Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mens wool sweater into cardigan, TGBM Tally 03Dec13

Thrifted: Upcycled sweater 2013, petticoat 2012, shoes 2012

Gifted: Scarf ~2008

Bought Retail: Buttons (from a button vendor at a quilt show), skirt ~2005

Made: Upcycling on the sweater

I just finished converting a regular round necked men's lambswool sweater into a cardigan. Step 1) Wash the sweater in warm water and tumble dry.  It shrinks and felts so it doesn't ravel when cut. Step 2) Cut off the waistband and cuffs.  Sew them together to make one long band.Step 3) Cut up the center of the sweater and cut out the shape of the neckline you want.  Step 4) Place your long band on top of the right side of the sweater opening, raw edges on the raw edge of the garment. Sew a narrow seam. Press in place and then turn band towards opening and press pushing the seam toward the sweater body.Step 5) Choose your fastener for the front. In this case I chose to use oversized buttons because I plan to wear the sweater primarily with this skirt and I thought they went well together.  I did not put in buttonholes (cheating!).  I sewed the band closed so this is really a mock cardigan as it cannot be opened.  I could do this as the neck opening is large so I can pull it on over my head.Step 6) I put the garment on inside out and pinned myself in on the outside seams, under the arms and on the sides.  I took the garment in at the pinning.  Because it will be paired with a full skirt I wanted it fitted.
Bonus - I put on a lined cotton skirt on underneath to create volume (like a petticoat)Now I'm ready for our cold snap.  It is going to freeze overnight, brrrrrr, happens very infrequently in San Jose, CA. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

stylish lady in orange

I was at a seminar this weekend and one of the guests immediately caught my eye.  She looks like someone who knows how to have fun and she has a very strong personal sense of style.

She agreed to be a guest on my blog!

Doesn't all that color just make you want to smile?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Winter is coming - scarfs as accessories

 I just watched a great video that demonstrates 26 ways to wear a scarf.  Watching this I think my whole winter wardrobe could be black T's and a variety of scarves. 
25 ways to tie a scarf on youtube

Monday, October 7, 2013

Susan Khalje, fabulous instructor

I took a hand sewing class from Susan Khalje several years ago through the 

 Peninnsula Wearable Art Guild and have been a devoted hand sewer ever since. 

Susan is not only a master teacher, she is one of the most gracious and poised people I've ever met. She is an instructor on Craftsy and has a lengthy and marvelous class on making a couture dress. It has to be one of the best online sewing classes available and very reasonably priced.

So... I've decided to register for a 2014 class Susan is giving in person at
The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. Yahoo!!!!

There is nothing like having something wonderful to look forward to in the future. I can now officially start day dreaming about what I want to make under Susan's tutelage.   : >

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

update - modeling at 11:00 Saturday

I'll be modeling in the Saturday event mentioned in the past post at 11:00.  It is the stylist show where they pull garments from the designer's booths and students model (that will be me.)  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Canada college designer sale Saturday 9/28 and South Valley Quilt Association Show 9/28 &9/29 - join me!

This coming weekend I will be attending two amazing events. I invite you to join me if you can.

Event #1

Canada College in Redwood City, CA, USA (my fashion design school for the last 4 years) is hosting an annual local designer sale as a fundraiser, SATURDAY SEPT 28TH only, 10:00 - 4:00, details below:


Since 1991, the Cañada College Fashion Department has hosted Artistry in Fashion, bringing together fashion lovers, students, faculty, and premier local designers and fabric artists for an exciting day of fashion and creativity, all for the benefit of student scholarships and materials.
Location: Cañada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, Redwood City, CA
Cost: $10 admission.  Print this coupon for $1 off.
Food: Featuring foods available for purchase from Sancho’s TaqueriaSlider ShackSkylite Snowballs, and Pony Espresso

 There will be about 50, yes 50, local bay area/CA fashion designers selling their goods.  

One of my favorites is ANYASF who sells one-of-a-kind upcycled t-shirt garments like the dress below.

1:30 Fashion show - hosted by SANDRA ERICSON

Sandra Ericson is a leading educator in the Clothing and Textile field, having taught fashion design, fashion history, pattern cutting, draping, textile and clothing construction at City College of San Francisco for over 30 years. She holds both a BA and an MA Degree in Clothing and Textiles from San Jose State and San Francisco State Universities. Currently, she directs the Center for Pattern Design (CFPD), an online headquarters for the professional pattern designers in the US and abroad. Sandra’s personal research has lead her to become one of the few experts on the innovative work of Madeleine Vionnet, enabling her to apply the draping principles of Vionnet to create her own pattern designs for CFPD. She also continues to teach for universities and industry groups in the US and Canada and has written many articles forThreads Magazine about pattern design.
Join us as Sandra presents a fashion show featuring designs from her CFPD patterns, which feature pattern recreations of classic couture designs from Balenciaga and Vionnet.

P.S. - I've been told I'll be modeling - Michelle

Event #2 - This is the group that awarded me a scholarship this year that allowed me to get a dressform.  I just completed my first fully draped dress which I plan to wear when I visit on Sunday.

South Valley Quilt Association

2013 Harvest Quilt & Fiber Arts Show:

Dates: September 28 & 29, 2013
Hours: Saturday 10:00-5:00pm; Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm
Where: Downtown Morgan Hill, Community & Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road at E. Dunne

Cost: Free Admission and Parking, however donations are always appreciated to support the show and scholarship funds.

Features: Beautiful Door Prize/Opportunity Quilt, Boutique Sales/Quilts and Handcrafted Items, Vendors selling Fabric, Patterns, Books and Machines.

I've heard there is a car show practically next door so you bring a car loving buddy along for the drive.  This event is the fundraiser for next year's scholarship and I plan to apply again. : >

Hope to see you at one or both!  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Goodbye Valentino blog

  I just finished a marathon reading of the first year of this blog started in 2011: http://goodbyevalentino.com/

The blogger made a committment to forgo buying ready to wear for one year and instead sew any clothes she wanted.  She made a large collection of garments that first year and is quite tasteful in her choices. The blog has clear beautiful pictures and is easy reading, well done all around. I highly recommend it. 

I've grown increasingly weary of most things in my closet. I'm also (shockingly) not in much of a thrifting mood.   I just hired a friend to help me move my sewing room into a larger room and organize it. I now know where everything is, fabrics, notions, tools, and patterns. I too think it would be amazing to sew, sew, sew a new wardrobe. 

So, I sew, I sew, it's down the hall I go,..

Friday, August 9, 2013

MEN OF THE CLOTH - humble men who make exalted clothing

I ran across this great Kickstarter project to capture master tailors on film .  I made a pledge and will get a copy when the film is done!

Quoting directly from the kickstarter site: 


I first conceived of MEN OF THE CLOTH when I was Senior Fashion Editor at DNR, a menswear magazine that is now part of the fashion bible Women's Wear Daily. I became fascinated by Italy's artisan tradition and the incredible pride and passion that's part of the cultural DNA of Italy's master tailors.
I truly admire these artisans who live a life of meaning and purpose – and create clothing that’s as beautiful inside as it is outside. They’re unsung heroes – with skills that have been honed over the course of a lifetime -- and my film honors their legacy for a younger generation.
MEN OF THE CLOTH unravels the mystery of their artistry as they confront the decline of the apprentice system and navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their career. 
In this fast-paced world, the art of making handcrafted custom (or bespoke) clothing -- with a pattern created for each individual – has been declining for years.  There are few remaining Italian master tailors, and this turn of events inspired me to share the story of Nino, Joe and Checchino with the world. But while their personal stories are quite distinct, they also give us an insight into the current state of their craft as a whole. So as much as it’s a character-driven film, MEN OF THE CLOTH is also a meditation on the value of craftsmanship and handmade clothing.
 In the film’s visual through-line, we show a process that takes several weeks in real time: we follow the making of one bespoke suit from start to finish – from a bolt of cloth to a beautifully constructed garment."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Homework from Introduction to Theatrical Costuming summer 2013 class

This is a report from one of my Canada College summer classes, Introduction to Theatrical Costuming, taught by Judy Jackson.

The assignment was to make up or pick a character, describe them, set the context, and then costume them.  Fun assignment!  My sketch.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Draping on my new dress form

I spent the long weekend draping on my new dress form - it is a HUGE help.

 I've started in on a dress in fashion fabric and am running a bit short so may need to get creative.  The fabric is a beautiful red lightweight, drapeable cotton I bought from Britex about 4 years ago.

I'm lining the bodice with another batiste weight cotton so I was able to transfer all of the markings to the liner and not the fashion fabric. The fashion fabric is so lightweight I thought marks would show through.  I ironed the two layers together and then thread traced all the seams. 

Everything I've done so far is pinned to the dress form.

Also - I stored my pattern pieces (self drafted) by rolling them up and placing them in a toilet paper roll with a drawing of the design taped on the outside.  Clever if I do say so myself. : >

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lynda Maynard, my famous teacher

I started another summer class tonight, Copying Ready To Wear, with Lynda Maynard at Canada College in Redwood City, CA.

Lynda is a fun teacher with a laid back style.  

Lynda is also becoming famous! She is featured in her own new Crafty Class, sew-the-perfect-fit and was also published last year: 

The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques: Essential Step-by-Step Techniques for Professional Results

How lucky am I to be in this program? Seriously lucky.  : >

The garment I am copying is a thrift store find from Pleasanton, a sleeveless dress fitted at the top, with a scoop neckline and then very full flaring out starting half way down the bust. 

The color on the one I am copying is not good on me but I embroidered red trim on so it looks better.  I want to make this style in another color (Red!) as it is a very comfortable sumer dress.  People seem to like the cut on me and I do as well.  I think I could easily make multiples and live in them all summer. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Surfing fodder!

How to join the "Fashion Upcyclers" group located in the San Jose, California area

Here is the description of the Meetup group I formed:

"This is a group for people who are interested in the "upcycling" fashion movement, meaning we start with existing fashion (clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags, etc.) and transform these items into something wearable, better than before, rather than buying new retail goods.

Several years ago I found out the fashion industry is one of the top contributors to global warming.

This prompted me to made a commitment to forgo retail shopping (okay, not for undies) and

1) buy only directly from artists, or

2) sew for myself, or

3) buy used clothing.

I've been about 85% effective in meeting my goal and as a result I've become very good at upcycling used garments & it has turned into a very fun and rewarding game.

Our members share ideas, examples of their work, resources they've found, and events relevant to our interests."

We now have 8 members!!!!!  Our first meeting is July 20th.  Join us...

Monday, June 24, 2013

New MEETUP group formed for Fashion Upcyclers

I formed a new MEETUP Group!!!   "The Fashion Upcyclers South Bay" because I would love to connect with other people interested in upcycling clothing.  So cool.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

itchy bit in new garment

More wardrobe problems...

I purchased a new bra yesterday and put it on to wear it this morning.

It fit well yet after several minutes I noticed an irritating scratchy bit at the edge of the cup.  The thought of living with that irritation all day was unacceptable. Returning the garment seemed like a frustrating waste of time.  
I suspected that the problem was microfilament thread - clear thread like fishing line, only thinner.  Manufacturers use this type of thread because there is no need to match the fabric color. This thread has sharp ends, therefore each clipped end is scratchy. I've noticed that it is frequently used to sew labels into the back of the neck.

My solution this morning was to take a new emery board (fingernail file) and run it over the scratchy area.  It worked! The emery board rubbed down the sharp end of the thread. I wore the bra all day with no problems. 

This solution works on the inside of a garment but beware that it will rough up the fabric. Use caution, if you have a very thin fabric then damage could show on the outside too. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pants that unzip themselves, Arrgh!

The past several months I have been increasingly aware of those little wardrobe irritants that keep me from wearing certain garments. 

I've diligently been working on fixing the problems or getting rid of the offending garment.  

Case in point, a pair of black jeans I bought around Thanksgiving last year. Slowly (and perhaps with a slight weight gain) the zipper has started unzipping itself when I sat down, arrrgh!!  

At first I compensated by wearing longer shirts and re-zipping the jeans as discretely as I could all the while accompanied by that uneasy feeling that somehow I was going to be found out. Or maybe I would fall down, my shirt would fly up, and I would be laying on the ground with my pants still buttoned but with my undies showing and a crowd of people standing around me.  

I let my jeans linger for a long time in the laundry basket in protest, however I only have 2 pairs so something had to give.  I washed them, put them on, and rediscovered the problem.  

I had an idea.  Last week my friend Patti gave me her mother's notions tin and it had some big black hook and eyes... and...

My friend Patti
most of the expensive/nicely made pants I have owned have a built in safety feature: two buttons for closure, one on the inside to relieve some of the strain from the main button, and as a safety feature if the main button breaks. 

Hmmm... applying this same principle, perhaps I could alleviate some of the strain on the top of the zipper by forcing the top of the jeans to pull closer together with the hook and eye.

SUCCESS!!!   Today I wore my black jeans and they did not unzip themselves even a little bit.  I just got a wardrobe staple back with 10 minutes worth of sewing and a gifted vintage notion.

Thank you Patti!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I received a scholarship!!!!

 Tonight I was invited to a meeting of the South Valley Quilt Association. Morgan Hill, California where I was awarded a scholarship to study fiber arts.  Yahoo!!!  

Thank you ladies and gentleman of the Association and thank you Ronda Chaney (Canada College Fashion Department Chair) for encouraging me to apply for this scholarship! 

The scholarship money will be applied three ways:

1) Tuition at Canada College in Redwood City, CA for summer and fall 2013 (already registered)

2) A muslin covered dress form from PGM (watch out for new draped clothes!)

3) A Craftsy class, Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric, instructor: Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin fame. 

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!!!!!  It's like Christmas and my birthday all in one.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tally 28may13

Tally for Yesterday:

Thrifted:  dress 2012 (re-hemmed), sweater 2013, full slip 2012 (re-hemmed)

Gifted: none
Bought retail: Cole Hazan red patent leather loafers

Bought from artist: organza rose pin, pendant

Made: earrings

Sunday, May 26, 2013

On a roll

Okay, I know, nothing for a month and BAM! Three entries.  TGBM Tally today:

Thrifted: Khaki Cords (2013) , Linen hoodie (2013)

Gifted:  MOP and Red Coral bracelet

Bought Retail: Born shoes (2009?), favorite hoop earrings circ. 1982/3

Made: Nada

Fashion Collars

I just ran across something I have not noticed before, an apparently hot trend of "Fashion Collars".  Separate collars that you add on top of the same-old same-old garment to dress it up.  

Great idea.  Some of the examples I saw actually looked good, like this one:

More available here: Fashion Collars

Some of the examples I saw looked fairly simple to make. Hmmm. 

One. More. Project.


Here is me, happy as a clam! 

My garment did very well at the Discarded to Divine auction, it was one of  6 featured on a live model!!! 

It also sold for $300!  I found out later from a friend of mine that she knows the woman who purchased it - she told my friend it was her favorite piece in the show.

I was so inspired by the garments, jewelry, pillows, etc. other people designed.  The level of creativity is truly amazing.

Since then I've been embellishing a dress I picked up at Goodwill.  I love the cut but the color is not the best on me, so I've been using red pearl cotton chain stitching to add color.

My goal this summer is to buy a plethora of thrift store dresses and doll them up. I'm not a shorts type of woman and I want to be cool and comfortable : >.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here is the front of my Discarded to Divine Entry.  I started with the jacket and used a cream fleece top and a pair of cream pants to add the circles and continued the embellishment with button shell buttons and DMC embroidery thread.  
 The design wraps around the back. I made the outline embroidery directional so it seems that the circles are swimming in a circle around the garment. How long did it take?  Hours and hours.  It will be auctioned off this Tuesday.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

My garment is on display this Friday April 12th at the deYoung Museum, San Francisco!!

There is a free preview of "Discarded to Divine" entries for three hours on Friday April 12, 5:30pm - 8:30pm.

People make entries by recycling existing used clothing and household goods to create "upcycled" clothing, jewelry, hats, pillows, etc.  The level of creativity is AMAZING!  

I've attended the deYoung exhibit for the last 4 years or so and I am always impressed and amazed by what people have created.  You can go on the website and see entries for previous years.

Discarded to Divine is a fundraiser for Saint Vincent De Paul.  http://discardedtodivine.org/

 I've been wanting to enter and this year I did! I created a one garment from three.  My foundation was a black blazer and I used parts of a cream colored jacket and cream pants to embellish the jacket.  My garment will on display

If you are in the Bay Area please come join us. Parking is a bit tough so come early.  Pay parking is underneath the museum.

 There is another event:
A $75 a ticket auction the following Tuesday - details on the website. I will be there too.

Pictures will follow after the event.