Friday, November 5, 2010

Flashback Fridays ~ Melissa Hill Moss Wedding Dress

I wish I could put all of my past projects online, but on top of forgetting to take pictures of oh so many projects that are now in other people's hands (don't worry, I've definitely kicked myself in the pants about that a time or two!) there really just isn't enough time in any week to make a post that long, and ya'll wouldn't have time to read it all either! So, as a good compromise between the side of me that wants to document almost everything and the side of me that just doesn't have time to, my amazing sister suggested doing a Flashback Friday now and then to highlight a memory--I meant to mostly use it for my personal blog, but it is absolutely needed here as well!

So I'm going to start with my most recent big project--the wedding dress for Melissa Hill Moss! When she came to me, she'd gotten a beautiful beaded wedding gown from David's Bridal, but it had no sleeves! With a little ingenuity and episodes of "Lost" to keep my company, I knew I could give her a beautiful solution.

We wanted to make sure she felt beautiful and confident but we didn't want her to have to wear a shawl all night long, so I designed a collar and sleeves to work into the top of the bodice, with a square neck in front to frame her lovely face and a v-neck in back to draw the eye down to the beautiful train.

The train of the dress was super long, but it had a gorgeous beaded design, so I wanted to accent it as much as possible while making it more maneuverable for her. With a simple hook and eye strategically placed at the top of the design, she had a new bustle to hustle in!

We also didn't want it to look like the sleeves were an afterthought, so after giving her a nice collar and sleeves, I used some extra beaded panels on the sleeves, tying it in with the bodice, and hand beaded the collar edges for a sophisticated flair.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think of it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

70% Comfort, 30% Fashion

(BTW, I'm sorry that I haven't posted for 2 weeks! I'm still trying to get a routine down for this and have recently been without a home computer, but I really hope to post 1 or 2 times a week from here on out, and I even thinking I should do a monthly surprise, so don't give up on me yet--if you keep checking back, I promise you will be rewarded!)

We all have a few ugly things
for comfort's sake!
I was chatting with my friend the other day about the delicate balance between comfort and fashion, and when I was mourning the rain on the drive into work, I was reminded of the same conversation. Thinking about what was most important to me when I dressed each day, I had stated that I was 70% comfort oriented and 30% fashion oriented--and she was shocked! See, I often covet after or design pretty dresses, and I'm constantly musing on the positive effect of a well-put together look, so she understandably thought that fashion was a high priority for me, but I never think it's appropriate to be miserable in an outfit just for the sake of looking good! Fashion can never trump comfort for me (one of my favorite things about both fashion and photography is helping a person feel comfortable in their own skin), but sometimes comfort is a bully and edges fashion right out of play! Most of us would rather wrap ourselves up in baggy sweaters all winter than freeze while looking great (which is of course my greatest concern as weather changes!)

One of my main problems is with the nature of a dress itself. Many good things can be said about a good pair of pants, but nothing really makes me feel pretty like a dress does. A dress often flatters a figure better, makes a girl feel more confident and generally makes everything a bit more classy, even in the casual styles, but they also very often literally leave you cold--as in drafts on the legs and little to no comfort or warmth in the most appropriate shoes, and considering most offices are air conditioned beyond anybody's comfort level, this is really a year round issue! And what about the outfits that are warm enough, but never seem to be long enough?

So what really makes the best outfits? The perfect marriage of the two! You'll rarely see me wear something that would rock the runway, but I feel pretty nice in a flowey dress and deceptively warm tights, or, as winter approaches, a thick dress accented with a colorful scarf and boots. What's your favorite solution to make you feel comfortably fashionable? Leave me a comment!

(Dress pictures from Grosgrain Fabulous and Kim Grey)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dress Design for Shabby Apple

I won't lie--a part of me is totally motivated by the notion that I will someday see one of my dress designs on a stranger or even hear someone say it's their favorite outfit! But since I currently work in an office, not my home sweat shop, I rarely have enough time left over to even make the things I dream up for myself, much less produce them for others! Thankfully there are wonderful people out there who want to give aspiring designers a chance. I've been in love with Shabby Apple dresses since the first time a friend showed me their site (cute and classy dresses you can wear anywhere, be it the office or at home—I love the vintage inspired dresses and new Paris line) And after glancing over their blog at that time, I’d found that they had just barely wrapped up their first ever design contest. Ever since then I've been hoping against hope they would do it again, and I finally got my wish! The top 15 designs will be featured on the Shabby Apple Blog to be voted on by readers (starting Oct 22) and the design with the most votes by Nov 15th will have their dress produced as part of the spring collection! With that incentive, how could I not enter? So here's my design:

Having recently moved, dealing with all the unpacking and organizing has put comfort at the very top of my list of priorities, but a girl still wants to look good! 

My solution? Use a good jersey knit fabric for ease of movement and pair it with a wide fabric belt to mask the tummy that we all get when we slouch too much! It's perfect for any body type and comfortable enough for any activity.

I chose a red and brown patterned fabric, though this design would look even better in bright or plain colors for spring—green, lavendar, teals, and beige especially. 

I'm always inspired by fun treatments at the waist and neckline, so in addition to the contrasting belt, I incorporated a draped neckline for a touch of class. 

The pattern of this fabric lent itself easily to a southwestern flair, so you can dress the part with a sunflower clip on the belt and some fun boots, or make it more office ready with a pair of heels and pearls. 

Every time I wear it, it's so easy to move in and comfortable for any occasion, but I also feel very fashionable and put together in it—and the balance between those two things are what I think every modern classy lady needs! Not to mention, receiving compliments when I wear it always feels pretty awesome :) 

Entries are due in a few days, so please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my design.

(Photos Courtesy Chance Hammock)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quick Switch for A Night Out, Courtesy of the Homemade Belt Ring:

I came home the other day needing a cute outfit fast so I could meet up with some friends—unfortunately, as it usually happens when you want to look good, nearly all of my laundry was dirty. I loved the knit dress I had worn to work, but I felt so over-dressed when I wasn't in the office. On the other hand, I always feel sloppy in a t-shirt and jeans, and all of the middle ground favorites were in the hamper. Not knowing what to do about it, I pulled my pants on, hoping inspiration would strike somewhere in the middle of the process, and lo and behold, it actually did! 

Something about my dress cinched up while I buttoned my pants gave me the idea to turn it into a “Night Out” shirt.

I'd made a quick belt ring a few weeks ago for drape-ey fabric belts by winding some clear elastic (found in any fabric store) around a clear plastic circle that stores often slip scarves through for display.

Once I thought of that, it was so simple—I just lifted the skirt to the waist, pulled the fabric snug around my hips, and slipped the excess through the belt ring. I love the way it draped  down one leg, accentuating the classic, flattering print with modern asymmetrical lines, but, paired with the pants, was just casual enough for hanging out with friends.

So try it next time you're looking for a fun shirt without anytime to dig through laundry—you might have flashbacks to the 80s when you pulled your shirts through sock holders, but this updated twist will have you footloose and turning your favorite dress into your favorite shirt in no time!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Makes Me Stitch...

Whenever I find a new design blog that looks interesting, I always want to peruse their past entries and end up spending a great deal of time scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking "Older Posts." I want to see where the person comes from and how their style evolves both personally and design-wise, so I decided that I wanted to include a link on to the very beginning of the blog with a little background info. This goes out to all those who have OCD and want to see the story chronologically like myself!

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!

I lived in Japan for a year and a half (as a missionary), so you may see me wield the occasional Japanese word or phrase, as they are sometimes so appropriate! The introduction of this section, Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu, is used when you first meet someone, and not only means "pleased to meet you" but also conveys a sense of starting out on the right foot and looking forward to future interactions, almost like saying "Nice to meet you--I hope we shall become very good friends!" (which is, by the way, very fun to say in an English accent) And whether you look at my blog because you are already a friend or family member who wants to support my delusions of grandeur (I'd be nowhere without many people thinking I was awesome long before they ever had proof of it!) or because you found it on your own and like my ideas, I really sincerely hope we shall become very good friends!

About Me

I am from a family of eight kids, four girls and four boys, most of whom live near my wonderful parents in Utah. They are my anchor in life and are responsible for shaping every good part of me. My wonderful Mom and Dad always encouraged us to be creative and resourceful (and to develop our talents--we have the coolest family band ever!) so, even though Mom hated even looking at mending and I somehow never had the seemingly obligatory Home Ec class, when I needed more skirts in my middle school wardrobe, I decided to figure out how to make one! Working up from simple elastic waist skirts to dabbling in prom dresses, costumes, and even making patterns from my favorite clothes in high school, I fell in love with the almost detective like process of figuring out how to make the outfit in my head come out of the flat scraps of fabric in front of me, all before even thinking about taking a proper class! In college, I finally took a sewing class and apprenticed with an amazing seamstress to refine my technical skills, and though I'm still mostly self taught, I feel comfortable with almost anything the sewing world can throw at me, and often try to take inspiration from neat styles that I see my friends or associates wearing!

I'm very inspired by vintage designs with a modern flair, and fun draping or architectural details, and my mantra is "Modest is Hottest". Let's be honest, as sleek or fun or stylish as you think some clothing is, nobody wants people looking down your shirt or up your skirt. You're most comfortable with yourself when you love the way you look but are also appropriate for any environment, whether it's in the office or on the town; meeting your hot date or meeting his parents; planting some flowers, or holding them in your wedding bouquet.

When my older sisters got married, it was so hard to find something that wasn't so revealing that it left the bride blushing for the entirely wrong reasons, and when they looked to seamstress friends for help, I began to realize that I probably had the skills and creativity to help with that all too common dilemma! I designed and made my own wedding dress and have been altering special occasion and office wear since, all the while continuing to get to all sorts of inspirations for ready to wear clothing as well. It wasn't until this year, when I found some amazing design blogs and clothing sites, that I decided to throw in my proverbial hat and start documenting some of my design ideas on a blog myself, so here I am! I hope someday to have my own designs available for purchase, but for the time being, I stitch part-time!

Growing up in the Southwest, being a missionary in Japan, and moving to the East Coast after marrying my sweetheart, I've also always been surrounded by natural beauty and have a passion for photography. On top of my design inspirations and musings, I hope to feature some non-sewing-related photography now and then too!