7.08.2019

Re:Fashion Season 2 on Bluprint!

Re:Fashion Season 2 on Bluprint!

Also known as The Extra Season, also known as The Season We Do Things To Rob. See evidence above.

Re:Fashion Season 2 is now live on Bluprint! I am so enormously proud of, and in love with, the crew that makes this happen. They are the most collaborative, supportive, fine group of humans that we've had the honor to work with. I hope you enjoy what we've created together... 

I'll be highlighting all 6 looks over the summer, with plenty of lovely pics for the sewing minded to ogle! OOOO I DO LIKE TO OGLE A SEAM! Til then, if you get your Sewing TV through Bluprint, you can catch the series here.

Happy sewing, my friends!

6.24.2019

Rob Is Right, Or: We're Starting a YouTube Channel


I was going to title this post "A Love Letter To My Husband" but OOOOOO WOULD HE EVER HATE THAT HERALD! We're not the kind of couple that posts mushy sentences on social media about anniversaries, or Valentine's Day, or any whathaveyou occasion of love. And since this post is about giving him props, I suppose dubbing it in such a way that would make him squeamish would be a bit bratty of me.

(so I'll just put my original instinct in the introductory paragraph instead)

But we like nothing more than being near each other. Now, because he will read this and call me out IRL, I will admit that yes, I get a little stir crazy sometimes with our nightly rhythm of Netflix & Chill. Especially when we're on a binge of some realistic, excellently executed drama, where my mind wanders to fashion and Rob has to tell me why a character just exploded or something. Still, on the evenings when one of us is bachelor-ed for rehearsal or work, or even when both of us are out together at a shindig, it requires the instant remedy of at least three nights in, side by side.

Which is exactly why I shouldn't have fought Rob so long on starting a YouTube channel. He's been gently nudging me towards videos for about 5 years now. (This might be an exaggeration, but I don't *think* that's MarcyMath™️.) The nudging turned to full-on unrelenting badgering at the start of the New Year.

After several months of hashing out ideas, under my severe and loud protest, I finally gave in last week and shot some things. And had to admit to Rob (because we always admit when we are wrong) that it was THE MOST FUN EVER, hugely because it offers the bonus of the two of us getting to play together, which is my most favorite thing in the world.


My main protest was wanting everything to be perfect, and not understanding how to accomplish that. I mean. WHAT IS YOUTUBE?! What should videos be? With the blog, I've got the gameplan. Pictures. Ramblings. Done. This'll be a learning curve of what works and what doesn't, and it won't be perfect. After all, it's just us and some equipment. It'll be a minute before we're ready to go--we're accumulating some content so that we're not scrambling to get stuff up, but at the moment there are a few Bluprint trailers up so that we have a landing page visible...you can go on and be the first subscriber if ya like ;) We've got ideas that I think will be fun...but if there's something you're itching to watch, holler at me. I'm all ears.

You may be thinking right about now, I've rambled my way completely off course in this sneak attack love letter. But imma bring it back around, and say the thing that is a load bearing wall in the construct of any relationship: Rob, you were right. 

4.08.2019

Complicating Simplicity 8456

Complicating Simplicity 8456

I don't know if it's here to stay or just visiting till June, but the warm weather showed UP and that means OUTSIDE PHOTOS WITH MOUTH OPEN AND NONSTOP MOVEMENT

Complicating Simplicity 8456

Complicating Simplicity 8456

Seriously, Rob is such a good sport about this. We're babysitting a kitteh this week, and she comes with a private common area nestled between battered brick buildings. The first thing Rob asked was if I wanted to take some photos.

I KNOW. 

I am obviously a lucky gal. But! There are some issues to address about this dress, as my luck ran out in my tinkering. This pattern, Simplicity 8456, is actually a slip/crinoline/petticoat vintage reprint. Of course I wanted her as a maxi dress. I made my usual tweak of raising the waist 1 1/4", but I didn't account for the lace panels that were meant to live at the top of the bodice. So I had to recreate a lower waist to get the bodice up to a level of decency. In fact, I think if I would've left the waistline as patterned, omitting the lace insets, it would have worked out perfectly! 


Raising the neckline on the fly meant she was also too tight across the center front panel. Luckily, I'd cut the CF panel as two, because I wanted to get some print mirroring in that jammie. Sadly, I'd only given myself 3/8ths SA. So I reduced the seam allowance to next to nothing, opening the seam up across the widest part of my bust to create some more breathing room...


Which ripple effect-ed into the side front gaping. Threw a dart in to fix that. Then cut a lining. *Tried* to mimic everything I did on the outer bodice, without actually taking that finished bodice apart. I went a little off in my assessment here and there, as that lining is TIGHT! The dress hung & felt great pre-lining (so great I boogied in it) but walking towards Kitteh's house with this dress on proved my teeny ta-tas need a little more room than the lining is currently permitting. Next up: cutting the lining down into a facing. No muss, no fuss, no self imposed binding.  

Complicating Simplicity 8456

(Yes, my bracelet is cracked, she was dropped by a fellow high-key performer on her very first outing. I glued her and refuse to give her up.)

The cotton sateen hails from my beloved janky store in NY's garment district. I was on the fence about it, when a customer sidled up to me and said, you want me to help you with your life? GET THAT. This delightful guy had already made several pairs of long shorts out of this. IF ONLY Rob would rock this crazyface print! I'd make him those technicolor shorts in a HEARTBEAT!

I took my dapper dude's advice, and overbought. So the shorts could still happen.

Complicating Simplicity 8456


I mean, could you imagine us in matching outfits in this print?! We would stop traffic! Help a girl out, wouldja? What say you? Let me know if you'd like to see us as a matched set...I'll read your thoughts out loud to the man and see if I can convince him. OH IT WOULD BE SO GOOD.

4.01.2019

The Seven Year Stitch: Leaving MSN

The Seven Year Stitch: Leaving MSN

Last December, I said a fond farewell to the Mood Sewing Network. That's seven years' worth of stitching you see above (and it took me roughly seven years to make that dang poorly laid out collage!).

MSN helped me to level up my sewing game. At the time I'd only been sewing three years, on dollar-a-yard kind of stuff, so getting to play with fabric that was out of my wallet's reach was an absolute gamechanger. Especially as a beginner! Though I'm not scared of the scissors, I wasn't playing with silk and brocade and velvet and what-have-you until that fabric allowance came along. And let's face it, it's easier to cut with wild abandon when the yardage costs you nothing but your time, if you have the time to spend.

And I spent some time, yo. Save for a weird little stint in which I tried to sew everyday separates, I was attempting Extra right out of the gate.

The Seven Year Stitch: Leaving MSN

The Seven Year Stitch: Leaving MSN




The Anna Sui dress up top, my first MSN post, is due for a better zipper insert now that I know more (said zip is faced with lace, why I do not know), and this blue chiffon gal was my last MSN post. And man did she take forever, and man do I ADORE HER. 

However, many of my Mood makes didn't survive the years. In fact...lemme white out what didn't make it...



HAHA WHAT?!! 

I'm not surprised or even regretful of all that white space--some things went to live in other people's closets, some things got repurposed for other garments, and some things were just flat out fails to learn from. And some survivors are in the midst of being refashioned! All good things in my book.

The joy of playing with (and sometimes murdering) fabric aside, what really kicked me in the butt was sharing a space with some truly amazing sewists. Sewing with that inaugural group lit a fire under me. I was determined to level up to my sewsisters. The crew has changed over the past seven years, still full of awesome--yet every time someone left, I thought, HOW?! It's free fabric!! But eventually, the trade-off of sourcing, planning, stitching, shooting, editing, writing and posting on someone else's site then reformatting to share here, for several yards of cloth, just wasn't working out for me personally. (And sometimes, you gotta close a door yourself to see what window opens ;)

And how 'bout y'all? I remember when MSN was announced, it was the first sewing blogger network--now that networks and collaborations are everywhere, how do you feel about them? Would you join one, if the fit was right?

eta: hey Chris, thanks for your comment-- here's a side by side of what was made/what was kept for ya!


3.27.2019

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

I yammered on about the making of this chameleon dress Sunday...here she is in all four iterations! 

No capes...

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

One cape...

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

Two capes...

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

FULL CAPES! 

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

RUNWAY REMAKE Reveal (and Reveal, and Reveal, and Reveal)

PHEW! CAPES!

How do ya like my karma chameleon?! If you read Sunday's construction post, then you know it wasn't all roses. It's been a minute since I wrote a thought process post (or as Peggy put it perfectly: Thought EXPLOSION post). It felt weird--lately, finished garment reveals and quick shots on social media end up ruling the day, and it can seem like garments happen without a hitch. Pretty much never the case around here. I'd like to get back to the details, mainly to remind anyone wanting to jump into sewing that there are plenty of wonderful mistakes to be made along the way! Sewing ain't a straight line around here!

Honestly, I think I HAVE to have bumps in the road in order to get to where I'm going, because I sure didn't think a four-way dress was my destination. Now I have to decide what level of cape-titude is happening on its virgin outing. What say you? No cape? One Cape? Two Cape? Full cape? MORE ROSES?!!!! I MEAN WE ALL KNOW MORE IS MORE.

Thanks to my friends at Bluprint for setting me on this adventure, and documenting it all so beautifully! If you'd like to see the full episode, it's up on Bluprint (if you're not a member, you can download the app and watch all you like for free for 24 hours). New eps coming every Friday, each with a different creative face, all the way till the Project Runway June 13 finale!

3.24.2019

Making RUNWAY REMAKE

Making RUNWAY REMAKE

A fistful of organza flowers in my mitts, an open flame dangerously close to my coils, I  looked at my pink reflection in the mirror and maniacally breathed to Rob across the fabric bombed expanse of our Denver digs: I'M THROWING IN THE TOWEL.

He 98% believed me, which tells you how underwater I was. At that point, I'd been sewing for six weeks straight, and little else. That's not a complaint, let's be real, WHO NEEDS FOOD AND WATER AND BATHROOM BREAKS WHEN YOU'VE GOT SEWING. But, when you're slam sewing stuff intended to be paraded around in front of cameras, and you're Type A, the "this is sh*t" stage of the creative journey sometimes sets up shop and refuses to leave. And that's where this dress was hanging out at 11pm the night before the shoot.

Making RUNWAY REMAKE

And I do mean hanging out. On a hanger. ln a corner. I'd been giving it the hairy eyeball every night after Rob forced me to turn off my brain, eat a good meal and chill for a minute.

Lemme back up. Here's the skinny. In the midst of production for Re:Fashion 2, this extra challenge dropped in my lap. And I do like Extra. This chameleon dress (that has too many looks to reveal in this post) was created for the new Bluprint series, RUNWAY REMAKE. Hosted by Mondo Guerra, it goes hand and hand with Project Runway--an episode drops every week in conjunction with the main event on Bravo. I was slated for the premiere episode. The timeline was tight. Supatight! SPANX TIGHT! (That last bit, to my chagrin, literally.)


The premiere ep's challenge was "First Look." My dossier was to reinvent a past look for my present self, and my inspiration was a shot of me in my prom dress. Ah, prom! Basically the red carpet of high school. As I've said before, I was a shy teenager, but although I used wild clothing as daily armor to walk those hallowed halls, the thought of 400 eyes at prom was apparently too much. And this was me going to prom as a bewildered junior, so I well and truly squashed my naturally off-the-wall instincts and went full wallflower, with a demure fit and flare solid pale pink gown, adorned with a shy satin rose.


I am 24/7 bold now! My red carpet reinvention would have metallic bling! Couture organza flowers! Boning! Multiple capes! And I could totally get it done on top of Re:Fashion sewing! AGAIN WHO NEEDS SLEEP WHEN YOU HAVE SEWING! Prom pic at hand, I sketched an updated look, extending the neckline into a tiered cape surrounding a mini dress. And then, I worked up a mini version on my half-scale dress form with THREE capes to mimic the three pleats on the original neckline. BECAUSE MORE IS MORE.


So, the dress was pretty much designed before I started to sew. And that was what was biting me in the tuchus. How do I always forget it's hard for me to make something *as promised*? I like to have an idea in my head, and then I like to be able to BATTLE ROYALE myself. Smackdown sewing! Make mistakes! THEN FIX 'EM! I especially need that improvisation when there's a time crunch.


My first catastrophe was the underdress. I went with a self-drafted bodice and pencil skirt. So smart, going with an already fitted pattern! SUCH A TIME SAVER! I chose to underline and line the poly metallic organza, using a lofty, textured metallic jacquard for the visible underlining.

And then I decided to machine baste the layers together. And then when they weren't behaving (because I had skipped hand basting), I decided to steam blast those layers flat before assembling the dress. Both questionable choices worked in harmony to shrink my perfectly sized, supersensible pre-fitted pattern to about 2 sizes smaller than intended.

Enter seam ripper, teeny seam allowances, exposed zipper, and taped seams. (And, on the day of the shoot, Spanx. Which I think are the devil incarnate. But, when you've got a deadline and no minutes for remakes, you make your deals, yo.)


I gave myself a break by testing a flower or two. They were so quick and easy, I decided I'd knock out the rest in Denver. Because I had boning to get to.



I chucked some rigilene in along the neckline as well, within the seam allowance. Lately, I've been using rigilene here instead of twill tape. I love what it does to a neckline! You can see here how it keeps a square neck & deep V supported in a strapless romper I made.

I figured it would also add some stability for the caped contraption that was somehow going to extend from the dress bodice down to my waist. In theory, the whole cape-beast-thing would be one liftable unit. IN THEORY.


Y'all. WHAT THE WHAT IS THAT. This exo-skeleton contraption mocked me for seven days at home! The night before the flight, I still hadn't figured it out. I brought the structure, two flowers, the strapless wiggle dress, ten yards of organza, five suitcases of fashion, and a headful of stubborn with us to Denver.

After a fantastic and wonderfully technicolor week of Re:Fashion, the night before the Runway Remake shoot, literally at the eleventh hour, I decided it was either the ridiculously engineered exo-beast, or me. Were it not for Rob, who handed me a digestif and said you need to follow your instincts, babe, it probably woulda been me, in a blaze of stupendous cursing, because THERE IS NO CRYING IN SEWING.

I dismantled the overworked structure, and repurposed two of the taffeta covered lengths of boning for straps for the underdress. Six little filigreed hook and eye sets afforded me the solution to attach the newly freed cape tiers at three points along the dress: straps, underbust, and waist. It was SO much simpler! Sometimes simple is beautiful. However, my exhausted brain wasn't convinced at that point that what I'd made was anything approaching beauty, so to bed I went.


The next morning, Rob was my hype man. He got me coffeed up, packed up, and on my way. In the dressing room, I tried on the full look for the first time, and went to meet the (always fabulous) crew for the day. A man said "that is the best thing I have ever seen." To which I hollered back with the force of a thousand suns
OHMYGAAAH LISTEN NO REALLY?! ARE YOU SERIOUS THANK YOU SO MUCH I TOTALLY THOUGHT IT WAS A DUMPSTER FIRE LAST NIGHT I ALMOST CALLED YOU GUYS AND SAID IT'S NOT GONNA HAAAPPEN ROB HAD TO TALK ME DOWN

And that's how I met our DP Dave ;) 

Moments later, to my caffeinated delight, I realized my left turn at Cape Dismay meant I'd doubled the ways I could wear the beast! That's up next. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Thursday. I've learned to give myself a little wiggle room, dontcha know ;)

AND NOW I GOTTA SUNDAY SEW SOMETHIN'. I've got mistakes to make! Hope you do, too!

2.23.2019

Slow Fashion, I Guess.

Slow Fashion, I Guess.

According to my neglected blog, this dress has been in progress since May of 2018. Which is not to say it's been under the knife for ten months. The bodice, OOP Vogue 1806, was completed up to a point and then left to languish for nine or so while it waited for its other half to come into the stash. 

Slow Fashion, I Guess.

This is the pile of fancy options I kept going, but nothing worked until I paired remnants of two fabrics, from our latest bluprint shoots. You KNOW I can't leave a remnant behind! Someone literally has to pry a scrap out of my hands and save me from myself when I'm packing up at the end of the day. That someone is usually *not* Rob. Though he knows when to tell me to put the scissors down, I don't think he'd ever take an inch of fabric out of my possession. Unless he's replacing it with a cocktail. #mightygoodman

Slow Fashion, I Guess.

Sewing on a whim (which is how I do most of my sewing) means surprises--which I like, because it means I have to solve a problem. Going off-pattern for the skirt makes it springy, but surprise, now that I've found the mate for the fuller shape, I gotta figure out what to do about that join between skirt and bodice. The 3D embroidered fabric would've looked great with a cascade of guipure flowers flowing across the seam, but, they're already severed. I'm thinking about appliqueing guipure flowers...maybe just the royal blue ones? Or go obsessive, and match the flowers exactly, as if I'd thought ahead in the first place? I do love a good obsession. Then 3D pink flowers trailing up? OOOO MAYBE BEADING...

And then I'm thinking this dress might be languishing another ten months. WE SHALL SEE. What's the longest sew you've ever worked on (excluding the WIPs we all have in a bag somewhere...)?