January 31, 2011

Please Welcome... The February Dress

yes I am aware that it is not even february, but as soon as I had this fabric I was too excited to make a dress from it to wait!

I did the high neckline like planned (and again had to create tucks in the neckline because I had forgotten how to minimize the neckline for a sleeveless top, and had lent out my flat pattern book). Successfully fit the dress around my boobs, arms, waist, and hips! Hemming went smoothly after taking twenty friggin minutes to pin the skirt hem because it was so long.

There isn't much to say about it, except that I may have taken it in right above the bust dart (to help reel in the armhole) a bit too much, as it changes the shape of my chest in the dress. Otherwise I am TOTALLY happy!

also, check out my adoooorable new phone case!! I had a custom one done by Uncommon. It was kind of expensive but totally worth it!

Also also, please forgive me for terrible pictures. I have no idea why, but all of my pictures came out incredible noisy.

January 26, 2011

Both behind and ahead of schedule

here's that tank top I made a week ago.
It turned out really well, and the fabric is so nicely soft and lovely.

So this week i made my personal slopers Official by cutting it out in Oaktag!
It was really easy and totally worth doing because now an exact copy of my personal sloper to modify is something I can do with little effort and in less than ten seconds! I also did my skirt front and back, but I didn't do the bodice back because the one I already had fit me, all i had to do was shorten it.

I also did the sketch for the February dress! Again, this is going to be ultra conservative for my standard wardrobe. Just below the knee, and completely covering all cleavage. Even I wont be able to see any of my cleavage. No hussies here! I have to dress really appropriately because I am going to be attending a wedding (re-commitment ceremony) and I don't want to be too crazy looking. And again because Grandma Benitez will be there.

Aaaaand I also cut out both of the pattern pieces for the front bodice and skirt (uniform skirt all the way around means I only do one! :) ). I did only now just realize though, that I completely forgot to map out the bodice back piece, and I didn't bring my standard one so I cannot draw it out right here (at nicole's place). Poop.

But I can cut out and sew together the massive skirt, and do the same for the bodice front... Oh man. I am all kinds of forgetful! I don't even have a zipper for this dress! UGH. Joann's here I come! Looks like it wont be finished in time for this weekend, but I guess that means I can work tomorrow afternoon on Susan's celery colored shift dress. She will be happy about that.

Tomorrow I have textiles class! Woo! Gotta love learning about fabric. I need to know the names of stuff. Not knowing what to call the fabric I make a dress of makes me feel like I'm such a novice.

January 25, 2011

Too tired to post tonight

But tomorrow I'll be posting the pictures I have of my fabric, the design, and the pattern pieces for my February dress. Aka the Grandma Benitez dress. It's gonna be really pretty and also very appropriate. :)

You'll all love it!

January 24, 2011

My Life is Boring

I haven't posted in about a week now.. and that's beacuse my life is boring. I haven't done any sewing. I haven't done any anything really. This is just my "hey i'm not dead, guys!"

I've been going around buying fabric pretty impulsively. It was awesome :).


Oh yeah! I started school! I also accidentally drove all the way to school for a class that doesn't start until march! what the hell is up with classes that start partial way through the semester? I've got THREE of them.

I've decided my february dress will be a dress that i'm going to wear to meet my boyfriend's grandmother. This is her final trip to the United States. She had said before that she was not actually coming back after a family member here in San Jose passed away, but for tony's aunt and uncle's renewing of their vows and to meet the next generation of the family She is coming back.

She is an old woman, and is conservative, so I shall dress accordingly.
No cleavage! none! Not even any I can see of myself! Apparently it'll be seen as "showing off" because that side of the family is not very well endowed in the boob department... Don't wanna show off! Also my skirt will be going all the way down to my knees. I will be a lady. I will also be wearing either flats, or adorable short heels. Can't wait till you guys see the fabric and adorable dress I have planned! I maybe even want to consider making and wearing an underskirt!

not a huge one. just enough to add a leetle body to the skirt.


January 18, 2011


Following successfully making the January dress, in my wake of slight euphoria, I decided to keep sewing! I had a dark red double knit with a black rose print. I know. It sounds very Hot Topic (according to my sister.) but I couldn't resist it! I made it into a tank top! retro style, you could say. Ruching in the center at the bust, turning a straight tank into a sweetheart neckline. Regular inch and a half or so wide straps (which I plan on switching out for super cute triangle straps. or.. wide on top, skinny where it attaches.) Fitted to the waist, and then a cute flared half till about the hip line. a little bit shorter than hipline though. Made the waist too long again this time. That's what I get for drafting and cutting "fast and loose". But hey! after less than 12 or so hours, I have a cute, fitted, soft tank top!

I'm totally sold on doubleknit. it's thick, soft, and stretchy! I want to make some awesome clothing (possibly a shift dress?!) out of the three or so yards of plain black double knit that I grabbed from Fabrics R Us.

In other news, I start school today! I have a class called Designer Techniques in Sewing, with Rhonda Chaney, the head of the whole Fashion Department. I'm excited! I'm also going to be prepped with a full mug o' coffee cause that class starts at 9 am, and Nicole is picking me up at 8. I am also excited for the following trip around SF and Berkeley to fabric stores with Nicole!

I've been thinking about halloween costumes... and I dunno if this is something i'll consider seriously but.. I'd love to be Malory, from the show Archer on FX. By the way, that show is hilarious. I'm a big fan. Even if I never really be Malory as the costume, I do plan on making a nice sheath tank dress. Maybe even with matching cardigan. ahaha. It looks like it's such a plain dress that it would be a shame to not have it in at least three colors. I'm thinking Black, Emerald, and Lavendar! I need a nice light dress,and Emerald looks so good on me yet nothing in my closet is emerald..

And now I want to go fabric shopping.
Next Time!

Happy Humpday everyone!

January 17, 2011

Introducing... the January Dress

Over the weekend I finished the January Peplum Dress! I am quite proud of myself here, folks. I still have the extra space up in the arm hole but other than that, the dress worked out perfectly! I followed nicole's advice and removed the zipper completely, and then detached one side of the back completely from the dress. And it worked! The back ended up practically flawless! I've hemmed all edges, the sleeve holes, neckline, peplum, and skirt hem. On the neckline and peplum I did two spaced rows of stitching. I planned to do the same thing on the skirt but got a chance to wear it out to my boyfriend's family's house to show it off. Also, after I had taken the picture I ended up taking in the sides of the skirt bottom to create a tighter pencil skirt (in the left picture I had it tucked between my knees to see if I liked it, and i did!). I never fixed the darts, but it doesn't seem like anyone has noticed and I'm not putting the dress up for a contest any time soon. I need to add some fusible fabric or interlining or something to maintain the stiffness in the skirt and peplum. I starched the fabric and ironed it, but the minute I sat down in it it was as if I had done nothing. I'll have to remember that next time I hang out with Nicole. Talk about which option is the best. I notice in the side shot that the back hem is slightly higher than the front hem! This was not on purpose, but I can't say I hate it.

It fits like a dream, I can sit and walk in it. I say "total success"
I deduct points for not double stitching the skirt hem, no lining, and because the crazy fabric is such a loose weave that it really needs to be serged.

I give myself an A- for January.

January 14, 2011

I had considered myself rather skilled until today

So I was working on the dress today! The first real thing I needed to do was finish drafting all the pattern pieces. Nicole and I discussed wednesday how to go about creating the pattern piece for the peplum and decided the best way to get what I wanted was to copy how you add flounce to a skirt hem without gathering.

Basically you draw sections of your hem as a circle, so when the inner circle is straightened out to be sewn onto the skirt hem (of bodice hem in my case) it fits exactly along the hem but the outer edge ripples since it's longer. I found an appropriate looking bowl, measured out my waist in inches, and drew! It's rather hard to see in the picture, but the front piece ended up looking quite like a toilet seat, and then to get the full affect all the way around the dress, I just copied the first circle and split it in half. (totally worked on the dress!)

Now ignore the ill fitting clothes in these pics, but left is the first peplum length I tried. I originally wanted it no longer than 4 inches because I believed that any longer and it would only emphasize the widest parts of my legs, but I ended up going with roughly 6 inches (the picture on the right).

After cutting out all the pieces and sewing together everything except the back seam (zipper) I had my boyfriend help me pin myself in. Half-way through pinning though, I realized the fabric did this LOVELY v-shaped neckline that I decided to record, and would really love to put into another dress this year! Isn't it super cute?!

So I sewed on the zipper. I've never used an invisible zipper foot before but it was so nice! It was hard not to get excited. It just sewed with the zipper so easily! It would have been magnificent if I hadn't pinned the zipper down all wrong. I ended up skewing the zipper and dress so poorly that you literally could not have the dress hang properly (all facing the same direction, and not inside out) without the zipper being twisted badly. I had to unstitch the whole 22" zipper. After 30 minutes of seam ripping and trying to not cry, or scream, I re-pinned the fabric and zipper; I made sure the waistlines matched up, and the rest of the dress wasn't too lop-sided. (turns out most of the fabric I got from my grandmother never got put on the correct grain. awesome)

Overall, it could have been worse. Since the fabric was off grain the darts all came out wonky. I still haven't been able to figure out how to take the extra fabric out of the armscye without adding a tuck. I need to take in the bottom of the skirt a bit. I haven't finished any edges. I desperately need to iron it all out. I am so lazy. I shall work on it more over the weekend. Next plan of action though, is to get in the zipper... I think I may also need a little online tutorial on how to properly use my new zipper foot.

And since you read through all of that without leaving
here is a bonus shot of Pandora, Nicole's Cat,
supervising my pattern drafting on wednesday.

January 13, 2011

Elizabeth Slopers

Having fun at Fabrics R Us
Sorry I didn't post the other day. I've had a bit of a sinus infection and have felt like I'm losing parts of my brain through my nose. Today I made it without Dayquil the whole day which was awesome.

I went on another fun excursion with Nicole to a bunch of fabric stores around San Jose. We went to Thai Silks over in Los Altos, Eddie's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, and Fabrics R Us in San Jose. It was pretty fun, and I got some great knits. Three yards of black double knit, and a brick red with black fake lace. I figure it'll be cool for something reversible, or maybe I'll send it to Megan!

When we got home, we had to leave the house again because I hadn't had lunch and was getting shakey. We went to the grocery store and I got snacks and Nicole got dinner supplies. When we got back we had lots of fun getting back to work and eating :D

I love eating.

But so I finally and slowly got to making proper slopers for me! The Bodice pieces were much easier the second time around. The bodice back was almost exactly the same size as the ones we made for Flat Pattern (a pattern size ten.) but the front I had to work some magic on. I needed a crazy curved dart for the waist dart, and then the bust dart was really easy but had to take in much more fabric than standard. I also had to raise the waist in the front and the back. Odd thing is, my waist is higher in the back than in the front. After all the fitting changes I have a perfectly fitting Bodice front and back from which I can make all other pattern alterations!

The skirt on the other hand, I have drafted and cut, but don't currently have access to the sewing machine so who knows if it'll actually work out. I'm a little afraid I moved the darts over too much, and made the waist too high and sloped.

UPDATE: skirt totally fit! even over jeans! which means good things for skirt fittings :D

Hard to see, but that's my bodice front!
such a curvy dart!
I was given a present today. Nicole gifted me with an invisible zipper foot for my sewing machine! those things are expensive, just so you know. Or maybe I'm just cheap.. I wont pay more than 10 bucks a yard for fabric most of the time.

She really didn't have to, but she did it anyways. She is too nice to me. Letting me use her sewing room, and feeding me. I'm excited to use the foot on the zipper for the January dress. It's especially important that it be truly invisible this time since I'm doing a center back zipper and not a side zipper. I decided the best place to have the zipper go was center back since I cannot have it stop at the peplum on the side. It would disrupt the flounce of the peplum.

January 10, 2011

Lazy weekend

Obviously I didn't post anything over the weekend.
I decided friday night that instead of sitting at my computer typing up a post I was going to hang out with my boyfriend and do "stuff" which really meant sitting around watching tv, but hey. I wasn't on the internet.

Over the weekend I never did any of the pattern work that I was hoping to get done. I was out of town saturday (Baby shower for a friend :) ) and yesterday I got my student loan so I went grocery shopping and paid all my bills.

Since my loan finally came through, I got my friend Megan (the baby shower woman) a couple of patterns off of etsy. She has a sewing machine and for a while was really into sewing stuff together, but just like I did, she let it pass as she had other things to focus on (her son!). I think the fact that she didn't know how to make fitted clothing might have been pretty discouraging as well, so I got her two different baby clothing pattern sets (She's decided to be a stay at home mom now so she'll have the time, and the need). They both have lots of different pieces of clothing (like ADORABLE overalls, pants, shirts, and jackets.. One pattern even had a hoodie!) It was pretty awesome (specially at only 2 bucks for an uncut pattern).

I also got her some easy dress patterns (Simplicity Tank dresses and BASICS Basic dresses) that could be modified into tops or skirts really easily. As far as I know she hasn't done much of anything in the way of clothing, but it's not like I have years of experience over her. I just have that awesome flat pattern class and book, and the book can be lent to someone.

I finally cleaned off my poor sewing desk. It was piled two feet high with fabric, boxes of patterns, paper scraps and school supplies. Now it is neat and lovely, but that just makes me want to pile it up with more new sewing stuff!

I wanna go back to the Joann's in Fremont and grab some more fabric. I'd like to grab maybe a couple yards of some upholstery weight, for a jacket, or bag or something else I haven't thought of. Also more dress fabric, cuz right now I only have enough for two months, and at this rate (that would be the rate I'm going in my head, of course) I'll be making more than just one dress each month. I have some great white and teal houndstooth wool that I want to make into a winter coat. Not sure what style though, as I am horrified of cutting it up and ruining the beautiful fabric forever.

I think this blog will help me maintain a creative frame of mind, and keep sewing at the forefront of my brain. I tend to get lazy and just let everything fall by the way-side.

Happy Monday! Now to go to the Rack and get me some PANTS.

January 06, 2011

People's Choice Awards 2011

I missed it on TV but i'm checking through photos and am killing myself! There were some great dresses!

Katy perry's Betsey Johnson dress was so adorable! I love the poof, and bright colors. The minute it hit my eyes, I fell in love. I love the elegant slope of the higher front hem of Selena Gomez's Irina Shabayeva dress (much like I loved Carey Mulligan's dress from the oscars last year). I haven't been following Project Runway for a while (too much dramz, not enough clothing construction) but It looks like there has been some serious talent coming through the show! Amazing.

I totally fell in love with emma roberts' nudey makeup, earrings, and shoes with her black ruffled mini. So chic, and adult. Ashley Tisdale's dress was gorgeous, but was too overwhelmed by her spray tan to really be appreciated (srsly gurrlll, you're pale. don't fight it!)

I loved the color of Annalynn McCord's shift, that bright teal is amazing, and the collar. It's an interestingly large cowl. I like Kaley Cuoco's white dress, it's hard to wear a floor length white dress without looking bridal, but I WOULD also like to just go over and hike it up a bit as it looks like it doesn't fit her properly and needs to be pulled up...

It doesn't look like there was much of a turn out this year for the People's Choice Awards, but gotta love how those who did dressed.

Some dress ideas

I have decided to start uploading some of my sketches for dress ideas! this one is my favorite, but the rest can be seen here. I have wanted a wrap dress for a really long time, and I picked up THE perfect teal rayon knit at Joann's when having a play date with Nicole. If you're in the south bay area, head to the Fremont Joann's. It's the size of a large grocery store, and is spacey and clean and has a nicer variety of things compared to the Cupertino store that I more regularly frequent.

I've decided that none of these dresses, whatever the weight of the fabric, will be longer than knee length. Right at or above the knee is most flattering on my figure and honestly most comfortable. Plus that leaves more room (in my mind) for boots, socks, and fun leg accessories.

there will be more drawings posting up here when I finish drawing them, and probably friday I'll post pictures of the process of manually grading my slopers to fit me.. again! I picked up 8 yards of muslin so I can deconstruct the successful fitting and perfect the slopers. I had to use curved waist darts on the bust of the floral dress but never changed my original sloper (which I DRASTICALLY miss-graded. it was terrible. So So Wrong.) so i'm going to pretty much go backwards for the slopers. I guess I cannot really call it grading then.. Oh well. Wish me luck!

January 05, 2011

January: The Plan

I'd originally thought I would just redo SBA's dress, but I crawled toward being awake this morning and remembered this drawing I did a while back. I think the fabric (above) is just the right weight to have some body, but not stiff enough to not fall nicely on my hips, otherwise I'll just look hilarious in my tutu-waisted dress!

I used a plus sized croquis that I found on google (originally from here) you'll seen soon enough though that I actually do most of my own illustrations now. I go to school at Cañada College in redwood city and they have some amazing classes including fashion illustration! One of the most engaging and fulfilling classes I've enjoyed in a very long time. They have one of the best fashion departments in the bay area (outside of SF).

January 04, 2011

2011 Dress-a-Month Challenge

I've been wanting to develop my skills as a dressmaker for quite a few years. When I graduated from high school I decided that fashion really wasn't a practical career choice, but after two years of non-career specific schooling and a year of corporate zombie-ism I have come back to fashion. I've been going to Cañada College in Redwood City for one whole term! woo! Even in so little time, I've already doubled my skills, and expanded my knowledge more than I would have thought to look up online, only making me want to learn more.

This year (2011), as a New Years resolution, I've decided to make a dress every month this year. I want to be a dressmaker for my career, so this is gonna be the kick in the pants I need to hone my skills, and build my reputation and portfolio.

I did a dress last month for my sister, Susan Beer Anthony, of old embroidered sheer white fabric that I inherited from my mother. It was for a final for my Flat Pattern class, and lucky for her, she is the same size as the dress form at the school!

After that I realized how easy it was to make a simple dress and decided to do the same for myself (a la the Selfish Seamstress)! I decided I wanted to try making a scoop neck though instead of bateau. I followed the instructions in my flat pattern book (Principles of Flat Pattern) to shorten the length of the neckline by 1/4" but it ended up not being enough. I made one 1/4" tucks on each side of the neckline to correct the gaping. It changed how the neckline looked but it also added some extra style!

You might have noticed i didn't finish the skirt hem on both dresses. I haven't figure out how i'm most comfortable doing it yet, so I'm going to be trying new ways with the first few dresses this year!

Cheers to a new, dress-filled year!