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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Flower & Garden + Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - Disney 2019

It’s been a month since I got back from our most recent trip to Disney World. We went for both Flower and Garden festival and the Star Wars race weekend.

This trip was a bit different than what we’ve done in the past. There are rides we missed and things we did that we usually don’t and even two brand new rides we’d never done before! I also packed everything in carry-ons as a challenge to myself. This meant carefully planning out each outfit ahead of time. Plus I incorporated quite a few handmade pieces!

Day 1:

We flew in as early as possible to maximize our time! We checked in and I instantly ran off (pun intended) to the race expo to get my race swag. I even waited in line to visit with R2-D2 and Boba Fett! I hardly ever do character meet-and-greets! Then I rushed to Epcot for our dinner reservation at the Coral Reef. I decided to get to Epcot by taking a bus to one of the resorts close enough to walk to Epcot. The race expos don’t have buses directly to the parks, so this ended up being a great option. It makes me want to stay in that area of the parks sometime! We usually stay close to the Magic Kingdom, but the Boardwalk is lovely and I’d like to do more than rush through! We ended the evening with a few rides in Epcot. We watched Illuminations because it’s leaving soon! I’ll miss it but I am excited to see what comes next!

Food themed outfit details:

Ice cream bar ears - Donut Purse - Ice cream bar Alex and Ani Bracelet - Macaron Shirt - Make It Minnie Ice Cream Bar necklace - Kate Spade Keds - Donut Earrings by Gracie Makes Things

Day 2:

This rainy day started off in Universal! We took a Lyft from our hotel to Universal Studios, which, aside from realizing we should have requested it before we got to the lobby and our driver not remembering where the right drop off is, worked out pretty well. Cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking! My homemade touch was my Marauder’s Map skirt (and the Marauder’s Map top my sister is wearing) and I got lots of compliments on it! People often ask me if I sell my stuff after I say I’ve made it, which is a great compliment, but I have a full-time job and other hobbies, so I don’t have the time to make a business out of it!

The Universal parks closed at 6 that evening, so we went back to Disney and grabbed a drink at Trader Sam’s, then hit the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours.

Hogwarts outfit details:

Marauder’s Map Skirt - Radish Earrings by Gracie Makes Things - Spectrespecs - Wand - Hermione’s Bag - Crocs - Time Turner - Platform 9 ¾ Alex and Ani bracelet

Day 3:

10k day! I wore the Chewbacca shirt I bought at the expo and my Star Wars Aloha Ears! I love that these ears are 3d printed and interchangeable! Definitely check them out! I took this race pretty easy, and it felt GREAT. Best run I’d had in a while. BUT I made the mistake of chugging a Powerade right after and my body was not pleased. Not making that mistake ever again - luckily it didn’t mess with our day too much. I still made it to Epcot in my Flower and Garden inspired outfit. The Epcot ears are another set from Aloha Ears! I did add some ears to a “rose gold” fanny pack, so I still sort of had something handmade! We drank around the world (sharing drinks and hydrating is KEY), and tried some of the food from the special carts there for the festival - a fun way to try several things and not have to sit down for a whole meal! The topiaries they have this time of year are gorgeous, too! After Epcot we ate dinner at The Wave at the Contemporary, then we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and a couple rides. 

10k outfit details:

Chewbacca Shirt (from expo, couldn’t find link) - Victoria’s Secret Leggings - Aloha Ears - Flip Belt - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Flower and Garden themed outfit details:

Madewell Shirt - Universal Threads Shorts from Target - Alice in Wonderland Shoes - Rose Gold Fanny Pack - Aloha Ears

Day 4:

Half Marathon morning! I actually made my top with amazing floral Star Wars swim fabric from Knitorious and the Deer + Doe Zephyr pattern (they’ve got dress styles and a crop/skirt option). The half ended up feeling pretty good, but my watch and the mile markers on the race were NOT the same. My watch said I went an extra 0.7 miles! If I trust my watch, I think I might have PR’d (not saying much because I’m slow 😉), but my official time was not a PR. Disney isn’t necessarily the right place to try for that anyway. Most of the courses seem to be longer than they’re supposed to be, and many people decide to stop for character photos. I only stopped for one photo, and it’s cute so I’m glad I did. Hubby met me at the end and he can vouch for this - I’ve NEVER been sweatier in my whole life. By the end of the race, it was almost 80 degrees and something like 95% humidity. I was sopping 😂

The only thing I don’t like about Disney races is how long you wait in your corral early in the morning. Otherwise they’re generally well-run, with lots of hydration stops, and lots of on-course entertainments. I mentioned the photo-ops above, but for this one, they also had huge screens with clips from the Star Wars movies playing. Around mile 2, they dimmed all the lights and had lasers coming from the trees on either side of the road and it felt like being in a Star Wars battle! Plus you get to run THROUGH DISNEY WORLD. There are definitely more runDisney races in my future.

After the race, I hopped in the pool for a couple minutes. Felt great on my body, plus I wanted some photos of the swimsuit I made from the same fabric I used for my running top! Oh, and I ate a donut bigger than my face.

Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom - I wore another version of the Deer + Doe Zephyr, this time both the crop and skirt from another color of the Knitorious floral Star Wars fabric. I made hubs take a bunch of pictures. None of them are as great as I want because of crowds, but they’re cute enough (and life isn’t all about Instagrammable moments, I need to keep reminding myself of this!). He’s such a trooper for putting up with me asking for pictures every five minutes.

We had dinner at the House of Blues in Disney Springs (a little nostalgic since it’s where we got “engaged”) and did a little shopping, then ended the day at the Magic Kingdom again.

I went over 50,000 steps that day! Hubs said he could feel the bed sheet moving because my feet were throbbing when we finally went to bed 😂

Both outfit details:

Deer + Doe Zephyr top (and top and skirt) using Knitorious fabric - Lululemon Leggings (similar) - Aloha Ears on a Dad Hat - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes - Goodr sunglasses - Band Buttons

Day 5: 

We started early at Animal Kingdom because we wanted to do the two Avatar rides! Nathaniel hadn’t ever done them, and we didn’t have fast passes, so this was the best way to do it! My sister and I wore matching mermaid tops that I whipped up with my new Cricut Maker cutting machine! I used iron-on glitter vinyl on plain white crop tees I got at Target, and they turned out super cute!

We ate at Yak and Yeti that day, which is always a good idea - we highly recommend it! Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom where I got stuck by the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but ended up having the best view I’ve ever had because of it! Nathaniel also discovered the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game which was great because he’d beaten the Pirate scavenger hunt game, and needed another game to play.

We had dinner at ‘Ohana then headed to Hollywood Studios (in the rain, typical!) where we got to go to the new Toy Story Land and ride the Alien Saucers. It was fine, but not something I’d wait in a huge line to do. Maybe if I were with a small child. We had FastPasses to Toy Story Midway Mania, and then tried to get in line for Slinky Dog right after (just before park close), but it ended up shutting down for the evening. They did give us FastPasses for the next day, though, which was a good consolation.

We again ended the evening in Magic Kingdom. We got there during the fireworks and WALKED onto the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Never have I seen a line so short for it! My sister and I decided to go on Peter Pan as the wait wasn’t too crazy. They redid the queue to look like the Darling’s home, and there is an interactive game app to help pass the time now!

Mermaid outfit details:

White shirt from Target with iron-on’s made by me - Mermaid Leggings - Rainbow Ears - Make It Minnie Shell Necklace - Scrunchie

Day 6:

We started the day in Hollywood studios so we could go on Slinky Dog! I also got a Jack-Jack Num Num Cookie which is giant and delicious 😋 It was hot and humid that day, so wearing my Outdoor Voices polka dot workout dress was perfect. I had really wanted to see the Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian, so we stopped there next. We finished up our trip by going to the Magic Kingdom for some shopping and some more game-playing for Nathaniel. And Mickey ice cream bars in the rain. We took the latest flight out we could, again to optimize our time in the parks

Outfit details:

Outdoor Voices Workout Dress - Rose Gold Ears (new version) - Goodr sunglasses - Make It Minnie cloud necklace

This trip was super packed and yet we still missed plenty of my favorite attractions (Voices of Liberty, Imagination, Pooh). I think the race weekend definitely played a part in that - it’s hard to do everything and have enough energy to run and stay upright! But we had such a great time and I’m already itching to go back again. And maybe next time I can have handmade items everyday!

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Tied Bow Headband

I’ve been eyeing these gorgeous headbands from Rarity By Casey (because this adorable Disney Style blogger Styled by Magic swears by them) - but the shop is usually closed, presumably so she can stock up on product (it's all handmade!) then open it on a specific day - and that way she doesn’t stretch herself too thin. I’ve missed all the dates she’s opened since I discovered her, and then I realized that, while my attempts probably won’t yield the perfect results her customers have come to love, I could probably make something similar. PLUS I have a ton of fabric scraps that are just big enough for this type of project (and not much else), and I can also have matching accessories to go with pieces I already have. The idea really came to me as I was putting together a pair of Tania Culottes to wear to a wedding (blog coming soon) - why not also make a matching headband?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Headband you don’t mind covering up with fabric (like, don’t use something you love) - I used this $3 guy from Target, and am very happy with the results. You could go with those thinner, cheaper, fabric-covered ones, but I was thinking the sturdiness of the one I used would be better for this type of project. You could also use a thicker one, but you’d have to modify the size of your pattern pieces a bit
  • 17” x 3” piece of fabric for the headband covering
  • Optional: 17” x 3” piece of interfacing if your fabric is not very sturdy - I did this for the headband I made of this gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. rayon (I got mine at Fancy Tiger Crafts, but they only have this coral version left - which is also lovely!)
  • Two 14” x 3” pieces of fabric for the bow.
  • Optional: 14” x 3” piece of interfacing if your fabric is not very sturdy. You can do two pieces if you want the bow to be extra stiff, but I found interfacing just one side of the bow fabric was sufficient for me.
  1. Cut your fabric pieces. 
  2. Attach interfacing if you’re using it.
  3. Fold the longer fabric piece in half long ways and short ways, and round the edges - this softens the tips of the headband covering. (Picture of final shape below)
  4. Fold the shorter pieces like you did the longer one, and repeat. Also trim out a little of the inner fabric so where the bow gets tied is thinner. (Picture of final shape below)
  5. Sew up the long piece in a long tube, right sides together, leaving a hole at one end to insert the headband.
  6. Turn the tube right-side-out, then insert the headband.
  7. Sew up the hole you left to get the headband in - you can do this by hand for a cleaner look, but since this part of the headband hides behind your ears and in your hair, I decided to just use my machine to stitch it up.
  8. Place the two bow pieces right sides together, and stitch all the way around, leaving a hole big enough to turn right-side-out. I left my hole (a couple inches) in the thin part where you’ll be tying the knot so that the knot helps hide those stitches.
  9. Turn bow pieces right-sides-out and sew up the hole you left. Again, you can do it by hand or use your machine. I used my machine since this part was getting hidden by the knot of the bow.
  10. Tie the bow part around the headband. It can go in the center or to the side, whatever you like best! You can tie it once for a longer bow style, or you can loop it around a second time for a shorter bow and a bigger knot. I prefer the shorter bow, but both are cute depending on what look you’re going for. You can also change it up since you’re not permanently attaching the bow to the headband, just tying a loose knot.

This is a quick little project that can be interpreted many ways. You can mix and match the headband and bow fabrics. You could choose to square the edges of your bow so it’s a more traditional bow-tie shape. You could skip encasing the headband at all if you’ve got one you like already and just want to add a bow to it. It’s so quick, too, that after I made my first, the next day I decided to make a second (with this fun Star Wars fabric to match my quilted tote bag) as I waited for my sister to come hang out with me!

Of course, please support small businesses like Rarity by Casey - she really does seem to have perfected her headbands and she’s got an amazing assortment of cute fabrics to choose from. But if you’re waiting on bated breath for her to reopen her shop, and just can’t wait any longer (or if you’ve already got fabric and you need a headband to match your outfit), this quick little tutorial might be just what you’re looking for.

P.S. These could make GREAT Disneybound accessories!

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Quilted Tote Bag

Last month I went into Joann’s without much of an objective (and a cocktail loosening up my brain - don’t worry, hubby drove 😉). It had been a couple months since I had been in, and I might have gone a little crazy. I bought four nerdy fabrics that I had no specific purpose for, but knew I had to have because finding affordable Disney, Harry Potter and Star Wars fabric that is good for something other than kids or fleece blankets doesn’t always happen!

Photo by my incredibly talented friends, Adam Dooms (www.adamdoomsmedia.com) and Shelby Ilyse

Today’s post is going to focus on the project I came up with for this fun sugar skull Star Wars fabric (I don't see this specific fabric online, but there are quite a few fun options available on Joann's website right now). Usually I do things like skirts, but the style of this print reminded me of purses I’ve been seeing in Disney World (or more recently on Instagram, since I live in Colorado), so I decided to make a quilted tote bag - my attempt at a Vera Bradley style bag.

I have never quilted anything until this project, so I was a bit nervous, but I also figured that the print (with it’s black background) would be very forgiving with me using black thread.

I Googled around for some quilted bag tutorials, and the one I’m adapting from for this project is the Hushabye Tote. This tutorial has internal and external pockets, and says that this bag could work well as a diaper bag (note to self for future gifts). I decided to just make mine an extremely simple tote bag with no bells and whistles, though, because I’ve been wanting one to carry books/music/instruments to my weekly rehearsals. I was actually surprised with how “small” this bag turned out since the original poster said it would make a great diaper bag, and I made my fabric pieces slightly larger than they said to (about 16” squares). Maybe with the pockets it would be good for a diaper bag, but I think I would definitely make it a bit wider to be more similar to diaper bags I’ve seen women use. I also noticed that some tutorials mention putting cardboard in the bottom of the bag, but I decided not to do that, because I like the idea of being able to throw the bag in the washer and dryer (which I might have had to do already, because I spilled chile on it).

So without further ado, here’s how I made my adorable new tote purse!

Supplies:

  • Outer fabric (~½ yard) - This was the Star Wars fabric for me
  • Lining fabric (~½ yard) - You could use the same fabric as your outer, but I went with a plain black quilting cotton
  • Fusible fleece (1 ⅓ yards)
  • Medium-heavyweight fusible interfacing (1 yard)
  • Matching thread (or contrasting, depending on the look you’re going for!)
  1. Wash and iron your fabric. 
  2. Cut two 16” squares of your main fabric, lining fabric, fusible fleece and fusible interfacing. (Note: some my pictures show a rectangle because I was considering making a longer bag, but decided to cut it down after I had finished step 7)
  3. Cut a strip of your main fabric that is ~4” by 42”, and a strip of fusible fleece that is 2.5” by 42”. This is for your strap.
  4. Press the strap fabric in half, then line up the fusible fleece strip down the middle and iron into place. Re-press the strip in half, then press the extra fabric over the fleece on either side.
  5. Sew three seams down the strap piece lengthwise. Cut it in half to make two straps.
  6. Iron the interfacing to the lining, and the fusible fleece to the outer fabric.
  7. Quilt the outer fabric and fleece as desired. I did 1” squares (ish) on the diagonal. They’re not perfect, but the print of the fabric was very forgiving.
  8. Attach one strap each to the right side of the fabric, about 4” from the edges of the fabric, using a scant ¼” stitch (so it lies inside your seam allowance later).
  9. Place the outer pieces right sides together and stitch up the sides and bottom.
  10. Cut out 3” squares from the bottom corners, and box them. Grab the right angles of each piece, and pull them away from each other, which flattens the fabric, giving you a more-or-less straight edge, which you then sew up (I had to google around to fully understand what boxing entailed. It’s not hard, but it’s hard to describe. That's why I’m including pictures!)
  11. Sew the lining pieces right sides together on the sides and bottom, but leave a 6” or larger gap at the bottom, which you will use to turn the bag right-side out.
  12. Box the corners of the lining.
  13. Turn the lining right-side out and place inside the quilted bag (which is still inside out). Line up the seams on the side, and pin in place. Sew all the way around.
  14. Turn bag right side out by pulling through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining.
  15. Stitch up the hole in the lining. If you really care, you can do it by hand, but I figured since I was using black fabric, black thread, and this sat at the bottom of my bag (which hopefully no one will look at too closely), I just used my machine.
  16. Top-stitch all the way around the top of the bag.

The finished product! 

This whole project only took me a few hours (spread out over two evenings), and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! It was a happy accident that it ended up being smaller than I thought, because it works very well for a roomy tote-style purse. I showed it to my parents and both of them were surprised I had made it - which, considering my mom loves Disney bags and I’d never made anything like this before, is high praise!

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