Thursday, October 7, 2010

OMG. Luxirare has done it again!

Knocked it out of the ballpark! Considering my love of hardware, I'm swooning over how she used hardware when designing and making a leather travel bag and remained so true to her style.

Check out her travel bag, just check it out!

I have a pile of hardware with visions of stylish bags dancing in my dreams. After weeks of traveling for work, have a few days to play. I think I'll play with hardware and leather and fabric today.

Thank you Luxirare for the inspiration ...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Woo hoo hoo! Shoe hoo hoo. EDITED TO ADD: Aw poo poo

EDITED: Ain't happenin'. These shoes really are sold out. What I loved about them was the mix of leather and the canvas touches, plus the look of leather wrapping around the sole. Even similar KORS shoes with the leather wrapping around the sole are sold out. Oh well. Wish I knew how to make shoes.

Happy-happy-happy dance. I may soon have the shoes from this Stylin' polyvore in my hot little hands and on my hot little feet:

I've been watching them since, what, March? They're now on big discount because the summer season is nearly ovah. But there's just enough time remaining for me to do my own New Dress A Day transformation and accessorize it with these sandals. A month ago, I picked up a size 6 looooooong beige skirt (same color as the fabric in the photo above) at Macy's for $11. It was so cheap I felt guilty buying it.

Now there's a few problems though. The skirt is dowdy as heck. And I'm not exactly a size 6 for the time being. For the time being. Because been there, done that, ain't opposed to doin' the size 6 again. Ha. But for $11, we can overcome.

Positive points are, it has a fantastic flare and swing. And if I hike the waist up over my bust, the skirt actually fits! It skims over my waist and down the back and the flare and swing swirl just above my knees, very flatteringly all around. Wow. This dowdy skirt can easily become a cute dress. I need to fashion some shoulder straps and the skirt will need to be worn over a T or blouse. And I also need to add triangle shaped wedges at the waist, in spots that will now be the underarm points, to give the clearance for a bust. It's a full bust adjustment, actually.

I will post this New Dress A Day refashioning soon. With the fabulous shoes!

But don't count on any more posts like that. It will likely be the Only New Dress A Day.

New Dress A Day Blog

Many of us in the online sewing community are well aware of A Dress A Day blog.

But have you heard of the New Dress A Day blog? I heard of it through an email my sister sent. Must say, very impressive!! She sews a dress a day. And not only that, she sews a dress a day from $1 garments that are beyond their glory years. In fact, many of them never had any glory. Somehow she has the vision to make them glorious. Truly.

Check out a typical transformation. From this:

To this:

Yeah, incredible vision. Plus she puts the time into photographing the steps of the transformations and writing about them. We appreciate!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sewing in the News

It's been an extraordinarily busy summer. But during snippets of downtime, I surf the NYTimes app on my iPhone and read the free articles. I enjoyed these stories:

A Return to Basics, One Stitch at a Time
Published 8/9/10 -- FLORENCE — When Sara Checcucci opened her atelier in Galluzzo, a southern district of Florence bordering the Chianti hillsides, she was astonished by the number of young people who would stop to gaze at her through the window as she worked. Later some of them came in and asked her to teach them her skills. So she arranged a series of evening courses, and was even more surprised when her pupils included young men. ...

Fashion Tries on Zero Waste Design
Published 8/13/10 -- YOU wear organic T-shirts. You hang your clothes to dry. You recycle your unloved suits and dresses. But frankly, that’s just the tip of the green iceberg. Today’s truly fashion-forward have a more radical ambition: zero waste. That may sound more like an indie band than an environmental aspiration, but it’s a new focus of top fashion schools. ...

Is Italy Too Italian?
Published 7/31/10 -- “THIS tradition is finita,” says Luciano Barbera, as he opens the door to an underground warehouse. Dozens of large wooden boxes are stacked to the ceiling, containing nearly 80 tons of colorful thread, wound in spools and idling like sunbathers at a beach, absorbing moisture in a cavernous room kept naturally cool and humid by a creek that burbles under the floor. ...

Plus, is Elaine Benes style (remember Seinfeld?) now "in"?

The New Adventures of Old Elaine
Published 8/18/10 -- ON a recent August night, young women in stilettos teetered precariously through the cobblestone streets of the meatpacking district in Manhattan. Appropriately for the neighborhood, they were squeezed into minidresses that were as snug as sausage casings. But a few blocks south, far away from the blare of Hummer limousine horns, at the fashionable opening of the Algus Greenspon Gallery on Morton Street, a more demure look prevailed. Like a modest Robert Palmer-girl army, the women mingled in floor-length print dresses and brown lace-up boots with their hair in messy secretary buns. The genesis of the look could have been those unforgettable images of fundamentalist Mormon women that dominated the news a couple of years back. But if you squinted, what you saw was a sea of Elaines. ...

Image from NY Times

You gotta be kidding me ... I hope ...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Obsessed With Double Belts

UPDATE: J.Jill sells this belt in gray and black for $34 now.

I've considered getting a very simple double belt like this Eileen Fisher belt at Garnet Hill for quite awhile:

It's also online at Dillards, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and Saks in various colors. I love the minimalism. No buckle to imply any style so you can take other accessories in different directions. Right now Nordstrom has the Graphite color in one size only on sale for under $50 but it's $98 everywhere else. It is Made in America, in NYC. So that's a bonus by my count lately.

I may experiment with making a similar style. You can get a 72" length of leather strip at Tandy Leather in various widths. The 3/4" width is $13.99 for 72" strip. But it's natural cowhide, so the option to color it is a plus or minus depending on how much project you want to take on. Of course Tandy has dyes, paints and stains in many colors, and Edge Kote if you want the edges to look nice and finished. Tandy also has the tools to punch holes, and if you have to purchase these just for this project, the DIY ROI starts to look not-so-good. Although I already own these from scrapbooking projects.

And for the final important piece, Tandy has the Stud Thingie. Yes that is an official term in my house.

Or for a rocker chick look, try a dog collar spike:

I don't know about you, but I've never had a dog tough-looking enough to pull off wearing spikes on its collar without looking silly. I'd probably look silly wearing spikes too!

I already have a Stud Thingie, so the only thing needed is a leather strip long enough to wrap around my waist and upper hip area twice.

Save on shipping by seeing if there's a Tandy store in your area.

I should add, I don't mean to be an inadvertent shill for Tandy only. Their brand-building works as it's the first name that popped to mind. There are many other sources for these same supplies such as Zack White Leather Company which has a larger selection, and many at lower prices: long leather strips for double belts in many widths and you can even choose a preferred thickness, button studs, a ton of dyes and finishes, and tools like belt punches.

If you want a finished leather or a textured leather, try leatherwise on eBay. You may need to double up the leather and edgestitch and possibly piece strips together to make the belt long enough. This metallic blend of copper and brass in their eBay store would make a gorgeous belt:

Or how about this brown embossed ostrich texture:

You could also call their store in Santa Cruz, CA to see what leather solutions they have. I've ordered from their eBay store many times and loved all leathers I've received.

Wa-la ... a double wrap belt for not a bad price!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make A Birkin or Kelly Style Bag

Maybe you want to make a statement by carrying a non-animal skin bag. Maybe you don't have the money for the real H. (Uh, maybe? More like, likely.) But still want a classic style like the Birkin or Kelly bags? Here are some tips to make one. It might take some work. But it wouldn't be worth it if it was too easy, right?

-- Search for the OOP Vogue 7892 handbag pattern
-- Adapt this paper Hermes Kelly pattern
-- Download directions to make a Birkin style trash bag
-- Get kelly bag fasteners and padlocks at MacCulloch & Wallis

Trying to make a knockoff look just like the real thing would never ever look right. And it wouldn't be the right thing to do. So get a little crazy. Add your own touches. Why not use an old Hermes-style silk scarf for a lining. And frankly I find the single color bags boring. Mix colors and show your style, like these artist-designed Kelly bags on the Hermes site (to see more, click on the les Kelly de Leila line drawing for a slide show):

So as you can see, you can be inspired by your favorite home dec fabric, faux fur, remnants of tribal fabric, studs, stencils, paints. Have fun with it!

Another personalization idea -- cover the bottom with many rows of feet like those on this Alexander Wang bag:

Check out this new line called Leah & Bliss, where they went nutso, encrusting Birkin style bags with jewels. Then carrying the bags in public. How can you miss this walking down a sidewalk? So people asked about them. Now they sell them. The rest is retail history.

(Pardon me I feel a rant coming on ... WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH why don't I create something fabulous and get the guts to parade it around and then ... and then ... !!!)

Finally, this Washington Post article explains differences between the Kelly and Birkin, but we're not going to worry about this too much, because this isn't trying to be anything like real, right! Although according to this article, it is fitting that Lady Gaga is putting Sharpie graffiti and spiked studs on a Birkin and not a Kelly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gallery of Shirtdresses

Who would have thought shirtdresses are interesting enough for a gallery of photos. Maybe they're not. But good ones have a lot of detail to be examined if you want to recreate them, like good trenchcoats.

This isn't the most gorgeous post of all time. Shirtdresses are brainy. And this is a thinking woman's post.

Click on photos to enlarge, or go to the Nordstrom product links to zoom in to details. If you want to fondle shirtdresses in person, you'll see below, there's only one place you need to go for these.

Safari details. Back yoke. And back center seam allows for some adjustment.

Trenchcoat-style flaps. Gathered sleeve hem. Princess seam and center back seam.

Note the extra wide hem.

Contrast collar detail. Big casual pockets to match slouchy casual feel.

Burberry at Nordstrom
More gunflaps. Self fabric belt. All classic on the front. But on the back -- an exposed zipper!

Hmmmmm. How literal. But it's flannel. And the shoulder line ...
Hidden buttons too, very clean. Depends on the look you're after.

Snaps instead of buttons. And the zipper detail ...
Also encased elastic waist.

Drawstrings and interesting collar for casual wear.

Back to work with this style. Or a party. Darting at the waistline. This belt style goes well with the collar and puffy sleeve. Maybe that's what makes me think of party. Not keg kind of party. More like wine and cheese.

Ruched waist.

Mandarin collar. Waist features drawstring in back.

Zipper closure instead of buttons or snaps. Very safari. Cute in khaki or navy.

Lots of topstitching, including lines over the pockets. Check out the waist. And raglan sleeves meet yoked back. Darts for shaping. Spend time looking at this one.

Snaps. Interesting back belt feature on dropped waist.

Who thought there could be so much to shirtdresses!
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