Monday, February 25, 2013

My Best Dressed List

I watched the Oscars last night with my sister, Anna. We watch it every year together. With a mom who studied theater arts in college, my whole family has been watching the Oscars since I can remember. We would have parties growing up with close family friends, starting to watch the red carpets at 3 pm- before TiVo days- to hear every star's interview. It was like the Superbowl for us.

My best dressed for the 2013 Oscars:

Without a doubt, Charlize Theron in Dior Couture:

Jennifer Garner in Gucci (Does anyone else wish she would make an Alias movie??? Directed by Quentin Tarantino??)

Anne Hathaway in her Georgio Armani dress that she wore for the Les Mis preformance. I loved Les Mis (especially Eddie Redmayne) and I love this dress:

And the last two are tied for 1st. I LOVED the black and gold trend that invaded the carpet last night. So art deco and so modern!

Stacey Keibler (who finally stepped it up with this appearance... so boring at all the other carpets!) in Naaem Khan 

and.... of course... the legend... Halle Berry with shoulder pads galore by Versace!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I don't draw as well as I sew

This week has been a doozy. My chambray blouse was put on hold completely to do homework and list every item in my apartment on KSL for sale. Every piece of furniture except for my bed and all of our office/sewing room stuff is being sold for when we move downtown next month. The new apartment is only 1 bedroom, so we are going to do a living/sewing room/office/dining room combo! It will be a party. Goodbye chair and table :(

Next month I'll be heading to Cali again to make my little sister Olivia's prom dress. Last year's dress was a total hit, so this one has to be good. I was able to do double duty and draw some options for Liv as well as my Fashion Illustration class. Which one do you like the best, Liver?

 My feet drawing skills still need some work....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Chambray Blouse, part 1: the pattern

In my mind's eye on Monday night I saw a chambray (leftover fabric from my Valentine's dress) button-down blouse with a tie collar and a sequin tank top to wear over it, either in pink or gold. I guess what triggered this creative thought were all the sequin tank tops under blazers that girls wear in Pinterest Pins. I guess I felt left out.

I started on the pattern the other night. I based the pattern for this blouse on the bodice pattern from this dress (also my valentine dress), mostly because it fits so well over my bust. 

To adopt the pattern, I started by tracing the pattern pieces, and extended the side seams, center front, princess seams, and center back so that the pattern extends past my natural waist like a normal blouse, which would look best hitting just above my hips. 

**You may be wondering why I have a full center front piece for this pattern, and not just a half pattern piece that is placed on a fold when cut out.. it's because my body is asymmetrical, so my right side is different from my left. For this blouse I have all different pattern pieces for both sides**

I made the hem at center front longer than at the princess seams because I want them hem to be like a traditional button up blouse, with the front and back longer than the sides.

I then traced my side pieces and extended the princess seams and side seams to correspond to the center front piece. I did the same thing for my back and side back pieces as well. 

I then used my Vary Form Curve (or can be called a French Curve in some settings) to blend the hem from the side front pieces to the center front piece, to make a nice curved hem. 

I did this whole process, with the same measurements, for my back pieces as well. 

Once the patterns were all adjusted, I cut them out. Please note that I NEVER add seam allowances to my paper patterns anymore. I've learned from my classes at SLCC Fashion Institute that it is best to add seam allowances only when the pattern is cut. This makes the whole process of altering patterns during fittings much, much easier. Obviously, this only works when making patterns for individuals. In the industry when computer patterns are made and are cut by another person for production, seam allowances are added to those patterns for accuracy. 

When cutting out, I have to true my darts to make sure that the seam lines are accurate when sewing. To do this, I folded the pattern at the dart point. 

I then folded the dart as it would be sewn. I then cut along the seam line with the dart still folded over.

When the dart is opened, the seam line is perfectly trued:

The next step is to make sure that all the seam lines match up (this necessary process proves why not having seam allowances is so nice when making patterns). I did this on the front pieces by carefully guiding the side front panel's seamline (the cut edge of the pattern) down the center front panel's seamline. this is tricky to do when my seam lines are so curved, which is why it has to be done carefully, and probably a few times. I also had to make sure my darts were folded as they are sewn since they take out excess in the seam line. 

On some of my pieces, the seam lines didn't match up. I made a decision to either shorten the one piece or lengthen the other- I usually just lengthen the other for the 1st muslin fitting in order to err on the side of too much, rather than too little. 

My patterns are trued. Too cut out, the guide I always follow for muslin mock ups is to have no seam allowance added on the necklines or hems of any garments, so that during the fitting I can easily see where these lines are without having to subtract extra fabric visually. I leave 1" at the opening (which is down my center front), and a 1/2" everywhere else. Sometimes I'll do an 1" on my side seams, but since I have used a form of this pattern before, I don't find it necessary. 

 Next time: The 1st muslin fitting and the pattern alteration.

Monday, February 18, 2013

In case you missed it....

As Fashion Club President at SLCC Fashion Institute, the charity co-chairs from I Love Bullies invited FI students and me to show looks at their charity fashion show and auction called Excuse Me While I Change the World, held on February 28th at the Gateway Grand Hall. The charity co-chairs had 3 of the designers display their looks on Channel 2 morning news, and I was one of them, with Carrie Pennington and Kim Dunn, both FI students. 

Here is the segment (really fancy recorded off of my TV), and I will be modeling this evening gown at the fashion show Feb 28th! This show is for a wonderful cause to continue to help teenagers with bullying and suicide. Buy tickets here.

Behind the scenes from Steve's point of you (I teased him later calling him my "manager... driving me to appearances, taking video, buttoning me up in my dress...)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peplum wool jacket and my favorite studded booties

Steve took a break from watching the Twilight Zone this morning to finally take some pictures of my new wool peplum jacket. I love this jacket. I love that the fullness in the peplum is just right. I love the perfectly eased-in tight sleeves-- they are a little too tight to wear with regular sweaters, but I would rather have that then have a nice jacket with big ol' sleeves. The pleating on the sleeve shoulders did not work out at all- soo unflattering. Steve said they made me look like I was a woman playing a man in a Shakespearean play, like Viola in Twelfth Night... I imagine my hair cut didn't help that image. 

 I am going to base my leather jacket off of this pattern.

The maroon wool fabric and the orange grosgrain ribbon lining detail I chose look so good together!

***SLC PEEPS**** I am going to be on Channel 2 News tomorrow morning (Feb 18th) at 7:45 am to model and talk about my evening gown! Set your TiVos!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reading Day

3 day weekend bliss. I am pushing all my homework till Monday (more like Monday night) and resting up today. I have about 3 months of W, Vogue, and Lucky magazine subscriptions to catch up on. I also have 3 new books to start on: The Smithsonian Fashion (Steve's Christmas gift to me), Making Trousers, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric

I had a little Amazon book therapy this morning too. I'm dying to make a leather jacket. dying. I have never sewn with leather before and there are no leather classes at SLCC Fashion Institute. As Fashion Club President, I am trying to set up a workshop on leather for the students. It is a communal need to sew with leather, beyond just making bags or accessories, but actual garments. 

I found this book this morning and it is perfect! I should get the book on Wednesday, and then after a little studying I'll buy the leather at Tandy Leather- I'm imagining a soft, sandy tan leather with a navy blue wool collar and welt pockets, and flared peplum. A quick sketch:

This weekend of rest will be good for my back. After about 13 hours straight free-motion sewing lace to chambray, I have to roll my back on a golf ball to get the knots out from under my right shoulder blade. Sewing isn't great on the body.

Friday, February 15, 2013

February Fifteenth

Since Steve and I both had classes all day yesterday, we decided to put off celebrating V-day until this afternoon. I had my tailoring class with my favorite teacher at the Fashion Institute, Eugene, and then Steve picked me up to go to lunch. For our special down-town valentine date, I made sure to wear my new dress...

Tons of compliments from class mates and such. I felt pretty good. 

The best restaurants in Salt Lake are of course down town. We decided to try someplace new: Plum Alley on 3rd South. Very affordable, adventurous, delicious, and an inspiring setting. 

Steve got me the black lace for my dress for Valentine's, and I made him a matching sterling silver hammered ring. Now we match :) I like how Steve wears it with his wedding ring, like I do with mine. He said he'd try to wear it everyday, but he has to get used to wearing two rings. What a baby.

After lunch we decided to not go to a typical movie but instead go to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. I had never been there before and had been meaning to go forever. It was so great: full of really cool art by local Salt Lake artists and other American artists. There were many pieces that had to do with technology and how we display ourselves on the internet; how we use our personalities as commodities in order to achieve notoriety/fame/success. We are built of many personalities, but only one is shown on Facebook and the internet-- "I am a diamond with many facets" as one artist described it in a video piece.

There was another exhibit from local artist Siren Bliss who has created more than 80,000 pieces of art so far in his life. He had many very interesting thoughts about creativity and being an artist as a career, and I was able to scribble down a few:
"Find out who you are. Find out where this is. Find out what this is. Find out who you are. Find out what to do about it. Find out who the others are. Create or do not create in accordance with your findings."
"He who takes possession loses [...] I decided that to be economical with my career [as an artist], I would stay away from taking possession as mush as possible and either dump [my art] for quick cash or give it to the charities to do with what they may."
 "I sacrifice a lot for what I get. If you don't eat anything except bowls of oatmeal, unseasoned, anything at all will taste like a huge garden of flowers."
I feed off of other creative people. I'm grateful that down town has so many creative outlets. Steve, Bridgette and I will actually be moving down town next month, and we are all super excited to see down town on a day to day basis walking around, and not driving in a car. 

Steve bought me a print at the museum gift shop by a local artist, Patric C. Bates

He's my valentine. I love him. It was a good day.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free-motion Sewing Tutorial

Tutorial time! and this one is on one of my favorite sewing techniques: free-motion sewing. I learned how to do free-motion sewing at my last job, where we would have to take off yards of lace trim on a tulle gown, and then re-sew it on after the hem was altered. Of course hand stitching all that lace back on the hem would have taken forever. One of the nice ladies at my work who had sewn her whole life taught me how to sew free-motion.

Free-motion sewing basically means appliqueing lace or other materials (but mostly done with lace) with your sewing machine without using a foot. You read that right... free-motion sewing is done without any foot on the machine! It is just the needle and your hands keep everything flat that sews the lace to the fabric. If the foot were used, there would be a lot of shifting going on to the fabric that is being appliqued, which would result in a poor-looking garment for sure. Free-motion sewing is a proper method for appliqueing lace onto other fabrics that is long lasting and looks really good.

Steve bought me this black lace for Valentine's. I had my eye on it at Tissu since I 1st saw it there two weeks ago. It is a non-beaded corded black lace that has a beautiful floral and leaf motif. It goes perfectly with the chambray dress I made up last week, which is the same pattern as this dress. I love this pattern so much-- oober flattering tres chic in cotton chambray fo sho.

I wanted to just add the lace to the back of the dress, much like my jacket I made last year with the lace detail. The easiest way to drape lace is to use a dress form. Having your daughter/friend/mom/other loved one stand there while you accidentally poke pins in them for 45 minutes per side would not be fun. But draping like this doesn't work on a hanger either-- you need to be able to mimic the curves of the body to make sure the lace is placed correctly. A dress form like Sophie is vital

Note: I draped the lace on each side of the dress in one piece-- lace is malleable and stretchy enough to drape around a body without having to add darts-- especially on the back.  

The first thing I did was place the dress on the dress form, zipped up. I am larger than my dress form, but that doesn't matter for draping and placing lace on a dress-- if need be, you can always pin the dress excess out of the way if you feel you need a tighter fit. I did this each time I draped the back sides.

I then draped the scalloped edge of my lace down the center back, overlapping the zipper slightly, and pinned it in place. Make sure you leave enough length at the top to ensure that you have enough lace to go up to the shoulder seam.

Once the Center Back is pinned in place, I then smooth the lace over the shoulder, pinning that in place while also cutting away what I need to in order for the lace to wrap around the neck.

Then, I moved down the armscye, smoothing out the lace and making sure that the lace going across the back is smooth, but not too tight that is pulling. 

At this point, there was too much extra lace to work with, since I was still working with the entire yard and a half Steve bought me. This is the time to cut off the rest of the lace that is not needed, however, I made sure that I had enough lace past the dress's side seam to make sure I wouldn't be short-- I probably left 5" past the dress's side seam just to be sure. I also cut off the extra lace past the waist seam of the dress, but left about 3" past to also be super dooper sure. 

Then I pinned the lace down the side seam of the dress. I shifted the lace piece a lot a this point, but never unpinned the lace scallop down the Center Back-- that has to stay in place no matter what. The point is to make sure that all the lace is smooth over the garment. 

It took a lot of shifting to make sure the lace was smooth. I had to readjust the armscye and the shoulder seam pinning. That's just how it is- readjusting until it's perfect. After that, I pinned the lace across the back like crazy to ensure no movement once the lace is sewn. I trimmed off any excess lace, but left about a 1" allowance around the entire piece to, once again, ensure coverage JUST IN CASE.

Now for the fun part. Time to sew. I took the dress off the dress form very carefully and set up my machine for free-motion: removed the foot, is all, really. For my machine and the fabric being used, I didn't need to adjust anything-- not the tension or the stitch length. On other machines and other fabrics, these two elements will have to be changed sometimes. How will you know? By testing different setting on scraps of fabric. That's the best way to make the best decision for your garment. 

I even made a handy dandy tutorial video for ya'll. It's just showing what it looks like really, and how using both hands to keep the fabric nice and flat is essential. As are the pins. 

You may have to stop and pick out some of the stitching because bubbles in the chambray start to form, which is not good. The lace must be pinned securly in place and the held while sewing with both hands to help the bubbling. Once the sewing is done (seriously, like 4 hours later) there will be some slight bubbling since only the motif part of the lace is sewn down and not the tulle. Give the lace a good press with lots of steam and that slight bubbling will go away. This is what it looks like all done:

I have the scallops on both sides of the back meeting at Center Back, hiding the zipper. But all the raw edges of the lace aren't looking to pretty. So what I did was cut out individual motifs from the lace and place them over the raw edges to create a nice pattern on the waist, side seams, and shoulder seams. I did the entire process again, with pinning like crazy, free sewing, and pressing really well. 

I then hand stitched a length of scallop from the lace to the neckline for a cute detail. 

It was a lot of sewing yesterday-- about 10 hours. But so worth it. My dress is amaze-balls. I'll be showing it and my jacket that I finished last week tomorrow!!!!!!!!

happy v-day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

And the winner is...

Heather from Feather Flights blog! What's funny is that I knew Heather pre-blogging days at BYU. We both took sewing together, and now we blog. What a life we both have.

Send me your address Heather!

Was my shape to obvious? I thought it would be trickier than it was... oh well. I guess we are all creative genius's sharing a similar brain. I'll post a pick of the rabbit pendant when it is completed.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Guessing Game with a prize!

Can anyone guess what I am soldering out of sterling silver 10 gauge wire for my jewelry class? The first person who guesses right in the comments by the end of the day (Feb 6 12 am mountain time) will receive one hammered sterling silver ring (better picture of hammered detail here) in your size, made by moi

*****Mom: you are not allowed to guess since you already know*****

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oh baby, now THIS is an iron!

I bought a new iron!!!! I bought this baby online a few days ago after I had used the exact one at school a few times and just fell in love... The steam is so consistent and the iron isn't too heavy. It just glides. The very handsome Fedex man rang my doorbell an hour ago. Isn't he (the iron) beautiful???

I love how professional and industrial looking it is... since it is industrial and professional! it's really light, too, like it doesn't need all that pomp and flash at all, it's just a great iron. 

My favorite part? There is a turn on for the steam and the boiler. Water will be boiling and ready without wasting steam as it heats up. Steam will be ready once the other switch is flipped!

I'm selling my old iron. Anyone in Salt Lake interested?

Monday, February 4, 2013

What do we think of J.Law's jumpsuit?

Hmm?? I sort of like it... I wish the pants were more tailored, but I like the fabric and color blocking a lot. 

I really want to make a jumpsuit. With long sleeves and palazzo pants. I need to figure out pants first, though. I can make them fine, but it is hard figuring out the crotch length for individual people when making the pattern. Perhaps I need to take a class somewhere... Or go to Tissu's sewing circle on Wednesday!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Skill building

I am taking an InDesign software class at SLCC right now, and it is becoming one of my favorites for the semester. It is so fun building graphics on the computer, especially the fancy-schmancy giant macs the school has. I can't brag about SLCC enough and their arts programs-- they really foster learning in students and provide everything they can to make students better, and this is coming from a BYU alum.

This week we had to introduce ourselves through an InDesgin document of graphics. I went a little over-achiever on mine (what else is new?), but I love it so much I had to share with all of you!

my favorite one is the pixie cut! and the hiking boot foot prints are pretty clever as well... if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I've updated the gallery in the tool bar above, so please take a gander...

I also added a jewelry page. You'll notice a beaded bib that I haven't shown before, but that post is yet to come...

And if you have a free hour, you should watch the Jack White interview that's on my side bar. He is a creative genius and I look up to his work ethic a lot. He and Tim Gunn I respect most in the creative world. Remember when I met Tim Gunn? I keep the picture of him and me above my sewing machine, with the White Stripes playing in the background...

Monday, January 28, 2013

From the hiatus

I took a six month hiatus from blogging starting last May. I wanted to start writing again primarily because I feel like it is important to my career and to chronicle my projects. I was just looking at my gallery of projects in the link above, and noticed how outdated it is-- not just with the pictures, but with my sewing techniques. I have come a long way from when I first started sewing in 2008, that is for sure. I have learned to take my time with projects, to take a step back for a day or so and return to it. My garments always end up better when I take a few hours off and come back to it (which isn't so good if I ever want to do project runway...). 

This silk crepe a-line dress was made during my hiatus. I made it for myself for Christmas in my Bridal/Evening wear class, which is more of a couture technique class than anything, since we don't have to do bridal or even boning for our projects. We just have to make something really good, which is what I did with this dress. The neckline is a little too wide for my comfort, which I will have to change in my pattern when I make the next dress from it (I love it that much). I'm just mad I didn't realize that my necklace is hidden when Steve took these pictures of me before church yesterday. Just imagine this necklace with my dress-- it looks really good, I promise.