Monday, February 28, 2011

My Lovely Levi's Skirt

Once upon a time in a town called Albuquerque, there was a Levi’s Jeans factory. One day this factory shut down so the Levi company could outsource all their work to third world countries where they would only have to pay their employees pennies a day. When this happened, the company had several bolts of fabric they wanted to sell so local seamstresses snatched them up.

This all happened long before I was sewing, or possibly even a twinkle in The Papa Hart’s eye, but somehow I ended up with a good 5 yards of the fabric. So I made myself a skirt.

I wanted my denim skirt to be a little different from all the other denim skirts you see walking down the street, so I made mine high wasted (meaning it comes up above my natural waist).

I also was especially smitten with the selvage of the fabric and decided I absolutely HAD to include it in the design. So, I split each of the gores in my skirt down the center and cut them so the selvage ran the length of the gore.

I then sewed the pieces together with the seam allowances to the outside and pressed the selvage edges back and top stitched them down, resulting in a beautiful seam finish and a clever design detail.

I was especially proud of myself because I figured out how to hide the zipper in my selvage seam finish!

And there you have it, a skirt made of old Levi fabric!

Happy Skirt Wearing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Girl Friday Blouse

In my never ending quest to find brilliant class ideas I have stumbled across Decades of Style, my favorite new (to me) independent pattern company. They reprint vintage patterns using modern sizing and directions, resulting in adorable vintage patterns that actually fit and that you can figure out how to make without a Masters in sewing.

I love these patterns so much I have picked a handful of their simpler patterns to offer as classes at Hip Stitch this spring and summer. I like to think I’m teaching these classes in order to spread the vintage charm, but really the whole class idea is just an excuse for me to sew myself some really fabulous garments.

Recently I just finished the Girl Friday Blouse.

This 1940’s blouse pattern features not one but 3 collars and is absolutely stunning.

I used some Liberty of London cotton I purchased from a local children’s clothing designer (why are we dressing our kinds in Liberty of London? Let’s save the delicious fabric for ourselves!!!).

I knew the collar would get a bit lost in the busy print, but, because I don’t usually love large collars on myself, I was perfectly ok with that.

Instead of darts, the blouse has cute tucks which make for a really stunning design detail.

I'm loving this blouse.  It's perfect for spring (can't wait for that warm weather!), it is adorable with Jeans and a cardigan, but also looks stunning tucked into my Levi's skirt.

Check back tomorrow and I'll show you the skirt in better detail!

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Story of a Chair.

Once upon a time there was a chair.
A sad and lonely chair.
Why was this chair sad and lonely you may ask?
She was sad and lonely because her owners had taken her to Goodwill and left her there all on her own.
They decided they no longer loved or needed her because she had a little tear in her seat.

A tinny, tiny little reparable tear.
So they dropped her off at Goodwill one day, and even though she waited for days and days they never came back for her.

Then one faithful day a girl found herself in Goodwill and saw the chair.
Even thought the chair had a tear in her seat and a slight discoloration, the girl saw some great potential.
Plus it was half price day, so the girl paid her $5 and brought the chair home with her.

Then the girl found some fabulous vintage inspired fabric and decided the chair would look lovely in it.

So the girl learned how to load a staple gun (not as easy as you would think) and, soon the chair had a brand new outfit.

The chair was thrilled! She looked so much younger, and she just loved how the green in her new seat made her eyes sparkle.

The girl was thrilled too. She thought the chair was beautiful and looked stunning in her studio. Plus it made a great step-stool for reaching the boxes on her top shelf.

And the girl had a dressform who was also thrilled because she was not asked to work the staple gun. Plus it meant the girl quit climbing on her to reach the boxes on her top shelf.

And the three of them lived happily ever after.

Happy furniture refurnishing
~Melisa & Cordelia & The Chair.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Wrap.

This spring I have a new obsession.
Ok, I have two new obsessions.

The first, is the independent pattern company Decades of Style .
They have collected vintage patterns and reprint them using modern labeling, paper, sizing and directions.
The result?
Vintage style patterns that are easier to fallow than the ones you pick up at the garage sale, and come in your size.

My second new love?
Wrap dresses.
I have decided these things are beyond cute and am doing my best to fill my spring and summer wardrobe with as many as possible.

Well, as it turns out, Decades of Style has a wrap dress pattern so I decided I had to make it and offer it as a class this summer.

I picked out some large floral Amy Butler fabric, worked a little magic, and came up with this:


I didn’t feel like hemming the ties, so I serged them, and am quite pleased with the result.

The ties wrap in the back, and can be wrapped and tied in a variety of combinations. I prefer to twist them in the back.

If you are in the ABQ aria you can head over to Hip Stitch to visit the dress and to sign up to take a class to make your very own wrap dress!

Now all we need is a little warm weather so we can wear our beautiful new sundresses!

Happy wrapping
~Melisa & Cordelia

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bridal Shower

One of the fun and exciting events I attended during my recent trip to Dallas was The Future Sister-in-laws bridal shower.

Somehow this is the only picture I got of her.
Stalker much?

The Mama Hart came to the bridal shower.

As did The Aunt Connie.

Mini Cordelia/ Cordeliaette came too.

I smuggled her in by throwing her into my purse.

The bridal shower was held at a Viking retailer/ culinary school, so after an amazing brunch we all gathered in a super impressive classroom and had a cooking demonstration.

The chef showed us how to make quarto leches cake.

That’s right, tres leches aren’t enough for us so we threw in a 4th milk, and let me tell you, that forth milk makes all the difference.
Not that I can remember what it is.
Something to do with boiling sweetened condensed milk (still in the can) until it turns to a caramel type sauce and then dribbling this over the top of the cake.

Talk about yum!

Cordeliaette loved the cake too.

She wanted to dive in (literally—sister’s small enough she could have done backstrokes around the cake) and eat the whole thing on her own.

Luckily I caught her before she took the plunge so there was enough cake to share with the bride.

It's also lucky we had to share cause otherwise we would have eaten enough we would not have fit into our fashion challenge garments later that day.

Happy Cooking
~Melisa & Cordelia & Cordeliaette.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dallas Design Challange, the Grand Event

Hi Ya’ll

Cordelia and I have been MIA for a bit. A little over a week to be exact, but we think we have a very good excuse for taking a blogging break. For example, we were in Texas doing super important Texas type things. Like participating in fabric challenges and impressing all the independent pattern company owners, or attending glamorous wedding parties. And then we spent a few crazy days cleaning and organizing our new studio. For the first time ever, it’s mostly box free!

Because I know you are just DYING to see what Cordelia has been up to, we will share a few of our trip pictures with you. Yay!

As you may recall, I have been prepping for a fashion challenge for several weeks, and the challenge took place last weekend in Dallas so Cordelia and I went, seeing as how we had made 3 outfits for it.

In case you don’t remember, here are the rules for the challenge.

I was given a hypothetical scenario—I was headed to a beach wedding and needed 3 outfits, one to wear to a rehearsal brunch, one for the wedding and one for the morning after breakfast. One garment had to be reversible, and another had to be visibly worn with every outfit. Also, because that’s not enough, I was sent 5 fabrics and had to use some of all and was not allowed to introduce any other unless I needed it for a lining.

Oh, and I had to use the patterns designed by the independent pattern drafters who were sponsoring the challenge.

Well, after several nights of planning, I came up with my game plan and came up with 3 satisfactory outfits.

I took The Mama Hart to the challenge with me.

Because she is such a good slave and agreed to carry my garment bag.

Plus she was wearing a beautiful brown skirt I made her and was a great walking billboard for Hart Designs.

Cordelia came too. Or at least a mini, black version of Cordelia came. She fits in my purse and is significantly easer to carry than the real Cordelia.

I had to model each of my outfits, and while the following pictures don’t do much in terms of showing off my outfits, they do a fantastic job of showing off how debonair I look on stage, so I’ll show them to you so we can all cringe and how awkward I look.

Here I am talking about the Hong Kong finish I applied to the skirt for a decorative touch.

And here I am doing bizarre things with my hands. Err Melisa.
Do I always walk around like this?
I sure hope not!
Thankfully everyone was so inspired by the skirt that I don’t think any of them were paying too much attention to my awkward hand movements.

I died the fabric for these capris, and the ladies just thought that was the cleverest thing ever. Boy were these girls easy to impress. One lady even told me they looked like expensive designer jeans! Yay, just the look I was going for!
And I was so worried that they wouldn’t like them cause I hadn’t gotten the fit just right and bizarre things were happening in my crotchial aria.
 Silly me, all that worry for nothing.

Well someday in the somewhat nearish future, I promise to put my outfits back on and take more pictures where you can actually see what’s going on. So get excited, cause this is thrilling stuff people!

Happy Travels,
~Melisa & Cord

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lauren Gets A New Coat.

As some of you may have heard, The Brother Hart is getting hitched.
 As you may have also heard, the wedding is to take place at Lake Tahoe in April, which means we can expect cold, snowy, wintry blizzard-like conditions.

And so The Future Sister-in-law Hart has asked me to make her a coat to wear over her wedding dress.

Naturally, I said yes cause I love making coats.

We started our coating adventure when we went fabric shopping in San Francisco.

Hello Britex (amazing fabric store)!
You are the love of my life (except for maybe my glorious new cutting table).

Lauren picked out this lush, divine, scrumptious, yummy white wool fabric which happens to be a remnant from our good friend Giorgio Armani.

I know this because it’s printed right on the salvage.

Well I cut the fabric up,

 sewed a few seams and now the coat looks like this.

Don’t worry, it’s supposed to have only one arm.

Lauren was involved in the same tragic synchronized swimming accident as Alex and they both lost their arms.
I know.

Just kidding!

Both Lauren and Alex are happy owners of two arms.

It’s just easier to make sure I’ve got the armhole fit correct when no sleeve is getting in the way.

Now the final coat is going to have some super cool, amazing, beautiful detailing that I’m not going to show you yet because A. I don’t know if Lauren wants to keep it secret or not, and B. I haven’t quite decided what it will be yet, but I can tell you that this might possibly be the single most stunning thing I have made to date.

Except maybe for Rosie's Wedding Dress.
That thing's a beaut.

Try to stay warm,
~Melisa & Cordelia