Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bow-neck Top from Scrap Fabric DIY Tutorial

Reader Abby asked how I made this bow-neck top:

So I'm retroactively sharing a DIY tutorial for it.  Sorry in advance for my poor drawing skills, but hopefully you get the gist of it.  :)

What I Used:
  • Irregularly-shaped scrap fabric from past project - roughly 3/4 yards
  • A pattern (see tutorial here to make your own) OR use a store-bought one for a sleeveless v-neck top
What I Did:
1.) Take your fabric and fold just enough to cover the width of your front pattern piece. 
Approximate layout of pattern pieces (not drawn to scale)

2.) Always cut the piece that demands the most fabric first - in this case, the front.  I neglected to do that and wound up with a fishtail hem.  It turned out fine, but I didn't intend for it to be like that.

3.) To make the most of my scrap fabric, I went with a split back by cutting out each half of the back separately and then sewing it back up at the center.  I also made my back pattern slightly slimmer than the front to further accommodate my fabric.
An error with my illustration above - once you cut your front on fold, you can unfold the fabric and slide Back (2 of 2) to the unfolded edge.

4.) I like a big, floppy bow so I cut my tie neck pieces 5" wide and as long as I could make it (~30").

Sewing Steps:
5.) If applicable, serge your edges (bottom and sides).  Jean shared a nifty tip using a zig zag stitch on her regular machine for raw edges.

6.) Sew your back halves together at the center (wrong side facing out).

7.) Sew the shoulders of your back and front together and then the sides (wrong side facing out).  Note: Because I made my back pieces slimmer, I forked my hem at the sides to accommodate my belly.  Essentially, I sewed the sides and left ~3" at the bottom, then went back, folded each side of the fork inwards, and sewed to the bottom.

8.) Hem by folding the bottom inwards and stitching across.

9.) At this stage, you should have a v-neck top with raw armholes and neck.  Sew your 2 neck pieces together so you now have 1 long, continuous piece.

10.) Align the center seam of your neck piece to the center "V" of your back.  Pin at that junction and work from the center back towards the center front "V", pinning all the way.  Sew the pinned edge of the neck piece to your neckline (wrong side facing out).


11.) Now fold your neck piece in half length-wise over the edges of step 10. Sew.


12.) Finish your armholes with a bias strip in a similar neck manner where you sew one edge to the armhole, fold to cover sewn edges and sew.  I used pre-purchased, single fold strips in white.

Photo of the tie neck with serged edges

And you're done!

I hope this tutorial wasn't too daunting.  Text instructions always make everything seem more complicated than they are.  The top took about 1.5 hours to complete.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Monogram & Gone Dotty Part 2

I had some leftover fabric from my Kate Spade inspired dress DIY here and pondered my options on what I could do with it.  I decided to go the Jean route and create a bow-neck top.  I love a good bow blouse!  I made 2 a couple of years ago (animal-esque print here and brushstrokes one here) that I still wear.  I think this polka dot version will prove quite versatile.

Banana Republic Blazer
DIY'ed Bow Neck Dotted Top
NY & Co Ankle Pants
Target Pumps

1.25" Monogram Necklace, bought here
"VEA" stands for my son, daughter, and husband <3

I love the way Blair of Atlantic-Pacific sports her monogram necklace so when I saw this on Etsy for only $36, I pounced on the deal.  I've had it for a couple of months now and can say it's held up pretty well.  I got the 22" length and added a jump ring at 18" so I can wear it higher or lower depending on the neckline I'm wearing.  It does tarnish, as can be expected of silver, but a good cleaning takes care of that easily.  

On a personal note, we're going house-hunting next week in SF!  We've been doing a lot of move prep mostly in the cleaning and organizing arena so I'm excited to do something more fun :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gone Dotty: Kate Spade Inspired Dress

Ever since going back to work 4 weeks ago, I haven't DIY'ed anything.  Between work, the kids, and the impending move, the SPG household is quite hectic.  Thankfully, I DIY'ed so many garments during the summer, I still have some items to post during this crazy period.

To my favorite bloggers - I am very behind on visiting most of your blogs and I apologize!  I hope to come by soon. :)  I'm also behind on responding to comments, but I want to thank everyone for your birthday wishes to "Baby" E and your kind words on the recent PFC post!

This DIY is inspired by Kate Spade's Jillian dress, but it went awry in 2 main ways.  One, I got distracted while I was cutting my fabric and wound up making the bodice way too short (hence the bow is directly under my bust rather than at my waist).  Two, this print is too busy to really see the bow detail from afar.  It's not my best work and definitely not very close to the inspiration, but fortunately (whew!), it's still wearable.

My cutting mistake did allow for enough leftover fabric to create a top so stay tuned for Part 2 on Wednesday :)

DIY'ed Kate Spade Jillian Inspired Dress in Polka Dots
Tesselate Inspired Necklace (eBay)
Jeweled Giraffe Bracelet (eBay)

I've been buying a lot of jewelry on eBay lately.  The prices are phenomenal and I love having the option of buying something inexpensively when it's trendy, I can't DIY it, or both.

Inspiration: Kate Spade Jillian Dress

Only 2 more weeks until the movers come!  Once we get unpacked and settled, I'd like to give the Jillian dress another shot.  This time with the waist at the appropriate height and hopefully, better visibility of the bow and it's side construction.

Do you have any fun projects waiting in your queue?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PFC #19: Trend Benders (w/ Sheath Dress DIY)

 This month's PFC (Petite Fashion Challenge) is being hosted by the lovely blogger / medical student Angie of Pandaphilia.

The Challenge: Trend Benders
Pick your favourite Summer or Fall 2012 trend and make it work for you, whether it's going all-out, incorporating it into a professional outfit or using it in moderation. For example - how would you bend this neon brights trend into something in sync with your personal style? Challenge yourself - you might even take something you think would never work on you and get creative!

For this challenge, I decided to go with Burgundy (which seemed to photograph red but is a deeper, darker shade in real life) and Leopard.  When burgundy hit the mags as fall's "it" color, I was a little puzzled on how to mix it with non-neutral items.  So what did I do?  I went for a work-appropriate look and made a burgundy sheath dress (inspired by the stylish P of Phiphis' Blog) paired with leopard (inspired by Ping's awesome burgundy incorporation post) & neutral accessories.

DIY Sheath Dress w/ Draped Neck
Ollio Leopard Peep Toe Wedges (buy here)

A better view of the draped neck and accessories:
Arty Inspired Bracelet (eBay)
Fossil Watch (old)
J. Crew Crystal Stripe Link Bracelet (old)
LOFT Rhinestone Bracelets (old)

What are your favorite fall trends and how are you mixing them into your wardrobe?

Past PFC Entries:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to Baby E!

Baby E turned 1 yesterday and I can't believe she has graduated to the "toddler" category.  Despite whatever my kids are supposed to be called, they will always be my "babies."  (Sorry twitter friends for the reiteration!)

What she's doing these days:
  • loves "dancing" and "singing" to Yo Gabba Gabba.  "Dancing" = some tushie wiggling and "singing" = some tuneless vocalizations :D
  • loves playing with her big brother
  • started walking a few weeks ago and it's adorable bc she has a duck-like waddle
  • is fascinated with iPhones and iPads.  I think we have a future Apple lover on our hands.
  • is sporting quite the little baby mullet, but I'm afraid if I cut it, her slight wavy curls will never come back.
  • Her favorite foods are tomatoes, lemons, and cucumbers.  I think I lucked out with a healthy eater this time!  Big brother gets spoiled by Grandma and is constantly asking for doughnuts, pizza, and chicken nuggets.
Anyhoo, Happy Birthday to my dear little girl!  We all love you so much and are ecstatic that you blessed our lives with your arrival.


Baby E @ 2 days

Baby E @ 1 month

Baby E @ 5 months

Baby E @ 11 months getting inspired by Cee and sporting the half tuck :)

Baby E today w/ big brother V

The Matchy-Matchy Family Pic
Guys in gingham + ties and gals in chevron + navy tops
(BTW, we do not have ONE photo that everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.  It's kind of comical.)

If you have kids, how do you like to celebrate their birthdays?  If you don't, what were your favorite birthday celebrations?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Old Navy Fitting Room Reviews

I visited Old Navy this past weekend to spend my Super Cash and found some very cute options:

Striped Color-Block Jersey Dress, XS, (buy here)
This is actually a dress, but I prefer it as a top.  I'll probably trim off the excess length and save the bottom for a future project.  I love the color scheme (have an affinity for red / white / blue combos) and it reminds me of a tee that J. Crew had not too long ago:
Verdict: Bought.  Fits well and great colors!

Peacoat in Gestalt Green, XS (buy here)
I currently have a color crush on green so was immediately drawn to this coat.  The sleeves are too long (covers my thumbs), but the torso fits decently while still providing enough looseness for fall layers.  The regular price is $39.94 which isn't a bad price for a coat, but knowing ON, they will likely have a sale soon.
Verdict: Will wait to buy on sale

Roll-Cuff Blouse, XS, (buy here)
The store has many more color options than what's currently shown online.  Online has ivory, blue, tomato red (which they call tobiko orange), and purple.  The stores, in addition to the online colors, have lavender, mint, and orange sherbet.  I love how this has a silk blouse-esque look (and feels silky too).  I rather like the fit of this as well.  The cuffed sleeves actually fall where I'd expect for a 3/4 length (which never happens, I always have to push sleeves up to achieve that look on my short arms) and the shirt has the perfect amount of torso room for a blouse-y feel without being too floppy.  I was on the fence about this particular color so decided to go with more saturated colors - blue and red.  My favorite part is that they use buttons in a matching color instead of the pervasive white button I hate.
Verdict: Purchased the blue and red versions.

I've said this before, but I really am liking all of ON's options this year.

Which retailer have you been impressed with this year?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

J. Crew Factory Fitting Room Reviews

A good blogger would have posted this when you still could have participated in the Labor Day sale prices (noted below).  Unfortunately, I am an apologetically slow blogger.  I hope this at least lets you know these items are available in the Factory stores and you can look out for future sales.

Factory Lightweight Lace Shell, Sz 0, $24, (buy here)
A very cute shell with lace over a nude colored lining.  Fit very well in the shoulders and chest with the perfect amount of torso looseness for tummy camouflaging.  
Verdict: Bought, will be a great layering piece for work

Factory Classic Crewneck Cardigan, XS, $30 (buy here)
I rather like the way this looked in the photo, but IRL the color was VERY bright and seemed to emphasize the yellow tone of my skin.  Fits great and is a good, closet staple.  Had I needed a different color, I would have purchased this cardigan.
Verdict: No, not a fan of the bright IRL color

Schoolboy Blazer, Sz 0, $168(?), (don't see online)
I've purchased Schoolboy Blazers before in the regular stores and have very consistently been a 0.  The Factory versions seem to run a little looser all over, but particularly the torso.  I was pleasantly surprised by all the colors they had available (camel, red, gray, and blue), but of course somehow gravitated to gray.  I'd size down in this blazer.
Verdict: No for now.  Will consider camel or gray on sale.

Factory Silk Shirt, XS, (don't see online)
I love the stripes motif!  Untucked, it has a very loose and blouse-y look as I'm sure is intended.  The sleeves are very long and almost reach my fingertips.  I would recommend sizing down on this particular shirt.  Though, as Kelly taught us, the fit can be faked by pushing up the sleeves and tucking it in.
Verdict: No, not a must have

Factory Perfect Shirt, XS, (don't see online)
This XS shirt had a more tailored fit to the torso and a good sleeve length for me.  The dot print is very cute, but I'm not a fan of the white buttons.  I think this would be a good candidate for a DIY.
Verdict: Cute and fits well, but I think I can sew something similar

Factory Workday Dress, Sz 0, (pinstripe version here)
Normally, I find J. Crew dresses to be very tummy friendly and actually help hide a belly pooch.  This one was more of a tummy revealer and was quite snug (fit more like a typical J. Crew 00).  The neckline was also too low for my taste.  I did like the sleeves though.
Verdict: No, too tight and low-cut

Factory Edie Bags, $76, orig. $158, (don't see online)
Leather bags were 40% off and I had an additional 20% off coupon to bring down the price to $76.  I thought about this for awhile because I love the nice, clean shape.  Ultimately, I decided against it because the strap is too short to carry crossbody.
Verdict: No for me personally, but is a beautiful option for others

On a personal note, we are moving to San Francisco in mid to late October!  The whole family is so very excited - especially about the food!  We are also planning on taking advantage of nearby areas (relatively speaking, since Ohio is far from everything) like Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, LA, Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, and maybe a flight to Hawaii.  

In other new, I'm currently running a giveaway for one of my sample skirts here:

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GIVEAWAY (closed): I Heart NY Pleated Skirt

I'm a day late and I'm so sorry!  The winner is: Anonymous 10:32 with email addy ruizhang2000@yahoo.com  Please contact me for your win!

Update: Since we're in the middle of a move to SF, I extended the amount of time estimated to alter and mail the skirt to you.  See below for details.  Thanks!  Congrats!  

In a previous post, I asked if anyone would be interested in a sample item giveaway.  No one seemed offended by the idea so here is the first one :)



Up for giveaway is a pleated skirt with a cute NYC print.  There are a few things to note since this is an already-made sample skirt:

  • This skirt is dry clean only and has a more open weave than most apparel fabrics.  I would advise wearing a slip underneath.
  • Current measurements are 28" waist and 21" length.  I can alter it to make this smaller or shorter for you, but unfortunately not in the opposite direction.
Giveaway Guidelines:
  1. I appreciate every single GFC (click follow on right sidebar) and Bloglovin' follow.  What can I say?  It makes a gal feel good about herself.  BUT you do not have to follow to win.
  2. To enter, simply leave a comment below.
  3. I will randomly select a winner on October 3rd.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me to claim the prize.  If unclaimed, I will draw another winner.  
  4. Once won, please allow me 4-6 weeks (Sorry! I had to extend this time because I'm in the middle of a cross-country move) to alter it to your size (if applicable).
  5. This giveaway is open to US readers.  I will hold a future one to include international friends!
Good luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mother-Daughter Chevron Pleated Skirts DIY

Aside from the normal preparations of going back to work, I also knew I wanted new family portraits done for my desk.  I can't tell you how many stressful moments have been alleviated by staring at baby pictures of my son.  Puts everything into perspective rather quickly.  :)

Family portraits are kind of tricky to me.  I wanted to wear something relatively classic looking so the pictures wouldn't look too dated when we looked back at them years from now.  I also wanted the whole family to look cohesive (yes, I've been watching too much Project Runway) so decided that everyone should wear blue.  I took it to the next step and decided to play matchy-matchy with Baby E again by making us both pleated chevron skirts.

DIY Mother-Daughter Chevron Pleated Skirts (buy here)
I know you can't see our faces in this pic, but this is one of my favorite candid shots from the session :)
And see that "glow" on my arms?  It was a HOT day for photos.

 I think it was Jean who mentioned that she trusts the camera much more than the mirror.  So I pondered between 2 classic button-downs via photos.  I'm glad I did!  I preferred the light blue in the mirror, but the dark navy looked so much better in the photo due to the contrast.  The pictures also told me to nix the necklace for being too busy. 
(And if you're wondering, I have not yet fixed my ball of hair here since these were taken the same day as the black sheath post, but appreciate all your helpful tips!)

If interested, you can order these at my Etsy store.
Skirts are custom made to your waist measurement and length preference.
Baby / Toddler version also available by special request :)

Sooo, mother-daughter outfits - take advantage while she's too young to be embarrassed or stop it already?  :D

P.S.  Now that I'm back to work, blog posting may be a little erratic as well as general interaction.  If you have a question or need anything, I'm usually the best at responding via Twitter (I know that's weird, but the limited characters works well for me) followed by email.
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