Category Archives: sewing adventures

‘Wear to Where’ blog tour + GIVEAWAY: Company holiday party

As I promised earlier this week, here is an extra special bonus post for my stop on the “Wear to Where?” blog tour, hosted by Katy of Wild and Wanderful / Handmade Escapade and Angelica of Gardening in High Heels. I signed up for the “company holiday party” theme, and I was inspired to create a look that would go from the office to an after-hours office party.

Also check out these ladies for other “Company holiday party” posts and ideas:
Fashionably Employed, Wild + Wanderful, and Gracious Threads

If you’d like to go straight to the LINKUP and GIVEAWAY info, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Office to office party collage

For the office

I knew my new plaid sheath dress was the perfect foundation to build on, because it is so classic in shape and pattern. The dress is sleeveless now, and check out my post from Thursday that details how I personally tailored the dress to better fit me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Office outfit with plaid sheath dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Office outfit with plaid sheath dress

Staying with that classic vibe, I layered a basic black blazer over the plaid sheath dress. I added black ankle boots and a red patent leather skinny belt for a fun, playful edge. Pearl stud earrings and a tote bag finished off this practical, classic work look.

Librarian for Life + Style | Office outfit closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Office outfit with plaid sheath dress


For the office holiday party

Office holiday parties can be tricky to dress for. Since you are interacting and networking with colleagues, you probably don’t want to go too crazy or flashy. For me, the perfect company holiday party outfit says:  “I am off work, but I am still a professional.”

If the party time is scheduled after work, it would save time to start with your day work look and then just amp up your accessories!

Librarian for Life + Style | Office holiday party look

Librarian for Life + Style | Office holiday party outfit closeup

To take my work look from day to night, I switched from my tote bag to a bright red handbag, and I added bright red lipstick (this is a long-wearing lip stain, a practical choice for a party).

For jewelry, I kept my pearl earring studs and then added a vintage pearl lariat necklace from my grandmother and a vintage pearl bracelet from my mother-in-law. I had thought of wearing my jet statement necklace, as seen here, but then I spied the pearl lariat necklace in my jewelry armoire. I had never worn this necklace before, as I never knew quite what to do with it. But I love pearls, and I love that it is a reminder of my paternal grandmother — and this necklace is both classic (because it’s pearl) and a little quirky (the lariat shape and the tassels). It really stands out with this office party look.

Last but not least, I cuffed and pushed up my jacket sleeves, the final finishing touch that is more relaxed and says, “I am OFF work now.” 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Office holiday party look

Librarian for Life + Style | Office holiday party look


Librarian for Life + Style | Office holiday party look

And now it’s time for the “Wear to Where?” linkup + giveway!

The linkup

Be sure to head over to Wild+Wanderful or Gardening in High Heels to check out the other awesome bloggers, sewists and stylistas on the tour, as well as be able to link up your own looks and show us what you would Wear to Where!

The giveaway

Now let’s talk giveaway prizes for this tour!!

For the Sewists: Choice of 3 patterns from Cole’s Creations, Choice of 3 patterns from Made for Mermaids, Pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates, Pattern of choice from Scientific Seamstress, Sewing-tee of choice from Sewing Stadium, Pattern of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co, Pattern of choice from StitchArt

For the Fashionistas: Set of 6 cards from Designs by Nicolina, 30 minute Social Media/Copy Consult by Gardening in High Heels, Tee of choice from Handmade Escapade, $20 Store Credit from Jenny Penny Designs, Tumbler from Joy+Tren

Wear to Where? prizes and sponsors

A big thanks to our amazing sponsors!
Cole’s Creations | Designs by Nicolina | Gardening in High Heels
Handmade Escapade | Jenny Penny Designs | Joy+Tren
Made for Mermaids | Patterns for Pirates | Scientific Seamstress
Sewing Stadium | Simple Life Pattern Co | Stitch Art

How to enter the giveaway

Just follow this link to enter the giveaway, open through Nov. 19:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By the way, the giveaway link above opens in a new window, and you can either sign in with your Facebook account or with your email. The mandatory entry is to leave a blog comment (which you can do on this post), and then you will see the other entry options become available on the Rafflecopter widget.

Good luck!! The roundup and giveaway announcement will be Nov. 20.

The lineup

And be sure to visit the other awesome bloggers participating in the “Wear to Where?” blog tour!

Tuesday, November 10: Office Attire
Nicolina.Co, Fashionably Employed, Creative Counselor, Sprouting JubeJube

Wednesday, November 11: Brunch with the Girls
GLITZ a Beautiful Life, The Fashionable Eye, The Art of Oh, Scientific Seamstress, Rebel & Malice

Thursday, November 12: Date Night In
Hayes Days, Adventures in Aubreyland, HattieLu Handmade, Wally and Grace, Paisley Roots

Friday, November 13: Date Night Out
Gardening in High Heels, Wear.Wag.Repeat, If Only They Would Nap, The Wholesome Mama, Made by Sara

Saturday, November 14: Company Holiday Party
Librarian for LIfe + Style, Fashionably Employed, Wild + Wanderful, Gracious Threads

Monday, November 16: Workout Chic
Absolute Mommy, Fashionably Employed, Sweet Red Poppy, Baste + Gather

Tuesday, November 17: Coffee Shop Work/Blog Session
Style Studs and Lace, In Pursuit of Simple, A Jennuie Life, Call Ajaire

Wednesday, November 18: Touring Your City
Making Mrs. M, Absolute Mommy, Friends Stitched Together, Wining Wife

Thursday, November 19: Tailgate Attire
Hayes Days, Life with Lolo, Handmade Boy, Free Notion

Linkups:  Hello Monday, Monday Mingle, Sophisticated Style, Visible Monday,#iwillwearwhatilike, A Lovely Little a La ModeConfident Twosdays, Turning Heads,Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays,Trendy Wednesday, What I Wore WednesdayThrowback Thursday, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer Style, Thursdays Fashion FilesFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Charming Friday, Friday Favorites

Sewing adventures: Tailoring two new eShakti items

I mentioned in last month’s budget post that two out of my three new eShakti items didn’t fit quite right. It was very disappointing to realize — particularly since I went the custom sizing route! — but luckily, I have enough basic sewing skills to be able to fix the issues myself.

Removing sleeves

First up, my new plaid sheath dress. I was particularly excited about this dress, as it’s so classic in shape and pattern. {Similar styles here, here, and here.} As you can see below, the base model came with 3/4-length sleeves, and I requested elbow-length sleeves instead. When I tried on the dress, everything fit great — everything except for the sleeves, which were not close-fitted at all like the original design. Instead, the sleeves were ruched and inexplicably so voluminous that it looked like I had time-travelled back to the ’80s.

Librarian for Life + Style | Removing sleeves on new eShakti dress, before shot

I decided to just remove the sleeves entirely and make the dress sleeveless, since that would be easier, and then I could also layer things over and under the dress.

I first unpicked the seams around the sleeves and then pinned under the remaining fabric to sew around the armholes. After I finished, I ironed everything down for a smoother finish.

Librarian for Life + Style | Ripping out seams

Librarian for Life + Style | Removing sleeves on new eShakti dress

Here’s the final result:

Librarian for Life + Style | Removing sleeves on new eShakti dress, after shots

I’m not 100% happy with the result, just because some of the fabric bunched up under the armholes. Curved hems can be quite frustrating to get right. But then I came across this tutorial for an alternate way to hem curved edges, so I might go in and redo the armhole seams. They’re ok as is — the couple of lumpy bits are under the arms, so they’re not obvious — but we’ll see if I have the energy to clean it up later on.

Feeling snappy

Next was my new eShakti dress with the print of heart-shaped lockets. {Sold out but here’s a similar option that also comes with its own belt.} Even though I provided measurements for my bustline and my shoulder-to-waist ratio, the dress was still too blousy and droopy in front. I wore the dress before tailoring it, as seen here in last week’s SIA post, but you couldn’t really tell it was an issue since I wore it layered under a cardigan. On its own, however, it is noticeably ill-fitting.

I first thought about shortening the shoulders, something I’ve had to do multiple times with previous eShakti dresses, as seen here, here, and here . The shoulder straps were about three-quarters of an inch too long.

Librarian for Life + Style | Shortening shoulder straps on new eShakti dress

However, I realized that the back straps were wider than the front straps, so there would have been a gap if I’d shortened the shoulder straps the easy way. I didn’t feel up to going through all the extra steps to do it right (which I’ve done before, illustrated in this post), so I mulled over an alternate way to get the end result I wanted.

That’s when I realized I could solve the problem by sewing on a few snaps in strategic places on the wrap-style bodice. I needed to add an additional snap already with the red fabric belt that came with the dress; the belt had an extra inch-and-a-half of fabric hanging off the end. (Whyyyyyyy?!) You can see in the pic below both the droopy bodice and the extra fabric hanging off the fabric belt.

Librarian for Life + Style | Before shot of eShakti heart print dress and fabric belt

The pic below is of me figuring out where to place the snaps on the bodice. One of the snaps I would place at the top of the V, which was easy to pin. The trickier one was the snap halfway down, as I didn’t want to mess up the placement of the pleats on the top half of the dress.

Librarian for Life + Style | Figuring out where to place snaps on the wrap-style bustline

I then carefully hand-sewed on two smaller snaps on the wrap-style bodice of the dress, as well as one extra snap to the end of the red fabric belt.

Librarian for Life + Style | After shot of eShakti fabric belt and extra snap

Librarian for Life + Style | After shot of eShakti heart print dress and extra snaps

And below is the end result after sewing on the extra snaps. Sorry the picture is a little blurry, but you can see how the bodice is no longer droopy, and the red fabric belt now wraps around snugly around my waist. Success!

Librarian for Life + Style | After shot of eShakti heart print dress and fabric belt

A quick reminder that on Saturday, I will have an extra-special post up for my stop on the “Wear to Where?” blog tour, featuring my newly tailored black plaid sheath dress! Be sure to stop by on Saturday to see my new plaid dress in action — and to enter the “Wear to Where” giveaway!

So now I have two new sleeveless dresses. Which do you like better? Have you ever tailored an item of clothing to fit you better? Please leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

Adventures in sewing: Shortening a halter neck strap

Continuing my summer adventures in sewing… I’ve written about shortening dress straps before (see here and here). This time, I shortened the neck strap on a navy cocktail halter dress I thrifted a couple of summers ago, seen here.

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten halter neck straps

I wore this navy halter dress at a library conference event, as seen in this post, but I felt a bit uncomfortable with the fit of the halter strap. It felt a little low-hanging on me, and the back fell low enough to necessitate wearing a bra extender.

My goal? To shorten the halter neck strap.

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten halter neck straps

The process of shortening a dress strap is pretty simple, if the straps are the same width. All it took was to measure how much I needed to shorten it, and then sewing a straight line across. The double layer of liner and chiffon of this cocktail dress, as well as the two fabric buttons on the back of the halter neck strap, made this job a bit more complicated than I first anticipated.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing progress on shortening halter neck straps

After sewing the straight line, I then smoothed down the excess fabric and hand-stitched it down. (I didn’t want to cut off the excess fabric in case I wanted to lengthen it again in the future.) Thank goodness the fabric buttons were just decorative, and not functional, so I simply reattached the buttons to the middle neck seam as the final task.

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten halter neck straps - finishing touches

Reattaching the buttons really made a difference making the end result look more professional!

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten halter neck straps - final result

I took up almost an inch on the halter neck strap, and I was quite pleased with the result of this simple sewing project. I felt much more comfortable with the fit covering the bust — and it brought up the back enough for me to wear a regular strapless bra without the extender. Success!

How do you feel about this project? Have you ever shortened straps on a dress before? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Adventures in sewing: Shortening shirt sleeves

More of my sewing adventures from this summer… next is a project I’ve been thinking about since this winter, when my friend Stephanie fashion-swapped me several items from her wardrobe, as seen here in this post. One of those items was a cute black-and-white button-up top with a small diamond print on the fabric.

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten cuffed shirt sleeves

I wore the top a couple of items before deciding that I needed to shorten the sleeves from a 3/4 length to above the elbow.

Librarian for Life + Style | A before shot of my cuffed sleeves

Librarian for Life + Style | How much to shorten the cuffs

I’ve never done this before, so I studied the structure of the sleeve to figure out the steps of what I needed to do. A majority of time on a sewing project is always spent on the prep work, much more than the actual time sewing. Here are the steps of the prep work I needed to do:

  • measure how much I needed to shorten the sleeve
  • take out the stitching that connected the cuffs to the sleeves
  • take out the stitching of the back vent bindings
  • measure how much fabric needed to be cut — and re-measure!
  • cut a new back vent for each sleeve

Librarian for Life + Style | Seam ripping

Librarian for Life + Style | Measuring how much to shorten shirt cuffs

I then repinned the binding covers for the new back vents and sewed them back on. This was necessary before sewing back on the cuffs.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing progress in shortening cuffed shirt sleeves

I then sewed the cuffs back on, after pinning them and double-checking them in the mirror to make sure of the shorter length. And the final result below! I could have skipped the back sleeve vents, but I felt them necessary for a bit of extra give — and they make the end product look much more professional!

Librarian for Life + Style | Results of shortening shirt cuffs

The very last step was to remove four small belt loops right under the bustline. There used to be a matching fabric belt with this top, but Stephanie said that belt got lost years ago. Also, it feels unnecessary to have a belt on this top, so I didn’t feel bad at all about taking off the four little loops. It was a simple job, picking out the top stitching of the small belt loops.

Librarian for Life + Style | Taking off belt loops

I smiled when I realized those four little belt loops also happen to be the perfect size to use later on for bra strap holders for a couple of dresses. Waste not, want not! 😀

And best of all, it feels like I have a totally new top for the fall! What do y’all think of my sewing project and end result? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

One of the best things about being off-contract for the summer is having time to catch up on different projects, including sewing projects. If y’all will indulge me, I will share these “adventures in sewing” with you over the next few weeks.

One of my more immediate projects earlier in the summer was to line all of our curtains with blackout fabric, to combat this (uncharacteristically) sweltering summer here in Portland. I cleaned out two stores of their blackout liners! 😀 I then attached the linings — which I had cut to fit our very tall windows throughout the house — to our curtains with either curtain hooks or clips. In my study, I then focused on finishing off the look by making curtain tiebacks.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

My study, seen here, has more of a whimsical feel, and I had made cheery blue-and-white cafe curtains last year, as you can see in the pic above. When I was looking through my fabric remnants, I spied leftover fabric from when I re-hemmed my floral scalloped skirt two summers ago. And the lightbulb went off! Here’s a quick look at what I’m referring to:

Librarian for Life + Style | Rehemming a floral skirt collage

I had originally saved the leftover fabric (which was a good 5+ inches wide) to make a headband, thinking the scallops would make a pretty headband edge. But I found the scallops simply too big for that project. But as curtain tiebacks, they’re perfect! 🙂

You can also see the blackout liner fabric behind the lace fabric of my longer curtains in the pic below.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

The best part about remixing skirt hems as curtain tiebacks is that one side is already hemmed! So I started with the scalloped edge, as that side was already done, and measured three and four inches up for the height. I then cut the fabric at the four-inch mark, then folded the fabric over at the three-inch mark to guide my hem. I sewed a straight line across, nothing fancy.

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

After my sides were done — the length was almost 14 inches — I then hand-stitched on the rings on both sides of the tiebacks. You can see the white plastic rings in the collage below. Sam then measured where to put the small gold hooks on either side of the window, and that’s how you anchor the curtain tiebacks. The rings loop onto the hooks, easy-peasy!

And the best part is, when you want the curtains closed, all you have to do is undo one side of the curtain tieback and then let it hang down on one ring. The curtain itself hides the tieback, so you don’t have to worry about losing your curtain tiebacks! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

And the final effect below. I love how this project worked out! I smile each time I see my floral tiebacks, especially when combined with my cafe curtains and longer lace curtains. The effect looks so bright and cheerful — and very much my personal style, with the remixing AND pattern-mixing! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Adventures in sewing: Making curtain tiebacks out of skirt hems

What do y’all think of this project? Would you ever consider reusing skirt hems for curtain tiebacks? Please leave a comment and let me know!