Saturday, June 26, 2010

Maybe Don't Shop Under the Influence ...

... of insomnia. As I did back on June 3rd. 

So I received the cutwork fabric.

It's not white as I expected, and I think white is really important. Because it's actually natural color and something about that color makes the cutwork feel sloppy messy, instead of a formerly crisp white that's now slightly messed up. Plus, I washed and dried it. The little cutwork threads are no longer straight and orderly. They're crimped and curly and going all over the place and now this fabric reads like a FUR!

The fabric is kind of like Kristen Stewart's Elie Saab dress for the Twilight premiere. Wearing this fabric would make me look like a poodle.

So I don't know what to do with it now. Maybe it's destined for home dec purpose. I have a room where this could add another texture layer as a throw that lays around doing nothing but adding another layer of texture. That makes me feel bad for this fabric. It was supposed to do more than lay around.

The emboidery on the Tessuti fabric is nice but the actual real-life blue color reminds me of scrubs:

If this became a dress, there's a danger of the top looking like scrubs morphed onto an embroidered skirt. That's not creative, it's weird. How to deal with this? Make the dress bodice a corset style? With seams and boning? Then belted with light supple brown leather, and below that, the embroidery leading down to the border? Need a solution that adds shaping and moves away from loose hanging folds of woven blue fabric.

Some examples of corset bodices on dresses:

J Crew

Rebecca Taylor dress on Shopbop

The hardware from MacCulloch & Wallis is substantial and impressive. The pieces are big, thick, heavy!! It was difficult to narrow my choices -- the shopping basket was too full and expensive at first. But now seeing the quality, I'm tempted to return for more. I also got copper rivets and jeans buttons, to attempt the Jalie jeans. Much of the hardware is Prym, so I'm now wondering, when I'm lusting after Prym fasteners and hardware in Burda that I've never been able to find, would this store be able to get them? I will need to do a real fastidious and patient job on anything I make for this hardware, so I do justice to the quality of the hardware. Big standard to live up to.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

K-K-K-Kick It Up A 4" Notch

I saw these shoes, somewhere during blog surfing. I love these canvas wedge platform shoes. The shop's description tells you to "think LL Bean," but I'm not a fan of LL Bean. So I wish to "think" this:

Dress of Italian viscose knit fabric from Sawyerbrook

Vogue pattern

Bag from 6pm (really Zappos on deeper sale) with casual feel

Oh, this bracelet -- if money were no concern, I'd pile 5 of these Hermes babies on like very polished Ann D. But you could copy this look with heavy leather and some handbag fixtures.

Olive toenails to match the dress

This nice clean look is only a wish today though. Today, I'm doing heavy duty digging to move really good dirt to an area where I'm adding a raised bed. It's sweaty dirty work. But brings beautiful things!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

R U an X Hourglass or an 8 Hourglass?

All hourglasses are not the same? All hourglasses are not the same, apparently. And this explains a lot. For one thing, it explains why despite recommendations that I, as the owner of an hourglass shape, should wear A-line skirts, I hate how they look on me. I feel like A-line shapes make my hips and thighs look bigger than my house. I've always preferred pencil skirts and straight skirts, but thought I wasn't "supposed" to wear them.

This explains why -- if you are an hourglass shape, you can be an 8 or an X shape. The difference is, the upper hip curve of an 8 shape flares out from the waist while the hips of an X shape have a straighter slope out to the hips.

How to make an 8 shape look its best.

How to make an X shape look its best.

More explanation of an 8 shape -- I'm off to study this!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Twist and Shout!

Burberry Prorsum twists ... this would really add interest to a basic black jersey dress, skirt, top or cardigan, wouldn't it?

I love to wear black but hesitate to sew it lately because it so often feels boring. How could you be boring with these twists?

Here's a how to, but it seems you need a fine light fabric so the twists don't turn out chunky and cheap looking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shirtdress Inspiration at Anthropologie

Anthropologie has a shirtdress category showing nine shirtdresses -- check out the details for sewing inspiration!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Knocking Off Those Cool Indian Prints on Yoga Tops

But do I have $49 to $64 to spare for a tank top? Nope.

However, I do have yummy cream knit from Vogue Fabrics. It's bamboo, it's incredibly soft and I can't wait to play with it and sew it up. And I have a mile-high stack of scrapbook papers, many of them with Indian and Asian-inspired prints. I go gaga over paisley print paper. I have a scanner, photo editing software, a printer and transfer paper for fabric, and of course there's an iron or two around the house. If you have these things, you have what you need to make a one-of-a-kind printed top.

I've also gotten into hooping so I need some close-fitting comfortable knit tops. My sister, who is a fitness instructor, plans to teach hooping as a certified instructor, and when she told me about it, I thought (as you may be thinking) what the heck is hooping? Well watch these videos of hooping -- it looks like great fun and fabulous exercise! So I now have a Hoopnotica hoop -- I got The Vamp and my sister just ordered yet another to add to her collection, The Diva. Check out these LED hoops -- imagine a bunch of people out in the yard at night using these, what a sight!

And yes you do break a sweat when hooping. You feel it in your torso, hips, thighs, arms. Put on some music, start playing, it's fun!
So tops like the Athleta print tanks would be perfect for hooping. Here's what I plan to do:

1) Grab my favorite Kwik Sew TNT tank top and knit pant pattern, 3115. I may modify it to a scoop neck:

2) Pre-wash bamboo knit from Vogue Fabrics. They have many colors (check out the celery & olive colors, yum!!), I picked mine up at the Evanston store after petting the fabric. So so soft. Good recovery and the cream is thick and opaque. That's hard to find in a cream or white knit. I snapped it up. Bonus for working it, it's microbial fabric?!?

3) Choose a piece of scrapbook paper with a print that I'd want on a top. Something with paisley like this:

4) Scan the paper, or you could photograph it at hi-res with a digital camera. An iPhone or other camera phone probably wouldn't deliver good enough resolution.

5) Open the image in photo editing software. I use Photoshop, and I would remove elements and rotate some, enlarge some elements, and play with the image until I got a pleasing design. Who knows, I may even combine and layer images from different papers. You could do symmetrical or assymmetrical design.

Here's some inspiration, big and small prints:




Asana Green


Paragon Sports (unfortunate hummingbird positioning?!)

6) Print the image on T-shirt transfer paper. Some papers leave a big unattractive plasticy splotch on the clothing. Some transfers do a better job of transferring just ink. I am not an expert on the best products but will certainly be researching this before I get to this stage. Anyone have recommendations? Also unknown is how durable the ink is over repeated washings.

 - or -

An alternative is to have your design printed on knit fabric by a digital fabric printer. Make sure you layout your design so you can cut the pattern so the design is placed in the location where you want it. Many samples shown by these services show designs covering the entire fabric, but you don't need to do that. Fabric on Demand will print on lycra spandex. Karma Kraft has a cotton jersey knit. Spoonflower has organic cotton interlock knit.

7) Sew your creative, one-of-a-kind printed yoga top!

My creation coming soon ...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shopping the World. In One Insomnia-Fueled Night.

My credit card may very well be shut down for suspected fraud, as tonight's journeys have taken me to Germany, Australia and the UK. A last hurrah before there's no more fabric shopping for me for awhile. A few unique things I've had my eye on for months:

This cutwork cotton from Germany (Anita Pavani):

It will surely become a summer tunic, as previously featured in a Stylin' Series post.

This cotton from Australia (Tessuti):

Destined to be a shift dress or shirtdress. Previously featured in a Stylin' Series post.

Finally, I've salivated over so much at MacCulloch & Wallis (UK store) for so long. So many unique bag fasteners, rivets, bucklescord locks, many styles of leather buttons (even hook & eye wrapped in leather!) and so much more.  My shopping basket always got more full than I can explain to the DH. So I never completed a purchase. I like to stash these sorts of supplies in case they're needed in the future, because they're not easy to find. Instead, today I chose a few pieces I will use for current projects, thus, careful choices. I got these bag fasteners:

Silver handbag chain:

Some coat chains for jackets (OK, I lie, this is for the stash "in case ever needed"):

And I love love love this fastener:

Also got jeans buttons and rivets. Due to the success others have had with the Jalie jeans, I will attempt them too with some stashed denim. I got copper-color rivets and buttons.

They have yummy fabrics too. Including a black linen jersey I'd love to do into a summer sweater for the city...


If you like the cool fasteners like those shown above, but don't want to tackle a handbag, use fasteners on a belt, like this MICHAEL Michael Kors belt at Zappos:

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