We now interrupt your regular scheduled programming for my YesAllWomen story

*warning: this story is (sexually) graphic (and somewhat violent) in nature and may offend some viewers*

I know that this is a sewing blog, but after reading many stories and tweets with the hashtag #YesAllWomen, it really conjured up some emotions that I don’t think I’ve fully dealt with yet. I hope that you will allow me to vent these emotions here. And if you don’t feel like reading, just skip it and wait for my regular, light-hearted posts with pretty pictures of handmade clothing.

The fact that most, if not all, women have either been (sexually) abused or harassed at some point in their lives is frightening and terrible. Many of my girl- friends and acquaintances have had some guy at some point or another abuse or harass them. That is not something that happens to most guys. It’s sickening, really. And I’m not equating name-calling or cat-calling to sexual and/or physical abuse, but it is seriously not something we should stand for in our society either way.

My story begins about 5 years ago, after my boyfriend of 5 years broke up with me. I was going to university in another city at the time and had come ‘home’ on the weekend, as I had every weekend for the previous 6-7 months since I had started my study program. He told me that he wanted to break up and that there was no hope of us ever getting back together. Since the train ride ‘home’ was 3 hours, and I couldn’t catch a train back to where my student room was, it being late and all, I was stuck alone with my ex in a house that would no longer be my home. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. I lay in the spare bedroom weeping silently into my pillow, fantasising about how I would kill him with a knife, but rationally thinking that I could not do it because he would probably kill me first. That is when I completely understood how crimes of passion take place.

But that is just the prologue. At the same time, I had just found a new student room with roommates instead of having an apartment all to myself. I was very lonely, because although I had a good relationship with many of my classmates, I never really made any friends, as the weekends were when people got together. So I moved all of my things from one room to another the following weekend, with the help of my ex’s parents. I was eager for a fresh start, especially since my free time was spent crying instead of studying.

My new roommates were amazing people for putting up with me in my depressed state. But really, they helped me get through a tough time by just being there. After a while, I started going out more with some classmates and acquaintances. It was actually fun getting out there and partaking in the student scene, which I hadn’t done much of in the previous 5 years of my student career. I started really making friends and connecting with some people who I met in my first week of university.

One of those people was Wayne* (name changed), who I had gotten along with quite well during the introduction week. I had a sneaking suspicion he had a crush on me, so I guess I started flirting with the idea of moving on and getting into the dating scene. I think I ran into him in the city center on a weekend, and we got to talking and things just felt really comfortable with him. He seemed like such a kind person, a gentleman even. So we made plans to get together.

I don’t really remember what our plans were, but we got to his place and his roommate was gone. We had some wine and maybe something to eat. I can’t be sure, like I said.  He was so cute and charming and I just wanted to kiss him. So we did. We were on the couch and really making out. I let him take my top off, and I was so nervous and excited, like I was a teenager again. He had his shirt off too and at some point he wanted to take off my pants, which I was very reluctant about. Then we moved to his bedroom, and things got hot and heavy pretty quickly. When he wanted to take off my underwear, I told him “no.” I suddenly realised that I was NOT ready for this kind of intimacy. But he got them off anyway and I had to yell at him to stop.

And it all went downhill from there.

He thankfully stopped from going inside of me, but when I tried to get dressed, he held me against him. He was smaller than me, but very strong, a fact that he was proud of. I think he was hoping that I would change my mind if we just lay there, bare, together. I didn’t cry. I stopped saying no. I did what I could short of kneeing him in the crotch to get out of his grasp. He was laughing. I guess he thought I was being feisty – hitting him and biting him and pinching him. And then I gave up. I thought, I am not going to get out of this, am I? I tried telling him I just wasn’t ready for it. But he said something like ‘but isn’t it nice to lay here like this?’

The only thing I could think of to do after that was to somewhat give in. Fighting my way out was clearly not working, so I tried instead to give him what I thought he wanted: release. I’m not proud of what I did. But I wanted it to be over. So I gave him my hands and my mouth. After that, I was allowed to get dressed.

Of course, he didn’t want me to leave. He also wanted to accompany me home, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Thankfully, he didn’t know where I lived, so I led him to my old flat, and kissed him goodnight and promised him more of my company to get him away from me and into the night. When I was sure he was out of sight, I quickly and quietly cycled to my new place and snuck into my room without a sound, cursing myself for everything that had transpired.

All of this happened just a couple of days before Dutch liberation day, which is always a huge party in Wageningen where I was going to school. One of my roommates came home in the afternoon and was like ‘are you crazy?! what are you doing here? you should be in the city center partying!’ I admitted to him in a few sentences what had happened, and that I was afraid of running into Wayne because he lived in the city center. My roommate told me that there was little chance of that happening, as the center was filled with thousands of people. So I reluctantly cycled with him to the center, and I am really glad I did because it really was an amazing experience. At first I clung to my roommate, but after a while I spotted some of my classmates and enjoyed the rest of the day drinking and listening to the live bands in the center with them. No Wayne in sight.

Epilogue: Wayne tried calling me and texting me over and over again. I think I responded only once, maybe twice, telling him that I didn’t like how things went that night. I quickly blocked him from my phone and social media sites. At first he tried contacting me several times a day, then weekly, then monthly. Every now and then, I still get a friend request on LinkedIn or Facebook, which I decline immediately. I am almost certain he doesn’t know what he did was wrong. Thankfully, even though we lived in such a small city, we never ran into each other.

I count myself lucky. Things could have gone much worse than they did. I am not going to pretend that I have advice for girls who want to prevent this from happening, or for girls who have had similar things happen to them. It was a shitty thing that happened and I wish I had done things differently, but we all make mistakes. Maybe some of you will blame me for what happened – ‘you shouldn’t have let him take your clothes off in the first place’ ‘ you were alone at his place, so you were asking for it’ – believe me, I have blamed myself enough for what happened. I didn’t write this story for sympathy. I kind of just wanted to get it off my chest once and for all. To stand together with other women who have had similar experiences because, unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and the world is filled with imperfect people, both men and women.

That’s it. I’m out.

Reveal: #SewDollyClackett entry

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If you haven’t heard already,  Roisin of Dolly Clackett is getting married. To get the online sewing community involved in the celebration, Rhinestones and Telephones is hosting a competition, aptly named #sewdollyclackett. The rules are simple:

The contest will run from February 23, 2014, and close on April 23, 2014.  Roisin will be our illustrious judge and award our generously donated prizes.  Contestants will sew a dress (it must be a dress as Roisin is the Queen of Dresses) that emulates her style.

Als je nog niet hebt gehoord, Roisin van Dolly Clackett gaat trouwen. Om de online naaien gemeenschap bij te betrekken, Rhinestones and Telephones heeft een wedstrijd bedacht, met de toepasselijke naam #sewdollyclackett. De regels zijn simpel:

De wedstrijd loopt van 23 februari 2014 en sluit op 23 april 2014. Roisin zal onze illustere rechter zijn en gunnen ons gedoneerd prijzen. Deelnemers zullen een jurk naaien (het moet een jurk als Roisin is de koningin van Dresses) dat haar stijl emuleert.

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I just had to jump on board. I am a sucker for a pretty dress, and I live in them in warmer weather. Roisin is known for her off-beat fabric choices, so once the contest was announced I knew exactly which fabric I would choose. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know which one I chose.

Ik MOEST mee doen. Ik ben een sucker voor een mooie jurk, en ik draag altijd jurken met warm weer. Roisin is bekend van haar unique stof keuzes, dus zodra de wedstrijd werd aangekondigd wist ik precies welke stof ik zou kiezen. Als je me op Instagram volgt, weet je al welke ik koos.

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My only problem was, I haven’t sewn any one of Roisin’s favourite dress patterns! I did, however, go for an indie pattern – the Belladone by Deer and Doe, which I think she would approve of. This is my third attempt at this dress (see attempt 1 and 2). And I think I’ve finally figured it out! The darts are in the right place and the back doesn’t gape. WIN!

Mijn enige probleem was, heb ik niet een van de Roisin’s favoriete jurk patronen ooit genaaid! Ik dacht, ik ga dan voor een indie patroon – de Belladone door Deer and Doe, waarvan ik denk dat ze zou goedkeuren. Dit is mijn derde poging om deze jurk (zie poging 1 en 2). En ik denk dat ik het eindelijk snap! De darts zijn op de juiste plaats en de rug zit niet losjes. WIN!

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I finally figured out how to fix my fitting problem with this dress. Instead of trying to add length to the bodice and then moving the dart down, I added length above the dart (let me know if you’d like a little tutorial on how I did this). For the back, I used this tutorial over at Lladybird’s blog to reduce the gaping at the top of the bodice back, and I also pinched out a centimeter on either side of the zipper to make the lower bodice fit. Also, I finished the edges on the back bodice pieces using bias tape, so hopefully it won’t stretch out over time.

Ik heb eindelijk bedacht hoe ik deze jurk passend kon maken. In plaats van te proberen om de lengte toe te voegen aan het lijfje en dan het verplaatsen van de dart naar beneden, voegde ik lengte boven de dart (laat me weten als je wilt een uitleg over hoe ik dit deed). Voor de rug, gebruikte ik deze tutorial op de blog van Lladybird over vermindering van het vergapen aan de bovenkant.  Ik kneep ook een centimeter uit op beide kanten van de rits.. Ik heb ook de randen aan de achterkant netjes afgemaakt met behulp van biaisband, dus hopelijk zal het niet uitstrekken.

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Now that I have it all figured out, I am excited to try different variations of this dress, like adding a pleated skirt or narrowing the shoulders or lowering the neckline. I’m wondering if the chardon skirt can be attached to this dress…

Nu dat deze patroon heel goed past, vind ik het boeiend om verschillende varianten van deze jurk te proberen, zoals het toevoegen van een geplooide rok of verkleinen van de schouders of het verlagen van de halslijn. Ik ben benieuwd of de Chardon rok past op deze jurk …

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But before that, I must start on my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding. Starting with a muslin, because that’s just the right thing to do…

Maar eerst moet ik mijn jurk maken voor mijn zusje’s bruiloft. Ik ga beginnen met een muslin, want dat moet je gewoon doen…

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Congratulations to Roisin! And good luck to the other contestants!

The deets:

Pattern/Patroon: Belladone by Deer and Doe

Size/Maat: 40/42

Fabric/Stof: 100% cotton/katoen from the stash

Notions/Fournituren: thread, biastape, zipper, all from the stash.

Cardigan/Vest: Zara

Shoes/Schoenen: Irregular Choice (of course I had to wear my irregular choice shoes for this shoot!)

Reveal: A Royal Blue Maternity Skirt

My gorgeous friend allowed me to photograph her in all of her pregnant glory wearing the maternity skirt I made for her.

Mijn prachtige vriendin stond me toe om haar te fotograferen in al haar zwangere glorie. Ze draagt een zwangerschaps rok die ik voor haar gemaakt heb. 

Shortly after she announced she was pregnant, I asked if there was anything I could make for her. I sent her some photos of the maternity patterns I already had, and also sent her to Megan Nielsen’s maternity website for some tips and tricks. After browsing that website, she said she actually really liked the maternity skirt, so I ordered it and sewed it up for her in two colours: royal blue and dark grey.

Na dat ze kondigde dat ze zwanger was, vroeg ik of er iets wat ik voor haar konden maken. Ik stuurde haar enkele foto’s van het zwangerschaps patronen die ik al had, en ook stuurde haar naar de website van Megan Nielsen voor enkele tips en trucs. Na het bekijken van die website, zei ze dat ze eigenlijk het zwangerschaps rok heel leuk vond  dus ik bestelde en naaide het voor haar in twee kleuren: blauw en donkergrijs.

I finished the grey one first and gave it to her for her birthday in October.  I finished the blue one in November. She is especially happy with the blue one, even though it was not one of the colours she requested. She also gets the most compliments on it. :)

Ik was als eerst klaar met de grijze en gaf het aan haar voor haar verjaardag in oktober. Ik was klaar met de blauwe in november. Ze is vooral blij met de blauwe, ook al was het niet een van de kleuren die zij aangevraagd. Ze krijgt ook de meeste complimenten op deze. :)

Isn’t she beautiful? I am very grateful she let me take photos of her in her skirt, especially since the baby could come at any moment.

Is ze niet prachtig? Ik ben erg dankbaar ze liet me foto’s van haar maken in haar rok, vooral omdat de baby op ieder moment kan komen. 

A little note on sewing: This is one of the easiest pieces of maternity clothing you could make. It is only TWO pieces! If it weren’t for the elastic, this would probably be a half hour make! I made them both on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch. I matched the thread pretty well, so you can’t even see the top stitching. I’d definitely recommend this pattern!

Een kleine opmerking over naaien: Dit is een van de makkelijkste stukken zwangerschaps kleding die je kan maken. Het is slechts TWEE stukken! Als het niet voor de elastiek was, zou dit waarschijnlijk een half uur naaitijd duren! Ik heb ze allebei op mijn naaimachine met een zigzagsteek gemaakt. Ik paste de draad vrij goed, dus je kunt niet eens de top stiksels zien. Ik zou zeker dit patroon aanraden.

This was my first time using Dutch and English.  What do you think? Or should I quit while I’m ahead?

Dit was de eerste keer die ik allebei Nederlands en Engels gebruik. Wat denk je? Moet ik snel ophouden met mijn slechte Nederlands?

Stashbusting Stats

First off, a big thank-you to Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy for hosting the stashbusting challenges this year and for creating the monthly challenge for us to get inspired.

At the beginning of the year, I took the stashbusting sew-along challenge. I vowed to use 13 pieces of fabric from my stash this year. Here’s a recap of what I made:

I started off with fabric from over 10 years old, from when I worked at the local fabric store in high school and beginning of college. During the year I switched back and forth between old and new. For example, I got a bunch of knit fabrics at the fabric fair last year and the year before with the dream of making and selling my knit dresses. Instead, they turned into Megan Nielsen’s Briars (row 2). My sewing machine broke at the beginning of summer, so there was a bit of a lull in my sewing queue. I got some Colette pattern sewing in, went on vacation, then came back and sewed a couple of stash busting projects. But mainly my summer sewing was made from new fabrics.

A lot of nice pieces from my stash, especially those from 10 years or older, were originally intended for small projects, like camisoles or short skirts. Now that I have a love of dresses, I often feel defeated by the lovely things in my stash I can’t make any dresses with. However, I purchased a few nice blouse patterns that will likely work better with my small pieces, such as the Eucalypt and Datura.  From this experience, I have been buying more than a meter of most of my new fabrics, unless they are intended for toddler clothes, for which 1m often suffices, or if the fabric will not make it to my stash as it is intended to be sewn right away.

I sewed a few more projects than I actually blogged about, like the ones above I only posted on instagram. I also made a top for my SIL, which I didn’t take a picture of, and a jacket for my niece, which I only posted to my facebook page. I also have a few UFOs that I made with stash fabrics (sewaholic thurlow trousers, another briar, a burda top), but I don’t think I can really count them for 2013 as I will not be finishing any of them on new year’s eve. I also made a few softies out of scraps as christmas gifts, but I don’t really want to count those either.

Summary:

  • Pieces used from my old stash (~2000-2003): 3
  • Pieces used from my new stash (~2010-2012): 12
  • Exceeding my goal by 2 pieces!
  • Min points: I added fabric to my stash this year, which was not part of my original goal. My original goal was to only buy notions, linings, and interfacing as needed.

Did you reach your stashbusting goals this year?

Miss-fires of 2013


Unfortunately, it is easier to list my misses than my hits this year.  Some of it has to do with fit, and some of it has to do with sewing mishaps, and then there’s losing interest and moving on to new projects. Without further ado, here are the misses of 2013, in no particular order.

Black and White Cordova: A missed opportunity, in a way, because when I wrote this post early in the year I said I only had to add lining to the sleeves. I have yet to finish this jacket, and the more I look at the pictures the less I want to.  I don’t think it fits too well, actually.

Pink Sureau: This photo shows exactly why I hate this dress.  It bunches up around the upper bust. And you can see the bust darts come up way too high. I even held a giveaway to get rid of this pattern! I wore it only twice: to take these pictures and one day for MMM13. Someone in the comments mentioned I probably need a FBA, so I suppose I will try to master that in the new year.

copycat challenge dress: Why is this a fail, you may ask? If you read my post, then you know how much I love this dress.  Well, when I attached the skirt to the bodice, I didn’t extend the zipper into the bodice. So I am afraid to wear this dress and break the waist seam, as it is already ripping near the zipper.

Laurel contest entry: I’m not a fan of this make at all. I wore it only for the photoshoot. I tried to be all creative and shit for the Laurel challenge and by copycatting a cool, colour-blocked shift dress I found on the internet. I think the fit is a bit too loose for my liking and the block in the front makes my boobs look enormous. I was, however, super stoked at my sewing skills getting around those tricky corners.

Other (unblogged) misses include:

- Redvelvet dress from Cake Patterns or as I like to call it, saggy side boobs: I was pumped for this dress from the get-go. However, the bust pleats ended up at the side of my boobs instead of in the center of them. I’m pretty sure it’s an easy fix but I just don’t feel like it… The good thing about this project is I found out my boobs are low.

- The Ava dress muslin disaster: After taking the time to do a FBA, even tediously photographing the process to make my first tutorial, when I actually went to sew the muslin, it was an epic fail! I went with the larger size for my upper bust (a size 6 instead of size 4, even though it would end up being ½ inch too big), and then completely forgot about it when doing the FBA, therefore adding about 3 cm more than was necessary. I also completely forgot that most bodice darts are too high for me, so when I made the effort to make the bodice muslin (out of a slippery cheap satin, I might add), I tried it on and almost cried. So much for a last-minute New Year’s Eve dress… The only thing good about it was that I had remembered to add length to the bodice – 7 cm of length….

- Skinnified Thurlow trousers: Making wide-legged trousers is not as easy as it looks. Fitted through the hips and upper thighs, and beyond that turned into a disaster. I already tried to take them in  myself, but I actually need someone to help me pin them. It’s not easy tailoring on your own!

What were your sewing misses this year? What have you learned from them?

Top 5 Hits

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I shall be joining in on the top 5 lists for 2013. I have been experiencing a bit of a creative block as life has creeped upon me the last few months, so I haven’t really been sewing or blogging in that time. In October, I defended my thesis, then ended up having to hassle a few teachers to get my grades in by the end of the month, but missed the cut-off by a few days. I officially graduated on November 4th and went to the ceremony at the end november even though my diploma wasn’t ready, because my mom flew all the way from Canada to join in on the festivities. We had a lovely couple of weeks together hanging out, watching movies, and shopping. We even went to the infamous christmas market in Germany.

So on that happy note, I shall get into the top 5 Hits.

#5: Vogue 8651 tunic: I did not blog about it, and I did not take any pictures of it, but I made the sleeveless tunic for my sister-in-law and she wears it almost every time I see her since I made it for her birthday in August. I also made her a different tunic for her birthday last year and she wears that a lot as well. My brother-in-law tells me that she wears the things I made her ALOT, so I definitely consider this make a win.

#4: The Rebecca Taylor design dress (Vogue 1152): This dress doesn’t fit perfectly, and maybe I didn’t use the best fabric for the pattern, but I really like it anyway. I can wear it in the summer, or in the winter with leggings and a long-sleeved tshirt underneath. I am a big fan of versatility (and dresses!).

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#3: The retro-print, stash-busting Briar: This is probably my most-worn me-made make of 2013.  I absolutely love this top.  It is super comfortable and (imho) looks good too. I made two other briars in two different sleeve lengths, but I like the long-sleeved one the best because I am cold more days out of the year than not. There are also two more in my sewing queue – one for me and one for someone else. And I might just use up the rest of my knit stash for briars…

#2: Purple and green polkadot belladone: The Belladone from Deer and Doe is quite possibly my favourite pattern. Even though there are still fit issues (ahem, do a bloody FBA already, Joanne!), I love this dress! I love purple on me, and I coveted this fabric for almost half a year online before I bought it at a fraction of the cost at the bi-annual fabric fair in Leeuwarden. And don’t forget that green piping! I feel as though this garment was kind of an aha moment. It only took me 15 years to figure out that my torso is 4-6cm longer than commercial pattern bodices!

And the #1 hit of 2013: The not-so-retro dress.  It just goes to show how important a muslin is! I shall never make a fancy dress from a new pattern again without making a muslin first. This dress fits me like a glove! I got a lot of compliments on the dress, and had fun doing the crazy photoshoot with my best friend back home in Canada.

What were your hits for 2013?

Survey and giveaway

Hello everyone!

I have this crazy idea of starting my own indie pattern line.  It’s totally crazy because I’ve never taken a pattern drafting or design class but reading about some indie pattern designers on the internet like Dixie DIY and Closet Case Files gives me hope!

My idea is to have a line of knit dresses…. that you can mix and match! I have a few self-drafted patterns which I mix and match myself and I just love having options.  Plus, knit dresses are amazing! They go together so quickly and mistakes are easily hidden by knits.

The question is, how on earth can I offer a line of mix and match bodices and skirts??

That is where you, my lovely readers, come in.

I have created a short survey (less than 10 questions) asking you about how you would like to see this project take shape.

I would really appreciate if you would share this survey on your facebook and/or twitter. I will be forever grateful! Plus I am offering a small token of my gratitude to one lovely survey-taker.  A €10 (or your currency-equivalent) gift certificate to the online craft/sewing supply store of your choice! I know it’s not a huge amount, but I’m a recent graduate with student debt and I would really like to start my own company.

To give you a little idea of what kind of patterns you might expect, here are a couple of my self-drafted makes from me-made-may. So you do the kimono sleeved bodice with the A-line skirt or the patchwork top with the bubble-ish skirt, if you know what I mean.

 

 

Day 5: threadless tshirt refashion

So you’d really be helping me out by taking this survey and sharing it with the world. I hope you like this idea as much as I do!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/92XWSG2 

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Copycat Challenge Completed!

Inspiration

I first blogged about my copycat inspiriation here. But if you missed it, here’s a brief recap.

Click image for link

Basically I wanted the top with the lace applique with a plaid tulip skirt similar to the second photo. Angels Never Die is one of my favourite brands. Whenever I see a sale on Vente-Exclusive, I always buy at least one thing (but it often puts me in the red and then I promptly send it back…:(

I love that they mix fabric prints, textures, and weaves.  They often mix knits with wovens and they always have interesting draping, designs, and appliques.

Making the dress

To make my dress, I used the skirt from this Burda 09/2011 Dress pattern. The top part is a refashioned basic knit top I’ve had since last year, from the Hema. It matched the brown plaid I had in mind from my stash, so I went with it.

I cut out the skirt from the plaid fabric.  I had to do some creative cutting because I had only 1m of it and those front panels eat up a shitload of fabric. So some of the seam allowances were cut on the selvage but that’s ok. I ended up cutting the waistband on the lengthwise grain (if that’s even a term?!). Also, none of the plaid matches, but I’m ok with that because it’s not too noticeable. I did not use the instructions except to check how much to gather the top of the skirt to.

The skirt has pleats AND gathers.  And the pleats are gathered! It’s a lot of fabric sitting right there on my pouch, but I like to think it doesn’t make me look too huge because the back of the skirt is such a nice shape, kind of like the Elizalex dress. The hem is finished with bias tape. The inside seams are finished with bias tape on the waistband and with a zigzag stitch for the side seams.  I would have liked to do french seams, but I figured it would get too bulky.
I purchased some of the lace trim from the most recent fabric fair in Leeuwarden and some from my local fabric shop, Jan Sikkes. I attached the trim to the top using a zigzag stitch to help keep it from getting wavy. I folded the trims over at the top and slipstitched it in place.

Styling

I paired it with leggings because a) it’s getting cold out there, b) it’s not lined, and c) it’s a good thing I did because riding my bike to the photoshoot place made the dress open up pretty much right to my crotch. I might have to add a snap or tack it down.

In some of the pictures I’m also wearing an actual Angels Never Die jacket, which I love love LOVE (there would have been an exclamation point if the jacket had pockets, but it doesn’t so boo hoo). My boots are Dr Martens and are already like 3 or 4 years old.

I accessorized with a fake pearl necklace I inherited from my grandma because I thought it matched the lace on the top quite nicely.

I even did my makeup, which you can’t even see in the pictures :(  I did cat eyes with brown eyeliner to match my dress!

And now, for picture overload!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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