Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glasses Test

I'm in the market for new eyeglasses and this lovely company - Jimmy Fairly - lets you try 4 pairs out at home. They mail them to you and include the return postage as well, yay! The company also donates one pair of glasses for every pair purchased. It looks like they're active in Nepal, for example. So I'd like to buy a pair from them, if possible. Their prices are reasonable and I think they have stylish glasses.

So, please help me choose new frames! Here's the four I tried; sorry for the crappy bathroom photos:

There's actually only three frames represented here. Choices three and four are the same frame in different colors. The other two types of frames also have different colors available.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Thinking...

I'm thinking about joining the Summer Essential Sew-Along because I need to make quite a few summer items: skirts, cropped pants, tank tops, etc. The idea is to make 5 essential summer items during June, July and August.

It sounds great; the only reason I'm hesitating is because I still haven't finished what I had planned to do for the Colette Spring Palette Challenge. I finished a skirt (remember me!) which I've only worn twice and it's now waiting for me to make a spring/summer top to go with it:

And I finished a dress, but it needs to be taken in about 2 centimeters:

And I also finished a sweater, but I need to reposition one of the buttons because it pops open all the time:

That's not even half of what I meant to do. I've since changed my ideas for some of those fabrics, but I still like the colors I chose.

Anyhow, I guess I'm feeling guilty about not finishing the Colette Spring Palette Challenge. In my defense, that was a pretty short time period though: only one month. Whereas the summer challenge is 3 months long. And I could use the extra incentive to work on those basics for the Closing the Gaps project. I'm trying to talk myself into this.

What the hell, even if I only finish one item (or worse, none), I'll still get to look at all the lovely things everybody else makes...I'll try not to suffocate my jealousy with Oreo cookies. ;)

So I guess I just signed myself up. Now I should probably think of a plan...choose patterns, fabrics, and whatnot. That will have to wait for another post!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Closing the Gaps Project

I've been inspired by Vintage Girl's Closing the Gaps project and Snug Bug's efforts to eliminate the orphans in her wardrobe. I have a lot of items that are rarely worn because they just don't match with very much. So I am Officially making an effort to rectify that by sewing some things that match.


I took pictures of items in my closet that either need replacing because they're looking like they've had one too many drinks, or pieces that need a top or bottom made to get them out of the closet and drinking more often.

These three shirts have had it:

The white one has yellowed under the arms and the brown tank and green shirt are too faded. So these all need to be replaced.

I want to make a brown tank top in a similar style to replace this one. I like the V-neck and I like that I have enough bra strap coverage with this style. I also like the empire waist line.

I do not necessarily need to replace the white and green shirts with similar fact, I prefer not to. The white shirt is hard to wear with anything except jeans because of its ruffled waist band and the green shirt is a little too-officey, which I don't need with my current job. But I do want to stick with solid (or near-solid) colors for the replacements.

And here are two skirts (sorry, nothing is ironed!) that need shirts to go with them. I just recently made the turquoise striped one and have trouble matching it with what's currently in my closet. The polka dot skirt has given me trouble from the very beginning. I think I simply need a basic white tank top to go with them, I just don't have one!

And here are two skirts and one pair of pants that also need tops to go with them:

The long colorful skirt I bought in Sevilla in 2007 and it has gotten much love...and it's not ready to be retired yet, but unfortunately the tops I normally wear with it are ready to be retired.

And the navy pin-striped pencil skirt (yes, that's navy) used to have shirts to go with it, but they are now too officey for my current life. The skirt is officey too, but could be made casual with the appropriate top, shoes, etc.

Last but not least we have my linen pants, which are a very light turquoise. It's hard to see, but this image gives a better idea of the color. I also need to find a pair of shoes to go with these pants, but that's another story. I'll have to buy those. Unlike The Makeshift Project, I won't be making my own shoes!

So that's the plan for sewing replacement items and matching items. Now here's for the second part of the plan: I lack an astonishing number of basics. My m.o. for shopping for many years was to do the sales, esp. Banana Republic, Anthropologie, the Gap, and Arden B. I garnered some, I think, undeniably cute items that way (i.e. my turquoise linen pants) but that method also gave less me choices. It is much more difficult to plan a coherent wardrobe that way.

At some level, basics say 'blah,' but I can't let myself give into that impulse! I need to force myself to view this as an incredible opportunity to be creative with basics. I'm relying on you to help keep me inspired!

Now that I'm committed to sewing my own clothes I have more control over what colors and materials I use. Sometimes this means biting the bullet and paying more for fabric than I'd like to, but I've found that you really do get what you pay for. And given that I wear my clothes for years (sometimes a decade, I kid you not...I left Seattle in 2002 and I'm still wearing some of the stuff I had back then) I think I can safely say that it's worth it to pay for quality.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand (!), I do have control over my wardrobe now and I can make it as funky and coherent (or not) that I desire! :) While I do like funky, right now I am in dire need of basics. Here's a not-boring list (positive affirmation!!) of what I estimate I need to make in the next, say, 2 years:

Basic Bottoms:

* white skirt
* black skirt
* red (merlot-ish?) skirt
* tan skirt
* black cropped pants and/or long shorts (I don't do short shorts)
* brown cropped pants and/or long shorts
* tan pants
* tan cropped pants and/or long shorts

Basic Tops:

* white tank top
* white short-sleeve (I have plenty of long-sleeve white shirts ;) )
* black tank top
* black short-sleeve
* black long-sleeve
* red tank top
* red short-sleeve
* red long-sleeve
* brown tank top
* brown short sleeve
* brown long sleeve
* tan tank top

I know, looks booooring. I'm going to jazz it up with tone-on-tone prints and shot cottons and by playing with texture and details. Any other ideas?

And it's a ridiculously long list, but I really, truly do not have any of this stuff...or if I have one or two items (like the brown tank top) they are no longer wearable because they're too icky or worn out, etc, etc.

This is my plan and that was a very long post, thanks for sticking with it! And please, please, feel free to give advice. :)

P.S. I was listening to Cajun music while writing this post and now I'm envisioning all kinds of twirly skirts to wear dancing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Madame Grès

During my last visit to Paris, my friend and I (at her suggestion) went to see the Madame Grès exhibit at the Musée Bourdelle. If you like looking at clothes, I highly recommend this visit to anyone who will be in Paris between now and July 24th.

Here's my brochure and entry ticket :)

The museum is dedicated to the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, but works by Madame Grès are currently interspersed amongst Bourdelle's sculptures because the Galliera (the Paris fashion museum) is closed for renovations. Appropriately, before starting her design career, Madame Grès herself studied sculpture and kept that approach with regards to her sewing and design.

The museum looks rather small from the outside, but it's actually quite large so give yourself a hour and a half, at least. It's located in the 15th arrondissement, not far from Gare de Montparnasse. Here's a website about the exhibit (in French): Madame Grès.

On display are Madame Grès' works spanning her entire career, starting with the 1930s and ending with the 80s. She is chiefly known for her minutely pleated gowns that reinterpret Ancient Greek style. But don't be fooled, she doesn't only work with neutral tones! She had some eye-popping colors: bright greens, reds, oranges, etc. And during the 50s her style definitely became a little more rigid, à la Dior, yet (I feel) still retained her style.

I'm not going to try to explain who Madame Grès (otherwise known as Alix Barton) was - but you can read this article: Madame Grès. The Wikipedia entry is pitiful. I will simply mention that she designed the costumes for Jean Giraudoux's play La guerre de troie n'aura pas lieu and that you can see some of her sketches for that production as well. And they're awesome!

You can also see some photos of her work with a Google search. And if you're interested in her Vogue sewing patterns, you should check out Vintage Patterns, where she has her own category.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Secret Project

I had been working on a secret project for my knitting club: Melimelofil and now that we've exchanged our handmade gifts, I can share what I made.

I made this necklace with fabric scraps (you can see some of the fabric behind me on the wall each time I do a "fashion" photo) using Amy Butler's instructions: Fabric Necklace.

Here's a close-up of the scraps:

I wanted to use a plain turquoise fabric in the mix as well, but my scraps were too narrow.

Here's a photo of the necklace being worn by the granddaughter of my fellow knitter who eventually got the necklace:

And here's a photo of some of the other handmade goodies. I won the painting :) There's candles, embroidery, crochet, knitting, sewing and an adorable bird mobile:

I hope everyone is having a good weekend; we finally got some much-needed rain.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brown Linen Skirt Completed

Simplicity 2367 is completed, as of this afternoon:

And I even wore it to work! I messed up the waistband so I have to fold it over when I wear it, but it's quite comfortable that way. Since I rarely tuck my shirt into skirts the folding shouldn't be obvious.

I figured out how to use the timer on my camera, but since I don't yet have a tripod, I'm still a little limited in my 'modeling' photos. One step at a time.

Speaking of having to model, Me Made June is just around the corner! I definitely do not have enough me-made hot weather clothes. I need to make either two more tops or one more pair of pants (and/or skirt) in order to have 7 items. I can't worry about repeating outfits; it's still a challenge to be able to wear something every day!

I like the pattern I just finished and it was completely my fault (a tired error) that I messed up the waist band. And rather than undo it and redo (which I could've easily done), I was curious to see how it'd turn out if I left it on upside down. Well, it turned out about how you'd think: kooky looking!

Anyhow, I'd like to make the pants that come with this pattern as well...that would involve front patch pockets, which I've never done.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Save the Bra

I am, more or less, always on the look-out for potential bras. This may seem odd, but I have yet to find a suitable bra that I can buy in France (although this may no longer be true!), so every time I go back to the U.S. I replenish my stock. Having to do this seems silly to me so I keep trying various bras here. It's not like they don't have bras in France (!), I just hadn't found any (until just recently) that were meeting my standards.

But I may have found some good replacement bras at Etam, which is a ubiquitous lingerie store. This store is everywhere and it's kinda ridiculous that I didn't find anything here earlier. It's possible I wasn't looking hard enough or maybe they really didn't have the style I sought until just recently...

So I bought a sample. Unfortunately I bought it in the wrong size. I thought I knew my bra size and so didn't try it on in the store: mistake! Anyhow, I'm trying to salvage the purchased bra rather than returning it (because of course I bought it in the store in Paris, and not in the store in my town). I figure I just need a little extra coverage so that I don't spill out the sides.

So I bought some lace and am sewing it to the sides and the bottom.

This is definitely fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sewing. I'm just hand-sewing it on to see what will happen. Quite possibly this is the silliest salvage project ever.

In other sewing news, I have nearly finished the brown linen skirt. I just need to finish the waist band, insert the zipper and hem it. I had already started sewing in a zipper when I decided to swap it out for another one because the color matched better.

And I'm feeling rather proud of myself because this week I managed to wear my new brown pants twice and my dress:

I didn't wear the yellow shoes out the door; those are my house slippers.

The dress is too big but I tried to compensate by wearing a bolero that is also too big. I'm not sure that makes sense, but you can judge for yourself the result...and please feel free to say if it looks silly! I do intend to take in the dress; it's not that hard to do after all. :)

Last but not least: Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there (and of course, especially to my Mom)!!! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pledge and Award

I, Donna of Nid de Tissus pledge to participate in Me-Made-June 2011 by wearing at least one me-made item every day and at least one me-made outfit (top and bottoms) once a week.


I upped the ante a little bit sinceMe-Made-March because now I have a pair of pants!

And, I owe another big thank you to Meg the Grand because she gave me another blogger award: the "I Am All That" Award.


Before I pass along the IIAT Award, I need to respond to the questions...but I'm going to slightly change one of the questions, which I think is in the spirit of the award. It's personalized!

1) What size shoe do you wear? If you wear a size 7 (US), can I borrow your shoes?
I'm a 10 (or 9 or 9.5...depends on the brand), sorry!

2) 30's or 60's?
30's...I have big shoulders anyway, may as well try to work it!

3) Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have?
Who hasn't?!? So, yes, unfortunately...although I suppose that's how one learns (right?).

4) Have you ever been poisoned? Was it by the girlfriend of the person you kissed? that is awesomely "knot's landing."
Not that I'm aware of! Not counting food poisoning, which I have had...but I'll spare you the details. ;)

5) Original Question: who's on your "celebrity free pass" list (top 5)? I'm rewriting it to this: who's on your fictional character "free pass" list?
I'm pretty sure that if I met my celebrity crushes in person, I'd be disappointed...bad manners, bad breathe, boring, who knows? I hope not, but you never know, so I'd rather go with somehow whose character has been tested and for which we have the results(at least, fictionally)! In no particular order!!

1) Jacques l'Emmerdeur from The Baroque Cycle. He went through hell for the girl!

2) Mr. Darcy - 'nuff said.

3) Audre from Zami.

4) Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Apparently he's very talented.

5) Casanova...okay, okay, he's also a real person, BUT I'm judging him based on his writings/braggings...with so many, there must be something there, right? And T. gave me the idea 'cuz I can't think of anybody else...I'm sure I will later, but it's too late now. :)

OK, for the important part, I'd like to pass on this award to the following fabulous blogs:

1) Harry at the Happy Village Shoesmith
2) Drew at At Home, Abroad
3) Adventures of a Desi Knitter

I'm only listing 3 blogs and you 3 are NOT obliged to pass along the award or answer the could always change the questions to suit your style. ;)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Pants are Finished (Simplicity 2656)

And I'm super happy with them!

You can see a diagonal wrinkle coming from the waist band. I have moved the (decorative) button placement since then so it is a little better. There is still a wrinkle but (I hope) it's not as bad.

And here's a back view:

I used an invisible zipper for the first time. It didn't end up so invisible, but I'm still happy with it. I inserted it using a technique I found on this blog: Annekata.

I did have to take in the waist by 3 cm because otherwise the pants were sitting too low. The pants stop just above the ankle...this is OK for sockless weather but not so much with socks!

Here's a close-up of the buttons (all decorative, hence the zipper):

And here's a close-up on the pocket lining. I didn't understand the directions for the pockets; the directions seemed to me to completely close up the pocket. So I just did what I thought looked right. I probably just misunderstood the directions...

I still have quite a bit of brown linen left, so I've started a new project: a skirt! I'm using Simplicity 2367.

I've already sewed the main seams, but I'm going to have to redo them because it's supposed to take a zipper but I can get in and out of it without using the zipper.

Happy May Day everyone!