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  • Everyday Runway: How to Sew a Ruffle Bodice Maxi Dress


    Don't pack away your summer attire just because fall is around the corner! It's a staggering 90 degrees in NY today, which means maxi dress season is still upon us.

    Maxis should  be a staple in everyone's wardrobe; you can wear them from spring into summer, and if you choose the right color and style, they can even transition into the autumn months.


    I took a bit of inspiration from Ainea for this dress. I loved the layering and ruffles, so I decided to pull just a bit of it for a small ruffle on the bodice. I also fell in love with the vibrant reds and chose to take the deeper red of the left-most dress for a more late-summer/early-fall feel.

    Items used:

    Dress Layout   Making this dress is both quick and easy. Between making the pattern, cutting my fabric, and sewing it together, I had mine done in under 2 hours. If you'll be following along, measure your bust and waist. The best fabric for this specific maxi is knit jersey, so I took a couple inches off the measurements to make it a little more contouring. This is where you can play around with your own pattern. If you have a super stretchy knit, you could potentially take off more. Or, if you'd like your waist to be gathered, you could easily add a few inches there. I made the bottom of each dress panel the full width of the fabric.


    The front and back panels are exactly the same, so I cut two on the fold.


    The ruffles on the bodice are a lot like basic triangles, however a flat top edge would mean flat layers. By curving the top, it ensures that the fabric overlaps slightly when pulled straight to create the perfect ruffle, like you see below.


    After sewing straight down the sides of the dress, the ruffles can be attached to the front neckline. Both the front and back necklines are then trimmed in foldover elastic, which is as easy as it sounds. All it took was a few pins and a walking foot, andthe dress edges looked clean and finished.


    The straps were created exactly the same way, but this time they went along the sleeve curve, meeting at the seam under the arm. 10 second straps!


    Voilà! A versatile maxi dress. It can easily be dress up with some heels and jewelry, or it would be just as appropriate at a poolside party.


    So what colors will you be using for this project? Tell us in the comments!

  • Mood DIY: Striped Boat Neck Dress

    I've always loved boat neck dresses, and yet don't think I own a single one. How can that be?! Welp, that had to change and I thought stripes would be the perfect way to incorporate it. So, I pursued the cotton jersey aisle at Mood Fabrics and found this bold striped fabric that would hug in the all the right places. I was all set. Tell me what necklines you think flatter you best, below.  Striped Boat Neck Dress 1French Stripe Boat Neck Dress 2 French Stripe Boat Neck Dress 3

    French Stripe Boat Neck Dress 6

    SUPPLIES: straight pins, tape, pencil, paper, scissors, striped fabric, and dress for a pattern. French Stripe Boat Neck Dress 4HOW-TO:

    1. Use a dress that you already love to create a pattern -- I liked two dresses, and created a pattern I started here for the bottom, and made a new pattern for the top portion. 2. I folded back the excess pieces from the previous pattern (You can completely skip Step #1 if you have one dress you like). So, here's what I wound up with. 3. Double up your striped fabric, pin your pattern to it, and then cut it out. 4. Go ahead and sew up the shoulders and sides of the dress. 5. Use your straight pins to hem the neckline and bottom hem for a finished edge. 6. I left the raw armholes --I liked that better. But now, all you have to do is go ahead and sew up the neck and bottom hem and you're all set. Tada! French Stripe Boat Neck Dress 5

    Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog, Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for over a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and has been a contributor for the Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, Super Money, Good Housekeeping, and Newsday Westchester, to name a few. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.

  • Sew a Luxe Sweatshirt This Fall

    luxe sweatshirts collage Luxe sweatshirt examples, from clockwise top left: Reed Krakoff (Net-a-Porter), Rachel Zoe (Nordstrom), Halston Heritage, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Trina Turk, Tibi (Net-a-Porter).
    Say goodbye to your impression of sweatshirt as athletic wear and re-imagine it as a luxe addition to your wardrobe. Sweatshirts are one of the hottest fashion trends right now and we're seeing them in all sorts of fabric combinations: silk, ponte, leather, lace, neoprene, you name it. And they are incredibly easy to make! Here's a silk sweatshirt I made in just a few hours:

    silk sweatshirt Mood Fabrics

    I used my own sloper for a pattern, but any loose-fitting top pattern without darts or princess seams will work. Choose a jewel neckline and raglan sleeves or a dropped shoulder for a sweatshirt look and fast sewing. silk sweatshirt Mood Fabrics The hardest part was deciding which two fabrics to pair. Good thing I had help picking out these two silk crepe de chine prints! (Thank you, Marianne and Kyndrell.) Try using a larger print for the bodice and a smaller, complementary fabric for the sleeves. Here are three fabric combos at MoodFabrics.com we like:
    luxe sweatshirt Mood Fabrics Top row: silk-cotton vintage rose print paired with gray ponte. Middle: rayon jersey paired with sequin jersey. Bottom: silk charmeuse print paired with silk crepe print.

    For the neckband, waistband and cuffs, you can use any knit or knit-like fabric that retains its shape when stretched. Ponte, wool jersey, neoprene, double-knits and some thicker jerseys make great knit bands.

    Here's a video tutorial from Threads I've found helpful for attaching knit neckbands. Sewing on knit cuffs and waistbands is really simple: 1. Measure your wrist/forearm or waist and factor in how snug or loose you want your cuffs/bands to be. Determine how wide you want your ribbing (for my sweatshirt here, my finished ribbing is two inches), multiply by 2 and add seam allowance. Cut width by length. Sew ends together to form a circle; press seam open. Fold band in half length-wise and press. 2. Divide your sleeve bands into four equal parts, using the seam as one point, and place a pin at each quarter mark. Divide the sleeve edge into quarters and mark with pins. Now pin cuff to sleeve, right sides together, matching pins and the seams that are serving as your match points. 3. Stitch on a slow speed through all three layers with the knit fabric on top, gently stretching knit cuff between pins. 4. Turn right-side out and examine your stitching. If your stitching is even and there's no awkward gathering of fabric, then finish your edge by serging or stitching next to your seam line and trimming. 5. The same steps above apply to sewing a knit waistband, though you can add more pins between your quarter points if that helps you manage the fabric layers as you stitch. I love how sweatshirt tops are so comfy and how when you glam them up you can wear them to work and then out at night. I have at least three more sweatshirt combinations percolating in my head right now—just gotta find the time to make them! What fabrics would you use to sew your own luxe sweatshirt? Tell us!
  • Halloween Contest Entry #36

    Hilaree C.'s Black/White Swan Costume

    Hilaree C.'s Black/White Swan Costume

    Hilaree C.'s Black/White Swan Costume

    Hilaree C.'s Black/White Swan Costume

    Hilaree C. used Black and White Jersey fabric, Black and White Fringe Feathers, Rhinestones and Silver Flat Naildheads Studs for her Black and White Swan.
    For more information on how to enter the Mood Fabrics 2011 Halloween Costume Contest and complete contest rules for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to MoodFabrics.com please visit www.moodfabrics.com/halloween2011/ Rate your favorite costume below!