Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Wardrobe Aim No 1 (16 days to go): Finish the polka-dot skirt

Can I do it in one day? No way (by hand?) But I will try to accomplish as much as I can. Here is the plan:

1. cut the lining
2. assemble the lining 
3. attach the lining to the skirt
4. make waistband
5. hem the skirt
6. make closures

Ok, I am off to the cutting table. 

Holiday Wardrobe: an exceptionally bad start

I knew it would come - sixteen days left until our flight to Europe and I am not ready. I wanted to take with me a few fabulous pieces for three holiday/X-Mas dinners, a cocktail with old friends, a theater night and a party for kids. All I have is an almost finished polka dot skirt and nothing to match it with.

My sewing machine is broken - which leaves me with hand sewing. That's going to speed up the process, ha-ha.

I will have to be full time at work and that means sewing at night.

Well, what helps is my optimism: I can do it (I hope).

Oh, right, and I promised myself and my better half hand-sewn leather gloves. I better become organized and shoot right away with the first pieces.

So, dear Blog, I promise I will document my progress and post all the details of my joyful journey to a fabulous holiday.

Now, straight to the cutting table, I need to cut lining for my PD skirt.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Handmade's Tale: A feature on Haute Couture

a glimpse into the world of Haute Couture

Sharing from Vogue.com
issue 10/2008

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adieu, my sewing machine...

My sewing machine is broken. It was not really a fancy one (actually not at all), neither was it a big investment (it was the cheapest one available, except for travel versions). A basic Brother model, all plastic (the reason for the longevity, yes).

My grandma always said, we are not so rich to buy cheap things (Yes, grandma. you were right, yet again).

So, this time I am going to buy a good, all metal mechanical sewing machine. My fashion design instructor recommended Bernina 1009. Quite an investment ($600 and up), but apparently those machines are eternal. Juki was also mentioned, but I am biased towards Swiss quality even though it's not a watch. Since I cannot have a Rolex, I am saving money for the another masterpiece of Swiss engineering, that is Bernina.

Meanwhile, all my plans for sewing a fabulous holiday wardrobe, fit for traveling (to please my mom and to impress everyone else) are challenged by the fact that I will have to do all my sewing by hand. This will last forever, I guess.

polka dot skirt: work in progress

Here is the silk taffeta I bought at Mood Fabrics. Not an easy fabric, that's why I knew I am going to do a lot of hand sewing (which I love). But this is what this fabric deserves. I especially love the rustling sound of silk. If you can hear it, enjoy it. It's like hearing birds in a busy city: always mesmerizing for me. These sounds make you forget the daily stress. There is something classical and ethereal about silk.

The taffeta is actually very dark blue, but it looks almost like black.
I underlined the skirt with silk organza, mainly to prevent wrinkling. In my job I spend most of my time sitting in front of a computer, so wrinkling is an issue. I also wanted to give some body to taffeta, and organza was the perfect solution

I didn't want to set a regular zipper. Normally I would hand pick the zipper (or stitch) , but this would create an additional lines there, which would interfere with the dot pattern, making the back look busier than needed. 

 So, my skirt is almost there. I need to add lining - for this purpose I bought navy China Silk (perfect for linings). After that a belt and hemming the skirt and it should be finished.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Polka Dot: endless combinations?

I am almost done sewing a silk taffeta polka dot pencil skirt (white dots on black background). Now, the question is what do I wear it with? Why don't I ever ask myself this question in the first place? I must add that I plan to wear this skirt at X-Mas dinner with my husband's family.

So, I spent an evening looking at inspiring polka dot combinations on Fall/Winter 2010 runways, and here is what I found (most of it Dolce and Gabbana) The question is what combination would work best...

1. Two polka dot patterns in different scales

This first combination looks cute (even though it's not quite polka dot :-) This means sheer top with larger scale polka dot.

2. Polka dot and leopard print

Love this one, but not for X-Mas dinner with in-laws. Saving for another occasion...

3. Polka Dot and Knit/ Skandinavian patterns

What do you think about this one? I think silk taffeta pencil skirt would look adorable with an knit west with some Skandinavian pattern, or?

4. Another, winning and time-proven combination is polka dot's and stripes. Still have to look for inspiration, though.

5. Finally, the easiest choice (?): no print at all, but a solid fitted sheer or charmeuse blouse with little or no detailing. I was thinking of some vivid colors for this one, red or yellow, or mustard...

Any ideas?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Balenciaga exhibition in New York! A must go

If you happen to be in New York, don't miss this unique event.

Friday, November 19, 2010 - Saturday, February 19, 2011

Over 70 garments of the legendary Spanish fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) can be viewed at the New York's Queen Sophia Spanish Museum.

Here is the link to the museum's site with more information.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Organizing patterns: COSTS!!!!

Ok, when I was writing my last post I was assuming that costs would be high, but here is more precise calculation  for 300 patterns after my trip to Staples:

1. 4 x 3" binders ( I went for 3" instead of 4", and took 'durable' instead of 'heavy duty' binders to save money) = 4 x $10.99 = $43.96 total

2. 3 packs of 100 pc each of 9"x12" manila envelopes= 3 x $8.29 = $24.87

3. sheet protectors ( $19.99 for a pack of 100) = $19.99 (I haven't bought more because I had some at home)

total: $88.82

I am sure that ordering online woudl save money. But if you want to cut costs of this project drastically, do not buy Binders and use an iPhone app, such as Pattern Pal or Sewing Kit (I prefer the latter)

Organizing patterns: a sane way to navigate through 300+ mostly vintage patterns

This night as my small one kept me awake I as always was googling some some sewing content on my iPhone, at some point I came across the Gigi Sews Blog and her great entries on organizing he sewing studio.

One post, however, was particularly interesting for me, as I was a (vintage) pattern fanatic. Over the past three years, since I have arrived to the US, I have collected literally four large boxes full of patterns. I am going to let go half of the stash, but what do I do with the other half. While I am quite confident with patternmaking and draping, it hurts not to keep a great vintage or designer pattern. But seeing them cramped in boxes, with some pattern pieces loose... I could not bear it any longer.

Just yesterday I was thinking of how to get this situation under control. So, here is the link to the original blog post.

Basically, she suggests the following:

1. Remove the contents of the pattern envelope and place them into a 9x12  manila envelope, indicating the pattern company and a number on it. (Envelopes are organized by pattern company and then numerically)
2. Place the original pattern envelope into a sheet protector and place them into a 4" binder. (pattern envelopes are organized by garment type)

Materials needed for this organizing project:
9x12 manila envelopes
sheet protectors
4" binders

Costs, I guess it's not cheap. But read my update.

Clutter reduced: No! You will need more space (because of the binders)

So, what are the advantages of this system?

  1. Well, it does look very tidy and organized!
  2. It is much easier to browse through patterns, without the need to unpack the whole bix of patterns. Just grab a binder with dresses and search for your favorite one while sipping tea in bed.
  3. You can store all kind of related stuff in manila envelopes  (fabric swatches, copies of patterns, etc etc)
It's a great system! Thank you Gigi!

If I had less space I would have used iPhone app only. I will post a review in  my next post. Now, I am off to Staples to buy the materials for my new pattern collection.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plagiarism on Project Runway

Look 9 from the final collection by Andy South for Project Runway, Season 8.

Well so much about top three fashion designers on Project Runway. This design by Andy South is identical to one featured in a cult Japanese pattern-making book by Nakamichi Tomoko. Check out page 52.

By the way, if you can draft a pattern for a basic bodice and a skirt and want to try something more challenging and creative 'Pattern Magic' is for you.
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