Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(Echo chamber)

Hello there. I feel like I hear one giant echo. Probably because I do this mostly for myself. I don't have any followers, and really don't know how to go about getting any. Ah well, it is what it is. This blog is to hold myself accountable, and maybe, just maybe one day have a group of virtual sewing buddies who will learn, share and experiment with me.

So guess what??!! I finished my first piece! Except that it's obviously GOLD LAME instead of brightly colored and festively colored. Oh well, Gold is a color.
I decided upon the exposed black zipper, which I'm so glad I chose. I really like the modern look with the shiny, shiny (did I mention shiny?) gold fabric.

I also detoured from the course and completed this dress.

Which is actually this dress, with sleeves added.
I think I have at least 3 variations of this dress. Different hems, different sleeves. It's just such a quick, easy comfortable dress! Add a belt or a jacket/sweater and you're good to go!
B5211 with bubble sleeves
And, the dress isn't completed completed. I still need to hem the sleeves, and put binding on the neckline, and I can't decide if I want to add a narrow sequins trim to the seam line of the contrast fabric, but I'm pretty much done. The sleeve hem and binding should only take about 15 minutes, and to trim, or not to trim... Still up for debate. [And it needs to be pressed properly.]

Next up is the mixed media raglan sweater. I'm a bit behind because I was out of town visiting with my family over the weekend, and didn't get to work on any sewing projects. And I know I was thinking more sweater-ish materials, but I'm kinda loving the idea of leather and sweat-shirt. Thoughts?
Love the look on both of these ladies. Hate Alicia Keys white turtleneck under the cute top. Love J. Huds entire look, though I wish they woulda took a steamer to that top. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The case of bad planning

The peplum top, which I've recently become re-obsessed with (it was a small obsession over the summer, but have re-lodged it's flouncy image in my head lately) is almost complete. If you recall, this garment is one of my winter essential items. You know - something for my closet that I love. However, my winter essential item was actually a fun colorful peplum top. And somehow it turned into a gold lame peplum top. Is that OK?

I think so. I did reserve the right to change my mind. Right? Right.

YOU: How did fun, colorful turn into gold lame?
ME: Well, after drafting the pattern, I noticed a piece of gold lame laying around that I was 50/50 about not being interested in. 50% of me said that I would NEVER want a gold lame shirt, because that was just TOO much. the other 50% of me was secretly in love with the idea of a gold lame top. And the fit of the top was niiiice. So I lined it, and now I have a new gold lame peplum top.

I'm loving this, with the exception of two things.
1. This isn't exactly colorful. Sure, I'm kinda (currently) obsessed with gold, but I really need the colorful top to work with the rest of my closet and
2. Because of poor planning on my part - this was after-all only suppose to be a muslin, not a working garment, I didn't think out fully how this garment should be closed.

Now I'm wrestling with how I should close this. My first instinct is a black exposed zipper. But I've done that. Not sure if I love that idea since I've done it before. AND, the finished dimension of this is 26.5" L. I'd have to search out a 26.5" zipper. I'm sure I could find it if I looked hard enough, but again, I don't really love the idea of the exposed back zipper.

Maybe a clean finished back? An invisible zip through the bodice? Clean finish the peplum? That might work.
Gotta get a 16" invisible zipper and this one is finished.

In the meantime, I need to search for colorful in my fabric stash (or do I?).
As an aside, this will probably a fail. I'm not really a "colorful" girl. Though I want to be.

Will this work? Kinda colorful? Mostly purple-ish. It could be really pretty for my mixed media raglan sweater though.

OK. Project #1, almost done. On to project #2 until I have notions to finish #1.

(This whole "winter essentials project" may have been a case of bad planning. Wrong fabric, rushed projects. Unfinished patterns, no notions. Using this as a learning lesson.)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Top Ten Friday

Two of my favorite things are Beyonce, and countdown shows. Well, Beyonce isn't a thing, but you know what I mean. :)
Both are run, and exciting and leave me anticipating what's next! 
And though I'm a LOT less exciting than a countdown show or Beyonce, I think it will be fun to count down to the top ten things on my mind lately.

It's a must. Water is possibly the most boring of beverages. I literally will be sitting at work so thirsty, I can barely swallow. I force myself to drink water. Maybe I should start making a game of it in order to get my 64 oz in per day.

Unfortunately for me, my favorite beverage is champagne. It doesn't even have to be expensive. I never have to force myself to drink champagne. Maybe I should start drinking water out of a champagne glass.

My portfolio is completely out of date. I need to update it to include garments, and jewelry. I need to research professional portfolios to see what they really look like, and not what I think they look like. I took a portfolio development class while in school, so I have a strong idea, but I have a portfolio that includes 3 very specific types of items: garment, jewelry, and leather goods. I'd love ideas of how to divide these up in a professional  attractive, way.

This year, I want to eat better, and learn how to prepare meals that are restaurant quality. I'm a pretty good cook, but I want to experiment with various techniques, and flavors. 


I stumbled across this great little app - Stylish Girl. It's a closet maintenance app. I'm in love. It works great on my HTC Amaze.


In persual of continuous learning, I'm always looking for new ways to do things. I found this great tutorial on bindings. French couture bias binding with a bit of an American swing. (Couture and American in the same sentence. Yeah, an oxymoron.)

Click here for the French/American binding tutorial
This is a pretty good tutorial for binding the neck edge of a knit garment

I forgot just how much I love Polyvore. It's so fun to create collages, and look through pretty clothing.


Gold Lame

L'Agence silk maxi dress, $835 / A|Wear sleeveless dress, $44 / Vionnet wrap top / STEFFEN SCHRAUT gold silk blouse / Oasis party shirt, $19 / Etro gold coat, $2,245 / Miss Selfridge / Jean Paul Gaultier / Ted Baker / Enza Costa metallic pleated skirt, $425 / J Brand mid rise jeans, $480 / Temperley London , $865 / Hervé Léger bandage skirt / Jimmy Choo peep toe heels, $780 / Rose gold sandals, $955 / Rebecca Minkoff / Juicy Couture / Yellow gold jewelry, $63 / Oasis tear drop earrings, $13 / Alexis Bittar yellow gold jewelry / Noir Jewelry , $165 / Bonnie Star yellow gold bracelet / Giuseppe Zanotti / River Island metal ring, $16 / Noir Jewelry stud earrings, $99 / Hervé Van Der Straeten cuff bracelet / Dorothy Perkins two tone jewelry / H&M , $6.40

'Nuff said.



Mary Katrantzou off the shoulder dress, $3,880 / Hakaan bordeaux dress / Julien Macdonald peplum dress / Lipsy peplum dress, $52 / Lipsy , $96 / Alexander McQueen black peplum shirt / Bardot peplum top, $42 / Miu Miu peplum top, $360 / Miss Selfridge / Haider Ackermann , $1,890 / Burberry trench coat / Haider Ackermann wool blazer, $1,195 / Brick Boulevard 11.25 in. x 12 in. Stone and Stainless Mosaic Wall...

I went a little collage crazy.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hue's my new best friend.

At one point, I was in the process of making a peplum dress, and accidentally cut the fabric for one panel (I didn't realize during my initial cut that particular panel had a small hole/snag) the wrong direction. All I could see each and every time I looked at this dress was this glaring color variation.

Can you see the color variation in the right skirt panel? I promise it's not just a shadow!

My friend thought I was crazy. I couldn't deal with it. I ended up lopping off the skirt portion of the dress and turning this into a cropped top.
Sorry for the crappy cell phone picture.

I added the red zipper for a little bit of fun. And didn't iron the back because I suck.

Are you asking yourself what is the point, and why am I even mentioning this?

I stumbled across the coolest challenge today. Actually, I stumbled across another great sewing/craft/style/fashion/diy/amazingness blog Living on pins and needles and she lead me to this FANTASTIC color challenge. The FM100 Hue Test to be exact.

Imaging my surprise and DELIGHT when the first time I took the test and scored a 0!
*Insert confused looking expression here.*
I know it seems like I would want to get a 100, or something closer to what is considered to be PERFECT! But in this case, 0 = PERFECTION!
Hence the uncanny ability to immediately see color variation!
I tried it again later this evening and got a 3. :(
But the worst you can get is a 1520. [*Insert blank stare.*]
Hubby took the same test and got a 103/1520. Not bad at all. But a 0 - 3 is much better. :)

It's because I feel completely vindicated about all the times I argued with friends/family/co-workers/sales associates about matching the color of X and Y. People have looked at me side-eyed when I told them that I could see the differences. BUT I COULD! And now I have proof.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Missing Winter Essentials

Although I have a TON of clothing, I never have anything to wear. I'm sure many of you out there  have that very same problem! I've come to believe that the problem isn't that I don't have anything to wear (obviously), it's that I don't have anything that I (currently) love to wear.

A problem stated, is a problem solved! Right? I think so.

To solve my problem, I'm going to spend the next three months creating clothing that I love. That fit me fabulously. That are specifically for cold weather. Come April, I'll begin doing the same for warm weather.

Because I have the tendency to shift my focus (often) when it comes to projects, I've decided to create a plan so that I can stay focused and actually do what I set out to do. BUT, in honoring my creative sporadic ness, I've decided that I can always add fluff projects in the mix (the occasional pencil skirt, or quick dress, tee, etc.) but the remaining projects MUST be done and all before the final deadline. Or I fail.

A floaty chiffon dress. Not necessarily this silhouette, but floaty. And chiffon. I think I already mentioned that. 

A very proper and ladylike dress, with random /asymmetrical leather detail in a similar hue. 
A fun, colorful, peplum top.
A raglan sleeve, mixed material "sweater" 

A hip length slouchy velour blazer with structured shoulders. 

A colorful blazer. (And probably a colorful button up to go under it.) 


January 19th; Peplum top. Pattern - my own.
January 26th; Raglan sleeved mixed material "sweater"
February 16th; Slouchy Velour Blazer. This one? Maybe?
February 23rd;  Pretty dress with asymmetrical leather detail. NOT BLACK (as is my usual go to). Probably this pattern from Burda.
March 9th; Colorful blazer. Pattern - undetermined.
March 30th; Floaty chiffon dress. Probably Vogue 8827.

Also! I reserve the right to make any changes, as long as these get made. :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy Feet

This new year, one thing that I keep thinking about is continuous learning.  While I have a BFA in fashion design, I realize how much it is that I really don't know... Or how much I take for granted that I do know, and because of that little piece of knowledge, I fear trying different things.

Perfect example. At school, I was instructed on how to use an industrial sewing machine. We had a straight stitch foot, and a zipper foot. Those were the only two feet that I used. I was already familiar with home sewing, and my home sewing machine (at that time an old Singer of my mom's) had a straight stitch foot.
Straight Stitch Foot

There were other feet, but I never even thought about using them. I didn't try them, because I figured, what's the point? At school, I can do any and everything I need to do without any fancy feet, why bother?

Well, the reason to bother is because there are so many wonderful feet that can help you do so many wondrous things! I came to this realization when I re-stumbled across an old box of feet that I had been given from my grandmothers, and mother. These amazing, mini torture device looking things had been sitting amongst my sewing items for years, never to be used because I didn't realize what they could do.
This things looks terrifying!
Torture device.

I honestly also didn't realize that I could use them with my modern low shank machine. See, all my feet snapped on to this little gadget, and I never realized that the little gadget was removable. Once I realized that my machine was a true low shank machine, I got busy with my feet!
Don't get me wrong - all of my feet didn't fit, some were for a high shank machine, but the ones that work, I sure tried out. And then I started Googling. And then my beloved local Hancock was going out of business, so I bought some of the feet I had researched. 

My favorite foot so far has been the walking foot
This little contraption events out the differential feed of your sewing machine so you're able to match things up exactly. I was always so frustrated that no matter how perfectly I pinned items my seams were consistently about 1/8" off. With this sucker it just doesn't happen. Happy happy.