This week I finally finished a Vintage Inspired Skirt for myself that I created with E.T. Novelty Fabric!
Ever since I was a child growing up in the 1980’s, I have loved all things E.T.! Over the many years, I have owned E.T. Dolls, E.T. Posters, E.T. PEZ Dispensers, an E.T. Watch, and a bar of E.T. Soap!
Not surprisingly, when I spotted E.T. Fabric at Jo-Ann's Fabric, two summers ago, I couldn’t help but purchase several yards! I had planned to make myself a skirt with the fabric, but was delayed about a year and a half, due to finding out that I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I had the skirt about half way made, when I decided to pause the project until after my baby was born, knowing I wouldn’t be able to wear it, with a growing baby-bump, followed by a post pregnancy body!
Check out a close-up photo of the fabric that I found:
(Isn't it bizarrely exquisite?!)
Just recently, I found myself caught up on most of my ongoing projects... I pulled out my partially completed E.T. Skirt, and began to finish its construction! I rarely have time to make clothing for myself, so it is exciting for me when I finally do!
I cut out contrasting lining, created a waistband to fit my current waist measurement, and I assembled the skirt to completion! I was very happy to find that I had just enough fabric remnants to add lined pockets!
Check out the completed skirt:
I absolutely love the design of this High-Waisted Full Skirt! To create this look, I used the skirt pattern pieces of Butterick Retro '56 Dress Pattern, B5813, and then created my own customized waistband, and pockets.
I also love how this fabric isn’t instantly recognizable as an E.T. Print until one looks a little more closely!
Check out a few more photos:
Thank you for reading about my latest creation, my Vintage Inspired E.T. Skirt! I am looking forward to creating several more skirts and dresses for myself in the near future, as well as a 1930's Girdle!
More Blog Posts coming soon!
As a busy mother of four, working mostly from home, I try to keep myself, my home, and my work space as organized as possible. By staying organized, and having a place for everything, I am able to save time finding exactly what I need when I need it, as well as not having to remember where every individual thing is: it is where it should be.
Often, my friends or family ask me for tips on keeping their sewing space, or crafting area, organized and tidy. Today, I would like to share with you a few ways that I organize my Commercial, or store bought, Sewing Patterns. My organization tips in this regard, are sure to make finding the perfect pattern within your collection, or locating a specific design detail, very fast and with ease!
Take a look at this charming Vintage Cardboard Sewing Pattern Holder of mine! It is great for storing my unused Commercial Sewing Patterns.
This is my second Vintage Sewing Pattern Box, made in durable plastic:
When I began learning to sew, I began to accumulate Commercial, or store-bought Sewing Patterns for use in my sewing projects. I bought two Sewing Pattern Boxes over time, that I used to store them in, but I found that once I used a Commercial Pattern, it was hard to fold them back up and stuff them back into the pattern envelope it originally came so neatly folded in.
If you also sew, you most likely know exactly what I mean... The delicate tissue that the patterns are printed on, can be challenging to fold as flat as they once were, especially after being cut and used! I found myself wrinkling or damaging my patterns!
As I began attending Pattern Drafting classes in Fashion Design School, I learned a far more organized approach to storing patterns, and found that this proved useful in archiving my growing collection of Commercial Sewing Patterns. Although I draft, and drape, my own patterns for my original designs, when I am creating specific garments for clients, or for myself, I sometimes am able to use Commercial Patterns, and may modify them occasionally to fit my purpose, or my client's size. As a Fashion Design Professor once told me, "There is no need to reinvent the wheel!", and if I am making a garment that already exists as a pattern, why not save time and use the pattern available?
This is a Pattern Drafting Binder from my Fashion Design School days! I started this binder while taking a Pattern Drafting Course in College. My Professor had us store our drafted patterns in plastic sheet protectors, neatly organized in a binder. Pictured here are Collar Variations I drafted back in college. It is easy to see what patterns I have on hand, and it is easy to access them this way!
After taking this Pattern Drafting class, I found that by continuing to store pattern pieces in sheet protectors held within sturdy binders, I was able to keep my used Commercial Sewing Patterns very organized.
Here are some of my Commercial Sewing Pattern Binders, organized by clothing category:
In addition to my Pattern Binders, I store my hand-drafted patterns on a garment rack, organized by clothing category in my Sewing Workroom.
Now, check out how I organize my Commercial Sewing Patterns once I use them...
First, I open the pattern and cut out all the pattern pieces. Yep, all of them. Although this is a bit time consuming, depending on how many variations there are in the pattern packet, it is well worth spending the time, when going back to use the pattern in the future.
The following photo is of Simplicity Sewing Pattern, #8250, a 1950’s Vintage Reproduction of a Lined Bolero, and a Skirt. As you can see, this single pattern packet contains three separate patterns: Style A, a Pocketed Skirt, Style B, a Skirt without pockets, and Style C, a Lined Bolero.
When I begin to cut out the pattern pieces, I separate the pattern pieces into piles. I make a pile for Style A pattern pieces, a separate pile for Style B pattern pieces, and a separate pile for Style C pattern pieces. In this case, the skirt pattern is the same for both Style A as well as for Style B. The only difference is extra pattern pieces for the pockets. I make a separate pile for pocket pattern pieces.
Once I have all my pattern pieces cut out and organized in separate piles, I place each pattern pile into its own plastic sheet protector. I place the Sewing Pattern Envelope, as well as all Sewing Instructions into its own sheet protector. Most patterns will use 5 sheet protectors or more. I then place the filled sheet protectors, in order, into my pattern binder. I currently, have, and use, several binders. I have a binder for Women’s Dresses, Women’s Separates, Children’s Clothes & Children's Projects, Accessories, and Men’s Clothing.
Check out my Pattern Binder for Women’s Dresses. Here I have turned to the page that features Butterick Pattern #B5813, a “Retro 1956” Dress Reproduction Pattern. The pattern envelope illustrates three separate styles. Behind the pattern envelope I have stored the pattern instructions:
The following page in my Pattern Binder, is a sheet protector carrying all of the pattern pieces for Skirt C:
Next, I have the bodice pattern pieces for Styles A, B, and C. These are the same pattern pieces for each style. Only the skirts are different on these three pattern styles.
The next sheet protector holds the pattern pieces for the collar. Although this is the same collar for all three dresses, I keep this design detail separate, so I can easily pull out the collar pattern for other projects if needed. I often do this with sleeve pattern pieces as well.
Next, I have the Side Front pieces for Style A and Style B...
Lastly, I have the Front Band pattern pieces for Style B, and the Belt pattern pieces for Style C.
I have found that by separating each section of the pattern, it's various styles, and its unique design details this way, I can easily find the pattern pieces that I need for any project idea.
For example, I may want to make only a skirt, but by using a specific dress pattern. If that is the case, I flip to the page of the sewing pattern desired, and then I turn the page to the skirt pattern pieces. I don't have to rummage through a folded wad of tissue paper stuffed into the pattern envelope to find the pattern pieces that I need! If I want to make a "Frankenstein" Creation of a dress, I can easily choose a bodice from one pattern, a skirt from another, a collar from another, and so on. This organization technique makes my imagination run wild with possibilities! I can only hope that eventually all of my hundred-plus Commercial Sewing Patterns will be archived this way! For now, I only add them to the binder as they are used.
Do you find this Sewing Pattern organization method helpful? I hope that you do! Please leave me a comment and do tell how you currently organize your sewing patterns. Do you have a better way? I hope you enjoyed stepping into my Sewing Workroom and seeing how I use my Commercial Sewing Patterns.
Thank you for reading my Blog!
As a Freelance Fashion Designer, specializing in Women's Wear, I don't often receive client requests for Children's Clothes or for other children's sewing projects. Every once in a while, however, I do receive such a request. Recently, I finished my first sewing project of the year for a dear friend of mine, Custom Keepsake Teddy Bears, which was a first for me! As that project came to completion, along
with the recent end of 2019, and the beginning of a new decade, I began to reflect back on the few Children's and Baby Projects that I have thus completed in my sewing and design career.
In the last two years or so, I have only worked on a hand full of items for babies, or children. You may recall one such project, that I completed in October 2018, when I had the privilege of creating Dance Costumes for the P.R.O.U.D. Modesto Girl's Dance Group. You can check out my Blog Article detailing behind the scenes design studio details of that project by clicking HERE.
In addition to the P.R.O.U.D Modesto Girl's Dance Costume project, I have created the following children's projects for my own family, friends, or for my clients...
Custom "Bath Time" Baby Toy Holder
To achieve the idea I had in mind, I Hand-Stitched the words "Bath Time" in Embroidery, and I then cut and stitched a Bathtub Shaped Applique design which I attached to yellow felt. I also cut out a Rubber Ducky shape, also in felt, as well as the eye and duck-bill pieces. I sandwiched the felt details in between two sheets of plastic. On the top layer of plastic, I cut out and sewed three clear pockets, that would later be used for toy storage. The pockets have drain holes punched through the bottom to allow for drainage of wet toys.
I loved the final outcome of this project! It is a fun piece to display in my children's bathroom, that is both decorational and functional! My family and I have gotten much use out of this toy holder over the past two years, and it has held up quite well!
Custom High Chair Pillow
After my daughter, SkyLynne was born, my Mother-in-Law, gave our family an old high chair that was my husbands when he was a tot back in the 1980's! I loved the colors, and simplicity of the 1980's design! After a fresh coat of orange paint on the tray of the high chair, and with the addition of a safety latch to secure the tray down, I then created a custom pillow to help support our growing infant. I used scrap fabric, that I already had on hand, in my fabric supply bin, of the same colors, black, orange, yellow, and green, that the High Chair originally featured.
Take a look at the pillow that I created for our high chair! I am sure that it will be a treasured keepsake, along with the high chair for many more generations to come!
Custom Children's Mermaid Inspired Pants
Custom Children's Greek Play Costumes
They were so happy with their costumes! Their increased confidence was evident in both of their outstanding performances! I can't wait to create more costumes for upcoming school plays!
In the Spring of 2018, I was hired to create a fantastically creatively fun piece for one of my clients. The project was to create a baby's formal gown by using the material from my client's wedding dress! The wedding dress was an amazingly beautiful beaded lace gown with a long detachable train. I was honored to have been chosen for this special task!
Because the wedding dress had a huge train that separated from the wedding gown, I was able to use the train fabric, leaving the beautiful wedding dress intact for future generations. The fabric included lovely beaded lace applique, that I took apart very carefully. All of the pieces I created, a Baby Formal Gown, a Bonnet, and Beaded Booties, are made of the original wedding dress material. I removed all of the beaded lace applique from the original fabric, and then reattached the beaded lace to the bonnet, booties, and dress. The final outcome was perfect!
Check out this video featuring Behind the Scenes Photos of this project in my Designer Workroom:
I love all things E.T.! Last summer, I was in the fabric store, and my eye instantly caught sight of this marvelous E.T. novelty fabric! I couldn't help myself, and I bought several yards to make myself a fun skirt (Click Here to see my Vintage Inspired E.T. Skirt)! I used the leftover fabric remnants to construct a lovely little pillow for my daughter's room! I love it!
(My sister, Desiree, thinks that E.T. is absolutely creepy! I can't wait to surprise Desiree by wearing my new E.T. Skirt to her house! He he...)
(Can you find my E.T. Doll in the photo of my E.T. Pillow? I snuck him in there just for Desiree! I hope she is reading this article and is creeped out! Muah ha ha...)
And now for my most recent completed children's project...
Custom Keepsake Teddy Bears
A very dear friend of mine, Megan, experienced tremendous loss, when her father passed away several years ago. Since his passing, she, and her only sister, have been married, and have had children of their own. Unfortunately, these grandchildren were born after their Grandpa passed away, and the children were never able to met him personally. Megan asked me if I could turn shirts that belonged to her father into a keepsake teddy bear for her son. I loved the idea, and agreed instantly, especially since I know the family so well. When Megan brought to me her father's shirts, I was pleasantly surprised that there were four shirts, with enough fabric, that would allow me to create four separate teddy bears! I didn't tell her that I made four until I presented the final project to her. My idea was that she, her sister, as well as both of their children would have their very own keepsake teddy bear to cherish, or she can do whatever she wishes with them! She loved the idea and she loved the teddy bears!
Check out my Work In Progress photos of this project, as well as what the shirts looked like before I transformed them into bears!
Check out the finished bears:
Making these Teddy Bears was a fun project, and I definitely learned much in how to improve my Stuffed Animal making skills! It was especially hard for my youngest two daughters, ages 2 1/2, and 1 to watch me create Teddy Bears that they could not play with! I have since been inspired to create a Fig from Tumble Leaf Doll, as well as a few Frida Kahlo Inspired Dolls! I will keep you readers updated on those projects!
That completes my recap of the sewing projects that I have made for children or babies! Although these types of projects are not my professional specialty, it is definitely fun to create sewing projects that are different than what I normally do, and that are interestingly creative!
I hope that you enjoyed my Blog Post!
Which project did you enjoy viewing the most? Do you have any ideas for upcoming children/baby sewing or design projects? Please leave me a comment below with any of your feedback or opinions!
Until we meet again, Dear Reader!
Have a exceptional day!
My how fast the year passes by, and in a blink of an eye, the seasons change, our beloved October has come and gone, and (depending on where you live) wintery days are finally upon us!
Here is the Official Rules of #Inktober, as well as the Official 2019 #Inktober Prompt List:
As for myself, this is the second year that I have decided, and been able to, participate in #Inktober.
The first year I participated in Inktober was in 2017. During that year, I decided to opt out of using the provided Prompt List, and instead chose to focus my drawing mostly on Fashion Illustrations. You can check out the Blog Post that I put together about my participation in #Inktober2017, which includes each of my 31 illustrations from October 2017, by clicking HERE.
Last year, during October 2018, I had fully intended on participating in Inktober once again, however, before I knew it, October 2018 came and went! I drew a measly three ink drawings during the entire month!
Check them out:
My #Inktober2019 Illustrations!
Whenever I have the time to do so, which isn't very often, I love drawing Fashion Illustrations, or completing some sort of art project. Although I have been drawing all of my life, drawing women's faces has always been a challenge for me. When I took Fashion Illustration Classes in college, I began to improve in this area, but I still wasn't that good. During Inktober 2017, I began to get even better at drawing women's faces (which is the whole reason for Inktober: To improve in our inking!)! During that particular fall, I found that my rendering of a woman's face in pencil was fairly good, but then as I began to ink the drawing, my lady's faces became monstrous! My goal for #Inktober2019 is to improve in this area even more so!
As October began to approach again this year, I made the goal to create 31 Ink Drawings, by challenging myself to draw (mostly) fashion related illustrations to sharpen, and fine tune, my inking skills! Usually, my preferred Inking Medium is Sharpies, regular and fine-tip, but this year I treated my Husband, and myself, to a new set of Copic Multiliner Ink Pens! I absolutely love them! Having this lovely fresh set of ink surely inspired me to keep on drawing! I also noticed that as I switched from Sharpies to Copics, and began using the various pens included in the Multiliner Set, I was able to keep the delicate details in my drawings of women's faces, that I was able to achieve with a sharp pencil! My drawings of women faces began to improve drastically! I hope that I can continue to advance in my face drawing, and in my inking skills!
Lets see how I do!
Now, continue to scroll down to view all 31 of my #Inktober 2019 Illustrations!
At this point, during my Inktober Challenge, I started using my new Copic Multiliner Ink Pen Set. I found that with the various multiliners included in this set, I was able to achieve much more detail in my cross-hatching and line work! Check out the following Fashion Illustration that I drew starting on Day 6. It is so much better than the illustration I completed just days before on Day 5! Also compare my drawing on Day 7, vs. Day 5: I used my Copics on Day 7 to create a full-body fashion illustration, where on Day 5 I used a Fine-Tip Sharpie. I am so excited with the outcome!
Whew, that's all of them!
I hope that you enjoyed viewing my #Inktober2019 Illustrations, as much as I enjoyed drawing and improving in my drawing and inking skills! Inktober 2019 proved again how challenging it is to find time each day to complete a drawing. I found myself simplifying my illustrations due to time. However, I am really happy with all of my artwork! Of course, I still have much improvement to grow, and I can't wait to start Inktober 2020! You know it will be here soon!
I would love to hear your feedback on what you thought of my drawings! Which were your favorites? I personally love drawing Fashion Illustrations of Shoes! Which is something I never thought I would be as good at! I also found out how much I love my Copic Multiliner Pen Set!
Did you participate in #Inktober2019? If so, share a link to your work in the comments below! Let me know what type of ink pens you used or prefer! I would love to see your art, and hear about your experience!
Thank you for reading my Blog!
Have an Ink-credible Day!
Welcome back to my Blog!
If you have read any of my recent Blog Posts, such as "A Fashionable Pregnancy: My Maternity Style-Part I" (and Part II), or if you follow me on any social media outlet, you will know that in the past two years, I have born two new children, both lovely little daughters.
The last two years have been a challenge in the sense that all of my time literally goes into caring for my young babies, as well as my two older children. I have cut back on my personal career pursuits, such as creating fashion, participating in fashion shows, and writing for my blog (but I am so grateful to be able to spend that time with my wee ones!). However, as the children grow (way to quickly!) I am slowly getting back into the swing of things! (I even read a few books!)
Growing a family not only brings changes to the current family dynamic, but it also brings changes to a mother's body! And with body changes, comes... New clothes?
Although there is not too much change I hope to achieve in regards to my body, the weight I have gained, and the task of breastfeeding, have left me looking in on my wardrobe, wondering, ‘What am I going to wear today?’
What to Wear?
Most of the clothing that I wore pre-pregnancy does not fit me properly. My waist line has expanded, my chest has grown larger due to breast-feeding, and my clothing size has increased from a size 8 to a about a size 14 depending on the brand or style. Because I am still nursing, even dresses, or blouses, that still fit me, don't allow access for baby-feeding.
I had no idea, prior to giving birth to SkyLynne, that I would be perpetually confined to blouses or dresses with front buttons, front zippers, or elastic necklines that can easily be pulled down... But that's Motherhood: we sacrifice our own preferences for what we hope is best for our children...
but, does personal style have to suffer?
In my experience, I have found that dresses that require little effort, and allow access for breastfeeding, help me to still feel like myself, while accommodating my mothering needs. Honestly, on most days, my daughters look much more fashionable than I do! But when I leave the house, I try to look somewhat decent!
As a person trained in Fashion and Sewing, my mind is full of clothing that I would love to create for myself (I even have the fabric!). Now that I am done making babies, I will be creating several new garments made to fit my new clothing size, and offer the function that I now need. Until then, I have made some mostly online purchases, of several affordable dresses, and separates, that serve my needs terrifically, and were very reasonably priced.
Now, let me show you a few of my new outfits, and, as a breastfeeding mother, how I felt about wearing them!
JCrew V-Neck Tee, with a Denim A-Line Skirt
I love the lace-up detail at the front waistline. To complete this look, my accessories include my trusty sunglasses by Kate Spade, Green All Star Converse, and super cute Peruvian Novelty Earrings.
Multi-Color Butterfly Dress
This dress, which features a lovely loose stretch-fabric, in both the bodice and the skirt, as well as a multi-color butterfly print, feels great on, and provides a body flattering look. Interestingly, this dress has no labels, so I am not sure which clothing company made it, or the exact material it is made of. I was gifted this dress by my Mother-in-Law, prior to finding out that I was pregnant with Little Minnie. I found the stretch in the neckline and bodice does allow me to pull it down to feed my baby. Although pulling down the neckline isn't as easy as I would like, it is possible.
Following is a photo of myself wearing this dress, paired with a coral sweater, holding my baby Minnie. This dress has a lovely spring look, and the multi-color butterfly textile allow for a wide range of matching accessories.
Floral "Chiffon" Wrap Dress, by Surplice
I love an online Flash Sale! When I see a "Now $9.99 and Above" in bold print across my Smartphone Screen, you know I am scrolling through those dresses, looking for the styles that open in the front (if any!). I was pleasantly surprised when the web-site Zulily offered several Flash Sales over the summer, allowing me to purchase a hand-full of "Made in China" Dresses for little money.
One such dress was described as a "Floral Chiffon Wrap Dress" made by a company called Surplice. I ordered the two colors on sale, both the Green and the Yellow, which were advertised as regularly $40.00, but now only $9.99. Both of these dresses are made in the same floral fabric, with different background fabric colors.
I really like the ease of wearing both of these dresses, but the fabric is definitely not Chiffon, based on the feel it is more likely 100% polyester (these dresses have no fabric labels!). I have found that wrap dresses are perfect for breastfeeding, because they are easy to open in the front, without the hassle of buttons or zippers.
I have since seen these dresses offered online in both a light blue, as well as a black fabric, both with the same floral print. If they go on sale, I will definitely add them to my virtual "Shopping Cart" !
My Jewelry Storage Tip
For easy access and organization of earnings, I use thin multi-compartment storage boxes, that I bought at The Dollar Tree. These storage boxes hold 12 or more pairs of earrings each, which are easy to view at a quick glance. Three of these boxes fit perfectly in just one of my Jewelry Armoire Drawers.
I find myself no longer wearing bracelets, broches, or necklaces, which tend to dig into my little babies sensitive flesh as I hold them close! One day I will wear those pieces again!
White & Blue Stripe Collared Button-Front A-Line Dress, by Sacrefas
This White & Blue Stripe Collared Button-Front A-Line Dress makes me feel sporty, like I am ready for a game of Tennis! The lightweight fabric is perfect for summer. The fit is flattering! I found these buttons are larger, and easier to fasten and unfasten for breastfeeding, then the other button up dresses in my collection.
Navy & White Gingham Shirt Dress, by Sacrefas
Next up is a lovely Navy & White Gingham Shirt Dress (with pockets!) that I purchased on Zulily, by Sucrefas. This dress is a size 3X, and is a little big, but paired with a belt, I found it looked great!
In the first photo of me in this dress, I am wearing the dress as is, with only a slip underneath. In the photo to the right, I am wearing a Petticoat underneath to maximize the fullness of the skirt. I like both looks! The Petticoat was purchased online through Wish for a mere $4.
Light Pink Floral & Foliage Dress
V- Neck Button Front Tea Length Vintage Fit & Flare Dress, by Sucrefas
The next three dresses are described as the "V-Neck Button Front Tea Length Fit & Flare Dress" made by Sucrefas, and was purchased online through Zulily's Flash Sale. I found that the size XL fit me perfect. These dresses are simple, yet offer a flattering fit. The button-up front allows for a somewhat easy breastfeeding experience. However, the buttons are many, and the button holes are a tight fit for the buttons, making it a little challenging to unfasten when holding the little one, so I have to either sit her down, or ask my Husband to carry her while I unbutton the bodice. I will most likely buy a few more colors if they go on sale again! So far I have purchased the "Pink Stripe Floral", "Blue Floral", and "Orange". The delivery of these dresses did take some time, as they are made and shipped directly from China.
online, before Payless Shoes Source went out of business, and Brown & Navy Saddle Shoes, that are perfect for many different outfits, that I purchased at Ross several years ago. I also have these leopard print and black Ballet Flats from Tahari Girl (not surprisingly, leopard print matches everything!). In addition to these lovelies, I own dozens of more pairs of flats!
Scoop Neck Tee by Wet Seal, with an A-Line Embroidered Skirt, by Sunny Leigh
Wet Seal, may seem like a Teeny Bopper's Store, but I have found some great finds, at thier retail locations, over the years! One such find are Basic Scoop Neck Women's Tees, that are relatively inexpensive, and offer enough stretch to breastfeed in.
For this look, I am wearing a Black Scoop Neck Tee, from Wet Seal, paired with a Black Floral Embroidered A-Line Skirt that I found at The Goodwill for only a few dollars. Many of the skirts within my massive skirt collection have been acquired from thrift stores. I love finding charming, and unique clothing, for a fraction of the price, at second-hand stores! However, I find myself not shopping in stores as often as I would like, do to juggling the two little ones! Thankfully, I found this one!
Check out the Floral Embroidery Design on my Sunny Leigh a-Line Skirt, in more detail:
That completes my review of My Breastfeeding Friendly Wordrobe! I hope that you have found the information I have included, both insightful and informative... especially if you are a new (or experienced) mother hoping to breastfeed with ease and in style! It is possible!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article! I look forward to you reading my next article in this series, where I make, and finish, designing and constructing, a few more new outfits!
Please leave me a comment below on your favorite outfits that I featured! I would love to hear your feedback, personal experiences, and opinions!
Until We Meet Again!
Have a magnificent day!!
Iyska is a fantastic student, she learns quickly, and has a natural artistic talent and creative mind. Teaching her was a joy! In the past, Iyska has drawn her own Fashion Illustrations, which are adorable! This past year, she participated in her annual school play, and took the time to design her own costume, for her character, "The Historian". After Iyska completed her illustration, I created this look for her, using fabric I already had on hand.
Here is her Fashion Illustration and the final costume, that I created for her.
I began Iyska's Sewing Lessons by teaching her the basic functions of my sewing machine, how to thread the machine, and how to use the machine to stitch. Iyska was a natural! Soon she was perfecting straight stitching, and using her creativity to create patterns and shapes using thread and machine stitching!
As Iyska continued to get familiar with the machine functions, she was soon ready to create her first sewing project! For her first task, I recommended creating a simple tote bag or purse. Iyska looked through my fabric bins, and chose a lovely tealish colored stretch taffeta, which she then used her new-found stitching skills, to create a sea-themed motif made with machine stitching. Iyska spent a lot of time on this project, and it really shows! I then taught her how to turn her decorated fabric into a bag, by stitching the side seams, and then adding a strap, hand stitched lining, a zipper, and her own label! Fairly advanced stuff for a beginner!
Check out her finished Cross-Body Purse: (perfect for Field Trips, or day trips to her Grandparent's House!)
What was the hardest thing about sewing that you have done so far? And, what was the easiest?
The sleeves on the dress was hardest, because I had to be careful not to mess up, especially near the shoulder.
On the bag that I made, the decorative sewing, the squid and the fish that I put on there, was easiest, because I could make anything that I wanted, and couldn't really mess up.
What did you find different in constructing your two recent projects: the Purse and the Dress?
The dress was so much bigger, with way more fabric. We did more stuff with the sewing machine, because on the bag, I hand sewed, but the dress I used the sewing machine more. I had to sew on each circle to the skirt. Especially the skirt, when we did that weird thing where we pulled the string...
Oh, when we gathered the waist?
Ya, when we gathered it, it was different then the bag was, a lot more steps.
What other things, related to Sewing or to Fashion, would you like to learn next?
Making pants. You have to make pants more to the shape of your leg. It can't be too tight, so I think it would need to fit perfect.
Now that you can sew, are you inspired to create more sewing projects?
Yes, because now that I know how to do that, those were the more basic steps to making other stuff. Like, learning to sew a hem. It isn't only used for dresses, you can hem pants and skirts, and all kinds of stuff. A lot of the things that we did, like the zipper too, you can put it on a lot of stuff, not just only the projects we did.
What will be your next Sewing Project?
I think either I will make a jacket or another bag... but if I do another bag I would want to add pockets.
Is there anything you would like to tell other people who are learning how to sew? Perhaps people who have never sewed before?
Well, if you are learning, it is best if you learn from someone else, and not teach yourself. There is a whole bunch of techniques that you might not have even thought of, like... If you just don't know how to sew at all, and you put the fabric together the wrong way, you might not know, and your project will turn out weird. You might not know you did a mistake until you are already done!
Thank you for reading my Blog!
If you have experienced pregnancy, you know first hand that it can be a challenge to wear clothes that make you feel confident, when your belly is growing with a baby inside! As that baby and belly grow, outfits that fit during the beginning of pregnancy, may no longer fit towards the end of it!
During my second pregnancy, it seemed that I had a noticeable "Baby Bump" quicker than I did with my first. Which I have read is common. Towards the beginning of my pregnancy, I was still able to wear skirts that I already owned, together with basic knit tees that offered stretch to accommodate my baby bump.
Here I am, in the 5th Month of my 2nd pregnancy, wearing a Maternity Tee by Motherhood Maternity, and a skirt that I’ve owned for many years. I found that I could still wear some of my pre-pregnancy skirts if I wore the waistband under my belly, and then rolled the fabric up, so the skirt wouldn’t appear longer in the front!
In 2017, when I was pregnant with my second to youngest daughter, SkyLynne, I didn't invest in too much Maternity Wear (you can check out my Pregnancy Looks during that pregnancy by clicking here: A Fashionable Pregnancy: My Maternity Style, Part I), so I decided to buy a few more dresses this time around. With my typing little fingers, to the Internet I went!
I got a great deal on this white A- Line Maternity Dress from Motherhood Maternity, paying only $15 (regularly $45), through their Online Clearance Sale! I love sales! In the following photos, I am wearing my London Fog Coat (which is not maternity wear), and my Salvatore Ferragamo Italian Flats! I am 26 Weeks Pregnant here, which is somewhere in the 7th month of pregnancy.
I also purchased the Mimi Rib Knit Maternity Dress from the Motherhood Maternity's Online Sale (pictured below). It has a strange mustardy-brown color stripe, but I loved how comfortable this dress was! This form fitting look worked well with Maternity Shape Wear, called "Maternity Shaper", from Motherhood Maternity, that I also loved! It is like Spanx for pregnant women. Not only does it smooth your shape, but it also gives that heavy belly much needed support!
As the months of my pregnancy progressed, my little baby, and my belly, were growing rapidly! I continued to wear pre-pregnancy coats and sweaters, but left them opened and unbuttoned!
Here are a few more Maternity Dresses that I own: a White and Navy Polka Dot Maternity Dress by Kimi and Kai Maternity, which I found at Nordstrom Rack, and a flowy Maternity floral dress, by Motherhood Maternity, from Macy's. Both of these dresses are very comfortable.
Soon, I reached the end of my pregnancy, and my energy had dwindled down substantially. I also have a toddler child at home, which took the remaining energy I did have, from me. My Belly was huge, and no pre-pregnancy skirts I owned still fit me. The following photo is of myself wearing the same white Maternity Tee by Motherhood Maternity that I wore during my 5 Month Pregnancy Photo above. Notice how it is being pushed to its stretchy knit and ruche limits! I am also wearing a 3x, elastic waist, pin-striped skirt, that was given to me. I was able to wear this large, comfortable skirt over my massive belly, paired with my (now tiny) corduroy black jacket!
On February 23rd, 2019, my Husband, Javier, and I's daughter, Little Minnie, was born. Like all newborn babies, she was a beautiful miracle! I had a challenging time during recovery for the first few weeks after her birth, but soon I was back to my self again! Check out this photo of me and my two daughters about 2 days after returning from the hospital to my home. My hair looks tore-up, and I look like a hot-mess. This is to show, that sometimes, it's ok to be a hot mess! Especially soon after having a baby!
During my pregnancy, my hair grew long, but would get so dry and tangle into huge knots! Whoever said they had healthy, luxurious hair when they were pregnant, is blessed, because this does not apply to everyone, and certainly did not to me! When my darling newborn was about a month old, I cut off my long locks, and in return was granted a much needed, manageable hair-do! Here I am, looking like Rapunzel, prior to cutting my hair to a shorter length:
It wasn't long, before Baby Minnie was old enough to make her Debut out in Public! After almost a month and a half cooped up indoors, it was nice to dress-up and attend a meeting at our local Kingdom Hall. The dress I am wearing in this picture is not Maternity Wear, but has a stretchy neckline, allowing me to Breastfeed with some ease. It is made of a stretchy material that is comfortable, and perfect for after-pregnancy wear!
Now, although I no longer have a baby inside my belly, I still have another wardrobe dilemma! Breastfeeding! And Breastfeeding in Style! I will address this topic in an upcoming Blog Post!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about A Fashionable Pregnancy: My Maternity Style: Part II! I hope you will read my next article in this series (which I am still working on), titled: A Fashionable Motherhood! Leave any comments below! I would love to hear your feedback, and personal experiences!
Have a great day, Dear Readers!
My Whirlwind Engagement: From The Cliff House to Las Vegas, in 4 Months and 3 Dresses!
The Dance Group is open to interested Boys and Girls, but at this time, only Girls have joined. Like the club, Dance Group members do not need to be Puerto Rican to join.
I am delighted to have been commissioned by P.R.O.U.D. Modesto to construct the dresses for the girls in the new Dance Group! In September, I was sent photos of traditional Puerto Rican Dance Dresses, as well as the orders for the members of the Dance Group. I wanted to stay as close to the original concept as possible, due to this being a cultural costume. All dresses would be the same, but in various sizes. Once the orders were in, I drafted the pattern for the dress, in girl's dress sizes 5 through 12, I purchased fabric, trim, and notions, and I then began to create the costumes...
Check out the sketch I drew, illustrating the dance costume concept, that the P.R.O.U.D Club Members decided on:
Work in Progress...
Here are some exclusive, behind the scenes, photos, taken in my workroom, as I created these lovely costumes!
When all of the dresses were finalized, I met with the dance group for a final fitting. With my rolling rack in hand, we met where the group was rehearsing. Once the girls tried on the costumes, I was pleased to see that only one minor alterations was needed. The dresses were performance ready!
The First Performance!
On October 6th, 2018, the P.R.O.U.D Modesto Girl's Dance Group performed for the first time at The International Heritage Festival, held at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this festival, since I had a prior commitment scheduled for an OFW Art & Style Magazine Photo Shoot that same day in Oakland. However, my loving husband, Javier, took our three children to this event, where they were able to view a fantastic presentation of traditional Puerto Rican Dance, presented by the P.R.O.U.D. Girl's Dance Group! One of my nieces, Vivianna, is a member of the Dance Group! Javier was able to take some beautiful photos of their performance.
Here are some of the marvelous photos that my husband, and my sister, Desiree, took of the P.R.O.U.D. Modesto Girl's Dance Group's first performance:
When viewing the photos myself, it was wonderful to see these young ladies enjoy themselves, while learning traditional dance of the Puerto Rican Culture! It was exciting to see the dresses I had created flowing with rhythmic beauty as the girls twirled and waved the folds of fabric while dancing!
Thank you for joining me, as I created the Dance Costumes for the P.R.O.U.D. Modesto Girl's Dance Group! I hope you enjoyed the photos and commentary!
Leave me a comment! I would love to hear your feedback on my Blog!
I hope you have a wonderful day!
I don't have many pieces of artwork that I created from childhood and adolescence. Since the age of 18 I found myself moving frequently, and inevitably loosing some of my portfolio folders and sketchbooks in the many moves, or lost to environmental damage. Although drawing since a child, Art Classes in High School, Junior College, and College, really helped fine tune my skill, providing me with the knowledge of various artistic techniques.
I recently found a few portfolio folders that contained some of my Still Life Drawings from High School Art Class, and from a beginning drawing class that I took in Junior College...
I found the contrast between my work from the two classes very interesting.
Here, to the left, is a Still Life Drawing that I rendered in Charcoal, while in High School. The Second drawing, to the right, is similar in subject matter, a Still Life Drawing of a bottle gourd, also in Charcoal, but was completed about three years later, while I was in Junior College.
Quite an improvement in dimension and shading I would say!
While taking that beginning art course in Junior College, students would draw for 4 hour sessions, practicing the techniques we were taught that week. My professor would play Blondie's Greatest Hits, set up mannequins, suitcases, gourds, old gas cans, and other interesting objects, in the middle of the room, while all the students spent hours just drawing the items that we saw. We practiced shading the contrast of light and shadows.
Here are a few drawings that I still have from that class that I drew of the mannequins my professor had. These are still a few of my favorite drawings. Maybe one day I will frame them and hang them in a dressing room. In the mean time, Enjoy!
If you enjoyed viewing a few of my Still Life Drawings of Yesteryear,
please leave me a comment below!
Thank you for reading my Blog! Have an Artfully Artistic Day!!
As a Freelance Fashion Designer, I often take on requests from clients to create custom garments. My client may be a bridesmaid in a wedding that is looking for a custom fitted gown to match the wedding party specification. My client may be a clothing size that is not commonly found in the style outfit she may need for an upcoming event. My client may have an article of clothing that she would like re-created into something else completely. All of these are fairly common in my line of work, but once in a while, a client will contact me asking for something completely out of my realm of experience...
"Can you make me a Parrot Costume?"
While studying Fashion Design in college, a professor once told those of us who were hoping to pursue design and creative sewing as a future means of income, to not turn down requests, even if it is something we have never done before. Even if it is something that sounds mundane, or uninteresting. The reason? First, saying no to projects will lead to less people asking. Over time, no one will ask for your participation in projects, because they know you will say no. Secondly, the more you say yes, the more experience you gain, and more opportunities are presented. So, when a referred client called me up asking if I could create a Parrot Costume for her, my response was a firm, "Yes!". Even though I had never before made a costume at that point in my career, let alone a Parrot Costume!
From Concept to Creation...
As a trained Dress-Maker and Fashion Designer, my immediate idea was to create a Parrot Dress, with a caped hood mimicking the Parrot's head and wings. I wanted to approach this project as High Fashion as possible, to stay true to my design aesthetic. I drew out the above conceptual illustration to show my client at our first meeting. I also went to my fabric supplier to obtain fabric swatches and pricing for the materials that I would use to make my sketch a reality.
This photo includes four fabrics that I used to create the Parrot Costume for my client. The Green, Blue, and Yellow textiles were used as feathers, and the Red Velvet was used for the bodice of the dress. I used a Red Cotton fabric as the base of the skirt for more structure, it was lined and completely covered in hand-cut feathers.
I met with my client, with my illustration, fabric swatches, and price estimate in hand. When I presented my idea to her, she was thrilled! She loved the concept that I had come up with. Her only change was the hood in the sketch. My client wanted a Headpiece or Fascinator instead. She was also planning on full professional Special Effect Parrot Make-Up, from local Make-Up Artist, Paula Serrano. I took her measurements, and deposit, then I was off to the sewing work room to get this dress completed!
Progress in the Designer Workroom!
A Photo Shoot with my Client...
After one fitting, and much work, the Parrot Dress, and Headpiece I created was finished! I also created a clutch for my client by creating a velvet pouch that I placed in a hand-held bird cage! The skirt was underlined with layers of Tule to create more volume in the silhouette.
My client had a very specific idea for the completion of her look, and wanted realistic Parrot Special Effect Make-Up to transform herself into as close to an actual Parrot as humanly possible! She hired professional MUA, Paula Serrano to create the Special Effect Make-Up. This was my client's vision. With the help of myself and Mrs. Serrano, her vision was achieved!
After my client was dressed and ready to go, I took her to the local park to take a few photos of the costume! Check out the completed look!
As you can see, my client really enjoyed herself. The project was a success!
As a designer, having a happy client is by far the biggest reward!
If you have a costume idea that you would like to have custom made, contact me! I would love to create more interesting costumes! As always, feel free to contact me for all you Custom Clothing needs!
Thank you for reading my Blog!
Let me know what you think of my take on a Parrot Costume, by leaving me a comment below!
Hello Readers! Welcome to my Blog! I am Roxanne Rodriguez Rangel, a Fashion Designer from Northern California. I love all things Fashion, particularly historical fashion! Join me, as I take you around Northern California, covering fashion events and related topics!