Packing for a Me-Made-Minimoon

me-made-minimoon packing | allie J. (

I'm busily preparing for my wedding this weekend, so no real post today.
(I'm really trying to post every monday, did you notice?)
Instead, here's some of what I'm packing for my mini-honeymoon to Savannah, Georgia. 
No honeymoon will get in the way of my Me-Made-May!

floral dress / gold clutch: ancient j. crew / gold flats: Boden (old) /  chambray top and skirt / hat: tuckernuck / seersucker peplum top / white shell / denim: j. crew from twice (my new favorite shopping site) / knot bracelet: kate spade / nail polish: tenoverten / perfume: chloe


Blogging Tips for Sewing Bloggers

Easy Blog Design for Sewing Bloggers | allie J. (
background via
Recently I've been fiddling with my blog layout and design. Since I don't know anything about anything (I am a millennial and I have exported my brain to google, duh) I spend a lot of this time looking up how to do things and gathering tips and tricks and hints and help from the million other bloggers out there who do it better than I do.

If you are just starting as a sewing blogger, or if you have a sewing blog and you want to make it look and feel better (and maybe even more "professional"), you shouldn't have to 1. pay money to have a good-looking blog or 2. figure this out bit by bit and all alone. There are a million sewing blogs out there and we have a helpful, generous, supportive thing going on. That's what makes this community great. 

In order to decrease the "bit by bit and all alone" aspect and increase the "helpful, generous, supportive" aspect of sewing blog design, I'm rounding up a list of resources I've found helpful. There are some great blogging tutorials created by talented sewing bloggers and some blog tutorials by lifestyle and fashion bloggers that are applicable to sewing bloggers too. (We're sort of a subsection of lifestyle and fashion bloggers, after all!)

For Sewing Bloggers, by Sewing Bloggers:

starting a sewing blog
So You Want to Write a Sewing Blog via Male Pattern Boldness
How I take my Pictures via House of Pinheiro
Photographing your Sewing Projects via Tilly and the Buttons
Non-Sewing Specific

10 Blog Layout Tips via A Beautiful Mess
Blog Design Tips for Non-Designers via Back to her Roots
helpful series:
Blog Therapy via Freckles in April
Primp my Blog via Her New Leaf
add instagram to your blog with Snapwidget
edit photos for free with Gimp or Seashore

I hope this link-fest can help both blogging beginners and intermediate sewing bloggers who want to step up the look and feel of their blog. You might notice I didn't include tutorials on setting up a blogger or wordpress blog, creating images in photoshop, etc. The links above should apply to every blogger regardless of what type of blog you have or what software you have access to. If you have a specific question, I've found it easiest to google "blogger" (since I use Blogger) + "how to ____________" where "____________" is a short description of what I want to do. I also use Seashore to edit my photos (I used to to use Gimp, and still do sometimes, but I find it more complicated and I'm only doing really little edits) and I do the same thing: "seashore how to ____________."

"blogger how to center tabs"
"blogger how to add pinterest button"
"wordpress how to add google analytics"
"seashore how to crop square"

Although my blog is far from perfect, I personally feel more motivated to blog when I know my projects will be displayed nicely on a blog I feel proud of.

If you have other links that you found very helpful, let me know in the comments, and I can add them to my link list up here!


p.s. i got a new blog title (and custom domain, coming soon) since i got married and i'm no longer a miss or a mass! (well, massey, my maiden name, is now my middle name, but still.) according to blogger, everything should stay the same links-wise etc. hope you like it :)

Sew Zoey...

a Sew Zoey book review | allie J. (

I think I've mentioned before that I am a children's librarian. One of the best things about this job, after getting to see beautiful little shining faces every day (but not actually being responsible for them in any serious capacity, ha!), is that it gives me both access to basically every new book and a great excuse to read them!

I try to read one book from all of the most popular series, just so I know a little about them, and feel confident in recommending them (or not) to library patrons. That's how I've gotten stuck reading Rainbow Magic fairy books, which are really popular but certifiably terrible, but it's also how I've found some favorites. It's hard to claim you are reading for professional development as you plow through book six of the Ranger's Apprentice series, for example. Similarly, I've recently been hooked on this series for older elementary school-middle school students called Sew Zoey. It's about...

a sewing blogger!

Oh my gosh, right? Our little community has hit the big time. We've made it. We're in.

I thought I would write a little review, in case any of you want to read them have small friends who you think might want to read the series. They're short (well, short for a grown up) at around 150 pages, so I've been picking up whichever ones are checked in and reading them on my lunch breaks. Overall, I think they are very cute, and it's hilarious to read about the glamorous life of a sewing blogger!

a Sew Zoey book review | allie J. (
Here's Zoey, planning out which sewalong to participate in this month.
Zoey Webber is a middle schooler whose school just decided to get rid of uniforms. Zoey, a budding fashion designer, decides that she'll use this opportunity to sew up a unique wardrobe for herself (and occasionally her friends)--everything from daily outfits to dresses for the middle school dance! Zoey's creations don't exactly make her popular at school, where cool kids don't usually wear homemade clothes, but her blog, Sew Zoey, rapidly (very rapidly!) gains a following and Zoey becomes Internet Famous. 

You think that's horsehair braid in those ruffles? or just 500 miles of rolled hem?
Each chapters begins with a quick blog post, including sketches of outfit ideas. The illustrations in these books are all black and white, so unfortunately we only see sketches. Also, strange for a sewing blogger, we never see finished products? 

Maybe I'll transition my blog to pencil-drawings only?
Zoey quickly moves from Internet Famous to Actually Sort Of Famous when it turns out that real-life designer Daphne Shaw is a fan of her blog. In several books, Zoey gets asked to do famous-people things because of her blog.  

If you've ever read Teen Vogue and seen the "best dorm ever!" or whatever column and been super jealous of some 19 year old's living space/wardrobe and confused by how some "regular 19 year old" has such great stuff and your house is full of misassembled ikea, then gotten to the part in the article where it says "daughter of designer _________/son of actress _______" and been like ohhhhh, these storylines will be familiar to you, because this totally rings true to all sewing bloggers only happens to the children of celebrities. In Lights, Camera, Fashion!, she's asked to be a guest judge of Fashion Showdown (Project Runway)--but the filming is the same night as the middle school dance! Luckily, they wrap early, and Zoey gets to wear the winning dress to the dance, arriving fashionably late. In another, she gets invited to a personal tour of the Daphne Shaw studio (the famous designer, remember?). In a third, she is part of an up-and-coming designer showcase in Tres Chic magazine. These star moments provide some nice aspirational fluff, backed up by a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how hard Zoey is working to keep on top of her sewing and schoolwork. In yet another, a teen celebrity who reads her blog(!) sees Zoey's sketch of an outfit on Sew Zoey and requests one for herself(!!), which she then gets photographed wearing on the cover of Celebrity magazine(!!!).

a Sew Zoey book review | allie J. (
I feel you, Zoey.
My favorite one I've read so far is Stitches and Stones, which deals with online harrassment/cyberbullying in an age-appropriate way. Zoey's blog comments start filling up with nasty comments, and Zoey starts feeling really down about her fashion design and her blogging.  She's nervous to talk to her dad because she thinks he'll make her shut the blog down, but wise older brother convinces her to confess what's stressing her out, and dad and the principal get involved. Turns out (and I'm not giving anything away here, it's fairly obvious if you are an adult reading these) it is the mean girls at school, who have been using multiple pseudonyms to make it look like more than three mean commenters. Very sneaky.

Overall, I quite enjoy reading these books. As an accurate representation of the life of a sewing blogger, they are a failure. Everyone knows that these blogs are a labor of love, and the vast (vast) majority of us make $0 (or -$, depending on if you count fabric, boo). However, they do feel very real on the middle school front. I didn't sew in middle school (nor did I blog, that wasn't a thing), but almost everyone feels like they stick out, especially if they are on the creative side, and the treatment of Zoey's everyday problems--friends, mean girls, homework--felt true to life. Add in the stress of sewing four fancy dresses to a deadline and middle school seems tough! Plus, often these more fashion-centered books for tweens get catty and mean, and the Sew Zoey series has a lot of heart. It's very moral without being preachy.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading about Zoey's sewing and blogging. Its funny to relate to a character's sewing problems. Have you ever read any fiction books about sewing? Any recommendations?


EDIT: McCall's apparently agrees with me--they've just debuted a new Sew Zoey collection for girls!

Giveaway: 100 Followers!

I have 100 followers!

Okay, 100 bloglovin' followers in particular, because I don't know how many of you follow me on google plus or some other reader. Not that you aren't important, you just aren't as easy to find & count!

I want to thank all of you who read and (especially) who comment on my blog, it really means a lot to me and y'all are the best. I know 100 isn't a lot but I love having you out there and I love being part of this great community we have going. Thank you so, so much!

In honor of this occasion--a giveaway :)

You have a choice of two prizes, should you win! 

Option one: all four of these groovy patterns (three are 32 bust and one is 34 bust):

Simplicity 7133 is a jumpsuit/overalls, McCall's 9711 is a jumpsuit/dress in two lengths (this is the 34 bust), McCall's 2434 is a very versatile shirtdress, and McCall's 2146 is an adorable dress with 4 sleeve options and cool princess/hip darts. I tried to pick some that could be totally retro or modern cool, depending on how you style them.

Option two: option two is a mystery box so mysterious that even I don't know what it is! It will probably include some vintage patterns and some cute notions :) 

In order to enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave me a comment down below and tell me what item of clothing you could make 100 of! Fit and flare dresses? Pants (haha just kidding, this is no one)? Underwear? Alder shirts? Jumpsuits? 

This contest will be open for one week (so until Thursday, April 16 at 12 am). I'll announce the winner here and send you an email if I know where to find you. The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Sarah of StyleSixties, I'm sending you an email!


Couture-ish Lace Jacket (aka THE WORST THING)

Black Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. (

I have been really out of the loop blogging-wise recently, and instead of being a grown-up and admitting it is because I am busy reading Phryne Fisher mysteries wedding planning, I'm blaming bloglovin'. They changed their setup, and I can NOT figure out how it works! My #1 source of blogging inspiration comes from reading everyone else's gorgeous blogs (jealousy may be a deadly sin but it is such a great motivator).

Speaking of wedding planning--most of my sewing time has been spent working on my wedding dress. When I have a big project looming, it really cuts off my desire to sew, since I get nervous about important projects (um, hello, wedding dress!) and stall but feel guilty about working on anything else. This means I just avoid my sewing room and don't produce anything.

This project--I'm getting to it, I promise--was a nice compromise!

Black Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. ( Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. (

My university, Washington and Lee (seen here) has a crazy-supportive alumni network that would be super useful if I had a job like politician, investment banker, lawyer, etc. etc. There's not so much in the way of networking for public children's librarians, but they do know how to throw a good party. At school, we have a Fancy Dress Ball every year. I think in the UK "fancy dress" means a costume party, but our Fancy Dress isn't costumed, it's basically just 4 more years of prom.  Then, after graduation, alumni groups hold similar events in NYC and various other locations. You could go to prom every year forever.

Obviously, an Event means a Dress, but Wedding Dress Fear/Guilt meant No Dress. I got around this by "muslining" my little lace jacket, the one that goes with my wedding dress.

I'd never sewn with lace like this, and I'd certainly never done a handsewn lace jacket or any hand sewing project this extensive. It took forever and I hated it. I hated every second of it.

I thread traced the pattern in white before slowly (SLOWLY) hand seaming every horrible dart and seam, using Susan Khalje's lapped lace method, making the seams practically invisible:

A photo posted by @alliemass on

By the time I got to the sleeves, I had listened to about 7,000 hours of podcasts and was cursing the day I ever thought this was a good project.

A photo posted by @alliemass on

Black Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. (

See any seams? THE ANSWER IS NO.

Black Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. (


In the end though--because YES I FINISHED the darn thing--I was so proud of my work and it looked great and I really think it will be very versatile. I'll definitely wear it again, layered over other dresses for formal events or over a tank top or something on a Saturday night.

Black Lace Crop Jacket | allie J. (

I meant to bring my real camera to Richmond, but I totally forgot, so unfortunately, here's the only picture of me wearing it at the event. I really am horrible at taking pictures! Is there an award for worst blogger? It's me!

The best part? Remember when I mentioned waaay up at the top of the post that this was a "muslin" for my wedding jacket?


A photo posted by @alliemass on

I get a little melodramatic when it comes to handsewing, ugh.

Wish me luck!



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