Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Garden Party

My mom told me this outfit looks like a garden party, and I'm inclined to agree.  It has flowers, pearls, and bugs.  Garden parties always have bugs, right?  These cicada earrings are one of my favorites.  They help keep an outfit from becoming too terribly sweet.
 

Shrug, I don't remember; dress, thrifted; sandals, Walmart; earrings, etsy; necklace, thrifted.
 

I had extra help with my photos today.  My mom's dog Dixie visited to play with Gadget.
Exposure to too many terriers may cause
crazy eyes.



Those dogs are just so helpful.  



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Un-Brave

Today one of my new coworkers told me that I'm brave to wear this much color.  Funny, I don't feel brave.
 

Blouse, thrifted; skirt, Target; sandals, Younkers; belt, thrifted; earrings and bracelet, Claire's.
 

This skirt and skirt just begged to be worn together.  I love how the different textures play against the nearly identical colors.
 

I added my Wonder Woman belt and metallic sandals.  The belt was, as always, a good choice.  The sandals were a misstep.  (Ha, shoes, step.)  I should have chosen something a little prettier- maybe a heel.  That's the great thing about fashion.  I'll have to get dressed again tomorrow, so I'll have another chance to experiment.
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Half-Caf

I've been wanting to make a dress similar to this Threadbanger Caftan from some time.  The dress in this video is so beautifully flowy and perfect for summer.

I needed to make some tweaks to make the project fit my needs. I didn't have a pair of scarves like the ones used in the tutorial.  I didn't want my dress to be open on the sides like the Threadbanger version, but I also didn't want something that would end up being a mumu.  Here's what I came up with.
video
I started with one of the wraps I made before my trip to India last year.  "Made" is probably too strong a word because all I did last year was hem all four sides.  The wrap started out as a 60" by 72" piece of fabric.  After hemming it was probably about 59" by 71."  A 35" length starting at my shoulder hits right about at my knee.


First I folded the wrap in half, resulting in a folded edge that was approximately 60 inches with 36 inch sides with the wrong side facing out.

I pinned up the sides, leaving about 12 inches near the folded edge for arm holes, and cut a 12 inch slit at the top for a head hole.  At this point I tried the garment on to make sure the head hole was big enough and the arm holes fell how I wanted.  I sewed up the sides (leaving the arm holes), and then turned the piece back right side out.

I tried on the piece again and marked the height of my natural waist and the width of my shoulders with pins. The piece needs to fit over my shoulders, so I need enough width there, but I want it to cinch in at my waist so I want the ties to fall there. I then marked the intersection of the width of my shoulders and height of my waist and pinned both sides of the fabric together there, making sure the two sides lined up.

I used the button hole function on my sewing machine to make two approximately 1" button holes that stitch the two sides of the fabric together.  I had never had need to use the button hole feature on my sewing machine before, and it was incredibly easy.  I want to put button holes on everything now.  The last thing I did was hem the neck line.  I will probably go back and bind the edge of the neck with bias tape, but I didn't have any of that today.  I tied the waist with a length of black ribbon.  If I had known how much I would like the finished product I would have cut a piece of the original fabric to use as a self-belt.

All in all this project took about 30 minutes.  Writing the instructions took as long as sewing the caftan.

I am very pleased with the end result and I'll definitely make at least one more of these.  I can imagine wearing it over a slip as a dress, as a swimsuit cover up, or with leggings or jeans like I did in these photos.
 

 

Garments like this are tricky because you risk losing your shape in a giant amorphous blob of fabric.  I think I circumvented that pitfall by cinching in at the waist.  The fabric takes the shape of my body rather than swallowing it up.  The knee-length hem also helps balance the fullness.  What do you think?  

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Job Drag

“We're born naked, and the rest is drag.” 
~RuPaul
 

Shirt, thrifted; skirt, gifted (thank you, Chenille!); belt, thrifted; sandals, Walmart; earrings, Claire's; necklace, inherited (thank you, Grandmere!).
 

I got the job I posted about last week, and so now I'll be playing with some new-job drag.  We each have our own drag, and that drag changes from day to day, year to year, environment to environment.  Our drag is the way we choose to present ourselves to the world.  It is the image we cultivate and project.  It is how we want others to perceive us.
 

As you look around at the people in your life, pay special attention to their drag.  Some men have tough-guy Clint Eastwood drag.  Some women have sexpot drag, mom drag, or even "I don't care" drag.  Every choice you make and don't make about how you present yourself makes up your drag.  
 

This bib necklace is hand-me-down costume jewelry from my grandmother.  When she passed away I received this and a string of glass pearls, and I treasure both.  It's fun to incorporate her memory and her aesthetics into my look.  I love that she had the bold style to choose such a statement necklace.  The skirt was a generous Christmas present from Chenille.  I blogged about wanting it, and she remembered.  She's a wonderful friend.  

I guess that's another factor that makes up my drag.  I'm influenced by all the people who touch my life.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cross Cultural

Physically, this outfit is wonderfully comfortable, but it is outside of my normal sartorial comfort zone.  I felt perfectly dressed when I wore it in India, but it feels a bit out of place here.  I slightly mitigated that feeling by swapping out the coordinating harem pants for brown leggings and leaving the matching shawl on the hanger. It is a little traditional Indian crossed with a little typical Western.
 

Tunic, purchased in India; leggings, Walmart; sandals, Younkers; earrings, handmade by me; necklace, purchsed at Arts in the Heart; bracelets, made by me, handmade and gifted (thanks Chenille!), and thrifted.
 

I've only worn this custom-made tunic a few times since I purchased it in India last summer.  I love the intricately embroidered fabric.  I wish I had brought a bolt of it home with me.
 

As is often the case, I realize that I look a lot different (and less awkward) than I thought.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Geome-trick

Ready for a magic trick?  Watch how a piece of leather went from being a beat-up mini-skirt to a snazzy geometric necklace.
 

I've been wanting to experiment with some leather crafts, so I stopped by Goodwill and dug this skirt out of the clearance section.  Yes, even Goodwill has a clearance section.  The whole skirt was $1.75, which is far less than even a very small piece of leather at the craft store.

I ripped the skirt apart at the seams with a seam ripper until I had the component pieces.  I saved the zipper for a future project and sorted the leather pieces.  I used a pattern that was intended for felt jewelry, and laid the pieces out to use the leather as efficiently as possible.  I only used a small piece of the skirt for this necklace.
I cut three rough pieces, then cut out additional details.  I used scissors for the basic shape and an x-acto knife for details.

 

I joined the front and side pieces with jump rings and added a snap closure.  Here are the results!
 

Dress, swapped; sandals, Younkers; earrings, Claire's; necklace, see above!
 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Chain Gang

I recently had a day off and a crafty impulse, so I raided my local library for jewelry-making books.  I've been a little off creatively lately, so I wanted to get some ideas.  I ultimately decided to try my hand at chain mail jewelry.  I like the look of chain mail jewelry and I had all the supplies on hand.

I used a pattern from Chain Mail Jewelry: Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques, but I added beaded drops and then made a coordinating crystal and chain necklace.  The necklace is simple and understated to balance the fact that the earrings are absolutely and fabulously ginormous.
 

Dress, TJ Maxx; sandals, Younkers; earrings and necklace, handmade by me.
 

I can definitely use more practice at chain mail jewelry, but it was easy enough that I wasn't overwhelmed on my first attempt.  The book I checked out has many patterns for beginner through advanced experience.
 

If you'd like to try your hand at chain mail jewelry, I recommend checking your local library for this book.  It is also available on Amazon for as little as $4.99.



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