Archive for the ‘ sewing ’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day!: The Lace Dress Tutorial

Last spring I made this lace dress after seeing a little girl’s version in this tutorial on Project Run and Play.  I thought it would be the perfect project to share with you on Valentine’s Day.

It was definitely one of the most time consuming sewing projects I’ve embarked on.   The trip to the fabric store was an endeavor in itself.  I purchased:

  • somewhere between 20 and 30 yards of white and ivory laces of different patterns and widths
  • Red RIT dye
  • cotton muslin to make a lining
  • bias tape for the neck and arm-holes

When I got home, I laid out all my strips lace on my work table in a giant rectangle.  Then I sewed each strip together with a zig-zag stitch.  When I had attached all the laces to one another, I used RIT to dye the lace and my cotton muslin red.  The best part of the dyeing process is that each lace (being of different fabrici content) takes up the dye differently.

Then cut the muslin lining into a front and back piece for my dress.  I sewed these together and tried it on, just to make sure I wouldn’t mess up my lace fabric.  It fit!  So I used a seam ripper to take the pieces apart again.  I laid the muslin over the lace and cut two pieces of lace to fit my pattern.  And finally, I sewed them together to make my dress, adding bias tape to the sleeves and neckline.  This dress took a lot of work, but the end result is one of a kind!


Happy Halloween, Part 1: Bjork

Last year I decided to go crazy with my Halloween costume.   The two previous years I had worked in a children’s music studio where “Halloween week” was a big production.  I’d dress up for my classes, six days in a row, and by the end of the week, I’d be so burnt out on Halloween that when the actual day arrived I’d stay in.

So, after too many years of dressing up as Cruella De Vil, I needed a new costume to remind myself that part of me still loves Halloween. My friend Joy inspired me to make the Bjork swan dress and she gave me tips on how to execute it.

The Tutorial



  • A base for the tulle skirt (I bought a petticoat at a local thrift store and cut it so it hits a few inches above the knee)
  • Lots of tulle (I used 8 yards extra-wide ivory tulle and 4 yards regular-width gold tulle)
  • A top (I used a vintage slip)
  • White feather boa
  • White wings (optional)
  • Styrofoam cone and paint for swan head
  • Glue
  • Wig (optional)

For the top of my costume, I bought a nude slip with lace embellishment around the neck.  I cut off the bottom and sewed on a fringe upholstry trim that peeks out of the finished garment.

The tulle skirt started as a high-waisted petticoat. I cut it a little shorter than the slip I’d wear underneath it, and then started adding tulle.  I cut the tulle in 4-5 inch strips. Then, I individually “bunched” each strip and sewed them to the skirt.  I didn’t worry about being too precise during this process, because the idea was just to cover the skirt with an insane amount of tulle.

I carved the swan head from a styrofoam cone (using a couple pictures for reference) and then painted it with ivory, black and orange paint.  After it had dried, I glued the swan head to one end of the feather boa.

Putting it all Together

The swan head feather boa wraps around the shoulders and tucks into the skirt.  I pinned two white wings to the top of the skirt to hide the part where the boa tucks in.  I wore a short dark wig (model # “emo”) from Cliff’s Variety.   I also made a hair fascinator using white feathers, gold tulle, and a hair comb.

I received sooo many compliments on this costume, making every effort to create it totally worth the time spent.  But I also think it could be made quickly with little to no sewing involved.  A white tutu with loose white feathers glued on, for example, could look just as fancy.

I’m starting to work on this year’s costume and I’ll post it here in Part 2.  Happy Halloween!  To be continued…

Furry Tank-Top

I found this awesome fur trim while fabric shopping recently and picked up 3/4 yard with nothing specific in mind.  I grabbed an old tank top I never wear and added the trim to the shoulders to make cap-sleeves.  I cut the trim in four strips (they are not equal in length — the top strip is slightly shorter than the one underneath it on each side) and sewed the ends to the edges of the tank top, 2 strips per sleeve.

Birthday Season!

My hunny and I both have May birthdays, four days apart.

I made him this birthday card by sewing on paper.  I kept a neutral cream color in the bottom thread compartment of my machine and switched out the topstitching with fun colors for the pendants on the birthday banner.

Easy Headbands

You only need some sort of trim/ribbon and a small piece of elastic to make these.  Cut the trim a few inches shorter than the circumference of your head and sew each end to the elastic.  Easy!

Crafty Bedroom Tour


Key Holder
Paper on wood with Anthropologie hook


Paper-Covered Switch Plate


Upholstery Fabric Pillow Covers


Embroidery Hoop Dream Catchers
from this tutorial


Before and After: Off-the-Street Chair

When I moved to San Francisco last October, Mike and I picked up this free chair down the block:




Thank you Sam Berman for this “before” pic.  Despite the chipped blue paint and the fact that the chair didn’t match our kitchen-color-plan (citrus), Sam was very upset I was going to give the chair a make-over (hence the “before” documentation).  Sorry Sam!  I like it better now.


I spray painted the legs and made a custom-fit cushion using “wizard of oz” poppy fabric from Cliff’s, pom-pom trim, fabric-covered buttons and 1″ thick foam.



It matches our storage pegboard, which I painted and Scott hang.