Thursday, November 20, 2008

Midtone Monday

I made it to both figure drawing classes this week! Sounds crazy, but that is a pretty big deal for me. I don't know why I don't make it more often—I feel so good when I've been to class, even if I don't end up with a good drawing, as was the case today. Oh, well, sometimes I have my off days. Monday, though, we had Jenny (see above) and I love this model. I especially love this silk hydrangea half-hat she's worn to class before that I don't think I would have the guts to wear, but still half hope to find during my 2nd-hand-store crawls. Anyways, this drawing didn't really photograph well. I don't think I know how to photograph ANY of my drawings—look how blue the white paper always ends up—but that's not to say the disappointing end results are not my own fault; I do the kind of drawings that have great detail and line up close...but are low on impact from far away. Still working on that. In the meantime, zoom in please. :]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Afternoon Tea

I went to afternoon tea yesterday with N, my bestie from high school, and of course yesterday was THE worst of the recent rainy days. Ugh, I knEw I should've worn my rainboots, but of course I wanted to wear my recently favorite outfit which required my mouse shoes. Which were completely soaked by the time I got home—I mean there were rivers in the streets. Well, as much as a city built on hills can, I guess.

So there are no pictures from the tea that I took personally, but the one above is from the official Crown & Crumpet website. How cute is that. I'd been to Lovejoy's before, but that one was like...musty Victorian dollhouse and fun to go to once...but maybe not again. Crown & Crumpet was lots more modern and less scary, and even though I've been wearing a lot of black and other grown-up colors lately, I'm still a girly girl at heart, so this Cath Kidston-themed tea room was totally my thing. Though I think I was the bigger fan of the two of us...In fact, I don't think N is even a tea person! We sat at the table where you can only see that one chair on the very far right. That was my chair. :]

We got the Tea for Two, which means we each got our own pot of whatever tea and then a three-tiered tray of sandwiches, scones, crumpets, etc. The teapots they have are custom-made clever little things: You can hoist the leaves out of the water when the tea is done brewing without having to look for somewhere to put the mesh ball. Why aren't there more teapots like this? They actually sell them in their little shop, but I got this instead:

Cat pencil not included! Ha, that is one of my childhood pencils that I recently rediscovered. So this is a Cath-Kidston print tea-and-saucer-slash-plate set. The picture was taken back at my house later that night—I had a private midnight tea as well—with the leftovers from that afternoon that N had kindly let me have. I really should wear a tiara on my head sometimes.

Like a close-up shot was necessary, but here you go anyways. The lighting makes everything look kind of weird, but it's been grey and dark out all weekend so a picture this morning would've been pointless anyways. I was sad because the fruit tart was soggy by the time I got around to it, and fruit tarts are my favorite. The Halloween cupcake was surprisingly good—hard icing! Soft frosting = bad. One thing that was kind of weird was that they called what we got "Tea for TWO," but some of the things came in odd numbers. Like there were THREE scones. And there was only one each of the more interesting finger sandwiches. And like that tart was the only one. Stuff like that. I felt like everything should've been divisible by two. Good thing N is not as needy an eater.

What else. I did not get a parking ticket even though we went over the 2-hour limit on the street. I mean they validate the first 1 and a half hours at the garage, but we always spend so long talking and eating and the garage is $2.50/20 minutes so it would've been expensive anyways. And I was going to show you a picture of the only other Cath Kidston thing I have, which is this recipe binder that's SO cute. But sadly yet unsurprisingly empty of any recipes at all. And it just would've been another incandescently-lit picture anyways, so I'll just leave this here for now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Bra Adventure

It's been a while since I posted anything on my other classes, so here's what I just finished in Lingerie class. ("Lingerie class" sounds so strange; like all we do in class is try on underwear and prance around!)

Ta-da, my bra~ Originally we were all supposed to make the same bra out of the same white—but dyeable—materials from the teacher, but with enough whining, most people ended up with their own personalized versions. I wanted to make a bra that I wouldn't be able to find anywhere else, so this one is made of some Liberty of London cotton I bought years ago and never used. I knew collecting for the sake of collecting would pay off eventually.

So bra-specific parts are really hard to find in normal fabric stores. And it turns out a bra needs a lot of these parts. I tried to be a trooper and get my own materials from the store myself. I figured looking for things like "powernet" would be a learning experience—I didn't want to be like "I don't know, I just got it from the teacher," you know? But other than the fabric, I came up empty-handed for several parts and ended up having to buy them from her after all (she'd gotten them wholesale). So things like the underwire, underwire channel, finishing elastic, and ring and slider (actually, I never even looked for these things). Even the strap elastic was kind of a lucky find—it's an elastic, but what sets it apart from all other kinds of elastic [who knew there were so many kinds] is that they're not super stretchy, and the side that goes against your skin is plush-backed (a little fuzzy) and the side you show the world is pretty. It was also a huge miracle finding it in the color I did, because even if you're lucky enough to find the item you need, chances are it only comes in white. Which means you have to dye it. Which only works if it's not polyester. Which you won't really know until you TRY to dye it because nothing is labeled.

Anyways, the fabric for the cups was originally going to be used for the entire front, but then it just looked So I took a chance and paired it with an even busier print because I love mixing prints! Yesterday I wore a mustard yellow striped polo with a lemon yellow striped velour track jacket. Don't make a face. It was awesome. But back to the bra, the busy print ended up being a smart choice because it made it harder to see how uneven my stitches were in some places. Yeah, I have yet to master my sewing machine. I'm just glad I finally managed to learn to avoid large thread gobs on the underside of the fabric.

What else do I want to say about this bra... I wish I'd taken more pictures of it during the process, because it's kind of amazing how all the millions of parts came together. I think once you get the cup to fit you the way you want it to (the entire class was complaining that the original Kwik-Sew pattern was too pointy), the rest is pretty much just assembling, and it's kind of common sense how the parts go together. It's just that the parts are so small and the seam allowance is only 1/4 inch, so for someone who has a hard time sewing in a straight line, it's really slow going if you want to get it right. And I wanted to get it right. I hate working on something for so long and having it not come out the way you want it! Picture of it under construction:

Yes, my work space is messy. It's a wonder I can get any quality done. The cups and the band were separate at this point, and you can see I just laid the underwires on the band at this point, to see what the final curve would look like. And this is the back of the finished bra:

The salmon on the underside of the bra was kind of an accident. The underwire channels were supposed to be the same color as the lining—you can see I came nowhere NEAR the target color—but somehow the peach in the dye clung to certain spots on the was the color of cheetoes dust. Gross. So I tried to cover it up with more Rose Pink Rit, so now it looks more like I dyed it all with Kool-Aid, but oh well, better than fake cheese. In the process of NOT matching the lining, though, I somehow managed to exactly match the hook and eye panels to the straps! And the straps are a little squiggly right now, but they should smooth out with wear.

It was lots of fun. I want to make another one, but a more sexy-pretty one next time. Next up: the final project. It can be anything—it just has to be "in the spirit of lingerie." I was thinking of doing a bra-top romper that can be worn out (with the bottom half under a pair of real pants) but everyone's excitement in class to make garter belts has me wanting to throw a pair on the romper as well. Any other ideas?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Features in Tones

New technique that S made us do today: drawing in tones instead of lines, and subtracting the light from a pre-applied medium tone charcoal background with a chamois and then kneaded eraser. I was like "blah, blah, heard it all before," but I tried to just really go with it, and look! I didn't even draw the left iris; it was just there after all that smudging and subtracting! Cool, huh. But I didn't get to the left eye because I'm slow. Anyways, looking forward to doing more of these soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today is not the 14th.

I actually got to the background and setting of this one! Amazing. Actually it was D who came around during the break and encouraged me to use it not to socialize, but to do some placement of color for the drapery and stuff. Which was probably a smart thing for me because I am slooow so I need all the time I can get. And I tried a new way of starting this drawing: gesturing with flat strokes of a medium skin tone NuPastel, but because the pastel goes on really thick and I didn't want too much buildup so early on, I finished the blocking out of the general figure by smudging around the color with my fingers. Ideally, I'll work a little more on this by adding some fleshier tones on the figure and less fleshy colors in the drapery so that they're not so much the same color.

And yes, the date is wrong in the bottom corner. I spent all day today thinking it was the 14th!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gesture Drawing Again <--my titles are boring

Another Monday and another gesture-focused class. Fortunately I left with some S-approved gestures. I think I can finally feel them on my own, though. These were done with a piece of really hard vine I found on the bench last week. I usually get the soft stuff, which marks more easily, but is also darker because of that, so drawings tend to get really messy really fast, so my new method is to do the first gestures with this found piece of vine, and then layering with the softer willow after. Thanks for leaving this behind, whoever you are! Maybe I'll leave a little piece of my own in exchange. The only thing is that it makes an awful scratchy shriek when you drag it across the paper at the wrong angle. ::Shudder::

And we started the face today:

But not features. See how S was not letting us "get into the nitty-gritty"? That's why her eyes look like they're closed...but not really... And why she also looks like she can't speak. And have I ever mentioned how boobs are strangely hard to draw and place?

Today's studio music: Erik Satie. Perfect because I just fell in love with him recently. I caught him on the radio when I was driving a couple weeks ago, and I heard "GymnopĂ©dies" and "Je Te Veux" and was like Who is this?? because they were like songs from a dream: I couldn't say I really knew them, but I could hum them. I think "Je Te Veux" is from a Family Computer game I used to play ["play" being used very loosely here—"play with" is maybe a more telling term since it never occurred to me to get past level one in a single sitting]. And "GymnopĂ©dies" is very haunting. Is it possible that I learned this song at some point during my piano-playing career? What a memory. Anyways, I liked it so much I stayed in the car after I got home just to find out who it was. Erik Satie. Go listen to him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gesture Drawing

Mondays are all about gestures. Sometimes I don't even know if what I'm doing is gesture drawing until the teacher comes around and gives me her nod of approval. Or folds her arms and winces.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Model Discontent

Back from class early today because I didn't like the model. I hope it didn't show on my face, but I almost groaned when I saw him today because I remembered him as the reason I never went back to Friday night figure drawing sessions at SFAI. And what was even funnier was that he did the exact same poses today, too! I could've brought my old drawings and been like, Look! Same! But I didn't have to because he ended up recycling some poses during the 1.5 hours I was there today. He does what I call the Hero poses. Or more like "Graceful" Hero. With lots of ponytail flicking and a shiny body that has seen many hours in a tanning salon. And a purple ring around his...thing. Anyways, then I was talking with some girls at one point, and he actually told us "ladies" to please leave if we weren't going to draw! Way to usurp the power when the teacher's out enjoying his cup of coffee. Whatever, I didn't feel as bad about leaving early then and now I have time for a nice nap before dinner.

And I need my nap because I didn't go to bed last night until 5 in the morning, working on this:

The exercise was to do a figure in motion, preferably an athlete, and using color. Luckily, I had April's "fitness" issue of Vogue still lying around and this is Shawn Johnson from an awesome group photo of some of the women's Olympics gymnastics team. The beauty of the photo really is in the four of them jumping around in the same frame, but one figure to focus on was enough for me for now. Huh...interesting to realize that I've never done a drawing with more than one figure in it... Something to think about. Anyways, I think I love Nupastels. And look at those muscles! On that note, I think it's time for my nap hee hee.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Getting back into the swing of things.

So my machine got fixed and I think all it was was that the machine was dirty and dusty inside...aaaaaand I was threading it wrong. And that's why I was having problems. I didn't think I was THAT off though—I just wasn't maintaining tension, but apparently it was at a very crucial point or something. Anyways, problem solved, I learned something, and I got some stuff done over the weekend.

First, cutting on the bias. I need a rotary cutter. I hate cutting fabric, especially slippery stuff. On the bias. Ugh, you do not know how annoyed I was after hours and hours of trying to get the pattern on a perfectly true bias. I was really excited at first because since my silk is polka dotted, on the bias, the dots line up in a grid, giving me lots of vertical and horizontal reference points. I wanted it perfect, so I assumed that if I pinned the center front of the pattern to one column of dots, symmetrical points on either side of the center line would automatically line up on the same row. Except they didn't. Or more like WOULDn't. After a lot of whining, I made the educated guess that while I was pinning the center line, I'd probably stretched the fabric unevenly, so... ANYways, I ended up pinning every 2x2inch grid corner to every 7th dot. And pinned exactly on that corner, exactly on that dot. As you can see here:

And then these are the sewn front and back:

I'm not going to go into the details (no one cares!) but the darts sewn and the lace is all arranged and appliqued. My front neckline is going to be different from the pattern because she said I could do whatever I wanted design-wise, as long as it involved more work and not less. See how mine has that slight V in the front? Well the original pattern is flat across, which I hate. I always feel like I'm being strangled by necklines like that, even if they're nowhere near my neck. So...that's it for now. So far so good.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Russian Goodies

Last weekend, a British lady I met mentioned that some of her favorite teas could be found in Russian grocery stores. Inspired by her and krisatomic's lovely photos of gourmet Moscow, I went tea hunting in the Avenues this afternoon. While I wasn't able to find any in cute tins today, I did find many pretty paper boxes of them and at super cheap prices, and got the two Akbar brand ones you see in the picture. The colors and pictures felt oddly familiar and comforting, though these styles are definitely from a time way before I was born. And I thought it was interesting that on all three packages the graphics are horizontal on one side, and vertical on another. I wonder if it's just a coincidence or if it's something they make a point to do a lot in Russian packaging, but it really does make for very versatile arranging in the kitchen!

And then the cow crackers I spotted in a 79-cent bushel and figured why not? The only thing on the packaging in English is the ingredients list, so I tried to imagine what they'd taste like based on that, but I mean what can you really tell from a list of popular baking ingredients? But sugar's pretty high up on the list, so these "cream flavor" crackers are very potentially delicious.

I'm picking up my sewing machine tomorrow from the repair shop, so hopefully it will be in super perfect condition because I really need to have the lace on my camisole sewn on and ready to go for Wednesday. More on that and the sewing circus that was last class another day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Project CamiSOLE

I'd been pronouncing it cami-ZAHL. Who knows why.

So this is basically the same pattern (style) we're using for our project. I didn't pick it; we had no choice. Our fabric has to be a silk or other slippery woven, not a knit like in this picture. [Just to be clear, I do NOT like this Josie Natori cami I'm using as my example here. In the voice of Michael Kors, "slutty slutty slutty!" Or maybe just cheap-looking, even if it is selling for 125 at Neiman Marcus. Sorry, beep beep., I know you love you some animal print!]

I might be sounding a little blah about the pattern, but that's really only because I have doubts about how flattering it's going to be on me, because it's so body-dependent with the bias cut. I'd prefer a nice blouson [probably another word I can't say in real life] style to temper my pear shape. Like this:

Eco-Boudoir at

But I don't want you to think I'm being a Debbie Downer about something that has barely even started; I actually have great hopes for my little cami. I found a pretty royal-purple-blue silk at Britex and a cream French lace from Satin Moon to match the color of the tiny polka dots. (Another girl from class got the same lace, said one of the sisters at the store, so we'll see who that was on Monday. Either we'll be great friends or rivals for life.) I'd actually been having daydreams of a fragile black Chantilly eyelash lace with my silk, with the fringe at the edge of the neckline, but apparently it's hard to find as a trim; it's usually sold as a fabric. And the one they had at Satin Moon was 100$ a yard. Plus, one of the sisters warned me away from using black with my "blue" silk. ::sniffle:: But without further ado, these were my choices, and I think the combination looks promising:

Classy, not trashy!

P.S. Oh wow, I was googling to see if Chantilly lace was really what I thought it was, and this I.D. Sarrieri is exactly what I was thinking of (though it turns out that "Chantilly" and "eyelash" are two separate concepts):

Fall Semester '08

So the new term's started, and after a summer of doing basically nothing, it's been a bit of an effort getting used to this new routine. No more sleeping without an alarm. Which means no more sleeping in until anywhere from 2 to 5. But it's kind of nice, joining the real world again, being awake when most other people are.

Figure Drawing's my security blanket so far. It's round two of a class I took last spring, so the same teachers, classroom, etc. help me feel normal. Or safe. And confident. I need some new charcoal sticks, though. Utrecht just opened a new branch in my neighborhood (but I'm still going to drive) so that should be fun to explore.

Fashion Draping looks like it's going to be fun. On Thursday, we got to pick the mannequins that we'd be using all term, so I was like this is a big deal--if I get a crappy one, I'm stuck making clothes in the wrong size till the end of the year! So I'm trying not to run and push everyone out of my way, everyone else also trying not to look like they're That Competitive Student, but you knOw we all had one eye trying to figure out which mannequin came in our own sizes. Or at least I did. I found one that looked pretty small with a "2" stamped on her neck, so I was happy. Well, I was going to ask the teacher if there were any zeros in the bunch, but then I looked at my mannequin, and her waist was tiny! Apparently with "vanity sizing" going on now, the size 2 I thought I knew is really like...a size 8 mannequin.

Anyways, we draped experimentally--only having lightly researched Madeleine Vionnet and Paul Poiret on our own--with 2 sheets of 1-and-a-half yards of muslin. I was a little nervous but secretly also really excited for what could happen, like what I could end up making. And in the end I was pretty happy with it. I know it looks a little crazy, but I would seriously wear this. I ran out of room on the paper, but that's kind of where the dress ends off anyways. Can you believe: this is 36 square yards of fabric! That is a lot for a 2-foot-long dress.

And Lingerie Design & Construction. So far it looks like this might be more sewing techniques specific to fabrics often used in lingerie (think slippery and stretchy) than design, but we'll see. I mean I would enjoy that by itself anyways, since this is all new to me; I've sewn before, I would even say that I sew kind of regularly, but I have no idea how my standards compare with those of professionals. Our first project is a camisole [I'm so used to saying "cami" instead, I just realized I've been pronouncing this word wrong!], and I'll have pictures of my fabric and lace selections up later. I think the teacher might not like me, though. My theory is that my auto-pilot "polite" voice actually ends up sounding whiny.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Happy new year~ So I know there's been this whole Pringle craze with that sweater, but my Silver Belle was similar enough for me to give that up and decide that this is the Pringle I want to make. Here are a close-ups:

(Haha, her eyes look kind of funny.) It looks easy enough, but I don't know how to do the decreasing for the shoulder-neck transition when it's knitted on its side like this... If anyone has a better picture of this (or helppp), it would be very much appreciated, thanks!