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PROFESSIONAL PJs: scrappy summer camisoles

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In any day, my schedule may include sewing at home, meeting with clients, and running errands on bike. What kind of outfit is appropriate and comfortable for all these activities? I’m developing ‘professional pajama’ style, for creative professionals who work from home. It’s going to be a movement!

The first entry into this bold new category of dress code is a camisole. I drafted the pattern and jumped right in with this sample. It was fun to make, and gave me lots of ideas for a second top, in terms of design and process.

rainbow camisol, made by Julianne

rainbow camisol, made by Julianne rainbow camisol, made by Julianne

The rayon drawstring pants are also part of this comfy fashion lifestyle.

I was so happy with the first top that I immediately made a second. I got more ambitious for the back, but unfortunately sewed the center back panels together along the wrong side. Since the jersey is so stretchy the design still works, but I was going for a neater fit. Next time!

scrappy camisol, made by Julianne scrappy camisol, made by Juliannescrappy camisol, made by Julianne

Both versions are made mostly from scrap jerseys I’ve saved from other projects, and a few fabrics I have stashed away in my cabinet. Some of the seaming is structurally motivated, and some of it was designed for the small and odd-shaped scraps available. The cups are lined with a second layer of jersey, and I used 1/4″ elastic at the underbust seam to offer a bit of support.

scrappy camisol, made by JulianneIt’s been tank-top weather in LA since February, and these two tops have been in heavy rotation. They go with everything, are very comfortable, and feel ‘me’. Posting these tops together makes it easy to see the design evolution, and it makes me excited for what else this can become!

As always, thanks go to my husband for the photography.

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TICKLE MONSTER PUPPET

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I love making puppets, and I think they are wonderful toys for adults (and excellent liquor bottle covers). But kids want to play too, and it’s not much fun playing with a hand puppet you could fit your whole head into. It’s an obvious solution: tiny hand puppets!

monster puppet, made by Julianne

This one was made for my youngest nephew’s 7th birthday, using many of the same fabrics from the funky hoodie I made for him last year. For scale, the sticker below is just under 3″ square. The puppet came first, and the drawing came after.

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My sister tells me that this strange creature is actually a Tickle Monster, and is quite ferocious with its prey.

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Minky dot body, lycra face, rhinestone eyes, vinyl accents. Clearly I had a very fun evening working on this.   IMG_3046 IMG_3038

I love combining materials and ideas into these strange creatures, and I love making toys for my favorite kids to be weird with. And who doesn’t love Tickle Monsters?!

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FREEDOM FRY retro orange outfits

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I’ve recently connected with the Los Angeles band Freedom Fry, and they asked me to make a set of outfits. The leaders of the band are Marie and Bruce, who are also married to each other. Marie used to work as a stylist, and had a very clear idea of the band’s look and vintage influences.

It was great to work with such an informed yet flexible client! They’re both charming, and creative, and funny, and when they come for a fitting it usually lasts for hours.

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I based the dress pattern on an old favorite of Marie’s, with modifications. Bruce’s shirt was an exact copy of one from his wardrobe. I really enjoy sewing men’s button shirts; they are crisp and precise and so satisfying!

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IMG_2891 Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne

I really enjoyed the challenge of the print, and having the designs match up. I’m really proud of this attention to detail! Of course it takes forethought and effort, but what’s the point of making anything at all if it’s not going to be perfect? This is not my mantra by any means, but I say it to myself anyway and laugh, and then get back to work.

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 Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne8 IMG_2849

I’ve created garments for a few musicians lately, and it’s work that I really enjoy. I usually listen to my client’s music as I prepare and cut the fabric. Stage wardrobes are more daring than street clothes, and can actively help tell the songs’ stories. It’s such a pleasure to connect with another creator and to contribute to their art.

Freedom Fry at SXSW

They wore these outfits at SXSW, along with another set I will share soon. There’s also a third set of outfits that will be on their upcoming west coast tour! See how busy I’ve been?!

Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne

 

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PRE-BIRTHDAY DRESS inspiration and design

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It’s almost time to start delaying on this year’s birthday dress!

Every year I gift myself fabric for a new dress, but this year I’ve sweetened the swag by removing any idea that the dress will be ready for my birthday. My professional sewing work is ruled by deadlines (and I have to make 3 other dresses before my birthday), so it’s rare that I get to create without keeping an eye on the clock. Happy belated birthday to me!

I wasn’t even thinking ‘birthday dress’ but when I came across this aqua, orange, and gold lycra at Blue Moon last month, I knew it had to be mine. But now what?

birthday dress 2015

I’m having trouble coming up with a design. I spent an hour coming up with this sketch, and I’m not convinced it’s the best.

birthday dress 2015

There was a break in the print every yard, so that’s all I got. I want to add in another fabric for contrast, and also for length. I feel like the lycra should be at the top of the dress, so that the gold is near my face and not wearing off from the seat of the dress, because of course I will be riding my bike. The fabric is long enough that I could have it be the entire top of the dress, with only 6-8″ border of a contrasting fabric at the bottom.

My original idea had been to match the light aqua, but now I’m considering adding in an entirely new color. Of course my first thought is goldenrod, or some other shade of yellow. Yellow makes me happy, and my last two birthday dresses have been yellow. The yellow fabric in the photo is a scrap of jersey, and I know where to get more. But I’m thinking different fabric, same color. I don’t want the weight of a lined jersey skirt stretching out the lycra top, so I’m thinking woven fabric.

So now onto pattern. Lately I’ve been wearing sheath-style dresses, without a defined waist. I’m not nuts about a bisected dress that looks like a shirt tucked into a skirt, but I could be swayed.

The stretchy fabric tempts me into cutting sleeves, because I wouldn’t really have to worry about ease. Most of my dresses are sleeveless, with a couple short sleeves. Would lycra sleeves be too warm? And what about pit stains?

And then of course, there are those stripes! Am I to just cut the dress on grain, without playing up diagonal lines that match up perfectly? The fabric already has a lot going on, but it’s hard to imagine playing it safe with horizontal stripes.

birthday dress sketches

Here are some inspiration dresses, in no particular order:

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f6e698a301ebbf1412468610b3622b7c Chloe_Cover.3391ac9027101ef2e994c61f97ef332543

And then there’s always the possibility of just making a dope top. Too many possibilities!

Are there any new patterns that you’re excited about? What garment do you imagine when you see that gold spandex? What should the centerpiece of my 28-year-old wardrobe be?! Suggestions welcome.

 

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YELLOW FLORAL BIRTHDAY DRESS

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My computer has recently revived from a 3 week hiatus, and yet I’m still just using an old post. Haven’t got quite everything back up and running, and the laptop was really just an excuse to not blog. Maybe I’ll write about it later, but does anyone really care? Long story short: I’m busy sewing all day, working really hard, and also prioritizing my time off. I haven’t really done any personal sewing, and I’m waiting for photos on several large projects for clients. Theoretically I’ll be able to post every day in May.

So in the meantime here’s a post that’s all about eventually getting things done. Pictures were taken in July 2014, when I had an incredibly short cut and was still deep in platinum mania.

 

Happy birthday to meee… from 2013. I bought this fabric as a birthday gift to myself, but between other projects and design uncertainty, wasn’t able to sew it up until 14 months later. Luckily it was worth the wait!

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

The yellow floral poplin in from the Lisette line at Joann. I immediately fell in love with the color combination and the paisley-inspired print. But it was that print that got me turned around. Brightly colored flowers… would that be too juvenile? I hate the idea of being ‘cute’ or saccharine, and so the fabric was folded and left in my cabinet…

Would I use a Laurel-esque shift pattern (this was right around the time that design was sweeping the blogosphere)? What about a vintage sleeveless dress? Maybe I should copy a 2005 H&M shirt dress I still wear: even with the heart print and slightly puffed sleeves, the sleek seams and short hem made me feel powerful.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

In the end, I combined all these elements. I made a complete pattern of the H&M dress, but eliminated the sleeves and collar. I used a placket inspired from my vintage pattern, though I constructed this one myself. I copied Laurel’s clean neckline, and from there added my own details.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne The raw edges are serged and topstitched. The neckline and arm holes are bound with self-made bias tape, which I sewed on the front using my machine, and then whip stitched the inside and back. yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

I feel like the coral binding creates a neat outline for the wild print. The mustard thread for the buttonholes doesn’t actually match any of the 7 colors of the fabric, but it still felt like the right choice. And the gold shank buttons… somehow, I didn’t even consider that option as I imagined the perfect buttons, but they jumped out at me as I was browsing the Dill racks.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

It’s been a great summer dress so far, and of course it will do well in cooler temperatures with a cardigan and leggings.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

I already bought fabric for this year’s birthday dress. I’m not sure if I’ll have it done in time (3 weeks!) and I’m not even sure what design I will use. Perhaps I’ll make a blog post all about that… I should have it published in about 4 months!

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