The Gray Skirt, Part III: Style.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Jonette 8 Comments

Okay... Now we have the perfect Beginner's canvas, here's where the fun starts.

I believe the look of a skirt points out the direction your outfit will go down for the day. Sweet? Quirky? Sexy? Flirty? All these elements are fun to have in your wardrobe, specially when you're in a come-out-and-play mood. but the one style a lady must never banish from her wardrobe is The Classic -- a hand in her favor, with good manners and comportment for trump cards.

I'd been fancying to turn the project into a simple soft-pleated skirt I adored in one of my Japanese sewing magazines. Modest, tasteful, elegant. I was not entirely sure how merciful pleats would be on a curvy figure, but there was only one way to find out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It was then that I realized, after measuring, folding, and checking notes, that(1) the skirt's waist diameter would not be enough to give the real pleat style justice, and (2) The back panel was taller than the front. Having swallowed and said that, I began working with what I had. I had to Improvise.

Eventually, I settled on a large box pleat in front, and two mini Watteau-ish pleats on the back of the skirt. From then on, pin, pin, pin.

the front...

... and back.

The front box pleat, top view.

The Watteau-ish pleats, top view.

Very carefully, I began sewing the vital parts of the pleats together. Again, giving the pleats a good press from a hot iron works wonders. The pressed pleat edges may serve as points of reference, should you let go of it or lose track. After attaching an invisible zipper to the side, voila! All done.

Not quite how I expected it to turn out, but I do reckon it still works. What do you think?

From this...

... To this.

Front, side, and back, respectively.

*sigh of relief* Well... that's that.

I've reluctantly shown the finished product to online galpals and stylist buddies for two reasons: One, I was really quite unsure if it was a success or a failure, and Two, I think I may have just made something accidentally Lolita. (Hmm... On one hand, I may have ended up channeling some of Atelier Boz's designs here. Ah well...) In truth, I was quite relieved to hear a good array of mixed positive reactions and with what genre of style it would fit into best. (It was a toss up between Steampunk and Lolita, Goth came in second, Cosplay and even -- gasp! -- Punk.) It's a comfort to know that the skirt is versatile by itself, and will not be "boxed" into one particular fashion.

All this made me realize that I'd best wear this with a petticoat, black stockings and these babies, and that it would be, er, prudent to keep this safe until I've something fitting to wear it to, like a social dress-up gathering, a cosplay event (should I have the nerve to go), or until a sheer maniacal glee to feed off the attention and shock of the common folk seizes me. (Which I hope will not come all too often or too soon.)

I must say it was quite interesting (and might I say satisfying) to see the results of this exercise. I do know it looks rather costume-y, and that part makes me feel good about it. I guess this might be the Theater side of me coming out to breath, and I wouldn't mind going through this process all over again.

Something in the corner of my head starts teasing, "okay, so what's next, Aristocrat or Madam?", but I'll be leaving that to the gods of creativity to steer me to my next project. Hmm, maybe a nice, decent everyday skirt. We'll see. :)


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

The Gray Skirt, Part II

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

After the pinning and the pressing came sewing down the hems. I was pretty excited to try out for myself how smooth and easy to use my Brother machine could be. Is it possible that my bramble-thread and knotty messes have just been a nightmare?

Yes, and yes again. I love you, Mr. Repairman.

Through it like butter. Oooh, yes.

I was quite happy sewing the edges down until I began feeling something bumpy along the finished lines. Yes, bumpy, and a little scratchy. Since the tension control wheel had been glued tight shut, it would have to mean adjustments were to be made to the bobbin case's tightness. So I did, teeny cute Brother screw in hand. Here's the Before and After shot:

Before: Lower hem. see the jagged, bumpy texture?
After: Upper hem. Taut, smooth Hemmer's Delight.

Quarter of an hour later( A quarter! A quarter! Not a half hour, nor a whole one! A quarter!), Both panels were finally and quite properly hemmed. I realized in this part of the exercise how vital a very well-executed and meticulous fabric prep can be. The alertness, precision, diligence, and patience certainly made everything else so much easier, and pays off in a big way.

Here we are with two handsome hemmed skirt fabric panels. A lot of fabric.


What now?

Next: Style.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

The Gray Skirt, Part I

Friday, July 18, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

... Or alternately titled an exercise in Dressmaking Professionalism.

Since I got my Brother sewing machine back, I wanted to put to rest the grey cloth I'd cut and set aside for the past empty month. It looked so forlorn, all cut up and dim. Considering its material and color, I felt it was time to do it justice and make something respectable out of it.

No more ratty hems. No more mismatched thread color. No more bramble sewing-machine accidents. It would be professional, and by george, I'll see to it, even if it drives me stark raving mad.

The aimed result: A simple, pleated skirt, perfect for semi-formal events and family reunions. I was going for Audrey Hepburn's brand of grace in Roman Holiday. (Well, a girl can dream, can't she?)

So, we start with the basics: hemming. Instead of zig-zagging over the raw edges, I decided to fold them twice over and pin them securely. I discovered that as long as you folded straight and evenly, this assured you of a clean edge, and best of all: no fraying.

I remembered a tip I read from Fatshionista blog entry (bless the community), and I quote: "As Burda says, well-pressed is half-sewn." I pressed the hems evenly with a hot iron, taking care not to give the cloth a burnt, shiny sheen that comes with idling.

Burda was right. It was already half-sewn.

The hems, post-iron. See how flat they run?

View from above, still very flat.

Both finished pieces, with Char, Champion of the Bed.

With that, the skirt was just dying to be sewn.

Next: Basic construction, putting the pieces together.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

One Word Meme

Thursday, July 17, 2008 Jonette 2 Comments

As challenged by the delightfully spunky Tarie of Into the Wardrobe fame, I now present to you the One Word Meme. the challenge? answer all the questions in well, a single word. Here goes.

1. Where is your cell phone? Bag.
2. Your significant other? James.
3. Your hair? Mahogany.
4. Your mother? Grace.
5. Your father? Wise.
6. Your favorite thing? Imagination.
7. Your dream last night? Frogs.
8. Your favorite drink? Tea.
9. Your dream/goal? Home.
10. The room you’re in? Office.
11. Your hobby? Crafting.
12. Your fear? Emptiness.
13. Where do you want to be in six years? Home.
14. What you’re not? Boorish.
15. Muffins? Making. ;)
16. One of your wish list items? SLR.
17. Where you grew up? Manila.
18. The last thing you did? Chat.
19. What are you wearing? Skirt.
20. Favorite gadget? Cellphone.
21. Your pets? Gone. :'(
22. Your computer? Norbert. (the name)
23. Your mood? Wondering.
24. Missing someone? Yes.
25. Your car? None.
26. Something you’re not wearing? uh... Jeans?
27. Favorite store? Carolina's!
28. Like someone? Very. .^_^.
29. Your favorite color? Pink. ;)
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today.
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday.

Tagging, uh, Ligaya, April, and Jo.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

All you need is color love

Friday, July 11, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

On a dreary day o' rain like today, even just a little color helps it along.

I was looking for some joy on a Friday two weeks ago, and I found pieces if it in a fabric store.

Left and center are printed cotton in OrangeGreenExplode and Dainty Florets. To the right,we have a lovely chiffon number that just screams Grease and Hairspray. something about it simply says "I wanna dance". (I will also probably regret the names later on, but what the heck.) Yes, skirts and/or dresses, the lot of them.

Last but not the least, we have this nubbly little fellow:

I got this with the intention of turning him into good, sturdy curtains. since James and I usually sleep in the living room, the big windows let in a lot of light and make sleeping troublesome. This bulky thing will hopefully give us enough darkness to catch some shut-eye with.

It doesn't look like much on the outside, that's true, but once you get to the inside...

Love-ly. The pattern kinda reminds me of swallows.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

Welcome home, baby!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Brother is back! Brother is back! After two weeks, the Brother sewing machine is finally fixed, fetched and on her (um... his) way home with me.

But not before bidding some time in the office, while I gave English lessons. Yep, that's right. There is a sewing machine in the building. Thank god the guards didn't go big-plastic-metal-machine-possible-bomb-aaaugh! on me.

Brother at the foot of my cubicle, with a bit of my jeans on the lower left.

A slight hitch, though: the technician told me the tension control wheel would have to stay stuck to ensure the machine still works. He ensured it, alright. He glued the tension control in place with super-strong stuff, which I dare not test. (I still love my machine and sewing hobby, thank you very much. ) However, he did say I could make adjustments to tighten or loosen the hold of the bobbin case below for versatility -- like, say, when shirred dresses and blouses begin to sound like a very good idea for the season. ;)

So, there.

I do fully intend to make up for lost time. Ooooooh, yes.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

Technorati is online glitterati

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 Jonette 0 Comments

Hello, everyone. I'm experimenting right now if Technorati can work wonders for a blog like this. thus, as they've instructed, I'm meant to put a link here, like so:

Technorati Profile

then release their spiders to come a-crawling to find it. Here's hoping it works.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)