Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hope you all are having a wonderful time celebrating the turn-of-the-decade! Here's an image of a spectacular party dress from Paco Rabanne, worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Two For The Road (a really interesting movie, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't seen it). See you in 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joy to the World!

Hope you and yours are having a very happy holiday! Enjoy!

(and you can find this costume here if you need to liven up your gathering)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let's bring back poodle skirts!

And by that, I really mean appliqued circle skirts. There is no reason poodles should get to have all the fun! Circle skirts are wonderful because they are flattering on a variety of figures, they require very little sewing know-how to create (and if you make them from felt they don't need to even be hemmed), and they are a perfect blank canvas to express yourself through fashion in a fun and whimsical way.

Oversized flowers look fun and chic:

This darling skirt let's everyone know you're in a party mood:

The three-dimensional vines of magnolias on this skirt are downright glamorous:

Using abstract shapes can let your inner designer shine:

And Santa will be sure not to miss your house if you don this skirt on Christmas Eve:

Instructions for making a circle skirt are easy to come by, or a commercial pattern can be purchased from your local fabric store.

Free applique templates abound on the internet, you are really only limited by your imagination (just try googling "{applique idea here} pattern" in an image search and you're sure to find something). I came across a few cute ones to share with you:

kitty cat applique from mmmcrafts

owl applique (template here) from amazing mae

skull and crossbone applique found on crafty crafty
and a
bird and ribbon applique from Make Them Yourself

The technique you use for your applique will vary depending on the materials you use and your skill level. You may use fusible webbing, needle-turning, or even topstitch a felt applique by hand with large stitches of embroidery thread. With some practice and creativity, you can experiment until you get a look you like.

You can also get a personalized monogrammed circle skirt from Hey Viv!

If you do decide to give the circle skirt a go, I'd love to see your pictures!

Monday, December 14, 2009

What I love on Etsy right now: holiday picks

Wooden Heart Necklace (I love the festive colors and the funky look of the clasp in front... I mean, it always ends up there anyway, right?)

LuRoe Accessories are created by an old friend of mine, we were in the same 5th grade class! She just happens to be a great creative talent in the jewelry department with a great offbeat style. I always advocate supporting handmade when it comes to gift buying (I consider it a public service), so I've picked just a few of my favorite pieces of hers to share with you all if you're looking for a few more gifts (or a treat for yourself) this holiday season:
Peach Agate Hoops
Funky Wrap Watch
Green Shell Bracelet
Silver Filigree and Chain Necklace

Get 'em while they're hot (or before I buy them all!)

Baby Got Back: a reader question response

Reader Lisa (who also happens to be my mom) recently asked regarding my Victorian ball costume: "what did you stuff the 'bum' with?"

Most Victorian fashions of the post-crinoline period (c. 1867-1890) used a bustle to add volume to the back of the skirts, thus the name "The Bustle Period", which is broken down further into a few sub-periods. Although there is something absurd about the exaggerated silhouette of the era, I have always been aesthetically drawn to this look.

There were several styles of bustles in this period that would create different amounts of volume and shapes with varying degrees of comfort and mobility. These are a few examples:

Another acceptable, simpler alternative is the bum (or bustle) pad. It is, essentially, a shaped pillow tied just below the waist to sit right on top of the bum. We used them on a few shows at the Los Angeles Opera while I worked there. They are a little bulkier than a wire bustle, but they are easy to make and it's pretty easy to move and sit in one. That is what I chose to do for my Victorian ballgown look.

My bum pad isn't looking so great... it is actually still attached to the waist tie by safety pins, even though I made it about four years ago! So, I am borrowing this picture from Past & Present Creations because it is essentially the same thing:

Denise Nadine Designs is just one site that offers a wide selection of foundation and under garments for those who don't want or feel unable to create their own.

I really enjoy taking reader questions, so be sure to drop a line!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Button, button...

Last night at a party I lost a button from my simple black trench (purchased at Target). At first I was frustrated because now I have to buy 10 new buttons (because what is the likelihood of finding one button that is exactly the same, even if it is a simple black button?).

Then I got excited... what a perfect opportunity to snazz up my simple black trench! Duh! So now I'm on a search for fabulous buttons that add just the right amount of splash but that won't take away too much from the neutrality of my coat (let's not forget that the whole reason I bought black was so I could wear it with almost anything).

I came across the store Cute As A Button and these are some of my favorites:

...but I might just end up cruising the vintage button selection on ebay instead.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

That's right, it's actually raining in L.A.! Word on the street is that it will continue all week. This kind of weather leaves me wishing that we had enough rain here to justify buying a bunch wonderful rain wear... but in the meantime I must content myself with my fantasy of having a closet full of these lovelies (my heart is pitter-pattering almost as loud as the rain outside):


Vintage Galoshes:

And, of course, about a million pairs of Wellies:

Some rain hats:

And I would even try to bring back the Rain Bonnet (it's easier on the 'do):

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Victorian Ball

Last night I was able to attend my first Grand Victorian Ball since before I had my children. I was a wonderful evening full of costumes, dancing, friends, laughter, and lemonade. Getting my ballgown done in time was a little stressful, but I got it done and was overall very happy with the results. (But I won't lie... there were definitely several safety pins where hooks, bars, and snaps were supposed to be!)

I did have a dilemma with my hair since mine is much to short to be Victorian. Rather than wear a wig, I decided to try to pass mine off as best as possible by pin-curling most of it and styling the front into a pompadour. I added in some jeweled hairpins and a sort of fascinator and I felt very pleased with the effect.

If you think period costumed gatherings might be an adventure you would like to try, the Social Daunce Irregulars, Friends of the Engilsh Regency, Victorian Tea & Dance Society, Mikal Sandoval's Speakeasy, and Club Cicada are just a few of the many options available to folks living in the Los Angeles area.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy your holiday as much as this dancing duo seems to be! Enjoy your meal, love your family and friends, and count your blessings!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

They're called "aglets"

Those little metal or plastic tips on the ends of your shoelaces... and I need to find two and an applicator ASAP.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Day Trinkets

this feathered hairpiece entitled Wild Turkey

this bold Turkey Feather Brooch
this beautiful Turkey Brooch

How much fun would it be to spice up your Thanksgiving wardrobe with these little numbers?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flower Girl

(Photo by Cathryn Farnsworth)

When Celia (my recent bridal client) and I went shopping for fabric, she casually asked whether I like to sew for little girls.... ummm, heck yeah!!!! I love little girl clothes, especially with a vintage vibe, and given that I have two boys I don't get my fix very often. So I was thrilled when she asked me to create a top for her niece who would be her flower girl. And, on top of making my day, she had the brilliant idea to use the same vintage laces on the blouse that we were using on the wedding gown.

Celia had thought of having her niece wear this JCrew top, so we used it as our inspiration:
We used the pearl white silk taffeta from Celia's gown for the foundation of the gown and added three layers of lace that made an appearance on her gown as well and this was the result:

(front view)(back view with keyhole opening and rhinestone button)

Celia's niece was so sweet and adorable during her fitting, and judging from the pictures, she looked great on the big day!