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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Batman, not The Batman

Batman Pleated Skirt

Mmmm....crisp pleats. Tasty, tasty pleats.

The ink on the selvage edge was pretty blobby and hard to read, but it didn't look like "DC Comics" or "Bob Kane" were mentioned anywhere. Combined with the odd stiffness and strange printing (there were three repeated rows in odd sizing), it wouldn't be unreasonable to suspect this is a knock-off. Not that I care! I think it looks great. I love the graident of orange to yellow in the background, the city silhouette...hell, all of it! The fabric was quite stiff from the amount of printing on it, which lended well to a crisp pleated tennis skirt-esque garment. Construction wasn't too challenging, the print was easy to match up. I really enjoy doing pleats, it's time-consuming, but the results are very rewarding.

Come on, it's a Batman skirt. You KNOW it's cool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Motion in the Ocean...

Lobster Skirt

The lobster featured in its many active poses.

Probably my (and everyone else) favorite item I've made. I was intrigued by a description of the Schiaparelli lobster dress. I looked for the right fabric for months and I came across this print - the lobsters are just the right size. Besides the print, I really love the swingy movement and light fullness of the skirt.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Sunflower Plaid Border Print Dress


I apologize for the lack of decent photos, but I don't have most of these older pieces anymore and can't take better ones. The quality will improve as time goes on and I catch up to what I'm making now, I promise!

Anyway, I made this sunflower border-print dress, but I never really wore it out and about. The plaid was mismatched on the skirt and it drove me crazy. Hmm. I never considered myself to be much of a perfectionist, but reading my "THIS IS BAD AND THIS IS WHY" explanations for this early stuff doesn't really reflect well...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Purple Plaid Faux-Coatdress

Purple plaid is the best plaid.

I coordinated my love of ruffles, military coat details, and plaid into one garment, and it didn't come out looking awful! I did this in early fall of 2008.I'm pretty sure this was the first attempt at full-length sleeves. They came out pretty well! I had originally planned on having a row of ruffles on the bottom hem, but it just looked overworked and awful. The back is longer than the front (on purpose!). I'm not sure of the official term, I've mentally referred to it as "mullet skirt". I'm pretty in love with those buttons, here's a close up:

A lesson in prewashing



My first successful use of a button-front & piping, made in the fall of 2008. The faux metal buttons went incredibly well with this busy fabric. Unfortunately, just as I finished laboring over this dress, I discovered that the black ink on the fabric bled like a...something that bleeds a lot. There is a distinct lack of similes for "bled". But I digress! Any amount of water caused the crisp black shapes to melt into blobs. I'd like to revisit a mustard yellow (one of those "so unpleasent they're cool" colors) and black combination, preferebly with a fabric that can withstand moisture. Not a difficult request, I hope!

In Memory

Circles, Squared

I miss you, old friend.

A circle skirt with polka dots! The fabric was my IZOD bed sheets, but I figured they'd have a better run in skirt-form. Made in January 2008. Back zipper was slightly wonky. Are you sensing a theme, here? Learning how to do a lapped zipper saved my life. I was still trying to do a centered zipper with a regular foot at this point. Not something I'd recommend.

I didn't get much use out of this, though. After a downpour of Biblical proportions, my room flooded and destroyed this skirt with mildew. Siiiigh!

They laid down the law.

Egyptian Party Dress

I ain't no student of ancient culture.

This was something made in late 2007, I think. My aunt gave me this fabric when I was in the fourth grade and going through an Egypt-craze. I never really thought about making a dress with it until I had some excess gold lamé from a Halloween costume that I needed to use up.

An early interpretation of my all-time favorite silhouette, gathered short skirt with fitted sleeveless bodice.

Because it was a pretty early project, I don't have it anymore. It was semi-unwearable because I still had not recovered from my zipper-phobia and somehow managed instead to squeeze myself into it every time I wanted to wear it.

Faces Of Dress

I suppose I should start with the oldest stuff and work my way to the present, yes?

Mod Face Dress

I miss those two-tone shoes.

Made from some quilting fabric called "The In Crowd". I made this over the summer of 2007, before I really knew what I was doing. I remember a badly placed a zipper in the back. I later realized that it wasn't necessary and ripped it out & sewed it up. It has seams up the middle front and across the chest. I did a pretty good job of lining the pieces up given my inexperience at the time.