Tag Archives: Simply Melissy

The Golden Age

This (school) year, we had 4 sessions (basically semesters) at Staten Island Dance and Art Center. Last year, my fashion classes were sort of, whatever I thought of next, but I wanted to use this structure to my advantage. With four sessions, I could pick four themes to jump off of. Well, really three- the last session is dedicated to our Annual Fashion Show of course!

The second session was dedicated to Old Hollywood Fashion. The girls loved it! I started with this fun Buzzfeed Quiz I made. I was scouring the web for a good one, but everything was just slightly too inappropriate for the 8-14 year old age range so… I made my own!

We started with a power point presentation, highlighting different looks that were in style in Hollywood in the 30s-50s- cigarette pants, LBD, you know. The girls were shocked when I told them it was technically illegal in some towns for women to wear pants when Katharine Hepburn was walking around in tailored suits. That’s always fun. It was nothing compared to the Victorian Steampunk lesson we just did!

The beginner class made Little Black Dresses in true Audrey style, but the Advanced class was allowed to get creative.

Elle got the iconic Marilyn Monroe as her Hollywood style sister, and decided to design a white coat as a nod to the flowy white dress. It’s made out of white minky and tulle.
Jessica, always the neat sewer, went with an Audrey-style LBD in navy. She tirelessly took the dress in and out again until she got the perfect fit!
Nadine, the speedster, had this dress done weeks before everyone else, even with me making her finish her edges. This dress is made of a nice velvet. The belt is actually recycled shower curtain holes. I do not know what’s holding them together.
Valentina the Daring- she loves tulle. Probably a little more daring than the old Hollywood starlets went, but it looks fabulous! She was very cold in this, however, since we finished this up in January!
The Rising Star of the Beginner Class- Arianna entered the program in the middle of the 2nd session and has really dived into it! She got a little experimental with her satin LBD and added some buttons.


I’d been trying to do it for a while, but I finally got my sister involved in my classes. She came to teach an Old Hollywood Make Up lesson and boy, was that a hit, even from the girls in there scoffing at make up (haha). I can’t wait to have Jessie back to help the girls design their Runway Makeup to compliment their runway looks!

The Make Up Artist herself


I’ve got a lot planned for the rest of the year. On the 31st we’re hosting Fashion Survivor, and in April we’re heading to Jo-Anns for a shopping trip.

And the winner is…

On the last class before the winter break, the Staten Island Dance and Art Center’s fashion design classes competed in a Project Runway-style Upcycling Challenge.

Each team had two or three girls in it. They were to pick one old dress at random from a big garbage bag, then work quickly with their team to make it stylish. We started on the second-to-last week of class, and had our first ever paneled runway show on the last day.

I was so impressed by my designer’s sense of style! Soon enough we’ll be starting our big end of the year project where each of them will be making their own ensemble. Of course, I wanted to foster a sense of competition and reward, so there were winners. They were judged based on their technical skills, presentation, overall style, thoughtfulness, and integrity of design. The winners were Sophia & Jessica in 5pm class, and Jaclyn & Valentina in the 5:45pm class.

Prize was also a photo op with Miss Melissa ;D

Each designer got to go home with a fashion sketch book, and I hope they’ll bring it to our next class to show me all of their designs!

So proud of all my designers!


Me, Etsy, and the last 5 years

I think I was in high school when I decided to start sewing and selling American Girl doll clothes. I’m not sure if that was before or after I made my prom dress, but I realized I much prefer working small to big. It took me a long time to come to terms with that. I’ve also taken painting classes since I was in high school, and was always told the specific size that I had to work in, and even the mediums. But now I realize that some artists like to work on tiny canvases, while others fill the wall. And both of those are okay.

However, my goal is really to sell my cute dollies and clothes for American Girl dolls. I made my first Etsy sale in 2012 when I had finally stocked my shop with some pretty nice clothes. In fact, the first one that sold was the least cringe-worthy (in retrospect) dress in my shop. I can’t help but cringe when I compare my old work to my new work, which is why all my old work is in a special “sale” basket at all my craft baskets for $5 a piece. They are probably worth much more than that, but I’ll just about give them away at this point to not have to look at them anymore!

The biggest problem with Etsy during college was that I was just too busy to keep it stocked. They say you need around 50-100 items to really start getting a following. Now that I’m graduated and doing the whole self-employed thing, I guess I have no excuse but to keep it stocked! I’ve got lots of holiday outfits, and lots of other stuff too. I’m also working on some special projects that will be up as custom orders soon, and I’m very excited about them!

I have also started an instagram- follow me @simplymelissy!

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Holiday Fairs!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Zion Lutheran Holiday Fair yesterday! If you missed it, or just want to see me again, I’ll be at St. Rita’s on 11/21 from 11AM until 5pm.

If you’re not local, and are interested in buying some handmade items, you can do so on my new shop page! There you can buy Gingermelon dolls and their little suits! Of course, I’m always happy to accept custom orders for any doll, custom figurines, costumes and more.

Thanks for your support. Please share!

Now time to get back to stitching xx

Making it Just Fabulous

I bought a pair of hippie-esque wooden platform wedge shoes that are, in a word, gorgeous.

Like many stylish shoes that do not include the word “flat” in the title, these lovely shoes turned my feet into a nightmare of blisters on every. single. toe.

“Is this the end?” I thought, as I limped home after an evening in the city, bandaids hanging listlessly, having provided no relief to the sharp faux leather straps stabbing my toes, I believed I would never wear them again.

Hippie Shoes

Fast forward months later, I decided to wear them again, because, come on, they’re so cute.

Something had to be done, and as I sat in hopelessness, I thought of something. I have knowledge in the skill of textile arts. I know how to cut rectangles into useful shapes, and use a hot glue gun to top it off.

Want to make your cute shoes not torture you? Follow the steps I list below loosely, and maybe my magic will work for you. Maybe.

What you need: 

  • Scraps of some soft fabric. I used flannel left over from the Pajama Fiasco. It doesn’t really matter what color it is, since ideally it won’t show.
  • A marker
  • Hot glue gun (ideally with glue sticks to go with it)
  • A pair of shoes that you love that have hurt you in the past.
  • Scissors

What you do:

You probably remember exactly where it is that those shoes hurt you. The idea is to cushion those areas. These shoes were fine everywhere except in the front, so that is the spot I focused on.

Open wide

Open up the shoes, if possible. If not, work on the outside and then trim to fit later. You’ll need to do that anyway.

Using the marker, trace around the area you would like to be padded. It’s a bit awkward holding everything, but just try to get it as close as possible. It’s better for it to be too big than too small.

Trace 'emMatch 'em

At this point, I assume you had the foresight to plug in the hot glue gun at the beginning. If not, do that now.

Since hot glue dries super fast, and it would be preferable to not have dried up glue all over your shoes, make sure everything is ready. Match the piece to where it’s going to go, have the shoe positioned and ready to have fabric on it.

Glue around the perimeter of where your cushions are going to go, then place it on, and pat it firmly (better to not have it dry all round and then irritate your feet in all new ways). When all the pieces are in place, cut the extra flannel off, and voila!

Who said fashion is pain? Hah!

Shoes1 Shoes2

As you can see, the flannel is not visible when being worn. After the night out, the flannel was pretty worn out, and burning or zigzag stitching the edges may help with that.

Another tip: if your heels are hurting your arch, tape your third and fourth toe together (yes, tape them). This take pressure off of your arch or something like that, and you will be less sore along with blister free!

What a time to be alive.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

There is no happiness in this installment of the Simply Melissy chronicles. There is misfortune in the beginning, dashed hopes in the middle, and, I am sorry to say, no happy ending.

If you choose to continue, you will have the misfortune of reading about a series of very unfortunate events relating to the tragic creation of a pajama shirt. It Reading on, you will come across such atrocities as upside down sewing machines, creepy crawlies, and single fold bias tape.

Though it is my solemn duty to record these events, there is nothing stopping you from closing your browser, and searching happier sections of the internet. If you choose to continue, you will likely be too distraught to do anything but stare at your wall, and sigh.

It began on a lovely summer day, when Melissa, who hates all things relating to the outdoors in the summer months, chose to stay inside and prepare for the coming colder months. She had purchased some yards of a lovely sewing machine print fabric, and looked forward to chilly nights wrapped in flannel.

Too cute for tragedy
Too cute for tragedy

She washed the fabric, hung it to dry, and cut out the pattern pieces. She unfolded the fabric, and began to prepare for cutting. As she carefully positioned the paper pieces onto the fabric, she realized there was no where near enough!

After a shock, she quickly recovered. “A pink yoke!” she said, happily, to no one in particular.

It didn’t end there.

As she struggled to find room for the sleeves, front and back, she realized she would need to flip the fabric. The sewing machines were upside down. Just like her happiness.

Being an eternal optimist, she cut and sewed. Roadblocks continued. After sewing the bias tape, she realized the yoke was somehow both upside and backwards.

So full of hope.
So full of hope.

No matter! She went to the store, bought some more fabric…

She forgot the cardinal rule of right sides together.
She forgot the cardinal rule of right sides together.

At this point, she wanted so scream and sigh, at the same time.

And she would. But not yet.

She ripped the stitches… and some fabric.


She tarried on, until the worst thing that could have possibly happened.

Alas, it is too ghastly to name. I will not terrify you with descriptions of its long, thin body, and hundreds upon hundreds of legs. This thing, this unmentionable, slithered out from beneath her fabric bin, and invaded her personal space.

Oh how she screamed. So loud that her father raced down to dispose of the beast. But it was too late. The damage was done.

There would be no more sewing that evening.

The next day, though scared, she decided to finish the pajama shirt once and for all. As she attached the sleeves, and trimmed some off of the sides.

This was her worst mistake yet.

After every stitch was finished, every seam ironed, she was excited, despite the tragedy that had just transpired.

But alas, it was too small.

And too big.

At the exact same time.


The sleeves, too big, and where they may have been comfort and warmth in them, only ridicule appeared when torso, too, was much, much, too small.

It was folded neatly, after nearly losing her head trying to take it off, and placed atop a dresser.

And there it remains.

Bavarian Princess

faire1 faire2

After about two months of personal anticipation, I finally went to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY wearing the costume I made!

Being the history nerd that I am, I couldn’t just be -generic Renaissance citizen- The original idea was to be a sort of barmaid, since I wanted a vest, but the gold over skirt and silky ribbon on the flower crown to me said “minor Bavarian princess,” just like Catherine II 😉

We’ll just ignore the wild inaccuracy of a German princess hanging out with a Scottish warrior.

Kilt Man and the Princess

I used Simplicity 3809, but mainly just for the vest and shirt. I had my own ideas for the skirt, that ended up taking half the amount of fabric called for, with just as much volume. I actually had a crinoline to go underneath, but it ended up being too uncomfortable because I got a tattoo on my leg the day before.

First, I made two skirts the same size as each other. I sewed the seams together on one side, and left them free on the other so I could get that sweeping motion. I basted vertically in 8″ intervals so I could play with the drape, and ended up sewing over only 4 of them.

My favorite technique!
My favorite technique!

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the color scheme. I know it’s not quite autumn yet, I was certainly dreaming about cooler months in this ensemble. My sister made the flower crown, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I also made the pouch out of scraps from the vest with a braided strap. I had no idea that pouches were such a Renn Faire thing but, well, happy coincidence!

Now, it’s time to start thinking about Halloween… and my sister’s comicon centaur costume. That’ll be something, alright.

Easy Peesy Make Up Bag

I’m always looking for fun and easy projects to make with my students. Of course, we often do bigger, more complicated projects, but it’s also fun to learn some one-sitting sort of projects to make a quick gift, get some practice in, or just as a little confidence booster.

This pattern by So Sew Easy ended up being a quick and easy introduction to zippers for my student, Lisa, who is also a make-up artist.

MakeUpBag2 MakeUpBag3

Lisa did this with a nice velvet on the outside and a black silk on the inside. Paired with a cute zipper, I thought that this bag came out very sophisticated! She ended up making a bunch more by our next class, and I even got to bring one home 🙂 I keep my colored pencils in it because this bag is quite versatile.