Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ninety years

Before 1920, women could not vote in every state in the United States. Women have only claimed their right to full citizenship in this country for ninety short years. I hope that all who are reading this did not take that right and privilege for granted this year!

In this image, Alice Paul is sewing a final star to a banner. Each star represents a state that ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to our Constitution, finally granting women the right to vote across the nation. I know that this doesn't have much to do with the subject matter of this blog, but I figured that since this picture depicts historical costume and has sewing in it, you all would forgive me.

To learn more about women's suffrage, I recommend checking out the film Iron Jawed Angels.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sewing, in miniature

I have just learned that it is National Blog Posting Month. They are even kind enough to offer prompts to get your creative juices flowing. Granted, it is likely that most of the prompts won't exactly fit the subject matter of this blog, I might be able to adapt them as needed. For example, the first prompt is:

What toy from your childhood do you still have in your possession?

So, in that vein...

When I was five years old, I received my first sewing machine. It was a real, working sewing machine on a small scale, intended for small repairs, quick hems, etc. I loved it and used it all the time, mostly for sewing little purses. I've always had a thing about hand bags. My family even (affectionately?) referred to me as "the bag lady".

I no longer have that sewing machine, but the gift of that sewing machine has lived with me throughout my life and I have always remembered it and have always been grateful for it.

Recently, I bought a sewing machine as a present for a little five-year-old friend of mine. I hope it is a fraction as useful, fun, and inspiring to her as mine was to me!

Singer makes a few real, working machines in miniature... here are just a few to check out for the little ones in your life:
Totally Me!
Deluxe Child's Machine
It might be tempting to get a less expensive machine for a young person, but the better machines will stand up to more abuse from unskilled hands and last them longer until they are ready for a full-size machine. I've never met anyone who regretted learning to sew and met many who did regret never learning! This is truly a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The greatest Halloween costume ever.

That is the phrase I typed into my Google search field. And the response I got was actually an illustrated version of a story told by an old friend of mine from high school, drawn by Doctor Popular. I think this Google is a little too smart. Hope you enjoy and Happy Halloween to you all!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cutie pies

So I'm not sure if it is the circles I run in, the time of life I am in or if there is something in the air, but it seems that everywhere I turn, one of my friends or acquaintances is having a baby. I think this is wonderful! I love being a mom, I loved being pregnant, and it is so exciting to see others experiencing it, too. And I am hugely excited that I am becoming an aunt soon!! My brother and his fiancé are expecting twins any time now. They are having two boys, my own twin boys have just turned four... it is so thrilling that I will be able to share my journey of twin parenthood with my own brother!

To recognize all the new and expectant parents out there and perhaps because we've been having a cold rainy spell here in Los Angeles, I wanted to share one of the coolest pieces of baby wear I have seen... baby legwarmers. These are ingenious. First of all, they are a sure-fire way to make sure your baby is looking hip and stylish. Secondly, and most importantly, they are incredibly convenient because they keep those precious baby legs warm like pants do but they make diaper changes a breeze because you don't have to wrestle your little one in and out of pants or fuss with tons of snaps. If you're expecting, put these on your wish list and if you know someone who is expecting they make a fantastic baby shower gift!

You can find them at BabyLegs and Agoo and a search for "baby legwarmers" on Etsy will turn up tons of hand made options. You'll get big time bonus points if you know how to knit and make your own (check out the free patterns here)!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sorry, no Emmy post tonight! I am up to my bustier in home renovation! Hope you guys enjoy the show!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dollar-A-Day Wardrobe

The other day I came across this article on Yahoo! today and was so inspired! This is one ambitious lady. This challenge reminds me a bit of the Stash Bustin' challenge and the Me Made March I followed over at So, Zo. I'm definitely adding it to the list of things I would like to try someday! You can watch Marisa's progress on her blog, New Dress A Day and you'll definitely see me there, too!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The true fit will set you free

I recently discovered My True Fit, a website that finds your individual best jeans matches based on your height, weight, measurements and style preferences. With how difficult and time-consuming it can be to find the perfect jeans, it is so nice to have your computer do all the work for you! You can then purchase recommended styles directly from the site. They sell primarily expensive designer label jeans, so some shoppers may be priced out, but it will still give you a great idea of what to look for when you hit the mall!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Red Carpet

On Thursday I attended the opening night of the HollyShorts 6th Annual Film Festival. My husband, Jonathan Deiner (pictured with me above), produced Think Tank, a short film written and directed by Peter Calloway, starring Matthew Rhys and Paula Rhodes.

The film has been very well received. It has screened at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and the Rome International Film Festival and has won Best Comedy Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival, Best Produced Short Film at the Producer's Guild of America Producer's Challenge, 2nd place Best Short Film at the Los Angeles International Film Festival.

This week's event was our first red carpet experience, and I was fortunate to be able to attend with my husband (one of the perks of being married into the entertainment business). I wore a navy Piko 1988 ruffled cocktail dress I have had in my wardrobe for a couple of years and a pair of metallic gray ruffled peek-a-boo toe Madden Girl heels, with some costume bangles and earrings.

To be candid, it was quite an awkward experience. I felt kind of out of place on the red carpet, since I didn't actually work on the film. I should have read this first. And I shouldn't have followed a professional actress who knew what she was doing, it was a bit of a blow to my self-confidence. But, there is a first time for everything and now that I have a better idea of how they work, it shouldn't be so bad next time. The event and the evening were really fun and we enjoyed the Opening Night screening that featured some fun shorts starring celebrities like Mina Suvari, Will Ferrel, Don Cheadle and Zooey Deschanel. I'm looking forward to more fun evenings like this as my husband's career progresses.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Stuck on you

I was so excited to see this story pop up on my Yahoo! homepage. I love it when the creativity of young people is highlighted, I tend to think we don't hear enough good things about teens in our culture. Anyway, these teens are all being celebrated for creating their prom attire completely out of duct tape! The winners, pictured above, achieved a charming and romantic look. All that filigree must have been a challenge to execute! Many of the other finalists' designs were excellent as well, with lots of whimsical, period, or fantasy influences. This is a far cry from a duct tape wallet!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

On Thursday I am slated to attend my first real red carpet event... but I don't know what to wear!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Anniversary

I can't believe it, but I've now been blogging for a whole year! I know I'm not as prolific as many of the other wonderful blogs I follow, but I have really enjoyed my experience so far and hope you all have enjoyed it as well!

The First Anniversary, by tradition, is the Paper Anniversary... so here's some excellent paper fashion eye candy for you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crabby Crafty

Today I stopped in at Home Ec in Silverlake, Los Angeles to check out a friend's charity bake sale. I had never had the pleasure of checking out the shop before, and I look forward to going there again soon to look over their awesome selection of whimsical fabrics, maybe to take a class or two, and just find out who these fun folks are. While perusing their website I found, and had to share, these oh-so-funny Subversive Cross Stitch Kits.... definitely not your granny's needlepoint!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bee's Knees

As long as I can remember I have had a fascination with the 1920s. This decade was quite an extraordinary period of history. A war had just been won and our country was celebrating, high on easy credit and moonshine. Freud was rediscovering our sexual natures as human beings. Women's fashion was also extraordinary at this time. Skirt hems became so short that they not only exposed the ankle but occasionally even the bare knee. Women tossed aside their corsets and embraced the sensual androgyny of drop-waist gowns and cut their long locks in favor of bobbed hairstyles. They were no less womanly for setting aside these feminine conventions, instead they felt free to embrace their vital sexuality in a way never before seen.

While I was perusing Life According To Celia (the highly enjoyable blog of my former wedding gown client) I came across some images that capture the themes of this era so strongly and beautifully from the book Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston. This work is definitely one I will be adding to my collection.

It is especially fitting now as the last of the Ziegfeld Follies girls, Doris Eaton Travis, passed away just a week ago on May 12, 2010 at the age of 106. She had this to say of being one of Ziegfeld's Girls:
“It was beauty, elegance, loveliness,” Mrs. Travis recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 2005, “beauty and elegance like a French painting of a woman’s body.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


If any prospective clients happen to read this, I want to let you know that for the time being I am not able to accept any projects. We are in a frenzy of house-hunting and hope very soon to be moving in to a home. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted about when I get my new "shop" set up! I do have a couple amazing people I can refer interested parties to, so don't hesitate to continue to contact me if you are looking for custom sewing services!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What I love on Etsy right now: Spring sale!

A friend of mine who used to work at the LA Opera with me now lives in Italy, designing and creating her own accessory masterpieces and selling them on etsy. And, as luck would have it, she's currently running a sale! Monjio Creations. You know you want all of these gorgeous pieces:

Spats! I mean, really... who doesn't want a set of SPATS?!

Hands off this awesome bolero made from a pair of trousers... I'm buying it as soon as I have a good excuse to wear it.

Fall bride? Yes, indeed.

Because you know you love love... the perfect bridal headpiece any time of year.

Quoth the Raven: Never before have I looked so good as I do on top of this
fantastic polka dot headpiece.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Current shoe obessesion

In March I went on a little weekend trip to my hometown, Boulder, Colorado. A friend and I were window shopping on Pearl Street Mall when we decided to duck into this awesome little shoe boutique called Two Sole Sisters. The place was chock-full of incredible shoes and I couldn't move more than a couple feet without exclaiming how cute/unique/beautiful this or that pair was. The shop is so chic and comfortable and... now this is the real shocker... the ladies working there were completely friendly and were not pressuring us OR giving us the stink eye because we weren't buying. I love shops like that!

Anyway, I totally fell in love with a pair of shoes and have not been able to get them out of my mind since my visit. I shot an email to the store yesterday and described the shoes. In a matter of hours I received a response telling me who made the shoes, what their style name was, and a tip that I could probably find them for sale online! She also informed me that their store will soon be setting up some e-commerce, so keep checking back with them!

Without further ado, here is my shoe crush: Larue, by Gee WaWa:

Someday, they will be mine (in case my fairy godmother is reading, I think and 8 or 8.5 would do very nicely, in rich brown, please).

Friday, April 30, 2010

Derby Day

May 1st marks the 2010 Kentucky Derby, the oldest horse race in the United States. The race was first run in 1875 and was modeled after famous European horse races of the time. The race continues to be an illustrious event to this day, attracting the rich and famous and horse-lovers of all kinds. One of the most interesting traditions associated with the race is that women generally don hats, especially oversize, rather outrageous styles.

While I am not much of one for horse-racing, I do love hats and any occasion that calls for us to wear them. Despite The Hat having fallen out of fashion favor in the United States, hats worn for this event are of a scale so grand, we haven't seen anything like them since the height of hat fashion during the Edwardian era.

(Typical Edwardian hats)

So, in honor of Derby Day, I've scoured the Google Image Search to dig out my favorite hats from Derbys past. For an occasion such as the Kentucky Derby, I favor hats with broad, sweeping brims, festive colors, whimsical touches, and an over-the-top-but-still-elegant design.

(this Lady In Red get the idea!)

(A little My Fair Lady)

(just the right amount of modest extravagance)

(Kim Kardashian tops off her look with an understated by incredibly glamorous piece)

(the shape, size, and scale of this hat make me swoon... but wouldn't it be absolutely spectacular in a lovely spring color scheme?)

(this hat is fantastic! Whimsical and a bit outrageous, reminiscent of Edwardian millinery, but with a very flattering shape).

Although I'm not sure I'll ever make it to the Kentucky Derby, perhaps someday I'll find a group of hat enthusiasts to accompany me to the Santa Anita Racetrack for a fashion reenactment of the Derby.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's in store

My baby brother (who isn't so much of a baby anymore at 28 years old!) is getting married this July. That's us in the picture, I'm 2 1/2 years old and he is 8 months old. I am so happy for him and his fiance and the life they are creating for one another, and I am especially pleased to be making the gown his fiance will wear when they join their lives together. I'll let you all see pictures after the wedding!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Bonnets

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
I love Easter because it is one of the few occasions we have in modern times to don a gorgeous hat, and I just love hats!

Victorian Easter Bonnets

Adorable, little girl, 1950s Easter bonnets

and the Easter bonnet I would buy if I had a good enough reason.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This day in history: 3/25/1634

This is a feature I haven't done for quite a while... it is a fun and fascinating topic, but also rather time consuming. But I decided to carve out a few minutes to give my readers another dose of fashion in the context of history.

On March 25, 1634, the colony of Maryland was founded. Just thirteen years prior to this, the cotton seed was brought to America from England.

This image of Henrietta Maria, Queen of France by the artist Van Dyck would have represented the height of European fashion at the time.
However, the common American colonial settler would have found such a costume prohibitively expensive and impractical for a life of hard labor that they had to live. The populations of the settlements were sparse, and everyone had to pull their own weight, and then some. Aside from participating in the more traditional womanly arts of sewing, cooking, housekeeping, and child-rearing, the average American colonial woman would also often be required to attend to the livestock, keep up the family garden, serve as midwife to other women, and step into any more traditionally male role should her husband perish or become otherwise incapacitated. But somehow, they managed to do it all while wearing a corset.

And if that doesn't impress you, try putting on a belt a few notches too tight and doing the vacuuming... you'll get the picture. For good measure, throw on a wool sweater and hat (even if it is summer on the east coast... it didn't stop our founding mothers!)

Rather than the opulent silks and laces of their upper class European sisters, women in early Colonial America would have worn sturdier fabrics such as wool. The garments would have to be mended repeatedly because a lack of time and resources would prevent them from having new bodices and skirts when their old ones wore out. And washing didn't happen nearly as often as today.

If you are curious about what life was like for early American settlers, check out the information on Colonial House, a PBS show that aired in 2004.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Round Ones

For a fashion lover, I don't spend much time flipping through the magazines or drooling over images from various fashion weeks around the world. And this is why:

This woman

and this woman

are the industry standards of "curvy", "fleshier", and "voluptuous" and industry big-wigs are having a great time patting themselves on the back for breaking the "weight barrier".

It has even gotten to the point, after a death of a model from heart failure after stepping off the catwalk, that the industry is being pushed to institute minimum BMIs and provide food backstage.

To folks like Karl Lagerfeld, I say, "Give me these gorgeous, fit women on the catwalk any day..."

..."and tell your models who have to run around in the shower to get wet that we aren't buying what they're selling."

(PS. I'm pretty sure that modern Venus in the first picture would count as being round. And I'm pretty sure that plenty of people are more than pleased to look at her.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fashion Challenge, Part I

Some days, you feel like you have nothing to wear... Well, there are a couple of inspirational ladies who have taken that idea and embraced it!

The first woman I want to introduce you to is Zoe from So Zo (of Stash Bustin' fame). She has created a "Me Made March" challenge in which she only wears clothes that she has made all month long. Down to the pajamas and a totally awesome leopard coat! This is a pretty terrific challenge, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be if this trend took off. I think that sometime soon, I will take on something similar, but for now it will probably have to be that everyday I wear something I made rather than self-made from head to toe... but someday I will definitely be up to giving this challenge a try!

Thanks for the inspiration, Zoe, and keep up the awesome work!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Hot

(image via Love My Dress)

I certainly don't want to diminish the beauty of a white wedding gown (I wore white, too!), but have you noticed how I'm a little obsessed with brides wearing alternative colors? This real bride wore a show-stopping red gown for her wedding and it is absolutely stunning. It is traditional for Chinese brides to wear red on their wedding day, a tradition I hope more Western brides will consider borrowing!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Big O's!

The Academy Awards were held this weekend at Hollywood's Kodak Theater. One thing I hope that my readers will understand (and forgive me for!) is that the Oscars are usually a big social event for my friends and family, so the evening was spent more in chatting and enjoying the company of friends than in taking notes and scrutinizing what everyone was wearing. However, from a fashion standpoint, the Oscars are always my favorite awards show because it is the most formal and fashions tend to be more spring oriented (ie, less black, warmer colors and softer, more flowing fabrics).

I was not able to catch every detail, so I will share with you a few of my big favorites.

My heart skipped a beat when I spied Up in the Air's Vera Farmiga in her Marchesa gown. What can I say, I'm a sucker for ruffles, pleats, and bright pink, so this dress was my complete package!

I also happen to be a sucker for deliciously deep reds, so Penelope Cruz's strapless Donna Karan Couture was right up my alley (this picture really doesn't do it justice. It was especially lovely under the stage lights).

Avatar's Zoe Saldana truly shone (literally and figuratively) in her bold Givenchy gown. She took a chance and this fashionista says she pulled it off gorgeously.

I also really enjoyed Rachel McAdams' gown, it was a lovely juxtaposition between a formal, conservative silhouette and a fresh, somewhat whimsical, water-colory print. Her gown kept to the full, flowing, muted-color trends of the evening, but did not include any ruffles, which helped her stand out from the crowd.

There were, of course, disappointments. I thought that Demi Moore dressed too young in her peachy ruffled number. Jennifer Lopez dressed seemed to be channeling Barbie in her iridescent pink Armani Prive. And I did not love Sarah Jessica Parker in her awkward Chanel sheath.

Overall, everyone looked amazing, but I hope that next year the program will be more engaging and that the stars will be willing to step outside their fashion comfort zones a bit more.