Monday, June 26, 2017

Off the Shoulder Seersucker Ruffle Midi Dress


I am so excited to post this DIY dress! I have been craving (and inspired by) so many ruffle, off the shoulder, midi dresses from all over the internet (AKA Instagram). I knew the ruffle affect wasn't hard to do so I ordered some blue and white seersucker fabric (here- from Blue and white is always a alwaysss a weakness of mine for summer and I just can't stop with it! But how cute is this lobster one?? Perfect for sailing or backyard seafood cookout. Yum.

I ordered with this dress in mind. It just screams summer, right? Its flowy and effortless; perfect for the beach then to dinner, right??

Let's make it! It's not as hard as it looks!

You will need:
2 yards fabric (I used this one)
Elastic band (one length of waist, one the length of around the shoulders, one for chest without arms)
Matching thread
Sewing machine

I used a strapless maxi dress as a template - it had a similar cinched waist that I was mimicking.

1. Measure your chest and x 1.5 : that will be the width of your fabric. Times that by 2 and fold it in the middle. Lay down your example dress (Or measure with a tape where you want your waist to be cinched) and mark the "waist. Also mark the length of the dress (not including the bottom ruffle). I wanted that to go to about my knee.

2. Measure your waist with the elastic: (pull it around snugly: not too tight but taunt) at your desired waist. To sew it onto your marked waist: first, start a small section at the beginning to attach the elastic to the fabric then continue sewing while pulling the the elastic tightly. This will create the gathered look. (CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK YOUR NEEDLE! Don't rush this)

I used a zig-zag stitch for better hold. 

3. Pin the sides and sew down the line. This is the back of your dress.

4. Measure your chest area. Fold the top of the dress over for the width of your elastic. Sew this closed leaving 2 inches open to thread your elastic through. I use a saftey pin. Sew the elastic together to create your chest.

This is what you have now: 

5. Measure your bottom ruffle. 64 inches long strip, about 10 inches wide. Sew a basting stitch along the top- making sure to back stitch on one side to hold the thread from sliding off and losing your ruffle. Gently pull on one of the two threads and it will create a gather. Gather it the exact size of your opening of your skirt. Sew down the edge to make into a circle/loop.

6. Hem the bottom of the circle ruffle piece, which will be the bottom of your dress.

7. Turn the dress right side out and the ruffle inside out and slide the ruffle piece around the bottom of the dress. Pin the ruffle around the bottom of the dress, so the seam is inside the dress, not on the outside of the dress. (My ruffle attachment looks much longer here because I cut it shorter after trying it on)

8. Repeat this exact ruffle step but with a smaller width piece of fabric (around 8-9 inches in width). You don't want it to be wider to cover up your waistline. Make a hem slot for the elastic around the top- pull through an elastic (the length of your elastic should be the width of your shoulders and chest- Measure around like an off-the-shoulder top).

9. To attach this top ruffle to your dress, I sewed it in 4 places. You can sew all the way across the front and all along the back (making sure to leave the arm holes) but I found this secured it without too many extra stitches in the front. Leave space for your arms on both sides!

10. Make a drawstring- This step is optional but I think it adds a little something different to the dress.
Cut one 2 inch strip of about 58 inches long. Fold in half two times and then sew along the edge. You can iron this and then sew or you can do it while sewing.

11. Find the half point and sew this to middle of your dress, as shown below! This can then be tied around your neck or just as a bow in the front.

DONE! Yay! Now go forth and enjoy SUMMER! :)

This can also be worn as a strapless! Simply take out your arms from the holes! Warning- it's not super snug this way so be careful :)

Let me know if you have any questions! I hope this inspires you to make something new for yourself for summer.

Have a great week!

With love,

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Surprise Birthday Party!

Hello friends!

I don't even have the words to describe my gratitude and appreciation to my sisters (and dear friends) for surprising me with the most wonderful birthday party I could have ever asked for. So much of my favorite people all in one place and the thought and careful planning that went into each detail: It makes my eyes tear up! The feeling of #blessed is real, guys! The people in our lives are so much greater then all the s t u f f. It's hard to step back sometimes and see the blessings. Hope you all hug and love on those blessings around you today. Text those forgotten friends a sweet message. Reach out to a family member that you haven't heard from in a while. Don't lose those people in your lives! They are worth more then money can buy.

If you have been following me for a while, you know my sisters and I love to party ;) meaning, we love throwing parties, planning parties, decorating parties. (The coffee sipping, eating and chit-chatting kind of parties) This time my sister asked Tania from Lavender Dreams to come photograph the party decor (and US!) and I just really had to share the images! She is just magical. (GO CHECK OUT HER PAGE! If you are in central Virginia or Northern VA, you must book a session!) She also photographed me with the poppies last spring which is my favorite photo session ever. See it here!

Hope you enjoy the photos! Thanks again to all my family and friends that made this birthday so special and memorable! Love you guys!

The cutest "tea" station complete with little baggies to make your own tea. Loved it.

And thanks again to Tania for these wonderful pictures! So happy to have these memories and little details to remember forever. 

With love, 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ruffled and Striped Wrap-Skirt Tutorial (& Best Way to Shop for Sunglasses!)

I am so happy we are in the stage of maxi and midi skirts. It is so feminine and girly! I have wanted to do another play on the wrap skirt but in a more flowy shape this time (See my structured mini wrap skirt here!). When I found this lucky stripe fabric at the thrift store (3.5 yards for $3.50! YAY!), I knew it'd be perfect.

Unfortunately some of my photos got deleted but do not be intimidated! It is an easy skirt to make!

Since I wanted the stripes to go down (not across) I had to sew two pieces together. It also added length to the skirt. (mine was 29 inches long but you may choose to make it longer or shorter)

Sew together your two squares that should equal around 70 inches.(Or double the measurement of wrapping the measuring tape around you in a wrap skirt way).

Fold on your sewn line and cut the side of the skirt in an curve from the top sloping smaller down. This will create the ruffled open effect in the front of your skirt.  There is no template: just make sure your curves aren't too sharp. You want it to go smoothly from the bottom to the top in an arch curve.

Sew a baste stitch on top and pull gently on one of the thread to create a gather. (Make sure one end is back-stitched and secure so you don't lose your ruffle!)

Make a waistband. (See here for picture)
Mine is 130 inches long / 6 inch thick strip, folded in half
(This will get smaller when you sew to the top of your skirt so keep this in mind not to make it too thin)
You will want it super long so you can wrap it all the around your waist and tie to the side.

Attach waistband to the top of your ruffle part (hiding the seams) by laying it down on top of the ruffles and sewing, then flipping it up and iron down to keep it in place. Place the waistband off center so that one side is longer (To wrap around behind your back)

At this point, measure the skirt around your waist, wrapping the front over, making sure the seam is in the middle of your butt and around to overlap the front piece. You will see the arches you cut- are they where you want them to be? If not, cut them a little higher/shorter before adding your ruffle.

To create the ruffle:

I used a large dinner size and a small saucer for my template to create larger ruffles. Cut 6 (double layered) circle cut outs

Pin and sew the edges together to make a looooong ruffle (right side to right side)

Hem the outside edge of your ruffle (longer part) by folding and sewing slowly down, folding as you go. This part is tricky because the fabric wants to go crooked. Just take it slow. If you have a serger, I envy you! ;)
Pin the short side of ruffle to the edge of your skirt all the way around the skirt/ edge of your fabric. 

To finish the ruffle, I went all the way up to the waistband and attached it there (As pictured below)

Iron down the ruffle and your skirt and you're done! Wrap around a simple tee or tank and wear with sandals or heels! This will be your summer go-to skirt!

Also, I have discovered the best way to shop for sunglasses! Have you heard of Warby Parker?? They allow you to pick out any 5 pairs to try out at home for 5 days! Shipping is free for delivery and returns! This will take out the stress of finding which pair really suits your face. (honestly, this was very helpful especially for prescription glasses! I have been ordering my glasses online for a while now and it's always a bit of a guessing game/surprise when they come in. I am excited to order a pair now that I know how they will look before fully committing) 

Try them out! But beware- picking just 5 is the hardest part. SOO many cute styles!!

Thank you so much for reading and if you have any questions, Id love to answer them!!

With Love,