Monthly Archives: January 2011

Golden Globes: Loved it! Hated it!

Ah, awards season. It’s like Christmas for both clotheshorses and movie lovers. And I am both. Last night was The Golden Globes Awards ceremony. Aside from thinking that the Hollywood Foreign Press has lost it (really, nominations for Best Film Comedy/Musical for The Tourist and Burlesque? Did you see those movies, guys? Er, um. Okay.) and that Ricky Gervais’s new muscles have given him some sort of mean-spirited comedy ‘roid rage, the whole experience was pretty pleasant.

My favorite moments: the awards presented by Tilda Swinton. I love that crazy-pants broad, even if I haven’t seen I Am Love yet. Did you hear the way she rolled those “r’s” and popped those “p’s”? Did you hear her say televisual? TWICE? I even love that dress she was wearing, looking like an Obi Wan Kenobi-themed wedding dress at David’s Bridal. Yes! Tilda. Yes!

Speaking of crazy: Continue reading


Review Haiku: Black Swan

A Beautiful Mind
With pirouettes, bulimics,
And a cute pink coat.

My Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk

I worked on the muslin for the Butterick 5147 sheath dress last night. You know what I discovered when I tried it on? Roxanne’s got a big ol’ butt.

Oh my God, Becky. Look at her butt.

Actually, I already knew that. What I don’t know is how to adjust for it when I’m sewing. For answers, I checked Pati Palmer’s Fit for Real People, a book which everyone in the sewing blogosphere recommends but which I have yet to find at all useful. The closest thing I can find is the suggestion to add a horizontal dart to adjust for a “swayback.” But I don’t have a swayback. I have junk in my trunk…although I prefer to think of it as “precious cargo in my back seat.”

So I ask you, my fellow fat-bottomed girls, how do I fix this? And what do you think of the rest of the fit? I think I need to shorten the back split…it seems dangerously high to me. I’m also concerned about this pulling across my tummy at the sides.

I’m a Sewist and I Didn’t Even Know It

Look at what I did. I traced a pattern.

I hear that tracing patterns are a great way to preserve the original pattern in case you want to make it again in a different size or it’s one that you intend to use often. I have so far avoided it…at first out of ignorance and then out of fear. I used kitchen-grade wax paper because I don’t actually own any tracing paper. Makeshift materials aside, it makes me feel like a bona fide sewist to finally be doing it “right” this time. And it turns out that it wasn’t nearly as frustrating or time consuming as my overactive imagination feared it would be.

This is the sheath dress from Butterick 5147. I love the simplicity and ease of wearing sheath dresses. I especially like the way fabric choices and little details, like exposing the darts or adding leather trim (as on the DKNY and Michael Kors dresses below) changes the look completely.

Michael Kors does it in leather and tweed.

Donna Karan likes it exposed and red.

I don’t know why I’m just getting around to making one but I  imagine that I will make a lot of them in the future. The fact that this is a fairly simple pattern – with only a handful of darts and other pattern markings – made me more comfortable approaching it the tracing way. It’s the perfect excuse to really focus on fit in a way that I haven’t so far. Perhaps one day, I will work up to tracing fragile vintage patterns ore the ones out of Burda magazine. A girl can dream!

Next up, I will be making the muslin for this dress, also a first for me. In the meanwhile, if anyone has any alternatives to wax paper or can see places where my tracing skills need improvement, I’m open to constructive criticism.

…And Master of None

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

That’s me in my junior year of high school diligently knitting away. Even though it is more almost 15 years old (yikes!), it is one of my favorite photographs of myself.

But it is a lie. A barefaced lie.

Yes, I did learn how to knit that snowy, cold semester. Sure, I could almost always be found with needles in hand during my free time for a few months afterward. The truth, though, is that I have never finished any knitting project that I’ve started. In trying to organize my office/sewing/crafting space this weekend, I came upon two half-finished scarves, one-third of a ribbed hat, a quarter of a baby blanket (for my baby brother…who is now a teenager) and several random other remnants of projects I have long since forgotten.

Here’s how it goes: I knit and purl and knit and purl and knit some more and still all I come up with is a couple of inches that don’t look like anything. I get bored, move on to something new. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Being a Jill of all trades has its drawbacks. I’m sure you all know the other half of the axiom that gives this blog its name (just in case you don’t, it’s the title of this post). The delayed gratification of knitting makes mastery all the more difficult for this impatient gal.  But why so impatient? I’ve got idle time. It’s typically spent watching Supernatural or Torchwood but it’s time nonetheless. And I’ve decided that I’m going to finish something knitted. Someday. Hopefully in 2011. Maybe this?

One piece garter stitch sweater from The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting.

Meanwhile, I just bought the pattern to join Casey’s Swing Dress Sew Along. More on that soon.

A Tale of Two (Er, Three) Dresses

I’ve had some memorably bad New Year’s Eves. I think it’s because I spent my 20s chasing what other people might deem a great night instead of doing the things that suited my personality and my budget. One year, I attended a party at the home of a friend’s girlfriend. Lack of turnout caused the event to devolve into four of us playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Did I mention that I had not yet seen a single Star Wars movie at that point? Even if I had, even a proud nerd like me deserves a night off from her pocket protector. Inevitably, I devolved into drinking Cold Duck champagne straight from the bottle and passing out on the couch.

So, it took me quite by surprise when I found a New Year’s Eve party that I actually wanted to attend. Dubbed the Bootlegger’s Ball, it was a Prohibition-Era style shindig, where participants were required to dress up, and encouraged to do so in their best vintage or vintage-inspired finery. Bellydancers, burlesque, hot and gypsy jazz. That sounded right up my alley. After all, events of this type were one of my many obsessions in 2010.

But what to wear?

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3756
Fabric: Emerald Stretch Velvet Panne w/ Satin Ribbon

I really wanted to start 2011 in something I’d made myself since sewing turned out to be my single most engrossing passion of the year past. I thought at first to wear this dress, actually one of the earliest things I made in 2010. It’s from Kwik Sew 3756 and I chose to sew it because it had only three main body pieces, plus the set-in sleeves, about which I was warned but threw caution to the wind. At the time, my dart-making was pretty shaky and I added those rhinestones at the neckline to hide the imperfections. Then, I made a belt out of satin ribbon and a rhinestone belt buckle to finish it off. The squared off portrait collar seemed period-appropriate, as did the little bits of bling and the velvety fabric. But after trying it on, I decided it looked more like something you’d wear to meet your new boyfriend’s mother than a tribute to the slack, underground debauchery of the time between the wars.

Pattern: Butterick 5559
Fabric: Sophia Stretch Double Knit

Then I thought I’d wear my most recently completed project, Butterick 5559, which I had hoped to wear on Christmas Day but didn’t finish hemming it in time. As you can see my dart-making has improved (look at those nifty tucks, too) even though they could still use some work. But I realized that no amount of accessorizing would make this thoroughly modern design look like something out the Jazz Era.

So what did I wear?

This hot little red number that pays homage to the wiggle dresses of the late 40s and 50s, admittedly a little past the target period. Even though it’s purchased, I did make the fascinator myself.

I had a great time and I got told (by someone who had probably taken her Cold Duck to the head) that I looked like a young Ella Fitzgerald, before she was a mess. Um, thanks, I think.

Review Haiku: Blue Valentine

An intense romance
And NC-17 sex
But love disappears.

To see my longer review, click here.