Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Petal Top: An Ann Taylor Knock Off

Last month I guest posted over at U-Create, and thought I'd share the tutorial here in case you missed it!

the petal top

The Petal Top is a knock-off of the Ann Taylor Georgette Petal Top which retailed for $88 when it was available. I first discovered it over at The Chloe Conspiracy. You can make one as well, for whatever you’re willing to pay for two yards of fabric.

2012-02-25 021

It really was a simple top to make with the most time consuming aspect being the petals.

2012-02-25 036

My favorite element of it is the corsage-like cluster of flowers at the neckline.

Want to make one yourself? All you’ll need is two yards of fabric and thread. I used a soft, somewhat flowy material from a bolt my mother-in-law found at a thrift store. Anything thin or sheer would work well.

2012-02-25 001

I started by using a tank that I like the cut of as a pattern. Since my material didn’t have any stretch to it, I made sure and set the existing top in from the fold about an inch, and then cut an extra inch outside of the top to make sure I had enough for seam allowances. I then used the cut out front as the pattern for the back (to be sure my shoulder widths and arm holes matched up), but narrowed it by about an inch and a half since you don’t need as much material in the back. I kept my neckline high in the front and even higher in the back.

2012-02-25 002

The next step was cutting out the petals. You need to keep them big. You can see from the pattern sitting on the front of the shirt just how large the petal is in comparison to the shirt. I originally made another top and used a CD as the pattern for the petals. Big mistake. I now know how to make a Big Bird looking costume. Perhaps if I had intended this to be The Feather Top rather than the Petal Top…

2012-02-25 003

After carefully studying my inspiration picture, I noticed that there were about 15 large petals on the front of the shirt, and about 15 more small petals. I cut out 16 large ones and ended up having a few left over. For the small petals, I did use a CD as my pattern and kept them exact circles, and cut out 18 of them.

2012-02-25 004

I then used my rolled hem foot to finish off all the edges of the petals since my material frays a lot. If you aren’t familiar with a rolled hem foot, you can check out my tutorial on using one HERE. It is seriously my favorite sewing foot. Using the rolled hem around the curves was a little tricky, but I eventually got the hang of it.

2012-02-25 005

Once all my petals were finished, I started laying them out on the right side of the shirt front. I layered three for the bottom row and pinned them down.

2012-02-25 006

Then sewed along the top in a straight line. Then I pinned the next layer down, making sure there was plenty of overlap so the stitching line would be hidden, sewed it down, and continued this way until I had four rows, or up to just above the bust line. If half of a petal ended up hanging over the edge of the shirt, I simply cut it down the middle and used the other half in another row.

2012-02-25 007

You can see in the picture above where the last row of petals was sewn on.

2012-02-25 008

I then pinned down a row of the small petals and sewed them to the shirt. All remaining petals and flowers wouldn’t be added until after the shirt was constructed.

2012-02-25 010

Because my fabric doesn’t stretch at all, I needed to add a slit to the back so I could slip it over my head. Then the shirt was simple to construct by sewing the back and front, right sides together, at the shoulders and then side seams. Once all your seams are sewn, trim off any excess petal. I then hemmed the top and finished off the arm holes and neckline by first serging my raw edges and then folding them in and sewing them down. If you don’t have a serger, simply do a double fold to hide the raw edge and sew.

2012-02-25 013

I finally added the last row of petals from one shoulder seam, around the neckline and to the other shoulder seam, with about a quarter inch of the petal extending above the neckline. They were sewn down (this line of stitching is exposed). My hope is that as I wear the top, the top part will fold over the stich line.

2012-02-25 014

And the final step—my favorite one—was adding a cluster of flowers. I used my remaining small petals (about six of them) and simply pinched the circle in the middle and pinned it down. I clustered them together and then just did a small amount of stitching to the center of each one to hold the flower in place.

2012-02-25 035

I love the way the top turned out and am so excited to bring a little spring to my wardrobe with it! If you make one, I’d love to see it too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Craft Room Dreams & Plans Changed

I think this post title would make a great Wheel of Fortune puzzle in the Before & After category. I must watch a lot of that show considering that’s the first thing that came to mind when I typed it out. Maybe because it’s one of the few adult shows that Jace finds entertaining too—after all, it’s just letters popping up on the screen over and over again. But enough about the title of this post…

Back in July I told you about my craft room dreams and plans. Nolan got a new job, our emergency fund no longer needed to be what it was, and we started making plans to close off the vaulted part of our entry way and turn it into a craft/sewing room for me. A friend of ours is an amazing home remodeler and gave us a bid for the work. It was a little beyond what we had saved, so we planned to save some more and hopefully start the construction this spring.

But then, a few leaks developed above our windows. And we found out the siding on our house was not installed properly back when it was built. The home warranty was void when the original owner sold it to us and it would probably cost too much to try to legally pursue having the builder fix the problem. So now we’re using that money in savings to reside our house.

While my existing craft room still functions perfectly, that’s going to change in about six months. The addition of a new baby to our family will mean needing our guest/craft room for either a nursery or big boy room for Jace. So now I’ll be consolidating one good size room worth of fabric, sewing machines and craft supplies into a half size walk in closet.

Because of this blog and my shop, sewing is a business for me and therefore transforming our dining room table into an occasional crafting space is just not an option. So Nolan is graciously going to move his clothes into my full size walk in closet and give me his half size walk in (our bedroom really has amazing closet space).

I plan to use April to thoroughly go through all my supplies and figure out what is actually necessary to keep on hand and what isn’t. And then I’ll become an organizing queen and turn that little closet into a cute and usable space for all my sewing and crafting needs.

I’m wondering how many of you have done something similar to create your crafting space. If you’re using cramped quarters or a closet, would you share with me what you’ve done? You can tell me or leave a link (if you have one) in the comments, or even email me pictures to nolanandjill {at} gmail {dot} com. I’ve seen quite a few neat office spaces in closets, but much fewer craft/sewing. I’m excited for the challenge and will be sure to include you in the process!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coffee Talk

I’m sitting here with The Today Show on in the background, Jace happily playing a game on the iPad, and a coffee in my hands. Since we haven’t spent much time together lately, I thought it was a good time for another coffee talk.


Jace and I spent the last week in California for my grandpa’s funeral. His health started doing poorly about a month ago, so we had booked our plane tickets to go see him one last time. My grandpa has always been a fighter—defeating cancer twice, open heart surgery and congestive heart failure over the years as well. There have been several times over the past 12 years or so where he has been given six months to live and each time he’s managed to amaze his doctors. So when I booked our tickets, I figured this could potentially be just one more time of saying goodbye to Grandpa and then seeing him again a year later. Sadly, though, he passed away two days before Jace and I were set to fly down. I had a feeling the day he died that it would happen, and was so thankful that I’d be able to be there for the funeral.


2011-07-28 019


I did get to see him this summer when Jace and went to California with my parents. At that time, I figured it could have been the last time I’d see him. I’m so thankful for that time and that he got to meet Jace.


funeral collage


There were several very personal elements to the funeral. I actually had the thought that if there was a blog that featured funerals (how weird would that be?), this would be one that would be highlighted. My grandpa was a WWII veteran, so he had a flag draped coffin. Rather than having a floral arrangement from the family, my mom and her brother and sister honored their dad’s love of wood by having a florist arrange branches from a redwood tree. On the table with pictures and memorabilia from his life, they had a basket full of fresh produce as a representative of my grandpa’s love of cooking, especially with fresh fruits and vegetables. And finally, by younger brothers (Army veteran and Naval officer) wore their uniforms and were two of the pallbearers. They also folded the flag at the gave side service and my brother presented it to my uncle. I am thankful for the faith that my grandpa and I shared and that I will see him again.


2011-07-25 063


On a happier note, I was able to visit Hobby Lobby again while I was in California. I picked up some ruffle fabric and a gray and white stripe knit. The stripe is supposed to be for scarves for my shop, but I’m thinking I’ll make a cute maternity top from it instead.




Easter is just around the corner and I need to get my dress made. I still think I’m going to knock this dress off, but I first need to find the fabric. A trip to Joann’s is in order today.


banner 1


My shop’s stock is dwindling quite a bit so I need to put some actual effort into making new items for it. I have all the materials purchased already for some flower necklaces, wrap belts and spring scarves.




I am determined to have us take a family vacation this summer—even if I need to make lots of sales to pay for the gas. My grandparents have a house in Cambria, CA on the central coast. This is the view just across the street from their house.



So that’s what’s on my mind this morning. I hope you are have a wonderful Tuesday!


Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guesting @ Kojo Designs Today!



2012-03-18 055


Today I’m over at Kojo Designs as a part of their Sewing for Me Series, sharing how I made this pleated neckline top. Stop on over and check it out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My DIY Skinny Jeans {Maternity Style}

skinny pants before and after


I’ve become really attached to skinny jeans over the past year, so as I outgrew my normal clothes and had to switch to maternity, I really wanted to find a pair of skinny maternity jeans. Motherhood’s one and only style (in store at least) really didn’t look skinny at the ankles, and the fit was all wrong on me around the waist. I liked the ones I saw online at Gap, but they’re $70 and I was worried they might not look good on, either. So I followed the trend of everyone else online, and turned a pair of boot cut jeans into skinnies.


The beauty of this situation was that I had a pair of Gap Long and Lean maternity jeans that I bought while pregnant with Jace. But they were always just a quarter inch shorter than I like, so I didn’t enjoy wearing them. Thinning the leg made them perfect!


2012-03-17 11.49.37


Most girls I’ve seen just take the legs in at one seam, but my jeans had showed the grain of the material because of their wash, and taking in on just one side would have angled it funny. So I laid out a pair of skinny jeans down the middle of the pant leg, and pinned up both sides to match the width.


2012-03-17 11.55.36


Because the back of your butt/leg has more shape than the front (typically), there was more material on the back of the leg. So I was careful to just work along the seam and not just fold the material in half. Once the pins were in place, I sewed up both sides. I both sewed and serged my seams.


2012-03-18 060


And then I had Gap skinny jeans… just not the ones you can order online!


2012-03-18 039


I was later trying on another pair of my maternity pants, slacks this time, and found they were even shorter than the jeans I had just converted. So I did the same thing to them (only this time I just needed to take in one seam on each leg) and fell in love. This time a cigarette pant was a little more of the look I was going for. Like the top? You’ll learn more about it tomorrow.


Thanks for stopping by!


Parties I like to link up at:

Hoo’s Got Talent, The Sunday Scoop, The Sunday Showcase Party, Made By You Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Weekend Wrap Up, Frugalicious Friday, Feature Yourself Friday, Just Something I Whipped Up, Mad Skills Party, Get Your Craft On, The Shabby Nest, Kojo Designs, Tea Rose Home, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Real Momma, Real Style, Creative-ly U, Tutorials and Tips Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Make it, Wear It, Show and Tell Saturday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, I’m Crafty Party, Transformation Thursday, Take a Look Tuesday, Simply Link Party

Saturday, March 17, 2012

DIY Tops Round Up

Yesterday I felt better than I have for the past five weeks. I’m energized and excited to do some sewing and share it with you! I got to enjoy pregnancy insomnia last night, so I busied myself with visions of lovely tops and exactly how I would make them. I can’t wait!

To get the creative juices going, I thought it would be fun to round up all of the tops I have made (dresses/jackets/skirts excluded). Many of them have tutorials. Just follow the links below the image to the individual posts.

tops round up

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Verses of Comfort: A Free Printable

A friend of mine had a miscarriage last month. It was her third in six months and devastating. I had made her the Born Into Heaven necklace for the first one. This time the loss was really early on, so the mourning wasn’t as much for that individual baby as it was for the loss of another pregnancy, questioning what was going wrong and wondering if a thriving pregnancy would be possible. I felt like a visual reminder that God would carry her through her pain and grief would be the right kind of gift this time.

verses of comfort

I used digital scrapbook papers and embellishments, copied the verses in, and chose Matthew 5:4 to be the big one at the bottom: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I had it printed as an 8x10 at Costco with a matte finish. It came out beautifully. Because of the matte finish and the textured look to the scrapbook paper image, it almost looked like a canvas. My friend said she’ll have to frame it and hang it in her bathroom where she’ll be able to read it often.

I love that this can apply to any difficult situation, not just a miscarriage. If you’d like one for yourself or a friend, simply click on the image, save it, and upload it to your favorite printer. The sizing is for an 8x10.

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up at:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simply Embellished Tops

simply embellished tops

A while back I saw (and pinned) Kate from The Small Things Blog wearing a simple t-shirt from J.Crew that had a sweet embellishment around the neck.


I loved the way the little bit of lace and jewels transformed the top. And I figured I could probably dress up a top in the same way. I picked up two tops at Target (went a size bigger than usual since I wanted to be able to wear them well into this pregnancy and after the baby is born) and then some lace and trims at Joann’s. I’m not joking or exaggerating when I tell you it took 15 minutes (max) to make both of these tops.

2012-03-07 009

I started with the white one. I think contrasting trims/shirts would be really cute, but I wanted to keep this one neutral so I could pair it with any color of cardigan or accessory. I used (maybe) half a yard of soft lace and about 6 inches of a rosette trim.

2012-03-07 011

I then pinned the lace to the shirt, starting at the shoulder and to the middle of the neckline, just overlapping/zig-zagging it back and forth.

2012-03-07 012

Then pinned the rosette trim down, just slightly bunching it in on spot.

2012-03-07 019

And, using a wide zig-zag stitch, sewed the trims to the shirt, making sure I didn’t sew the front and back of the top together.

2012-03-07 022

And shirt one was done!

2012-03-07 032

I wish you could see the detail of the trim and lace a little better in the pictures. It really is so pretty in real life!

2012-03-07 014

For the second top I had a little more contrast going on. I chose a black lace with tiny little jewels clustered in spots on it, and a fun sequin trim. This shirt was a v-neck.

2012-03-07 017

Like on the first shirt, I pinned the lace down, doing a slightly wider back and forth folding.
2012-03-07 018

Then pinned the sequin trim down, folding about a centimeter under at both ends to seal them off and sewed it down.

2012-03-07 021

It seriously took less time to sew than pin.

2012-03-07 041

I like the sparkle it adds without being too flashy.

Now I’m itching to go buy more of these fitted t’s at Target (I have some coupons that would make them $5 each) and play with more trim options. I think this time I’ll stick with the round collars because I’m just a bigger fan of them.

Thanks for stopping by!

top it off logo

This post is a part of my Top it Off Series. You can see previous posts HERE.

Parties I like to link up at: