Wow, it’s been so long since I blogged that the interface of WordPress has changed.

When did that happen?

Well it’s been since August that I shared anything.  Oopps!  Sometimes life gets a little too busy and I drop the ball.  Here is a little montage of what has been going on.  It goes from Party Dress to Christmas.

A party dress for playing!

But that is just the beginning-  I have been sewing (and cooking!?!) up a storm these last few months.  Some of the other sewing includes but is not limited to:

I have also been marinating on some ideas for a line of clothing and/or soft furnishing 100% re-purposed for the thrift store.  I have found some AMAZING textiles at some of my favorite “digs” here in Seattle like the Dearborn Goodwill or its sister store the Goodwill Outlet (if you are a Germ-a-phobe this place is not for you).  I guess I just don’t know if people would be as excited about reclaimed leather/ linen/ cotton as I am.

And I have been cooking, here are some recipes I have used over the last couple of months:

There are other things that I heard about so created my own version like the fennel and sausage Quiche:

The only cooking that I managed to photograph.

We have also been doing a fair amount of juicing over the last month and we also might commit to a juice fast for the New Year… although I really don’t know if we can do that… I mean I am a meat and potatoes girl.  I know it will be good to clear out the system but it is going to be kind of torturous.  My husband suggested it at the beginning of this month and I logically pushed it back noting that Christmas would be hard and that the New Year is great for gimmicks like that.

Also I did finish the bridesmaid dresses I talked about rolling out but I don’t have photography of any of it yet and the wedding dress is in mock-up form so I did not completely drop the ball on that idea.  It’s a slow build!

Party Dress Fever.

So… I was at work when I first discovered the book Party Dress by Mary Adams.  I lay down my credit card and took it home that day.  I loved reading about her experiences as an Oregon girl to being a dress maker in New York and then her process is astounding simple and clean and yet so sticky sweet and full of color saturation that I really just started making dresses… and now I cannot stop.  Every page is sooo inspiring.  It started with this skirt (recently sold to a girl in Ireland):

Then I started this quilted leather/wool/ silk strapless dress which is essentially done, just needs some hems and hand stitching)!

Then I got into the silk taffeta stuff which posted here in my last post.

NOW… it turns out that Mary Adams will be in Seattle at Nancy’s Sewing Basket (where i work)  for a book signing November 5th!  And to really get into the mood ALL of the employees are working on there own party dresses that will be on display during our annual sale in September and then we are going to wear them for the book signing in November.  It will be kinda of fun too because customers will be guessing whose dress belonged to which employee!  So I cannot divulge to much but I will tell you Analysis Paralysis has now sunk in completely for some of us because it is hard to decide!

WOW…. has it really been since November?

So obviously I have been ignoring this here blog.  Soooo Sorry!

Here is what has been taking precedence:

I have been teaching a design, sew and embellish class for middle school students.  We have been doing lots of sewinging.  I will also be having a workshop for “Nick Cave inspired” art in conjunction with an exhibit of his work at the SAM called “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth”.  I am really excited about this and have become quite a fan of Nick Caves work and those of you who know me can probably see why:

I will keep you posted on how our own Soundsuit inspired art goes.  One of these days I will actually take pictures of my class and how much fun we have for you as well!!

I have also been sewing:

I made this dress by quilting recycled leather,  recycled wool and silk for the bodice with silk organza skirt.  There is a fully boned corset inside and a heavy exposed zipper down the back.

I am also costuming a play for Theater Schmeater here in Seattle.  It is The Twilight Zone 2011.  I am really getting my Mad Men fix off of this one.  It opens on March 18th and it is sure to be a fun time!!  We are doing three episodes:

The Obsolete Man

Time Enough At Last

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

And it is going to be done pretty much to that late ’50s early ’60 feel even for Obsolete Man which is set in the future.

Stay Tuned!!

FREE- pattern… pleated skirt with exposed zipper and grosgrain.

sailor skirt with pocket

I call this the math skirt.  This skirt is fun and easy with sweet detail like ribbons and lace.  It can be the perfect plaid school girl skirt or if its done in denim or corduroy yer cowgirl skirt. It could be a great summer skirt in an eyelet (lined, of course) or a winter wool staple with tights.  Any way you sew it- this little equation will be sure fire PROOF!


1 1/4 yard of fabric


Waist Measurement _____ + 40″ = __________ /2 = ___  (width)

(Example: Waist 32″ + 40″= 72″/2 = 36″).

Other Supplies:

18″ separating zip (I coordinate this with my fabric)

2 1/4 yards of 1/2″ ribbon

4 1/2 yards of 1″

waist + 4″ of wide single fold bias tape or 1″- 1 1/4″ wide grosgrain ribbon for waist facing

Zipper foot

Wash fabric, ribbon and lace if the skirt is going to be washed after it is sewn.


Cut two rectangles that are width measurement from above x 20″ long.


At the center point of the top edge of these rectangles, chalk a 4″ line on the back side of the fabric perpendicular to the grain line.  Measure 1″ to each side of this line and clip a notch in your fabric.  Line up your notches and stitch from notch to the end of your chalk line to create a hip dart. Press flat lining up center line with stitched line.


Mark center front and center back on each rectangle.  Find the mid point between dart and CF and notch. Pin and stitch a 1″ deep and 9″ long pleat at this notch.  Open and press this pleat flat aligning the notch and stitching to create a box pleat.  Find the midpoint between the dart and the pleat and notch.  Repeat the steps to create the box pleat.  Find the mid point between CF and your original pleat, clip, stitch and press another pleat here.  There should be three box pleats between the side dart and the center front on each of the rectangles.


Finish both CB with either a zigzag or a serger.  Stitch center backs together (careful to line up waistlines and hemlines) with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Measure 2″ in along waistband from the CB seam and notch.  From this notch measure another 3″ in and notch.  Continue measuring 3″ in toward the side dart until you have 5 notches.  Create a 1″ deep 9″ long box pleat using the method described above at each of the notches.  When you are finished there should be 10 pleats between the two side darts. Press all darts… again.

Note: Now is a good time to fit this garment to you.  Wrap it around yourself and adjust the fit at the center back and at the side darts if necessary.  Remember there is 1″ seam allowance at the center front.

Baste waist edge of skirt securing all pleats and darts.


Fold and press 1/4″ of the center front toward the wrong side of the fabric.  Fold another 1/2″  and stitch  first fold into place finishing the raw edge.  Pin zipped zipper on top of the hemmed center front of skirt aligning the top of the zipper tapes with the waist edges and the center front hemmed edges.  Hand baste the zipper to the skirt to ensure it won’t move while machine stitching.   Unzip zipper (make sure it glides smoothly with out catching your basting.)  Here you can experiment with stitches like using a zigzag or a feather stitch while you are machine stitching the zipper into place.   Continue stitching past the end of the zipper to the hemline.  Note- there is a plastic coated section of zipper tape at the end of the zipper teeth that I some times have to hand crank my needle through.  Remove hand basting after zipper is secure.


Waistline-  Stitch ribbon or bias tape on top of the waist edge at 1/2″ (wrong side of ribbon/tape to right side of skirt) leaving 1″ on each end.  Fold tape toward the back of the skirt and press this facing into place tucking in the ends of the ribbon under the facing trimming of necessary.  Stitch ribbon or bias tape to wrong side of skirt to secure the facing.

Hemline-  Finish bottom edge with a zigzag or serge.  Fold up 1″, press and stitch hem.  Stitch decorative ribbon over this hem stitching.  Using a long stitch on your sewing machine, gather the lace up enough to fit the bottom edge of the skirt. Edge stitch skirt hem on top of the gathering stitch on the lace to attach.


I did not use a pattern for the pocket.  I just started cutting into some scraps until I had the shape that I wanted (Yes, you can too!!)

Hat making and other obsessions.

repro velvet flowers

My mom has informed me that she does not like looking at my anthro rant any longer (I swear… and she does not like it).  So I am changing it… happy??

I have been taking hat making classes from a really excellent milliner, Izzie Lewis.  We started with covering buckram forms with fabric and then graduated to blocking fur felts.  Dave now has a running joke because all I can think about now is hats- when we watch movies, walking down the street, while we’re eating, when he is talking it’s coming out as hats,hats,hats- hats hats hats, hats?  I reply hats, hats,hats hats hats.

I know there are people out there (besides my mother) who have waited for this post as well.  Sorry I’ve taken my sweet time.  I have been learning a lot about taking pictures and also Photoshop.  I have been doing this online couse on Photoshop over at Lynda.  I have learned quite a lot in a very short amount of time.

Here are the hats I have worked on:

buckham cover with wool.

This was blocked in 2 parts- crown and brim.

This is grosgrain gathered into a crazy 8 with two 1940's buttons.

I also made hats for my father and my brother for christmas:

This fur felt was blocked all in one.

All of these hats have a wire in the brim and head size ribbons on the inside.

Model wannabe- cool vs. cruel fashion show

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of modeling an AWESOME outfit in the Art Institute of Seattle “Cool vs. Cruel” annual fashion show.  The idea is to not use any animal based products of textiles and to be inspired by some current and cruel looks on the 2009 runways.  The show is sponsored by the Humane Society… hmm… or it is to promote the Humane Society.  It is a regional competition for all of the Art Institutes and then there is a National Competition in New York.  I was a little surprised at how small the show was.  My designer, Cindy, won the competition here!!!!  Her outfit will be shipped to NYC for the big show there.   Not only that…. she totally slipped me a Nordstrom Gift Card in all the craziness that I forgot about and surprisingly opened the next day.  Totally unnecessary… but WOOT WOOT!

…these are a few of my favorite things.

So this week’s Favorite Things have sort of a antiquated, androgynous, pirate flavor to them:


Serious Jewlery right here folks!

Serious Jewlery right here folks!

1) It starts with… well… a little purchase off of Etsy , what else.  It is this ingenious recycled cuff that I have had my eye on for a while.  After selling a few things, I can really justify anything …and that is very dangerous.





2) I have been looking at this picture for the last six months.   I really love it.  I know nothing about Poiret… but when my boss gave me this I found the jacket vest combo was inspiring.  It has been at the top of historical file of inspiration (kind of like I have for fashion)… I keep stuff in there for research and for interesting shapes and details.  I was going to enter a make it in wool back in like October, with a motorcycle jacket/ vest peeking out the bottom a la the picture but … just not so good with dead lines.  I could not find the right zippers in time for the contest (damn zippers).  Well, I have been making good process this last week.



3) Here is a close-to-finished motor cycle jacket (not pressed or top stitched).  It is made out of a B. Black wool from a couple of years ago.   My favorite part is the AWESOME skull printed silk charmeuse lining!   I (think) I like the shorter length of this jacket and I really don’t think I would go peplem like in the picture, so it is got a 21st century up date.  That nice big collar is yummy.  My own look has a more steampunk feel to in then the Poiret picture*



4)  Here is the vest I did.  I really wanted a vest that looked good open or shut.  And had the length of the vest in Poiret picture.   The result is rad and now I want to make it in a couple of different fabrics as well as create a graded pattern for it to sell.  Vest are really simple to make and don’t take a lot of fabric…. NICE.  My friend Jessica said that the vest reminded her of a gun holster…. So I guess it’s my gun holster vest.  I wanted it to feel like it a tank top that dipped under my arms when opened and then looked like a fitted vest when closed. *

I am stronger then this slip!

I am stronger then this slip!

5) I am going to end with something that I did NOT buy on etsy.  I think that balance is good… and so is refraining.  Although this cute slip make me evoke Veruca Salt: “don’t care how, I want it now!”  I don’ t need it.  I am happy with out it.  Actually, I am happier with out it.


*These pics are just sneak peeks.  I want to try to recreate the Poiret picture when I am done with the clothing so better pics will follow.  So stay tuned…. or don’t whateves.

…a few of my favorite things- a fashion declaration.

So I am getting all excited about selling on Etsy and realize that I would like to take my blog more in a fashion direction.  In theory (or maybe fantasy)I feel like Esty allows the rouge designer (me) to basically to buy 6-10 yards of fabric that I like, make something to fit me or friends, take photos (which have also fallin’ into place magically), and then sell the design built to order based on a basic set of measurements from the customer.  THIS COULD BE GLOBALIZATION CHANGING, PEOPLE.  Which give me hope for fashion and sustainablity.

In order to celebrate this more fashionable direction I will try taking, I am composing a list of a few of my favorite fashion things… for the week:


Look mom, I'm in my knickers!

Look mom, I'm in my knickers!

#1~I love long underwear in the winter time.  Here is a pair that I made (and am selling on Etsy).  The thing that I like about long underwear it that they fit well in to my layering style.  They are a great alternative to tights and leggings and a little less lady- like.  Lady- like never made it into the history books, pansy ass!  I own long undies in a variety of fiber mixes- these are cotton, I LOVE silk long undies but they never come in fun prints (hint hint REI) so they mostly come out for snowboarding and if I am really channelling Grunge (silk and grunge… oh, yes I did).


Alishan (sp?) oolong from Taiwan- "the good stuff"

Alishan (sp?) oolong from Taiwan- "the good stuff"


#2~I love Green Tea.  I drink it every day and usually more then one cup.  THIS IS fashion related because this and the Sandusky Massage (scroll down) are the closest this I really get to in Beauty Treatments.  I could get all geeked out on tea and describe why some times I like a dark roast ti kuan yin (not green) over a sencha or how I really binge out on Pheonix Dragon Pearl but your eye would glaze so I will spare you.

I touch myself, I want you to touch me.

hand-made in september.



I made this skirt years ago, both shirts and slip are second hand.

I made this skirt years ago, both shirts and slip are second hand.

#3~I have been enjoying throwing snap shots of my everyday style on a Flickr group called wardrobe remix.  Here are some of my ‘fits over the last few months and here is my photo stream.

Yummy red lace

Yummy red lace

#4~This piece of lace has kept me quite tickled over the last week.   It is a vintage piece that I picked up at work.  I finally committed to putting on a skirt and a dress that I will be selling on Esty in a couple of weeks.



#5~I heart welcoming people to the crack like addiction to sewing.  I love when one of my good friends wants to sew something…. especially when that thing is recycling some of there old clothes it to new clothes.  Recycling is very hot and sexy fashion, don’cha know.  This is my friend Hannah at my house making a pair of jeans into a skirt.

I'm too sexy for this song.

I'm too sexy for this song.

#6~I love hand me down (a.k.a. free) designer clothing paired with half price  skinny jeans.  This is a Michael Kors blazer and Moto jeans.  I usually don’t like Michael Kors- to prim, pampered, snotty, proper for my tastes.  But free is a real good price and I definitely worked this Blazer right into my style.

my best corpse face.

my best corpse face.

#7~THE Sandusky Massage- This woman (Terri Sandusky) is in such high demand that The Wall Street Journal did an article on her…. and I love trading for massage.  I have never had any other professional massage so I don’t really know what you payed for but this shit it PURE heaven.  I would give you her digits but then I would have to kill you (I gave you her name what more could you want from me).

the dead animal on my head.

the dead animal on my head.

#8~And I love my beloved thrift store hat.  It goes every wear with me.  Yes, that is real fur, and I usually get all wigged out but I have come to love and appreciate the way that this hat has weathered many a storm with me.  I don’t think that faux fur would have made it through the rough and tumble.  It is like my comfort blanket with built in ear muffs that you can just throw your ear buds in and roll.



Stay tuned for more…. or don’t whateves!

100 % recycled- new grocery bag and skirt

Kind of recently (like eight months ago) I took a skirt that my friend was getting rid of, it was long and… not really my style but I did need a short denim skirt.  More recently (like two months ago) I made the skirt and I took the bottom of the skirt, cut off enough to make straps, then inverted it, sewed up the bottom, added the straps and voila … another grocery bag.  I did not throw away a single stitch!  Also… great surface to experiment with actual screen printing like this or this (yipee!). 

Some times it pays to be a pack rat!  You know, hanging on to something for eight month before you alter it to a wearable state.  I need to keep reminding myself this because I get overwhelmed by my mess- umm, I mean collections of stuff.  My friend (who was giving away the skirt) has a completely clean and organized house.  I see example after example of cute, well coordinated sewing rooms on the web (see, wren hand made ), and when I look at mine all I see is piles and half done projects.  Are those sewing spaces realistic???  Does actual sewing get done in them??  If so we might be looking at Stepford Wives people!  Do they wear high heels while ironing?

Just finished- A new August dress… LURV this fabric.

O.K. so I really really wish that there was more fabric like this out there in the home sewing world.  It is a silk and cotton blended voile designer end from Anna Sui.  The pattern and color are subdue but intriguing… so I bought four yards of it at the Nancy’s Sewing Basket annual sale about a year ago and have been fondling it ever since.  I finally bit the bullet and cut into it last friday and wore my new dress to work yesterday.  I guess that technically makes it a July dress but who is being technical.  It is the basic shape of McCall’s #5435 with a twist.

I also got inspired by Angry Chicken blog  (she is quite hilarious) a while back and so I did a little hem decoration.  I used the rolled hem on my serger down both sides of a 2 inch strip.  Then I gathered through the center.  I attached it to the hem using a decorative wave stitch on the Singer Machine (affectionately named Big Bertha) that I inherited from my grandmother.


One of the things that I have trouble with when I find great fabric like this is that the possibilities are endless when it is fabric, once you cut it is more or less set in stone so you better like the out come.  Little things can be changed but the basic shape is what it is.  I really am happy with the outcome of this dress… but I also have a yard and half left so it was less final.  Not that this is totally applicable but my husband says “artist never finish their work, they just abandon it.”  With fabric it is like I abandon all the wonderful possibilities for the one that (in theory) I like the best,  but in actuality it might not be that which is in my minds eye.  Yeah, I really do get all geeked out on this shit!!  Sorry.