— printing the pattern —

PicMonkey Collage

I’ve picked my pattern for my cherry blossom silk!
I’m going to make a tank top with turned sleeves.
(Not sure if that’s the real name for them, but that’s what I’m calling ‘em.)
It’s the BurdaStyle V-Neck Top.
One of these days I’m going to stop doing v-necks,
since they always cause me trouble.
But how did I get suckered into this one?
I had a few finalist tops, and showed my hubby.
“That one,” he said, swiftly and decisively.
So that’s what I’m going with.
Because (sometimes) I listen to my hubby.


Downloaded the pattern ($5.99)…


…printed it–60 pages, whew!
Then realized I had “fit to screen,” which is the wrong setting for printing.
(Don’t worry, tree-huggers, I printed on the back of the mess-ups.)


That’s more like it! These puppies are ready to tape together. 60 pages of taping! Mon dieu.

— pre-washing —


I’ve pre-washed my cherry blossom silk!
This is a photo of the “wrong” side of the silk.
I think I’ll use the wrong side because it’s more subtle than the shiny dark “right” side.
Since the print is already busy, subtle is good.

Now to pick the pattern…I’m thinking tank top of some sort,
to be worn in spring with cardis or in summer bare.

grr. argh.

PicMonkey Collage

Damn you, Burda! With your gorgeous models and fashion shoots, and your tantalizingly low-priced patterns! I get suckered every time, and then I make one of your things and it turns out gigantic and frumpy-looking. Your directions are sparse with no pictures. And even when I sew a “novice” project I’m left scratching my head feeling like a monkey.

Feeling grumpy. I worked all day yesterday on this sleeveless v-neck blouse and it’s basically done but has a bazillion problems. Okay, maybe not a bazillion, but:

1. The shoulders are so loose they just fall off. So if I don’t double-stick tape the thing to my skin I’m going to flash people.
2. The sides under the armholes pucker and look big and potato-sack-y. Every blouse I’ve made so far has this problem. What do I need to know about blouse-making? Is there a trick to customizing it?
3. I put some of the pieces in the wrong place, and when I discovered my mistake it was too late to go back and undo everything.
4. It’s a Burda pattern. Everything I’ve made from Burda so far has turned out gigantic. I did the smallest size this time, but it was still huge.
5. It’s another V-neck. I’ve got to stop making v-necks, they never turn out right.

On the bright side:
1. I am getting better at v-necks. I trim away the bulk, I start from the top on both sides, and I press my problems away. The problem is only visible to me.
2. I altered the heck outta the original project because the original looked ridiculous. Now it’s something I’m pretty proud of because I feel like I partly designed it myself.
3. I tried the top on with some proper styling (skirt, heels, jacket), and I look HOT. So I guess it can’t be all that bad if I can just cover up the problems.

Which gives me some perspective. How can I get discouraged about something that looks fabulous*? I’m going to chalk this project up on the “Victory… with Some Caveats” side of the scoreboard.

*When styled correctly

spring/summer thoughts

I’m thinking about what pieces I’d like to add to my spring/summer wardrobe. Tops are definitely in order, and although this tank is a little shapeless, I love the drapey silk and ribbon at the neck.

Everything about this outfit is perfect, though I’m thinking particularly about the cardigan. I could use some light summer cardis, and it’s right up my Anthropologie/Amelie alley.

Here’s another fun cover-up that would be nice to have in Italy. I’ll be likely wearing sleeveless tops in Italy, but cover-ups are required in churches.

Dress for Italy, perhaps? Maybe not this particular dress, but I like the big floral blooms.


Outside our condo, just across the street, is a parking lot.
It’s nothing to look at.
In fact, it’s quite ugly.
But beyond the parking lot is a partial skyline of our city.
The view, and the south-facing light, were part of the reason we bought this home.
Now, though, a new condo building will be constructed in that parking lot.

Construction has begun in earnest.
Every day we watch the workers, puzzle over their work.
It’s like listening to people speak in another language.
We only know they’ve leveled the steep ground,
and they’re digging a big hole and moving dirt around.

A couple days ago we puzzled over a box they made
where the sidewalk used to be.
In the box they drilled holes and filled them with rebar.
The next morning, there was the beginning of a crane outside our window.

Change means I will trade my view of city lives, blocks away,
for a new view, of city lives, viewed much closer.
We will lose the glorious, copious south-facing light that comes in our window.
For a year (or more), we will wake to the sounds of construction.

But I am learning there are yin and yang in every change,
doors that close and windows that open.
Maybe it’s the unknown that I fear, more than the change.
But it has always turned out okay before.

making faces

I had my first session of Fashion Illustration I at New York Fashion Academy!
We learned to draw faces that are proportionally “ideal.”
I can’t get used to the alien way these faces look,
but hopefully once we’ve learned to draw hair and clothing,
the ladies will lose some of their intensity.

“Tina, the Bald Cyclops Alien,
Who Also Happens to Make a Great Vegetarian Lasagna”
This is the one I did in class.

“Aubrey, the Take-No-Prisoners Barmaid”

“Nadia, Man-Assassin”

“Nita, the Goth-Girl”

“Ostrich Girl”

“Vampira Minx”

Our homework after Session 1/4 was to bring five new faces next week.
I decided to do five per day. This was Day 1.
I spent quite a long time making sure I knew where to put everything.
My goal is to internalize the measurements and placements,
to do it without a ruler,
and to start making fluid lines with my hand,
instead of having to sketch and re-sketch (and sometimes erase)
until my ovals come out right.