Month: May 2014

Random Daily Fashion

I went to work today. Yes, I do that sometimes. I’m wearing one of my most favorite Goodwill scores, a lovely cotton “jungle” skirt. It’s vintage of some variety, my guess is 1980s, referencing 1950s. Who knows? I love it. The whole outfit is cheap and cheerful. Happy Friday!

Top – Walmart

Skirt – Goodwill

Belt – Target

Shoes – Aerosoles

Necklace – Bionic Unicorn

A closer view of the creepy cheery necklace by Bionic Unicorn.

I noticed something interesting about my jungle skirt today. Check out that black leaf! Sneaky.

 

WIP: Wearing History 1910s Suit Sew-a-Long Skirt Mockup Complete

I’ve been feeling fairly focused (and also starting to feel the time crunch for Costume College) so I completed my skirt mockup for the 1910s suit sew-a-long. I usually don’t mock up skirts but this time I decided to. I probably would have been ok without but it gave me some extra info and a wearable muslin so it was worth doing.

It turns out I’m just beyond the size range of the pattern. Lauren of Wearing History suggests doing a slash and spread but as my measurements would be theoretically be the next line out, I just graded from the largest size for everything except the outer belt. That I did slash as it seemed the easiest way.

I used some sort of maybe denim, maybe not I had gotten at a thrift shop. The fabric feels very 70s to me and based on the other pieces that were in the lot I bought, could easily be from then or the 80s. It worked great for this mockup; somewhat stiff but with a decent drape and not too heavy. It does run like no one’s business on the cross grain though.

The sewing of the placket and the inside belt are the hardest part of the skirt pattern. I figured out the placket pretty quickly but the inside belt was confusing. I didn’t really understand the part about the belt overlaping inside. This lead me to believe that the inside belt somehow hooked independently from the rest of the skirt? I’m still not really sure on that part. I ended up lining up the inside belt flush with placket edges and sewing it down. I used a piece of twill finished with double fold bias tape to make the inside belt. I found that the inside belt at its current height is a little too long for my torso and tends fold up inside due to the sharp flare of my hips. I plan on either making the inside belt shorter or using actual grosgrain which is narrower and that problem should be solved. I may need to also increase the size of the darts to pull the top line smaller. Another solution to the bunching would be to tack the inside belt to the skirt but I believe that kind of defeats the logic of the construction. Also, the gathers in the back are very minimal. I was expecting to manage more fabric.

Inside Waistband – My (but perhaps not correct) Construction

The outside belt is very cute but fussy. Again, the belt doesn’t completely allow for my hip flair. I ended up tacking it down in several strategic places on the bottom edge of the belt and hand sewed the top edge all the way around. It adds bulk at the waist that I don’t really need. I’m considering omitting this detail in my final skirt.

Belt Detail. Looks Nice!

I was pleased enough with my muslin to completely finish it. It’s a very sloppy piece of sewing that I would never want anyone to see the inside of but it turned out cute enough. Because of my fabric choice and the way I tend to style, the final muslin definitely looks retro or vintage. I highly doubt most people would realize it’s a WWI era skirt. I used two different sets of vintage buttons. I planned on finishing with button holes versus hooks and snaps but my sewing machine decided not to play along this morning and I ended up savaging the button holes, and consequently the look of the placket. I had to place my buttons to cover this up so the buttons ended up being too far over from the edge. Again, something I definitely notice, but most people wont.

Wearable Muslin Ready for Errand Running — But the Back Wants to Slip…

After wearing the skirt around this afternoon while running errands, I decided that the topmost part of the skirt (the edge that hits above the natural waist) could be a little bit tighter. The skirt wants to slide down in the back to rest on my hips. I think sewing the side seams on sharper angle, tapering in to the top edge should help. Also, increasing the darts on the inside belt. I don’t really want to make the rest of the skirt smaller as it skims my actual hip quite nicely.

If anyone has more tips or fitting advice for me, feel free to comment below!

 

Random Fashion and Crafts: eShakti, Mascara, Oilcloth

I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I spent mine on equal parts socializing, chilling and making.

I have a few random bits to share with you so I figured why not mash it all up, just like a 3 day weekend!

First, I have a bit of an update to my eShakti experience. I’ve learned one of the downsides. A few days after I received my dresses, I also received an annoying bill from DHL for $33+ in customs charges. I’d read people’s complaints about this on the eShakti Facebook page but as I’ve bought and shipped from overseas and never been charged, I ignored it. It also seemed to be mostly a problem for Canadians. eShakti does state in their shipping info that customs fees can be levied. They also mention that orders for $200 or more are often flagged. Considering their pieces tend to go for about $75, if you did one of their Buy 2, Get 1 offers with a couple of customizations, you’d be right around $200. For US customers, eShakti will give you a credit voucher close to the value of your fees (I got $30 for my $33+) for your trouble. You’re still stuck paying DHL but as long as you are willing to reorder you at least get something out of the deal. Canadians, you’re out of luck and just stuck with the charges. Dealing with eShakti to get this sorted was a bit pokey but I did get my discount code. It’s frustrating but I still like their products and I’ll be using the code to purchase again.

I had bought my dresses to wear on a trip to Las Vegas and Seattle that unfortunately was cancelled for me due to illness. I finally got to wear one of my dresses out to dinner so I thought I’d share with it all accessorized and whatnot.

eShakti on the town

 

Second, I was wandering through Target and I saw this:

Miss Manga Mascara by L’Oreal

While I wasn’t in the market for new mascara, I just had to buy it. I mean who doesn’t want Manga eyelashes? Of course I was skeptical, especially when I pulled the wand from the tube. First off, the wand wasn’t pink, which was a MAJOR disappointment to me. The brush is awfully wonky. It looks like it was hacked down with a weedwacker.

Miss Manga mascara brush. Not pink and kinda wonky.

That goofy brush did seem to have its merits though as the mascara went on pretty well. I put the mascara on clean lashes that had not been curled. I was fairly impressed with the effect, although it was far from “Manga Effect”. I think only fake eyelashes will get that for you. I also found the product to be kind of clumpy, but it did stay on nicely. Would I call it a must buy? Nope. But I’ll use it sometimes.

Far from Manga but decent coverage on my pale, short lashes

 

Finally, thanks to a brand new electric staple gun and some free oilcloth I refreshed some old porch chairs. I love my electric staple gun. So easy! I want to staple all the things to the other things!

I’ve only been meaning to do this for six or seven years (or maybe ten..)?

Ick, Before.

Pretty, After!

My Log Does Not Judge Your Thoughts On Twin Peaks.

I’m revisiting Twin Peaks as my current sewing background. I’ve been meaning to re watch this for ages. I don’t think I’ve ever seen all the episodes and I certainly don’t remember a lot of the more soap opera aspects of the series. I do remember who killed Laura Palmer, but really at this point, does it matter?

My Log Will Have Something To Say About This.

Twin Peaks is soooo good. And soooo terrible. I guess that’s sacrilege to say, but really, it’s kind of unwatchable, especially the first couple of episodes. Lynchian screechiness is in full effect. Twin Peaks is simultaneously hypnotic and in places, snortingly funny. It’s also all over the goddamned place. Donut art. Waldo the myna bird. Leaden melodrama. 90s tweed jackets. Saddle shoes. Ham-fisted teenage longing. Taxidermy. Pie.

I’m surprised Twin Peaks made it as long as it did on network television. Nowadays it would have been cancelled by mid-season.

Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman’s Blazer

The provenance of Twin Peaks can be felt in shows like True Detective, both in its more gonzo aspects and also in the general tenor of the plot. True Detective is certainly more gritty and narrowly focused, where Twin Peaks meanders and sprawls, not sure where it hopes to go. Twin Peaks left a particular personal mark on me, encouraging my mastery of a seminal parlor trick.

Where are all the One Eyed Jacks cosplays?

Twin Peaks is streaming on Netflix. As the show predates hi-definition, you’ll be stuck watching it in the side letterbox 4:3 square ratio we all had to previously endure. A 1080p version is apparently available for purchase on iTunes. A deluxe Blu-Ray including the entire series, deleted footage and the film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is rumored for release this summer.

Work in Progress: Wearing History 1910s Sew-a-Long

At some point this year my mom and I will be visiting Winterthur for the Costumes of Downton Abbey Exhibition. Not surprisingly, I plan on dressing in period style. I asked my mom, who, while very crafty herself but not a costumer, if she would also be willing to dress in period style, if I was willing to do to the sewing. She agreed to humor me, so I had to figure out what to make for us. Originally I was thinking of Laughing Moon’s #104 1909-1913 Day & Evening Dress for myself but I thought a period suit would be better for my mom. Enter Wearing History’s 1910s Suit-a-Long!

Wearing History – 1916 suit with variations

Lauren Maringola has just published a new pattern for a circa 1916 suit with variations, perfect for the Downton exhibit and also perfect for my first trip to Costume College. Laughing Moon #104 is still also on my docket but has been moved back in the schedule.

I was already thinking linen when I was tipped off to a linen sale at Fashion Fabrics Club. Thanks to a fashion plate, I was on the hunt for stripes. I got nice and lucky and found a black and gray/taupe wide striped linen. I also fell in love with a pink and orange striped linen. At $4 a yard, I opted to buy both. Rather than hoping for color matches, I decided to search for coordinating fabric locally once I had the linens in hand.

check out the green & white tennis suit on the right.

As it turned out, my luck continued when I went searching at my favorite random discount fabric emporium, finding matches for both fabrics. At $2 a yard, I really couldn’t refuse! The pink linen will be complimented by some sort of wooly fabric with pink, purple and orange flecks. It’s probably a little bit on the limp side — and could be kind of toasty in the summer, but the color match was inspired. Also, the remnant piece was almost exactly the yardage required. Fate, I am sure. The linen will be used for the skirt and the woolly for the jacket. I have not yet decided if I will do any contrasts beyond the belt but I have more than enough of the linen should I want to.

Pink stripe for 1910s Suit-a-Long

While I thought I also did very well on the black stripe, under different lighting, the charcoal suiting I bought isn’t as great a match. The linen is a much warmer hue, while the suiting is much cooler. The charcoal was also $2 a yard so I figured I really couldn’t go wrong by buying both 3+ yard pieces I found. My thought was the stripe for the jacket with the charcoal as skirt and accents.

Black Stripe with Charcoal for 1910s Suit-a-Long

Between these I have fabric for both suits but the only problem is that I can’t decide which one I want! I have major love for both. I am also not sure I’m sold completely on the charcoal. I may look for something different. Maybe a contrast color to go with the stripe? I might have enough of just the charcoal to do the entire suit with that and a contrast. That could be really lovely. The linen then could make a fabulous edwardian skirt! My mom and I are not the same size so I can’t change my mind once I start. I think my mom would be OK with either color combo, although I look better in orange.

Lots of options! What do the readers think?

 

My eShakti Experience

Thanks to a Buy Two, Get One free offer, I made my first order with eShakti, a company that sells semi-custom, Indian sewn dresses, skirts, tops and jackets. Styles seem to be short runs so the offerings change fairly quickly. eShakti works one of two ways — you can either shop by their stock sizes or you can have a piece made exactly to your measurements. Additionally, depending on the item, you can customize further changing neckline, sleeves and hem length. All pieces are cut on order and customized based on your height, even if you order stock sizes and opt for no further customization. Customizing to height can really help for fit for someone like me. I’m a curvy hourglass girl but I am also short with narrow shoulders. Most of the time getting dresses that will fit my hips and tits usually means I am swimming somewhere — in the shoulders, waist or length. Customizing for height seems to with help this. It also means that a knee-length dress will actually hit my knee. The assumption most clothing manufacturers seem to make is that if you are big busted or curvy you are also large framed and tall. There really needs to be “plus petite” or something similar. With the kind of customization they offer, eShakti seems to be sort of addressing these kind of fit issues. It takes 14 business days or 18 calendar days for you to receive any order. I ordered on April 14th and the first delivery attempt was made May 1st. They deliver via DHL and you will need to be there to sign (or wave signature, etc.)

So, did the clothes actually fit?

In all styles, I opted to go for a stock size versus custom measurements. I did this mostly out of laziness. I know my core measures from sewing but there are a couple — like the eShaki chest and shoulder measures — that I do not know and would have needed someone else to help me with. That wasn’t going to happen at 3am on a weekday when I was working on this experiment. I realize, given some of my general fit issues with off the rack clothing, going for full custom could have really helped overall fit but I was also curious how it would go just ordering off their charts. I fell in a size zone somewhere between a 16W – 18 – 18W. My hip measure is actually beyond all those sizes but as all the items I was ordering had fuller skirts I didn’t worry about it. If I ever order something fitted at the hip, I would go for custom sizing. In the end, I erred on the larger size and ordered the 18W. All the dresses are just a touch big so I’d probably go for the 18 if I order again soon.

 

Here are the dresses (featuring below par iPhone pics):

#1  Belted BiPlane Print Dress

eShakti Biplane Print Dress

How I customized:

Below Knee to Knee Length

Scoop Neck to Sweetheart Neck

For my Height

My version of the Biplane Dress

This dress is adorable. The fabric is a soft yet crisp cotton. The red fabric belt is a nice touch but I will probably wear this dress with a red leather belt I have versus the fabric belt. The belt is made from a thin cotton and has a tendency to slide open. I’m glad I changed the neckline and while I’m pleased with the sweetheart it’s cut a little high for my tastes. It furthers the retro look of the dress though and I much prefer this over the scoop of the original design. The below knee-length just doesn’t work on me so I was happy to shorten that too. Length options were mini, above knee, knee, below knee and calf length. Adding sleeves was also an option. Of the three dresses this one has the least “give” as there is no elastic anywhere. The fit could be a little better at the neck but is more than acceptable considering I went for a stock size.

 

#2 Candy Crush Print MaxiDress

eShakti Candy Crush Print Maxi Dress

How I customized:

For my Height

My version of the Candy Crush Maxi Dress

I sure love a maxi dress but buying them at 5’3″ on a good day is comical to say the least. This was the dress that made me try eShakti. I’m really excited about the print. It’s hard to tell in these photos but the candy is very 80s Patrick Nagel looking with the primary colors and black outlining. Knowing I wouldn’t have to hem this sucker was huge. The fit is good but a tiny bit big. The back waist is ruched with elastic so fit is forgiving. There is a small hidden snap that keeps the crossover neckline closed. That is a really fab little detail. Also, this dress, like most of eShaki items, has pockets! Sleeves can be added to this dress and the hemline can be raised in various ways — although raising the hemline kind of defeats the purpose of a maxi dress. There is also a similar, shorter Candy print dress.

 

#3 Belted Corset Style Print Dress

Belted Corset Style Dress by eShakti

How I customized:

Regular Straps to Wide Straps

Below Knee to Knee Length

For my Height

My version of the Belted Corset Style dress

I had a hard time photographing this dress. The fabric patterns is really cute and lively. The topstitching pops. The fit on this dress is the worst of all of the three dresses but it is still quite good. The biggest problem is that the straps are too long. This is an easy fix. The entire back of the dress is elastic smocked so again the fit is very forgiving and a tad big on me. I’m pleased with how the bust fits as that could have gone really wrong. I love the matching belt on this one. I plan on sewing a snap on to the belt to keep it from sliding open. You get a couple of strap choices on this one — it would be really cute as a halter — and length options.

All these dresses also had “bra strap restraints”, little snap tabs that hook around your bra straps to keep them from going astray. Again, another small detail that just adds to the overall polish of the eShakti garments.

Bra Strap Restraints (Oh!)

I think you’ve figured by now that I’m very pleased with my initial experience with eShakti. While their dresses aren’t cheap, they also aren’t any worse that what you see in most department and boutiques. They seem to be well made but as I have not yet worn or cleaned any of these dresses I can’t yet comment on over all durability. The biggest complaint I can really make at this stage is time. Since everything is made on order you can’t just have a dress for that surprise date or unexpected event sent to you in a snap. Maybe you’ll just have to order an extra just in case…