + Steel remnant I had in my stash.

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Then I used the extra fabric from the sleeves and what I cut off the bottom of the blouse and cut it all into 1″ strips to add a ruffle along the part of the skirt where it changes from purple to black. I thought this would help the top and the bottom look a little less disjointed.

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I didn’t need nearly as many ruffles as I thought but since I had already cut all those strips and sewn them together, I thought I’d cut them into three even strips and turn them into a braided rag bowl. You can see how much was leftover in the picture to the right. Can you believe I was actually nervous I wouldn’t have enough for the ruffles in the beginning?!

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And this is the finished look!

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Doesn’t Erin look pretty?

Posted in Home Decor

Brimfield!

One of my father’s favorite pastimes is treasure hunting at flea markets. We went to just enough when I was a kid that he passed this passion down to me but I don’t think it was ever anywhere near as many as he would have liked. He was a constant flea market bargain hunter before he had kids but it had been a very long time since he had been to Brimfield Antique Market in Brimfield, Massachussetts. For the past couple of years I kept bringing up the idea of us going up for a weekend but work and other things kept getting in the way. The tricky thing about this market is that it only happens three times a year. Once in May, once in July and once in September. If you miss any of these dates, then you’re out of luck! So I’m so excited that my husband and I finally got to experience this flea market with my parents. My father’s giddy, child-like excitement was such a treat to watch.

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I was on the hunt for a frame to hang with an embroidery hoop I had been working on. And also any types of interesting fabric I might find. I didn’t find any fabric, but I did find the frame! I even used the phrase, “Is that the best price?” for the first time in my life like all the pros advise you to do and was very proud of myself. It saved me a whopping $5! It was marked $30 but the seller sold it to me for $25. Afterwards, I wondered if I could have even talked her down to $20. I’ll be braver at my next flea market…

I also sort of found fabric but I passed on it because I just didn’t feel right spending $45 on one yard of fabric at a flea market. I’m pretty sure that booth was The Textile Trunk and she has an amazing and vast assortment of vintage French fabrics in her Etsy and Ebay shops that I haven’t been able to stop perusing ever since we got back.

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My father couldn’t help himself and bought this tiny side table towards the end of the day. He said he always used to come back with a table at all the other flea markets he went to when he was younger. So I guess it’s a tradition of sorts he wanted to uphold.

I really wish I had taken more photos during our first day there but there was so much to see and look at, I really didn’t think pictures would ever justify just how much was there. It was also SO crowded that day. It was a Saturday so you would think that’s good for business but we overheard one jewelry vendor complaining to a friend about how business was so bad the day before she had only done $100 in sales. “All these people just come for the food!” she said pointing to the crowd.

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The second day was much quieter and much less crowded so I snapped just a few shots. It was the last day so although the market was supposed to be open until 3 PM, vendors were already starting to pack up when we got there around 10 AM. I heard one vendor say to another, “Yeah. I’m getting out of here this year.” So I felt a little anxious about getting to see everything we wanted to see before everyone packed up and drove off. The pressure! I was also secretly hoping to find The Textile Trunk again because I had talked myself into buying just a yard of her pretty fabric because my husband, my parents and I were all having such a good time that I wanted to splurge on something special to remember it by.

While I had no such luck, my mom did find the jadeite bowls she had been eyeing the day before but decided to pass on because of the price. The smaller bowls she actually wanted were gone but it worked out for her because that just meant my dad splurged on a larger set for her! I guess he wanted her to have something special to remember the trip by also. They were marked $95 but the seller sold them to my dad for $75. We all really enjoyed this seller’s merchandise and my husband was eyeing some things as well but he’s on the more practical (i.e. non-hoarder) side of the spectrum so he didn’t buy anything. I did take a photo of the seller’s info though just in case we’re looking to buy something some day.

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^ Just a random photo I took when I had a chance because I was too timid to take pictures most of the weekend since I wasn’t sure of most seller’s picture taking policies. I guess they don’t care though since I’ve been poring over people’s pictures from the market on Instagram in an attempt to relive the weekend and also catch glimpses of interesting things we might have missed.

 

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I didn’t buy anything the second day but my dad treated me and my mom to delicious doughnuts! (I love jelly 🤤)

 

For lunch, we brought subs from the supermarket because we weren’t crazy fans of the pizza we had eaten the day before. It was also so hard to find seating on Saturday with all the crowds. We were much more content on Sunday, sitting on a bench just outside the market with our subs. We loved watching what types of treasure people were walking away from the market with. No idea what that guy is gonna do with that giant metal rooster. But those baskets those ladies were walking away with sure looked cute!

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After lunch, it was time for one last pass through a few tents before we went home. I was sad the weekend went so quickly but so grateful to spend time with my husband and parents. Time to start planning our next flea market trip!

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Also, how good does this frame look with this embroidery hoop inside? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure for sure.

Posted in knitting

Bennet Sister Shawl

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I was looking for a simple, long term knitting project that I could easily unwind with at the end of a long day of work. I discovered Lost and Fawn‘s designs after stumbling upon an Instagram post last year about a sock knit along she was hosting along with Mockingbird Fiber Co. for her Slacktide Socks. I was a little confused by the supplies needed and sent her a DM on Instgram with a question. She answered immediately and we went on to have a nice, healthy sized conversation about sock knitting after that. Hooray for (sort of) human interaction! I still have yet to finish those socks, but I’ve been a big fan of hers and her designs ever since.

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I had been admiring her Bennet Sister Shawl for a few months and Mockingbird Fiber Co. had announced they were taking pre-orders for kits to make it. I love kits because I am so bad (and lazy) when it comes to determining how much yarn is needed for projects on my own. The price tag was a little too steep for me at $85 including shipping, so I held off for a long time. But then I received some vacation pay money from my last job and finally bit the bullet. Knitting can be considered taking a vacation, right? 

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At first, I hit the ground running and was about a third of the way through before I knew it. Then I started to slow down because I didn’t want it to end, working on a few rows a night after work. I’d say this project is about 50/50 garter stitch and stockinette stitch. So a lot of knitting and purling! I did mess up a little towards the end. I’m not sure how. So I had to pull out a few rows and then wasn’t even sure where I was at that point, but the pattern is simple enough that I was able to guesstimate without it ruining the look of the shawl. I think altogether, it took about a month to complete. I also think I’m a shawl knitting addict now. I have my fingers crossed for more vacation money in my future to be spent on making beautiful shawls like this 🤞.

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Since I didn’t finish this until the end of April, I thought I’d just tuck it away to wear when it got cold again the Fall. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the sake of wearing this shawl?), we have had a pretty chilly May but this shawl has been the perfect solution to keeping warm without having to put on too many layers because I refuse! It’s May for goodness sake! But I’m sort of thankful I didn’t have to wait six months to wear this beauty.

Posted in Sewing

My Two Teahouse Dresses

I had been eyeing the Teahouse Dress pattern by Sew House 7 for some time before I finally bought it. By the time I finally got around to making it, I was on a hiatus from sewing in my own apartment because of a confrontation with our old downstairs neighbor that was the final straw in us deciding to move out of there. To scratch my sewing itch, I would go to Friday afternoon Social Sewing Time at Gotham Quilts and even went so far as to go to Open Sewing Night at Urban Sewciety, which was quite a trek from Queens but is a great place to meet up with my other New Jersey sewist friends, Hannah and Erin.

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The above photo is from Open Sew Night at Urban Sewciety. I believe this is where I began stitching this dress together but was a little distracted talking to my friends. (I also was constructing it off of my own intuition because it seemed that a lot of instructions were missing. It wasn’t until later that I remembered I had printed them out double sided 🤦‍♀️.) So it wasn’t until the princess seams were completely done that I realized I had forgotten to add the waist ties! This was a bit of a nuisance, especially since I had french seamed everything, but I’m glad I went back in and attached them correctly rather than trying to jimmy them on. I put the very last stitch into this dress during a Friday afternoon Social Sewing session at Gotham Quilts. While Open Sew at Urban Sewciety was free, Social Sewing Time at Gotham Quilts cost me about $25/ hour. I think I only went to two, two hour sessions and finished two projects in that time- this dress and an Ogden Cami. So although it was costly, it was very therapeutic to have somewhere safe to sew outside of my apartment during a very stressful time so I could actually enjoy myself and not feel like I was walking on egg shells in my own home.

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I was so excited when the poster for the movie Crazy Rich Asians came out. Not only because of what the film signified for the Asian community, but because the colors matched my dress perfectly! I posted this picture to Instagram the weekend it opened to celebrate. It was also the very same weekend To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before premiered on Netflix. It’s been so exciting for me as a 30- something Asian American woman to finally see Asians be represented in more diverse ways in film and television recently. Growing up, the only role model I had who looked like me was Michelle Kwan. Luckily, she was an amazing one to have (most decorated figure skater in US history- I still worship her to this day!) Kristi Yamaguchi was also a badass on the ice who I adored but I guess I related more to Michelle Kwan because she was younger. There was also Julie on Friends, but she was only around for two episodes! Finally, we got Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls but she was a supporting player! It’s so satisfying to finally see Asians star in things now.

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I also broke out this dress to wear while walking around a garden during our trip to California. I just love this fabric so much! Nani Iro sure does know what she’s doing.

As much as I loved my first Teahouse Dress, I wanted a longer version as well because I loved the photos for this pattern on Sew House 7‘s website. I actually thought my first one would turn out longer and was a little disappointed when it didn’t, especially since I had plenty of fabric to do so. I guess that’s why people make toiles? But who has the time for that?! This dress is very easy to put together. The only gripe I had about my second attempt was how shifty this rayon fabric is! I held off on leveling the hem for a few days while it set and once I finally got around to doing it, it wasn’t that bad. But man, rayon is a pain to work with.

IMG_20190420_153502I made this to wear in time for my friend’s bachelorette party in the Dominican Republic and then I bust it out to wear again to a friend’s wedding last weekend. I think I will now wear loose fitting dresses with waist ties to every wedding. I was able to eat as much as I wanted to and when my dress started to feel uncomfortable, I just loosened the tie 😂.

Posted in Sewing

Hooray for the Wiksten Haori!

 

I had been eyeing the Wiksten Haori pattern for some time but the steep price of $18 was holding me back. Finally I just bit the bullet and purchased it and I am so glad I did!

I had a little bit of trouble when attaching the collar to the jacket. It was a little too small and I had to let it out as much as I could to make it work. Even then, I still struggled to make it fit. I think it’s because the interfacing I used was too heavy. It calls for a lightweight fusible interfacing and I used medium weight because I didn’t read the directions before I bought it (whoops!) The only slip stitching called for in the instructions is around the sleeve hems, but I decided to slip stitch the lining to the collar also for a cleaner finish than top stitching it. It took so long but it was worth it. I find that top stitching things closed doesn’t always leave me satisfied with the results on the outside of the garment. I also added patch pockets to the lining in case I’m ever feeling in the mood to wear this with the blue side out.

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The outer fabric is sage twill from Fab Scrap and the lining fabric is a Rag & Bone chambray from Mood Fabrics. Fab Scrap is a great company out in Brooklyn that collects dead stock fabric from fashion companies and re-sells it at a low cost to keep it from going to the landfill. I really admire what they’re doing and hope to get out there to volunteer one day. Volunteers receive five pounds of fabric in exchange for two and a half hours of work! So it’d be a great way to help out the environment and build your stash all at once. I just wish Brooklyn were a little closer…

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This jacket has been perfect for Spring and I’ve worn it so many times already.img_20190407_160902

I wore it while perusing my local yarn stores during the NJ Wool Walk. Here I am holding a bag with my purchases from my favorite yarn shop, Yarnia. I also hit up The Local Yarn Store that weekend and it was so cute and had such a good selection of yarn. I definitely need to visit them again. #ShopSmall!

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I also wore it to the Turtleback Zoo. I just love how comfortable and easy going this design is. It definitely fits my style because I am lazy and I do not like wearing tight fitting garments.

I do want to make a warmer one out of wool for the fall at some point but lately I haven’t felt the desire to buy much fabric. Yesterday I cleaned out and organized my scrap fabric and there is SO much of it! It makes me feel so guilty because I hate the thought of all of that fabric being dumped into the ocean. I’ve bagged up what I don’t think will ever be useful to bring to H&M to recycle. Hopefully they do actually recycle it…Fab Scrap also takes scrap fabric recycling to turn into shoddy for a small fee but their location in Brooklyn is just too far for me to travel to, especially with heavy bags of fabric. I’m hoping that once they open up their store front in Chelsea, they’ll accept scrap fabric recycling from there since that would be a little easier for me to get to.

 

 

Posted in Sewing

A Couple of Kalle Shirts for Shirt Month

When Allie Olson of Indie Sew first announced this year’s Shirt Month back towards the end of January, I was excited to finally be pushed to make the Kalle Shirt. I had bought the pattern during Indie Sew’s Black Friday Sale two years ago but it just sat in a basket because I was too afraid to cut it out and also too lazy to trace it. Since January was also the first time I had found myself unemployed in over two years, it seemed like the perfect challenge to keep me distracted while I half-heartedly looked for new work and recovered from a stressful few months at the same time. I thought it was pretty humorous when Allie introduced the new fabrics she was stocking for shirt month the next day and one of them was pretty much identical to the fabric from my stash that I had planned on using. The only difference was that my fabric has that extra thin stripe running down and across it. Plaid Kalle Shirt 1

I traced out the size 6 and it took me so long. I usually don’t trace patterns and just cut into them because I just don’t want to deal with all that extra work. Sewing for other people for a living, I just want to get right to the fun stuff when it comes to myself. In the end, I’m glad I did trace it since now my original Kalle pattern is still intact and I will be able to make other sizes from it in the future. I also took the risk of cutting the pieces out of my fabric as I needed them because I just hate plaid matching so much and wanted to get straight to sewing, especially after spending so much time tracing the pattern. I was pretty sure I had enough fabric though so I wasn’t too worried.

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This was my first time doing the burrito method. The first time, I made the silly mistake of not attaching the front pieces so I had just enclosed the shoulder seams of the outer and inner back yokes. When I was done, I was confused as to how the front pieces get attached. So I referenced the sew along on Closet Case Patterns‘ website, said “duh!” to myself and then got it right on the next try.

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After that, it was on to the side seams! I french seamed them because I like my homemade garments to look as neat as possible on the inside when I have the time and motivation to do so.

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I didn’t realize there was a front and back piece to the sleeve cuffs and only traced and cut out the back cuff piece so it was huge! And I didn’t realize why until I was done. So I kept taking it in until it fit. So it’s a little awkward around there but I think it still looks fine. I also cut the cuffs out on the bias because, again, I hate pattern matching.

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And as much as I hate pattern matching, I love that inverted back pleat!

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I actually finished a second Kalle Shirt while I waited for some wooden buttons from Arrow Mountain to finish my first one. This one went so much quicker and smoother since I had just gone through the trials and errors of making it the first time. I lengthened both of them by 3″ and wish I had lengthened them just a little more since I don’t like my shirts to be too short. The original cropped length the pattern comes as DEFINITELY would have been too short for me and I am SHORT!

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I love this floral Rifle Paper Co. fabric so much. It feels so luxurious when I wear this shirt. I know so many places carry Rifle Paper Co. fabrics but I got mine from Sew Jersey because I like to support small NJ businesses as much as I can, it being my home state and all. The little buttons are from Yarnia, my favorite local yarn store.

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I wore my floral Kalle shirt to the bookstore and I think it goes pretty well with the wood of the shelves I’m standing in front of.

 

Here I am wearing my plaid Kalle shirt. I had been saving it to wear for the first time to my friend The Rambling Rosie‘s Easter themed get together. I even attempted dyeing an Easter egg to match my shirt. How’d I do?