I love Maria Denmark's free Kirsten Kimono Tee, which was my second "grown up" make and first successful knit make (after my strange BHL Polly Top in hatchi knit). Aside from the slightly droopy neckline I was happy with it and gifted it to mom before taking any pics. Anyhow, at some point last summer I had the not-so-brilliant idea of lengthening the pattern into a maxi dress. I am not sure why I thought it would look good when I normally don't like straight dresses with kimono sleeves. Go figure. I decided to try my idea on this gorgeous jersey print instead of the many boring solids in my stash. Again, go figure. 

I also had the idea of ruching the midsection  like so (a technique I've never used) to make it more unique and flattering so I cut the dress extra long. Why would you ruch a nice print like this? And WHY oh why would I wear these awkward formal shoes in the picture? SO MANY "GO FIGURE"S!!! The whole thing was so half-baked it was no big surprise that I hated the pre-ruched version immediately and no amount of ruching would change that. It fit like a column whose sole purpose was to emphasize my lack of curves. And sway back. Ugh.


 
 
What if I told you that I recently sewed myself a pair of pajamas that I wore on a plane, to work, and then to a bar? And that I was appropriately dressed in all cases? You'd say that’s some crazy talk, right? It is crazy. But it’s not just talk. It is A Thing and she is called Sallie. You might be thinking, looking at the picture above, "Umm, you can't sleep in this". Oh but you most certaintly can, ladies and gents. It is that soft and comfy. I didn’t believe it at first either. 

Having tested her Ginger Skinny Jeans, I was happy to try out Heather’s new baby, which she described as an easy make, easy wear knit jumpsuit, culottes, or maxi dress. Aka “secret pajamas”. I thought the pajamas comment was a stretch, but since I don’t own a single jumpsuit I decided to give that view a try. Use a cheapo fabric, give some useful feedback, wear it once or twice, and call it a day. 

Next thing I know, I am wearing it literally all the time. And I mean ALL the time. Getting compliments left and right. And ignoring my summer research job in favor of making a second one. Sallie is addictive and a bad influence. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 


 
 

A couple of weeks ago my awesome mom (who doubles as a sister and best friend) came up for a few days while the boyfriend was away at a conference. Usually when she visits I try to have a list of fun L.A. things for us to do. But this time we had work. I had Sewing Ideas. One of them was to make an infinity dress with black jersey straps for the top but, as a unique twist, a double layer chiffon circle skirt as the bottom. I was confident it would take under 4 hours because circle chiffon skirts are real easy, right? Ha. Ha. Ha. 

After cutting the infinity dress straps from the nicest black jersey, we did a mock wrap top and quickly realized that this style of dress is not for me. I have a wide ribcage and all the ways to style this dress involve wraping the straps around your chest. So we abandoned the dress idea and decided to just make the chiffon skirt. But as I had never worked with chiffon before I was in for a rude awakening. 

 
 
A couple of months ago, Heather of Closet Case Files issued an open call for pattern testers for her upcoming (then) mystery pattern. I was so excited, and impressed, because it was the first time I'd seen such a call. Unlike most big indie pattern designers who seem to primarily rely on other big indie pattern designers for testing (causing a big controversy and even accusations of cliquey-ness and of pattern testing being a front for free publicity), Heather has stated her commitment to using testers of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels. I.e. regular people who have nothing to lose by being brutally honest. Brave move! And now she was making good on that promise! There was a short web form to apply through and a few weeks later I was ecstatic to get a testing invitation. If I had to guess, I'd say she probably picked me because I'd only made a few things ever and she was curious how a complete beginner would fare with her new pattern. So was I! 

 
 
In the summer of 2010 I was getting ready for a large week-long festival in the Nevada desert where on one of the nights I was to attend a "Unicorn Stampede". As it turned out, the Stampede consisted of two dozen of my camp mates and myself dressing up as unicorns and running around the desert, chanting creepily and terrorizing the other party-goers. 
My friend said she would lend me her old unicorn hood, but that I needed to come up with my own outfit that is warm, cute and, most importantly, all white. Easy! On one of my trips to L.A.'s Fabric District I had bought 2 yards of white faux fur and stashed it for the evential but certain point in the future "when I will learn how to sew." Right. And, since my pants -> skirt+legwarmers upcycle had worked out to my satisfaction, I thought I'd go for a skirt & leg warmers again and pair them with a white cropped sweater from Goodwill.
Little did I know that slightly stretchy furry fabric with a super slippery satin-like backing was NOT the best choice for a beginner project! Or that it mattered which way you lay the fabric and cutting off the selvedges is bad. Or that sewing without a pattern is NOT generally easier for beginners than following one. Or that you shouldn't use bright pink sharpies to draw your shapes... But ignorance is bliss! 

 
 
Emboldened by my success with the cargo pants to skirt refashion, I returned to Goodwill in search for another pair of pants to make into a skirt. But this time I wanted to make something more respectable -- a maxi skirt. Right away, I found a pair of brand new pinstriped suiting pants that had the widest pant legs I had ever seen! I felt like I could shimmy my whole body inside just one of them. It was so absurd! I bet everyone laughed at their wearer (which I guess is a clue as to how they ended up in Goodwill). The poor things were begging to be a skirt. It's as if the evil fairy godmother showed up and said "and in the last minute of your creation, you will become pants!" So I took it upon myself to bring justice to their little world.