Sunday, October 17, 2010


I totally suck, no need to tell me! I knew this would be hard. However, the ol' day job also decided to go apeshit in the midst of this (Five am starts, overtime, major projects, you name it!). Plus, my back, which I thought was on the mend has absolutely been killing me. It has been really hard to be motivated when sewing hurts! So, I've fallen behind. I debated quitting, but darn it, I am finishing this thing!

So, I am going to allow myself to prepare for our long planned vacation, enjoy said vacation to the best of my ability (Although I am trying to get over not being home for my birthday. I think the hubs will have to ply me with copious amounts of gin to make up for it), and worry about it when I get back. Hopefully, my back will have calmed down with all the R and R and if not I think I have some major painkillers around somewhere. So, I will pull all of the pieces of fabric I have carefully cut out and put them together, and post a flurry of photos, and if I am lucky, I will only be a week behind at the end.

I hope you hang in there with me!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Episode seven: the other half

This post will be the first guest post!! This is from Emily, my partner in crime for the resort wear challenge. Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Emily (also known as Momily on callboard). I'm a friend of Amanda's, and we chat about PR on a local theater callboard, with other fans of the show. I'm a costume designer in the Twin Cities, so I offered to do one of the challenges with Amanda, the resortwear challenge!

I've had some experience with sewing samples, and explaining construction techniques to seamstresses (sewers always looks odd to me!), so I thought this would be easy. But I didn't have a sample to show to Amanda, because she was making the sample! So I had to explain what I wanted, without a visual example; this was really hard for me. But Amanda did a great job with the pants. I wish I had not tapered them so much towards the ankle, after trying them on I decided I would like more fullness in the lower leg. And I had to make a slight adjustment in the top, after sewing on the tie sash and fitting it, the front neckline gapped a little too much. But at least I don't have side boob! I really love this fabric. And luckily, the weather held until I could take a picture on my dock. So I'll put these items away until next summer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

getting ahead is getting me behind

I was gearing up for the Jackie O./American sportswear challenge. Sketch? Check. Fabric? Check. Spoiler for episode ten? Wait what? So, I found out that some custom designed fabric was involved. I've never done such a thing before, but I know that there is a bit more turnover involved in the real world than on PR. So, I had the hubs strategically fast forward episodes 9 & 10 just so I could get the challenges and max my fabric store shopping time. I got the challenges, got more fabric, and set to designing some fabric.

I decided to order from . Their prices were comparable to other vendors, and I know several folks who have ordered from them and have had nothing but praise for their wares. That was the easy part!

I sadly lack any fancy HP tablet PCs. So, I started on our laptop in PhotoShop, a program I have never used before in my life. My first results were an epic fail. So, I sat with my sketchbook and had better luck, but not perfect. To attempt to remedy this, I scanned the image and opened it with PhotoShop. I am now teaching myself how to use PhotoShop to edit my drawing and get it perfect for the making into the fabric. I had no idea when I started this whole blog that I would lament my lack of PhotoShop skills!!

However, as with all the projects, I am learning something new! My brain will be so full at the end of this thing it just might explode. Once I get my drawing perfect, it will be sent off to the wizards at Spoonflower, and in a mere 10 to 14 days, I will have custom fabric! I am wavering slightly between the silk crepe de chine or the cotton lawn. The cotton lawn is in the lead at the moment. While the fabric gets prepped and sent, I will hopefully get caught up on the other projects and attempt to maintain sanity.

I totally blew the one-hour limit for the design portion, but I also do not have the same easy peasy tools at my disposal. That is just the way it is at the moment.

Between now and fabric arrival, stay tuned for some Jackie O. style and a frock that will be just as pretty as a peacock.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Episode Seven: What's Mine is Yours!

The Challenge: Create a resort wear look that shows your point of view as a designer.

The Constraints: 30 minutes to sketch (on a boat!), one day to construct (until midnight), 30 minutes to shop at Mood with a budget of $150, and two hours in hair and make-up.

The Twist: Tim Gunn will randomly draw pairs to work together and the two will swap designs. The designers will work on their partner's design with direction from the designer! The goal is to get a feel for life as a designer and having a sample shop create your designs.

My Take: I am fortunate to have friends who sew. I had two ladies willing to help me with this challenge! I have done one so far, and hopefully the stars will align and I can get together with the other soon!
I met with CostumeMama in the evening where we shared our sketches and fabric selections. I wanted a striped tee and nautical inspired cropped pants. I had red-and-white striped knit for the top and black linen and red buttons for the pants. She had a halter and wrap pant combo with brown linen for the pants, a fun burn out sheer in warm shades of green, brown, and gold and a cream shantung for the top. Two very different aesthetics! We got to work on draping and patterning and explained what we were looking for. We worked for several hours and agreed to finish on our own (still working on each other's projects). It was interesting because I don't own a serger. I have used them, but it's been a while. Thus I think in old timey methods and working without a serger. I do a lot of French seams and occasional zig-zag stitching. She is a costumer and has a serger, and is used to having to create a lot of things in a limited time so she is used to working quickly and in a more modern manner. I think it was a good pairing because of the differences.

I took her pieces home to finish, and tried to keep everything in my mind for the construction. It is really interesting to work on something that is not my own, and not an off-the-rack pattern. Also, my aesthetic involves more tailored pieces, so it took more thought to work on a more drapey flowing piece. I admit that I didn't quite finish her pieces before returning them. I couldn't remember exactly how she wanted the sash attached to the top so I let it unattached. Plus I remember she had buttons for the pants, but didn't get them so I left that alone. I did not want to put the wrong size buttonholes in, that was for sure! Since the designers were able to take back their own designs at the end, we'll pretend that is what happened. (Of course if we would have still had time to work together, I would have been easily able to have her for reference.) I am still waiting to hear her feedback and get photos, so hopefully I achieved what she was after! It is pretty nerve-wracking working on someone else's garment. I know what shortcuts I can take and changes I can make on my own garment, but when someone else is relying on me I have a definite air of paranoia. I don't want to let anyone down or disappoint.

Here are the results of my design as created by CostumeMama:

Now, back at CostumeMama's when I first attempted to try on the pants, I discovered I didn't allow enough space at the front flap to get them on. I have a major difference between my waist and hips, so I tend to have to leave a lot of room to get things on, so they fit at the waist. We decided to put a side zipper in to alleviate this. Well, when I got them back, they were too snug. This was a combination of me mismeasuring and the fact that I ate very poorly all week and put on five pounds (it was a treat bonanza at work). They will fit great, though, once I am able to run again and peeps stop bringing treats to work every day I think they will be great! In the spirit of making it work I used my sun hat to disguise where it didn't fit correctly. It would have been on my head, instead it was at my hip. I thought about quickly turning it into a skirt, but felt that would have been far less interesting.

What do you think?