Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

It's been a while and I have so much to catch up on! But for the last four days, I've been thoroughly enjoying being home and on break, and I couldn't bring myself to do anything responsible, haha. Now it's time to whip my internet life into shape and get back into the swing of things! I have some major plans for the next few weeks (I don't go back to school until the 23rd or so), and I doubtlessly will run out of time to execute them all, but hopefully I'll be able to surprise you guys with some special stuff to make up for my absences this fall.

How was your Christmas? I hope you all had a lovely day spent with your families. I certainly did! I think my favorite part of the day was after all the festivities and eating and extended family visiting and such. My parents, my brother and I all sat down, and after a devotion, we listened to Loreena McKennitt's latest Christmas album and were just together. My mom was sitting at her spinning wheel, I was sketching, and we finally got to spend some quality family time. That sounds so tame, but it was really the best of times.

hat / handmade by mom | scarf / the niche | shirt / handmade | skirt / mom's closet, shortened by me | sweater / boden | tights / welovecolors.com | flats / gift

More to come soon! Belated Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

i built a fort

Hey lovelies. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families... I know I did! I went home for the first time since the semester started and it was the most amazing thing to be back. We had about a foot of snow on the ground, so we went sledding, hung out and played board games, talked, ate good food, and relaxed. I slept until noon one day! I never do that. But it was needed and it was wonderful. As hard as it was to come back and get back into my routine, it's very comforting to know there are a scant three weeks between me and Christmas break. I couldn't be more excited! Plus, coming back to friends here at school made things easier.

I wish I could describe to you how insane things have been. Basically, I've been learning way more than I thought I would, and not just in class. I had a pile up of exams and papers and huge projects this past month, making for a rough November. I stayed up for 40 straight hours one instance, learned that coffee trumps caffeine pills (at least in how you feel later), broke down a couple times, and probably wouldn't have made it without writing to my mom and hearing back from her. She always knows exactly what I need to hear, somehow. So, it's been a very stressful semester, but I'm hanging in there and have successfully made it through the worst. I think. Basically, this is why I haven't been blogging. Some things just have to fall to the way side when life takes over!

In my classic, airheaded fashion, I left the pants I made for Apparel Construction at home, so I can't show you photos until break. But this skirt is something I made back when I had more time. It's a heavier cotton mini with an asymmetrical separating zipper up the front.

shirt / wal-mart | skirt / handmade | tights / forever21

I got hair extensions, too, if you were wondering. My hair doesn't quite grow that fast! They're just clip-in ones, so I can take them out and put them in whenever. I love the length and thickness they give my hair, so awesome!

Haha, so, I made this little fort in my room and was trying to take photos just with the self timer but there wasn't much space and I was having a hard time of it. My neighbor Lindsay, also an apparel major, knocked on my door and burst out laughing when she saw what I was up to. Then she offered to take photos for me, which worked much better. This is the result of our fun!

Oh, guys. There's so much that's been happening that I don't think I can even put a dent in it. Maybe when the semester is over I'll do a long write-up of all the work I've done and show you a bunch of photos and such. I miss you all and I've been so terrible at following blogs. If you've been up to anything cool or have had anything happen lately, tell me about it! <3

Friday, November 5, 2010

Madison on Halloween

Making excuses is pointless right now, am I correct? Shame on me for being neglectful, etc, etc. It has been unbelievably crazy, guys, and I have so much to tell you! I am mastering flys in pants and fancy hand-stitched hems and having lectures from technical designers from Target and giving speeches (and failing at it) and re-evaluating and it's been fantastic and utter madness. I've been realizing a lot of things lately, and also questioning a lot of things. I don't know. My head is so full of thoughts and life has been going by too quickly to sit and breathe. All I'm trying to do is make it through the semester in one piece with decent grades. Everything else is a bonus. Please, forgive me if this post is all over the place; and if it is, then it mirrors my life perfectly.

First off, how was your Halloween weekend? What did you dress up as? Where did you go and what did you do? I went with a group of friends to Madison. We stayed at one girl's house and went to the Badgers hockey game on Friday--not very Halloween of us, but still awesome--and then Saturday we went to Freakfest, ran into a lot of crazy people in crazy costumes, and saw Little Big Town play. It was such a blast, and people watching was the best part.

I made myself a costume, of course! I sewed up a little sailor girl dress on Thursday night and borrowed a hat from a friend. I wore it with some shoes I bought for Urban Outfitters earlier that day (for $5! I've never been in the store before and their sale section was unbelievable!), a few layers of tights (it was cold!), and my peacoat.

Unfortunately, we didn't get awesome photos, but these work.

Good ol' bathroom mirror shots!

We were walking along State Street when I saw this guy dressed as Popeye, so I was like, "Hey! Can we take a picture?" and he enthusiastically responded, "Absolutely YES, I'll take a picture!" Result:

Best. Ever.

After Little Big Town (and almost being crushed/knocked over in the packed crowd) we went home at about 1AM and popped a movie in and didn't go to sleep until 4. It was a good night, in other words!

But of course, after the fun, one must buckle down and get back to work. We've been working on a group presentation on design elements in my Intro to Apparel Design class. My group specifically is working on Coats, Jackets, and Blazers. Basically, we put together a powerpoint presentation on our topic, talking about the design and history of them. It's a little tedious, to tell you the truth! But in Apparel Construction, we're making pants, which is actually super fun. I'm making navy blue slacks that come up past my belly button, haha. They're due next Thursday and coming along swimmingly: I finished the fly today (went in smoothly, for the most part -- thank goodness!), and I get to really start putting them together now that I've had my final fitting. I'll take pictures for you, okay? I love that class so much, because it's exactly what I want to be learning.

Besides that, I've been working away in my other classes and getting really excited to be home for Thanksgiving. I can't believe it's even time to get excited about Thanksgiving! Things have gone by so quickly. Have two months really passed? Crazy business.

Thank goodness it's Friday! Have any exciting plans for the weekend? I have plans to spend the entire weekend working on homework and having not very much fun (and not sleeping very much... hi, coffee)--but that's okay, it's what I'm here to do. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm going broke over college so I'd better manage my time and make it worth it. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

College Girl

Hey darlings. Things have been so crazy busy, but I know that's not really an excuse not to write. The truth is, there have been so many things I've wanted to blog about in the last month. Things I hope you'd find interest in, and things I know I want to document for myself. But I've been too much of a wuss to go find a place to take photos of outfits, to be honest. I'm trying to make it a mission to go out and about with a camera and tripod before it gets to cold, so hopefully I'll have some good shots coming up. (Until then, you get cheesy webcam shots.)

In the meantime, how does a recap sound? We did this back in the summer & it was fun, so shall we try again? College is terrific, and here's what it's been all about so far:

Spending money (ew), "We're fashion students! We can wear anything and get away with it.", late night movies, whispered secrets, coffee, flipping through magazines for homework, hopping fences in dresses, smiles, writing about my brother's old house for English Composition and caring more about it than anything I've written in a long time, sarcasm and wit, guys who like Zooey Deschanel movies, falling asleep to the Isley Brothers, time management, getting gussied up very often, homecoming excitement, gratifying A's and good feedback (I love feedback from profs!), four outfits in a day, adoring my roomie, amazing professional irons, vintage shopping downtown, making curtains on a Saturday night (we're that cool, yes), feeling really good, "Who doesn't have a crush on Robert Downey Jr.?!", falling into routine, swing dancing, mini-road trips, Packers games, highlighter tattoos under blacklights, owl decorations, construction paper & glue sticks in class (haha), doing things properly, and glittering tights.

What's your autumn been like so far?


P.S. Lame cell phone photo, but here's what I wore the other day while vintage shopping:

glasses & tights / f21 | cardi / american eagle | dress / handmade | bag / kakadu australia

Friday, September 17, 2010


Uh, hi, guys. Remember me? Remember that one time I called my hiatus "brief" & then skidaddled my way out of the state? Yep. About that... classes are so crazy that I haven't had time to do much else! But you know what? It's a good kind of busy. Because a lot of my busy revolves around fabric types and seam finishes, pressing techniques, Vogue assignments, street style, and considering studying abroad at the London College of Fashion in a few years. I can't complain about that!

Honestly, as heavy a workload as it is, I couldn't be more ecstatic that this is what I'm studying. This is what I'm going to do forever and I don't know if I could possibly be more head-over-heels with it. (Not so head-over-heels for Fundamentals of Speech, but even English Composition & American Government aren't too bad.)

Oh, so, today is my birthday. I'm not planning on doing much--probably sleeping (after staying up until 12:30 to finish my outfit & then having to get up at 6:30 for class), convincing a friend to watch the Blues Brothers with me, & indulging in the adorable Hello Kitty cupcakes my darling roomie got me. (For serious, she's the best. She's leaving this weekend & felt bad about missing my birthday, so she got cupcakes & made a fabulous door decoration & gave me a present in a glittery-rainbow-winged-horse gift bag. Aw.) I'm okay with low-key. 19 isn't a big deal (though it's my last year as a teen, that's weird), and I'd rather focus on the whole year ahead than just one day. Also, I'm planning a mutual birthday party with a friend for two weeks from today & am inviting my favorite people, so I don't need to celebrate beyond that.

My gift to myself was a new outfit: this super soft t-shirt & ruby red skirt. I whipped them up last night (woefully, without matching thread... something to fix someday else). Nothing beats a brand new outfit! Everything was basic, except that I inserted pockets in the seams! Molly (roommate) & I studied a store-bought skirt with seam inserted pockets, figured out how they were put together, & then I kind of winged it. I am so excited! The only problem is that I made them a little low so the zipper would fit in okay, but I'm really happy we were able to figure it out.

Note--I wrote most of this post in the morning after class... had a good, lazy, not-too-homework-filled day. Now I'm off to maybe socialize, we'll see. :)

necklace / gift | shirt & skirt / handmade | shoes / vintage, wonderwardrobe.etsy.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Movin' Out


Just an explanation for any hiatus from posting, replying to comments, leaving you a note, or, you know, internet life in general. I'm headed to the land of cows & cheese & my favorite football team, leaving tomorrow morning at 8. My petticoat doesn't want to fit in any of my totes, and I'm bringing too much, as usual. Ah, back to packing. Have a beautiful Labor Day weekend, darlings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Memory Lane

My computer cable died, so I'm using my slow, decrepit Dell to get my internet fix. This also means that, in between jumping up to clean/pack, I am looking through all my old photos on here. It's fun, reminiscent, sometimes cringe-worthy (awkward phases, braces, etc.), and it makes me a little nostalgic. I bought this computer in fall of 2006, and used it up until April 2009, so there is quite a range of photos on it. While digging through old files, I found a couple things of interest.

This makes me smile. My braces! Goodness. This was from May of 2008, right after I opened my original Etsy shop. My dad came out & took photos of me in the gear I stocked up on, & I had no idea what I was doing. This suspender top was the first thing I'd ever sold, & it went to a gal in Germany! I remember the day I got the email notifying me... it was the best feeling ever. That someone liked my things enough to buy and wear them was so gratifying! It still is, but nothing beats the glee of that first sale. The skirt I'm wearing was purchased by my now sister-in-law (!), & she actually wore it to the wedding rehearsal & groom's dinner last week. :)

Haha. This was from April 2007, taken on the tail-end of a family vacation. We always stop for ice cream cones once on our roadtrips, and I think we'd almost forgotten or something, and were already in Minnesota for this. That's my brother, Paul. He's pretty much the coolest person I know... I'm going to miss going to school with him--I was so lucky to have class with him last semester! Oh, & this is relevant to my train of thought, because this was one of my first t-shirt surgeries. I think it came out of that book by Meghan Nicolay. I was so proud of this, and I wore it all the time. I hope I still have it somewhere!

It's nice to see how much I've improved from the beginning of my sewing adventures. Looking through my archives on this blog & seeing the learning curve I had is kind of rewarding--I had so much fun learning, & I started this blog as a way of recording it all, sort of as a portfolio. Everything was a stepping stone to where I am, just as what I'm doing right now is a stepping stone to where I'll be next year, and so on. I really like that there is always something to improve on, and new things to learn about sewing and design. Life would be so boring if one knew everything!

Do you document things so as to reflect later? I think internet makes this so easy--facebook photo albums, blogs, livejournal, and even twitter archives can all show where we were at a point in time, and how much we've changed. We're a part of a generation that documents rather obsessively, putting everything out there and being raw and utterly honest on the internet. I think these things are invaluable to viewing our self-improvement, even when we borderline on over-sharing. As I surely tend to on this blog, haha.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I feel like this is my 60's film noir spy dress. I should get a wicked trench coat to go over it & go hunt down thieves or murderers or kidnappers, don't you think?

It's hard to photograph a black dress, but this is simple, so there aren't really details you need to see. It's a lot like one of my blue dresses, but this time I added sleeves & a built-in belt, and took out the v-back. It's out of nice black cotton I got in a bin of fabric from a sweet friend, & it's so comfortable I want to wear it all the time. Sleeves on dresses are the best. I forgot to add pockets, though: an unfortunate oversight! Next time, eh?

I actually made this dress last week, but it's been such a whirlwind of a weekend that I never got a chance to post it until now. I wore it to a bridal brunch on Friday for my brother's (then) fiancee, & then later that evening to the wedding rehearsal & dinner. I have photos from these events (& of course the event that followed the next day) just waiting to be edited & posted.

necklace / dazeoftheweek | earrings, bracelet / gift | dress / handmade | shoes / ebay

So, I'm not used to wearing this much makeup. At all. My daily maximum is just concealer, powder, and mascara. Putting on eyeshadow and liner is so foreign to me! I tried to do a slight smokey eye, but I have no idea what I'm doing so I don't know if I succeeded, haha.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Through The Viewfinder

What does this:

+ the help of my dad:

+ a modern DSLR equal?

Wicked awesome vintage-style photos, that's what!

shirt / gift | dress / handmade | belt & tights / target | not pictured - moccasins

All thanks to this article!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Custom Dress

Custom Dress for Michelleannen

This was the project I had such a rough time getting through. I get really anxious about custom orders fitting people, & I'd never made a dress like this that wasn't my size, & I had to redo some of it & try to make ruched panels work & it was just such a worrisome process. But it's DONE! I hope I learn to properly grade patterns (or how to properly make patterns, for that matter. I am sure I don't do it correctly.) at school this year.

Speaking of school! Have I mentioned the classes I'm taking? Well, here they are again: Intro Design, Intro Construction, college writing, U.S. history, intro speech, and "relaxation," my PE class. (Hope that's not too exerting. Haha.) I'm getting really excited. My roommate sounds like a total doll, & she's also an Apparel major, so we have some classes together! 1 1/2 weeks. :)

Custom Dress for Michelleannen

I'm officially out of my funk. After finishing this dress, I made myself a new dress, & I'm already plotting out another project. Getting work done while I still have time to! It feels amazing to be productive again. Busy is best!

Custom Dress for Michelleannen

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pop of Pink

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post. Honestly, just knowing that you darlings were here for me, & that I wasn't alone in my lack of inspiration was wonderful encouragement. I spent an afternoon & evening with Veronika (through the internet, of course, though I wish I could spend a day with her in person--in France!), browsing online shops, photo sites, and concocting exciting new projects (which I'll do a separate post on to fill you in!). The company while I was working (custom order) was a welcome change from my usual solitary state of being hunched over my sewing machine, and really helped on the inspiration front. By the end of our chat, I'd come up with a crazy photoshoot idea that I had to try immediately. Following is the result:

I don't really think any explanation or elaboration is necessary here, is it?

Ridding my skirt of some of the water! This is the shirt I mentioned a bit ago. It took about 10 minutes to make, is seriously just a rectangle with slight sleeves and a bit of a boatneck. I didn't finish the edges because I'm lazy & it's for me so it doesn't matter. This fabric is super comfy & lightweight, and therefore perfect for a loose fitting shirt!

I did take some pre-water photos as well, when the sun was a bit brighter. It's setting so much sooner now!

glasses / f21 | necklace / vintage | shirt / handmade | belt / traded | skirt / thrifted | shoes / target

Saturday, August 21, 2010


You know what is seriously a bummer? Running dry on inspiration. Not being able to finish things. Losing motivation. It's all sounding pretty depressing, isn't it?

I have two & a half weeks until I move into my dorm. While I'm excited for this new chapter in my life (excited doesn't describe the half of it!), I'm wondering if the transition period is contributing to my creative dry spell. But then I wonder, am I just trying to find an excuse for month-long general lack of creativity? Because honestly, that's what it's been. Besides a 10 minute shirt I made (which I will show soon!), I haven't made anything since the Sailor Girl dress, weeks and weeks ago. Sure, I've been working, and socializing, and doing plenty of other things... but it's no excuse. I need to learn to be creative on demand, to at least a certain extent.

Well, tomorrow I have to sew. I have to finish a custom order so it's ready to ship on Monday morning. But tonight, I'm going to bemoan my dry spell and pose this question to you: What sites do you visit for inspiration? Pretty pictures? Heartening quotes?

p.s. here are my favorites: - -

& my friend Veronika linked me to what's become my new favorite site:

Monday, August 16, 2010

[Old] Favorites

Favorite truck. Favorite place to take photos. Favorite shirt (rawr!). Favorite new shoes. & probably most favorite outfit in a while!

I got these shoes a week ago, & have been wearing them nearly every day since. I really wanted a pair of Minnetonka moccasins, and they're terribly easy to get your paws on since I'm in Minnesota... except they're so darn expensive, especially for my broke college student budget. I can't justify spending much on shoes or clothing ever, but especially not now. So when I saw these $16 moccs at Target, I knew they had to be mine. It's downgrading, for sure, but they're still super comfy. I'll probably personalize them by adding little leather flowers, eventually.

top & belt & shoes / Target | skirt / handmade

Other things of note: I got my hair cut & my bangs trimmed! It feels so nice & fresh. I hadn't gotten a haircut since January, so it was needed! Things are pretty crazy here, as my brother is getting married in just a couple weeks. We're knee-deep in wedding prep, but it's a good kind of busy. I've also been working on a custom order (grading patterns! Learning new things!), picking up extra hours at a resort down the road, & working for my mom. Classes start in a little over three weeks, so I'm scraping things together for that, too. Pretty hectic--but that's how August always goes in the resort business!