Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I have had some wonderful TFW (Toronto Fashion Week) adventures and photos (of me at TFW, not models!) that I can't wait to share.
See you next week. Kxo
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Please check out Already Pretty - I know I'm going there first thing today! - to see the compilation of our responses.
Thanks, Sally, for putting together such a complex post - and for giving me the chance to talk about myself :-)
Sunday, March 28, 2010
At any rate, the message is clear.
Of course, it's unsurprising that, to make a bra that fits is a big undertaking (haha). I mean, if constructing a shirt that fits is tricky - and that has skim, I'm whack to expect perfection in the first, third, maybe even 5th attempt.
And yet I am so abstractly confused and frustrated with every muslin.
The last bra I cut seemed like it might fit in the cups (finally) but the back was so small I had to do surgery on it. The result is a crappy rework, that confirmed the right back size and informed me that it's not quite there in the cups. I mean, it's close - or closer - but it's not there yet.
I belong to a closed lingerie sewing blog wherein members make - and then post photos of their efforts - in the aim of gaining feedback and strategies for improving cut and fit and design. Until now, I haven't posted my photos there. I didn't have something that fit well enough.
I find it interesting that, instead of feeling great about having got to this stage - and incredibly grateful to have a community that cares to help - all I can think about at this moment is that I took some really unflattering photos of my boobs in a bra that doesn't fit well and now I'm asking for constructive criticism.
Of course, I post photos of myself on this blog. But, in those pics, I am tremendously careful to preserve my image (such as it is in my own mind). Maybe it's one of those things (like religion and politics) we shouldn't discuss, but I do aim to look as slender as possible, as healthy, as young, as chic... Half naked (and I don't mean that in a burlesque dancer kind of way), I sure as hell can't rely on a) good angles or b) good clothes or c) a friendly smile or d) a sweet pose.
It strikes me that I'm either vaguely self-loathing or very vain to be feeling this push/pull.
So here are today's questions:
- Would you ever post a photo of yourself in a forum- on a private site composed of vetted, women-only and without your face showing - if it meant you could glean constructive criticism in an effort to construct a bra (presuming you wanted to construct a bra)?
- Do you carefully compose yourself - protect your image, as it were - in the name of perfectionism?
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Seriously, I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to work. But very "we can send a man to the moon", yes?
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I will be utterly shocked if this doesn't thrill you.
Oh, look, it's a pool!
So, watcha think??
Monday, March 22, 2010
Here's the finished Vogue8640 jacket:
Yes, that is my own little label!
The lining freaked me out, but it was not so difficult - I mean, not compared to figuring out how to slip stitch aka blind hem aka "thing I had to read 3 books and watch 2 videos to learn". Note: Slip stitching isn't that hard (all things considered) either. But man, did I have a mental block!
It hangs very chicly, I think, although it does look a bit shapeless in this post.
I have a "matching" skirt, made in the same fabric. I do intend to model this with jeans and the skirt and whatever else I come up with. Just need some time to take the pics.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
And now, my friends, it is mine!
My husband, who went to visit his mother in Oakville yesterday, brought me back her model of this machine, languishing in the basement since the '60s. It weighs about 25 lbs so that was no small favour. He lugged it on the train and subway for more than an hour to surprise me. I do appreciate my MIL's generosity.
Of course, I will post many photos. It's minty green adorable with space-age features. It merely straight-stitches; that's all machines of this vintage ever did, but I suspect it will go through 10 layers of any fabric and top stitch with utter precision.
Although I am not a collector by any means (and although this thing is not small), it's a compact piece of history and it may actually become something I use on a regular basis. When not in use, it will live neatly in its leather and Tolex case so the clutter factor will be minimal.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The rule is that I have to tell you 7 things about me:
- The only blood relative I have in Canada is my daughter.
- I am Canadian by choice (and good fortune). I have dual citizenship US/Can.
- My father is also a dual citizen. None of my other relatives is.
- I don't like talking about the personal experiences of my past.
- Having said that, I threw up practically every day for 7 months when I was pregnant.
- It was utterly depressing and, by the end of my pregnancy, I was convinced I'd be consigned to nausea evermore.
- Remarkably, 5 minutes after my baby was born, the wretch-y sick feeling entirely disappeared.*
* Admittedly, not my most cheerful 7 facts...
Thursday, March 18, 2010
For example, these lovely dresses - which sold for $20.00 (left) and $15.00 (right) in 1961, would sell for $144.00 and $108.00 in today's dollar.
I imagine they are beautifully constructed (though what do I know, the photo doesn't clarify that) and, if I were to find them in Holt Renfrew new, I'd be paying 4 or 5 times that amount.
Nonetheless, it's fascinating to realize that $15.00 wasn't a cheap sum for clothing back then.
What do you think?
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
(Secretly, I'm entirely curious to know about his day job. Of course, it's rude to ask these things...)
At any rate, in the post (about what motivates him and how), Peter asks the genius question: Is the way you do anything, the way you do everything?
Um, hell yes.
I've written before about my own style of being. Very oddly, in terms of brute enthusiasm, it's quite similar to Peter's. Of course, unlike me, he's a collector. He's amassed 9 machines in the past 9 months. Don't rely on my math skills, but that appears to be 1 a month. Meanwhile, I'm afraid to bring fabric into the house because I CANNOT bear to contribute to clutter. (Note: The love of fabric is practically as strong as the fear of clutter.)
Nonetheless - dare I speak for the both of us - we have found meaning in the art of sewing.
Nevermind that I'm an utter newbie. When I took up this craft, I was instantly in its grip. I can't go hours without thinking about principles related to it. I want to know everything. I recognize, alas, it's going to be a long time before I even know most things.
But enough about me. What do you think? Is the way you do anything the way you do everything? Please do tell!
Monday, March 15, 2010
First, though, I'm going to disclaim to high heaven because, while it certainly looks like a bra, it sure as hell doesn't fit. Again.
This is the third time, in case you're counting.
In fact, I'm gonna show these photos, just to prove to you I'm not lying about having taken up lingerie-making.
It doesn't fit because, for the third time it's too small. You might be thinking: Kristin, you've been wearing bras for 25 years, what up with not being able to do a pattern in the correct size. Um, don't you take measurements before starting each project??
The answer is a resounding YES. First time I worked with a 2 piece cup (the one above has 3 pieces, which you can see in the bottom photo). That one was too snug, because the cup configuration wasn't generous, I thought. The second time, I made a pattern from a pre-existing bra I own. Yeah, it was a disaster 6 different ways. Seam allowances, they are a nasy to figure out on a freakin' bra. So that one was too small for its own reasons.
This time though, this time I think I may have actually figured out what the hell is going on (please). I'm using a fabric called duoplex. It provides excellent support because it does not stretch at all. Hmmm. Turns out all but a couple of my RTW bras have, wait for it, stretch in the cups?! So I've been making bras with utterly no give room (or ease). Stands to reason that I'm going to have to go up in cup size. But how much, I really have no idea. And man, experimenting is a bitch!
Here's what I learned from this experience (recording this as much for me as you):
- I really like the pattern I'm working with. (It's European.)
- I think I need to make the back a bit bigger, though not a full 2 inches.
- I think I'm going to go up one or even 2 cup sizes. I've got to remember to grade the band so that the openings for the cups are in the larger size while the band width stays at a 70 - or maybe I'll grade it to a 72). That's cms.
- The strap method I used this time worked really well.
- I have to remember, if I'm going to use picot on the neck edging, to use the thread colour of the background, not the picot.
- I can reuse: the bow, the strapping/clasps, hooks/eyes. That'll save me some time...
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I was born in 1970. I mean, I lived through that decade and it was drab. I've seen my share of avocado kitchens. I'm burnt out on burnt orange. I remember eating from a dining room table 2 feet off the floor on mustard-coloured, tassel-bearing, caster-having cushions?!?! What? It's was "oriental".
I don't love the 70s I remember. I love the uber-chic 70s that were going on in Scandinavia.
Seriously, the best things about this era were the saunas and fondue.
PS: I do realize they didn't have microwaves in the 70s...
Friday, March 12, 2010
- I have no ban on sewing supplies, patterns or fabric.
- I buy books and mags as I please.
- I get to shop for a kid who needs things like cute clothes re: latest growth spurt. (I'm not excessive, note.)
- I have no ban on buying lunch or eating out. I do these things as normal.
- The weather's been crap, who wants to go out.
- I haven't actually convinced my psyche I'm on a ban, so it's just "regular times" in my brain.
Who are we kidding: I sense I've merely diverted the funds I would have spent on clothing (I arguably do not need). Predominantly to sewing supplies, patterns and fabric.
Now, is that a bad thing?
Not in my books.
I've managed to make about a dozen garments from bra to skirt to suit jacket to yoga pants and more. OK, some of them haven't worked out so well - we might look at this as wasted money - but I've learned a lot.
I set up a sewing room without buying a single new thing. Yes, I desperately need a decent task light and a chair that actually fits my table without piling foam blocks onto it, but I've got a system going and it's essentially free.
I haven't stepped into my fashion traps with the expectation of a quick (read: expensive and potentially disposable, most definitely unnecessary) fix.
It's helped me to reevaluate why I spend money, rather than how - Here's the deal: I love shopping and the joyful high that comes with making a purchase. I don't like finding a place for said purchase, or paying for it or wasting resources. Of course, I enjoy using the purchase.
The reason that spending on food and wine is so appealing is that it is utterly functional. I use the chocolate and it's gone. Yummy, and I get to go back for more of the same buying experience! No storage required.
It makes me feel viable, alive - dare I say it, affluent. It reminds me of a time when beautiful things were an easy gesture of love. By association, it's a gesture of love to myself.
But let's get with the times. The girl I am today would rather turn her brain cells onto new artistic pursuits than fritter the time away. I'm going to stick with the ban, I think, for the next 3 months (till my 40th birthday). I believe Kate will join me for part, or all, of that time.
Let's see if it appeals to me to continue because a) if it doesn't, you know I'll find a work around... and b) I may finally be able to realize cost savings - I've bought most of the fabric and supplies a human could use for the next 3 months. I may choose to buy one RTW garment at the beginning of April, but not unless the mood strikes me.
Feel free to join. It's kind of fun. Or do let us know what you think of the whole ban idea.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Which is why I hope you're going to love a little treat: stylish, flattering, versatile clothing on special sale just cuz you know me!
Well, Isabella Oliver has a little something to do with it :-)
The lovely people in PR have offered us all an opportunity to save 15% on any order* - and that includes maternity wear! - anywhere they ship (which is most everywhere, I believe) between today and March 19. (Note: Canadians - IO pays the duty! It's in big, happy writing in the banner. And US customers get free shipping for orders over $89.00, AU/NZ customers get free shipping on orders over $99.00.)
There are some great spring basics you might be needing. Basics in sassy colours that cheer me up...
A few of my faves:
The dresses are made of beautiful stretch jersey. You may recall, I wore one recently.
Here's how it works:
- Shop online to your heart's content. Include daydreaming about events the outfits might take you to.
- Enjoy the excellent website.
- Use the code "line4line" when you check out with tons of new things.
- Definitely let me know when you buy something because I want to live vicariously (technically, this is optional).
Sunday, March 7, 2010
And you know they were making all the newest things. Even the wives of young business tycoons-in-the-making probably couldn't have afforded the New Look (9-plus yards of fabric per tea dress?!) straight from France. Ready-to-wear wasn't the standard yet so, if you wanted something elegant and you couldn't afford a great tailor, it was on you and the Singer.
Imagine if you had lived early in the last century and really couldn't get with sewing. I mean, imagine you'd been trying since the age of 5 and you still couldn't wrap your brain around it. Imagine looking kind of like crap all the time as a result. Sort of makes you grateful for Club Monaco, no?
Anyway, enough of the tangent. Here I am, a modern lady, working with a vintage-feel Vogue pattern. It's a Vogue Very Easy (don't have a heart attack), and the experience has a retro feel. I've read that you don't fuck around with Vogue. The lazy sewist doesn't have a nice time with this line - the instructions are laborious, when they aren't lacking in detail (so I've heard). So far, I'm feeling alright, but then I've only got to the muslin:
Yeah, I made a whole fake garment, or 80 per cent so far anyway. Like I don't have about 30,000 other things to sew in my cache at the moment. I'm not big on the muslins (they're so painful prelude to a kiss) but a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do in order to assess fit. Of course, what I do to fix bad fit is more or less beyond me... (Everyone will tell you not to panic. There are books.)
I already have a hand-made high-waisted pencil skirt in the 3-season navy wool that I will use to make this final garment. Wouldn't it be great if they worked together like a suit? Wouldn't it be awesome if I actually made a suit? That would so impress the crap out of me.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Although, sometimes when I look at them, I feel that bubbling solstice energy for a moment or two...
Update / Fabulous turn of events: Today is awesomely beautiful here and it's going to be warm (9 degrees C). I've got to go buy some more flowers and soak up the sun! With sunblock on, of course.
Not so hard to thrill me, yes?
Friday, March 5, 2010
Hint: It may benefit each and every one of you.
Other Hint: It involves shopping.
Have I said too much?? (Monday you can tell me if you guessed.)
Thursday, March 4, 2010
In addition to being crepe, appliqued and navy - 3 of my fave attributes! - it's also a size large, which is rare (as we know) with the vintage finds.
If the measurements accord, then snap it up. It's a beautiful piece of living history.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
It's my latest batch of lingerie loot from Bra-Maker's Supply and ELingeriA (that's where the pattern is from). Note: I ordered one more bra pattern from ELingeriA, on back order, and the Kwik Sew 2100 undies pattern.
You can only assume I'm a total idiot for having spent a hideous amount of money - and, trust me, it was hideous, on supplies to make a garment which I've tried (and failed) at twice. At this rate, it would be cheaper to go and buy a Freya set and call it a day.
But I will not be daunted.
Nothing like having adequate supplies and patterns to give it another go when the inspiration strikes.
PS: Note that I have set myself a "no frittering challenge" which started Jan. 1 and will end April 1. The ban, such as it is, does not include sewing supplies, natch, or I would have had to break it 63 times so far. Truthfully, I don't really see the need to start clothing shopping even after April. I mean, I have as many clothes as I can bring myself to make - which is quite a few. Sewing goddess willing, pretty soon I'll be liberated even from the need to purchase sexy, structural bras and undies.
I spend as much as or (frankly, probably) more on fabric, patterns and notions as I ever did on RTW items. Of course, as I improve at sewing and figure out how to minimize the costs, the price of sewing will decrease substantively. Not the labour, mind you, but the cost of fixed variables. The day you go out and buy $150.00 on fabric(?!) (i.e. clothing before it becomes clothing) is really a trip. It's an extremely hopeful action.
Or crazy. :-)
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Oh, shock!, it appears to be a gorgeous urban garden...