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.
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!
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.
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.
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?!
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?
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.
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.
Here are some inspiration dresses, in no particular order:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a great summer dress so far, and of course it will do well in cooler temperatures with a cardigan and leggings.
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!
I’ve had several customers who give a zipper mask to their first-timer friends, which seems like a lovely way to welcome someone into a new and bizarre experience. Most of these masks are already listed in my Etsy shop, or I am happy to create a custom mask.
Manties are more formally called ‘Bikram yoga shorts’ and are becoming quite popular among my male friends.