Friday links

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  • The video above of Kristen Bell singing ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ in a live performance with all the Anna voices is both awesome and heartbreaking
  • For my sewists: VeraVenus has a slew of free patterns, including a new bias-cut slip pattern
  • See the costume test photos from famous films, including Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe
  • Fascinating photos from Iran show that life beyond the burquas looks surprisingly similar to ours
  • The people at FiveThirtyEight who correctly predicted the election based on statistics took Hollywood to task and proved (what we already knew) that women in films make money.

I’m taking a sewing class at Mood with the adorable Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars alum Josh McKinley. I haven’t made a commercial pattern outfit in years so I thought this would be a fun way to get up to speed on navigating thru the fitting quirks. I’ll blog about the experience and what I made at the end…stay tuned!

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Friday links

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couture, dress, museum, free pattern, free, pattern, day dress,

Download the free pattern to this couture dress (see below)

Are you ready for the weekend? I know I am….

  • For my sewists: Here’s a site with 1000+ free patterns, including this one from the Victoria & Albert museum of a couture day dress
  • For my costume/fashion designers: There’s a fashion design contest to create a ‘geek couture’ garment based on anything celebrated at ComicCon
  • A nun want on Italy’s version of ‘The Voice’ and the reaction she received from the audience and judges was just awesome (just hit CC on youtube for English subtitles)
  • This woman’s Instagram selfies of herself and hot guys in the background while she ran a half-marathon is pretty funny, and especially awesome since she had to pass said hot guys to get her shot
  • It’s both exhilarating to see heroine movies like the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen (grossed more than $1billion) do so well at the box office (1st and 3rd of top grossing films, respectively, in 2013) and disappointing to see the continual denial that heroines exist – like MTV ignoring them for ‘Best Hero’ in their movie awards and Marvel having no plans to make a heroine movie. Boo.

A new JoAnn Fabric store opened up nearby at the old Pearl art store location on La Cienega and Pico. While I’ll still continue to do almost all my sewing-related shopping downtown, I do think I’ll frequent the store to look at patterns in person and find home sewing supplies that aren’t available or aren’t as cheap downtown. I did pick up an inexpensive shirtwaist dress pattern and a little girl’s sundress pattern for my niece. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

Fairy tutus and missing golden wands

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My family had a delayed Christmas this year, as my brother’s family was in the process of moving to another country in March and planning a trip to my parent’s house in February. I wanted to make my little niece something, but fit can be hit or miss when you can’t measure her yourself, so I decided to make her a costume where fit is adjustable.

I decided that for my gift, I’d find her a book (which she loves to read) and make a costume related to a character in it. I ran across a lovely young children’s version of ‘The Nutcracker’, where you can play small soundbites from the musical (no bad synthesizer music here!).

The Nutcracker, Sugarplum Fairey, musicI thought my niece would love the Sugarplum Fairy ballerina costume, so I worked on making her a version of it.

Since I’d never made a tutu before, I decided to look on the internet and ran across these instructions from Rookie Mag. It seemed to be in line with what I needed, as I was working with a roll of organza (softer than tulle) and I wanted to use ribbons (more adjustable than elastic).

I measured out 20″ for her waist and then added and tied off 18″ at each end for the bow.

ribbon, tutuI decided that 6-7″ from the waist would be a good length, so the doubled length of the organza strips needed to be 13-14″. I folded and pinned the organza selvedge to selvedge and then folded again, and found the folded length to be 13″ (perfect!) and pinned it. I cut the organza into 3″ strips with a rotary cutter, then cut the unfolded 26″ strips down to 13″.

tutu, organzaI found that I wasn’t getting enough coverage for the skirt with just a few strips looped together, so each loop has 5 strips of organza. I ended up using 5 yards in total to get the coverage and length of tutu that I wanted.

To add a bit of sparkle, like in the illustration of Sugarplum fairy, I decided to look for an embroidered piece of fabric for an overlay. I found a beaded embroidered netting, sewed it to another waist ribbon, pleated the waist (so it can be let out later, if needed) and cut the netting away from the bottom of the appliques to give the skirt more freedom and drape over the tutu.

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I think the tutu went over well! She likes twirling, especially if she can see how the tutu moves in the mirror. Of course, I should’ve known how super observant my niece was, and that she was clearly missing the golden wand that the fairy had in the book. Bad auntie! Haha. Oh well, next time kiddo…

An update and Friday links

It’s already been a topsy-turvy start to 2014 for me, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the fashion and entrepreneurial world, is that I’d better get used to it.

Sadly, the part-time pattern-making position I had secured didn’t materialize…an unfortunate casualty of this crazy economy, where other companies’ cash flow issues affect the whole production stream.

However, when one door closes a window of opportunity opens, and this turn of events has allowed me time to start my own company! I filed papers to start a business, got it approved at the end of January, and am now building a 12 piece clothing collection to take to market in August, an Etsy shop, a new website and a business plan. I hope to share it with you all soon!

In the interim, I ran across some great reads and links for this rainy Friday in SoCal…check them out!

  • Here’s a cool infographic showing all of the Best Actresses gowns since 1929
  • An interesting analysis of why it’s so hard to find good plus size clothing out there
  • The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon had some great moments this past week. First, this lip sync contest with Paul Rudd is made of win. And second, this video of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore singing about how they make a movie together every 10 years is so freaking adorable
  • Follow 2sisters_angie on Instagram, the construction paper outfits for the 4 year old girl are just precious
  • Virgin America just upped the game in getting passengers to watch their safety demo

Looking back in 2013, looking forward to 2014

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Giovanni Meschini, Sera di Natale I, 1930

Is it me or did 2013 completely fly by way too quickly?

Looking back, the highlights of the year were finishing up my certification of Fashion Design at LA Trade Tech, going on a cruise with my family to the western Caribbean and climbing Aztec pyramids, celebrating my birthday in San Fran with close friends, attending my brother’s wedding, completing my last internship, and being fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people. I truly am blessed with the people who are in my life, my health, the courage and support I’m given to continue with my career change, and the opportunities that come my way.

Looking forward, I’ve compiled a list of projects I’m hoping to accomplish by 2014 year’s end:

Advanced Draping Class projects: I took this elective class over the summer and since the schedule was super accelerated, my teacher gave us extra time (a year) to complete the items. I’ll be finishing those up in January and posting about each project where we had to create: a knit dress, a geometric skirt, and a strapless bias dress.

Sewing Fast: As mentioned in a prior post, I’ll be attempting to fast from buying new Ready-To-Wear clothes, and work on new additions that I’ve sewn myself.  I hardly bought anything in 2013 due to my student budget and some weight loss, and my wardrobe has shrunk in wearable items. I figure my sewing skills can only improve with practice, especially if I’m focusing on fit.

Gifts/Special Projects: I kinda dislike sewing on deadlines, as I tend to operate at my own speed when it comes to inspiration, design, drafting, sewing, etc. But, sometimes it can’t be avoided when it comes to giving/creating something special for the right occasion. I wish I could share as I go along, but some are surprises, so as I complete them, I’ll put them on the blog!

DIY Draped Custom Dress Form Cover: I have a sample size 8 dress form, but I’d love to be able to drape and make clothes for my larger size.  So, in the new year I’ll be creating a zip-on dress form cover that will bring the dress form up to my size. We were introduced to this in one of my draping classes and I’d like to do it for myself. While I’m at it, I think I’ll also try to put together a tutorial on how I accomplished it and post accompanying articles about it written by masters in sewing (if anyone’s interested).

A new job: My internship last semester has transitioned into a new job as a 1st patternmaker for a production company, which means I’ll be creating the first draft of patterns for designers in development. I’m very excited about this as I’ll also be working with experienced production patternmakers, who will proof my patterns and help me hone my skills.

Publish my own patterns: I hope to build and publish my own patterns for download by the end of the year. Since I’ll be working professionally as a patternmaker, I hope to put out good, easily sewable and stylish patterns. I think getting feedback on how they work will be the most valuable takeaway of all!

My own clothing line: The most exciting development for 2014 (for me) is that with the help of the production company I’m working for, I’ll be putting together my own clothing line and presenting it to a buyer for Spring 2014. Cross your fingers for me, as I’d love to have my own designs in stores! I can’t go into specifics now, but I’ll be posting more on this later…so watch this space…

Wishing everyone the best for the rest of 2013, and hoping 2014 is everything you hope it to be!

Ready-to-Wear Fast in 2014…what, am I crazy?!

So…I finished the fashion design program at LATTC this summer, but my closet is empty of anything I’ve made for myself to wear.

What’s wrong with this picture?!

So, in order to rectify that, I’ve decided to join Goodbye Valentino’s 2014 RTW Fast  and start filling my closet with my own sewn clothes.

Wish me luck…I’m already starting to break out in a cold sweat. lol

Rising Designers: No one is going to sell your dream for you…

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Rising designers, hustle, guerrilla marketingDesigning a product is only one small part of the puzzle – there’s a whole plethora of hats you have to wear to get your product sold. In the scenarios below, the designer made a great product but failed to get out there and hustle. And in reality, no one else is going to sell your dream for you better than you…

Example#1

One designer came up with an innovative design and sold it to Nordstroms and LA boutiques, but mistakenly thought that she was “done” because she’d gotten it into the stores. She didn’t expend any monies or energy into marketing or promotion, because she mistakenly thought the stores would take on that responsibility. While she had floor space, there was no drive of potential customers to it via old or new media or plain old guerrilla marketing, so no reorders were generated. And she had invested her monies into a second collection for a order that never came. Had she been able to do it again, she would have poured her monies into trunk shows, styling events, editorials etc to help move her product so that stores wanted to reorder.

Example #2

One designer recently entered an LA fashion design competition, where the winner is decided via Facebook voting. She was one of the top students in her fashion design program, and her designs were well-made. However, for the runway show, she didn’t have someone take pictures of her clothes on the models walking the runway. She didn’t have a Facebook page or website immediately ready to show the line for those who didn’t make it to the runway show or wanted to refresh their memory. She wasn’t able to rally networking groups to vote for her, because she didn’t have pictures at the ready. She did link to a website much later, but by then she was outpaced by 5000 votes. So, while her designs were ready, she wasn’t ready to fully grab onto the opportunity presented to her. So, be ready with your markeing to go from 0 to 60 when the opportunity presents itself to you.

It’s a hard knock life…for new designers

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coco chanel, chanel,

Coco Chanel

I’ve recently started working for a production manager who’s been in the LA fashion business for 15 years, and I’ve gotta say…it’s rough out there for designers just starting out.

So, I thought I’d relay stories and things to consider (if I see a pattern of disconnect) when trying to make it in this business in LA…..so stay tuned…

Coordinated Sportswear Project

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So, after what has seemed like forever since I started the fashion design program at LA Trade Tech, I’ve now finished my last required class for the degree!

For this last class, Coordinated Sportswear, I was tasked with creating a jacket, top and trousers (but it could not be a suit) that presented itself as a collection to a buyer.

Inspiration:

As you’ve probably noticed, I do love me some Old Hollywood, so I took my style inspiration from these two looks of Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. In particular, I liked the wide leg trouser look.

Katherine Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn

Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

To balance out the fluid feel on the bottom, I wanted to create a more structured look on the top. I love the look of a motorcycle jacket, but since leather is unforgiving if you make a mistake, and I simply didn’t have enough time to be that precise, I went with a thin wool.

I loved the quilting on this motorcycle jacket, and incorporated that element into my jacket.

Leather jacket, inspiration

Leather jacket inspiration

As for the top, nearly all of the magazine and celebrity styled looks of the motorcycle and jeans combo had a simple white top, so I figured that look would also appeal to a buyer. But to add interest, I dyed it ombre.


Sewing Notes:


Quilting on the jacket

I used a thin wool for my jacket and thought I’d be able to find a nice quilted material for the yoke of the jacket. However, my search in the fashion district in downtown LA turned up fruitless, as I only found cheap cotton quilted fabric for blankets.

So, I decided to quilt the wool fabric myself. You need to use thin batting (or in my case, a thin black fleece) underneath the wool to get that small puff. I cut a strip of fashion fabric and batting, pinned them together, found the true bias (45 degree angle) going to the right, and using invisible tape as my guide, sewed the diagonal stitches. Once finished sewing in one direction, I found the true bias going to the left , and sewed those diagonal stitches. Once that was finished, I was able to cut my yoke pattern from the prepared quilted piece. [To avoid unsightly bubbling, be sure to sew in only one direction for all the stitches – top to bottom, don’t flip it around and sew bottom to top).

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Quilting the wool for the jacket yoke piece

Ombre fabric dying

I used black Rit dye to give the white tank an ombre look. It was my first time dying fabric, so I was happy how it turned out. However, I think next time I’ll leave the fabric in the dye longer, as it came out a bit lighter than expected when dry.

Final product:

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Outfit Front

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Outfit Back

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Closeup of the quilted wool jacket.

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I love Art Deco, so when I ran across this grey, blue and black lining fabric, I had to get it

Front of the ombre tank top

Front of the ombre tank top

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Back of the ombre tank top

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The top of the trousers – I used the same lining as the jacket for the inside waistband of the trousers. I couldn’t resist this button I found that kind of matched the lining.

Reusable Grocery Bag Design Entry

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Design Entry, surfer, black and white photoI got an email from my friendly neighborhood Ralph’s (part of the Kroger conglomerate) today and about it being the last day to submit a design for their reusable bags, where the winner would receive a $1,000 gift card to the store. I took a peek at the design submissions gallery and thought if people could submit half of those designs of random pictures and such, then why not submit something of my own. Who knows, right??

I picked this picture I took of a surfer contemplating the waves at The Wedge in Newport Beach, which is an old haunt of my friend John. The waves break too close to the rocks, so it’s more of a place to do boogie-boarding, skimming and body surfing. Since the ocean is negatively impacted by plastic bags, which is the reason for the plastic bag ban in Los Angeles, the adage to “respect the ocean” seemed to apply here in both situations.

Sadly, while I was able to get my design in for the submission period ending today, it doesn’t appear I’ll get much time to solicit votes and there’s no way to direct you specifically to my design. But the last I checked, for most recent submissions, I was on page 5…if you care to throw a vote my way.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained…right?