life lately 7/24/15

by Nicole on July 24, 2015

Dang, it’s been a while since I shared a “life lately” post! Here’s what I’ve been into this summer:


I recently discovered the Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia podcast, and it is HILARIOUS. Their sense of humor is identical to mine, and I relate so much to everything they talk about. Other podcasts high in my rotation: Radiolab (my #1 podcast love, Jad 4EVA), Invisibilia, Reply All, Burnt Toast, This American Life, Mystery Show, Love + Radio, and Serial. What are your favorite podcasts?


We made homemade ricotta this week and then used the leftover whey to make this bread. The ricotta was great, the bread was MIND-BLOWING. I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s the best bread I’ve ever eaten. The texture is perfect for sandwiches and toast, and the flavor is just incredible because of the different grains.

Also made the pickled jalapenos from the Seven Spoons cookbook. One of the three jars we made is already gone!

Molly Yeh’s banh mi bowls were so fucking delicious too.

Really want to make this cake soon.


Kelly at Cut Cut Sew mentioned her super cute Nisolo sandals in a recent post, which then led to me buying these two.


Thinking about taking Bollywood dance classes beginning next month! Because I want to dance like this. Side note–we just subscribed to Eros Now, which is like Netflix for Bollywood movies. A very worthwhile $8/month, if you ask me!


I’m actually doing some uncharacteristic, unselfish sewing right now, making a linen chambray Southport tank for my sister-in-law. After that, I’m going to get to work on my first Scout!

And after a months-long hiatus (maybe close to a year, whoops), I finally picked up my Effortless Cardigan again. I need to finish the sleeves (one is half done), then do the band and collar. Let’s hope I finish in time for cold weather, haha. I want to make the Embrace wrap cardigan next (thanks to Andi for mentioning that pattern).


What’s going on with you guys lately?

linen chambray southport tank top

by Nicole on July 15, 2015

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE…. I’ve finally learned how to use the serger I got for Christmas! Yes, it only sat on my table for 7 months before finally using it! I forced myself to sit down with it over the weekend and watch the introductory DVD it came with. Once I watched the DVD, it was a lot less scary and not all that hard. I still find it very fast (and loud!), but I am so happy to have a better way of finishing seams.

And here’s my first garment with serged seams–a Southport tank top hack! I followed Kelli’s tutorial, lengthening 9″ but doing everything else exactly as she instructs (8.5″ would have probably been fine too, but I just wanted to make sure it was long enough). Loose & boxy is not what I typically go for, but I surprisingly love it!


Continuing with my recent linen obsession, I used a pretty linen chambray from Blackbird Fabrics (blue is sold out, but she still has gray in stock). It’s lovely stuff–so breathable, light, and soft!


I used matching thread, and these super cool buttons that look like wood but are actually made of coconut! (By the way–I recently learned that chambray itself does not indicate fiber content. Chambray just means the weft is white, whereas the warp is colored. So you can have linen chambray, cotton chambray, silk chambray, etc. Totally never knew that!)


For me, a loose, boxy top like this is really about the styling. I initially put it on with flats and my Ginger shorts, but didn’t love it. The outfit just felt too tomboyish or something and I felt a little frumpy. But when I paired it with cuffed skinny jeans and Hasbeens instead, all of the sudden it felt cool instead of frumpy. (The jeans are just old RTW jeans. Looking at that horrible pocket placement drives me absolutely crazy now that I’ve made proper jeans, so I definitely need to make some Ginger skinnies ASAP!) I also tried it tucked into a high-waisted skirt and liked it that way too, even though it gets very blousey.

How would you style a loose, boxy top like this?

a second southport, this time in stripes

by Nicole on July 13, 2015


Hello, everyone! How’s life? I’m in the middle of summer classes at the moment, so if you’ve been wondering why my Instagram has been quiet, that’s why! Most days I get home from work, change clothes for a workout (rotating between strength training at my gym, swimming laps at the neighborhood pool, doing a yoga video, or going on a walk), get home, make dinner, eat, do schoolwork, and then have a bit of free time to either sew, read, or watch a movie/show with Darius. Luckily I’ll be done at the end of the month and will get to enjoy a month-long break after that!


Anyway, the dress! After I finished my first Southport, I was a little bit iffy on if I’d make another. I liked it, but didn’t know if I liked it enough to retrace and make the necessary adjustments.  But then I suddenly found myself reaching for that dress on the weekends and even most days after work, because of how cool it feels and how easy it is to wear. So, yep, I decided I needed to make another!

This go around, I traced size 14, did a 2″ FBA, and a 3/8″ forward-shoulder adjustment (probably need to go back to the 1/2″ that I’ve done on other garments). Fit is MUCH improved, and the result is that this dress is even more comfortable than the first. I still think I need to either shorten the back piece or lengthen the front piece a little bit, because there is definitely a tilt in the waistline, which I don’t love, but it’s wearable.


The fabric was a mystery find from a haul back in January at Golden D’Or in Dallas. It has great drape and is super soft. I wasn’t sure it what it was, so I took it to my sewing meetup, and the verdict was that it’s most likely a rayon challis. So yay for me! I sewed with rayon challis for the first time and didn’t even know it! I’ve always been scared of attempting difficult fabrics like that, so it was a pretty good confidence boost to know that I can, in fact, sew with those! Just requires more precision, but it really wasn’t all that bad.


I also did stripe-matching for the first time with this dress, and I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. The stripes are slightly off on one side of the skirt, but line up pretty well everywhere else, including across the button band and at the sides of the bodice. I wish I would have paid a bit more attention to the stripes around the waist, though, because I don’t love how the space between them is narrower than in the rest of the fabric. But really, I’m sure most people would never notice.

Not much else to say about this pattern that I haven’t already said. This is probably my favorite pattern right now just because of how comfortable it is to wear. Pretty sure I’ll be making another one (or two!) this summer. And I actually just made the tank top hack over the weekend and I absolutely love it!

I’m curious–what’s your current favorite pattern and why?