Friday, September 28, 2012

Star Wars Tee

I've been having some trouble getting my act together this week after the excitement of last weekend when my twin nephews were born (!). I barely got anything on my to-do lists done while we were waiting for news at the hospital, and then this past week the kiddo has been acting more needy and childish -- most likely a reaction to my oohing and aahing over the new babies -- so I simply haven't had the energy to do more than the bare minimum of chores. I didn't even get to sew my 3-year-old nephew's birthday present, which I'd planned to finish and mail by Monday or Tuesday. (Fun fact: I now have three nephews with birthdays within three days of each other.)

So yesterday, I chose to wear something slightly out of the ordinary to kick-start my day. For one thing, I wore a skirt on a weekday (it's usually shorts or jeans). For another, I wore this shirt:

Dress: Star Wars via Zulily | Skirt: Old Navy | Flats: Blowfish via Amazon

It's such a great shirt and would be perfect if it included Princess Leia (a terrible oversight, I know!). Anyway, it's a pretty simple outfit, but it made me smile. :-) We love Star Wars in this house in case you hadn't noticed. Along with a couple of long-sleeved Star Wars shirts for the kiddo, I bought this shirt via the discount program Zulily (similar to Gilt but targeted to moms). It's actually a child's XL size, so the neck is a little narrow, but it was fun to wear even though hardly anyone outside my family saw it except for, briefly, the teachers and other parents and children at the kiddo's school. I was in there just long enough to sign my name in and out; there's usually no dawdling.

As for the rest of the day, I managed to get my eyebrows waxed, then fold three loads of laundry while watching the Netflix movie I'd been putting off for the past month.* But way more fun than that, for breakfast I made some blueberry waffles with the waffle iron that my mom gave us a couple of weeks ago (she also gave us a panini press that I love -- I'll talk more about these two appliances another time). I'd never made waffles before and it turned out to be quite easy, which was a welcome surprise. And the kiddo loved the waffles. I'll be making more and freezing them for my brother and his wife to help them out these first few weeks of taking care of twin babies. I can definitely recommend the Cuisinart brand Classic Waffle Maker if you're in the market to buy one.

xo, Gladys

* In case you were interested, the film I saw was Shame with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, rated NC-17; don't worry, I watched it while the kiddo was in school. There are lots of scenes that are basically porn except there's no "money shot" and it's really sad and sometimes tragic. So yeah, definitely not porn. It wasn't very pleasant to watch, but it did make me more empathetic to those suffering with sexual addiction. The director and writers did a pretty amazing job toeing the line between gratuitous porny sex scenes and telling a sad and difficult story about a man who (it's implied) has had a horrible, probably-abusive childhood and who is painfully lonely (even if he looks like Michael Fassbender!).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sewing: Twinsanity and Newborn Pants

Sorry this post is a little late, but I just came out of a very special weekend: I whipped up four newborn pants (free pattern and tutorial by Made-by-Rae) while waiting to hear word about the birth of my twin nephews! They were born very early Sunday morning, and it was truly amazing to see them for the first time. My brother -- the new father -- was teary-eyed and so very happy. The new mom was incredible during her long labor.

Aren't they adorable? I know I'm biased because I'm their aunt, but seriously, they are delicious!! They are perfect. I can't believe how big they are ... my sister-in-law carried them to full term, and one was a whopping 7lbs 2oz while the other one was 6lbs 1oz. (They're fraternal twins, just in case you were wondering why they looked different.) She's not a super tall lady, maybe 5'5", but she managed to carry over 13 pounds of baby plus all that extra weight somehow. Incredible.

Anyway, the pants sewed up more quickly than the last time I used this pattern, in part because I didn't "pimp" them out with pockets or bias-tape hems. Instead, first thing after cutting, I simply hemmed the legs with a narrow double fold -- with wrong side facing up, fold over and press 1/4" then fold over and press another 3/8" before edgestitching the hem closed. (See below.) Easy as pie. At the very end, I sewed a tiny line of stitches at the very bottom of the inseams, to make sure that the hems don't unravel.

I used cotton flannel for the first set of two, and plain woven cotton for the second set. The flannel sewed up very easily because the nap on the fabric makes it more stable. The flannel will be good for when the weather cools off a bit, but I think the owls are much cuter. I can't wait until the babies fit into them. :-)

Special thanks to all my models for this post! I love them all!

xo, Gladys

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recent Haul

So ModCloth had its summer clearance sale recently, and I couldn't help but indulge due to the fantastic prices. (Check out what I got from last year's summer clearance.) It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, and that's a good thing! Moreover, this time, I only bought a dress, a top, and three very cute pairs of shoes. I already showed off the white Salt Water Sandals (an amazing deal for $13) in an earlier post.

However, I have to confess here that about a month earlier, a couple of ModCloth items that I'd been eying went on sale briefly, and after trying them on at home I decided to keep both of them. These two black-and-white dresses have everything I love: nipped waists, fun patterns, and pockets! And the colors are just classic. I couldn't resist. You may have already seen the polka dot dress on this blog, but in different colors. I wasn't joking when I said that it's one of my favorite styles. (This dress is still available if you're interested.) The striped one needed to be shortened at the shoulders since the bodice was too long for me, but it was a very quick sew that turned out wonderfully. I decided not to cut any fabric but just folded and sewed in case I wanted to sell/give it away later -- which made it a fast alteration.

Summer in my part of the world will be still be here in October, and with all of my Saturdays from now until Halloween booked for get-togethers, parties, and a vacation (YAY!), I'm looking forward to styling all of these pieces in the next month and a half.... Stay tuned!

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Hardest and Best Job

I confess that it's not easy for me, being the mom to this little guy, especially when he gets a cold not once but twice during the first two weeks of school and the whining never seems to stop.

But then I think of how much he likes to sing and dance to songs we both enjoy, like The Killers' "Read My Mind." And I remember how he couldn't help breaking into a big smile during the photo shoot above, after I asked him to think of a silly pirate joke.

I really love this dude.

xo, Gladys

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sewing: Monogram Appliqué Pillows

I made these for my soon-to-be-born twin nephews ... and I mean soon, like within the next couple of weeks! Our whole family is very excited, and this is just one of the projects I have in store for these boys.

For this project, I used the fabric that we employed as a table cloth for the June baby shower that we threw for the parents-to-be. For the appliqué, I decided to try out the felt that I had on hand (polyester) and found that it worked well. I washed and dried both the fabric and the felt beforehand.

This was my first time with sew-on appliqués, and yeah, I need to work on this particular skill. My appliqués ended up puckered at the corners and inside curves, and this puckered the background fabric as well, which made pinning the front to the back pieces a little finicky. But I still liked the way the pillows turned out, homey and fun. I mean, who doesn't like mini-pillows? They're so cute! My son liked them so much he asked for one of his own and even picked out the fabric already. :-)

I used my French seam envelope cover tutorial but made an important edit to the process (I've updated the tutorial): how to create sharper corners when using French seams.

A) Basically, once both front and back pieces have been prepped and pinned together, you sew around the edges not continuously as I had previously done, but creating four separate seams (one on each side) that stop and start about 3/8" from the edges. You need to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam. To speed up the process, you can use the "chain piecing" method wherein you don't snip the threads before before turning the corner and starting the next seam.

B) Once all four sides are seamed, flip the pillowcase inside out and make sure the corners are opened out (there should be a hole at each corner). Iron the edges flat.

C) Then you can sew around the edges continuously with the designated seam allowance, pivoting the fabric as you turn each corner. After that, snip the unseamed corners to reduce bulk, making sure not to cut into any seams.

D) Flip the pillowcase right-side out, use a knitting needle to create sharp corners, stuff the correct-size pillow in there, and you're done!

xo, Gladys

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Shoes: Fluevog Minis

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that I was drooling over these Fluevog shoes almost exactly three months ago, the Qtee from the Mini family:

Click on the image to go to

Yes, as is obvious from the title of the post, I did in fact buy them. I was able to put them on layaway at the Union Square store via phone, and four payments later, they were shipped to me this week. And you know what? They're even more beautiful in person. Witness:

My biggest worry was that they wouldn't fit, even though I was pretty sure that I'm a size 5 in the Mini family. (If you're wondering about sizing the Minis, they run about half a size large ... I'm a true size US 5.5.) If they didn't fit, I would have simply (sadly) returned them. But they feel wonderful on my feet! ... the only problem is that the ankle straps need some extra holes punched since they're too loose. However, I already checked with the L.A. store and they said they'd be happy to take care of it. Yay for awesome customer service!

The fact that Fluevog is now making Minis in size 5s (the smallest used to be 6 for the longest time) is a little scary for my wallet. I mean, seriously, check out the heels on these beauties. They're curvy and sassy and self-confident. I need all those things in my life. :-) Plus, the colors on these are PERFECT for fall.

This is the first time I've bought Fluevogs via layaway. I must admit, the prolonged anticipation and the fact that my wallet didn't get dinged all at once made buying the shoes a more pleasurable process than usual. They've been gently replaced in their box with all the original tissue stuffed and folded carefully. I'll take them out again when I go to the L.A. store for the straps. Then I'll find the perfect event to wear them to ... should be fun!

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sewing: Cupcake Apron

When one of my dearest friends left California to start a job in Arizona, I knew that I had to make her an apron as a housewarming present. Joanne (with whom I collaborated on the DIY sweaty bands project) loves cupcakes and the color purple, so they were the inspiration for the fabric used in this reversible apron pattern by Lotta Jansdotter (not free, but it's from a lovely book filled with some great non-clothing sewing patterns).

This apron has a wonderful A-line shape when worn, even though the actual shape curves in lots of places. It also has an unexpected pleat detail at the shoulder straps. Anyway, I'll be shipping the apron to Joanne today, and I hope she likes it. I'm a little sad to see it go, myself. I'd make one for me but I've already got too many aprons as it is.

Process notes:

The pattern suggests some simple appliqués, but I opted instead to make two pockets on each side -- they're more useful, and Joanne loves pockets as much as I do. I made them a little deep so that they can carry cooking utensils if necessary. To make the pockets, I used the nifty technique I learned when making the Oliver + S art smock, which produces clean- and professional-looking pockets, IMO.

Measuring and cutting took the most time for this project, and the pockets added some time as well. If you want to just whip this out quickly, you could probably do so by cutting out the appliqué/pocket step and maybe the pleating as well. The pleat didn't seem to add a lot to the finished product but was probably the most finicky step. (You'd need to edit the pattern a bit in this case; just narrow the shoulder to match the width of the ties, which is a little over an inch.)

Also, I would suggest putting the markings on the right side of the fabric to facilitate the process (I put the markings on the wrong side and had to flip back and forth quite a bit), as well as pressing all 1/2" seams open. Doing the latter made it much easier to iron the apron flat at the edges after turning it right-side out (the two sides were sewn together with right sides facing so as to create finished edges once the apron was turned right-side out).

Have a knitting needle or something dull but pointy ready at hand. I used it the sharpen the corners for the straps and the pockets, and the edges of the apron body.

Final verdict? I didn't learn anything particularly new during this project, although I revisited pleats again. The weakest part of the pattern is probably the pleats at the shoulder straps; more detail in both the instructions and the markings on the pattern would have been helpful. As it is, I'm not sure I did it correctly, but it looks fine anyway. Overall it was an enjoyable experience. It's a great pattern with a great-looking finished product, which makes it much like an Oliver + S pattern. 

xo, Gladys

Monday, September 10, 2012

Deep Coral and White

Dress: Calvin Klein for Dress Barn (hand-me-down) | Sandals: Salt Water Sandals via ModCloth

I wore this outfit for my twin nieces' 9th birthday party. My younger sister gave me this dress a couple of weeks ago when she was in town for a visit. She'd worn it for a family get-together in June and she knew how much I liked it. If I'm honest, I'll have to say that the dress looks better on her since she fills out the top more which gives it a nice V-shape tapering to the waist. Technically, she wears a half-size to a size bigger so I could have fit in a smaller size. But if I wear a skinny belt (I'm thinking a white patent belt, which I don't currently have), I can get that same V-shape too. It's a good, heavy fabric that's also lined, and I love the color and polka dots -- look at the way the coral matches the plumeria in the background! It was really nice of my sister to give me the dress. Of course, she has lots of even nicer clothes since she's an MBA with a good job (and she usually doesn't shop at Dress Barn). This dress is more my speed, I think. So thanks, sis!

I also wanted to mention how cute I find the white sandals. I don't think I've owned a pair of white sandals like this since I was a very little girl. I'd been thinking of getting some Salt Water Sandals since last summer but didn't really want to shell out that much money for sandal flats that looked like they were made for little kids. So when ModCloth put these up on sale recently ($13!), I snapped them up. They're actually size UK 4 (which is US 6) so they're a little big, but 1) the ankle straps keep me in securely and 2) I hate toe overhang anyway. These are great. :-)

Anyway, sorry I'm short on photos today. I'll leave you with a hint of my next sewing project.

xo, Gladys

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sewing To-Do

Uh-oh. Guess who splurged during a recent pattern sale? I'm pretty excited about these, actually. I'll be glad once my gift sewing is over for the month so that I can sew for me again. I haven't done that in quite a while. In fact, I want to learn how to sew more adult patterns and get more techniques under my belt so that I can start drafting patterns based on my own designs. (!) I finally want to say "Yes" whenever my family and friends ask if I made what I'm wearing. (How nice of them to assume that my handiwork would look in any way professional!)

Also, I seriously need to cut down my fabric stash. When I first started sewing last summer, I went a little crazy then as well and bought yards and yards of gorgeous fabric, thinking that I'd be making tons of skirts and possibly dresses for myself. Well, that didn't happen. I made skirts and I even made a halter dress as a gift, but all that lovely patterned cloth is still folded up in a box waiting for me to become a better sewer. Now I feel (almost) ready to take on making a dress for myself and ensuring the perfect fit. I even bought Sarah Veblen's Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting.

As for the rest, I got a bunch of really pretty flannel fabric on sale earlier this month and I think the flannel would work well as pajamas, or maybe even as a fun cloche.... I bought the Regency dress pattern because I've always wanted to wear something like that. Unfortunately it requires quite a bit of fabric and probably more skill than I currently have. If I try to make it for Halloween, I can use some cheap broadcloth to make a kind of wearable muslin as I practice the necessary techniques.... Getting excited about this!

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sewing: Oliver + S Mother-Daughter Totes

I sewed up a couple of multi-fabric tote bags for my identical twin nieces' upcoming birthday celebration. The pattern I used is another FREE pattern from the fabulous Oliver + S. For the first niece, I used different fabrics in her favorite color pink with a plain pink inside lining:

And purples and blues for the second niece, with the most adorable owls inside to make up for the plainer designs outside:

Process notes:

These totes took me longer than expected to make -- not including the time it took to choose and buy the fabrics, then wash/dry and iron them. In addition to cutting out several pieces from many different fabrics (for each tote: 5 different fabrics plus interfacing), I also needed to prep the fabrics with the fusible interfacing before I could start sewing. The interfacing I bought required steam-ironing using a dampened press cloth or ironing cloth. All in all, the cutting took over three hours, pressing the interfacing took about two, then sewing each tote took two to three hours. My least favorite part was the measuring and cutting, and many of the pieces ended up with slightly-off measurements, ending up as parallelograms or trapezoids instead of perfect rectangles. Unfortunately, although they didn't ruin the totes, those slight mis-measurements showed up in the finished product when some of the stripes didn't match up exactly. :-( It's possible to straighten them out while sewing each stripe on by measuring and trimming as you sew, then also trimming the lining to match the new measurements of the outside bag. I didn't do a very diligent job of that on my first tote. Oh well.

Also, I wish I'd known ahead of time that I needed to cut the interfacing 1/8" smaller all around which would have saved me the time it took to trim down each piece of interfacing while I was ironing them on. So be warned.

These tote bags are definitely not perfect, but if you don't look too closely they're cute and they'll do the job they're made for, which is toting your stuff around. All of that interfacing makes for very sturdy straps, pocket, and outside bag. My favorite is the purple and blue with the owls inside. :-)

xo, Gladys

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend Getaway

Happy September! And for those of you in the United States, Happy Labor Day! I hope you've been taking it easy. Here's how I spent part of my holiday weekend. (I sewed up a couple of things the rest of the weekend ... more on that later this week.)

We visited Carpinteria, a cute little beach town in Santa Barbara County, on Friday and Saturday. We love the Tomol Interactive Play Area park in the downtown beach area down Linden Ave. Every time we visit, my son really enjoys climbing the dolphin and seal statuary as well as sliding down the various slides. I visited a great quilt shop called Roxanne's with my mother-in-law while he continued to play with his dad and granddad, then we all had lunch at a beach grill up the coast a bit. Afterward, the kiddo went with his grandparents for a sleepover at their house, and my husband and I took a much-needed nap at the hotel then went out on a dinner date to a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Delgado's -- even the rice and beans were delicious! (And yes, I very much enjoyed my strawberry margarita.) We walked on the beach and watched the sunset, very happy in our tummies. :-) It was a nice, relaxing couple of days. I just wish we could do it more often!

And because this is partly a fashion blog, here's what I wore:

I've never worn this shade of nail color before, and I don't know why. It goes with so many of my accessories! And here I am after the nap and the margarita, looking a little bleary-eyed but feeling pretty good. :-)

Dress: Tulle (hand-me-down from my sister-in-law) | Sweater: Old Navy | Purse: via ModCloth | Sandals: Worishofer via Amazon

xo, Gladys
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