RTW Looks You Can Sew Yourself

The funny thing about being a sewist is that when sponsored ads pop up while I’m scrolling Instagram or other platforms, they catch my interest for reasons the marketers aren’t exactly going for: Rather than jumping to add the item to my cart, I often jump to thinking about sewing patterns that are similar to the design.

That line of thinking inspired today’s post!

Today I’ll be sharing eight ready-to-wear looks sold by popular fashion retailers that you can replicate using existing sewing patterns. One of my favorite features of this post: all of the sewing patterns featured are from indie designers!

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The Canny Pattern from Addie K

Oh, boy am I excited to share this post with you today!

I had the honor of being a pattern tester for Addie K‘s The Canny tunic. There are so many great things I want to tell you about this pattern!

But first I’ll tell you that the pattern launched today on Craftsy at a stellar discount (so grab it now!) – check it out here. {PS: Guess who’s one of the models?! Yours truly…and blushing – I’m so honored!}

It’s the perfect project if you are wanting to dip your toes into garment making or if you want practice working with knits (stretchy fabric can be quite scary [and frustrating] when it comes to sewing, but Addie has some great tips to help you out – read them here).

It’s even perfect for an experienced sewer who is looking for the most comfortable outfit ever [just add leggings!].

{Photo credit: Addie Martindale}

{Photo credit: Addie Martindale}

After reading one of the most eye-opening posts about women’s fashion recently [find the seriously amazing post from Crab & Bee here], I decided I was ready to venture back into garment making.

A friend sent me the link to apply to be a pattern tester for Addie K‘s new tunic pattern and after reading the details I knew I wanted IN on that project!

And lucky me: Addie accepted me!

The pattern is amazing! It has only 2 pieces – which let me define what that means: less pattern piecing and taping (read: less time prepping), no separate sleeve attachment (my gosh…have you ever attached a sleeve?!), and something you’d consider making multiple times (proof below!).

Fangirl moment: I got to meet Addie last week & she's quickly become one of my favorite people! This is a picture of us at a shop-in on Sunday - I couldn't wait to show her my 2nd version of the Canny (pictured here) - AND check out her tunic: it's another pattern she's working on that I'm anxiously awaiting trying out!!

Fangirl moment: I got to meet Addie last week & she’s quickly become one of my favorite people! This is a picture of us at a shop-in on Sunday – I couldn’t wait to show her my 2nd version of the Canny (pictured here) – AND check out her tunic: it’s another pattern she’s working on that I’m anxiously awaiting!

Addie recommends using a twin needle for the project. At first I was a little skeptical (because what is that?!), but I read her post about using twin needles and felt a little more confident. I busted out my machine’s manual and – lo and behold – not only was my machine fully capable of using a twin needle, it even came with one!

twin needle

Twin needle in place – you can even seen some of my funky stitching from testing it out!

Using twin needles creates a professional hem for your garment that allows stretching (and in my little experience appears to be much sturdier than a plain zig zag). So before you get started, read Addie’s tips for using twin needles and give it a try!

The style is loose enough to be super comfortable, but not so frumpy it’s unflattering. Here are a few more pictures of how mine turned out:

the canny



There’s a cute story for how I came upon this pretty mint and peach patterned fabric: I came home one day to find a giant bag full of fabric on my door step. Inside the bag was a little collection of handmade cards:


My neighbor has 3 precious little girls. Each of them had colored me a card thanking me for being such a great neighbor (which melted my heart!). They had found the fabric while thrift shopping earlier in the day and wanted me to have it.

Obviously I had to make these little sweethearts something special out of it. Remember those infinity scarves I showed you during the Handmade for the Holidays Blog Hop? Yep, those 3 went right over to those sweet little girls!

If you do anything today, I hope you go buy The Canny tunic pattern from Addie K – you won’t regret it! Addie has worked so hard designing this pattern and it really shows in how amazing the final product is (and how easy the instructions are to follow!). By purchasing the pattern you’re supporting a small (local!) indie pattern designer’s creative dream! 🙂

Find the Canny pattern here. Happy sewing!

Thrifted Thursday: Getting Started

This is the first of [*hopefully*] many future posts that I’ll try to save for Thursdays. I can’t promise I’ll have enough for every Thursday, but wouldn’t that be fun?

Long ago I worked at a thrift store which ignited my passion for thrifting. I’ve never been afraid to dig through trash to find treasure because I have seen the reward! One time someone donated a brand new (tags still on it!) mustard yellow “The Lauren” Hobo wallet. At the time I didn’t know it was as valuable as it was I just knew I loved the yellow leather and all the pockets (I’ve always had a thing for functional bags) so I snagged it for myself. A friend googled it and informed of the value so of course my dog ate it a few weeks later.

I’m going to use these posts to tell you all about what I found while thrifting – be it really stellar furniture, weird knick knacks or vintage clothes! I hope they’ll inspire you stop by your local thrift store for an upcycling project.

Last Friday I dropped my dog off for a bath and shots (a double whammy – I did not get elected for Mom-of-the-year that day) and headed in the direction of the craft store to pick up a few pieces of hardware for a purse I am planning to make for my sister.

Welp. Next thing I know my car had skidded (literally.. it was a snap decision plus it was raining..) into the Goodwill parking lot. Brian Williams did a Nightly News report not so long ago about how little Goodwill was paying their disable employees (they found a loophole in the Fair Pay Act and decided to exploit it) so I’ve been on a Goodwill strike. I’m ashamed to admit that’s where I ended up for thrifting, but I’m trying to be honest here. At least the staff at this store were super friendly (thus, I’m justifying that I like supporting this store’s staff 😉 ).

First, I saw this amazing vintage love seat sized sofa:

Even with the ceiling fan cluttering my picture, you can tell this is a BEAUTY!

Even with the ceiling fan cluttering my picture, you can tell this is a BEAUTY!

The green crushed velvet literally made my heart skip a beat. {I admit that I petted it for a minute or two…} I so wish I had a good excuse to take that sucker home with me because it was only $55. Aside from the slightly droopy cushions, it was in perfect condition. It was even a sleeper sofa with a fold-out mattress inside.

I’m sinking into not-buying-guilt so let’s proceed on.

Last week my friend and former (if we don’t work together can he still be my current? Because he’s awesome) Work Hubs sent me an email titled “6 grandma trends you want to try TODAY” (he knows me SO well!). Enclosed was a link to a Refinery 29 post justifying my desire to become “old lady chic” as Markessce (Works Hubs) puts it.

My favorite quote from the list of Old Lady Style Tricks: “One important style lesson worth learning is old folks sacrifice their comfort for no one” – YES.

My closet is primarily made up of elastic waist skirts and loose dresses so I’m half way to living this fashion rule in my mid-twenties {and I don’t hate it.}

I was so inspired to embrace my inner old lady I almost went for it with this polyester stretchy workin’ girl outfit:


Imagine this: shoulder pads & lace collar embellishment removed. Plus, my promise to never wear the top & bottom at the same time. Wouldn’t be so bad, huh?

The black and white floral print was a little busy, but the super soft light weight fabric, elastic waist of the skirt and sweet scalloped bottom of the blouse had the pair riding around in my buggy until I decided at last minute to leave them for the next lucky shopper.

I did take home 2 dresses that won’t require much (if any) refashioning.

The first is this mint polyester, stretchy dress with a slouchy bust line.

I think my tennis shoes really bring out the color. Don't you?

I think my tennis shoes really bring out the color. Don’t you?

I appreciate the fact that this dress came with a matching tie to add some jazz to the waist. (And I love bows.)

I’m trying to get behind the slouchy neckline, but it’s possible I may have to figure out how to change it because I’m still not totally feeling it.

One of the shoulders has 4 buttons and hoops that hold the dress closed. Only one of the buttons still maintained the original fabric cover so I picked up a pack of 4 plastic pearl colored buttons to replace them. A few of the hoops were a little loose so I’ve got a bit of repair work to do, but otherwise this dress is not in dire need of refashioning.

Second up is this adorable mint colored house dress!

mint house dress 1

Mint is fast becoming my favorite color (and all these years I thought it was pink…).

If it has a zipper down the back, is it really a house dress? That seems a bit fancy for something one lays around the house in. Doesn’t matter either way because I’m going to pretend it’s fancy enough to add a belt + a few snazzy accessories and wear to work. 😉

The sweet ruffled neckline and cinched shoulders are my favorite part! (Of course they are because there’s really not much else to this simple number)

Here's a close-up so you can appreciate the ruffled detail :)

Here’s a close-up so you can appreciate the ruffled detail 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram, I already ruined the surprise of my first refashion.

BUT – next week I’m going to reveal the [almost] step-by-step on how I performed the surgery (err…I mean: refashion).

Plus – I’ve got another refashion coming down the pipe line that involves one dress and TWO totally revamped closet staples.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Welcome Butterfly Vintage to the Blogosphere!

I met Emily while visiting the Soda City market (our local pop-up street market that happens every Saturday on Main St – it’s the kind of thing that makes me LOVE Columbia!). As soon as my eyes saw her racks of vintage goodies, my body took over and next thing I knew I was frantically screaming “I want this! And this!” while my husband rolled his eyes in the background and pleaded silently to leave.

Here's me & Emily at the market in Sept 2013!

Here’s me & Emily at the market in Sept 2013!

Since then our friendship has blossomed and she’s become so much more than my clothing supplier. As you’ll see on her blog, Emily wears many hats! Before moving to Columbia, she taught art to high school students in Tennessee. Since I now work in the field of education, I try to bounce ideas off of her (and my sister!) to gain some teacher perspective. She’s always willing to listen to my geek speak – thus, she’s a fabulous friend in my book. In addition, Emily has also become my fellow craft-a-holic friend who can helps inspire my creativity. She’s just the best!

And while I could go on and on about how cool Emily is (and how you should follow her blog so you too can soak up some of her awesomeness), I’ll leave you with a collection of selfies showcasing my BFY vintage staples!

1950s sheer purple floral top with rhinestone buttons & a bow! Yes, please!

1950s sheer purple floral top with rhinestone buttons & a bow! Yes, please! (Even if it did cause my husband did call me “Little Bow Peep” that morning.. :))

The ruffles on this sheer blue top make me swoon every time I wear it!

The ruffles on this sheer blue top make me swoon every time I wear it!

She even keeps my hair stylish with her pretty hairbows made from vintage fabric scraps!

She even keeps my hair stylish with her pretty hairbows made from vintage fabric scraps!

This rainbow dress remains one of my favorites!

And last – this rainbow dress remains one of my favorites!

If you’re local, stop by the Soda City market this Saturday (April 26) to check out all of Emily’s vintage goodies! She’ll have the dress below (I just finished converting it to a mini-dress!) that is would be the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe!

Here's a dress I repaired for BFY Vintage - it's a glamorous mini-dress now!

Here’s a dress I repaired for BFY Vintage – it’s a glamorous mini-dress now!