raw sewing

off the shoulder

So…something people may or may not know about me is that I really like to go dancing. I’m not a fan of alcohol , but I love being able to destress to catchy, bass-pumping music. Not only is it fun to let loose with my friends, dancing is a workout! Burning calories + having tons of fun = win win situation xD (Note: this does NOT mean I’m good at dancing. heh. But no judgment on the dance floor right? :P) Sadly, there aren’t a lot of chances to go out this year (aka, when we’re not freaking out over exams or dead from an exam, which is almost never), but the times I have gone out have been great.

That brings us to this post. Back in the beginning of September, I went out with some friends to celebrate the end of our first block on Pathology and Pharmacology.Β We decided to go toΒ Whisper Nightclub, a club that had opened during the summer and gotten pretty good reviews. Unfortunately, I had nothing to wear. Something my wardrobe strongly lacks is ‘going out’ clothes, due partially to 1) not really going out THAT often…I can usually only afford to post exam, which is like once a month 2) not having any other use for those clothes except going out. I’m a huge believer in making the most out of your clothes, so its hard to get myself to buy something if I’m only going to wear it a couple times.

If you guys have been following my blog, I briefly mentioned going to LA’s fashion district when I visited SoCal last spring. Along with the fabric I used in the senior banquet dress, I also got some shimmery brown fabric, some black lace, some turquoise satin,Β some gorgeous sheer turquoise fabric and some white knit material–all under $3each! The brown fabric was actually a good dress material, so I decided to whip it out and make a one shoulder dress for Whisper.

Close up of the fabric:

Isn’t it pretty?? Shimmery brown with a gold matrix-like pattern πŸ˜€

I didn’t get a chance to take a ‘before’ of all the cut fabric, but here’s another schematic:

red = cut lines. blue = sew lines
I went for a trapeze-ish look for this dress, with an asymmetrical hem.Β Like I did when making theΒ semi-professional dress,Β I again traced a dress I knew fit well for rough measurements (with 1/2 inch margins), cut along the lines in a one shoulder shape, then pinned and sewed up the sides and top. Sadly, I ran out of brown thread and was short on time, so did a really rough, really obvious WHITE hem at the bottom. I just figured it wouldn’t matter that much because the club was going to be dark anyways. But note to self: plan ahead next time.
To spice up the dress, I used the extra fabric from the cut scraps and wrapped it in a flower-like arrangement around the shoulder.
Finished dress!
sigh…that hem…^__^’
close up of the ‘flower’
With the dress problem solved, I went out and had an awesome post-exam with med school friends. Some of our college friends were also at the club that night, so it was a double plus being able to catch up and dance together ;D
some of us girls πŸ™‚

Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again sometime! And for all you readers out there–now you know what to do if you are short on clothes and time before going out xD


semi-professional dress~

 Remember the ‘fabric’ (aka glorified bedsheet) I used as a ‘test’ in the last traces of summer dress? Well, bed sheets are really big, and I had a lot of fabric leftover after making that dress. I decided to try my hand at another dress, but this time with a more professional look. As a med student, we have to dress up a LOT, and I am always running out of things to wear. I decided to make a conservative, simple dress to help out my wardrobe. Because I didn’t have a lot of time, I decided to make the dress similar to the ‘skirt’ I refashioned last september and use the boxy-ish, t-shirt like look.

Didn’t get to take pictures of the steps, but here’s a schematic of what I did:

blue = sew lines

 Basically, I took a dress that I knew fit well, traced around it for my ‘measurements’ (leaving about a 1/2in margin), cut the excess off the sides and rounded out the neckline. I then pinned the two sides together and sewed the fabric along the blue lines indicated in the schematic (down the sides and at the top).

Because I was too lazy to add a zipper, I left the waist a bit big and used some of the extra leftover fabric to make a belt πŸ˜›

The neckline actually ended up being a bit big, so I folded over one corner of the neckline to make it asymmetrical and sewed down the fold.

sewing down a folded corner of the neckline

what it looks like from the front

Finished product:

dress + belt made from extra fabric!
photocredit: Jenny M.
close up of the neckline (can you tell how big it was before??)

Since I’ve made this dress, I’ve been able to wear it multiple times–under my white coat, to church, or just as another everyday outfit. It’s casual enough to wear during the week, but simple yet streamlined enough to wear in front of patients. Definitely happy with how this came out, and it took just a couple hours to make~! If you have a sewing machine and some extra stiff-ish fabric, would definitely encourage you guys to try this out! πŸ™‚

last-traces-of-summer dress~

What to do if you really need to do laundry and have no clothes left?

a) dig some semi-clean clothes out of the pile and wear them anyways–no one will know
b) wear your professional work clothes to class (hey, it’s all you have left, and at least you’ll look good. everyone you see just might ask why you are dressed up)
c) do laundry
d) sew new clothes

Ever since moving to our new place, I’ve tried to put off doing laundry for as long as possible because it isn’t the most convenient. Not only do the machines ONLY accept quarters, they are more expensive than the previous machines I’ve used >__< Unfortunately, I realized late last night that I only have professional clothes left. I didn’t feel like venturing outside to the machines (or getting quarters), so I decided to play with some fabric.

Remember that awesome free-fixed pattern site I posted last time? Before I started working on the fabric for theΒ dress for D and J’s wedding, I wanted to see how well (or not well) the actual pattern fit and what alterations were necessary. I used an easier pattern from the same site and used bedsheet fabric as practice (it was still fabric! and it free! so no loss if I messed up :P). Unfortunately, this was like 3 days before the wedding, and after cutting out the traced practice pattern and rough guess-timations, I realized I needed to just start working on the actual fabric or else I wouldn’t finish in time. So those cut pieces have been laying around in my room for a while…

…Until yesterday!

Yes, the ‘fabric’ used to be a bedsheet, but it was actually a nice summery-yellow color. I figured this could actually turn into a pretty cute dress. The pattern I traced for this resembled another dress I have (3rd from left) —

@B&N’s wedding this summer with some lovely girls Β πŸ™‚

Since I had already cut the fabric, I figured making it into a dress shouldn’t be too bad (read: take too much time), right? Basically, I needed to finish the edges, hem the bottom, and sew the two pieces together.

Originally, the dress had a collar that connected the two pieces at the top, but to save time I decided to loop the fabric at the top and bottom, take extra fabric cut from the sides of the dress (it ended up being way too wide) and string it through to tie the two together.

About 1.5hours later…

new dress!

I added a belt I had from a previous dress to give it some shape and pattern. Not going to lie–pretty happy with how this came out πŸ™‚ Originally the back was a bit boring:

So I decided to sew a cut-out into the back too πŸ™‚

Final finished dress from the back:

yay πŸ˜€

Definitely will be trying to wear this more before the weather gets cold! Now back to studying….>__<

first attempt at pattern–>dress~!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to celebrate the joyous wedding of one of my small group leaders from Penn State. Words cannot describe how much of an amazing influence she had on my spiritual walk and growth. Not only were we able to talk about discovering God’s role in our lives, discipleship and community on our one-on-ones, we also shared snippets of our lives that included relationships, friendships, and of course, school.

our small group (throwback to freshman year xD) ❀
Since leaving PSU, both of us have moved onto other things in our lives–me, medical school in Philly and her, being a blessing to others with the campus ministry in Virginia. When I found about her and J’s engagement, I spent a good 10 min screaming in happiness and then another 10 jumping off the walls in anticipation of their wedding (!!).
Fast forward a couple months, and D is now married (AHHH!!). Their wedding was one of most amazing, hilarious and energetic weddings I’ve ever attended.  I didn’t realize how much I missed the AACF community, but the wedding was a reminder of how much I love these brothers and sisters πŸ™‚ It was SO good seeing AACFers again and catch up on each others lives. Eating, laughing, dancing together again–what more could you ask for? 
Members of table 10, who are now SENIORS!! (crazy how time flies)
Anyways, I needed a dress for the wedding and just like senior banquet, I used the event as an excuse to practice my sewing. This time, I wanted to actually sew a dress that wasn’t held together only by safety pins, since 1) I knew there would be dancing and much more movement than senior banquet and 2) I had time! 
I found an amazing site that gives you FREE fixed size patterns to print out, and a huge selection of dresses. I’m not the fixed size, but I figured the pattern was a good starting point. 
The pattern with the leftover scraps after I cut the fabric

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the fabric before. It was another one of my thift store hauls ($3!!),  and I bought it bc I couldn’t resist the super satin-y feel and gorgeous deep red color. I’m pretty sure it used to be a bed sheet, but hey, as long as I can cut and sew it, fabric is fabric πŸ˜› 
All the sewing was done Wednesday before the wedding. Most of the time spent on the dress was in arranging the pattern, marking the fabric, then finishing up the dress so it fit. The actual seams were actually not as bad as I thought–yay for patterned instructions!
Some pictures of the process:
I got lazy so used a permanent marker to mark my sewing points, but  this is an example of why that is a bad idea ^__^”  Oh well; this seam was hidden inside so no one saw it πŸ™‚
 A lot of time was spent altering the seams so the dress fit–
white line = original; red/yellow thread is the final seam (i ran out of white haha)
And finally, 5 hours later, the finished product!

I’m so glad the zipper installation went ok–
I was so scared I was going to screw up  because you can’t hide the zipper >__<
Finished dress with leftover scraps in the background

The dress is a great base, but since I had leftover fabric anyways, I decided to add ruffly-embellishments to the neck/chest area. Unfortunately, did not get around to sewing it on, but thats what safety pins are for ;D (so I guess yes, I did have to use SOME safety pins for this :P)

FINAL finished product:

With Penn State (and current) roomies ❀ πŸ˜€
close up of the neck/chest wrapping, with the beautiful M~

CONGRATULATIONS again to D & J! Many blessings for your marriage and future together– you guys are perfect for each other ❀ πŸ˜€

bootleg dress draping!

Right after our Systems block, me and J decided to make a trip down to Happy Valley for the AACF end of the semester banquet. The banquet was semi-formal, so I decided to assemble a dress for it since 1. med school = negative income 😦 2. I didn’t want to rewear a banquet dress and 3. I wanted to see what would happen. This is fabric I found on clearance in LA–only ~$2 in total!! πŸ˜€


from L to R: main/base piece, one shoulder piece, middle piece

Btw, LA’s fashion district is AWESOME for finding unique and gorgeous fabrics! no wonder hollywood gets so many amazing costumes!

just one of the MANY shops FULL of fabric in the district

Due to a physiology final, I did not get to sew the dress as initially planned, but I did bring safety pins. And I really didn’t want to buy a dress. So, after much experimentation, pinning, tucking, and wrapping…

the finished product:

with M at banquet!

Fabric was a bit wrinkly, but i’m pretty happy with the result πŸ™‚

Thanks to J for helping me with the safety-pinning ;D banquet was super fun, and it was so great seeing everyone again <3!