Mark Your Calendars for the Handmade Arcade!

Saturday, December 5th is the Handmade Arcade! This is a not-to-be-missed event that showcases the cool and crafty side of Pittsburgh (and surrounding areas) in one convenient location.

The Handmade Arcade, founded in 2004, is Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair. You can browse and buy handmade, locally produced, and one-of-a-kind items from more than 150 vendors. It will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and admission is FREE!

This is an amazing event and is truly worth a visit. Come see what’s new and exciting, shop, eat and be inspired!

Check out the Handmade Arcade’s website for more information.

See you there!

Pattern Review – Retro Butterick 5152 Dressing Gown

Greetings!  Have you missed me?  I’ve missed you, too!  I’ve been SO busy over the last six months (moving to a new home, a new sewing studio and finally cleaning out my stash), that I have not had much time to post, but I am back in the sew of things now and very excited!

I’ve had Butterick 5152 in my vintage-inspired pattern box for quite a while and had intentions on making a dressing gown that was pretty enough to lounge around the house in when I was disinterested in wearing clothes.  (Like, every Sunday afternoon!)  But the red charmeuse in my stash was vying for my attention, so I changed my mind and went for an over-the-top gown with feathers and lace.

The pattern was not too tricky, save the yoke.  It was awful!  I LOATHE hand-sewing!  The feather trim was also a nightmare as the feathers were already attached to a strip of ribbon, but apparently they were glued to the ribbon, so the glue ended up ruining three needles and made the stitches skip. Ugh!  : >(

Otherwise, I ADORE this gown! While it is no good for lounging, it’s perfect for a romantic evening at home with a flute of bubbly!

Vintage Pattern Review – Boho Tunic

Like most of you, I refuse to limit my fashion loves to a particular era.  There are bits and pieces of each era that tickle my fancy, and the 70’s are no exception.  Peasant blouses, dashiki tops, tunics, and prairie skirts are all on my faves list, so when I came across this pattern I just couldn’t resist!

It’s Simplicity 7441, unisex tunics circa 1976.  I made two versions, both in my favorite ethnic dashiki print, one with a mandarin collar and the other with a slit neck.  My lo-va-lee Mum was gracious enough to bling the white one for me with some glitter paint.  (She would bling YOU if you sat still long enough! LOL!)

You may have noticed that many fashion designers have incorporated pieces inspired by the 70s in their Spring and Summer collections.  I really don’t think styles ever go “in” and “out” of fashion, it just seems like whatever the top designers feel like showcasing is what the rest of the fashion world seems to follow ; >)

As for me, I follow the beat of my own drum.  Yes, I draw TONS of inspiration from the latest runway looks, but in the end it’s what looks good on you and what makes you feel good, right? Right!


Baby Love: Dakota

During one of my sewing “breaks” I decided to work on one of the reborn kits I’ve been hoarding.  I promised myself that this is really my last break, because I MUST get some dresses cranked out before summer is over.  We will see how that goes….

In the meantime, may I introduce Dakota.  He is a sweet 17” newborn sculpt by Michelle Fagan.   I thought his facial expression was so unique, almost like he is going to let out a tiny little “pick me up and cuddle me” cry at any moment!

I tried a different technique for his skin tone as I was trying to create a Native American look.  While I’m not convinced of the authenticity, I really like the way it turned out.  (Now I just have to remember what I did. Lol)  This time I used almost straight, jet black hair rooted extra thick and dark bluish-grey for his eyes.

I had a lot of fun picking out his little layette.  The baby blues highlight the color of his eyes very nicely.  Dakota is a slight small for a newborn, so pre-shrinking of his clothes was in order to get the right fit.

I think he is SO adorable and I hope you agree!


Repurposing Neck Ties Into Bow Ties

WOW!  Is it June already?  Where has the time gone?

This post SHOULD be titled “Liar, Liar” because when we last spoke I vowed to spend at least SOME time sewing for me…

Well, that has not happened yet.  I have to admit that I do get distracted for good reasons sometimes.  Which brings me to my newest obsession: Repurposing neck ties into bow ties for my hubby!

I think he is right on trend with his love of bow ties because of late I have seen scores of celebs rocking them.  But ouch, the price of the really nice ones!  So, I went shopping for ones I wouldn’t mind cutting up (just in case things went badly), and followed the Make It & Love It tutorial on how to do it.

I took a few pics before cutting the neckties and a few more after.  Even I can’t believe how well they turned out!  I’ll probably never make a bow tie from scratch again and he LOVES them!

Thanks Ashley for the awesome tutorial!

One Mudprint – Four Ways

I’ve been hoarding this lo-va-lee cut of green, black, and white mudprint in my stash for quite a while.  It’s a medium weight woven that amazingly was already embellished with genuine cowrie shells!  I know I must have bought it at LEAST five years ago at Jo-Ann Fabrics, whose buyers obviously believe that there’s no market for ethnic prints because as of late they haven’t carried ANY (sorry, that’s a sore spot).  I just couldn’t decide what to make, knowing I couldn’t get my hands on any more.  Pathetic.

I finally grew tired of taking it out, admiring it, touching it, measuring it, and putting back, so here’s what came out of it: A strapless dress (the blouse is from my closet), overbust corset, waist corset, and iPad sleeve (if you’re a techie like me).

Don’t you just LOVE progress? LOL

Baby Love: Donté

Dontè is my first “big” baby and my second boy.  I LOVE him!  He is so chubby and happy!  I have been thinking about a big baby for a while, and I looked at a few different sculpts before I decided on this one by Donna RuBert.  It is a huge, 9 month size, about 26″ long, with plenty of dimples, rolls and baby fat. Yum!  My original intent was to make this one a baby girl, as I already bought some cute little dresses and trimmings, but both me and my daughter thought when finished he looked more like a boy, so I went shopping (again) for a new layette and named him Donté.

I used curly dark brown hair as I did for Riley, but this time I did buy a better quality mohair.  I am happy to report that it made a BIG difference and it is definitely much more manageable than the other brand.  I also left it a bit longer, so when styled, the curls stay very nicely.  I’m glad.  I was nervous!  I also had a tricky time trying to get his weight just right as I needed him to be cuddly and a bit poseable, but not floppy like a newborn baby would be.

I decided to shy away from baby blue for his layette as I wanted to do something different and it’s hard to find clothes for big babies that are baby-ish.  I think the greens and yellows look great against his skin tone, though, and the ducks are SO cute!  I hope you agree!

♥ Yea Love!

A lo-va-lee lady from London (yes, the UK!) found me on Etsy and asked me to create some coordinating items for her upcoming nuptials.  She selected an African kente and mudprint cotton fabric (one of my faves, but so hard to come by! I should have bought two bolts!) for a ladies corset belt, baby slippers and a girls corset top.

Well, I think they turned out wonderfully!  (Now might be a good time to start begging for wedding pics! Lol)  I don’t have much time anymore for custom items, but I just couldn’t say no and I’m so glad I didn’t!

Yea love!