Dynasty: Hello, Krystle Carrington. I hate you!

Okay, people, don't expect to see this post up front for long.  I hate this one!

Combine creating an outfit for a Krystle Carrington, a character that I never really connected with, simply because I felt it necessary to create a pair for Alexis, and giving myself less than 12 hours to create it, plus making several stupid mistakes, equals Phail!

Okay, I like the skirt.  I'll probably use it again sometime with a different outfit.  But the top makes me so disgusted.  I thought about making something with immense shoulder pads, but then twisted it by instead creating volume in a collar instead.  It would have turned out better except I committed the ultimate cardinal sin when it comes to making ruffles.  I IRONED it.  The ruffles as well as the supporting collar stand underneath were leaning in instead of out, so stupidly, I ironed the base of the collar to make it lay outwardst, and in turn, irreversibly ruined a rich ruffle effect in exchange for a forever flat looking raggedy mess around her neck.  I know better, but I still did it!

But in addition to the iron travesty, there are also other flaws that I can't even bring myself to point out that I will NEVER do again.

So, enjoy the pictures while you can, because very soon, I am hiding Krystle away where she belongs!

Marcia Marcia Marcia! Her Hair is Perfect, and so are You.

I am not doing this week's challenge from ProJRun because I have a rule of not designing fashion clothing  for children (costuming is different) until they get boobs.  If I HAD to for a TV challenge, I would probably make pants like these, because I think the little girl would love to spin and twirl and play with the skirt part without worrying about anyone being able to see her undies.  Wearing it, they would look like either a princess or a super hero.  Every girl would want one.

So, here to brighten your day is Marcia Brady.

This outfit actually has a couple of hidden features.  Back in the 70's, these tight shirts were really in.  But did you ever wonder how it was that Marcia's top was always perfectly tucked in?  Because it was a body shirt, which meant it fastened under the crotch like a unitard.  Making this shirt in this method really made it easy keep the blouse from bunching.

But this outfit is really about the skirt in my opinion, since the blouse isn't at all complicated.  It's dangerously short and low-waisted.  What keeps it in place?  As Marcia would never wear something that ran the risk of being truly risque, this is actually a Skort.  So when she moves or sits, the skirt won't run the risk of showing anything.  It also won't ride up or rotate while she's walking.  So really it's a safety issue as well as a fashion one.

You might also notice that there are pockets and the pleats escape from under them, which is unusual to see in a pleated miniskirt.  In fact, I've never seen it before except when I did something similar for this hotpant kilt, so I'm totally taking ownership of this one until I see it all over the place in the near future, such as my short-sleeved jackets and one-side corner flappy flappys that other designers have totally stolen from me.

You know what the most challenging thing was with this photoshoot?  Marcia's hair.  Every time I reposed her, I had to brush her hair to make it look perfect.  I'm sure I went through the hundred-times technique that Marcia practiced on the show during the shoot!  It gave me a new respect for Christine Taylor, who played Marcia in the Brady Movies.  You can tell by the way that holds her head on screen that she was instructed to make sure her wig didn't become imperfect when she moved or walked!

Cover Girl: Green Acres of Floral Fabulousness

So the challenge this week was to create a look for a magazine cover to be modelled by Heidi.  The scary Editor in Chief (well, she was very intimidating, but for some reason, I wanted to be her friend...) of Maire Claire magazine gave some VERY useful advice for creating a cover look.  No black because you want a bright color to stand out.  Remember that there are going to be words printed over the image, so busy prints and too many details would make it hard to read the copy.  Since the image will most likely be from the thigh up or closer, the interesting detail work should be on the upper part of the body.  And most of all, you want the outfit to really catch the eye of someone walking by a newsstand and make them want to buy the magazine within 2 seconds.

So with this outfit, I was inspired by a Springtime basket of flowers and "Green Acres."  Eva Gabor's character was a city girl forced to live on a farm.  On the show, she tried to dress like she was still in the city, but I think that it would be a cool concept to see how she would try to still dress "upper class" while trying to fit in with the rest of the "country" townsfolk (all the while knowing inside that she was still better than them).

I know that orange is a "different" choice for Spring, with it being usually more of a Autumn color, but it's so bright and when paired with the floral print of the "flowers" on top, I think it's very Spring.  I put into practice my new theory of, "make a simple, well-made garment with one dramatic point of interest and one minor one" into play here with a no-frills pencil skirt and short-sleeved jacket.  Of course, the focal point it the collar with the fabric flowers spilling out, and the minor detail being the asymetrical button closure and it's ready for our cover girl!

I could have made the peplum a little more angled to reflect the shape of the collar, but all in all, I'm quite happy with this outfit.  Although it's tough to make things..."simple" after convincing myself that simple=potentially boring, I was very happy to find that taking the simpler route really saved a huge amount of time and makes the focal point detail stand out that much more!  Who woulda thunk it!?

Buy the magazine already!

Valentine's Day Special: Love, American Style

Happy Valentine's Day, peoples!

I swear, I've been wanting to make a "Love American Style" outfit for months now.  I can't remember a single thing about any episodes that I saw as a kid, (it ran from '69-'74, but my parents watched it in reruns), but that theme song has stuck in my head as one of my favorite TV openings of ALL TIME.  I remember getting so excited at seeing all the changing heads in the hearts, and I lived, LIVED for that moment in which the final heart flipped over and the background singers hit that crecendo, "aaaAAAAAAAA!"  That is why I posed Raine in this second picture to look like she's flipping around.

I found this Red White and Blue fabric from my last trip to LA, and decided that it was so hideous/gorgeous that I had to get it, despite the troubles that I have always had with satins.  I am sure glad I bought it!

Something that I also was reminded of while my friend Paula and I were walking through the fashion district was that the most pleasing of garments usually had only ONE main feature of interest.  Like a funky triple layer of sleeves on a basic coat, or a fancy gathered bustline paired with a modest collar.  It's something that I have to think about when I'm editing my designs.

So with that in mind, I scaled down the focal points of this ensemble by making a simple blouse (the print would have eaten up any embellishments I put on, anyway) and making the yoke of the tight pants the point of interest.  See how there are heart shapes hidden all over it?  They are there.

Originally, I had even more pieces that I was going to incorporate heart patterns, like around the knees and such, but I didn't put them on. I'm glad I didn't, not just because they would have been unnecessary, but because each embellishment would have meant an extra hour of work, and I already had a hard enough time making this as a one-day project.  Actually, it was a half-day project come to think of it!  I started at 3PM and finished taking pictures at 3AM.  Wow!

Anyway, I think that even the piping that I did was unnecessary.  If I had just left that plain and only done the heart "embroidery" around the pockets, that would have been enough.  It's tough to really know the line of going too far and not pushing hard enough.  Jeez!

But I really to like this outfit, especially the blouse.  I think it rocks, and so does Raine!  At one point, I lifted her to move her and the steel rod attached to her leg fell out and she stayed standing ALL BY HERSELF, without Any assistance.  She likes it THAT MUCH.

And you know what else?  I'm so glad I finally was able to make this outfit, so now that it's done, maybe I can get the theme song out of my head!

Challenge Time: Canned Fashion? Stays Fresh Forever!

This week, the designers had to create a one-day dress for a Gala event for heart disease sponsored by Campbell's Soup.  The models were "real women," and the color red had to be predominant in the design.  Also, the Campbell's soup branding had to be present somewhere on the garment.

So, first of all, let me bravely say that I thought that all the designs on the show this week looked JENKY.  I'm not saying that all the things that I do are all perfect, but this episode, I think that the designers got freaked out by the time constraint or the fact that the women wearing the dresses were not model-sized, because even the winning design looked thrown together and unfinished.

So here is my take on the concept.  It is probably easy to see that I made a dress with the color scheme of a Campbell's Soup can.  Of course, on the can, the white is on the bottom and the red on the top, but a red blouse with a white dress would be INSANE!  And not in a good way!  So I flipped it to make it a little more pleasing to the eye.  You can also see that the ruffled circle tucked behind the black belt represents the medal in the middle of the can label.

It's not apparent in the pictures because Trina isn't actively walking (she only does that when I'm not in the house).  But the skirt flares out in a heart-shaped pattern at the bottom.  It's just a little hidden touch that sounds cool when I describe the outfit.

Although obviously I used one of my girls to model this dress rather than a "real woman," I think that this type of design would work on a large variety of body shapes.  A big woman could wear this style, as well as a short woman (I would just shape the skirt a little different to raise the point that it flares out) and I also think that most women would appreciate the fact that there are sleeves on the dress.

You know, I tend to think that I empathize what women find enjoyable or uncomfortable about their clothing, but the one thing that I don't yet understand is thoughts on sleeveless clothing.  For men, sleeveless clothing is limited to desperately hot days, unless you have REALLY good looking arms, in which case you have earned the right to show off, but still, it pretty much has to be a warm day, and you can't be sleeveless if you go to any place were you have to look "dressed."

For women, bare arms are the norm when "dressing up," but in all the studies in fashion history, there really doesn't seem to be a reason for this.  I would accept it's maybe because it is considered sexy due to the fact the woman seems partially undressed, I suppose.  But there are a lot of women out there that just don't BELONG in dresses that show their arms, whether they be too flabby or too bony or many other reasons.

So I ask the women out there, are you always, if ever, comfortable wearing clothes that show your bare arms?  I'm just curious!

Brady Bunch - Cindy's Baby Doll Trench Coat

This outfit kind of evolved... Originally, Leonora was supposed to be playing a different character altogether, but since I noticed that this coat was steering to more of a "precious" direction with the pink and the frills at the bottom, I thought it would be much more appropriate for a Brady collection.  I still want to run with the "other" character sometime soon, so you'll just have to wait and see!

The material that I used for this is from my friend, Dana Louise.  She just adopted a baby girl (congratulations!) and was considering using this pink satin for the crib, but I stole it as the baby was sleeping.  Perhaps that is why the coat somewhat morphed its own design into a babydoll theme.

I ALMOST didn't complete this outfit.  Like I said before, I had a different concept in mind originally.  It was going to be more of a sporty look, but I think that the sophistication of the satin paired with my meticulous tailoring made it more "proper".  I am excited, though, that I even thought to attempt a cross between a trench coat and a babydoll dress.

One thing that I was really scared of, though, was the pleating at the bottom.  See, I just bought a special attachment for my sewing machine that automatically makes uniformly deep pin tucks at specified intervals, which saves literally hours of time because you don't have to sit there and measure and mark and fold and pin.  It's nothing short of a miracle.  However, it only pleats in one direction (at least as far as I can tell so far), so I'm still playing with around with it.  Something that I didn't realize (but should have!), was that by adding all that pleating and therefore creating multiple layers of fabric, I added bulk and puffiness to the hips.  The ONE place that a woman would not want extra fullness!  What was I thinking?!  It would have been better to pleat the top seam and let the bottom frill out naturally, like a little skirt attached to the outside of the jacket.  Oh, well.  Lesson learned!

Is it a Phail?  Not completely, but I'm still calling it one because it's not what I wanted.  Jezz, I'm tough on myself!  But I'm not bashing my head in over it.  It's still kinda cute.

In other news, I am FINALLY going fabric shopping on Sunday with my friend, Paula.  I'm sure there are many people out there who are tired of hearing me complain about how I don't have any fabric! I don't have any fabric!  Well, hopefully, I won't be able to use that excuse and if I make something awful, it's my own... fault...

...Oh, wait...