Scalloped embroidery hoops

Have you ever spent hours on an embroidery project and wanted something cuter to put it in than a plain wooden hoop? If you follow me on instagram, you probably know by now that I’ve been making a much more adorable option.

scalloped embroidery hoops

My husband and I bought a 3D printer kit and put it together (over 16 hours) for our anniversary.

3D Printer Build GIF

We’ve been printing a bunch of gadgets downloaded from the internet, but I’m also tinkering with 3D modeling to create my own things. The first such project has been these scalloped embroidery hoops.

Unique Embroidery Hoop

I’ve got them available in a range of colors in my etsy shop here. They come in two sizes – 6″ and 4″. I’m also working on developing teensy ones for necklaces or brooches which will hopefully be available soon!


I love that if you know what you’re looking for, you can tell these are 3D printed instead of manufactured in bulk. The plastic used in the aqua hoops (shown above) is slightly transparent so you can even see the internal structure. There’s lots more info about the hoops (material information, size specs, a video for how to use them, etc.) in each of the listings, like this one.

Reversible Crepe Dress

My latest dress is a cute wrap dress, the Crepe Dress from Colette Patterns. This post was originally posted at Sew Sweetness as part of her Dress Up Party series – check it out for a ton of fun adult garment pattern reviews and some garment pattern giveaways!

crepe dress

You know how it seems like most patterns like dresses have names just for the sake of having a name? They need to have a name so you can talk about different patterns conveniently? Most of the time, pattern names (especially for garments) seem to have little to nothing to do with the actual pattern itself. The crepe dress, however, actually resembles a crepe in that it is a wrap dress!

Crepe Dress Back

The sleeves are a little unusually shaped on this dress, but they’re not especially difficult. Certainly not harder than normal set-in sleeves! It’s something cute and unusual about this pattern, and I have a lot more arm mobility than I usually do with normal sleeves. Gertie has a great Crepe dress sew along with videos that show all the strangest parts about the facing. If you’re not sure what the pattern pieces look like, you can see what I mean about them being unusual in this part of Gertie’s sew along. I made a bodice with the facings for a muslin, but I’m not generally a fan of facings and decided I’d take advantage of the lack of a zipper in this dress to leave out the facings and include a fun surprise…

Reversible Crepe Dress

I made it reversible! This actually wasn’t too difficult. I made two bodices (leaving the hole for the tie on different sides of each). I sewed one arm hole together, turned it wrong sides together (so as if one were a lining), and pulled the seam allowance through the other arm hole similar to the method in this tutorial, except that you can sew it all in one go. After opening it back up wrong sides together, I folded the neckline around to the bottom like a burrito and sewed the entire front and back neckline. I attached a skirt to each bodice, turned it all wrong sides together, and then sewed around the three edges of the skirts leaving a hole on one side to turn through. I left the hole in the side of the skirt that gets wrapped underneath – so the side that doesn’t have the hole to pull the armhole through. I haven’t actually finished it yet, because I might take the skirt up a couple inches, but no one can see it anyways! Voila – reversible wrap dress!

fs dresses sq

Here’s both sides of the dress. Remember how I’m an engineer? So nerdy fabrics like these are pretty much my favorite, and I was excited to get to work 4 of them into this one dress! The all black side has all kinds of math, physics, and chemistry equations and diagrams. The black and white side is the same atom fabric in two different colorways, and the tie belt is a bunch of elements from the periodic table.

Crepe Dress Sleeve

Overall, the dress was an easy one to make. The sleeves were intimidating, but not difficult. Setting in normal sleeves is usually my least favorite part of dress making, and I would take these sleeves over normal ones any day. They were harder to cut than to sew! The lack of a zipper to install was refreshing, even though I tend to actually enjoy that step. Plus as a wrap dress, if I eat too much food I can just loosen the waist tie! And if I spill something, I can just turn the dress inside out :) I think the shape is flattering, especially the V in the back. I was a little worried about coverage since the back is technically open. Both back panels cover the whole width of the skirt, though, and I’ve worn it around for a full day in wind without any concerns. Will definitely be making more of these, probably mostly double-sided!

Crepe dress back tie

As far as pattern specifics, I originally cut a size 6, but after making a muslin I changed to a size 4 with a FBA (spread 1/2″). I made no other adjustments, which is actually a bit unusual for me at this point. The fit is really forgiving because of the wrap nature of the dress, though. I cut version 1 (but made it reversible), but there is also a version 2 which has a really cute sweetheart neckline. I also omitted the pockets from the side with the white skirt because I was worried about them showing through the fabric.

crepe dress atoms


Dress Specs:
Pattern: Crepe Dress by Colette Patterns
Modifications: FBA adjustment with 1/2″ spread, made reversible!
Size: 4
Fabric: Equations and Periodic Table from Science Fair by Robert Kaufman, and an atom print by Sue Marsh for RJR fabrics.

Tags: dress

May Giveaway Day: 2015 Edition

Today is May Giveaway Day through Sew Mama Sew – click over there to enter any of several hundred giveaways through Sunday! I’m participating by sharing one of my Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) patterns of your choice from my craftsy store, like these scissors!

Paper Pieced Scissors

A little bit about me: My name is Julia, and I’m an engineering graduate student by day/crafter of all kinds of things by night, or something like that. I especially love sewing dresses and quilts!

Emery Dress Crinoline

Today, I’m offering up one of my FPP patterns. FPP is a quilting technique that lets you get super precise points and shapes, which allows you to make all kinds of specific designs. I love designing these patterns, and I often draw up the patterns I make into pdfs that I share in my craftsy store. If you’re new to paper piecing, I’ve been told that my patterns are quite user friendly. One of the great things about FPP is that once you get the technique down, you can make pretty much anything! If you’ve never tried paper piecing and are looking for instructions, this is a good place to start!

pattern store

Some of the patterns I have there right now include a pair of scissors, some Studio Ghibli characters, Captain Mal from Firefly, and left shark. In the next week or two, however, you may see some dinosaurs and molecules! Visit my shop here to see more about the patterns I have available. Check out #starsandsunshine on IG to see what others are making with the patterns!

dino montage

You get one free entry, and can get another by following me on instagram (I’m @stars_sunshine) or following this blog! If you win, I’ll send you an email and let you pick out one of my patterns. Just use the rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dino Dress

If you’ve talked to me about fabric, you probably know that Lizzy House is my all time favorite fabric designer. If you talked to me much as a child, you might know that I’m pretty crazy about dinosaurs. So when I found out a few months back that Lizzy House was designing dinosaur fabric, it was a really good day. When I got some advance yardage in the mail from Andover fabrics, it was a better day. And now that I have an awesome dino dress, it is a pretty fantastic day!

Sleeveless Emery Dress

This fabric is part of Lizzy House’s new Natural History line, and the butterfly collar is one of Lizzy House’s butterfly prints which are now available in a range of colors. Go check it out – every single print is amazing. There are definitely more Natural History garments in my future.

Dino Dress Collar

Fussy cutting has always been one of my favorite quilty things, so I get pretty excited about having a chance to fussy cut fabric for garments. Check out those butterflies!

Zipper Fabric Matching

Another version of fussy cutting I go giddy for on garments is pattern matching. Zipper success!

About the dress itself: This is another Emery dress, but this time sleeveless and with a collar. The pattern includes a pointed collar – I just rounded out the edges because I thought it’d look better with the butterflies

Emery Dress Crinoline

I did a FBA this time, which really helped with tightness across my back. I’ve never thought of that as something I would need – but it helped a ton. I used thistutorial – it was a breeze! In addition to the FBA, I widened the darts on the upper back by about 1/2″ each and did my usual lengthening of the bodice by about 1.5″. I also make my pockets quite a bit deeper than the pattern piece (no picture, but they’re purple butterflies too!)

Emery Dress Collar

The Emery dress does not include instructions for a sleeveless version. In the past, I’ve used bias tape or hacked an unlined bodice. This time, I followed this tutorial for finishing a sleeveless, lined bodice – it was a bit finicky near the shoulder seam (I think because of the stiff collar) – but it worked beautifully!

Dinosaur Dress

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emery Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications: added 1.5″ length, FBA adjustment with 3/4″ spread, widened upper back darts by 1/2″ each, and left off sleeves
Size: 6
Fabric: Lizzy House Dino Exhibit in Navy. Find it here.

Epic Pi Day Dress

It’s Pi day! Better than that, it’s epic pi day this year! And, of course, I made a dress to celebrate.

Pi Day Dress

Pi is a mathematical constant. You’ve used it in school to calculate things like the circumference or radius of circles. It’s an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits, but the first few are 3.1415926535… Because my husband and I are giant math nerds (and we love pie), we have a pi day party every year on March 14 (3/14) with plenty of pies, both of the pizza and dessert variety. Since this year is 2015, or 3/14/15, it is the most accurate pi day of our lifetimes. I decided to make a special dress to celebrate!

Pi Day Skirt

I designed the fabric on my computer, complete with a couple of border prints. The first several digits of pi repeat around the skirt hem, and the large pies get smaller towards the top of the skirt. The other fabric edge had a straight line of small pi(e)s, which I used for a waistband and the edges of the sleeves. I got the fabric printed at spoonflower – it’s amazing that you can get anything you want printed on fabric!

Pi Dress Sleeve

The pattern is my beloved Emery dress, again in a size 6. I usually make the bodice about 1.5 inches longer, but this time I kept the pattern bodice length but added a waistband. I also slightly straightened out the hem since my pi digits border was straight.

Dress Specs:
Pattern: Emerey Dress from Christine Haynes
Modifications: added 1″ waistband and straightened skirt hem to accommodate border print
Size: 6
Fabric: pi(e) fabric designed by me, ordered from spoonflower. You can buy it yourself here!

Super Tote Backpack!

I was planning on making a super tote for QuiltCon (yes, in addition to the 241 tote – I needed another bag for workshop supplies!). And then, I saw a super tote backpack mod tutorial that my HMQG friend Felice posted a while back. It’s actually a really cool design that let’s you switch between a backpack and a messenger bag.

super tote backpack

I took it to QuiltCon for my workshop supplies, and it was the perfect size. The backpack straps were sooo much more comfortable over periods of time than my other shoulder strap bag.

Super Tote Backpack Mod

I paper pieced a little motto for the front of the bag: “make all of the things”. It’s all I want to do lately! I made up the pattern for the letters myself, because I’m picky and I can. I’m sure there are a couple good alphabet patterns out there, but none of the ones I saw were quite what I was looking for.

Paper Pieced Scissors Pattern

I made some scissors for the outer flap, which I think turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. You can get that pattern from my pattern store here.

Super Tote Backpack Back

Once I decided to make it into a backpack, I had to make the flap shorter than Felice’s directions so the letters would still all show. I wanted it a bit wider too – so I started with 13.5×9 rectangles, and used the other super tote pattern pieces to round the corners. I interfaced the outside, and added a couple magnetic snaps.

Super Tote Zipper


Bag Specs:
Pattern: Super Tote from Noodlehead with backpack mod from Sew Scatterbrained
Modifications: Felice’s backpack mod, with a flap starting as 13.5×9″ rectangles.
Size: Roughly 15″ wide and 15″ tall.
Fabric: Outside is mainly Mercury in Blue by Alison Glass, side and flap are mostly Bartholo-meow’s Reef, strap is Dottie in Bluebird by Cotton and Steel, Lining is XOXO in Toy Boat by Cotton and Steel.


Paper Piecing Pattern Store!

One of my favorite sewing projects lately has been something called Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP). Using a printed design on paper as a ‘foundation’, you sew seams through both the paper and the fabric. This allows you to have super precise shapes and points. If you sew with a short enough stitch length, the paper perforates and you can tear it off at the end.

fpp pattern

The super precise shapes and points let you draw all kinds of cool shapes. I really enjoy designing these patterns – it’s kind of like a puzzle! You need to make it recognizable, but still doable. There are lots of things I try to include to make them easier to sew and as beginner-friendly as possible, like avoiding y-seams and minimizing the number of points that you need to put work into lining up.

Left Shark Pillow Pattern

I’ve been making a bunch of these FPP patterns on my own lately, both as personal projects for me and as gifts for other people. I recently invested some time into figuring out how to turn rough patterns that only I could understand into presentable pdfs with instructions for other people to follow, and have put some of these patterns up for sale in a shop hosted at craftsy.

Craftsy Pattern Store

So far I’ve got an assortment of a few patterns, but I’ve got several more I’m working on coming soon! If you follow me on instagram (I’m @stars_sunshine), you’ll see any new patterns I release.