Friday, January 28, 2011


After the photo shoot I decided to make a few more garments to round out the new collection. I wanted a print that would complement the tones in the previous pieces as well as the feel of the crochet. I came across this lovely brown floral at the Needle Shop in Bucktown (the last 2.5 yards!) and I knew I had a winner. Before I started with the floral cotton, though, I had to work out the silhouette by making a muslin. I didn't have any strong design concepts for this dress, I just started draping:

It's not bad, there's just one problem--it's boring me to tears. I decided to start again with a different approach, an interesting sleeve. It's a truly rare occasion when I'll drape a sleeve, but apparently this was one of those occasions.

Ok, I'm liking the volume, but let's see how this develops.

Hmm. Going...


And Gone, into Shakespeare territory. This is a full on costume sleeve. It's Juliet, or Elizabeth Bennet, but not me. No sir. Unless any theater companies out there need a designer, in which case, please call.

So I started over, with a simple silhouette and interesting style lines.

I love all forms of a sweetheart neckline.

And a full skirt. We pear-shaped ladies love a full skirt.

I was pleased with this, so poof! Brown floral:

I'm loving the June Carter/Dolly-pre-implants vibe of this piece. But it's not done yet.

A sweet, simple sleeve.

But wait...just one more thing.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Big Payoff

After all the sewing, crocheting, and finishing are done, my favorite part about a new collection is the photo shoot. Thanks to my incredibly talented friends, this shoot was the best yet! I had a total blast and I'm awed by the finished product--everyone makes my clothes look outstanding!

The garments, ready to be shot. I can't help but look at this rack and think, seriously? All that work and that's all there is?

The garments with accessory, shoe, and music selection.

The talent--gorgeous already. Here they are in hair and makeup. From left, Mallory, Emily, and Carolyn, and nope, not one of them single. Sorry boys.

Ready? Here we go! Click on any picture to view it larger.

Here's Carolyn in the April dress.

Sometimes I have to make adjustments, and it can get awkward. Luckily everybody has a sense of humor.

Here's Mal in the January dress.

Emily in the Faye dress:

Carolyn in the Shaw Jacket:

Thank you to everyone involved--Mal, Em, Carolyn, our amazing photographer Lauren, site supervisor and jack of all trades Mr. N., and moral support and shoe lending by Steph. You are all incredible and brought my vision to a whole new level. Thanks for lending your time, talents, and energy! I am abundantly blessed by every one of you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Something Extra

So far I've walked you through three dresses in the new collection. Three looks is a great mini collection, but I wanted to expand this one a bit and add a few more separates. The first is a great jacket. I love love love those open cardigans that are so comfy and easy to throw on over anything. I wanted to make a jacket that had the same type of feel but with a little more structure and polish. Here's the muslin:

I also love low breaking shawl collar blazers and I wanted this to have a similar feel. I added a very laid back, non-80s peplum to the waistline. I realize the very word strikes fear into those women who wore them in their heyday--it makes them remember stuff like this:

 but fear not. Let's ease back into the peplum's good graces and embrace it once again.

Here's the jacket in the final fabric, the same brown tweedy-looking slinky knit the last dress was made of.

I just love this fabric--it's a body hugging slinky knit that holds structure incredibly well. Which is also where I hit a snag. It tends to be a bit bulky, and when I lined the peplum with it it was a hefty, beefy mess. I re-lined it with a lighter fabric, added the crochet appliques and a hook and eye, and...

There you have it. A comfy, easy to wear, professional (provided you wear something under it!) blazer with some interesting details, 80s shame not included.

Get excited--photo shoot pics are officially coming soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Dramatic Conclusion

I just know you're waiting with bated breath to see how I solved the Case of the Befuddling Pseudo-Sleeve (see yesterday's post), so I won't torture you any longer. But before I show you the finished product I'll take you through all the steps I took to get there, and I'll warn you--it gets pretty ugly.

Here's where we left off:

For whatever reason, I just couldn't get on board with the sleeve like this. Too heavy? Droopy? Victorian-looking? I began to doubt the yellow, so I tried a similar motif in charcoal.

Um, no. Just no.

Ehh...again, no. Kind of makes me think of hairy tarantula legs. Let's go back to yellow.

Aaack! No, no, all wrong. I'm just backpeddling now.

Still no. I don't hate this concept, but it's all wrong here.

I don't hate this either, but it kind of reminds me of the Carrie Bradshaw massive flower-on-shoulder trend. Still a no-go. Getting closer, maybe?

Oh, hey, I like that. More of a shoulder/back piece than a sleeve, and it totally works. How does the back look?

If you block out the creative squalor in the background, it looks like we have a winner! I love how this orientation of the crochet piece frames the back. I loved it even more when I put it on my gorgeous model Mallory! Photo shoot pics coming soon (with a preview in the new header!).

I know you're breathing easier now. :) Thoughts? Comments? What would you have done differently?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Look #3

Happy New Year, dear ones! I've recently emerged from Christmas-yarncraft-gift-and-decoration-making-induced coma and I can't wait to show you everything my loved ones received, but before I do, let's continue with the new collection!

Warning: Many pictures and indecisiveness ahead.

During the process of figuring out the crochet piece for the first look, I rested the piece on the form to free up my hands for a second, and...

...a cap sleeve was born.

I really liked how the natural shape of the piece draped on the shoulder, so I decided to add this to a tiered dress for look #3.

Dude, get off my chair. As I was saying, a tiered dress. When a dress has a ton of pieces to keep track of, I use a rather unattractive method to keep them all straight.

Hot, right? Yeah, not so much, but it helps me keep track as I start sewing it all together.

The base.

The base with the bottom layer.

Bottom and middle layers.

All layers with the cap sleeve.

And, Ta Da, I hate it. The top layer is too short and it looks like a $10 dress from Dots or something. And no, I'm not hating on Dots, I got a pair of shoes there once. But still. Not the aesthetic I'm going for. Start over.

Ruching. I'm down with it.

The skirt of the dress in its final fabric, a brown, tweedy-looking slinky knit.

I couldn't decide if I liked the free flowing bodice piece over the ruched skirt or not. What do you think?

Yeah, I think not. I like the gathered top better. More refined. Also, note to self: ruched skirt, if not stabilized when sewn, will keep getting longer and longer and less and less ruched. That's what's happening here. I had to completely tear it apart and sew a ribbon into the seam when I sewed it up the second time to keep the gathers from falling out. I make mistakes, we all learn. Everybody wins, right?

Ahh, very nice. I'm pleased. Dots-B-Gone. Now to add the sleeve:

Hmm. No, that looks too dainty. Too much like the doily shoulders of yore.

Hmm, I still don't know. Too heavy or droopy or something. Let's look closer.

Yeah, that is just not working out for it the color combination? The yellow yarn on the pallid skin of my dress form? The length of the sleeve? The fact that it's not really a sleeve at all, but a decorative strap?

These questions baffled me for a few weeks, and I had total designer's block. I took a break and tackled it again, much later, closer to the photo shoot date. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of The Case of the Befuddling Pseudo-Sleeve. The final result is exciting!