Heat Wave (Ogden Cami Dress)

It has been so. hot. here in Carolina, y'all. I don't know about you, but I prefer a crisp 50 and breezy to 95 degrees, 95% humidity, and swarms of mosquitoes. (I remind myself of this every time I think "Charleston is so pretty, I could totally live there." I could not really live any further south, honestly.) In the South, in the summer, seersucker is the only thing to wear. Last summer I shared this blue seersucker vintage number, and just a few weeks ago this similar, vintage-inspired pink version, and I actually have another blue diy coming up soon and some yellow seersucker in the sewing queue now. Lined with a lightweight cotton lawn, there's nothing cooler.

This dress was made with the leftover from my Orla and inspired by this one from one of my favorite online shops, Tuckernuck, which I realized was basically just an Ogden cami with a bottom ruffle. Actually, mine is better (in my opinion) since the back is high enough to wear a bra! This dress is fully lined and the front and back neckline is finished with bias binding. It's the perfect dress for these sweltering summers, and paired with a pair of Jacks and a cute straw bag, it's sweet and looks pretty put-together even if you feel like you are about to melt into a puddle! My bag is from this tiny etsy shop and I mentioned on instagram stories that I pre-ordered this bag in March and it took absolutely forever to get here. I originally saw the bag on Gal Meets Glam, which has a huge following, so I suspect the store got a little swamped with orders. It was so worth the wait though--the bag is gorgeous and very high-quality, and even better, proceeds go to help Thai children get an education. I can't link directly to this style because it's not available right now, but it's called the Sara market tote, and I assume they'll restock eventually!

Back to the dress: I used sort of a mish-mash of construction so I thought I'd walk you through how I did it. First, I cut front and back cami pieces in both seersucker and lightweight white cotton lawn and assembled a white cami body and a seersucker cami body. Insert one cami body into the other, right sides together, and sew the underarm seams, then clip, turn, and press. You should have finished side seams on lining and exterior and your underarms neatly finished, but front and beck neck raw. Baste front neckline of lining and exterior together, wrong sides together, and do the same on the back. Then use double fold bias tape to finish the front neckline and back neckline, encasing the basted-together raw edges and continuing the bias tape up off the front neck to become the straps. (Side note: I measured along the strap and made it the same length as the original pattern piece before attaching the same piece of bias to the back neckline, but this was a real pain and what you should do is either make sweet tie straps (do the above on front and back and leave your bias strips free at the top, tie bias straps in a cute bow) or use bra strap sliders (i.e. Butterick 6453). That will be simpler.) To add the bottom ruffle, just cut a rectangle slightly wider (like, 1.5x--y'all my tutorials are horrible, I never measure anything!) than the hem of the Ogden Cami, and about a foot long, gather it to fit, stitch it on, and hem to your desired length! So simple.

Are you sick of summer yet or are you savoring every pool day? Are you sick of Ogdens yet or are you loving all the hacks? What are you over and what are you into right now?

xoxo,
allie

ps: this also makes a really cute nightgown, don't you think? 



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My Skincare Routine & Organic Cotton Plus Silk Pillows

Thank you to Organic Cotton Plus for providing the fabric for this post.

If you follow me on instagram stories, you may remember a couple months ago when I mentioned I was switching up my skincare routine. Maybe I'm just nosy, but I love hearing about other people's skincare, makeup, and beauty routines, so I thought I'd share mine today! Of course, my top three tips for pretty skin are:

1. Drink water,
2. Get enough sleep, and
3. Wear sunscreen every day,

but those are pretty basic and boring, right? It's easy to feel like drinking water is a chore, but I've found that adding some simple luxuries into your daily routine make it feel special, less like a chore and more like a treat! Last year I splurged on a really pretty bkr water bottle that makes me happy every time I fill it up, so I now drink way more water, and I've recently added a little luxury into tips 2 and 3 above, so now I have no excuses!

I've always wanted a silk pillow, since they are supposed to work wonders for your skin and hair, preventing tangles and wrinkles and frizz, but they're so expensive! Recently I realized, um, Allie, you can make a pillow! Organic Cotton Plus has this gorgeous help/silk satin that was just perfect, and they very kindly agreed to send me some for my pretty new pillows! It has the most gorgeous texture and luster, which you can see in the pictures above... it's perfectly nubbly.

As you might have learned in your 3rd grade sewing class, pillows are super easy to make, so you can also have a slightly more luxurious sleep experience! I was going to make a tutorial, but honestly, it's so easy, you don't need one. If you're using a 45" wide fabric, you'll just use the whole yard, but since the Organic Cotton Plus satin is 57" wide, you'll have to trim it down a little, cutting one side off so that your fabric measures 36"x 45". Fold in half (hamburger style), and then there's only two seams to sew--around the two sides of the pillow (side three is the fold) and the hem on the open edge! If you want to be fancy, you can use French seams on the inside--or just serge/zig zag it.

The hemp/silk satin from Organic Cotton Plus is absolutely perfect for these glam pillowcases and since you only need 1 yard per pillow, it works out at a pretty respectable $30 per pillow. Plus, since it's so wide, you'll end up with a little left over and you can make yourself a cute eye mask like I did (or even some silky lingerie, ooh la la) with the remnants! I'm going on an overnight flight soon and I predict this eye mask will be a positive addition to my carry on.

My skincare routine, below the cut...

Tie-strap Tank (Ogden Cami + Indiesew)

Thank you to Indiesew for providing the fabric used in this post, and thank you for supporting the businesses that make this blog a success!

Sometimes a project doesn't go exactly as planned... and turns out even better than you could have hoped! Originally intended to be a dress, this summery ruffle tank falls into that category.

When I first saw this gorgeous rayon chambray stripe on the Indiesew website, I was smitten--the pretty bubblegum color and preppy stripes practically threw themselves into my shopping cart. I first envisioned a second pink Adrift dress, but I couldn't visualize how the stripes would look with all those circular ruffles, so I decided to go with something simpler, a little Ogden cami dress with a bottom flounce and tie straps. I cut out two layers each of front and back to self-line the dress, and realized only after hacking my pretty fabric into all the different pieces that I totally messed up my stripe matching... in fact, the "lining" pieces I had cut with no regard to stripe placement actually matched slightly better on the sides than the pieces I had tried to match! Already frustrated, I sewed up the dress and left it to hang overnight before hemming and adding a bottom ruffle. It ended up hanging in my sewing room for a week, untouched. Never a good sign!

When I came back to it a week later, I still felt unenthusiastic about the dress--and I realized that the shape of the Ogden meant that the stripes tilted down at the sides, which would make the bottom ruffle and the elastic waistband I had planned on adding look super weird and compete with the fabric. I was feeling grumpy and guilty for wasting fabric and mad at myself for not thinking through the project, but after a head-clearing run, I made the decision (with some help and encouragement from instagram) to chop it off and make this little tank instead. Working with the fabric, not against it, I cut along a stripe on the front, creating a little raised hem. I dipped the back hem a little bit, and added a teeny ruffle along the bottom, using the fabric I had already cut out to use as a waistband tie. I tried it on and immediately felt a hundred times better about my creation! The high low hem looks great with my white high-waisted Gingers and the ruffle and shoulder tie details add just a little something special. I'm already thinking "wouldn't this be cute in oxford cloth/chambray/seersucker?" which is the true sign of a successful project, don't you think?

What sewing struggles have you had recently? Did you rescue or toss them? I've been known to do some of both.

xoxo,
allie

ps: i got about 25 mosquito bites taking these pictures so i hope you appreciate the pretty backdrop! haha



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Sewing Break: Warby Parker Glasses


Sewing break! Did you know I wear glasses? I think the last (only?) time they were spotted on the blog was here, three whole years ago! I hardly ever wear them during the day--usually I put my contacts in first thing in the morning and take them out when I wash my face at night--but I'd really like to be a little more flexible and wear my glasses more. After all, I am a librarian; glasses and cardigans are like, what we do, right?

So... help me pick out some new ones! I ordered the home try-on kit from Warby Parker and I'd love to hear what you think of my options. I got three styles of frame and a few different colors. Which one do you like best? I kind of like the tortoise with the purple flecks ("violet magnolia") in it which they make the Chelsea and the Finch out of (what type of turtle do they get that from? ;) and although already have pink glasses, the clear pink is a little more subtle... I don't know! Isn't this what blogs are for, outsourcing personal decisions? Right?

Do you wear glasses? Do you have one pair you wear all the time or do you match them to your outfits? I'd love to have a bunch of pairs to rotate through... that would involve actually wearing them, though. Baby steps!

xoxo,
allie

ps: when i first got rayban wayfarer hipster eyeglasses i was so hip that they didn't sell them at the eyeglass store and i got them to replace the lenses in a pair of sunglasses... they were so confused! #hipsteralert



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Summer Reads (Lexi Ogden Pajama Set)

Thanks to the Haute Girls for providing this fabric! It's currently on preorder; you can see all the fabric in the collection here.

Hello! It's sleepwear month over on Petite Passions's #wardrobebuilder so when the Haute Girls offered me a few yards of their new quilting cotton collection, I knew just what to make: pajamas! I don't do too much sewing with quilting cotton, but I just love using it for pajamas, since you can wear all those cutesy prints that you might not have an opportunity to wear otherwise, like these! I love that the prints in this collection are all coordinates, so you can mix and match pieces or use one print as the main fabric and another as an accent. I made a bunch of pieces with my coordinates and just two super-simple patterns and I feel like I have a whole new pajama wardrobe--and it all matches!

My first pieces are a pair of Evie La Luve Lexi boxers and an Ogden, both in the prettiest multi-color ikat print, and finished with some bias binding made with the larger-scale print. I'd previously made a summer set using the Ogden cami and the shorts from Closet Case Pattern's Carolyn, but the Lexi boxers are just simpler, and for an easy summer pajama set, I don't mind simple! In fact, I made them even simpler: I cut them on the straight grain instead of on the bias, and overlapped the straight side seams on front and back to make one large pattern piece. Since there's no side seam shaping, it doesn't affect the fit at all! I made a size medium, and the fit is roomy and comfortable, without any fit alterations. I did change up the construction some, though--I finished the waistband with a casing for my elastic (it's a lot easier to me than turn-and-stitch elastic) and I finished the legs with bias tape instead of turning under. I definitely recommend this method--it's easier to get around those curves and you can add a little contrast if you apply it on the outside like I did! I also finished my Ogden in the same accent bias for a sweet matched set.

I also made a little Ogden nightgown simply by lengthening the pattern. I previously made a slip by doing the same thing, and actually I have two more dresses coming up this month made using the Ogden--True Bias Kelly should re-release the pattern with a dress variation, in my opinion, just for marketing purposes, since this is a great dress. It's easy to do though, just extend the hem and side seams! (This would make a super glam floor-length 90s-inspired dress in silk, by the way.) This shows off the cool print. I just love the little tigers! For a little change, I also made a second little pair of Lexi boxers in this same print, to wear with tee shirts (like this one from Grana, my fave place for simple wardrobe staples). You can never have enough little sleep shorts, don't you agree?

I don't know about you, but all this pajama sewing makes me want to just curl up and read a book--it could also be that I'm a librarian, and I always want to just curl up and read a book... maybe that's it. Either way, I now have some cute pj options to wear! And what have I been reading in my pajamas? Here are a few recent favorites:

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
I mentioned this one on instagram stories last month, when I was tearing through the five-book series of which this is the first. If you grew up loving the Little House books, or if you're reading them to your children now, you should definitely pick up this book, which follows Omakayas, a young Ojibwe girl. Not only does it take place at around the same time and place as the Little House books and provide an interesting counterpoint to Ma's "wild" indians, it's also very similar in tone and content, with lots of fascinating descriptions of everyday life. Not to be missed! I suggest you skip amazon this once and buy it from Birchbark Books, the author's indie book store in Minnesota which also serves as support system for the many Native authors and artists who live in and around the Twin Cities. (ps: The blog American Indians in Children's Literature is a wonderful resource regarding Native representation and gives this series two thumbs up.)

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
I've been listening to episode after episode of My Favorite Murder recently as it's a bit less scary than actual news (ha) and along with this book, it appears I'm on a total murder binge! This is the first in the Wells and Wong Mystery series but I've read all three available in the US, they are simply spiffing, as main character (and juvenile detective) Daily Wells would say. Classic whodunit format (ie Agatha Christie), likeable characters, and interesting racial awareness/class conflict overtones as the two main characters are a slightly shabby upper class British girl and an ultra-wealthy Hong Kongese girl (Originally published in the UK, where the series is known as the "Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries" and the first three books are entitled Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic for Tea, and First Class Murder.)

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I'm on the third book of this series as well, entitled Rich People Problems. It's a lighter read, along the lines of a grown-up, Singaporean Gossip Girl, but you can feel really smart about reading it (even if it does say "CRAZY RICH ASIANS" on the cover in huge text) because it's basically just like an ethnography. Right? Right?? Plus, you really must read it before the movie comes out, and everyone who is anyone is talking about it, lah! (I'm super excited for the movie's all-Asian cast, y'all--the first since 1993's Joy Luck Club. Representation matters!)

Read anything good recently? Do you have a go-to pj pattern or do you like to mix it up?

xoxo,
allie

ps: "lah" is a Singrish (Singaporean/English) exclamation put at the end of sentences just as kind of a meaningless emphasizer. see all the important cultural things you can learn from a book about rich people?



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