Pin #5: Dressing Up- You CAN make your own dress!

I love to wear dresses, which is strange since I think I had only worn them to funerals and school dances before I became a teacher.  But, just because I’m a teacher who wears a lot of dresses does not mean they are jean jumpers with embroidered school houses on them.  I can give you a long explanation of why I choose to wear dresses many days of professional work week, but simply put, I don’t like to wear to pants.  It does however, cause a similar problem that I hear people who wear scrubs to work have: if you don’t ever wear pants that fit- you don’t know how fat you’re getting!  With that danger in mind, I still love to sport a long flowing dress to the classroom!

Dresses can be expensive and I am too cheap to spend more than $15 on a dress, ever.  I don’t sew my own dresses, for the same reason I don’t ever make any of my own clothes: it’s hard and expensive.  To buy all the fabric and notions needed for a cute dress would be far over my $15 budget and I probably won’t be proud to wear a garment with a wonky collar & floppy facing. So when I saw this pin come across the page, I was excited to give it a try.  Simply purchase a tank and 2 yards of fabric (I needed a ‘lil more than instructed because of the aforementioned waistline) and some elastic thread if you don’t already have some.  VOILA! A super cute little dress that works for casual summer affairs or “pro-it-up” with a cardigan.  I do have a few suggestions for making this dress:

1. BUYING FABRIC:  This is the worst part of sewing projects for me. A store full of brightly colored bolts of fabric contains for too many possibilties for me, and I may or may not have a had a panic attack or 2 at FM Store in past visits.  I have learned my lesson to not go in without a plan.  Since I was making a dress for myself, I kept my eyes open for large prints in 1-2 colors.  It’s tempting to look for what’s cute- but its important to look at the fabric like each bolt is an actual dress not just the print.  Patterns that are too small can be overwhelming to look at when being worn although may be adorable on the roll. 

2. CUTTING THE BODICE: Bodice is a fancy word for the “top” in the sewing world, and once you cut the tank top there is no going back.  Make sure you measure how much you want to cut from the BOTTOM hem, not how much you want to keep from the top.  Pin the tank closed at the hem, matching the edges and cut how much you want to take off- subtracting 5/8″ to that measurement.  My students often cut things for how long they WANT them to be in the end, and forget to measure what they want to keep and how much will be the seam allowance.  This mistake could make the bodice too short and you’ve wasted a perfectly good tank.  After you cut, fold the tank in half and mark the middle front and middle back.  Take the extra minute to do this, you will thank me.

3. FITTING THE SKIRT: As mentioned for the tank, take the time to mark the top of the skirts front middle and sides (the back middle is the seam). Skip the step in the tutorial that tells you to sew a long stitch around the fabric with elastic thread.  It does gather the fabric, but not enough to match the marks you’ve made on the tank and skirt easily.  Go ahead and leave your regular thread in the machine and baste around the top.  THEN, match the marks you made on the tank and skirt.  This sounds like extra work, but I ended up having to go back and do this because I didn’t know where to match the two pieces together.  These small steps will save a headache.  After you match the MARKS, GATHER the basting stitch to make the skirt fit the tank. This worked MUCH better!  Now, you can sew them together with the elastic thread.

This project was easy and I was really happy with the end result!  And since it ended up costing me exactly $15 to make, I would call it a success!  I didn’t want to post an awkward picture of myself wearing the dress, so here is a cute one of me and my girls before I wore it to church! P.S. Don’t go for the floor length, it’s bulky like a sack of taters!  A 2″ hem under the knee was perfect for me!


June 25, 2012. Fashion. 1 comment.

Pin#4: A Very Pinteresting Father’s Day

Rich and I don’t make a big deal out of extravagent gift giving on holidays.  We usually exchange our favorite decadent candies and a few novelties we might not buy for ourselves.  My husband is EXTREMELY hard to buy for because he is ridiculousy picky and buys anything he wants for himself out of his ever growing “investmest fund” (his Christmas and birthday money that he uses to buy tickets and resell them or ebay the ballpark giveways).  This being said, it is hard to impress him with gifts….until I found PINTEREST!

I have pinning ideas for him since I started Pinterest and I used 4 different ideas as inspiration for his Father’s Day gifts; plus 1 bag of No Show socks because well….. he needed them.

1. Circus Truffles Rich recently discovered frosted animal cookies (a favorite childhood treat of my own) and when I saw these I knew I had to try them.  This recipe calls for crushed frosted cookies- but I thought that would be far too rich.  So I changed the recipe to 3 cups crushed plain animal crackers, 12 oz cream cheese frosting and white melting chocolate.  They are yummy and taste very similar to their namesake.

2. “I love you this much” card.  I forgot to take a picture of it.. but I used this idea to make a card using on of Clara’s and one of Ruby’s hands. 

Pinned Image

3 & 4 “Candy Poem”  I’ve gotten a few candy poems in my day as a teacher.  You know, “You’re worth a 100 Grand” or “You’re a Smartie Pants”.  But, when I saw this idea for using different kinds of pop to show appreciation I knew I wanted to write a special one for Rich.  I wrote it on a large piece of posterboard like I had seen pinned many times and Rich loved it!  I started by going to the candy aisle and only contemplating candies that are his favorites…with the exception of “Sugar Babies”.  That was just to darn cute to pass up.  Trying to incorporate “Mike & Ike” was pushing it, but I think that’s the line that got him a little emotional.  Best reaction from a gift I have EVER gotten from him!  Here is the final result (the bottle of pop is Diet Mtn Dew…. get it…. “DEW for us” !?!) Please excuse my terrible handwriting on this project!

June 17, 2012. Family Life, Recipes. 1 comment.

Pin #3 The “initial” project

Some pins come across the page and even after you save it your “wish list” you can’t get it out of your head: you’ve got to try it, make it or eat it ASAP!  This was one of those pins for me!  I was crazy disappointed when Hobby Lobby didn’t carry an oval frame in the size I needed, but I honestly didn’t want to spend more than $20 on this project in the first place.  So, I used a garage sale find from last weekend and my sweet skills as a former furniture painter/distresser (another random job I had in college) to make this project come in at less than $4.  It was an ironic journey to take an old picture frame that was scratched and faded, paint it like new, and then sand it down and wax it to look old again!  I still wish I had found a cheap oval frame, but I think my final outcome really spruces up my mantle.  I finally got to get rid of the random items I had above the fireplace – things I had put up there 5 years ago just to fill in space and have been driving me crazy ever since!  This week I am so thankful for pinterest because it has inspired me to make something that refreshes the style of one area of my home without forcing me to get out of my “too cheap to ever buy anything new” box!



June 13, 2012. Interior Design, Uncategorized. 1 comment.