Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy Refashion: Strapless maxi dress to skirt

I bought this Royal blue linen strapless maxi dress from a sale rack at Old Navy last summer. I love the look of the "handpainted" colorful lines at the bottom.
Unfortunately for me and others who are 5'4" or shorter, these lovely maxi dresses may as well be made for giants. I'd have to pull it up over my head for it not to drag the ground. haha. Wish I had a picture of that.

Anywho, I bought it with the intention of refashioning it into a skirt because it was the bottom hem line that I loved so much anyway.

Sounds easy to refashion, right? Actually it was! Here's how:

The dress already came with two elastic bands. One for the halter top and one for the waist. Since from the waistband down was still atrociously long for me, I had to make a cut farther down for my new waist.

I used one of the bands of elastic already on the dress, for my new waist. The elastic bands were sewn to the dress in a couple places, so I had to unpick a few seams to separate the elastic from the dress, and cut it in another spot. Not too tricky, just a bit annoying.

Before sewing my new waistband, I took in the sides a little bit. It was quite a bit fuller farther down. This dress has a liner, so I kept it all together as one piece, making sure it didn't shift.
Next, I folded under the new waistband. Make sure to leave an open spot to thread the elastic through.

After threading the elastic through, I stitched the spot closed. I think I may still sew a couple stitches to hold the elastic in place so it won't twist.

And there it is. The finished skirt. That started as a giant strapless maxi dress.

Sorry about the wrinkles. You know how linen can be.

Ah, and that lovely water color striped hemline...reminds me of Maui's coastline...

***Have you entered the Soothing Summer Skin Giveaway yet?***
There's still time! Go here and enter!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soothing Summer Skin Giveaway!

Before I tell you all about my
Soothing Summer Skin Giveaway
I want to tell you WHY.

Have you ever been given such a generous gift that "thank you" doesn't feel like enough?

Well I have. And I hope passing on the love, in some small way, shows my deep gratitude.

Please let me indulge for a moment.

We just returned from a family trip to Maui. All 21 of us. From siblings to spouses to children. It was a gift from my mother. To her family. Because she loves us. And as she so thoughtfully put it, "all we really have are our memories." Thank you mom for giving us wonderful family memories that will last us a lifetime and then some. And of course, thank you Dad for supporting her with this generous gift and coordinating all the details.

So in the spirit of Aloha, my friends,
I say Mahalo and give you this

Soothing Summer Skin Giveaway
A little summer skin TLC

A set of (2) 9" x 9"
Super soft flannel/terrycloth, crisp white washcloths.
Handmade just for you.

These soothing washcloths are the gentlest, softest way to wash. They are the only washcloths I use on my sensitive skin, summer, fall, winter and spring!

~Soothing cotton flannel front for ultra-soft cleansing
~Lightweight terry cloth back for absorption
~Each wash is soothing and gentle, without additional irritation

***This giveaway is now closed***

Stay tuned - additional giveaways to come!

[Fairface Washcloths are also available through SSorensenDesigns.]

A few parting pictures of Maui...

Aloha is the most Hawaiian word. In the Hawaiian language, it can mean hello or goodbye. It also means love and affection.

Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. When you live the Spirit of Aloha, you create positive feelings and thoughts, which are never gone. They exist in space, multiply and spread over to others.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Color and fashion trends - fall 2011

I bought my mom this fringe purse from H&M last Christmas. It was an impulse buy. I totally had to get it for her. But as I walked away I started doubting myself. Was it really as cool as I thought it was? Would she even like it? Turns out it was one of the best gifts I've ever gotten her. She said she's never had so many compliments on a purse before. Whew! Fringe was in.

I've been contemplating designing my own handbag. And as I started making sketches and jotting down ideas, I realized I'd better figure out what colors will be "in" this fall. Wouldn't want to make a new handbag in last year's colors, now would I? haha to be honest, I don't even know what they were.

After googling fall fashion 2011, here's what I found. The colors for fall 2011, according to Pantone:

Interesting palette. As I understand it, according to Pantone, the combination of muted tones as a base (like gray) in combination with a pop of color like bamboo, honeysuckle, deep teal (any one of the above) will be gracing our fall fashion.

So I've got the colors, what about the style trends?

According to, the following will be in for fall '11
  • 70s fashion
  • Pleats
  • Fur clothing
  • Bell bottoms
  • Wide leg pants
  • Sheer maxi dresses
  • Brightly Colored Pants
  • Leather Skirts
  • Chic Ponchos
  • High Slits
  • Mid-Calf Skirts
  • Tuxedo Dressing
  • Graphic Tartan
  • Graphic Stripes
  • Duster Coats
  • Yves Klein Blue

Hmmm. Handbags and accessories seem to have their own trends as well...from clutches to oversized, buckles and fur, you name it (according to FashionSpot).

As for my handbag? After all that, I'm guessing I'll stick to neutrals so it can be used across more than one season. Maybe I'll even make two. I have to admit, I'm not one to change purses every year. And even though the color is pretty, I don't see myself sporting a bright pink honeysuckle purse anytime soon.

Curious about where all our fashion trends come from anyway? I found a few articles you might find interesting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sewing with a hemmer foot

I'm not gonna lie, I was totally tempted to title this post "It's Hemmer Time". But since I've had M.C. Hammer's song running through my head a bazillion times since then, I figured that was punishment enough. For all of us.

Anywho, ever used a hemmer foot? I went through a foot phase a while ago. Sewing feet, that is. I bought a couple hemmer feet (4mm and 6mm), one ruffler and one walking foot. And I have to say, although the hemmer foot takes a little bit of practice to get the technique down, it's a big time saver.

For this particular project, (Chic Pale Pink Ruffled Pillow) I'm using the 4mm hemmer foot.
I just love these delicious pink hemmed ruffles

Okay, for a close-up look: here's how each strip turns out after using the hemming foot:



It sure beats ironing and pinning, I'll tell you that. Especially when you have lots of hems to finish.

The trick to using a hemming foot is holding and guiding the fabric just right, so as to keep it in this area (shown in red).
You first start it out by folding the raw edge over twice, approximately the width that the rest of your hem will be. You make a few stitches to hold it, and maneuver it up into the hemming foot.

*I've included a couple youtube videos I found at the end, that might help.

There's also a technique to holding the fabric taut and at the right angle as you sew.
Believe me, it takes some practice. And sometimes when I feel like I'm a little rusty I do a few test strips to get me going.

With any luck, the hemmed edge will come out the other side looking like this:

Now before I go, here are a couple tutorials I watched that helped me understand the technique of using a hemmer foot. Hope these will help you too, or maybe you've found one on your own.

Happy Hemming!

Everyone seems to have their own technique (hers is a little different than the first).

Monday, August 1, 2011

On the shelf

We survived the week watching my sisters 4 boys while she was out of town - whew! (we actually had a lot of fun) and are back to our old routine. I went out to check on my consignment items and had a few new things to add to my shelves.

It's cherry season here in the Pacific Northwest, so what better time than now, to add some colorfully sweet cherry bibs and burp cloth sets?

I decided on adding bright green ribbon for an extra pop of color and style

I couldn't decide whether I liked the bow in the middle or to the side, so I made them both

I also added what I call my Pale Pink French Ruffled Apron to the rack. I love the feminine, dainty details.

The consignment season lasts through the end of October, so at the end of the month I'll need to refocus from summer to fall and make a few changes in my inventory.

Can you believe it's already August 1st? I tell you, when I flipped my calendar and saw that school starts this month, it made my stomach flip too. Back to my school jobs in a few short weeks. Yikes! I have to block it out. Summer has just begun here in Seattle! For now, I'll enjoy it while I can!

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