Sara Bareilles Outfit

Simple skirts with elastic waist bands are so satisfying to make.  They are incredibly easy (15-30 minutes), great for using up your fabric stash, and something that is actually very useful.  Little e would wear skirts and dresses every day of the week if I let her.  As such, having a large stash of these skirts that she pairs with button downs, fitted t-shirts, and cardigans is very handy.  It is also one of the rare sewing projects that makes economic sense, as well.  Often, it’s cheaper to buy a ready-made outfit than spend the time and money on fabric and sewing.  However, being that these skirts use only 1 yard of fabric and are so easy and quick to make, it makes me extra happy to be able to put my sewing skills to use and save some money while making a unique outfit.


E commented that I dressed little e like Sara Bareilles, hence the title of this post.  The chambray shirt is from Target and was only $14.99.  As for the short boots, I did finally splurge on them from Nordstrom for $69.95 and they are so worth it.  They go with a lot of her winter dresses and skirts.  In fact, I tried on a size 6 (largest girl size) myself, but they were a bit tight.  Otherwise, I would have totally bought a matching pair.


The fabric my sister picked up when she was in Tokyo.  It is a cotton fabric with thin white and beige stripes and is a bit crinkly, which adds a little bit of texture.  I didn’t make a lining for this skirt because the fabric was thick enough but I plan to make one out of thin Liberty fabric and will need to add a lining to that.  When shopping at Nordstrom for the boots, I was inspired by this liberty print skirt from peek that was probably like $50. Granted that Liberty fabric is like $36 per yard, the $50 price tag makes sense, but it still feels good to make the skirt for less and also enjoy the sewing process.  Plus, wouldn’t a liberty print skirt look great paired with little e’s new boots and a fall cardigan?


It’s off to the sewing studio for me.



Pouches for our Soccer Team

Being a soccer mom is brand new for me.  I am probably one of the most sedentary people in the world and could not have any less interest in sports, either playing or watching.  In fact, I had a Chinese Herbalist tell me that my body type is not suited for exercise, which validated my feelings of dislike for any type of physical exertion.  OK, maybe I’m being extreme.  I am quite health conscious  so I do like to take walks.

So how in the world did little e end up playing soccer this year and I end up taking her to two practices each week and 1 to 2 games each weekend?  I don’t know.  It was all E’s ploy. He convinced me that it would be so beneficial for little e to learn how to work with a team, become more comfortable around other people, be disciplined, learn how to encourage other team members, and make good friends.  Somehow, I am now a soccer mom and I actually get excited and cheer for our team, which is, by the way, ranked #2 in our league.  See, how proud I am?

The families take turns providing after game snacks for the girls and they usually get a brown paper bag filled with a drink, fruit, and some chips or salty snack.  I thought it would be fun for me and little e to sew fabric pouches for the girls with their team name embroidered on it and put the snacks in there.  My preliminary searches for embroidery machines resulted in ones that were $1000+, way too expensive for my purposes.  Finally, a week before our turn to provide snacks, I came up with the idea to write their team name with puffy fabric paint.  The only problem is that my hand writing is not great and I thought it would come out looking like a 5 year old’s school project.  Thankfully, one of my friends helped (hers are the nice ones) while I did a few because we were running out of time.


I used a canvas fabric my mom brought back from Taiwan and picked up some braided rope-like string from Joanne’s.  That string was actually rather expensive, about $2 a yard and I needed about 1.25 yards per pouch.  Good thing I had the 50% off coupon so it brought the price down to $1 per yard.  However, I didn’t have enough for 2 pouches so I went to Michael’s and found a whole spool worth (10 yards) for $1.  It wasn’t quite as nice, but for the cost, it was a great deal.  I plan on making a lot more pouches so I’ll remember to go to Michael’s from now on.

They are not lined but the insides are nicely finished with the serger.  I love that thing!


Here they are all stuffed with food.  E had the task of getting food and we got nutella sticks, pirate’s booty cheese puffs, organic juice, fruit jellies and fresh strawberries (which could also be dipped into the nutella.)   I think the girls were pretty happy!  They were playing against the number 1 ranked team in the league and they lost, the first game they lost all season.  They were a bit bummed so I was happy that the pouches brightened their day for a moment.

So just a few days ago, I decided to look further into embroidery machines and found this one for only $299 at Staples.  With an additional 20% off coupon, I got it at $240 and it just arrived on my doorstep today.  Little e and I can’t wait to break that open.  I will be embroidering everything!  Towels, shirts, pouches, bags, you name it!  William Sonoma now has that Mark and Graham store where everything is monogrammed .  That website is giving me a lot of inspiration for things to make.  Little e has volunteered to read through the instructions and set things up.  Let the monogramming begin!

Altered Boho Dress

I bought this dress probably 8 years ago at a sample sale for $10.  I liked the dusty rose color, and have always admired how my friend looks in her flow-y long dresses.  However, it just did not look good on me.  I have long legs and a short torso and this dress turned out to be too short on me, the bottom hem hitting around my ankles.  The cut of the arm holes also made my arms looked fat. But somehow it survived multiple rounds of purging, staying in my closet for years and years, worn maybe once or twice, and each time making me feel uncomfortable in it, like I just didn’t look right.

Then, I started sewing lessons with little e, mainly just because I wanted to give her sewing teacher more hours since she had to take the trouble of driving more than 30 minutes to our house.  In the beginning, she suggested that I learn how to alter clothes, taking little e’s old clothing, and altering them to extend their wear.  I immediately thought of my dusty rose boho dress.


Here it is, altered for little e.  I am so happy with it.  It was easy to do and fits her perfectly. I just took in the shoulder straps, which also reduced the armholes  to just the right size, and then also pulled in the sides under her armpit.  Lastly, I pulled up the dress a little at the waist and that was it.  In these pictures which I just took, the dress is already getting a little short on her as it’s been a year since the alterations, but all I have to do is rip out the seam I sewed around the waist to let down the dress.  It’ll take less than 5 minutes since I’m such a good ripper, now.   =)


Little e was being a goofball and making weird poses.  Little c was jumping into a lot of the pictures, too, but I finally got a few that I could post.  I’m not sure what she’s doing here but I thought it showed off the bottom of the dress nicely.  It’s flow-y so she can walk around comfortably in it, and a unique dress for a child her age.  She loves it because it’s long and nearly touches the ground, kind of like what a princess would wear.  I love that I was able to find some use for this dress and think this looks lovely on her.  In fact, she wore it for her school pictures last year.


I believe the bottom of this dress material is double gauze, a material that I’ve been researching the last few days.  It’s basically two layers of gauze sewed together to give it a little bit more structure and is the same type of material made popular by the company aden and anais for their swaddles and burp clothes.  It’s a light weight material that is breathable and soft, perfect for night gowns like the one I made previously for little e.  I originally thought it was called muslin but apparently, in the US, it’s called double gauze.  I found so many pretty ones that now, I’m planning to make a night gown for myself.  Hopefully, I’ll get to that soon.


For now I should go dig into my pile to donate clothes and see if more can be modified for little e.