Perfectionism and the Enemy of Progress aka thoughts at 3am when I can’t sleep

20 Sep

Long story short, progress is slow and it’s just way easier to make quick posts on instagram than WordPress. Woops! One of my hold-ups is reluctance to make a post unless something is “finished”. When sewing, that’s easy enough, but with my house, that’s proving to be more difficult because I don’t have a single room that I consider “finished”. Perhaps this is due to latent perfectionism (or not-so-latent *cough*) and then there’s that awful aspect of social media where we only want to show curated parts of our lives. You know what I’m talking about… the photos that are perfectly staged but just out of shot is a complete mess (no resemblance to my life, of course *shifty eyes*). I’d like to think I’m mature enough to realize that nobody’s house really looks like the staged photos, but it can be difficult to not fall into that trap and perpetuate it as well. If you are one of those people that doesn’t have a messy corner somewhere in your house I’m seriously questioning your sanity. Then again, considering my main objective while cleaning before someone comes over is usually “to make it look like a sane person lives here” I may not be the right person to pass judgement. Moving right along…

My plan is to try and use the blog as incentive to get some things done and documented. They will not be perfectly staged photos of a perfect life. Some days I feel like I’m just trying to keep the whole place from falling apart (like the one night I had water coming through the walls during a torrential downpour. That was fun. Not really.) My sewing studio is still full of boxes, so those of you that are here solely for sewing content, I apologize. It’s still going to be awhile before I’m able to start that up again. I hope you do stick around though. 🙂

One of the interesting things about blogging as an introvert is the strangeness of putting my thoughts out into the open web. I admit that I struggle with this as I’m a very private person but I’m also somehow compelled to share and connect with people. For example, I go though cycles in instagram where I’ll have my account open and then get freaked out by the idea of just anyone being able to see my life. On one hand, it’s nice to have people follow you who appreciate your posts. On the other, there are a lot of strange/scary people out there. So which is the more powerful motivator? The desire for human connection or fear of people? Guess it depends on which day you ask me.



3 Mar

Catch-up post time! In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since my last post and yet not. A whole lot has happened. First of all I finally graduated with my Masters Degree. *yay!* Second, I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and bought a house! *omygodwhathaveigottenmyselfinto* It’s an old-ish one, built in 1930, in a wonderful neighborhood surrounded by other older homes. It’s going to be quite the process to get it back to where it should be, but it will be so worth it in the end. The best part is I have a “studio” where I can sew. Right now it looks like a storage facility, as I haven’t been able to move things into the house due to having the floors refinished, but once the pile of boxes have been relocated, I am really looking forward to having space to sew again. Once that happens, expect more sewing posts. Until then, there may be some house photos in the mix.


My new house (taken last August)

Ditto Form coming soon!

6 Apr
During my Spring Break I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to visit Bits of Thread Studio and be 3D scanned for a custom dress form. The process was super easy and I can’t wait to get my form in a few weeks (4-6 weeks is what I was told from the scan date).
For those curious about the actual scan. It takes place in a room without any natural light in a curtained box for privacy. You then stand on a raised circular platform in the middle of the box that spins slowly in front of the camera. As far as what to wear, the idea is to scan your actual body as closely as possible, so while being scanned I was just in a bra and some short close-fitting leggings. Even though the dress form won’t include my entire arms and legs, the whole body is scanned and then processed by a computer. I was scanned three times and then measured with a tape to compare with the measurements from the camera. Slight differences will occur based on posture and breathing, so this is just making sure the measurements are accurate. It’s quite something to see the 3D scan on the computer! I can only imagine what it will be like to see the form when I get it.
I went with the High Resolution form which is less squishy and arrives fully assembled. I won’t be able to put a corset on it, but I still have my old foam form that can serve that purpose. I’m just so excited to have something that will allow me to fit my upper body.
Ditto Form would love to expand to other areas of the country but are still trying to figure out how to make that possible. This technology is so new and exciting that it would be wonderful to see this take off. I’ll be sure to post about my Ditto Form when it arrives. If you are interested in having one made, visit Bits of Thread

Finished: Empress Josephine Ballgown

8 Jul



This gown has been a long time coming. I had been planning a gold taffeta ballgown since last Fall to wear to an event in January. When it became apparent that I wouldn’t get that done in time I shifted my deadline to a Regency Ball for June. With that shift, I also ordered this silk organza as an overlay to the taffeta. While not a replica of any of Josephine’s gowns, I used many of her portraits as inspiration.

I used the same Laughing Moon 126 pattern as the dotted swiss and made the adjustments for lengthening the front of the bodice. However, next time I need to start it closer to the sides as I need more length there as well. My biggest complaint with this style is that it tends to “poof” out at the hips due to the overlapping fabric where the slits in the skirt are. I’m sure part of it is the fabric and another part of it is I’m rather “hippy” as it is, but it’s something to keep in mind if you use a fabric with a lot of body to it (and especially if you use two layers like I did). The sleeves are the regular short sleeves with a small tuck taken in at the base. I intended to do the puffy sleeves, but this actually worked out better since I was running out of fabric and they’re probably more flattering on me. I lengthened the ties so they can go around my waist and tie under the bib instead of the back. I cut the medium length train for the organza and left the taffeta layer floor length so if I needed to pick up the train, I didn’t have to worry about two layers of fabric.


The time-consuming part of the gown was all the trim. The lace came in panels which needed to be cut apart, carefully placed on the organza, clipped around the curves and then hand-stitched. I added the pearls afterwards.



The shoes were trimmed using leftover lace and trim. They looked beautiful until I kept snagging it on the hem of my dress which pulled off the metal part. Lesson learned.


Even though I didn’t copy one of Josephine’s gowns, I did want to match the jewelry that she often wore in her portraits. I contemplated making it myself, but ended up finding an etsy seller that was willing to make what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Many thanks to Jen Thompson for taking photos before the ball. Here’s one last one of myself and Megan Martin (who has an etsy shop) channeling the Bingley sisters.


Pattern: Laughing Moon 126

Fabric: Renaissance Fabrics & Pure Silks (which came with a lot of creases, so I don’t know that I’d buy from them again)

Lace: Fabric Empire on etsy

Brooches: large one is vintage, smaller ones on sleeves and shoes: etsy

Jewelry: Custom order from Tudor Shoppe

Regency Pelisse

12 Jun


Made November 2013 to wear to the DFW Costumer’s Guild Georgian Picnic.




Past Patterns: Lewis & Clark Empire Gown

11 Jun

I have made this pattern three times and it’s wonderful. It’s easy to fit due to the drawstring front and I love the small triangle back.

The first one is a green reproduction print on a quilting weight cotton. It’s perhaps a bit heavy, but it wears well. I was unsure how the back was supposed to be sewn and did it slightly different but it turned out okay.


The second one is made out of a shirting fabric and I gathered the back of the skirt instead of pleating because I didn’t want it to be obvious if I got off with the stripes. 🙂 The net lace is a vintage find from etsy that works beautifully as a tucker.


The last one is made from a silk cotton from Mood. Unfortunately, I only got one wear out of it as it shrunk horribly even though I washed it on cold. *sigh*


Throwback Post: Ren Faire

10 Jun

My first foray into costuming dates back to 2007, when a friend and I decided to attend a Renaissance Faire. I had some semblance of a (now out of print) pattern, a basic sewing knowledge (albeit a bit rusty), but no dress form. I did manage to order a renaissance corset of sorts, so that was a plus. I remember the bodice being a complete flop, so I resorted to making sort of a “cover” for the corset by tracing the lines and adding straps of grosgrain ribbon. While not the most historically accurate costume, I at least used linen!


Three years later in 2010, another friend and I visited a different Renaissance Faire and I dug out my costume and remade the top part into something a bit better with some upholstery fabric.

IMG_4861 IMG_4864

In 2012, I took my sisters to yet another Renaissance Faire and added an overskirt in an attempt to dress it up a bit. Again, upholstery fabric FTW! (At least it’s washable…)


Here’s hoping I get to redeem my self in the future with this time period!