The past week or so has been stressful and strange for everyone. My university classes have been moved online, which means that I have a great deal of time in my room that can be used for sewing! It has been a bit difficult getting used to the new format of living, but I am very lucky to have lots of hobbies that can be done inside.
About a month ago, I decided to start a new collection, so I have been hard at work on that. Thankfully, I have almost all of the fabric that I need!
Creating a collection needs a lot of time and work, starting with the designing. I want somewhere between 15 and 20 looks, which can be up to 40 pieces depending on how many pieces each look needs (piece=one piece of clothing, such as a shirt or skirt. Look=multiple pieces put together to create a whole outfit. Can be one piece, can be multiple). I am focusing more on dresses, for two reasons: one) because I love dresses, and two) because that cuts down on how many garments I will be drafting and sewing. I have firmly decided on 10 of my designs so far, and am currently searching for inspiration for the remaining ones.
I have had people ask me how I come up with designs, and honestly I don't have a great answer for that. The inspiration comes from absolutely everywhere - Pinterest, people on the streets, beautiful buildings, movies, music, quilts, books, and everything else that I come in contact with. Most of the process is daydreaming, with bits of frantic drawing and writing to ensure that I won't forget the idea.
Drawing isn't my strongest suit, and it isn't my favourite thing to do. Half of my designs are drawn out, and half of them are just written down with lots of description so that I know exactly what I was thinking about. Writing down design ideas is actually helpful when I don't have a pen and paper with me as well, since I am just able to write it down in my phone.
The next step is drafting. One of the best skills that I learnt last year at fashion school was pattern drafting! I have so much fun with it, and it is so satisfying to make something completely, utterly from scratch. I often alter the patterns that I use when they are pre-made, but I have so much more freedom just being able to make my own.
Pattern drafting includes lots of math and rulers, so it can be a bit tiring on the brain. I try to spread out my pattern drafting so that I don't get sick of it, so I often have a pattern on the go while I am cutting out a different garment and sewing another one. This also makes the process more fun for me, since I can choose what I feel like working on for the day depending on my mood.
However, not every part of the pattern can be drafted. I love being able to drape parts of patterns, since it gives me a lot more creative freedom (and lets me do a little less math). Draping is also fun to get videos of, since the garment changes so quickly when it is draped.
There are many other steps that are included in the process of making a collection (loads of planning for various things, organizing, fittings, adjustments, constant ironing, etc.), but one of the most important ones is the actual sewing! All of the sewing for this collection will be done on my lovely, antique White sewing machine. She is a hand-crank machine, so my right arm is getting very muscular... Obviously this makes the sewing take longer, but I feel like I have fantastic control on it to do some picky work, and the stitches are beautiful. It also makes the collection feel just a little more special to me:)
So here is a sneak peak at the new collection! I will be putting up more information about it as soon as I have more ready to go, and I am video-taping the entire process so you can see it all come together once I'm done!
The collection is made mostly of eco-friendly materials, and using couture methods.
What are you doing to keep your spirits up during self isolation? Any good movies I should watch?
We made it! This is my last details post of my eco couture collection that I designed, drafted, and sewed for the Future Oceans Fashion Show that was held in Victoria, BC on Canada Day (anyone sick of hearing about this event yet?).
If you want to read and see more about the event and the other garments that I created for it, you can check it out here.
For the sake of not repeating myself a million times and making each post longer than necessary, I'm going to assume that you know about Future Oceans and go straight into talking about the last two garments in my little collection.
The first dress I'm going to talk about today is the first dress that I actually created for the show. I designed all of the dresses in the winter, but I didn't start patterning or sewing any of them until May.
I'm not sure if I was procrastinating or if my reasoning is solid, but I chose to avoid creating any patterns until I got the fabric in. I bought my fabric from a sustainable material brand that is run out of Canada, but it still took a bit for the fabric to arrive. It was insanely exciting when it did come in, and I was hit with lots of inspiration to pattern draft after I saw it.
The 1960's dress was an easy pattern to make, which is why I started with it. I wanted to ease myself in a bit, and this was a great way to do it. It was also pretty simple to sew, since it's such a simple silhouette.
This dress is made out of organic cotton sateen (for the yoke. This is the same sateen I made the 1940's dress out of) with a sustainable linen. This linen is so floaty and wonderful to prance around in. The entire dress is lined, and it features pockets hidden in the side seams. The linen is hand stamped, like almost all of the other garments in my collection.
I was inspired by trapeze dresses from the 1960's. It was an added bonus that this shape of dress is very easy to fit to different shapes and sizes, so it was very easy to find models to fit it for the show and the photoshoot the next day.
I used to hate 1970's fashion. I can now admit that I absolutely love it now. Blame Wes Anderson.
Opposite of the 1960's dress, this is actually the last dress that I made for the show, and it was designed about 5 minutes before I made the pattern for it. The original collection was supposed to start at the 1930's and go to the 1960's, so this dress and the 1920's one were last minute additions when I realized that I had extra time and material on my hands.
This dress was quick, dirty, and fun to make. The drafting of the pattern was relatively easy and so was putting it together. Printing the pattern on it was tons of fun as well since I got my mom to make me a special stamp for it (my mom is the one who creates all of the stamps that I use to print my fabrics). The pattern is paisley and turtles in a coral on blue cotton gauze. I loved working with the fabric when I used it for the 1950's dress, and it takes fabric ink really nicely.
When I thought about making a dress inspired by the 1970's I was torn between making a maxi or a mini dress. The choice was made purely out of convenience in the end - I wanted it to have puffy sleeves, and if I wanted enough fabric to make that it had to be a mini.
I had so much fun making this dress, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
Both of these dresses are currently for sale at the Future Oceans Boutique at the Victoria Bay Center and online at the Future Oceans website! You can order either one of these dresses or a skirt (check them out here) and get it made to your measurements!
Thank you for your support!
Last week I focused on two pieces that are a part of my eco couture collection for Future Oceans. If you want to read more about Future Oceans (the fashion show, the garments I made for it, or some of the process while I was preparing for it) you can see more here.
This week I wanted to look at some of the detail and design process for the dresses that I made that were inspired by some of the best decades in fashion - the 40's and 50's.
I have always loved the fashion of the 40's, and I've already made quite a few pieces inspired by the era. The thought process behind this dress included much more than just what design elements I liked from the era though, since I had to take into account what type of fabrics were available for me to use, how much time I had to make it, and what kind of shape would be the most convenient to make when I wasn't sure who was going to be wearing it.
One of the most difficult aspects of designing and making garments for fashion shows is not knowing who exactly is going to be wearing them. Quite a few of the pieces that I chose to make for fashion shows have been designed to be more suitable for many different shapes, and sometimes sizes. This dress was one of the later pieces that I added, meaning that it got tacked on after I finished most of the other ones. I had some time and the material to make something else. Originally, I wasn't sure if we would have time to show it in the actual fashion show, so it was a backup that I might have worn behind stage. We did end up having the time for it, and I'm so glad because I was thrilled with how it turned out.
This dress is made using an organic cotton sateen with a tiny bit of stretch to it. Having that stretch made it much easier to fit to multiple different models for the show and the photoshoot the next day. I chose not to have sleeves in the design, since sleeves can restrict who can wear it and make the sewing process much longer.
I adore the apron style dresses of the 40's, so I based my idea off of those. I simplified the idea a bit, and I love how it looks. The cotton sateen has a gorgeous sheen to it, and I'm glad that I didn't add any of the ruffles that are often on 1940's apron dresses.
It's finished with buttons on the crossover back and top stitching.
The fourth dress was the first one that I designed way back in January. This is a 1950's inspired summer dress with a front button closure and a tiered skirt.
I made a dress that had a bit of a similar style for my Summer 2018 collection that I got photos of in Drumheller (see photos here), and I thought that it was so flattering that I wanted to use that silhouette again. This dress is sleeveless for ease of fitting, has darts and gathering to shape the bodice, and has a fully lined bodice. The hem is hand printed in coral to tie it in to the colour scheme that the rest of the collection has.
The silhouette of the 1950's is absolutely iconic, and so flattering to pretty much every single shape and size. I wanted that, but I also wanted my design to be a little bit different from the classic shape that most think of when they think of the 50's. I also wanted this to be the sort of summer dress that was comfortable and easy to wear.
I used an organic cotton gauze for the dress, and the fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It ironed great and is soft on the skin. The dress is finished with hand made clay buttons.
I was so spoiled in Victoria for the fashion show and all of my pieces were photographed by professional photographers the day after the show. If you want to see some of those, check out my instagram here. I will also be posting some of them here once I compile enough of them.
Next week will be my last details post of the 1960's and 1970's dresses from my eco couture line. Stay tuned!
As I promised last week, here is the first detailed post about my eco couture collection for the Future Oceans fashion show that took place in Victoria, BC on July 1st. If you haven't heard about this before, or would like to learn more about the Future Oceans Fashion Show, you can see my other posts about it here.
The first garment that I designed for the collection is inspired by the 1920's (which is one of my favourite decades of style). This dress is a drop waisted gown with a deep V back, knee-length handkerchief skirt, and bloused top. The side panels in the skirt are hand printed by me on a TENCEL twill, which is a sustainable material that I got locally, through a Canadian company. The waistband is an organic cotton sateen.
This entire dress is lined and is finished with top stitching.
I've always enjoyed the aesthetic of the 1920's, but the shape can be difficult to get and make it look nice. The drop waist style can be really unflattering on a lot of shapes, depending on how it's being accomplished. I spent a lot of time on pinterest looking through extant garments from the era, as well as some modern interpretations of them (from movies and tv shows like Peaky Blinders and The Great Gatsby). None of the garments in this collection are meant to be exact replica's of dresses from each era, but more to harken to each decade.
Some of my favourite dresses from the 20's have low backs, so I wanted to make sure to include that in my design. I also love the extra panels that flare out when the wearer is walking. The TENCEL twill has a beautiful drape to it, so I used it for both the 1920's and the 1930's inspired gowns.
The second dress is inspired by the 1930's. This dress has a boat neckline with a deep V back, wide waistband, pleated over skirt, and thin belt. It's entirely made out of the TENCEL twill, so the whole thing is soft and has a wonderful drape to it. All of the peach sections are hand printed by me.
Drafting the pattern for this dress was a fun challenge, as was figuring out how to put it together while also making sure that all of the edges were nicely finished. It took me the better part of an afternoon to draft the entire pattern, and I'm pleased with how it turned out in the end. The bodice is fully lined.
The shaping in the bodice is created from two pleats at the waist on the front, and the back pieces are gathered and meet at the waistband to create a deep V. The under skirt is just a regular straight skirt, similar to what a skirt sloper would look like. I ended up just draping the over skirt instead of patterning it so that I could get as much fullness as I wanted. The hem is shaped to be longer at the back.
I loved designing these garments, as well as all of the other ones in the collection. Next week I will focus on the dresses styled like the 1940's and 50's!
Last month I was lucky enough to be a part of the Future Oceans Fashion show, which was held at the Victoria International Marina in British Columbia on Canada Day. I had an amazing trip (which you can read more about here) and enjoyed working with Future Oceans so much.
Future Oceans is a company that focuses and Eco Friendly fashion, which is something that I am very passionate about. The fashion industry is a huge polluter, and knowing that made me lose some of my passion for my sewing. This opportunity came at the perfect time, and I loved the challenge of trying to make beautiful garments that are as eco friendly as possible.
I have some very exciting news about the next step with Future Oceans: I will be having 'Fashion on Demand' garments at the Future Oceans Boutique in the Victoria Bay Center through September! The Fashion On Demand will be four pieces that I will be making to measure for anyone who orders one.
Each garment was inspired by a different era and hand stamped by me. This first one was inspired by the 1920's, with a low waist and deep V back.
Garment number two was inspired by the 1930's. This also has a deep V back, as well as a gathered over skirt.
This was the only one that I didn't stamp, and was a bit of a last minute addition to the collection. This is inspired by a 1940's apron dress with a crossover back.
Inspired by the 1950's, this dress has a front button closure and a tiered, mid calf length skirt.
This is the first dress that I made for the show, and it's also the most comfortable one! I looked to the 1960's to design it, and it's finished with side seam pockets and is fully lined.
And the final garment in my Eco Couture line is this 1970's styled mini dress, complete with puffed sleeves.
This is just a sneak peak of each of the garments I made for the show, so keep tuned for more photos and information!
I have always enjoyed stopping in Nanton, Alberta as a kid when we were in the area. They are a tiny town with the best antique stores, and my favourite has always been Sentimental Journey Antiques. They are connected to Iron Crow, which is where I got my photos for last years Fall collection.
The building has a very interesting history- it was first opened in 1909 as a hardware store. The upper story was used as a meeting and social hall for different groups in Nanton. It changed hands in 1935, and the new owner added more items in the store and converted the top story into apartments. Pretty quickly after that, the building was used for officers residence during World War Two - there was an aircrew training base close by.
I have always fantasized about living in one of the beautiful upstairs apartments, and learning about its use during the war made me love the quaint rooms even more. I still daydream about where I would put all of my furniture in the apartments if I were lucky enough to live there. We took all of our photos in our favourite rooms in the building upstairs.
The clothing that I am wearing in these photos are the lower torso garments that I made last semester in school. The pants are a 1940's inspired pair of trousers with a yoke, pockets, and front pleats. The skirt is a faux-wrap with a side zipper and a pocket on the other side. It is fully lined with a brown striped lining. Both of the garments are made using %100 wool.
I did not make any of the tops that I am wearing, all of them except for one are from Aerie (and they are all incredibly soft and comfortable). The WAC shirt is from a fundraiser for the SoCal WAC's.
I am a Huge Fan of Wes Anderson. From the first time that I saw Grand Budapest Hotel, I was completely hooked. I enjoy his deadpan sense of humour, the pastel colours, retro vibes, and quirky cinematography. I started watching the movies when I was about 14, and they have hugely influenced the way I dress and my sense of humour. I am a lover of the colours mustard and dusty rose, and every time I see any piece of clothing in a store that could be worn in one of his movies, I am sold. That also means that I am the proud owner of three of his movies (my three favourites: Grand Budapest, Darjeeling Limited, and Moonrise Kingdom), the record of the Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack, and both of the coffee table books that are available through Indigo.
Because of this obsession (yes, I am aware that it is a slight obsession), I thought that a Moonrise Kingdom inspired photo shoot would be amazingly fun to set up. I was right! We gathered up my est retro props, drove into Calgary, and found an adorable green shop to get photos in front of. It was actually pretty freezing, but I loved all of the photos, so this post will be very long!
The dress is made out of a coral cotton with white top stitching. I started this dress almost a year ago, but with so many things happening in a pretty short amount of time, it got put to the side for a few months. It has been incredibly close to being complete for a few months now, with just the hem left to do! I finally finished the hem last week while watching (you guessed it!) a Wes Anderson film. We have been planning this photo shoot for months now, and it felt so good to get to do it!
Wes Anderson films are definitely my comfort movies. When I was in grade 10 and our house was broken into (something that was extremely upsetting to me, for some reason), I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel. At this point, I have seen every single one except for the first (Bottle Rocket). I love the quotes especially, and the reoccurring actors! It is so satisfying to know that Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are going to be in the movie that you are about to watch. I am insanely excited for The French Dispatch to come out as well.
The area of Calgary where we got these photos is very close to Peters Drive In, and if you know the area, you will know that it is the best burger joint in the area. So, after getting all of the photos, we Had to pick up a burger. This was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday!
The props that I brought with me are from various sources- the beautiful vintage suitcase was a Christmas gift, and we got it from Iron Crow Antiques. The Nancy Drew novels are both original editions, and the camera was a gift from a friend quite a few years ago. I am very lucky to have all of these things just sitting around the house.
Are you a Wes Anderson fan as well? Which movie is your favourite?
I always find it interesting about who everyones favourite characters are as well, since so many people have such different reasons for their favourites!
Thank you for reading,
Edit: I caved and also bought the coffee table book for Isle of Dogs... expect to see more Wes Anderson inspired quirky things in the near future.
I started a 1960's ensemble almost a year ago, and was completely distracted by the beginning of school. After some issues with the lining and top stitching, I was not motivated to finish it. It has been sitting nicely on a chair in my sewing room until Christmas break, when it was finally finished and we got some lovely photos of it!
This is from a Simplicity pattern from the 1960's, and I made it using coordinating quilting cottons. I think that this pattern looks so much like Barbie clothes from the 60's! I had so much fun wearing it around a new mall that is at the moment pretty empty. The mall had a pretty creepy feeling (it is massive, and only has a few stores in it so far), but I think the photos turned out perfectly! I mix of 1960's fashion and futuristic, Blade Runner style (at least, I think the photo's look a bit like the Blade Runner).
We got these photos on Boxing Day, and they were planned very last minute. We had such fun getting these though!
I am back in school for the second semester, so any extra sewing is on the back burner. I do have my final projects from semester one (a pair of pants and a skirt) which I am hoping to get photos of soon though, so keep your eyes peeled:)
Thanks for reading!
After putting up a few of my costumes for sale, I realized that it wasn't just my costumes that I had made and not worn after photo shoots, a lot of my vintage styled garments had the same problem! I get excited to make different patterns or try out new things, but they aren't always things that I actually want to wear. I am the type of person who really enjoys comfort, and that usually means soft fabrics and not too fitting of bodices. I absolutely love all of these garments, but I can always look back at the photos when I miss them!
First up is my 1950's styled blue shirt dress! I love this fabric so much, but the dress is slightly big on me. Check out the listing here. This is a blue 1950's styled shirt dress with red button accents and a notched collar. This dress is not for $65.00
Next is my Bee Skirt! This is the cutest pattern (if I may say so myself, since I actually printed the cotton myself haha), and an A-Line skirt that falls just past the knees. Read my post about making it here, and purchases it here. This skirt is on for $50.00
This is possibly one of my favourite cottons that I have ever worked with! I love quilting cottons (they don't wrinkle so easily, and they iron nice and crisp. They also feel amazing on the skin), and this llama and cactus one is so cute and summery. You can check out my posts about this dress (it is a part of my Mexico Collection) here, and see the listing here. This dress and apron are on for $85.00
Another piece of my Mexico Collection, my matching shorts and halter top are also for sale! Check out more photos here, and the Etsy listing here. It is up for $65.00
I am very sad to be letting go my 3 piece suit, made up of this 1950's style sheath dress, the boxy blazer, and cigarette pants. These are a part of my Crooked House Collection, and made of a beautiful plaid wool blend. Each of these are for sale separately for $55.00. You can get the dress here, the pants here, and the blazer here. See more photos of them here.
Up Next: My Man From U.N.C.L.E dress (inspired by the movie with Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander). This is a cotton, mid-mod styled summer dress. To see the Etsy listing, click here, and to find more photos (and information about the Cold War), click here. It is on sale for $65.00.
My muslin peplum blouse with a shawl collar and mother of pearl buttons is on for $55.00. This was a part of my Berlin Collection, which you can see here. Purchase this blouse here.
My 1940's styled wool dress with short sleeves and a matching blazer! These are both for sale (the dress for $75.00, and the blazer for $65.00). Check them out here, and see more photos of them here.
The hardest part about sewing is that I can get lots of things done, but it doesn't look like it until I have photos of them! In the past few weeks I have been working on tons of different projects, but I don't have any of them finished yet (although two are almost done!). I have also had a few very neat opportunities to do something a little different, so my sewing room has been pretty crazy.
I do have a few very exciting things that I have been working on behind the scenes: the first is that I have been making prototypes for a Calgary activewear company called Intuitive. It has been an absolute joy so far working with the company, and I am more than excited about this collaboration.
The second thing that I have been working on is my second time working with MakeFashion! Last year I was a part of the runway show in Calgary as a seamstress. This year I am lucky enough to be a team lead. My dress is called Breathe, and has to do with helping with anxiety and mental illnesses. MakeFashion will be at Beakerhead this year in September. I can't wait to tell and show you more!
On the side, I have also been working on dirndls (I made one from a Gertie pattern, liked it so much that I immediately started a second one!), a tiered 1950's summer dress, wool cigarette pants with a matching sheath dress and blazer, a 1960's colour blocked dress, and lots of repairs. My mending pile has gotten out of hand!
If you follow me on instagram (here), then you will know that I have also been working on setting up an Etsy account. So far I have hit pretty much every obstacle possible (why are computers so confusing??), so it still isn't up....
But I have made progress, so it should be here soon! I will be selling some of my costumes, as well as embroidery to start.
Thank you so much for your patience with everything, I can't wait to show you all of the things that I have been working on!
Most of my vintage-styled outfits are me-made. While I love wearing clothing that I have made, and I enjoy trying out true vintage and repro patterns, I know that many people don't have the time, materials, or the interest to make their own clothing.
I love the idea of wearing true vintage, but I feel like I am too clumsy of a person to regularly wear vintage clothing. It would break my heart to stain and tear a vintage dress, so I stay mostly away from them. At the same time, I don't want to make every piece (especially knits and t-shirts). I know there are tons of fabulous repro brands in the world, such as What Katie Did, Stop Staring, Emmy Design, Mod Cloth, and many others. I haven't tried any repro brands, since many of them are from either the States or Britain, and with shipping costs I can't afford the pieces. I have discovered that you can find some really great things from stores in outlet malls, as long as you look hard enough.
Sometimes it can take a bit of searching, but so far I have found tons of vintage-inspired pieces that I have been able to add into my wardrobe. For the outfit that I am wearing in these photos, the dress is from Hot Topic (every once in a while, they get very cute 1950's styled clothes. This one is cotton, which I would recommend over poly satins and other fabrics that can look tacky instead of vintage. However, in the end it just depends on what you like the best!). The shoes are from Rockport. They have tons of vintage styled heels and sandals, and they are some of my most comfortable pairs! My purse is from Calvin Klein, and it is one of my favourite ones for summer. The cordigan is from the Gap. If you would prefer a shorter sweater, Aritzia and Lands End have some beautiful ones, or you can easily shorten a cardigan like this one using a serger or a zig zag stitch. Here is a great tutorial if you are interested.
The biggest thing about finding vintage styles in every day stores is patience! Sometimes I don't find anything for months, and other times there is vintage inspiration everywhere.
This is the first post that I have not worn anything that I have made- what do you think of a different type of post like this?
I would love to show some of my other vintage inspired on a budget finds, let me know if you want to see them in the comments!
These photos were taken in The Core in downtown Calgary.