Friday, November 30, 2012

Some wine with that cheese(y-ness)?

Sweater: Thrifted
Skirt: F21 (recent)
Wrist cuffs: gift from Sweden

Have a wonderful, restful weekend, friends! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial

"A store-bought belt can obscure even the sloppiest of home-sewn waistbands." 
 ~Ancient Chinese proverb

DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial

As promised, here is the tutorial for the tulle skirt I sewed for Thanksgiving! I share this with you along with one major caveat: At no point during the making of this skirt did I actually know what I was doing. This will be painfully obvious to those of you with real sewing skills, so please feel free to use this as the most basic of guides and to improve on it any way possible. And I'm sure there are many ways.

Credits: My inspiration for this skirt came from a skirt in Anthro's winter line, and from this Etsy seller. The sewing process is a mix of tips from a great tutorial that this blogger put together, the YouTube videos here and here, and my own experimentation. 

What you'll need (total cost of materials was approximately $30): 

1. Tulle. For each layer of tulle on the skirt you will need a piece four times the length of your natural waist.  So if your waist is 25", you will need 100 inches per layer.  The minimum number of layers you want is probably four.  My skirt had 6 in total - four cream layers underneath and two espresso layers on top.  The tulle I purchased was folded in half on the fabric bolt, and folded was 27" wide, which was just a bit longer than the length of the skirt I wanted. So I measured out the length I needed for my waist (102" in my case), and then cut along the fold line which gave me two pieces that were 102" long and 27" wide.  I repeated that one more time for the cream layers, and once for the espresso layers, giving me a total of six layers of 102" x 27" tulle.

2. Lining fabric. 2 yards of off-white.

3. 4" satin ribbon for waistband. 1 yard.

4. A zipper in a similar shade as your lining fabric/inner layers of tulle.

5. Sewing machine. This could be done by hand, but would be really tedious.


1. Hand pleat each layer of tulle individually and secure the pleats with pins.  My pleats were approximately two inches wide with a .5 to an inch in between each pleat.  The pleating should look something like this, and does not need to be exact:

*Note - pleating each layer individually will result in a very full skirt (like mine). If you'd like yours to look more like the Anthro version, I'd suggest laying all the layers on top of one another and pleating all together.

2. Sew a straight stitch right above where you have pinned the pleats. You'll want to allow at least half an inch of tulle above the pins as you'll be sewing two separate stitches. The first - the straight stitch - will look like this:

3. Sew a basting stitch above the straight stitch.  To create a basting stitch, you will simply lengthen the stitch length on your machine to it's max allowable, and you will leave both of the ends of your stitch loose.  You will use the ends later to gather your tulle.  Once you've sewn your basting stitch, your tulle layer will look something like this:

4. Once all your layers have been pleated and each has a straight and basting stitch, you will want to gather each layer a bit more  so that it is just slightly longer (1" more)  than the the width of your waist. You will gather them by holding the bobbin (bottom) thread of your top basting stitch in one hand, and pulling the tulle down the length of the thread.  This preserves the pretty pleating detail, but makes the layers the correct length to go around your waist.

Then, you will sew each layer onto a piece of scrap fabric (I used some of the excess liner fabric) that is the same length as your waist measurement, and is approximately 3" wide. Start with your bottom layers and sew what will be the innermost layer (closest to your legs) to the bottom of the fabric scrap, then work your way up to the top layers. The tulle should stick out about half an inch (should be half an inch longer) on each end of the scrap piece.

5. Make the %$@&*! liner. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this step because by this point I had ceased thinking this was a "fun" project and had resorted to swearing at the dog and throwing things.  However, I used these two videos which explain the process far better than I ever could.  It really isn't difficult, it just requires a little patience.

Once your circle skirt liner is sewn, it will look something like this: 

6. Take a length of satin ribbon slightly longer than your tulle layers, and fold in half lengthwise and press with an iron.  Insert your layers of tulle (which have been sewn to the scrap fabric) between the folded ribbon, pin, and sew with a straight stitch to hide the scrap fabric and the tulle stitching.  Then, sew to the waistband of your liner, leaving about an inch of the tulle and satin free in back in either side of the liner zipper.  At this point, it will look like this: 

*Note - I didn't have ribbon at this point, so I had to use a strip of satin with unfinished edges that unraveled like crazy. Definitely use ribbon instead! I also sewed my zipper on backwards. At 2:00 a.m., I decided this was not a mistake worth fixing. 

7.  In the back of the skirt, you will have slightly overlapping, loose ends of satin and tulle.  Sew on a hook and bar closure to the ends so that they overlap so the liner doesn't show, and so the tulle makes a full circle. 

And voila! Pretty much done. And in the proverbial and very season-appropriate words of Chevy Chase ...

.... "Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?" ... 

If you had ribbon on hand and the waist did not look as messy as mine, you would be able to wear the skirt as is at this point.  Mine was obviously not as neat as I would have liked, so I simply wore I wide belt from Kohl's that I already owned over the waistband.  Also, at 27", the skirt was longer than I would have liked. I trimmed after it was assembled, but would highly suggest figuring out your length and trimming the tulle before you start sewing. On my skirt, the top espresso layers were cut slightly shorter than the cream layers underneath. 

DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial

THE END. I hope this has been at least marginally helpful, and would love to know how it goes for you if you give this skirt a shot. Happy sewing!

...and should all else fail, I'll just leave these here ...
(click to buy)

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and Because Shanna Said So

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Tulle Skirt

Good morning! I trust we all survived the holiday weekend and are back to work with bellies a little fatter and wallets a little post-black-Friday thinner.

I wanted to share with you the DIY tulle skirt I made to wear for Thanksgiving dinner! (And got approximately 1 hour of use out of before changing into a more pumpkin pie-friendly velour track suit.)

I was inspired by to make this after seeing a beautiful Anthropologie tulle skirt here and an Etsy version here, and I'm happy to report that all it took was 17 yards of tulle and a handful of appropriately timed swear words, and I was able to craft a similar version at a fraction of the price.

I'm short on time now, but will put together a tutorial in the next day or two in case anyone is interested and feeling crafty. UPDATE - tutorial here.

I curled my hair by wrapping around the barrel of a curling iron, then pulled the top 9/10 of my hair halfway through a rubber band, loosened with my fingers and pinned in place to make this half updo. 

Top: Express (old) 
Belt: Kohl's (old) 
Skirt: DIY
Shoes: Cole Haan

Linking up with Still Being Molly

Have a wonderful week! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

And your little dog, too ...

Hello, all! Spending the morning recovering from the gluttonous Thanksgiving binge yesterday (I actually took stretch pants to change in to halfway through the meal), and hope you had a wonderful one!  I'm also posting over at Fleurani as part of Ani's "An old flame never dies" series where I share a little bit about this sweater I'm wearing that is 10+ years old. Ani has fabulous style and is one of the sweetest bloggers out there - make sure you check out her blog!


Thursday, November 22, 2012


Wishing  all my US, Thanksgiving-celebrating friends a beautiful day filled with friends, family and amazing food!  Love to you all.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Mustard, tan and stripes

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! I  hope you are all looking forward to a short workweek and long, relaxing, gluttonous weekend with family and friends. I'm back from the crazy, work twilight zone I have been existing in the last couple months, and am looking forward to a trip a little further north and quite a bit further east to see family. 

Have a great one, and I'll see you soon!

Top: H&M
Cardigan: Modcloth
Scarf: H&M
Skinnies: Old Navy 
Boots: Aerosoles
Bag: old

Linking up with Still Being Molly

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pinstripes and pink lace

Hi friends - I know the blogging has been nonexistent lately and I appreciate you hanging in there with me. In addition to the typical grad school rigmarole I've been in the process of organizing a campus wide event that happens tomorrow ... at which point I'll revert from a red-eyed, sleep-deprived, foaming-at-the-mouth monster back into a normal human being that has time to blog occasionally. And maybe shower. 

These are older pics, my hem is showing and I look like I'm in a landfill, but it's the best I could come up with today. 

Shirt: thrifted
Skirt: H&M
Heels: Jessica Simpson Calie

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and thank you for reading!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chic for a Week - Kate Spade mesh/velvet polka dot pumps

In case you haven't had the opportunity to hear me me whine about it before, grad school stipends are nothing short of pathetic.  So when I fell in love with the Kate Spade New York Lisa mesh/velvet polka dot pumps, which at one point retailed at $300+, I knew it would end in disappointment and misery.

And so I pathetically pined away until I discovered Chic for a Week, an online designer shoe rental service founded by fellow AZ blogger Megan from Long Live Classy. The premise behind Chic for a Week is to make even the spendiest designers affordable, and for a very reasonable fee Megan will ship you the shoes of your choice to wear for a week. (Return shipping is free). Her current collection includes Kate Spade, Ann Taylor and Tory Burch, and there are plans to expand her inventory soon.

The mesh/velvet polka dot pumps are part of her collection, and as soon as those babies were listed online I nabbed them.  I attended a formal dinner last weekend and paired them with an Adrianna Papell rosette ball gown.

I used this YouTube video as a guide for my updo.

The dress hid them the majority of the evening, but in the same way nice undergarments can make you more confident, these shoes made me feel like a rockstar.  I twitched a little when I had to drop them back in the mail, and this definitely isn't the last you'll see of me, Megan!  

Have a fantastic weekend everyone! 

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