Friday, November 1, 2013

Chanel Dreams

Ever since I met two different women on a recent cruise both named Chanel (what are the odds of that?), I have been obsessed with all things Chanel.  My recent trip to New York was focused on acquiring Chanel items.

I managed to find a pretty pink sofa for my Chanel-clad Barbie.

Actually, it's a secret jewelry box that just happens to fit Barbie.

Friday, June 21, 2013

NYC Garment District

I love almost everything about New York City, and the Garment District is no exception.  My favorite store has got to be Paron Fabrics. 
Their inventory is nowhere as overwhelming as Mood's, which is a good thing.  It's almost as if they only carry the good stuff, so you don't have to waste your time going through everything else.  I was looking specifically for white tweed or boucle', and I only found it at Paron.  I have found great fabrics in their half-price annex in the past.  The staff is always very helpful and generous.

Two doors down from Paron Fabrics is Daytona Braids and Trimming, where I found various trims to coordinate with my white boucle'.

My favorite store for notions is Steinlauf & Stoller (for some reason I don't have a picture of it).  It's a great source for hard-to-find quality items like wide horsehair braid and pre-cut steel boning (as short as 4").  They had the best price on large sheets of waxed tracing paper (only $6.50 each, compared to $12 at other places).  Tip:  bring a cardboard tube to roll it in to keep it from getting damaged during the rest of your shopping and trip home.

I had to get up early to get this shot w/o people hanging around this man.

Nor sure why there are 5 buttonholes

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank you, Mood!

I was recently in New York City, for the first time since I started watching Project Runway (Season 6, to be specific).  I had a $100 gift certificate (for winning second place in the Pattern Review designer knock-off  contest).  Needless to say, it didn't go very far.

Even with the overwhelming stock, I didn't find what I was looking for: white tweed or boucle' to make a Chanel jacket.  I went ahead and got some silver and gold-tone chain and trims for said jacket.  I stocked up on invisible zippers (they were only $1 each) in the colors I mostly sew with, and some thread.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Kooan (from Project Runway Season 10) working there; I got some printed silk charmeuse just so I could snap this picture of him tearing into it. 

He was so helpful and knowledgeable, not as kooky as he appeared on TV or in these pictures. He said that Tim Gunn had been by earlier in the day.  Drats!

 I told Swatch to "Sit" and he did!

I really like the artwork on the elevator doors.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Headmistress Dress

The Headmistress Dress, by L'Wren Scott, has been seen on Ellen Barkin, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  It's so famous, it was recently featured as a museum exhibit.  I've been wanting to knock off this design for years, and I finally got around to it.  I used Simplicity 2337, which has become my tried and true dress pattern since I've perfected the fit in the hollow chest/shoulder area.

Pattern Description:  Misses dress with front and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:  4-20.  I cut size 4 and sewed 1/2" side seams.

Fabrics Used:  Vera Wang black tropical wool contrasted with white cotton sateen and lined with gray Dolce & Gabbana rayon lining.

Speaking of Dolce & Gabbana, this is the same pattern I used to knock off their fringed sheath.  I used the same method of curving the shoulder princess seam into the side hip and I cut the side front pieces on the bias for a better fit.

I wanted to copy the shape of the collar as close as possible, so the left-brained nerd in me zoomed the images on a photocopier to life size and traced the lines onto the neck facings to form the pattern pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  It's difficult to tell from the envelope, but the pattern features sleeves with some gathering at the top of the sleeve cap.  Tried as I may, I just couldn't ease all that fullness in without the gathers, even when I moved the notches almost to the underarm.  I even used a bias strip sleeve head, but it still didn't ease it enough.  I'm not a big fan of the gathers, as it looks like an amateur tried to ease a tailored sleeve in and ended up with puckers.  I ended up cutting out new sleeves with much less ease.  I also tapered the sleeves quite a bit and then drafted an extension for the contrasting cuff.

Conclusion:  I love this pattern for the basic bodice.  It comes with many variations and you can add design elements to create a designer look for a fraction of the price

Monday, February 25, 2013

Drouillard Mansion

Way off the beaten path in rural Tennessee, about an hour west of Nashville, there is a historic mansion full of charm and warmth.  Normally homes of this period have rooms and furnishings that are roped off, but I was delighted to be able to sleep in the antique bed, sit in the antique chairs, roam freely about at all hours of the day and night, and take all the pictures I want.

Expansive front porch
Men's parlor

Women's parlor
Deluxe Clue game
Large dining room
Medium dining room
Small dining room
Main bathroom
Grand staircase
Second floor hall
The room we stayed in
The other bed; each room had at least two beds.
The room across from ours
Love the furnishings  
The third floor,
where the bathrooms were located
View from the front balcony
I suspect that slave quarters used to be where these cabins are now.
Inside one of the roomy cabin quarters
King size bed
Full size bed
We spent one night in the cabin and the rest of the time in the mansion.  It was truly an experience of a lifetime.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rose Bowl Flea Market

To add to the serendipity of my trip to L. A., the world-famous Rose Bowl flea market was taking place on the same weekend.  It only comes around once a month, and the timing just happened to work out perfectly. It's touted to have something for everyone, and it certainly delivered.  I was surprised that my brother wanted to go, since it's not his thing.  It wasn't my sister's thing either, but she was my slave for the weekend!  We were all pleasantly surprised with what we found there.
The banana seat brings back lots of memories.
 I bought some sewing gift items, some hard-to-find manicure implements, and vintage petticoats.

Cuticle trimmer and crystal nail file
White $3, Black $17

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gertie Groupie

How crazy is it that I immediately booked a flight to Los Angeles as soon as Gertie posted on her blog about a book party there? It would have been nice to have more advance notice than 6 days in terms of airfare, but as Tim Gunn says, I made it work.  I met Gertie a couple of years ago when she came to Nashville for an exclusive  couture exhibit here.  I'd forgotten how much prettier she is in person; the pictures on her online don't do her justice.  I wasn't crazy about the pink hair from the blog pictures, but in real life, she totally rocks it!

The retro picnic included pink ambrosia Jello mold and addicting peach rum punch. 

I enjoyed seeing Gertie's garments on display.

I was happy to meet up again with my bizarro world twin Anh, whom I met through Pattern Review.  She came with another friend that she also met through PR.
Carla, Anh, and me.

 Crazier still, I was able to rope my sister Kim into flying out from Denver to join me.  She graciously served as my assistant/slave/photographer for the whole trip.