Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boho Maxi Dress: a tutorial

This dress is an incredibly easy make. By now you may have realized that I'm all about the simple projects. I'm far from being a master seamstress, I just work with what I know and try to learn as I go. 

I've never actually owned a maxi dress before, but now I might be hooked. They're so comfy and they have the added benefit of hiding my neglected, less-than-hairless legs. 

Want to make one too??


1 4/5 yd Extra Stretchy Jersey Knit (60"wide) (You want a lightweight knit. If the knit is too heavy the dress will look frumpy.)
1/3 yd Trim Fabric

I know that there are many of you out there who have a fear of sewing with knit. Don't be afraid! Knit happens to be one of my favorite materials. It's extremely comfortable, breezy, and light. It's also a very forgiving fabric, especially in a project like this where there is a lot of gather. 

A couple of things to keep in mind when sewing with knit...

  • Let the material go at it's own pace when feeding through the machine
  • Use a zig zag stitch or a stretch stitch. This allows the seam to stretch unlike a straight stitch.
  • A walking foot and a ball point needle help avoid puckering. However I didn't use either of these. I just worked with what I had.
  • Knit doesn't fray! Another reason knit is awesome in my book. Leave your edges raw if you like. 


Fold your panel of fabric in half along the 60" side.

Because it was so huge, it was difficult to get a decent pic of this I drew up this nice little chart instead.

Sew everywhere you see the white dashed line.

After your 3 seams, turn your fabric inside out. At this point, you basically have a giant pillowcase.

At the closed, short end of the dress (what will be the top of the dress), determine the middle point. Cut Straight down 6 inches. This gave me a nice, modest neckline. Go shorter or deeper if you like. 

Cut out an 8" strip at both ends for the sleeves.

Now you'll have something like this:

reminds me of Cindy Lou Who

Plenty of length at the bottom even for my tall, 5' 9" self.  Don't cut just yet! I made this mistake and had to sew a trim at the bottom to add length after I washed and dried it. 

Now if you like the white, keep it as is and skip the next step.


So I searched long and hard for coral fabric dye to no avail. Finally I came across RIT's color formula guide and realized duh, mix the colors to create your own perfect hue! I guess that's kind of obvious. 

A little experimentation and I found the combination to achieve the perfect coral.

You'll need:

The pictures of the dress make it look a little darker than it really is. It's slightly lighter in person. Alter the recipe as you see fit. Less water will give you a darker hue and more water will give you a lighter hue.

1 whole package of tangerine RIT dye + 3 tsp. fuchsia RIT dye + 4 gallons hot water

You'll need a big pail, bin, etc. 

Dissolve the dye in a glass of hot water

Pour the concentrated dye solution into the pail with the other 4 gallons of hot water

Mix well and start dyeing your dress.

Keep the fabric moving constantly to avoid uneven dyeing. It only took a couple of minutes to get the color I wanted. Remember that the color you end up with will be 2-3 shades lighter than what comes out of the dye bath. 

Rinse well in the sink. Machine wash and dry. 

As I mentioned, I made the mistake of cutting length off the bottom too soon and had to add a trim.

It ended up adding interest to the dress and I'm happy with how it turned out. 

           If you want to add a trim too:
  •  Cut 8" strips of  your trim fabric
  • Sew together strips until you have a 65" long by 8" wide panel of fabric
  • Iron in half
  • Pin to the bottom of the dress, right sides together.
  • Stitch all the way around 

and done. 

Have fun in your new, whirly, twirly, boho-chic dress!



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Laptop Sleeve: a tutorial

I am loving this spicy mustard color. I've been pinning pretty mustard yellow things like crazy.

Source Unknown via Kristy on Pinterest

So when I decided to make a leather laptop sleeve, I knew the perfect complimentary color.

Back to school will be my reality in just a few short weeks. Since I bring my laptop with me everyday to class, I needed a good sturdy case to protect it from scratches and bumps. I documented my process in case you're needing one as well. 


  • Four 8" x 10" sheets of felt
  • 1/2 yd. Leather (which I'm assuming is faux)
  • Button
  • 2 + Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Spray Adhesive (Not pictured above)

All of my supplies were purchased at Joann. You can find the leather by the yard in the upholstery section. 1/2 yard left me with plenty of extra material (although it needed to be this wide to be large enough for my sleeve). 

You certainly don't have to have a mac to use this tutorial. You could likely make a sleeve like this for virtually any laptop.  This tutorial could also be used to make a sleeve for your Ipad, Kindle, Nook, Ipod, Phone, etc. 

Let's get started!


Cut a piece of leather large enough to accommodate your laptop

Along the long side, cut so that there is about a 1" overhang of material on each side.

Use the extra material for the strap.  My strap was about 19" x 1/4".

Use spray adhesive to adhere the felt to the backside of the leather.

Blanket stitch the edges (what will be the long side of the sleeve).

I referenced this video on how to blanket stitch:

Sew down one side of the sleeve (short side) with wrong sides together
I went with an exposed stitch because of the bulkiness of the fabric.

Now insert your laptop into the partially constructed sleeve and determine where your next stitch should be.

I used scotch tape to help with this step. Masking tape would really have been better though..

Stitch down the predetermined line. Insert laptop to be sure it's a snug fit and cut off the extra material.

Sew on your button

Cut a small triangle (base is about 1.5") from your extra leather material

Sew on the strap as shown below. Be sure that the strap fits around the button and off again with the laptop inside before making your stitches.

Cut off the extra strap material hanging from the bottom. 

That's it!  Pretty simple right? Even the blanket stitch was really easy and kind of fun. 

I may have to try my hand at more embroidery in the future. It adds such a lovely touch.

I'll be clutching this lovely on campus come August (:


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Earring Organizer with Aimee from Fancy Little Things

BIG news today friends. Sweet Verbena has its FIRST guest post! Aimee from Fancy Little Things is here today to show us how to make her fabulous earring organizer! 

I couldn't be more thrilled to introduce Aimee to you. Her blog has all kinds of great information. She is one of 7 authors . How cool is that? 7 different, unique ladies sharing about different topics. In addition to seeing Aimee's awesome crafty tutorials, you'll find great recipes, book reviews, marriage advice, and much much more. 

Take it away Aimee!

Hello Sweet Verbena Friends! I am so honored that this creative & inspiring girl is willing to share my little Earring Organized project with you all! Like you, I follow Katy because of her unique & simple tutorials to make small adjustments to my wardrobe – adding a little fun & flair to what I wear. I hope you enjoy this simple, inexpensive & lovely project. If you make one, please send me a photo to:

So, let me tell you a little about me!
-  I am a Christian, stay at home momma to two sweet kiddos   {Jack is almost 4 & Abby is almost 2}  I am married to a stud – a Marine of 13 years {yes, one of those tall bald, handsome & sexy men in that striking blue on blue uniform}

-  Thanks to the Marines we’ve been living in NY about 3 hours from family BUT, now it’s time to head west and bask in the Southern California sun this fall
-    Before kids I was a fortune 500 professional recruiter in DC, wearing dark suits, tall heels, valeting my car and going to swanky meals with clients; life has CHANGED; and i wouldn’t want it any other

-      I am the editor & projects author to a group of girls over at We post {fancy little} projects, home & garden inspiration, tester-approved recipes, amazing book reviews & much more!
    In my “spare” time I design & develop websites, blogs, graphics and do a bit of writing at

Here’s what we’re making today…

List of Materials:  Purchase a wooden frame {or use one that you already own} & take out the glass & backing
Craft wire
4 eyelet hooks

Step 1: Mark on your frame where you want to each wire to hang. Screw in the eyelet hooks {my frame is made out of wood and I used my strong handsome husband to screw in each hook}.

Step 2: … and then pull the wire through; twisting it around the hooks

Step 3: Tap a small nail in the wall where you want your earring organizer displayed & hang!

Thanks Aimee!

See how talented Aimee is?? I am all about simple, inexpensive projects like this one.  I don't know about you, but this is definitely on my to do list. I'll be out looking for frames this weekend! 

Make sure to check out Aimee's blog and the rest of her projects and show her some love!


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