Monday, February 24, 2014

Update on my "Open Letter to Vogue"

As many know, last May I had heard that there was a new President and CEO of McCalls patterns, a Mr Frank Rizzo. (The McCalls brand includes Vogue, Butterick, and Kwik Sew patterns.)

This news made me hopeful that we might be seeing some positive changes at "McVoguerick" (as some refer to them), so I wrote an Open Letter to Vogue Patterns.

This has been a very popular post, but nothing really came of it.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago. On February 5th, I received a note from Mr Rizzo's assistant that he wanted to speak with me. I provided her with my cell phone number.

The next day, on Feb 6th, I was working at the Google office in SF, and my cell phone rang.

It was Frank Rizzo.

We spoke for about 20 minutes. Frank had read my blog post last May, but it had resurfaced recently and he wanted to reach out. He agreed with some of my points and he wanted to talk with me.

He offered to fly me to the Puyallup Sew Expo at the end of February to meet with him, his art director, and some marketing people.

Was I willing to come?

Was I?!

WAS I???!!!

Uh... YES.

I will be at Sew Expo for one day, so I will not be attending any classes, but I hope to make a quick sweep through the vendor floor and, I hope, will be able to see the Marcy and Katherine Tilton Fashion Show. (I have never been to the Puyallup Expo before.)

If you see me, please say "hi!" (The Vogue/McCalls/Butterick booth is #605.)

And save me some delectable fabric from Marcy's booth (#830).

Stay tuned for my report!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sewing Wardrobe Staples

This is a first for me.

I made four garments in one day.

Really really simple garments, but still.

Using a striped, tribal printed knit, I made a pair of Style Arc Laura leggings. (I love that pattern, which has no side seams, making it much easier to match stripes.)

I also made a simple tube skirt from the same fabric. I do like wearing short skirts over tights or leggings. (I didn't use a pattern for this - it's just a rectangle with an elastic waist.)

For two months now I've wanted to make myself a short black sheath dress with 3/4 length sleeves - sort of like a long t-shirt. I had a nice black wool ponte that I wanted to use. But this sort of sewing is so.boring. that I kept procrastinating.

I had to force myself to get it done. While I was at it, I cut out another simple tube skirt from the black ponte.

For the dress, I traced the upper body (neckline and armscye) from the Style Arc Adele top. I removed the a-line shaping and lengthened it to a short dress length.

Easy peasy.

As boring as this sort of sewing is, I will get lots of wear out of these garments.

Jillian came to visit me at work last week. She was my first Google guest! Thanks for a fun lunch, JillyBe, and for the pics!

A Conference Bike. (It's hard to see, but I'm wearing my new plaid wrap skirt.)

Heading back to my office

I am also linking up with Patti's Visible Monday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

DKNY Inspired Plaid Wrap Skirt

I was gifted this fabric more than a year ago. I was attending a local sewing group gathering and we were swapping fabrics - a very boisterous activity. I was hanging back (I have so much fabric already!) when Georgene very sweetly tossed a piece of fabric my way.

It was a piece of red plaid and I loved it. I'm not sure what the fiber is, and I haven't burned it, but it feels like part rayon, part poly, and maybe some lightweight wool. It washes beautifully and has a lovely drape.

I saw it as a skirt, but I wanted to find just the right pattern. I spent a lot of time looking at patterns, current and out of print, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I wanted a narrow, short skirt with a front drape. There are many patterns like this, especially from the 80s but, in the end, I did my own thing.

This skirt is very simple, which is why I have a post so quickly after my last post. :)

It is basically a rectangle, fringed on two ends, with a partially elasticized waist - I used 1-1/2" wide elastic, and it closes with a hook and eye.

Very simple.

I'll be wearing this over tights and leggings, so I'm not concerned about "over exposure", and I don't think that is likely to be a problem anyway, as the overlap of the wrap is quite generous.

I love wearing short skirts to work, so I will be whipping up a few more of them, in solids and prints, and in a variety of styles.

I am wearing this with a jacket, McCalls 6294, that I made a couple years ago and a hand dyed silk scarf that was my only purchase last August at the ACC Craft Fair.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Asymmetric Sweater in Blue

Happy President's Day (and hopefully a long weekend), for those of you in the U.S.!
Happy weekend to everyone else. :)

First, I want to thank Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. On Friday, she listed her top 10 sewing blogs. She included a second list of her favorite "Art to Wear Stitchers" and I was included in that list.

Welcome to the new followers I have, as a result!

The funny thing is, I don't really think of myself as an "art to wear" sewist, but I know what she means. There are so many of us who like our clothing a bit "off the beam", whether it's Lagenlook, steampunk, retro, or vintage, that it doesn't feel so unusual to me.

And I am happy to report I have some sewing to show you. Since I have so little time to sew these days, I haven't been able to attempt big projects and, when I do have some time and energy, I work on appeals to me in that moment.

Recently Gayle, a creative force herself, gifted me with a pattern that she had traced off from RTW. I decided to test the pattern using an inexpensive sweater knit, so I used the blue knit leftover from a cocoon sweater I had made.

This was a very quick sew!

For the drawstring, I used a strip of the selvedge from the knit.


Closeup of the sweater knit, though this phone pic looks a bit washed out - the other pics are taken with my Canon. (By the way, I sewed the hems and the drawstring channels by hand.)

I love this bracelet made of old rubber tires and bike parts, but I quickly realized that it doesn't really work with a sweater knit.

I definitely like this top well enough to make it again! I do plan to wear this to work, so that makes it career-wear, right? Carolyn? :)

Oh, and you should check out Gayle's striped version that she made last November. Thanks again, Gayle!

(And this post just goes to show what an amazing community we have of online sewists. I am grateful to each of you!)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Status Report & News

One beaudacious babe hanging out at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui
(I told her to give me a call if she needs an FBA.)

Sunset on Maui after a rainstorm

Shams, skip the gab and get to the gossip!


I miss you guys!

I hope to have some sewing to show soon. Nothing as awe inspiring and dramatic as Margy's studded jacket, of course. But something.

(By the way, Margy used the same fabric that I used for my vintage dress and Jillian used for her Balenciaga Bolero jacket. Also, when Sandra Betzina wandered into the fabric store one day while I was shopping, I pointed the same fabric out to her and she bought some for pants she was making up for an upcoming Vogue pattern. And, no, this fabric is no longer available.)

I did go on a quick team building trip to Maui a week ago. It was a great trip. My (mostly) self made clothing worked out well, given that I had to cobble a wardrobe together in short order, and that I own very little in the way of warm weather clothing.

I particularly enjoyed my Style Arc Alexi (harem) pants. (Selfie taken in the shiny elevator door near my room.)

Hibiscus henna tattoo against the Alexi pants

A colleague caught us taking selfies on the snorkeling cruise - we are on a 54-foot catamaran headed to Molokini. (The swimsuit and goggles worked out well.)

Resulting selfie

I also used my poly chiffon Burda top as a coverup

Do you need any more proof of my uber-bustiness?
Hawaiian Islands, indeed.
Aprés Snorkel

We lost count of the many humpback whales we saw, but it was many.

Friends and colleagues, Kathy and Mary, and both superb tech writers

At the top of Haleakela

Not much to see but fog...

We also rode bikes down Haleakela. I highly recommend riding a bike down Haleakela. It is quite chilly at the top of Haleakela. And foggy. It was about 30ºF. For that we dressed in layers.

On the way up Haleakela and snuggly warm in my Sewing Workshop Cowl Sweatshirt and Flannel Lined Style Arc Cassie pants (One of my favorite pair of pants and definitely one of my favorite pants patterns!)

At rides end

I wore the maxi dress that I made, along with the tie top, to dinner and it worked out well.


A couple things I wanted to mention:

First, if you follow the comments on my Open Letter to Vogue blog post you have seen that Vogue reached out to me last week regarding my post. I was very impressed and will have something exciting to report in the near future. Stay tuned!

Also, I have heard some worrying news about a great fabric resource, Thai Silks in Los Altos. (Their retail business is Thai Silks and their wholesale business is Exotic Silks.) They recently laid off some long time employees and many are worried that they may close their doors. If you need any wonderful silk fabrics, please consider sending some business their way.

A few more Hawaii pics:

Le Fin(s)