Black & White at the Night Circus

This guy is a little more ogre than circus clown, but he makes an interesting backdrop!

Black & White & Night Circus

It’s literature inspiration week at the Sew Weekly, and I’m on the front page! Friends, I LOVE TO READ!! Heck, I’m in school studying librarianship! It is my favorite thing to do. Followed by making things. For this week’s challenge I had my heart set on channeling one of my absolute favorite protagonists (EVER) one Ms. Lisbeth Salander. I fell instantly, and hard, for this character from her first appearance in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I loved her more when I watched the Swedish film version. And, though I mightily resisted watching it at first, the American version only increased my devotion to her.

Why, then am I not dressed like my beloved ball busting heroine?? All of my ideas for a Salander style ensemble were way too hot for the warm weather we’re still having. I tried to shift gears to something temp friendly, but still applicable, and it just didn’t work. I spent a lot of time trying to force it, but the good sewing juju didn’t like my manhandling and flew the coop.

I needed to shift gears. I tried to think of ANY of the books that I love (and even the ones I don’t) that matched anything I had in my stash. I almost made a Red Dress. Or something Indian inspired.

Then, I spotted my borrowed copy of The Night Circus and had a brainstorm.

Black and White and Red. Reveur style.

I had white t-shirts and black t-shirts and a black & white shirt and a red & white bit of fabric. A plan decided, I set into motion. Only, it was slow motion as I continued to be plagued with problems. That the bit of red & white fabric was SO uncooperative! But, I powered through and ended up semi pissed with the lame version of what I saw in my minds eye. I think the mood of failure had a lot to do with the fact that through it all, I was still wishing to be Salander for a day. (I had even found some awesome graffiti to pose in front of!) I was also missing my pop of red….

And then I remembered my favorite lippy. And then I saw the pics. And then I kind of loved my Reveur Style!

Black & White & Night Circus

Black & White & Night Circus

The Facts
Fabric | A couple of my hubby’s old t-shirts and dress I thrifted from the Goodwill store for the striped accent.
Patterns | BurdaStyle’s Lydia for the top, I winged it on the skirt. It’s a tube with an elastic waistband. I used the existing shirt hem for the bottom.
Year | Current
Notions | Thread and a bit of elastic.
Time to complete | I had a hard time with this challenge. I have been sewing, and ruining fabric, for days to come up with this relatively simple ensemble. But, it’s done and I love it. No harm, no foul. Just wasted time and fabric, lol.
First worn | On a picture walk with my kiddies. You can see the little three in a conference off to one side while my oldest takes the pics ;o) I find new graffiti every single time I leave home, now. It’s awesome! (FYI: the twins are the two closest to me, the one is the red hat is 17 months older than them, but I am often asked if they are triplets)

Black & White & Night Circus
Wear again? | Yes. Initially, I wasn’t too jazzed about the overall look because it was not what I had in mind for this challenge. At all. (Another round of music and book challenges, please) But I think it looks rather nice in pics and it is very comfy as its made entirely of t-shirts ;0)
Total price | I’m going to call it free so I can stop beating myself up about the money wasted on all of my failed efforts for the week.

Black & White & Night Circus

I even dragged out a prop for the shoot ;o)

Black & White & Night Circus

I would have loved to find a bowler hat or a B&W umbrella as seen with the author here, but we work with what we have, eh? The white portions are unevenly cut, intentionally, so that more or less of the b&w fabric shows from each side.

Black & White & Night Circus

Overall, the look’s not bad. One more shirt with a bit of pizzazzzzz to add to my go-to fall jeans and tee uniform. And a dead simple, dead comfy little slip of a skirt to throw on with tunics and even more versions of Roxanne and Scout. Leave it to me to use a fantastical, magical, transcendent work of art to make practical, casual basics! I mean, look at what Gina did this week! I’ve got to find my A game!


Wardrobe Essential :: The LBD

Here is the other project I worked on during my insane all night sewing marathon.

A Wardrobe Essential

:: The Little Black Dress ::

The Facts
Fabric | Mystery stretch fabric gifted to me by my sister. She got it in her last haul from Materials for the Arts. I wish I knew the makeup of it. It is PERFECT for this kind of dress!!
Patterns | BurdaStyle’s Lydia for the bodice and my go-to skirt Simplicity 9823 . I put on a previously made Lydia and tucked it into the denim version of this skirt and marked where they met with a pin. I cut the bodice to that length and attached the two.
Year | Current.
Notions | Only thread.
Time to complete | Not sure. I made this the same night as my Mix it Up look.
First worn | To Rima’s house for a fun knitters meet-up! And then today to go pick up the kids from my MIL’s.
Wear again? | Yes! Absolutely!!
Total price | FREE!!! Lydia is only $1. I’ve used it so much that I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth. The skirt pattern probably was only a buck when I bought it years ago.
| I’ve had that necklace and those earrings for years. I probably bought them from a street fair or street vendor. The silver bangles were mostly my granny’s, a few of them and the wooden ones are from my sis. They were from MFTA, too, and they were covered in some hideous twine that I took off to discover these wooden beauties. She gave me the wide ring on my right hand, too. The sandals are from Forever21 circa 2010, I think. I love a good flat sandal.

Wardrobe Essential :: The LBD

This definitely fills a void in my wardrobe. I thought it was a rather casual look, but my husband asked me why was I all dressed up when I donned it again today. I guess it does have a bit of a dress up, dress down quality. Anyway, when your regular wardrobe consists of jeans and tees, this must look a tad fancy.

Wardrobe Essential :: The LBD

It’s definitely leggy, lol. I took a wedge out at the center back, but I could probably remove a bit more. I wanted it fitted, but not tight. I think I accomplished that. I’m pretty proud of it!

Wardrobe Essential :: The LBD

This is near my MIL’s building. She told me I looked like a young girl today, not a mama, lol. All of the photos are courtesy of my Missy, my oldest baby. They all thought watching me jump up on this bench was pretty hysterical. The lipstick destroyer was the only one to brave the rock climbing wall when we stopped by the park on the way home!

The TUX Skirt

The Tux Skirt

Here it is! DONE!
Not exactly what I planned for it, but that’s the way the ball bounces when you’re a refashionista!

Dude’s Tuxedo Trousers to Tux Skirt
Thrifted :: $5 :; Domsey Express in Brooklyn
White lace top :: Handmade by me :: Pattern :: Lydia from BurdaStyle
Naturalizer Booties :: Free via Freecycle

This page from InStyle is what got me in gear to work on this project this week.

In Style Peplum Dresses

This peplum was reconfigured and rearranged so many times. I’m still not entirely happy with it. I think that’s mostly because the skirt is too small for me. These may have been better suited as shorts.

Tux Skirt, Peplum

 You can’t hear it, but it’s shouting “Warning! Your ass exceeds the maximum capacity limits for this skirt!” LOL!

Tux Skirt, Peplum

That’s too bad! Cause I’m digging the satin strip! The waistband,

Tuxedo Skirt, Side

The only deviation from the standard pants to skirt dealio I made was, I stitched down the pleats closest to the zipper on either side. They buckled out in that horrible way pleated pants always do on me (or anyone with hips). It looks light years better like this.

Tux Skirt, Pleats

There’s tons of exciting (sewing, writing, creating) stuff happening here. My room is a wreck, which usually means that I’m feeling inspired!

Pattern Magic: Tying a Bow D

Pattern Magic: Tying a Bow D

Pattern Magic: Tying a Bow D

This is a test run, so I could work out the construction details. Pattern Magic doesn’t include any instructions on how to assemble the garment. This might have been easier if I had more experience making button up shirts.

It turned out to be easier than I thought, though. I got a much better fit than I was expecting from the sloper and the bow was very easy to construct. I don’t know if I will try this one again or move on to another. It’s not perfect, but it’s wearable, if I don’t mind feeling choked to death. I hate things too close around my neck, it probably wouldn’t bother most people. I will probably give it to my girls for their dress up box.

My BurdaStyle Book Dress


BurdaStyle Book Dress
Here it is!! Over a year later, lol.
Made from a lovely deep purple silk and cotton blend with coordinating chiffon accents.
It is slightly too big for me, I’m thinking of taking it in so that I can actually wear it in the spring/summer now that I have it back.

This dress was a test of endurance. I have never made anything to be included in anything before. It added a level of pressure that I was VERY uncomfortable with. On top of that, I had been having a pretty rough time of it that year. Though I was really jazzed about being chosen to be in the book, I was kicking myself for ignoring the fact that I don’t have a lot of experience working with deadlines and the like.

This project may have ended up in the big scrap heap in the sky if not for the support (pressure, nagging, cajoling, encouragement whichever was needed at any given moment) of my long suffering husband. He is totally my number one cheerleader. There is a long list of things I would have given up on if not for him.

You can see the pattern as it’s featured by BurdaStyle in the book here. For my version, I made the keyhole cut out deeper, added pinctucks to the entire front bodice, center back bodice and accents on the skirt with the ruffled hem and neckline done in chiffon. I really like how it came out, though I am refraining from looking too closely at its construction. I know that I probably could have done a better job of it now, but c’est la vie. My name and dress are in an awesome book and nothing about that can be bad!

Lady in Gray

Lady Gray Maxi Dress

Lady Gray Maxi Dress

Lady Gray Maxi Dress

Same double knit as the exposed seam raglan top, only the other side ;o) It’s a poly cotton blend (65% and 35% respectively) that feels more like cotton to hand, but on my body is very warm like poly.

I am so pleased with this dress! Though, I wish it were about an inch or so longer. If I was more careful with my hem, or if I used a rolled hem, it would have been perfect.

I used the Lydia pattern again. I really should show how I adapted the pieces. I looked closely at the pattern today and the sizing is all over the place. Small at the shoulders and neckline, extending out to different sizes at the hips on the front and back and different front and back shoulder heights. All of that seems to work for my body! Store bought tees tend to bunch up around my waist because they aren’t wide enough to lay over my hips. Tapering out a little on the pattern works perfectly. Lydia is officially my go-to for t-shirts and the like!

This is not part of the official palette inspiration board, but definitely fits in with the rest of the items, I think. It’s certainly something I’ve wanted for a while, but couldn’t find in stores. I have fit issues with dresses, t shirt dresses are ALWAYS too tight around the hips and butt. I will never look at one in a store again.

Three Fini

Black Maxi Skirt

All seams raglan + Black Maxi skirt

This skirt was made using this tutorial. It’s made from a 100% nylon fabric that is so easy to use, I wish I bought more (I already bought a ton). I’m waiting to see how it holds up, as it is made from nylon…and I have four children. It may be full of snags after one wear.

I doubled the fabric, using another (less nice) color underneath, so it would be opaque. It didn’t cling to my tights while wearing it around the house and it is definitely warm. I love it!

All Seams Raglan

All seams raglan

I used the basic raglan pattern from Built By Wendy Home Stretch for this top. I modified the neckline using the Flashdance top instructions, but didn’t make the neckline as wide (2, rather than 4 inches were removed). I followed the book’s construction method of completing three sleeve seams, finish the neckline, then completing the final seam. It worked perfectly. I traced the size small, but made the sides slightly A-line and the length little longer.

I intended to make this reversible, but one of my top stitched seams was wacky and it was really obvious in the white thread I used. I liked the look of the exposed seams, so I went with it.

The side seams are not exposed, I serged the neckline and bottom hem and rolled the sleeves up for contrast. This was a practice run for sizing and fit. I have approximately a ton of this fabric so I will make at least two more items from it. At least one will be more like the inspiration top seen here.

Double Scoop Lace Tee

Lace Tee, scoop back

Made using the BurdaStyle Lydia pattern, size small, with mods for the back and front scoops. The lace has “mechanical” stretch added and the under layer is a white ITY knit. I treated both pieces as one, starting by serging the shoulders together.

It was DEAD easy because both layers stayed flat without pinning. I put the sleeves in flat and then stitched the side seams. The sleeve and bottom hems are unfinished, the neckline is folded over and top stitched. This is a more sensible (for me and my lifestyle) version of the lace top on my inspiration board. I like it a lot.

A peek at the guts and such…

1. Lace Tee guts, 2. All seams raglan, sleeves, 3. Black Maxi, 4. Lace Tee, 5. All seams raglan, raglan seams, 6. Black Maxi skirt, waistband