A Sunny Yellow RepliKate Shirtdress

I always try to downplay the impressiveness of my sewing projects because, really, they’re just following instructions from a pattern. However, this one turned out exactly how I wanted it to, so I’ll take a bow. And not so much for how well it turned out but for how close I got to what I was trying to achieve.

Yes, of course it was another repliKate (a Kate Middleton replica for anyone that hasn’t met me).

Image via Getty

I don’t know why it took me so long with my fondness for sewing and repliKates (I’ve also knit a shawl and sewn a cape similar to hers) to attempt making a dress. Not too long ago, I even made a couple shirtdresses that only took a day so I figured I could manage it. Also, call me stuck in the past, but I think shirtdresses are just the absolute perfect summer outfit, whether it’s 1960 or 2017.

I made this dress with Butterick pattern #6333 and an inexpensive bright yellow (obviously) cotton fabric from Joann Fabrics. The entire dress probably cost less than $20. Thankfully the pattern was really close to the Jaeger dress because I was not too confident I could merge two patterns together like I thought I was going to have to do.

In total, it took just a weekend (fueled by White Claws) to make. Side note: I never know how to answer the question of how long something takes me to make. Yes, it took about a weekend from start to finish (and under a slight deadline), but if I felt like dedicating an entire day to it, I could have done it. That’s also if my poor back did not hurt and I didn’t have to take alcohol and cheese breaks. What a workout!

This also seems like a good time to point out that the dress HAS POCKETS. Heavenly, amiright, ladies?

The pleats were one intimidating factor of this pattern, mainly because I have never done those before. And I am here to spread the good news—they’re easy! I’m super excited with how it turned out, because I think it looks so much like Kate’s. Also I really like the sleeves, which I was worried about. I cannot pull off cap sleeves, but these were just long enough to be considered cap sleeves, while not totally accentuating my arm pit obesity. Hooray!

The results are in: I wore it on one of the first nice days and got lots of compliments at work (and a few renditions of “You Are My Sunshine”, for what that’s worth). Happy spring!

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A Pink and Gold Vintage Cocktail Party

It all started with a Facebook article about the lost art of the cocktail party. So I decided to bring it back. And basically start a revolution. Definitely not just and excuse to dress up and have cocktails.

If you’re thinking these pictures look a lot better and more flattering than the normal crappy iPhone ones, you’re correct! One of my best friends and party guests just so happens to be a talented photographer and designer, too! Check out her company, Clark Creative! It’s awesome.

So without further ado, my first annual hello to summer cocktail party.

On my bar cart below, the decanters, pitcher, sign, lamp, and jigger are all antique/vintage. I used a lot of pink and gold candies to decorate for the party. It was an inexpensive and edible way to carry the theme all over my apartment. Plus, it looked pretty!

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Here’s a glimpse of my bar cart, actually made functional for once!

The other main piece I used to establish the theme colors were flowers and vases. Again, it’s an inexpensive, pretty way to add color and life to the party. I spray painted four thrift store vases in different shapes, patterns, and heights gold to make a mismatched set go together but still be unique.

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Some of the details on my bar cart. Can you tell I love gold?

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I’m just so passionate about my bar cart, I had to get a sign to announce it!

Here’s the thrift store tray I spray painted gold and recently blogged about (here if you missed it). Since I’m short on extra space and table room, I made a makeshift mixer table by setting the tray up on a chair. The cocktail tools are vintage.

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Does the tray look familiar?

I think the candy (or gum balls in this case) in martini glasses really makes for a fancy decoration! I’ll definitely use this trick for my next party. (Plus, I get to eat the leftovers!) Paired with another gold vase with pink flowers, the color scheme spreads to all corners of the room.

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Pink and gold all over the place.

Pretty cupcakes are another thing that can be used as a decoration and a snack. I made these strawberry lemonade cupcakes with lemon cake, strawberry frosting (piped on with a cookie decorating set), and a lemon drop on top, just in case you don’t get the clever theme. Also…they’re pink and yellow which is so close to pink and gold!

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It’s not every day I get to break out the tiered serving tray! In fact, it’s been two days, ever.

Now for what’s really important—cocktails! This drink was a hit! Of course I wanted something pink so I decided to make a champagne cocktail. I blended a few different recipes to make my own. I used champagne, strawberry kiwi juice, strawberry vodka, and strawberries to make a lovely, bubbly, pink concoction. It was a hit, if I do say so myself. And of course, another gold vase with pink flowers and the champagne glasses that I decorated with gold paint.

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Cheers!

Nothing on this cheese platter is pink or gold (well, that sausage might be considered pink), but it just looks so darn delicious. While fancy cheeses are pricey, this is a party located in Wisconsin, so it’s always worth it.

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What a dream come true. Just me?

And here’s a look at my apartment living room, all ready for a party! I can’t decide if leaving the lights up year-round is trashy, but I just love the soft light they gave to my cocktail party (and I’m obviously too lazy to take them down at this point).

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Home sweet home. But 100x cleaner than normal.

And I couldn’t resist including this one because I have to show off the outfit I wore! This is a cream vintage dress with orange polka dots that I picked up in Alaska. I also got a chance to pull out the pearls, which is rare. So that’s my party. Now, please, leave me alone so I can sit here staring out the window, drinking champagne in high heels, like I always do.

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Standard Wednesday.

A Bicycle Dress Built By One

Another day, another dress! After the first dress I sewed went so swimmingly, I decided to make another while the motivation was still fresh. And, like the first one, it only took about a day to make! And since I could reuse the pattern, the total cost for the dress was even less.

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I used New Look pattern 6587 again. It’s a really great pattern in that it’s easy, fits me well, and has enough variations in the sleeves and other options that I can make multiple dresses that don’t feel or look the same. I fell in love with this springy bicycle pattern when I was hunting for fabric for the first dress and had to go back for it (and I’m glad I did). Since I needed under 3 yards of fabric and buttons were the only other expense, the dress was only about $20 from start to finish.

Everyone I’ve shown has loved the red buttons and I have to admit those are my favorite part too! They are a fun detail that add some color to the white dress (and make the pattern pop, too). The sash adds something unique as well and can easily be swapped out for a belt.

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I felt confident enough to make a few adjustments to the pattern this time around. I didn’t add interfacing to the collar so that it would be smaller and less stiff. I made the collar smaller overall and I like the less-prominent collar on this dress much better. I also took the bodice seams in a little bit to get a more fitted look. It worked out really well but if you’re trying it, remember to start with a tiny bit—you an always take in more but it’s harder to let it out!

Here’s the finished product. Now I just need spring to come! And maybe like, 4 more dresses.
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Sewing a Floral Sundress

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via Boden.com

I decided I wanted to sew a dress Saturday and it was done by Wednesday! This was seriously such an easy pattern and quick dress to make (and my first one ever) that I had to share! My inspiration was the below dress from Boden. I was aiming to replicate the shape (I love the summery shirtdress with a full skirt look) and the fabric too, to whatever extent I could. The first step was finding a pattern similar to that dress. It was a lot harder than it seemed! Every pattern seemed to be missing an important detail, like the collar or full skirt. Thankfully my mom had an extra 4 hours to kill, in addition to way more sewing experience and patience than I have (always a good thing—I wish I could rent her out to all of you for your own projects). The terribly frumpy fabrics they show on the patterns do not help in picturing the final product so you have to use your imagination. I landed on this one, deciding to use the pattern for the pink dress, minus all the ribbons and crap. Bonus: I love some of the other variations included, too! Extra bonus: All the patterns from this brand are only about $4! Some others I looked at were $30.

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Next, fabric. The fun part, right? Actually this was another tedious process, as, of course, I am not going to find an exact replica. Again, you really have to use your imagination to envision what the final product might be with all your tweaks. And speaking of tweaks, I bought extra fabric (a skirt’s length) so I could make the skirt fuller (because who doesn’t want a spinny skirt?). To do this, I added about 4 inches to the front and back pieces (on the waistline) to gather more fabric. Here is the fabric I chose (the top one) plus another close contender I loved.

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Time to sew! Once I got everything cut out, I spent most of a day sewing and finished everything but the buttons. You really can make this in a day! (I recommend living in the Midwest because I have zero interest in going outside in this windchill.) Here are a few fun incremental progress shots I was sending to a friend and a name for the corresponding apparel I’m modeling:

1. The sassy school board mom vest:

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2. The ultra-conservative Duggar prairie dress:

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3. The thank God it’s starting to look like a normal dress:

image1-5 Enough talk! Here it is! The finished product. It amazingly fits pretty perfectly, especially when I added a belt to cinch in the extra fabric and create a waist. (I cannot stress this enough if you are new to sewing—go by the measurements and NOT by the size number! I started making a dress in my normal size once and was halfway through before I realized it would be a better fit for a doll. This one I made is a size 12…don’t let the size scare you! Although, come on pattern-making jerks. No one wants to be a huge number of sizes larger than they really are!) Sorry I look so awkward in this picture. I am so bad at taking self timer pics. image4 I love the cute little cap sleeves. That’s what’s so nice about sewing your own with a pattern like this; you can customize however you want to. The only thing I was not a fan of is the collar. It’s a little long and large for my taste. image3 image2-2 Here’s a closer look of the details on the top and skirt: image5 I didn’t add up the cost to the penny but it was all only about $30-$35, compared to the Boden dress at $118. Needless to say with how quick and easy it was, I am mildly obsessed with this pattern! Expect another post soon as I am already started on another one. This time, it will be the sleeveless version with the sash at the waist, tweaked to make the collar smaller and less stiff by not including interfacing on that part. Check back soon! Happy sewing!