Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I've been underground for a bit...

I'm revamping the www.findadressmaker.com site. Making some improvements, learning some new code, and generally making things work better. It is tedious, but worth every bit of the effort. Some of my dressmaker friends get almost ALL of their business from the site now. How cool is that?

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I'm giving a talk on fashion...

On April 28th, I'll be giving a talk to a group of girls, ages 12-17... and I must admit, I have an AGENDA. I'm very excited about it.

Let's face it, I'm getting older (more mature?) and I am seeing the way adolescent and teen girls dress nowadays, and I just want to do my best to let them know that clothing is personal expression, communication, and that it is POWERFUL. It can set or remove boundaries, help identify you as part of a group, or NOT part of one. It can show your own artistic flair, flatter your figure, protect you, restrict you, or make you feel cozy, comfortable, or athletic. I want them to know that expensive doesn't mean "better" (although it can), but your pocketbook doesn't limit how creative you can be. I want to show them that dressmaking and alterations are great skills to learn for their personal wardrobes, and that celebrities can be inspiration, as long as you understand that clothing also needs to be practical for your own life.

I wish I could also hold a bonfire for some of the more popular items I wish would just go away... but maybe that's taking things a bit too far.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pictures... sanity check?

I really love to laugh. And who doesn't?

I suppose, if I were crazy, I would be the last one to know. These are the things I've found fall-down funny over the past few days...



Some years ago, before we had children, my husband and I were spending a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, reading the newspapers, (as usual) when I decided to share the story I was reading (wink, wink).

"You, know those "Glamour Shots" studios in the malls, that are so popular right now?"

"Yeah..."

"We'll they're doing really well -- giving the old established department store portrait studios like Sears and JC Penney a run for their money."

"Oh..."

Sensing that he wasn't listening, I decided to embellish the story on my own.

"Well, it seems that Sears is fighting back now. Can you believe that they will actually let you pose nude for your pictures now?"

"Mmm, hmmm..."

"But they forgot that people would want different backdrops and lighting, so you're still stuck with the bookshelves, the inverted wicker trash can, the laser beams... under pretty bright lights, so, you know... not so sexy, really.

And... well they still have the same photographers, who aren't very experienced with that stuff, so the options are still that double-image thing with your profile in the upper corner, your head resting on your hands with the fake rose, or hands folded in front of you..."

He didn't even crack a smile. No reaction.

He actually believed me?

This made it hysterically funny, and, burying my face in the newspaper, I went on...

"If you want to go in an artsy direction, they will let you name the photo... like "Nude in front of bookcase" (Nude descending staircase), or whatever famous work you might want to spoof..."

To this day, still not a funny idea to him. I still go into fits of laughter remembering that exchange.


Second thought...

In high school, we got a kick out of the idea of going to the mobile ice cream truck stationed outside of our school, buy ice cream, and then return, angrily demanding to speak to Mr. Softee himself.



For anyone in any type of customer service field, I think you can appreciate how unreasonable people can be. We thought this was just the funniest idea ever.

Third thought...

Okay now, what is this? Is this supposed to be funny, or is it just too highbrow for me? Grace Jones sings with Pavorotti?



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Dirty tricks patterns play... (or, Things to know #10)

This is the tenth entry of the Things to know series...

I call these things "dirty tricks", because they are potential deal-breakers when it comes to getting the desired result when sewing...

Multi-part pieces...

When using a pattern from one of the major pattern companies, please note that, due to the size limits of the pattern tissue, the printers of your pattern might find it necessary to divide some pattern pieces into two (or more) parts. So, you may occasionally find a pattern piece that is numbered, let's use #1, as an example... but it actually needs another part(s) to complete it. Both piece 1 and piece #1A (its extension), must be taped together to make a complete piece. This spells disaster for the hasty, artistic mind that sees only piece #1, is not following the cutting instructions as written, and goes straight to pinning and cutting just that piece #1, without noticing that it is incomplete.

Sometimes, the piece has an extension to create another view, when there are different versions of one design.



This Miyake coat has an extension piece for #4, to create View B, which is longer than View A.

On strapless designs...

Strapless garments often measure less than your body measurement at the bustline. This is especially true if the garment does not have significant structural support (boning, etc.). Although the real key to keeping a strapless garment up is the boning and proper, snug waist fit, it needs to hug your bosom tight to keep "the girls" in there.

No provision for above waist adjustments...

This should be read as "Women who are ample-bosomed, or have other major upper-body fit issues need not apply". If you know a bit about design, and can adjust both the fit and design details to accommodate your shape, go ahead and do it! Otherwise, you will be left to wonder why the features are no longer aligned the way the designer intended.






Did you know...Maternity patterns are based on pre-pregnancy measurements (and a B cup)...?

I ask you, who the heck is a B cup when they're pregnant enough to wear maternity garb? Who the heck remembers their pre-pregnancy measurements when buying maternity patterns? Well, I don't know of a better system, but what a pain...



Ever experienced this one? You followed the directions, made the garment, looks great... but you can't move.
Some designs, especially for sleeves, are flawed when it comes to allowing for movement. If the fabric doesn't stretch, and the design looks like this... know that the "funky chicken" cannot be part of the plan for that night.



Also, beware close-fitting sleeves that only have a partial armhole seam. You know the kind... a tiny cap sleeve (usually found in formal wear) that looks like a wing" attached to the bodice? Looks like you'll have to find a waltz partner shorter than you are...

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Frozen...

I do know that one day (and probably sooner than I'd like), I will look around, and find myself free to eat my lunch on my own, take a walk, take a full shower that lasts as long as I choose, end a phone conversation naturally (not with a scream, and a mad dash to avert disaster or resolve some problem) and possibly linger a while at a bookstore. Right now, I can't imagine it.

With months to go in this crazy therapy schedule for my son, I am feeling like the smallest tasks are nearly impossible. The strange side-effect of that, though, is that the things of importance that I do plan, are so meticulously calculated, that anything of great significance is getting done, with fanatical precision.

Too much to do... feeling stuck in one spot... I'm developing a strangely obsessive, inflated concern over how long my tea steeps, as an example, and my daily lists of priorities are ever shifting in strange directions...

If you can believe it, I started this post on February 13th...

It isn't all bad, though. I am about 10 rows into my DNA scarf, with my actual chosen yarn! I did have to make some changes to the pattern to suit my vision for how I want the finished product to look, but I have redone the formula and tested it, so I know it works... and, I have a long time to work on it, so there are no worries there.


Over the past few weeks, we have been going to doctors, having meetings, and doing evaluations for our son like mad... but he is amazing us with his progress every day, and it looks like we have found some huge pieces to his medical puzzle... It is is all pretty amazing, and if you weren't here to see it with your own eyes, you just wouldn't believe it... so if you've been praying for him/us... it has obviously worked so far, and I thank you and Him both! We've still got a lot more to do, but we're getting closer to some answers and some school choices for the Fall.



So, tonight, I am up late, answering some emails, trying to schedule my week, blogging a bit, and making Aaron a little baseball shirt, on which I photo transferred this little character, to celebrate his mood lately, and his recovery from a horrible flu-like sickness that spiked to a 104.1 fever a few days ago (yeesh).

I really spent a lot of quality time with my husband and kids this weekend. I've never been so tired... or so happy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Waisted Effort

It is no secret that I don't believe in making things you can easily buy. I have long been purse-challenged, and have made the occasional all-purpose bag, which I usually ending up carrying for years beyond its intended life.

And, although I really try to be stylish, the fact is, no one has topped the utilitarian tool that is known as "The Fanny Pack". But you really can't be more out of style than that, can you? Life with my disabled son requires two hands, and I am constantly flipping my purse over my shoulder, tossing it aside to help tie a shoe lace, or steady him before climbing a staircase...

I thought my solution would be to make some sort of invisible fanny pack that I could rig below my waist, and live my hands-free lifestyle again in the Spring, but it turns out, someone has made something I can and would actually buy. they are called "Waist purses". Am I the last to see these?

The link, with very sharp, enlargeable pictures, is below. I'm a fan of the black lace-up.

La Cintura Waist Purse

And, since they come in leather or suede, I can just keep one for a long time.

Get this... you can wear it around your waist, over the shoulder, or across the chest, like a messenger bag. Anyone wondering what to get me for my upcoming birthday? Hint, hint...

And what a cute name it has... "La Cintura"!

So great, I hope this starts a fashion revolution...
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I can't help it...


I try my best not to be THAT Mom who gushes about her children all the time, but I just have to share my six-year-old's portrait of my husband.




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Superheroes


It is no secret that I am in LOVE with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I am really looking forward to the Superheroes exhibit this May, and I think it is a truly creative theme.

As superheroes enjoy a surge in mass popularity, The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will explore the symbolic and metaphorical associations between these fictional characters and fashion in Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, an exhibition at the Museum from May 7 through September 1, 2008. The exhibition will feature approximately 60 ensembles including movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear to reveal how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.


-From the Met's Press Release page. Full text accessible by clicking here.


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Monday, March 03, 2008

blog.mode: addressing fashion

Yesterday, I had "Mommy's day out", and went to the Metropolitan Museum. I love being able to stroll leisurely through the exhibits in peace, without a time limit, with the freedom to think, all the while being reminded that absolutely anything is worth doing well.

I was seriously contemplating "retiring" from the dressmaking biz after my current clients' projects are done, since I have been feeling so restricted by my client's budgets as well as my own, pushing me to skimp on the quality of materials, amount of time I can dedicate, trying to force the most economical layouts in an effort to keep prices low...

Well, this exhibit changed my mind. I just have to rededicate myself to the best quality workmanship, work schedule and materials the budget allows, not an approximation of something better.

I stopped in on the Blog.mode exhibit, which was fabulous. It was truly inspiring. I almost wept at seeing this amazing creation by Charles Worth,



and this wild Miyake number.



The pictures don't do them justice, at all.

Seeing these creations up close, I could actually feel the hands that made them. There was a uniqueness, a specificity. The beauty of this exhibit was overwhelming. What made it even more exciting, was that visitors were invited to submit comments on the exhibit's blog. Now, I'm sure no visitor will go back and read all of the posts, but the experience of "participating" in this way, added a whole new dimension to the exhibit, inspiring conversations between strangers, and an interactive feeling that you never otherwise experience in that environment.

Fellow New Yorkers and tourists, I suggest you visit. The exhibit is on until mid-April. After that, they will have a "Super heroes" exhibit! On display, costumes for various super heroes... another great idea.


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