Monday, November 23, 2009

No body gives a shit about scarves.

I participated in a fundraiser/craft show on Sunday (11/22) that was held at the Glashaus (where my studio is located). I had to have something to sell that day, and since all of my clothes are custom sized, they weren't really going to work out. So I decided to make silk scarves and pocket squares.

I had bought a narrow rolled hemming foot for my machine a while ago to make some pocket squares for my boyfriend and roommate, and after trying it out, I got really discouraged and frustrated with the thing, and decided to never use it again. This time around I thought I would try hand rolled hems, and my first scarf took me over 3 hours. I went back to the rolled hemming foot, and by the 3rd scarf I pretty much got the hang of it, and by the very last one, I had mastered that thing.

In about a week's time I made 10 large scarves, 7 smaller ones, 6 pocket squares and a new outfit. I was staying up till about 2 or 3 every night, and the very last night I didn't sleep at all. I definitely learned a lesson about procrastinating.

This was the set-up in my studio.

God, I was so tired. Look at my sleepy eyes. . .

Thanks to my friend Kate for letting me borrow the vintage luggage, and thanks to my boyfriend Mikey for staying up just as late as I did doing my whole portfolio, and printing and cutting all my business cards, since Overnight Prints didn't do such an overnight job. (I was supposed to receive them on Friday, but they came on Monday.)

After all that, I only sold one pocket square and one scarf which was a bit disappointing. But I did learn how to use that foot, I made a new dress*, gave away a lot of business cards, talked to a lot of people about my clothing, made a little money, and now I have some scarves to give away to friends and family, and my boyfriend finally has those pocket squares.

*The dress will be for sale in my Etsy Shop soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yeah, I like degs.

Man, has it really been over two months since my last post? Geez. Well I have been busy. I quit the job at the boutique and got another one, (I now have two jobs) I moved into a new place. . . I made two Sweet Loraine dresses for some etsy buyers. I made the Anita jumper for my little sister, some cushions for a fellow artist at the Glashaus, so I don't really have anything new to share, except for this guy:

That's my new dog, his name is Freddy. He likes to play fetch and sleep and sleep.

Friday, August 21, 2009


My boyfriend just got back from a little New York trip with a few gifts for me:

He called me up when he was there, and asked, "blue and red or green and yellow?" I happened to be wearing this dress, so I said green and yellow. This fabric arrived when he did and I love it! The dots are about 2" in diameter. Cute.

You will also notice he got me some cool 1 1/2" buttons, and yes, a cover buckle kit!

Here it is up close:

You can order several shapes and sizes at Maxant Button & Supply.

You, and I, and everyone else out there can cover our own buckles easily. Yeah man! That was the option I was hoping for from my previous post.

Enjoy ladies, and tell everyone you know about this wonderful discovery.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mail Order Belts

I was making a belt today, as I so often do, and I was thinking . . . Anyone who sews with vintage patterns should have access to the self covered belt. Well, I've made about 16 belts total (these pictured are just the ones I own), so you can say that I am getting pretty good at them. The one I made today took me 2 hours and 20 minutes. Not bad considering the amount of hand stitching I had to do. So . . .

I thought about doing another tutorial, which would actually just be repeating this issue of Threads. I could shed some light on that tutorial, with about 10 more pictures and steps on how to do it, but I don't want to do another tutorial, and the back issue of that magazine is only $6.99. If you wanted to learn to cover your own belt, you could just buy it.

I was also thinking that there's got to be some notions company to write to suggesting that they sell a covered buckle kit like this one. Did Dritz ever make one? I can find a few on the internet, but they don't seem to have a brand. I know that the clothing company Stop Staring uses covered buckles, so they're out there, but where?!

Then I thought I could sell custom covered belts on etsy. So this is my proposal. Let me know if you think it would work, and if you would consider doing it:

Say you've got the perfect little vintage pattern that would look great with a self covered belt. You have the fabric, the thread, the notions, and you are ready to go, but you don't want to make the belt, you could:

1. You go to my etsy store, and purchase "custom covered belt" or whatever I might call it.

2. Choose from two different sizes: 1 1/8" or 1 5/8" wide. (These are the widths of the belt, the buckle would be a little wider.)

3. Send me the fabric you are working with. For the 1 1/8" size, I would need a strip of preferably lengthwise grain fabric 3" wide x your waist measurement plus 8" long (If you had a 30" waist I would need 38"). For the 1 5/8 size, the strip would have to be 4" wide. And I would also need a scrap of fabric big enough for me to cut out two 4" squares.

4. Wait patiently for 2-3 weeks (possibly less) for me to ship the finished belt back to you.

5. Put on the dress you just made and the belt I just made, and walk around town in your new, complete-with-self-belt dress.

What do you guys think? Would you purchase one? I think I would sell them for about $30. Would you pay that much for one? Is it a dumb idea? Any input would be helpful. I don't know if I'll even do it or not.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

5 O'clock Shadow

I was walking home from work today, and I thought my shadow was pretty cute.

It was hard to take this picture holding my little train case and my parasol, but I managed. I got a picture with more parasol, but in this one, the wind caught my dress just as it snapped, so it has a bit more character than the others I took.

And this is the dress I was wearing:

I didn't make this one. I found--or rather my friend found--this when we were in New York a couple years ago. It was from a place called Cheap Jack's. It was a little big on me, but when I got it home, I took the sides in a little. Which was more difficult than I had imagined it would be, because there was a side zipper. So I had to take the zipper out, take both sides in, then put a new zipper in. It was worth the trouble.

Oh, it's a cute one. I got a lot of compliments on it today.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Currently working

I rarely talk about a project in progress. Mostly because I don't have the camera at the studio when I am working, or I just don't have the time to take the pictures anyway, but I've got something this time.

I have been commissioned to make a bridesmaid's dress. The bride originally wanted her maid to wear this:

But it was a bit out of her price range. Over $300.

She asked me if I could make something similar. And I am making it for roughly half the price. I am not directly knocking this off, but rather improving the design and functionality of the dress.

This the the sample bodice:

The improvements:
I widened the waistband so that the gathers stop right under the bust, which is more flattering than the gathers too the waist in the first photo.

And the skirt--which isn't sewn on this sample because it is going to fit loosely over the hips, so no fitting was necessary (and is a waste of time and fabric)--is going to match the fullness of the gathers on top, and will have 2 deep pockets that are actually able to store some stuff. It doesn't look like much can be stored in the pockets of the dress pictured, and I think a more serious pocket will come in handy at a wedding, or anyplace for that matter.

The fabric is the same silver color. Its a pretty dupioni silk, kind of crisp, which will hold those gathers quite nicely, and the back is going to be finished with covered buttons on the collar, and on the waistband.

More pictures to come quite soon since the wedding is on August 8th.

Green with Envy

A while ago I made this little dress.

And its story is as cute as it is. So listen up . . .

I used to work at a coffee shop (the one that closed down) with a girl named Kati. We had both worked there for a couple of years, when her boyfriend Ben (needing some extra money) started to work there as well. I actually made a wedding dress for his sister almost two years ago, when he was just an acquaintance. He saw what a good job I did on his sister's dress, and knew that Kati liked my designs, so he asked me to make something for her, but he also wanted it to be a surprise.

How am I going to surprise this girl when I need to measure and fit her? So I came up with a plan that involved a couple other girls that worked at the coffee shop, and a little bit of trickery.

I told Kati that since I was going to start selling on Etsy, and that I was going to do everything custom sized, that I would need some practice fitting people. Well not really practice fitting, but more like reassurance that if I made something according to measurements that when the garment was tried on, it would fit. Anyway, one day at work, I measured her, and two other girls (to help with the lie), and then came up with some designs that I made muslin samples of, so they could try on.

Kati and one of the other girls I measured (Erica), came to my studio one day so I could "practice." These two girls were almost the same exact size, which actually worked to my advantage. I had two different bodices for them to try on. Kati's was a simple sleeveless top with a wide neck band. My idea for that was to make it out of gingham, with the neck band cut on the bias, with a fuller skirt, and a belt that would also be cut on the bias. The one I made for Erica to try on was a spaghetti strap top with a sweetheart neckline, that would fit at the waist, with the same type of full skirt and belt. Both fit each girl very well (which was, in fact, reassuring). Kati, seeing Erica's sweetheart neckline, mentioned that she loved that neckline. So Kati tried the bodice originally intended for Erica, which was originally intended to just help fool Kati, and it fit her so well, and looked so good on her, that I decided to scratch my original idea. Only now I had to come up with a different fabric choice. Which also worked out, because Ben said she already had so much gingham and that she liked green. I am not too fond of green gingham myself (I really only like yellow or black). So it was back to the drawing board.

I had the design of the dress figured out, it fit her perfectly, and I knew that Ben wanted the dress to be green. So I looked online and found all the green fabrics that I liked, emailed them to Ben, and from my choices, he picked the green apples. (Yes! That was my favorite.)

So I made the dress (just in time for their vacation), secretly met with Ben at an undisclosed place and time, and he surprised her with it. Yeah! She was happy, Ben was happy, I was happy, but a little jealous. I wanted an apple dress too. It is so cute! But it is more special since it is one of a kind. I'm sure I'll manage without.

Soon after that dress, I got busy making these shorts for and old friend of mine:

More green. The color was her choice, of course. But making these two things got me thinking that I needed something green. So I made this for me:

I found this fabric at Joann's. They also have red, blue, and black, so I was thinking that I could sell this design and offer it in those various colors. I am not sure about this fabric though. I didn't wash the fabric before I made the dress (tsk, tsk, you should always pre-treat your fabric), and now the green is rubbing off onto the belt. The fabric is kinda cheap, and I am worried about it fading easily. Before I decide to post this for sale, I'll have to wash the dress and see the amount of fading, and also see if it is still bleeding onto my belt. I would also add straps before posting this for sale. We'll see about this one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Love for Sale

I've got over 40 vintage patterns (40's-70's) that I am going to sell in my Etsy shop.

The medium sized bundle contains the factory folded patterns, that I am about 1/3 of the way through posting. These cost $5.

The small bundle contains the patterns that are pre-cut, and are only labeled with tiny hole punches. I've made one of these patterns before, and they are pretty hard. Their instructions are usually only about a paragraph total. They are for the more advanced commercial pattern sewer. I think these will go for $5 as well.

And the largest bundle contains all of the patterns that have been cut. I didn't want to go through all of them to make sure that all the pieces were there, so I am going to sell these for just $2. If you are missing a piece, I'm sorry.

So check out what I got so far. More to come. . .

An Odd Ending to an Odd Month

I can't sleep.

If there is a bed and dim lighting, I am out within minutes. Sometimes I don't even need a bed, just a pillow and carpet. (I've fallen asleep a few times at my friend's house with just that.) But I am lying in that bed over there and I am trying, but I'm getting nothing. My mind is just racing. I've just been thinking about this past month, and how it was turned upside down, and that hopefully tomorrow I will turn right again. . .

The 30th of June was the very last day I would work at the coffee shop where I had been for quite some time. But all the sudden on that day, POOF! the store closed, and I was jobless. When you literally live paycheck to paycheck, which is what I was doing, it is scary to lose your job. There are scarier situations, of course. You could lose your job and have kids. Luckily I only fend for myself, and don't want kids to fend for anyway. And lucky for me, I got a job a week later. But still an unplanned week without a job, without a paycheck, man, yikes. And now I'm at a new job with half the hours, and no tips. My rent isn't even covered by my new paychecks.

My previous job at the coffee shop, was good and bad. The hours were perfect. I went to work at 7 o'clock, earned my keep until I got off at 2 o'clock, and still had the whole day ahead of me. The work was easy and mostly enjoyable. I worked with my friends, I got to bring my food to work. I would usually eat cereal, or make my own fruit smoothies. It is nice working at a place with freezers, refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, blenders, coffee, and pastries, with a newspaper to read, or a crossword to do. I did have to put up with some annoying customers. Like the bitch that would say "I'm in a hurry, could you make my drink fast." Lady, we make everyone's drink as fast as we possibly can. The guy before you, his drink was made as fast as possible, and same with the guy's behind you. We aren't going to bump you up in line. In fact, because you asked, I'm gonna take a little extra time on your drink to make sure I get it just right. If you have ever asked for this rushed special treatment, trust me, it will come out slower.

That was the worst part of my job. Some days it would be only one or two of those types, and that is nothing, but other days I would also have to tell the homeless man outside to leave because he was honking a blow horn at the customers leaving the store. He left willingly, but he also left his satchel of bagels and pastries, his blow horn, huge pastry crumbs all of the patio, his other bag full of shit. . . And I had to clean it up.

But those were the good ol' days, because my new job is worse. Retail sales. I am a salesman. I work at a boutique that sells trendy clothes. That isn't necessarily a criticism, that's just what it is, and that is exactly what I am not. There is not one item in the store that I would purchase and wear. And I have to sell this shit. It is hard. I do it, because it is my job, it is what my boss asks me to do, so I do it. But I am lying through my teeth and hating every minute of it. And my shifts normally start at 3 o'clock and end at 9 o'clock. My day is gone; It didn't even start. I don't have any time anymore, even though I am working less than I used to. However, I am glad I took the job, or I would not be able to pay rent this month. Well, I am still a few dollars shy, but tomorrow I'm gonna try to sell my serger back to the place I bought it from (I hope they'll take it because its broken). So I took this job out of desperation, and now I have to get a second job, so I can eat and stuff.

I just secured that second job today. It's a coffee shop. Oh my god, yes! I didn't think I would ever be so happy to work at another coffee shop again. Man, if I can just get enough hours there, then so long retail sales, so long flowey shirts, flip flops, maxi dresses, and drawstring cropped pants. I can get back to normal life. Serving coffee and making dresses. And figuring out how to make a living just making dresses.

Because of that news, today was the first day I have felt stress-free in a month. I needed a fresh start, so I decided to clean my studio, and I mean really clean. I got as far as wiping off all the dust off of everything. It is so dusty in there! And I started to get rid of shit like rolled up paper patterns that I know I am never going to unroll again, tiny bits of fabric that I saved for who knows why, empty spools of thread lost in the corners of boxes, and all of my vintage patterns. Yep, that's right.

These patterns are just sitting in a bin, and I know I'll never use them. I have looked at them from time to time, but nothing more than that. For a while I fancied myself a collector, but that's not me, I don't collect, I am not a pack rat. If something is not directly useful then I have no need for it, and I have no remorse in parting with it. And I know that people would actually use these patterns, whereas I don't. So starting tomorrow (hopefully if I get around to them all) they will be for sale in my Etsy shop. I think I'll sell the factory folded ones for about $3 or $4, and all others for $1. So get them while they're hot ladies! And if they're not hot by tomorrow, then check back, and I should have them up by the end of the week.

Good night.

Oh, and P.S.

I want to thank my Mom for giving me some money this month, without which I could not have eaten the foodlings that I did.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Goin to see these guys on Tuesday in LA.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Man, Stripes.

I can't really tell what is going on with the bottom of the dress, but the top would be brilliant as a yoke with a more 50's silhouette on the bottom. And I mean something pouffy.

Pff, that is so cool. I'm inspired now, but I have quite a few unstriped fabrics at the moment, and few custom jobs to do, so experimenting with stripes will have to wait.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flowers? or Balloons?

I finished another dress that is also for sale, and I really really like it!

My first idea with this fabric was to make a boat neck top with short kimono sleeves, but it just didn't work out. The composition of the dress would have been off: the white would have had more weight than the blue. Plus this fabric isn't very wide, so toward the top of the dress the flower balloons would have been upside down.

When I had the top figured out, I knew immediately that there had to be buttons down the front. I was hoping to find heart shaped buttons in yellow or white (sewn on with yellow thread) to match the heart shapes in the print, but none could be found. I went with yellow round ones, which match the yellow in the dress quite well.

This dress has all the Sugardale trademarks: 100% cotton, 2 deep pockets, and a self covered belt. And it can be worn with my favorite red shoes.

There are more pictures in my etsy store or on my flickr page.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mesa College Fashion Show 2009

This is how I felt after the fashion show:

Hours before this event I had 2 custom items to complete--a pair of men's pants and a dress (both for which I am awaiting pictures)--and I barely finished. The day before, I finished the pants, but I still had a lot to do on the dress, so I stayed at the studio quite late. The next day (fashion show day) I had to do laundry, do the last finishing touches on the dress, and make it to the hotel for the show by 1:30. Well, I woke up at 5 to do laundry, got to the studio around 7:30, finished the dress and part of the belt by 11:30. At which time she came to pick it up, but I wasn't done with the belt. (Ah, crap!) So she took the dress, and I told her I would have the completed belt early the next morning. So I went home with about 1/3 of a belt done, and had just enough time to shower, get ready, and eat. I made it to the hotel at 1:45. (Thanks for the ride Kate)

I still had to sew the belt buckle for this girl's dress, so I brought a needle and some thread to the fashion show to sew while I was waiting in line with other models to get my makeup done. The show didn't start until 7:30 so I had enough time to finish.

I didn't need to get my hair done for obvious reasons. But makeup. I don't wear makeup so when the makeup artist asked me what I wanted I said, "Something natural, not too much, no foundation, and I am going to be wearing my glasses anyway." She replied, "Natural. So no eye shadow?" "No. . . well maybe very little." I think she put purple, of all colors, on my lids. "Do you have to wear your glasses?" "Yeah, I'm pretty blind." "You sure you can't go without them?" "Jesus Christ! Yes I am sure!" Then she threw on some blush, then some more powder, some eyeliner, mascara. Geez, did I really need all of this? "How about red lips?" Hm, red lips would go with the 50's style dresses I would model, "Ok, sure." For the next 2o minutes it was red pencil, red lipstick, more pencil, wiping some off, more lipstick . . . All the while, there is a mirror in front of me, but all I could see was messy blurs of color. So when I was finished, I put my glasses on and took a good look at myself. Eh, I wasn't into it.

I just can't pull off those red lips, and there was too much eyeliner. And all that mascara just weighing down my already sleepy eyes. Whatever. This is the last time I model. (I had vowed that once before, but this time I meant it.)

Other than the makeup, and being tired, it was a good night. I won some awards. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards are given in each category. I had 4 outfits in 4 different categories.

This got 1st place:

This got 2nd:

and this got 3rd:

This one didn't make the cut. Oh well.

And here's a video of me on the runway. Enjoy it, because this is the last time I do any more runway modeling.

My mom, aunts, and little sister were there to see me, as well as a few friends, and my boyfriend. So that was cool. I think that my family and friends enjoyed seeing me on the runway, so in that case, I am glad I modeled. Everything fit me perfectly anyway.

After the show, I went home to change and get rid of that terrible makeup. I don't have makeup remover, so it took me three tries with body wash. Then, back to the studio because I still had to finish the belt. The buckle was done, but I still had to cover the belt backing, and attach the buckle to it. About an hour later, I was done. Then Mikey and I went to eat some burritos at Santana's. A few friends happened to be there, so we sat and talked with them. Got home late, then woke up at 6:30 to be to work at 7. Got off at 2 and finally, sleep.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Border Prints!

I can't wait to make some dresses out of this stuff:

They will definitely be full skirted, 50's inspired dresses. And when I have them made, they will be for sale in my etsy store.

I have some custom stuff to finish for a few people first, though. But be ready.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Summer of '67

My friend and I get together every Sunday and watch old movies. Last week we watched Rosemary's Baby, and I got inspired. I had to have a 60's shift dress! So I made one, and I might just wear it every day this summer.

You can have one, too, if you want one. It is for sale! Custom sized to fit only you (or a bunch of other people your size).

And after getting fabric, returning it, and then getting some more. This is finally for sale, too:

I know I still have to post about my fashion show, but I was too excited about this stuff, so I'm gonna put that off for a little while. Soon though.

I'm back baby!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stop Your Complaining

I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to get going on etsy. My first order of business was to buy a lot of black cotton sateen for the jumper that I want to make and sell. So I have been navigating the swatches of fashion fabrics club,, trim fabric, and J&O fabrics. I found some black cotton sateen at fashion fabrics club, ordered and paid for 25 yards, only to receive an email a few days later saying they were out of it. So when I get my money refunded I am going to order some from, but only after I receive my sample swatch in the mail. (It is impossible to purchase fabric online without feeling a swatch of it first).

For example, I ordered a sample swatch of poly/cotton gingham from trim fabric, which wasn't too hot. To be honest, I haven't been too impressed with trim fabric anyway. Today, I just received my sample swatch of poly/cotton gingham from J&O, and it is a lot better. So I am going here for my gingham, there for my sateen, and somewhere else for my buttons, basically I am waiting very impatiently for a bunch of sample swatches to come in the mail. When they do come and if I am impressed by them, I can really only order one thing, make one design, hope to sell it, and then order some more stuff with the money I make on that. Unfortunately, I don't have hundreds of dollars to drop on yards and yards of different fabrics. I really only have one hundred dollars to spend right now on one bolt of fabric.

Another difficult thing is having a clothing business based in San Diego, because there aren't that many fabric stores here. It isn't like LA or New York where they have entire districts dedicated to fabric, so I am stuck with purchasing online. I think in the future I might drive up to LA from time to time. Which presents another huge problem: I don't have a car anymore.

Yeah, my car died. It was too much money to fix, so I donated it to NPR. I wasn't sad to see it go, I didn't really like it, and it was always giving me trouble anyway. But not having a car is pretty hard to do in San Diego, where things are so spread out.

So here I am with 3 dress designs in my head, but no fabric yet to make them with, no car to drive to any fabric stores, no fabric stores to even go to anyway, nothing to post about, and I've got a cold. Bleh.

Oh, and I think I am growing another knob, next to my big toe. God, my feet suck.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Mesa College Fashion Show

Click image for a larger, readable view.

I will be showing 4 outfits in this show. The striped suit, and those three pouffy dresses.

If you would like to come, I have tickets to sell. Let me know.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Petticoat Tutorial: The Really Fast Version . . .

( . . . And by fast, I mean the tutorial itself, not the making of the petticoat.)

So this is the petticoat I made to sell on etsy, (which I will have up for purchasing in a few days):

I am going to make this one to sell instead of the other one, because it is faster to make, and a little easier too.

Anyway, I thought I would show you how I made this one, just in case you would rather use this method.

Step 1: Follow steps 1-7 on my previous tutorial, using tulle, and skipping all the ribbon stuff. Basically make the petticoat, you just don't have to do any finishing. (Yeaah Man!)

Step 2: Get some eyelet fabric with a scalloped edge. (I used 3 yards, which I think is a pretty good amount.) The scalloped edge will be your hem, so cut the length of this the same length as your petticoat. Sew the one seam, leaving the top (6-9 inches) open. This amount should equal the length of your top tier of the tulle petticoat, that should also be left open like this (but without the ribbon, of course):

(this photo taken from my previous tutorial)

Step 3: You should have some eyelet fabric left over (my petticoat is 21" long, and the eyelet fabric I used was 45" wide), so take that and cut another layer that is your hip measurement plus 10". Make this layer 1" shorter than the tulle. For the hem, you can just use the selvage of the other end of eyelet fabric. (Yes, I don't have to finish any hems!) Sew one seam, leaving the top of this open as well.

Step 4: Make a waist band. I chose to do a simple 1" waistband, that is about 3" longer than my waist measurement (the same idea as the previous tutorial.)

Step 5: Gather all three layers into the waistband. The skinny one on the bottom, the tulle in the middle, and the pretty scalloped one on the top. And finish it with your preference of closing devices. I chose buttons.

Step 6: Sew all three layers together at the opening, or you could put a zipper in it, or some snaps. I just left it open, because it is going to go under a skirt anyway.

So that's it. Putting a layer of cotton between your legs and the tulle will prevent you from getting itchy, and putting the eyelet fabric on top finishes the petticoat and makes it look quite nice.

I hope that gets the point across. I don't have the time to go into detail like I did with the first tutorial. I think that was a one time deal.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sewing and Dancing

I may have mentioned a while ago, that I have taken some swing dancing classes, but I haven't been going for quite some time. Well, when I was dancing more regularly, I invited my friend Kate, who invited her sister, Liz to take some classes. Kate and I don't really dance much anymore, but Liz is dancing all the time, entering contests, and even teaching some classes herself. Pff. . . Well, Liz, knowing I can sew, asked me to make her and a group of girls some skirts for a dance performance on the eve of '09. I did, and one of the ladies I made a skirt for, wanted a dress for her 5th anniversary party, and asked me to make it for her. She had a vintage pattern, and the fabric, so I just had to do a few fittings and sew it up for her.

She also asked me to work the door of her party and to ask a friend (I asked Kate) to help. The party was held at the Air and Space Museum, which I thought appropriate, because one of the exhibits there involved Charles Lindbergh, who "hopped" over the Atlantic, and thus named the dance that most people were doing at the party: The Lindy Hop. The many swing dancers that were invited, were encouraged to dress up in vintage, so I got to see some pretty cool outfits, and do a bit of dancing myself. It was fun. I didn't get a lot of pictures because we were working the door most of the time, and dancing the rest.

So here is Susan and me. She is in the dress I made for her, and I am in my most recent design, which is coming to etsy soon. I am just waiting on some sample swatches I ordered online, because I can't rely on the few fabric stores here to have enough of it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Take THAT, tote!

I am ashamed to say that this is the tote that I have been carrying around for far too long:

You can tell that this thing is on its way out. The bottom is fading badly, and so are the straps. When I made this, I thought it would be cool to have a little bit of brown showing at the top. And I decided this after a I had the whole thing sewn together, so I had to pull the brown lining out a little, and then sew around the top again. This resulted in the lining being shorter than the dot fabric, which caused it to fold, and basically look like crap. But I kept carrying it, and I don't know why.

Before this, was another tote that I got from Strand in New York. Why do I always resort to the tote? I hate totes. I even hate that word. So why did I ever carry one? Well, I also hate purses. Floppy leather things with studs and rhinestones, or worse: expensive logos, that are a distraction more than anything. I would feel more uncomfortable holding one of those than this ugly thing.

There are some vintage purses I like. Something sleek and simple, perhaps black patent leather? But can I really carry that around when I am wearing jeans and some sneakers? Or even a casual cotton dress? No.

So today I threw it out, and am now tote free. Yes.

I am down to a card holder, a phone, and keys, which other than a little notebook were the only contents of this tote anyway. I just have to pocket everything; my jeans have pockets, so do all the dresses I have made, so I think I'll manage just fine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Three dresses. One petticoat. All black and white.

So here they are ladies and gentlemen. Some of the designs may look familiar (I had to modify some old patterns, because I didn't have a lot of time to make these before the fashion show.)

When I set out to make these, I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I went to the swap meet in National City because most fabric there is $1-$2 a yard. I got lucky and found the polka dot chiffon, and all the satin fabric there. I did have to go to a fabric store for the lace, though.

I think these are some of the best things I have made so far. It makes me want to design only really pouffy dresses. (Like maybe a white dress with big red polka dots, and a huge, fluffy red petticoat, or something blue with a matching petticoat, or yellow stripes with a yellow petticoat and cherry red shoes . . . oh the possibilities.)

Anyway, all of these photos were taken, cropped, and shopped by my man, at the warehouse that our studio space is in. These are just a few that I really liked, and thought best represented the dresses. If you want to see all (about 50) of them Mikey has put them on his flickr page.


On the one above, you can kind of see this dark splotch above my left wrist. That was where I burned myself with some piping hot water (ouch!), and the reason these took so long to get done.

This photo (above) is one of my most favorites.

If you look at this one (above) but only focus on the bow and up, it starts to look like the front of my body without a head, but with neck hole and everything. It's a little creepy, which is the main reason I chose to put this one up.

So that is it on here. You guys should really see the rest of them, because there are a lot more that are just as good, or better.

I think all these dresses just make it in the practical, wearable category of clothing. They are not "wearable art" which is almost unwearable anyplace but a runway, but they are not quite every day items. I think they can work for just the right occasion, and I will certainly wear them on any such occasion that arises.

And my teacher said that I could put them in the school's fashion show, that is coming up on May 15. Yeah!

I keep thinking that the satin sashed one is my favorite, but then I look at the other two and change my mind. I know that the construction of the lace one is the best (and you can only tell by looking on the inside), so that puts it higher on the list for me, but then the polka dot one is just so cute. God, I don't know. Which is your favorite -dress? -photo? -pose?

Friday, March 13, 2009


A few of my previous posts have been promising more pictures of those pouffy dresses I made, and some designs for etsy, but well I got off to a rocky start.

I was hoping to get some photos last Friday or Saturday, but the Monday previous, I burned my arm pretty badly. And by photo shoot Friday, it was really gross, and blistery, and juicy, and now it is really crusty, and bumpy, and brown. So I think I will hold off for one more weekend and spare all of you. I think by next weekend it will be a pink scar with minor flaking, and will hopefully be somewhat presentable.

As for etsy, well. . . A while ago I went to school to copy all of the slopers that they had. I copied sizes 6-20, and with each size, the difference between the bust and waist measurements is 10 inches. That, to me, seemed like a lot. I myself have only about 7 inches difference between the two, as well as a few of my coworkers whom I've measured, and a lady that I am currently making a dress for. So I decided to throw those slopers out (well I just haven't copied them to manilla paper yet), and went on a quest to find some new ones. I found a pattern, which has a bodice and a skirt both with one dart at the waist and one bust dart on the bodice, which is exactly the type of sloper I need to start with. So I bought three of these patterns, each containing three different sizes, with measurements that I think are more suited to the current female body than the ones at school, which I believe to be a little out dated.

I am curious if I have made the right move, though. I was wondering if all you ladies could measure your bust and waist (you can throw your hips in too, if you want) and post them in the comments of this post. That way I can do a little sample to see which slopers I should actually use. I might even find that I need both. I'll see with your help. Thanks.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pouffy Peek

A few weeks ago, my teacher asked me if I would take part in a little fashion show (which happened on Wednesday). The show was for a women's group that usually donates to my school's fashion show at the end of the year. I, of course, said yes. She said I could show past school projects or anything else that I had made. But why show old stuff? I think that with any opportunity, you should always be producing something new, because it will usually be better than your last, and new work will keep you moving forward to the next project and the next. So I made three new dresses. I did use one old thing. This 10 layered petticoat. Remember it?

I changed all that silver ribbon to white, and made three black and white dresses to go with it. Here is a little peek of one. All these dresses deserve cute poses, in a cool place, not my apartment. I haven't taken those yet, so this is all you get for now. Be expecting photos soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alright, I finished this dress:

This plaid fabric dictated the pattern I decided to make. I chose small pleats instead of gathers because they were very easy to fold with all of the plaid guidelines. And I chose to do a dirndl skirt instead of an A-line skirt*, that way the hem would end on one line. I added a little interest to the plaid by cutting the pockets and the straps on the bias so the lines run diagonally.

I crossed the straps, because well, it's cuter that way. I had originally planned to make a belt, but the three buttons up the back were all this really needed.

When I go to vintage clothing stores, I often look at the way garments are constructed, and I saw a dress that had buttons and snaps similar to this:

I really like this dress. It's simplicity reminds me of Claire McCardell. Although, I don't know if she would actually put buttons in the back of a dress, because they might need some assistance to button. I can get in and out of this thing by myself, so maybe she would approve.

I am ready to wear this thing, but it isn't quite warm enough yet. (I was freezing when I took these photos.)

*For those of you who don't know, the pattern of a dirndl skirt is a rectangle where one end is gathered to the waist, and an A-line skirt pattern is shaped like an 'A'.