Sunday, April 10, 2016

Retreating (& More)

Last weekend I attended a sewing retreat. Lots of sewing happened but, for this or that reason, I was only able to finish one quick project.


Another Presto

I found this ITY knit in my stash and it fits with my teal color scheme. The pattern has a 3/4 length sleeve, but I lengthened the sleeve on this version. I made no other changes.

And, yes, I have new glasses. After many years of stable vision, my prescription changed substantially this year. I now require less correction though my eye doctor refuses to say that my vision has "improved", I just "require less correction." Hmmm....

Sewing Retreat

I enjoy a good sewing retreat! I recently spent 3-1/2 days in the hills outside of Watsonville with some sewing friends. What a beautiful location! It's a charming little retreat center called Venture Valley.

An apt metaphor for creative dithering

Dorothy wearing yet another of her wonderful Alabama Chanin pieces

On Instagram, I posted pics of what some of my fellow retreaters were sewing and wearing. I won't re-post all of the images here, but you can find them on my Instagram feed.

Luanne got the sunny spot

On her Instagram feed, Luanne busted me. I sew with bare feet. ;)

All packed for the retreat. Clothes in the suitcase on the left. Fabric and patterns on the right. Sewing machine and Ott light packed separately. ;)

Talk at Cañada College

My talk at Cañada College is next Saturday. If you are coming, please know that you can park for free in the college's parking lot. (You can ignore the parking fee for this event.)

I spent today preparing (no sewing for me this weekend), and I hope to see you there!

Style 16

I'd heard about the Style 16 show for years, but I finally attended this year. Style 16 is a fundraiser for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and supports cancer survivors. This was especially poignant for me as a friend recently died of breast cancer.

This event brings together over 50 wearable designers for a delicious sale of their goodies. Style 16 was held at the PAMF center in Mountain View, a beautiful building featuring two impressive Chihuly pieces.

I ran into many friendly faces, including Carol Lee Shanks, who led the Design Outside the Lines retreat with Diane Ericson that I attended last fall. She was selling some of her beautiful garments. I also saw Jane Foster, who was there with a posse of her students, who were attending her sewing retreat. (She posted pics from her retreat on her Facebook page.)

Gayle Ortiz was there and, after the shopping, a group of us enjoyed a long lunch.

left to right: Lisa, Gayle, me, Lynn, Tamara

Annie Liebovitz "Women" Exhibit

Misty Copeland, one of my favorite Liebovitz images from the exhibit

I have to thank JillyBe for bringing this exhibit to my attention. If you are in San Francisco before April 17th, you might want to check this out. This exhibit has been mounted in an old military barack-style building at Chrissy Field. All of the pre-registered tickets are gone, but you can stand in the walk-in line. The exhibit is free and definitely worth a visit.

Outside the exhibit at Chrissy Field, San Francisco

The exhibit will eventually travel to New York, but it will also travel to non-U.S. cities. It has already been to London and Tokyo and will be visiting Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and Zurich, to name a few. Check out their website for more information.

The walk-in line moved pretty quickly and was filled with (mostly) women of all ages

Walk to Work Day

Last Thursday was National Walk to Work Day.

I decided to participate. I live on the western side of San Francisco and my office is on the eastern side.

Cresting Twin Peaks

Stopping in Union Square for my favorite green smoothie with chia seeds

I made it!

It's six miles from my door to my desk. It took me two hours, which includes waiting for stoplights, taking and posting pictures, and stopping for a smoothie... I won't be doing this every day. ;)

I didn't sew this weekend. I won't be sewing next weekend. Next week I have another quick work trip to Seattle. I have some half finished projects, but I'm not sure how soon I'll have anything to show.

I hope you have a great week!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Oscar de la Renta

The Keith Haring sculpture in front of the De Young

This post is picture heavy. You've been warned!


Oscar de la Renta

Hello! I've been meaning to blog about this for a week! A couple weekends ago I made it to the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. It's a beautiful exhibit, curated by André Leon Talley.

It's only scheduled for San Francisco, so if you're in town before the exhibit leaves on May 30th, check it out!

I took loads of photos, but can't show them all, so I'm sharing a sampling, in no particular order.

Gilt feathers!

Exquisite embroideries! This is one of his wedding dresses.

Oscar was a hopeless romantic

He was well known for his caftans

I love this day coat! It's embroidered leather.

Look at the fringe on this Chinese-inspired evening ensemble!

This was one of my favorite outfits of the exhibit. I'm not an evening gown sort of person, but I'd wear this in a heartbeat!

You might also want to look at the 176 photos from the Oscar de la Renta Benefit Gala, held earlier this month at the De Young.

OOPS, I did it again!

While digging through my stash recently, I found a great sweater knit. It's from Emma One Sock and is a wonderful teal print. (I'm really into teal these days.) I decided to sew it into a Presto top. I wear my other Presto tops a lot. (People always ask me if I've lost weight when I do.) I knew I'd get a lot of wear out of it.

But I didn't have quite enough fabric. I was deciding whether I would make the fronts and sleeves from the print (with a solid back) or whether I'd make the fronts and back from the print (with solid sleeves).

I hadn't yet decided, but I went ahead and cut out the front pieces, very carefully. I matched the stripes with great care, and sewed up the center seam. My first try wasn't perfect, but it was close. I could have easily fixed the slight mismatch near the hem, when...

...I realized I'd made a horrible mistake...

Can you see it???

Probably not, so I'll tell you.

I hadn't cut out two fronts. I'd cut out two backs! D'OH!

I could have cut out two fronts from the remaining yard of fabric, but the finished front and back would have completely mismatched at the side seams. I no longer had enough fabric to lay it out correctly.

The final yard of fabric, and the two backs, have been put in a corner for now. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but I have considered making the remaining yard into a short skirt. So we'll see...


I have been enjoying the glorious spring here in the bay area.

Spring blossoms in Mountain View

Fun shoes! (I recently bought these from Simply Bella. She doesn't have them on her site, but she has them in the store in several colors (orange, red, lime green, teal, and black).)

I went to see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit on a Saturday morning at 10am. Golden Gate Park was particularly gorgeous that morning! While waiting for my friends, I took a few photos around the De Young.

This weekend I'm off on a sewing retreat. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Vest for Travel


Travel Vest

I've been inspired by Margy!

Over the years Margy has made several travel vests, using crushed taffeta and lined with stretch taffeta. Now that I've started sewing for Paris, I decided it was time to follow her lead.

The colors for my travel wardrobe are teal, cobalt, and black, so I searched for teal crinkle taffeta and teal stretch taffeta. I found both on ebay, though the crinkled taffeta came from Big Z Fabrics in Los Angeles.

The pattern I chose is another Margy inspiration. She has made three vests from Vogue 1453, a Sandra Betzina pattern. I quite liked the elasticated neckline on this pattern, but I was a bit dubious about the huge elasticated pockets. I decided to forge ahead and make them as designed.

I started with a size 18 and made the following modifications:

  • A FBA resulting in side seam darts.
  • Removal of fullness at the hip. The pockets almost didn't fit after this alteration!
  • Omitted the back pleat/zipper.
  • Omitted the back yoke seam. There was no shaping in this seam, and I didn't want an unnecessary seam in the pleated taffeta, so I omitted it.
  • The armhole is high and small. This makes sense for a sleeved garment, but seemed strange for a vest, so I cut a larger armhole.
  • The pattern is unlined, but I lined it.
  • Since the point of this is to use it for travel, I added interior pockets. (Another reason that a lining was necessary.) Margy puts lots of pockets into her travel vests, but I don't like pockets over my bust (not even in the lining), so I have two large external pockets and two large internal pockets. The internal pockets are zippered.
Omitting the back pleat and the back yoke

Years ago I bought these two zippers at JoAnn's. I decided to use them on the inside pockets. I love that they are different.

One of the zippered pockets, and the beautiful Italian buttons from Britex.

Marking a larger armhole

While I like this vest—I particularly like the color and how it's nicely finished on the inside—I am not sure it's the most flattering. I think that the gathered pockets create a strong horizontal line that makes me look a bit boxy. I will probably sew this pattern again, using different pockets. The collar is great!

Maybe you noticed that I've started collecting some teal accessories. I really like these "Crave" boots, by Taos Footwear, but I didn't like that the teal color comes with brown laces. I am much happier now that I've swapped them out for black laces!

I like the black laces better!

Vogue 1453

Online Shopping - Simply Bella

I've never taken a "no more buying RTW" vow because, well, I sometimes like to buy RTW! Most every day I'm either all, or mostly, clad in my self made clothing, but I also love to buy garments and accessories that I could not, or would not, make myself. I often buy from artists and I feel good about supporting their work.

In my neighborhood in San Francisco is a little shop that's been open for several years, Simply Bella. I have been shopping here since it's opened. As it's only a few blocks from my home, I often pop in to check out the inventory and to chat with the owner. Bella knows that I sew and sometimes I'm studying her garments for inspiration, and sometimes I'm opening my wallet. Particularly when it comes to sweaters and shoes. :)

Bella has just launched a new website and I think it's a very good one. In the photo above, I'm wearing a sweater that I bought from her yesterday. Unfortunately, the sweater is not on her website— it's selling so well that she probably won't be able to list it before it's sold out.

Her small brick-and-mortar store also sells shoes but, unfortunately, those aren't on the site.

Just in case you have to wonder, I am not being paid for this. I like Bella and I like her shop. If nothing else, it's a great site for inspiration!

Simply Bella

Issey Miyake Exhibit and Book

I heard about the Issey Miyake exhibit in Tokyo over the holidays.

Oooooooooooh, how I wish I could go!

If you are going to be in Tokyo between March 16th and June 13th, get yourself over to the National Art Center for a real treat!

My vacation days are already "spent" for this year, not to mention my vacation budget, but I ran to Amazon and pre-ordered the exhibit catalog, then I promptly forgot about it.

It arrived this week and what a monster catalog it is! This hefty tome, written in both English and Japanese, contains hundreds of pictures. They aren't high quality, glossy images, however. They are matte and a bit low resolution. I'm still happy with the book, because it is a wonderful resource, but be aware of the image quality. This page shows a number of images from the book.

And if you are lucky enough to go to the exhibit, I'd love to hear about it! I'd love it even more if you posted some photos somewhere!

Dither Dither

A dither storm

Dither dither dither. I can't be the only sewer who can be immobilized by decision paralysis. I try to figure out my next project before I finish my current project. That way, I can get some, or all, of the dithering out of the way and can dive right into creating.

I'm happy to say that I have started a new project. It's a very easy one, though. It won't take me long at all. I have a sewing retreat coming up in a couple of weeks, so I need to get serious and make some decisions!

On another topic...

Do you like games? Do you like a challenge?!

When I was in Whistler, I learned about a web-based game that many folks who work at Whistler were playing. It's called GeoGuessr. Using the Street View mode of Google Maps, it drops you into some part of the world. You move around and study your surroundings. Then, based on the vegetation, signs, vehicles, you guess what part of the world it is by placing a location pin on the map. Sort of like pinning a tale on a donkey. It's a pretty addictive game!

You're welcome! Or I'm sorry... ;)

I'm also sharing this on Patti's Visible Monday.

I hope you have a great week!