Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ta-Da! I am back!

Hello everyone out there! Yes once again, I have taken forever to update my blog. I know, I know, its bad form to go a month(s) without writing anything. But a ton has been happening here in Darby land.

Darbalou Craft Fair Booth! 
1st...We had our first craft show, which I can proudly proclaim a success!

Lou was fabulous as my assistant.  It took place at a Greek community center in Astoria and it was bustling all day. As it was a kids oriented craft fair, most of the other booths were toys or kids clothes, but there were a few more grown-up booths too. It was neat to see how other people set up their tables and wares. I did a lot of research about this, and though I think our booth was a little crowded, it was good for a first time and looked very professional. The best piece of advice I read was that you should bring a box with everything you think you will need plus anything you might not.  I almost had the kitchen sink along.  Because I was so well supplied, I was able to share some card stock and pretty markers with Dana's Bakery and in turn they gave us a little mixed flavor pack of their amazing macaroons! My favorite was the Fruity Pebbles flavor. And even though we vowed not to spend money, we did end up buying a print from Hans My Hedgehog Illustrations. Beautiful! We also made friends with the vendors acroos the aisle from us, a cute little company called Maggie Boogie. They make sweet toys out of felt and fabric. The owner/creator (Lily) is really talented and I enjoyed talking to her about her creative process.

All in all I loved it. We definitely want to do this again.

2nd...This is a biggie. I am going back to school to become an English teacher!

I know this seems like a 180 but it feels right. I can't tell you how much happier I have been since I made this decision. Of course I know teaching is no cakewalk; I have many friends and family members who are (or have been) teachers and I know how difficult it can be. Especially in the first year. When I was speaking to an advisor he asked me why I wanted to teach and I started giving him an articulate and reasonable response but he stopped me and said "no, why do YOU want to be a teacher?" all I could say was "Because when I think about it, it feels as though I have butterflies in my heart." We are still going to work on Darbalou, and I still want to sew and write on this blog. But I am also going to be taking prerequisite classes and doing a ton of reading and writing. Classes start January 28th and I can't wait! I am such a nerd because I have been obsessed with which kind of planner to use which school bag I will carry. I have even made one using a free Burdastyle pattern! I just love the smell of new school supplies! The plan right now is to take undergraduate English courses to get into the Initial Certification Program in the fall (which eventually leads to a Masters) at Queens College in Flushing. QC is bigger than any school I have attended thus far, and it will be great to be a student again. This is all very exciting for me. 

3rd...We are buying our house. This process is difficult but exciting. It takes a lot of energy AND patience to go through all the necessary steps. Especially because I have NO idea what I am doing. So YAY!

4th...We  have been traveling a lot. Between Thanksgiving and Christmahas just flown by. But it has been wonderful to see my family in Arizona and Lou's family here in New York. We are so lucky to have all such wonderful and supportive people in our lives.

Well, thats my update. I hope to be doing much more posting before school starts!
Happy Holidays! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tool-of-the-week ... The Bone Folder!

One of my favorite things about sewing is all of the fabulous tools I get to collect (and hopefully use). I love discovering new additions for my sewing tool box. I am absolutely sure I am not the only one who spends 45 minutes in the notions aisle of the fabric store just to make sure there is not some fabulous new thing-a-ma-bob that will revolutionize my sewing world! Occasionally there is...

And so I would like to introduce a new segment called "tool-of-the week" (maybe I should come up with a catchier tittle..any ideas?)

This weeks tool-of-the week is... THE BONE FOLDER!

The bone folder is wonderful tool to have in your sewing arsenal.  I initially discovered it while taking a book binding and paper making class in college (yes I went to liberal arts school... did you expect anything less?) and it made its way from my craft box to my sewing box for the following reasons...

Point turner:
In my opinion a bone folder is much better than the ubiquitous point turner made of bamboo. Because a bone folder is made of a more dense material (i.e. bone or plastic) it doesn't splinter off into fabric (or fingers) or pierce or cut while turning points.

6th finger:
The bone folder can act as an extension of your finger/hand while ironing small pieces, tying bows, or even guiding fabric through a bias tape maker. It can stand in as a jean-a-ma-jig too when in need.  

Fabric Marker:
Another use for this little guy is to temporarily mark fabric with out damaging it. Use the rounded point to press an indentation into the fabrics surface, over time and after pressing the fibers lift and return to shape. (always test tools/techniques on a scrap piece of fabric first to see how it works)

Do you have more sewing/fabric uses for a Bone Folder that I haven't discovered yet? Please share them with me. I love learning new uses for old stuff!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday Kid's Bazaar - Darbalou's very first craft fair!

Isn't this the cutest postcard?
Amid all of the craziness that has been in the air, (elections, hurricanes, visiting grandma) I stumbled upon an add for a local craft fair! I applied to be a vendor and got in! Yay for me! The craft fair is called the Holiday Kids Bazaar and I am so excited to be a part of it. I spoke to one of the organizers yesterday at her wonderfully cute shop babyNOIR and got some postcards and a few more details.

The Holiday Kids’ Bazaar in Astoria will take place at on December 1st at 22-27 33rd St (bet. Ditmars Blvd & 23rd Ave), in Astoria. It looks like there are going to be some amazing local crafters there. I am definitely going to have to put myself on a strict budget so I dont spend all of the money I make on delicious treats and terrific toys!

Fortunately I have enough inventory that I dont need to go crazy making stuff (but I probably will anyway).  I have also been trolling pintrest boards for ideas for our booth. Some of my favorite so far are ...

OK I have admission to make... I started writing this post on Friday but  was sucked into the black hole of the internet. On the plus side I discovered the blog Stitched in Color (pintrest took me there and then I'm pretty sure I stayed for 3 hours at least).

Soooo, yeah, Rachel is my new hero. I simply cannot believe she learned to sew so recently! And the fact that she continuously creates is just so awe inspiring. And then it makes me jealous. And then sad. And then inspired again.

But to tie it all together... her series of posts about her experience at a craft fair really gave me some good advice. I learned that....

I really dont know anything yet!

I feel like I have so much to do before December 1st! Oh my god, what if I cant get it all done? What if I fail like a big floppy failure? I am totally psyched out!! And NOW MY LEG HAS FALLEN ASLEEP! (that last one might be unrelated)

Actually I feel OK.  I do have a lot to do but I am sure I will be fine. Right? RIGHT??

If you have any sage advice for me about this whole craft show thing, please share. I would love to hear it. Or maybe a story about your first experience?  Right now I have to go walk around because my leg really has fallen asleep.

See you soon I hope!

Surface treatments for recycled leather

Yesterday I monkeyed around with some surface designs for the leather I am going to work with for Pattern Review's refashion contest. I want to do something that really accentuates the flexibility of the leather. So I used some cording, top stitching and sew-and-slash methods to see what would look best. I haven't finalized my design yet so there is always that element but I think this is a good start.

(This is the first blog post from my iPhone so apologies if the layout is wonky.)

Adding clothes line cord to create piping.
Top stitching with contrast thread.
This is supposed to be like the sew and slash method, but the leather doesn't care that I slashed it. It still looks the same.

What the what?! I was showcased on Rhonda's Creative Life!

This afternoon I was checking my blog stats and saw that I had a quite a few people coming over from Rhonda's Creative Life.  I thought that that was quite interesting. Well, turns out that the wonderful RhondaBuss had written about me and my blog on October 24th and I had no idea! What a sweet surprise today. You can read her post here.

RhondaBuss had commented on a post I made a little while ago and so I started following her blog Rhonda's Creative Life.  Let me just say I love her blog. It makes me very happy to read about such a variety of creative endeavors. And, although I am a true sewist, I have particularly loved reading about her fall soups. The Monday morning inspiration posts are my second favorite. I  have even printed some out for my sketchbook!

Thanks RhondaBuss! You are a real inspiration.

This whole blogging thing has been an interesting experience. I am by nature more private than public (although I am outgoing and gregarious).  But to see the number of readers (and followers) slowly rise has been so neat. And a little nerve wracking. And I find myself writing posts in my head while on the train, or at the bank (in other words places where my blog isn't quite accessible). The idea that people out there are reading about things that I am doing or thinking is so remarkable. It is a small world isn't it? (cue song please)

So thank you also to my mystery readers. I love that you stopped by.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sewing Solace - A handmade holiday crafts drive for victims of Sandy

House destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
In the aftermath of Sandy, I have been doing a lot of thinking about ways I can help. Not just giving money, which we dont have much of to give, nor canned goods, because we dont have much of that either. But specifically what I can do with my particular skill set. Unfortunately I can't get to the most devastated areas right now, so volunteering my time might be hard. I have looked into the Occupy Astoria group because I have heard that the Occupiers have really been doing an amazing job organizing people to help, and that might be an avenue I peruse.

However, yesterday an amazing little article popped up in my Google alerts. The following article from the Huffington Post turned out to be an inspiration...

Although I am an avid animal lover, and as I write this my little puppy Pepper is sleeping on my feet, I feel that maybe the children and families affected by the storm are more in need of my needle and thread. I don't propose to sew them clothes or blankets, because those can be purchased fairly cheaply for donation. I was thinking more along the lines of holiday heirlooms. It is so close to the holiday's and along with the destruction of their homes, people lost precious family treasures, stockings made by long gone great grandmothers, tree ornaments from baby's first Christmas, nativity scenes brought over from the home country. I know it seams like a very little thing now, but on Christmas eve, it might be really important to have a little something made with love, even if it is from a stranger.

This stocking is from a tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew
My conclusion? A handmade holiday crafts drive for victims of Sandy!

The details are still in work, but I think that any handmade, holiday (Chanukah, Christmas and any other seasonal holiday) items are appropriate for this drive. And, if all goes well, maybe we can also add little gifts? I am going to try and figure out how these items can be distributed to people in need, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Have any of you ever done anything like this before?

In the meantime, start thinking about what scraps are laying around that can be transformed into something festive. I am going to start making Christmas Stockings with some scraps of satin and some fabulous pink fur! I will post more as it develops, along with some Christmas craft tutorials. 

Do you like this idea? Seriously, any suggestions would be a real help!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting my refashion on!

So today I starting working/thinking about the Refashion Contest (sponsored by threads on Pattern Review which I wrote about here) Fortunately my dear husband used to wear a giant black leather trench coat in college. He knows better now. Thank god. Anyway, he has this huge leather jacket that he kindly gave to me to use for my project. So sweet.

I also happened to run across this doozy at my local little thrift store. Its just the fabulous shade of green isn't it? It smells a little funky (alla attic) but I think I can fix that.

This morning I tried a bunch of different surface treatments on the black leather and I think that I came up with some really cool options.

I am really excited about this project! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

To throw or to sew?

During the storm last week I decided to start making a coat. It's on my list of things to make, and I had purchased fabric for the Gertie Sew Along. I decided that I to make the Burdastyle's Talea coat because A) it is pretty cute and B) it was free. (I also wrote about that here) I decided not to add the epaulette tabs because I am self conscious about my shoulders and all that stuff seamed like it would be to much. It all started out so well...

First mistake
I have made a few Burdastyle patterns before and I have generally been satisfied with the fit and sizing, but this was the first oat I had ever made. So I didn't make any pattern adjustments (other than adding a lining). 

What a sad sack I am in.
Second mistake
Then, I decided to do some top stitching that deviated from the directions. I thought it would give the coat an Anthropologie-ish flair by zig-zagging on either side of all the seams.  It looked nice but made it twice as hard to rip apart. And then it turns out it doesn't look that nice.

Third mistake
My instincts told me I should use some sort of interfacing in the shoulders and collar, but the directions didn't say anything about that. 

Fourth mistake
I looked at the other finished Taleas on and felt really lame. Sigh. 

So now I have a 4/5 finished coat that I hate. HATE! I just want to make something else. But, you see, therein lies the problem. I also really dont want to add ANOTHER half finished project to the discard pile. Ergo...

To throw or sew.  Do you have this problem? Why is it so hard to just push through and FINISH? Maybe if I finish I wont hate it (yeah right). But even if I do hate it, won't I feel better about myself if I can just push though and get it done? 

Well, I am no going to find out. Goodbye Talea. You made me so happy and then so sad.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Can I get a woo hoo for Darbalou?!

After much procrastination (followed by a  little diligence) I finally got all of the Darbalou products up on Etsy! EVERYTHING is now online, (although there are still a few additional photos to add to the most of the capes)

One of the best parts about editing the photos from our "photo-shoot" was looking at all of the expressions my niece had from photo to photo.

She really hammed it up for us that day. I wish Etsy had a place for captions under their photos. She really had some good ones. She is just so dang cute!

"Now am I smiling big enough?"

"This is my impression of a Hobbit climbing the steps into Mordor."

 "Don't f* with me Aunt Darby!"

"Hey-hey man, its all good!"
I can't wait to have a little photo-shoot with her again. She was such a trooper. We took over 400 photos on Lou's iPhone, (great quality right?) I wish I had as much energy. After we had gone through all of the costumes, she asked to start all over again after dinner. Ha!

It feels great to be able to say that I have my stuff online now, and it will feel even better when I get my first non-friend-non-family member sale, (although I am definetly not complaining about the support). There are a few private orders in the works now, but I am going to start working on new products soon! I was thinking a wrap-around princess dress with bell sleeves and faux lacing? Do you think there will be any takers out there?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Refashion Sewing Contest from Threads via Pattern Review

I am finally joining the 21st century. I am getting my first smart phone (the iPhone 5!!!) in a week or so and I have finally set some Google alerts! One of my alerts is set for "sewing contest" and the very first thing that popped up was this one from Threads Magazine (posted on Pattern Review) I am very excited by this contest because it seams right up my alley. I like that is about "up-cycling" even if they dont use that word.

Below is the content from Pattern Review, which I assume they have taken from Threads. I cannot actually find the link on the Threads Mag website, but I figure that is because the contest doesn't open until the 1st of November.

Refashion Contest
November 1, 2012 - November 15, 2012

Refashioning, reconstructing, recycling or upcycling -- whatever you call it, this is the contest for it.

Objective: Take an item or items and create a new and different garment.

Requirements: A photo of your "material" (the initial item or items) and another photo of the final garment must be included in your review. Additional pictures may also be included.

Your original items can be anything you want, but they may only be turned into garments or accessories to qualify as "new" items for this contest. The garment must be sewn. Self drafted patterns or commercial patterns may be used; they may be previously used or new.

The "original" item or items must be changed substantially to create a new garment. The item can be of the same type (dress to dress) or something entirely different (tablecloth to dress). However, the new item must be distinctly different from the original (for example, embellishments only do not qualify).
At least half of the new item must be made from reconstructed / recycled items (notions such as zippers or interfacing do not count in the total).

Examples that qualify for the contest:

Making a skirt from pants. Making a fitted top from a tunic. Making a hat from a sweater.

Examples that do not qualify for the contest:

Hemming an old bridesmaid dress to make it a short cocktail dress. Taking the sleeves off a blouse to make it a sleeveless blouse. Resizing a t-shirt to a smaller t-shirt.

Suggestions for reviews & to help with voting:

For entrants: Include in your review a description of the original article, and what steps you took to make the new garment. You may also want to explain why you chose the original article to reconstruct or recycle. This can help inspire others to do something similar.

For voters: How different is the final item from the original item or items? How functional is the final garment?

Sponsored by

First Prize:
Threads Archive DVD

Second Prize
Fitting DVD Set

I am thinking of making a fabulous leather bag from and old leather coat but I am not sure yet. I also have to find the leather coat! It would be pretty sweet to get that Threads Archive DVD...

So what are you thinking of making? Have you heard of any sweet sewing contests that you would like to share?


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Broadway Silk Store, Astoria New York

Every week I go to a Weight Watchers meeting on Broadway and 36th street. This week I made an unbelievable discovery!

The Broadway Silk Store. Located at 35-11 Broadway, this place is gem of Astoria. From the outside it looks like a hold over from by-gone days. But inside it is clean and well organized fabric store. All of the fabrics feel a little vintage. I am not sure how often their merchandise is updated but I also don't care. This is the kind of place where you find one of a kind floral Crepe de Chine and perfect plaid taffeta's that no one else will have.

Not only that but it doubles as a cute little gift shop with hip items like mustache mugs and miniature felt creatures. Although this little store doesn't boast the curation of some of the more Brooklyn-y gift shops, it does very well with what it has. The whole feeling of the store seams to gel. And there is a ginger cat with a fabulous poofy tail! I have a feeling he is the in-house muse. Or maybe he just prevents in-house mouses. Ha! Doesn't it look so wonderfully inviting? I am sure I will be patronizing this store in the very near future! There goes my pin money!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review - The Sewing Answer Book

So my sweet husband came home with a gift for me the other day. He had found a copy of           The Sewing Answer Book (by Barbara Weiland Talbert) on one of those second-hand-book tables that exist around New York.  He bought it for 1 dollar! You can buy it for quite cheap on Barnes and Noble too.

I really liked this book. I wish there were more pictures, but as far as a sewing books go this one was great. It answers many seemingly random sewing questions in a coherent way and also gives excellent tips. I was very impressed.  Several times I was actually bowled over by the smartness of the tip and thought...why didn't I think of that?!!

I have to say however my favorite tip went something like this...
"If you cant see it from a galloping horse, dont bother to re-do it."
That might become my new motto.

Second favorite is
"Tape paper bags to your sewing and cutting stations so you can toss out threads as you snip them."

(I might have paraphrased a little on the exact wording of the quotes.)

What is your favorite sewing tip? I would love to hear about that one thing that you know and no one else does about sewing.

My awesome tips?

  1. Use soup cans as pattern weights
  2. A great way to make a cutting table out of your regular table is to use bed risers under the legs. They add usually 6 inches or more of height! You can buy them at Bed Bath and Beyond as well as IKEA and probably Target.

I have more but I cant give them all away now or you won't come back to my blog! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting back to it....

Well, jeeze.  It really has been a while since my last post hasn't it? One of my oldest and most stubborn faults is that I get so wrapped up in a project that...
A) I forget everything else I had wanted to do, whether or not it pertained to that project
B) I burn out.

That is exactly what happened these past few weeks. I worked so hard on my shirtwaist dress to have it finished by Gertie's book party that I didn't take very good pictures.  And then I made a fabulous brocade dress for a wedding and once again... no pictures. And instead of moving on, writing about something else or starting another project, I just felt overwhelmed by my failure to record and blog. Sigh.

Then, to top that off, I broke my vow of not buying any clothing.  My dwindling collection of jeans got me so low that instead of making a pair, I just bought one from the Gap. Granted, they were on sale, (I saved more than 50%!) but still. But I broke my vow! I am very sad at myself.

One more problem is that my sewing room is in chaos because we are using it as a photography studio.  (Check out our Etsy store for all the new listings!!!) I just haven't had the energy or inspiration to clean it.

Another thing is that I was planning on making Gertie's coat. I had even made a muslin (which was to big) and posted it on the Flickr group. But I am not sure if I actually want to make it. Is that bad? I think the coat design is great, but I want something a little more useful.  I am also on a pretty strict budget which makes things like buying hair interfacing a no-no. At least for now. And for sure no pattern buying splurges.  But I found this free pattern on Burda so i might end up making that, except without all the do-dads on it. But, I can also make this beautiful double breasted coat with the fabric I got for the Gertie coat. Which one do you like better?
Talea #9301 - free from Burda
Ankle-length double breasted wool coat #107

I also happen to have some fleece backed Gore-Tex that would be wonderfully warm, and all of the little squirrels are telling me that it is going to be a very cold winter. (they are working overtime to hide all of their nuts)  

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am re-booting. If Romney can do it why cant I. Although after tonight's debates we shall see how well that worked. So. See you tomorrow?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beauty review Maybelline 10 hour stain gloss in Refreshingly Red

Model wearing Refreshingly Red
I am constantly on the hunt for "the" lipstick. You know the kind,  one that is timeless, luxurious and also au courant. Wait... did I forget to mention cheap? So that makes me unable to resist dollar store deals that look velvety red in the tube but feel like sealing wax on my lips. I probably have tried hundreds in my 29 years. You think I would learn. Nope.

But every now and then I am also enticed by actual brands of makeup. Usually in the drug store, possibly late at night. And fortunately rarely over 10 dollars a pop.

I was in Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday morning getting a lavender sachet for my rice filled boot stands (post to come) and I was sucked into the make up section.  I decided I deserved a treat, and before I knew I I had 5 different kinds of lipstick in my hand. The one I chose was Maybeline 10 Hour Stain Gloss in Refreshingly Red.

When I got home I immediately tore it out of its package and smeared it on my lips. This is how I feel about it today....

1) The red really is very pretty. In truth it's one of the best reds I have found.  And because it is a stain it isn't too lipstick-y. (Though there is a time and place for that) I give it....
5 out of 5 smooches for color
2)  It is not as the package claims "10 hour". Though it is quite a long lasting stain, don't think you are going to make it through dinner with your ruby pout.  Reapplication is necessary especially after meals, which is the same for most lipsticks.  But it does have a tendency to stay on the outer lips far longer. Making it .... awkward.  I woke up this morning looking like I had lip liner tattoo.

3 out of five smooches for staying power

3) The application of this stuff was crazy terrible. It has a stick applicator which is usually OK, especially for stains because it gives you more control. Not so this Maybelline! Using this was like using a fuzzy stick dipped in a paint bucket. The consistency was to thin for the applicator and tube, and as a result it got all over! Despite the fact that I was very careful it ended getting on the table, on my planner, on my dog, and if I hadn't noticed that it had smeared on the outside of the applicator I would have also gotten it on the inside of my new bag! Arg!!! This is not something I could put in my clutch or pocket for an evening out. Too messy!
1 out of 5 smooches for usability

Would I recomend this lipstick to you? Don't bother. This will just be one that ends up in the bottom of your makeup bag until it explodes and gets all over your stuff and you wont ever be able to get it out. 

So what is your favorite lipstick? Will it be your signature color forever? Or just the flavor of he moment? I would love to hear suggestions...

Right now mine is Fran Wilson's Mood Matched in Red. Big surprise that it was 2.99 at CVS right? It's not my forever color though. That is still TBD.

Till next time!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing Launch Party! Woohoo!

Last Saturday I had the fabulous opportunity to go to Gretchen Hirsch's book launch part for her book Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing.  The party was held in benefit to the Pets Alive shelter where Gertie herself got her three furry pals.  (Lou and I will be getting our next kitten there I am sure)

I went by myself which was a big deal, even though I am a pretty out going person.  This was my first experience going to a crafty event like this and I was nervous! Would there be anyone for me to talk to? Would I stand in a corner alone and be a sad sack? Would everyone else know each other except me and I would be that one crazy fan?

I stood outside of the Sewing Studio on 29th and 7th (my old stomping ground back when I went to brought back a lot of memories) took some deep breaths and said to myself "I am crafty, creative and nice. It will be a good night!"

Let me tell you I had so much fun.

ME and Patty (Gertie's Mom!)
First thing when I walked in the gal at the check in desk complimented me on my dress, which was the Burda Shirtwaist that I wrote about here and here which I had just the franticlly finished the  button holes hours before. That started the evening off with a bang. I met a bunch of wonderfull people, including Jessica Pigza of Handmade Librarian and Sarah Goldshadt whose book Craft-A-Day will be coming out next month.  The founder of Kollabora was there, Nora Abousteit, as well as some people from Creativebug, the web-hosts of Gertie's new online classes. (I got a 1 month subscription and I am dying to try a few...OK, all of the projects).  I met Gertie's mom and dad, who live near my hometown of Flagstaff AZ and we talked about local eateries and hangouts.  I even got my book signed by Gertie herself, (she said I look amazing in plaid). She was absolutely as nice and gracious as she seems. 

When I got home though, I realized I had forgotten to take any pictures! Dag nab it! Then, low and behold, when I checked Gertie's Blog yesterday....THERE I WAS!!!!! (Can you tell I am excited about this? I don't all -caps-bold for nothing!)

It was is an honor to be pictured on Gertie's blog, but even more so to meet all of those wonderful people.  Every one there cares passionately about creativity, and craft which is really neat.  It's not everyday someone asks you if you used your walking foot to match the plaid or how you basted your seams. I can't wait till my next event. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Shirtwaist post ... 2 = Tips for Cutting and Matching Plaid

Well, I finally finished the shirtwaist dress that I talked about here.  It was quite a feat matching all that plaid. And because I am lame and didn't post my progress I as I went along, I have to play catch up now. Or maybe I should say I have to plaid catch up. Get it? (collective groan)

So here you go with Shirtwaist post ... 2 = Cutting Plaid

I decided to use a beautiful Jewel hued plaid for my Burda Style pattern 7179. This is the second time that I have used plaid and have learned to match it very carefully. Here are a few tips for cutting and matching plaids....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Threads Magazine blog giveaway

So I just discovered Threads Magazine's blog! Its really great. And....They are having a giveaway!!!!

Go check it out and enter to win the Colette Sewing Handbook!!! Yay! (I hope I win)

You likey?

ME in my all sewn by ME outfit!
Thanks! I made it!!

Well, I didn't get the shirt dress completed. (I swear its coming! It has to be done by next Sunday so I can wear it to a house warming party!) But I did finish a dirndl skirt that I was working on. I wore it out to run errands in the city and out to drinks with friends at a bar called William Hallet in Astoria.  Its really the first time I wore a very vintage inspired ensemble.  I was always afraid I would appear a little costume-y.  But I think I carried the look of quite will. I was even complemented on the subway by some hipster chick (she had a sweet Rosemaling tattoo! Inspiration for me perhaps?)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why hello Darbalou!

Me outside the courthouse! 
So... I am working on the shirtwaist posts, but in the meantime I have some super exciting news that I wanted to share with you! I am now officially a business owner! I went to the Queens county court house today and got a Business Certificate then went straight to the bank to open an business account and get an IEN.  I feel very grown up about it all!

I had been quite overwhelmed by the whole process. My mind is not altogether linear so it is hard for me to wrap it around legal terms and requirements.  The first time I actually went to the court house  forgot some papers I needed and I felt like a schmuck.

But when I went today, it was easy as pie! The guards were nice, the notary helpful and I had a wonderful conversation with the certificate lady about her old boxer. It was grand. (except I lost my car and had to walk around for 20 min beeping the key thing to find it, but don't tell anyone about that) Plus I was their first Business Certificate of the day! I thought that was a good omen dont you?

So now, I am proud to announce the official opening of .... (cue fanfare please)

Darbalou is a children's costume/dress up company we have been working on for a while. My goal is to make really awesome children's dress up clothes that are washable, easy and super fun to wear. When I was a little kid playing dress up was my favorite thing in the world.  Putting on a discarded bridesmaids dress (about 10 sizes to big mind you) could transport me to ancient Egypt, a royal court, the Organ trail, or anywhere else I could think of.  I think it is so important to encourage kids to flex their brain grapes. So, my husband and I decided to start a company with just that in mind. (his name is Lou BTW, that's where the Lou in Darbalou comes from.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Shirtwaist...Post 1

The Shirtwaist...Post 1

OK, truth be told, its 4 am and I can't sleep. I keep thinking about the shirtwaist dress I am going to start on tomorrow (ahem, today). When I was in South Carolina I scored big time at Jo-Ann fabrics Labor day sale. Vogue patterns were on sale for $3.99 and McCall's were only $1.99!  (you would think that liking in one of the fashion capitols of the world I wouldn't get so excited about going to a Jo-Ann sale but so be it) Needless to say I picked up a bunch of patterns on the cheap. More on that later.

 One of the patterns I bought is Burda Style 7179

This is a vintage reproduction pattern which means that the fit will have been modernized. But that what muslins are for!

I will be making version B as its still quite warm and I figure this is a good fall transition dress.  Should I make the shall collar variation? What do you think? And I might just try and figure out that cute little pill box hat on the F illustration.  And those gloves might be perfect for trying my new Bernina Leather foot! (I have a pattern from for the gloves) I might need the bow tie too.  Hmmm.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Essentials List

 The Essentials List...

Patricia Franchini in Breathless

Patricia Franchini in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film Breathless has a certain something, dont you agree? The film itself is, of course, an essential member of the canon of film history. And yes, I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed watching Ms. Franchini much more. Her quintessentially cool looks remain burned in my mind when ever I think of Paris, let alone bohemian chic. But it is also her seemingly perfect travel-go-with-the-flow wardrobe that makes me swoon...just a little.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hello, my name is Darby, and I am addicted to sewing.

Hello, my name is Darby, and I am addicted to sewing.

This is my heart on sewing.
And this is going to be my support group. 

Its funny because I used to think sewing was such a hassle. There are so many other faster ways to get my creative groove hot glue or modge podge for example. But somehow, I dont know, maybe I grew up some and gained some patience. A stitch in time right?! Er, maybe that is the wrong colloquialism in this instance.

And my creative endeavors always had a erratic nature. And two thirds of the time I would never finish or I would half ass it and end up with a piece of junk.  I know how to sew pretty well, I actually went to school for it. (costume and fashion) But when I sewed for myself, I always took short cuts and I never liked what I made.  So, why bother?

A few weeks ago I discovered Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing. There was something about this blog that I really fell in love with.  Maybe its the wonderfully personal way that Gertie writes or that she has an actual direction that she is trying to go. Or maybe, just maybe I feel like we could be friends IRL? (isn't that what blogs are kinda about anyway?) Her blog got me thinking... I need direction. I need a focus, a goal, and motivation. But what ever could it be?!