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.