January 31, 2011

Win, Win, Win!!!

First off I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your congrats on my previous post! It honestly means the world to be, how wonderfully kind all you lovely ladies are!  I know I am abominable at replying to comments, but know that I do read each one and they always brighten my day! So thank you all from the bottom of my heart! I'm so excited about this new chapter in my life and I'm even more excited that i get to share it all with you!!

To say thank you for being as wonderful as you are, I'm hosting a giveaway! I also have to apologize to the sponsor of this giveaway for the delay in posting this! (I'm so sorry!!!) But honestly, I'm very glad for the timing!!
Onto the Giveaway!

The lovely people over at CSNStores.com are offering one of my readers a $35 gift voucher to be used on any one of their over 200 online stores! The CSN Stores carry just about anything you could ever need from modern duvet covers to these beautiful vintage style ledgers (Oh how I want one!). Entering for the giveaway if easy! All you need to do is:

1. Follow my blog through Google Reader
2. Leave a comment with some way of getting a hold of you (email, blog link, longitude and latitude for carrier pigeon purposes), and just for fun list your three favourite desserts! (because I am nosy!)

And that's it! You have until February 6th to enter and I will be drawing the name of the winner on Monday, February 7th! Good luck!!!

(And in case you are curious my three favourite desserts are Treacle Tart, Tiramisu, and Ebelskivers!)

January 26, 2011

January 26th 2011

I want to remember everything about today. Everything. My chapped lips, dry and desperately in need of a shave legs, dark circles under my eyes, messy room, dismal mood upon waking up, cold shower, small panic attack.... I want to remember it all. Because as soon as I finished with that cold shower, and wrapped my hair in a towel, sat naked on my bed, opened my laptop, checked my email, and burst into tears. Happy, happy, elated tears.


I got accepted. I GOT ACCEPTED! And they can't wait to welcome me to Beaver Nation! Needless to say I am so excited and terrified, and it's taking all my strength to not tell every stranger who passes my way. There's so much to do now and my brain is freaking out a bit, but I am just so, so, so excited!!!

I'll be back later today with a legitimate post, but right now I am off to go get celebratory froyo. Ah, life is good.

January 23, 2011

Dainty Sweater

I have a about a million and ten things to do this coming week, so I wanted to try and get as many projects done this weekend as possible. So far, so good, but one of them merited showing you all. It's a deceptively easy refashion of a cardigan. I think it took me all of 15-20 minutes to but the whole thing together! I've seen other's do this, so it's nothing original, but upon seeing this post on my new favourite blog, I decided I had to have a cardigan similar. Actually my whole outfit today is inspired by her's as well! On with the DIYing

I went to Goodwill and found a tan cardigan (actually I bought four cardigans, but that's another story). It cost me roughly $5.
Lace Cardi

Then I went to Joanns and found some pretty ecru crocheted lace. I absolutely love this lace! 2 yards cost me $2.
Lace Cardi

Then I pinned the lace on the outside of the button placket and around the neck. Pin the outside edge of the lace down as well.
Lace Cardi

Next stitch along the button placket. You may need to remove your buttons depending on how big they are.
Lace Cardi

Then stitch around the opposite edge of the lace.
Lace Cardi

Snip your threads and there you have a newly embellished cardigan for about $7! I'm going to have to really force myself not to do this to all my cardigans. Apologies for the dodgey pictures! My room is very hard to photograph at night!
Lace Cardi

Lace Cardi

Lace Cardi

January 20, 2011

Recipe for an outfit.

Begin with one sack dress.

Hello Yellow


add a dash of fishnet tights and some pointy black flats.
Add a pinch of a belt to nip in your waist. Add accessories, like earrings, a bracelet, and black velvet headband.

Hello Yellow

Hello Yellow

Add 1 cardigan and 1 sweater clip.

Hello Yellow

Add large bag, and mix in some cat eye sunglasses.
Hello Yellow

Let simmer until satisfied. Garnish with red lips and enjoy.

Hello Yellow

Hello Yellow

Last night I spent too much time chatting with some lovely ladies (together forming The Great Triangle) in opposite corners of the continent, and making a dress. Not a bad way to spend your night. This dress was my first ever sewing pattern project. Or it was meant to be. Truth be told it was waaaaaay to advanced for my non-existant sewing skills at the time I cut it out. I had even began to pin it together, which was evidence of my lack of knowledge. Things were pinned to the weirdest things and not even close to the right order.... Ah Ashley Sewing Skills circa 2008, you are not missed....


Hello Yellow


This is the pattern I used, and while it really is a simple sack dress, that yoke thing is not simple. It didn't come out completely right, but part of that is the fault of not being able to cut a straight line back in 2008 apparently. Still it took me maybe about two hours to put together. And I do really like the fabric and overall outcome. I used a yellow swiss dotted cotton that was also my very first pattern specific fabric purchase.  Also this was going to be my first day back to school dress for Fall '08. While the pattern is not something I would buy now, I actually think it may end up becoming a nice make-again-and-again pattern. It's easy, lightweight, and perfect for awful hot summer days. Throw on a belt and some flats and you're good to go.

Hello Yellow

Hello Yellow

Also I should mention the alterations I made to the pattern. I basted on the little flutter sleeve thing and tried it on and it looked like I had some sort of retarded looking wing. Just bad, bad, bad! I think if I use it again I'll widen the sleeve, because this just looked stupid. Comically so. So instead I finished the arm and neck opening with some vintage bias tape. (I just happened to have the right shade of yellow which fully encouraged my addiction to buying oodles of vintage sewing notions.) I forgot to photograph it, but the back of the neck ties closed. When all was said and done the shoulders fit me funny, so I ruched them with some bias tape and made little bow ties for the shoulders. I think the fit wouldn't have been a problem if I'd actually lined it like you're supposed to, but being that I apparently didn't know how to read pattern instructions back when I cut this out, there were not enough pieces nor fabric to cut them out. Sigh.... So unlined it is. This is also why I did not make the matching belt. Because I used to be a little stupid. The plus side is that where once I was stupid, now it only took me a couple hours (I remember labouring over the dumb yoke for HOURS back then).

Hello Yellow

Hello Yellow

I apologize for the darkness of the photo! The lighting was not my friend today. Also, I do have other hobbies than sewing myself more clothes that I don't need. In fact I may just have to show you all the current embarrassment that is my closet....

Hello Yellow

January 19, 2011

The dress that never ends

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

Once upon a time called a week before Christmas, I decided I would make myself a dress for Christmas Eve. So I spent two days cutting out and asembling a muslin. I have made this dress a grand total (including muslins) 4 times. During construction of this particular muslin I realized that the two prior dresses made with this pattern (it's the same pattern as this dress), I had put the collar in backwards. Why you ask? Well it is a repro of a vintage Dubarry pattern. I bought it from this lovely lady, and I love, love, love this pattern. Well sort of, but we'll get there. Here's the thing, Once upon a time when people knew how to sew, and it was common place for people to make their own garments, they knew how to put clothes together. So instructions were not exactly very detailed. The instructions on this dress consist of a picture, a few tips, and some bullet points eluding to what happens first. Otherwise you're on your own. I'm sure a more advanced seamstress would scoff at my idiocy, but seriously guys, the thing was a pain in the you know where.

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress


That being said, once you have half a clue how the damn thing goes together, it's actually fairly easy to assemble. The bodice is a little tricky being that the front bodice is in three different pieces. Actually it's four. Vintage patterns also don't tell you how many times to cut out each piece and the collar/button placket is supposed to be cut 4 times. Not two like someone we all might know, named Ashley, thinks.  But the point is it's pretty much, seam here, seam there, zipper, buttons, bada-bing-bada-boom, you've got a dress. Except for the hand stiching. There is a lot of hand stitching (I am exaggerating, I just really hate hand stitching) and I really, REALLY, hate hand stitching (I told you).

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

So I started this dress back a week before Christmas. And I finished it on Monday. I have never been so unmotivated on a sewing project ever. Over the last month I literally have done, like, one seam here, and another seam there, and drug my feet so much. I believe this is because I very very excited about it until I realized I didn't have enough fabric for the whole dress and had to make it two-toned. The only black fabric I had was this awful, coarse, super thick weave, polyester (which longtime readers may recognize being left over from this skirt, which has since been donated because I became enlightened about appropriate skirt lengths on me.). I really wanted this dress to be just the print, and was super bummed when I didn't have enough. This will teach me to buy clearance fabric and expect it to be enough for a dress. Long story short, it took me for bloody ever to finish this dress. And every time I did work on it, it was like the dress kept expanding, and the pieces kept multiplying, and there were some days when I could see no light at the end of that polyester lined tunnel... Sigh... But finish it I did, and now I am quite happy with it! Even if it is Polyester!

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

Another thing about this particular project: I have been trying to make sure that each and every garment I make challenges me in some way. My hopes are that this will make me a better seamstress, but it will probably just make me go prematurely grey. But I did learn some valuble things with this dress:

1. if you are using rayon for a collar/button packet it is really, really, a good idea to use interfacing. Because if you happen to not use it like someone who might be me, you will use more curse words than you were aware you knew, and probably even make some up. Especially when making button holes. I will have nightmares about this for years.
2. Polyester and Rayon are not good friends. I should probably start paying attention to that whole, don't mix fabrics of different weights/drapes thing.
3. Overlocking your seams is the world's greatest invention ever. Seriously. After sewing a seam three times and having it fray in six different spots, overlocking was like a miracle. We're going to be good friends for a long, long time.
4. Vintage Bakelite buttons taste disgusting. FYI.
5. Adding lace may be pretty, but it is a pain in the arse.
6. When in doubt, pin the hell out of everything. Even if it means taking forever to actually stitch together, you will be much happier about how even your fabric was if you pin the snot out of it.
7. Yelling at your sewing machine does not make it work any better and makes your five-year-old sister tell you that it can't understand you, so what is the point of telling it to stop being a jerkhead. My profanity inventing became less imaginative as the project wore on.

Never Ending Dress

Never Ending Dress

In all honesty I am actually really happy with this dress. It fits well, it wears well, it's actually very pretty even if I hate the skirt's fabric, and I am pretty pleased with th construction. I'd never worked with rayon before and was really scared to! While it is a little finiky, with an ounce of patience and focus on not rushing anything, I was fine! The polyester was actually worse to work with. Stupid Polyester. Stupid being 80 degrees this week so that wearing polyester is awful. I think I have fully exhausted this subject. All I know is I am very glad to see this dress done!

January 14, 2011

Little Nymph

Nymph

There was a time in my life, not so long ago, that I wanted to be a faerie. Yes. You read that right. It was an interesting time in my life known as Jr. High and High School. I did a fairly good job at keeping this secret, but deep down in my soul I wanted to be a faerie. And spell it correctly.  I have many theories as to why I wanted this so badly ranging from one Welsh songstress's album, to being insane, but the true stem of this desire was my facination with Greek Mythology, specifically nymphs. I've spoken many a time about my love of Mythology, even incorporating that love into this blog's title, but I honestly adore it. I find it very interesting and incredibly romantic. This facination added to my already over-active and highly romantic imagination, and you have yourself the nutty girl who would sneak into the back yard at night and tiptoe in the mud, hoping flowers would spring from her feet. I never said it was logical.

Nymph
Hair Ribbon- Joanns
Earrings- DeLuxe (RIP *sniff sniff*)
Necklace- Made by me
Bangles- Stolen from Delaney
Cardigan- Anne Taylor Loft
Belt- That old one from Torrid
Dress- Thrifted
Shoes- Payless
Lipstick- Rimmel London Bordeaux 


Nymph

Nymph

At the same time I wanted to be a faerie I also had plans to be an international superstar with a heart of gold, who may or may not get mixed with the "wrong" crowd, change, nearly die, find herself, get a film deal, go to Scotland to film (the film was, by the way, the tale of Eleanor of Aquitaine and I would be playing the young Eleanor), I would go a-wondering off, fall and twist my ankle, and then, in rather Mr. Willoughby style, my co-star/future husband would come wondering down the moors in pouring rain and carry me to safety. Naturally I needed to add a gimmick to this vomit inducing idealized life and being a faerie was it. Yes I would be parading about the Scottish Highlands in flowing chiffons like some will-o'-the-wisp, giving no heed to the rain, as it and I had become one with nature. After my stint with fame and fortune I planned on starting a line of clothing inspired by faeries. Laugh all you want, but personally I think it's a step up from when I was seven and wanted to be a Russian Peasant Girl caring for the farm on my lonesome while my father was off fighting some war and my mother was dying in her bed.... 

Nymph

Nymph

Nymph

While I have since given up on somehow becoming a mythological being, there is still a part of me that wants to lag about the countryside/forest/my back yard writing poetry, and communing with nature. So when I happen to be at Goodwill and I happen to see a dress that could very easily make me slip back into my old delusions, I have a very hard time letting it go. So I play a little game. I say "Okay Ashley, you can try it on, but only because of how ridiculous it is, and besides, it's not going to fit you."  So I go to the dressing room and I try it on. And then I say "Okay Ashley, so it fits, but it's a million feet long, and it's not like you could hem it or anything and besides it needs a belt and it doesn't come with one and it's not like you own any."  So then I find myself at the check out repeating to myself that this is completely ridiculous and I will never ever wear it. And then I find myself at home parading in front of the mirror in my newly chopped up faerie dress, swirling the skirt, twirling my self, and suddenly feeling a great camaraderie with Elfine Starkadder

Nymph

Nymph
The weather couldn't have been more perfect for this shoot!

Nymph

Saying that I am in love with this dress is an understatement. It's everything my younger self could ever hope for. It's a beautiful colour, I actually do like the cut, it's cool and flowy, and it makes me want to wear leaves in my hair. I don't know about you, but for me that's about as good as it gets. Especially since I would, of course, be an autumn faerie and wear nothing but dark, rich colours, and play the lute or something equally ridiculous. (Speaking of ridiculous...) And in all honesty this is one of the colours I've been trying to incorporate more of into my wardrobe this season. 


Nymph

Nymph

Nymph

The lesson I learned from all this, is that while it is a very good thing that I am no longer quite as insane as I once was, maybe I should let a little bit of those ridiculous dreams live. I mean, I don't plan on dancing naked under the moon anytime soon, but it's okay to have a faerie dress, and to maybe get a little carried away by the romance of it all. But it's okay to depart from my usual dress and add a bit of silliness in. Heck, I might even bust out some Russian Peasant Girl next....
Nymph

Nymph


Now excuse me while I go work on that flowers springing from my feet business....