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….

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A Delayed Christmas Present Pt. 2

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The second present I got this Christmas that just about brought me to tears was from my stupendous uncle. He gave me a TREASURE TROVE worth of old Ciba Review journals.

For those of you who don’t know about Ciba, they are a chemical company (Chemische Industrie Base) that has fingers in everything from paper and inks, to textiles and dyes, and even agriculture. You can learn more about this Swiss company here: BASF.com

They published research journals that covered everything from historic textiles and dyes, history of costume, botany, and “native” clothing (which the politically correct call “traditional dress”… )

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I’m still in the process of organizing them. Once I’m done, however, I will be not only posting up scans of the articles for your reading pleasure, I will also be writing reviews and cliff notes of the articles.

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Sound academic and boring? How wrong you are. As a former fashion major, I can honestly say that in the library at the School-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, we had nothing nearly as comprehensive as this collection I have been gifted. So I do this for all of the costume designers, fashion historians, textile designers, dye chemists, historians, fashion majors and in general curious individuals.

This is my Christmas present to you, and I hope some of you can find a use for it all!!!! 🙂

P.S.- Sorry some of the photos are upside down! :S

A Delayed Christmas Present Part 1

For Christmas this year I got many wonderful gifts from my fantastic family. And they were all spot on for me. There was the iPod so I could run my store on the go, and pajamas, and funky hats, and LOTS of chocolate. But two gifts stood out and made me want to share them.

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This book is from my aunt. For any one out there who is interested in iconic clothing, or cinema, or just getting into seeing and are overwhelmed by available sewing patterns: this is the book for you.

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The book includes full scale patterns and directions for increasingly difficult patterns that range from the polka dot dress in Pretty Woman, one of Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dresses, and Baby’s pink dress from Dirty Dancing to more historically inspired (and much more complicated) pieces like Catherine Zeta Jones owning costume from Cabaret, Kate Winslet’s evening dress from Titanic and the stunning evening gown that Kiera Knightly wore in Atonement. There are plenty more projects I haven’t mentioned. And yes, Marilyn Monroe’s dress is in there, too!

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What’s even more fun is that each project gives some background on the actress who wore the dress, the film, and the costume designer!

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Once I get the through the sew along, I plan on breaking into the book and sewing my way through it- some of the dresses look like they’ll be intense!!!!

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A Case of Auto-Pilot and a Missing Key

Let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen- adults seem to busy to pay attention to the world around them.  We run through our lives spending half the time on autopilot while we think of other, more important things.  You know it’s true.  Maybe you came home from a really rough day at work. You walked through the door, you took off your coat. Then the next thing you know,  your on the sofa with some hot chocolate, or what ever always makes you feel better. You don’t remember getting it. You don’t remember  going to the sofa.

Or maybe you’re driving to work. you get into the car, you pull out of the drive way, and the next thing you know, you’re merging for the exit ramp. You don’t remember any of the drive. You don’t even remember changing lanes the first time.  (this brings up a question on whether or not adults should be permitted to drive, unsupervised. but I leave that to you to ponder today).

In both cases, you were on autopilot. You’re brain just didn’t care enough to pay attention. Besides, your body clearly could do everything all on it’s own, with out YOU to bother it.

I am often guilty of not paying attention. I search for my workshop keys for at least half an hour everyday. I can never find my glasses when I wake up in the morning. To find my cell phone when I’ve put it down, I have to call it and follow the ringtone like a bloodhound. I found it in the refridgerator once.

This week, however, I had the most amazing memory lapse in the history of my life. I lost the key to my work shop. Not as in  “oh, silly me, I put it in the icecream box!”, or “oh! It fell under the sofa!” I mean REALLY lost it. I ripped apart my house. And it was NOWHERE. SO then I spent a day prowling the streets of my neighborhood, examining sidewalks. No luck.

I should probably explain why I was so worried about this key. If you wanted to get VERY technical, I wasn’t supposed to have it. Sure, I worked for the school, and so obviously needed to be able to get into the costume workshop to do my job.  The administration felt differently. I wasn’t a full fledged teacher, so I was not, in their eyes, worthy of possessing the mystical magical key that let me in to a 10×20 ft windowless box that was tiled with asbestos. Because I might STEAL something.

Never mind the thousands of hours I log working on the productions. Never mind the fact that I was the one who restocked the first aid kit in the shop out of my own pocket because the school was too cheap.  And never mind the countless fundraisers I’d organized to get supplies and money for the costume shop. In their eyes, I was nothing more than a 5’10”, 160 lb., well corseted FELON.

The moral is that they didn’t want me to have this key.

So it would be no far stretch to think that the administration would dance a jig over me losing my illegitimate, bastard key. “Lost it, dearie? oh GOOD! Replace it, dearie? Oh, sweetheart, I don’t think we could!” So I started thinking up more and more far fetched plans for getting in and out of my workshop. How much did a lock pick set cost? Could a lock pick turn a dead bolt? Maybe I could borrow my boss’s key, and then get a copy made? All horrible ideas, especially the last one, since the key said DO NOT DUPLICATE, and it would have involved fraud, bribery and the cunning use of a micro mini skirt and a push up bra to get a new copy made.

As it got closer and closer to me having to tell my boss that I had lost the key, I became more and more panicked. I couldn’t sleep. I was too nauseous to eat.

And then, last night, my mother came home. She dropped her purse and her coat next to the phone, and looked over at the computer desk.

“Isn’t that the key you were looking for?” she asked me.

It had been sitting on the computer desk. Not hidden. It was placed neatly in front of the keyboard. I had spent three days looking for it, and yet had managed not to see it.

Was it simply a case of autopilot? Had I taken the key to the computer to use the USB attached to it, and gotten side tracked? Or had I realized in the middle of the act, that I was trying to use the WRONG USB, and so had gone to get the other, forgetting the first? Had I run out of coffee and needed to refill my cup, and then decided that coffee and brownies were perfect together, and so had decided to make brownies?

I may never know.

Personally, I am maintaining that my house is haunted by a poltergeist, that decided it was bored with my key, and was kind enough to return it.

The conclusion you draw from this tale is up to you. However, once you have finished reading this, I suggest you take a moment to look around you, and really look. other wise, next time it might be you, searching in vain for a missing object that is right in front of you!

Until next time… ::sinister laugh and creepy organ music::

The Cloth-of-gold Lining

There comes a point in every persons life where things just fall apart. Maybe you get your car repossessed. Maybe you lose that amazing job that came with a skyline view from your office and season tickets (what ever that means…). Maybe you go to the salon to have your hair dyed and it all falls out. Regardless of what it actually is that makes you stomp your feet and throw a tantrum, to you, it’s the biggest deal in the world. And no amount of people telling you that “this too shall pass” is going to make you feel immediately better. So you go out in search of your silver lining. Or, in the case of fabric, your cloth-of-gold lining (I know, I know, it’s a really corny joke. Forgive me).

For me, this “the sky is falling the SKY is FALLING!!!!” moment came today when I opened my mailbox. Today I found out that I have been rejected from every single fashion school I applied to.  I’m a student with no school, a designer with no training, and, even if it’s not REALLY true, I am at this moment convinced that it’s just possible that I might not be as awesome as I thought. FIT (a state school) said no. the Art Institute said No. And now Parsons has said No.

Faced with this depressing reality, I searched for my brighter lining. Well, heck, now I’m going to have a WHOLE lot more time to work on the VPLL Sewing Project, I told myself. So I printed out all of the patterns they’ve sent me, and am currently on break from assembling them. I don’t care if they are covering my living room floor… I’m getting SOMETHING done.

And if those schools don’t want me right now, really, that’s fine. I’ve got all the pattern drafting and draping text books sitting up in my bedroom (I bought them early so I’d be prepared for class in the fall…=S). So, since I’ve got the books and I will now have the time, I might as well get started on the exercises in the text books. Then I’ll be SUPER ready for when I’m finally in school.

And somehow, knowing that I could accomplish things, even something as simple as taping pieces of paper together to make a slip pattern, has made my rejection letters sting a little less. it’s made the sky a little brighter. And it’s made me smile ever so slightly,on what I am currently calling the crappiest day of my life. I’ll be fine.

The moral of the story is this: Although shit does happen, these events leave you with three options- One, you can hide under a rock and say “maybe if I close my eyes it’ll go away”- two, you can get dragged down by the feelings of failure, depression, resent etc. – or, three, you can take a deep breath, cry if you have to and then do something. do ANYTHING. Make a hard boiled egg. Vacuum your couch. Vacuum your dog. Paint your nails. Do anything at all that you want to do. And when your done, you say to yourself; “hey, I can do that. I wonder what else I can do.” And before you know it, you’ll be up and running, trying just a little bit harder.