Friday, May 13, 2011

A couple of things, real quick like.

Since I had to re list Stay-Stitched on Etsy I decided to take and use a couple of new photos. Here is the new listing! Much brighter I think and it features my pile of fabric that hasn't gotten much attention the past few days.

A friend and often project pusher, Kelly Caseley, wrote about me in her blog, Green Man Girl! She is the one who threatened me into making clothing and selling it at her amazing store with promises of fame and free soft serve ice cream. Or, maybe that was one of my daytime fantasies that happen while ironing. Either way, I am incredibly thankful for her helpful nudge, her store, The Green Man, in which I'm allowed to sell things (for money!), and for the brilliant ideas she has on a daily basis that she is thoughtful enough to share with me and even involve me in. Her blog is full of these insights for you to get in on as well, along with helpful fashion hints and some extra special, albeit impractical, maternity wear! Designing, store running, and mothering are just a few of her talents that Charlottetown benefits from, but visit a production or filming happening in town and there is a good chance she's part of that too. Plus, she makes tiny cupcakes and gives them away! For free! Visit her blog, visit her store, and visit her at home if you get the chance, she won't mind.

It feels odd to not include a, here is a very happy customer. He's Dave.

Dave "thrilled about sewing" Maloney. No one calls him that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Straight Forward Dresses

There is something nostalgic about the simplicity of the next dress design. It's probably similar to something I wore as a little girl. The tie around the waist allows for a comfortable fit with a playful and flattering appearance. This is a great standard to start with and an exciting jumping off point for possible variations. Here are the first few I have made and can see myself making many more of!

Second Hand fabrics. Size Medium.

The fabric of this first dress has a vintage print of a jockey jumping fences... on a horse of course. I liked playing around with the neckline after sewing on the handkerchief. It sort of just falls into positions that feel comfortable. My boyfriend actually came up with this option by twisting and tucking it in the back, and then I figured out how to sew it in place that way. Never hurts to have a helper.

First and Second hand Fabric. Size Small.

 I love the print on this fabric. It's a beautiful palette that reminds me of the Renaissance for some reason. Maybe it's the blushy pinks and yellowy flesh tones mixed with shades of gold. It also reminds me of plants dying in the fall. Mustard yellow and faded reds make some plants more lovely than when they were living. As you can tell by this point I'm  little obsessed with these shades together.  Shades of pink and yellow seem inappropriate or not that exciting together when you think of it, but when it appears in nature, it works so very well and is quite surprising.

The tie is made of raw silk. A really lovely and bright shade of orange that works well with the other shades in the dress.

First and Second hand Fabrics. Size Large/ X-Large

 I have a lot of this navy cotton fabric, as you may be able to tell by now since there are a couple of pieces made from it. Previously, I felt navy was a highly overrated colour and acted as a fall back for people who didn't know how to work other colours, or people who own boats. I was so very wrong. Of course, it appears all too often along side white stripes, but it's such a classy colour and coordinates so well with other colours, that I've had to rethink it entirely. I now love it.

The neckline is a vintage silk handkerchief in a creamy shade of beige. I left it free flowing because I couldn't decide how I liked it best and felt I could leave that up to the future owner. In the first picture above, it is tied underneath the left strap. Tying over top, revealing the little knot, is sweet as well. On the left, I kept it long and then tucked it into the waist band.

I call this style The Elephant. Take the sides of the kerchief and pin them together underneath with a safety pin.

This looks very grown up to me, maybe because it's reminiscent of large lapels. If that is what you're going for I would choose a brooch a little classier than the brontosaurus one I've used. I realized when doing this that all my brooches (all 2 of them) are really old and not so sharp, so Bronty it was!

That is all for recent creations. I've been busy with a lot of custom work lately, mostly curtains and clothing repairs, but I hope to go back and forth between those and making more clothing. Stay tuned for a post on custom work though, I've had quite a variety lately!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Productively unemployed

Someday I'll have a real job, I imagine. At least that's what happens in books I read or movies I watch. A life where the days of the week matter and I become concerned about "quick meal ideas". So for now, while I'm still somehow getting by on odd jobs and living simply and content, I should be making as much clothing as possible. The day will come where I arrive home with aching feet and numbness of mind and spend my evening looking in the opposite direction of my sewing machine so as not to feel creative guilt. Then again, maybe not.

That leads me to the latest items hot off of my Singer Starlet! I should photograph my "new" sewing machine to show you all, she is a beaut. Even has a decal on it of a sunset in rather ominous tones of orange and brown.

Second Hand Fabrics. Size Medium.
 This is a rather sexy tank top in my opinion. (Using the word 'rather' probably takes away from the sexiness huh? I'll work on my lingo.) Could be the slim fit underneath or the flowing pieces of fabric in the front, either way I know for a fact it should be danced in.

Second and First Hand Fabrics. Small/Medium.

Newest dress!
Similar to the last ones. I used cotton for the main part and silk for the center. Yes, plaid silk. I love this combination of colours. A perfect palette for earth and water.

This morning, when I should have been still sleeping, instead I was imagining this next top as a dress. So, that is next to come. The same design as these summer tops but longer and with belts.  I still do very much love this top as it is. It kind of reminds me of a grandmother's throw pillow but there is a loveliness about the crochet design and a slight sheen to the sky blue cotton that makes it quite elegant and pretty and all together very nostalgic.

Second Hand Fabrics. Size Medium/Large.

Prison Mannequin.

Once again these items are available at The Green Man. The first two are already there and the third is on it's way.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring/summer designs, pre-made!

I was urged by friend, and owner and operator of The Green Man, Kelly Caseley, to make some clothing for her store. Initially I was going to make items using the designs from Stay-Stitched, but realized the fun part of sewing is the designing. For me, the challenge of finding a solution to a particular problem, as in how to use natural fabric rather than stretch fabric or how to make an item with as few steps as possible, is the most exciting part. After that it's an endless variety of combinations of colours and fabric to achieve the final result. I worked mostly with second hand fabric, mainly because of the environmental concern of wasted fabric but also because it is much more affordable and it narrows down my choice significantly, so that I'm not staring at a pile of fabric with blurry eyes and a lot of sighing.

I really enjoy the following designs. Each involve a process of steps I still find fun, like attaching trims or bias tape. They still don't involve things that are not fun, like sewing in zippers or buttons. And in the case of the dress (at end of post), I never really know how they will look until almost finished since they really need a form to fill it out, so that's always a fun surprise.

Size Large. Mix of first and second hand fabric.

Size small. Mix of first and second hand fabric.
 First up are some simple tank tops. I always have issues with hemming necklines and I've found facing to be the best solution. Facing is usually on the inside of a garment but I found it pretty effective to have it on the outside as a decorative element.

Size Medium. Second hand fabrics.
In the case of the shirt on the left, the over layer goes around the armholes as well, eliminating all kinds of hemming! I like how these shirts hang, sort of out on a diagonal and somewhat wide. Pair them with slim fitting pants or shorts for that 50's or 60's mod look.

For those who still want it cinched at the waist you could wear it with a belt or tuck it into high waist pants and have the over layer stand out.

Size Large. Second hand fabric and handkerchief.
Size Medium. Second hand fabrics.
I'm kind of in love with this top on the left and may keep it for myself. The crocheted piece came from an old dress that I had already dismantled for parts. (I think I made the skirt of it into yoga was not crocheted)

The top on the right reminds me of eggs.

Skirts! What could be simpler than these? The nice and wide elastic waist band is super flattering. Just tuck in a slim fitting, simple tank top and your done.

Size small and medium available. Second hand fabric.
Size Medium/Large. Second hand fabric.
Size Large. Very vintage fabric.

Size small-large. Second hand fabric.
Bicycle dress! This is actually a pattern from my book, so I didn't abandon it entirely. I wanted to use the entire image on the fabric so it was the perfect fit for this design. Very accommodating as it works on pretty much anyone ranging from size small to large.

This is a new design that I love a lot and will be using much more. So very comfortable, versatile, and accepting of different kinds of fabric. You can use basically anything and it will work out.
Size Medium/Large. Second hand fabric.

Detail of back ties.

Size Medium/Large. Second hand fabrics.
 They are made from two different fabrics, matching or contrasting or whatever I think works well and stands out from the pile. This first one is shown tied in the back with the back detail. Since there is a tie, they are adjustable and can fit a couple of sizes.

The one in two shades of green is a bit shorter, more like a tunic, and would be great with tights.

Size Medium/Large.
Back detail
Second hand fabric and handkercheif.
Backgammon anyone? The silk handkerchief used in the dress above reminds me of that and cards. Gold, in silk, can't really go wrong. I felt the blue went with it tonally and also added a splash of necessary colour to eliminate the 70's bachelor vibe I was getting.

Size Small/Medium. Second hand fabric and handkerchief.
All my favorite colours (right now) wrapped up in one dress. Blush and gold and creamy beige with some black to make it all stand out. Yep, pretty happy with this one. 

Well that is all for now. A few weeks worth of sewing that I'm really happy with. Stay tuned for high waist shorts! They're cranberry, they've got pockets, and they kind of remind me of gym class in the 60's. They take a bit longer to make so I'll whip some out when the season is right...although, they look mighty good with tights.

These items will be for sale at The Green Man as soon as tomorrow! (April 12th)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Probably should have posted this awhile ago, but...

Stay-Stitched is available at the following locations!


Charlottetown - The Green Man
                          The Bookmark
                          MUSE artspace
                          Owl's Hollow
                          My apartment

O'Leary - Guardian Drugs
                Fabric, Crafts'n more
                My Mom and Dad's house

Alberton - Bonnie's Boutique

New Brunswick

Moncton - Artsy Et Vintage

Fredericton - ReNeu Boutique

Nova Scotia

Halifax - Love, Me Boutique
               Spree Designer's Market
               Atlantic News
               Lost and Found
               Biscuit General Store

Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John's - Model Citizen
                   The Bookery, Sweet Relic

Or, if you do not live close to any of these locations, you can purchase it on Etsy. So many ways to buy it, hurray!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gathered pieces

There were a couple of items missing from my last post. They were posing at MUSE, the location of the book launch, to serve as examples of the finished projects.

These two pieces are similar in that they require fabric that gathers easily and elegantly. I don't like to pick favorites...actually, I do that everyday in everything I use and consume, so yes, these could be my favorite pieces. They are both incredibly easy to wear, can be so very romantic in the right fabric, and coincidentally are the easiest items to make since they are not fitted to the body.

First up is the Chemise. I found this awesome sheer fabric second hand for around three bucks.
The photos don't do it justice, but it shimmers various shades of a lime-y green and golden yellow. It served this purpose perfectly because of its ability to gather very tightly. I used the same fabric for the casing around the neckline and just zig-zag stitched the sleeves. I hate having to hem sheer fabric, especially at the bottom of a dress. It's annoying and can cause the area to stiffen. So, rather then hemming, I made sure when drawing out the pattern that the bottom was on the selvage (edge) of the fabric, which is already finished and won't unravel. Then, when sewing the sides, I went from the bottom up so that the edges would line up perfectly. Plan to avoid extra work!
This close up shows the gathers concentrated rather than spread out, I like it a "bunch". 


Next is the Retro Dress, featured in the Stay-Stitched video. This fabric reminded me of figure skating dress material. Super stretchy, super metallic and shiny, and a weight that makes it quite slinky, all perfect qualities for this piece. It was able to gather in as many gathers as I wanted. I could have made it twice as wide and it would have still worked. If you haven't looked in the book yet, let me just tell you how simple this dress's a rectangle, that's it. A rectangle with a hem at the top and a side seam. Yep. The belt was homemade ... actually I stole it from the kimono since it was just the right shade of burgundy to pick up on some colors in the dress. This was my New Years outfit, with a cardigan over top and some slippers. It was chilly and the party was at our place so I was allowed to be comfortable.
In the top hem I used a chain necklace. It suited the dress without taking anything away from it. Look at those lil' gathers!
If you're looking for something easy to wear and versatile, these two items are the ticket. It may take some extra searching to find that perfect fabric, but when you do, you don't need much. And most importantly, you can whip up this piece in very little time and accessorize with items you already own.