Hello friends! This here outtake is the result of about a million hours of blood, sweat and serger thread…. My new pattern, the Ginger Jeans! If all goes well, I will be dropping them this week. The above is a modern take on classic high-waisted pinup jeans, but there is also an option for a low-waisted stove-pipe, and I can’t wait for you to see them….. I’m giving you a little sneak peek because I talk a lot about them on The Sewing Affair Podcast, which just went live today. Take a listen if you have the time; I had a great time talking to Corinne and I felt so honoured to be interviewed.

On to the internet goodies!


I’ve been suffering from major 90′s nostalgia lately (that would have been pretty clear in this week’s Halloween costume post) and Jacqui’s crushed velvet Mabel couldn’t have been better timed. Smells Like Teen Yes Please.

What’s better than making your own wedding dress? How about making your husband’s suit, too? I want to steal Lindsay’s dress RIGHT OFF HER BACK.

Kathy is quickly shooting up my “favourite bra makers” list. I never knew I wanted green boobs before. Now I really, really do.

Digging Erika’s graphic print sweater.

Try not to die of jealousy looking at this Marimekko factory tour on When All You Need Is….

I’m probably not the only one into the strappy bra trend these days. There is a great pattern hack on Ohh Lulu showing you how to do it!


Here’s a fun fact about me; I’m obsessed with “animal odd couple” videos. My boyfriend and I watched a documentary about it on Netflix a while back and I basically lost my mind the entire time. So now he sends me videos like this so he can laugh at me going through the entire range of human emotions in 3 minutes.


You might want to wipe off the drool on your keyboard after looking at this breathtaking tour of a Chanel atelier.


It can be hard to find music to listen to when you’re working. It’s like discovering the right tension on your serger; the frequency aligns and BOOM, you’re off. Here’s a list of great “work” albums from my pals at Spyglass Editing.


This essay on our relationships with other women really resonated with me this week:

Here’s an insanely revolutionary act: why not counter each ill thought that comes through your head with an acceptance—the acceptance that you’re not always going to agree with everything every woman does. Or an acceptance that some women will be tricky and some will be actual bitches, some of them will read Lean In and be the next Sheryl Sandberg, some women will call Beyoncé an anti-feminist, some will be walking contradictions, or some women will say that I’m a fake behind my back, or that I’m a liar, and that I don’t write well, or whatever—and just to accept that people are just people, women are just women, instead of reacting poorly and slamming them in whatever juvenile way that you see fit.

All of the hate stems from a disillusioned society that places men on top for being alive, and women are the ones that have to struggle to be constantly validated in the workplace, by their friends, peers, boyfriends, parents, shrinks. No wonder we can’t give each other a break, we’re terrified of not getting one ourselves so we snatch what we can from whomever we can. Dog eat dog. Bitches eat bitches. Except, no. Except what if we just didn’t do that anymore? I want to feed myself a new rhetoric now:

I am here for other women.



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I love Halloween, but those words seem like a paltry way to describe my deep devotion to the holiday. Longtime readers may already know this since I’ve posted about my sometimes insanely time-intensive costumes over the years. My all-time favourite was the year I went as Prince; I won first prize. They can carve that on my tombstone.

I’ve also been a Toddler in Tiara (very scary), John Waters, a bag of jelly beans, a human tornado, Karl Lagerfeld, and a trophy wife (head to toe gold body paint, for real). However, for the first time maybe ever, it’s mid-October and I have no idea what I’m going to do in a few weeks. I’ve been too busy to make an elaborate wear-once outfit, so I’ve been thinking of creative ways to make wearable garments that will have a life outside of the funnest night of the year.

The following costumes can all be made with existing patterns and a few extra accessories.  They are inspired by some of my favourite fashion icons over the last 70 years, and the main components can be worn even when you’re not binging on candy Halloween night.


Annie Hall DIY Halloween costume

My deep misgivings about Woody Allen aside, this is probably my favourite movie of all time. Annie Hall is so charming and stylish and instantly recognizable. Make a classic white Archer, a pair of khaki Thurlow trousers and you’re half way there. Accessorize with a borrowed tie, brogues, a black fedora, a straw bag and tennis racket. Even better if you add a fake lobster prop and run away from it all night.


Courtney Love

Oh Courtney, I’ll love you forever. You never apologize for who you are and Live Through This is still one of the best rock records ever made. Pay homage to the ultimate Hot Mess with a black and white Emery dress, white schoolgirl socks, mary janes, red glossy lips, Goody baby barrettes and a tiara. Watch this impression from Molly Shannon on SNL if you want to really nail the performance.



All my nineties girls, REPRESENT. Blossom was the most stylish character on TV when I was a tween. I wanted EVERYTHING she wore. This is totally on trend right now, which terrifies me; I am now old enough to see the stuff I wore in high school cool again. Make a floral Sabrina dress from By Hand London, and thrift a crocheted sweater and denim vest. Hopefully you never got rid of your high school Doc Martens. Throw a flower on a hat and you are good to go. Bonus points if your best friend dresses like Six.



The ultimate art muse, Edie was a 60′s “it” girl who palled around with Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. It doesn’t get much easier (or more chic) than Edie. Layer a black Nettie bodysuit over  opaque black tights, and wear huge chandelier earrings and black pumps. Eyes should be as smoky as a forest fire with a nude lip.



No one has ever had a more uniquely beautiful aesthetic than Frida, and it’s such an easy costume to throw together. Make a bright floral Gabriola skirt and wear it with a simple peasant style top (alternatively you could make this Mexican dress from Folkwear patterns). The fun is in the accessorizing; make a floral crown and layer lots of bold jewelry with colourful scarves. Don’t forget a strong lip and a unibrow!



If you feel like going the sexy route, you can’t really do better than Bettie Page (I rocked this costume a few years back). Rather than prancing around in your underwear, make a gorgeous leopard print wrap dress using this Vogue pattern, and add seamed stockings and maribou trimmed pumps. You’ll need a wig unless you feel like trimming Bettie bangs. Don’t forget the whip, and some classic come-hither perfume.


stevie nicks

Finally, channel some witchy womanly goodness through Stevie Nicks. The key to this is floaty diaphanous layers, lots of scarves and granny boots. I think a black Cascade skirt is just the ticket, but if you’re feeling more ambitious you could make this beautiful maxi dress from Burdastyle. I love this old SNL skit starring Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks opening a tex-mex restaurant, you know, for inspiration.

And now to decide what I’m actually going to do this year. Are you going out for Halloween? Making your own costume? I want to hear all about it!


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I cannot even tell you how excited I was to hear that Tilly’s first book Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking was at last being published in North America, and that I was finally going to get my dirty little hands on its oh-so-pretty pages. I wanted to buy it the minute it came out, but alas, shipping from the UK is no joke.

This is truly one of the prettiest sewing books I’ve ever seen. Everything, from the garments to the graphics to the instructions, looks fabulous. It’s got that fresh, poppy 60′s vibe that I associate with Tilly; it’s the sort of book you can display on your coffee table, which is always a consideration at the Closet Casa.

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This book is geared towards the novice sewer, which isn’t surprising since Tilly has built her growing business by addressing the needs of those new to the craft. It’s a beautifully written and encouraging guide for those who want to master basic skills, and it would be my first choice for any friends who want to start sewing. Unlike a lot of intro to sewing books, all of the steps are photographed instead of illustrated, which is helpful when you’re first starting out. The seven included designs range from a super simple headscarf and pajamas to more advanced projects like a skirt, blouse and  two dresses.


From a design perspective, I love the bright colour story and clean modern layout. It really is a joy to read cover to cover, which I did the day it arrived. The chapters are also punctuated with fun entries on “Make It a Lifestyle”; tips on making a great sewing space, shopping for fabric, fitting sewing into a busy life, etc. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have a spiral edge which is better when you’re reading while working, but it does include real paper patterns which are so much easier to sew with.

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While I’m a more advanced sewist than the target audience for this book, I still loved it and would have bought even if I hadn’t been sent a copy. It’s just so pretty! Throw in some cute patterns and a fun host to sew with and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Speaking of winners, I have one copy to give away! The other one I am happily displaying on my coffee table. Leave a comment below, like Closet Case Files on Facebook and I’ll choose someone randomly in a few days. I am going to restrict this giveaway to readers in the US and Canada only since shipping a book can be a little pricey. Hope that’s okay!


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