Friday, April 7, 2017

Faux Fur Vest Tutorial

Love this look! It's spring time now, but I made a faux fur vest in December before the moving fiasco and didn't get a chance to post about it.

Links: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

I bought my faux fur from Joann's for 40% off. It is $30-$40/yard normally; so, I highly recommend bringing a coupon! Even with the coupon, this project wasn't exactly cheap (I paid ~$20 for my fur; plus, ~$10 for the lining and thread), but neither is buying a pre-made vest from the store. It is also a slow process. If you want good results, you will need to hand baste every seam before sewing with a machine. This is because fur is slippery and can move around easily while you're trying to sew (it's very difficult to pin down), and you can push the fur out of the way of the stitches so that your seams are fluffy and not matted down.

For this project, you will need:

  • Basic Bodice Block!
  • Basic Dart Manipulation Instructions!
  • 1-1.5 yards of faux fur
  • 1-1.5 yards lining fabric (I used black silk)
  • The Basics: thread, needle, marking chalk, ruler, scissors, etc.
  • A razor blade (Note: never cut fur with scissors; you will make a huge mess!)

Drafting Your Pattern: (Note: You will only be using the back part of your Basic Bodice Block)
  1. Remove the darts from your "Basic Bodice Block: Back" by following the instructions in my Dart Manipulation post under "Combine Two Darts into One". Remove both the shoulder and waist dart.
  2. Drop the bottom of the arm hole by 2 inches, and redraw arm hole curve.
  3. Add length to the bottom. (I added 8 inches, but this is totally up to you.)
  4. Trace around your pattern, flip on the fold, and trace again to get rid of the fold line. You now have your "Vest: Back, no seam allowance, Cut 1" pattern piece.
  5. To get the front pattern piece, use the same pattern piece you just used to make the back (the one with the fold line). Find your bust line on the fold line side and connect that point to the beginning edge of your neckline. This will give your vest a V opening in front. If you want more curvature, go ahead and add some. This is your vest design!
  6. Next, find your waist line on the fold line side of your pattern. Find the halfway mark between your waist line and the bottom of the pattern and cut a curve from this point to the bottom edge of the opposite side of your pattern. (See image below.)
  7. You should now have your "Vest: Front, no seam allowance, Cut 2, flipping in between" pattern piece.

Steps 5 and 6

Making Your Vest:

  1. Keep in mind the direction of your fur. You want it to flow in the same direction on all your pieces.
  2. With this in mind, lay our your pattern pieces on the back of the fur and trace. *Don't forget to flip your "Vest: Front" so you end up with a left and right side!
  3. Add 1/2" seam allowance to all pieces.
  4. Using a razor blade, cut out the pattern pieces.
  5. Trace your pattern onto your lining fabric, add seam allowance, and cut these pieces out. Scissors are fine. :)
  6. Hand baste your two front fur pieces to your back piece at the shoulders. Right sides together.
  7. Sew over your basting stitch.
  8. Sew your lining pieces together at the shoulders as well; you don't need to baste first unless you want to.
  9. Hand Baste the lining to the fur (right sides together) at the arm openings, around the front edges of the front pieces, and neckline. (Don't sew anything below the arm openings or the back half of your front pieces yet. These will be sewn together at the side seams in a bit.)
  10. Use your sewing machine to go over all your basting stitches.
  11. Invert!
  12. Baste your side seams and sew over them. These should be the only visible seams on the inside of your vest.
  13. Fold under your lining at the bottom of your vest and baste/stitch this into place.
  14. Done!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

We Moved!

Moving is pretty hellish, and this move was worse than any of our previous moves. Perhaps because we owned the house? We rented two houses previously, but it didn't seem as bad to move out. We just have so much stuff!!! And big stuff. Adult person stuff. Although, we sold our bed and our guest room bed before moving. That meant we had to buy new once we got to the new house... and assemble it. We disassembled and assembled a lot of things. My fingers were raw.

Moving Tips:

  1. Rent a dumpster.
  2. Throw all your junk you don't need/haven't used in years into the dumpster (or, if it's nice, into a box to donate).
  3. Pack less used items and decor first.
  4. Label, label, label. Don't let your husband pack stuff and not label it. It's a bad idea. Trust me.
  5. Be ruthless in your trashing/donating.
  6. Really nice things can be sold online, but don't price outrageously and just put the item back into storage because no one would pay the outrageous price you want.
  7. Take time off from work.
  8. Hire movers. It's better. Just bite the bullet and do it!
  9. Get all your boxes ready to go and furniture broken down before your movers come.
It costs us $350 for 4 hours with movers. We only had them move the "large" items, and that was a huge mistake!

They were super efficient and moved everything we asked them to in about an hour and a half. Had we had the other stuff ready to go, we could have saved ourselves hours of work, muscle pains, and the money to rent a UHaul (after realizing how screwed we were).

In summary, be prepared ahead of time and don't be a hoarder. If you can't stand the thought of donating/selling an item to a stranger, consider giving it to a friend or relative.

Friday, December 2, 2016

DIY Agate Coasters

You may have noticed from my choice of decor (here and here) that I love rocks, and whenever I saw the Agate Coasters that have been trending recently, I just had to have some!

This would also make a great Christmas gift!

Just remember that they are on the pricey side. They range from anywhere between $25-$50 for a set of 4. That's $6.25-$12.50 per coaster. I got mine for $4.45/each in an assortment of colors.

  • Agate Slices (I got mine from Science Surplus)
  • Gold Paint (I used DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Glorious Gold)
  • Sponge and/or Paintbrush
  • Stick-on Felt Pads

How To:

 Decide if you want the sponge look or the paintbrush look.

I ended up choosing the sponge look because I liked how the feathered edge glittered in the light.

For Paintbrush: just paint the edges (If you get some on the face of the rock, just use your nail or a blade to scrape it off!)

For Sponge: sponge the edges with moderate pressure so that the sponge molds around the rock and leaves a feathered edge (You will still need the paintbrush to get into the small cracks on the side.)

Allow the edges to dry. I used thread spools to elevate my stones.

Apply stick-on felt pads (if desired). Use 4 per stone to keep them from rocking under your drink glasses!

All done! So lovely!

Here they are on my side table with my thrifted gold leaf.

Chicken Salad

I have't posted a recipe recently, and as I was enjoying my Chicken Salad Sandwich tonight, I thought, "Hey! Why am I being so greedy? I should share this delicious recipe with everyone!" This is a great quick recipe to make for lunches or dinner. You can serve it on a sandwich, in a pita, or on a bed of lettuce.

Serves: 6
Prep: 5-10 mins (depending on your chopping speed)
Cooking: 5 mins


  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in small skillet and cook chicken cubes until done.
  2. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Stir in chicken and enjoy!

Super quick! And easy clean-up. You only need a small skillet, cutting board, and bowl. You can eat right away or chill in the fridge. This keeps in the fridge for several days and tastes just as fresh and delicious as the day you made it!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bodice Block Alteration: Dart Manipulation

Now that you have a Basic Bodice Block, what can you do with it?

In this post, I will show you how to manipulate darts.

This should be where you are currently...

I like to use a notebook to sketch out how I intend to alter my pattern instead of jumping right in and having to do a lot of erasing.

There we go. Let's start by removing some darts. Remember, the length of the sides (not including the dart) should remain the same regardless of whether you remove or add a dart.

There are two methods of removing a dart. You can either combine your two darts into one or get rid of them all together. Most people use the rotation method. I think it is the easiest, but my method doesn't use a drill hole to pivot.

Combine Two Darts into One:

Step 1
1. Cut out the "wedge" of the dart you wish to remove.

2. Select one side of the dart you just removed (red line) -- it doesn't matter which side, but you will select that same side of the dart you wish to combine it into (blue line).

3. With tracing paper, trace everything on your pattern between the two dart sides you chose (black arrows), AND trace the red lines.

3. You will now pivot your pattern to close the dart you are trying to remove. To do this, just pair up the dart arm you didn't trace with the arm that you just did.
Step 2 and 3

4. I have marked the part you already traced in black. Once you close your dart, you can trace the rest of your pattern (red).

5. The new dart will be larger than the original waist dart was (green). You can keep it or remove it all together by connected the ends of your dart legs. This will result in a looser waist.

Step 4 and 5
Remember that the bottom of your Blouse Block is only the waist line. Unless you want a mid-rift top, you will need to extend it. I will cover this in a later post.

For now, let's learn how to move a dart. It is very similar to removing a dart.

Moving Darts:

Step 1, 2, and 3
1. Decide where you want your new dart, and draw a line from the apex of your old dart to the new location.

2. Cut out the "wedge" of the dart you want to move.

3. Cut in the line of your new dart.

4. Rotate to close your old dart -- which will also open up your new one!

Step 4, 5, and 6
5. Smooth out your pattern where you closed the dart, and trace your pattern minus the new dart opening.

6. Cut out the new pattern and leave a little extra paper around the dart opening.

7. Find the center of your dart opening and draw a line between it and your Bust Point (BP).

8. Move 1.5 cm away from the BP on your line (never start directly on your BP or else you will have pointy boobs); this is your new dart apex. Connect this point to the two sides of your dart opening.
Step 7 and 8

9. Close your new dart and cut off the extra paper you left at the opening. Unfold, and you have your new dart point!

Coming next...

Examples of ways to use your Basic Bodice Block

Step 9

The Basic Bodice Block

Frankly, I hate commercial patterns. They never seem to work out for me. I've read many articles about how to properly read and follow the instructions, but nothing seems to help. Then I thought, perhaps it wasn't the instructions but the pattern itself.

You can't expect to pick up a pattern and find your exact size. Everyone is shaped differently, and commercial pattern sizes are crafted for the "ideal shape". That is, the ratio between hip-waist-bust on an average person. If you want to use a commercial pattern, you have to alter it in order to get a garment that actually fits you.

Or you could just make your own patterns using your Basic Blocks.

You may have heard of sewing Blocks (not to be confused with Slopers). They are the very basic form of a type of garment that is used to create different versions of whatever type it is. For example, the Basic Bodice Block can be used to make different tops, vests, and jackets. Best of all, you can craft your block to your unique measurements so that anything you create from it will fit you!

This is my Basic Bodice Block, front and back.

It looks simple enough, but it does take a little math. If you absolutely hate all math and don't want to take the time to make one, there are numerous places online where you can purchase various blocks made to order in your size.

If you want to make one yourself, you'll need a large sheet of paper (I like to use this paper), a pencil and eraser, and various rulers (12", yard stick, and curved, if you have it; if not, use a plate).

I tried 4 different Bodice Block tutorials before I found one that was easy to follow, complete, and made sense. I'm not going to name any names, but some tutorials were just horrible. These were popular bloggers with lots of followers, but the tutorials were full of mistypes and just bazaar measurements that seemed needlessly complicated.

So, I suggest that you use this tutorial by Em Makes Patterns because I think she did a great job explaining all the measurements and the "why" behind each step. There are other useful tutorials on this site, but sadly, she doesn't post on it anymore.

Coming next...

How to alter your Basic Bodice Block and projects you can use it for!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Silky Black Camisole

A staple for your closet! A silk camisole looks amazing under a blazer or by itself, with pants, jeans, or a skirt. Black is universal. You can make this in any color, but black goes with everything.


  • Pattern paper
  • Ruler
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • 1 Yard Silk or Satin Material
  • 1 Yard Black Rattail Cord
  • Black Thread
  • Sewing Machine

Figure A
Make Your Pattern:
(Refer to Figure A)

1. Use the measuring tape on yourself to obtain the following measurements: Measurement C is the bottom of your V-neck to where you want your camisole to end.

2. Measurement E is your hip measurement divided by 4, plus 1 inch. Draw this line perpendicular to C.

3. Measurement A is the distance from where you put the bottom of your V-neck to where your straps will go.

4. Measurement D is the top of your camisole, where the straps will connect, to the bottom of your camisole.

5. Starting from the top of line C, measure over the distance of A and mark this spot with a dot (this is a placeholder). Next, measure up from line E, intersecting your dot, the distance of Measurement D. This is the location of where your straps will connect.

6. Draw a line from the top of line A to the top of your camisole where your straps will connect (found in Step 5).

7. For Measurement B, start at the top of line A (the bottom of your V-neck) and drop down to where you want the bottom of your armhole. For me, this was 2 inches. This is approximate. Eyeball where the top will wrap around. Next, take your bust measurement divided by 4, and add 1 inch. Measure this far over from the point you just found on line A; this is the bottom of your armhole.

8. Draw a line from the bottom of your armhole to the top and bottom of your camisole as shown in Figure A. Optional: You can curve the armhole line if desired, but be careful not to overdo it or you'll have major side-boob.

9. Add seam allowance to your pattern; I used 1/2 inch and 1 inch at the bottom for the hem. *Note: Line C is a fold line; you don't need to add seam allowance here.

Note: I suggest making a muslin first and altering pattern as needed before cutting your good fabric.

1. Cut 2 on fold (line C) of pattern. Cut 2 facings using the same pattern, but stop halfway down (gray line in Figure A).

2. With wrong-sides together, sew facings to front and back pieces at neckline and armhole. (Do not sew side seams!)

Note: If using stretchy material, stay-stitch the neckline first in a directional manner. This means, stitch close to the edge (within the seam allowance) starting at the bottom of the V and going up on both sides. This is done to prevent stretching while sewing your garment.

3. Snip into the seam allowance at the bottom of your V, careful not to cut into the stitches. Grade your seam allowance by trimming down one side (this prevents bulky seams), trim around the points of where your straps will attach, and snip triangle pieces from your armhole if it is curved.

4. Invert, push out points, and press.

5. Now is time to finish the bottom of your facings. You can zig-zag stitch, serge, or, if it doesn't fray, leave it as is.

6. Baste the sides of your facings to your camisole.

7. Right-sides together, sew front and back pieces together at side seams. Finish seams. Press.

8. Edge stitch all the way around top of camisole. (Note: if you don't want to see any stitches on the outside, you will have to stay-stitch your neckline instead. To do this, you sew your facing to the seam allowance; this keeps the facing from rolling out and showing.)

9. Measure how much Rattail cord you will need for your straps. To do this, I suggest trying your camisole on and deciding how far down you want it to hang.

10. Hand sew straps in place.

11. Hem bottom of camisole.


I know it seems like a lot of steps, but this is actually a very simple project. And it's inexpensive. I got my satin from the remnant section at Joann's for only $4.25! It is usually $6.49/yard (still super cheap). The Rattail cording is only $0.73/yard.

Total cost of project: $4.98!

Tip: Change it up by adding lace to the neckline or side-seam. Now that you have a pattern, you can make it again and again!