A Tale of Two Toaster Sweaters

When I first bought the Toaster Sweater 2 pattern by Sew House 7 from Indiesew last year, it was because it reminded me of the sweater in the pictures above that was for sale at Anthropologie at the time. Seeing as that sweater was somewhere around $80-90, I decided to try make my own instead.

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My first go at this pattern, I used this ponte knit that I found at Chic Fabrics in the Garment District. As a big fan of Marcy Harriell‘s blog, I’ve seen her talk about this fabric shop a lot. So one day while I was killing time during my dinner break, I ventured into the Garment District and when I saw the sign for Chic Fabrics, I decided to go in based on her recommendation. I found this fabric that I thought would make a great Toaster Sweater 2 because I thought it had nice structure and the color was pretty. (It reminded me of my favorite sweatshirt that I accidentally got bleach on at work once and then desperately tried to repair. The agony!) I really wanted to copy the sweater that inspired me to buy the pattern to begin with, but that would have to wait until…

Striped Toaster Sweater 2.3

I bought THIS fabric from Stylemaker Fabrics that STILL doesn’t match the original. I was torn between the red striped print and the blue striped print of this knit terry cloth fabric and in the end, I decided to go with the red because I wanted to be a little different and I feel like I already have a lot of blue in my wardrobe. However, I didn’t anticipate this one coming out looking a little bit like a candy cane. But, hey, at least it’s the right season for it. The stripes on the shoulder seams match up in opposite colors, but I’m pretty happy with how my stripe matching throughout the rest of the sweater came out. It took so many pins it looked like a torture device while I was working on it though.

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I have yet to wear my striped Toaster Sweater 2 because now I’m saving it for Christmas since it seems so seasonally appropriate. But I did wear the first sweater for my friend Rose’s bachelorette party where we took her to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and then went backstage to meet the camels afterwards! (You can just barely see it under my coat and everything, but it is so toasty. Marketing is real and this one definitely lives up to the name because the name is partly why I bought it…Hmm…Toasty…) So just for fun, here’s a picture of some camels…

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A Flurry of Fens

A little over a year ago, I decided to treat myself to my first printed copy of an indie pattern for my birthday. I decided on the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts, which I purchased through Indie Sew. I had seen it featured in a lot of Instagram posts and loved the relaxed, loose shape of it because I am really lazy when it comes to getting dressed and I want to feel like I am in my pajamas at all times- even when I am trying to look more pulled together by wearing a dress. The first one I made, I used this cute quilting cotton print I got at City Quilter in Manhattan a few months before they had closed. For whatever reason, I was really drawn to the print even though it’s anything but refined and I had just turned 28 when I bought it and should probably have been thinking about dressing more like an adult. As Kurt once said on Glee, “Rachel manages to dress like a toddler and a grandmother at the same time,” and when my sister and I first heard this quote, we felt like it perfectly described the way I dress as well.

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The second Fen dress I made was out of another quilting cotton by Cotton + Steel that I purchased from Craftsy. I probably shouldn’t have made so many dresses using quilting cotton because it doesn’t move very well. Whoops. This one has softened up a bit after being washed a couple of times though. When I made this one, I wanted the skirt to be a little longer because I felt like the front of the skirt on my first one was just a little too short. So I thought I’d lengthen it from the top but I forgot to lengthen the pockets as well! So I had to re-cut them. But now I have longer pockets to put more snacks in. So it was worth it.

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(^ That’s me wearing this dress on our mini-moon. I added swing tack belt loops to the sides so I could wear it with that belt without it sliding around.)

The third Fen dress I made, I used this cotton fabric that I purchased during our mini-moon from The Old Country Store in Pennsylvania. For this one, I thought I’d try to be a little different and add some piping to the pockets. For some reason I really, really wanted to buy some polka dot piping at one point and purchased three different colors from the Etsy shop On Trend Fabrics. So I used the navy blue yardage that I had in my stash. This time, instead of lengthening from the top of the skirt, I added length to the bottom and straightened it out.

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Unlike the first two Fens I made, this is a nice lightweight cotton and I love having a homemade memento from our mini-moon.

The most recent Fen dress I made is probably my most favorite. I had bought this Robert Kaufman gingham fabric from fabric.com with another project in mind but once I had washed it and kept looking at it sitting on top of my fabric pile, I decided it would probably make a nice Fen dress instead.

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I tried to pattern match the fabric around the pockets, and it is just the tiniest bit off, but not enough to bother me.

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I left this one hanging for a while because I just liked the way it looked in the corner of our apartment next to the pom pom wreath I made.

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And I was SUPER happy to wear this dress in front of a bunch of old ladders while Kevin and I were out antiquing last July. I don’t want to show my face because my hair looked bad, but just trust me, I’m wearing a BIG smile in this picture.

I just indulged in a lot of fabric sales online during Thanksgiving  weekend and I bought some grey double gauze from Miss Matatabi Fabric and I think it’s already telling me it wants to be a Fen dress as well…Maybe I’ll try the longer sleeve version this time though.

Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

Back in April, my friends and I threw our dear friend, Lauren, a Harry Potter themed bridal shower because she is the ultimate book worm and this particular book series is a favorite among all of us. Since these books were such a vital part of our childhoods, this shower was a lot of fun to plan and I thought it’d be fun to share about it in my first blog post because so many hours went into the execution of it all (lead by our fearless leaders, bridesmaid MVPs Sara and Sahar!)

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First of all, I was so excited to get to reuse some of the chalkboards I made for my own wedding. My intention when I first made these chalkboards was to hopefully reuse them for some aspects of my friend’s upcoming wedding related events and I was so happy we got to reuse them so soon because weddings can be so wasteful sometimes (there, I said it!) Also, Sahar’s handwriting looks so cute!

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There was a bookshelf off in one corner of the venue, which served as a perfect nod to the restricted section of the library at Hogwarts. Sahar’s so clever! Isn’t she clever?

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Each of the guests had a golden snitch waiting for them at their seats. Sahar created the file for this treat and one of my favorite projects at one of our crafting meetings was cutting these out.

The contribution I’m proudest of is this combination of the Harry Potter placemats underneath the book page floral arrangements. I made these mats using fabric purchased from fabric.com and the flowers are made of book pages from an actual Harry Potter book using the ranunculus template from liagriffith.com. I felt bad cutting up one of Sara’s old copies of Harry Potter, but I felt better about it once I got home and realized the book was missing the first three chapters. This was a time consuming project and things got really busy at work, so luckily Sara and Sahar came to my rescue in the last few weeks before the shower to help me get enough made in time to fill out all the vases. Team work really DOES make the dream work! (Haha…)

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Another time consuming project was these bottles. Each one had to have the original labels scrubbed off (which was really hard!) and then Sahar made these new Harry Potter themed labels to go on them instead. Then they stuck a candle in the top, lit it and waited for the wax to melt and drip down the bottle. (Side note: If you’re wondering what that word on the cover of that book is, so am I. This edition of Harry Potter is from Rose’s awesomely extensive collection of international HP books.)

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This is The Three Broomsticks! And Sahar made actual butterbeer on the day of and it was delicious!

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Who doesn’t love taking Polaroids?! This is our photo booth station and I was also happy to finally unload all of this extra Polaroid film leftover from my wedding. (I really over bought…I still have two packs of film left at home. Whoops!) There are also Harry Potter themed props in that case!

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One of the coolest backdrops I’ve ever seen. Sara strung all of these envelopes together on fishing line and then hung them to the ceiling behind the bridal party table. Sara even hand wrote Harry Potter’s address on each envelope! Isn’t she the cutest?

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Speaking of the bridal party table, here it is, adorned with Sara’s beautiful handmade sign! She made stencils for each letter on the computer and then spray painted them onto this burlap banner and I think it came out so, so great.

Another cool touch was these potion bottles. Sahar mixed water and food dye into bottles and then applied these labels she made to them. I think it added a really cool touch to the atmosphere like “Ooh!!…Potions…!!”

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Some games were played and the winners got to take home these really cute succulents in these adorable little vases Sahar found at Party City. It’s like we’re in Herbology! Get it?!

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Honeydukes! So much candy!

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And last, but certainly not least, the party favors! Each guest took home a bottle of Amortentia, the most powerful love potion, with their very own wand attached! And it tastes exactly like Prosecco! The girls spent hours and hours squiggling really cool designs onto some dowel rods using a hot glue gun, painting them all brown and then finally, sealing them with varnish. This might have been the most time consuming project of all and I wish I could’ve been around to help out on this one more but…you know, life and stuff.

All in all, the shower was a success and Lauren seemed really happy with all of it. *High fives all around!* Planning a shower like this only takes 4 1/2 months, a lot of man power, and five friends who all really enjoy each other’s company! Phew! (And maybe also a mother of the bride who didn’t bat an eye when we handed her a butt load of receipts…!)

 

UPDATE:

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The gorgeous thank you card my sister designed for Lauren to send to guests after the shower is now available in our Etsy shop as a PDF download and can be found here.