Friday, March 30, 2012

My Quest for the Perfect Shoe: Yellow and Orange

Friends, when it is gross and rainy outside (like it is supposed to be this morning), I have the urge to wear yellow.  Something bright and sunny to offset the gloom really helps to improve my mood throughout the day!  My outfit for today consists of a tan blazer and a mustard tunic with jeans - it's casual chic for the office (yay for jeans days in corporate America!).  I would love it if I could wear yellow shoes on dreary are some of my current favorites (and some in my signature color, too!):
Clarks Dollar Craze in Ochre


These are strappy and a bit dressier than some of the styles I have been looking at, but they come in a wide range of colors.

Chelsea Crew Malibu T-Strap Mid Heel Pump

We saw the red version yesterday, but I definitely love the shape of this shoe, and it's so delightful in mustard!


Miz Mooz Women's Yema Wedge Sandal

Something about these reminds me of my grandmother in those old photos when my Dad was a little boy - a vintage feel and I love the pop of blue!



Chelsea Crew Alexa Cut-Out T-Strap Sandal

Of all the shoes I list, this might be the only MUST BUY pair.  Because they are orange.  And I have a problem.


Seychelles Women's All Dressed Up T-Strap Pump

  Oh, so delicate and so expensive...but so pretty...


Seychelles Women's Petunia T-Strap Pump

I really love that these have gold and tan mixed in, and the strap design and cone heel are big winners in my book!


Two Lips Women's Reflection Platform Pump

 These shoes are so epic, there aren't enough words.  Not only are they my university's colors, but they would make me look like a giantess. Oh, the 1970s, I love you so much.


  Friends, what are your feelings about yellow and orange shoes?  I loved all your comments and shoe suggestions from yesterday - I've been hard at work tracking down Hush Puppies and some of the other UK styles in the US!  I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier to come to the UK and just do some shoe shopping there :)  Who's with me?!

XOXO have a great day all!  Yay Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Quest for the Perfect Shoe: Red

Friends, for many months now I have been searching for the perfect shoe.  I want something comfortable, colorful, and either T-strap or Mary Jane in style.  Price is negotiable, depending on the quality.  Once I started my quest for such a shoe, I realized that THERE ARE SO MANY COLORS.  I just could not decide, and so I've put together four posts of my favorites. 

To begin, here are the red bits of fancy that I have longed for...

Patent leather is positively delicious, don't you think?

These might be a little too high for a klutz like me, but I love the color.

The Tsubo Acrea Mary Jane heels, with a delicious little cut out in the back...

OH!  I need a cherry print dress if I get these.  And a hat.  And some short gloves.  And a picnic basket.  

I need an entire photo spread if I get these shoes.

These are like River Song's heels, which means they should be mine.  It's only logical.

Schuh Unzue Panel T-bar Low Heels

The t-strap is more of a y-strap while keeping the general vintage shape.  I approve.

 Fidji Bakura G265 Mary Jane

Love love love the chunky wood heel.

 Chelsea Crew Malibu T-Strap

I'm a big fan of round toe shoes with chunky heels - I find that I am most comfortable in styles like this.

Chelsea Crew Alexa Cut-Out T-Strap Sandal

 The cut-outs!  The t-strap!  The color!


Schuh Clara Peep Bow Bar Polka Dot Low Heels 

I love polka dots, and I love red.  The perfect combo.

4" Heel T-Strap Pump Red Sequins. 

If Wonder Woman was taking ballroom dance, these would be her shoes FOR SURE.

 Ok, friends!  Did any pop out at you in particular?  Don't fancy red too much?  Stayed tuned for tomorrow and the Yellow/Orange episode of My Quest for the Perfect Shoe.  If you have a favorite pair of shoes that have a vintage flair, let me know in the comments!  I'm interested to see what we all have in our closets :)

Have a fabulous evening, all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, my Friends!!

This Period and Costume Dramas Tour was written for me, I swear.

Hands down, this made my month.  I LOVE ORANGE.

If you are freaking out about the Hunger Games opening this weekend (like I am), then here is a round up of Hunger Games crafts for you!  

Sal has some excellent tips on what to wear when you've got nothing to wear.  I have this problem almost every night when I lay out the next day's outfit!

Robert Redford was my first celebrity crush EVER, so these photos of him in LIFE magazine made my former teenage heart swoon...

which means this song is now in my head for the rest of the day.

The description of this book made me laugh so hard my cube mates thought something was wrong.  Has anyone read this??


McCall's has just released their summer patterns and I found myself a bit disappointed by most of the offerings.  There were two looks, however, which caught my eye...

M6559, which has A STAR wrapping around the side of the dress.  That would make for a pretty spectacular dress for summer outings, I think, especially in a striped jersey.

The second pattern is M6569 - a cute bathing suit pattern.  While I would never dream of appearing in the bikini version of the pattern, I love all the gathers and the ruffles of the one piece.  This would be great for my upcoming summer vacation...

What are your big plans for the weekend, my friends?  Any projects that you are itching to finish?  Let me know what you are working on in the comments!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Award - Hooray!

Friends, the lovely Tina over at Down the Retro Rabbit Hole is the queen of kindness and goodness.  She said I was a Versatile Blogger, and gave me an award to prove it!  Isn't she the sweetest? Check out her fabulous version of Carey Mulligan's "An Education" Dress - Love!

The Versatile Blogger Award comes with a few rules:
  1. Add the badge to the winning blog page.
  2. Thank the blogger who gave it. 
  3. List the rules.
  4. List seven (7) random facts about yourself. 
Onto the facts...

1.  I REFUSE to use an electronic planner.  REFUSE.  I will never give up my paper planner, which is really a journal that I add lines and dates into, as well as quotes, pictures, and funny facts.  I always carry it with me, because you never know when someone is going to ask, "What are you doing on blabbity blah?"  I like planning.  I write out daily "To-Sew" lists.  Tonight, I am working on a tutorial for turning shorts into a skirt. 

This is the planner I am currently using: Jill Bliss Succulents Journal

2.  I just signed up for Birchbox, and I AM SO EXCITED.  I don't spend a lot on cosmetics because I'm afraid of buying the wrong shade/style/type, so this is a way for me to try new things without breaking the bank.  Next month is my first month, so I'll let you know what goodies come my way :)  (No one is paying me to advertise, I just really like sample sized beauty supplies.)

3.  I like my marshmallows crispy, but not completely burnt.  Half burnt is okay.

4.  I met my boyfriend at a Performing Party (everyone needed to perform a skit/monologue/hidden talent).  I wooed him with my party trick of balancing a bottle on my forehead and clapping like a seal.  Yes, there is a video, but I cannot figure out how to post it... oh, Blogger, you big silly you. 

 5.  I currently have 11 cavities in my mouth. HOLY CANNOLI.  I was terrified I would have to give up my addiction to honey when the Dentist told me that these were from having braces... 10 years ago.  Apparently, my orthodontist didn't coat my teeth after they took the brackets off?  So ... yes.  Possible root canals, but definitely A LOT of fillings coming my way.  Sorry.  Needed to share that as the idea of having 11 cavities blows my mind.

6.  I LOVE the Randolph Street Market.  That is where you will find me on Sunday.  Will any other Chicagoans be there??

7.  Finally, I am fiercely passionate about women's reproductive rights.  I don't talk about politics, religion, or my own personal views here on the blog because we are surrounded by it every other single moment of the day.  When I read about sewing, it calms me down from all the craziness in the world that I cannot control but must stand by and watch.  Sewing is my stress relief AND creative outlet.  Behind the scenes, though, I am plotting how to make a difference through my craft, and I am lucky enough to have a huge support group around me that is eager to assist. 

Thanks for reading, my darling friends!  Please let me know in the comments if you are planning to attend the Street Market this weekend, or if you have any local fairs and markets you would recommend to someone who loves traveling :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Mad Men or "The Sassy Secretary Dress" UPDATED!

Friends, I don't watch Mad Men but even I know that Joan Harris is a POWERHOUSE.  I mean, she has  red hair - it's practically a given, right?  Right.

When I made that magical trip to New York so many months ago, I managed to acquire this lovely pattern from a gracious meet-up participant.  I apologize for never finding out which person supplied this pattern, but if you speak up, I will send you pretty things BECAUSE THIS PATTERN IS AWESOME.

I won't lie - I had my doubts about the awesomeness of this pattern until hour 8 of working on it.  Then I attached the collar and it was like that moment in Harry Potter when Harry gets the wand and everything lights up and there is a breeze and he says "Whoa."

The collar chooses the sewist ... or something like that.

I flat-lined each dress piece with the leftover bed sheet remnants from this dress - so those sheets are gone, never to match the bathroom again.  You can see a little bit through the sleeve opening here.

I ended up choosing this blue linen for the shell fabric simply because there was enough to cut out all the pieces.  I did not expect to love this dress so much, and to be so grateful that the color worked out the way it did!

Here's the secret to collar: don't attach it the whole way around.  Leave a two inch opening, attaching the collar at all other points around the neckline.  Take a ten inch piece of fabric (mine was two pieces sewn together, turned right side out and top stitched) and thread through opening.  Tie so the long piece of fabric encases the collar.  It was so easy to do that I may try this on other dresses in the future.

I was originally hoping to do the 3/4 length sleeve, but sadly, I did not have enough fabric.  I decided to go with a short sleeve, which I still had to shorten to a comfortable length.  I ended up taking 3 inches off of the bottom of this sleeve in order to make it the current length.  I guess short sleeves weren't so short then?

You can see my main problem with linen fabric below.  I shed hair like a long haired cat, and this fabric picks it all up.  (You should see the vacuum after a stressful month.  Rob complains that he has to give it a "haircut."  Hopefully that will be better now that I've chopped off six inches!)

The fit of this dress took a bit of tweaking.  At first, it was a bit boxy and unflattering, so I just got crazy with my pins and chalk.  Eventually it came down to back seams, which meant I would have to take out the zipper and adjust.  This was not going to happen as this zipper is probably the best zipper I have ever done.  It's so straight!  I took in the side back seams and that seemed to do the trick.  Oh, princess seams, I love you so much.

I took two inches off for the hem, since I prefer dresses to hit me at my knee and avoid getting too close to the dreaded monster calves.  (I'm not saying I don't love my monster calves.  They are pretty spectacular.  I just don't want to make them look any bigger.)

Hemming with pleats wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  A bit of patience and some dedication with the iron helped them to lay flat, which definitely polishes the overall look of the dress.

Is it my favorite thing ever?  I don't know, but it's pretty close!  Even Rob, the man of few words, said, "Wow.  That is a great dress."

I have to tell you that this dress sat on my dress form for about three days before I could touch it for hemming.  I was feeling completely burnt out by this dress and the Couch of the Irish dress.  I've noticed that when I put two time intensive projects back to back, I burn out very quickly.  I feel like I am not getting anywhere, and I find myself standing in the middle of my sewing room but not being able to work on anything.  And then I get on Pinterest.  Nothing gets done.

I've found that I need to incorporate shorter projects in between these longer ones.  I feel like I am crossing things off my sewing list if I make multiple projects in two weeks, rather than sludging through two and avoiding the finishing details for as long as possible.  It's not that I sew quickly, but when I am excited about a project, I will get up early and go to bed late just to work on it.  Two long projects in a row find me sleeping in and watching TV late at night instead.

When I first started sewing, I did not take my time to line dresses or do any seam finishes.  Now that I've been sewing clothes for myself for over a year, I feel like I've graduated into the mindset of "I'm putting the effort into making this piece - I should probably put the effort in to make it last."  This has added hours onto my sewing time, but given me pieces that I love and I'm not afraid to wear for fear of them falling apart.  Hopefully adding short projects into the mix will allow me to keep this mindset about the more time intensive pieces.  I've got a Sencha blouse on my table right now and that's proving to be one of the quicker variety - I only have buttons and buttonholes left.   

Friends, do you incorporate shorter projects into your schedule?  Do you ever find yourself burnt out after long projects?  What are your secrets for staying excited about sewing?

Have a great day all, and I hope you're having fabulous weather where you are!

UPDATE: If you want to buy the pattern, I found several on Etsy, including one here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sew Weekly: Green or "The Couch of the Irish Dress"

Friends, I am SO EXCITED to have finished this dress!

The fabric alone was insanity to work with - I think two new needles bit the dust on the same seam.  I didn't want to give up because I had a vision of a striped dress in my closet.  I envisioned me strutting around the office and pointing at things grandly.  Ah, Human Resources - the perfect environment for sheath dresses and pencil skirts and a sassy pointer finger.

Did I mention that I made a lining for this monster??  Because I did.  I think it's the first dress I haven't flatlined.  This was so much easier than flatlining and took bulk out of the side seams. 

The cut of the dress turned out perfectly, but there was some definite fine tuning to make it not so boxy.  I needed to make adjustments on the side seams as well as the darts in order to make it more form fitting.  Those darts were the hardest part of the entire dress.

I'm pleased with the back.  I used a grey zipper, because I have probably thirty zippers and none of them were green.  Not a single one!  Another goal for this year is to use the zippers I have for projects and resist buying new as long as possible.

I top-stitched the neckline and around the sleeve openings to trap the lining.  I love top-stitching because I think it adds nice definition to the neckline - you can see the shape much more clearly with that little bit of thread.

The sleeves were pieced together from leftover bits of fabric.  I had enough to cut out the full body of the dress, but not much more.  I compromised with the sleeves because I don't like going sleeveless, and we're not really permitted to be sleeveless in the office.

I LOVE THIS WEATHER.  I've been frolicking in the park in our building almost every day because we are having a streak of warm weather and I am not complaining.  I've been walking home and eating outside and sewing by open windows.  It's been oh-so-delightful.

The weather was so nice on St. Patty's that I ventured out (sober) amongst the (drunken) throngs to observe a Chicago tradition...

...dyeing the river green!  They dump cups of vegetable dye in the river, and no joke, it turns NEON.

After I went home and had a Kahlua smoothie, I noticed the south side was on fire.  Never a dull moment in Chicago, folks!

Friends, how did you celebrate St. Patty's?  Here in Chicago, if you are not Irish by descent, you are considered Chi-Rish on that day of celebration and madness.  I say madness because I definitely saw some street fights while I was out walking (!!!!).  Personally, I like to hide at home and drink with my besties - my blender makes awesome beverages if I am feeling creative.

Have a fantastic day, all!  And don't get in any street fights :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

That's Sew Cinematic: Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut Shirt

Friends, as I am such a huge Doctor Who geek, it should come as no surprise that I wanted to re-create this shirt that the lovely Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) wears in The Impossible Astronaut:

Image found here

It just so happened that I had a similar shirt in my closet, which I had stolen from Rob's side of the closet:

Mine is a little more faded, but I like to pretend that it's from all the escaping from Daleks/reprogramming Cybermen/giggling at Adipose that I do all day.

I took the sleeves off, took in the sides of the shirt, and then reattached the sleeves with some gathers at the top.  It's loose like a tunic but still alludes to my curves.  I dig it.  I like to think it's very Amy in its present state.

This refashion was quick and easy, which was great for me.  After working on my "Green" dress for the Sew Weekly, I desperately needed some instant gratification sewing. 

Pond on pond action (*giggle*)

I'm currently working on my first sewn from scratch Cinematic post!  It's all kinds of crazy in my sewing room right now, patterns and fabric thrown all over the place.  I'm hoping to get organized this weekend while Rob is out hitting the bars with other green beer enthusiasts.  I personally prefer to stay at home and watch Darby O'Gill and the Little People and Finian's Rainbow (for the bajillionth time) :) 

Have a great day all, and thanks for stopping by!