Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homework for Principles of Design Class

I've been working for several weeks on an assignment for my Principles of Design Class.

We picked a magazine photo of poor Design Harmony to analyze and mounted the photo. Here is mine from an Italian Vogue.

The next assignment was to find an evening gown with successful use of Emphasis.

And we created three original designs.

This one is focused on Rhythm.

Here the focus is on Informal Balance (asymmetric).

And lastly effective use of Proportion.  This is my favorite. : >

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TGBM Tally Red and Blue Kimono top

Thrifted: nothing (shocking!)
Gifted: nothing
Bought: 1) Red patent leather Cole Haan loafers (2008?) 2) Jeans (2011)

Made: 1)Reversible kimono style top / blue and red side (2010?), 2) red long sleeve t-shirt underneath (2011), 3) Red drop earring (bead store 2011)

The pattern is one of my favorites.  I've made it 4 times and three of those I made it reversible.

It is the "Crossroads Jacket" by Lorraine Torrence for Grainline Gear, see link below.

I made it reversible by making two jackets where the cuff and collar are shared by both.  I sewed up the sleeves: sleeve-cuff-sleeve and then put one inside the other and treated it as a regular sleeve.

Everything else I just sewed two layers at a time treating them as one layer.  Where there was a seam I covered it with bias tape (easy to make yourself).  I have tube ties on both sides at the very bottom of the collar.

Great for traveling as I can have 4 tops by packing 2.

More Japanese Style from Disneyland

Here is another Japanese (I think) couple from Disneyland with great style.  That long black dress with the bold graphics really stood out. They looked amazing.

Slight delay in posting as I accidentally captured video and George my tech/photography guru was able to pull out a still shot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going, Going, Gone. Going?

 Going, Going Gone.  I purchased these loafers at Black and Brown, a consignment store on the Alameda in San Jose.

What was great about them is that they were broken in when I got them and were fairly comfortable as a result.

I've since bought a more comfortable pair (new retail, bad!) so these are going back out to be of use to someone else, in better shape, with new polish!

I'm debating this one.  I love the color and it is merino wool--plus my sister Suzy-Q made me a matching necklace and earrings. However every time I put is on I feel like I've gained 10-15 pounds. Loose in the waist, snug on the butt, and the V goes below my breasts and sort of splits open. Hmmmm.

Maybe if I tacked the V closed up a little higher and took in the waist a bit?  Shoulder pads?

Update 21Mar12 - both gone to Goodwill!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Disneyland portraits

We were in Disneyland again today and this time I noticed that the young Japanese tourists all had great style.  This couple let me take a picture. 

And then I ran in to these young women--So Fun!  The next time I go I'm going to plan in advance so I can go vintage too.  The on one the right reminds me of a Suicide Girl.

And lastly, something about the combination of the orange hair and green shirt was 


My TGBM tally:

Thrifted: Hoodie

Gifted: Nothing

Bought Retail: Sneakers (2011), Jeans (2010), Coach baseball cap (2007-8?), Jewelry

Bought from Aritist: Leather purse, Saratoga (Ca) Rotary Art Show (2007?)

Made: t-shirt (purchased but designed the "Portraits by Paganini" graphic) 2011

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Yesterday we spent the day and evening in Disneyland.  It was magical, bringing back memories of being there in grade school, and creating new memories with our family.

It was fun to watch other families together and see their similarities in genetics and dress.  We saw one family with tatoos ALL over each family member, from mom in her 50's all the way down the generations.  It really made a statement.

I was struck by how similarly most of us in the park were dressed - tennis shoes with jeans or shorts and t-shirts/hoodies, regardless of gender or age (obviously for comfort).  The dressiest among us were the girls ages 3 - 7 or so, many of whom were dressed in disney princess gowns--no corresponding clothing for the boys the same age.

I did see one elderly lady dressed more the way I remember older generations dressing, she had on pants, but they were soft pink, and she had on a matching pink collared shirt in gingham check (which I have not seen on anyone in years) with coordinated shoes and bag.  She really looked great and clearly felt great too.

My favorite outfit of the evening was not really an outfit.  There was a very elderly lady -I'm guessing in her early 90's- in a wheelchair, tucked in up to the neck with a brightly patterned blanket and wearing a hot pink sequined cap.  She looked simultaneously childlike and very old, festive, and as though she were enjoying watching everything and everyone.

Pinterest - site to collect pictures of you favorite things

The ever crafty Christina Paganini told me about Pinterest and I just set up an account.

More exploring to do but I think I am already hooked.  I can copy pictures off the net into my own albums (aka boards).  I started one with vintage clothing photos. I think I will also do a sewing board.

Here is an example from that could be inspiration for my upcoming millinery class.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TGBM Tally on the doorstep of Disneyland.

TGBM Tally on the doorstep of Disneyland.  We had dinner in Downtown Disney, Disneyland itself tomorrow!

Thrifted: Nothing (shocking!)
Gifted: Nothing
Bought retail:
  Hat (2011)
  Necklace (2010)
  Earrings (1982 or 1983, what can I say - they are classic)
  Sandals (2000, Mesphisto: they've been to Paris twice,
               Lahore Pakistan and scores of other places)
Made: t-shirt and skirt        

Monday, February 20, 2012

TGBM Tally - casual brown

Thrifted: Cardigan (2012)

Gifted: Nothing

- v-neck sweater
(2009, at Macy's right after the tree lighting on Union Square in San Francisco),
- Jeans (2010?),
- Loafers (2004? Cole Haan, good for a lifetime)

Made: Earrings

Recycling for charity in NYC

Less than a year after introducing a textile recycling program in New York City, supporters have pronounced it a grand success.
New Yorkers throw away 200,000 tons of apparel and other textiles that each year.  Last May, the city formed a partnership with Housing Works, a group that helps homeless people who are H.I.V.-positive, to pick up donated clothing at apartment buildings in one of the first large-scale consumer textile recycling programs in the country. 

Over 50 tons of textiles were donated in the first six months of the program!!!

Met a Man part 2

In my course this weekend I met a man named Gary who was dressed beautifully.

He had on a custom made silk shirt.  The collar was extra deep--check out the unusual placement of buttons to hold it in place.  

Notice the point on the middle back bottom edge of the collar.

It also had extra deep cuffs, no picture.

Gary's shoes were also custom made and eye catching.  I was distracted looking at them as he was sitting next to me.

He's wearing a velvet jacket and very expensive looking jeans he picked up at a thrift store in LA.

He's the second person who has told me that thrifting in LA is divine.

What a striking combination - yeah Gary!

Books transformed into purses

A local San Jose volunteer group, Friends of the Willow Glen Library, has started a project recycling old Readers Digest Books into purses to raise funds for the library.

They've teamed up with another non-profit, the Thrift Box, which supplies them with donations to use for the findings and linings. Too Cool!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Met a man

I'm traveling today so no picture. I met a man with amazing shoes and wonderful details on his custom made shirt. I'll post pictures Monday. : ) ps he had on jeans from a thrift store in LA

Friday, February 17, 2012

TGBM no picture, sick with a cold

I have a cold so I'm lounging around and watching "Austin Powers" on TV.  I'm also hand sewing the brown skirt featured in an earlier post.  Just put in the zipper.  Need to cut a lining.

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: Hoodie (2012)
Gifted: Nothing
Bought retail: Jeans (2008?)
Bought from Artist: Slippers (2010?)
Made: Lobster t shirt (2010?)

Resource for sewers

This site is an amazing resource for sewers (or stitchers as some prefer to be called).  People write reviews of patterns (as the name indicates) and there are also chats, classes, tips, etc.  Before I bought my sewing machine I went here and read reviews.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TGBM with tip on sewing on snaps

Thrifted: Skirt and Jacket (2012)
Gifted: Necklace (2011 Women's Craft Festival, Fort Mason, San Francisco)
Bought Retail: Boots (2010?), tights
Made: Blouse (2012), earrings (2011)

The jacket came with snap closures which makes it versatile as there are no buttons which need to be matched to jewelry or other clothing.

The problem was the top snap was so far inside the center seam line that the top section would not lay flat when the snap was closed (maybe that is why the garment went to Goodwill).  Look at the picture below and you can see there is a second smaller snap next to the big one.  The smaller now one holds the jacket edge fully closed.

TIP: Did you know that the holes in the middle of snaps are there so you can use a pin through them to mark the position of both sides of the snap so you know where to sew them on each side of the garment?

I 've been sewing since high school and spent years and years hit and miss trying to get them to line up.Then I tried this:
  • sew in one snap
  • attach the loose snap to the one that you just sewed in
  • arrange the garment the way you want it to lay
  • stick a pin through the center hole of the snaps from the sewn-in side and push through to the other side of the garment
  • find the end of the pin on the other side of the garment
  • From the side where the pin is sticking out push a pin in where the first one comes out. When you pull the garment apart you will see the second pin marking where to sew the second half of the snap
  • Slide the loose snap on the pin and sew in place
Happy sewing! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TGBM for cold weather errands

Thrifted: blouse and fake fur vest (both 2012)

Gifted: earrings from Suzy-Q (2012)

Bought:  skirt (retail 2005?), boots (retail 2009?), bamboo black neck scarf (retail 2011)

Made: earrings from Suzy-Q, she made them (2012)

Emma One Sock - high end fabric online

What a brilliant name for a company!  The owner, Linda, buys directly from designer workrooms and from other sources of high end fabric.  The site is particularly well organized both by fabric types and colors.  There are even suggestions for which fabrics go with each other.  She also gives the Pantone color (industry standard for colors).

Here is an example of an Anna Sui print.

Happy shopping!

EOS website

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plastic traceable croquis for fashion sketching

You may have seen my sketches on an earlier post and wondered how I rendered the figures.  I was using these very cool plastic templates of croquis.

creating a portable color palette from paint sample chips

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I'd had my colors done by John Kitchener (  Here is an example page from the book he made up for me. He uses fabric samples for the color swatches. 

These were already a nice size.
I wanted to make a travel pack a bit smaller than the binder from John.  I went to the hardware store and pulled paint samples.  Not all the colors were available but I got a decent grouping.

I'm going to cut them all down to the same size and put them on a ring.

I think I will also make a fabric bag so I can keep them in my car / purse handy for shopping.

Monday, February 13, 2012

TGBM - headed out in the rain

Thrifted: Jacket (2012)
Gifted: Nothing
Bought Retail: Jeans (2011), Loafers (2004), Hat (2006), earrings (2009)
Made: Scarf, hand sewn (2012)

Grocery shopping here I come.
If you are a dedicated sewer I highly recommend having a dressform to work from.

Kathleen Fasanella, the author of an excellent blog, Fashion Incubator, lessons from the sustainable factory floor, recently wrote an entry with a review of a new type of form and compared it with traditional models. The newer version has the more realistic bust.  To see the article follow the link below. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentines day early - TGBM Tally

Add caption
George will be gone for Valentines day so he took me to the Plumed Horse in Saratoga last night for an amazing dinner. We had a great time.

Thrifted 2012: The cashmere sweater.  Originally a size 3x, I thought I would make a skirt out of it.  Once I washed it (in the washing machine) and checked out what it would look like as a skirt I changed my mind.  Instead I got out my favorite self-drafted t-shirt pattern and while leaving the hems all intact I recut the shirt and sewed it up--perfect fit.

Gifted 2011: Earrings, longer pearls

Bought: Jacket (2008? Chinatown SF), Shoes (2007? from Gimme Shoes in SF)

Bought from Artist: Shorter pearls Santa Clara CA

Made: Skirt from a "Hot Patterns" pattern from Italian wool from Britex in SF
The pattern I used is no longer available from them - it was, I think, called the "Miss Moneypenny" skirt. It swoops down in the back and has a vintage feel. --best fabric store EVER

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Here I am with Wayne Wichern at the PENWAG workshop in my new hat.  It is embellished with a silk Dupioni band, and cluster of sweet flowers, both sewn in by hand. 

I'd ordered a red hat (surprise!) but there wasn't any matching Dupioni so I opted to make a different hat and I think this one will be more versatile.

I start the class on Millinery that Wayne teaches at Canada college in a few weeks.

Millinery class today!!!

I will attending a lecture by Bay Area millinery guru Wayne Wichern at the Pennisula Wearable Art Guild (PENWAG) meeting today.

Following the lecture (which drop-ins can attend in Campbell, CA for $5, details on the link above) I'll be taking Wayne's class and making a custom hat very similar to this (the class is closed).

Lucky me I am also registered in the Millinery class Wayne is teaching at Canada College (Redwood City CA) this semester!  It starts in a few weeks.

I had a hat custom made for my wedding and wore it instead of a veil.  It was more expensive than the dress (which was not all that expensive) and made the entire outfit. It was also similar to the one above only cream colored with a beautiful red vintage flower. I still wear it occasionally : >.

I highly recommend PENWAG for anyone interested in wearable art.  You do not need to be any type of expert to drop in or join the group.  We have a fantastic lecture series.  We have about 200 members and regularly have 80+ attending a meeting. There is typically some sort of workshop (extra fee) after the meeting/presentation.  The fees are quite reasonable and the content outstanding.  Because we are such a large group and we pay our speakers we have nationally and internationally known speakers.   Join us!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reworking thrifted jacket--3 changes

I bought this jacket in a second hand store in Canada in 2009? 2008? while on vacation.  It is a "Greta Garbo" brand and nicely made.  I just: 

1) Converted it from a double-breasted (narrow) to a single-breasted jacket (more hip room with jeans)

2) Changed the original buttons (above) for some silver buttons my sister Suzy-Q salvaged for me off a Ralph Lauren thrift store find (below).

3) Because it was converted from a narrow double-breasted to single-breasted jacket the front flap is slightly off center.

I'm willing to live with that for the sake of the improved fit in the hips and I decided to add interest around the face area to draw the eye away from the slightly off center flap.

I'm in the process of adding lighter grey DMC floss hand top stitching around the lapel.  It really draws the eye and makes the jacket look distinctive.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TGBM Tally cowl top

Thrifted 2012, 2011: Blouse and Pin
Gifted: Nothing
Bought 2011: Shoes 2011
Made 2010, 2011: Skirt and Earrings

The blouse is a knit with a slight cowl in
front. It wasn't laying very well so I
sewed a couple of flat buttons on the
inside edge to provide weight and help it
drape better. The skirt is grey and
fuzzy with very cool draping across
the front, a bit hard to see.

PAD software

I'm learning how to use PAD software to generate dressmaking patterns by computer.  I can see where using the software, once you get fluent, would really speed things up.  We put seam allowances on a pattern piece tonight in about 60 seconds.  I had advanced flat pattern last semester and trust me it took much much longer to do by hand.

For anyone interested the Rep from PAD came and told us about their student version available for $300.  It sounds very cool. Here is the link: with a listing of the available features.

Happy pattern making : >

Michelle's sketches Feb 8th 2012

Here is some of my design work--sketching I've done this week for my Principles of Design class at Canada College.

We are learning about the 5 basic design principles:
Harmony, Proportion, Emphasis, Rhythm, and Balance.

Thanks to my work with Mike Bailey in his Watercolor Beyond the Obvious classes I am already ahead of the game.  Yeah Mike!

Not sure where one could wear this but I like it.  I raised the hemline a bit in the version on the right for better proportion.

Both of these are fun. The yellow one is a bit too busy and I really like the sleeves and upper bodice.

I really like the one in red although I don't think the bottom pleats would actually fall that way.  There is something there in the black and aqua number but it needs reworking, not sure how yet.

I'm a fan of color blocking and this is one of my favorites.  The bust seaming on the top right is a bit too busy.  I like the lower right version better.

I wouldn't wear it but it is kind of interesting. 

I like the overall effect and I think the one on the left is not the right length.  The one on the right has better proportion ...and she would be hobbled walking unless there is a big vent in the back.  Not sure how a vent would look with a ribbon band. 

Expanding on the theme above.