Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sewing Tips for Your Body Type

As with purchasing clothing, understanding your body type when sewing is an important factor.  After all, if you're going through the trouble of sewing it yourself, it should be custom fit to you.  Through trial and error, 30+ years of dressing myself, and getting fit education tips gleaned from the petite blogger community (thanks gals - see blogroll), I feel like I'm much better equipped now than when I first started.

Areas to consider:
  • Measuring yourself
    • All you need is a soft measuring tape!
  • Frame
    • One frame "classification" may not work for your whole body.  For example, I'm narrow at the shoulders, chest, and maybe ribs, but I'm average at the waist, hips, and legs.  I like to adjust my patterns using this method.
  • Proportion and size
    • Torso length, leg length, and where the waist and hips fall are all areas for adjustment.  I have a long torso and short legs, but my waist sits high.  In my case, I typically raise the waist 1/2" and lengthen tops.
    • I don't currently sew pants (tried once and failed miserably), but the knee placement is important.  I can't tell you how many pants I've purchased where the bottom of the thigh portion sits at my knee and makes the fit look off / sloppy.
  • Figure flattery (my opinion only)
    • Hem length
      • From a personal standpoint, my stance is that fuller skirts = shorter length and vice versa.  I like my fluffy pleated skirts to hit ~2" above the knee and pencil skirts to graze my knee cap.  In contrast, when hemming pants, fuller legs = longer length.  I used to hem bootcut pants too short and looked ridiculous when trying to wear heels with them.
      • For maxi dresses, I like the length to hit just above the floor.  I can't say that's always practical though!
      • Jean had an excellent post on skirt lengths here
    • Masking problem areas (like mine)
      • Got a tummy?  Fit and flare dresses, pleated / gathered skirts, and peplums are great ways to hide it :)
      • Self-conscious about your arms?  3/4 length sleeves are my favorite!
      • Self-conscious about your legs?  I either hide them with maxis or make the most of them using the skirt length tips above :)  
I hope this (wordy) post was helpful!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reversible Wrap Maxi Dress DIY: Stripes & Chains

I originally planned to bring this DIY to Hawaii, but didn't finish in time.  Now that it's sunny again and warmer, I finished it up for pairing with cardigans.  Using 2 of my favorite prints, I modified my last wrap dress into a reversible version.

Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate

Time: ~3 hours

Pattern:  McCall M6024 A (minus the ruffles), drafted my own skirt using a simple rectangle (44x56") and gathering it, cut the bodice "V" more modestly

Materials: ~2 yards of each fabric - I used a lightweight striped knit from Michael Levine's in LA and chain print knit from Joann's

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A-Line Winter Coat DIY

I started this coat more than a month ago and abandoned it for warm weather projects.  Now that the temps are a little cool and the skies are cloudy, I decided to revive it.  For this particular coat, I wanted to try an A-line silhouette and shortened the hem to give it a little balance on my short stature.  If you are a longtime reader, you may recognize this fabric from the capelet DIY :)

A-Line Coat DIY

Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate

Time: ~3 hours

Pattern:  Butterick B5822 B (minus the funnel neck, but still contemplating if I should add it - thoughts?), narrowed frame, took up the length, snap closure

Materials: 2 yards of fabric - heavy woven from Joann's

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mom's Kitchen: Easy Lo Mai Fan (Chinese Sticky Rice)

As mentioned before, I'm trying to learn how to cook my favorite childhood meals from my amazing mother.  Today, I'll be sharing Mom's Lo Mai Fan (Chinese Sticky Rice).

Mom's Lo Mai Fan 

Per Mom, there are 2 main ways you can cook this.  1.) Toss raw rice into a wok and stir constantly until cooked or 2.) Soak rice overnight prior to cooking.  Mom, always looking for ways to simplify things, does it a 3rd (fast and easy) way - cooking the rice in a rice cooker before stir frying it with other ingredients.  This may sound obvious, but sticky rice is strangely temperamental.  Cooking it on its own usually results in either a goopy mess or partially raw rice.  The trick is to mix regular rice along with it to get the perfect level of "doneness."

Prep Time: 40 minutes 

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Due to the number of pictures, please see rest of the recipe after the jump.


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