Spring Cleaning and Other Good Things

After pretty much freezing my business, and everything associated with it, in a last ditch effort to survive the semester, I have decided to just bite the bullet and get started up again.

For firstly, this store represents the culmination of my life’s dream (the dream to be a fashion designer, not the other dreams!!), and it’s been absolutely heart breaking and neurosis inducing to not be able to sew, or to sketch. So I’m cleaning of the poor neglected sewing machine and getting her fired up!

For secondly, First Friday season is here, and my brain has been overflowing with new ideas for that. So I’ve recruited two assistants to help me with the folding and the glazing.

Today, unfortunately, doesn’t look like it’s going to have much sewing in it. My house is absolutely trashed, and the weather is so nice that I thought I might do a Spring cleaning. If there’s any time left over to the day after that, then I can get started on a cute little sun dress I’ve been sizing hour. It’s going to be made from absolutely the most fun fabric ever!

Although, I must say, I have learned an important lesson from sizing it out- don’t cut your nice pretty fabric first before testing the pattern….

What Do We Do?? We Swim, Swim, SWIM!!!!

This has been a rocky month for me. Three weeks ago, after missing almost an entire week of classes due to a really scary encounter with depression, I dragged myself out of bed, and went directly to the school counselling center.

“I need help,” I told the “triage therapist”. “I’m depressed, and I’m burning out, and I can’t figure out how to juggle everything. Please. Help me.”

The therapist decided that even with my difficulty leaving the house, even with my only sleeping three hours a night, even with my plummeting grades and slipping business, and even with the fact that I wasn’t hungry EVER (I’m a huge foodie, so that was a pretty telling sign to me…) I just wasn’t depressed enough to see a therapist that week.

And even with me breaking down crying because I couldn’t get my tea water to just BOIL, and even with me running out of class to throw up when I had a sub teach one of my classes, and even with panic attacks on the bus, I just wasn’t depressed enough to see a therapist the next week.

Or the week after that.

Or the week after that.

In fact, the man decided that I was perfectly fine, but if I really wanted to see someone, he could schedule me for an appointment at the end of February (I took the appointment). In the mean time, had I tried just NOT stressing myself out? Had I tried going to bed before 4am? Had I considered eating breakfast in the morning?

I came home feeling even worse. I called my mother, and vented my spleen about the encounter, and then I called my boyfriend and vented my spleen all over again.

After all that venting, I sat down and really thought. If the sons of britches at the counselling center wouldn’t help me, then I would help myself just to spite them all!!!

For the past two weeks, I have listened to nothing but ambient meditation music. I have done yoga everyday, twice a day, and about every twenty minutes I do some deep breathing. I drink one cup of decaf coffee in the morning, and then it’s all herbal tea after that. 

And now that I have a new cellphone (mine was stolen three weeks ago. Draw your own conclusions on what set me off… I did), I can keep in touch with people.

I feel phenomenal.

I’m still going to keep my appointment. I still think my time management and stress management skills could be bettered. But I got through this without their help.

The moral of this story is NOT that if you are depressed you shouldn’t get some help. I hope no one EVER has to be told that they aren’t depressed enough to need help, because that’s really fucking scary.

The moral is that even at your darkest hour, even when you have nothing left, you have to hold on and keep going. It can feel like the most difficult thing in the world, but you need to remember that the sun will keep coming up every morning, and there will be better days ahead. You just have to get through the bad times.

In the Works: Some CREASEables

Since it’s getting close to when I start going to events around Philly, I’ve been putting in some dedicated time and research into my new origamis. I really love the kanzashi worn by geisha and maiko, but with all of the time I spend sewing other things, it’s nice to have a break from fabric and needles.

My past CREASE designs have really been a hit, but I sort of felt like I was starting to do the same four designs again, and again, and again, and again. So I went online and did some quick, superficial research on different kanzashi styles and origami foldings.

Apparently there are different colors, styles and plants associated with the different months.

January- COLORS: white, red and green
Bamboo, plum blossoms, and pine sprigs

January Kanzashi

February:
deep pink and red
plum blossoms
feb kanzashi

March:
yellow, white and peach
peach blossoms, narcissus, camellia, peony, and rape blossoms (it’s a plant. I swear to goblins!)
March kanzashi

April:
pink and gold
cherry blossoms, lanterns and butterflies
April kanzashi

May:
purple and silver
wisteria, iris, and butterfliesmay kanzashi

June:
green, pink and blue
willow, hydrangea

june kanzashi

July:
all it said was “fireworks”. I guess they like sparkly things that go BANG too! :)

August:
purple
morning gloryaugust kanzashi

September
bellflower, clover, chrysanthemum, patrinia and kudzu (no idea what the last two are)

October:
red and white
chrysanthemumsoctober kanzashi

November:
orange, yellow and red
maple leaves and ginko leavesnovember kanzashi

As you can see from some of the images I found (from various online sources, none of which I made, nor of which I am going to make, so pretty please if one of these is your image, don’t sue me- they’re just SO PRETTY!!!!!), and from the wealth of colors and flowers that are represented, I’ve got options.

What do you think of these sketches? Would you wear them? And, more importantly, where would you wear them?

Vintage Lady of the Week: Audrey Hepburn

It’s hard for me not to be in love with Audrey Hepburn. Maybe it’s her elfin features, or the mischievous characters she frequently played. Or her fantastic fashion sense, both on and off the screen…

Audrey Hepburn

Or her hats. Damn, did that woman wear hats!!!

Audrey Hepburn

Or the fact that she was an honest-to-goblins humanitarian. Maybe it’s a combination of all of those. Looks, talent, fashion sense, and a gigantic heart made of pure gold.

It’s tempting to completely skip going over my most favorite of her costumes, and just write an essay on her humanitarian work. But I’m going to rein myself in a little.

First up on my favorite of her costumes is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER COSTUMES FROM “SABRINA”. All of those Givenchy gowns!!! It’s almost like fashion-sensory over load every time I see that movie! I want that wardrobe!

Sabrina 1954

Second are her outrageous period costumes from “My Fair Lady”. I especially love this dress. The simplicity of the lines contrast beautifully with the opulence of the detailing and the jewelry… Okay, maybe that necklace is a little too much. What do you think?

Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" (1964)

Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” (1964)

Third, of course, is the black dress from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. No, not the long, body hugging black one. This one. The shorter one. With the feathers. I have a pattern book that has a reproduction pattern for this exact dress. I desperately want to make it, if only to wear it around the house on a rainy day, to play dress ups! That’s in true Holly Golightly style.

Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961)

Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

Fourth are the hats she wore in “Charade”. They are all absolutely odd. This movie was my introduction to Audrey Hepburn, and as soon as I saw her hats, I was SOLD. I mean, look at this bizarre elapsed print hat! It’s so strange, and yet, to me at least, oddly attractive. I’m also a huge fan of the yellow coat. It looks fairly simple to reproduce… But try finding canary yellow wool at Joann Fabrics…

Audrey Hepburn in "Charade" (1961)

Audrey Hepburn in “Charade” (1961)

"Charade" (1961)

“Charade” (1961)

 

This concludes my top picks for her costumes. If I had to choose my favorite films of hers, I’d definitely be torn between “Charade” and “Wait Until Dark”.

What about you? What costumes of hers do you like?  What’s your favorite Audry Hepburn movie?

CIBA Sunday: Apologies From a Slacker, and the First Article

Ahhh, my master plan to create the CIBA archive for students! It was so well intentioned, and yet, fell apart so completely by my inability to figure out how to make a multi-page PDF file.

It’s such a lame excuse.

I have figured out how to make a PDF, now, and I have been slowly, but surely, scanning all 175 of my CIBA Reviews. It’s a process.

I apologize

Now, on with the first article!!!

Spanish leather hanging

Spanish leather hanging

I think I may have said, many, many, many months ago that I am starting off with the first volume in my collection. That is to say, I’m starting off with Volume 3, because I don’t have volumes 1 or 2.  Volume 3 is all about wall coverings. Tapestries, wall hangings, wall paper, curtains. If it can cover a wall, it’s covered in the articles.

 17th cen spanish hanging

17th century Spanish hanging

The first article is a fairly informative one, by Grete de Francesco, in November of 1937. In fact, at least for this volume, she appears to have written the majority of the articles. The first article, which you can download at the bottom of this post, in a PDF, is entitled “The History of Mural Hangings”. It sounds a little dry, but the pictures in the article are stunning, dating back at least as far as the 16th century.  The article briefly explains the practical functions of mural hanging, as well as the aesthetics; it then goes on to trace the evolution of wall paper from the “humble” origins as hangings.

 17th cen wallpaper

17th century wallpaper

There is a detailed explanation of the method of creating Cordova leathers, which were popular as wall hangings from the 11th to the 16th century. These were gold or silver leafed leathers, which were then painted with various colored lacquers. De Francesco compared the resulting works to silk and gold (or silver) weaving, which at the time, with silk being a costly import from Asia, would have been even more expensive than the Cordova leather panels!

 Embossed leather and flock paper

Embossed leather and flock paper

The Rococo and Baroque eras departed from the costly tapestries, silks and leather hangings, and instead favored painted panels on the walls. De Francesco accredited the popularity of this style to Marie Antoinette. In addition, this painted wall panelling trickled down to the middle classes in the form of wallpapers, which were more affordable, if not as intricate and detailed, as the paintings in the homes and halls of the nobles.

The History of Mural Hangings (Full Article PDF. Zoom to read!)

On Sale Now: The Finally, Fully Finished Strawberries & Champagne Series

I’ve been busy.

First there was the complete and utter desegregation of my class schedule, which took me all week to work out. And then there was the four million pages of reading I had to do (and accomplished!)

And then, when all of that was done, there were still more listings to draft, more sewing to do, and more blogs to post. I persevered.

I got it done.

Marilyn Monroe Set. 10% off for February.  Price $123.67

Marilyn Monroe Set. 10% off for February. Price $123.67

So now, with one slight omission (the corset is still lacking it’s sassy garter straps and I refuse to list it until it has been properly sass-ified), the “Strawberries & Champagne” series of Vices&Virtues is FINISHED!

Sleeping Beauty Set. 10% off for February. Price $91.20

Sleeping Beauty Set. 10% off for February. Price $91.20

And listed!

In my store!

Diva Set. 10% off for February. Price $170.68

Diva Set. 10% off for February. Price $170.68

It’s been a lot of work, and a lot more stress, but I’m realizing that it’s sort of like the stress I got from theater. It’s worth it when you see the end product!

Rapunzel Set. 10% off for February. Price $100.82

Rapunzel Set. 10% off for February. Price $100.82

Today I’m off to pick up some supplies for the “Strawberry Mousse” series, which is going together much faster, now that I have worked out all of the sewing kinks. And I might be delivering the “Strawberries & Champagne” samples to a photo shoot ( Is there glamorous pictures in store? We shall have to wait and see!)

Sweet Betty Blue Kimono – Part 1

I made a lot of New Years resolutions. Like most people in the world, most of these resolutions fell through the cracks in the first five days.  However, one thing that I refuse to let fall apart is my new and improved sewing schedule. I’ve decided to start working with me archives. Between vintage patterns, vintage pattern magazines, and some really stunning (I think) vintage pieces I have salvaged from attics and thrift stores, I have a pretty good base to start from.

Most of the vintage dresses, coats, etc. in my archive are more involved than I would like to start off with, so I’ve decided to finally finish a project that I swore I would make- this awesome 1920′s kimono robe!!! (I bet you remember it! Don’t you?)

The Betty Blue KimonoWell, to refresh my memory, it’s this little number, from the 1925 Spring Fashion Services Magazine. Kimonos are fairly straight forward in their construction; they are just rectangles of fabric sewn together in a specific way. The instructions for this one say to use McCall pattern #3825. Given that this would have been in the 1920′s, and that it has long since been out of print, I have instead decided to use the kimono pattern in my go-to lingerie sewing seer: Sewing Lingerie, from the Singer Reference Library.

Sewing Lingerie

It’s should go together pretty quickly. And I even have the fabric for it! It’s just a polyester crepe that I picked up at Ye Olde Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I think it will work just fine. For the closures, I think I’ll see if I can pick up dome wooden or metal hoops at the craft store, and wrap them with ribbon. But we will see.

Betty Blue embroidery

I’m also finally going to be trying my hand at embroidery. This pattern is from “Pretty Pretties”, a wonderful little e-book available on Etsy, from MrsDepew. If you haven’t checked out her store, you should! She has an absolute treasure trove of vintage patterns, magazines and digital reproductions!  Anyway, it needs a special needle, which I have, and I even picked up two different shades of blue that will look lovely with the fabric. I think I might put it on the tails of the sleeves.

Well, check back next week to see if I have made any progress! :)