It's my birthday today. :) I have an agenda of things to do, so I'll leave you with a few pictures of a dress I made right before I came to school!
My dad & I were target practicing, and it's always way more fun to do it in a dress. I love using his .44 magnum (the big silver one) because it's extremely accurate and has so much power, but it's kind of heavy for me. My arms start shaking by the last few shots! The .42 is easier. We also shot his .22, pictured below in the non-posed pictures, haha.
Oh, yeah, and the dress! I used some fabric I had on hand, just a nice cotton plainweave. I slightly altered my little red dress pattern to fit me better, made a full gathered skirt with inseam pockets, and had pretty details like the tabs at the waist, a handpicked zipper (which I put in twice... the first time, I put it in backwards. Remind me not to sew at 11 at night while watching tv!), lace hem tape and a handstitched hem. It's a super comfy casual dress!
Twenty isn't really a landmark birthday, but I'm a little excited to no longer be a teenager. Now I get to do big kid things, like look at a house to rent for next year (the showing is on Monday!) and polish up my resume to apply for waitressing jobs while I'm at school. And pay bills, and stuff like that. Ah, growing up.
Tonight I'm celebrating with friends in the cities: going out for cheap food and eating cake. A friend whose birthday was about a week ago is coming too, and we'll wear birthday tiaras all night long! It's nice to be with my favorite people--my closest friends and my brother.
Can you believe how fast this summer went? There were so many things I had wanted to do, including completely revamping my wardrobe. But work just sucked the energy out of me, and I didn't get my act together! I still have a week and a half left of work, and then I'm leaving for school on the 6th. Classes start the 7th. Crazy but mad exciting. I can't wait to see everyone and dive into class and be in that environment again!
I did decide that I want to be at home next summer. I missed this place so much, and to not be able to go to campfires with friends, swim when I wanted, or drink afternoon coffee on the screen porch with my family ("Hot Beverage Club")... well, it kind of sucked. I really missed talking to my parents and hanging out with my brother! I see them rarely enough as it is during the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break are the only times I go home). So I'm going to try to work things out to work part time at a restaurant nearby after I study abroad (fingers crossed!).
Enough of my rambling! I took these photos last week in my favorite grassy field. Wearing bandannas has been my newest trend: they're now my favorite accessory! And these moccs have been my summer staple. My brother and I went moccasin shopping together to treat ourselves, and I couldn't love them more! So comfortable, versatile, and adorable!
And it has taken way too long for me to be able to make that statement this summer. But between working and taking an online class for a month, I never made the time actually sit down and start a project. I mean, I sort of did--I drafted a new bodice pattern a couple weeks ago, but didn't get any further than adding seam allowances and cleaning up my pencil lines. (The latter is a school habit pounded into me! If you had any chicken scratchy-lines, it was an automatic ten percent off the pattern grade. Ouch.)
But finally, I found a whole new pocket of the web, full of super-talented seamstresses who work with vintage patterns and use all the fancy finishing techniques I've been learning and (some of them) make and sell their own pattern lines! (I'll share links soon!) Inspiring doesn't even begin to describe it. I didn't have time to become necessarily disillusioned with making clothes, but I guess I haven't been chomping at the bit to get back to it. But after reading about these amazing women, I am completely re-invigorated.
When people ask me what I want to do after I graduate, as they inevitably tend to, I'm always a little unsure of how to respond. I have three more years, at least, to figure that out. Why narrow my options now? It's important to work towards goals and know what you want, sure, but right now I'm enjoying learning about every aspect of the industry. I also know that I change my mind all the time. First semester, I would tentatively say I'd like to be a technical designer. Having completed my freshman year, I now tell people I wouldn't mind being a patternmaker. But the truth is, I have no idea. I don't know if I'd care to make patterns for other people's designs, and I'm kind of terrified that the only options I'd have would be in, I don't know, sportswear or really practical clothing. I want to work with clothes that make people feel amazing--finely tailored garments and careful details, finer fabrics and inspired techniques.
But having your own patternmaking business? Can you imagine? Self-employment, your own designs, a challenging creative process from start to finish, the option to test your own patterns (thus, getting to sew), working with fit, problem solving, and the ability to inspire other sewers AND give them designs that make them feel great about themselves. I see no downside in this scenario as far as the process goes!
This is just a new thought for me to toss around. I know I'll end up working in the industry for a period of time, but it isn't too soon to think about the eventual future, is it?
Anyway. The main point of all this rambling is that I was very, very inspired to test out the pattern I'd drafted. So I made a muslin, and miraculously, it fit with very little adjustment. I went ahead and cut out my fabric--some nice, lightweight cotton--and underlined the bodice. I piped the neckline and armholes and it took forever, but it was so worth it. I took a little extra time on the skirt to give it inseam pockets, and it's totally lined. It has an elastic waist so there is some ease for fit--since I don't know who will be wearing it, I figured a looser style would be appropriate.
My favorite detail is the lace hem tape. I love this stuff! I figured a contrast would give it some fun kick if the inside hem ever showed! I insisted on doing tons of handstiching on this dress, including the invisible hem. I am so good at picking threads, let me tell you. It takes forever but it looks like a million bucks!
What do you think? I think it's too short for me, haha! But my plan has been to put it in the shop all along. Would you wear something of a similar style, in different fabrics with variation in details? What if it had a cut out in back?
And if you're still reading after all that, then you deserve a bucket of strawberries. Thanks for sticking with me throughout all my hiatuses, dearies!
This is a work outfit! (Minus the heels--I'd fall & drop things if I didn't wear flats at work!) I am working a split shift today, so I had about 3 hours off, during which I read, sketched, and took a blogging break. I'm narrowing down some designs I can easily make multiples of, because while one-of-a-kinds are great, it's hard to go through the creative process, pattern making, and initial sewing stages every single time I make a garment for the shop. If I can make patterns (in several sizes, hopefully) for a few designs and then just sew like a machine, I think I'll be able to load the shop up much more.
So, I really love my work! I enjoy the fast pace--I hate not being busy, and we're pretty much always running around. I haven't been making as many mistakes as I thought I would, which is hopefully going to continue--fingers crossed! Plus, it's fun to see so many different people in one day, in and out. Speaking of seeing so many people... at school, when someone found out I was homeschooled and lived in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, during the middle of winter, would only see my parents during the day--they asked, "Wait, so what's the most amount of people you've seen in one place before?" I was a little taken aback, and then I was like, "Um... thousands?" Haha, just because I grew up in the middle of woods doesn't mean I've never left! It was just such an odd question to receive.
I finally have internet at my house, which is certainly exciting, but it also means my online summer class is starting, too. Yuck! At least it's only a month--then I'm back to normal summer break again.
shirt / work | dress / handmade | belt / traded | shoes / urban original
For my final project in my Pattern Development class, I had to make a Little Red Dress. We were given a bunch of guidelines for the project, because the top 5 dresses were going to be selected to enter a contest in Dallas in Spring 2012. So I chose a lightweight wool fabric, and built my design around a technique I saw in one of my professor's fabric manipulation books: lattice (or Canadian) smocking. Here's what I came up with:
I did a whole bunch of tedious techniques on this dress, and there was a ton of handstitching involved. The smocking alone took me a whopping seven hours. This was my first experience doing a hand-picked zipper--also time consuming. The nice thing about my kind of homework is that I can watch movies while doing it, which makes the time go by marginally faster.
Close-up of the smocking:
I did a princess seamed bodice, which miraculously fit my mannequin perfectly. This was a wonderful thing, because I didn't get to fit the dress until the day before it was due.
& finally, lace hem tape: my new favorite thing!
I was working on the dress & neatening up the final pattern pieces until 6AM the day it was due. It wasn't that I'd left everything to the last minute--the dress simply took me that long to complete! My roommate was able to finish hers by 3:30 AM. She, too, had chosen to do time-consuming detailing, so at least we were stuck in the same boat together! I think we were given 2 weeks to do this, from design to completion, which isn't very much time when you have four other classes and plenty of finals!
But, our hard work paid off. Out of 25 eligible dresses, mine was one of the ones chosen to enter the contest in Dallas! My roommate got chosen as well--we're super stoked to go there together! So, a successful first year? I think yes.
So, I’m finally done with my freshman year of college. It’s been the craziest, busiest time ever. But I had an amazing second semester and some experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. Now I’m home… well, kind of. I’m doing something new this year: living in town, instead of 50 miles into the woods. I’ve been applying to jobs, and I had an interview at a restaurant today. I’ve never actually had a job interview before, oddly enough—all my prior jobs have been offered to me, or through people I knew really well, so no interview was needed. As my first interview, I think it went okay… I never really relaxed, but I didn’t have trouble with it. And I wasn’t too nervous. We’ll see how it goes… I really want this job! Here’s what I wore:
A simple combination. It was kind of chilly/foggy, and I was biking around, so tights seemed like a good option.
Even though these are taken in the most boring location, I’m really looking forward to finding cool places to take outfit photos. I forgot my tripod, so I have to find things to balance my camera for a while. But, there are so many cool locations here! I can even take sidewalk shots if I want, haha!
Home sweet home. First on the priority list to bring? Sewing machine, ironing board. Haha.
I don’t have internet access right now from my place either, so I am making use of coffee shops and the library. It is despicable how bored I get at times without the option of checking my email!
I hope to update much, much more often now that I’m out of school. I have some exciting news, too, that I’ll post about in the next couple of days!
P.S. I wrote this a couple days ago in my internetless house, and now that I can post it… I got the job! :D So excited!
Last weekend, the apparel department at my school held its annual fashion show. It was my first ever fashion show: the first time I ever saw one of my garments walk down a runway. Exciting? I think yes. But I'm getting ahead of myself!
I posted about my design a while back, but of course the real thing turned out a little differently. I ended up using two different weights of silk habotai, painting it with a couple shades of Serasilk dyes. I laid the fabric out on our kitchen table over spring break, got it damp all over, and just kind of went crazy. I threw salt on it for color variation, and used stronger paint in some places.
It turned out exactly as I wanted!
I'd already done two muslin fits of the dress, so once the fabric was done I went ahead started putting together the dress. It wasn't exactly a picnic--I did french seams and went about everything super carefully so it took a long time to make. At 11:30 pm, two days before I had to bring the garment in for to be evaluated for the show, I was trekking along, understitching the neck facing. I was thatclose to being finished. I went to clip my threads, and--disaster struck. The main fabric of the back panel got caught in my shears and I cut a hole in the dress. It was a tiny, 1" v-shaped snip, but it was a hole nonetheless and I couldn't possibly turn it in looking like it did.
I sat and stared at the hole in utter shock, and then looked up at my roommate. We discussed possible options for fixing it--add another cutout? Applique a patch? Embroidery? Replace the panel? And then I set the dress down, went to the bathroom, and started sobbing. I seriously bawled my eyes out. After the countless hours, all the money, all the work... this stupid mistake was going to mess this up! I wouldn't be able to have my dress in the show!
Sure, it was maybe an overreaction. But you pour your entire self into things like this, and when something so awful stops you up, it's kind of heartbreaking. I went and found my dear friend Lindsay, who had serged a hole in her dress just the week before. All hiccup-y, I said, "I just cut a hole in my dress.... and I knew you'd understand." She gave me a huge hug and then looked at me and said, "Addie. You're going to be able to fix it. It's going to be okay."
And she was right, of course.
I made a little heart applique and slipstitched it on top of the hole, and when I brought it in for judging, my professors were none the wiser.
So. The show. It was a lot of work a whirlwind, but so amazing.
This was me & Carissa, keeping tabs on all the models in this big ol' room behind the runway. This meant a lot of down time, so... homework time.
The girls backstage!
Friends, models, and designers! Left to right: Cassie (my model), me, Kym (Lindsay's model), Lindsay (modeling a garment for a senior), Alex, and Sarah (Alex's model). These girls all live on my floor/level and are such dear friends. We had a blast coming out afterward to take photos--we're behind the scenes the rest of the time so it was nice to pretend like us little freshmen had a bit of the spotlight. :)
Me & Cassie!
Cassie took this cute series that shows the dress very nicely.
So, that was the show! It was such a great experience, and I'm already plotting out ideas for next year. My first fashion show, a success!