Overwear, Underwear, Any Time, Anywhere Lace High-Low Top

This next craft was certainly unexpected. I bought some lace on sale to make the Robin Sparkles Jean Jacket for a Make It Monday segment but had no plans for using it afterwards. And you know I can’t just not use fabric that’s hanging around the house!

Don’t you just love this floral lace?

I was out shopping the other day and noticed that practically every store has their take on the high-low (slightly cropped in the front, trailing slightly in the back) blouse, many in lace.

Like this one found on Amazon (from GO Jane, as one of our terrific readers pointed out! I love the contrast of length with this one)

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Or this one from Forever 21, a bit more restrained but still cute.

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While perusing Pinterest, I stumbled upon Cotton & Curls, a wonderful DIY blog, and her “Super Easy Square Top!” It was exactly what I was looking for, a super easy way to make a shirt with any material. And what better material than the adorable lace I already had? I decided to switch up the how-to a smidge in order to make a high-low top and here’s how!

First thing’s first, I had to cut a rectangle of lace out. I didn’t use any specific measurements, just held it up to my chest and gauged how wide it would need to be to fit, then added a few more inches on each side to be careful.

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I then folded the fabric, putting the right sides together, until the front was significantly shorter than the back. I then pinned the fabric, leaving about a fourth of the top unpinned on both sides. These would be the armholes. I also cut a neckline, and a little off the back to make a nice neck hole.

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Because my thread perfectly matched the material, I zigzagged the side seams down, then zigzagged over that, to ensure it would stay together. This is what it looked like at that point. See, already shirt-like!

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As per the instructions on Cotton & Curls, I folded the neck portion down twice, just to make certain that there would be no unraveling. However, I didn’t do that with the arm hems or the bottom, simply because I think sewing over it twice was sufficient. For the hems, I did a straight stitch.

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My workplace. As you can see, I had my iPad blaring the whole time, rocking to Bon Jovi, Queen, and Billy Joel. Love Pandora!

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In order to make the high-low work, I trimmed the back to make it more circular, and pinned the front to the back in a diagonal fashion. This probably sounds ridiculous but I can’t explain any better. I then hemmed it down! After this picture, I ironed down the edges, putting a cotton shirt on top just to make certain I didn’t put too much heat on the lace.

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This could be my favorite craft yet! I can’t wait to pair it with just about everything in my closet, dresses, turtlenecks, tanks, you name it! Since I had nothing better to do today, I decided to put a couple of looks together for you!

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For the first look, I paired the top with a dusty rose Fossil tank; cropped, fitted Old Navy brown trousers; and leopard printed H&M flats. I also wore my hair up in a bun, using spare lace as a headband, and wore clip-on rose earrings from Forever 21.

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Same look but with G Star Raw skinny jeans.

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For this look, I switched into my Sam & Libby Fiddler boots and did an impromptu braid with the same piece of lace. I tied the lace onto a segment of hair, braided it, then used that braid as the third piece of standard braid. I also wore a golden leave necklace I bought a few years ago at Bijou in Germany.

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These aren’t that drastically different but show you a little of what you can do with this versatile piece! I hope you enjoyed this DIY as much as I did and would love to see your take on the high-low trend!

Talk To The Hand Maxi Skirt

I fell in love with this green, pink, neutral floral. Despite the fact that I couldn’t wear the dress it was attached to!

Have you ever bought something based solely on your love of, oh, let’s say its floral pattern, only to realize that it is two sizes too small? And you wore the item, let’s say a maxi dress, under sweaters and button-down shirts to hide the fact that you couldn’t zip it?

No?

I guess I must be the only person to do that. I just had to get this dress from H&M last year, knowing full well that I would not be able to wear it. Every time I did manage to wear it, I received compliments. Go figure.

Since there is a trend of turning maxi dresses to maxi skirts, I decided it was high time to do the same with this dress. Now my favorite, unwearable skirt will be my favorite, constantly worn skirt! Here’s how!

As you can see, the dress was just too cute to pass up. That and five euros on sale meant I had to nab it. On to the chopping!

 

Honestly, there is nothing easier than this DIY. Simply cut the dress around the natural waist. You will then fold over once, sewing a straight line about an inch down but do not sew completely around. Leave a small hole. With elastic, measure how large (or how small) your waist is. Cut the elastic to that size. Put a safety pin on the elastic and feed it through the hole.

After you have gotten the elastic through completely, sew the two ends of the elastic together. Then sew the hole up! And then you are done! Seriously that easy!

 

I love the ’90s look, skirts with combat boots. I feel like I should be an extra in “Before Sunrise.” Or “Buffy.” We should bring back some ’90s phrases. Like, “take a chill pill.” Or “you go, girl.” But say it in a way that we’re winking at it?

 

Love the new skirt! I’ll pair it with just about anything now!

 

Make It Mondays: Omigod You Five Guys Apron

I love using a restaurant’s shirt to make an apron for home. The unfinished apron as modeled by myself.

Of all the foods in the world, burgers are my eighth favorite. Right after lamb, chocolate, ostrich, beef Wellington, moussaka, ice cream, and caramels. In that order, I believe. I have had spectacular burgers and atrocious ones. The best ones I’ve ever had have, naturally, been homemade. We grind our own meat, which makes a far better burger. I may do a burger for the blog, just to share my love.

 

I had to preface this Make It Monday craft with that little tidbit. If you haven’t had Five Guys, you are missing out. Yes, it is ridiculously greasy and may put you in a food coma. But something about it just screams America to me. It is far better than most fast food burger joints, allowing you to add fixings like grilled mushrooms (yummy!).

 

I came by this Five Guys shirt through my brother, who used to work there. I snatched it up, thinking I would take it in and girly-fy it. Monday morning came around and I had nada for the blog. While on the way to the fabric store to get thread for several other projects, I suddenly remembered a t-shirt apron featured on Ruffles & Stuff, via Pinterest. It was perfect! I decided to spin off that idea and, since the shirt was ginormous on me, make a full apron.

 

The back of the shirt was so excellent, I couldn’t have asked for more. I love the placement and size of the phrase.

 

First thing I did was use my seam ripper to take the sleeves off. I had big plans for these, as you shall see.

 

I then chopped the back from the first, making a large rectangle of fabric.

 

To make an apron, I folded the rectangle in half and cut a triangle at the approximate spot of my chest.

 

Using the back of the shirt, I cut two identical strips the entire length of the shirt. They were about three inches wide. I then pinned them to hem, just making the sides nice. The third piece was for the neck. I cut a piece about five inches shorter than the others, and sewed a straight stitch down the side before flipping it inside out.

 

Next came the pinning. I pinned the neck piece to the top, and each of the tie pieces to one of the sides. I also sewed down the sides, to ensure clean lines. At this point I took a picture of myself wearing the apron. You are more than free to stop at this point, if you don’t want any pockets. I just figured, I have the material, might as well!

 

I then decided to put the sleeves on the bottom of the apron. I could have cut them into squares but I rather liked the trapezoidal shape.

 

My lovely model, my mother, showing off the finished project. She then proceeded to wear it while making a homemade mushroom soup and pretzel rolls. I love when things actually get used!

 

What is your favorite burger place? What shirt would you use for this Make It Monday?

 

Halloween Conundrum

Halloween is far and above my favorite holiday. It could be that it was the only time my mother let me leave the house dressed as a princess or Batgirl as a child. It could be the candy. Theatre always appealed to my love of dressing up.

This year, I was considering a Marvel-inspired costume, like Jean Grey/ Marvel Girl from the ’70s or Rogue. However, when the local fabric store had everything 70% and I saw this Butterick pattern, it was love at first sight. I found a gorgeous blue satin (I actually wanted an emerald green but settled) and a golden brocade for the underskirt. And that’s when the problems started: just who am I going to be for Halloween???

I’m going with the pattern on the left; it will be form fitting yet modest, perfect for either a party or just handing out candy!

The lighting doesn’t do the fabrics justice. Each has a richness that will be perfect for the costume.

The pattern is medieval, narrowing the choices only slightly. I have two major loves: the Arthurian myths and “Game of Thrones.” So here is where I’d like your feedback:

With my brown/auburn hair and blue eyes and sense of family, House Tully is a perfect fit. I was thinking of making a Catelyn Tully costume, perhaps something she would have worn to meet Brandon Stark. I would make a Tully fish-embroidered belt for this costume.

Margaery Tyrell: lovely yet slightly dangerous. Far more intelligent than other characters give her credit, Margaery is certainly a possibility in terms of costuming. I would have fun making a stag and rose belt for the Baratheon and Tyrell houses.

Morgan le Fay has always been a favorite character of mine but Eva Green’s rendition in “Camelot” was a favorite. I tend to gravitate towards the more villainous characters, which is why I am hesitant to choose her.

Igraine, Arthur’s mother, is another possibility. As with Catelyn, I would make a younger version of the character, certainly prior to her marriage to Uther. In terms of the pattern, this is the closest of the four choices.

Anyone would be fun to make/ play. I’d love any suggestions!

Boys of Summer Have Gone But Not These Shorts

Every so often, you find fabric that you absolutely love but have no idea what to do with it. Now, if it’s full-price, then I recommend walking away. But when it’s a buck for a yard, how can you refuse?

This was the case with a terrific navy-white print cotton I found earlier this summer. I only bought a yard, intending to make a skirt of some kind. When I stumbled on This Big Oak Tree, I switched gears and made her one-yard shorts. This was the first time I made shorts of any kind but she made it seem dreadfully easy! I won’t give all of the instructions, considering how well she described each step. I did, however, take tons of pictures. I haven’t worn the shorts yet but I have plans to pair them with mustard-colored tights and brown oxford heels. Any other styling suggestions?

I was able to use a pair of existing shorts to make the pattern, rather than taking one apart as Amy of This Big Oak Tree did. Either way is sufficient!

Both pattern pieces prior to chopping.

The next part requires that you sew down the curve of the shorts. Put both back pieces together, making certain that the patterns match if using patterned material.

And the same with the back portion. Only down the curved section!

Next you will need to sew the leg portion. Her instructions are far better than my own, so please check hers out!

You will now sew the side seams. Again, if using a pattern, try to match them up and only use one continuous stitch, for the best looking shorts.

Hem the bottom of the shorts if they are the proper length. I did not take pictures while putting the elastic in. I simply sewed down the top a little wider than the elastic itself. Next, I put a safety pin on the elastic and pulled it all the way through that sewed down flap area.

I also forgot to take pictures of the belt portion until I had already sewn it down. Unlike Amy over at This Big Oak Tree, I did not fold the belt in half but like how it looks almost like an obi belt. Check her details for how to make the belt and sew it to the back of the shorts. I will put a picture up once I actually wear them to show you how they look!

Butters Stotch’s Butterscotch Blondies

Pretty sure Butters would love these lovely little blondies.

Butterscotch always fills me with glee. The flavor is distinct, and holds its own again any combination of flavorings. When I was little, I loved having hot fudge and butterscotch topped sundaes. It brings all sorts of gooey, nostalgic feelings out in me.

 

And then, Butters Stotch is my favorite character on “South Park.”

 

 

If you have never had a blondie, it is the non-chocolate equivalent of a brownie. You want the same thick yet gooey texture as a brownie but with a milder flavor. The original recipe for these blondies had no butterscotch (travesty!) and used brewer’s malt to make a malted dessert. I also upped the recipe, to ensure large blondies. This was a huge hit with my household, and there were enough blondies to last about two days, a rare event indeed.

 

Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito page 129

 

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

21 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 5/8 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (or 2 ½ + 1/8)

3 large eggs

3 tsp vanilla extract

1 bag butterscotch chips

½ cup (or 1 small bag) toasted walnuts, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish.

 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

 

I may have a slight sifting addiction. Anybody know a cure?

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely combined.

Cutting the butter into small pieces eases your job a little when creaming butter and sugars.

Scrap down the bowl well. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating to combine.

 

See how glossy that is? Just where you want it.

Add the flour mixture in two batches and beat until just combined.

Now’s the part of the show where you might think, “This is waaaay too thick!” Nope, stick with it!

Add the butterscotch and walnuts and beat until just combined. This won’t take you long at all, maybe five to ten seconds.

Oh, the butterscotch is hiding. Not for long, you delicious chips, you.

This will be a very thick mixture at this point. Pour/ use a spatula to transfer the mixture to the buttered pan. Use the spatula to spread the mixture out.

I’d tell you the dimensions of the pan I used but I’d have to measure it and all that jazz. Too much work. Suffice it to say, use a large pan.

 

In just a couple of minutes, those edges will be nice and browned.

 

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center of the pan and remains clean when pulled out.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to buy larger pants, because these are too addictively wonderful.

See what I mean?

Make It Monday: Robin Sparkles Jean Jacket

I made it to two Make It Mondays in a row! Yahoo! I failed to take a plethora of pictures but this should be sufficient proof of its awesomeness.

If you can sing “Let’s Go To The Mall,” “Sandcastles in the Sand,” or “The Beaver Song,” then you’re alright in my book. Probably not in hers, though.

 

If you have any questions about the making of, let me know!

 

This next craft is one that has been over five years in the making. I bought this jean jacket at a store in Giessen, Germany when I was fifteen or sixteen, and so did another friend. They were far too large for either of us but we both wanted cool jean jackets and they were five euros. Perfect for hanging out and traveling Europe.

Argh, this is the blurriest picture ever. Curse you, camera phone! Maybe one day I’ll update to a real one.

But the jacket was not exactly my style. The sleeves and hem had a navy-orange athletic- inspired elastic material. Needless to say, I knew at that time that I needed to change it up but how?

 

Flash forward to 2012: while browsing Amazon, I realized I would love to have a new jean jacket. How could I best change the one I already had? I decided to buy lace and either cover or remove the elastic bands.

 

First thing’s first, I had to remove the seams of the sleeve cuffs. The existing cuffs already went past my knuckles, so it was now a perfect length.

Already looking less haggard.

Next, I had to change the largest portion of the jacket: the bottom hem. My mother brilliantly suggested that I remove only the front portion of the elastic hem, as the back was only navy and would not be obvious when covered with lace as the orange would. Then I pinned the lace to it, overlapping at the top to create a cleaner look.

Pre-lace showtime.

And post-lace! It already looks more girly and Ashley-face certified.

I then cut simple cuffs for the sleeves out of the lace. I whip-stitched the material to the jacket.

Finally, I thought I might put a bit of lace trim on the jacket. It didn’t look quite right. Instead, I decided to cover the brass button on the jacket pockets. Adorable!

This is a tiny change, I know, but it softens the brass coloring of the jacket. The smallest details make a craft!

In the end, it was an evening long craft that completely transformed the look of the jacket from an oversized athletic one to an almost ’80s vintage one. Which is one of my favorite eras. Reminds me of Robin Sparkles from “How I Met Your Mother.” “How’s aboot I… sing you a song?!”

I love the new-old jacket and hope you do too!