Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sewing Therapy: This is More Like it!


It worked and I love how it turned out!

Simplicity 3835 is SO my tried-and-true, go-to pattern from now on. I will alter it by using different sleeves and changing the bottom, all with that gathered neckline. Hey, I might even try pleating the front and putting elastic in the back only. Yea!

No adjustment to the sleeves from the first muslin were necessary, they fit these sleeve caps too. I remember that the original top was considered very loose by some people. Since they had back darts in the dress version of the pattern, I transfered them to the top and it worked great, I could still put it on easily.

The final fabric has been cut and I'm starting on it now. The goal is to wear it this week. Perhaps, sometime in the future, I'll resew the muslin with real stitches and dye it for a casual weekend shirt. Unlike the first muslin, this one is very comfortable to wear. You know you love a pattern when you can't stop posing for pictures!

First Sewing of the New Year

WT Week 2: Tasks above the waist

Another late addition, will I ever catch up?!
  • BREATH: How many of each:
    Piled my tops, finished.

  • BONES: Fixed what:
    None this season, because I hardly have any clothes, let alone damaged ones. I am actually creating my
    Bones as I go along by attempting Sewing Therapy, where I am trying to complete this list of clothing so that I actually have something to wear.

  • HEART: Joyful Colors:
    I want to add some light blue, more white, and some lavender as these colors work really well with my skin. I also would love some light neutrals to wear with the many skirts and pants I have for summer in black and brown. For fun, I like to add some orange, a good avocado-ish green, and maybe some yellow (!) if I can find the right one.

  • HEAD: Supply Lines
    Used to be Ann Taylor Loft, but I haven't been in one since I moved away from Potomac Mills. Then I spent the majority of my money in New York & Company and everything has lasted and still looks great. Target's Mossimo cotton/Lycra t-shirts fit me well and they have some great colors for summer, but I still want long sleeves for layering. But of course my most consistent supply line this time has to be my own line; the ones I will sew myself (see Bones.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

WT: Analyzing the tops

Sorry, I thought I published this last week!

This one is easy. I truly have no tops, that's why my sewing task list has four official ones, two new additions, and hopefully many versions of this pattern. Because it's quick, easy, and adaptable!
  1. Torture Devices. Garments that actively cause misery, due to poor fit, uncomfortable fabric, unflattering colors, difficult maintenance, or an inability to play nicely with other garments.
    This would be one gray sports top, where I almost dislocate my shoulder every time I try to wear it. I don't wear it frequently, but it is most definitely a torture device.
    Otherwise, none and I just saved myself from putting a new one in my wardrobe! My last remaining camel-colored sweater from Ann Taylor Loft is in this category only because it is short-sleeved and has a boat-neck. On its own, it is flattering but looks awkward under a jacket or cardigan.

  2. Velveteen Rabbits. Garments that you have loved to death.My black/grey/white striped Banana Republic cotton/Lycra top. Ten years old and it should go because it has a hole under my right rib, therefore I layer it under other things like the gray vest in #4.
  3. Superstars. Garments that make you look like the goddess you are.One red/black/white floral sleeveless boat-neck top I bought at a Forever 21-ish store in Nashville. I keep meaning to copy this top, it is very flattering.
  4. Stalwart Staples. Garments that you wear frequently; they aren't Superstars but they look pretty good on you and cooperate in playing supporting roles to Superstars.
    Black Lycra mock-turtleneck from Target. Need some in more cheerful colors. A gray vest I created by cutting a beloved Gap sweater that was accidentally shrunk and felted. Both are great
    layering pieces.

  5. Same Time, Next Year. Garments you rarely wear, but when you need them, you really need them.
    Button down shirts and white shirts in general. I have three linen shirts, all from New York & Company. One is brown and two of them are white and I rarely wear them because I stain them easily (too easily) with pen ink all the time. However, I can't wait to check out the Gap Design Edition white shirts on April 15.
  6. Sentimental Journeys. Garments that you don't -- and shouldn't -- wear, but that you keep for nostalgic reasons.
    All of the garments my mother or I made from Vogue designer patterns in the 1980s. I would wear some of them if they still fit.

  7. Mysteries of the Lost Shopping Trip. Garments that you're not sure why you own, or that you bought for some other phase of your life.
    One cherry pink Lycra t-shirt from Target and I don't buy pink. Two snug low-cut t-shirts from Forever 21; great colors but I should have known I'd feel uncomfortable wearing them to work.
    More accurate colors
  8. ??? The tops in the lower right corner, from Papaya and New York & Company, aren't really Superstars but they don't belong in the other categories either. They are attractive, fit well, and I have things to wear with them. But they just don't scream, "Wow!"
Wende, do we have a category for these?

When he leaves...

I just saw this clip via Jezebel, and it made me think.

Please watch clip, then read ahead.

The year was 1986 and I can't remember what I thought about Andie's actions in that scene but I do remember I couldn't stand Blaine with his whiny denial and lie. That was an example of the worst guy to get involved with in high school or anytime. He was weak and had no strength of character. The slightest dissent from his "friend" Steff, and he not only abandoned Andie but didn't have the guts to tell her the truth, even when confronted.

Yeah, yeah, he was in high school so I should give him some slack. Okay, sure.

However, what about John Hughes and his producers, who instead of producing a movie that was good for teenage girls created a movie that shortchanged us? It cheated us from knowing what kind of guys were worth our time. It didn't champion the guy who was there for her before the preppy rich boy showed up and who was still there after the preppy rich boy flaked. It didn't stand up for the boy marching to his own synthesized drum track wearing his thrift store retro togs. You know, the odd "duck" of our story, the supreme Duckie? No, instead PIP dumped all over The Duckman.

Then the movie went and took all the quirk and sass out of the cool, unique Iona character because she fell in love with a boy. No more punk princess, mod chick, or frothy prom dresses and Aqua Net hairdos for her, oh no, "LOVE" made her into a screamingly un-cool yuppie wearing a white suit with shoulder pads.

Just what was this movie trying to say?

What happened to Hughes' Samantha Baker from 16 Candles who didn't have to change a single thing about herself and still won the legendary and dreamy *Jake Ryan*?

After seeing this movie with my friend Eden, I knew I was very different than John Hughes' test audience.* I left thinking that Molly Ringwald's character was the stupidest girl and if she ended up dating Andrew McCarthy's Blaine all through high school and didn't learn anything she might have married him or someone just like him. Which means that she would have had to make all the decisions in the relationship, ending up resenting the hell out of him (or a Blaine substitute) and eventually having had to start all over after their bitter divorce.

So, yeah, PIP? Not my favorite movie.

* Their scores convinced him to switch the ending and have Andie end up with Blaine. I wonder just how those girls fared in the romance department?

Monday, March 24, 2008

ST: Working on a first time muslin

I just attempted my very first muslin using Vogue 8392, view 3. It was extremely frustrating.

Ever since I cut out the cap sleeve pattern piece, I had been suspicious that they would not fit around my upper arm. I have fairly small arms, so this was very worrying. Starting with Pattern Review, I then searched the Internet* looking for people who made this pattern. Strangely, only Meghan mentioned the sleeve being tight. However, she did mention getting stuck in it when she tried to take it off and well, the same thing happened here.

See in this picture how tight, awkward and unattractive the fit is when I lift my arms.

In addition, despite cutting the pattern out one size smaller (but leaving the armholes at the larger size) the bodice was still really baggy in the upper chest area.

Next Steps: I am scrapping this and removing the sleeves. I am now making a muslin for this tried-and-true top, Simplicity 3835, and attaching these sleeves to the bottom of that ones' cap sleeves.

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with an attractive conclusion. By the way, ST= Sewing Therapy, the clothing replenishment portion of my Wardrobe Therapy.

*You should try this, put in your pattern name and number in parenthesis quotes "Vogue ****", and check out the blog link addresses.

First Sewing of the New Year

Saturday, March 22, 2008

WT: Sometimes your mirror IS your friend

I was just watching the weekend Today Show*. They had a segment on what is IN fashion-wise for the spring and summer. This inevitably means they are going to inform you about what is now OUT.

I always hate this, they make it sound like you should now throw away those "un-cool" things and buy all new "cool" things. How many real people live like this? How many can afford to? I don't know about you but I need clothes that work into my wardrobe for more than a few months. I understand that the super trendy things might not work, but then I try to avoid those things in the first place.

The thing that compelled me to write is that they told everyone to hide their wide-leg pants and to get rid of their "skinny" jeans from fall. First, how ridiculous that these two styles were IN in the same season anyways?!

But then, I thought, that's a pretty presumptuous statement. What if last season you found out that one of those options (or a more subtle version of it) was extremely flattering on your body? Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not giving that up for anybody! If you find a trend that works on you, please don't give it up because some magazine or presumed style "expert" (who has never seen you!) tells you to.

So, if something works for you, WORK IT!

*Can I tell you how much I hate their website? I can not find the story to link to.

Friday, March 21, 2008

WT: Time to get some therapy for my wardrobe

This season I am going to participate in Wardrobe Therapy as opposed to Apartment Therapy. Since I am actively trying to sew most of my Spring/Summer wardrobe, working on a clothing-related project will be more conducive for success. Check out the outline of Wardrobe Therapy here, courtesy of Dr. Wende who adapted it from some components in Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan's Apartment Therapy Cure for the home.

  1. Who is your candidate for Best Dressed, real or fictional? Shirley MacLaine in Gambit and What A Way to Go! and Becktress on Flickr.
  2. What is your favorite garment or outfit ever? Two of them: bronze velvet 1930's inspired empire dress and Issey Miyake cocoon coat in brown wool, both made by me when I was 18.
  3. What is your current favorite garment? my black knit dress with gathered neckline, gathered empire waist, full skirt, and 3/4 length gathered sleeves, looks a bit like this one.
  4. What would be your favorite thing to wear, if reality were not an issue? A very 1950's suit consisting of a short fitted one-button jacket with bracelet-length sleeves over a full-skirted sleeveless dress complete with petticoat, high heel mary-janes, color coordinated gloves, and matching scarf to tie around the purse handle or around my hair.
  5. Where would you shop, if money, time, and geography were not issues? Impulse, le train bleu, Mela Purdie, Saltwater, Old House/Tin House (for pants), or Jovavich/Hawk's Fall 2007 collection.
  6. What's your favorite fashion faux pas story to tell, now that the scars have healed? The huge geometric and primary colored earrings I wore in high school, probably with a white men's cut blazer (Miami Vice), ankle socks, and white sneakers. Also had a pair of capri jeans and one purple sweatshirt that I cut up, so if I did wear them all together (so hope I didn't) then I was very early 80's, very much like the "cool" kids on Square Pegs, however no low-grazing, glittery headbands were ever on my head!
  7. What colors do you associate with happiness? Red, bright green, yellow, and orange.
How You Live
  1. If there were a uniform for where you spend most of your time, what would it be? (see below)

  2. If there were a uniform for where you spend your leisure, what would it be? Crisp linen/denim overalls with feminine blouse, basically Jillian's overalls look from Project Runway.
Your Wardrobe
  1. What is the problem with your wardrobe? More boring than classic, too many dark colors or black, not enough fun or interesting pieces
  2. If your wardrobe could speak, what would it say is the problem? The girl needs to start all over again.
  3. What would you like your wardrobe to do more of? Make me feel attractive and comfortable.
  4. What would you like people to say about how you dress? Classy, fun, always interesting (in a good way)
Photo Credit: Bravo.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I just had to share this...

Currently, I'm in love with singer Kate Nash. I love her song structure, her sometimes mundane song subjects, and, most importantly, her extreme cockney accent. Some of my favorite songs from her Made of Bricks album are Foundations and Ma ri el la.

However, I really think it was this unofficial video for The Nicest Thing, that stole my heart. I hope Kate found about this and sent its creator musicANDmuffins some love. It's adorable.

Also check out YouTube for some of the great covers she has done.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fashion from the Past, to the Future, and to the Past again

Note: This was originally published on the 2Modern Design Talk blog.

I was asked what I would like to write about, what kind of things interest me. The first thing that jumped to mind was Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie, Blade Runner. It is a perfect image of the mixture of future and past design, described sometimes as a retrofitted future. Its dark vision of the future year 2019, expertly stays linked to the past.

From the poetic first-person narration, the moral ambivalent hero, to the femme fatale, it has all the earmarks of a classic Film Noir. But those elements also brilliantly shared the screen with life-like human replicants, sky-driven cars, and the threat of acid rain.

From the 1940s look of Sean Young’s Rachael, to Harrison Ford’s mood and speaking manner as Deckard, to the J. F. Sebastian toys, that strangely evoked toys that were already collectibles by the time of the movie’s production.

Last month, Japanese fashion designer Junko Shimada presented her fall/winter 2008/2009 collection, which was greatly influenced by the movie. While thoroughly modern in gold and silver fabrics, it still evoked 1950’s fashions with the ratted bouffant hair, the strong shoulders, and peplum jackets. It also seems that designers Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, Monique Lhuillier, and Balenciaga were influenced by the retro-Sci fi blend of Blade Runner for their fall ready-to-wear collections.

I still have not seen the 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut; therefore, to me this movie is perfect as it is. I think this movie is a great example for the future of design. Truly great design does not go out of style. It just needs to be seen in a new light and appreciated anew.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Now Have Glamour

A friend of mine gave me a subscription to Vogue a few Christmases ago. More recently, she gave me a subscription to Domino (Yay!)

After more than a year, I just recently had the brainstorm to contact Condé Nast and change my Vogue subscription to another one of their mags. Why? Even though I enjoyed some of the clothes in Vogue and Jeffrey Steingarten's food column, I almost always finished reading the magazine feeling tense, hostile, and extremely political.

Why? Those people that the stories are written about and the fashion pages showing the celebrities of New York society, only famous for their money. Wasn't this the first magazine in which I heard of Paris and Nicky Hilton?

The magazine is the farthest from my personality and style that you can get and it's amazing that I received it for more than a year before seeking a solution. I have an article that I cut out months ago that really incensed me and is the ultimate in the mags offenses. I will post some of it once I find it again.

So because this is fun sick day, I am going to sit back and read the March and April issues of my replacement Glamours that arrived today, yes both of them on the same day!

I'll let you know if they make me angry. Then we will know if it's the magazine content or me.

Yay, sick day!

Yes, I'm at home sick. However, it's not one of those "so sick I can only sleep" kind of sick days. My sinuses are acting up, meaning hot tea, spicy foods, tissues, and avoiding laying down because of congestion.

So I've taken advantage by dropping my car off at the mechanics (1 block away) because I have a nail in my tire. Well, I actually knew this three weeks ago, but since I could still fill it with air and it was a pretty slow leak, I've been driving it since. So, good that I took a sick day.

I get to catch up with the blogs, read magazines, watch "Once", and hopefully do my taxes!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Be Prepared...

Just so you don't miss out this year, remember to go to the official Girl Scout Cookies Finder and find out where in your town or city you can get that sweet cookie fix.

Go there, and don't say I never do anything nice for ya'.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Quick Check-in

Sorry I don't have time for a real post, but this is what's going on.
  • Have midterms this week.
  • Was interviewed by a local home magazine about my other blog, SHELTER.
  • Might become a weekly correspondent for a larger home decor blog.
  • Loving my job at the Archives and finding some incredible out-of-print architecture books there. (I will write about them later at SHELTER.)
  • Purging clothes from my wardrobe that leave me feeling less than happy. I will now need to replenish. ; )
  • Might be buying the quilt and sham set below from Target and use my Xmas gift card.

  • Or perhaps one of these bedside lamps from Target's nursery line.