/post holiday re-focus


I'm back from a little Thanksgiving road trip with the family, and ready to get productive! (I did manage to do a big chunk of gift crocheting in the car though.)

our view for Thanksgiving dinner. WOAH.

Today, it's back to real life.

First order of productivity: Pick up dog from the kennel, and pick up doughnuts from my favorite doughnut shop. It's (sort of) near the kennel, so I obviously had to stop. Obviously.

Second order of productivity: Make baguettes. Come to accept that I'll never be able to make them quite uniform. Add to Christmas list- bowl scraper, kitchen scale.

par-baked, fully baked.

Third order of productivity: Cut navy pants (finally). Further organize sewing space. Begin sewing pants on my new machine!

Yes, I just realized that I forgot to mention the fact that I have a NEW SEWING MACHINE. Ridiculous. It was an early Christmas gift from my generous Mom, and is perfect.
I wanted the simplest, most straightforward machine I could get my hands on, that was new and of reputable quality. I really can't stand even having decorative stitches available to use. Grosses me out. This Pfaff hobby 1122 fit the bill and was on sale! I could even trade in my rickety, completely trashed 5 year old CHEAP Brother for an extra $40! WHAT? So far, I've used it to finish my camel coat and to do some mending. It works beautifully and is lightyears better than my old machine. It makes me happy to sew again!

/whatta doll


Preface:  If you're one of those who find any and all dolls creepy, read no further.

A few days ago, I was reading up on teen sensaaation Tavi Gevinson's blog (I'm not even sure this qualifies as a guilty pleasure, although I'd like to say so). The current post  was all about her attendance at Fashion's Night Out at Barney's and artist Andrew Yang's way cool dolls, inspired by various actual runway looks. 

    Simon Doonan (creative director for Barney's) gives us a little peek here:
(more & better on style rookie)

Though Yang's dolls are beautiful, (eyes! hair! so good!) they just really made me want to look at two of my favorite designer-sewn doll collections with absolutely meticulous and amazing miniature clothes:

1. Théâtre de la Mode. This one just might be my favorite concept ever. All sorts of French artists came  together in a time France's fashion industry desperately needed to rebuild - in 1945, just before the end of WWII. French couturiers, artists, choreographers & set designers worked on this together to redirect the rest of the world's attention on French fashion.

 Full-sized clothes are great (and actually functional), but these 1/3 size clothes show incredible handwork and were genius advertising to boot. Plus, the war had caused supplies of fabric, thread & needles to dwindle dramatically, so mini fashion was the perfect solution! 

Parts of the collection have since been traveling the world, and it is now owned by the Maryhill Museum. Oddly enough, it's just a few hours from where I live, though I have never been there. I was however, lucky enough to see some of the dolls in The Golden Age of Couture exhibit at V&A in 2007. If you have the chance to see an exhibit of Théâtre de la Mode, do NOT hesitate!

A sampling of the contributing designers of Théâtre de la Mode - (there were over 55)

Madame Grès
Jean Patou
Jeanne Lanvin
Nina Ricci
Pierre Balmain
Elsa Schiaparelli
Charles Worth

2. I am a HUGE Viktor & Rolf fan, so when this book was released and came in at my university's library I couldn't wait to get my hands on it (I watched and waited as the librarian applied the barcodes & stamps). It was in this book I found that Viktor & Rolf had made a mini version of one look from each of their collections since 1993, when they started the brand.  There are gorgeous photos of the dolls & their life-size counterparts, which made me super giddy after learning about Théâtre de la Mode. 

A Dutch dollmaker made the dolls to V & R's specifications, which I think adds to their fantastic campy flavor. The miniature clothes are so incredibly meticulous it's almost scary.

 Lots more photos & a great article here.

t magazine

t magazine

So... is it weird to be so fascinated with dolls? They're pretty cool right?

/camel coat


I'm finally done with my coat!  This was the design I'd originally downloaded from BurdaStyle, but I wanted to shorten the sleeves and lengthen it. There were already markings for those alterations on the pattern, so I took a second look and it's essentially the three quarter sleeve coat. There's nothing too fancy about it, but I very much like the lining and the buttons! The dark green covered buttons came out of an old fruit cake tin full of buttons my grandma used to keep.

As you can see, it can be worn all the way buttoned up, or with the lapel down. The most amazing thing about this pattern is the integrated sleeves; no sleeve-setting!! 

Yesterday, my mom said that pretty much "everyone and their cousin" had a coat just like this in the 60's, which is exactly what I was going for! Point Emily.



I have a confession to make. Sometimes I'll read my favorite college textbook, Fabric Science in bed before I go to sleep.

I suppose it's actually a binder.

Sometimes I'll go to sleep reading a binder of laborious information on fabric. And it soothes me.

That said, onto today's good event:

As unassuming as these boxes may seem, their contents (lots & lots of different fabrics!!!!), return address (L. Marshall!) and the prefacing information about me (complete textile nerd) tell a different story! I was absolutely GIDDY to find them on my front porch tonight!

THREE boxes filled with fabric and a sweet note. Wools, cottons and silks in felts, loose weaves, organzas etc.- (LOTS!- I'll need to take a longer look tomorrow) all chosen & used by a really talented and inspiring  designer! Holy cow. I love all the colours in the boxes and would have chosen them myself! Perfect.

another shoddy photo. maybe someday I'll have beautiful photos of finished garments?

Needless to say, I can't WAIT to get past tons of alterations/mending jobs and half-finished projects and use up all these pretty pieces.

Maybe feel and stare at them for a while too. And run a few tests. Yeah, I'm weird about fabric.


I've been procrastinating once again on sewing stuff (but busy with Christmas presents!). I have a ton of projects lined up that I pretty much have all the materials for, but am not moving forward with- for one excuse, my terrible iron! Bad bad BAD. Spitting, no- spewing water, drenching everything in sight! I seriously avoided sewing projects altogether because of that thing. The thought did cross my mind to turn off the steam, and not refill it. One problem: I'm obsessed with steam.

Today, that horrific thing was demoted to no-steam craft projects only and this came into my life: 

A Rowenta DG5030 Pressure Iron!!!!!!!
It's the best thing ever, because I am obsessed with steam. Must have steam. See that big thing the iron is resting on? That's where the steam lives. This thing can steam vertically, horizontally, and upside down without spitting! It's truly a steamy miracle.

On a completely unrelated note, if you have access to pumpkin butter, you MUST 
whisk it with maple syrup and toasted walnuts, warm it in a saucepan, then put it on a waffle.

I found a recipe for pumpkin butter, but got mine at a fruit stand in Eastern Washington. It looks like they also sell it at Trader Joe's which is super exciting because I've eaten most of our stash. It is SO good.

Going to sew now, WITH STEAM!

/to prove I'm not procrastinating (that much)


A little update beginning with a couple obligatory costume shots! I threw together a Columbia from Rocky Horror in a few hours, thanks to my sequin dress from 8th grade. I bought that thing at a second hand store in Florida for $10, with an original (almost $300) price tag still on! I have worn it sooooo many times!

Nigel as Dogzilla. The costume was a little small and he looked hilariously uncomfortable in it, but I had a puppy-dinosaur hybrid on my hands for a few hours- what could be better?

Also, an attempt to prove I'm still sewing:

I need new pants!  Here's the muslin- I need to take 3" off the hem, and take in the waist a bit. Fake-out back pockets (I remove all back pocket bags on pants I buy anyway, so I feel no guilt) and PLEATS! Anyone who knows me will be very surprised that I'm digging the pleats on these. Really. The wool gabardine will be much more drapey, so I'm counting on very anti-Docker pleats... I'm SO excited to make these! Excuse my chaotic chambre : /

A little coat preview.

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