Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Morning Inspiration

By now, the entire world knows that "The Artist" won Best Motion Picture at the Academy Awards last night. I saw the movie on Saturday, and I must say that I absolutely loved it, but then again, I adore silent movies. In August, The Silent Film Society of Chicago hosts a festival of an entire month of silent movies. They even bring in an organist to play along with the movie just as it was originally done.
So, this morning to celebrate the win, I found some wonderful dresses that have almost stepped out of the past, but are straight from the current edition of Vogue.        
Alberta Ferretti's flapper inspired confection. Check out the long beaded earrings the model on the left is wearing. Wow!

Gucci's flapper dress. What fun it would be to twirl around on the dance floor is this little dress!
A nod to the 20's from Alexander McQueen.
A lovely little day dress from Carolina herrera.
Pictured above, a beaded flapper bag from Nine West.
From the Ralph Lauren collection, a dream of a dress.
A beaded silk-tulle dress from Alberta Ferretti.
Beaded silk top and fringed skirt from Etro.

Embroidered chiffon dress from Bottega Veneta.
A spectacular embroidered coat and dress from Carolina Herrera.
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Night Reflections

The Artist's Way
Week 7
I realized this week that the journey through the Artist's Way will finish just as Easter approaches. Rather fitting I think.
This week was about recovering a sense of connection, reconnecting with our dreams, desires, wishes. What is it that we truly want?
My husband, and I, have been dealing with some skin cancer issues for a while, but two years ago it became a much more serious situation. Last December he had a very large place cut off of his head. Now, only two months later three more places were found. It breaks my heart. I hate to see him going through this, and I hate the thought of what will eventually be. I have had three people in my life who have loved and adored me, a great-grandmother, a grandmother, and my husband. What's interesting to me is that none of the three are blood family. My great-grandmother adopted my paternal grandmother, and my grandmother was my mother's aunt by marriage. Both women were precious, kind, loving, and giving. If I were to describe my husband, I would use the very same words to describe him. I'm very fortunate.
An exchange student called this week. He was one of the more difficult students we hosted, but he is the one who loves and respects me the most. He called to check on my husband and to tell me that he will be coming this summer. Wonderful.
Lent began this week. As I sat in church on Ash Wednesday and thought of how I could make my Lenten experience richer, I decided that a small fast (only one meal per day) is what I would like to do. It is proving to be very powerful, I give up a small thing and I'm rewarded with something so much greater.
Through my morning pages I was able to remember and make a connection that has eluded me for a very long time. I will admit that it was not a pleasant experience, memories can be that way. But it has prompted me to do something that I have thought about for quite some time. I am finally in a place where I can put fear aside and look truth in the face.
This week will be our eighth week. The chapter is all about recovering a sense of strength. We will see that in order to move through loss, we must first acknowledge it and then share it. For many of us, our losses are kept tucked away in a place where we think they are protected. But hidden away, they continue to poison us, convincing us to settle for far less than we deserve.
Wherever this week takes you, I wish you a week of grace, beauty and a determination to really live each day.

Sunday Brunch

What is it about Sunday that makes us want to slow down and enjoy taking time for a lovely breakfast? I don't know, but making a lovely breakfast on Sunday morning is something I always look forward to.
I recently found the recipe for the quinoa cakes that are pictured above on Pinterest. Wow, did it look good to me, so I repinned it. Well, they are every bit as good as they look. It is a new favorite recipe.
Here's the plate that I presented to my husband this morning. He was in heaven! I don't eat meat so my plate was without the bacon.
If you would like to give this a try, you can find the recipe here. We like spicy food, so the only change I would make to the recipe would be to add some red pepper flakes to the quinoa mix.
Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

It's that time of the week once more! But before we get started, I need to announce the winner of last week's Bandanna Skirt..........
The winner is Erin!!!!!!!!!!!
So Erin, send me an email at sewbussted@yahoo.com and I'll get the skirt out to you.
The Kimono Bag
 Today's pattern is another super simple piece to make. It's just a rectangle.
I'm calling it the Kimono Bag, because to me anyway, it looks like a kimono when it is upside down!
I used a piece of vintage Obi fabric for my bag. You can use any sturdy fabric. 
I cut my fabric 14" x 28". This allowed for 1/2" seams. Fold the fabric in half and sew the side seams. Press your seams open.
I lined the bag. Cut your lining 2" shorter than your fabric. This will give you a nice facing as you see in the above picture. I used 28" for the length, so cut the lining 26" long by the same width as your bag fabric which was 14". Sew the side seams of the lining, leaving an opening on one side so that you can sew the lining to the bag and then turn it. Press the side seams of the lining open. Stitch the lining to the bag, turn and press the top of your bag. 
With the bag lying flat, find the middle and mark it with pins on both sides of the bag. 
Bring the side seams to the center. This will form a pleat. 
You can see it a little better in this picture. Pin the pleats in place.
The bottom of the bag will flare out. Press the top pleat in place. This will help to hold the pleat in place.
You will need a package of large eyelets.
Mine are 7/16".  
You will need to attach an eyelet to all 4 sides of the pleat.
To make the cording, you will need twice the amount of cording that is needed for the straps. My finished straps are 34" long, but you need to factor in the amount needed for the knots, so all in all, 3 yards was used for the straps, but as I said, in order to make the cording, you will need twice that amount, so plan on 6 yards of cording. When you go to buy the cording, make sure that 2 cords will slip through the eyelets easily. If it seems to be a tight fit, use a cording that is one size smaller.  
To make the cording, cut bias strips of your fabric. Sew them together until they are as long as you need for your straps. Once the strips are sewn together, wrap the fabric around your cording with the wrong side facing out. Trim the seam allowance as you see in the picture below and sew across the end as you see in the picture above. The end that you sew across is the end where the length of uncovered cording is.  
 You will now turn the fabric as you see in the picture below.
Once you have turned the fabric over the cording and the right side is facing out, thread the cording through the eyelets.
To make the knots, Begin with a simple knot,

and then put the end of the cord through once more as you see below.
Pull the knot tight.
It should look like the picture below once it has been pulled tight.
 Leave about 1 1/2" of cord next to your knot and cut the rest off.
 Push back the fabric exposing the cord,
 and cut off the cord as you see below.
Fold back the end,
 and wrap it around the knot.
 Sew the end in place. Do this for all 4 knots.
 Your bag is finished!
 I'm really happy with how it turned out and I will have the perfect outfit to pair it with.
Good luck if you decide to give it a try and by all means, if you have any questions, please shoot me an email and I will do my best to help.
 Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I bought this Mizono pattern a month or so ago. We're having such a mild winter and I wanted something that I could slip on quickly, have warmth, but not the warmth of a heavier coat. 
The pattern calls for a double sided fleece. I found this fabric while I was in Denver visiting Denver Fabrics (great store by the way). I love the fabric, but it was a mess to cut. Both sides have a low pile fur like texture. After the pieces were cut, I took them outside and shook them like crazy. It looked like there had been a fire that deposited black flakes on the snow!
You can see that the coat is very oversized, which is fine. The reason the pattern calls for double sided fleece is because all the edges are left unfinished which is fine, but my issue is the seams. The pattern says to cut the seams down to 3/8". If I did, then the seams would be stubby and just stick out, so I've decided to leave the 5/8" seams in tack and zigzag them down. I think I'll like the collar area better once the seam allowance is sewn down. It just rather falls right now. 
The pattern is rather bizarre in how it is cut and goes together. What I'm trying to show in the above picture is that the sleeve seam actually curves to the front.
In this picture I'm holding up one of the sleeves to show the side seam. The front is quite a bit shorter than the back. I'm just not too sure about this, although I do like the drape of the back. I may wear it before I take the scissors to it.
This is the back. It does have nice lines.
I had it hanging on my form last night and my husband noticed it and commented about how much he liked it. As I said, I think I'll like it better once I do something with the seams and make a decision about the side seams. I will not be making this pattern again so if anyone would like to have it, I'll be more than happy to pass it on. The first person to comment and ask for the pattern will get it. So no contest, just passing it along. Just to let you know, I cut the size 10 pattern. It's very oversized as you can see.  
Remember, if you would like a chance to win the Red Bandanna Skirt that I posted last Friday, today is your last chance to leave a comment on that post. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.
See you tomorrow for Fabulous Free Pattern Friday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No Snakes, Just Genius

Wow, did I get a reaction to yesterday's post. Sorry about that. But hey, don't shoot the reporter!! Yes, I did post a trend that stood out to me, but I must confess, I was one of those crazy little kids that would go snake hunting. The longer the garden the snake...the better. I have grown out of the phase of my life, thankfully, but I do love a pop snakeskin on my shoes, bags or belt. Look at it this way, at least you know this is a trend for spring, whether you like it or not.
So to try and redeem myself this morning, I thought I would share a little piece I wrote for the Haute Couture newsletter and share some fabulous pieces from the career of Yves St. Laurent. Enjoy, and hopefully you will forgive me for my snakey post!!

Yves St. Laurent

Marc Jacobs referred to him as God and Tom Ford and Jean Paul Gaultier called him their mentor. No designer has had a greater sense of aesthetic tradition, social history, or the power of style than Yves St. Laurent.
Yves St. Laurent's career began when he submitted three sketches to a contest organized by the International Wool Secretariat. He won first place. During the awards ceremony, he met Michel de Brunhoff, editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue magazine who first suggested that he become a fashion designer. St. Laurent went on to study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the council that regulates the haute couture industry. After graduating, he once again entered the International Wool Secretariat competition and won, beating out Fernando Sanchez and Karl Lagerfeld. Once again, after seeing St. Laurent's sketches, Michel de Brunhoff played a very important role by recommending St. Laurent to Christian Dior. After only a few years at the House of Dior, Christian Dior died of a heartattack and St. Laurent became the youngest head designer of a couture house.
St. Laurent was a designer of many firsts. He was the first designer to design a ready to wear line, the first to use ethnic models in his runway shows, the first to reference other cultures in his work and the first to ultimately be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition.
Since his design debut at the age of twenty-one, when he launched the "trapeze" look, Yves St. Laurent has been hailed as a designer of genius, not only in creating clothing of remarkable originality and influence, but also in transcending the ephemeral world of fashion to establish an international style of lasting significance. Influenced greatly by the aesthetic of Gabrielle Chanel, St. Laurent grew more and more wary of fashion, and more and more engrossed by style.
My first introduction to the impeccable quality, style and fit of his garments was when I was seventeen years old and working at a small boutique called Betty's of Winnetka. We received a shipment of skirts and cashmere sweaters. Little by little, the garments were marked down and finally, combined with my employ discount I was able to afford a beautiful wool gabardine wrap skirt and creamy cashmere sweater. For years they were my go to garments when I needed to impress. They helped me land jobs by giving me the confidence I needed and allowed me the grace of not having to worry about whether my clothes were appropriate. When the pieces finally wore out, it was like parting with very dear friends.

"Haute couture has its multitudes of whispered secrets that a small number of people are still able to pass on. It pleases me that I, because of luck and instinct, am one of the last to hold the secrets of haute couture." Yves St. Laurent

How could shorts be any sexier?!!



Inspired by Picasso.


 Exquisite tribal pieces.







 Timeless.


 The iconic safari jacket.







Have a lovely day!