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!

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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Spray Paint Is Magic!

This really isn’t even a craft. It’s just such an easy money-saver and it’s just the type of thing I usually forget I can do. I see that someone else did this and I think “Of course, it’s so obvious and cheap, why didn’t I do that?”

I’m quite spur-of-the-moment (which often leads me to spend more than I need to) so I decided, after looking at Apartment Therapy (my new absolute favorite source of inspiration and cause of my desperate attempt to be frugal) that I needed plants in my apartment! Plants! Who doesn’t have plants? Me. Because I kill them. And the last time I grew basil it ended in a trip to urgent care and 7 stitches (long story). But it’s been a year or 2, I can handle it. Of course I bought the plants and realized I had nothing to plant them in.

But instead of buying up Home Depot’s stock of ok-looking pots that were around $5 a piece for the size I wanted, I headed to Dollar General. Right when I walked in, there was the spring gardening display and a bunch of pots…that were frumpy maroon and green colors. As I was in the process of deciding if I could live with those or needed to begin a wild goose chase for pretty pottery, I realized that my options actually went beyond expensive designer pottery (which, let’s be honest, would have been my next step) or ugly and cheap. I bought three maroon pots, mulled over the color I wished they were for about, oh, an hour, bought some glossy white spray paint (yes, it took me that long to decide on white. I even slept on it), sprayed away (2 coats in an hour, dry for 24 hours), and my $1 pots look a lot more expensive than that, don’t you think?

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Sometimes it just takes thinking about something for longer than you would to find a cheaper way to get it done. As I said, this is clearly not groundbreaking but it’s the type of thing I would normally not think of and would just go ahead and buy whatever looked good and costed more. Also, since I’m so accident prone (i.e. the basil drama), it’s sometimes nice to have a quick and easy project that goes smoothly and looks great.

Total cost: $16

  • Plants: $3 a piece = $9
  • Pots: $1 a piece = $3
  • White glossy spray paint: 1 can = $4

Not too bad to have custom (albeit white) colored pretty potted plants to add some life to your place! The tip from the guy whose apartment inspired me said he couldn’t imagine having a room without several plants in it. The more I looked at the pictures of his great apartment (here if you’re interested), the more I began to agree with him. And now that I’m beginning to do that in my apartment, I’m fully on board the plant train. (PS how adorable are those little plant babies? I hope they never grow up.)