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Pintuck Apron

21 Dec

For Jamie’s birthday nearly two years ago (yes – still drowning in a sea of backlogged posts), I made this fun little pintuck piece since she’d told me she was in the market for an apron.  I found the tutorial on Wholly Kao, and wholeheartedly accepted the challenge.  And boy, was it a challenge!

I don’t think I’ve made something this difficult since those baby booties a few years ago.

Here’s the tutorial as adapted from Wholly Kao, but having the diagrams she drew in her tutorial will really help you:

ITEMS:

  • 1 yard fabric for the apron
  • 1/2 yard coordinating muslin (for the waist strap and ruffles)

INSTRUCTIONS:

MAKE THE TOP:

  1. Measure the distance between your armpits to get the width of the chest. Take this width and subtract 4. This new number will be how wide your top part is at its widest point. Measure from your chest to your waist to get the height.
  2. Take your patterned fabric and measure out a piece that is slightly larger than the width and height dimensions you just measured. Fold the fabric in half width-wise.
  3. Using a Sharpie, draw your top shape onto the folded fabric. This shape should look like a heart with a flat bottom. The widest point of this ‘heart’ is your (chest width minus 4 inches) measurement. Cut along your Sharpie line. You’ve now got your top piece! You can measure it against yourself to make sure it’s not too wide. If it is, trim it accordingly.

    “Heart” chest piece

MAKE THE BOTTOM:

  1. Measure out a piece of fabric for the bottom part that is 36-inches wide. The height for this can be as tall as you want. For instance, if you want the apron to hit mid-thigh, measure the distance from your waist to your thigh and use this number as the height. Spread the fabric out and cut out the corners so that they’re rounded. (see diagram)
  2. Now it’s time to make the pleats along the waist. Take the fabric at the top of the wide side and fold it accordian style and pin it in place. Do this only in the middle, leaving 6-inches on either side of the folds. Next, sew the folds in place, 1/4-inch in from the edge (see red dotted line in diagram).

    Tuck and Pin

    Tuck and Pin

  3. Pin the top and bottom part together on the wrong side. Sew the two pieces together on the wrong side, 1/4-inch from the edge.

    Coming Together

    Coming Together

MAKE THE WAIST STRAP:

  1. Cut a strip of muslin fabric (I chose a coordinating periwinkle shade) that is 5-inches tall and as wide as your bolt of fabric. Sew the ends of two of these straps together on the wrong side, making one really really long strap that is 50-inches long (This piece will tie around your waist, so you want to cut the length to fit you).
  2. Fold the strap in half, making a 2.5-inch tall piece. Pin the ends together, then iron the fold flat.
  3. Sew around the edges of the strap (red dotted line in diagram), 1/4-inch from the edge. Be sure to leave an opening on one side, so you can flip this piece inside-out.
  4. Flip the fabric so that the raw edges are now on the inside. Then sew the open edge shut (red dotted line in diagram).
  5. Now take the apron fabric and cut two strips that are 3-inches tall. Sew these together to make one long strip 50-inches long.
  6. Fold each edge in 1/4-inch and pin in place. Iron flat. Center this strip on top of the white strip and pin.

MAKE THE NECK STRAP:

  1. Cut a strip of apron fabric that is 2-inches tall for the neck strap. (The length of this depends on you: if you want a strap that is easy on and off, you can always put a buttonhole/button in the middle of this neck strap.)
  2. Fold the strip in half, making a 1-inch tall piece. Pin the edges together, then iron flat. Sew along the edges, making sure to leave an opening on one side. Once you’re done sewing, flip the fabric inside out.

MAKE THE RUFFLES*:

*If you want, you can just buy pre-made ruffles by the yard at the fabric store instead. If you do that, skip to “Assembling the Pieces Together”.

  1. Take the muslin fabric and cut it into strips that are 2-inches tall. Sew three of these together, making one really really long strap. Fold the strap in half.
  2. Make small pleats all along the fabric, pinning them in place as you go.

    Pleat, Pin, Repeat

    Pleat, Pin, Repeat

  3. Sew the ruffles in place, using the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.

    Remove Pins as you Sew

    Remove Pins as you Sew

ASSEMBLING THE PIECES TOGETHER:

  1. Take the sewn edge of the ruffles and line them up with the raw edges of the front side of the apron, so the ruffles lie on top of the patterned part of the fabric. Pin the ruffles around the apron this way, then flip the ruffles out so that they look like this (diagram).

    Apron Hem - Finished

    Apron Hem – Finished

  2. Sew the edges together on the wrong side of the fabric. Then iron the front of the apron, where the fabric and ruffles meet.
  3. Pin the neck strap in place behind the ruffles.
  4. Now it’s time to sew everything together! Sew all along the apron, 1/4-inch in, making sure you sew the edges of the ruffle, as well as the straps in place.

    Neck Strap

    Neck Strap

  5. Last step: attaching the waist strap. Center the waist strap between the top and bottom pieces of the apron, and pin it in place. Sew along the edges of the inner fabric on the strap (red dotted lines on diagram), making sure you’re attaching the apron to the strap in the process.

    Waist Band - Finished

    Waist Band – Finished

Here’s the finished product:

Pintuck Apron - Finished

Pintuck Apron – Finished

And here is the birthday girl!

Birthday Girl!

Birthday Girl!

While the apron turned out pretty cute (if I do say so myself) in the front, it was just a hot mess behind it.  Lots of thread everywhere from places I went over and fixed, and I had a lot of thread-breakage issues for some reason with this project. I thought the tutorial was great with getting me to the end product, but there wasn’t a lot of thought put into covering up the unsightly back of the apron fabric.

Changing Your Last Name

6 Oct

Taking a quick break from baking and crafting to share some information that hopefully any newlyweds can use!

I got suckered into paying $29.95 for a name change service when I got married and realized later that there was no actual “service” being given to me.  I just filled out a little information and the site populated most of the info to various forms that already existed that I still had to mail in myself.  They actually didn’t contact/notify ANYONE on your behalf. And there were a TON of other places I needed to change my name with that I didn’t realize until after I paid for the service.  The irritating part is that they don’t tell you any of that until after you pay for the $29.95.

I think the service is great for those that get married young and don’t have a lot of assets, programs, or policies in their name yet (more than one savings, mortgage, lots of different bills, frequent flyer accounts, etc.).  But for a working girl, it is A LOT of work, time, and people to contact, and there is just no way around it.  The process is overwhelming but I’ve written out a little checklist/tutorial here and included links to as many of the required name change forms as possible in this post (including what you’d get in the paid service).  I don’t have exact forms/instructions for everything, but hopefully this list is a solid starting list of things you need to think about.

First thing’s first – get your marriage certificate.  You basically can’t do anything until you have that, about 4-6 weeks from when you mail your signed marriage license.  You will need to mail your license within 10 days of your marriage. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring it in to court and do it in person.  NOTE:  When you go in to order and pay for your marriage license, purchase at least three certified copies of your marriage certificate. You’d be surprised at how many places you need to physically mail it to, and it’s a pain to re-order them later on if you don’t get some of your copies back.

Once you have the marriage certificate in-hand, the first thing you have to do is change your name with social security. Here is the form with address for where to mail it and a certified copy of your marriage certificate included.  I’d recommend mailing it in unless you want to wait HOURS at a social security office.  You can’t make appointments.

About a week after you mail your SS card application, you can notify the IRS. For tax purposes, you’ll need to tell the IRS you’ve changed your last name. At this juncture, you’ll have to figure out if you’re going to file your taxes jointly with your spouse next year or not because you have to indicate that on the form.  You can take both of your incomes and see what makes sense by using this tax bracket chart. Once you figure that out, fill out this form and mail it to the address on the form.

Once your name is changed with social security, you can change your name with:

  • The DMV for your California drivers license.  This will cost you $27, and the DMV only takes cash or check. Make a DMV appointment online to save a ton of time. You’ll need to bring your current drivers license and a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You’ll need to fill out a DL44 form, but this form is not available anywhere online.  The DMV also won’t allow you to mail in the DL44 form for drivers licenses – you have to turn it in to the DMV in person. It takes 2 weeks for the new drivers license to come in the mail, once you turn in the form and show your marriage certificate. Alternatively, you can also call to get the DL44 form mailed to you at 1-800-777-0133, press 1 for English, and say the following when prompted: “Driver’s License”, “Name or Address Changes”, “Name Change”, “Get Forms”.  You will then need to slowly state your zip code and then your full mailing address. You will recieve a blank DL44 form in approximately 10 days. But honestly it’s faster to just fill out the form in person at the DMV since you have to go there anyway. The DMV will punch a hole in your old drivers’ license and issue you a temporary paper drivers license with your new name until the new official drivers license comes in the mail. Hold on to your old drivers license, just in case.
  • U.S. Department of State for a new passport book. You have to pay for it – The passport itself is $110 for non-expedited processing, and I paid another $15ish to have the shipping expedited, just in case. If you aren’t traveling any time soon, you can do this option too, or you can pay an extra $60 for expedited service to get them to produce it faster.  Here is the form with mailing address included, as well as payment instructions.

Once you get your drivers license in the mail, you can go in person to:

  • The DMV (again) to update your car title (if you own your car in full) and car registration. Yes, a second appointment to the DMV.  Fortunately, this won’t cost you anything this time. You have to wait til you get your new drivers license to do this because you have to provide proof that you’re the same person. Fill out ONLY section F on the statement of facts form before you go, and bring it with you to the appointment to speed things up. you’ll also need to bring your current car title. They’ll keep it and give you a temporary registration under your new name. The car title takes 2 weeks to come in the mail.  The DMV will give you a temporary car registration that you can use til it’s time to renew your registration. They won’t mail you a new official one with the sticker.
  • The Bank for your checking/savings account. You can’t change your name on your bank account until you have your new drivers license. They don’t care about the marriage certificate (I tried bringing that) – all they care about is your drivers license.  Only then can you cash checks made out to you with your new last name.  Note that if someone wrote you a wedding gift check made out to “[your spouse] and [you with your new last name]”, your spouse has to be on your bank account too in order to cash it. You can’t add him unless he’s there in person and he has a valid drivers license too.  Order a new debit card while you’re at it if you have one.

Once all that is done, you should alert your employer.  Be sure to tell your:

  • Payroll Specialist.  Let them know that you’ve changed your last name, so they can alert ADP or whoever controls your paycheck or direct deposit output.  I did this right after I changed my last name at the bank, so that there wouldn’t be any payroll confusion if you have direct deposit. I have a feeling it doesn’t matter if the bank account and routing numbers stay the same, but no one likes to take a chance on a bounced paycheck.

IT Department. In addition to getting your email address and email display name changed over, be sure to ask them to set-up email forwarding so that anything sent to your old work email address will auto-forward to the one with your new last name.

  • Facilities Department. Get your new business cards, updated building access and parking garage key card, name badge, etc.
  • HR/Benefits Specialist. If you get your health and/or disability insurance through your employer, talk to this person about changing your last name with your insurance providers. You may need to reach out to them on your own and provide proof of marriage – it’ll likely be different for every company.   Same for your 401k. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) account, you’ll probably need to call the number on the back of your card. But check with your employer first in case they can do it for you.

Speaking of insurance, make sure to connect with all of your insurance agents to get the last name updated on your account:

  • Health Insurance (medical, dental, vision) – if not through work. Once you get your medical ID card, you can probably wait til your next appointment to tell them and also provide your new medical ID card for their records. You can also call your various doctors offices to let them know, but I don’t think that’s necessary.
  • Life Insurance.  Contact your financial advisor to let them know of the change. You’ll also need to change the beneficiary of your policy to your spouse (if that’s what you want to do) where applicable, including retirement savings. Note that at least in California, the default beneficiary is your spouse.
  • Disability Insurance – if not through work.
  • Car Insurance – Just email your agent. Depending on what provider you have, they may need a scanned copy of your new and old drivers licenses. While you’re at it, it might be worth looking into adding your spouse onto your car insurance policy. You may get a small discount for being married (no joke!).
  • Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance – contact your agent.

A few other important things to think about:

  • Cell Phone – Sprint is my wireless carrier, and I had to submit a scanned copy of my marriage license online in order to make the change to my account.
  • Mortgage/Rental Agreement – I don’t have a mortgage, so I assume you can just contact your lender. You can just write a letter notifying your landlord if you are renting.
  • Miscellaneous Investments – mutual funds, stocks, IRA, retirement, CDs, etc.   I had to mail a name change form and a photocopy of my marriage certificate to get my IRA changed over.
  • USPS – There is an area on the “change of address” form where you can change your name, even if your address hasn’t changed.  Your mail will be forwarded to your new address (if you have moved) under your new name.
  • Credit Cards – American Express let me change the name via my online account, but I had to upload a scanned copy of the marriage certificate. I then had to call the number on the back of my credit card to ask them to issue a new card. My 2 Visa cards let me do it over the phone with no proof required.  I just called the number on the back of the card to tell them as well.
    • NOTE: Once your new credit cards come in, you’ll need to change anything that is automatically billed to your credit card to the new name too. For example, my Time Warner Cable bill, LADWP, and cell phone bills were all billed directly to my credit card.
  • Prescriptions – You may need to call your doctor to let them know you’ve changed your name and need any recurring prescriptions (birth control, etc.) to be updated with your pharmacy.  Also important so that you don’t get dinged for the discontinuity in your insurance paperwork. Show them your new medical ID card so they can change everything over.
  • Travel Loyalty Programs – You have to change your name with all of your frequent flyer accounts (like Starwood, Hilton, Southwest, Enterprise, etc). You otherwise won’t be able to book or execute travel for yourself under the new last name, because your ID won’t match the name on the account. I’m sure it’s a TSA security issue for the airlines. If you travel a lot for work or pleasure, this is especially important because some of the programs may take longer (up to 3 weeks) than others to process the change request. It’s not the end of the world if there is a gap between program changes – just be sure to bring two forms of ID to prove you are the same person. Most of these programs require photocopies or scans of either two drivers licenses (maiden and current name), OR your marriage certificate. You can write a letter saying you got married and need to change the last name on the account, give them your contact info and program membership number, and included a scanned copy or photocopy of the proof. I either mailed, emailed, or submitted it online depending on which loyalty program it was.  Here are the deets on each travel program:
    • American Airlines AAdvantage Program: Submit these requests via fax to the American Airlines AAdvantage Department at 817-963-7882. If you don’t have a fax machine, you can initiate the request by emailing American Airlines Customer Service, and then sending the information they ask you for when they respond. Also include photocopies of either your marriage certificate or two forms of photo ID (including your old name and new name).
    • Hilton HHonors: Email  your request to HHonors@hilton.com. They didn’t ask for proof.
    • Hyatt Gold Passport: Your written request must be mailed to Hyatt Gold Passport, Customer Service Center, P.O. Box 27089, Omaha, NE 68144. You can also fax the information to 402-593-9449.  Include a photocopy of your marriage certificate or two forms of photo ID (including your old name and new name).
    • Marriott Rewards: Your written request must be signed and mailed to Marriott Rewards Customer Support, 310 Bearcat Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115-2544.  You can also fax the information to 801-468-4033.  Also include legal proof – either your marriage certificate or two forms of photo ID (including your old name and new name).
    • Southwest Rapid Rewards: Name change requests must be submitted in writing to Rapid Rewards, P.O. Box 36657, Dallas, Texas 75235. You can only make email address and physical address changes on Southwest.com after logging into in your account.  The proof can be photocopies of either your marriage certificate or two forms of photo ID (including your old name and new name).
    • Starwood Preferred Guest: Email research@starwoodhotels.com or fax your information to 519-633-8870. The form of proof should be the marriage certificate.
  • Any professional licenses you may have (CPA, MD, etc.)

Things you can probably change at your leisure:

  • Utilities – Protocol varies by company. I was able to do LADWP and SoCal Gas via my online account with no proof of name change required. However, a friend who has Pasadena Water and Power had to go in person to change it. Time Warner Cable said I needed to go in person and show my new drivers license, but I was able to change the payment form over with no problem which is all I’m sure they really care about. My last TWC store experience was on par with going to the DMV, so I’ll just let them keep billing my maiden name.
  • Gym Memberships – I was able to just email the “contact” at the fitness studios I work out at. Each gym may be different, so you’ll just need to call and see what the protocol is.
  • Subscriptions – magazines, newspapers, etc.

Major quick tip:

  • The easiest way to find out how to go about changing your name on most types of accounts is to go to the respective website and search “legal name change” to figure out the instructions.

Finally, gentlemen – thank your wives for doing this if they are taking your name.  If they’re not, can you blame them?

Was this helpful?  Did I leave anything out?  Feel free to let me know in the comment section if I did!

[NOTE: This post was written in 2015, so pricing may vary from year to year and in different states.]

Pintuck Throw Pillow Case

4 Oct

When Kevin and I first moved in together, we needed a couch.  We immediately agreed on the shape, style, and price point, but there was a week-long debate on what color fabric to get for the couch cover.  He wanted light khaki, while I wanted dark espresso.  We couldn’t come to an agreement one way or the other so what you see below is our compromise:

Pintuck Throw Pillow Case

Pintuck Throw Pillow Case

Smack-dab in the middle.  Kevin’s mom got us the throw blanket you see in the background, and I decided we needed a couple of throw pillows.  After doing some light browsing online, I quickly realized I didn’t want to pay $38 for one decorative pillow that I couldn’t even take the case off to wash if it got dirty.  It was time to DIY something.  I bought two throw pillows from Jo-Ann Fabric, and two different colors of cotton fabric that tied in with the throw blanket – all for under $20.

This tutorial is for a pillow case for a 15″x15″ throw pillow.  You’ll have to adjust your measurements accordingly if your pillow is a different size.

SUPPLIES

  • One piece of fabaric cut to 24″x24″ (for a 15″x15″ pillow)
  • Two pieces of fabric cut to 17″x14″ each
  • Fabric marker

DIRECTIONS

Front of the Pillow:

  1. Cut a piece of fabric that measures 18″×18″. The extra room allows for the fabric you lose when doing the pintucks as well as the inseam when you sew your pieces together.
  2. Plan your pintucks.  Place the fabric right side down and mark where you want to put your pintucks with a dot, spacing them out to make a diagonal-square pattern.  I spaced everything about 4″ apart in alternating rows.

    Mark Your Pintuck Targets

    Mark Your Pintuck Targets

  3. Grab a small piece of fabric where you drew your dot. Twist about one 1/2” inch. Pin to hold and you’ll sew a straight line right where the pin is.  No worries if it’s ugly, since that’s the back side!

    Ugly is OK!

    Ugly is OK!

  4. Repeat steps in a diamond pattern and you will start to see beautiful pin tucks!

    3 Pieces of Pillow Case Fabric

    3 Pieces of Pillow Case Fabric

Assemble the Pillowcase:

  1. Trim your pintucked front piece of fabric down to 17″×17″, keeping the pintucked area centered.
  2. Lay piece of pintucked fabric so that the pretty side faces up.  Then lay the two back pieces right side facing down.
  3. Pin all 4 outer sides together and sew a 1/4” inseam on all 4 outer sides.
  4. Flip inside out and slip on to your pillow!

I made these over a year ago, and they miraculously are still in good shape, even after some machine washings.  If you make these with machine washable fabric, just throw them in a garment bag before you put them in the washer and dryer to help protect the pintucks.

Halloween Mummy Cupcakes

31 Oct

In honor of Halloween, I made these mummy cupcakes to bring in to work today.  They’re just chocolate cupcakes with a frosted mummy “face”.

What are you looking at?

I tried my hand at using a frosting tip for the first time, but the seemingly intuitive ziploc baggie method was a complete disaster.  Luckily, I found this YouTube tutorial for How to Make an Icing Bag using parchment paper and it really helped!

Ziplog Pastry Bag. #FAIL

As you can see, some of my mummy cupcakes look like they got TP’d instead.

Mummy or TP?

Since we’re on the topic of sweets, I had to post this video a coworker of mine sent to me last summer. Kirstin Lepore, you are a genius!  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Infinity Scarf (Tutorial)

13 Oct

Found some new treasures while fabric shopping all over Santa Monica with my coworker last weekend – check it out!

The Fruits of a Successful Fabric Shopping Venture!

I was having major commitment issues on what to make with the cherry blossom branch fabric on the top, but it was so pretty I couldn’t resist buying it.  The striped material was the perfect color and weight for an infinity scarf, and I just loved the vintage-y look of the navy blue floral fabric.  I’m aiming to make my first dress out of it.  EEK!

Here’s a quick tutorial on how I made the infinity scarf:

1) Cut a yard of fabric in half and sew the narrow ends together.  You should end up with one piece of fabric two yards in length, if you like a longer infinity scarf like I do.

2) Fold the material in half length-wise with right sides facing each other (wrong sides facing outward), and pin the edges together.  Sew the edges together the entire length of the scarf, giving yourself a 1/2″ seam allowance and removing the pins as you sew.  You’ll basically be making one long tube.

Making a Giant Fabric Tube

3) Pin your short seam (the open ends of the scarf) closed.  Sew this seam making sure to leave a 3″ opening to pull the  scarf through.  Clip your corners so that you can have nice clean points for your scarf.

4) Gently pull the scarf through. Once right side out, simply hand stitch your opening closed using an invisible stitch. Viola!

Infinity Scarf (and beyond!)