At Long Last: the Gabriola Skirt

by Nadine on October 9, 2014

I finished this skirt just in time for my brother-in-law’s wedding last month. (I hemmed it two nights before — with the game-changing help of my handy, multitalented husband.)


Pattern: Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic
Fabric: Heavy-ish stretch cotton from Designer Fabrics — $7/yd.
Size: Cut a size 4, shaved down the hips in construction.
Hemming Stress Level: Through. The. Roof.

Excuse the bad ironing job. Just showin’ off the yoke panels. 

Sizing Issue:

I took Aspen’s advice and didn’t worry too much about grading between the waist/hip sizes. I made the smallest size I could squeeze into — the fabric had plenty of stretch so I (correctly) assumed I could get away with a 4 — then shaved down the hips after I pieced it together.

Sewaholic patterns are for pear-shaped gals. I’m pretty hip-less. Adjustments were made.

Waistband Issue:

The waistband stuck straight up, away from my body.

Quick solution: I created darts in the waistband, lining them up with the side seams. The end result was a little chunky on the inside, but my belt helped smooth things out. (Ideally, I’d eventually take apart the waistband and make it look prettier. But who am I kidding?)

Fashion on a budget:

My wedding outfit cost $30.

I think I’m going to become some sort of sewing evangelist. “You will save money!”

I paired my new skirt with the (free) Belcarra blouse, an old belt I purchased for a wedding in 2010, cubic zirconia earrings my aunt gave me in my teens, and my go-with-everything leather Clarks. (Broken toes take forever to heal. I’m not back to heels yet.) Even the lipstick cost nada, thanks to my sister-in-law who used to work at a drugstore and blessed the ladies with free stuff last Christmas.

Dolly Parton once said of her iconic look: “It cost a lot of money to look this cheap.”

I, however, believe in spending no money to look expensive.

Hoedown, anyone?

Long skirt perks:

I felt classy, had extra fun on the dance floor thanks to the swish factor, and acquired a few alteration skills.


Did I mention the hemming? Ugh.

Also, if I pair the skirt with a white button-up blouse (with puffed sleeves), I turn into Anne Shirley, second movie. True story. (Which isn’t really a bad thing. At all.)


Fashion Week: Just In Time for Halloween

by Nadine on October 1, 2014

I’m guessing that’s the most expensive scarecrow costume of all time.

Is it weird that I like the white dress? (Note: I’d style my head differently.)


Well. That’s…a look.

Anyone else getting a pagan-ritual-circa-True Detective vibe here?

See the rest of Gareth Pugh’s Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear — a debatable term — collection here.

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What’s Mine Is Mine

by Nadine on September 30, 2014

We have a pretty small bathroom. We’re not very good at taking turns. So we’re often elbow-in-the-gut beside each other as we go through those nightly routines of teeth-brushing, face-washing and “I should drink more water” night-cream-applying.

Two nights ago, I was washing my face as Matthew brushed his teeth. At one point he made eye contact with me in the mirror and grinned.

“That’s cute, Matthew, trying to flirt with me while you use MY TOOTHBRUSH.”

He had no idea he was using the wrong one.

Mine is red and white with my dentist’s name printed on it. His is orange and clear with his dentist’s name on it. Different sizes and brands. But, hey, honest mistake.

What’s mine is his…but this crosses a line. A hygiene line.

I was all, like, “Ew! I’m pretty sure Dr. Oz or someone says we’re not allowed to do that!”

And he was all, like, “Uh, I kiss you all the time. No big deal.”

“No, I’m pretty sure this is way more disease-y or something.”

And then he kept brushing his teeth. With my toothbrush.

“Might as well finish what I started.”

Marriage. It’s dangerous for your health. (Maybe.)

Would you ever share a toothbrush?


If you’re like me, wishing you lived in the Hamptons next door to Ina Garten, then this salad will let you live out your fantasy for a meal (or two).

If you live in the Hamptons, I expect an invite next summer. I’ll bring cookies.

And if you’re Ina Garten, I want your house.

We made this twice this month (so far). It’s the closest salad can get to comfort food. After feeling crummy/grumpy/homicidal all afternoon, I actually TURNED DOWN mac and cheese for this yesterday.

Men, PMS is the worst. Hug a lady today — and thank her for going through hormonal distress so you don’t have to.

My friend Julia gave me the cookbook Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics when I moved into my last apartment. Of the five or six recipes I’ve made from it, ALL of them have been winners. And ALL of them have been made multiple times. Highly recommended.

We made this recipe as written, with the exception of lowering the olive oil content in the vinaigrette. (Instead of 1/2 cup, I used 1/3 cup. And, in the end, only used about half of the dressing on the salad.) Oh, and I used a mix of walnuts and pecans instead of just walnuts. Because nuts are the best.

Make it. Make it now. Do so barefoot. Feel classy and comfy. Open a bottle of white wine. Then invite me over.


Gone Gingham: The Lonsdale Dress

by Nadine on September 23, 2014

Since it feels like summer again this week — weather is weird — I thought I could squeeze in a post about the sundress I made last month and totally neglected to blog about/wear.

I first teased the project here. Yay, gingham!

According to trends emerging out of New York Fashion Week, gingham will be hot next summer. So I guess I just got a head-start?

[click on image for larger view]


Pattern: Lonsdale Dress by Sewaholic Patterns
Fabric: Gingham rayon from King Textiles. ($7 a yard, I think?)
Size: Size 6 — but I (accidentally) made the seam allowance a little wider than instructed.

The fit isn’t perfect. I had to add darts near the loops at the back — hidden under the bow — to take in some excess fabric around the bust. And it still bunches a little. Maybe I should have shortened the bodice a little?

Anywho. The bodice is self-lined and looks VERY pro on the inside. I’m proud. And it’s comfy. And…pockets. Every dress should have pockets.

For $21, it ain’t bad. But next time, I’d avoid a geometric print. I’d go solid, floral or abstract.

Are you still wearing summer dresses, friends? Or are they packed away for next year?


Dressing Like Annie

by Nadine on September 15, 2014

On the runway at New York Fashion Week:

Because every woman wants Annie Savoy’s wardrobe.

Oh, Bull Durham. ‘Tis the season for baseball movies starring Kevin Costner.

*Wouldn’t it be fun to dress like a movie character every day? (I mean, other than Bridget Jones on a bad day. I’ve got that look nailed down.)


Gabriola Skirt: In Progress

by Nadine on September 5, 2014

So. This happened.

If you hand a man a skirt, he will turn into a samurai. Every single time.


Moving Pictures with Matthew

by Nadine on September 5, 2014

Wanna see what my husband/office buddy has been up to lately?

Matthew directed, produced and animated this video promo for a cool company called Goalminded.

Yep, I married a pretty crazy-talented guy. With a very impressive work ethic. I don’t work well when I’m tired. He’s a rockstar, regardless of energy level.*

Um, he’s also good at protecting his skull while drawing:

I’m still adjusting to the fact that this project is completed. I was getting used to hearing a British voice introduce me to Tom every morning….

*I believe I sang “Everybody’s working through the weekend” on four different weekends while Matthew worked on this. I don’t have an ounce of workaholic in me. Watching someone work that hard is exhausting.


Quinoa Chicken Salad in #Augtober

by Nadine on August 26, 2014

Dear, whoever first created the #Augtober hashtag: thank you for telling the truth. 

This recipe is quick to make, and can easily be doubled. It’s healthy. It’s gluten-free. It’s a crowd-pleaser. The leftovers are tasty. Everyone wins.

It even makes radish-haters like radishes!

The original recipe came from CookingLight, but we quickly changed things up. Most notably: we swapped out the couscous for quinoa.

Here’s the version you’ll get at Casa Kalinauskas:

Quinoa Chicken Salad
  • 2 cups chicken broth (no sodium added)
  • 1 box uncooked quinoa
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked in olive oil and cubed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet over med-high heat
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, using chicken broth instead of water.
  2. In the meantime, cook chicken (or just use leftovers), prepare vegetables and toast pine nuts.
  3. Let the quinoa cool for a few minutes, then combine quinoa, chicken, vegetables and pine nuts in a large bowl.
  4. In a small container, whisk together oil, vinegar, spices and garlic. Drizzle over salad, stir to combine.
  5. Serve in pitas (optional; not gluten-free) with arugula, cucumber slices and tzatziki.



Go Long: Planning for the Gabriola Skirt

by Nadine on August 24, 2014

[Illustration: Paper Fashion]

I finally made the gingham Lonsdale dress I blogged about here. Photos to come.

(Here’s a shadowy Instagram pic. My handsome photographer was too busy working for a living to help me get a good shot.)

It was a bit of a lesson in “what not to do”: DON’T leave your machine with your needle aligned to the left. You will make all of your seam allowances too large and end up spending too much time worrying that you’re making a dress for a very tiny person.

Always check your settings, folks.

Sheesh. It was salvageable, thanks to super-slim seam allowances at the zipper and an (apparently) abnormally narrow ribcage.

If you sew — or are about to, as I know some of you are dreaming of doing — you’ll encounter 101 different sizing charts. By Hand London, so far, seems to fit me well. No alterations needed for their size 8/12. Sewaholic‘s size 6, however, sort of fits me at the waist, but is way too huge at the hips*, something that wasn’t an issue for the sundress, but might be for my next project: a long skirt.

*I’m more banana-shaped than pear-shaped. A broad-shouldered banana. Maybe a tall strawberry? Fun fact: All women are shaped like fruit.

If you use any of the commercial pattern companies — Simplicity, Butterick, Burda, Vogue — expect to wear a much larger size. Ignore numbers. They don’t mean a thing. Besides, there’s only a tag in the clothes if you add one, right?

Note to self: Order custom tags that say “I dressed myself!”

Anywho. I’m taking my sweet time figuring out how to fit this baby: The Gabriola Skirt.

So far, using this tutorial, I’ve traced the pattern pieces to grade from a side six waist to size 4 at the yoke and size 2 all the way down, hoping it will sit high on my waist. I could be in trouble.

I have plans for this lovely Gabriola: my brother-in-law’s wedding. In THREE WEEKS.

I don’t have fabric yet.

I’m the worst.

I first fell in love with the idea of wearing a long skirt to a formal event in 1997, when Claire Danes wore the most perfect sweater-skirt combo (by Narciso Rodriguez) at the Oscars.

I was 14. I wanted to be her.

Then, in 1999, Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow both rocked ball gown skirts the Golden Globes.

Then, more recently, these ladies reminded me that I should just get a long skirt already!

I want to go to there wear these. Now.

And…an endorsement from Ms. Kelly herself.

And if it were up to Matthew — and I’m not disagreeing with him here at all — I’d make a skirt that’s essentially the bottom of this dress. Beacause wow.

With the exception of my very long wedding dress — I bought it off-the-rack and had to have a seamstress magically add six inches to the bottom — and one cheap cotton sundress from H&M, all my skirts and dresses are knee length and shorter. Time to mix it up.

Do you go long, friends?