My New Favorite Sewing Pattern

In the past few years I’ve had a lot of wonderful experiences with patterns by the French pattern company Deer & Doe. You may have seen me blog about them before with my Sally costume (Belladone), Luna Lovegood shorts (Chataigne), and my Marauder’s Map skirt (Azara). I’ve also made some two pairs of Safran jeans, I just finished a Givre dress which I can’t wait to wear, and I have a few other patterns that need to get made (Bruyère, Pensée and Sirocco), but so far my favorite thing they’ve created is the crop top and skirt version of the Zéphyr dress.

The reason I bought this pattern is because I got some insanely wonderful Star Wars fabric from Knitorious that I wanted to make into something special, and once I saw this outfit option, I knew it was meant to be. And it turned out AMAZINGLY well. I’ve always been a little wary to sew with knits, and shirts have been daunting, but this pattern makes perfect sense to me, and the pieces fit together exactly as I expect them to.

Showing off my bling after the Star Wars race weekend

Derby Day and May the Fourth be with you 🤓

This is one of my favorite outfits I’ve ever made. The fabric alone gets a lot of comments - I don’t think people expect to see Darth Vader next to pretty flowers. But the outfit as a whole is truly wonderful. I’ve never been super confident about my midriff, but lately I’ve been jealous of all the cute outfits that include crop tops. Luckily high waisted pants and skirts are in style, right now, and this outfit gave me the courage to try it out. And I love it. I love the way the skirt accents my natural waist. I love the flirty bit of skin that shows, but that it’s also conservative enough to wear practically anywhere. I love the cut of the skirt and where it hits on my legs. It’s all around perfect.

And that first outfit turned out so well that I’ve made a few other pieces with this pattern since - all separates, so far. A big plus is that they can be mixed and matched with each other or with other shirts/bottoms depending on the style I’m going for.

I have never been sweatier in my life.

I have never been sweatier in my life.

First was a running top for my Star Wars half marathon in April. I used a similar floral Star Wars fabric, but this time in a swim material, and used black performance knit on the sides and arm and neck bands, to add a sporty touch.

Next was a cute pink skirt from a great ponte knit I found at Joann’s. This skirt pattern is so simple to put together. I only got a yard of this fabric, and because of the width of it I ended up having to do two back panels for the skirt rather than just one back piece, and that alteration worked easily. I have several other ideas for more Zéphyr skirts with fabric I already have lying around. I also made a black skirt out of the same ponte knit because black goes with everything and this has already turned into a great staple to have in my wardrobe. This ponte knit has a bit more body than the double-brushed polyester I used for the Star Wars skirt, so it stays flared, rather than flowy.

Then, around 10pm the eve before Denver Pop Culture Con (formerly Denver Comic Con), I finished making hubby a Star Trek uniform, and got jealous that he was going to have a handmade Star Trek outfit, but I wasn’t. I could have worn my usual red Star Trek t-shirt dress from past years, and still matched him. I also didn’t HAVE to match him, and was thinking that maybe I could go as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas (as I have a handmade dress and a great backpack to match), reuse my Tardis dress again, go as Mary Poppins, or wear something nerdy and handmade, but not a cosplay. But what I really, truly wanted was a handmade outfit to match hubs. I had extra stretchy red and black fabrics from Nathaniel’s uniform, and I had the black skirt mentioned above, so, since I’d already made the crop top twice, I figured I’d whip one up as quick as I could (under 2 hours). I didn’t hem it perfectly, and I didn’t do all the top-stitching recommended, because I wanted to sleep as much as possible, but honestly, it turned out great, and someone even asked me where I got it! One of the highest compliments I can receive when wearing something handmade.

Needless to say, my love affair with the Zéphyr pattern is far from over. I have a few more skirts I already know I’m going to make, and I think I’ll try one of the dress versions somewhat soon. And if you see me wearing a black skirt, chances are high it’s this one here, because it’s perfect.

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A Disney Vacation in Just Carry-Ons

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I am a self-diagnosed over-packer, and yet hubby and I somehow traveled for 3 weeks in Europe with just carry-on backpacks a few years ago. Well, I decided that the next time we did it we’d use rolling suitcases instead. While the backpacks were great, I found that carrying it on my back got a bit annoying, and, especially for hubs, unpacking and re-packing constantly was a pain with the way his backpack opened and closed.

I’m a sucker for anything that photographs nicely, but I also really like functionality. I kept seeing suitcases by Away, and a handful of friends even started getting them and loving them, so I decided to give them a try. They’ve got a great return policy (100 days, no questions asked), and some really cute colors. While I love millennial pink, I felt like everyone has it (for good reason), but they had this gorgeous violet color (no longer available) and I was instantly smitten. Plus, I figured the darker color wouldn’t show scuffs quite as easily. They’ve got two carry-on sizes, but TRAGEDY, the violet was only available in the smaller one. I decided to go for it anyway. It’ll fit on more airlines (at least without as much hassle), and I still have time to figure my sh*t out and swap it out for a bigger pink one instead if need be. I got hubs a matching one in a dark grey. While he doesn’t have the same sort of overpacking tendencies I do, he does like to take his camera gear with him when we travel, and I figured this would allow him to have a carry on for the overhead bin and then his camera bag as a personal item for under the seat, rather than just the one backpack like last time.

We are planning a 2.5 week trip to Europe again soon, but a good test of the size of this bag was our recent trip to Disney World! While it was only a 6 day trip, you KNOW I meticulously planned out all my unique outfits, PLUS I ran two races while we were there, so I needed my running gear, too.

Did all of this fit into one carry on and one backpack? Surprisingly, it did! (and I even shoved a couple extra things in for my sister the night before). I did check the suitcase on the way back and carried a (not stuffed) duffel on the plane, which I had planned to do anyway - with souvenirs, race shirts and medals, I knew I was coming back with more than I packed.

This gives me hope for using this suitcase for 2+ weeks in Europe. I won’t be bringing as much clothing, shoes, bags/purses, jewelry or toiletries, plus we’ll be doing laundry along the way. And I don’t think I’ll bring my running gear, as our vacations are typically full of walking and it’s time spent away from the actual vacation with hubby. Of course other space challenges will emerge for a different type of trip - for example, I decided I want to bring back fabric from each place we visit. I’m debating if I should start utilizing packing cubes (anyone with personal experience, feel free to let me know!), but luckily I’ve got a little time to figure that one out.

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2019 March Disneybound Challenge

The past couple years I’ve been participating in the March Disneybound Challenge (2017, 2018) - it’s not a contest or anything, it’s just a bunch of Disney nerds having fun and showcasing their Disney style. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve found several awesome humans to follow on Instagram because of this. And each year it teaches me something. Last year I talked about spring cleaning (which unfortunately I only about half finished, but that’s ok!).

This year I was determined to not buy anything new for my outfits - to use things I already had, AND to reuse things without feeling guilty. Instagram is weird - there’s this pressure to be funky and original and inspirational all the time. To have perfectly posed pictures and to post them at the perfect times to generate more traffic. And while I love those kind of posts, that’s just not realistic for me. I have a full time job, I’m a musician, I sew, I run, I do yoga. I also have a dog and a husband who I enjoy spending time with, along with friends and random social activities that pop up now and then. This leaves little time to create a perfectly curated Instagram feed, which is only frustrating because I feel like I have a lot to offer when it comes to my ideas, crafts and style! But as long as I’m having fun, who cares? I interact with the friends I’ve made in this community, possibly I make more, and I get my daily doses of Disney while collecting more ideas for the future.

A few musings from this month:

  • I definitely reused an entire outfit for both Snow White and Franny from Meet the Robinsons.

  • I wore my white jeans five different times - definitely a good piece to have in my closet

  • I wore bows 14/31 days! I love bows (and making them - tutorials here and here)

  • I wore a couple pieces I hadn’t in a white, just because they fit the color scheme I was going for. Even a couple things I’ve been thinking about donating. We’ll see if they make the cut in my next purge, but I am thankful for how they contributed to this year’s challenge!

1
Tangled - Madam Gothel
2
Pixar - Kevin from Up
3
Winnie the Pooh - Eeyore
4
Zootopia - Bellwether
5
Princess and the Frog - Evangeline
6
Disney Best Friends - Kristoff (and Sven)
7
Marvel - Deadpool
8
Disney Heroines - Belle
9
Ducktales - Scrooge McDuck
10
Atlantis - Princess Kida
11
Tarzan - Jane
12
The Rescuers - Miss Bianca
13
Snow White
14
Treasure Planet - The Ship in Space
15
Rule Breaker - Satine from Moulin Rouge
16
80's Style - The Great Mouse Detective - Miss Kitty Mouse
17
Characters who are/wear green - The Little Mermaid - Ariel
18
Sidekicks - Flower from Bambi
19
Mary Poppins Returns - Mary Poppins
20
Spring Trends - the color lavender - Daisy
21
Kim Possible
22
Oliver and Company - Georgette
23
The Muppets - Miss Piggy
24
The Incredibles - Mrs. Incredible
25
The Descendants - The Evil Queen
26
Bambi - Thumper
27
Disney Parks - Main Street USA
28
The Aristocats - Berlioz
29
Enchanted - Pip
30
Meet the Robinsons - Franny
31
A character you've never bounded - Madam Mim

You don’t need to be Insta-famous to share your style with the world. As long as you’re authentic and having fun, the right people will find you, and you’ll have a ton of fun :)

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Scrunchies - Using Fabric Scraps for 80’s Style

Have you ever noticed how cyclical fashion seems to be? Well, like it or not, it seems like some 80’s styles are back, including the scrunchie! I’ve been planning my outfits for an upcoming Disney trip, and I realized that scrunchies might just be the perfect finishing touch for some of my looks.

I have a TON of fabric that I’ve bought over the years that I don’t know what to do with. Some I have a couple yards of, but others I just have scraps of, but it’s too pretty (and just too much) to throw away (these scraps bring me joy, I promise!) - so I thought why not try making a scrunchie (or a million)? And if it doesn’t work out, at least I tried something and I’m only out a scrap of fabric.

I Googled around and found a YouTube tutorial that was simple and easy to follow. 

  1. Cut a rectangle of fabric that is 22” x 3.5”

  2. Fold in half right sides together.

  3. On one end fold over about a half inch - it kind of looks like a hem for one open end. Pin.

  4. Sew along the long edge.

  5. Turn the tube right side out. It’s pretty easy if you use a safety pin.

  6. Cut 9” of ¼ inch elastic. Use a safety pin to string it through the tube. 

  7. Tie the ends of the elastic in a knot. Move the knot into the tube an inch or so.

  8. Put the unfinished end of the scrunchie inside the finished end, pin and sew shut.

Voila! You’re now the proud owner of a super chic DIY accessory. The great thing about these is that you can work through some of your scraps and make scrunchies for any occasion/outfit! The possibilities are endless!

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