Thursday, December 31, 2009

Patagonia Fabric Style for Men

Sewing for the guy in your life:

Fabric:  Patagonia Purple Fleck Sweater Knit at Fashion Fabrics Club -- described as having burnt orange flecks in it (or Patagonia Polartec in purple), lined or accent bound edges with Burnt Orange Ripstop Fabric on bias, Patagonia fabric at Fashion Fabrics Club

With antique brass separating zipper. Maybe find brown zipper tape instead of black. But definitely antique brass teeth, not shiny. I figure the purple+orange is pushing the fashion envelope for most men. For a guy, don't want to be too matchy-matchy with a purple zipper.

Pattern:  Green Pepper Santiam Reversible Vest for men and for women (I sewed the men's version for a Christmas gift and will post review this weekend.)

Other pieces from Territory Ahead:
Long-sleeved T in Olive, again no matchy-matchy
Timberland Boots

My husband loves Territory Ahead clothes. On sale, they're a great value. Excellent quality, they wash well, no shrinking, and last forever.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How To Earn Six Figures Sewing For Etsy

Today I set up an Etsy shop and all will be revealed in due time. I had an epiphany while sewing Christmas presents. I realized that something I was doing, I have always been doing -- naturally drawn to doing -- since childhood, but in different ways over the years. There are commonalities across drawings I made as a child, newspapers I designed as a teenager, apartment decorating I did as a young adult, and a sewing technique I am doing now. So it must be some essential part of me. If it's true that you should align yourself with what you're drawn to, to be true to yourself, then I need to try to do this.

This is a very opaque description, yes. Someday I will tell more.

I have no illusions about Quitting Your Day Job or earning six figures while making things. I think it's unfair of Etsy to promote that. Or if they are going to promote it, there should be relaxation of the handmade rules. You must have help producing things in order to make six figures. (and by "help," I mean paid help not free help from relatives)

Here's why:
-- Assume you'll work full-time at 40 hours a week, so you'll work 2,080 hours in a year.
-- To earn $100,000, you need to charge $48/hour for your time (100,000/2,080).
-- If you want health insurance, 401K and other typical benefits you may receive when working for others, then you need to add to that $48/hour to cover your benefits costs.
-- You cannot earn $100,000/year with $100,000 in revenue. Don't be misled. Don't your materials cost something? Aren't you paying Etsy fees? Other marketing costs? All of those costs, and all other business-related expenses, must be in addition to the $48/hour.

Now, let's assume we're trying to replace a typical corporate job that offers benefits. Plus now you'll need to pay taxes and FICA, etc. As rough estimate, I'd add 30% to $48/hour = $62.40/hour.

So if you allocate one hour to sew something, anything, what does that product need to be, to be paid $62.40 for that hour of your time, plus the cost of materials and all business expenses? Plus, um, profit??? Is there any room for profit here, at all.

Now, think about all your time that you won't be spending sewing product. You need to allocate time to research and develop new designs, market, provide customer service, pack and ship, post listings, handle finances. So realistically, your production time must be valued much higher than $62.40 in order to cover all the time doing other business-related tasks.

OK so maybe this isn't possible in 40 hours a week. What if you're willing to work 60 hours a week? Which if you're doing what you love and you can spread it out in chunks across all hours of a 7-day week, maybe it doesn't feel like working 60 hours a week. That's why you wanted to work for yourself, right?

60*52 = 3,210 hours/year
100,000/3,210 hours = $31.15/hour
$31.15*1.3 to cover fringe = $40.49/hour

Charging prices to cover $40.49 per hour + all business expenses makes it pretty challenging to reach a six-figure income, even when working a consistent 60-hour week, for 52 weeks a year. There is no vacation time figured here.

I wish I had the answer to this post's title. I have always sucked at math, actually (NOW I tell you!) so maybe there's something fundamentally wrong with my logic and calculations. You can try to double-check and tell me what you get. Or if my logic is flawed, I'd be happy to hear what to change.

One assumption people may disagree with is the six-figure challenge. And you're right. You don't need to earn six figures. Many people would be happy with $60,000 annual income. That's perfectly alright. Refigure the above numbers to produce $60,000 plus fringe, corporate taxes, etc. See what you get for an hourly rate. Then remember to account for EVERY materials expense, ALL marketing and Etsy fee expenses. This should all be figured into your pricing. Don't count stashed materials as free. You did pay for them at one time. If you depleted your stash, you'd need to pay for new materials.

Anyway, this is the calculation approach I'll use as I proceed forward with pricing. Not necessarily based on six-figure income assumption. Rather, we'll see where it produces a sales figure that customers would be likely to pay. I have no illusions of leaving my day job, but I live with a Finance MBA who will want to know that the time dedicated to producing for a shop, and not just a fun hobby, makes sense.

Nevertheless, I do believe there is a business model where it's possible to achieve a six-figure income sewing handmade products for Etsy customers, but production time/cost must be covered by a carefully designed process with out-of-the-box thinking. And I think Etsy should relax some rules or perhaps add a second tier for handmade items that allows for a more mass production (all by hand of course) environment.

Monday, December 28, 2009

When Does Fabric Acquisition Become Outta Control?

I've been thinking a lot about the good and bad of stashing over the past week.
-- When do you cross the line?
-- Do you  recognize when you've crossed the line?
-- Is it when you must start making jokes about your stash to deal with it?
-- Defend your stash against comments from other people?
-- Don't even want other people to see it?
I don't know the answers, other than causing financial hardship is clearly indication of a problem. No fabric is important enough to sacrifice financial health. Maybe we need a diagnosis quiz.

My fabric stash as of summer '08 fit in 24 bankers boxes. Here you see some of the boxes above a layout of coordinating fabrics. The boxes are all lined up on shelves and colors are identified with scrapbook papers. It makes a nice neat appearance. You can see in upper left corner that I started spray-painting the boxes beige for uniform look. But it's a pain in the butt so I gave up. Since this photo was taken, all scrapbook papers have been cut to fit the boxes and taped down properly.

The hairy-scary of stashing
Since summer '08, the stash has grown even more. Fabric has now overtaken the cutting table, the ironing board, a big recliner chair. I tried to keep the floor space clear but you know how stashes can grow:

So I now sew on an itsy-bitsy corner of the cutting table, and cut on the floor. I run up two flights of stairs to iron instead of using the ironing board conveniently located two steps from the sewing machine. Why? Because fabric is piled and balanced on the ironing board in Dr. Seuss-like towering stacks. If you touch them, they will fall over.

Image from Dr Seuss Art.

And no, I am not a hoarder, the rest of my house is not like this. Plus I have stopped at two cats despite a yearning for three, or three dozen if it means saving lives (I write donation checks to help with that). It's fabric that I love the most.

For the good of stashing
The stash saved me numerous times last week while sewing Christmas gifts:

1. I pulled nearly all fabrics for gifts from the stash. Each was chosen with the recipient specifically in mind, because the fabric just "looked" like them.
2. Including for one reversible vest gift, three perfectly coordinating fabrics! Bonanza!
3. Silk thread was on hand when Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy book recommended using it to avoid puckers in silk chiffon seams. This was appreciated, as there is no silk thread available within driving distance of my home.
4. Rattail was available to make skinny piping.
5. And so was a lightweight black lycra knit to make the piping.
6. Numerous choices of twin needles were available to make ribbing. That helped me avoid driving in a snowstorm and visiting stores among holiday crowds. Stashing habit MUCH appreciated.

Six "saves" in one week!! That's the value of a stash. But dangerously, these saves can perpetuate stashing by delivering convenient "see, I told you so's."

Nevertheless, I suspect I'm toeing "the line." The line is in different places for each of us, although there may be common criteria to help us figure when it's time to be more disciplined about purchases.

I admit I despise discipline
But I had to self-impose discipline this weekend. Every Christmas when I visit family in Detroit, my mom, sister and I go to Haberman's in Royal Oak and have great fun fondling fabric and imagining the possibilities. We always buy. Sometimes, lots. Well, at least I do.

This year, no. I have enough. I gave all credit and debit cards to my husband and left for Haberman's with $96 cash. Believe me, it was counted. Thrice. Oh, and a substantial number of quarters in my purse in case they were needed. They add up to dollars pretty fast, you know.

It hurt. HURT!!! Physically, ow, mild headache bothering me HURT. Oh the tension.

I have crossed the line.

Think purchases through
Due to the cash limit, I walked out of Haberman's with one careful fabic choice. Despite the enticing 20-40% sales on silk jerseys, wool doubleknits, camelhair and cashmere coatings. YES! OH YES!

But no. Instead I acquired 3 yards of a green fabric -- Pantone 5615 -- quilted in small 1/2" squares. This fabric acquisition was well thought-out before the purchase and chosen because:
-- It's lightweight and drapey, and would fashion well into an "indoor anorak." Like a jacket to wear at the office with anorak detailing like drawstring waist and snaps.
-- I have stashed antique gold drawstring stoppers that I'd be proud to see swinging visibly at the end of drawstrings.
-- I already have matching antique gold snaps.
-- Green is variety for my closet.
-- I'll build skill matching the squares at seams.
-- And build skill sewing the detail of an anorak jacket.

I also stash buttons. So I got a buttonhole cutter. Because my fifth grade teacher told me that I needed to be more careful when cutting, so that the cuts are nice and straight. That memory came back while cutting silk chiffon last week. Over 30 years later, I am still too impatient to cut perfectly. Not just silk chiffon, which you'd expect, but any fabric. Funny for a seamstress, huh? But when is preciseness in cutting needed more, than when cutting buttonholes? So this notion is useful, another well-considered purchase. Even my fifth grade teacher would approve. What other justification needed?

I will survive
So what do you think? When is it enough? When do you cross the line? When you think you have crossed it, how do you stop?

By the way, the tension headache at Haberman DID evaporate as we had fun there, and I WILL survive. No matter how much I still think about all the fabric passed over, I WILL survive, I WILL survive, I WILL survive ...

I leave you with this because I remember years ago hearing the LOL'ing cascading down the office hallway as female after female opened their email and saw this:

Now I feel bad about using these words to complain about fabric buying. Geez. There are much bigger problems people face in the world, I do know. And I have faced much bigger problems in life previously. And surely will again. But in between the big problems, we must keep a sense of humor about the small stuff. Few things make me laugh like funny replays of songs. And, song lyrics gone wrong, hilariously wrong until you cry and your stomache hurts from laughing so hard ...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Sewing Holiday!

Review posts coming soon, when the pics come in. I had to take pics with my dad's camera because ours was stolen and we haven't replaced it yet. I'm actually not disappointed, because it took bad orange pictures in low light conditions. Any suggestions for a good low-light digital camera?

Sewn and gifted:
-- Hot Patterns Slinky Shrug, downloadable pattern -- My Review Post
-- Jalie 979 boy's/men's fleece pullover
-- Green Pepper Santiam Reversible Vest, men's
-- Simplicity 7229 Skirt

Because my mom, sister and I all are avid scrapbookers, I decorated the boxes with the vintage-style hanger above, which is a scrapbook accessory but I don't remember the manufacturer. Clipped to it were measuring tape scrapbook paper tags and button cards that coordinated with the gift colors. The boxes were also decorated with pretty scrapbook papers, and I used plain cardboard hatboxes and photograph storage boxes that my mom and sister can re-cover. And of course I used grosgrain ribbons to secure the gifts. Unfortunately I didn't get pics before everything was ripped open!

And this week is going to be a Happy Sewing Holiday, for real. I'm at the sewing machine instead of at the office all week. Yay!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sew Outfit To Match Earrings? Why Not.

Today, a fabric/pattern combo planned around these viva la falda vintage inspired Mexican 1940's earrings by Etsy seller JenniferMorrisBeads. Incredible. LOVE them! Don't these earrings look like bejeweled baubles on a Christmas tree?

But what to wear with the earrings? Well this is when we play with fabric & patterns and while you surely will come up with something entirely different (have fun, try it!), I got this:

Lime linen from Fashion Fabrics Club (EmmaOneSock had a lime wool knit which I was looking for, for a comfortable sweater, but it's gone now)

Sew the lime linen into a Marcy Tilton Vogue 8620 jacket

Sew pants with the brown stretch crepe. Try a Vogue Alice+Olivia, Hot Patterns, or a Burda pants pattern, all of which seem to get decent reviews on

No handbag with this one. With those earrings and that jacket, I want to be fanciful and free. No baggage, literally or figuratively. Whatever I carry must fit in one jacket pocket without bulging. That means: two keys max, no keychain; credit card; drivers license; Burts Bees lip balm. That's it. Go to the movies. Go window-shopping and people-watching in a cool downtown area. Sit on a bench with a purple drink in a clear cup and hold it in front of the lime green jacket (but don't spill it). You don't need to carry much to do that.

I realize, this is another tropical temp outfit again. I must think December is for fantasizing about warm climate vacations or something. Um, yeah, why not?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Decadent Stockings

I made these stockings last year. The fabric is home dec from Hancock Fabrics. I purchased it years ago when someone on PatternReview made a coat from this fabric. I loved this fabric+coat idea. I stalked every Hancock store in Chicagoland to no avail, then finally found the fabric online. The person who first made a coat from this fabric looked really cute in it. Coats made from home dec were trendy at the time. But on me, the fabric was bulky and stiff for my figure-8 body shape, and its pattern not really "me" enough to wear. So the fabric was stashed.

Last year noticed it on a shelf near chocolate brown velvet and some scraps of Jim Thompson Thai silk (which crunches when you sew it, love that!), and I got inspired:

All together these fabrics make rich looking stockings, richer than anything that would go into the stockings, probably.

For the pattern, I literally laid dress boots on newspaper and traced. I tested them to be sure they wouldn't hang down too far when the fire is roaring. Actually they do hang down too far. I decided I didn't care. You can't fit much stuff in them if they're made much smaller. Ha.

I cut carefully to ensure each stocking has a unique pattern:

Then I cut brown velvet into 2" wide strips that are sewn to the front and back pieces to make a slim "box" shape.

The gold silk is quilted with diamond shapes. I liked the contrast of straight organized lines against the free-flowing flowery and leafy shapes in the main fabric. I used two layers of The Ugliest Fabric On The Planet as batting. Why not, you can't see it, and it was needed to beef up the silk and give it the puffy quilted look I wanted. Here's the cuff before it was attached:

Each stocking has a different color thread for the quilting on the gold silk, matched to the various colors in the fabric: salmon, turquoise, dark brown, gold.

I'm a little better at coming up with ideas than actually completing projects, in case that hasn't been noticed on this blog already. So last year I completed 2 stockings. They were stuffed with things scented like catnip and things that squeaked and rolled and squiggled. Because the cats always come first in this house.

I had intended to finish the other 2 for me and my husband this year. I only have to finish the cuffs. Never got to it. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fabric Creation for Vegetarians

If you are, like me and my husband, vegetarian and tired of Tofurkey as the main turkey alternative, I present you with another idea for your holidays:

From Etsy seller uptownjane. You can make it yourself with the Turkey and Felt Food PDF file. Only six bucks. I actually might make this as a joke, and say I'm bringing a turkey this year. But clue in the host so she doesn't REALLY count on eating turkey.

And here's a really good vegetarian gravy recipe from to go with a vegetarian holiday dinner. We've made this gravy annually for years. Even my carnivore relatives love this gravy. It's great on Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, everything. Just be sure to add all the garlic it calls for. It's not too much garlic, and the gravy needs it to deliver the flavor.

Bronze Bracelet Knock-Off

I feel conflicted about doing knock-offs and posting them. Because I fully realize someone has an original artistic vision, and I do value paying more for originality than something mass-produced. I have and will pay. After this year's economy, things are priced much higher than I am willing and able to pay, though.

Exhibit A, this bracelet from the Sundance catalog.

I knew this bracelet would go perfect with a coppery fabric I sewed into a Burda WOF jacket to wear to a dinner event. And I like how it's not delicate-dressy, it's bold-dressy. So I knocked it off. But I feel funny posting a pic of my knock-off bracelet. Trust me, it's darn good and I feel bad about how that can be done.

To be honest, when you add the value of time to hunt down the materials, buy them from various vendors incurring multiple S&H costs, and the time to make the bracelet, the actual cost is way beyond just the materials expense. And, it surely would have been less expensive to buy the Sundance bracelet if I included the value of my time. Just to put things in real perspective. It's not overpriced. It's what we pay for uniqueness and quality materials and construction made in the USA.

Mine is made with Czech bronze fire-polished beads and pyrite nuggets from Fire Mountain Gems. Use these combos in different ways if you're inspired by this look. I like the play of the silver, gold and bronze here too. Or, this bracelet is on sale now ...

Or, think necklace. Here's a necklace with a similar look at Talbots although this is neat & orderly, where if you look carefully at the Sundance bracelet, the strands are strategically, purposefully twisted:

Hopefully I will next post the Burda WOF jacket that goes with this bracelet. My camera was stolen and I'm digging out an ancient digital camera from storage, as ancient as a digital camera can be ...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Most Unlikely, Unexpected Visual Obsession


Soap sure can smell good. It can look good too. Downright luscious. I want to eat these soaps.

Chocolate Heaven Soap from Etsy seller pinkparchmentsoaps:

Gardenia Chamomile Soap, from Etsy seller DeShawnMarie:

Sugar Lime Soap, from Etsy seller DeShawnMarie:

Cedarwood Lavender Clove Soap, from Etsy seller DeShawnMarie:

Don't you just want to lick them? I bet they'd all taste good.

OK this could go on and on and on ... so good ... but today I gotta sew. Christmas deadline for numerous pieces of clothing. And I gotta make jewelry.

Filed under Home Decor because I do have soaps that have never been removed from their gorgeous Italian paper packaging and ribbons, decorating our main floor bathroom. Next to them is the Aveda soap dispenser where the soap can actually be used for cleaning, not just looking and obsessing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yeah I Would Quit My Day Job

... to just make stuff and sell it.

Even if I had to make stuff, market and sell, communicate with customers, etc. for 85+ hours a week. Been there, done that already, for work that's not as much fun and for very little money.

See this NYTimes article, That Hobby Looks Like A Lot Of Work.

Yes, it does. And that's OK!

Postscript -- I am irritated though, and all readers should be, by the article's lack of differentiation between sales/revenue and personal income. The writer, in this positive review of income potential, did not account for the cost of business expenses which obviously can be a significant chunk of sales. Shouldn't blame the writer though. I once knew a Kellogg MBA who didn't know the difference! Can you believe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fine Fabrics Styled into Fabric/Pattern Inspiration

This herringbone from Fine Fabrics is not your usual herringbone. First of all, it's a knit. And the secondary color is a navy. You'd expect a brown, so I'm intrigued by the idea of navy running through this fabric.

I'd sew it into a lightweight vintage 70s style coat. The knit would be interesting to fashion into a coat, and would give some challenges to solving how to best line/underline/interface a knit. The coat would be comfortable with the stretch. Under the coat, I'd wear a navy outfit for the office with a few flashes of neutral colors in a silk scarf and a great bag. I've wanted for a long time a watch with strap that wraps and wraps around your wrist. Here I'd wear it over the navy sleeve.

I would love this coat in this fabric. I wouldn't want to take it off indoors!

Pattern: Vintage 1970's Simplicity wrap trench coat pattern – Simplicity 5190

Where to find other things:

Navy Theory pants at Nordstrom

Navy boots at Nordstrom

Tote at Bluefly

Earrings at Bluefly

Navy wrap top at Bluefly

Silk Gucci scarf at Bluefly

Burberry double strap watch. Found on Google images. Don't know where to buy. Don't need to even bother looking up where to buy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

News Flash: Teenage Fashion Blogger Unsettles Middle-Aged Woman

As I read this Financial Times article about the growing prominence (literally, front-row seats at D&G!) of fashion bloggers, I got stopped cold at the mention of 13-year-old Tavi, a fashion blogger here in the Chicago area. Old old memories come screeching back.

This 41-year-old blogger -- currently feeling behind-the-curve which is somewhere she never thought she would be -- got yanked nearly 30 years back in time to the early days of junior high, when she wanted to be a famous writer. A journalist. Like Jessica Savitch, with brunette ambition instead of blonde. Yeah, ambitious beyond belief for a 13-year-old geeky kid with a scraggy growing-out Dorothy Hamill haircut and thick glasses. I knew I wouldn't be on TV, but I knew I could write well for that age.

I was going to be the junior high newspaper editor. Without question, it would happen. I'd been preparing since age 8. But I had to wait for my opportunity. I had to take the journalism class in 8th grade, prove myself, and then in 9th grade, seize the editorship. I watched the editors whenever I spotted them in the lunchroom and the hallways. I was obsessed with becoming one of them. Meanwhile I honed skills by filling up paper journals with writing, and almost winning spelling bees. There was always someone else slightly better than I who won.

And even now, someone else is always ahead. This 13-year-old fashion blogger has a global stage to shine on. What will she become with this early opportunity? I had only the stage of my mind at her age.

Actually I question whether today's internet is healthy for a still-forming personality at 13. Are we fostering nasty narcissism with this worldwide adulation of bloggers? Is narcissism nature or nurture or both? Indeed in high school I got addicted to seeing my name in print. I would write anything to get a byline. I truly thought that's what made me who I was. Recovery came in college when there was much more competition and bylines were harder to come by. While I did still win awards, it wasn't often enough for my satisfaction. I lost myself, and quit journalism. It was a healthy, necessary move. And now, no one online knows my full name. And that's OK.

There's a memory so imprinted on me that even if I got Alzheimer's someday, I do hope this memory will never fade. I was 13. The economy was tough in Detroit in the early 80s and schools were cutting back. My school's journalism program was in danger. If voters didn't pass a millage, my whole future would evaporate to nothing. The stage I was about to stand on before everyone, cruelly whisked away. Yes I truly believed that. Waiting for the 11 o'clock news, I paced our living room. Bill Bonds, who I so idolized on Detroit's Channel 7, announced the Warren Consolidated School District millage did not pass. I fell to the floor. Crushed. My future was gone. How would I ever become a journalist? My Olympic hero Nadia Comaneci started early, even younger than I was at 13, and so must I start early, if I will rule the world someday. The true thoughts of a 13 year old ...

Now here's Tavi, at her 13th year, with a world stage readily available for her to seize on her own. And she has. I'm happy for her. The world's innovators have given her this opportunity, with no interference of voters and taxes.

Tavi's story should remind all that in these days of cut-backs and requests for increased taxes, there are schools full of young people who have hopes and talents to cultivate, and for those youth who haven't yet discovered their special talents, they need a large variety of opportunities and activities. That's coming from me, a homeowner with Chicagoland-size property taxes, most of it going to schools, when I don't have children and sometimes do honestly wonder why it's in my interest to pay such taxes. I only need to remember a night crying on my parent's living room floor to understand why.

I did become newspaper editor, but had to wait for high school. Hope was so bottled up for my dream to come true, that I announced to the high school journalism teacher on the second day of school that I would be editor someday -- not wanted but would. So brazen!! But I made it so. And later, Bill Bonds awarded me a college scholarship. It was a high point of a young life. I had skillfully recovered from that junior high set-back, so devastating at that dramatic age!

Now I'm at the life stage where I feel face-slapped with how things can change in two generations. So many teenage and young adult bloggers with worldwide opportunities, while when I was their age, we were mesmerized by Video Killed the Radio Star on MTV. Wow. Music, with video, on TV!! Can you believe!! We had all-nighter pajama parties just so we could watch MTV. And now, I watched live TV news about Michael Jackson's death on my cell phone. Today's youth are growing up with this as normal. They will never know the wonder of the first time heating water in a microwave oven, the first time using a remote control. Today's youth may have never touched the TVs in their houses. Their wonders are so much more advanced. I can't believe I've reached an age to think things like this. Will this face-slapping ever go away? To a point where I'm not surprised anymore?

Thankfully, this is only a trip down memory lane, and I've resolved the fact that I won't always be first (I'm a first-born Aries, it's a personality characteristic!) and I don't feel the need to scramble to catch up with teenagers. Or, do I?

You know how sometimes people say, who are you trying to convince ...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stylin' Fabric/Pattern Inspiration

Another outfit, inspired by the Tessuti fabric giveaway contest at BurdaStyle (heh heh heh, it's after contest deadline, don't want to add more competition, eh?). My entry is Tessuti Antique Teal fabric sewn up in the Fatina dress pattern:

If I don't win, I may just buy this fabric!! This fabric/pattern combo is getting really attached in my mind.

Sources of the stuff:

Fabric: Tessuti Antique Teal cotton fabric -- use border as hem

Pattern: BurdaStyle Fatina dress

Shoes at

Satchel at -- carry backwards, don't like the front for this outfit

Copper earrings from Etsy seller discomedusa

Raku cabochon from Etsy seller LisaPetersArt -- glue cabochon onto strip of caramel color leather and add snaps to make bracelet cuff, and toughen this combo up a little bit

I might also add a large contrasting silk square scarf tied and twisted on a satchel handle, flowing down and around. It can be thrown around your shoulders when A/C is cold in restaurant, store, movie theater -- wherever you wear this dress. But I can't find a scarf I like during this December shopping season because "scarves" categories of course bring up thick knitted winter scarves. What should I expect, wind chill was supposed to be -5F here today.

Speaking of the wind chill, I should be sewing a winter coat rather than surfing sandals ...

And if you're a size 10, grab those sandals, they're only $14!

Chinese Frog Closure Tutorial

Having traveled to Asian countries numerous times, I love the styles, the fabrics, everything. Every time I go, I don't want to leave. Making and wearing the styles helps keep travel memories alive. These closures are hard to find. I thank this blogger for posting an excellent detailed tutorial showing how to make them yourself.

Stylin' Fabric/Pattern Inspiration

Outfit obsession struck when I visited EmmaOneSock and saw this striped sweater fabric. Here's how I would sew and wear it:

Fabric: Italian virgin wool fall tones chunky sweater knit at EmmaOneSock

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3121 View C -- Kwik Sew envelope drawings usually look unappealing to me. Fuddy duddy. That's unfortunate, because they can sew up wonderfully into flattering clothes. Check out for experiences of others. I love that they are simple patterns that when paired with a fabulous fabric, they let the fabric steal the show (as I think it should be), and they live up to their name, quick to sew.

Sources of the other pieces:

Tall boots from Anthropologie -- Do not think for one second that because these boots are posted here, that I can afford them. Sure as heck wish I could. I realize with tall boots sometimes you want to see them. If you want to see the boots, wear a black skirt and black tights for this outfit. I paired them with pants because this is a winter outfit, and there's nothing super special about the top of the boots. But I would love the bottom boot design to peek out from under pants. Surely someone must be doing a knock-off of these at lower price.

Anthropologie brown cord pants

Yellow leather handbag from Etsy seller ekaa

Black suede newsboy cap from Etsy seller swandarling -- I love newsboy caps and actually recycled an old wool scarf into a Vogue pattern newsboy cap. Almost done. Will post soon. Old scarves are great for repurposing into smaller accessories.

Funky big orange carnelian ring from Etsy seller georgiedesigns

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stylin' Another Fabric/Pattern Inspiration

This is my usual M.O.:  Fabric launches obsession. This time, it begins with Mocha Fudge, a striped wool blend from Sawyerbrook.

Fabric:  From Sawyerbrook

Pattern: I can't find a sewing pattern I really like, but I'm inspired by this knitting pattern for a creative sweatercoat. Mix the striped fabric with a solid into something fun like this. Because this is a wacky style for me, I choose subdued palette for everything else.

Sources of other stuff:

Dress from Nordstrom -- wear over simple Three Dots dress because you'll hardly see it

Hummingbird bag from Anthropologie

Squiggle scarf from Anthropologie

Gloves from Athropologie

Readers from Anthropologie

Ankle boots from Anthropologie

At my local mall, Nordtrom and Anthropologie are right next to each other, so in one quick trip and a weekend sewing sojourn, I get a new winter outfit. If I had the money for all this. Um ... this is supposed to be fantasy fun. Let's keep it that way!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Super Sewing Stocking Stuffer

Best stocking stuffer idea ever:


You know how holiday shopping can go sometimes ... one for me ... one for somebody else ... one for me ... one for somebody else. That's what I'm gonna do with this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Strong Point of View

This talented blogger and vintage seller has a strong and consistent point of view, and I admire that: Liebemarlene blog.

It takes discipline to carry consistency through style, interests, and inspirations. It's like she has a clear personal brand. Intentional and calculated? Or natural tendency??

The marketing aficionado in me is considering this for my own style. Aren't we all marketing ourselves to some extent. Clothing as packaging representing us. I'm all over the place with interests and styles. What's my consistent, favorite inspiration? How to be true to it? Will it lead to my own personal brand?

For example, see the two posts below from December 2 and December 1. Both very different. I far prefer December 1's look. But December 2 is designed around a handbag I own. It was an impulse sale purchase. It caught my eye as I passed the Brighton store in the DFW airport. But I've never carried the bag in public. I'd rather have the handbag in December 1. There's no commonality between the two handbags. Something to think about. It's not just about style, it's about how to make best use of limited money and resources too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stylin' Fabric/Pattern Inspiration

I bought these shoes! So you may very well see a similar outfit come to real life. But crapola, I paid about $45 for the shoes in December and they're $26.25 as of 1/17/10.

This Stylin' Set started with the bag. A Brighton bag with red leather and straw that's been in my closet and has never seen the light of day. (Why did I buy it then? On sale, great price. Don't we all do that sometimes.) It needs an outfit!! So here is one. With a Marfy pattern dress sewn from a Gorgeous Fabrics fabric, which would need to be lined.

Brighton bag already own, but imagine red leather accents
Shoes from
Bead bracelet from Etsy seller
Earrings from another Etsy seller
Marfy patterns

I like how there's a shadowy flower pattern theme between the fabric and the shoe soles.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fabric Shopping for Free -- Stylin'

Oh, how I'd love to win the Sew Tessuti 2nd Blog Birthday giveaway! Because I lust for this Tessuti knit, styled here (upper right corner) with pattern and other accoutrements to make an outfit that I'd realistically wear. All inspired by a fabric swatch. Shopping for free, unless I bite for something ...

Sources of photos & items:

Fabric: Fabric from Tessuti

Pattern: Pattern to sew knit fabric into a top from Jalie

Leather jacket from Nordstrom

Jeans from Nordstrom

Shoes from

Handbag from

Cap from Nordstrom

Zipper brooch (on cap) from etsy seller zippinning

Decorate Yourself

I love the idea here at Delight by Design of fashion and interior design inspiring each other. If you love some elements of rooms in your home or somewhere else, why not try to wear them?

But please, not as literally as sewing a dress out of your curtains, unless you have really fabulous curtain fabric appropriate for the pattern, of course.
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