Monday, July 11, 2011

The dress must go on!

If you have ever read this blog before, chances are that you've noticed my penchant for "making it work."  As in, the final result is usually different than what was originally planned.  So in keeping with the designer that you know me to be, this outfit was no different!  It started off as a dress, until I realized that I made it way too short.  Like, 3 or 4 inches too short.  And on a size 3-6 months dress, that turns the dress into a top!  I thought I'd just add another layer (This is the great thing about mixing fabics--if I have to "rearrange," it looks like I meant to.), except that it made the pink ruffled over skirt look out of place.  So I present to you, the dress-turned-two-piece set.  

This is actually the back of the outfit.  I had to show you that yummy bow and those ruffles :)
And see the lacy ruffle at the bottom of the pantaloons?  Well, that's what makes them pantaloons instead of bloomers :)  The lace was the intended add-on ruffle to the dress, but when stitched to the hem of the pants, they are too long for bloomers.  And so we have pantaloons!

Today's happiness:  Surprises!  I made this for someone not expecting this.  Hope they like it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photo, shoot!

And so it went that the second spring line was officially added to the annals of fashion history.  That's a fancy way of saying we just did our spring photo shoot!  For 2012.  Isn't fashion's sense of time zany?  Once again, I thank Priscilla Baierlein for sharing her super-photographic talent with us!  And, shoot, if I didn't remember that she'd want to take a quick snapshot of me at the end.  Darn that humidity!

I recently found a tutorial for this skirt from the author of the Elle Apparel blog.  It's the first thing I've ever sewn for myself!

The pictures turned out wunderbar!  Unfortunately, you'll have to wait til January to see them.  Until then, sisters, keep enjoying your summer!

Today's happiness:  Lunch breaks.  To my dismay, they are building a new road right behind my house.  But thank goodness for 12:00-12:30.  It gives me and my son time to go outside and play superheros without the angry grinding of all that CAT equipment in our my ears.  I think it probably adds to the ambiance for him :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fourth of July dress, done nauti-cool.

I must say, I am inspired.  Mostly because I tried something I haven't done before, and--bonus!--it turned out much better than I had anticipated. 

You see, I saw my neighbor putting up some festive red, white and blue banners on her front porch today in honor of the fast-approaching 4th of July.  It fueled an already present itch to stitch up a little number for Sabrina to wear while she watches fireworks.  Well, let's be clear.  She won't actually be watching fireworks.  She is far too frightened of loud noises for that, but she still has to wear clothes to the party leading up to said activity, right?

So I had some faux madras type fabric that had been taking up space on my rolly-rack for about six months.  It's not that I didn't like it; it just hadn't told me what it wanted to be yet--until Independence Day poked its little noggin around the corner.

I got to work on the circle skirt last night.  That took all  of about two minutes to make.  Tops.  If you want to know how to do this in a super easy way, email me at and I'll fill you in on the secret.

The cool thing about a true circle skirt is that you can check the whole way around it, and you won't find a single seam.

Anyhow, I needed navy and white striped fabric for the bodice.  Ha!  Well that was no small task.  As I've mentioned before, I usually buy my fabrics online, but in a pinch (as in, I want it NOW) I do head down the road to the local crafty chain store every now and again.  My penchant to buy online was reaffirmed when I realized they didn't have navy and white striped fabric!?!? That's like Basics 101, right?  Not to be deterred, I decided to make my navy and white striped fabric.  It took about 30x's as long as it would have to just buy the fabric, but I must say that I think the raw-edged stripes produced a much cooler effect.  Let me know what you think.

I then added the "rope" bow to complete the nautical feel, but something was comes the inspiration.  I haven't ever put any type of image on my stuff before.  I actually wanted to applique something on there, but nothing seemed quite right.  So I found this vintage pic that seemed perfect for the Fourth, and óuila!  Here we are.  The perfect topper to my cake.  In fact, I'm so happy with it that I might have to explore this type of design a bit more :) .....

Transfer paper was my friend here.

Happy 4th of July!  We love and thank our soldiers who fight to keep us free!

Since taking this pic, I changed out the wooden buttons for some metal shiny gold ones that have little anchors on them.

Today's happiness:  Imperfection.  Like the exposed raw edges of the fabric, sometimes when things are just a little "off" they turn out right on.  Have a great week!  Wonky raw edges and all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Afterthought Dress

Wait, no, not like that.  Not in a bad way.  Not like I didn't care.  But there I was.  Three hours 'til spring photoshoot "go time," and I get a wild hair that all of my models needed to have custom made monogrammed dresses as thank you gifts.

My sewing mentor, Frances, was there watching my kids that day so I could sew up some loose ends for the photo shoot.  No pun intended.  And I ask her, "Frances, do you think I would be nuts to try to sew all of the girls (Four of them, in case you were wondering) dresses before the shoot tonight?"  And she just looks at me with those Knowing Frances eyes, as if to say, "Heck yes, you're loony toons.  But I know you're gonna do it anyway."  And so I forged ahead.  After all, they were just four simple pillowcase dresses.  I get all the way finished with the fourth one and looked at the clock.  Shucks!  It's time to go and the embroidery still hasn't been stitched on.

Given that these dresses were afterthoughts, I didn't have enough trim to make them all the same.  Some have these white poms on the bottom and others have white eyelet lace.  But they'll never know, right?

Sigh.  The crazy things we put ourselves through!  I bet you do it too.  Maybe you make miniature fondant cat cupcakes for your kid's entire preschool class like my friend, Brandi.  Or maybe you're always volunteering to babysit your neighbor's kids for free like my friend that shall go unnamed :)

So here's to us, my girlfriends!  Even you, the one I haven't met yet.  At least something good is coming from our stress.  And if you're really good, no one will even know it's an afterthought :)

Today's happiness:  Memorial Day.  For some, it's a reason to kick back and relax.  For others, it's a more somber day spent remembering someone that's no longer here.  But we are still here.  Let's spend the rest of our day doing something that makes others happy that we're alive!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Foamy Trees

Strike one:  It's raining.
Strike two:  It's cold.
Strike three:  Both kids have strep throat.

Sooooo...what do you do with your kids on days like this?  Fortunately for me and mine, we had made a pit stop to the local craft store yesterday.  This fueled us with quite a bit of ammo for the triple-whammy home-bound Thursday.  We opted for the foam tree house assembly kit:

Don't give us credit for all this cuteness.  It was very easy to assemble.  But next time I'd use a hot glue gun in lieu of Elmer's.  We had to complete it in two different drying sessions.

Today's happiness silver lining:  Even though both kids are sick, we've had some good QT.  And does the tendency for sick children to nap qualify as silver lining?  You be the judge.  But it will allow me some time to work on a new á La Modish idea for spring 2012!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Accidental Easter Dress

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Oh my stars.  I love a happy accident about as much as I love it when a dress comes together.

So I've been on this cleaning/organizing mission lately.  This is mostly contributed to my hosting an intern soon.  As in, I can live with my own demons of disorganization, but heaven forbid someone else see the inspirational chaos that I call "my studio."

Part of the organization includes figuring out what the heck to do with all of my partially completed projects.  I mean, there are lots.  For starters, there are half finished shower gifts for babies not due until July, four coaster sets, a pillowcase dress (made for the á La Modish blog tutorial that's coming soon!), and two random dresses started on an ambitious Saturday afternoon.

Let's revisit one of the two dresses initiated on that weekend oh so long ago.  Okay, so it really started the day before on a trip to the local fabric store.  Although I'm a wee bit of a fabric snob, on occasion I'll venture down the road to store XYZ and pick up a zipper and some bias tape.  While there, I'll glance at the store's other wares.  On this specific occasion, I saw a big yellow sign hanging over one of the 6' x 3' potluck/buffet tables that had stacks and stacks of fabric haphazardly strewn about it.  And they were all 50% off!  I eagle-eyed some light blue shirting fabric and saw potential in it, if not simply because it was only $3.49/yard.  

I bought a whole bunch of it.  And then made a dress for Sabrina that used up most of it.  So before you indignantly hurl your apple pies at me for going all traditional on you, take a look and tell me that it's not amazing.  And take a second look and tell me that it doesn't just scream "EASTER DRESS."  

And so it was, my daughter’s normally much-planned-out Easter dress was accidentally checked off the sewing to-do list--allowing this seamstress some time to get back to those coaster sets.  And possibly start on a new handbag or two.....

Today's happiness:  New ventures.  In celebration of the Our Cups Runneth Over Blog, I thought it would be fun to list different possible meanings of said phrase.  Ahem...
  • To the nursing mother:  These triple E’s ain’t fitting into my strapless bra anymore.
  • To the 18 month old:  Someone forgot to put that rubber thingy into my sippy cup!
  • To the guy at the bar:  This was not a perfect pour.
  • To the star athlete:  It’s been a successful year!
  • To the harried cook:  Measurements are just suggestions anyway?
  • To the baseball player:  Um, let’s not go there…
"Bring me the sunset in a cup."--Emily Dickinson

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Closet Life

This morning, I sit with you holding my thin-rimmed mug of Dunkin'Donuts coffee.  My hair hearkens back to my co-ed days of quickly braided pigtails.  I am wearing a light pink Oklahoma Sooners tee-shirt and a pair of slightly snug wide-leg jeans.  My feet are bare.

Just minutes ago, I was smiling to myself while standing in the middle of my closet.  Who else has a closet that looks like the chapters of a book?  If you were to read the chapters of my wardrobe, it would go something like this:

Chapter 1:  Oh!  The fast-fading days of college.  I have well-loved shirts espousing your love.  All three of you (OBU, OU and UK!).  A few pairs of shorts so, well, short that I'm uncomfortable wearing them.  But my husband thinks they're awesome.

Chapter 2:  The only thing stopping this Corporate American woman is a run her thigh-highs and a Starbucks.  All the skirt suits that were worn day in and day out still occupy their fair share of a corner of my closet.  I think I'm saving them for the off chance that I might be meeting the Queen of England.

Chapter 3:  We're gonna party like it's nineteen ninety-nine. because it gives me a good excuse to buy new clothes every weekend.  Fortunately for my well-being and my bank account, this phase only last about 3 months.

Chapter 4:  What?!  It's already time for the ten year class reunion??  Yes, I bought several different options for this reunion.  I think I settled on an orange, trapeze-styled dress with white patent leather wedges.  This was one of the numbers that got beat out:
Umm.  Yeah.  So I really don't think I need to explain why this got beat out.  Rather, why was this purchase ever made??

Chapter 5:  First child was born.  Dead-set on never falling into the mom-clothes trap, I still wear four inch heels while carrying my son around in that super-heavy snap in car seat thing.

Chapter 6:  Second child was born.  Four inch heels cause old cheerleading knee injury to flare up while carrying my daughter around in that super-heavy snap in car seat thing.  Stillettos traded in for ballet flats.

Chapter 7:  What am I going to wear for date night with my handsome hubby?  Well, since we are keeping it pretty tame with dinner out and then maybe a trip to the bookstore, I'll go with Guess jeans, fancy jewelry, and a White House Black Market silk blouse.  Long gone are the days of skirts so short that they wouldn't fit my toddler.

Chapter 8:  "I love designing! I think I'll start my own fashion-line!".  This is where it gets tricky.  You see, I have to look the part on certain occasions, donning stylish vintage earrings and hot-rolled hair.  Possibly even something brand-named that I got on sale at Stein-Mart.

But rest assured, on days like today where I'm just carting the kids to the grocery store and doing laundry, you can take it to the bank that I've got my hair braided and my favorite tee shirt on.

Today's happiness:  Having a full life!  I wouldn't change any of those chapters.  They have all made my life just a wee bit more interesting, if not my closet more crammed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Last Friday was Her Knight

Her hair was perfectly parted and ever so delicately pinned back with a cheap, white, ducky barrette.  Her shoes were $3 as part of a buy one get one half off special.  And her dress was homemade.  She believed she was Cinderella, and sang the song with heartfelt gusto.  This was her night.  To be with Her Knight.  The man in her life, her daddy.

They danced.  They ate chicken nuggets.  They had their picture taken with the Chick-Fil-A Cows (Otherwise know by Sabrina as "dogs.").  And she brought home a red balloon.  This is the good stuff!

Meanwhile, my boy and I had our own date.  He wanted to get fancied up too and asked to wear a tie.  The Movie Tavern was our destination.  And the best part of going to the movies with Gavin?  He always ends up sitting in my lap, making me believe for just a little while longer that he'll be little for just a while longer :)

Today's happiness:  The Assurance Care Center. The proceeds of Her Knight go to benefit the Center.  To learn more about Her Knight and its mission, visit

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Same day, different lens

The time has come.  If you have ever read my blog before, there is approximately a 43% chance that you've heard me lament about my lousy iPhone camera, because I apologize for it almost as much as I say "like".  So the camera came in, and I looked at it.  In the box.  For maybe a week or so.  Before I finally drummed up enough nerve to break the seal and remove the perfectly contoured packaging.  And then a really thick owner's manual fell out.

Another 7 days pass before I turn the camera on, only to realize that it's not as simple to operate as my lousy iPhone.  Imagine that.  So I did what all upstanding semi-right brained folk would do; I pushed all the buttons to see what would happen.  It just kept saying something about "this function not being selectable."  Only then did I  read bits and pieces of the manual, but just the parts that directly applied to what I wanted to do at that exact moment.

Now that I can sort of get it to take a picture, I thought it would be fun to post the iPhone vs. the Canon Rebel (GRRRR....doesn't that name sound tough?).  This is a dress I made for Jeff's coworker's new baby.  I used fabric from the spring line.  You can see the line here.

Canon Rebel

The crazy thing is that I took them both from the exact same spot, within seconds of each other.  But look at all that junk in the background that is visible with the iPhone versus the fancy camera.  And look at how pretty and focused the second dress is versus the dull, flat dress in the first picture. 

Perhaps an obvious observation, but it occurred to me that this is just like life.  It's all about the lens you are looking through, right?  Same circumstances, same time, same everything, but the second outlook is so much better.  Notice with the better lens, the junk in the background isn't so apparent.  We'll always have junk, but we don't always have to focus on it.  I hope that today your focus is clear and your day is bright, regardless of how much sunshine is passing through the clouds.

Today's happiness:  Yay for trying something new!  I don't know a thing about photography, but it sure has been fun to play with it.  What have you been wanting to try, but haven't?  WELL.....go do it!  You'll be proud of yourself.
Juuuust waking up from nap time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Play-doh works wonders

My typical (half) day:

Slumber is abruptly interrupted at _____AM by one or both children.  

Calls for breakfast begin as immediately as the need to potty when only a dirty, public bathroom is available.

Breakfast, usually cereal or yogurt (occasionally mac 'n' cheese), is consumed by one or both children.


Approximately 22 minutes of peace ensues as quickly as The Fresh Beat Band can cue up "Go Bananas," "Friends Give Friends a Hand," or "Loco Legs."  This is my time.  I sip my coffee, check my email, and play a few words with friends (Play me!  I'm an addict.).

Kids get dressed--Gavin with his shirt backwards, and Sabrina with a tantrum.

Fresh Beat Band is turned off so that all four of us can gather 'round the Round Rug in the kitchen to say our daily family prayer.

Jeff takes Gavin to preschool while I cart the baby (AKA our almost 3 year old toddler, Sabrina) to preschool.

After their 1/2 day preschool is over (Let's pause here to speculate who determined that 2.5 hours qualifies as a "half day."  But I digress.), we--sometimes--come home so I can grill up a cheese quesadilla or two.

Then the countdown for Sabrina's nap begins.  I find myself checking the clock as often as I check my Words With Friends.

I am tired.  I struggle to stay awake long enough to put the baby to bed.  I might even be cranky from the 18 fights the kids have started with each other since they reunited at 12:00.  What mom isn't tired, right?  What mom loves every moment of motherhood?  What mom doesn't wish for a solo trip to a sunny beach with possibly a fancy pink umbrella drink in her freshly manicured hand?

But then, after running an errand without the kids yesterday, I come home to this:
Good thing I snapped a picture fast.  Moments after this was taken, it was eaten by Sabrina. 
You know why I love this?  Yes, I love the blue hydrangeas and pink buttercups. I love the zeal with which they wanted to "surprise" me.  But I love that my husband made it :)  He apologized right away for the mess of play-doh canisters spread across the table, and for the petrified neon orange pellets on the floor.  But I didn't care.  He was doing a craft with our children for me.

It does my soul so much good to know that throughout the daily chaos of life, when he and I are like ships passing in the night while doing the daily grind of parenthood, he still thinks of me.  I love you, Jeff!  Happy Valentine's Day.

Today's happiness:  Let's not stop the love fest!  Remember the apron I promised you?  So a couple of you had some great ideas on how to win it, so I'm going to combine my two favorite. You have from today til the end of the month to post 1) a picture of your little one cooking up something wonderful OR 2) a recipe for fun.  Please post on the blog or the á La Modish fan page.  Either of these options are literal or figurative; creativity is always good!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Apron Strings

How did that saying go?  Something about "being tied to her apron strings."  I think it's when you're still bossing your son around when he's like, 36 or something.  But where did that saying come from?  Maybe because he was always hanging around you as a kid, and you always had your apron on?  Isn't that a funny thought.  I have some friends that really do wear aprons.  But that idea seems so foreign to me, to wear an apron every day?  Is it because we couldn't wash our clothes as often, so we went to great lengths to protect them? Even more strange--we cooked every day? *Sigh* Just the thought exhausts me.

Therefore, it makes me feel much better to take the practicality factor out of the apron, and just focus on its cuteness.  Especially if it's shrunken down to toddler size.  
Details coming soon on how you can win one like this for your little one.
I like how it tapers up in the back, so I had to show you.

We got Sabrina a pink retro kitchen for Christmas, but that's not why I made this for her (Obviously, this apron does not go with pink.).  I made it for her preschool Valentine's party.  Not too Valentines-y that she can only wear it in February, but just enough that she can be festively dressed to pass out her mini-potted-grow-your-own-strawberries in style.

Today's happiness:  The heart pocket.  Nothing gives me greater joy than making something for my girl with pockets, and seeing her tiny, perfect hand slipping into it, providing warmth and endless opportunities for treasure storage.

Sunday, February 6, 2011



Oh how I have missed you, vicariously through my blog, that is.  

Since I generally like to keep the feel of my blog chipper, I will save you all the details.  But suffice it to say that the last month has been quite a trying time for my family.  It was the kind when the one thing you have to look forward to is that things can only get better, right?!  Ergo, my MIA status in January.

For just these said moments, I happen to have this super old postcard tacked up to my inspiration board:
This came with a super old journal filled with original love poems.
I guess for me, it would read better:  Troubles Worries are like babies.  They only grow bigger by nursing.  Because sometimes troubles do grow bigger without nursing them right?  I mean, we're going along doing life, and through no fault of our own, BAM!  Something totally not cool/fair/nice/pleasant happens to us.  But WORRY, now, that's a wild vine that just twists its away around everything if you even give it a thought.  My Achilles' heel that I am always asking for strength to overcome.

But never fear, things are looking up and I'm getting some inspiration back into my brunette head.  My involuntary hiatus from my Janome sewing machine has come to an abrupt halt with an inspiration for my spring 2012 line.  Seeing it come to life has done wonders for my soul.  

Today's happiness:  If you are my FB fan, you may have seen a post for ideas on how to choose a winner for this super cute teeny apron (3T-ish) that I have made specifically for my blog readers.  So far, Vanessa has been the only one to respond.  So if I don't hear from anymore of you, I think I'll just choose her!  And if you're looking to find another super cool blog to follow, here's hers: Iced Lattes and Ukuleles.  It's way cooler than mine.  Honestly.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

You can tell a lot about a woman based on her_______

Have you ever walked into an old Victorian house and wondered whose home it used to be?  Who touched this doorknob?  Who opened these shutters?  What kinds of board games were played by this fireplace?  Or have you ever eaten off of one hundred year old china and mused about the person whose plate you shared?  Did they help polish the silver, or just polish off the food :) ?

Given that I sew from old patterns so often, I find myself thinking these things all the time.  You may remember my post from a couple of weeks ago, where I made a ruffled blouse from an old sheet?  Well, it came from this pattern:
You can tell a lot about a woman based on her sewing patterns.  I know that she made the dress from this 1/16" lime green gingham fabric:
A time capsule of history that was left inside the pattern for all these years.
I wonder if she was as glamorous as I picture her.  Did she realize how iconic her poodle skirt would become?  Did she really wear heels every day?  In a funny way, I feel a connection to her.  I often know her "name"--this one's was Mrs. J. L. Gaines.  Back in the day, oftentimes ladies would write their names on the outside of the pattern envelopes (presumably to claim ownership from the sharing that went on?).  I can tell if she smoked, for when I iron the sixty year old wrinkles out of the pattern pieces, it sometimes emits that unmistakable aroma.  I can guess if she had more than one daughter by how many nicks the outline of the patterns had; well used patterns tend to lose their precise edging with each use.  A sewing pattern can even give clues on how organized the seamstress was.  Was each piece folded neatly back into the envelope, or were they haphazardly stuffed in? 

In writing this post, it made me wonder in today's world what a sewing pattern might equate to.  Perhaps your jewelry box, or lack thereof?  Are your earrings placed in pairs in each perfect cube, or all tossed into the large compartment at the bottom like mine :) ?
This was a yard sale find of mine from last summer.  It may be one of those once in a lifetime kind of deals.
So maybe you don't even keep a jewelry box.  But what about all those digital photos you've taken?  Are they still on your computer?  Printed off and all put in the same box?  Organized by year?  Or maybe even scrapbooked to highlight your favorite ones?  I think maybe sixty years from now, those might be things that people will look at and wonder about us.  Speculate on how we might have been.

But for now, I'm content in knowing that one thing I have in common with Mrs. J. L. Gaines is that we both had a little girl, age 2, who liked to wear fancy dresses.

Today's happiness:  I have four different sewing projects that need to be finished, but I took and nap and blogged instead.  Napping on a cold, gray day is my interpretation of finding the silver lining on winter weather.  

I hope you have a really great week!  The kind that's so good that it's unmistakable for something special.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sabrina's Gavin's birthday outfit

Yes, you read that correctly.  No, I don't know what my son is wearing to his own birthday party yet.  But he's turning the big 0-5 this month, and his sister needs to be appropriately dressed for the birthday festivities.  Said jamboree will take place at Monkey Joe's--one of those bounce-house-energy-burner gifts from God.

Given the amount of activity that will hopefully occur, I had to resist the urge to stitch out a dress for her.  Instead, I started thinking about the possibilities of...PANTS!  I must digress here to explain that I have no problem with pants whatsoever.  It is just my personal taste to do a dress with leggings or jeans before actual pants.  Don't ask me why.  So, back to the pants.  In keeping with my relative disdain for practicality when it comes to fashion, I couldn't just do a simple pair of pants.  I had to find an Anne Adams romper pattern from 1940-something and update it a bit. 
The lighting sure is terrible when my daughter naps (AKA my work time) in the afternoon.


But wait!  There's more!
Surprise!!!  It's drop-back for easy pottying!
Once the party commences, we will be better able to assess the user-friendliness of the flap-back getup.  But for now, we can just marvel at this long-lost phenomena (It may be a bad sign that patterns don't offer this option anymore.  Too many dips in the pool, if you know what I mean?).

P.S.  Because of the one-piece potty dilemma, a La Modish will likely never carry anything like this in its line.  But your thoughts are more than welcome!  If you would still dress  your girl in something like this, we would love to know!

Today's happiness:  This is one of those mixed-fabric outfits that genuinely worried me a little.  Usually, those are the ones that end up being the best combos, though!  And bonus!  This was made up entirely of fabric pieces I already had on hand.