November 29, 2007

Project Runway 4.3: "Fashion Giant"

It's about time they did a menswear challenge! Though I can see why they took so long to get to it-- it's really hard to be innovative with guy's clothes, it seems. And, given the amount of stress in the room, I'm honestly surprised that more designers weren't snapping at each other's throats.


So now here's my Runway Review:


Rami wins the award for "outfit that I'd most likely want to date the guy wearing it". I really liked the hipster look to his jacket-- I could totally see some guy wearing it while up on stage strumming a guitar, unbuttoned with some snarky-phrase or band T underneath... yeah, I totally have a weakness for guitar players. Something about that instrument makes a guy exponentially hotter. Also, his model had the best hair. But I digress. Runner-up for this award is Elisa-- I kind of liked that vest over the fitted shirt thing.

Chris and Jillian had the looks I liked best after that-- both suits were well-made and classy, without being overly pompous.

I've been pondering this ever since the runway show, and I'm leaning towards disagreeing with the judges on Kit. Mainly due to the pic on PR's official site. In that one, the fleece jacket reminds me more of a smoking jacket, or the host of "Masterpiece Theater." But at the same time, I do have to give her points for thinking outside the suitwear box.

I knew Carmen was in trouble as soon as she tried to fake a shirt with a glorfied scarf wrap. But I don't think the shirt would have saved her. Pants issues aside, the jacket just looked too short and out of proportion with the outfit.

As much as I dislike Christian, I do have to admit that his assymetrically-closed shirt was interesting, and the color scheme worked well. Oh well.... he won't make it to the end, I just know it.

Sweet P... What can I say about her? Other than the oversized collar and tie and the weirdly high waistband made her model look like an oversized kid playing dress-up in Daddy's clothes. Wait, that about covers it.

Steven: Well-made, looked nice, waaaaaay too prep-school for my taste.

Victorya: Style-wise, I liked it. Not so keen on the colors-- the whitish jacket was a bit jarring over the all-black ensemble. (And what's with the brown shoes?)

Kevin: I would have liked it better if he'd picked any color other than lavender. Except for maybe pink. The guy looks like a pimp. And his tie's too short.

I still can't believe Jack won. Just because he did some interesting things with stripe direction doesn't mean it was an innovative design. I could sew that shirt. And he only had two pieces-- he didn't even fulfill the requirements of the challenge! So boo on the judges for that.

Ricky had a nice suit, but it was still an average suit.


November 28, 2007

A few things...

  • Got my prize from BurdaStyle's Halloween costume contest in the mail today! I got four pieces of trim, some buttons and pins (of the pin-on-bags variety), a couple of postcards including one that's a measurement chart (complete with nifty diagram of where to measure), and a button gague/point turner. All in all, fun stuff, and I will have to come up with some sewing projects I can use the fun trims on! Especially this twisted-looking black and white piping---that was my favorite.
  • Speaking of piping, I spent a good chunk of Saturday afternoon sewing some of that for the brocade jacket. And I really, really hope I have enough of it... I left enough unsewn at the end that I can add more if needed, but then I'll probably have to cut more bias strips.
  • I got the initial weaving for Nicole's scarf done on Sunday. And am now in the process of cutting more yarn and weaving it in, because it looks like I'm going to have to do twice the amount it called for just to get something that looks like one cohesive piece and not just a bunch of lines separated by bits of mesh. I really hope this works...
  • I have a paid sewing job! First one ever. My friend Kathryn asked me if I could make some capes for playing dress-up for her niece and nephews (all toddlers) for Christmas. So I spent nearly an hour tonight trying to draw a pattern so I could figure out how much fabric I'd need...and then after consulting with my mom, decided to forget the circle cloak and just do a rectangle with a gathered-elastic neck. That'll allow room for some growth anyway. So I'm probably going shopping with her on Friday to get the fabric. Now if I could just figure out what to charge...
  • And now for something almost, but not quite, completely different for this blog! For years, I think since I was in college, I've been saying I wanted to learn how to cook better. Food, unfortunately, just seems to be one of those things I don't have much time to deal with. But since good food really is an art form in my opinion (especially if it's both good and healthy!) I may occasionally chronicle those endeavors in here. (Besides, my old schoolmate Lydia has inspired me with all the yummy-looking food in her blog!) So tonight's attempt was inspired by the mother of one of my flute students, who is from China and insists on feeding me whenever possible when I come over to teach her daughter. She's single-handedly changed my opinion on what Chinese food should be, and I seriously have cravings for pork dumplings and egg drop soup now. Haven't quite figured out the dumplings yet (though I think I may have a recipe I pulled from Cooking Light a few years ago that might do the trick--Mom always lets me raid the magazine for recipe ideas when she's done with it), but after running a search for egg drop soup I figured it wouldn't be that hard. We had some leftover chicken soup that wasn't so much soup anymore as it was broth with a few noodles and peas and no chicken, so I decided to use that for my attempt. Got that boiling on the stovetop, added some soy sauce to the broth for flavor, and then added the beaten egg once it was almost-but-not-quite boiling.

    The results: The taste wasn't that far off from Jessie's soup--I think the soy sauce was what did it there--though if I was making this for real I don't think I'd have the peas in it. The texture needs some work though-- hers is basically like one big fluffy piece of egg infused with the soup flavors with some broth (and last time there was some ground pork in there too) in the bottom. The texture wasn't bad to eat at all, but it was more like these little stringy chunks of egg floating in the broth and, well, didn't look so pretty. My stomach was happy, though-- the egg made it more filling than chicken soup usually is for me--so I think this is an experiment that's going to continue. Plus it was super-easy and didn't involve that many ingredients, and since one of my two main career goals at the moment is to get enough work that I can afford to live on my own (the other being enough music work that I can quit the lame office job), I need food that's good, quick and cheap!

November 24, 2007

Succumbing to temptation....again.

A twofold meaning to that title.

First, I did go ahead and cut out that brocade jacket that I'd been thinking of. A New Look pattern, but not sure it's on their site anymore (couldn't find it browsing the site.) To be perfectly frank and a little personal for a moment, I've been fighting a major funk for several months now, and since it's making it hard for me to motivate myself even to do crafty things, I figured it would be best to go with what I'm actually feeling enthusiastic about for awhile, at least until this mood lifts.

Secondly, I wasn't going to go shopping yesterday. After all, it was Black Friday, and thanks to the influences of Wardrobe Refashion and reading Relevant Magazine, as well as a growing dissatisfaction with how over-commercialized Christmas is as I get older, I've noticed my attitude towards consumerism has been undergoing a change this year. So I didn't want to support that. That, or mess with the traffic. But then my mom asked me if I wanted to go to Joann's, and since I did realize I'll need to make a shirt to wear under that brocade jacket (don't currently own anything that would work) and figured it would be nice to spend some time with my mom (the work schedule doesn't allow for that too often), I went. And, of course, came out with four more pieces of fabric than I'd intended. I can justify one (a jewel-toned silky print in blues and greens) as honestly needing something else to wear with my navy blue cords because I'm bored with always wearing a white button-down blouse with it (the white button-down bores me anyway, but it's just one of those things that's just necessary at times). And another piece (a crinkled silky teal with gold floral embroidery) I can justify because it's a good color/embroidery design for spring, and I really am in need of short-sleeved tops I can wear while working. The other two (one very colorful silky print that I'm not quite sure how to describe, but the fabric was so interesting, and a green striped brocade, which is a description that really doesn't do it justice... I might have to edit this post with pictures later!), well, um, I just liked them.

Once again, so much for my resolution to use up things in my stash before I buy new things.

But two other good things about going to Joann's-- I did find another piece of that scrapbook paper I needed for the road trip album, and I got materials to make a scarf as a present for one of my friends. It'll be interesting to see if it works, because it's a mesh that you weave the yarns into (the thought of making one out of fleece just bored me, since I couldn't think of a way to make it both her style and interesting, and me trying to knit or crochet it would just result in disaster.) I got the yarn cut last night, and will most likely work on the weaving while at my mom's parents for Thanksgiving #2 this afternoon, since I can chat and do that at the same time.

November 22, 2007

Project Runway 4.2: "I Started Crying"

As of now, Christian is the designer who gets on my nerves the most. He's just so arrogant and irritating. And it's not like his designs are even good enough to make up for it. I mean, I know that Sarah Jessica Parker is a big celebrity/fashion icon and all, but his reaction to her really annoyed me. Don't really like Ricky much so far either. Still undecided as to who my favorite is-- I really like Victorya so far, something about her designs are just very inspiring. But Elisa is really fun to watch, with her whole spacey hippie vibe. And, designwise, her quirkiness just really appeals to me.

I felt bad for Carmen on this show. For one thing, to be paired with Christian. And she just looked really upset the whole time about nearly being picked last, both for the teams and the runway.

I felt bad for Marion too. Especially about the skirt. Based on what I saw on the cutting table, with all the layers and such, it looked like it had potential to be an amazing skirt.

One question though-- what's with all the bare skin? This is a fall-winter collection--what about people who live where it actually, you know, gets cold?

On to the fashions!
Ricky/Jack: Though I don't necessarily like Ricky personality-wise, this wasn't a bad outfit. I liked the wrap sweater thing, and though I wouldn't be caught dead in those capri leggings (those things just weren't meant to be worn off of skinny models), it worked for the outfit.

Christian/Carmen: Did not like this at all. The color combo (a grey and black jacket over what looked like a teal turtleneck dress) didn't work for me, and though I thought the jacket would have had potential, it ended up looking like a short-sleeved jacket over a long-sleeved T--like the wearer just wanted so badly to cling to her summer wardrobe, but in too-wintery colors to pull it off. I have to admit, I was really gratified to hear Heidi say that it looked like it was stuck in the 80s, because that is my least favorite fashion decade, um, ever.

Rami/Jillian: This one was really nice, I thought-- a kind of peasanty fuchsia dress with a wide black belt at the waist. I wouldn't think of it for a fall-winter collection personally, but then, I'm an ice queen. But I'd definitely wear this style in the summer. Though not in anything resembling a shade of pink. Maybe a nice oceany blue.

Elisa/Sweet P: Oddly enough, this grey-teal combo worked for me better. Maybe the black on Christian's made it too harsh. I have to admit, I have a thing for capes and cloaks, probably because I'm a fantasy nut who wishes I lived in Narnia or Middle-earth. But I liked this one too. Plus it was kind of fun to watch these two working together--Sweet P thought Elisa was a complete nut, of course, but by the end it worked. And it was nice to see some kind of resolution there at the end-- doesn't happen too much on PR.

Kit/Chris: Nice, easy to wear pieces. Again, nothing I'd actually wear in the fall/winter, except for maybe an unseasonably warm day like today. But good basics.

Victorya/Kevin: I was glad she won. Her design was innovative-- and the racerback vest was just a stroke of genius. I don't think I could actually wear this myself--I'm afraid it would look like a tent on me since I actually have curves, unlike every model on this show. But for the runway, it rocked.

Marion/Steve: As I already said, I felt bad for Marion. I actually didn't hate his design, because it reminded me of the 60s, but at the same time I can see how it came off as a bit costumey. It just wasn't a good choice of fabric. And I do wish they'd been able to pull of the skirt as it was.

Very interested to see what next week holds, since it's being touted as the most difficult challenge of the show to date.

And happy Thanksgiving, to those of you in the US!

November 21, 2007

A belated blouse blog

Finished the Emily blouse last Thursday--just haven't gotten around to blogging it. So here it is.


It was a very easy pattern to work with, once I got all the pieces printed and taped together. I did have to make a few modifications to it, like add another button at the bottom, and take it in at the waist (I think it was probably a total of 2". But that's not a reflection on the pattern-- I just happen to have a small waist and wanted it to look more fitted.) I also added slits at the side, and since I used the view with the extra-long sleeves (which, honestly, are only a little too long on me), I made cuff links to go with them. (Along with a tutorial.) I'm looking forward now to trying out some of their other patterns!

I also spent several hours on Saturday holed up in my room with a whole lotta Stargate and paint, adding a weathered look to two more packs of paper for my road trip scrapbook. I also made some booklets for the journal pages I made while on the trip with mulberry-paper-coated cardstock and hemp. But I'm one piece of mulberry short. Since I bought it at an AC Moore that wasn't my usual, I hope I can find the last piece! In addition, I got road maps copied and the route traced. Also thinking I might need to buy another pack of paper, because the gold I got just isn't the color I wanted. Either that, or just use gold as an accent, since I slapped gold paint on top of what I got and got a better color. It's just time-consuming. But I'm hoping I can have all the paper done by around Christmas, since I usually have less teaching then and then I can just scrapbook-binge and throw the whole thing together.

In the meantime, trying to motivate myself to start another sewing project. I'm having a lot of trouble motivating myself to do much of anything right now, honestly... the last few days have been grey and rainy and cold and blah, and so has my mood as a result. I did manage to untangle my jewelry, so I really need to get that organizer going. But I'm really not motivated to do it. What I am feeling motivated to pull out is some Chinese brocade I got last winter to make a jacket. So I might just go with how I'm feeling for now.

November 15, 2007

Project Runway 4.1: "Sew Me What You've Got"

My thoughts on last night's episode:
  • I don't care if he thinks he's God's gift to fashion. Christian's hair is just whacked.
  • "Sweet P"? At least she has a good label name built-in.
  • In a way, I was slightly disappointed by the opening challenge, in that they actually gave them nice fabrics to work with. Though it was fun to watch the frantic dash-and-grab. But I liked the no-guidelines thing too, because it was interesting to see what the resulting styles were.

Now, the important review-- the designs! (all on the official site under "rate the runway")

  • Jillian: While I admire her use of bold, bright colors, the bubble mini halter dress thing was kind of scary.
  • Christian: Didn't agree with the judges so much on this one. Yes, his use of the plaid was innovative, and I did like the back of the jacket. The skirt was interesting. But I hated the sleeves on his jacket. They looked like big legs of plaid mutton.
  • Jack: I really liked this dress, actually. I liked the use of the black and white print, and the hint of color from the turquoise. With some adjusting in the bust area, I'd wear something like this.
  • Kevin: Wouldn't necessarily wear this, but I liked it.
  • Chris: Liked the color and the long flowiness of the dress. Wasn't so much a fan of the ginormous knotted bow thingy behind the neck.
  • Marion: Didn't like this at all. The assymetric hemline would have worked better if it wasn't so stiff a fabric, given the delicate fabric on the top. And the crossover ties were just weird.
  • Kit: Thought this one was interesting. I like how she took the basic silhouette and made it interesting with the one-shoulder jacket in red.
  • Steven: Well-tailored, but booooooring.
  • Carmen: I'm on the fence on hers, but leaning towards liking it.
  • Sweet P: It was ok. Didn't really do much for the model's figure (even though models on this show never actually have a figure.)
  • Ricky: I liked the fabric, it was a cute dress, but not very innovative at all. Especially given the lingerie background.
  • Victorya: Not very fitted like Sweet P's, but I think this one worked better because it flowed better. And I did like the big metallic flower.
  • Elisa: Besides being spacey enough that she's fun to watch, I think her design did have merit. I really liked the color, the neckline and the sleeves. And I agree wholeheartedly with the judges that if she'd stopped before the funky fabric train, it would have been great.
  • Simone: Had to agree with the judges here too. I can appreciate the neo-romantic thing she was going for, but it wasn't done in a very interesting way. Or well-coordinated.
  • Rami: I don't think I'd ever wear his dress. At least, not without some tweaking. With that much drapiness, I'd prefer it more fitted at the waist so that it didn't look like I was wearing a tent. That being said, he really did have one of the most creative designs on the runway. So I'm fine with the decision for him to have won the first challenge.

Also managed to finish my Emily blouse. Will take pics and post later.

November 13, 2007

*gasp* I won!

So, you know that fairy costume? I uploaded a few pics of it onto BurdaStyle, more to just get more involved in the community there by contributing creations than anything else. Anyway, they decided to have a Halloween costume contest for the top 10 costumes submitted on the site. And my costume was one of the winners! I'm really surprised, because there were so many creative and innovative costumes on the site, but I'm also quite honored. (And excited to see what the prize is going to be, since they said to keep an eye on the mail!)

Guess the blue hair and elf ears paid off. :D

November 11, 2007

Project Runway Season 4!

Ok, how did I not know it premieres this week? At least I found out now and not after the show. :P

In other news, the Emily blouse is coming along nicely-- all I have left to do is add buttons and buttonholes. And make cufflinks. But that will be another post.

November 10, 2007

Green Paisley hoodie

I'm a slacker in posting.... but most of the time no one reads this anyway except for me, so oh well.
Anyway, I finished this up on Thursday. Rather simple recon... the sleeves were directly off the original cardigan, with a little length added both to tie in the band at the bottom of the shirt and to accomodate my overly long arms. Those strips were cut from the original back, and the hood was cut from the original front. You can't see it in here, but I also reused the neck binding to cover the raw edge between the neck and the hood. I might need to end up taking it in a bit more at the sides to acomodate the bubbling in the front-- since the original tank had a lettuce hem, I think it might have come out a bit much between that and the olive. But overall, I'm quite pleased with how this turned out, and that overall there really wasn't that much stretching. Even though it's a pain to take on and off, I love the walking foot.

Today's order of buisness: I do have to do some laundry, exercise and cleaning. But since for the first time in awhile, I don't have to leave the house today, my plan is to cut this out and see how much of it I can finish. Once I get the pattern, anyway.... I have about 35 pieces of printer paper to tape together first, and then figure out what my Burda size is.

November 5, 2007

It's easy being green.


Everything I worked on yesterday was green, as was I. I was having a quasi-sick day (nothing serious, no worries) so I basically spent the entire afternoon sitting on my bed and watching tv while slapping paint on an entire pack of cardstock (paper prep for my as-of-yet-unstarted road trip scrapbook-- trying to give less expensive cardstock that distressed BasicGrey type look)--turned out pretty good. So I have several more packs to do, but if I can snatch a couple hours here or there to watch tv or a movie while painting, I should be able to get through them all rather painlessly. Then I continued to watch tv while tearing apart these two shirts. The lighter one is a tank with a great print but it must have shrunk or something, since it won't even reach to the waistband of my jeans anymore (and my jeans aren't that low-cut!) The other is a cardigan that my mom made awhile ago and then passed down to me, in an olive shade that perfectly matches the darker parts of the print. So I'm going to turn this into a long-sleeved hoodie with a contrasting band on the bottom to add the necessary length. I might sew it tonight... we'll see how I'm feeling after work, and how much progress I make on my closet beforehand (I've been procrastinating on switching out my summer with my winter clothes, but it's become apparent that it's just not going to get that warm again anytime soon. Drat. I liked the unseasonable October temps!)
Speaking of being green.... it's been a difficult decision for me, but I've decided not to sign up for the next round of Wardrobe Refashion once I complete my current contract. I still think it's a great thing-- I've learned a lot about my personal consumer habits, and thinking outside the box when it comes to necessary (or just wanting different) clothing. So I'm not saying this so I can rush out and buy a bunch of clothes-- I really don't feel the urge to do that. I'm still going to keep sewing, thrifting, and refashioning as much of my wardrobe as I can, especially since I'm trying to get serious about my goal of being able to afford to live on my own by the time I'm 30 (will be turning 27 in a few months, and while my parents are very gracious and supportive of how hard it is to support yourself in music, I don't want to have to rely on them long-term for a roof over my head. Have to grow up sometime.) And since I'm a self-professed clothesaholic, as long as I can keep myself from too many splurges on pieces of fabric (also a fabric addict, so easier said than done), I think that will help my budget a lot. When I actually make a budget.
No, I'm saying this because the blessing and curse of a pledge such as this is it really holds you to a goal. So as much as I love sewing, doing this pledge for almost the entire year is making me feel almost obligated to spend my craft time at the sewing machine. Nothing wrong with lots of sewing, of course, but I'd like to take some time to be able to focus a bit more on some of my other crafty endeavors, particularly the road trip scrapbook and the still-unfinished one from Chile. I've failed miserably so far in my one-page-a-week scrapbook goal, mainly because I've just been super-busy lately in the social arena and the rest of the time is sewing or work. But I'm tired of having these two albums hanging over my head, I'm tired of still having pictures from 3-4 years ago waiting to go into an album, and I want to feel free to take an entire week, or even month to do non-sewing craftiness. I'm not saying I won't ever do WR again, and I think it's really likely that I'll stick to the principles regardless of whether I've formally pledged. But sometimes a little breathing room is a good thing, and I've got enough stress in my life at the moment that I don't want my beloved hobbies to become just another obligation or stress factor.