Monday, July 20, 2009

Graffiti, en fran├žais

French Graffiti Ruffle Dress

A lesson in changed plans. I had intended circular ruffles for sleeves and along the hem for a 1920s look. However, they did not get the fullness or drape that I wanted, so I removed and recut them to add to the ruffle along the neckline. With the 20s thing not working out, I went for something a little more cocktail party-esque. I must say, I did a pretty great job of fitting everything, ecspecially since I don't have my drafting textbook at the moment. I still need some practice on placing the armholes, I can never cut them right on the first try.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cotton candy.

White Carnival Dress

This started out as a knee length skirt, but I hiked it up to my chest and felt like it worked a lot better. I slapped some straps and a belt on it and called it a dress. I made it to go along with this magical petticoat I found at a thrift store.

It's ridiculously girly and over-the-top...I'm not sure if I'll be wearing this in public a lot, but I still dig it! This was the largest circle I've ever cut, it took three yards of fabric. Hemming was beyond obnoxious. I still haven't mastered the delicate art of hemming a circular cut, since the fabric tends to distort when it's not at a straight grain.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I picked up freezer-paper stenciling on the recommendation of a friend this spring. It's great. I've made three shirts so far, inspired by Negativland, Snakefinger, and Renaldo and the Loaf, three bizarro musical acts I enjoy.

I unintentionally destroyed the Renaldo & the Loaf shirt by eating an orange for breakfast. It's got patches of bright yellow all over it. I'm considering dyeing it yellow to cover up that mistake...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Insert your own hound or tooth-themed pun here

Houndstooth Mini-Dress

Where are the Go-Go boots when you need them?

I've been after large-sized black and white houndstooth for at least a year. I never thought I'd find three yards of it for less than 3 dollars at Wal-Mart. The craft section is being phased out, and everything is discounted, including this knit version of one of my favorite prints.

Although I fantasized about having large print houndstooth for ages, I never had a concrete plan in mind for what I'd do with it. I was between a mini-dress and a cape. I figured a mini-dress would be easier on the eyes instead of an all-out Houndstooth Assult. I decided to build up the neck and keep the rest of the dress simple. The dress as a whole is pretty plain, but it leaves room for accessorizing and all that nonsense. I'm satisfied with the look of the neck and upper portion, but I would have preferred a slightly fuller bottom hem. Ah, well. I still have a giant chunk of the fabric left. Maybe next time?


Archetypal Sailor Dress

Hello saaaail-or!

I have quite the affinity for nautical and navy themed...well, anything. Others, apparently, have picked up on this. Two friends happened to do drawings of me (one is here) in cutesy little sailor dresses, and I figure who am I to dispute my archetypal image? I had a few issues with this dress. I had to use Fray-Block because I left my serger power cord in a storage unit a few thousand miles away. Fray Block is awful. It's itchy and stiff and just...unpleasant all around. I've used Fray Check on zippers and such before, and that seems to dry a little softer. But it does have that weird baby powder smell and costs twice as much for half the amount...but anyway! Back to the dress.

I had to wing the sailor collar based off of a dress my mother wore as an infant. That is a bit embarrassing to admit. The skirt is flared, using the spread and slash method of pattern drafting.

I used twill tape for the white section along the bottom. Did you know twill tape is used to wrap the handlebars of road bicycles? Neither did I, until I looked up "what is twill tape used for" a few seconds ago.

The circular closure on the ribbon belt is made out of FIMO clay. I made it myself. How impressive, I can whip up a mishapen circle out of clay and stick a line in the back!

Quittin' Time

I haven't entirely caught up with my older items, but I've been wanting to post some more recent things. Onwards!

How To Stop Smoking Dress

Don't Kill Yourself!

The siren song of this cute-but-not-cutesy fabric beckoned to me every time I walked into the fabric store back home. A few weeks before I moved, I gave in and purchased a few yards. I was paralyzed with that "ruining your pretty new fabric" fear for a quite come time.

But as you can see, I got over it! I got around to making this dress sometime in April. I gave in to the gathered rectangular skirt trap that I so often fall into. I can't help it! Gathered rectangles give that full look and work well with so many fabrics, since it's a straight cut. And yeah, they're easy. I've been purposefully avoiding that type of skirt, though, because simply repeating the same thing over and over doesn't really help develop a dynamic design vocabulary. I am bustin' out the million dollar art class critique terms! The stiff-looking bodice is to better showcase the print on the fabric. The neckline is wide and slightly indented towards the middle.

I made a little ribbon belt with a "No Smoking" button attached to go along, but I can't seem to locate it at the moment. Here's an older picture with said belt.

Nautical Striped Skirt


I picked this fabric up during a trip to NYC in the spring. Fabric shopping in the city feels more like placing a hit than buying textiles. Shady lighting, foreign languages being shouted across the room, dealing only in's great! I much prefer it to dealing with insane old ladies in the fluorescent hellhole that is the typical middle-American fabric and craft (read: less than 15% is devoted to fabric and it's mostly awful quilting stuff like this) store.

I originally aimed for a dress, but the fabric is a bit too light to make a suitable bodice, and the stripes weren't matching up the way I wanted. In spite of my initial fears of screwy thread tension, the construction went really smoothly. I'm satisfied, not enthralled, with this skirt.