Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hot Pink Tie-Dye Dress DIY

This summer has been the summer of shibori. With dying shibori-style comes a world of new dying techniques. These methods are an awesome way to add color and dimension to fabrics, a step beyond the dip dye and ombre. One of my favorite shibori techniques is the square accordion fold. I love how the geometric and the organic combine for an amazing effect. So when I set about to dye the fabric for this dress, shibori was my first thought.

My second thought was "indigo?" I ruminated for a bit and examined my closet. Despite the fact that I may own as many dresses as pairs of underwear, I didn't own a single pink dress. Tragedy? You bet.

So hot pink it had to be.

This dress was made using the same pattern from The Best of Dresses post. I told you that I used that pattern over and over! In this version I simply excluded the collar and sleeves and added a lowered back neckline for a simple and clean summery look.

I love that the accordion pleat method of dying made for a very large square print. It is kind of abstract but still retains a method to the madness. And the hot pink turned out so perfect! The original fabric was a white cotton sheet (again), and the space between the squares is a light baby pink.

To add a little visual interest, I added on triangular appliques to the front bodice and embroidered them with the sewing machine in white thread.

I think that using dye can take something plain and make it fabulous. I love every inch of this girly boho chic sundress.


Sundress: self-made, shoes: Keds

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fly Away With Me

Today was my first day off from my new job. There is nothing like a day off in the middle of your week to break things up nicely. For me, a typical day off means I get to sleep in (cues the tears of joy because I normally wake at 5:30 AM), drink two cups of coffee from the bed, and spend the rest of the day lounging around in a glorious slothdom of laziness.

Lucky for me, my hubby had a whole other set of plans.

Now being the love he is, Justin still let me sleep in, but the rest of my day was filled with something a little closer to adventure. Let's just say it started like this:

I should probably mention that Justin is a commercial pilot. He currently spends his days instructing from a local flight school as he builds hours for the airlines. Through this experience he has had many a cool opportunity, including joining a local flying club that lets their members rent out these babies. This is a Citabria. This little aerobatic beauty is a light and fun two-seater, perfect for what he had in mind.

On the way to airport, Justin swung by a local bakery and picked up pain au chocolate and salted caramel french macarons to sate my mild obsession with sugar. Picnic supplies, he told me.

We set down on a grass landing field called Lee Bottom (only in Kentucky do you find names like that). It sits nestled between the Ohio river and the rolling hills of Indiana. A little piece of farm land carved out for flying enthusiasts; it has apple trees, bee hives, tiny flocks of goats, and a view.

Once we landed, we chowed down on our goodies and enjoyed the still dewy air. Scenic flight+macarons+handsome captain=a perfect day off. Oh, if only all days could be as sweet.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Jane Austen Festival

I love living in Louisville, KY.

Louisville is quirky and fun, teeming with all kinds of people, food, sights, and things to do. There are random and weird bits and bobs, one the most random being the annual Jane Austen Festival held at Locust Grove's historic home.

Yes. Jane. Austen. Festival.

It is one the largest festivals for Austenites around the globe. Hundreds of people flock to the rolling estate at Locust grove to explore the original house, wander about in period piece dress, hawk 1800s merchandise, and meet others who share their love of Austen. As a matter of fact, this year the promenade of individuals dressed in period piece costumes surpassed in number those people who participate in a similar festival in Bath Spa, England. It's kind of a big deal.

For the past four years I have gotten to attend this amazing event with my mom and sisters. I love wandering around listening to people talk in snooty fake English accents, hearing men announce ladies dresses as "divine," and slipping under tented canopies to examine wares from a past time. This year the entertainers ranged from magicians, a musician playing the water glasses, a historic fashion show, bare knuckle fighting, and a gentleman's duel.

As if it couldn't get any better, my mom always springs for the full service English tea that the volunteers host. Imagine Austen-themed character teas, lavender and berry cakes, fresh strawberries,
scones, and hordes of clotted cream all melded together. It is beautiful enough to make one weep. If you love Austen and a good time, then hit up Louisville next July and find out what it's all about.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Style a Mermaid

Oh my goodness! So much excitement here because I have officially sewn my first swimsuit. All summer I have been contemplating purchasing the fabric and attempting to sew a bikini or possibly a one-piece. My choice became clear when my gorgeous sister-in-law kindly offered to be the guinea pig for my latest pet project.

Danielle was angelically patient as I problem solved my way through this piece. I had elected to use a basic one-piece pattern and heavily modify it to give her the key-hole center and bandeau-style bodice piece with a strapless back. I used a bandeau swim top to get the general pattern for the suit bodice.

The layout for this suit was basely on this Urban Outfitter's suit. Instead of stripes, though, used a black and white dotted fabric from Fabric Fairy. The fabric was excellent, with the right amount of stretch and sheen. 

Ah! Sweet success. I added inserts to keep the top from being indecent should the water be chilly, and ran nude lining through the entire suit for comfort. Not only is Danielle and awesome model, but she was such a patient dress mannequin. I don't know how many times I had her try on the suit in pieces so I could get just the right fit. The only thing remaining is to add a neck strap so the bandeau doesn't slide right off.

The wonderful thing about swimwear is it doesn't take a lot of fabric. Now I have plenty left over to make a set of high-waisted bikini bottoms!

Swimsuit: self-made, Danielle's watch: Fossil

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Open Back Polka-Dot Dress

A few years back I was not a huge fan of polka dots. I think they reminded me too much of the flowery dresses I wore as a little kid. Polka dots struck me as childish, too obvious, and maybe a tad garish.

Talk about 360's.

Now, not only do I approve of polka dots, I shamelessly adorn myself in them. Polka dot high-waisted shorts, polka dot tops, polka dot rain coats, and, of course, polka dot sundresses.

This dress was a brain child, born of an Anthropologie inspiration and a Forever 21 dress from my closet. I had a lot of fun making this. I actually crafted the pattern for the bodice by laying parchment paper over the top of my Forever 21 dress and tracing the bodice outline. Supremely easy and instantly satisfying. I added darting to the new top to ensure a form-tight fit. The skirt is comprised of 3 tiered pieces.

This polka dot dress is bohemian gypsy meets 1960s glamour. The fabric is a polyester blend with a light sheen and lovely drape. The backless bodice adds a touch of the scandalous, but in a good way. I like to think of it as the innocent but rebellious tattoo on a classy lady. I look forward to pairing it with a thick sweater and tasseled booties this fall.

Yes, I definitely dig the dots now.

dress: self-made, jacket: thrifted, shoes: Life Stride

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shibori Goddess Gown

This summer season I have been obsessed with Shibori dying. I love the richness of the indigo coloring and the fantastic, whimsical dying patterns. I knew right away I wanted to make a maxi dress swirling with that color and shape.

This fabric was hand-dyed using the Itajime method I found here on a 100% Egyptian cotton sheet. Yes, a sheet ladies and gentlemen. At the time the budget was scarce, but now I am thankful because it has to be the softest dress in my closet.

This gown was the bastard child of two different patterns and my imagination run amok. I used two pieces from this McCall's pattern to form the bodice and the skirt came from Simplicity's project runway collection. Together they created exactly what I envisioned. I modified the back of the dress by adding braided fabric pieces that trail from the neckline to the waist.

Furthermore, I used the totally bomb triangular stitching setting on my sewing machine to embroider the waist-line and bodice pieces. It adds a little bit of texture and visual interest to the neckline. 

I am completely in love with my creation. It feels beautiful and romantic, with sexy, edgy bits. When I wear it I feel like I belong on some gorgeous Tahitian beach with the sun setting over the water and white swathed bungalows in the backdrop. But, for now it keeps me company in the sweltering Kentucky heat.

Dress: self-made, necklace: Urban Outfitters, shoes: Audrey Brooke