april rhodes, fabric, handmade, pattern, popover poncho, sew, sewing

Popover poncho

I love capes and the Popover Poncho was such a cute, casual cape design. I waited to buy the pattern until I found a fabric I loved. It’s a poly cotton blend that is thick and double sided (black with white designs on one side and white with black designs on the other side). My nana and I drove up to Michael Levines in LA to fabric shop and I couldn’t turn down the mint sweatshirt knit that I found for $3 a yard. The poncho pattern is single sided, but I figured out how to make it reversible. I’m really happy with it, except I wish I had used a black 1/2 inch binding instead of the 1 inch mint. I think it would have only taken an afternoon, if my machine didn’t keep jamming and if I didn’t make it reversible. I think that my machine needs a tune up, but the thickness of the fabric with the reversible design probably didn’t help. I’d like to make another one with a more colorful fabric and maybe fleeceline on the inside to make it super cozy. Slits on either side of the pocket would be good too, so that I didn’t have to lift the cape up to my hands in the pocket. Though since this is double sided, I can hide my hands in the inside pocket too- sneaky!


Photo location: our front yard
PatternPopover Poncho
Fabric: Gypsyland Jacquard from Joann. I can’t find it online, but I just bought it last Friday in the store. It also comes in teal and black and a similiar multi colored.  Mint sweatshirt knit from Michael Levine 
Alterations: made it reversible! Sewed a pocket on each side. Finished the neck edge with a double rolled over hem. Sewed the bottom edge of the cowl closed about half an inch up (with the cut edge rolled in) and then attached it to neck edge like a sandwich. I also used the sweatshirt knit for both pieces of the cowl to save up the jacquard for another project. I think I have enough left for a pencil skirt. 
Outfit deets: earrings and bracelet- Forever 21, old; velvet leggings: Target
DIY, dress, handmade, new look, sew, sewing

Graduation dress

This is the other dress I sewed from my other bit of dreamy fabric from some Mood LA. I wore it for a few graduations- this is the perfect Spring fabric. I used some leftover polka dot fabric to make a sash to go with it. I really love how this dress turned out. I have tons of extra fabric so I think I’ll try to make a pair of Grainline shorts with it. 

Photo location: Occidental College 

Pattern: New Look A6020 B

Alterations: shortened a few inches

Outfit deets: flower hair pin- handmade, shoes- Payless, watch- Bulova, bracelet- Tiffany & Co

By Hand London, concert, DIY, handmade, jersey, Lady Gaga, leather, pattern, sew, sewing

A dress for Mother Monster

the card I made my sister before the concert to let her know what her birthday present was

Last May, my sister, friend and I saw Lady Gaga in concert. It seemed like the best time to learn how to sew cups and to sew with leather for the first time. Gaga’s worth it 😉 And luckily, it was far easier than I expected. I found this dress pattern from By Hand London and though it was quite an expensive pattern after international shipping, I had never seen anything else like it (*unfortunately, they are out of the printed pattern, but you can still buy it as a PDF download). It’s certainly not an everyday style, but I would love to make it again, though a bit less flashy. 

Being busty, I had to add a lot to the cups to make the dress decent. I made up my own alteration, which thankfully worked. But afterwards, I discovered that they actually had done a blog post on how to modify the cups based on your bra size. I used a purple metallic leather and a jersey floral print from Fabrics.com.

Right before the concert- super made up!

please excuse the akward pose on this one- I was channeling my inner Gaga, I think. 

I hand the stitched at the neckline as I was short on time and didn’t have time to figure out how to feed leather on leather through my machine. I also hand sewed on the straps. 

I was so worried about buying the fabrics online, but I think they worked great together. 

Fabric: Gunmetal Leather, Jersey knit (similar
Alterations: I made thicker straps and had them meet in the middle back instead of going straight down the back. Modified the bust to have larger cups. 
Outfit deets: earrings, bracelet- Forever 21 (old), shoes: Aldo (old)

DIY, handmade, mood, new look, sewing

Easter dress

Last year, I took my first (and so far, only) trip to Mood LA. It was dreamy- I had no idea that amazing fabric existed! Sewing with thick cotton blends with a tiny bit of stretch is the best. My first dress from high quality fabric: 

A selfie in front of extra fabric. I need to get better about not buying so much extra. 

Photo location: my aunt and uncle’s house in Orange County
Alterations: can’t remember. oops.
Outfit deets: earrings- Anthropolgy, shoes: Audrey Brooke, watch: Bulova, bracelet: Tiffanys

fabrics, fashion, OOTD, recycle, sew, sewing, upcycle

The queen of upcycles

A few weeks ago, I was at my parents and my dad was about to saw their old (20+ years) couch in half to fit into the trash can. It was covered in a bold floral, which I had been wanting to make a skirt for about a year. Bold floral apparel fabric has elluded me however. I love making clothes with upholstery fabrics. Living in San Diego, I’m not often enough in LA or San Francisco to find good apparel fabrics and I prefer to feel them before I buy them, so online shopping is out. My favorite back up is Ikea. Their upholstery fabrics are relatively thin, but lend more structure to clothing than cheap, thin, quilting cottons. 

All that to say, I made a skirt out of my parent’s old couch. The pattern I used was from SEW: The Sew Everything Workshop, the first sewing book that I bought when I taught myself to sew a few years ago. It was the naughty secretary skirt (a very simple straight skirt with back vent and zipper, no waistband). 

an old shot of the couch before it was cut up
and laying on it with my little one 8 years ago ! !

*added a 4 inch wide waist band with long tails to tie in the back
*shortened about 6 inches to knee length
*had to add a front center seam due to cutting from odd shaped couch fabric remnants 

Photos taken at the Balboa Park cactus garden

Outfit deets: body suit, earrings- F21, shoes- Vince Camuto from Nordstrom Rack, sunglasses- BonLook, necklace- Anthropology , purse- Fossil

And a few more shots for fun:

cake, craft, DIY, embroidery, family, flowers, sewing, wedding

Wedding DIY! Part 6: Ring Pillow, cake table & extra

I just realized that I never finished posting about our wedding.

We decorated our sweetheart table with blue rimmed Mexican glass, potted succulents, my bouquet and the piece of Mexican tin art that David gave me when we had been dating for 6 months. It was the image (two sacred hearts with the words “Estare contigo siempre” (“I will be with you always) that was painted on our invitations surrounded by the flowers.

photo by Vanessa Ha

photo by Vanessa Ha

This pretty fireplace was outside right by where our ceremony was held. We decorated it with frames with photos of our family members who had passed and succulents.

My dad made our cake platter with tiles that he had left over from when he tiled the fountain. I was really proud of my idea to make a cake platter with Mexican tiles and then I saw it on a wedding featured on Martha Stewart online. Oh well. Our coffee table has a clear glass covering so the cake platter is always displayed.

photo by Vanessa Ha

My mom embroidered our ring pillow with the flowers that I painted on our invitations and my nana lined it in ribbon and sewed it into a pillow. It is exquistly beautiful and such a pretty keepsake.

family, sewing

Dress refashion: from mother to daughter

A few months ago, my mom gave me this dress. It was her bridesmaid dress for my Aunt Shawn’s wedding.  There were 9 siblings all together and they were the two youngest girls and only 15 months apart, so they’ve always been close. They got pregnant at the same time (twice!), the first time resulting in my cousin, Natalie and me. Anyway, Natalie is getting married in August so I hosted her bridal shower (with immense help from my Nana and my mom in planning and the other bridesmaids for food/drinks/games). I was very excited to refashion my mom’s bridemaid dress for this party. So here are the afters. I always forget to take befores. I am hoping that my aunt will find photos from her wedding with my mom wearing this dress. If so, I’ll add those as the before. For now, this is what you get. The dress was originally below the knee with a high peter pan collar. The dress is unfitted, but meant to be belted (orginally it was tied with a lavendar sash). The sleeves are supposed to button, but my mom apparently had skinnier arms at about my age because I felt like my circulation was being cut off. I need to add a loop to the sleeve so that I can still connect the button.  My mom thinks that originally they wore a lavendar slip. The dress has tiny ruffles at the sleeves and two pleats on each side down the front torso and in down the back. It also buttons all the way down the back with clear flower buttons. It is quite pretty AND it was originally made by my aunt, which just makes it even more awesome.

To alter it, I cut the collar out to give it a scoop neck and cut the back into a low V and cut the front half of the skirt hemline to make it a high low. The fabric is so sheer that it lended itself perfectly to this style.  I wore a slip under it, but the slip that I happened to have (because I cut it out of another dress) is incredibly tiny so I need to find a longer one (so my aunt doesn’t tell me that I look “saucy”). The sleeves would slip too much when I wore it, so I added a ribbon and tied it into a bow at the top of the dress. Originally I just had the elastic at the bottom of the V but it didn’t do much- both for the fit and style. I meant to cut it out for these photos, but I forgot. Not to worry, it has now been cut out and now lays the way that it should.

dress: my mom’s from around 1980- refashioned by me; belt: Target; shoes: Payless Shoe Store; earrings: Forever 21; sunglasses: Target; nailpolish: Sally Hanson Mint Sorbet; bracelet: my mom’s, also probably from the 80s
DIY, flowers, sewing, wedding

Wedding DIY! Part 3: The dress

 My dress came from the UCP thrift store. It was $70 and I wasn’t sure about it but bought it anyway. I yelped seamstresses in the Bay Area and found one who was amazing. For $140, she completely redid the bust and hemmed the lace edges. So, my San Patrick dress totaled $210 for a partially custom made dress. When trying on dresses in a fancy dress shop, I found a sash that I absolutely loved but didn’t know the brand. I was able to find a knock off on Etsy and recreated it. I finagled two friends into working with me until 2am the night before my wedding to put together the flowers that I had hand cut and sewn and then hand beaded. They were amazing, hand sewing and band and attaching the flowers to it. It was finished as the dress was on me, an hour or so before the wedding. After all the work that was put into it, it is now a wall decoration in our home. The sash is made from ivory satin and chiffon from an amazing Berkeley fabric store, Stone Mountain and Daughter. The lace is a scrap from my dress and the beads are Swarovski’s.

This is the dress originally. I don’t have a good shot from the front, but it is a gathered, sheer material with rhinestones and a sheer halter strap- not quite my thing.
2 am sweatshop, day of the wedding with two of my best friends
my lovely ladies sewing the sash
best friends will do almost anything for you!
pinning it on the dress

finishing touches being done while I was in the dress, hours before go time.

The finished product! Love.
This was from our engagement picture session. I also made this flower from black satin, black polka dot chiffon, tan feathers, a fancy bead and black netting. It was a good practice run for the sash.

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clothing, DIY, refashion, sewing, upcycle

Vintage dress refashion + new glasses!

I bought this dress at this super cute vintage shop, Frock You, by my eye doctor. I think that it’s late 70s to early 80s. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before picture in it but at least I took a photo of it laying on the carpet in my sewing room. I really like the print and the sleeves but the high neck and long length made it a bit too dowdy for the print. I cut about 6 or so inches off the bottom and cut the neck a few inches (in the front and the sides). I also added cotton lace to the neckline and a cotton lace belt to the waist. It is an unusual dress, but I am quite happy with how it turned out.

hard to tell, but that center piece was a bit cut from the bottom and hemmed into the sides to make it wider in the bust, I’m assuming that this was by the original owner. It was a fun find, but I was cursing it a bit as I had to take it in to make it fit.


new glasses! I super love them.