Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Latest Project

Hey guys! Long time no see!

A few months back , a lovely lady of my acquaintance, Varla Velour, had her 30th birthday bash!

Me on the Train to Varla's!
In order to to be suitably dressed for such an event, I decided to make my own dress.

I had some bright red cotton sateen laying about for a school project (another post and pictures to come) and I figured that while sateen is not MY ideal dress fabric, the color was perfect and there was no reason for all that fabric to go to waste!

The idea was of course, vintage. I had no real tangible inspiration to go off of other than an idealized vision of the 40s. It started out as a high necked sleeveless dress with a drop waist and gathered two layer skirt that would hit above the knee.

As the deadline got closer and the muslins became simpler, I ended up with a boat neck, sleeveless, drop waist dress with a single layer circle skirt. The sateen was thick enough that it didn't need the gathers and layers to get the affect I was going for and that was fine with me.

I made this dress with the use of my own slopers that I'd made previously.

I started with a torso sloper and extended the hip line down a couple more inches to give it a lower waist drop. Once I made a minimal muslin, I found that I couldn't go too low without needing to reposition the darts, so I changed the measure of the drop accordingly. 

After I had the torso figured out, I drew the neckline on the muslin (since it was originally high) to better suit the new shape.

To create my circle skirt pattern, I used a trick that my Patternmaking teacher taught me.

1) Take the waist measurement (or in this case, hip measurement) and divide it by six.
2) Draw two perpendicular lines on your pattern paper so that it creates a right angle.
3) Extend those lines to the desired skirt length.
4) Form the angle's apex, measure down one of the lines whatever measurement you got in Step 1.
5) Put your pencil through the hole in your measuring tape end (the little metal thing).
6) Hold the measurement down at the apex, and with your pencil in your tape, swing a line from one leg to the other. This creates the waist shape of your skirt.
7) Do the same at the hem of your skirt patten.

That's it! It might sound a little strange, but it takes about 5 minutes. Just know that when you cut out your fabric, one of the ends of the pattern should be cut on the fold. It doesn't matter which pattern side as both are identical. If you decide to cut it out flat, you will need to cut 4 pieces and create a 4 paneled circle skirt.

Once I had my skirt pattern all set up, I simply sewed it to the torso and had my dress!

For finishings I created a 2 inch facing for the neckline and binded the armholes. I also did a turn and stitch hemline.

This dress was made in a 9 hour straight session. The night before my event.

                (Please bare in mind that this dress has not been ironed/steamed since I first wore it.)

It is nowhere near perfect.

There are puckers, loose threads, a poor hem job, among other problems that I, as the creator, am disappointed in.

At the same time, however, the fact that this was done in a one-shot, impresses me. I went through two and a half muslins as well as my final fabric in that time. And no one at the party noticed any of the things that drove me mad.

I hope that in the near future, I can go back and perfect my dress. For now, I am happy with this project.

Center Back Invisible Zipper
Torso Drop and Circle Skirt

Bust Darts

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Hobby of an 80 Year Old

Hey there! I haven't been sewing as much as I'd like, although I do have a new dress in the works, but I HAVE been knitting up a storm! Here Are some of my latest projects :)
Anthro-Inspired Scarf
Knitting like a Champ. Hat's not done yet :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Decisions, New Ideas

Hey all, sorry, I was locked out of my account!
So there's some big changes going on in my life right now. I am changing schools after my first semester of my senior year. It's a necessary change because where I am is not where I want to be and I am now going to FIT to study technical design. I am still finishing up my semester here at Marist and I am making the most of it by working on things I want to work on, including new textile designs, new dress designs, and I'm making them fit me instead of an industry fit model. I'm really excited about this change, I'm a lot less stressed and I feel like even though I don't have a senior collection, I have a lot to show for my free time.
In my Textile Design class, we've been working on a medley of projects. This one is called Batik, which is a wax resist you put on the fabric and then paint over. Here are some pictures I took during our process!

Design student working on a Batik print
Working at the wax Station!
My Textile Design teacher working on a new Batik print!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Last Day

So clearly I celebrated too early about regularly updating.
Sorry about that.
But I actually have been busy doing the project I was meant to do a long time ago.
So I will just write about my last day and then backtrack to the party and anything else interesting that happened...
My last day was so sad! I didn't want to leave.
They surprised me with a going away party! It was so sweet. I bought my breakfast on the way into work as usual and when I came in, the girl who sits at the desk next to me kind of stared at me funny. I didn't know why but she seemed confused. After we chatted for a bit I left to get my computer and when I came back she had left, I just assumed she had to go do something, we were at work, after all. I sat down to eat my breakfast, it was about 9:10 and I usually go over to see who needs me at 9 but I hadn't eaten and I was too busy chatting at first and I figured they wouldn't need me asap. I ate about half of my food when I got an email from my boss saying that the sweater and knit team needed me. I debated finishing my breakfast but I figured I was taking too long and they might really need me.
I walked over to their row, waved to one of the workers that I got really close to, and then my boss yelled "Surprise!!"
They had a whole breakfast buffet with fruit and donuts and pretzels, coffee, orange juice, cream puffs, everything! It was great! I really should have seen it coming, they throw parties for every occasion at that place, but I had no idea! They gave me balloons and a card that they all signed wishing me luck at school and saying they would keep in touch and it was so nice! We just hung out and chatted and ate a lot of really sweet, disgusting food for breakfast! Apparently everyone was worried that I wouldn't show and was asking my boss how she would get me over here without suspecting. She said that it was fine since I always come over right away but then everyone was standing there and I hadn't shown up so she shot me an email, haha, it was definitely a good call or I would have keep eating my food!
And apparently the weird looks I got was because of me already holding food, she was worried about the breakfast party! She even said that the reason she left before I came back was because she knew we would keep talking and that she wouldn't be able to go or get me over there herself.
After the party it was business as usual but saying goodbye was hard. I got hugs from everyone and they all said to stay in touch and if I get the time to stop by they want me to let them know and they'll let me in to hang. My boss also said to let her see my progress on my senior projects and she'd love to help if she could and to let her know what I'm up to after graduation.I started a Linkedin to keep in touch with everyone and I've "connected" with most of them already. It's going to be so weird not to go back...I loved it there. I wore my sombraro all morning.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Busy Week(s)

Hey there, I know, I'm late again.
The good news is that I'm late because I have been hard at work!
Let's start with all of the fun that was last week...
(LAST) SUNDAY: I did the COLOR RUN in Philly. It was completely ridiculous. I couldn't breath or see for some of it (the color cloud of doom was a little much) but it was completely worth it! I had signed up back when I was home with some of my friends so I got to see the ones I love that I haven't seen since being in Philly. The run was only 1.6 miles away from where I live but it still took me 10 minutes to get there and then another 10 to find a parking spot. I got there at about 6:15am and met up with my friends who were already there. We went through registration, we were the Double Rainbow Brites and we got a shirt and some color dust to throw around later. This was the largest organized run in history (I think that's what they said) with 23,000 people in one place! We got in line to start around 7:15 and probably didn't actually get to the start line until around 7:45. Then we were off! We danced, we ran, we walked and we turned multicolored all within about 30 minutes. It was also one of the hottest days of the year so they said they were adding more water stations. There was one. And it was .5 miles (of the 3.1mi) into the race so anyone without a water bottle (me) was kind of fucked. Once we finished we joined the giant color cloud and got a ton of water. Once in the cloud it was madness, you couldn't see or hear of really breath. There were people on people's shoulders, breakdance fighting and even a woman waving around a rubber chicken. She smeared green color all over my left arm because "I didn't look green enough." It was completely crazy we we took pictures of ourselves as the hot messes we were on the Rocky stairs and this was all done before 10am! I said bye to my friends, went home and after two showers, there were still parts of me that were blue and pink.
I then met up with another friend from home who actually goes to school and works here in Philly and she showed me around Center and Old City. We are the kind of friends that just talks about anything and everything regardless of how long it's been or how often we talk in between. I haven't seen this girl in at least three years and we don't keep in touch but we spent 5 hours just joking and walking around with each other and it was so much fun. I love that girl. She took me to her favorite tappas restaurant and then we went our separate ways.

(LAST) MONDAY: This was really great because by boss for Free People sent me over to the sweaters department in a different building and I got to hang out with a whole new set of people. While I didn't do what I would call actual work, I got to see another side of the industry that really fascinates me: knitwear. I have been knitting since I was younger and took knitwear while I was in Italy last Fall where I took a knitting class and working both by hand and on a machine. I knew enough that I could ask smart questions and understand the answers and so my boss for the day and I got along really well. I did go on a small rant about my evil teachers, but I knew how I was presenting myself and was able to stop before I caused too much damage. But she did end the day saying that I was very smart and she was glad she got to meet me. I hope that I can spend another day or two over there, it was really fun to see her do....everything! She also let me keep a bunch of old color cards that they were going to throw out, so while I can't really use them (1 because they;re last seasons, and 2 because they probable only work in large quantities and will not send to a student), I now have a really great catalog of color references!

(LAST) TUESDAY: I went to the Barnes Foundation with work and it was phenomenal. I love these intern activities they have for us, they're always spectacular. I love art and so getting to see so many paintings by so many artists was amazing. Dr. Barnes (I have no idea what he was a Dr. of but he was clearly loaded), started collecting art and his collection grew so much that he created a new building off his house to house it. After his death, his only wish was that his collection never be moved. So of course it was moved. People were coming to see his collection and paying entries like it was a museum (it basically was) but his house was in the suberbs of nowhere, so the city replicated his house down to every last detail in the art district of Philly and put every painting exactly where is was originally in the set up. That way it is exactly the same as how he had left it (kind of) but more people could access it. So many great artists were housed there such as Rousseau, Picasso, Rodin, and Sauret, as well as lesser known like Modigliani and Glackens (who was actually a friend of Barnes's and the only one he trusted to buy art for him). It was a gorgeous collection and I was getting paid to see it. Amazing.

(LAST) WEDNESDAY: I got up early to go get breakfast with a bunch of interns at one of the original stores in the city. We got free food and listened to a presentation about all of the different managers and jobs that are available and what it takes to run a store. It was really interesting, we got to see all of the set up and visual art books and meet some of the men that were actually putting up all of the crazy displays. The one in charge of that was my favorite because he was just so funny and comfortable with himself. He also had piercings, tattoos, and a teddy bear T-shirt so I'm sure you can see the appeal. We also got a tour of the store and did an activity where we split into groups and we each had to create a style for an assigned customer based on what we had learned that day. Our groups customer was "The Beautiful and the Damned" so we went for a lace dress, a cut up tank top to put over it, a studded cross shoulder bag, a crystal necklace and some clunky Jeffrey Campbell heels to finish it off. We didn't win the design contest but they did say that we knew our customer well and that it was a good job. After that we got on a bus back to work.

Hmm...I went home this last weekend and then let's see....
This week was actually quite slow, which was disappointing. I feel like neither team remembers which days it gets me so they don't really have anything for me to do. I am however getting very close with my Market team. They are the one's that I thought might have an interest in hiring me, so I'm really glad about that.  Our conversations are getting goofier and we joke and talk and they're all so nice. Oh! I also moved desks. It;s just one back (where the other intern, Natalie, used to sit-she got moved closer to her team) and an older Russian woman took my seat. She's really very nice but I think that sometimes she sounds really rude because she has some broken English and a heavy accent. I actually saw one of my coworkers make a na-na-na-na-boo face behind her back because she was forced to move all of her work because it was "in the way." I don't know if the face was just for my benefit but I do know that she enjoyed it regardless. We were actually supposed to have our huge company party yesterday but it was moved to next Wednesday because it was supposed to rain both yesterday and today (it didn't yesterday, it already has today) but I heard it's a great time! I went to another meeting with Kathy yesterday just to catch up and even she said "They had a margarita machine last year...Don't worry, there will be alcohol." Apparently they go all out. Last year there was a mechanical bull and a bouncy slide and all kinds of crazy. A few years ago she said they made their own ice skating rink! But they never have the party on a Friday to stop people from being too crazy at a company party, especially since apparently parts of it always end up on Youtube. Kathy also asked if I wanted to shadow the design team at some point, I said I would but I was also like to be in the Pattern Making room at some point if we could swing it. She said she would do what she could and I asked if she's hear dof any problems since our last talk and she said there haven't been any! I'm so happy! And today I am actually writing this in the middle of the day (which is probably why it's so long) because I had to call out sick :( I think something bit me in my sleep because I woke up with a puffy, itchy face and red eyes so I stayed home. At least after this post I can work on my collection. I am almost down with collection number 1, but there are still 2 more collections and 2 more projects to go and I'm down to I think 5 weeks! Yikes! I guess it's time to sign off and get to it, til next time!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Hey. So I think I'm going to start blogging on Friday instead cause this trying-to-remember-what-I-did-last-week thing is not working out.
So where was I? I covered going into the city...doing nothing on Sunday....
Monday was nice. There was a bridal shower for one of the girls, Amanda, so I picked up some fruit on the way in to contribute to her surprise party. She's getting married tomorrow and we had this huge party all set up. There were about 20 people, a shit ton of food (lots of cheese, chocolate, cake, fruit-awesome) and we had a toilet paper bride contest! I have to say, watching a bunch of people who create clothing for a living making a normally half-assed dress out of toilet paper was ridiculous. There was some seriously, pleating, attempted rouching, layering, accessories, rosettes and even heard a few utterances of "This should really be on the bias..." Our team won dressing up my tech coordinator because it was the only dress that stayed fully intact-it was also awesome (and the one with the rosettes).
After that my team sent me to the Free People building to work with the sweaters team which was a lot of fun since I do know a bit about machine and hand knitting. My boss there was really nice and really good at answering questions and making sure I understood the process-even if it was something I was just sitting in on or watching. Also, since I was no longer in the cafeteria building there were dogs everywhere! They were so cute! I wish we had a dog-friendly building...
On Tuesday I got to meet up with the parents of Alex's Lemonade Stand (both of the little girl Alex and now the corporation), Jay and Liz. They were there to receive the check we were donating to them by way of the stands we put up the first week (did I talk about them? I think so-they were fun). It was them and about 8 of us interns in our cafeteria for lunch and they were so nice. We talked a little about Alex's Lemonade the company and I told them about how involved our high school is (we do a drive every year), but mostly we talked about hobbies. I was sitting closer to Jay and to Liz so I heard a lot about crazy biking marathons and different types of exercise and training but it was all very fun to listen to. I also learned they have three other kids, all boys, the oldest just graduating high school. For those who don't know, Alex was a little girl who in 2000, at the age of four, wanted to start a lemonade stand to help raise money for "her hospital" and to help other kids like her. She raised over $1 million before she passed away in 2004. It's am amazing non-profit foundation and really anyone can set up their own stand to help those with the disease. Here's the site if you want to learn more:
Wednesday was, of course, the Fourth of July! I was supposed to go to the shore but a member of our party over slept and we missed our teeny window to miss traffic so we just stayed in and I worked on my project. When I wasn't working I was overseeing my drunk housemates. Here's what I learned about America in the meantime:
"Why are you cleaning?"
"For America."

"I'm gonna shotgun this beer."
"Shotgunning a beer over the sink to avoid drippage is not American.."
*Tosses can in the garbage*
"Not recycling: American."  (Don't worry, we ended up recycling).

"I really wanna be drunk but I might puke."
"America will understand."
"I don't know...America's not about loving you for your flaws."

"Corona?! That's a Mexican beer! Today is a Budweiser day! FOR AMERICA!"

"Lets all do a mash up of the Star Spangled Banner for America's birthday."
"...Does anyone know all the lyrics?"

And so on. It was a pretty American/offensive day all around.

Then there was this GIANT free concert about 25 blocks away so I went to that. I saw Queen Latifah, Joe Jonas (who was actually really good-he sang some Jo-Bro songs solo which I found funny) and Nick even popped out for a bit causing young girls and boys alike to scream and cry. I personally find Joe cuter but I understand that people now see him as douchey (no real argument here), and Nick is more talented. It was like I was in middle-okay, high school again, and it was pretty fun. There was Common, who I'm sorry to say I don't actually know but they're apparently really big and they plated well. Queen Latifah came out again and sang with them which was cool since I missed the beginning of her set. Oh! And before her, whom I also missed, was Roots, who as I also don't know but who are apparently very popular. Then were was Daryl Hall from Hall & Oates who clearly did know and loved.
I'm such a square.
But he was fantastic! He played a really long set too, which was impressive. He played Maneater, Rich Girl, You Make My Dreams Come True and I Can't Go For That. So good. And he was looking pretty AMERICAN too. I mean, when he first came out people were like..."Who's this guy?" And I didn't know what Hall looked like so I took a look and this is what I saw: White older guy. Long blond hair. Blue jeans. A red checkered button down. I said he looked like "Some old white guy. AMERICA!" I mean, I think the statement still holds.
After him was a surprise performance by Lauren Hill-again had no idea who she was. But she was really, really good and looked amazing! She played about 4 songs and then came the fireworks! That's always my favorite part of the Fourth. Seeing the sky light up and feeling the blast in your chest. It's the best. The fireworks were really pretty but with such a large crowd I didn't get the same powerful feeling.
Again, all of this was free (minus the water and food I bought) so I saw this was a pretty fantastic Fourth overall.
Thursday wasn't all that spectacular. A lot of people were out so there wasn't much to do (kind of the opposite of what I had assumed but people got their shit done early) so I read the URBN site and some blogs it advertised. During the work I did have I listened to a Starkid musical play out in the background. I got through both AVPS and B@man so I was pretty happy.
Today I had a little more to do but not much, I sat in on a fitting which was fun. They're not as exciting as I had first assumed but they're still fun to watch and kills a lot of time when there's no work to go around. It's also a good time to socialize with your bosses and even the design teams and get to know everyone so that's good. I had another bi-monthly meeting today and more good things and one not so good thing. This time it had nothing to do with measuring, but one of the girls I'm friends with has had basically no work all week and she's not the most tactful about how she's spending her free time. She watches a lot of Startrek on her computer and that's literally it....Anyway, she's been spending a lot of time at my desk chatting with me and Nat since she has no work and it was brought up that she has been distracting us and that we need to snip that now. Kathy said that she sees me as a hard worker and she doesn't want another intern to get in the way of a successful career for me there, which is nice but I felt bad. I kind of wanted to defend Susan's true. We're at work. And I love when she spending time with me and when she comes over to chat, but just cause she doesn't have work, doesn't mean I don't. I always get it down on time, generally early, and this is a trend that just started this week so I really didn't think it was a big deal but apparently is it. I don't know if her supervisor is going to talk to her now or what but I hope she doesn't get into trouble. It's the supervisor's job to give her work anyway so...
But that was my week. It was good, fun, interesting. On to more school work!
And again, I think this blog is going to start updating on Fridays, so check in!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Hey guys! I hope everyone's have a great 4th of July!
So this week was a lot of fun! I think I'm actually going to start with the weekend though, because that's when all the fun things happened.
I've been meaning to get into the city so that I could swatch and check out some vintage clothes and things like that but it's surprisingly hard to get into the city from Philly if you are like me and don't know how to plan anything.  So I drove home on Friday and jumped on a 7:20 bus to go into the city. Of course everything went wrong right away, I forgot to eat breakfast, the ticket booth was open, my kindle died and I kept getting battery warning from mt iPod. I figured it'd be a pretty long day.
I get in and immediately set out to B&J which only swatches from 9-10. I get all of my swatches and some yards and get to catch up with my favorite sales man there. I've mentioned him once of twice before, he's a lot of fun to chat with. We talked a lot about Disney as he and his family just went on their first trip there together and they loved it. We talked about pets as his son now is obsessed with puppies and we talked about work and school.
Next I walked by B&Q Trimming which I knew was nearby and I picked up some sequins and beads for fabric manipulations. I get a discount there because of my enrollment into the NY School of Burlesque (if you're interested I would definitely check it out) and then made my way to Mood. It was 10:30 when I got there and I was told that they were filming Project Runway inside and that we wouldn't be allowed up for another hour. I was not really in the mood to wait so I made my way up to Pigalle where I always eat.
I got my favorite waiter again but this time was a little awkward.I think he was hitting on me. He didn't charge me and asked how long I was going to be in the city. When I said "just for the day" he said that was too bad and asked when I'd be back. I said I didn't know but he asked if maybe I'd be around in two weeks. I said I don't know, couldn't promise anything but will be back once summer ends. He also seemed sad when I saw I live in Philly right now. I don't know, still very nice but a very strange encounter.
 Rather than head straight back to Mood, I took the subway further down to Cheap Jack's, this really nice/expensive vintage store. I bought 4 dresses from the 60s and a heavily embroidered jacket for both wear and inspiration for about $400. Now that sounds like a lot, and is a lot, but for legitimate vintage dresses, it was a pretty nice deal and I made friends with a bunch of the workers who tried to get my the best deal. I bought two garments at 30% off and the other three were buy 1 get 2 free. After dropping way too much money at one place,, I went back up to Mood, spent maybe 30 minutes there swatches and buying yardage and then caught the bus home.
Crap. I've got to cut this short. I have the fireworks show to go to soon and I should do some school work before then. I'll be back either tonight or tomorrow! Happy 4th!