Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fun with Stripes

As you all know I have been in school. My last day was the 17th, and I am just now getting around to posting. (Sorry.) My problem was, when I was done with my draping final, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of my outfit on the dress form at school. I was hoping to get a hold of a friend who I think might fit into it, but alas, she could not be reached. So I did the ol' retail trick and pinned this thing onto my mannequin which is far smaller than the dress form I was working with all semester. So here it is:

I will say that stripes are very fun to play with. And I enjoy the challenge of matching them all up, which I think I did a pretty good job of.

Check out the button closure in the back. Yeah, that's right, even the buttons match the direction of the stripes.

I wanted the buttons to fall exactly on center back, but I also wanted the stripes to meet at a perfect matching angle at center back. That won't happen if you just extend the button hole side and overlap the other. So I created a separate button extension that matched the stripes of the opposite side, and I kept parts of the seam open for the button to go in. My teacher told me this little trick, so thank you Mrs. Marx!

And I like to make the inside of my creations as pretty as the outside, so I took some time and used Hong Kong finishes on the seams of the skirt, and I used some lace hem tape.

There are of course, some imperfections that I must fix before the school's fashion show, which will be sometime in June 2009. First of all the lining is a little tight on the peplum and it is causing the striped fabric to lay weird, and I will cover the belt buckle, I just didn't have time to so before the project was due.

So that's it. Too bad it doesn't fit me. Maybe someone will like it enough to buy it at the fashion show. Well see in a few months.

I am going to be starting a lot of projects soon, like 6 skirts for 6 girls who are doing a swing dance performance on New Year's Eve, some simple dresses for work, so I can get rid of my jeans, reupholstering a chair, and finally a couple of suits for my friend and boyfriend. That should give me enough posting material until summer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hooves Part I

I've been noticing a lot of women wearing really really long pants. Too long. I see them everywhere, the grocery store, school, art shows. I don't know whose fault is is, but there must be someone to blame for this disgusting look. I'll put partial blame on J-Lo. Although, I am sure she isn't the only celebrity sporting hooves, she was just in the first page of google images, so I went with it.

I am guessing that under those hems she has some--possibly cute, and definitely expensive--shoes, so why hide them? She's gotta have a full length mirror and a tailor, right? Because J, you look like a two-legged centaur.

Get your pants fixed. You're encouraging other ladies to wear this, and then I have to see it, and it makes we want to puke all over the place.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Coat, New Shoes, New Apartment

I went to Burlington Coat Factory yesterday in search of some slippers, and I found this. Well, Mikey found it. It was missing that button when I bought it, a simple fix, and 10% off.

I also found these:

And we moved into a new apartment. More space, free street parking, a little farther from downtown. Ahh, it is nice, but we still have some unpacking to do, as you can see. . .

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oh yeah

I mentioned last week that I was going to make an easy skirt for Mikey's
art show, and well, I did. Here it is:

And here is the fabric up-close:

It looks vintage, but it's not. I happened upon this at Joann's, in their red tag section, meaning there was only about a yard left. The pattern was so great that I had to buy it. Luckily, there was just enough for a skirt, and I still have a little left over so I am going to make a white shirt with the collar and cuffs in this fabric for a more complete outfit (someday).

Making was fun, but now back to school work. . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Lately, I've been into peplums. They can be done really wrong though, but when they are done right, they look very nice. My favorite part about them is they look really good with a belt, and I love belts. Simple belts of course, no more than 1 1/2" wide, no huge designer buckles, and no studs or rhinestones. That can be another post altogether, but you get the idea.

Some good ones:

I don't like this one:

I hate this entire blouse. Too many ruffles! And I don't like that little bit of visible belly either. I don't like the midriff, or even a little snapshot of it. I don't mind a little skin--short skirts, short shorts, d├ęcolletage, backless dresses--sure, but the midriff, it just isn't classy.

I have a design idea for a peplum suit. Actually, I have a really ambitious goal involving two men's suits, one for each of my roommates, and two women's suits, one I described here, and the peplum, and possibly presenting them as a line in the fashion show at Mesa College, but we'll see.

I'm not currently working on any projects; too much homework. If I have time, I might make an easy skirt for Mikey's art show coming up on Saturday:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Perfect Shoe

I haven't exercised for quite some time. I think its been about 6 months, maybe more. So lately I've been feeling like a turd. I've been debating for about a week if I should get a gym membership, because there is no exercise I like more than swimming, and a gym membership is my only way of gaining regular access to a pool. All this debating was done whilst I waited to get paid, but now that I've got my paycheck, I'm thinking I don't want to pay a start up fee, the first and last month fees. Half my paycheck would be gone. (Ok, half is an exaggeration, but, still its a lot of money.) Then I would have to make the inconvenient drive to the nearest 24hour fitness with a pool, drive back home smelling of chlorine--I'd rather not shower there, because then I would have to bring soap, and another towel, and clothes to change into, so I gave it up.

Instead, I've decided to take advantage of the free ground just sitting around outside, and be a man and just run. But I don't even have running shoes, so a I gotta buy a pair of those. The idea of buying some ugly puffy shoes makes me sad, so in addition I am buying these.

I already own this exact pair, and have for about 2 years, but I just damaged the right heel. I wore these to the Thread Show, and when I am talking to people I don't really know I have a tendency to put my weight on one heel and rock a little. I'm fidgety when I have to small talk. Anyway, either I put to much weight on the heel or I was rocking too hard, and I knocked the heel loose. I could just take it to a cobbler, and I eventually will, but someday these things will become unwearable, and when they do I'll have a backup.
Fortunately for me I don't care about trends, so in 5 years I can wear this same pair of shoes and think "This is the perfect shoe!" They're red, round toed, cute, comfortable, they accommodate my knobs, and they go with just about anything.
This style is about 2 years old, so there aren't that many sizes left, but if you are a lucky size 7.5 or 8, you can purchase them here, or in black in a few more sizes here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Learning Music and Fashion

This sums up what my mind is occupied on:

(Music and fashion, not dancing)
So I am in school again. This will be my last year. Oh god YES!  This semester I am taking six classes.  Designing through draping. Designing on a dress form makes me feel like a real designer. It's fun. I am also taking a fashion sketching class, which isn't as fun for me. It's just going to take a lot of practice to get good, and I am not getting any enjoyment out of it yet. Maybe I will when I am more practiced, we'll see.
I am also taking three classes I have to take to get my AA. Business Math is one, and I dread that class. The other two I am taking online: World History from 1500 to the present. I like history, so it isn't bad. And the worst one: Intro to Business.  Good thing I am taking this online because I am going to try and bullshit the entire course. I didn't buy the book because there is one on reserve in the library. But I checked it out and flipped through it the other day, and I was bombarded with pictographs and flowcharts with shadow effects and marginal tidbits that read "Low carbs and diet drinks can equal fat profits." PUKE. I am going to try my hardest to pass this class without opening the book again. 
Aaaaaand, I am taking Basic Musicianship. Which is a class about learning how to read music, and really learning how. I love this class. My professor's name is Igor, which is a good music teacher name. He is great. The class is a lot of work, though. In just two weeks, I have memorized notes on the treble clef, bass clef, and I've almost got the alto and tenor clefs down (which I didn't even know existed). I can play the keyboard with both hands (really simple stuff, of course), and I am getting more and more familiar with the notes on the keyboard, I know all about enharmonic notes, the difference between diatonic and chromatic half steps, I can hear the difference between a half step and a whole step, and I am on my way to knowing major scales, minor scales, dominant seventh chords. . . It is like learning a new language. And the best part is, upon completion of this course I get to take a class next semester where I get to play my clarinet. Cool.
Someday, fashion will be my job, and music will be my hobby. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to Make a Petticoat

So a few days turned into over a week. Sorry. Last week was my last chance to be lazy until Thanksgiving break in November, so I watched a couple movies, read Watchmen, and took a few naps. So for those of you who have a sewing machine, some time, and a little patience here is the tutorial, finally:

A few notes to begin:
1. Petticoats should be made from bottom to top.
2. They can have 3 tiers, or 5 tiers, or 7, whatever; the one I am making has 3 tiers.
3. The bottom tier (on the one I am demonstrating) is a total of 8 yards, which is gathered into 4 yards, which is gathered into 2 yards, and that is gathered into my waist measurement.
5. This one can be adjusted for a longer skirt if needed.
6. You should read all of these directions through first, before starting on yours.
7. If you have any questions or suggestions, post them in comments, and I will answer them there as soon as I can.

STEP 1: Things you need
1. 4 yds of tulle or crinoline*
2. About 16 yds of 7/8" ribbon
3. 1/4" twill tape (equal to your waist measurement)
4. 1 hook and 3 eyes, or your preference of closing devices
5. Fray Check**
6. A regular pencil or a fabric pencil, not a marker. If you use a fabric marker and apply Fray Check to it, it will smear and get all over.

*Tulle gets really itchy to sit on, crinoline does not, so I prefer crinoline.
**If you use crinoline you will need to get Fray Check; if you use tulle, none is needed.

STEP 2: Math
How long should your petticoat be?
-It should be 1" shorter than the shortest skirt you plan on wearing it with. Most of my skirts from waist to hem are about 23", so my petticoat will be 22". This way, if I wear a skirt/dress that is 24" from my waist to the hem, I can just wear the petticoat a little lower. And I won't risk it being seen.
How long (vertically) should each tier be?
-So this gets a little tricky. The hem of the bottom tier does not need a seam allowance, as the ribbon is just folded around the bottom. The top of it (the bottom tier that is) will have 1/2" seam allowance (I am used to working with 1/2", if you like 5/8", just use 1/2" it will be a lot easier to do the math). The middle tier will have have 1/2" s.a. on the bottom, and 1/2" s.a. on the top. The top tier will have 1/2" s.a. on the bottom, but no s.a. on the top, that will be finished just like the hem of the petticoat, with ribbon folded over the edge.
Ok, so I want my petticoat to be 22", but I have to take the seam allowances into account. As you can see above I will have a total of 2" in seam allowance (four 1/2" s.a.'s) so that makes 24" total, which is easy 24"/3tiers=8"tiers
Another example: If you want your petticoat to be 24", take 24+2(s.a.'s)=26. 26/3= 8.6666667. I would just round to 8 1/2". In the end your petticoat will be 1/2" shorter, and it won't really make a difference, trust me. Or if that bothers you, you can just add 1/2 to one of the tiers, when you mark them.

So back to my 8" tiers. Keeping all the tiers the same length makes it a lot easier to draw and cut the pieces. But I will end up with a petticoat whose tiers are not equal in length. The bottom tier will end up being 7 1/2'', the middle one will be 7'' and the top will be 7 1/2'' a total of 22". Does that make sense? If it doesn't now, read on and it will.

STEP 3: Drawing, gluing, and cutting
First, I will draw four 8in x 4yd strips. (I will be using my measurements for instructing purposes, so 8" might not be your measurement)
Once those are drawn, go back and put Fray Check on them. Every place there is a pencil mark, Fray Check needs to go.
Then cut them out. Cut two 4 yd strips, cut one 4 yd strip in half so you are left with two 2 yd strips, and then cut a 2 yd strip in half so you have two 1 yd strips.
STEP 4: Sewing and Finishing the seams
Take your two 4 yd strips and sew them together to make your 8 yd bottom tier. Do this using French seams. Here is how to do it (it's kind of hard to see with white thread on white fabric that has no "wrong" side, so this tutorial might be helpful as well):
1. Sew raw edges together using a 1/4" seam allowance, and then trim the s.a. close to the stitch
2. Finger press the seam (you don't have to use an iron because you might melt your fabric; mine is 100% nylon).
3. Fold the pieces of fabric in the other direction. The raw edge is now between the two layers of fabric. Now sew another stitch to the left of the raw edge (that is sandwiched between the two layers).
This is what it should look like:
4. Now edge stitch that little flap down. This is not technically a flat felled seam (like the ones on the inseam of a pair of jeans) but it looks like one. So if this looks kind of like your jeans, then you did it right. Also sewing this down is not part of a French seam, a French seam is left at step 3.
Here is what the final thing should look like:
Do this again to the middle tier (which consists of two 2 yd strips).
Do this to ONLY ONE seam on the top tier. Leave the other seam open, for it will be finished differently.
To finish the open seams of the top tier, fold a 7/8" piece of ribbon around it and sew.

STEP 5: Basting stitches for gathering
Start basting stitches here:
And end them here:
Then start them again here:
And end here:
Each seam, on every tier, should look like this with the basting stitches starting at either side:
Then leave them, do not do any gathering yet.
*Starting and ending the basting stitches at each seam, gives you more places to gather from, which makes it easier, you'll see.

STEP 6: Finishing the hem
Cut a piece of 7/8" ribbon a couple inches over 8 yds long. Fold it over the hem of the bottom tier and pin.
When you get to the end, cut the corners off and fold the last part of the ribbon under to finish it.

Then sew.

STEP 7: Gathering each tier to the next
1. First notch the center point with a little pencil mark between the two seams on all tiers for matching purposes.
2. Pin the top tier to the middle matching seams and pencil marks
3. Gather the bottom tier to the middle, and pin as you go along.
4. Sew with 1/2" seam allowance
5. Finish by sewing a piece of ribbon over the raw edge. (Do this BEFORE gathering the middle tier to the top tier.) Place your fabric in the sewing machine with the bottom gathered tier on the left and the ungathered middle tier on the right of the presser foot.

Place the left ribbon edge just over the seam you just sewed, and edge stitch all the way around.

Then stitch the right side of the ribbon down. Fold the ribbon under to finish the end.

6. Repeat 1-5 to add the middle tier to the top tier. This is what the top tier at the ribboned seams should look like:

STEP 8: Finishing the top
1. Cut a piece of 1/4" twill tape equal to your waist measurement. Gather the top to this.
2. Sew. Make sure the twill tape edge does not go past 3/8". That way when you finish the top with a folded ribbon none of it will show.
3. Cut a piece of 7/8 ribbon about 3'' longer than your waist measurement. Fold this over the top, and sew. Leave the 3" extra hanging passed one ribboned edge.
Finish the ribbon edges by folding them under as you sew.

Almost done. . .

STEP 9: Closures
Sew the hook and the eyes here:

STEP 10: Look it over
Cut all hanging threads, and remove all visible basting stitches.

Now, if you have skirt such as this:

Add the lovely petticoat you just made:

And you get something like this:


Also, when you are done with yours, I would love to see it. Send me a picture to And if you want I will post it on my blog (with a link to yours), so you can show it off, because unfortunately all this hard work is just going under something else.

I made another petticoat with tulle and eyelet fabric. Here's a mini tutorial for that one.