DIY Sleeveless Skater Dress

This DIY Sleeveless Skater Dress is proof that good things can still happen on a bad day.

Happy Van in her Dress

It’s the first dress I’ve sewn in over a year.

A Line Dress by Bumbling Panda

So a couple days ago, I was having a really terrible time at work. I felt like sitting and crying at my desk for really no reason, one of the worse things about depression. Having depression sucks because you feel sad, like the deepest sadness ever like you’re in this deep black cave in your own mind and there’s no way out even though a part of you knows it’s only temporary, but there’s really no reason to feel sad, so then you end up feeling guilty for feeling sad, which makes you feel alone and unloved, which makes you feel sadder, which leads to more guilt. It’s a vicious cycle some days.

Anyway, so I went home but on the way, remembered that I had discovered a Joann’s directly on the route to my home. Since moving back to LA in January I haven’t stopped by an arts and crafts or fabric store–I haven’t even been back to LA Fashion District, even though it’s like 15 minutes from where I live now. I know! Shocker.

I promised my budget I would only buy one yard to make a dress out of (it only takes a yard for me because I am short. Lucky me!), but of course, had to nab this gorgeous plaid fabric that I eventually turned into a plaid scarf.

Plaid Scarf by Bumbling Panda

And then I struggled with only buying one yard. I really wanted this gorgeous galaxy-like mix of colorful knit fabric, but but but stopped myself. I’m so proud of me, yo.

I settled on chose this cute floral print instead (because I need more floral print dresses in my life). I didn’t pressure myself too much, just said I’m going to play around with making a dress and if I didn’t like it, well it was only like $8.

Floral Print Knit

Floral Print Knit Fabric

It turned out to be so much lovelier as a dress than when I saw it in the store. The fabric is lightweight but thick enough that I didn’t need a lining or double-layer for the bodice. My favorite types of dresses are ones without a lining, since I live in Los Angeles and spend most of my days sweating (TMI, sorry). I’m so glad that this fabric is light but thick with the perfect weight, coverage, and patterning in the print.

I busted out my sewing machine, which has been stowed in a box in my closet, and started cutting up some fabric.

And voila!

A Line Dress by Van Hoang

A Line Dress by Bumbling Panda

Sorry there is no tutorial. It’s such a simple dress though, very similar to these other ones I’ve made in the past.

Like this fit and flare a-line dress, but without the sleeves:

Or this one but without the ruched wasteline:

I’m glad to be making things again and getting out of my funk. Sometimes when I feel the depression monster sneaking up on me, it’s very easy to just let myself slip away. But this helped me be more present and mindful, and it helped distract me from darker thoughts. I was able to focus on a project, an end goal, and it turned out so well in the end. Times like this remind me that I need to be creative and make things and not neglect that artsy side of myself I desperately need.

DIY Kimono Sleeve Scoop Neck Dress

Scoop Sleeve Kimono Sleeve Dress DIY

Red Scoop Neck Dress DIY

Red Dress DIY and Blue Cardigan

Red Dress and Pointed Toe Flats

DIY Red Scoop Neck DressDIY Red Kimono Sleeve Dress

DIY Red Dress and Blue Cardigan OutfitDIY Red Scoop Neck Dress Bright

DIY Floral Print Red Kimono Sleeve DressRed Scoop Neck Kimono Sleeve Dress DIY

I feel incredibly Asian in this DIY Kimono Sleeve Scoop Neck Dress. The high bun, the red floral fabric, the kimono sleeves.

Every time I say something like that though, Husband is quick to point out that, duh, I am Asian. In essence, I should ALWAYS feel Asian.

Whatever though. You guys know what I’m talking about. Right?

So yes, I know the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series is over, but I can’t help it if I really love wearing and making dresses. Plus, this one turned out really cute, if I do say so myself. 🙂

I got the red floral print woven fabric at the L.A. Fashion District. Husband and I had errands to run up there, so I was like hey you know what’ll be fun? Walking around for hours in the hot sun surrounded by equally sweaty and annoyed people in the most crowded, overpopulated place in the country, shopping for fabric!

Haha, just kidding. We had a lot of fun though, and I found some things I really love, like the fabric to make this DIY Kimono Sleeve Scoop Neck Dress!

:: Outfit Details ::
DIY Red Kimono Sleeve Dress (tutorial here)
Navy Blue Boyfriend Cardigan ($6 from this store in Long Beach)
Pointed Toe Flats ($12 from H&M)
Cross Over Body Clutch (Ross)

Check out the tutorial:

10 Dresses Week Ten! Blue Lace Bodycon Dress

Oh boy. This lace fabric was tough to work with. Even worse than chiffon, I think. It kept slipping and sliding and moving where I didn’t want it to.

I got both fabrics from Jo-Ann’s remnant’s section, and it was totally one of those moments where I was browsing and wasn’t really expecting to find anything. Then I grabbed a hold of both of these, and was like, hmmmm. I’ve always loved pairing dark blue with yellow (like I do in this cut-out outfit). So when I held these two fabrics up next to each other, an idea slowly formed, and this DIY Lace Bodycon Dress was born!

I can’t believe this is the last dress in the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing series. It seems like only a few weeks ago I was barely making the first dress. Oh well. I guess it’s only applicable since summer is over. Not that you would know it here in Southern California where it’s been averaging 100 degrees. I know I know. First world problems.

Even though the series is over, I’m planning on making more dresses, and I’ve already got some tutorials ready to go up. You guys should check back next Tuesday and stay tuned for more projects!

Also since summer is technically over (for the rest of the world, anyway) and cold season is here, I thought I’d start on a different series… A Sweater Weather Sewing Series?! Who knows. Maybe…

Week 9! DIY Empire Waist Little Black Dress

cover

I like versatility in my clothing and accessories, because they’re great for combining and mixing and matching outfits. For someone who’s always on a budget, that’s a great feature for any item in my closet. So this DIY Empire Waist Little Black Dress was the perfect addition because it’s also a swimsuit coverup.

Then again, sometimes I’ll just throw on a cute dress over my bikini because it’s comfortable.

This dress is so easy to make also! I used the pink crocheted fabric from my swimsuit cover up/sweater dress (see–versatility) and it turned out to be the perfect combination. The black fabric is a swimsuit material that I picked up from the remnants section at Jo-Ann’s, but I wasn’t really in the mood to make a bikini when I’m already obsessed with buying them.

So you guys all get a dress tutorial instead!  

black with white

Click for the slip dress diy underneath!

back

swimsuit cover up black dress Head over to YouTube for the tutorial.

Week Eight! DIY Fit and Flare A Line Dress

close up

dress with sweater and purse

dress with bright purse

Strappy Blush Wedges

It’s our eighth week in the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing series. Seriously, I’m not sure what I’m going to do once all the dresses are up.

Then again, you can never wear–or make–enough dresses. So maybe this will turn into a 52 dresses in 52 weeks thing as was the original idea, who knows? Hmm, then again, that might be too much craziness, even for me.

But not to worry guys, I’ve got some more projects in the works. Like…a fall and winter series. 😉 Stay tuned, yo!

fit and flare dress

So I made this DIY Fit and Flare A Line Dress without the sleeves at first, and then decided to add them in. I’m glad I did because I tend to wear a cardigan with sleeveless dresses anyway, and at least I can wear this without if I choose to. I love the a-line skirt, which flares out and does this flirty fluttery thing at the hem. In fact, I love everything about this dress.

What’s funny is I used to hate flowers and any derivative thereof. But then again, I was a very tomboy-ish child. I know, it’s hard to imagine, right? Someone who wears dresses all the time and has way too many shoes. But seriously, I used to wear nothing but baggy jeans and loose t-shirts and follow my brother and his friends around, chasing after their skateboards.

Now I’m suddenly obsessed with anything floral and bright and cute and girly. People can change after all!

a line dress with blue raincoat and bright yellow purse

See outfit details in my previous post on this dress.

Week 7! DIY Two-Toned Fit-and-Flare Dress

 

Jeez, I can’t believe it’s already the seventh week. Only three more dresses to go and this will all be over.

So for this DIY Two-Toned Fit-and-Flare Dress you’ll need one to one and a half yards of lining, half a yard of lace, and half a yard of woven fabric.

The instructions in the video are starting to sound redundant to me, but that’s because the basic construction of most dresses are very similar. I love this fit-and-flare cut though. It’s flattering on most anyone.

It was a beautiful day at the harbor when I took this photo.

happy-dress

Next week we’ll be making this fit-and-flare a-line dress. Told you I’m obsessed with that cut. 😉

10 Dresses Week Six! DIY Zippered Chiffon Dress

Zippered Chiffon Dress

Zippered Chiffon Dress

Zippered Chiffon Dress

So if you’ve ever worked with chiffon, you can understand why it’s so frightening to sew with this mercurial fabric. Or rather, cut. Or handle in any way. The first time I used chiffon, I wanted to throw my sewing machine and scissors and pins and everything out the window. I haven’t touched it again for years, opting instead for knits or wovens when I’m shopping to make a dress.

But then I saw this lovely print in the remnants section and I thought I’d give it a try. Maybe that one traumatic experience was an isolated one. And you know what? It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as all. Then again, this isn’t as silky a chiffon fabric as most of them are, and the fact that it’s double-threaded (not sure I’m using the right term here, so I apologize) made it much easier to manipulate. It felt more like a woven than anything.

I made this with an invisible zipper on the side, not on the back because I hate back zippers. I can never get them on without asking for help, and who wants to do that? This actually the first time I’ve ever installed a zipper on a dress, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I would recommend searching some other videos or tutorials on how to install a zipper though, because I don’t think my demonstration was a very good one.

Anyway, here’s the tutorial.

BUT ON TO ANOTHER STORY about this dress and the photographing thereof. This is somewhat unrelated but since this is my blog, I’m going to force you to read it. Well, I can’t force you to read it, but it’s here so. There.

I’ve been petsitting at some friends’ house, watching their little dog Reggie. (You might know him as the co-host in some of these videos and pictures. 🙂 ) The house has an automatic locking door, but I’m usually very good at bringing a key with me, even when I step out shortly to get the mail or something.

The morning I got up to take pictures of this dress was perfect. I actually was up on time, did my hair and everything all efficient-like. My camera gave me no problems, the lighting was perfect, the tripod worked fine.

I took a few shots until I was satisfied, and then I walked back to the house.

And the door was locked.

The door was locked.

THE DOOR WAS LOCKED.

I freaked out. I hugged the door, tried to push it open. I jiggled the doorknob. “Control Z,” I sobbed, “control z, control z.” But of course, there is no control Z for life. And I kept thinking that maybe I’m still asleep and I’ll wake up to realize this is some weird dream that paranoid me has about locking herself out. But nope. I was definitely awake, as the pinching in my toes from my wedges reminded me.

I checked under all the doormats to see if maybe by some miracle I could find a spare. Nope. I checked the garden. Nope. I walked around to the patio. The wall came up to my nose. I tried to haul myself up. Wearing a super tight dress and 4-inch wedges, and managing to convince myself that my upper body strength was clearly stronger now that I’ve been swimming.

But I was wrong. Because not all the swimming in the world prepares you to haul yourself up over a four-feet wall when you’re only five feet yourself. All I had on me was this dress, a jacket, my tripod, and my camera. My phone was inside the house. It was six in the morning.

I went across the pathway and knocked on the neighbor’s door, but there was no answer. So then I walked to the neighbor next door, and of course there was no answer. Not that I blame anyone, seeing as it was super early. So I tried one last time to find a spare. I even tried to ram myself against the door but since I’m not a 300-pound man, that was pretty pointless. All I managed was to make Reggie bark and bark and bark.

I decided to try the neighbor across the pathway one last time because I had briefly said hi to her one morning when she saw me carting my tripod across the neighborhood, so I figured at least we’ve got that little moment as repertoire. And sure enough, this time she answered the door.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” I said, “but I’m petsitting for your neighbors, and I’ve locked myself out. Do you happen to have a spare key, maybe they left one with you?”

She shook her head, which made me want to curl up into a ball and die. “No, we all keep to ourselves around here, pretty much.”

I was dismayed, but believe it or not, this is not the first time I’ve locked myself out. “Is there a leasing office I could try? Maybe they’ll have a key.”

She shook her head. “No, it’s all privately owned homes.”

At that point, I just wanted to sit down and give up. I had to be at work in a few hours, and I had no phone, no keys, no way to get into the house or into my car or anywhere really. All I had was my useless camera and my useless tripod. But at least I had gotten some pictures in!

Then she told me, “Well you can either break a window. Or call a locksmith.”

And I don’t know why the idea had never occurred to me. Not the breaking the window, because I thought about that in all legitimacy and the only thing stopping me was the fact that the neighbors would call the cops. And that I’d be sleeping in a pretty unsafe home for the next few nights until I could get it fixed. But the locksmith–I knew it would be expensive, but not as expensive as fixing a broken window.

“Okay! If you let me borrow your phone, I can google a locksmith and have them come out here.”

“Come on in.”

She let me into her house, and then gave me her phone. It was a Nokia from 1989. Or so it felt. I didn’t even recognize the buttons on there. What is “Send” and what does it do? Then she pulled out a Yellow Pages.

The only thing I could think was, “Are they even going to be in business?” But I dialed and sure enough, someone picked up. They told me they would be there in an hour. So I hung out with Diane, the neighbor, who also let me use her phone to call work, and got me some water, and offered to make me breakfast and take care of me, and kept me company while I waited for the locksmith even though she had to be at work herself.

Thank God for good neighbors and good people and for Diane. I’m totally going to send that woman some flowers. And you know what? She showed me a bunch of her cross stitch projects, and they are absolutely gorgeous. I would show them here, but I didn’t ask her for permission even though I really should have.

Eventually the locksmith came and played with the doorknob. Five minutes and ninety painful dollars later, I was back inside. NINETY DOLLARS. Do you know how many shoes I could have bought with that?

Zippered Chiffon Dress

 

And that is what happened during this photo shoot. You guys can’t say I haven’t suffered for my art. Hope you like it! 

Next week we’re making the two-toned, lace body over arrow print skirt dress. You’ll need a yard and a half of lining fabric, about half a yard of lace fabric, and a yard of a print, woven fabric plus some elastic. See you guys on Tuesday for the tutorial!

dress (2)

 

10 Dresses Week 5! DIY Striped Tank Dress

DIY Striped Tank Dress by Bumbling Panda

Pointy Boots and Striped Dress

looka that belly pooch

Striped Sleeveless Tank Dress with Pointy Boots

Striped Sleeveless Tank Dress with Cross Over Body Bag

Striped Sleeveless Tank Dress with Denim Jacket

Striped Sleeveless tank dress outfit

It’s like my hair wants to be one with the palm trees. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

:: Outfit Details ::

Striped Sleeveless Curved Hem Dress (made by me, tutorial here)
Denim Jacket (I got mine on clearance for $15 at Target, but find similar here and here)
Pointy Toe Chunky Heel Boots ($10 from here)
Cross-Over-Body Clutch ($15 from Ross)

OMG, it’s week 5 already. We’re halfway through this series! I’m excited but also sad at the same time. Remember, if you guys make this dress, PLEASE send me photos. I love to see what other people make from my tutorials–you guys are all so creative and talented. 

Anyway, now on to this DIY striped tank dress. First off, this thing is suuuuuuuper comfy. Like I would wear this to sleep if I could justify it. It’s made of a thin stretchy knit, but since it’s black, I could get away without a lining. The fact that it’s so light makes it perfect for summer. I walked around with Husband in this dress on what felt like a 100-degree day, and it was a life-saver.

Hop on over to YouTube to check out the tutorial, or just watch it below, because I know how lazy everyone is. 🙂 You’re welcome.

Right guys, I was off in St. Diego Land over the weekend, so I have a bit of a vacation-hangover (n., a condition in which a person suffers from not wanting to go back to work after spending a weekend with her husband in a wonderful, far away place).

Dress tutorials for this series will post as per schedule still, but I don’t have a preview. You can check out what’s next on the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks post, and also see a schedule of the rest in the series. See you on Thursday for my next Outfit on a Budget, and then maybe I’ll have a DIY or a TMI for Friday!

10 Dresses Week 4! DIY Lace Fit and Flare Dress

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 2

Yay, it’s already week 4! Only 6 more dresses to go, and I can’t wait to get the rest out to you guys. This week we’re making this DIY Lace Fit and Flare Dress. It’s very simple, with an elastic waist and a comfortable flowy skirt, which makes it super comfortable. I made the skirt to my knee, something I don’t normally do, but it’s perfect for church. I also wore this dress to see the Dalai Lama a few weeks ago!

lace dress

The lace fabric is something I’ve had for years. I bought a five-yard bolt from Wal-Mart for $5, and I haven’t been able to use up all of it. You’d be surprised how much you can actually make with five yards. Anyway, I finally decided to whip up this dress, and used jet set knit for the lining. You’ll need about one and a half yards depending on your size and height.

lace dress 2Hope you guys like it! Let me know what you think. 🙂

Next week, we’ll be making the striped (also)-sleeveless dress. It’s so casual and comfy, I almost want to call it a t-dress, except it doesn’t have any sleeves. I wore it walking around the harbor with Husband on a super hot day, and it was perfect for the scorching weather. I love how I wore it here with my jeans jacket. I finally got an excuse to wear the denim yo!

striped tank dress

Say hello to Reggie again!

So for next week’s fabric, go grab some stretchy knit fabric. It can be striped or any print that you like. You’ll need about a yard to a yard and a half, so get ready!

10 Dresses Week Three! DIY Elastic Waistband Curved Hem Dress

Elastic Waist Curved Hem

Welcome back to week three! Remember to send me pictures of your dresses so I can re-post and give you props, yo! Because you deserve it.

Say hello to our guest star, Reggie. He’s a 3-pound, pure-white Maltese I’ve been watching, and he’s the perfect little co-host. Look how terrified he looks in this photo, though. I swear we were actually having a blast, he probably was just startled by the camera clicks.

Week three’s challenge is very similar to my leopard print, elastic-waistband dress that I made way back way when. But I love it a lot more because I finished the neckline, sleeves, and hem differently. I love that the hem is curved and so different from the straight lines I usually do. It gives it a nice flirty look.

Here’s the tutorial:

For this project, I used a very thin, flowy woven cotton. It’s almost silky, but was a charm to work with. The print is bright but (for once) not floral, which is a nice change from the other dresses in this series. I’ve had the fabric for years but never knew what to do with it. When I started this 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks project, I dug around in my stash and remembered how gorgeous this was.

Here I paired it with my favorite leggings and lace booties stilettos. I consider my usual style sweet and girly, but I love how this looks with my long-forgotten moto jacket. I haven’t worn this thing in so long but now I don’t know why because I love it! Once winter comes around, you’ll be seeing repeats of this more times than you can count. 🙂

You can also forget the leggings and jacket during hotter summer days, and wear it with some gladiator sandals. Top if off with a light denim jacket and you’re good to go. This dress is so comfy and flowy, it would also make the perfect swimsuit cover-up. Pair it with some sandals, and maybe throw on a light cardigan when it gets too breezy. Hmm, cardigans. I love cardigans. I need bright colorful ones to jazz up some dull dresses I have. Maybe that’s an idea for my next challenge. 🙂

Stop by on Thursday for my Outfit on a Budget post and I’ll show you how I styled this DIY Elastic Waistband Curved Hem Dress in the office.

Elastic Waist Curved Hem Dress

I’m trying to look serious for once.

Anyway, have you made any dresses lately? Link me to anything you want to show off. 🙂

Next week we’re doing the fully-lined, lace, fit-and-flare, gathered waistline dress. Wow, what a description, huh? I used about one and a half yards of stretchy lace fabric, and another one and a half yard of jet set knit for the lining.

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 5

However, it is a bit longer than what I usually do for dresses, but I had planned to wear that to see the Dalai Lama and as my go-to for church. So if you don’t want to make it as long as the one I showed (a little bit past knee-length), then you might only want to get one yard. It all depends on you.

See you soon for next Tuesday’s tutorial! But don’t forget to stop by on Thursday for the next Outfit on a Budget, and how I styled this dress.