Tag Archives: Philadelphia

The Lots To Celebrate Dress

Ah, the 4th of July. What a holiday. Who would have known that when a bunch of slave-owning white man got together and said, you know what is the worst, paying taxes to other white men who speak our language on a tiny island far away, let’s deal with that in a long and elaborately worded “Dear John (or George, as the case may be) letter”, we would, some three centuries later, be celebrating that half-assed international mailing with fireworks, beer and awful displays of jean-short madness? Also, quick side-note, given that overseas mail took signficantly longer then, that must have been the most anti-climactic break-up ever. That’s like sending an “it’s over” text via carrier pigeon.

Look, I’m just kidding, I’m a huge fan of the founding Fathers of the United States, specifically Benjamin Franklin who gave us firehouses, public libraries, bifocals, and the best children’s book ever.  My father is probably Franklin’s biggest fan, and you can’t help but be a bit of a groupie if you grow up in Philadelphia, Franklin’s adopted city. He was actually from Boston, and was apprenticed to a candlemaker until he escaped and…you know what? You should read his autobiography. I did. At the age of 13. Because my father made me. And then you can come to Philadelphia and see his home and his grave and the University he founded and the museum named after him and you can cry to your dad that you don’t WANT to read more about Franklin and you like John Adams because Principle Feeney played him in this movie and besides he seemed like a cool guy who respected women and oh my god I need a moment a lot of my childhood just flashed back excuse me. Sob.

ANYWAY.  I even love celebrating July 4th.  Who doesn’t love freedom? Specifically a freedom only granted to landowning White males of a certain income and education level? It’s a great excuse to grill a bunch of things, drink a bunch of wine (I don’t CARE if it comes from Europe, it’s freedom juice to me!) and enjoy some time with my family. That’s worth celebrating, right? It’s certainly worth a new outfit….

And with no further ado, may I present to you the latest in a long line of Plantain and Plantain hacks, my Lots To Celebrate Dress? Don’t mind if I do!


Ah, I love this dress! And could it BE more patriotic? My cynical ramblings are totally negated by this dress, aren’t they?

So, yes, Plantain. To this. How,you say? Well, I took the top part of the top, that is, above the waist, and used that to cut the bodice. I then slimmed it on the front and back pieces by about two inches, and used the sleeves as they were, and the neck binding. Then I just cut and gathered the skirt. Gathering a knit is the damn worst. I don’t recommend it. It’s dumb. Still! I like this.



The fabric I got at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet for literally 1.98 a yard. Because, Philadelphia. I got two yards and I still have enough to make a tank top. Luckily it stretches in both directions because the vertical stripe and I are good friends.

LTC 5Although I do think that it is deeply hilarious that the stripes look bigger on the bodice because of my, um, front area. Sigh. Whatever. Franklin would have appreciated this. He loved himself some ladies.

LTC 3A little rear view for you. This dress was insanely easy to sew. I have made this pattern 10 times now and it only gets easier. And it wasn’t hard to begin with. Make this pattern. It’s awesome. That’s all I can say about it. It’s easy and fast and free. What else do you want on July 4th?

LTC 6Obviously these photos were not taken in Brooklyn, but rather at my parent’s house in Philadelphia where we had a lovely BBQ to celebrate the holiday. Not that we are so into it, but, honestly, any excuse to grill…

LTC 8Obviously I left Cadfael in Brooklyn but that’s okay, I wasn’t lonely:

LTC 7Cats gotta be a part of everything, am I right?

LTC 9We made some excellent slaw from this excellent blog. Try that today, too.

So, obviously, celebrating the United States and it’s weird and wonderfully awkward revolution is important. But it’s also important to celebrate personal things too, like this dress, or the slaw I made with my mom, or, you know, getting engaged. Which I also did. So there’s that.

LTC 11Yes. Sharp eyed readers will have noticed this new piece of jewelry making it’s first appearance on the blog. And in my life. As it turns out, what’s-his-face was not just hanging out with me for the sewing tips, and he proposed to me recently. So in honor of that event, and because my mom is unhappy with the moniker “what’s-his-face”, my gentleman caller is being upgraded to Mr. Struggle. I don’t know that you will ever see him on this blog, as he is shy, but I do know that I will be documenting all of my wedding-related makes here, so it seems only fair to tell you why all the white all of a sudden. And why I have a lot to celebrate. He took these photos of me. Maybe that’s why I look so happy? Hard to tell. It’s probably just dreaming about Ben Franklin….

LTC 1Yeah. That’s gotta be it.

I hope you had the best 4th of July possible if you live in the United States, and if not, I hope you had a lovely Friday that had no other meaning to you. I know I did. Thanks, dead white guys!



Filed under Deer and Doe, Life, Sewing

The Bastille Day Dress

Spoiler alert: There is nothing French about this dress. Except that it is awesome. And France is, by and large, but for the not-so-latent racism, pretty awesome! I mean, on the one hand, a longstanding intolerance for all non-French people, on the other hand, WINE. So, that’s a toughie, am I right? But despite it all, I have to tell you, I like those cheese eating surrender monkeys, I do, I can’t help it, with their Gallic shrugs and their delicious bread and their belief that lung cancer is something that happens to other people. And so when my mother asked what our theme should be for our summer BBQ, and we discovered the best date was on the 14th of July, well, the choice was clear, Bastille Day, of course! Viva la resistance!


Ahem. Excuse me. Sometimes my rage about Les Miserables interferes with my life and my eyes get all black like I’ve been possessed by a demon, and I just hold the shift key down and let the world burn….okay, that’s it, move along, folks, nothing to see here.

So, where was I, Bastille Day BBQ! So given that I was going to be in Philadelphia anyway to watch a good friend change her name, my mother and I agreed that I might as well stick around to help cook and enjoy the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille together. I was like, a chance to cook a gigantic meal in a non-New York kitchen? Uh, yeah, I’m all in. And so we prepared a plethora of french-themed goodies and had a delightful time, or should I say, it was magnifique! Tre jolie! I would think of a third thing but I….don’t know any other words in French. It was fun, is the point, and I wore a new dress, because that’s how I roll. And it looks a little something like this!


Full disclosure, I’m aware that is a particularly blinding smile from someone who smiles deeply in general, but there had been wine, because, FRANCE, and also, it was a day ending in y…

Also there were mojitos. A very traditional french beverage…

This dress is, as you can see, awfully simple, which is part of why I love it. It’s McCalls 6744, a knit dress that can be both a tank or a wrap bodice. I clearly choose the tank option, but it was so easy to put together that I’m now eager to try the wrap as well. (P.S: The model on the pattern package is Angelina Jolie-ing SO hard with the leg thing, why is that still a thing? Discuss).

I like this pattern quite a bit, as no-frills as it is, because it really lets you highlight the fabric you use. This particular fabric was a gift from my supervisor Sam at the costume shop, and I will forever be grateful to her because, um, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS FABRIC?


Don’t you love it? Even if you don’t love it, I don’t care, I love it. The print had a repeat so I thought a lot about how to cut it, but in the end I decided to place the repeat on the bodice and let the skirt but a little plainer (as if anything about these silver and blue feathers is plain…). The material is some kind of slinky slippery synthetic, rayon, maybe? I’m not actually sure, but it feels amazing on the skin and is pretty good in the heat. I wore this out to karaoke a week or so ago and I am, shall we say, an enthusiastic participant, and also in my mind I secretly believe it’s also dance-eoke, and the dress survived and kept me pretty cool, even during a rousing round of “Please Don’t Stop The Music” (not my choice, but I was happy to do back up vocals…)


It’s close to a racerback in the back, but not quite, which is good, because I hate constantly feeling like my bra is showing. Some people just seem so cool about that, but not me, oh no, I’ve never been cool a day in my life an I’m sure not starting now…

The bodice is designed to be a bit baggy, and I think it works because of the elastic stitched into the waist. The pattern has you just flip and stitch down the neck and armhole edges to finish them, which I did, but I don’t know how I feel about it, aesthetically. I mean, I guess it’s fine, it just feels a little lazy. Thoughts? TBDD 2

In my parents garden the thistles are in bloom, so I insisted my friend Ben (hi, Ben!) who is not only one of my oldest friends, but currently working for my parents, take my photo near them. I love thistles. In another life, I was totally Eeyore.


So pretty. See, at my parent’s house, everyone eats well, even the bees.


I know I did! So there we are, my Bastille Day Dress, which I will be wearing on many non-Bastille Days, because shut up France you don’t own me! I’m an ADULT!

In other news, I realize that I’ve made, like, 5 dresses in a row. I gotta make something else, people. This is getting silly.

Real talk? I probably wont, though…


Filed under Clothing, knit, McCalls Patterns, Sewing

The Dear Emily Skirt

I have to say, I’m a really lucky person when in comes to living with people. A year ago seriously landed on this amazing apartment with one of my really good friends and lo and behold, we actually can live together comfortably, which is a real miracle, honestly. The people you love may not always be the people you can live with but I am so lucky in that I live with my friend Emily, who is the best possible roommate and also a person I love and, and this is REALLY important, never want to slaughter her in her sleep. It’s interesting how big a deal that is….

Our other roommates, Jenny, who has just moved out, and Jordan, who has just moved in, are also amazing and wonderous, but they didn’t buy me the fabric I used to make this skirt, so I’m not going to gush as much for them, although I COULD….

So, Emily, because of her high level of awesomeness, bought me a yard of Liberty of London tana lawn for Hanukkah. She is amazing and bought me a fabric that I love so hard and would literally never buy, because it’s just so the opposite of inexpensive. Thank goodness she liked the cowl I knitted her in return, because honestly, the second I looked at her gift to me I wanted to run out and buy the contents of a wine store for her. Luckily I’ve had the chance to make her a bunch of things since I started living with her, so I feel like I’m chipping away at this debt, but this is a  Rumpelstiltskin level owing here, so I think it’s going to take a while…I’m up for that.

So what did I do with this treasure? I made a skirt!

DES 3A pencil skirt, to be precise, my favorite of all time, Simplicity 4529, which I’ve made twice now. I love this pattern, and all it’s many many (10!) darts), which do nice things for my whole curvy self. And I wasn’t going to mess around with this fabric and try something new and crazy, I wanted to make damn sure I treated this luscious lawn with the respect it deserves.

DES 4See? Look at that, doing nice things for me all over the place….

Lawn is a fluttery thing, so I underlined this skirt with a white cotton/polyester blend fabric which is actually sheet material I had bought to make Emily curtains! Ha, it’s all thanks to Emily, this skirt.

DES 1Please excuse the wrinkles. I wore this on the Bolt Bus going home to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding shower (HI, Anna! Oh my lord it’s only a week and a half until the wedding ahhhhhhhhh!) and it got a bit fatigued by the trip. And then my mother was like, making me take MORE photos for you, what a draaaaaaaag. But she did it! My mom is the best mom.

DES 7I need to keep talking about this fabric. Because it is magical.

DES 11

It’s also buttery and smooth and soft and gorgeous, oh, I cannot CANNOT say enough about Liberty of London. I know, blah blah blah, everyone who sews knows it’s fabric-crack, or doesn’t buy the hype, but let me tell you something, the hype is helplessly correct, because this is a joy to sew with and to wear. Normally I don’t even bother about how something is to sew, because unlike knitting you don’t spend as much time touching fabric as you do touching yarn, so I don’t think about the process of sewing as much as how it’s going to be to wear. But this, oh, my, can hands have orgasms? DARTS were fun with this thing. DARTS.

DES 5Another back view because when you stitch 10 darts into a skirt YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IT.

DES 2I love that little Roman-style button, don’t you? Oy, I see some putting on the hand stitching around the zipper, sorry, guys, gotta re-stitch that….

DES 10I hand-stitched the hem, and here you can see that and the underlining. All in all a simple skirt, and something I of course made about a month ago and am only now getting around to blogging. Le sigh.

DEES 6I love this skirt. And it’s all thanks to Emily! Thank you, Emily! And please note, everyone, that if you are ever wondering what would be a good gift for me, well, now you know….And if you forget, just ask Emily. She’s got this.


Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Me Made May Day 27 (Meeting Milkshake!)

On Sunday I went to Greensgrow, a farm/nursery in Fishtown where my parents and I typically buy all of our plants. Did I ever mention I enjoy gardening? I do, very much so, it’s one of things that saddens me about moving to New York. I guess I could join some hipster community garden in Brooklyn but then I’d have to make small talk about vegan desserts and small batch beers, and I’m not a vegan nor do I drink beer, so, yeah….I’ll probably do it anyway, but whatever, for now, I love me some Greensgrow. Greensgrow is amazing. They are helpful and informative and give you so much more than “here are the tomatoes”. It’s more like, “here are the heirloom varieties that grow best in your soil and here are several options so you can have tomatoes all summer long because they have different maturation periods la la la gardening la”. I love it there.

And recently we found out they have a PIG! And chickens! To be honest I think chickens are mean, but I love pigs. I don’t eat pigs much if at all because, yeah, pedestrian of the red sea, so I don’t feel like a hypocrite cooing over their big piggy heads. This particular pig’s name is Milkshake. How cute is that?

But is it as cute as this day’s outfit? You  be the judge.

This is my Mirror Image blouse with the How Many Of These Are You Going To Make shorts. And a vintage scarf, from my Mamala. Thanks, Mamala!

How cute is my mamala? Yes, she is very cute. Also, the best.

I don’t normally include tons of non-sewing photos but I really love Greensgrow, so….

I DO grow my own food! How fun is that?

Anyway, sorry if you’re not into gardening, but I clearly am. Happy Me Made May! And if you are in the area, check out Greensgrow! It’s amazing!


Filed under Challenge, Clothing