fire hazard


Sooo... this is pretty much a complete 180 from my last make...

I made myself some faux leather leggings. I blame this on Pinterest. Then again, I blame a lot of things on Pinterest these days, so maybe it's time I (wo)man up and take responsibility for my own actions, or something... 

Let me explain. A couple months ago I made the truly rare excursion to an H&M store. This never happens. But one of the things I wanted to check out was leather leggings. As the fine purveyors of cheap trends that they are, I knew H&M would have an example of this particular trend in stock, and lo and behold, they did. So I tried them on and I remembered why I hated shopping at H&M. They fit like crap, they smelled weird and they squeaked when my thighs rubbed together. They were also somewhere in the realm of $30. Pretty steep just to try out a trend. Coincidentally (or not coincidentally at all) around the same time I decided to check and see if the local fabric store had any non-hideous options for fake leather. And, would you look at that! They did. Enter the dark-chocolate-almost-black-stretchy-light-weight faux leather of my dreams. 

My husband was seriously worried when I came home with a yard and a half of the stuff.


I used my trusty stand-by for skinny pants - or really any and all pants - the Built By Wendy SewU pants pattern which I've sliced and diced so many times I feel like it's mine.  After an ill-fated first attempt I decided to omit the center-front zip fly and instead installed an invisible zipper at the side. Way cleaner finish.  Because of the zip fly debacle I had to scrap my first try at the pants fronts and I didn't have quite enough leftover fabric to cut a whole new front out of. So I cut the pants fronts in two pieces, adding a seam just above the knee. I figured if they were real leather pants they'd probably have similar seaming anyway - and what the hell we're having fun here.


I have to admit - a lot of questions and doubts went through my mind as I was making these. Questions like...

- Is it wrong to sew something so trendy? I know a lot of the sewing blogging community is anti-trend but what's so wrong with it? I actually feel like I might wear these crazy pants for many years to come. They're surprisingly versatile...

- Can you wear leather leggings and not look like Sandy at the end of Grease? I thought that if I paired them with opposing textures and long layers I could prevent this. However my husband just told me that I look like Princess Leia on the Forest Moon of Endor (that's Ewok Land to all you non Star Wars nerds...like me) in these pictures, which wasn't really a look I was going for either... Editors note: Nick would like you all to know that he is NOT a Star Wars nerd. He just happens to know about the Forest Moon of Endor...

- Which is worse? Buying real leather hides from animals or buying fake leather from petrochemicals? Either way, I'm guilty of both sins.

And the big question...

- Are these pants going to melt to my legs???

No really! This is a serious concern of mine! It just so happens that on the two occasions when I wore these to work we had a bonfire (remind me to tell you what I do for a living again... it's pretty awesome...) The first time I was so wary of the flames and my legs catching on fire that I left to go change into something less...combustible. The second time I called my husband to bring me another pair of pants.

I also don't know that I will ever wear these in the car on the off chance I might get in an accident and the engine explodes and my pants catch fire and melt to my legs and I have to go to the hospital where they pick little pieces of burnt plastic off of me with tweezers and my legs are forever scarred from my ridiculous petrochemical pants...Good thing I rarely drive.


I made this top too. I was very inspired by Papercut Patterns Sloppy Josephine Tee which I decided was the perfect casual top and was all set to buy it. Until I saw that it wasn't available to download and it had to ship all the way from New Zealand and I wanted it noooowwwww (P.S. I will plan ahead in the future because their new collection is seriously blowing my mind!) So I pulled out my ruler and french curve and set to work drafting my own. 

Then I got totally frustrated and remembered that there is a raglan t-shirt pattern in the Built By Wendy SewU Home Stretch book. Those Built By Wendy books... I had no idea they would be paying off big time when I bought them! So being much more comfortable altering patterns to my liking than drafting from scratch I went ahead and deepened the neckline, added a little bit of "dolman" to my sleeve, and added a longer, curved hem. 

From there it was so easy-breezy-beautiful-covergirl! I cut into this sheer, white, tissue-y rayon jersey and, I swear to God, I blinked my eye and a second later I had a new t-shirt! A t-shirt that I have been wearing literally every day since then. No really. It's getting kinda gross...


And with that lovely thought, I'll leave you!

To all my U.S. friends, I hope you had a lovely and relaxing Thanksgiving, and I hope your hangover wasn't as bad as mine!



how to act like a lady


Gah! I'm so sorry for my recent silence around these parts. I didn't mean to just disappear like that, but sometimes it happens! For whatever reason, I really wanted to slow down and take my time on this dress. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to the feeling of pressure to push through a project just in order to get it up on your blog, a feeling that I like to shake off every now and again. I also usually make dresses like this with an event in mind - usually an opening at my gallery or some other type of occasion - but (thankfully) my social calendar has been pretty quiet so there was no real rush.


This is the dress I made using my hand painted silk habotai. The entire dress is lined in white rayon bemberg. The pattern is essentially Simplicity 1880 - the same as my earlier, purple version - but with a few modifications: 

Obviously this version is sleeveless.  I felt like the little cap sleeve on my first version made my shoulders look a tad football-player-ish so I decided to leave them off this time around. Also, it makes it easier to layer under cardigans and such. And whether or not a garment is cardigan-ready can really make-it-or-break-it for me! 

I also cut the skirt as a half-circle skirt rather than the four sections that came with the pattern. This eliminated the center seam and the weird fall of the bias that happens with the Simplicity skirt. 

And finally I shortened the front bodice pieces by about 1/2 inch in the center, tapering to nothing at the side seams in order to prevent gaping at the center front. While wearing that purple dress I've looked down a fair few times to see that one or both boobs were on high display. I'm not particularly modest, but I still put fixing that issue pretty high up there on my "things I'd do differently..." list.

Hmm... maybe I should have taken some length out of the center back too...

After the initial excitement of painting my own fabric died away, and my joy passed that the dye actually took and didn't, like, wash right down the sink, I had a hard time deciding what to make with my fabric. In my post-fabric-dyeing sobriety I gave the fabric a cold, clear, critical eye, and I sort of felt like it looked like a Target shower curtain. How underwhelming! But really, it depended on my mood. I still loved the watercolor-like bleed of the spots and there are areas where the colors overlap and become really nuanced. But I guess once I had the finished fabric in my hands I felt like I needed to do something really artistic and daring with it.  But nothing really seemed quite right. After draping the fabric around myself like a toga for about a week and a half I finally decided to quit over-thinking it and just go with my original plan, whether or not I still felt like it was the 'best' one. And you know what? I'm glad I did. I'm starting to sense that might be the story of my life... You'd think I'd learn...


The original idea for this dress, fabric and all, came from a dress I saw well over a year and a half ago in the window of one of my favorite stores in Houston, Leap. I can't remember who the dress was by, and I think I've tried to describe it to every person I know who works there. There's a possibility the dress was made by Electric Feathers, which wouldn't be surprising because I'm often inspired by their work. Regardless, it was a white, wrap dress with delicate blue brush-like marks hand painted all over it. My fabric came out a bit more spotty than I remember this dress being, and the overall look much more classic, but it's still quite lovely, and fulfills my long desire for that other dress.

Now I just need some occasion to wear it...come on life! Get fancy!



it's election day!!!

Saw this on one of my favorite blogs and just had to share! Now get thee to the polls!!