Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Governor’s Island Girls

You know what was not a flattering period of time in Women’s clothing? The 1920’s. There. I’ve said it. It’s out there. Deal with it. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. I totally appreciate the innovations of the period, and really, in terms of women and the mobility they had physically it’s such a revolutionary time, but holy hell does the drop waist look bad on most people. Myself included, photos to follow.

So while I admire the spirit of the 20’s, the fast cars and fast women, the music and the decadence, I’ve always had a hard time with the clothing. Which isn’t great given the fact that this past weekend I went to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island! It’s kind of this big 20’s themed party on the island, which is between Brooklyn and Manhattan, a ferry ride (free, by the way, which NOTHING is in New York) will get you there. The island is so lovely, it was used in the past as a militery base, and then closed to the public for a long time. It was re-opened in 2010 and now they are constructing a park and it is just lovely, I would recommend taking a picnic and a small child, if you have one handy or know where to steal one from, and taking a day trip, if you are around New York. (I’m kidding, please don’t steal children, it’s not great.) So they have been doing this 20’s style party there for 4 years, and this year it was bigger then ever.

And I have to tell you, despite the crowds and the lines, it is a pretty cool event, but if you want to enter into the spirit of the thing, you gotta dress the part. Well, at least, I felt obligated. My parents, who occompanied me, felt no such compulsion. But I didn’t just outfit myself, I also made a dress for my roommate Emily!

And that’s the main event of this post, because my friend I threw together literally the morning of the event and it’s whatever. But EMILY’s dress is pretty lovely, if I do say so myself:

20 7I wanted to make her something she might actually wear again, so that meant deviating from complete period appropriateness by giving her a 2013-approved hemline. But it’s a bias cut dress, which totally works, and I figured though it might be heralding the 30’s a little bit, it’s still hinting at the 20’s with it’s fluttery sleeves (self drafted, I will have you know).

20 10In case you couldn’t tell, Emily really likes this dress. For the sleeves I just cut half circles and stitched them on where the straps go in the original pattern, and then adjusted them to be a bit tighter on Emily’s lady-like shoulders. Emily felt very bad about needing an adjustment and I just laughed, like, this is the whole point of making clothing, that you can adjust to someone’s body! Muggles, man, I tell you…20 8

 

Does this remind you a bit of a slip? HOW ODD. No, it’s not, the pattern is Colette Patterns Cinnamon, a slip I had long lusted after (heh) and finally bought to download. I made myself one in white, which I haven’t blogged about because somehow that seems more intimate then photos of me in a swimsuit. I’m weird.

20 13I cut a size 8, which I think hangs nicely off of Emily (that bias cut, man, it’s a bitch but it’s so worth it…) though I would take a wedge of out the back if I made this for her again. On me it actually works pretty well, that’s the swayback curse for you, i.e. I have one. You totally cannot see where I melted some of this highly synthetic crepe with an iron and then stitched it up. Thank goodness.

20 9I’m pretty in love with this material. It’s not at all period appropriate but it looks great on Emily and it’s preeeeeeeetty! 4 dollars a yard on Fabric.com. NAILED IT.

20 1I love the bodice detail on this pattern. So flattering, no? Because I cut this on the bias, I hung up the pieces over night after I cut it, and then stitched up the majority of the dress, and let it hang for four days while I gallivanted off to Cape Cod to hang out with my friend Lee (hi, Lee!) and do some writing. So when I got back the skirt was all ready to be hemmed! Life works well, sometimes. And the rest of the time it’s the WORST.

20 12But not on Saturday! Saturday it was great. And how good does Emily look posing with these amazing vintage cars? So much vintage at the party, so little time:

20 4Flappers and elegant ladies mixing, the horror!

20 5How much do you love these shoes? I wanted to steal them off this girl’s feet but they don’t let you do that. THANKS A LOT, PURITANS.

20 15Hipster couples everywhere!

20 2Why don’t men dress like this anymore? I know it gets warm but DAMN is it attractive.

20 11Speaking of attractive…

Okay, okay, I will show you what I made for myself but it’s really no big deal.

20 18Meh. This is very much whatever. It’s a sack. So it works great for the 20’s, no? I’m so mean. BUT SERIOUSLY. It’s actually Colette Patterns Sorbetto ( I swear I did not plan to make this so Colettey but can you blame me, seriously amazing patterns from those beautiful geniuses) lengthened to dress length. It was a lot longer, I just used all the rayon I had left over from this skirt, and then I chopped off a bit at the knees and used that for the sash.

20 17I seriously made this in an hour. It took me about one episode of Rookie Blue. Emily was so appalled that I had used all my time making her something and hadn’t made something for myself so I got up on Saturday morning, composted, ran, and made a dress. LIKE A BOSS.

20 14Look how I laugh and laugh! The 20’s were so wild. Look, eh,this dress, it’s fine, I suppose. It worked for the event, and I can always belt it and wear it again, which is important, I hate the idea of making something I would never wear again, although I have TOTALLY done this. Oh, and I made the headband too, duh. And I made Emily’s. Like I do.

20 3But the point is, we had a great time!

Also, let’s talk about the view from the ferry, shall we? It’s worth the trip for that and that alone:

20 6The Jazz Age Lawn Party is a pretty good time, I would recommend it if you are around next summer. And I just hope the decade works better for you then it does for me…why isn’t there a 1950’s lawn party? COME on!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Costume, Sewing

The Yellow Rose Of Texas Skirt (Sew Bossy!)

So, Austin might be the liberal stronghold of Texas, but, y’all, it’s still TEXAS, so there are Stensons and cowboy boots and taco stands and friendly faces everywhere. For a northern aggressor like me, it’s VERY disconcerting…and also exciting! I’ve visited the South before, but never ever Texas, and Austin is mighty cool, I must say. We went to a speakeasy that is a converted brothel, we saw Tony Hale speak (it was…emotional), we ran around a beautiful running path with some of the happiest dogs I have EVER seen, I went vintage shopping, it was pretty baller. And pretty PRETTY:

TX 5 TX 4 TX 3 TX 2 TX 1

And so of course I had to make something appropriately Texan to go with the city, don’t you think? So I did, or at least I TRIED to!

Have you guys heard about Sew Bossy? It’s pretty amazing, and I was lucky enough to be contacted by the wonderful Amity of Lolita Patterns (which are SO. CUTE.) and we agreed to an exchange. Which I mostly failed at. As you will see. But that’s not because of Amity, or even Texas! It’s because I am the worst.

So Amity sent me this lovely pattern, Simplicity 1802, a Cynthia Rowley pattern.

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Actually, she sent me a lot of amazing AMAZING things, including a lovely purple border-printed eyelet, that I think she wanted me to USE for this pattern. Let’s talk a second about Sew Bossy, because clearly I do not follow instructions well and totally failed at the bossy part. Part of this is clearly is God help the person who tries to tell me what to do when I sew, as I have found, I am not good at that….Amity is a stellar person and she sent me the coolest stuff and then I…turned it all around. TO BE FAIR, the eyelet she sent me, which I love VERY much, wouldn’t have worked on this skirt, in my humble opinion, and I didn’t want to ruin her gorgeous gifts to me! But the yellow rayon she envisioned as a lining, well, that thing and I had some good times with this swishy flippy skirt.

Let’s talk about this pattern, which is the second place I failed to be bossed around. It’s really very lovely, and I like it so much, well made, great details, but I knew the moment I saw it that the bodice wasn’t going to do me any favors. That kind of segmented bodice does wonders for ladies who were made in the willow slight nymphy way. But me? I was not. So this pattern is something I really never would have bought for myself, but you know what, I thought, that’s pretty cool, let’s try something here! But I had to skip the bodice, I just had to, some things you just KNOW aren’t going to work out.

The skirt and I, however, are having a love affair…. so I thought, maybe just make that? And holy hell am I glad I did. Because this skirt couldn’t be more me, and I never would have known such a thing without Amity. THANK YOU AMITY!

YROT 6Look at that! Luscious lemony rayon, swishy swishy skirt, it’s everything I never knew I wanted! I seriously never would have made this pattern if I hadn’t been sent it, I would have taken a look, wrinkled my judgmental little nose and said, how fussy. But, it’s NOT fussy! It’s awesome!

YROT 2

This photo gives a nice view of the scarf I’m wearing too, which I bought at one of Austin’s many many amazing vintage stores. How cute is it? Matches the skirt, too, and the girl at the store loved my dress WHICH I MADE. I had to buy it. It wasn’t an option. Vintage silk for 10 dollars? THANK YOU AUSTIN.

YROT 7Ah, the warm sun of Texas, how I bask in it. I’m really loving my solid t-shirt tan in all these photos, how cute is that?

More skirt information: the segments, especially in a solid, are so fun and actually kind of subtle, and they give me SO much swish. SWISH IS ALL I EVER WANT. That and Vietnamese food. AND WE GOT THAT TOO!

YROT 1Yeah, that’s fried chicken. Vietnamese food with fried chicken. TEXAS FOR THE WIN.

Ahem.

Back to the skirt.

YROT 10Ha, you can see me clutching the lens cap. That’s because on a trip I lost my lens cap riding a camel (BIRTHRIGHT) so now I’m pretty careful about it. The skirt has four segments, one in front, one in the back, and one on each hip. It’s a little tricky to put together, or rather, to pin together, but once I got the hang of it it was smooth sailing. I did everything by machine because I really wanted to get this done before my trip and also I knew that a hand-sewn hem would pucker the fussy wrinkly AWESOME rayon. Seriously, it might be a little temperamental as a fabric and fray like crazy, but I love the way it hangs and the way it LOOKS.

YROT 4The back is a little messy whatever look away look away!

YROT 5Back to the front the front is cute!

YROT 9A little close up for you.

But, Leah, you say, this swish factor, tell me more, tell me more. Well, if you insist:

YROT 3Ha, that lady in the background is totally running away from the crazy impromptu photo-shoot happening at this charming Vietnamese cafe. Sorry, ma’am! (Look, I ma’amed! I’m trying, Texas!). But you must admit, that’s some solid twirling there.

So, in sum, a few things:

Austin is fantastic, and I’m so glad I got to go.

I do not follow instructions well.

I’m so grateful to Amity for trading with me and bringing this awesome skirt into my life!

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going back to twirling, thanks:

YROT 8If you aren’t twirling, are you really doing it right? Probably not…

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Filed under Challenge, Closet Case Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel

The Thank God I’m In The Arts Bathing Suit

Seriously, thank goodness I work in theater, where most likely these photos will never be held against me. If I was in finance or law or something serious and not based in make-believe, well, a lot of this blog would be suspect, probably, and I’d have to find a new name, do a face-graft Face/Off style, that’s a whole lotta work, don’t you think? Plus, it’s totally going to backfire, so, yeah, it’s better that I just stick to writing and studying pretend. And, apparently, posting photos of myself in a bathing suit on the internets. Which, I’m pretty terrified about it, but so many other amazing talented BRAVE bloggers are doing it, I just couldn’t justify not doing it myself. So even though I feel a little, well, nervous about putting photos of myself covered in a few ounces of spandex online, hey, man, I made a WHOLE SWIMSUIT, and sometimes pride needs to outweigh concern.

Funny thing, when I made this suit and then told people about it, which was almost a month ago, I was so thrilled and amazed that it worked, and yet everyone I told was like, yeah, so? I guess they just figured that a swimsuit was as hard as anything else, which, I mean, it’s actually not that difficult! I thought it would be tougher and sure, I wish I had a serger, but honestly this thing comes together super quickly, mostly because it’s so small! But the very concept of making a swimsuit just seemed so cool and radical to me, whereas the people I know who know I sew were super meh about it, I guess they just have a lot of confidence in me! Or have no idea how sewing works. But it’s definitely one of those two things…

So, the pattern is clearly and obviously from Closet Case, because come on, did anyone really want to make a swimsuit before Heather came out with this amazing vintagey goodness? I’m going to go with no. I ended up going with the halter, which, well, this was a bit of a questionable decision, as it turns out, because of my not-insubstantial frontal area.  But, you know what? I like this suit! Hell, I LOVE this suit. I mostly love that I MADE a swimsuit, right? Check it out:

BBS 1It’s a bit revealing, don’t laugh, I know it’s a one-piece, but still, there is some bosom happening here that makes me a bit, eh. It’s not so bad lying down, really, which is why I took so many photos in this position (THANK YOU LISA I LOVE YOU!)

BBS 4Here we go with gravity doing what it does. Yep. a whole bunch of curves there. Oh my. Please be kind, future google searchers!

BBS 5

So, I would not go with the halter again, honestly, though I am glad I made it! I have a lot of the maillot style, so I thought I would try something different, and then I remembered WHY I have a lot of that style, because A. I love it and B. it’s really flattering. Not that I don’t think this is flattering, because I mostly do, but, real talk, support is not what halters do best. As modern swimsuits go, this is great, but next time I’m going to add a more solid bust band and make the other style. I will still totally wear this suit, I love it, I do, and the material is great, I bought it with my friend Allie (hi, Allie!), who picked it out at Spandex House in the garment district here in New York because she has excellent taste (I was going to go waaaay trashier, turns out that’s where my tastes in spandex lie, who knew?), but the next one, which I’m excited to make, this was fun, is going to get some modifications.

BBS 3This is my very best “super model” pose. Lisa directed me in most of my poses, so if I look sad and apathetic and underfed (ha, kidding, I will never look underfed) , blame her. And Anna Wintour. AND SOCIETY. Lisa lives in a complex with a pool in Austin, and this was the first time she had ever used it! It’s a salt pool, which apparently is kinder to people than chlorine, and it was so wonderful after our morning run, she vowed to make better use of the pool from now on. I can’t even believe she doesn’t spend every moment in it as it is, if I lived near a pool you would have to pry my water-wrinkled self out of it daily.

Okay, moment of truth here:

BBS 6The back view. Sigh. Internet creepers and jerks, do what you need to do. I think this is pretty damn awesome, everyone who has made this suit has raved about the gathers in the back and everyone is not wrong. I like/can live with this photo, but I will say, it’s much better in real life, this is just an insanely flattering style. As Lisa said, I may like the back even more than the front! Aw, thanks, Lisa…

BBS 7All in all, I am so glad I made this, even if everyone I know is like, so? Because just the idea of making my own swimsuit is so cool to me, and also, I love this! I’m so over bikinis, and swimsuits are EXPENSIVE, and this cost me, like, I don’t know, 25 dollars? Including the pattern? And also, it’s the style I like, and I didn’t have to be subjected to terrible dressing room lighting and a panic attack when trying it on. That alone is worth it.

BBS 2More modeling. I totally wore lipstick for these photos, obviously, adding to the glamor of it all.

But the most important thing is, did it fall off my body and disintegrate as soon as I hit the water?

BBS 8NOPE. NOT AT ALL. How cool is that?

So, to recap, these are a bunch of photos of me in not a lot of clothing which are now on the internet with a long explanation, including information about my bustline.

Yep. Really happy I’m in the arts right now. REALLY. HAPPY. But, real talk, more people have seen me on the beach over the years then will ever read this blog, so I suppose it’s all the same, and my lovely photographer made me look the best I could possibly look, so really, if this is the record, I think it’s not half bad! And I’m just happy to be one of many people who has made this suit, because I think it’s impressive, even if no one else does, and whatever, man, I MADE A SWIMSUIT! Deal with it, internets. Deal with it.

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Filed under Life, Uncategorized

The Orange Is The New Black Dress

So, recently I haven’t been posting much because A. the backlog of things I need to shoot is epic and B. I had big summer plans! Namely, some people I love very much who simply had to be visited this summer. I mean, come on, if you have people who live in amazing places isn’t it simply your obligation to go see them, regardless of their own desires? I’m just kidding, I would never visit anyone who didn’t want me to be there, that being said, I have been known to SUGGEST that a friend might want me to be there….and that’s what I recently did with my friend Lisa. Lisa is a damn saint (this works, she grew up Catholic!) and she has put up with me not just here in the continental United States but also in CHINA! I keep forcing Lisa to let me visit and she keeps being stupid graceful about it, like, come on, man, if you don’t want me to just intrude on your life maybe stop having such an interesting one, AM I RIGHT?

So now Lisa lives in Austin, which is an awesome place. How do I know such a thing? Because recently I imposed myself on my almost-a-decade-old friend and made her give me a place to sleep in Austin, plus food, PLUS BOOZE. See where the saint term comes from? She’s a wonder among women…

AND. She took photos of me. In the outfits I made to visit her in Austin. Because she is, like, the best damn person that exists. And I made her do it after our run around the Lady Bird Lake Trail (okay, this is important, Lyndon B Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson had the same initials, how is that not the weirdest thing anyone has ever heard of and also, THAT IS SO STRANGE, and also, Austin is so into these people, COME on, no one wanted that guy to be president, we can all agree on this, right? RIGHT?) on her damn BIRTHDAY, because Lisa is, like, the best person. AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN TRY. AND HER HAIR DRIES WONDERFULLY. AND SHE LIKES DOGS. I can’t even. If I hadn’t pledged my life to hers years ago I would seriously hate this girl, but as it is, uprising comes? I’m Team Lisa, FOR THE WIN.

So recently Lisa and her boyfriend got into Orange is the New Black. Which. Have you seen it? You need to go see it. A friend got me into it and for the love of GOD, it is too good for words. If you haven’t seen it, please, stop reading this, seriously, nothing I have to say is as interesting as that series, go, watch it, it’s 13 hours long, I can wait. Don’t worry about it. Go. NOW.

Are you done? Did you see it? ISN’T IT AMAZING? Okay, cool, we can go on now. Yes, I’m sad too that it’s over, but it’s been picked up for a second season so…

Also I made a dress. If you want to go watch it again instead of looking at it that is so okay with me, seriously.

OITNB 9This is yet another Ballet Dress from Dixie DIY. I promise the hem is straight despite these photos…

OITNB 6Lisa took these in her apartment complex because she is magnificent as a human being.

OITNB 7What can I say? I got the fabric from Girl Charlee and it has oranges all over it, so….

OITNB 8This is me with my new garden owl boyfriend. We’re pretty happy together…

OITNB 4This is me sitting in the most demure Texan Belle way I can think of.

OITNB 5The swirl potential on this dress is pretty baller. I used the Dixie DIY bodice and added a half circle skirt and I’m fairly thrilled with the results. SO, by the by, are the residents of Austin, who were INSANELY nice to me when I wore this dress (and in general, AUSTIN IS AWESOME). I got so many compliments from strangers, homeless and otherwise, that, as I told a friend, I felt like I was in the Truman Show. I am not that good at making stuff. Austin is just a nice place.

Seriously, I was trying to take a self-photo and a homeless person was like, do you want ME to take that? And I did!

OITNB 1Along with a local popsicle! Which was DELICIOUS, by the by, and who doesn’t love the sheen of Texas-sun sweat you can detect in this shot?

OITNB 10Apart from being amazing and talented and wonderful, Lisa also is great at directing photography, don’t you think?

OITNB 3Some close-ups of the print:

OITNB 12Hence the orange name…

OITNB 14Oh, maybe you want SEE me and my gorgeous photographer/life coach?

OITNB 2Well of course you do. HOW PRETTY IS SHE? Also, a wonderful person. LIKE THAT MATTERS…

And there you go! And if you didn’t read this because you were busy watching the show, you know what? WORTH IT.

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Filed under Clothing, Dixie DIY, Fabric, knit, Sewing, Travel