Wednesday, August 27, 2014

but are you getting my afro in the shot?



There's a lotta talk going round the sewisphere about tips & tricks for taking photos. I've said it here and there in response to comments and other posts, but have never put it up on le blog... so here's my best tip for a great photo.

Bribe whoever is behind the camera to get on the dirty dirty New York ground and shoot up at you like you're seven feet tall.  Especially of you are of the five footish variety.  Which I am.  Suzanne tried it. I'd say she's a convert. (I'd also say she should watch her super cute cut-out back in her technicolor dress when I'm in the general vicinity.)

This shot was snapped moments before a man carrying several large camera bags passed us on the street. Nice backdrop, he said. Eyeing Ruggy's standing position, he offered: Get low on the ground and shoot up at her. The angle will give her more height. 


After. 'Fro included!

That was just about a year ago.  Since then, Ruggy made that advice law.  In fact, no amount of begging and pleading will get him up off the ground for a straight-on shot anymore. Truly. Apparently it takes away from his creative process... and who am I to take away FUN.

What baffles me is: why don't red carpet/paparazzi/fashion mag photographers consider this a golden rule? To wit, a shot of me and The Rugster at an event last summer...


Same dress. Less height. 

(Side note, as we walked down the block to the conveniently located shindig, an older gentleman saw us coming and started to full on holler. I'M SORRY BUT I GOT TA SAY Y'ALL HAVE FLAVA. FLA. VA! This dress has magical powers.)

Of course, it begs the question: why do we need an extra foot of height? What you really want to see are the seams and the pattern and the print and all that good stuff, right? Again. Because it's FUN. But, equally important, all of the hard work we put into a garment deserves a good shot. Angle notwithstanding, you don't need to go full on ground level, whether it's a quickie by the garage door with morning light before you head off to work, or going hog wild over the weekend with props and backdrops and the whole shebang-- try something different! It could be fun.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Fat Quarter: Look Out Project Runway


Oh, I'm sorry. I'M SORRY. BUT YOU NEED TO STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO SEE THE LATEST FAT QUARTER CHALLENGER. PUT THE CHILD/CAT/COFFEE/DEBRIEFING DOWN AND GO RIGHT NOW.

The challengers are hellbent on proving me wrong. First, Devra's Unicorn playset. Then Amity's Zombified Peplum blouse. Now comes this stripey self-drafted number from mastermind Jennifer of Workroom Social, complete with a Project Runway recap of her work in the challenge.  She basically Tim Gunn'ed herself.

I think I need to go lie down.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PIZZA PIZZA

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

For my birthday suit this year, I wanted something insane.  AND I LIKES TO GET WHAT I WANTS.


Ruggy was informed mid-July that I didn't care what the venue was, I would be thrilled to eat a hog dog from a cart, so long as I was doing it in a simple yet extravagant girly frock. August's MSN allowance provided me the materials for my plans: Oscar de la Renta silk taffeta (all gone, sad face hey! it's back!), and magenta dotted organza (almost gone...and don’t be fooled by the picture, it’s magenta for sure!). But plans, as usual, changed once I stared the yardage in the face.

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

And changed. And changed. I wanted a cap sleeve vintage silhouette with crinoline. I wanted a mermaid ball gown. At one point I thought I would make an actual three piece suit.  But after seeing the Charles James exhibit, curves called... although I was ready to start a good old fashioned slice 'n dice drape session, something made me stop. August is the craziest month in all of Kalkatroona (like 86 birthdays, for real, ancestors got tres happy round Thanksgiving), and my brain was too full!  I wanted to be told what to do.

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

Cynthia Rowley 1802 gave me my manifetso for the skirt, and Simplicity 0320 was the plank I walked for the bodice. A TNT pattern, it was heavily modified to get the look I wanted at the shoulder and back, which was also inspired by a giant of fashion, Christian Dior. 

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

Christian on top and Charles on the bottom! SMELL ME.

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

But don't inhale too deeply. Yikes, some of those seams...one could almost say ham handedly modified.  I definitely manhandled the bodice!  Did I muslin? No. I used the “stitch, rip, repeat” method. You can see the silk was getting a little vexed with this decision on the front bodice. And either the dress is too tight in the back, or the just-off-the-shoulder-look meant I needed boning...

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

It fits comfortably enough for an evening of pizza though, so I’m not complaining!

Yes, the venue was birthday pizza, in a magical back garden of a Greenwich Village joint, and I felt splendidly overdressed.  Ruggy, I soothed, I can always trim the magenta away if I want a less costume-y frock. 

But I literally cackle every time I look down at this combo, so I do believe they’ll be mates for some time.

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

Have you ever heard taffeta move? Such a delicious rustle! It’s like a slightly hollered whisper, egging you on to shake and shimmy and sway…which we did, to some seriously stirring after-pizza blues.

No surprise, my guy treated me right. Mais, as a photographer, he is not so into the details, he’s a big picture kinda guy. But I do like his eye. Both of them, actually. So allow me to throw a few close ups into this picture heavy post, it is my birthday dress, after all...


This little bow is an extension of the shoulder hack-- fully lined and sussed out over a cocktail or two...


Three thousand inches of rolled, serged, topstitched edges, the topstitching done with a smile by my baller Pfaff, the serging done under threat of pain by the old Elna (which will only do wovens now). The dress is so insane, I didn't fret over the exposed serging. Having too much fun to fret.


This lining & invisible zip are actually neon coral pink in hue. My extremely old camera refuses to accept this fact.

oonaballoona oscar de la renta birthday dress

This one was a joy to make, and that’s exactly what I wanted for my birthday dress..FUN!  I find more and more that I truly only want to sew FUN things. And if wearing them out means going for pizza, hey, that only adds to the FUN.

Phew!  I can hear the sound of that taffetta right now, sweet music! What’s the last thing you sewed purely for fun?