Valient Viewers of Braver Homes and Gardens

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nina Garcia #4

It’s time for the next installment of my Nina Garcia project. I’m sewing all 100 of the things every woman should have in her closet, as outlined in her book The One Hundred.

Item #3 is Aviator shades. Aviator sunglasses were developed by Ray-Ban and modeled in 1936 after the fighter pilot goggles that Ray-Ban was making for the military at the time. Although Tom Cruise made them totally hot again in 1986’s Top Gun, technically Ray-Ban hadn’t been supplying the military with fighter goggles since 1982.

Ray-Ban’s typically start at about $99. But I found these beauties for $0.99 at the  99 Cent Store. This is another item on Nina Garcia’s list that can’t be sewn. But I made a cool top to wear them with.

This top is McCall's 3054 which appears to be out of print.  I hear "Ray Ban's" and I think motorcycle ride.  I thought this top looked like a cool get-up to go for a motorcycle ride.  The bike's not actually mine.  It belongs to my mom's husband.

The old man coming in through the door with his walker is mine though.  That's my Grampa Clifford making his Internet debut.  He asked me once, "Say!  That innernet thing....does that have anything to do with computers."  He's so cute.

By dumb luck, at a church rummage sale, I happened to find a cute little aviator shade pin too. You can see it on my left shoulder.

Aviator shades  one last time:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nina Garcia #3

I've had so many projects to do that I didn't realize I was neglecting my Nina Garcia project.  I'm attempting to sew all of the one hundred must have items Nina Garcia, of Project Runway fame, describes in her book The One Hundred.  I just finished must have item #3 - Ankle Boots.

Um...but you can't actually sew a pair of boots.  I realized after I started this project that Nina's book details quite a few wardrobe items that can't be sewn.  So I'm going to have to fudge it a little with some of them and sew an item to wear WITH the must have item.

Nina talks about how ankle boots were first meant to hide under trousers until designers in the 80's started putting them on runway models.  "Everyone wondered," she writes, "why we had been hiding these shoes under our pants for so long." 

I can tell you why.  Because that's the only way ankle boots look good.  Look at this example:

This is one of the better examples I found.  I HATE wearing completely exposed ankle boots.  I hate (contrary to Nina's advice) mixing a masuline feeling shoe with a feminine looking out fit.  I also disagree with her claim that they are a great alternative to the pump.  Ankle boots with my business suits?  I think not.  You may as well just wear combat boots with a prom dress. 

But I love the look of ankle boots under a nice pair of trousers. 

I do not, however, love making pants.  I have two fitting issues with pants that, until recently, I was unable to find a good fitting solution for.  One, is my potbelly and the other is my Polish dupa.  (That would be a bubble butt for all you non-Polaks). 

But the project must continue so I set out to find a good alteration method.  Stumbling on an article in Sew Stylish magazine (Fall 2009 issue), I finally had an easy to understand answer!  I used a cheap grey linen look fabric as my muslin. 

Basically you take your front and back trouser pieces and at least 2 inches to the top.  I added seven inches.  Sew the front to back as usual. 

Then you try them on - - and custom fit the darts at your natural waistline.  Wow!!  It's one of those "I can't beleive I didn't think of that before" techniques.   After the darts, you cut off the excess top and finish your top edge.  (Precise directions vary depending whether pants have a facing, a casing, or a waistband). 

Here's what I got:
Amazing! As you can see, this method allows the pants to rest up at my natural waist and it totally accomodated my toosh and my belly. Custom fitting the darts allowed the tucks to go where I need them and eliminates them where I don't. Finally! Pants that fit around my waist!

And don't they look cute atop those ankle boots

But good thing these were only a muslin because look what else I got:

Say cheese!  The wrinkles here are called "smiling crotch".  It's a fit issue created when the hip width of your pants isn't wide enough.  The pants want more room so they pull fabric up from your legs.  The pulling effort creates the impression that your crotch is smiling.   

The Sew Stylish article does say.....all the way in step take in or let out the sides before final stitching.  Putting this at step four isn't so helpful if your pieces are cut too small to begin with.  Next time, when I'm adding my extra inches to the top, I will also add extra inches to the side seam area.  Then I will also have room to custom ize the hips as well as the waist. 

For now, I'm grateful I found a fitting technique that's easy to follow and makes sense! 

And I have the ankle boots.

Next project:  Aviator shades

Monday, July 19, 2010


My birthday was back in late May and this is one of the presents the Conductor got me:

He *so* gets me.  He said he picked this box because he liked the ribbon.  So, of course, the wheels in my head started turning and I came up with this:

That's an entire head-to-toe outfit made by me.  Made from a light challis, the skirt is from New Look 6944 (C).  It came together like a dream and has just the right amount of swoosh when I walk.  I forgot to get a close up, but it features front and back godet panels for some extra flair.

The top is Butterick 5463 (A).  I also used a challis for this top.  I plan on writing a review for Pattern Review because I don't entirely care for it.  The pattern pictures all feature models wearing belts around the shirts so I had no idea it would end up this boxy, lacking in shape.  I don't like wearing belts because they emphasize my potbelly.

Don't be fooled.  I'm not looking at the flowers.  I'm looking at my bra strap sticking out all tacky.  That's my other beef with this pattern.  All the pictures make it look like the bra strap will be concealed, but the neckhole is quite wide.  I should have tried it on before I sewed the facings in.  I'll have to tweak that part.

But I love the headband.  The directions for making it are all over the blososphere.  But here's the basics.
Materials:  a) 40 inches or so (depending on pleat width) of ribbon, preferably from a box of luxurious chocolates from the greatest guy in your world
b) one old plastic headband, thinner than the width of the ribbon
c) pins and glue gun

Find your centerpoint and start pinning pleats in.  I made the pleats coming from the left face left and those from the right side face right.  But you could make them all face the same way.  Just try and keep the pleat width consistent.  Or not.  It's up to you. 

I left about an inch on each end unpleated to make sure that the headband ends were covered.

Then stich a seam down the center.  You could also stitch the side edges but I wanted my pleats to be more flexible.  Remove the pins and hot glue it to your headband.

And there you go.  A pink and green outfit to go with my pink and green Godiva ribbon. 

I have half the box of Godiva left.  Amazing restraint, I know.  But that gold box is precious stuff, and not to be squandered.  I'll be eating one tonite - white and chocolate swirled and molded into the shape of a starfish.  Yum!  
The starfish is the transition piece since it's two kinds of chocolate.  I always eat the milk chocolate ones first, since I think that milk chocoalte is for peasants.  (Although you can't really go wrong with Godiva).  The multi-chocolate ones come next.  But the dark chocolate is where the real luxury is.  So I save the dark ones for the end with the very last one being the dark chcolate covered carmel.  If you keep them cold, you can suck on it forever and really make the carmel ecstasy last.

How do you eat your box of chocolate? 

I'm linking this post to a party at Today's Creative Blog, here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nightgown Two Ways

I've had this fabric sitting around for years.  It's just a cotton print.  I think my intention was to make a quilt of diamond shaped blocks and incorporate this diamond shaped fabric into it.  (Like I have time for something putzy like diamond shaped quilt blocks....I don't know why I get dumb ideas like that).

Not too long ago I found out I have a bulging disc in my back.  Yippee.  I'd rather not live a drug-addicted life so if I want to avoid painkillers, I need to adjust my lifestyle to cope with the disc.  One of the times it really bothers me is when I'm sleeping.   Since the doctor told me looser clothing would help I decided to make some new nightgowns. 

I actually used McCall's 5050 (View A) which is a shirt pattern.  I hate it as a shirt since it falls like a maternity top over my potbelly.  But I extended the bottom to my knees and made two nightgown variations. 

This is the first one I made. 

I sleep tested it and it's actually pretty comfy.  On this one I used ribbon through the neckline casing.  And the armbands and under bust area are held with elastic. 

This is the second variation.

I took this right after my morning shower so, pardon the wet hair.  For this version, I used elastic in the neck and arm casings but nothing under the bust.  I also sleep tested it and it's equally as comfy.   I've also had this fabric on hand for a good 10 years. 

I don't think the neckline casing makes a difference.  The opening is loose enough that you can get it on whether it's elastic or ribbon.  Both versions are comfortable for sleeping and left planty of room for my back to not be compressed. 

My favorite version is the first one with the diamond print.  I thought it would feel weird with the elastic under the bust, but it was actually more comfortable.  And I like that it gives the whole thing some shape. I'm only 33.  Version two looks like something my gramma would wear.  Here's another picture of my favorite:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day


With The Conductor out of town and no cookout invites from family or friends (which was fine by me!) I truly was independent today.  Most of my day was spent paintng (the results to be shown soon).  But I did take some time to be crafty in honor of Independence Day.

This is the stump in my front yard.  It used to be an evergreen that was taller than my house.  My grampa told me to have the tree guy leave 4 feet of stump.  He said he'd remove it for me and it would be easier if it was taller because you can rock it back and forth rather than breaking your back digging out a stump that's flush to the ground. 

Well....then he had knee replacement surgury.  And then was hospitalized for a blood problem and almost died.  Then he had a stroke.  And then he fell and broke his hip.  So I don't think he'll be helping me get this stump out.  But it  makes for good crafting. 

Stephanie here at Under the Porch and Dreaming made a fun flag ballister and I wanted one too.  Instead of a ballister, I used my stump:

Don't let the wind fool you.  It was muggy and humid as all get-out.  And I have no A/C. 

A special shout out to my brother who served in Iraq and is still in the reserves.  And to my Grampa who was a Marine in WWII.  We're the land of the free - because of the brave.