About Incurable Homebody

Introvert since birth, professional web content creator since 2004, blogger since 2008. Sundry topics include: crafts, cognitive science, and the pursuit of confidence for the socially awkward. I don’t know always know what I’m doing, but I’m sure having fun doing it.

first, you start with an old concert t-shirt…

If, like me, you’re a female child of the ’80s, chances are you’ve got a stash of these oversized concert tees, am I right? Oversized because, back in the 80s and 90s, most bands only offered “unisex” (yeah right) sizes. We wear them only to bed, yet we can’t bear to part with them.

Well here’s an idea. With just a few snips and seams — presto change-o — you can have a tunic/dress!

For The Smiths dress below, I used the extra material from the original sleeves to make the yoke. I was lucky enough to have some blue knit jersey in my fabric stash that worked perfectly with the Radiohead tee. For the yokes, I used Built By Wendy pattern 3692. Then, I simply took in the original side seams and gathered the tops to fit the yokes. Don’t know if you can tell at first glance (please say you can’t!) but I accidentally sewed the back yoke on to the front of the Radiohead dress, that’s why my neckline is higher than it should be…and when you look at it from the back, it’s more noticeble that it’s backwards. ๐Ÿ˜ Oh well. It’s still wearable, and that constitutes a success in my book.

new tunic dress + knee-hi gladiator sandals

You gotta love tunics as they allow you to binge at all-you-can-eat buffets and not worry about visible tummy bulge. This one was made from an absolutely free tunic dress pattern downloaded from Burdafashion.com — which seems to run very large so keep that in mind if/when you make it yourself. I also shortened the hem to a sexy mini.

Of course, you probably can’t help but also notice my crazy, mother-of-all-gladiator sandals. They’re like the trendy ones you see everyone wearing these days, ‘cept turned up to 11. I bought these after seeing the original Chanel ones (mine are, of course, knock offs from good ol’ ebay) being donned by fashionistas worldwide. To my surprise, I get loads of compliments when I wear them out, which makes me extra happy because I was rather iffy about whether or not I could pull them off. Thought I was destined for fashion-victim-ville for sure. Indeed, these very sandals are to be found on People Mag’s Worst Trends list. But hell–it’s not as if anyone reaches for a sleazy gossip rag like People when looking for cutting edge fashion. Am I right?

shoulder-tie dress

Another dress for summer! I made this today from yet another thrift-store bed linen — a very pretty lavender duvet cover I got for $3.99! And even after making this dress, there’s still a ton of fabric left over for at least two more projects. I used a ridiculously easy vintage pattern I snagged from ebay — Simplicity “Jiffy” series, #7520.

Unlike the dresses pictured in the pattern, I used a contrasting print fabric for the inset because why waste an opportunity for adding a bit of pizazz? I shortened the length so I’d have a sassier, poofier skirt, but didn’t do a very good job creating an even hem, so the back is visibly shorter than the front. Woops. Maybe I’ll start a trend? Ah, whatevah. As you know, I’m not a stickler for perfection. All in all, I’m happy with the outcome and will be wearing this new number to the office tomorrow.

italian job

Another kitchen adventure today in the form of gnocchi (which, if you’ve never had them, are amazingly yummy potato dumplings) with gorgonzola sauce and peas. The peas are my own addition to the classic dish because, frankly, I can eat peas with just about anything. I admit, I didn’t make the gnocchi myself — no, the credit goes to my good friend Trader Joe — but I added some fresh herbs from the garden as well as spices from the cupboard. I like mine with extra nutmeg!

birdy bags

I needed a project for the left over fabric from my bird print dress, so decided to make a tote bag and yet another wristlet purse. I thought it would be fun to use a contrasting print fabric for the inner pocket of the tote. I also finally got around to using magnetic purse snaps. They’re such a cinch to use, I have no idea why I was ever afraid of them. I’m quite happy with how these turned out.


I’m addicted to these wristlet purses at the moment!

green things growing

Yes, growing…as opposed to withering!


Miraculously, the herbs I planted a while back are actually flourishing, which I can’t say about many of their unfortunate predecessors — so today I’ve decided to reap the benefits of my newly green thumbs. There’s nothing like fresh, homegrown basil and oregano sprinkled atop a pizza. Well, my stomach is gurgling, so please excuse me now as I’m off to enjoy my dinner…

a painting and a meme

I decided to blow the dust off the easel and do a little bit of painting, which certainly isn’t my strong suit, but oh how I enjoy messing about with paint!

Itย turned out a tad more somber than I’d initially envisioned — especially given the nature of Oona’s “Happy” challenge. Still, I had fun creating it — which, I believe, is the whole point.



Finally, I’d like to get to a meme that Geri at Sewable tagged me with. It’s sort of a “slam book” (remember those?) style questionnaire. I won’t tag anyone with it afterward — not because I’m a no-fun meme killer, but because I’m a hermit with a ridiculously small social circle. So if you happen to surf in and haven’t been hit with this meme yet, consider yourself tagged. ๐Ÿ™‚

What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was 25, married to my first husband, living in San Jose, and working, unhappily, as a writer of computer software manuals.

5 things on my to do list
For today:
Bake a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread

Get the a/c in my car fixed

Read The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins
Organize my sewing area
I haven’t thought of a fifth yet!

Snacks I enjoy
I enjoy fruits and veggies, but unfortunately I always end up reaching for potato chips and pastries

Things I will do if I were billionaire
Go back to university and get about 20 more degrees. Fund the arts. Travel ’round the globe.

Places I have lived
Los Angeles, CA
San Jose, CA
Cambridge, England

Jobs I have had
Market researcher
Baker
Lingerie saleswoman
Technical writer
Church pianist
Singer/Songwriter

And I’m sure that’s a whole lot more than you ever needed to know about me.

empire maxi-dress

Just finished up the first dress I’ve ever made without the use of a pattern! Needless to say, I’m very excited and am wearing it with pride, despite the fact that the back looks a bit wonky and makes my bottom look two sizes larger. Hence, I’ve only given you front and (obscured) side view photos. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made it out of a thrift store fitted bedsheet and based it on a sleeveless empire waist minidress from my closet, but decided to take it floor length for a dramatic maxi. I think it looks rather Jane Austen-esque with a touch of va-va-voom.

I spiced up the top edge with some crocheted trim I got from ebay.

I’m a bit late with my first creative endeavor for Oona’s “Week of Happy” — but I’ll see if I can rise to her challenge of creating something every single day for a week. Hmmmm. We’ll see how I fare…

playing with paint

After seeing this gorgeous stenciled blouse on Kasia’s blog, I was dying to try out fabric stenciling myself. So I went to Michaels and picked up some acrylic fabric paints, stencils and got to work. I have piles and piles of boring, solid color fabric that I got cheaply from thrift stores (various bed linens, curtains, etc) so I thought that this would be the perfect way to jazz them up. It took a bit of practice, as I foolishly chose to pay little attention to the warnings of experienced stencilers to not overload the brush with too much paint. Not a good idea, and as a result, my first attempt ended up in the waste bin. Too much paint will cause the color to bleed underneath the borders of the stencils. You really have to make sure that your brush is almost dry when you’re dabbing your paint on. Yes, dabbing (in an up and down, perpendicular motion) — as opposed to brushing. It takes a few coats (which can be a bit wearing on the wrist muscles) in order to achieve an opaque finish — but the outcome is quite beautiful, I think!

Here’s some stenciling I did on a wristlet pouch and basic tote that I made out of a couple of thriftstore bedsheets. I used Tulip brand Soft fabric paint.