Thursday, August 22, 2013

Coffee Date Dress Take Two

This is my second dress that I made using the Coffee Date Dress Pattern. The current sew along at

features the pattern and when I started thinking about how I wanted to change it up a bit, I had the idea to incorporate a style from one of my daughter's dress patterns: The Scirocco Dress.

                                          Photo Source:

I originally wanted to do the elastic waist as well, but later decided to insert an invisible zipper in mine instead. I have yet to insert the hook and ignore the small gap at the top of the zipper :) I self drafted the back of the dress by looking at my copy of the Scirocco Dress and then eyeballing it on paper. Had I been thinking ahead, I would have liked to have added the ruffles up top, but I accidentally attached a full lining prior to putting on the ruffle...that may be why you should read pattern instructions :)

I kept the look simple by using a linen type material from my stash and adding two rows of grosgrain navy blue ribbon at the hem. This was my first attempt at this pattern and I failed to notice the seam allowances were not added so, my skirt is a tad short :)

I think this a fun and flirty dress (gotta do something about my pale legs though :) I hope to be able to wear it a few more times before the weather gets cooler- Shannon

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coffee Date Dress Into Peplum Top

The lovely ladies over at Project Sewn currently have a sew along going with the Coffee Date Dress. This is a fantastic, FREE pattern from The Selfish Seamstress. If you don't already have it in your collection, I would highly recommend it. This is actually one of two takes I did on the Coffee Date Dress. I will post the other look tomorrow. This is the second idea that came to me, and I have a thing for peplums...(as seen HERE, HERE, and HERE) so of course I needed to make this idea come to life.

To create this look, I simply cut the bodice front and back as per the pattern and added a half circle peplum "skirt" to the bodice instead of the skirt from the dress pattern. I was attempting to recreate this look from my pinterest page:


To create the pleats on the peplum I cut my peplum skirt block 3 inches wider to allow me material for the pleats. If you need to create your own block to use, I suggest referring to the circle skirt calculator found here and creating your own half circle skirt at the length you want. That is all you do to create your "peplum".

Top: DIY, Pants: Walmart, Shoes: Charlotte Russe, Clutch: Coach

I didn't follow the pattern instructions so I am not sure what it calls for, but I used a long hidden zipper that runs down most of the center back for my closure. I added a full bodice lining instead of a facing and placed the ruffles without the template, so mine may look a bit different than the original. I love this top, just wish I would have made it a tad bigger at the shoulders and bust so I wasn't so encased in it :) 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

DIY Linen Bulletin Board with Nailhead Trim

I have finally been working on putting together my craft room. This room has come a long way and I have tried to do many of the projects on a tight budget. So, whenever I could use things I already had on hand, I tried my best to work with what I had. The bulletin board came from my daughter's room and had been unused for over a year. The "linen" fabric is actually a painter's drop cloth left over from my DIY Sectional cushions and we already had the stapler on hand. The only things I purchased for this project were the nailhead trim packages. I bought 2 online and one at Hancock fabrics. The cheapest route would probably have been to buy all at Hancock fabrics with coupons. That one package only cost me a $1.88. The problem was my store never got any of these back in stock. After making several trips, I just decided to buy it online. Unfortunately those ran more like $5 a all said and done, I spent about 12 bucks on this makeover.

To makeover the bulletin board it took a few simple steps. First, I laid the drop cloth on the floor and placed the bulletin board face down on top. I made sure there were a few inches of overhang on all sides and trimmed the fabric.

Then I started stapling the fabric onto the board. I pulled mine tight, but in hindsight I would probably not pull it quite so taut. It made adding the nailhead trim later much more difficult.

At the corners I pulled the fabric straight over the corner and tucked the two flaps down before stapling.

After stapling I trimmed the fabric...and got a little carried away- leave a little more than I did :)

Then I turned it over and added the silver 3/8 inch nailhead trim. I just pushed them right into the bulletin board, one inch apart, all the way around the board. 

You can see here some got a little wonky. I could easily pull them out and try it again. In the end, it looked like this: 

I am so pleased with the way this little corner is starting to turn out. I will also add some info about the desk and shelving we added to the space soon. It has come a long way from the way this room first looked....just wait for that before photo!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Quick Dress to Maxi Refashion

         Maxi Skirt: Refashion from a dress (old), Denim Jacket: Polo (old), gray tank (Walmart)

As I recently prepared for a garage sale, I cleaned out about half of my closet. I found one of my favorite maxi dresses was buried in my closet. While I love the style and color of the dress, I no longer feel comfortable rockin' outfits that don't allow for a bra...ya know? So, first I decided to sew in some bra cups that I had in my craft, no...

I felt completely uncomfortable, lopsided, and not remotely right in that I thought, I will just chop it off and make it a skirt. And that's what I did. I chopped off the halter, right above the top piece of elastic.

And...that was it. I didn't sew it, fix the part that ripped open while cutting, nothin' - just rolled it down once and called it good, but ...

the seamstress in me is not going to leave it that way. It is currently waiting to have a new elastic waistband added and cleaned up. But, until then, I may wear it this way a couple times :)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Strapless Maxi Dress Tutorial

Whew...I finally dug out of my craft room redo, prepping for a garage sale and staining leather furniture (more on that soon) to actually sew something. A couple days ago I decided to try making a strapless fitted maxi dress using two thrifted fabrics. I am pleased with the way this turned out. You can dress it up or down and the best cost me about $5. This dress took me a little over 2 hours from start to finish, but that was while figuring things out, having a horrible battle with twisting elastic, and taking I am guessing you could complete it much faster than me if you give it a go. Would you like to make one? The tutorial is below. As always feel free to ask me questions at 2ndstorysewing at gmail dot com.


1. Gather your supplies: About 4 yds total fabric. I used a 1/2 yd piece of thrifted fabric for the top. I am not totally sure what it is but it feels like some sort of polyster knit. It stretches but is a bit scratchy to the touch and I used a 3 yd piece of blue light weight knit (not totally sure on the exact kind) for the skirt and top lining. The skirt used extra yardage because it was cut on the bias. You will need a sewing machine, serger (optional), thread, scissors, and 1 1/4 inch elastic.

2. Begin by creating your top. You will need to take some measurements to create your pattern. First, measure under your armpits, all the way around your body. For me, this was 33 inches. Then measure around your lower ribcage, or where you want your top to end. For me, this was 29 inches. Now, divide both of those numbers in half, for me this was 16.5 and 14.5 to use on your pattern. Finally, measure from your armpit down to your ribcage, or where you want your top to end. For me, this was 10 inches.  Add one inch to this number for your pattern = 11 inches for me. Now sketch the following measurements on your fabric. (NOTE: You do not add seam allowance to the upper and lower measurements b/c you want it to be quite fitted.)
When I drew mine on my fabric, I did it as follows. First, I drew the 16.5 inch line across the top, then measured straight down 11 inches and marked on each side of the 16.5 inch line. From those marks, I measured in one inch on each side and marked (this was the marks for the start and stop of the 14.5 inch line since it was two inches smaller than my top line.) Then I used my ruler to connect the 16.5 inch line to the 14.5 inch line. The pictures show this below. 

Once you have your pattern drawn, flip the fabric on top of itself and cut out so you have two main fabric top pieces. Then place those pieces on your lining and cut 2 pieces.

3. Stitch and serge (or zig zag stitch) your two side seams on your main fabric. Place fabric right sides together and use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Then repeat with the two lining pieces. 

4. Now it is time to put the lining and main top piece together. First, turn your main fabric right side out and have your lining fabric inside out. Now, slide your main fabric piece inside of your lining fabric until the meet at the top (the 16.5 inch side). Make sure your side seams line up and then stitch a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around the top, then serge. 

5. The first picture above shows what it should look like. You should have three edges sewn and the the bottom edge open. Now, open your fabric and press the seam towards the lining. 

6. Turn the fabric right side out and press again, making sure your lining is fully behind your main fabric. Then topstitch close to the top edge. After you top stitch, measure down 1.5 inches from the top of your fabric and make a line all the way around. This will be your stitching line for your elastic casing. Stitch on your marked line, leaving a two inch opening to insert your elastic. Next, take your 1 1/4 inch elastic and cut off the needed amount. I wrapped it under my armpits to determine the length. I wanted it snug but not so tight that it was uncomfortable. 

 7. Insert your elastic through your 2 inch opening using a safety pin. Feed the elastic all the way through your casing and overlap your two elastic ends. MAKE SURE YOUR ELASTIC IS NOT TWISTED...(enter the 30 minute fight I had with my elastic here)...Now, stitch your overlapped elastic ends using a zig zag stitch.  Now, go back and stitch the two inch opening closed. The center pic shows what this top should now look like. Now, onto the maxi skirt portion.

8. For this skirt I used a maxi skirt block that I already have. It originally came from Elle Apparel's website and since she now sells the pattern, I didn't want to put the pattern pieces on here. Here are a couple resources you could use to create your own or purchase a maxi skirt for this tutorial:
Elle Apparel's Maxi Skirt or U-create crafts Free Maxi skirt tutorial

I cut my skirt out on the bias for this dress. For info on cutting on the bias, see HERE. When I used my maxi block I originally thought I would have to add several inches at the waist for it to be tall enough. However, later in construction I realized this was way too small. So, disregard my photo showing the addition of 7 inches to the waist and instead only add 3 inches to the waist. Then I used chalk to match the new waist line to the side seam.

9. Once you have your skirt cut, stitch and serge the side seams using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Take your open edge of your top and baste. Now it is time to insert the top into the bottom. Have the top right side out  with the top edge at the bottom and the skirt wrong side out. Slide the top inside the bottom, matching side seams. Slide it all the way in until the two straight edges meet. Pin and stitch using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
 10. Turn right side out and press. Finally, hem the bottom of your dress. For this dress I tried this great tip from Mabey She Made It, for hemming a curved edge and it worked great. My knit was a little difficult to work with for this technique, but I would still use it again in the future. It made a beautiful clean hem with a little weight which is nice.

 And that's it. I hope you could follow these always sounds so much better and easier to follow in my head. But, if I was not clear, feel free to ask questions.

Pair with a jacket for a more relaxed look.
    Dress: DIY Denim Jacket: Polo (old), Necklace (from my latest Stitch that service!)

Looks like a longer slip would be fabric was a little sheer (oops).

Have a great weekend, Shannon