28/02/2014

Inspired by the movies - Sex and the City


I did say I was going to start chronicling my works right? Well, in order to get out of the procrastinating mode and into creativity, I decided to find any sew-along, contests or sewing inspirations to push me, as well as keep me accountable......so joined the INSPIRED BY THE MOVIES CONTEST from the Patternreview.com. website

Now you would think with all the movies out there it MUST certainly be easy to find inspiration, right? I thought so too, but how SO WRONG I was! It  didn't take me long to know that MY  personal sense of style will not necessarily be on someone in the movies.... maybe my alter ego. Anyway, I thought COLOUR BLOCKS, BIG SKIRTS, COCKTAIL DRESSES, PRINTS.....

So I narrowed down my pick to the three series that I found had tempting wardrobes that I would aspire to have - Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and Mad Men......Surely there MUST be something in there for me, yes? I won't even begin to bore you with the list I created of sewing inspirations on my pinterest board and I must confess by the time I was done, nothing in there was necessarily from those movies!!!. The plus side is I made me quite a collection there and I shall be one happy Woman if I manage to re-create half of what was pinned on there. The sad part is I still could not pin down a look!!!

In the end I settled for Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the city. I had 3 days left to make something for the challenge!!! One thing about her wardrobe that was do-able and can be so very me are the big skirts and the t shirts.
If only I was that small, I might do the bulking up....still I love me some big skirts....
OK, maybe not the tutu, at least not on me....still....big skirt and T shirt....
There is a certain swag about it yes? Plus I love me some polka dots.



My lovely hubster picked the polka dot fabric for this one WITHOUT MY HELP!!!! (I suppose you can say the style bug is finally biting him eh?). The plan is to use the polka dot (Rayon/crepe) for the skirt and the red (cotton jersey) for the T shirt.

I love the fabric so much and must say I was quite impressed with his choice of this one, and thank goodness I have enough left over to make a skirt for the brat as well; she was all over me about how pretty she thought it was and how I "always get the good stuff". So off  to work I went.....
I swear I thought I had photos of the cutting process, apparently not. This is after sewing the side seam and here is the waist band tacked on ready to be attached. I had serged the edges because at this point I was still unsure if I wanted to line it or not and I wanted a neat inside.
I used an invisible zipper so I hand stitched it in the way Sabrina  (In Italy) taught me to do. It was a major pain, but I knew the end result would be worth the trouble.

As you can see, I had attached the waist band before the zipper and because I was darn lazy to undo it, I simply got a bit of bias binding, attached it to the top of the waist band, folded the zipper inward, then let down the binding and sewed.
I did the same thing on both sides and it worked well for me. I then attached the lining (by then I decided I would line it half the length of the full skirt so it was a relive to know that the part of the skirt that would show underneath the lining had neatly serged edges.
I was working while the brat was reading to me (The Island of the Blue Dolphins).
The lining went over the folded bais binding so that was neat.


This was what it looked like with the lining attached, all neat....
The invisible zipper....

And Maria (my Mannequin) got to wear it while I went to work on the T shirt. I must mention that this skirt was self drafted and it is so easy even a beginner can do it. It's a cycle skirt, it has a single side seam and  also I lined it to give it extra body and flow, although lining it is optional. I didn't want to add the extra netting to create the Carrie like bulk to it which I think would look fabulous on a petite person, however if you have a big butt like mine, the last thing you want to do is make it look even bigger. So the flare is all the 'big' I want here.

For the t shirt, I simply drafted a basic camisole pattern with short sleeves.
I used the same pattern for the front and the back.
I had a marking on the body pattern for how low I was going to cut the neck. Of course it could go even lower. I opted for this because I was still contemplating at this point if I would make it a turtle neck. I decided against it because in all honesty, I don't recall seeing SJP in turtle neck, after all this is still supposed to be inspired by the movies.


I ended up cutting the sleeve an inch shorter than the pattern.
I simply folded the pattern in two for exactly the width I wanted the t shirt to be, plus seam allowance, naturally.
Then I folded it again so I had two folded layers. I then placed the camisole body pattern on the fold and cut. Separated them, then cut the neck line a little lower (for the front piece). I cut two sleeves, serged all four pieces, then sewed the edges together and....
Voila! My T Shirt!

Making this was fun. Don't know if Red and colour combo polka dots would be what Carrie would wear but hey, this is Naan and the City and I will have fun wearing it!


That is NOT all folks.....Here's is me wearing the clothes....

I wore it too. OK, that was me trying to create a vintage effect on the photo. It didn't work.....
Here is a better one...I think.....I am lousy at taking photos and I sure am an embarrassment to the hubster, he gave me a wonderful camera for Christmas and I still have not figured out how to work it....Note to self, never wear an elastic belt with your 'muffin' midriff', you only make it more obvious.

I had actually stepped out for a sec to take photos outdoor because I thought surely natural lighting will help create clearer photos. Ha! the chill in the air made me last the two minutes I tried to screw then unscrew the camera onto the tripod. Hopefully I will have some outdoor photos with the next project. Bear with me.....
I could wear red for the rest of my life; it makes me happy!
Thank you all for reading this far. Until next time.



21/02/2014

MY WARDROPE STAPLES

Hello there,

Welcome back! I figured if I am going to be blogging seriously about having a personal sense of style and making clothes, then I might as well show you all MY sense of style, and in the process, I shall make the clothes that are (will be) my wardrobe staples. Here is a list of items I shall be creating in the coming months (the last one being for the month of December). 


I am two months late I know, but I have to work hard I guess. The aim is to make at least 2 items a month or at worst, one item a month, so I can do it.


1. A pair of black straight legged pants

2. A pair of white capri Pants
3. One colour-blocked skirt/shorts (I will be making either one.....or both).
4. A plain skirt/shorts (I will be making either one ....or both).
5. LBD (Little Black Dress).
6. LWD (Little White Dress).
7. A Retro Outfit (I love vintage).
8. A flamboyant ensemble (This will be the most fun for me, I love colour!!)
9. Basic white shirt
10 Basic blouse
11. Basic T Shirt
12. Tea dress
13 One Jacket
14. One Sweater

I won't necessarily be making these items in the order listed. I will let my mood dictate, and who knows, I may find the need to add to the list. I am only assuming that these are my wardrobe staples, I will find out for sure when I have them all. So do return for a show of the first item.

20/02/2014

A Poll for Sewing Enthusiasts.

I will be running polls weekly about sewing, hoping to gather enough info to guide my blog entries. On the top right hand of this blog is where the poll is. please kindly spare me a minute and vote, then pass the word around to all sewing enthusiasts you know. Thank you for your time.

19/02/2014

How NAAN got her Groove back.

Yes, I have got my groove back, THANK GOODNESS.

I have spent a long time searching inward and trying to find the person inside, I have managed to find her....or bits of her, but then just as she has emerged, I realized that during the introspection journey, I had also surrounded myself with people that are highly critical of anyone that takes pleasure in fashion, style or simply good grooming, and somehow I let that be a part of me for a while.

To be quite honest, suppressing that part of me has been the most miserable thing I have done to myself on purpose. I have never felt enslaved to style and good grooming to the extent that I would be scared of being caught in public without make up, or in sweat pants or such, so in a subtle way, it felt logical to accept people's reasoning that having a sense of style at all was vanity and that it took away from a person's very essence.

Well something happened recently that made me realize that just like I have no right to criticize anyone's lack of interest in fashion or style, NO ONE has a right to criticize my love and delight in fashion and having a sense of style.

You see, in my experience, people that are critical of anyone or anything contrary to what they practice, do so either as a result of envy or simply to mask their inadequacy at what they criticize. I have always loved making clothes and dressing myself and others up, and I have finally decided to stop being around or listening to people that are battling a sense of inferiority that has nothing to do with me or what I enjoy. Therefore I am going to actively create, make myself and others wear lovely clothes and feel good about doing so.

ZLATA by STEPALICA


Yes, I finally made it!

This is the pattern I tested for STEPALICA. It was fun to make and a challenge. Personally I don't feel like I got the perfect fabric combo here although I love the final outcome. The skirt has a detail at the waist that serves as a belt hold which I decided to accentuate with a deeper shade of green to offset the neon.

It is pretty as it is without a belt and in all honesty unless I wear a belt that is the same colour with whatever shirt I will wear it with, I think the two colours of the skirt can work well without a belt, which is good.


This is when it all began. The pattern was sent as a PDF file so I had to cut and join them, then trace them onto a tracing paper to cut out.


These are the pieces after transferring the pdf bit onto a tracing paper and cutting out.

This is the sewing instruction which by the way was very well written and easy to follow. I stapled the pages together and made it into a neat book for easier storage and also so that I wouldn't lose the pages. The skirt offers three categories with the same pattern and I used Pattern Style B.
My initial idea was to use a pair of either one of these four fabrics
I went for the neon and light green, because I love loud colours (neon). However after cutting them and putting them together, I didn't like the result, the light green seemed to take the life out of the neon. Luckily I had a strip of a darker shade of green which I substituted for the waist and pockets detail.
I made the back intentionally longer although not long enough. I wanted to make sure It was long enough at the back since my 'afro butt' has the tendency of lifting skirts at the back.
I love this skirt and would certainly make another. And if you enjoyed this posting and love the skirt, you are in luck. AnaJan of STEPALICA has the pattern available HERE




11/02/2014

REDEFINING MY INDIVIDUALITY

A year ago, I offered to do a wardrobe overhaul for the hubster; I would get rid of some of his clothes - actually about 80% of them. I offered to take away what didn't belong there and replace them with what I thought was appropriate for him. My intentions were sincere and my offer was from a loving place. He is a great looking guy but (in my opinion) his sense of style takes away A LOT from his good looks and in turn makes him look a lot older than he really is.

He isn't a vain guy (thank goodness) so he goes for 'comfort rather than style' as he puts it . I have pointed out to him in vain that having a sense of style has nothing at all to do with discomfort. Personally, i believe that discomfort only comes into play when one becomes a slave to fashion and by that I mean going for the latest fad whether or not it hangs comfortably on your body type, or even if the colour agrees with you.

Style is a lot of things. It is the garment, the way it hangs on YOUR body, the way YOU feel in it, the colour; how it complements YOUR complexion, or the texture of your hair, or the youth in you. It is about wearing something no matter YOUR shape or size and KNOWING it looks good on YOU. Style is timeless and classic and has NOTHING at all to do with the latest trend in fashion.

When I offered to do the hubster's wardrobe overhaul, it was simply because it was chocked full of dated items, styles that were actually of a particular trend period and they had gone out of style. I made it clear that I would respect his need for comfort and would focus on timeless pieces that complement his personality and he told me in very clear terms "You don't get to decide what I will wear." and that was final.

So I stepped back and watched him dress dated for a whole year and right along with him I went with the plain Jane look. It was not difficult to do so. In my relocation from Italy, I had gotten rid of 90% of my earthly possessions some of which was my old wardrobe which I loved. It was either the wardrobe (not new clothes) or my huge collection of fabric (which I can sew new clothes in styles I love). I chose the fabrics. I figured I would spend the time making clothes for all three of us (the hubster, the kid and myself). That never happened; when he told me to back off with the overhaul; carrying on in my current obscure sense of style felt comfortable as it was.

I had gone about publicizing my services as a stylist but lacked the confidence to really say it out loud and for fear of coming across as a fraud and a failure. I mean, if I can't get my own husband to trust me enough to let me dress him, who will believe I really can identify anyone' else's sense of style and help bring it to being? And surely a Stylist should know when an item is dated and advice her clients accordingly (in this case my hubster) won't she?

So I resigned, but I must admit, I was resentful of it and then it turn into guilt. Resentful because his refusal to trust my styling ability was as good as saying I didn't have what it took to be a stylist. Then I would feel guilty for expecting him to be my support in this sense, on this endeavor.

The other day my daughter asked me why I didn't 'dress nice' any more. She used to think I was a great dresser and she would tell me how she couldn't wait to grow up so that she could borrow my clothes. Well recently, she asked why I had let myself go, and then confessed to disliking my clothes. She said she certainly wasn't looking forward to borrowing them when she grows up. At first it was funny, then it finally sank and I felt a sense of sadness at the realization that I had become one of those colourless people roaming the streets that I had promised myself never to become.

I have nothing against colourless people, I am just not one of them. I love colour and I love being able to say this is me, through my clothes. I love individuality so strongly that I have a hard time wearing styles that are dated.

I am not a fashionista; far from it, but I have always had and loved having a sense of style and individuality strong enough to have friends and family see a colour or a texture or a drape and say that is so very Naan. It's like one would see a statement Jewelry and think this is so Iris Apfel. All of that (my personal sense of style and individuality) has vanished and especially in this past year and all because I wanted to blend in with the hubster's sense of style....

It dawned on me that I sincerely cannot blame my sudden obscurity to the husbter's sense of style. I can and should be me regardless. The hubster thinks I am vain anyway, and he loves me the way I was, so this period of obscurity hasn't made him think me any less vain. Most importantly, this obscurity is not the way to be a stylist, especially if I  intend for anyone to trust my ability to style, so I am slowly rising from the ashes and finding myself again. I probably will emerge the peacock I once was but it will be about ME defining MY sense of individuality again regardless of who wants to walk this path with me. Hopefully I will be my own publicity until I find my very first client - someone trusting enough to let me style them too.

01/02/2014

Pattern Testing for STEPALICA

I am supper excited to say that I have been given the honourable opportunity to test a skirt pattern by AnaJan of STEPALICA. Ana has been one of my sewing heroes for years. She has a unique attraction to texture and forms in sewing. I follow her on Burda Style and on Pinterest because she creates or shares sewing ideas that make you want to sew and wear them!!

Because I have subscribed to her blog, I was opportuned to see the offer for pattern testing and was quite surprised and extremely pleased that she picked me as one of her testers. I have chosen the perfect fabric for this patter and have the next 2 weeks to have it ready. I will not be showing it until after the great reveal, so if you return here in exactly 3 weeks, you will see what I have made.

In the mean time, you can simply go directly to her blog here and you will get to see, not only what we all have made from this one pattern, but you will get to see some of her amazing work as well.

Now off to fabric prep and cutting!