Saturday, November 29, 2008

The work continues

The shirt is going great. It actually fits! Going with a 10 instead of a 12 was definitely the way to go. I have to hand sew the collar to the shirt, insert the sleeves, hem the bottom and make buttonholes, but otherwise, I have a good idea that it will look good and fit well.

Here are inspiration pics from around the blogs of other talented sewer versions of Simplicity 4077, here, here, here, and a another view from the pattern here and here. If this really works out, I might have my first TNT shirt pattern. What a relief that would be.

Now I'm going to Jo-Ann's and Hancock Fabrics to look at possible buttons to finish this up. I think I can afford some buttons.

Note: Sorry, I can't seem to get any decent pictures taken.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Guess what I'm doing again...

I actually did some sewing these last two weeks. Of course, again, not as much as I planned.

I have three pairs of pants (new ones from a year or so ago!) that haven't been worn because they needed to be hemmed. Hopefully, I will get this done soon. Pants and skirts I already have; tops and sweaters I need, so I had never made these alterations a priority since I didn't have enough stuff to wear on top.

So the two things I already started working on were tops. One was this shirt, which I had to totally re-fit and try something different with. I still need to redo the neck facing and hem the bottom at a different length. I really wish I had made a muslin before I started on this one. However, I am planning on making a muslin for the dress version because I would love to make a few of that type of sheath dress.

View D

The other top is this pattern, Simplicity 4077. I took a chance, measured the flat pattern, checked the pattern's listed wearing ease, and then cut out a smaller size than I normally would have. Hopefully I won't have the fitting nightmare I had with the other shirt above. Once I have pictures, I'll be sure to show you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What does this say about the USA?

Seen in the November issue of Men's Vogue (read because Daniel Craig was on the cover!)

Designer Michael Bierut's was commissioned by the magazine to create a new USA pin. His goal was to create a new "politically neutral" pin to show national pride but without the controversy of flag pins. However, I feel this is probably even more controversial. What do you think?

What do you see when you look at that?


Is that national pride or just glorification of avarice and a lack of self-awareness? Or at the least, a very different message that we sent the other countries of the world with the election of our next President?

In the article, they mentioned that his first idea was to attach pin backs to U.S. minted pennies, so perhaps the message was intentional?

If you wish to purchase the pin, you better hurry! Only five thousand of Bierut's pins were put on sale for $10 each. The proceeds benefit an admirable organization called Puppies Behind Bars, that trains inmates to raise puppies to become service dogs for the disabled (including Iraq War veterans) and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.

Photo: Richard Pierce

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mad Men: Rachel and her closet

Rachel Menken

Rachel is a woman working in a man's world on a completely different level than Joan or Peggy. She's at the top and determined to stay there, well, at least until she "falls in love." But in the mean time, in no way does that mean she sacrifices the fact that she is an extremely attractive woman. Her brains and beauty come as a package deal. That was clear to me the moment I saw her in her purple Chanel suit and double-strand of pearls. No sex-less gray suit and glasses for her.

The Mai Tai dress with matching stole, lipstick, and nail polish. I wonder if Menken's has an in-store beauty parlor? At this point she was under the impression that Don was single.

It's a far cry from the outfit Rachel chose to wear when she greeted Don for a tour of her empire, a few episodes earlier. I was pretty disappointed with this outfit because it caused her to blend in with the surroundings. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was shot through with metallic (maybe Lurex?) gold threads. It caught the light every now and then and looked expensive.

How about that extremely bold color and that hat? What else could scream "I am a woman" louder than that ensemble? Fortunately, it also happens to be what she is wearing when she bumps into Don, now that she knows he is married. Therefore, you can say it also works as a "Look, lust, but don't touch" outfit.

The "Chanel" woman in you can be found on vintage pattern sites with search terms like JackieO and wiggledress.

Vogue 5766, Advance 9516, Vogue 5102, Vogue 4206, and
Vogue 5548 (just the last look)

Friday, November 21, 2008

This necklace is a wrap

Every time I see a wrapped-bead necklace, I'm intrigued. I first saw one a few years ago, then again on Banana Republic's website, then there was a free pattern from Amy Butler (see below), and now tutorials to make them can be found all over the web.
Here are four tutorials I found that approximate the look:
A. A video tutorial shown on Martha using small wooden balls.
B. Amy Butler offers a free "Fabric Necklace" pattern in a .pdf here.
C: This method eliminates the tying action and uses beads on the outside of the fabric too.
D. Two versions, here and here, use several different fabric prints and Styrofoam or wooden balls to construct separate beads that look somewhat similar to a necklace seen in fashion magazines last year.

Photos: The Museum Shop for the Art Institute of Chicago, Marc Jacob for Louis Vuitton.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Gift Idea!

I just saw this on The Sale Rack. Excellent gift idea for the holidays: Give folks what they are cutting back on!

In this economic upheaval, people are choosing to cut back on luxury and not-so luxury items. Why not help them out? What could be sweeter?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fashion In Film: From Penelope to Alice...

Penelope (2006)
Director: Mark Palansky
Christina Ricci, James McAvoy
Costume Design: Jill Taylor

Between frequent viewings of Mad Men from Netflix, I ordered Penelope to view. I heard about the movie from Anne (in Reno) and the costumes from the fabled needle. It seems that even though the film enlisted at least 6 incredible British actors for the film, only about half used their own accents. In addition, even though the film was filmed in England I'm not sure if it was supposed to "be" England because the family at the center of the film were American. (However, Richard E. Grant, who plays the father is really a Brit.) Even lovely Scotsman James McAvoy was playing an American!

My rule is never make anyone Scottish, Irish, or Welsh fake an American accent! I mean, what a waste! I love "Kevin Walker" played by Matthew Rhys on Brothers and Sisters but once I heard he was Welsh all I wanted to hear was his real voice speaking the lines. Check out U.S. network TV and you will be shocked how many so-called American characters are played by people from the four countries above or Australia.

I had built myself up to see the fashion in Penelope. However, though the clothes were incredible (well, actually, only the ones on Christina Ricci) the movie wouldn't really let you see them. Strange angles, quick shots, and dark lighting were the culprits. Also a lot of the incredible set design was obscured too. Of the film as a whole...well, it had the whiff of a contender. As in, it "coulda been a contendah!" Too many things were shorthanded, glossed over, or really didn't make sense. If you've seen it, don't you think the curse/prophesy was intentionally misquoted at the beginning? And didn't it seem that Penelope's father already loved (or at least accepted and liked) her for who she was. Which, you know, would have...should have...counted for something.

My biggest pet peeve...Christina was TOTALLY TOO CUTE even with that pig nose. Any guy who has a chance to marry an adorable heiress who is supposed to lose the pig nose once she marries and runs away, is just a big idiot. Now if we had really been given a good look at her pig ears (seen only when she's a baby in a flashback) maybe? But as she looked in the film. Puh leese.

So that's my thoughts on Penelope, unfortunately I don't have much to say on the clothes because I found it too hard to find pictures of the outfits that I liked. I even tried to photograph them while I was watching the DVD. But overall, if you like (or LOVE) Anthropologie, then you will like/love the clothes in the movie. If anything, it should inspire you to buy a few basic pieces like your favorite shoes and your winter coat in great bold colors (like purple or green) and then throw on a truly eye-catching scarf.

To see the fabulous sets for the movie check here on Apartment Therapy.

Latest movie costume news!

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Director: Tim Burton
Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp
Costume Design: Colleen Atwood

I just saw a few shots from the next Tim Burton film and I have to say I'm really excited. It's Alice in Wonderland, folks! And Bonus, it has at least one of my favorite sexy Brits in it...Alan Rickman! However, it's not to be done until 2010, so it will be a long wait.

Check out this drool-worthy costume on Alice - the coat, vest, shirt, the skirt made of rows of enormous periwinkle RIC-RAC (!), and precious period boots.

See this detail of the coat's exposed seam detail; the seams are pinked, yes pinked! Also note the shirt's striped cuffs on the otherwise sheer sleeves. Can I have it all, please?!

The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes (a great source of info*) doesn't even have official confirmation on the designer but strongly believes that it is frequent Burton collaborator, Colleen Atwood, due to the similarity to costumes from the Lemony Snicket film she worked on.

Images:, INFDaily
, Tim Burton Collective News

* If you ever want to recreate a movie costume, this is THE site to check out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you for the virtual hugs, I really appreciate the support.

Well, I sadly realized I wasn't in shock...I just wasn't surprised by the situation. The last two years have been bad in terms of forward momentum (none) and achieving goals (slow-going). Just as I think I'm almost done with school - BAMM! - two more classes.

Which really is more of a problem than it seems. I already knew I would have to take another loan to pay for the Spring semester but now I have to add the cost of three more classes to that amount. I also have learned that two classes at a time with a full-time job is extremely difficult and there's no way I could do three. My original plan was to do two in the Spring. My college has a summer semester where all the classes are at a set time 5 days a week in 4 to 5 week sessions. Hey, do other colleges do this? The only time I was able to participate in this system was when I was either unemployed or two years ago when an employer allowed me to cut my hours down to 35 per week. I think that is the only way I could even attempt to do this again. However, this time it would be all summer long in order to fit three classes and
I have a job which barely allows me to pay my bills each month as it is.

So that's my dilemma. I need to work to pay for them but I need less work to study for them or to even attend them. So, I'm polishing up the resume (alongside all the newly laid-off people in my town.) Woo hoo, this is going to be fun.

Can you sense how much I want this to be over?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cuddle-up sweater weather

What does J. Crew have against chunky sweaters? A few years ago, I used to look forward to their February sales in order to stock up on discounted quality cotton and wool sweaters, sometimes with unique sweater details.
I have a lavender wide-cowled neck one, a cream "fisherman"-like cabled crew neck with long fold-back cuffs, and a green directional rib v-neck with belled sleeves, basically Anthropologie-like shapes without the embellished do-dads. While I appreciate the sleekness of their assortment of cashmere with its slimmer look, but maybe it's just me, but I truly like the feeling of being encircled/swaddled in a comfy sweater. I miss those types. The only suitable substitutes I've found are examples from Sundance Catalog, L.L. Bean, and such.

These sweaters may not be the height in high fashion design but as long as they feel good, come in unique and flattering colors and fit well, showing off the figure, one can be happy.

However, I still miss having uniquely designed sweaters at these price points (during clearance) so
come on J. Crew, I dare you to entice me back. In fact, I double-dare ya!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ciao for now...

Due to outside complications and the fact that I am having a doozy of an allergy attack (can't concentrate, have no energy) blogging at An Examined Life will be taking at least a week's rest. I hope it doesn't take much longer but I need to handle a few things (health, school, job, maybe an additional job(?) etc.)

If you miss me, then check out my blog roll. You'll never be bored with those folks. See you soon!

A new day has come (finally!)

I can now believe that some dreams do come true and that anything is possible!

Imagine that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Very Peggy Olson

I just came across this pattern and it immediately made me think of my favorite Mad Woman.

This pattern, Butterick 8453 is available at Lanetz Living right now! If you have the amazing 31" bust measurement needed for this pattern, you better snatch it up.