Aug 13, 2013

All Apologies

It has been months since I have posted here and I've had a few "are you OK?" messages recently from readers, which lit a fire under me to finally explain why I've been MIA (and why I have found it so hard to find the words to say why I've been absent from posting on my blog, as well as commenting on others, etc).

The reason why is two-fold:

1) Time. I've no childcare this summer and my husband works really long hours (sometimes really, REALLY long hours). So I don't have the time to myself to sew, let alone document it in photos and text, as well as do all the other things you must when you have a blog that a few people read — respond to comments, read others' blogs, sort through spam and delete it, field strange requests to review things that have nothing to do with what I blog about.

But I don't want to complain about the fact I never get a single moment to myself to sew, blog or even sit on the toilet without my kid yelling a question at me under the door. I'm happy my husband has a job, and I'm really lucky to have this time with my kid during the last summer before she starts full-time school. We have done pretty much everything you can do with kids in NYC this summer, and it has been really fun. I'll have time to myself again in September.

2) The Internet is full of creeps and criminals. I have been really disheartened over the past year to see what search terms sometimes send people to my blog. Most of the time it's normal things like "how to draft a hood pattern" or "Wisconsin heart string art." But frequently near the top of the list will be two or three innocent words that when grouped together are really inappropriate. And these words never appear next to each other on my blog, but apparently anytime that a word appears on a page with another word somewhere, a search can pull your page up. And even though the person searching for those things would no doubt be disappointed to find himself at a sewing blog, it upsets me to think about what it was he was really looking for.

I tried to search my entire blog and revise it in places to make it less likely to get pulled up by pedophiles. I deleted whole posts. And I even considered shutting the whole thing down, I was so bummed out about it.

And then someone alerted me to the fact that a website had used a picture I posted in a questionable way (and it was a picture of my kid, so I was pretty upset). The site took the picture down after I contacted them, but it was eye-opening.

If you want to grow a readership, you need to be public and searchable. But if you're public and searchable, you put yourself at risk of being used in ways you would not condone. I'm not sure the way forward for me on the Internet. I may start over from scratch.

But not until September — at least.

Anyone out there dealt with this before? What did you do?

Apr 30, 2013

Me Made Meh?

I'm not participating in Me Made May though I do respect the concept (and will probably steal some style ideas from your blogs throughout the month! Muahaha!).

I have enough me-mades to get me through a month. But I reckon it would be hubris for me to assume my taste is at a level that seeing what I wear every day is in some way inspiring. After all, check out my latest pants-in-progress...they might just be the most hideous pants you have ever seen:

Barf-colored, tie-dye-print stretch denim? What was I thinking? I am too far gone now to turn back, however. So finish these I will. And, I hope, at some point these pants will cross the threshold from awful into awesome. It could happen yet. (Couldn't it?):

I was inspired by Project Runway winner Michelle, who frequently makes use of the above color palette, and has a knack for making the putrid look pretty. Michelle is my middle name (truly, it is!), so hopefully I can pull this off without making everyone sick.

I am again using the pattern I drafted using Kenneth King's "Jeanius" class, which I cannot recommend enough.

Anyway, back to Me Made May: even my successes are nothing much to write home about. Last week I sewed another version of Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank, this time with a short button placket. It turned out beautifully and I have worn it three times already. But would anybody be impressed by this simple tank?

The other big reason I can't do Me Made May: the only person who could conceivably take pics of me everyday is four years old. And she chops my head off. Every. Time.

Are you doing Me Made May? Why? And do you enjoy reading others' daily outfit posts?

Apr 27, 2013

Project Runway — What Did We Learn This Week, Season 11 Finale!

Y’know, I’m kind of relieved Project Runway is over for this season. I’m not sure how many more Lea Michelle L’Oreal commercials I can handle. (Also, I feel unfairly targeted by those ads for Riders by Lee Jeans. Sure, I could benefit from a tummy control panel, but I don’t want to be reminded of it while I’m enjoying my stories!).

Going into this week's big finale episode, I had a lot of questions: Would Michelle jettison her silly compass that everyone hates? Can Patricia get it together and send a cohesive collection down the runway? Would Stanley actually crack a smile if he won?

And would anyone be upstaged by Mondo's Shriner hat?

Lesson 1: Procrastination leads to puckered hems.

Years ago in university, I came up with my own favorite maxim: If you leave it until the last minute, it only takes a minute. I often treat my own work this way, telling myself I work best when the pressure is on. That means I often wake up early to write articles the very day they are due. (As a parent I’ve become even more accepting of procrastination. For example, you can start potty training your kid at age 2 and be done with it by the time she’s 3, many exhausting months later, or you can start when she’s 3 and be done in a day).

But when it comes to sewing, I never leave things until the last minute. After all, you might try on the skirt you just hemmed and discover that it's uneven or that the technique you used was the wrong one for that particular type of fabric. 

I don't think Stanley's procrastination did him in, but it certainly didn't help. Throughout the finale we heard countless times how much work he still had left, and indeed the day of the runway show he had sewers setting in sleeves backstage! The dude had more than four months to sew his 12 looks, and somehow he still needed a team of stitchers to get him runway-ready in less than two hours. Tim Gunn was seriously distressed.
I need to set in your sleeves? You're kidding right?! 

Nope. He wasn't kidding! 
I don't actually think his show suffered all that much for his harried, last-minute hemming and such. Nearly all of the clothes looked reasonably well-finished and expensive. But they definitely didn't hold up to the high standard set by Michelle. See the dress below, which was barely assembled just an hour before the runway show:

The shoulder seams are off, the hem is uneven, and it could stand to be better pressed. But it still wasn't the worst look in my estimation:

Lesson 2: When in doubt, DIY!

Continuing my anti-Stanley tirade, I thought it should be noted that he paid (in his words) "two little Russian ladies" to do $800 worth of beading and embroidery for him: 

Patricia, meanwhile, pounded out hundreds of sequins from mica (the mineral is traditionally used by her people to make pottery), and created numerous textiles for her collection.

And though Stanley's pieces were arguably more sophisticated than Patricia's, the judges appreciated her handiwork. They felt that just because Stanley had the budget to farm out the most painstaking details, he shouldn't have. Patricia's love for her craft shows, even if some of her garments looked like something you would see in the hippie store at the mall (Amanda's words, but I agree!).

Lesson 3: Sometimes the fabric shouldn't come first.

For those of us who sew, the question is often "what comes first: the fabric or the design?" I find that sometimes I'm inspired by a print or textile I just really want to use, and sometimes I begin with a pattern, trend, or overall look that I'm trying to create (and then search for the right fabric to achieve that end). And, in my experience, the most successful projects are not those that come from choosing a fabric first — and then trying to find some good way to use it.  In those cases, I sometimes end up using the fabric in a less-than-ideal way.

To that end, I think Patricia's allegiance to the fabric first is her downfall, and the reason why guest judge Michael Kors said her collection looked like "an art teacher on an acid trip." 

Each of those prints she created is lovely. But it's what she did with them that looks like a dog's breakfast. (That said, I would love to see a collection in which Patricia contributes the textiles and another designer creates garments from them. I bet it would be amazing).

Lesson 4: Quilting and sweaters? Sounds frumpy. Except, of course, in the hands of Michelle — who totally deserved to win! Witness her cool printed sweaters and quilted pants and jackets. I love the colors she used, the layering, the pleating in the skirts, the studs on the burgundy dress and yellow top, and the consistent use of the shoulder patch detail. I'm super inspired by Michelle's tendency to mix textiles: 

My faves

Not my faves, but still a lot to like.
(My apologies for the fact I distorted some of the pics above when laying them out; I'm trying to finish this post so I can go with my family to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for the day. It's Cherry Blossom time in NYC and miraculously my seasonal allergies are under control this year, so I can actually enjoy it!).

What did you think of the designers' respective collections? Will you be watching next week’s Project Runway Reunion Special? From the previews, it looks NASTY! 

Apr 23, 2013

His and Hers Plaid Separates!

My apologies for the cellphone photos, but I'm trying to make it easier on myself to post regularly. Plus I wanted to share this prototype version of the Tiny Pocket Tank, which I modified to add a full-length button placket. I love the cut of this simple tank, but I thought it needed some visual interest:

If you've been reading my blog for some time, than that print may look familiar. It's a remnant from a short-sleeve Western style men's shirt I made my lucky husband Ryan. He's such a sweet man. He even agreed to let me take a pic of us together in our His-and-Hers shirts:

Wow. We look equally tired. 
Of course once I sewed a couple tank tops, the temperature dropped precipitously in NYC, so those of you who live in the Big Apple can blame me for the Spring backtracking.

Adding a button placket to the Tiny Pocket Tank is pretty damn easy. You just re-trace the front pattern piece, and then use your ruler to draw two lines parallel to center front, each one inch apart. Then you fold it on the lines and use a tracing wheel to true the top curve. When you're sewing, fold and then fold over again on the lines and topstitch. Voila: insta-placket ready for buttons.

I have since added some ease to the hip (as always; I have to do the pear-shape-girl alterations), and have drafted a 4 & 1/2-inch placket for another version of this tank, which I'm sewing from the navy deer-and-dot print cotton I picked up at Mood last weekend. It's very sheer, and behaves like silk, so I'm thinking it may be a blend. It will definitely require some layering, as I'm not one for letting my bra show through. (Well, maybe for that lucky man pictured above — but not amongst the general population. I am a Lady!).

Have any of you done other variations to this simple pattern by Grainline? I'm thinking of making one with a yoke and color-blocking. What else can you think of?

Apr 21, 2013

Blog Milestone!

Before yesterday, the closest I ever came to fame was starring in my highschool's musical in Grade 10. The musical was "Leader of the Pack," which is about the life of Ellie Greenwich, a famed songwriter from the '60s. I played Ellie Greenwich, which was a humbling experience (not humbling in the modern-day "I'm so humbled to be nominated for an Oscar" way, but the old-school, true meaning of the word: I lost a little more of my dignity every time I opened my mouth). 

I did sign a couple autographs during that week of shows. I hope they were all requested in earnest.

Anyway,  yesterday I was actually recognized by a reader at Mood in NYC's Garment District — which was also somewhat humbling because I was buying this hideous/amazing stretch cotton which I intend to turn into pants:

The yellowish tones in this actually read chartreuse in real life
 An Australian, Liz was in New York City just for a short time, but she seemed well-versed in the Garment District having been here many times before. She said she intended to go to the Museum of Natural History, but just had to do some swatching on the way (I'm super jealous of her fabrics; Liz clearly has great taste, so I think she was being ultra-gracious when she said she liked the puke-print I was purchasing).

I also bought this ultra-lightweight navy cotton printed with dots and deer:

I've been making and adjusting a few versions of Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank, which I thought would be a good way to eat up some remnants and expand on my dismal summer wardrobe. I hemmed and hawed over buying it: I like the cut of it (the scoop neck, darts and hemline are all perfect), but it's so simple — I know I could draft it myself, probably in an hour. But at $6.50, I figured if I saved myself that hour of work, it would be worth it. (Surely my time is worth that?).

I think I may draft a button placket and use this deer and dot print cotton to make yet another version. I did only buy a yard (it was pricey! $20/yard). My daughter informed me it's see-through (with a really judgey look on her little face!). I'll have to learn how to layer.

And now I can hear her waking that's it for today, friends. What has been your closest brush with fame?

Apr 20, 2013

Leopard Pants Re-do: Curved Waistband Edition

The jury (me) has made its decision: curved waistbands are a necessity when you've got a booty (and you aren't wearing a waistband at your actual waist). Witness my new-and-improved leopard(ish) print pants, made using a pattern I drafted from Kenneth King's amazing "Jeanius" class.  The curved waistband pattern is actually from a pair of jeans I drafted a couple years ago in my advanced patternmaking class at FIT. Rather than draft a new one, I thought I would see whether this old waistband pattern would work. And miracle of miracles, it was a perfect match! (How happy am I that my body has not apparently changed much in the years since I first drafted the pattern? Except...the waistband pattern was actually drafted for non-stretch fabric, and these pants have maybe I have grown? Let's not dwell on that, shall we.) The pants!  

While the pants don't appear much different than the original iteration, they feel much better. I wore them out for a full day of walking last weekend on the High Line with friends visiting from Winnipeg, and I didn't have to pull them up constantly like I did with the straight waistband. See how flat it lays across my lower back?

This waistband pattern is actually in four pieces, with side seams AND a center back seam. That way you can achieve a steeper curve without running across grainlines in such a way that you end with the bias stretching around your hip curve. That was my patternmaking teacher's preferred method. It's definitely my preferred method now too. Look at how curved my new waistband was compared to the previous one:

Contoured waistband (all four pieces sewn together)
Straight waistband, curved using heat and steam
Kenneth King, meanwhile, recommends a straight waistband, curved using steam and heat from your iron. I imagine this works quite well if you are a man, or a woman with less curve in your hips, lower back and butt. In his estimation, the straight waistband is superior because it doesn't cut across the bias, which could result in stretching and distortion. I think my patternmaking teacher's four-piece pattern makes more sense when you're dealing with a curvier body because you can achieve a different shape on the front and the back; after all, your curves may not be the same on both!

I used a woven, non-stretch facing this time, and fused both the top (self) and bottom (facing) pieces with a lightweight woven fusible. I also zigzag-stitched in a length of grosgrain, using steam to curve it, for extra stability. I didn't have petersham (which is like grosgrain, but wider), which is what David Coffin recommends using for stability in his trousers book. (I could not make sense of his instructions, by the way!). But I figured the grosgrain would at least hold the upper curve in place. Here's what it looked like on the inside before I sewed it to my pants:

David Coffin also advises to only fuse within the seam lines to avoid adding bulk. As you can see above, I did that too. Here's the outside of the waistband. You can see the zigzag stitching across the top curve:

After I could tell I was going to be satisfied with this waistband, I added belt loops, the final touch:

I'm super happy now with these pants, and my pattern (thank you, Kenneth King!). I plan on making another pair right quick. 

Oh, and did you notice I also made an adjustment to my chambray "I should have listened to Phyllis" blouse, which was sewn from Pattern Runway's Pussy Bow Blouse pattern:

Those are some DEEP darts, baby.

Recall the original, which was boxy as a big box (and kind cardboard-colored too, now that I think of it)!:

I made "fish eye" darts at a depth of 1.5 inches at my waist (much more than what wise Phyllis recommended!), extending all the way up to my shoulder and down nearly to the bottom of the blouse. The fit is much more flattering now. I look like a lady again:

I'm off now, to Mood, to find some fabric for a second pair of pants! Should I go printed again, or solid? What's on trend? (I guess Pinterest could tell me, but I am avoiding for my self esteem's sake).

Apr 19, 2013

Project Runway — What Did We Learn This Week? Episode 13, Season 11

If you don't much feel like partaking in pop culture today, I understand. I feel pretty distracted by what's going on in Boston too. It's harrowing, and I hope it ends soon without any more deaths so the people there can get back to living without fear (if that's even possible now; cowardly sociopaths seem to be all too common these days in America). Come back and read this another day if you need some time to enjoy jokes again.  —Suzanne

Let me just say how sad I am that this season of Project Runway, and thus these recaps, are nearly done. I actually thought this week's episode would be the finale (it was two hours long after all!), so I am happy to have one more occasion on which to hash out who's deserving of the title "America's next big fashion designer" or whatever the false promises are that Heidi makes.

After the field was narrowed to four designers (and, apparently, Layana drowned her sorrows in babymaking!), they were each given $10,000 to create a 12-look Fall collection. It's at that point they all go home to their respective cities to spend four months sketching, sewing, and planning an appropriate gathering with Tim Gunn. (This is also the point when the designers changes their hairstyles, I'm guessing because the show has begin airing and they've now seen themselves on TV. I loved Amanda's new fringe, but Stanley looked like a shorn sheep. Don't even get me started on Daniel's afro...).

I was really hoping that Tim Gunn's trip to see Michelle would be like a Portlandia sketch. (It wouldn't be much of a stretch for Carrie Brownstein to play Michelle, after all, and wouldn't Fred Armison be hysterical as Tim Gunn?). Then Michelle appeared wearing a version of the "fettucine bib" that got her slammed early on in this season, and talked about her inspiration being a woman/wolf/hunter. Woefully, her collection appeared to be quite normal, save a few steampunk details. She did not, it seems, "put a bird on it."

Meanwhile in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, Tim was truly touched by his time with Patricia at her childhood home. Though he had the unfortunate job of telling Patricia that her work thus far looks "literal" and like “student work” — the worst possible diss in Project Runway terminology! — he seemed to be on the verge of some raw emotion:  “You’ve given me an epiphany about you,” he said. I think I saw a lip quiver. (Seriously, how much would you love to host Tim Gunn? He is the most gracious guest of all time).

Stanley, of course, barely cracks a smile when Tim comes to his West Hollywood home for lunch, while Daniel (the antithesis of Stanley in almost every way) is practically beside himself with excitement. Looking at Daniel's collection, Tim Gunn invokes his monkeyhouse analogy with regards to one coat: when you first go in the monkeyhouse, he says, it stinks to high heaven. But after 40 minutes, you don't even notice the stench. What does that mean? That Daniel's coat is a shitty mess? That's what I got.

Lesson 1: Teamwork!! 

It seemed Michelle actually learned something from the experience of working with others throughout this season of Project Runway, because one of the most successful garments in her three-piece mini-collection was a wolf-print sweater (seriously, how Portlandia is a wolf-print sweater?) that she collaborated on with Joe, the quirky cat sweater guy, who was eliminated many full moons ago! Was she inspired by's Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee? (If you have never read the reviews for this shirt, please do. It's a short fiction genre unto itself). No matter, I love the ombre effect on Michelle's sweater, and the half-sleeve, and the fact that the wolves are so subtle. Yay for teamwork! 

I thought the other two looks in her preview mini-collection were cohesive, and featured numerous interesting pieces. The judges mostly ragged on her hair and makeup choices, which was a good sign they found little to fault in the clothing. Except for Nina, who hated the compass on this look:

They also had some quibbles with the number of add-ons buckled to this jacket below: a messenger bag and two "saddlebags" (I would have called them panniers!). But it's easier to edit than it is to come up with new ideas, so Michelle is in a good place to win this thing (argue with me in the comments section if you disagree!): 

Lesson 2: Don't blame the body! 

How much time do we spend blaming our own bodies for the fact that ready-to-wear clothes don't fit or flatter our figures? (I know it's the reason many of us started sewing in the first place). But in many cases, it's not our fault: it's the designer, who creates proportions that can either slim or widen us. And sad, staid Stanley should have known better than to blame his model, whose body he claimed was not right for this silhouette:

It's a lovely bodice (which, I should note, he has made before!), but the pleating and the length of the skirt make her look bottom-heavy (and she's a model for goodness' sake, so she clearly is not!). Who then would this possibly look good on? The judges called him out on it: Zak Posen said it should be at least a foot to a foot-and-a-half shorter. 

Before I saw his mini-collection in full, I was actually thinking Stanley might be the ultimate winner, mostly because there were a few interview clips in which he actually smiled:

But the other looks in his collection looked like the sort of expensive, buttoned-up, boring clothing you can always buy at Bergdorf's or Lord & Taylor or whatever:

I would love to know more about Stanley. What has him so repressed that he feels it's his job to cover up all of womankind in turtleneck shirts and calf-length skirts?

Lesson 3: Less is not more. More is more. And it's always better to have more than less.

Last night, Patricia had a lot more than Daniel:
Patricia's mini-collection 

More color. More visual interest. More cray-zay:
Daniel's mini-collection
On Daniel: Heidi was underwhelmed; Nina said his collection lacked shape; Zack said he’s seen it all before (not only from Daniel, but from others too). Daniel tried to sell the fact that he used stingray in all three pieces. Zak conceded it's not easy to work with, but that wasn't enough to save Daniel Dali from elimination.

Patricia's criticism was much more colorful, of course: "Tina Turner Smurf.” Dr. Seuss. Nina was unimpressed, but Heidi (a producer of the show as one commenter pointed out) said she would rather see Patricia's runway show than "one of the snooze boys,” referring, of course, to Daniel and Stanley. Zing! 

So who are you rooting for after last night's preview of their final collections? Is Stanley smiling for a reason? Do you think Patricia will ever learn that a single "out there" element is enough for one outfit? 

Apr 12, 2013

Project Runway — What Did We Learn This Week? Episode 12, Season 11

This week's episode of Project Runway raised some big questions for me: Does free will exist? Is everything predetermined?  WOULD HEIDI REALLY LIKE TO WEAR A PILE OF GARBAGE?

Episode 12 "Europe Here We Come" featured the same five designers from last week, because the judges/producers can just change the rules whenever they feel like it. Michelle, who teetered on the brink of elimination in Episode 11, got to stick around, though her punishment for producing a disappointing white T-shirt and '90s pants combo was to stay in sad, rainy New York City while the others jetted off on (very) brief trips to the style capitals of the world: Patricia went to Paris (along with Kate, her seamstress, who clung to her the whole time squealing "Can you believe we're here!"); Daniel went to Berlin with Amanda; Layana and Samantha spent a day exploring Barcelona; and Stanley landed in London with RICHARD (the Project Runway contestant who just wouldn’t die! Can I get a “yeaaayussss!!”).

Their challenge was to create a high-end runway look, with a budget of $1,000 US. The designers have all day in their respective locales to sightsee, sketch and go fabric shopping, before flying back to the workroom for 24 hours of furious sewing. It's an emotional trip for all of the designers (except Stanley, who is a robot), and I can understand why; I get weepy when I'm sleep-deprived too. 

Meanwhile in NYC, Michelle is crazy bitter about her circumstance, though she and Tu seem to have a decent time atop a double-decker in their matching brightly colored fedoras — even when they're nearly decapitated by a red light (I bet Gray Line was not happy about that footage making it onto the show!). 

Lesson 1: Home turf advantage is EVERYTHING.

The idea was to capture the essence of a city, and NYC-bound Michelle — well-rested compared to the others, thanks to the fact she didn't do two red-eyes in a row — spent her $1,000 at Mood, the sprawling, three-floor fabric store she already knows so well. Also, having spent weeks now in New York City, she already had a good sense of what makes this city unique. 

Heidi said the skirt looked like a "dirty horse blankie,” which IS actually very New York.  (I live in NYC and I can attest this place is DIRTY. Last weekend I saw three rats running around on the 1 train platform at the 168th Street stop. One nearly ran onto the car we were in, but the doors closed just in time. My four-year-old watched the whole thing, and then announced loudly: “We are SO lucky! Those rats almost ran on the train!” Some poor tourist's jaw nearly hit the floor, which is also nasty and likely covered in urine and vomit residue).

I think without the quilted breastplate, Michelle’s dress looks like a wool blanket that firefighters would wrap you in before carrying you down the fire escape. But all together this outfit nails it: shiny and new next to old and nasty. How very New York. The judges were very happy they gave her a second chance.

Meanwhile in Berlin, Paris and Barcelona, the designers all struggled to find the right fabrics; apparently the producers didn't do their research because Daniel had to settle for white vinyl over leather (seriously? They took him to a store without leather?) and Patricia couldn't find anyone to speak English (or help her keep a running tally of her fabric). Layana was thrilled with the lace she found, but didn't realize the custom there is to cut it yourself. That would never happen at Mood!

Patricia, of course, created her own fabric. There were a lot of Patricia-defenders commenting last week, and I would love to hear what they have to say about this:

Lesson 2: There is no spoon.

That the outcome of Project Runway is predetermined is now without question in my mind. We are in the producers' matrix; how else to explain why Patricia has never been eliminated, and is in fact heading to Fashion Week, even after this disaster? The model looks like she's peeking out of a pile of white garbage bags stuffed with all the trash found at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. 

Heidi liked it, but the thought of sending Patricia to Fashion Week sent Nina on the most interesting diatribe: “Fashion is not art. Stores are not museums. You go to stores to BUY clothes. You don’t go to stores to just look at clothes!!”

But to Fashion Week she goes, nonetheless, and I am fascinated to see what she produces. 

Lesson 3: There's always All-Stars.

Scroll back up and look at Patricia's shirt. Then look at Layana's jacket, which got her sent home this week:

I don't love it, and those shirt sleeves look like jellyfish dangling where her hands should be, but seriously? This is somehow worse than Patricia's shirt, which makes her model look like she has elephantitis of the upper arm? 

Somebody remind Layana that the prizes are actually better in All-Stars!

I know, I know. None of my lessons this week have anything to do with sewing, etc. So here are a few thoughts: I do not think anyone should paint on $100/yard cashmere, like Michelle did. I do not think anyone should layer fabrics to the point where your shirt looks like an overstuffed garbage bag, like Patricia's.

And I do not think you should attempt making pleather thigh-high boots unless you're making a "Pretty Woman" costume (though somehow it totally worked for Daniel's Berlin-inspired outfit):

Nor do I  think you should use $100/yard sequined fabric to underline a skirt; that is wasteful to a degree I just can't condone!

(Did Richard actually help sew any of Stanley's garments? I can't recall a single scene depicting their working relationship....maybe I'll have to rewatch it tonight.) 

So what did YOU think? I can't wait for next week, when apparently Daniel grows an afro!!

Apr 6, 2013

Finished! Peg Bundy-style Leopardish Print Pants

I'm in a bit of a snit right now, mad at myself for not trusting my instinct to make a contoured waistband. Because I went ahead and followed Kenneth King's instructions for drafting and sewing a straight waistband (using steam and heat to create a curve), but it does not look good.

Now I am going to have to unpick the waistband for a second time (the first time I applied it, it looked terrible, so I redid it once already), which I'm really worried will end up distorting the top of the pants. These are the things that keep me up at night.

I took photos this morning because I am going to wear them tonight anyway. I'm going out for dinner with some friends to celebrate my birthday (which was April Fool's Day, no joke), and that nearly never happens, so I want to dress cool. (Peg Bundy was cool, right?):

I loved them paired with my burnished gold oxfords, to play up the menswear-inspired tuxedo pant details (which are kind of hard to see, but I know they're there and I love them). And in reality, the waistband doesn't matter all that much. I don't wear cropped shirts. No one will see it. Here's a reluctant back view:

Here's the leather trimmed pocket detail:

I know you care to know more about the waistband debacle, so here's a pic of the straight waistband, after I curved it using heat and steam (from my iron, obvs. I'm not a dragon):

Pretty curved, right? I think for many women, this would totally work fine. But I have a round butt, and the waistband sits pretty low on these pants, so I definitely need a more curved waistband. In the spirit of full disclosure (because this is a teachable moment), here's my back view so you can see the problem. It gapes a little all along the length of the back waistband, and does a weird little pucker thing right at centerback. That could be due to distortion caused by picking it out once already. I'll probably have to take a little extra out at center back now. Sigh:

But, like I said, I am wearing them tonight anyway. And I will fix them eventually. I just may need a stiff drink to do it without falling into a funk. Also, I think I may turn to David Coffin's trouser book for advice on how to face a curved waistband, and use petersham to give it more stability. I would like to wear these with my head help high eventually. For now, the botched waistband can be our little secret:


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