Dance Party Dress

So… disclaimer: this dress is… a bit much. And not something that I would usually wear.

I recently purchased Famous Frocks—a book of patterns for recreating the iconic looks of the movie and music industries’ leading ladies. Inspiration dresses range from Bette Davis’s low-backed gown to Madonna’s corset and tutu.


The Diana Ross dress

I decided to begin with a simple one—and by far the easiest was the Diana Ross-inspired number. Plus, the sequined fabric I happened to have lying around (yes, really) just BEGGED to be made into it.


Beautiful cranberry sequined fabric

And how did it repay me? By ruining a pair of scissors. RUINED I say. Serves me right for talking to the fabric. Ahem. Anyway, I ended up with a crazy dramatic dress:

Diana Ross inspired dress

Final result.

The reviews for this book on Amazon tend towards lukewarm. But from the perspective of someone who really has no idea what she is doing and mostly just wings it (see scissors and sequins), I actually really liked this book (at least for this project). I found the directions to be clear and easy-to-follow, and particularly appreciated the glossary in the back.


Another angle. Yep. Still looks a Disney Princess at a disco.


Hmm page boy at Medieval Times?


Built in sleeve storage! No purse necessary. Nor lunchbox.

Seriously though… someone find me an 80s dance party. Fast.

Thrift Store Couture: Green Silk Dress

When I spotted this green silk dress at a thrift store for $7.99, I couldn’t pass it up, even though it was a few sizes too big. The style was also a little bridesmaidy, and only really flattering on ladies with a bustline (not me). So rather than simply take it in, I decided to try to rework it a bit.


I couldn’t help but be a little inspired by Keira Knightley’s iconic green dress in Atonement. I decided to go for a vintage 20s/30s feel with a drop waist.


Skyline Tote Bag

Every year, my friends have an intensely festive Christmas party that involves the exchange of Secret Santa gifts. A lot of thought is put into these gifts—recipient names are usually drawn about a month in advance. Expectations run high, and those who fail to measure up are never allowed to forget it. Good-humored but merciless mocking is as much a holiday tradition as the exchange itself.

This year, I played Santa to a friend who is originally from St Louis but who now lives in Chicago—she loves the two cities. Inspired by pillows on Etsy, I decided to create something that incorporated both skylines.

This gift exchange also has a strict budget. I bought a large button-down shirt at a thrift store for $3 and used that as the primary material. I zig-zag stitched the skyline effect and then sewed up a tote bag loosely based on this tutorial.


Chicago on one side…


St Louis on the other. I also added the pocket from the button-down shirt as an external pocket. Crazy easy.


Detail of stitching.