Friday, March 22, 2013

Fashion In Film: Brave (2012)

Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly
Costume Design: Connie Chung

Two of my loves together: Sewing + Animation

I first wrote about it here regarding the movie Coraline and just recently read this fascinating article from the blog Clothes On Film about how the costumes of Pixar's Brave were created using computer simulation and their industry's form of "sewing".

Connie Chung, Simulation Supervisor on Brave:

"Basically, at Pixar, what we do is model the garments in 3D and then we have a proprietary software we use to essentially sew them all together. {...} There are sometimes features like the frills on Merida’s dress or her sleeves; we wanted to use the traditional techniques of gathering so we still “sewed” them on."

Yes, and to be aware of those gathering techniques, the studio actually hired digital tailoring artists who have previous experience in traditional costume design and dress making or have taken sewing classes in order to know how fabric weighs and drapes. Most definitely a skill that would be invaluable when modeling with wool tartans I expect.

Step 1. Costume design sketch

Step 2. Digital "sewing" pattern for Merida's dress!

Step 3. Garment fully realized.
Also related and equally as fascinating is this story on Babble about the clothing process and this article from FX Guide on rendering the ferociously curly hair of Merida, the lead character and the realistic fur of the animals in the film.

Images: Courtesy of Disney Pixar

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Valentino, I Love These Shoes!

FYI: TLo posted about these yesterday and their readers hated them with a passion! So, I guess I am a very unique person with an acquired taste, but I think these are gorgeous! What do you think?

Valentino Fall 2013 RTW


Yes, the clothes were beautiful and being an Art History major, I appreciated the influence of the Dutch Masters on the necklines and tapestry prints chosen for the dresses; however, I really loved the gorgeous shoes that walked down that runway. Various styles and colors but all with a common denominator, the upper vamps and heels were backed with velvet which from the front resembled spats from yesteryear.

The description from states:  "...trompe l’oeil Mary Janes (the uppers filled in with blush-colored velvet)..."

Vogue got it wrong as there were no Mary Janes, instead there were T-straps and a few lace-ups fashioned with both chunky and stiletto heels. In addition, all of them had cut-out sides; a unique take on the D'Orsay pump that traditionally reveals the arch of the foot while covering the toes and heel.


I love how the chunky white ones with the white pants above make me think of Courrèges boots from the 60s. So, I don't know about the "bitter kittens" at T & Lo but I would definitely wear these, especially the black patent leather lace-ups.

P.S. Love these velvet Byzantine-heeled ankle-straps too! Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Google Reader...Ugh And Oy Vey

Okay, I have not made up my mind on what to do about Google Reader’s eminent death. I’ve been sitting back and learning about others’ experiences to form my opinion. Today, I came across an article listing some alternatives, some I've never heard of and thought maybe it would be helpful to others.

From 12 Google Reader Alternatives

The most interesting thing on there is Bloglines. Yes, remember Bloglines?! I moved to Google Reader when they were closing down. Well, now it seems they're back. Weird right?

Within the list I noticed that some readers are only available on mobile devices so those and the ones that only work on Macs are out for me. I also would need one that can still be accessed on Windows because that is what's at work. Do you have any suggestions that fit that criteria?

Update: I choose Bloglovin'!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jazz Era Evening Dress - Style 2488

One of my pre-blog makes:

Style 2488 (OOP)
I already wrote about my love of early 1900-era fashion as seen in productions like House of Elliot and Wings of the Dove, particularly the draped and luxurious fashions from 1917 to 1920. In 1994, I was lucky to find this pattern produced by Style patterns*. With a skirt shape that is broad and gathered at the hip and narrow at the hem it is almost a perfect match, the only difference is the higher waist.

1917 to 1919 fashion images

I made this dress from bronze velour and it became my go-to frock for company holiday parties. Worn with my chocolate brown ankle strap suede heels, a topaz and gold jewelry set, and topped with my chocolate brown Issey Miyake coat, it was the complete package!

The Style pattern is also closely related to the Folkwear Edwardian Afternoon Tea Dress #265 pattern. Here are its front and back views which are almost the same as Style 2488 except that their drape is lower on the body and is instead attached at the empire waist on mine.

Unfortunately, when trying on the dress for these pictures I realized the back vent was torn at the bottom and I could barely take a step in it. I'm sure it was difficult to walk in before (see ripped vent) but I also think that my hips being 5.5 inches larger has a lot to do with it. I am amazed that I could even get it on since I made the dress in size 10 in the 1990s and now according to the pattern measurements would have to make it in a size 16. That's a difference of three sizes, I must have been swimming in this!

I wish I could get a full-length picture but my photos are limited by the size of my photography studio, aka bedroom and how far away I can get the tripod and still see the backdrop unhindered.

* Style patterns, a division of the Simplicity Pattern Company that went out of business in the late 1990s.

Illustrations: Good Housekeeping issues from 1917-19

Monday, March 04, 2013

Fleece Sleep Set - Kwik Sew 2529

Pattern: Kwik Sew 2529 (OOP) c.

Pattern Description: Close fitting tank top and paneled elastic waisted boxer brief shorts. Designed by Kwik Sew founder Kerstin Martensson.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes: (XS-S-M-L-XL) I graded up to a small and a medium from my original cut pattern. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, exactly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very simple.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? A great thing about this pattern is that it only takes 1 3/8 yard for the tank and shorts set even when made in the largest size.
I liked the instructions for sewing the seams with a zigzag stitch as it allowed for some stretch in the fleece and also looked decorative.

The instructions were excellent and produced a quality looking garment from the elastic waist treatment to the decorative neck and armscye finishing. It was also something interesting to make with polar fleece.

Fabric Used: Hancock Fabrics Glacier fleece in Teal and Light Blue on sale for $1.97 per yard at Hancock Fabrics and 1" wide Dritz no-roll elastic.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The pattern states that it is for stretch knits only (25% stretch); however, I found that fleece with some give to it works fine

I cut into this pattern the first time I used it so I was left with a size too small in both pieces. Conveniently, this Kwik Sew pattern used different colors to mark their sizes which I could refer to and using the few visible lines of the next larger size I figured out how much I needed to grade each piece on my black and white copies. The only thing I had to change design-wise was the front waistline was far too high! They needed to look more like vintage control briefs, even as unattractive a model as that sounds. I think I achieved that goal.
As you can see, I did not have enough of one color to make matching shorts so these are two-tone with the darker blue color running down the middle. I thought I followed the layout but the stretch turned out going the wrong way. Therefore, it is not as comfortable as I thought it would be being one size larger.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. This is my second time making these two items and I have made three sleep shirts from this pattern before. The pattern is extremely* hard to find, but it is worth it if you can find a copy.

Conclusion: I love this sleep set. It's very comfortable and cozy while looking quite cute and sassy, no?

The first set:

Gusset detail
* I have been looking for another copy of this pattern for a while in order to regain the larger sizes in the pattern since I didn't trace back then. I found one place on eBay listing it for $27. Ha! No chance.

Friday, March 01, 2013

March 2013 Sewing Update

Isn't it cute?
It IS cute. However, I will no longer work by these cute little wardrobe layouts because they just stress me out. My first three completed projects this year were not on any of them.

I do want to finish all those past projects but I'm more excited to complete new ones as they occur to me. In fact, I do have my third project finished and you might see it this weekend, if the photos work out. Just like every other blogger, it seems there is no decent natural light in my home!

My next few projects are made from newer stash fabric; leftovers scraps from homemade holiday gifts, a Girl Charlee knit, and some wool from the VA/DC/MD blogger swap. I just feel more motivated getting these done now, as opposed to somewhere down my list, which usually means a year or more from now (see 4-year old Colette Oolong project). I do however, hope to sew up another (hopefully the last) Moss skirt muslin this weekend since it would coordinate with three of these "spontaneous" projects.

All I can say, is I will try and we will see.

Have a great weekend, and I hope you get some quality sewing in!