25 November 2007

Vogue 2925

First, a big thank you to everyone that dropped by for my blog anniversary. I appreciate all the interesting answers that were left in the comments. I feel like I know you all a little bit better now.

I do want to answer one question before I get down to it.
  • rosecy said, "Is there a story behind your title "hungyzombiecouture"?
Why yes there is a story. See this blog post for all the juicy details (#1). When I was looking for a name for my blog, I wanted something unique and unpredictable. I sat down and thought about other things I enjoy doing (when I'm not sewing) and watching horror flicks is right up there. So, I combined my two interests into one.

: Vogue 2925

: V2925 comes in size 6 to 22 - I used size 8 for the top. For the skirt, I used size 8 at the waist and expanded out to a size 10 at the hip.

Fabric: For the top: diamond print onionskin fabric from Fabricland. For the skirt: brown suiting from Timmel Fabrics.

Project Photo:

: These are garments number eight and number nine in my fall/winter wardrobe. I have a few other pieces done as well and I will post them over the next several days.

I really, really like this top. It is so simple to put together, but it has an interesting shape - far better than just a plain old sleeveless tank top. The only thing I will change next time I make this top is that I will scoop out the armholes - they are a bit high for my liking. I can see making several more versions of this one. I prefer to wear sleeveless shells under my jackets and this top is perfect.

The skirt has really nifty design lines. I had hoped that I would like this skirt on me much better than I do. Unfortunately, the fullness is not distributed in a completely flattering way for my figure. I think I will still wear the skirt, however, my choice of top will have to be judicious. I can't imagine I will make another version though.

Conclusion: Two more additions to my fall/winter wardrobe. I will certainly be making the top again.

18 November 2007

One Year Older, One Year Wiser?

You may have noticed the new look around here - I wanted to look my best for a special day. Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. One year ago today I decided to start keeping a record of my sewing pursuits by starting a blog. All the other cool kids had one, like Angie, Carolyn, Debbie, Divas, Erica, Gaylen, Isabelle, Liana, Sharon, Stacy, Summerset and Tany to name a few. I figured if these amazing seamstresses had blogs and if I wanted to be just like them, then I better get myself a blog. Since then, I have discovered so many other amazing blogs that I love to visit - I have 255 feeds in Bloglines!!

To date, Sitemeter has told me that I have had over 58 000 hits at my blog. Wow! To think that my blog has been accessed 58 000 times is overwhelming. Even better, is the wide variety of locations where the hits originate. At least one individual from every continent (except Antarctica) has visited my blog. People as far away from me as Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary and Australia have visited. I find it amazing how small and cozy our world has become when I think of people thousands of kilometers away sharing my sewing triumphs and failures, via the Internet. I am also floored when I see locations that are close to me, like parts of Michigan and Ontario - I was most shocked to see someone from Leamington, Ontario visiting my blog (heck, we're only a 30 minute drive away from each other).

So, in honour of my anniversary, do me a favour please. Say hello. I look forward to hearing from old friends and from anyone that visits my blog, but doesn't normally leave a comment. Even if this is your first time here, drop me a line. Tell me a bit about yourself:
  • Where are you from?
  • How long have you been sewing?
  • What is your favourite colour?
  • What's your favourite fabric?
  • For whom do you sew (yourself, your kids, your significant other...)?
  • What is your favourite era of fashion?
Here, I'll start: Lasalle, Ontario; 20 years; red; wool tweed; me & hubby; 50s & 60s.

17 November 2007

I Tried to be Good - Really

Well, I have been stalking Fabric Mart's offering of Anna Sui silks for a while now. I kept talking myself out of buying a ton of fabric because the colours aren't really "my colours." Then, I went to the fabric store to buy lining for a project and had an epiphany. Good Bemberg rayon lining fabric runs about $6 - $10 per meter where I live. The Anna Sui silks are selling for $4.99 per yard. Hmm, it didn't take much for me to realize that I could have beautiful, designer quality silk linings in my garments for the same cost as regular old lining. Who cares if the colours aren't perfect for me? They'll be inside the garment.

And that's when the flood gates opened...

Obviously, I went a bit crazy, but for $4.99 per yard, I think I can get away with it! Most of the fabrics will be used as linings, but I picked up a couple others that were crying out to be a blouse (8th one - cream dots) and a fancy skirt (7th one - black/red/metallic). I also tossed in a free bundle - I have always had pretty lousy luck with the free bundles, but hope springs eternal!

On the sewing front, I have a finished skirt and top to post about and I have been cutting out a ton of simple basic wardrobe staples. More on that later...

10 November 2007

June Cleaver, Where are You?

What ever happened to dressing? Not just putting on whatever is least rumpled at the foot of the bed, but actually dressing. That is, going to the closet to choose a few freshly pressed and well-fitting garments, picking out a great pair of shoes and a handbag, as well as lovely jewellery, gloves and perhaps a hat, to finish an outfit.

When did it become okay to toss on a ratty, ill-fitting T-shirt, a pair of faded jeans (or, heaven help us, a pair of pajama pants) and a pair of day-glo Crocs to be seen in public? Even more distressing, when did it become acceptable to venture out in public showing a distracting amount of skin? I have seen more butt, belly and breast than is necessary for one lifetime. I wish I could say that all these atrocities are only being committed by tweens and teenagers, but, alas, I have seen women of all ages in this type of garb.

Remember the good old days when being a woman meant looking like a lady? Back when no respectable woman would leave the house without checking herself in the mirror to ensure that her outfit, accessories, hair and makeup were as flattering as possible? When dressing down meant putting on a simple shirtwaist dress or a casual unstructured tweed suit. When female role models were elegant and intelligent, well-mannered and poised. I look to the middle of last century, when women like Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Eva Gabor, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Catherine Deneuve, Ingrid Bergman and Ava Gardner were idolized by regular women the world over. It seems that with the death or retirement of these women, there followed a loss of elegance. Nowadays, it is much more difficult to create a comparable list of attractive, accomplished women - the only ones I can think of are Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon.

Now, before I go on, let me clarify. I do not expect the modern woman to clean house in a dress and pearls, a la June Cleaver. Nor do I expect every woman to always have the perfect accessories, with every hair in place. I get it, life is hectic - between jobs, family and domestic duties, a woman's work is never done. However, that does not mean that you need to look like fashion victim. In my opinion, there is no excuse for regularly looking sloppy and/or letting your general appearance go to the dogs. We all have a million things to do in a day, but you can slip on a clean, well kept outfit as easily as an old pair of sweats.

I know, I've been there - during grad school and the early part of my career, my dress code was less than impressive. In the last seven years I have upped the ante and started dressing and grooming better. And, you know what, not only do I look better, I feel better and I'm treated better. Yeah, yeah, I know, we shouldn't judge a person by their appearance, but as human beings that's exactly what we do. If you're now thinking of leaving me a comment telling me that you never judge a book by its cover, save your time - I won't believe you. I'll be the first to admit that the more enlightened individual is capable of putting aside initial impressions and over time develop a better appreciation of the whole person, regardless of the dress code (I try my darnedest to do this every semester when I get a new crop of students). However, most day to day situations do not allow for the slow discovery of all the subtle nuances that make each person special. In most cases, we are in contact with a new person for a matter of minutes and in those minutes, your dress, appearance and general carriage speak volumes. That is why well dressed people are treated better in most situations - they get the best table at the restaurant, the pleasant salesperson, the door is usually held open for them and they tend to be smiled at more often. Like it or not, most people peg you into a category within seconds of meeting you - fair or not. So, why not try just a little bit harder?

Lately, several people have told me that I "dress up" a lot. The comments have come from people of all ages. My students have told me that they like the way I dress - I even had one young lady tell that I was her role model because I was smart and I was always well put together. A friend, who is a bit older than me, told me that she admires my style and although she can't wear the same type of clothing as I do, she would love to start dressing better. Yet, another woman, a sewing friend and mentor, mentioned that she thought it was nice that I wear more skirts than pants. She spoke fondly of an elderly lady in her neighbourhood, who is always dressed neatly, in a nice skirt, blouse/jacket and stockings, whether going for a walk or running errands. She also lamented that we seem to have lost something in our casual lifestyle. I agree.

5 November 2007

Have Ray Gun, Will Travel

In the comments section of this post, nancy k. asked what I would wear with my new fuchsia skirt. miss twist suggested, "I would match the fuchsia with the black Kwik Sew cowl neck and black knee-high boots. Or maybe black knee-high boots, a closely fitted black top, and a ray gun. Oh--and a jaunty silver scarf around your neck."

Well, I don't have a silver scarf, but I tried to give you what you wanted, nonetheless:

And, just so you don't think I'm a total nut job:

Well, it's off to work. I sure hope my students appreciate what a fashion plate I am!!

4 November 2007

In The Pink

I will not wear pink in a box.
I will not wear pink with a fox.
I will not wear pink in a boat.
I will not wear pink with a goat.
I will not wear pink here or there.
I will not wear pink anywhere...um, yeah, you get the idea...

The last time I wore pink was in June of 1989. The closest I get to pink these days is a deep, rich coral orange. I have nothing against pink,
I'm just not a pink girl. I used to be a pink girl, back in the day. However, spending 6 years in the university chemistry department, surrounded mainly by men had pretty much wrung the pink out of me. When you're the only estrogen maker in a sea of testosterone you tend to lose the girly-girly girl stuff in a bid for survival. I found out quickly that pink is not usually taken seriously and I wanted respect. So, out with the pink.

Fast forward to last year. I ordered some red cotton interlock from Wazoodle. What came was not red, but pink. I contacted Wazoodle and was told that the proper fabric would be shipped out immediately and that I could just keep the pink knit. Talk about excellent customer service! Then it hit me - I was now the proud owner of 3 yards of light pink interlock. What on Earth would I do with all that pink? Needless to say, I never formulated a plan and the pink fabric sat in my stash for a year. That is, until this past weekend when I realized that I needed a new lounging outfit for around the house. Out came the pink knit and the rest, shall we say, is history.

The top is Jalie 2682 and the pants are V2989.

I have made the Jalie top several times before and I am smitten with it. I love the collar on this one. It goes together quickly and looks unique and interesting - it's a bit more exciting than a plain T-shirt.

I had planned on using the Vogue pattern to add a few much needed pairs of pants to my work wardrobe. As much as I would like to wear skirts every day, it isn't always practical, like on really cold winter days or on the days that I am crawling around an over stuffed book room at school. I figured I could whip up a muslin and satisfy my need for lounge wear at the same time. I am so glad I made a muslin of these pants - they are definitely not "fit-me-straight-out-of-the-envelope" pants. The rise on these pants is short- very, very short. Let me clarify by saying that I do have a fairly long rise and I don't like my pants too much below my belly button, but even with all that said, these pants are scandalous! I figure I will have to add at least three inches to the top to get these pants from Brittney Spears wannabe to respectable school teacher. Also, these pants are long - I always have to take length off my pants (the woes of being a short runt) and these pants are no exception. I had to remove 3" from the bottom. I will certainly have to make another muslin before cutting into my good fabric or I can just scrap the whole thing and go with a pattern that I know fits better. Right now, I'm unsure of what I will do.

After a few fitting fixes on the pants they are wearable around the house (which is all that they were intended for anyhow) and the top is great as usual.