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{Butterick 5526} Pink Plaid Flannel

I used to buy button-up blouses when I first started working because it was the easiest way for me to feel professional in such a conservative setting (I work in the engineering field). I didn't mind the weekly pile of ironing although I did mind the fading colors of my cotton blouses after one too many washes. Over the years my patience with ironing has waned to zero and now I can't remember the last time I bought a button-up blouse. These days I tend to favor the easier pull-on blouses, either the breezy, silk-like ones or knit tops. Ones that don't require a lot of pressing. Ones that don't require such precise fitting.

Another reason I have strayed from buying button-up blouses is that once I started to focus on fit, I realized they weren't fitting all that well. Even the blouses in the petites section don't fit me well. Even though I've been sewing for several years,I put off trying to make my own because they looked like so much work. But after making a couple McCall's 6696 shirt dresses, I realized it wouldn't be so bad after all.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid//Side

Sorry for the derp/bitch face above, not sure what I was thinking when the camera clicked. But this side view shows all the extra fabric pooling at the base of my back. I think I need to either take out width from the center back (grading to zero at the bottom of the yoke) or do a swayback adjustment....anyone have any suggestions?

I bought Butterick 5526 because Lauren of Lladybird has made so many that I wish were in my closet. I didn't want to tackle a close-fitting blouse on my first try, so I made View A, which is a looser fit blouse with sleeve tabs to keep your sleeves rolled up! It looks very similar to the Grainline Archer, which I don't have, but have seen many wonderful versions. I decided to use this opportunity to try my hand at matching plaid. I bought a fairly inexpensive pink, black, and white plaid from Jo-Ann Fabrics and, as I had expected, the fabric was tricky to work with. It was not perfectly on grain and the fabric kept stretching very easily in all directions when I tried matching the plaid.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Cuff

I made a new sleeve pattern because the original had so much ease in the sleeve head and at the time of making it I could not understand for the life of me how one "eased in" the sleeve head. Since making this shirt, I have made it again and I did some research into how to ease in a sleeve head and now I totally get it.

Overall I really like this pattern. Unfortunately, the shirt doesn't quite fit well enough that I'm 100% comfortable wearing it out buttoned up all the way. My full bust measurement is about 33.5"-34", but the blouse bust measurement is 34.5" so it's definitely too tight. You can't tell in the photos because I'm not standing super straight, but the blouse is pulling across my bust. If I hadn't placed the button right at my bust line there would be major gaping. Also, there's a lot of extra fabric just above my bust/armhole area, but there's also some pulling at the sleeve cap because when I redrafted the sleeve pattern I didn't make it wide enough.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Back Yoke

This pattern has a one piece back, but I really wanted to play around with plaid placement on the yoke, so I drafted a two-piece yoke, which I'm quite pleased with :). I like the sleeve tabs, but I really dislike the "sleeve placket". It just seems so half-assed. Maybe next time I'll draft my own sleeve placket using the menswear shirt patterns that I have as a reference.

My husband really likes this shirt on me, like really, really, really likes it. I think it's so funny that he likes it so much considering I thought he was going to yak upon seeing pink plaid. I can't remember the last time, if ever, I had a flannel shirt, but I'm loving it and I can't believe I haven't had one in my closet at all times. I know I've tried them on at stores, but I think I usually had the thought of "am I really going to spend all this $$$$ on a fucking plaid flannel shirt?". Well, now I can make my own for a fraction of the cost.

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Sleeve Tab

The sleeve tabs are supposed to be cut on the grainline, but I got carried away with trying to place things on the bias so I cut just this one sleeve tab on the bias and I totally love it.

I finished making this shirt in December 2014 and wore it all the time during the holidays when I was home. It's so comfortable to wear even if the fit isn't 100%. I've washed it several times and I'm bummed that it's noticeably less soft and cozy compared to the scraps I have left:(. As long as I wear a camisole underneath I don't mind wearing it outside. I really need to make another one that I feel comfortable wearing at all times. I bought a lovely plaid at Britex when I was there in November and once I have this pattern modified just right then I'm going to cut into that pricey stuff!

{Butterick 5526) Pink Plaid // Front

When I put on my new glasses I totally look like a fucking dipshit hipster. Time for me to go walk around Silver Lake.
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Day 12/365

It's been awhile since I've done a Links post. Enjoy!

1. Southwest recycled old seat cushions and turned them into handbags and weekend bags. If you like the leather/denim combo look and are into the re/up-cycle lifestyle, then these bags are for you. {Southwest Handbags // Quartz}

2. At first I thought this article was about people putting hair salons into their homes to make some extra cash. I was so wrong! Are in-home hair salons the new luxury item of the 1%? One of the in-home hair salons that was photographed is almost as big as my last apartment! I only get my hair cut 2-3 times per year because I'm too lazy{and cheap} to get my hair cut on a regular basis. I'm also so lazy about getting my hair cut that I hate making an appointment so I go to a place where they only allow drop-ins. So I suppose I understand why some people would want a hair salon in their house {because of the convenience}, but it just seems so extravagant....{Home Hair Salons // Wall Street Journal}

3. I think it's good to have an artsy hobby so reading this article, regarding the benefits crafting has on your brain, put a smile on my face. When I'm not cursing at myself for making a stoopid sewing mistake, I do feel at ease and happier when I'm *making* stuff. {This is Your Brain on Crafting // CNN}

4. I first learned about the Capsule Wardrobe through Elise Joy's blog. As I read more about it I started to see its benefits. I think it could go hand-in-hand with the Wardrobe Architect, too. Living in Southern California, it's easy to wear 80-90% of my wardrobe year-round. But there are pieces I consider summery and others I usually only wear in the winter. I can definitely see myself curating my wardrobe and doing a Capsule Wardrobe this year. It would definitely make getting dressed for work a cinch! {How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe // via Elise Joy}

5. I hate to sound like a total grammar snob, because let's be honest, I'm not all that great with the English language. I still have to reference The Oatmeal when I want to use e.g. or i.e. or I want a refresher on when to use whom or who. But I cringe every time people fuck up using it's, especially when they use it to indicate possession. People, it is never used to indicate possession. Are you confused? Then please, please, check out The Oatmeal. Scroll down to the Its vs. It's section. {How to Use an Apostrophe // The Oatmeal}

My company changed the holiday schedule this year to be more in-line with the Federal Government Holiday Schedule. This means that we get MLK (tomorrow!!) and Veteran's Day off this year, in addition to the usual ones. The one downside is we do not get the day after Thanksgiving off, but whatever, I'll just use a paid vacation day, which I'm sure 95% of my company will.

I haven't had MLK off since college and I'm so excited about it. I'm definitely going to work out. I may even go to Costco! Is it sad that I'm this happy to be able to do grocery shopping on a weekday morning? I'm trying to convince my husband to let me be a stay-at-home-wife, but for some reason he's not buying it. Something about mortgage and bills and retirement savings....blerg. But I'll definitely enjoy my day off tomorrow and a short week!
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Sewing Tools

I drafted a long blog post about my 2015 goals and let it sit, unpublished, for a couple weeks. I thought about it almost every day wondering if I should publish it or not. I never really understood the necessity or desirability of goal setting until recently, probably the last 2-3 years. I've noticed that writing them out (either in a notebook or in a blog post) helps make them "real" and not just a bunch of "that would be nice to do" thoughts. So I knew I wanted to write about setting goals, I just wasn't sure if the goals I set were the "right" ones to make.

In 2014 I set myself 8 sewing goals. I didn't accomplish all of them, but I came pretty close. I never finished a button-up shirt for my husband (I only made a muslin, which still needs to be fitted) and I never got around to picking a coat pattern. Even though I didn't finish all 8 sewing projects, I'm glad I set them because I made some stuff I'm pretty sure I would have set aside multiple times if it weren't for that little annoying voice in the back of my head saying, "make that damn swimsuit!" or "when are you ever going to start on that simple men's vest?!"


So when I started thinking about what to accomplish in 2015, I got a little too ambitious. I kid you not, I set 15 goals for myself: 10 sewing related and 5 personal!! Are they doable? Heck yes! But c'mon, 15 goals for one year? What was I thinking? Why was I putting so much pressure on myself? It's like I listed everything that was in my head at that moment and said, 'ok, those are my goals for this year!' I'm pretty sure I was so reluctant to publish that post because I was worried it seemed ridiculous. And it was.

I recently read an article in Money magazine about New Year's resolutions, primarily personal finance related. One thing that really stuck out to me is that it is typical for people to only follow through with about a handful of resolutions. The author recommended only setting half a dozen resolutions and it would be much more likely that you'll accomplish all of them rather than set 15 goals and get so flustered or overwhelmed that you only do maybe 3.

So I scratched my initial list of 15 goals and came up with 5 Goals for 2015:
  1. Continuing Education - I want to take at least one class to learn something new. It can be anything, but something that forces me out of the house and that I can't learn online.
  2. Wardrobe Architect - I skimmed Sarai's Wardrobe Architect series that she wrote about last year. It wasn't until the Fall that I realized my wardrobe was in serious need of critiquing and planning. I have a feeling that analyzing my wardrobe and preferences will help guide my future sewing staples.
  3. Sell Something - I've been wanting to sell something for years. I have barely worn shoes that just sit in my closet because I feel guilty donating them knowing that I could sell them on ebay. I've wanted to do calligraphy for wedding invites/envelopes or address stamps ever since I got married over 5 years ago and yet I've never done it. So I want to finally to stop saying I *should* sell that and instead finally do it. Just sell at least one item.
  4. Make a bag - I'm so picky when it comes to handbags and I've been saying for years that I should make myself an everyday handbag or a camera bag. Not one that looks like a crafter's bag (no offense to those, just not my taste), but one that really looks professional.
  5. Travel - last year we didn't travel much (only Vegas, Seattle, and San Francisco) and all of our trips were for only a couple days. Our last big trip was in late 2011 when we went to Paris! Oh how I loved Paris. This year I'd like to finally make it back to Asia (I haven't been since I was 9) or Europe, or hopefully both. I've been reading a bunch of blogs for tips on how to accumulate airline miles through credit cards so hopefully we can save a lot of money on airfare.

Centre Pompidou

So those are my 5 goals for 2015. Much more manageable and less stressful than my original list of 15. The goals are kind of general, but I do have some specifics in mind. However, I don't want to pigeonhole my decisions into doing one particular thing if something better in that category pops up. And limiting my sewing goals will allow me to sew whatever the heck pleases me (and hopefully in line with the results of the wardrobe architect). There are several patterns I'd like to make again so maybe this year will be the year of the pattern repeats as opposed to all the shiny and new pattern releases.

I know we're several weeks in, but hope you have a Happy and Healthy 2015!
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I hate to sound like I'm bragging, but I'm so thrilled with some of the stuff I made this year. After several years of struggling with sewing and fit, I finally feel like I got it this year. I definitely have a lot to learn and my fitting isn't spot-on, but it has improved so much from when I first started sewing. Here are my Top 5 Garments of 2014 in no particular order.

1. Butterick 5526 Pink Plaid Flannel
I love, love, love this shirt! It doesn't even fit perfectly, but I love it. It was meant to be a muslin since I bought a cheapish flannel from Jo-ann to test the pattern and my plaid-matching skills. But I've been wearing it almost every weekend since I made it and I want to throw it on as soon as I get home from work. Why did I wait so long to make a plaid flannel shirt? I'll be bummed when the weather warms up and the flannel won't be as comfy.

2. Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket
I love this jacket! I love how it looks casual, but can still be sorta dressed up. I can wear it to bars and not feel under-dressed. I also really like the fabric I used, a twill I picked up from Mood. I bought it right before Thanksgiving weekend of 2013 (!!!) so I can't remember if it was a particular designer or not. But it has a slight sheen and the weave is tight, but it doesn't feel too heavy. There are a couple things I'd like to change on this jacket if I make it again (and I definitely would like to if I find the time), but overall it's been a great staple wardrobe item.

3. McCall's 6793 Safety Pin
A pussy bow blouse made out of a poly or silk crepe fabric I found at the FIDM Scholarship Store. This is about as close to a novelty print that I can wear without feeling too silly. The blouse pattern was a breeze to make and I'd like to make it again with the neckline raised just a tad and the bow/collar made out of a coordinating chiffon.

4. McCall's 6519 Stars
This pattern was another staple wardrobe idea. I really, really like it even though it's so basic. I've worn it out it to all different occasions (casual, work, bars). It has a slight curved hemline, which I recently decided I need to incorporate on all future blouses because I think it's more flattering than a straight hemline when the blouse is worn untucked. The fabric is an Anna Sui poly crepe de chine from Mood that does not wrinkle at all........I love it. I now understand the value of polyester. (It's actually available online, so you can get it while it's still in stock.)

5. Deer and Doe Belladone Dress
I didn't intend for this dress to be a hit at all. I made it on a whim the day before leaving on a trip to Vegas. The back neckline is wonky, but I still enjoy wearing it. I feel dressed up, but not too dressy. It's a great spring/summer dress and I've worn it several times. I really like the conservative feel of the front, but the back gives off a fun vibe, which can be covered up with a jacket or cardigan if needed. I'd like to make this dress again and finally nail down the back neckline and crossover pieces. This pattern could definitely become a TNT if I invest a bit more time into it.

The theme of my Top 5 seems to be wardrobe staples that are easy to wear (and care for). It's a theme I hope to continue in 2015.

I really should get around to blogging my makes as most of my Top 5 wasn't blogged in detail. I enjoy sharing and documenting what I've made and I hope you do too. Sometimes I think I'm being narcissistic, but then I think of all the patterns, fabric, and ideas I've gotten from reading other blogs. I'm thankful for the inspiration I've gotten from bloggers and I hope I can provide you some inspiration as well.
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I've been debating whether or not I wanted to "participate" in the Top 5 Misses/Hits, but after noticing myself really enjoying reading a few (Carolyn, Winnie, and, of course, Gillian), I decided to go ahead and do it! I'm going to break it up into two posts. We'll start with the not-so-good and end with the awesome shit. A lot of these items were just discussed in my previous post of unblogged items, so I'll try to limit my descriptions to just why they're either in the Hits or Misses categories.

1. McCalls 6563
So I made this pattern twice in quick succession because I thought I really liked it. I even called it a Tried and True (TNT) Pattern on Instagram after I made it the second time. But then I started wearing them and realized I completely dislike them! This pattern is a bias cut blouse and I've come to realize that I hate wearing bias cut blouses. It's very possible that I didn't handle the fabric correctly, but it's also possible that this pattern isn't as great as I first thought it was. I'm also not thrilled with how the cowl drapes or the way the blouse hangs around my hips.

Funny thing though, despite all these misgivings, I've actually worn it a lot and I attribute that to the fabric, which is a silk that I purchased at The Fabric Store. It looks fine under a suit jacket if I need to look a bit more professional at work and I've worn it to several holiday parties last month. It goes with a skirt, jeans, black pants, suit pants, etc. I doubt the brown poly version will last in my wardrobe, but I just can't bring myself to give away the silk version, since I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

2. Emery Dress (Version #4)
I made several Emery dresses this year (see here and here), but my last one didn't turn out so good. I wore it to the Christine Haynes' book party launch at Sew LA where I met a bunch of sewists (Trice, Amity, Kathy, Laura, and Laurie). The main reason this dress is on the "Misses" list is because I just can't pull off a loud, busy print. I don't feel comfortable in it and I haven't worn it since. I don't want to donate the dress since I really like the fabric so I'll probably re-purpose it into something else.

3. Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse (Version #1)
I want to like this blouse so much but I don't because of the type of fabric I chose to use. I used quilting cotton and it's way too thick for this blouse so I feel like I'm wearing a sack, although a very pretty sack. I've worn it a couple times because I really like the print, but I'm so self conscious when I wear it. I can't decide if I want to keep it or not. I might leave it in my closet for another year and reassess next December whether it should stay or go. Another alternative is to slim it down through the waist and hips and insert a side might work.

4. Deer and Doe Airelle Blouse
I'm so embarrassed to even post a photo of this blouse. I don't know what I was thinking. It was my first foray into mixing fabrics and combing a print with a solid. It worked in my head (or at least I thought it did). It turned out horribly. The hem isn't even finished, but it's been sitting in my closet and I laugh every time I look at it. Trust me, it looks awful on me. I need to get rid of it, although I think it's too shitty to donate, especially with an unfinished hem.

5. "Vintage" Simplicity 2154
The blouse is technically finished, but I consider it unfinished because I won't wear it as-is. I'm calling it a miss because I've struggled with how to finish it for so long. I didn't like the bow. I didn't like the collar. But I made the keyhole for the bow so now the keyhole looks weird on its own. I may cut open the center front neckline and miter the corner so it looks like the front of the Sewaholic Alma blouse. Again, I like this fabric and don't want to see it go to waste.

As I look back on my Misses there are a couple themes that jump out at me. First, I don't like loud prints. I like them in theory, I like them whenever I'm shopping for fabrics, but I don't like them on me. I need to remember this because there's no point in spending the money and time to make something I'm not going to wear.

The second theme is pattern and fabric and how they interact. Some garments, like the Emery dress, can be made out of quilting cotton. Others, like the Belcarra blouse, can't. I also need to be better about cutting fabric on the grainline or true bias. The Airelle blouse was doomed from the beginning because the fabric I used was so distorted I could not for the life of me find the grainline. I also didn't spend as much time as I should have finding the true bias for the McCall's 6563 blouses, which could be why they don't drape well.

I've reached a point in my sewing hobby where I don't mind taking the extra time to construct a garment I will wear so I need to remember not to take shortcuts. I'd like to construct a garment made on the bias that I enjoy wearing so perhaps I'll make that a goal in 2015.

Have you ever made something that you don't actually like wearing, but still wear it because it looks ok on you? What have you learned from looking back at your least liked garments?

ok.....coming up tomorrow, the stuff I'm proud of!
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Happy New Year, everyone! Hope your 2015 is off to a great start. I know mine is because I haven't done a lick of work yet :) I can't believe I actually contemplated going to work today. My decision was made when my coworker said, "when's the next time we'll have a 4-day weekend?" Good point, sir. So glad I decided to give myself a 4-day weekend because it feels so good right now knowing that we haven't even reached the weekend!

Anyway...I had intentions of blogging about all of my finished garments for months, but I just never got around to photographing them "properly". Now that it is already 2015, I decided to do a quick round-up of stuff I've made throughout the year that have been languishing in my "to-blog-about" queue. I may or may not do a full-blown review of each garment in the future; I actually have a lot of posts drafted, but for now, this is just a quick and dirty photo-heavy post so I can get it off my chest. For some reason not having blogged about these makes is really getting to me. Such unnecessary pressure!

Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket
{Deer and Doe Pavot} Black Twill

I had this jacket about 90% made in April, but it sat on my dressform for months while I debated which buttons to use and the exact placement of the buttonholes. Then the weather warmed up and it annoyingly remained warm for the longest time so I wasn't in any rush to make a jacket. I eventually finished it sometime in the Fall and I wore it everyday on a recent trip to San Francisco and fairly frequently in November. There are definitely some aspects I would like to change for the next version, but I love this jacket. It can be casual. I can wear it to work. I can wear it while commuting to work by train. I can even wear it out to bars and not feel frumpy. Love it.

Sewaholic Belcarra Blouses (#2 and #3)
{Sewaholic Belcarra} Bias Cut

I'm still not 100% happy with the fit with either of these and I'm beginning to think this pattern just may not be for me. The striped version was cut on the bias and I royally screwed up matching stripes along the side seams (and I even tried!) so I only feel comfortable wearing this blouse under a jacket or cardigan. I also can't tell if it's see through or not, so I don't want to risk wearing it to work sans jacket.

{Sewaholic Belcarra} Xmas Blouse

This green version was my "Christmas Blouse" as I made it several days before Xams. The fabric is a beautiful green silk twill that I purchased at The Fabric Store back in June. I almost made it a skirt and I'm so glad I didn't because this fabric wrinkles just by thinking about wrinkles, which I did not expect. Seriously, look at those wrinkles! The above photo was taken after only one wear and I tried ironing out the wrinkles. I can't even imagine how bad a skirt would have looked like. I changed the hem to a curved hemline that would look more flattering when worn untucked. I also added little gathers at the front neckline to reduce gaping, which made adding the neckline bias facing quite a pain in the ass. Overall, the fit is ok, I'm just really annoyed with the wrinkle situation.

McCall's 6563 (#1 and #2)
{McCalls 6563} Polyester Version

The first version was made with a cheapo poly from Jo-Ann to test the fit and the second is made with a beautiful silk from The Fabric Store (there are tiny gold metallic dots in that print!). This blouse is made on the bias and unfortunately, while I loved it at first, after wearing both blouses several times, I've come to the conclusion that I DO NOT like wearing blouses where the back bodice is cut on the bias. I constantly feel like my blouse is twisted across my back, which is quite irritating.

{McCalls 6563} Silk Version

Also, the cowl/drape on the front is not sitting as well as I had hoped, especially the silk version. I'm not sure what the problem is. Maybe the pattern's not that awesome, I didn't cut the fabric 100% on the bias, or the silk I used just does not drape well. I dunno know. I'm not sure I'll be making a third version. So yesterday I was reading the new issue of Seamwork and there's an article, 'Working on the Bias' that I wish I had read before making these blouses.

McCall's 6793
{McCalls 6793} Safety Pin

I took a chance on this pattern making it for the first time with a fabric I had no hope of re-purchasing if I screwed up. Thankfully the blouse fits and I love it. I bought the fabric from the FIDM Scholarship Store in LA and it was the last bit on the roll. There were some defects on the fabric, but thankfully I was still able to salvage enough to make a blouse. The blouse on the pattern envelope looks so cheap, like some shit you'd find at Forever 21, but look beyond it because this pattern has some definite potential.

McCall's 6519
{McCalls 6519} Stars

Another simple blouse. Are you sensing a theme yet? I think I bought all of these McCall's patterns in one day when I was on a "must build a staple wardrobe" kick. I used an Anna Sui poly I picked up at Mood before Labor Day. It was such an impulse purchase too, but I'm glad I bought it. I think I need a swayback adjustment because I feel a lot of fabric pooling at the base of my back, but I still love wearing this blouse because it makes me happy. I think it's "kawaii" without being too over the top.

Sewaholic Tofino PJs
More Tofino PJs!! Gawd, I love this pattern. I've now made this pattern 5 times! I bought 3 yards of LA Kings fabric back in April without a clue as to what I would make. Then the LA Kings won the Cup in June and I knew I had to make some PJs to celebrate! Actually, I wanted to make them in April, but I was worried I would jinx them during their playoff run.....ya know, 'cause that's how sports work. I used a ribbon, in addition to the elastic, and I actually dislike it in reality. The ribbon is just annoying to deal with. Since I'm too lazy to take a "real" photo, you can see how it looks with my awesome Kings T-Shirt in this Instagram Photo. I mean it's PJs....I think you know what they look like.

Simplicity 4762
{Simplicity 4762} Vest

I actually made something for my husband and he likes it! Although, all of the flaws are so glaring in my eyes! Don't pay any attention to the bubbling near the right dart where I f*cked up the interfacing. See those welt pockets? I made them on the first try using only instructions in the Couture Sewing Techniques book. It took for-fucking-ever, but it was totally worth it. The pattern only includes flaps for non-existent pockets and I was having none of that nonsense.

McCall's 6696
{McCalls 6696} Cats

I made a dress for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge and I wore it to work on Halloween and then I never took "proper" photos of it in time so I didn't officially submit it into the challenge. That's ok because I had fun making the dress and I think that's what matters in the end.

Simplicity 2145
{Simplicity 2145} Floral Rayon Challis

I thought this pattern was meant for knits, but it's actually for wovens. I used rayon challis from and unfortunately, due to the busy print, you can't see any of the awesome details on this dress. Seriously, check out the pattern because the pleats along the bodice and waist are pretty cool. I made this dress for a wedding I attended in November and my husband was definitely holding his breath, praying that I didn't make a sack. I'll be honest, I was worried too because I didn't have enough time to make a muslin. I spent one Sunday evening meticulously tissue fitting the pattern and I was surprised by how well it all worked out. I really want to try this pattern in a stable knit...I think it could totally work.

Colette Hawthorn
{Colette Hawthorn} Black Blend

I made this dress for a Memorial Service back in July. I needed a black dress suitable for hot and humid weather and this dress worked out pretty well. I bought the fabric from the FIDM Scholarship store and I thought it was a linen blend, but my mom thinks it's a wool blend. It is a bit scratchy, but I still think it's a linen blend because of the weave of the fabric. Is there such a thing as a linen-wool blend?? I'm still not convinced the off-white buttons look the best on this dress, but it is what it is. Also, those fucking darts. Has anyone gotten these darts to look good? The back fits like a glove, but eek, those darts. Thank goodness this dress is black to camouflage the fit in front.

Butterick 5526
{Butterick 5526} Pink Plaid Flannel

I finally purchased this pattern after seeing Lauren of Lladybird make so many awesome shirts. I eventually want to make the princess-seamed fitted blouse, but first I tried out the loose-fitting, rolled-up sleeve version. This was my first time using plaid so I used a cheapish plaid flannel from Jo-ann. I drafted a yoke piece because I wanted to play around with bias cut plaid. I'll definitely do a full write-up on this shirt because I fucking love it and so does my husband. I think this might be my favorite make this year. I wish I could wear it to work, but it's way too casual. I'll need to find a more professional looking plaid fabric because I want to wear this shirt for days.

So there you go. Quite a lot of garments, IMO. My blog may have been quiet, but I was a busy sewing-worker bee behind the scenes. I plan on doing a Hits and Misses post as well as a 2014 Reflections and 2015 Goals posts so look out for those.

Do you blog about everything you make? And what's your opinion on blogging repeats? Maybe it's worth posting about repeats if there is something new to say...I dunno, I can't decide.

Have a fun weekend, folks!
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First and foremost, there's going to be another LA Sewist Meet-Up on February 21, 2015! We're planning on going to the Hollywood Costume Exhibit in LA and then head down to Mood afterwards. I first read about the exhibit on Jet Set Sewing and immediately emailed a couple gals (Erin, Kathy, and Marrie) about it. I figured going to the exhibit would be way more fun with people who appreciate sewing and design. This will be a super laid back meet-up. No need to RSVP, just buy your ticket ahead of time and meet us there at 12pm*. If you only want to join us for fabric shopping, then contact one of us and we'll text, email, or tweet to let you know our ETA at Mood. {*Maybe once the date gets closer we'll put together a group email so we can see who is planning on coming.}

How is it already December? As of Monday December 1st, I'm officially on the Slow-Carb Diet. I hate calling it a diet because it's more like an eating guide. I'm not trying to lose a vast amount of weight, but rather take down my candy/carb-heavy eating ways a notch during the lead up to Christmas. A couple years ago I followed the Slow-Carb Diet for a couple months and I felt amazing, all with just eating differently and hardly any extra exercise. So, whenever I feel a bit pudgy around the mid-section I turn to the slow-carb eating ways to get myself back on track.

I've been a horrible blogger recently, not even keeping up with my weekly link round-ups! I don't even have a good reason. My excuse can mainly be attributed to how much I dislike my laptop. The AC adapter stopped "being recognized" which means I can't charge my battery so now my laptop is not exactly the most portable gadget (the main point of a laptop).

Anyway.....below are some reading tidbits I collected over the past month. This link round-up is probably my most varied post yet. Enjoy!

1. Have you seen the new pattern from Jolie Marie Louise, the Chloe Blazer?!?!? I'm loving it! Curved hem, lined, fitted, two-piece sleeve. Check, check, check. Earlier this year I made a muslin of the Simplicity 2446 Amazing Fit Jacket, but couldn't quite get the fit right and I got tired of tinkering with the pattern. Now I'm tempted to try out the Chloe Blazer. {Jolie Marie Louise // Chloe Blazer}

2. I recently read a post by Brene Brown that had me re-thinking what *really needs* to happen during this time of year. There were a couple gift exchanges and card exchanges I almost signed up for recently and then I came back to reality and realized they were only going to stress me out as I searched for the *perfect* gifts and cards. I love this time of the year, but it seems like every year I'm trying to find a way to not get stressed out. Last year we spent Christmas at my in-laws' and we left a week a before Christmas and stayed till the day after. It seemed like an ok idea when we booked our flights (mainly because those were the cheapest tickets), but in reality it was a stressful few weeks in December. I was frantically trying to get shit wrapped up at work and buy gifts before leaving on vacation and I didn't even get around to sending out Christmas cards till right before the New Year. I just felt like a total mess. Sometimes doing less is the way to go and that's how I plan to spend the rest of 2014. {Brene Brown}

3. Jenna of That Wife recently closed the comments on her blog for good. It made me think of doing the same here. While I genuinely appreciate the comments I receive on my posts, they are so few that I don't think the vast majority of readers would miss it and I'm not always able to respond to comments right away, which I always feel bad about. I don't write the most thought-provoking stuff so it's not like I even anticipate a great back and forth, like what you can find at Charlotte's blog Seam Ripped. Readers can always reach me by email or via Instagram, where it's super easy to comment and respond on my phone, so I think at the start of the New Year I'll close comments on this blog. {That Wife // Breaking Up with the Comments Section}

4. My Money Blog linked to a NY Times article about a resource for state-by-state pregnancy laws. Having kids (or rather, one kid) is progressively more on my mind now that I'm in my 30s. My mom, who was primarily a stay at home mom, always asks me what what my work situation will be like when I have kids (mind you, she's been asking me this for at least as long as I've been married, so over 5 years). I've heard that California has more beneficial leave of absence laws than in other states so it was interesting to compare. {State-by-State Guide to Pregnancy Laws // Baby Gate via NY Times via My Money Blog}

5. If you're looking for some thoughtful, yet easy gifts to give for Christmas, Pinch of Yum highlighted some great photo ideas. {Pinch of Yum // Photo Gift Guide}
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Pincushion Top

1. I've started {and stopped} a bunch of blogs over the years. Of course none have ever gained any strong readership, but it's something I enjoy doing. Every single time I started a blog I had the most difficult time coming up with a name. I once re-branded a blog because I was so over the original name. I enlisted my brother for help and I think he eventually came up with the winning name.

I've gone back and forth many times over what I want to call this blog. I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one specific craft (sewing, photography, lettering, etc.), which is why I didn't create a pun on sewing or include 'photography' in my name. I also knew I most likely wasn't going to become a hardcore photographer anyway. I use my name because it's an easy option and I haven't met anyone else with the First-Middle name combo so I'm assuming I'm the only one with this name so I think it has some uniqueness. For awhile though I gave this blog a different title, 'Calmez-Vous', but I recently removed it, which may or may not be correctly reflected in your reader.

Anyway, totally long-winded way of saying, I came across a book called, 'Don't Call it That' that is supposed to help you develop your business {or blog?} name. What's your opinion on business naming? Are you for or against using your name in a business? Would it be confusing if I re-branded this blog? I always think it would be cool if I could start a side business through this blog, which is why I care so much about the naming thing.
{Don't Call it That via Aeolidia}

2. I've never bought anything from ModCloth, but I am so tempted to do so after searching their website for alllllll the cat items! I may do some xmas shopping there for some feline-loving friends because there is some seriously cute and/or hilariously ridiculous cat items for sale.
{All the Cat Items at ModCloth}

3. I read CNN Money fairly religiously because I'm a personal finance geek. Recently they've been running a "24 hours with [...]" and have been highlighting some odd jobs. One was about a concierge for a very wealthy family and another was about a kindergarten teacher (ok, I guess that's not actually an odd job). The most recent story is about a professional cosplay character, which I didn't even know was a real job. She makes all of her costumes and the one she wears and created in this story is very intricate. It's mentioned that she'll spend 600 hours on a costume! Knowing how long it takes me to make a dress, I'm not surprised by that time estimate.
{24 hrs w/a comicon character // CNN Money}

4. How have I only just heard of Pattern Workshop????? I felt like I was living under a rock when I came across it.
{Pattern Workshop}

5. I'm heading to Hello Kitty Con this coming Sunday. I feel like I'm 8 years old again, but whatever. I know there are tons of people (men and women) my age who are really into HK and will be there. I'm going with a friend who may or may not bring her toddler-aged kiddo. She sent me an article the Hello Kitty Food Scavenger Hunt, which consists of several restaurants in the area preparing a special HK item on the menu. There are limited quantities available each day, but if you happen to order it, then you get a special HK pin. It's so ridiculous (umm, Hello, pink cheese??), but I totally want those pins!
{Hello Kitty Food Scavenger Hunt // LAist }
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Ever since I started this blog I had visions of diving into learning html and designing my own blog layout........LOLZ! ......obviously that never happened. I know very, very basic html (how to add a link, make things bold), but creating my own blog template was way out of my reach. Honestly, you guys, I don't know what I was thinking. I started my first blog back in 2004 or 2005 and even then I wanted to learn html, so yeah....I should have known when I started this blog that wasn't going to happen.

I found Dana's blog, Wonder Forest, somehow through the internets awhile back. She has such an interesting story in regards to web design. I was happy to see she designed blog templates for blogger that were in line with my aesthetic. I find that most people design for Wordpress, but it's not my favorite blogging platform.

The other day Dana had a sale on her pre-made blogger templates and I couldn't pass it up. I would get sad every time I looked at my blog because it was just so blahhhhh. It desperately needed a face lift! In case you always read my blog through a reader, here's a screenshot of what my blog looks like now:

I chose a very minimal design, but there are other more artistic looking templates if that's your jam. I still have plans to change my header, but I need to take a course or two to figure out how to do what's in my head. Anyone want to take bets on when that will happen???

Anyway, I haven't had any direct interaction with Dana, but I've always liked her designs and knew from the first time I saw them {at least a year ago} that I would eventually buy a template from her. She has several different pre-made blogger and wordpress templates and I think she also does custom designs as well, so check her out if you want to change your blog layout.
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Day 6/365

I skipped a week because I haven't done much online reading recently. Here are 5 things that caught my eye the past two weeks, including some non-sewing links.

1. I've been very fascinated lately with how nail salons do some of the intricate nail art these days. The other weekend I got sucked into the nail art YouTube and Instagram blackhole for several hours. I was really into painting my nails and using nail decal art when I was around 12 years old. My mom was super strict when I was growing up, but she begrudgingly let me do this. Although, I distinctly remember her saying I looked like a prostitute one time because I used pearly/silver nail polish. LOLZ!! THE HORROR!!! {Buzzfeed//Nail Art Tutorials}

2. All you sewing bloggers talking about making your own lingerie has almost convinced me to try it too. I've always wondered whether I'm wearing the correct bra size and I was shocked, SHOCKED to find out my size based on this bra size calculator. { The Sophisticated Pair//Bra Calculator via The Nerdy Seamstress}

3. Handy tutorial for adding an Instagram widget to your blog's sidebar. {Xomisse}

4. Well....if Cynthia Rowley is saying 'get designing', then I better get at it! Also, she has a line of Band-Aids and a patented bracelet that doubles as a flask???
{Cynthia Rowley // CNN Money}

5. The podcasts I listen to have been so varied over the years. I used to listen to a bunch of different hockey podcasts, but now I'm more into NPR ones (Planet Money and This American Life). I didn't think I would enjoy a sewing podcast, but I gave The Sewing Affair a shot and I'm totally hooked! It's not very structured; it's more like two friends just shooting the shit. I highly recommend listening to the episode with Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch because she talks about her shop in a bit more detail. {The Sewing Affair Podcast}
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