Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cause she knows that it's demanding to defeat these evil machines.

Pink Robots!
I told you that there would be pink robots, didn't I? You've forgotten because it's been so long since I said such, but I wasn't lying, just very delayed. (A bad charming characteristic for blogging, I realize.) I could say that I'm still learning my ropes, but that's just excusing myself. So, instead I'll just say: working on it.

Anyway, robots! I got this fabric back in 2012. It's linen (yes, linen) which makes it a relatively ideal summer dress material. A little on the stiff side and a lot prone to wrinkling, but it's lightweight, breezy, wicking, and covered in adorable pink robots. How could you say no?

I lined the bodice in a soft, pale pink cotton for comfort and an effort to improve my construction. I left the skirt unlined, since it's a summer dress for Texas and that keeps it all nice and breezy.

The pattern is New Look 6699 which I've made several times and is super quick to sew and has several fun options. Only complaint with construction is how bulky the center of the gathered bodice gets, but the little loop on top covers a multitude of sins.

No excuses, but one of the things that I'm discovering about the sewing blog is the difficulty of wrangling someone to take pictures with me. (These are done by the wonderful Rowan, and thank you so much to her.) Does anyone have any suggestions for begging, pleading, scheduling of photo sessions from unpaid helpers friends?

It is bluebonnet season here in Austin, so I was really excited about taking photos in them--something I haven't done since I was a child. Something I don't remember from my childhood was people driving by yelling "Yeah, sexy!" or "Get it, girl!" Which I will mark down in the column of For The Best.

One last picture, not much of the dress, but I love it and when you love pictures of yourself (as infrequently as that happens) you absolutely have to show them.

I've been generally unsuccessful at trying to sew Colette's Jasmine, but I'm willing to give it one more good try and assume the issues are with me and not the beloved top. But that's on hold as my Sewaholic patterns came and I've been itching to delve into the world of knits. And also I have this amazing print from Tula Pink that reminds me of Dolly Clackett, so I obviously need a Dolly Clackett-inspired dress out of it.

We can look forward to that one together!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mardi Gras? Sounds like devilry to me.

Hello world, I am back.

I realize it is rather gauche to create a sewing blog and then pretty much immediately go on a long vacation. If you want a pillar of taste and refinement, though, you might want to try a different blog. For me, it's gauche or bust, baby! (But seriously, so much love for those blogs. And I will try to tastefully update in the future, now that I'm not punishing my body with whiskey and plastic beads.)

I tried to get some photos of awesome Mardi Gras costumes for you. I really did try. Some where between the rain and cold and music and Jack Daniels and the pitiful camera on my phone, I came home to the thought: These are your photos, Alison? Really?

But, we live with what we have. So, without further ado, my New Orleans trip...

I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that we spent the first night in the sleaziest hotel that Houston had to offer (to shorten the drive the next day). We originally had plans to sleep on a friend's couch, but after some very fantastic late night decision-making, we said "Hey, you know what would be better? A motel where there is a bottle opener attached to the bathroom sink!"

Nothing says classy like drinking beer in a motel bathroom.

Next afternoon, we arrive into New Orleans and as soon as we turn into French Quarter, we saw a man totter dangerously before gravity changed its rules specifically for him and he fell down a building. His buddy did nothing to help, whether he was also drunk or just very sangfroid, I'm not entirely sure.

"Oh, wow," Heather proclaimed, because this was her first trip to New Orleans. "On this trip, nobody be THAT GUY, okay?"

Fate would make a fool of her, as Heather was the first to be THAT GUY. But don't worry, we all got our turn at being THAT GUY at some point during the week. The rest can be summed up by a series of blurrier and blurrier photos:

Start a Bacchanalia right with some Roman gods.
I was feeling like a punk rock Marilyn Monroe in my tattoo mini dress.

Strangers made stranger by awesome masks.

David Bowie Lookalike at a Gay Club?
That's like my favorite sentence ever!

This woman partied hard in this dress for a full twenty four hours. I went to bed and then woke up
and she was still partying. She wouldn't stand still long enough to take a great picture,
so I'm guessing she was either on cocaine or some sort of wizard.

Hipster Bee and his Astronaut friend! I wish I had better pictures of these two,
because it would make an awesome children's story.

Hipster Bee's amazing sweater. Or rather his girlfriend's sweater.
How could she possibly lend out this amazing sweater?

Oh. Because she had this amazing (and terrifying) cardigan to wear.

Jennifer making friends with this guy in an amazing headdress.

This guy was a fantastic dancer. Smoother than Nutella.
And something about the lighting in this picture make me (left)
look like an Uncanny Valley Barbie Doll.

King and Queen of Jazz

The four of us in our Mardi Gras tutus and fascinators.
(Note from our jackets that Fat Tuesday was really cold!)
After that many days of carousing, we recovered (with Juan's Flying Burritos and more beer) in the Garden District and snapped a couple of photos of the super swank houses that fill the Garden District. Honestly, though, I don't think that my pictures do justice to how massive these house are.

This is a restaurant, not a house. But I'm absolutely head over heels
for those teal and white stripes.
And I realize that this makes me the definition of a tourist, but I can't let a trip to Nola go by without Cafe du Monde's cafe au lait and beignets.

I'm not above taking pictures of my food!
Drinking. Jazz. Costumes. Bad decisions in taxi cabs. It was a fantastic trip all told. Thank you for indulging me in my vacation and, once I'm recovered from my trip, next post will be back to sewing. (And it will have pink robots. Intrigued?)

Finally I'll leave you with "The King of Mardi Gras" as he was heralded as he rode down Frenchman and since I took enough photos of it, I went ahead and made him a gif.

And he's on a unicorn, guys! On my best day, I'm not even half so awesome.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First of May in February

I take it all back. This is the hard part. This is the really put-myself-out-there-and-hold-my-breath part. But it is also a learning experience and a crazy ride and an opportunity to put on fabulous makeup.

So, there's that.

For the record, I don't do winter. I lived in New York a few years, and shivered my way through the cold weather and the "Layers, honey! Layers!" to move back to my native Austin and I'll be damned if I'll suffer through winter.

And yet, this January was pretty harsh for us. If you are reading this north of the Mason-Dixon line, you will scoff at my definition of "harsh," but a little bit of ice and a little bit of wind and we Austinites will absolutely crumble in the face of it. Schools shut down. Government offices shut down. All the coconut water and organic flax bread goes flying off the shelves. We try to figure out how to build a fire in our fireplaces. Then we try to figure out how to open the flue on the fireplace because we are smoking ourselves out of our homes. We make Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon.

… Okay, that part isn't bad. Mexican hot chocolate might possibly be the nectar of the gods, but the point of my general brain meanderings: Austin can't do winter. And baby, I can't wait for spring.

So a tiny dress in pretty pastels? Don't mind if I do!

First of May Dress
And here I am. Behold my glory. Or, preferably, behold the dress. Because I love it.

Heart Necklace by Unique Art Pendants on Etsy

This is Simplicity 1755 by Leanne Marshall and I love the design. I've made two so far, but if I were to make it again (which I probably will… once again, looooove this dress) I'd probably raise the armscye to keep it from gapping like above.

It also has pockets! I always feel like a responsible human being when I sew pockets, even if a rarely use them for more than a tube of lip balm.

I did have a few issues with construction. The gaping around the bust like I mentioned and also a few shortcuts on the interior construction that I'm trying to wean myself from (as mentioned in my mission statement). I need to improve the hem, because if it isn't properly pressed, the serged edge peeks out under my hem. (How embarrassing!) And I think I would give it a little more length in a new go around. (I love a mini, but it's not every-day-practical.)

This doesn't really show the dress,
but I think this picture is adorable.
So, there's my first go around. I have a couple of things I've learned: more construction and process notes, pictures of the internal dress, taking waaaaaay more pictures so I have more to choose from (there might have been a moment in this process where I hated every single picture and then decided what the hell, I'll hate myself too), and also make sure my photographer—in this shoot, my dear friend Andy—knows to shoot the whole outfit, including shoes.

Next week I'm going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. (Woo!) So I'll come back with a lot of drunken… er… I mean "candid" shots of costumes and other wildness.


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Grand Debacle: Wardrobe Planning Part 1

I set the lofty goal in my introductory post to build my wardrobe up. So, I've been scouring the blog world for thoughts, ideas, theories, and instructions.

A few that I've really glommed onto are:

Jenny from Bobbins & Whimsy, who is all about creating plans which I just adore, but then she actually puts those plans into action and (maybe it tells you a little about where I set the bar for myself but) I'm super impressed!

Audrey from Putting Me Together. It's right there in the name. She is self-teaching and teaching others through her blog how to look at clothing in new ways to create multiple looks with the same pieces. Very cool.

Sarai's Wardrobe Architect project on Coletterie. There's a lot here about honing your personal style and different aspects of fashion theory.

I love all of this so much and I can't wait to get started. (Currently I have a less-than-completely reasonable project on my table that I don't want to simply shift aside to start a new project.) Until then, I can certainly start planning!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obligatory Introductions


I figured that a first blog postbesides just being a terrifying precipice for meshould be two basic things: an introduction and a mission statement. I like to think that makes things less scary. I’m a woman on a mission. I have a path. I know what I’m doing.

I totally know what I’m doing, guys, trust me.

Now you’re complacent in the rest of the madness. Congratulations. We’re on this path together, you and I, and I want to hope that it will be filled with joy and pretty clothing and useful information, but let’s face it, you’re probably in for an emotional roller coaster in which seams always manage to get bunched in the machine and darts are always crooked.

But at least we’re together. That’s what’s important.