Saturday, April 28, 2012

Inspiration: Kris Nations

Lots of gifty opportunities coming up...Mother's Day, Graduations.  Assorted birthdays.  I'm in love right now with Kris Nations' jewelry.  I especially love them because they use recycled metals and everything is made in the USA!

My favorites...

State Pride Necklace

Orchid Earrings
Biltmore Hoops

Dahlia Double Chain Necklace

Arrow Bracelet

Chevron Cuff Bracelet
Pyrite Drops

Small Pluma Necklace

I'm not affiliated in any way with Kris Nations, I just really love their jewelry line and covet all of these (plus several other) pieces. And you already know I like to spread the news of cool indie designers who are practicing fair labor and looking out for this pretty blue planet!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Glam: Carole Lombard

She is one of my favorite actresses of all time, and I don't see her mentioned very often.   She was funny and brassy and bold.  And really quite beautiful.  I love that she's completely glamorous and perfect in one photo and in shorts and deck shoes or pitching a baseball in the next.  I suspect she lived life to the fullest.  That's real style!

I've always thought her eyes were her most striking feature, with their unique "sanpaku" condition (where the iris is small enough or positioned so that the white shows beneath it).  Historically there have been a variety of superstitions about sanpaku eyes.  Other famous persons with sanpaku include Marilyn Monroe, JFK, James Dean, Natalie Wood.  Robert Pattinson (hehe)

She was married to two of my favorite actors,  William Powell and later to Clark Gable.  She and Gable famously referred to each other as "Ma and Pa", and lived on a little ranch in the San Fernando Valley.  Their relationship started with a bit of scandal; he was still married when they began their affair.  His divorce to his wife was final on March 7, 1939.  He and Lombard were married on March 29, 1939.

Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash in 1942 in Las Vegas, returning home from a war bonds rally in her native state of Indiana.  She was 33 years old.


If you've never had the opportunity to see Carole Lombard in action, I recommend My Man Godfrey.  It's available on Netflix!

Carole Lombard 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simplicity 1800: Pt 2

I've made progress on my dress from Simplicity 1800:

But I'm stuck at a really silly point...finishing the neckline and hems.  The neckline is very pretty though.

My quandry is, the front bodice is supposed to be LINED.  Just the bodice, not the sleeve portion, and that lining finishes the upper edge.  But then there are front and back facing pieces also (to finish the arms/shoulder and the back neck).

The pattern pieces aren't marked to cut a lining, and I didn't decipher that from the cutting layout either.  Which means, I didn't cut a lining and now I don't have enough fabric to do one.  Not to mention the dress is put together WAY past the point of where I should have lined the front bodice.  Hmpho, as Beangirl would say.

Here's what happened.   I'm noodling along, sewing up this dress at a fine pace, it's looking like it will fit, it's sunny, the winds are calm, all is smooth sailing (which should have been my FIRST CLUE) and then WHAMMO.  I'm ready to sew the facings on.  And the "front facing" clearly ISN'T MATCHING.  I was pretty baffled, because I had cut out the silly thing very carefully (also not normal) and marked every dot and cut every notch (ditto).

I dug through the directions, looking for my goof.  Twice. FINALLY I ran across it, where a brief statement mentions lining the bodice.  Granted, I didn't sew step by step with the directions because they're all split apart into varying sections (depending on what view you're making) and I find those sort of directions really disjointed and confusing.

But I did gaze at them and flip through them for anything major before I started.


At this point I'm not sure how to finish the neck.  I'm considering drafting my own facing.  I don't have anything suitable to line with and I don't really want to anyway.  Not the whole bodice and sleeves.  Bias binding?  Facing?  Anyone?

Moving on to the skirt...I didn't pleat the skirt (the maternity comment scared me on the last progress post), I chose instead to do a small amount of gathering between the notches for the pleats.  I really like how it turned out:

That pin sticking out of the bodice is where i need to take up the princess seam just a bit, about 1/4 inch at the fullest part.  I probably could have gone down a pattern cup size.

On that note...I used my high bust measurement and regular bra cup size for the front, and then a larger size for the back (because I have the dreaded broad back. Ugh. Shut it, Beangirl.)  It fit right out of the box, no alterations except for that tiny bit that *could* be removed.  In a different fabric, one that's thicker or weightier (like a ponte) I don't think I would remove any at all.  In this drapey rayon, I think it will lie better if I stitch it a little closer. 

Count me a fan of the multi-cup size patterns now!  The side seams could also be taken up about an inch on each side, but that's because I didn't realize there were 1" seam allowances built in.  And I cut about 1/4 outside of that for "insurance"!  That's another time it would have paid to read the directions, huh?

So it's just going to be a bit baggy and comfortable.  Not a fitted, Va-Va-voom dress.  Not that I was going for that.  Ahem.

Anywho. As soon as I figure out a solution to this neckline dilemma, I'll have a cute new summer dress to wear.  One that is more "comfort" than "style" but I think I can adjust the pattern to be a bit more fitted and flattering on the next one, so all is not lost!

If I change anything, it will be to lower the bodice to more "at the waist" (it is definitely an empire waist) and raise the neckline about an inch.

Oh!  There is also a goof in the directions.  At one point it tells you to sew the two-piece sleeves (I think it was the sleeves) Wrong Sides together.  Oops, Simplicity! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Night at the Circus

It was prom this weekend!  Our theme was "A Night at the Circus".  The kids adamantly wanted a vintage circus feel, a'la Water for Elephants.  Last year, we did A Night in Old Hollywood, so I've gotten to plan a vintage theme two years running!

Here is the entryway, originally a kit for a "Hollywood Movie Premiere" archway.  We just bought additional $1 styrofoam letters and spelled circus instead!

The students traveled down the hall from the entryway to the cafeteria, which we transformed into a "banquet" area and dance floor.  Dance floor:

Canopied banquet seating:

The canopy "circus tent" was 19" gossamer in red and white, draped over pole & drape rods.  The tables were decorated with popcorn boxes filled with swirly suckers (Oriental trading has just about every color!), mason jars with tea lights, and a fortune teller ("cootie catcher") that I made to match our theme.

The fortunes told you which circus act you were!  (forgot to take a good picture of one though. Rats.)  I printed them on parchment paper, so they looked old too.

I think my favorite part was the ceiling!  Paper lanterns (always a hit for little cash) and upside down umbrellas!   The umbrellas are paintable paper umbrellas from Oriental Trading, and the kids painted the red stripes with plain old acrylic paint. 

Outside of the dance floor, there is a glass "cross connect" between buildings, which we used for an old-fashioned photobooth and a caricature artist.  These giant letters might be tied for my favorite detail.  (the little bench is where people sat to have their caricature's drawn.)

The letters were for cheer or dance teams to use in performances and stand 48" tall.  Except the "I" which...was a flub and I didn't notice until we unboxed them Thursday night.  Too late to fix at that point!  THey had sent one correct side and one incorrect side.  So we cut the correct one down to match the smaller one and just glued a paper lantern on top like a "dot".  I might like them better with that red dot on the I!  The letters were all glittered in iridescent glitter (of course). 

Dance floor in the dark... It livened up and you could really see everything when the DJ started the lasers, but I wish there was an easy way to light up the ceiling (for amateurs, I mean.  I'm sure professionals could do it in no time.)

The gazebo was HORRIBLE to build.  But it looked pretty!  Here it is in a "lights on" photo:

The kids loved it too. We put 2 benches inside of it (actually to help stabilize our crap building job, haha!) and there were kids sitting inside the gazebo all night.

I designed the ticket too, and a local print shop printed them up. (I hid our school name for anonymity's sake, but it was originally above the "presents" banner). 

A lot (ALOT) of work but the kids had fun and stayed to the end (had to shoo them out finally at about 12:15 am!) which is always a good thing.  The longer they're in the cafeteria with us, the longer they're safe and sound! 

If you have a vintage circus prom or party coming up (we saw a lot of circus weddings when we were planning), hit me up if you'd like details on anything we did!  I'm happy to share!

Now I'm pooped.   I might be getting to old for this prom business. ;)

Me & Lu testing the photobooth Friday night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Burda Style Magazine: 5/2012

Good grief, I love this issue!  (and while we're on the subject, is it me or has Burda Styles German website gotten even MORE convoluted and confusing?  I never did find the full preview of this issue.  Had to resort to Russian! You know it's bad if I'm deciphering Cyrillic characters!)

Sadly, none of the sites seem to have the line drawings up for this issue. Boo.

Now let's get to the best news...the Plus Sizes (sorry straight sizers).  Hands down, this is my favorite issue of the year for my size range.

First up, this gorgeous jacket.  So gorgeous I may in fact be persuaded to make a jacket for the first time since 2000.  (Seriously.)  I wish we had line drawings so you could see how pretty it is!

There is also this lovely lace pencil skirt with a waistband.  Be still my heart, I do love me a straight waistband.

A basic white blouse...I would need to fiddle with those sleeve bands.  They seem a tad out of proportion.

An adorable polkadot tie neck blouse:

A very hot shirtdress with fitted skirt. Paging Joan Holloway!

This lace sheath dress has very pretty lines (which you can't see in the fashion photo) but the peplum  Good thing it's removable!

This next dress has an adorable fitted peasant-style bodice with an a-line skirt.  A non-sack-like peasant dress!

The last dress in the plus section is beautiful too, a sleeveless "LBD" with pretty side pleating on the bodice and a V-neck.

I love every single plus size pattern.  Alot.  In fact, I may spend some quality time tracing in the next couple of weeks.

My faves from the straight sizes include this incredible pencil skirt...Oooh la la!!

And this very retro full skirt, with POCKETS!

So what were your faves, BS Subscribers??

Don't panic but... it appears BS may be disabling or discontinuing the archives. The French site had issues through 4/12 but not the Russian site. One of the country sites (Italy maybe?) is now redirecting back to the crappy German site and the Portuguese site is identical to the crappy German site.   I say, better grab those images while you can ladies! I plan to!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fashion Inspiration: Alice Nightingale

I stumbled across a gorgeous etsy shop over the weekend.  It reminds me very much of anthropologie, especially the items that appear to be the newer photos.  Here are my favorites (and it was hard to choose!  I eventually had to just pick spring/summer items to narrow it down.)

I love this scalloped collar SO much!

Pretty floral sundress...

Gorgeous sheer blouse, and again with the scallopy collar:

DOTS.  Circle skirt.  RED BUTTONS.

Isn't this capelet the cutest thing??

Another dotty skirt/cute top ensemble:

Vintagey malliot swimsuit.

Floral shirtdress...

Retro two-piece swimsuit:

Yellow gingham and AQUA high-waist shorts.  My kind of summer.

Yellow dots on a floaty skirt...

I love finding new inspiration!