Thursday, June 27, 2013

Modeling my Etsy skirt, and a poll for you!

I loved this skirt so much that I made the first one in my size to keep!  It is made to sit at the smallest point of the waist and bell out from there.  Defining the waist is a great way to flatter almost any figure, and I have really loved this style for years.  However, it can be hard to find readymade clothes that fit this closely because manufacturers can’t possibly make every size for every person down to the exact inches of our waists.  That is what is so great about making this skirt for Etsy; I can make it custom for each person. 

I am getting more and more excited about opening my shop.  I am going to start with these short skirts, but I am working on more patterns to use in the future. 
So, I have a few questions for you to help me as I am creating my line (tee-hee!  Doesn’t that sound awesome???).  Please take my poll, and leave your answers as a comment here on my blog.  I would really appreciate your feedback! 
A)      What do you feel is missing from your wardrobe that you really wish you could find?
B)      What do you think is the reason you can’t find what you are looking for when you shop?  Such as, “I’d love to have one, but I can never find the perfect pencil skirt in my size.”
C)       What do you buy over and over again, and why?
D)     What do you wish designers knew about your body type? 
E)      Do you have any other suggestions to help me figure out what you would like to see in my shop?
That’s it for now, and thanks for helping me out.  Have a beautiful and creative day! 
Neaklace and shoes; Modcloth.  Top; The Loft.  Skirt-by me!!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Etsy Preview

Here is the first preview of a skirt I will be selling on Etsy!  Whoo hoo!  I am going to offer three different skirts that can be custom made by waist size.  I just love this skirt so much.  I can't wait to get started making custom skirts for my shop!  Like the last skirt I previewed here, this skirt is fully lined and has pockets. 

I'll post some shots of how I styled this skirt tomorrow.  I really really like how it came out.  :)

My Friend the Stretchmark

Frankly, I was insulted.  “Go away,” I said, “you don’t belong here.”  But my squiggly little stretchmark just stared back at me from the inside of my right thigh as if to say, “Someday you’ll learn to love me because, you know, you and I are in this together.”  Yeah right, I thought back.  But from that moment on, I’ve got to admit, we were inseparable. 

My friend the stretchmark has seen me through some rough times.  Like the time we discovered back fat together in a three way mirror at a Target.  “We can get back fat too???”  I asked annoyed.  “I know right?” said my stretch mark, “I didn’t even know that was a thing!” 

As I got older, squiggly little strangers began to appear on my bum and although I’m not quite as friendly with them, I rarely have to see them and we almost never speak except the occasional, “how’s the weather down there?” sort of chit chat.  My butt happens to be pretty great, so a few thin white lines were to be expected.  I mean really, what self-respecting stretchmark wouldn’t want to live there? 

Then came the little brown spot on my face.  People always ask me if it is a bruise but  really it is just a collection of cute little freckles.  I tried to kill it with creams, and we had unkind words with each other, and then we both just moved on and let each other exist.  “I forgive you,” my freckle collection said.  “I forgive you too,” I responded. 

Then came the surgery scars, and I was really mad at them for ruining my flat little tummy, but they assured me they were only there to help me.  In fact, they did kind of, you know, save my life.  But what they really meant was that they would help me except my body as I got older and it continues to change.  They were right of course, and nothing really fazes me now.  The truth is it actually was kind of a relief to get to give up the responsibility of trying to be perfect, because those scars were a reminder that not only was that not possible, it wasn’t necessary.   I think I saw my little scar smile right through where it had warped my belly button when I finally figured that one out.

My friend the stretchmark has a little sister now, just as squiggly and white and still only on my right thigh.  She’s okay, but they must like having each other for company because I rarely hear my old friend anymore at all.  I mean, we'll always be friends, but she’s just not on my mind as much anymore, and I think that’s fine because I’ll never forget what she taught me.  The best kind of friends are the ones you learn from.  

Even though we don’t talk, my stretchmark and I still go everywhere together.  In the summer, I even let her out in the sun from time to time.  We especially enjoy swimming together in the ocean because the water makes us feel free.  We spend a lot of time feeling free these days, and that’s a wonderful feeling for us both.  My friend the stretchmark, and me. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Royal Brocade

I haven’t been feeling great and it has been making me pretty much only want to sit on the couch and get nothing done, including sewing.  However, I have a huge list of projects I want to get done for my Etsy shop, sewing for friends (even one paying job!) and also several projects for my own fall wardrobe. 
In the meantime, I am going to try to post a couple of dresses I made a while back but never got around to blogging about, starting with this purple brocade number.

The dress is a combination of a few patterns, and I drafted the collar myself.  Yay!  This is one of the fabrics I bought while I was on my New York trip.  Isn’t it pretty?  I wore it with my "Space Barbie" purple boots.  I never get to wear these crazy boots (a long ago Dillard’s purchase) but I just can never seem to part with them.  In real life they are a shiny, purplish, silverfish, pinkish shade.   They were kind of a perfect match for this purple and silver shinny dress. 
I have a lot of sewing goals for the week, to try to get me back in the sewing swing.  I’m trying to be realistic about what I can actually accomplish, but being realistic (or patient) isn't really my thing.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Vintage Icons: Audrey and Marilyn

Growing up, I saw the world of vintage beauty divided into two camps.  For me the question was, are you an Audrey, or are you a Marilyn?
As a teenager, you are so in-between that you tend to feel as if you are not who you really are yet, and furthermore, you can decide who it is you are going to be as if you are building yourself from the ground up.  I saw Audrey Hepburn in all of her tall, thin, regal glory, and I thought that I could will myself into being just like her, if only I had the self-control.  Of course, I could never force myself to be tall, but thin seemed like a choice, and I tortured myself for years to be as close to that ideal as I could.  Sadly, of course, I had missed the point entirely. 

Audrey Hepburn was extremely thin, no question, and it is hard to argue that that thinness didn’t add to her particular and special beauty.  But what I didn’t understand then was that Audrey’s true beauty really lay in her uniqueness, and in trying to copy her, you become less and less like her.  Audrey wasn’t a collection of perfection.  On the contrary, her physical beauty came from her so called imperfections.  She had big ears, big feet, and she even had an unusual nose.   She was painfully thin and very small chested.  Her eyebrows were, let’s face it, huge.  And yet, all together she was perfection.  In that way, to truly emulate Audrey would be to embrace your own uniqueness and be as you as possible, because Audrey was only ever Audrey.  She wasn’t trying to be anyone else.  That quality, along with her beautiful spirit, her grace and her amazing elegance, are what truly made her the beauty icon she is to this day, and I think those are traits worth emulating.    
Then there is Marilyn.  I never really appreciated Marilyn Monroe until I was a grown woman who had finally accepted that my body wanted to be curvy, and no amount of self-torture was ever going to change that.  Marilyn is seen as the sex kitten, and of course that was one aspect of her persona, but what I really like about her in movies like How to Marry a Millionaire or Some Like It Hot is her vulnerability mixed with the contradiction of her seemingly complete comfort in her own skin.  For me though, Marilyn’s true beauty comes out so much more in still photographs than on film.  The camera just loved her, and there are endless photos of her smiling and happy, and not covering up or hiding the way so many of us tend to do when the camera is out.  For a woman who had so much personal pain, she seemed to shine from the inside when she was being photographed. 

 There is an endless debate about Marilyn Monroe’s figure.  Was she a waifish perfect representation of the unattainable trim hourglass, or was she a plus sized beauty, happily flaunting her bodacious curves? 
The truth is, while Marilyn was never what most sane people would consider “plus sized” (a term that I hate, buy the way), she did in fact  fluctuate 20 or more pounds during her all too short life.  You can find statistics that claim she weighed 118 to over 140, and probably both are true. 
Marilyn wasn’t an icon for female beauty and empowerment because she had a 24 inch waist or because she was a plus sized beauty.  Marilyn was, and continues to be, and icon because she was a real living breathing beautiful woman, who owned her beauty and reveled in it, no matter what size she was.  Thin or thick, Marilyn never seemed shy or ashamed of showing off her beautiful body and always looked happy and proud, and I just love that quality.  That is something I truly want to embrace in myself as well, no matter what size I am. 
So now I am grown up and I don’t need icons in the same way that I did when I was young.  I can’t be and Audrey or a Marilyn because I am a Nicole.  But I don’t need to be just like them to appreciate the beauty lessons that they left behind.  I still love Audrey’s effortless style and Marilyn’s unapologetic curves.  In truth, what really made these woman lasting figures of iconic beauty was their seeming understanding of what made them beautiful and special and unique, and their own abilities to embrace those qualities in themselves rather than hiding them or letting someone else tell them how to be beautiful. 
Just imagine how many Audrey’s or Marilyn’s are out there today, too afraid to shine because someone told them that that their nose was too big or their bodies were too curvy.  Just think of what beautiful qualities you could be hiding because you have let someone else dictate what should be deemed beautiful or acceptable to like in yourself.  Always be your own icon, because no one will ever be as good at being you as you are.  Don’t hide your inner light for anybody because the things you may be hiding are part of what makes you your own unique kind of perfection. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rachel modeling my Etsy skirt :)

My sis came over yesterday and modeled one of my sample Etsy skirts (made for her measurements) and she let me take photos to share on the blog.  Yay!   Look how great it fits!!! 

This full gathered skirt is the prototype for the first thing I am going to sell on Etsy- and it can be custom made!  The skirt is fully lined, and has pockets.  Pretty cute right?  It doesn't hurt that Rach is such a cute model.  :)

I'm getting more and more excited about opening my shop.  I can't wait to get started! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guess who's going to be selling clothes on Etsy!

It's me! Yay!

I've been a little MIA around the blogosphere lately because I have been getting ready to open my own Etsy shop! For those who don't know, Etsy is an online community dedicated to selling handmade goods from around the world.

I'm really excited, but also quite nervous! One thing that has held me back from doing this sooner (besides the fact that I just started sewing in earnest last April) is my fear that I wont be able to accommodate a large enough size range. This has been really hard for me since I am all about size diversity. I'd love to offer all of my items in a range of sizes, but since I am working from my own patterns, it might take me some time to get there for every size. I plan on adding more size options as my skills improve and I get models who are willing to test my patterns (thank you Dorothy for offering to be the first pattern tester! If you are reading, I'll have your skirt sent out this weekend. :) ). Another road block is that I will only have a limited amount of any particular material, especially when I am first getting started. Lastly, I can only offer as many items as I have time to make within a reasonable time frame.

To start, I will have some ready made items in limited sizing and some custom items offered. If you really love something and it isn't in your size, please message me! If I have the skills to adjust the pattern, I would be more than happy to!  I'm not quite sure who my costumers are yet, so I will try to adjust as I go.  It will be easier for me to make custom pieces for people who I can measure myself, but don't let that scare you away from asking! The more people I make custom items for, the more confident I will be that I can offer more things to the general public. :)

So there you have it. Stay tuned for more updates! I am really excited about this journey, and so grateful to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me to do this.

I especially want to thank my sister Rachel and my friend Kimmi who have done so much to make this possible. I really couldn't have done it without you guys!!!

So, any suggestions before I open the shop (hopefully in July)? Would you be interested in buying clothes from me?  Anyone want to start putting your orders in now?  ;P  

AND NOW...a preview!  Here is a sample of the type of skirts I will be starting with.

And look!  Fully lined!