Sunday, 29 January 2012

Project Runway All Stars: the addiction continues

There has been some grumbling around the internets about the latest season of Project Runway.  Some think that it doesn't hold up without Heidi, Tim et al., but I have to say that I'm as impatient for each week's episode as ever.  Some of my favourites are there (Mondo, Mila and Austin) and a few duds (come on, you have to wonder why Elisa was there, save for a bit of drama).  

Episode I was the perennial favourite, Unconventional Materials challenge.  There were a few stunners, such as Kenley's rubber mat dress, Mondo's plastic dress, and Rami's carrier bag dress:

  and a few duds, such as Gordana's, Elisa's and Sweet P's:

A tiered terry cloth tube dress?  Ugh.  Better wrap a belt around the neck to spiff it up.  Double ugh.

Austin's bias cut lamé gown in the second episode blew me away:

Oooooh, aaaaaaah.
I didn't really love anything from episode 3 (Miss Piggy???), but Kenley's dress was kind of cute, in a teenager's-idea-of-glamour kind of way:

The 15 year old in me likes it, but the 41 year old doesn't.

Episode 4 was a super quick 6 hour challenge, based on gelato colours:

I guess if I only had 6 hours from sketch to runway, I'd do a caftan too, but you certainly can't fault Mondo's cantalope caftan or Michael's grapefruit gown.  (Aside:  Mondo did a similar caftan in season 8 during one of the challenges, but as a short top.  I remember because I took a screen cap and planned to copy it when my skills improved!)  Even Kenley's dress was cute, if a little Home Ec. looking. 

How about you:  Are you watching this season too?  Yeah or nay?

The "Sick as a Leopard" Skirt

 (As usual, I'm cutting and pasting straight from The Sew Weekly because I'm just that thrifty with my time.  Yes, thrifty.)

The Facts
Fabric: thrifted 100% cotton leopard print = $1.99
Pattern: Simplicity 7216
Year: 1967
Notions: tan couloured zipper = $1
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: this week to work
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $2.99

I’m letting my dress form stand in for me this week because I’m sick and not willing to take off my jammies.  As for the title of this post, I was going to say “sick as a dog”, but having lived with dogs before, I’ve never seen one look particularly sick…….so leopard it is.

I’ve been pinning a lot of leopard prints lately, but what actually inspired me this week was a skirt worn by a toddler at my daughter’s daycare.  Not being the type to snap candid photos of someone else’s child and post them on the internet, you’ll have to make due with my Pintrest photos.  My only hesitancy about making a leopard print skirt was the fact that I live in Montreal, and once Quebecoise women reach “a certain age”, they tend to do three things:  dye their hair a garish shade of red, wear ill-fitting white capri jeans with cheap high heeled sandals, and most importantly, wear WAY TOO MUCH animal print.  Usually it is a cheap synthetic with lots of stretch and added sequins.  And worn too small.  *shudder*

 To avoid this fashion travesty, I chose a 100% cotton fabric and made an A-line skirt, rather than going with a tight pencil skirt or a super short miniskirt.  Here’s a wide shot, the way I would have worn it to take photos today.  I used a vintage zipper that I got in a big mixed bag at a thrift store for a few dollars, and luckily it matches quite well.  (The other zips are quite interesting: heavy metal ones, funky ones with ring pulls, invisible ones…….every colour of the rainbow.  I’m waiting for a zipper challenge to use some of them in different ways.)

The zip looks a bit sloppy, now that I see it up here, but I won’t nitpick.  I slip-stitched the hem to make the stitches invisible.  This is a great simple pattern that I’ve used before, but somehow I ended up making a measuring mistake this time around:  because the waist measurement is 10cm too small for me, I usually just add the needed width to the centre front and back seam when I cut the fabric, but somehow this time I added twice the needed width, which meant I had to pick out one set of darts, reset them and then correct the side seam.  That added an extra hour to the time; hopefully I’ll remember correctly the next time I use this pattern!  I blame it on constantly switching between metric and imperial measurements when I’m sewing.  Why can’t everything be standardized?!? (and by standardized, I mean metric  :P)

And the good thing about being a scrap saver?  We can use the leftovers for yayas (our family vernacular for stuffed animals.  It’s a long story, but basically my son started it and now the whole extended family calls stuffed animals “yayas”.)

A Totoro was requested, so I drew a sketch that would fit the scraps, then sewed around the sides with a 1.5mm stitch and a 5mm seam allowance.  My son cut up some foam into small chunks for stuffing, and my daughter had to get in on the action and ask for a yaya too.  Luckily, she wanted a much easier shape ;)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sew Weekly 3 and 4

I've been following along with the new Sew Weekly, but I've been forgetting to post here as well!  Without any further ado, here was week 3:

The Facts
Fabric: 100% cotton double kanga from thrift store = $2.99
Pattern: none
Year: 2011
Notions: bias tape = free
Time to complete: one Bubble Guppies and one Anthony Bourdain (that’s 1.5 hours in normal people time)
First worn: January 18, 2012 in my foyer with the heat cranked up
Wear again? In warmer climes
Total price: $3

NOTE:  I know Mena suggested we get outside and liven up our photos,but this is what my outside looks like these days.  (Poor little Moe doesn’t know what to do with herself.) 

Rather than stand outside in the -20C wind, up to my ankles in snow, I resorted to this awkward photo of me in my front entrance.  My classic “in front of the bookshelf” shot will have to wait until we’ve taken down our Christmas tree, which is blocking the meager winter light from filtering into our house.

OK, enough complaining about winter.

I’ve had this double kanga in my stash for about a year, and was holding out for the right idea before cutting.  Then BAM. I saw this------------>
(Image ripped straight from Kazz’s blog, but I think she’s a bit more reasonable that SOPA and won’t prosecute.)

I’ve been an admirer of Kazz and her self drafted style since she showed up here last year.  Although I could never reach her heights of awesome, I thought that at least I could copy her blatantly make a Kazz inspired piece.
I cut the two kanga panels apart, and not wanting to waste the extra one to make bias tape, I just used a scrap of beige tape I had lying around.  The bottom edges needed hemming, and then it was a quick zip-zip up the sides and I was done.  Oh wait, this was a button challenge, wasn’t it?  Do button holes count?  My trusty Husqy has a one-step button hole option, so that took me all of about 2 minutes to add one to each side of my waist and thread a ribbon through.

I have absolutely no idea what this says.  Kangas usually sport traditional sayings, but still, you never know.  I hope it isn’t something offensive like, “All praise Steven Harper”.

 Here’s cat #2 (Lou) modelling with me because she had her claws tangled in the front my my KKC (I had entitled this post “Kazztastic Kanga Kaftan”, but when I went to do that initialism, I realized what it said, and had some editing to do…..yikes).

And finally, one last outtake photo in my best Kazztastic pose. Or more accurately, “Vicki turning up the thermostat”:


And here's a little peek at Week 4:

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