Monday, May 30, 2011

Some people claim there is a woman to blame...

I was not in Margaritaville this weekend... no, I was in Baltimore. The home of some of my closest friends...and this year, a fantastic Bachelorette Party for one of those friends.

One of Baltimore's lovely attractions is Federal Hill - which is exactly as it sounds... a hill. The views are gorgeous, overlooking the inner harbor. Unfortunately, just as we were about to climb the giant staircase up to the top, I blew out my flipflop!

Now, blowing out your flipflop is not as trivial as Jimmy Buffet makes it sound - when your flipflop breaks, the whole shoe swings around to the front of your foot with every step, making it impossible to go anywhere, especially up a hill.

What would you do? Search your purse for a safety pin, bobby pin, hair clip, anything to secure the strap of the sandal? Nothing. I had nothing in my purse except a couple stray ibprofen and some change.

Luckily, I remembered seeing this DIY sandal post from Grosgrain recently, and had an idea. Using a scarf my friend had tied to her purse, I was able to fashion a makeshift sandal.

Tada! Following sewing blogs saved the day! I was able to easily walk to a nearby store and get a new pair of kicks. Have you ever MacGyver'ed a clothing item? What was it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How does my garden grow?

Because, seriously, I let the whole thing become overrun with grass and I water it irregularly. I try to remind myself that this is my first go 'round with keeping plants alive - previously, I was a self-confessed plant killer. Unable to handle even the heartiest of plants. Here are some photos of the garden shortly after I planted:

Now the place is overrun with grass. See below:

I even had to chop all the cilantro out of the middle of the containers because it got so wild it was taking over the other plants. See how the planters have bald spots in the middle:

But alas, edibles are still growing, despite my lack of appropriate care. Here are my little eggplants, jalapeno, zucchini, and peppers. Maybe I'll do a raised bed next time. How did you learn to garden?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mail Bag: French Curves

Oh, Baton Rouge. My dear RedStick. You have the potential to be so artistically fertile: low cost of living, large university, good turn out for your existing art events.... I mean, movies are filmed here all the time, for goodness sake.

So why can't I buy a french curve anywhere in this city? So many adorable little boutiques, no ability to design your own clothes....

After giving up on my city, I ordered a set off Amazon. Voila!

Cannot wait to try making my own skirt and dress slopes. Not that I know what "slope" means. I just throw around terminology I notice on Burdastyle. Fake it 'till you make it, baby.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Navy Summer Dress

I have a navy blue summer dress that I bought at the gap years ago. I love it because I can wear it to work, out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or even to a festival. It's the go anywhere dress. Consequently, I've worn that dress hard, and it shows. Here's what the old dress looks like:

I decided to try Vogue 1086, a Tracy Reese design, in a navy and white fabric to replace my old dress. The print is kind of interesting - it's like stylized seaweed.

As much as I love Baton Rouge, there are very limited fabric options. Fabric selection tends to be heavy on material for dance constumes and LSU gear. The Hancock Fabrics, which has the most extensive selection in the city, does carry a whole aisle of rayon challis, so that is what I used here. Rayon Challis is great- soft, not stretchy, drapes nicely -it just unravels like crazy. You really have to finish your seams with rayon challis or your dress will come apart little by little. I used french seams here, which were also called for in the pattern. French seams are when you sew the fabric with wrong sides together and then fold the seam back on itself, sewing the seam again with the raw edges encased. Here is a great tutorial from Grosgrain on how to make french seams.

I also decided to disregard the sizing chart, which has historically been the bain of my existance. I made a size 8, which is usually my store bought dress size, instead of the 12 which matches my measurements. It fits almost perfectly. I wore it to a BBQ, and the waist band felt a little tight after filling myself with hot dogs and beer, but it is otherwise comfortable!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wanted: White Pleated Maxi Skirt

I learned a lesson today almost as harsh to learn the hard way as "backup your computer":

Bookmark styles you find on the internet

because it's a wide wide worldly web out there, and you may never see them again. Last week I saw at least three examples of real people wearing sophisticated-yet-funky white pleated maxi skirts and I WAS IN LOVE. Now all I can find are ads for said skirts - failing to capture the spirit of the look I want.

So here I am, trudging through the cavernous interwebs, looking for style. If you see a white pleated maxi skirt, modeled by a human, preferably with a chunky belt, I implore you - send the link my way! Until then, I soldier on.

Photo credit: Jane Norman skirt at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Macaroon (yum!)

What an adorable pattern by Colette. As delicious as a real macaroon. This dress made me nervous because I chose to use a fabric from the "quilting cotton" area of the fabric store instead of the usual fashion fabrics. As much as I love Baton Rouge, the selection of fabric is a major drawback. Luckily, I recently discovered a Joanne's near New Orleans - guess I'll be making more frequent trips to the Crescent City!

On the upside - this cotton is incredibly easy to work with, even if it's not as durable in the long term.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lacey Shoulder Dress

Last month, I fell for a little black dress with a loose top and lace shoulders. The stitching was such low quality, though, that I decided it wasn't worth the $60. Instead, I tried to create a similar dress. There were some trials and tribulations - for example: When you make a dress out of a rectangle of fabric it does, indeed, look like a garbage bag. You do need to make the waist narrower than the shoulders and hip. Considering how many times I stitch-ripped the elastic out of this rayon challis dress, I think it came out pretty well!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pajama Dress

Ever wonder what pajama pants would feel like as a dress? Answer: so comfortable you could sleep in it.

When I found this fabric, I wanted to wrap myself in it and lay on the couch. It was the end of the bolt, so I purchased the rest and took it home. I had just finished another version of the Anda dress by Burda - but I made it way too big. I made this one in just about 30 minutes.