Monday, April 30, 2012

Great article on 50-100 year old women dressing with style and a couple of priceless pictures.

Article: Aging stylishly, online and in the streets  

Great article on 50-100 women dressing with style and a couple of priceless pictures.


We went to a dinner with Friends on Saturday night and I wore my favorite LBD and a cut velvet shawl.

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: Dress (2010), Shawl (2012)
Gifted: Earrings (2011) and necklace 1(1997)
Bought from Artist: Necklace 2 (2011)
Bought Retail: Shoes (2010)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fabrics I created on spoonflower using my own watercolors


Friday, April 27, 2012

TGBM Tally with George

George and I went to Blvd. Coffee in Los Gatos, CA tonight for "Blvd Live" and listened to a wonderful singer/guitar player named Alejandro.

TGBM Tally Michelle:

Thrifted: Blouse (2012), Purse (2011-not pictured)
Gifted: Earrings (2011)
Bought from artist(s): Both necklaces (2009 and 2011)
Bought Retail: Shoes (2010)
Made: Skirt (2011) and slip (2011-not pictured)

TGBM Tally George:
All retail - however, George gets extra credit for his Topsiders (shoes) which he has had for as long as I have known him (16 + years) and he has resoled them twice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Summer dresses

We just had a mini heat wave (as opposed to the northeast) and I went looking for a summer dress a.k.a. sundress.  I found a pattern in my stash that looked promising, Simplicity 2927. 

I made up a test garment (sleeveless) and have a few problems to solve:

- The keyhole in the front shows the top of my bra so I will raise it a bit.

- The front side panel dips a bit low on my figure so I want to raise it.

- Last and most common, the booty area is a bit snug in the back and just above that is loose (sway back).

I went to my personal sloper and used it to make a new bodice. I coverted the darts to flare in the skirt and raised the side panels. I kept the original neck band as it fit well. 

I'm going to sew up the muslin tomorrow.  Once I get this pattern perfected I will probably make a handful for summer and I'm guessing they will be my go-to dress for hot weather.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that although it is sleeveless the yoke covers my bra straps perfectly.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Save the date and your $$$ - September 29th sale

Link to details of Canda College's Sept 29, 2012 indepedent clothing and accessories designer showcase

This is a fantastic show if you like original jewelry and clothing and want to purchase from local and US based artists.  A couple of local artists I have featured will be there:

 Patti Wells

Designer Sale and Showcase

The Artistry in Fashion Designer Sale brings together dozens of local designers and fabric artists, creating a “one-stop shop” for beautiful handmade, re-purposed, and one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, and accessories.

We’re now compiling our designer list for this year’s sale!  The designers below have already committed for 2012.  For updates when new designers are added, check out our facebook page or join our mailing list.  If you’re a designer and you’d like to participate, please contact us.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've been thinking about commercializing the recycled jean bags I make.  People stop me all the time when I use them and ask questions about them. They are very appealing in a store environment because they look so organic compared to the surfaces and packaging in a store.

One of the things to consider is how to display them and create hanger appeal either in person or online.

They look the most appealing when they are being carried and have something in them. 

When the bags are not being carried I've had more than a few people say they thought they were looking at a pile of dirty laundry.

So, if I were to sell them in a retail environment it seems as though they would need to hang and be lightly stuffed.  A coat rack type of display?

Online might be trickier.  Each bag is unique.  Hmmmm...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homework, Homework, Homework - vote?

Don't give up on me folks. I've been knee deep in homework for my Principles of Design class.  Major project turned in today, probably 25+ hours of work finished today with 35 minutes to spare.

One final project, a presentation board with 4-5 original designs around a central theme.  The instructor suggested starting with a title and working from there.  Categories are lingerie, athletic wear, business, sportswear, bridal, formal, cocktail, maternity, etc.

Here are my possibilities so far:

Possible Titles for my Design theme:
Barrista vs. Godzilla
Shakespeare in Love
Ashland Weekend
Wine Festival Weekend
Museum Mania
Sunset Magazine Tour
Andronico Adventure
Safeway at Sunset
Suburban Safari
Gym Rat
Day after Divorce
Smart Cookie
Foster’s Freeze if You Please
Backyard BBQ Belle
Makers Faire
Black and White Ball
Cardigan Frenzy
Geek Squad
Commuter Cutie
Feisty Fiesta
Classic in Pearls
Cupcake Cutie
Union Square Lunch
Tortillas and Chips and Beer Oh My!
Reception at Cantor Hall
Dinner at Chez TJ
Coconut Rendezvous
Fashion Week Tickets
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas
Private Flight With the Mile High Club
Legally Blonde
Bond, James Bond
Shaken Not Stirred
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Disneyland Daydreams
Shaun of the Dead
Lark in the Park in the Dark
Champagne Picnic and Caviar Dreams
Stepford Wives Unite!
Coffee Tea or Me?
Tuesday Morning Rendezvous
Hello Sunshine
See How She Runs?
Lady Madonna, Baby at Her Breast
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Michelle My Belle
Daddy Took My T-Bird Away
Nights in White Satin
Night Moves at the Hotel California
Marion the Librarian Goes to a Chick Flick
Mabel Isn’t in the Stable Anymore
The Love Boat
Pink Floyd meets Moon Unit Zappa

Pretty Woman, Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman, the Kind You’d Like to Meet

Isn’t it Good, Norwegian Wood?
Strawberry Fields Forever
Dandelion Wine Makes You Feel Fine in the Summertime
Brick Chicken-House
Murderess on the Orient Express
Mirror, Mirror
Dinner at Nine Would Be Divine
Date at Eight, That’s Great!
Suggested Colors
Your Table is Waiting… Right This Way
Calling Lovebirds, Party of Two, Lovebirds, Party of Two?

 Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More from Discarded to Divine

 More favorites from the Discarded to Divine show at the DeYoung Museum.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Friend's entry to Discarded to Divine

My friend and fellow Canada student / PenWAG member Laughing Flower created the sweater coat she is wearing and another for a Discarded to Divine entry that was selected for Display at the De Young show. I am so proud!  Her piece will be auctioned off at the Discarded to Divine event:

SF Design Center Galleria
101 Henry Adams

VIP $195
Reserved Parking until 7:00 pm
Hosted VIP Reception & Silent Auction at 6:00 pm at Kravet showroom
Live Auction Preview
Premium Reserved Live Auction Seating
One Complimentary Benefit Drawing Entry
Event Signage Acknowledgment

General $95
General Reception at 6:30pm, Hosted Beverages and Appetizers, Live & Silent Auctions

More Discarded to Divine: Hat

This was the Discarded to Divine entry I voted for in the accessories category.  After taking Wayne Wichern's millinery class I have a new appreciation for hats and I thought this was a beauty.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I went to Discarded to Divine at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco last night with some friends. (One night show only)

What fun!  Here I am standing next to one of my favorite outfits - killer design and construction.

Notice the beautiful jacket I am wearing?  It was a gift from Jo Paganini this Easter.  She told me her father bought it for her mother when he was in Japan and her mother had worn it only once to a military ball.  It's been in storage in the closet since then.  Jo very generously pulled it out of storage and passed it on to me.  What better event to wear it to than a celebration of recycled clothing.

My Tally:
Thrifted: blouse (2012), pants (2011) - Consignment: belt (2010)
Gifted: Vintage silk calf-length jacket (2012), earrings (1999?), necklace and pendant (2004?)(2008?)
Bought retail: Shoes (2011)
Made: None

I received compliments all night long!  Thank you again Jo.

What treasures are hidden on your closets?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remember that suit I picked up for $12.49 a few weeks ago?  

       It fits like a dream and I feel very energized wearing it.  

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: Suit (this month), blouse (2010)
Gifted: Earrings
Bought Retail: Red Cole Haan patent leather loafers (2008?- 09?)
Bought from Artists: Necklaces (2008 and 2011)
Made:  Nothing

TGBM Tally new dress

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: Dress (last week)
Gifted:  Necklace (1980 something)
Bought: Earrings (2010), Shoes (2010)
Made: Slip (2011 not shown)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

12 ways to have a sustainable eco-friendly wardrobe by Amisha Ghadiali

I ran across this fabulous list for 12 ways to have a sustainable eco-friendly wardrobe.  It was created By / / Ethical Fashion, Journal, My Wardrobe 
and is reprinted here with her permission.  Link to original at the end.

Clothes are an important part of our daily life. Yet the global industry that employs one sixth of the world's population is riddled with issues such as fast fashion, toxic chemical use, forced labour and waste. We have the opportunity to affect millions of people’s lives and to protect our environment by how we shop and what we wear. Rules are made to be broken, but by following these you can make a difference.

1) Research ethical designers

(Ethical, Eco, Sustainable, Green are generally interchangeable words).
There are so many designers with exciting collections that are using intelligent design and pushing the production boundaries. Read online magazines and eco-fashion blogs to keep up to date with the latest developments.

2) Ask yourself
if you really need something new

or if you can wear something in a different way to make it feel fresh. If you are buying it, think about what you have that you can wear it with so you don’t need any new accessories.

3) Try and set a limit

for how many things you buy a year. Make it the right number for you.
 Think of how many things you usually buy every month or year and then take off at least a quarter. Or even half it – you don’t need as much as you think.

4) Support small local designers

In a world that is increasingly global,
it’s hard for local artists to compete with the high street. But the things that they create are special, original and come with a low carbon footprint.

5) Buy something organic

or made from a new fabric such as from Soy Bean, Nettle or Milk. They are not as harmful to the earth and the farmers as more common fabrics such as non organic cotton which involves heavy pesticide use.

6) Have a wardrobe clear-out

and give your unloved pieces to your local charity shop or hold a swishing party. Research the best clothing banks to donate to as some recycle every bit of clothing even if it is damaged, and some throw away things they can't sell.

7) When buying something new, ask

the shop/designer what is not on the label such as what it is made from, where it was made and who by. This way you learn about the story of your clothes and if the designer or brand hasn’t thought about it, you are helping change the industry by reminding them to do so.

8) Get out your sewing machine

and customise something old (maybe two or three things) into something new. Sewing machines are not as hard to use as you think they are.

If you don’t think you can do it yourself, find a sewing class, or you could ask your gran!

9) When buying something new, think of how long you will like it for.

Is it a keeper or something you will wear once? Try and buy something that you can get a lot of wear out, even if it is special, you might as well wear it whilst you can.

10) Buy something that is fair-trade

The Fairtrade certification guarantees that producers have been paid a fair price for the material. For example you can get fairtrade cotton and fairtrade gold.

Note that if they have written fair-trade as two words that they don’t have the official certification (although they might be implementing fair trade practises)

Rent or borrow

something instead of buying something new. It’s a great feeling when you wear something belonging to a family member or a friend, and it makes them happy to see you enjoying it too (that is if you asked permission!) If they don’t have your taste then you could try a designer rental service.

© 2012 Words - Amisha Ghadiali Design - Joana Casaca Lemos 

TGBM Tally Sports clothes

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: T-shirt (last week), Jacket (2012)  
Gifted:  Nothing
Bought: Earrings (2010), Jeans (2011), Shoes (2010)
Made: Nothing

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pants made into skirt

I loved the color of this skirt--it is a perfect match for my eyes.  It started out as a pair of pants that fit okay, but not great.  I was so sold on the color that I bought them anyway with the intention of trying to turn them into a skirt and it worked!

I opened up the inseam (inside seam) to just below the zipper in front and just to the roundest point on the booty in the back.  I then folded back the seams to form an open triangle.  I inserted fabric from the cut-off lower part of the pants underneath and pinned it in place.  I sewed a narrow seam on the top edge so it captured the inset panel on the underside.  

TGBM Tally:
Thrifted: Skirt (2011), Turtleneck (2012)
Gifted: Nothing
Bought: Shoes (2010?), Earrings (<1983)
Made: Skirt was reworked, so partially made.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I did it again

I did it again.  I was in Sunnyvale getting my car serviced and I stopped at the Mt View Goodwill on my way back to 85.

I found this perfect fitting suit for $16 and change. The skirt is a great length. I thought that the white piping on the jacket saved it from being a contribution to ABD (Abundant Black Disorder.)

Now I'm even more ready for a new consulting contract.  Watch out work world.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Alright, I might as well admit it, I'm becoming addicted to stopping at ALL thrift stores I pass.

I stopped at one today and found two athletic wear tops--which I always seem to run short of. How could I go wrong at $3.99 a piece? Not having a clean top can be the tipping point to not exercising and who needs one more excuse?  I resisted buying a third top that would have needed altering.

I also passed up on a green pant suit. I want more color in my wardrobe and green is good on me in certain shades but I think this shade just wasn't right because I found myself looking in the mirror trying to make it work when it was really just so-so. I already have too many pieces of clothing to bring home anything so-so, even when it will not contribute to "Abundant Black Disorder (ABD)" (March 6, 2012).

I had a conversation with myself that I should remove a piece of clothing for every one I bring home.  Easier said than done.  At one point last December I tried an exercise where I listed individual pieces of clothing and in the next column my thoughts and considerations about them, excerpt below.  

Making the list did help me take an objective look at some pieces and see what worked and what really just needed to be given away. What is gone as of today is highlighted in red, what should be tossed and is not yet is in pink.

Just think what might happen if I did this for my entire wardrobe.  Hmmmm...

White buttondown (bought 2010)

Red buttondown (bought 2010) a bit tired and worn at the cuffs, fabric is lightweight so needs to be tucked in and belted
Navy w/ red daisies buttondown (thrifted 2011)  brilliant and works untucked
Black hoodie travelsmith (bought 2008?) one of my very favorites
Crossroads jacket patterns: 
 - green and rust (made 2009) George doesn't like these, I do
 - Red and black (made 2009) George doesn't like these, I do
 - Red and black (made 2011) George doesn't like these, I do
Niagra Falls pattern
- Blue and black w/ Geisha
(made 2009)
I like it but it needs good slim pants or just makes me look big
 - Blue and brown yarn
(made 2009)
doesn't really look great with much
 - Maroon taffeta
(made 2010)
Great and really dressy.  Need narrow skirt or pants to go with

Grey Emma One Sock  t-shirt
(made 2011)
Love it, fits well and looks expensive

green and blue lacy poly sleeveless (thrift 2011)
great color, fits well

Royal blue with white cuffs
(thrifted 2011)
Sleeves are too long

Black and white sleeveless babydoll (thrifted/reworked 2011)
Great with rose colored linen pants

black short sleeve peasant style   (gift 2011).
good with green shorts

Another fabric from a painting

Monday, April 2, 2012

Watercolor painting translated into fabric

This is one of my original non-transparent watercolors. 

I haven't really painted since I started to sew a lot again.

I do see a connection though--fabric.  I visited the Spoonflower site and created fabric from this image.  

I ordered a proof so I can see what it looks like and then offer it for sale.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sewing with a purse frame - brand new creation

I just finished making my first bag from a purse frame.  I got the frame at Lacis in Berkeley.

I traced the bottom edge of the frame and used it to make a paper pattern.

I then slashed and spread the paper to get a larger bottom.

For the outside I used two different fabrics I got at a  FABMO distribution event.

I sewed the bottoms of the bags on the machine and the bags to the frames by hand.

I added a vintage pin one one side, yep, I got it at a thrift store.

The inside is lined with cotton I picked up at the Talbotts (not Talbots) outlet in Carmel Valley, CA (fantastic cottons and silks)

pictures of Talbott fabrics, contact info

On the inside rim I sewed a bit of horsehair braid over the cotton to protect it from wear.

Really really fun!  I am satisfied with the results. This first effort was rather time-consuming and I learned quite a bit, so perhaps it will be faster next time.

Yes, I would do it again!