Why I Started Sewing & Now Love It

I never thought I'd say I love sewing.  I remember making a gym bag in a home economics class in middle school and wanting to throw the fabric on the ground I was so frustrated.  I tried to sew a few more projects shortly after that and they didn't end well.  I haven't sewed anything since then.  I've always had the mindset that I am a far better shopper than I am seamstress (and I still believe that is true for the most part).  However, I was inspired by Jessica Quirk from one of my favorite blogs "What I Wore" and also Pinterest.   I started dreaming of some projects I could make.  It all started with wanting to make custom pillows for our new home.  I fell in love with some fabric and luckily, my mother-in-law and father-in-law bought me a sewing machine for Christmas.  Only recently did I start sewing (I haven't tackled the pillows yet) and here is why I love it so far.  I know sewing is not for everyone, but, honestly, I never expected some of the reasons I love it, so I had to share this. 

5.  Being Able to Spruce Up Your Home with Gorgeous & Unique Fabrics:  Can't find a pillow or valance shape or print you like?  There are endless fabric choices online and in fabric stores.   And with Pinterest and a huge selection of home decorating blogs, there are endless tutorials with videos and detailed instructions to help you along the way.  (I found this fabric to match the Pottery Barn herringbone rug I bought to the left.)


4.  Doing Minor Alterations:  I've already started altering a few of my clothes.   I recently bought some tank tops at Banana Republic that I absolutely loved but the straps were too long (striped tank below).  This was actually a very easy fix!   I also sewed a damaged top I loved but probably would have just gotten rid of.  I won't be tackling anything major, but, it's still great to be able to do this at home.   I guess I was spoiled growing up because my mom ran her own business as a seamstress, so I rarely had to spend time visiting a tailor.  I had in-house alterations for all of my clothes.   Having your clothes altered to fit your shape makes a HUGE difference.  Definitely find a great seamstress/tailor in addition to sewing minor things. 


3.  Being Able to Make Custom Clothes:  Imagine looking at an incredible design in one of your favorite style magazines or on Pinterest and being able to say, "I can make that."  Sometimes, I know exactly what I want, but I just can't find it.   That is what motivates me to be able to sew better.  It's definitely going to be a journey, but I really want to sew myself a blush pink coat.  I've been looking for the perfect coat for years and I just haven't found one.  I actually found the pattern in the place I least expected - Walmart - and it cost me $2.97.  I know there will be lots of frustrating moments and mistakes but I think it will be worth it in the end.  

2.  The Pure Joy of It:  I honestly remember sewing being a terrible process.  I was wrong. It's been 20-plus years since that middle school sewing class and I now have more patience and am able to actually ask for help.   Sure, there will be moments when I will constantly be ripping out the stitches I just sewed incorrectly.  But there is a lot of pride in being able to spend my time creating something rather than sitting in front of the TV every night. 

1.  Sewing for Someone Else is Such an Incredible Gift:  This was the true turning point for me.  I was addicted to sewing after this.  My first two projects were dresses for my 2-year-old daughter.   My daughter was so proud of the first dress I made her, she wouldn't take it off for bed.  She was yelling, "Mama made this!  Mama made this!"  So, we let her wear it to bed.  It brought tears to my eyes to think she could be so happy and proud of something I made her.  I've done lots of DIY crafts for her from name banners to a custom chalkboard, but nothing has made her this happy.  Even during the fittings, she wouldn't take  the first dress off.  She was bursting with excitement.   And, honestly, the dresses were not that difficult to make.  My mother-in-law showed me how to make the first and surprisingly, I actually did it all by myself.  The fabric was already pleated at the top (turquoise dress), so I hemmed it, stitched the side seam and made the straps. For the second, the pink dress, I bought the white top and sewed it to the skirt, which I created with the help of my mother.   It was very special creating a dress with my mom for my daughter; it's something I will remember forever.   I am a huge shopper, but I now realize, I honestly can't buy dresses like these anywhere. 

The first dress I made!  

And the second! 

Sweet on Style DIY 
Super Easy Sparkling Gourds & Pumpkins

I love anything sparkly, so naturally, I had to make my pumpkins and gourds shine too!  Honestly, it probably took me less time to create these pumpkins than it did to upload the pictures and post this.  (It took me under an hour to create the pumpkins.)  I discovered these ivory pumpkins and gourds at a local pumpkin patch called Sunnyside Gardens.  I then bought some glue specifically designed for glitter (with an attached brush) and a big container of silver sparkles from A.C. Moore.  I know the pumpkins probably won't keep, but I'm hoping the sparkly gourds will keep until Thanksgiving!

I saw a picture of a polka dot pumpkin on Pinterest and I fell in love with the idea.  One problem...I am not good at creating perfectly round circles.  How did I make them on this polka dot pumpkin?  With the help of something we have a lot of...old wine corks :)  I painted the bottom of the wine corks with the glue and then applied the corks to the pumpkin.  I sprinkled glitter on the circles and voila!  I did make several mistakes, so I had a wet paper towel handy to wipe excess glue off quickly.  I applied glue to the natural lines on the small pumpkins below to create the "striped" effect you see.  The striped pumpkins and gourds are my favorite!

Newspaper is a must if you do this project!  (Actually a large garbage bag might work better so you can fold it in on itself after and collect all the glitter.)  I glittered these pumpkins on my deck.  After I cleaned up, my daughter said, "Uh oh!" because I left quite a bit of glitter behind.  I will admit, I am not the neatest person when I do a craft project but I have a lot of fun!  If you make these, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

The Pure Joy of Getting Dressed Up

It was one of those moments I will remember forever.  Charlotte and I were sitting together watching Sesame Street.  She wanted to see what she calls "dress up," which is Katy Perry and Elmo singing "Hot N Cold."   Then it occurred to me, why don't we play dress up instead of just watching it?  We walked upstairs to her closet and pulled out a blue antique dress a family friend gave me when she was born.  She was absolutely over the moon when she saw it.  

As soon as we got back downstairs, she put both her little arms up in the air to put the dress on over her clothes.  I couldn't button it and tie the bow fast enough.  I wish I could have captured the wonder in her eyes and face on camera at the moment she looked at the beautiful dress she was wearing.  Charlotte was nearly running to her little pink kitchen to start playing.  Why dress up if you can't have a tea party?  We gathered her little plastic tea cups, cupcakes, tea pot and, of course, her animal friends.  She served them tea and cupcakes and hugged her dolly.  Then, I brought out my pink ballet dance shoes for her to wear.  She proudly stood in her little kitchen in her light blue dress and enormous pink ballet slippers as happy as someone could possibly be.   It was a magical moment.

I cannot keep thinking about the wonder and amazement in Charlotte's face with every new experience.  Seeing and putting on a new "dress up" dress is like winning the lottery to an adult.  But it's better - it's pure, innocent unfiltered joy.   

It makes me think not only about how I greet new experiences but also everyday life.  Something as magical to Charlotte as putting a special dress on has, unfortunately, become a chore to most of us.   Even though I love fashion, getting dressed can be a headache.  "My stomach doesn't look good in this." "This doesn't look right on me either."  "This is too old."  "This color looks louder than it did on the rack."  This negative flow of thoughts is something that would never occur to my sweet baby girl.  She is too busy bursting and squealing with excitement. Her moment of unfiltered joy reminded me that I've lost some of that.  I'm sometimes too busy being hard on myself to enjoy putting on a beautiful garment. 

I need to rekindle the wonder of putting on a special - or even everyday - outfit.  I know have to identify those pieces in my closet that make me feel absolutely magical and wear them more often.  Getting dressed isn't just about how you look - it's also largely about how you feel.  It really is about the simple things - putting on a beautiful piece of clothing or an accessory and bursting with joy as Charlotte did so sweetly!  As Kate Spade said, "Playing dress up begins at age five and never truly ends."

Valentine's Day

Our Valentine's week was filled with fun projects together.  Especially on this highly commercialized holiday, I like to create projects for my husband, our parents and grandparents.  Plus, Charlotte surprisingly seems to really enjoy dipping her feet in paint!  And she definitely enjoys making (and eating) cookies :)  So do I!

We got these cute wood frames at Michael's Arts
and Crafts Store.  You can't see it, but below
the handprint, there is a white footprint!

Charlotte loved making these!  I mixed hot pink with
white to get this shade because they were all
out of light pink and I lost my other bottle of it.

This is Charlotte's Valentine's Day tutu.  Aside
from the top picture where I was trying to size it on her,
she did not want to wear it today.  She was far more amused
by her rabbit wearing it!

I haven't eaten sugar cookies in 1.5 years
because I am lactose intolerant and can't
tolerate any milk or eggs.
I found this recipe for the best (vegan) sugar cookie - ever!

Since there are no eggs in the dough,
I had to taste it.  I'll admit, I ate at least 1/3 of the dough!

The finished product!  I made the icing with almond
milk and confectioner's sugar.  Delicious!  The cookies were
extremely hard right after I made them.  I put them in a container with a piece
of bread overnight and the next day, they were soft and dreamy!!
I ate all but one before Valentine's Day!  This recipe is a keeper.

The best part of Valentine's Day?
Aside from the snuggles, hugs and kisses from
Charlotte, I love reading her lots of books and watching
her try to read them to herself!

A Tulle Tutu for My Princess

There are few things I love more than a sweet baby in a tutu!  Charlotte has many tutus, but I really wanted to learn how to make one for her myself to make it even more special.  I found a fabulous step-by-step video on YouTube courtesy of Nashville Wraps (found at the bottom of this post).  This is a no-sew tutu and it honestly can't get much easier than this.  The result is pure bliss.  The possibilities for it are also endless.  It's a great gift for a special baby girl or mother-to-be!  I've also seen variations of tutus on baby shower cakes and diaper cakes, on Pottery Barn Kids Easter baskets and just as baby girl room decorations.  Plus, you can find so many  beautiful color combinations and different styles of ribbon to choose from.

My sweet little ballerina in her new tulle tutu!
I used one spool of light pink tulle and another spool of white for this tutu. 
(Actually, I only used about half of each spool.) 
I alternated the white and light pink.  I used white satin ribbon
to wrap the tulle around as explained in the video below.

The real advantage of this no-sew tutu is you can adjust the waist of it since you tie
it with a ribbon.  So, if it is a gift, you don't have to worry about it not fitting precisely!

As you can see, I had a wonderful little helper!  I had been neatly cutting the tulle 
into measured strips and putting them in piles when Charlotte discovered
my spools of tulle!  So, it's not just the tutu that's the enjoyable part for a baby 
or toddler; the process is just as fun!  And it's another lesson Charlotte
has taught me; stop and have some fun while you're working hard!

The second I finished the tutu, Charlotte was very excited to put it on!

When it's not in use, it's also a beautiful decoration on a satin hanger!

Beautiful Shoes for Tiny Feet

I like everything personalized.  I searched and searched for the perfect shoe for Charlotte's baptism.  I looked on Etsy and scoured stores but just couldn't find what I wanted.  It was her big day and although no one would see her tiny feet, I wanted each detail to be special.  I found these ivory baby ballet shoes and fell in love.  I decided to customize them with a cross to give them something special.  I found these pearls at Michaels Craft Stores.  With the help of some trial and error,  and a little glue, I got to work.   It didn't take me long and this memory is just so precious to me.  

These tiny pearls were flat on the back, making them easier to get onto the shoes.  

I did not make this gorgeous gown; my very talented mother-in-law created this baptismal gown for Charlotte.  I love lace, as you can probably guess by now.  I couldn't bear to cut up my wedding gown, so my mother-in-law found some beautiful lace to add to the gown that is very similar to the lace on my gown.

A Rose-Colored Hat

I wanted to find Charlotte the perfect hat this winter, but I just couldn't.  When I saw these pink felt rosettes, I fell in love with them.  I hand-sewed them onto her soft pink hat.  Although she'd rather pull her hat off most days, we get a lot of compliments on this one!

An Embellished Blush Pink Hat

Ironically, today couldn't be a more appropriate day for this DIY project.  Snowflakes are slowly and softly falling outside in a winter wonderland.  However, I am dreaming of spring!  The blush pink hue of this hat reminds me of spring - particularly this spring.  The shy, demure shade of blush pink is huge for spring.  Embellishments will also remain popular through Fall 2014.  Tory Burch's Fall 2014 line, which debuted this week in NYC, featured many elegantly embellished tops.

This embellished hat was very easy to create.  I bought the hat at American Eagle Outfitters but I thought it needed something more.  First of all, it was far too large without folding it over.  Secondly, I was longing for an embellished hat anyway.  I found the stones at Hobby Lobby.  I used four medium-size rectangular stones and one small stone for the center.  I placed the stones in my chosen design first and then took note of the "lines" on the hat where I would need to start and end for each stone.  I had to re-thread one of the stones a few times to get it in place, but it wasn't too difficult.  With this project behind me, I'm now hoping to embellish something more challenging. I'm loving the elegance of a blush pink or black embellished top!

Headband Tutorial
Spring Trend 2014 / Hair Adornments

Sparkly, braided and beaded headbands grace the shelves of many stores right now from Saks Fifth Avenue to Bloomingdale's to Target.  The feeling of sweeping your hair off your face is a great one!  They're a great gift to yourself or someone else.  Headbands have been in style for the last few years.  This spring, even more hair adornments from barrettes to sweet, delicate bobby pins will hit the shelves.   So, this is just the start and you'll see more to come like this on DIY Friday!

Not Difficult for Even the Least Experienced (Me!)
I am the daughter of a talented seamstress; however, the last time I picked up a needle and thread before this (aside from sewing a button) was in middle school when I begrudgingly made a required gym bag.  I am working to change this because I love the exhilaration of creating something.  The headbands took me about an hour each to create while watching Downton Abbey on the side.  I did have to play around with them a little bit to get them just right, but, again, I'm happy with how they came out on my first try.

Headbands for Migraine Sufferers 
In all honesty, my sister, Anne, came up with the idea to make these headbands.  We were at Hobby Lobby and saw all of the beautiful ribbons and beaded pieces.  A lightbulb went off though when I thought of how these might actually really work for me.  I am a chronic migraine sufferer.  It means painful headaches and a very rare chance to wear headbands.  For some reason, average-fitting headbands can trigger the start of a migraine.  I remember being nervous before my wedding that wearing the gorgeous veil I'd selected would trigger a horrible migraine.  Fortunately, it didn't!  In any event, I usually avoid headbands.  But now, these are perfect because I can custom make them loose enough to avoid discomfort!

Here is what you need to get started:
1) Elastic (Black or brown or light to match your hair)  The width is up to you. I used 1/4 inch but I would recommend 1/8 inch if you want it to be even less noticeable)
2) Your Choice of Ribbon, Beaded Material or Accent Piece 
(I bought a half a yard to be safe)
3) Needle (Use a thick needle like an embroidery needle.  If you use a regular needle, it will likely split in half as it did for me!) 
4) Thread to Match Your Elastic
5) Scissors
6) Measuring Tape or Ruler
7) Safety Pins (To size headband for fit)

Step One:

Take the ribbon or beading you are going to use for the main part of the headband and measure it around your head.  Really take the time to figure out what would be most comfortable for you.  Do you want the headband closer to your hairline or back farther?  For the second part of this - I am daring (and was very careful) and put a needle through the end of it.  I wouldn't recommend this - use a safety pin instead.  I wanted to assess just how comfortable the size would be without holding it with my fingers. 

Step Two:

(If you are using the black or brown elastic as the actual headband and adding an accent piece, disregard this step.)

Subtract 4 inches from the measurement of your headband ribbon and cut it.  This is because you will hand-sew elastic on the bottom of the headband (as it will eventually look below).  You'll want to cut 5 inches of elastic  -   4 inches of elastic will bridge the gap. The rest is overlap to sew the pieces together. (You can use more or less elastic on the bottom if you want.  It's all about what is most comfortable to you.  Most headbands have 7 or 8 inches of elastic, but I prefer far less elastic.)

Step Three:

You can test out the fit again if you like.  I again used needles to hold the pieces together and tried it on my head.  Again, I recommend safety pins :)  I don't know what I was thinking!  Then, I started hand-sewing each side together.  I made stitches the width of about 1/4 inch.  I probably did about 15 to 20 stitches to make sure it held in place. (If you use something beaded like the orange beaded headband below, you will have to sew in between the beads to adhere it in place.)

This is your last step unless you have an accent piece to hand-sew to the top of the headband!  

Step Four:

(For Adding an Accent Piece)

Here I am stitching together the headband before putting the accent piece on.
I stitched two rows of stitches to make sure it was secure enough as you can see below.

This beaded accent piece luckily had a raised piece of extra felt glued on the back to 
sew onto.  That made it SO much easier.  If I had to sew the entire piece onto a single piece of felt it would have been much more difficult.  

I hand-sewed it in two main places (left and right). Then, I made some small stitches on the very end of each side so the accent piece will sit flat instead of stick up at the ends when I wear it.

Congratulations! Hopefully you have a beautiful new headband to show off!  If you have any questions at all about how I made these headbands, feel free to e-mail me at  

Sweet on Style's DIY Friday
Sparkling Winter Centerpiece

I was taking all of the ornaments and glittered flowers off our tree when I had 
an idea to reuse them.  I think you can likely guess from this blog, I like to find multiple uses for everything! I take great pride and time (ask my husband, ha!)  in the pieces I select for my wardrobe and home.  So, although I'm sad to see the holidays over, I"m thrilled my glittered flowers can stay around for the winter months.

I found these glittered flowers and "snowy tree branches" at Michael's this holiday season.
I already had the vase (we used it as part of our wedding) and it was from T.J. Maxx.  I used two glittered ivory
poinsettias and three white hydrangeas.  I used nearly a full stem of the "snowy tree branches."  I started by putting the hydrangeas in the vase, then alternated and filled in with the poinsettias.  I then added the branches and played around for a while putting them in different places to see what looked best.  

 To place the tree branches, I put them in the center of each flower.  I used seven small stems.  (I cut the original stems in half.)

I think the stems could be a lot cleaner.  Next time, I am going to buy more white rocks
and go about a third of the way up the vase.  So, if you try this at home, here's another tip!

Here is our Christmas tree!  Next year, I'd like to add large netted silver sparkle ribbon
to add more depth.  This year, I ran out of time!

DIY Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Boxes

I absolutely love the holiday season because I love giving gifts.  This year, I am trying to be more eco-friendly by using reusable boxes and bags.  I bought these reusable boxes last year on clearance at Target and picked up a few items to personalize them.

 I found this elegant little frame at Hobby Lobby and, of course,
had to add Charlotte's picture to it.  

I bought this letter A at Restoration Hardware last year and I love it!
I know my sister, Anne, will love it too.

This is actually a wedding sash I bought at Michael's on sale.
I added the rhinestones to it for a bit more sparkle.

These flowers are also part of a sash I bought on sale at Michael's.
They were so inexpensive, I bought a few of them.  This one will be used
on this box for Christmas.  The other may be used as a sash for one of
my daughter's dresses eventually.

No comments:

Post a Comment