Buy or DIY: a polka dot maxi wrap dress 

I went to a wedding recently and all the girls my age were wearing maxi dresses. Seriously, every last one of them. Which is something I could definitely get on board with. I mean, think about it. You can still get all dressed up but don’t have to shave your legs. And then you are have all this extra material to twirl and hold in your hands while you’re on the dance floor (because I seriously never know what to do with my hands). So I knew since I had an event coming up, I should search around for the perfect new maxi dress.  I searched online and found this: I was in love! But then I saw the price was $220 and I was like, nope. The timing’s just not right for us… maybe if we’d met at a different point in our lives… it’s not you it’s me… blah, blah. So I tabled the idea of buying a new dress and decided to make my own dress, inspired by this one I’d fallen in love with online. And I knew just what sewing pattern would do the trick…If you follow my blog you’ll remember it was only recently that I tested the Highlands Wrap dress by Allie Olson. So I already had the pattern fresh in my mind and knew I could finish it in time. I also knew that since the rehearsal dinner would be outdoors by the water, I should account for the wind and make a few changes to the pattern. I ended up omitting the side slits for that reason and also added an extra snap closure inside.  The hardest part was trying to find fabric. I knew I really wanted a rayon or a voile to get that drapey, flowy, come-hither-and-dance-with-me look. In fact, my original idea was to try and score some of Sew Caroline’s voile from her Gleeful collection like she did for {this} dress.  But it was all sold out in my local store and online. I only found a few Etsy shops still carrying it but in limited yardage. Then, to my luck, I found {this} fabric on Fabric.com for only $5.98 a yard! And the quality is surprisingly pretty good! Very light weight with a great drape, but not too cheap or see through. Buy or DIY: A Maxi Wrap Dress


So there you have it. In the case of the flowy, maxi length, navy blue polka dot dress, I think it was a much better choice to DIY than to buy. I am still loving this pattern and have plans to hack my next one into a wrap skirt. Now only if I could find the right fabric…

xxoo Priscilla

a handmade J Crew inspired ruffle tee

I spent a few days cleaning out my closet last week and soon realized that I had almost twenty casual knit shirts that were either too tight, too short, or too old. It appears the only tee shirts that I could find that actually fit were commemorating a 5K that I may or may not have ran in years ago. I was in desperate need of some plain, solid tees.  But luckily, there are a few things that I keep in the house at all times: granola, avocados, bug spray, quarters for the parking meter, and 3 yards of solid white knit fabric. So when I saw this j crew ruffle shirt online, I decided rather than pouring more money into online shopping, that I could whip up a handmade version using a yard or two of my white knit. Half way into this creation, I decided to simply add a tiny peplum to create my “ruffle” look. It is a much more subtle ruffle than the inspiration top from J Crew but I figured with my hoola hoopin’ hips, I didn’t need to bring too much more attention to that general area. And let’s be honest: it was late and I was deep into a Netflix binge sesh of Parks and Recreation. I also sewed the peplum piece rights sides together, hiding my seams, but I think if I had sewed it WRONG sides together, exposing my seam allowance, I could have achieved J Crew’s ruffle look a little better. But alas I created what I wanted. A comfortable, wearable, plain white tee.   The Details:
Sewing Pattern: Lark Tee by Grainline Studio (pdf or paper version found on Indiesew.com) I sewed a size 10 and did not have to add extra length to the bodice. I made the crew neck with the cap sleeve.

Alterations: added a peplum piece that was 4 inches in height and 1.5x the length of the shirt. Folded in half and gathered. Then added to the bottom of the hem line to create a “ruffle”.

Fabric Used: 1.25 yards of ponte de roma knit from Girl Charlee. I love the feel of ponte knit. Its a little heavier than a jersey but easy to work with and still has a nice drape and stretch.
This shirt will be my first wear on my “Me Made May” quest, where I will vow to wear at least one handmade garment every day in the month of May. I will not be blogging about all of my wears each day, but you can follow along on my Insta stories (@priscillatbrown) and see if I can make it all 31 days this month! xxoo Priscilla

a DIY wrap dress + a windy morning

Every so often I see these gorgeous, flowy, maxi dresses online that make all my Hawaii beach dreams come true. And then I remember that I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and therefore these $200 designer maxi dresses will just have to live in my Pinterest boards forever.  But luckily for me, there’s a new sewing pattern in town: the Highland Wrap Dress. I was beyond excited when Allie Olson asked me to help test this new pattern earlier this year. I love testing new patterns and getting the opportunity to watch a pattern come to life. And this has been my favorite to date! I’ve been waiting patiently for launch day to share photos of this dress. So here we go:

The best part of this pattern (besides that I’ve yet to see anything like it out there in the patten world) is that I can see myself making countless variations: a midi length, sleeveless, cap sleeve, a chambray version, a maxi skirt hack, and on and on and on… Check out indiesew.com if you’re interested in purchasing this PDF pattern for yourself. 
The day we took these photos, we had such a busy weekend planned. But as a tester I wanted to submit photos of my finished garment by the end of the day. So we drove 3 minutes down the road to Sunrise park early on a Saturday morning. We hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet, Liam was still in his pajamas, and the wind was coming off the harbor so fast. But as I was waking around thinking the wind was going to ruin the photo shoot, Will looks up from behind the camera and says “I think this is the best thing you’ve ever sewn.” And he might just be right. I’m almost certain this dress is asking to be worn barefooted on a beach somewhere. 

The fabric is a lightweight rayon challis from Joann’s. I can’t seem to find it online but the local Charleston store had a large bolt in stock. That’s all for now.  If you’re over seeing photos of me in wrap dresses than, spoiler alert: I just ordered some fabric for my second Highland Wrap dress. You’ve been warned.  

xx Priscilla 

diy bell sleeve tutorial

IMG_5782.JPGI just recently realized that while I was off being pregnant and breast feeding for the past year and half, my entire wardrobe went out of style. Luckily a recent 24 hour stomach flu gave me the opportunity lounge in bed with stacks of style magazines, catching up on the world of fashion in 2017. And I’ve got to say, I am more confused than ever.  Cropped goucho pants… no thank you. But distressed skinny jeans… got it. Shoulder cut outs…ugh, over it. But bell sleeves…okay, I’ll give it a try. And so I did. I decided to take my favorite shirt sewing pattern and create an ever-so- trendy “bell sleeve top.” Maybe I can now fit in with the cool kids. Now on to research what restaurants the cool kids are going to…IMG_5785.JPGIMG_5799.JPGIMG_5786.JPGsewing pattern: the Lou Box Top by Sew DIY. look for this pattern {here} at Indiesew.com

fabric: rayon challis from JoAnn’s

rice bead necklace: Candy Shop Vintage in Charleston, SC

baby: 13 months old and sweet as can beIMG_5801.JPGSteps to adding the bell sleeve

  1. sew your Lou Box Top as instructed but DON’T hem the sleeve.
  2. cut out two additional rectangle pieces of fabric that are twice the width of the shirt sleeve pattern and about 6-8 inches in height.
  3. right sides together, sew the side seam of the rectangle piece, creating a tube.
  4. hem the bottom of the bell sleeve.
  5. do a basting stitch across the top of the bell sleeve, leaving long strings on each end.
  6. pull the thread of the basting stitch to gather your bell sleeve.
  7. right sides together, pin in place the gathered part of the bell sleeve to the original sleeve, making sure to evenly space out your gathers.
  8. sew with a regular straight stitch.
  9. press your seam downwards.
  10. put your new top on and do a happy little arm dance. IMG_5787.JPGSo that’s it from this wanna-be trendy mom. Happy spring everybody!

Buy or Dye: the ultimate tie dye fail

You win some, you lose some. Isn’t that the old saying? I seriously went into this project thinking how hard can it be to dye tie some fabric and turn it into a garment? And even though it’s not a winner (in fact, I doubt I would even get an honorable mention ribbon), I’d be damned if I was going to throw all that time and energy spent into the garbage. So alas, I will share with you the story behind my not-so-fabulous DIY tie dyed tunic.
I originally saw this tunic on sale at a local boutique here in Charleston, but  they only had a size XS left. So of course a light bulb went off in my head and told me, “hey you can make one yourself!” I spent several late nights on Pinterest researching the best tips for tie dying on knit fabric. At first I thought I should buy black fabric and dye it white. When I found no concrete evidence on the inter webs proving that you can dye black fabric using white dye, I canceled that plan. My plan B was to use bleach to create the tie dyed affect on black fabric. However once again, my research lead me astray when I saw that it would only turn the bleached areas into a yellowish- cream color instead of the brilliant white that I was hoping for. So plan C was to buy white fabric and use black dye. The black dye would easily be picked up by the white fabric and I could use a “scrunched” technique to get the white areas to look the way I wanted. Sounds easy enough, right? Or so I thought…

Here’s what I did. First I washed and dried my fabric. Then I laid the fabric out and began scrunching it inwards:
I then used black RIT dye in a squeeze bottle and saturated my fabric. I left it here for 30 minutes to really soak in. (Honestly, I am humbled that you are still reading up to this point because… spoiler alert, it does not end well). 
Once I felt like my dye was really set in place, I took it outside to the swing set and hung it out to air dry. Then I did a little dance move because I was so proud of myself. It turned out just like I had envisioned. But then it happened. I decided to wash it. I knew I would have to wash the fabric eventually once it became a garment and I wore it. So I maybe I should give it one last wash before I cut out my tunic pattern. But for reasons beyond my tired brain’s comprehension, the dye bleed and turned the white into a light gray and the black into a dark purple. So I said a few four letter words, left, went to story time with Liam, then to the fabric store to buy ANOTHER two yards of white fabric, and then did it all over again. The second time around, I did some more research and decided that I should dye the fabric while it was still wet, dunk it into a bowl of black dye instead of using a squeeze bottle, and THEN re-wash it. So I did all those steps and still ended up with a purple gray mess. But I followed Tim Gunn’s advice and made it work. I went ahead and cut out a tunic pattern, Paired with black leggings, boots, and a floppy hat, it ended up being no too shabby of an outfit for a day around town.
If anyone has any advice on how to tie dye white and black knit fabric without it bleeding, let me know! I doubt I will try this again, and next time I may just choose to buy instead of DIY. But it was fun while it lasted and maybe, just maybe, the tunic isn’t THAT bad. Maybe.

until next time, may all your Pinteresting and crafting dreams come true. xox Priscilla

a DIY boyfriend/husband t-shirt refashion

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So I don’t know when athleisure began to hit the streets, but I am truly loving it. My only hope is that we, as a generation, can modify this fashion trend to be even more relaxed. I’m thinking lazy-leisure. You know, like when you want to go to Walmart in your pajamas but you don’t WANT to go to Walmart in your pajamas. Or for when you want to “Netflix and Chill” but you have been married for five years, so you actually just want to watch Netflix and chill. Do you feel me? When I was pregnant, I basically lived in my husband’s t-shirts and that didn’t really stop after the baby came. And as much as I’m sure he loves coming home to find his wife in one of his old stained tees and a pair of sweat pants [insert sarcasm], I can’t help it. It just happens. Sorry Will. This is what you get to come home to:img_5474But I decided to change it up a bit. I have had the Lane Raglan pattern in my mind for some time now, and I knew this was the perfect opportunity to spice up an old t-shirt. I used Will’s white shirt for the bodice and then some black jersey knit for the sleeves. Solid color knits are my go-to fabrics so I keep some in my stash at all times. So this was an easy evening project that took me roughly 2.5 episodes of Gilmore Girls to complete and cost next to nothing!picmonkey-imageimg_5417This pattern may look intimidating at first if you are new to sewing, but its only because there are so many options and ways to customize the pattern. But if you do a simple long sleeve raglan without the hood or pocket, you only have 5 pieces to cut out (front bodice, back bodice, neck band, and two sleeves). A men’s size XL tee was just enough fabric for me to cut out a front and back piece and then I used less than a yard for the black knit for the sleeves and neck band. img_5419I’m sure we could all find one or two baggy tees in our closets that could use this same refashion. Or if you have a short sleeve tee that you think would suit you better as a long sleeve. Or if you think hacking up your ex-husbands/boyfriend’s shirts would be therapeutic for you, then this could also be a good outlet for you. (Been there, done that). img_5424So now I feel good about leaving the house in an old tee shirt. I wore it already twice this weekend. Here we are out for a walk through the marsh. We discovered a new county park (Caw Caw, for you locals) and fell in love with Charleston all over again.
until next time, Priscillaimg_5457

indigo shirts and a dirt road

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When I think back on the 90s, I have such fond memories of rolling up to middle school every day in my older sister’s Ford Probe while she rocked out to Nirvana and I hoping that maybe we could pop in my Boyz II Men cassette tape for just a second, spending countless hours worrying if Dylan would choose Brenda or Kelly, and feeling bad ass wearing my shirt that we tie-dyed that weekend in the backyard. You see, tie dying was the thing to do when I was younger. It was the extent to my craftiness.  This photo will give you a visual of how fashion forward I was in 1991. Take your time. Soak it in. pAnyways, so you can imagine my delight when shibori dyed fabric made its resurgence here in my adult life. Shibori, for those of you who are wondering, is “a Japanese dyeing technique that typically involves folding, twisting or bunching cloth and binding it, then dyeing it in indigo.” Thanks Google. So of course I wanted to try my hand at it. But oh yeah..wait…I have a 9 month old, clingy teething baby. Sigh. Where does the time go? But thank goodness April Rhodes has done it again! Designed a beautiful fabric making all my tie dye dreams come true without having to do any work! img_4813

So in case I wasn’t clear, NO I did not tie dye this shirt. The fabric is an indigo print design, printed in a buttery soft voile from Art Gallery Fabric’s Observer Collection by April Rhodes. I love this entire collection, but was very excited when I saw this print was done in the voile, the perfect drape for a flowy top just for me. img_4806

For the sewing pattern of my shirt, I used the Lou Box Top from Indiesew.com. I wanted a pattern that would give me the opportunity to use the voile, but I didn’t want to fuss with a zipper or back closure. Plus it gave me options for altering the hem a variety of different ways. So this was the perfect pattern for the job. img_4796 img_4798

Please enjoy the wrinkles that come with a long sweaty day of tooting around a toddler on my hip. Hashtag mom life.

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One of these days I will try my hand at shibordi dying. Maybe a future girls night? Or moms-day- in. (Is that a thing?) In the mean time, its good to know April Rhodes and Art Gallery Fabrics will continue to supply me with just what I need.

xx