Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finally! Some progress (on sewing in general, that is)

I decided to put the 1940's Swing Dress in the back burner for the time being, seeing that I have absolutely nothing in my stash to make it with. I figured if I was going to make something worthwhile, I am going to get material for it that I will actually enjoy (like Crepe, which I don't have enough of. I do have Crepe De Chine, but that's not the Crepe that I need at all)

So I shifted my attention to Simplicity 2549. It seems simple to do and I have enough leftover Duchess satin from an earlier project, so I want to give it a try. I'm doing view A without the bow and the gathered sleeves. I'm using the sleeves in the Views C and D.

All the cut pieces, ready for edging and sewing and whatever else I want to do with it. I traced the pattern on tracing paper so I won't have to destroy my carefully printed and rubber cemented e-pattern together (it took me FOREVER). I'm not doing a muslin right now because I feel like living dangerously today. We'll see what the future holds.

In other news, most of my time is taken up by this handsome boy:

And I don't mind it one bit. The older he gets, the more I see his personality and his quirks. He is a delightful person to be with. He has such a great sense of humor and his energy is boundless. I certainly have my hands full. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Need to focus.

It's been more than a week (or feels like it) since I taped the 1940's swing dress pattern and all I need to do is cut the muslin. I have been busy with clients and other things and my workpile is mocking me.

Yeah I know, this picture is not of the swing dress, but it's similar. Photoshoot peg, anyone? Mwahahahaha.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

1940's Swing Dress (Part 1) =FABRIC!

I just finished taping together all 45 sheets of Sense and Sensibility's 1940's Swing Dress Pattern. It wasn't very hard, just a little tedious. I also had to be a little more careful so each page lined up. 

And now that stuff I'm excited about: FABRIC! Some of these are in my stash and some I bought recently. For once in my life, I went to my favorite fabric store and I knew just what I wanted. There was no waffling, or dilly-dallying or internal debate. I knew I wanted wildcat prints and I was determined to get it. I kinda felt like Cruella, with her obsession for Dalmatian fur. I have been compared to her several times in my life, but that's another journal entry.

My newest acquisition.

This is leftover from the S&M looking dress I designed for a fabric store a couple of months ago.

The picture does not do it justice at all. This fabric looks and feels so yummy.
 Difficult to photograph red Crepe and its lining of red Geena.
And while I was browsing in my favorite fabric store (with wildcat fabric in one hand, already cut) I spotted this:
Dia De Los Muertos cotton!
This fabric is going to be a nice, fat bottomed kiss-lock purse one day. Or I could use round bamboo handles, time will tell. I can even use the patched scraps of wildcat print fabric to line it, who knows?

So now I'm torn. Which fabric am I going to use for this Swing Dress? Which wildcat print? Or if the wildcat print is not 40's enough or would not work at all, and I should just stick to the red crepe? Or should I get an entirely different fabric altogether? Decisions, decisions! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

*is excited*

My faux leather dress is being featured as the Member Project of the Week in Burdastyle!!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

On My Want List: LEOPARD!

Fabric from Golden Silks
I am so crazy about leopard right now. I have been for months and months and never got off my ass to get some leopard print fabric. It all started when I was doing a collection for my Illustration 3 class last July(?) that was based on Bettie Page fetish pictures. Who could forget that wonderfully incandescent woman with the bangs in the leopard swimsuit and the housecoat? I could not, for sure. I vowed to have at least ONE article of clothing, made by myself, in that beautiful pattern  someday (like, tomorrow)

My sister Nuni and I have been talking about making the ULTIMATE leopard sewing project and we agreed that it was the jacket that Nana Oosaki wore during an impromptu performance on their dining table (and also in a flashback involving a cake and a stolen kiss) in the based from a manga movie Nana (2005) Can you imagine what a nightmare sewing that faux fur and lining it will be? HA! I shall prevail! But first, we have to get the fabric. We found a tiny little shop that sells it in one of our favorite haunts. Last we checked, faux fur like that was selling at about USD6.00 a yard.

Jacket for sale at Refuse To Be Usual on Ebay.

I even found a video of her singing with the jacket on! WHEEE! (It's starts at about 1:45)

ETA: I found this on Love.Design.Life and thought it was perfect:

Monday, February 07, 2011

Her Majesty's Airship Apoidea

The Invitation
The Inspiration and Creation
Last July, our Advanced Draping class were asked to participate in an exhibit called "Pumapapel" at the Yuchengco Museum. We were each asked to make a dress made entirely out of paper. I wasted no time harassing my family and friends for newspapers, magazines and anything else they had laying around the house for me to use for my paper dress.

I had the idea of putting a story behind my design. I imagined the future as the Victorians imagined it (this time was also the height of my Steampunk obsession, by the way) With that in mind I thought, why not air travel? They would have loved that if the Victorians had it. They could fly from colony to colony. Then it hit me. BEES!

Victorian Hallowen Costume
Bees in an airship, flying from colony to colony.
So what would a futuristic Victorian flight attendant wear? She needed to be pleasant, corseted  and wearing a shortened skirt. And she needed a bustle, arguably the most distinctive look of Victorian fashion.
The only sketch that I took a picture of. I had no idea where my camera or scanner went at the time.
After consulting with Miss Ish (my History of Costumes and Advanced Draping teacher) and Sir Dan (my Illustration teacher and advisor) I started work on the Bee Flight Attendant costume.

I decided to go with this kind of bustle instead of the fabric cascade from the earlier sketch. to make it look more bee-like. 

Work In Progress - Back View

Work In Progress - Back Quarter View

Work In Progress - Front View

Work In Progress - Side View
I used newspaper (carefully torn out so only the text was used to give the corset a nice tweedy grey), craft paper that I use in school to draft my sewing patterns and Burgundy colored leather finish paper that I was lucky enough to find in a dinky little shop somewhere in Binondo

The Finished Product
Photo by Fold

Photo by Fold.

The Bustle. Photo by Fold.

Corset detail. Photo by Fold.

The Advanced Draping Class Paper Dress Collection
The Writeup

"Fly around the Empire in style in Her Majesty's Airship Apoidea, the latest in navigable aerostats. Tea and cake will be served by our sweet and ever gracious Honey Bees while you lounge and take in the landscape thousands of meters below. Now with non-stop flights from colony to colony."

Opening Night

Me and my paper doll. I'm wearing an old black dress and a bolero I knit from yarn of unknown origin and fiber content. 

Left to Right: Ela, Paloma, Geoff, Lyra and Trisha. Picture by Miss Ish

The tiny feature in Philippine Town and Country Magazine

Sunday, February 06, 2011

There's a hustle and bustle...

As part of our lesson in Advanced Draping, we had to do a bustle. After I unstuck myself from the ceiling from excitement when Miss Ish announced it before class ended,  I went straight to my DVD collection and watched Bram Stoker's Dracula. I knew exactly the kind of bustle I wanted to drape for this class. It was Mina Harker's dress embroidered with Laurel leaves.

I am going to make this dress someday.

I had to pause and rewind this scene so many times to figure out how to drape the skirt. I was still thinking about it until bustle day. Then the solution hit me like a ton of bricks five minutes after class started. Funny how things just fall into place at the last minute, or in my case, five minutes after the deadline.

I made a little dumpling shaped pillow/bustlepad/neck support for long car rides so my bustle would be supported on my dress form. It's wonderful that you can see how foundation garments really give you the silhouette of the era (or something close to it, at least)

I used muslin, twill tape and a ton of pins. The poufs at the back were not as hard to do as the swags in front. I would have wanted to do the pleated underskirt as Mina wore in the movie, but I didn't have time to make all those pleats.

I had a bit of fun with it after I got the poufs I wanted. Then Miss Ish wanted us to make sleeves. I picked Leg of Mutton and after looking at pictures in class, I decided to drape a Demi Gigot.

I added pintucks as an afterthought.

In the background is Trisha doing something fabulous.

Poufy on top, fitted at the bottom. Is this some kind of mullet for sleeves?

P.S. I just remembered that I did make a taffeta version of this gigantic bustle.

It's shiny blue blob on the right. Yes, I know it's a crapstastic picture. Shurturrrp. (The red coat-like thing on the left is mine as well) I WILL get better pictures, I promise.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


I just bought two really cute patterns from Sense and Sensibility Patterns and BurdaStyle. I just fell in love with the two patterns that I had to have it. Right that minute. Good thing both patterns come in PDF, right? You can print it in your own home and tape it up yourself. No more waiting a bajillion years to get it in the mail! YAHOO!

BurdaStyle's 10/2010 Full skirted dress with cut-out bustline

Sense and Sensibility Pattern's 1940s Swing Dress
Now to find the appropriate fabrics, lining and other notions. I can't wait to get on my Juki and sew new dresses! That is, after I get all of my responsibilities done (OMGCLIENTSSSYAY) I am tired of wearing jeans and looking like I just stepped out of a hellish pit of unruly five year olds. NO MORE JEANS! RAWWWR.

Still working...

Taken with my Blackberry. Ahh, I love the contrast of technology and old-fashioned crochet.

Work on my grandmother's unfinished Marguerite bedspread continues. I had taken a break from it when Connor was born and worked on it a little bit at a time when he started walking. I recently rediscovered it and now find joy in following it's puzzle-like written directions. In my mind, it's like a crossword puzzle, or sudoku, only I have a small hook and very thin cotton yarn. It's complicated for sure, but very fun and satisfying.

I am nowhere near finished though. This bedspread may take a lifetime for me to do, but I'm not worried. I just hope that the person I will hand this down to (my son, a future daughter or a grandchild) will love it and look after it long after I'm gone. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Nuts About Lace

Something like this, perhaps? I realize it's more like beaded fabric, but I have scalloped lace that behaves similarly. Dress by Adrianna Papell... I think.
I just realized that I have been hoarding a lot of lace. Now that lace is on the top of the trend cycle, I'm gonna have to figure out what to do with what I have.  I also love the back detail of this dress:

Dress by Jim Hjelm

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I love lace. I can't wait to see the dresses those yards of prettiness transform into.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Failed Empress Theodora Barbie

After the Egyptian project, we had a Toga party so that took care of the Roman and Greek part of the lesson. After studying about chitons and fibulas, we went on to the Byzantine era. The project for this part of the course was a mosaic which I did, but sadly did not photograph. I did another project for the heck of it, and that was the Empress Theodora Barbie.

The Empress Theodora is the Emperor Justinian’s wife and his ruling partner. Some historians depict her as vulgar and insatiable, shrewish, calculating and mean-spirited; others depict her as not only beautiful, but intelligent, witty and amusing. However historians see her, it is undeniable that Theodora is the most recognizable symbols of the Byzantine Empire. She represented the prosperity of their rule by combining the influences of the East and the skills of Byzantine artisans in jewelry making, embroidery and weaving (having developed a special form of fabric called samite)

MATERIALS USED: CRAPTASTIC, smiling tanned Barbie with hard to style hair, Chinese brocade, Black Satin, plastic gems that came in small packs of ten, assorted beads, assorted faux pearls, gold lace and trim, hot glue gun, fabric glue, Elmer's glue, needle and thread.

t took me two days to make the clothes for the doll. I had gathered the fabric and materials the day before. I picked Chinese brocade with a geometric, mosaic-like pattern (as opposed to flowers and butterflies) and black satin. It was sheer luck that I was able to find lace in my stash that resembled the gold embroidery on the hemline of Empress Theodora’s paludamentum and the gold, crown-like trim above it. 

Drafting the pattern of the dalmatica was easy enough. Cutting the brocade was difficult for me, as someone with only rudimentary sewing skills at best (at the time) After much tucking and folding, the dalmatica fit the doll decently, I had to sew the dalmatica on it though. At the time, I had no idea how to put on any fastenings. The doll’s paludamentum was a little easier, I drafted a circle, cut a smaller circle in the middle and cut the fabric, following the paper pattern.

I used fabric glue for the gold embroidery lace, while the other trimmings were stuck on with hot melt glue. I styled the doll’s hair in braids wrapped around her head and made a crown for the doll out of gold trim.

This project drove me crazy. Styling Barbie's hair proved to be a lesson in futility. I had no idea that she came with a layered cut (serves me right for getting the cheapest Barbie in Toy Kingdom) There was hair everywhere and anytime I got one side right, the other side would self-destruct.  Having lost steam with her hair, I did the rest of the work (like the her dalmatica and paludemantum) rather half-assed. 


You can see all the hot melt glue strings.