Friday, November 16, 2012

gLove time!

It's that time of the year when I make and sell my reclaimed cashmere fingerless mitts! I have a few studio days planned, look for inventory to hit at Urbanity soon, and we might have a new vendor lined up soon.
Also, I'm having fun with all the rubber stamps I ordered from etsy, check out my new hangtag in the photo below!

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's not all cotton around here!

Had some fun working with leather these last few days...making some items to donate for a local auction. Everything is reclaimed leather and suede.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On a roll

So proud and happy to be volunteering for a grassroots campaign to get out the vote for Barack Obama! Democracy cannot be bought by billionaires.
I'm happy to say my Democrat dress was a big hit! Pictures were taken and - most importantly - it started conversations with the folks whose doors I was knocking on. I'm gearing up for another round today!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kicking Ass!

It's no secret that I'm a diehard Democrat. In fact, when a college prof accused me of being a bleeding heart liberal, my response was, 'you say that like it's a bad thing!' My mom and I are headed to Nevada next week to do some ass-kicking, or literally to remind other registered Democrats to get out and vote! And I plan on wearing this lovely item to show 'em I mean business!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Violet Haze

So I'm still in the 'it's my birthday, so I can do whatever' mode, even though yesterday was my big day. As in, it's over, move on! But no...I had to test out my birthday tools (presents to myself, the best kind really!). Big massive cutting mat? Yes please. It was delicious to just roll that rotary cutter anywhere without worry! New pattern? A little twee so far, I need to punk it up a bit. Here, see for yourself:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another Simplicity

So I'm cheating a bit here, I actually finished this a little while ago but never blogged it.

The fabric was thrifted for about $2 or $3, not kidding! I love my favorite thrift store, which I will refuse to name 'cuz it's getting too damn crowded already. Just know that it is a magical place where you always leave with exactly what you need, whether you realize it or not! Anyway, the fabric is a fun grey seersucker.
I piped the collar, added interfacing behind the invisible zip since the fabric is lightweight, and cut it a bit looser around the waist than the last two so it would feel more casual.

Also, I matched stripes like a fiend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ginger II

I haven't been this obsessed with anything called Ginger since the last Gilligan's Island marathon on Nickelodeon!

This version used my 'real' fabric, a lovely wool suiting I found as a remnant for $11 at Stonemountain. With some careful planning, I was able to cut two skirts since I couldn't decide if I liked the right side or wrong side better!
The light side version, which I shall hereby name Alpha, has a pronounced chevron pattern woven in, which made the cutting way easier for me. I love to go all OCD on stripes! I added some ric rac on the waistband to keep it from looking too corporate and to add some vintagey quirkiness to it.

The waistband facing is leftover from my magical skirt-to-hat experiment earlier this year. I need to hem this thing and then start on the Omega version. That one will really need a pop of some color to liven up the dark heathery grey without limiting what I can wear it with. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


It helped immeasurably that I already washed and cut the fabric out, so that when I had a free hour today I could crank this thing out in time to wear tonight!

Here I am in my kitchen wearing my new Peter Pan Gertie blouse and my new wearable muslin Ginger skirt of black twill from Stonemountain. I cut a six, but the waist feels slightly too big. I have some nice grey wool for my 'real' version, coming soon!
One more shot:

The waistband has a fun print inside. Please excuse stray dog hairs! Miss Olive the chihuahua has to sit on my lap at all times, especially when I'm sewing.

New Obsession

So, you all know how I feel about my Peter Pan blouse, but as I wear it ( a lot!) I notice that it rides up in funny ways over the chest and shoulder. I'm always having to tug it down. Since I happened to pick up a Violet blouse pattern at the Colette book signing this past weekend, well, ho hum, it looks like I may have to make one. Or two. I'm thinking the buttons down the front and set-in sleeves, as opposed to kimono style, will address my fitting concerns. Especially since I picked up these fabulous fabrics at Verb for 15% off during the event.

The striped fabric is actually woven in, not just printed on. I'm thinking it needs a pop, like scarlet piping around the collar and my red vintage buttons from my recent haul. The pinwheel-y retro print didn't jump out at me until I saw it on Jesse J's store sample Rooibos and again on Lea's Rooibos. Then, it was obsession. Thankfully I found a bit left on the bolt! I want to do some kind of contrast for the Peter Pan collar, but can't think of what! Not a solid pink (I'm not much of a pink person), maybe ivory? Any ideas? Help a sewist out!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Real Live Bloggers

Such a treat last night, not only to see Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns, but to meet some awesome local blogstresses! Above are the charming Laura of Lilacs and Lace on the left, and the lovely Amy of Sew Well on the right. That's me in the middle, feeling a bit like the stepchild at a family reunion. These folks are so talented, and all seem to know each other! I have to say, though, that everyone was so friendly and encouraging that I felt right at home in no time. I really enjoyed meeting Lea in her Rooibos, and Daiyami in her beautiful Chantilly also! Much like knitting get-togethers, before too long we were all admiring garments, inquiring about fiber content and construction, and leaving full of inspiration, resolution, and with an undoubtedly lighter wallet.

Here's Sarai, in her own Lily dress pattern, and me in my Simplicity 2588. She graciously signed my book and listened to me ramble. I managed to score one of the coveted Anise coat patterns before they sold out, as well as the Violet top I'd had my eye on.
I was happy to find the last Juniper pattern for Erin (Miss Crayola Creepy) while we were waiting in line, I can't wait to see what she does with them!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Gertie Blouse

So, the very second I saw this fabric in a remnant bin at Stonemountain & Daughter, I knew something cool needed to be made out of it. But what?! It was under two yards and nothing jumped to mind. If you're a recovering hoarder, stop reading now, because I bought it anyway, and held onto it for months because I knew the right thing would come along. Behold! The bow tie blouse of Gertie's was the perfect  pattern!

This is the Peter Pan collar option from her new book. It came together so quickly that I now love it and want to make a dozen more. Oh, and it looks purty darn cute too, if I do say so myself. I just need to make a Ginger skirt in black to complete the outfit.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Hemming of the Two

So I had an almost-completed Butterick 6582 hanging in the closet - just hanging there! - that needed hemming. It was one of those ‘hang it for 24 hours prior to hemming’ things that just got lost in the no man’s land that is my closet. Also, hand-stitching the humongous full skirt - hello!

But lo and behold, this weekend I whipped up a Vogue 8728 in a lazy afternoon and hemmed both of those suckers before dinner! Ah, the rush of industriousness and virtue! Of course, my kids watched two movies and fed themselves, but hey, I chalk it up to personal sanity time.

Let me just add that I’m not nuts about the 8728. I’ve worn it a few times to try and ascertain why it fails to rock my world. Perhaps I need to make it out of my trusty standby, cotton, instead of the silky slinky stuff I found on sale at JoAnn’s? The side zipper always catches my delicate waist-parts also, when I zip it up too quickly. Ouchies!

The B6582 is lovely and received several compliments, however. I made it in a mini-gingham red and ivory that I found at the thrift store for about $3. That’s the only way those circle-skirt vintage patterns are affordable to make, I tell you! Who can buy 6 yards of fabric these days?! Next time I make it - and there WILL be a next time - I need to drop the neckline a bit. It’s very Mad Men and all, but the girls need some air.
Next up, the Bow Tie Blouse from Gertie’s New Book. Sigh. I just love her. I’m going to draft the Peter Pan collar, per her instructions, instead of the bow. Nothing against the pattern, but I don’t do bows. They remind me of a Working Girl-era Melanie Griffith.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mysterious Button Society

So there's this button store in my town. It's a little hole in the wall, and the sign out front simply says 'Buttons'. It has piqued many an interest and has been blogged about by others quite a bit.

Finally, I found it open and went on an adventure!

This was the tip of the iceberg, let me just say. There are drawers upon drawers of buttons in this place with only a rudimentary nod to organization. If you venture in, know that they're only open about four hours a week and take cash only. Prepare to be there for awhile, and enjoy your chat with Mary, the owner. She's a peach.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Skirt to Hat

I've always wanted to make a hat. I dunno about you, but I think about things and how they're constructed a lot, and sometimes I just can't get something out of my head until I make it and see if it works the way I'd imagined it. Anyway, here's a hat I knocked out today. The floral used to be a skirt that I picked up at the thrift store for a few dollars. The gingham was also thrifted, and heavily interfaced to give it some stiffness.

Yup, it's reversible!

The brim is a little wonky on one side. I think I didn't quite estimate the degree of curvature correctly! But hey, does it keep the sun off? YES!! So I'm going to do my best to not care!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gaultier or, Swooning at the De Young

Played hooky and went to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. This was my favorite, by far. There are little toile appliques on a mesh dress. The mannequins had faces projected onto them, so they appeared to be looking around the room and speaking. It so perfectly captured the elegant goth aesthetic that I adore.

Also, I got to see Madonna's actual cone bra from her Like A Virgin tour. I swoon, I die.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Vintage Pattern Score

I found this unused pattern while on vacation in Nevada City, California, in the most random cluttered vintage shop! I love the wiggle dress, but what I really lust after is that hat!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vintage Fashion Expo

Today's haul from the Vintage Fashion Expo in SF. No actual garments were purchased, although a $45 mink stole tried really hard to come home with me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simplicity 2588, the second!

I swear, I love piping so darn much! I'll be buried in a piped coffin if it's up to me. Anyway, here's the next incarnation of my favorite dress pattern.
And how does it feel to successfully install my first invisible zipper?

Oh yeah! Like I'm a rock star!!
I've been avoiding these things for SO DARN LONG, but they are so super easy that now I'm embarrassed I waited so long! There are so many easy tutorials online, I encourage you to give it a shot.

Somewhere on my camera is a photo of how the pattern on the back perfectly matches up on either side of the zipper, I'll have to dig it up because I'm just so proud I could pop.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Simplicity 2588, the first

Words cannot express how much I adore this dress. I had to make myself take it off to hem it, because I was wearing it like this:
Please ignore my messy sewing studio! I love seeing photos of those pristine work spaces in magazine spreads, where every tool is daintily hung on its own hook and thread is arranged by Pantone shading, but in MY studio the sh#t is everywhere because it's getting USED, people!
One more shot of this dress, actually on, with my dog photo-bombing in the background:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bad-Ass Pants, While You Wait

What's that you say? Your leather pants are dated, with the slightly too-wide cut below the knee? Well, let me just take care of that for you.

Sha - BOOM! Leather skinny jeans, here we come!
I pulled out the lining, took in a bit from the inseam, and tapered from the knee down by adding these fun grommets, before putting the lining back. When you're doing a show in a fire arts studio where everything is meant to burn, leather pants are a safety requirement. These are for the director, my friend Mark. The leather pants were a leftover costume piece from an earlier production of Don Giovanni that he inherited, and they just needed some taking in and bringing up to date.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Goodbye leather trenchcoat...

...and hello new handbag! I've been wanting to do this for ages, since I never wear this coat anymore and the leather was too good to just give away.

You can still see the trenchcoaty double-breastedness, which is now the closure. I used the belt as the shoulder strap, and incorporated the existing front pockets which run on the seam (you can kind of see them below the buttoned flap). I topstitched some nice folds to give it structure, and lined it in a cute paisley coated cotton I had lying around from a failed attempt at lunchboxes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Machine Time

More photos to come soon, but we had some great reviews for Machine: A Fire Opera at The Crucible:
 And who could resist these zombie workers of the apocalypse?!
Best yet was our imprisoned Celtic goddess, Brigid, with her soldered EL wire wig, silk corset and custom made crown:

More fun and crazy hi-jinks backstage:

It was such a pleasure to costume this show and to work with such amazing people! I'm glad it had such a long run so that many folks could experience Jean-Francois's amazing set and hear the top-notch orchestra and these phenomenal singers.