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Monthly Archives: May 2014

  • How to Plan and Sneak Peek

    Helena, Montana, is a lot like the mythical Lake Wobegon -- The women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Helena is not fashion-forward or overly formal. I once wore a hand made skirt to the grocery store on a Saturday. I saw a friend at the store, and she was confused, "I love your skirt. Why are you wearing it? Do you have a Saturday meeting?" 

    Because of where I live, I rarely worry whether my outfit is "good enough." I throw together work outfits on weekday mornings, and make sure my jeans are clean on weekends. Traveling is another story. I grew up in a swanky suburb of San Francisco, my daughters both live on the East Coast, and my work travel often takes me to Seattle and Washington, DC. When I go to cities, I toss some outfits and as few pairs of shoes as possible into my suitcase and hop on the plane.

    When I reach my destination, I realize I am not in Helena anymore. Everyone looks great, even at the grocery store. I once wore a skirt and my Chaco sandals to the gym in my home town. While I was changing the the locker room, a stranger said, "I love your skirt. Please tell me you are not wearing it with those sandals." I was supposed to put together an ensemble to go to the gym? I did not get that memo! Needless to say, I frequently regret my packing choices. 

    Thanks to wonderful bloggers like Une Femme and Susan Carillo, I was inspired to actually try on outfits and photograph them before I traveled to Connecticut last week. If you hop over to Susan's blog, you can see the great wardrobe she put together for her recent trip to France. Of course, she took her pics next to a rustic fence and knows how to avoid cutting off the top of her head. I took mine in front of the laundry room, and have not yet learned the whole-body selfie technique. 

    New favorite striped Santa Fe dress with tan shoes? New favorite striped Santa Fe dress with tan shoes?

    Striped Santa Fe dress with black shoes? Striped Santa Fe dress with black shoes?

    Gray Butterick dress from my session with Beth at Sunnygal Studio with tan shoes? Gray Butterick dress from my session with Beth at Sunnygal Studio with tan shoes?

    Gray Butterick dress with new coral shoes and no head? Gray Butterick dress with new coral shoes and no head?

    I decided to wear both dresses with the tan shoes. I felt confident and comfortable in the big city! 

    How do you plan your trips? Do you just throw things in a suitcase, or do you take selfies to make sure the outfits work?

  • Update!

    Hello Everybody -- I apologize for not posting for so long! Work keeps getting in the way of blogging. And, my wonderful photographer, Andrea Jones, is on vacation with her family (the nerve!). She will send me my newest batch of photos next week.

    I have been sewing and learning, however. In fact, my daughter, Charlotte, graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, last weekend, and I took the opportunity to visit Jennifer Stern at her studio in Manchester, Connecticut. She and I had a great time making progress on the JStern jeans I muslined during Jen's workshop at the American Sewing Expo in Detroit last fall.

    My muslin-ed butt in Detroit. My muslin-ed butt in Detroit.

    Me and Jen in her Connecticut sewing studio. Me and Jen in her Connecticut sewing studio.

    Making changes to the paper pattern based on the muslin. Making changes to the paper pattern based on the muslin.

    As you know, I am an avid fan of Marta Alto and Pati Palmer. Their method of trying on the tissue and altering the paper pattern based on what you discover works great. I teach others using their method. But...I am also enjoying learning how to alter patterns using muslins. Both Jen and Beth of Sunnygal Studio start with muslins before they alter the pattern paper. Although garments look different in fashion fabric, the dimensionality of a muslin is really helpful. I'm looking forward to morphing the Palmer/Pletsch method and the muslin method to find what works for me! I'm glad you're along for the ride.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

  • More Gray

    May in Montana is the hardest month of the year for me. I grew up in California, where May was bright green hills and perfect 70-degree days. Shoes were optional in May. End-of-the-school-year pool parties abounded. In Montana, where I have lived my entire adult life, wool hats and mittens are starting to be optional in May. The weather can be best described as "iffy". Today, the sky is gray, and if it rains in town, the nearby hills will certainly get snow.

    So...don't judge me for displaying a gray wool dress today. With a jacket, it is perfect May attire here in the North. This dress is a McCall's 5716, altered by Vanna DiAmicus during one of my Palmer/Pletsch trainings. It's a great, simple dress that I will make many more times.

    Closeup of the front bodice. The dress is fully lined with Ambiance Rayon. Photo by Andrea Jones. Closeup of the front bodice. The dress is fully lined with Ambiance Rayon. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Full front. Nothing like a professional photo to highlight the wrong color of nylons. :) Photo by Andrea Jones. Full front. Nothing like a professional photo to highlight the wrong color of nylons. :) Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Side view. Photo by Andrea Jones. Side view. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    And the back. I will definitely be making this dress out of springier fabric soon. Photo by Andrea Jones. And the back. I will definitely be making this dress out of springier fabric soon. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Thanks for visiting. I hope summer has arrived for you!

  • Project Selvedge, Season Finale!

    Joanna and Jazmine, the two remaining contestants, both did a great job for the season finale of Project Selvedge 2014! They were asked to create a cohesive line of clothing, and they had two weeks to meet the challenge. I was a little worried that Joanna's baby would crash the party by coming out too early, but she complied by staying in her mama's belly.

    Joanna stayed with her theme of exercise clothes that can be worn while running errands or going out to lunch. Joanna stayed with her theme of exercise clothes that can be worn while running errands or going out to lunch.

    They can also be worn while exercising! They can also be worn while exercising!

    You can even bike in this jumpsuit if you're a You can even bike in this jumpsuit if you're a "Cigarette Girl." Her belt is too big -- that happens to me all the time --- hahaha!

    This young woman rides her bike everywhere--even when she's not being a model! This young woman rides her bike everywhere--even when she's not being a model!

    Joanna had actually made the pants for this model--much better fit. Joanna had actually made the pants for this model--much better fit.

    Jazmine created his and hers raincoats using colorful oilcloth -- Love! Jazmine created his and hers raincoats using colorful oilcloth -- Love!

    Boy raincoat in action. Boy raincoat in action.

    Both fashion lines were creative, and I wanted to take home every garment, but there had to be a winner, and the winner was........JOANNA! Congratulations!

    One last picture of One last picture of "Mary Quant", who made her final appearance on the Project Selvedge runway on Friday night.

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