Thursday, September 23, 2010

Revolutionary Uplift

Scottie: What's this doohickey?
Midge: It's a brassiere! You know about those things, you're a big boy now.
Scottie: I've never run across one like that.
Midge: It's brand new. Revolutionary up-lift: No shoulder straps, no back straps, but it does everything a brassiere should do. Works on the principle of the cantilevered bridge.
Scottie: It does?
Midge: An aircraft engineer down the peninsula designed it; he worked it out in his spare time.
Scottie: Kind of a hobby, a do-it-yourself kind of thing!

Ah, yes. The Brassiere. A mysterious doohickey that has for many decades relied on rocket science for its function and design.

This is a complete bra making kit which includes a textbook, a pattern and materials for 2 bras from Bra Makers Supply in Ontario Canada.
They sell all kinds of books and patterns as well as a full range of fabrics and trims and all the assorted notions you will need for brassiere and lingerie making.

I chose a classic full band bra pattern (you may also chose a partial band pattern) and pink for the color of my kit (white, black, brown and 2 shades of beige being the other choices). The full band style allows me to use or not use underwires and I like that. The pink on the other hand, I don't really like. I didn't want to pick black because it can be hard to see what you are doing on black some times and beige/nude is just boring. But this pink is the exact shade of pink that makes me vomit uncontrollably.It looks ok in the above picture but it is bright cotton candy pink! Good thing this is my first attempt and I will inevitably screw it up (or puke on it :)

It may not have been apparent so much on this blog but I am FASCINATED by underwear. I have been since I started making my own clothes and being interested in fashion in general. In other words consider the can of lingerie open and expect to see more about it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the lace museum, Calais

My friend Ksenia recently went to the north of France and visited the lace museum in Calais. She posted the following pictures on facebook with this message:

this is the lace museum at Calais, the north of France, where lace manufacturing has been traditional 4 centuries, and in the end - vintage models of dresses and underwear of couturiers that now are legends

I thought I would share them with you since they are so beautiful.

Lace as you please (1852-1870)
Industrial progress and the expansion of colonial possessions made the Second Empire a period of prosperity. The bourgeoisie, growing fast, wanted to show off its social and economic success. Feminine dress became the visible symbol of masculine success. Lace found price of place on dresses, which gradually increased in size, as well as on the multitude of accessories that propriety recommended using.

I love the merriwidow hiding on the left.

Check out this link for an english article about the museum that includes some history of lace making in Calais (it was actually smuggled in by lacemakers from Nottingham, England) and some images of some very nice lingerie!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shana Tova

or in other words, Happy New Year! I like the idea of the year starting in the fall. It is a time ripe with new beginnings as well as a time of letting go of things and putting summer's bounty to bed. Unfortunately, this time of year tends to be a major clusterfuck for me. This year is no different! I left you all with a half-assed post about kittens in space with high hopes of returning from Nashville last week being inspired and to hit the ground running. I was seriously inspired and it was one of the best vacations I have had but hitting the ground running has never been my forte. I tend to trip and roll for awhile before I can even get up. So the purpose of this post is to give you a little heads up about a few things, kind of a table of contents, in the hopes that you will help stick to what I have laid out.

News and Notes

-You can "Like" Dart and Hem on Facebook
I have been setting this up for awhile and meant to tell you like a month ago. I wasn't sure about it at first but I think it is a great way to share bits and bobs along the way. Some inspiration, some discussions, etc... Check it out in the sidebar

-This year I will be making serious effort towards grad school. I may have mentioned grad school before, and I did get some lovely advice from some other bloggers about it. The gauntlet has been thrown. I am going.

Upcoming post topics

-A note about Project Phoenix

-Catch up on some completed projects

-oh, hey! The Sketchbook Project

-I will be taking a draping class starting later this month! WOOT!

-My current project, a 1950's clutch coat for my aunt

-The Hepburn Hepburn Project and more projects I should not be participating in

aaaaannnnnnddd...I think that is good for now! See you soon, cross my heart and kiss my elbow!

Ps. Did you know that wearing garters all the time can give you blisters on your thighs? And to avoid having the garter show through a tight aka wiggle skirt you should put the garters on backwards? And while Joan Collins was very happy when the girdle wearing days ended she thinks the fashion of that time was waaay sexier than fashion today. I happen to agree.

That's all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kittens in Space

I saw this and thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen since the video of the kittens in the shoe box. And I think you should at least be entertained while I am on a bit of hiatus. I have been very busy this last week or two and I am heading to Nashville over the weekend to meet up with Gertie (who has an awesome book deal!) and the gang to check out some vintage couture. I am busting with news to share though so as long as my computer doesn't crap out on me many posts and pictures and hitting the ground running when i get back!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I apologize for my bipolar way of posting. I was all gung ho to post all the time and have finished a couple items I'd like to share and have some other things I'd like to share but I had to step away. My reasons being logistical (my computer is a cranky old bitch), seasonal (the summer always seems to explode but I feel this year was way over the top in requests of my time being spent in places other than the one I want to be in) and emotional (I hit a bit of burn out, re-gathered my strength and whipped some stuff out then hit burn out again). I feel like I am running on fumes but wanted to check in because keeping up this blog IS something I care about doing and want to keep up. I have uploaded a bunch of my pictures and hope to have a few posts for you in the near future but I have some projects that need some serious attention (like my sketchbook and my aunt's coat) and more steady blogging will most likely pick up in the fall.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ben Backstay was our bo'sun...

and I am a very merry girl!
Remember this fabric?

It is now a sailor skirt. I loved HH's suggestion of a sailor dress but I had 4 one yard pieces of this fabric and wasn't sure if I could weasel a dress out of it. I also don't know if it is a color I want near my face. So I compromised.

I used Built By Wendy's A line skirt pattern from Sew U as my base and the Sailor in Bermuda tutorial on BurdaStyle. I rotated the darts on the skirt front out into the waistline. Not sure if that is how I was supposed to do it but that is what I did so I could put in the sailor front. It wasn't all that difficult but it did require some thought as there are a few different pieces and the tutorial just gives you the basic pattern shapes and no instruction as to how to put them all together. You wind up with a good amount of layers in the side seams. I also did not line this skirt (sorry, mom) as I wanted it to be a summer skirt and I was dealing with enough pattern pieces already. I also hate inserting linings. I think I may try out the vintage route and not line my garments but make myself a little trousseau of slips to wear under it all. Easier sewing all around, n'est-ce pas?
An attempt at a close up for more detail

I was really surprised at how well Berteau behaved for the photos. He looks good in all the pictures. I on the other hand look only so so. On the walk back to the house he decided to he wanted to be a pin up model.

This is actually kind of the image I see in my head every time I walk him. Except there is more wrappage of the leash, more falling over, and lots more skirt going up.

and then he sat on my foot. He likes doing this for some reason.

When I got home I decided this outfit needed some jewelry and remembered that I had this fish necklace.

I had a great idea for the image I wanted but trying to take pictures of your self that involve close ups and a more specific idea don't really work.

This is more of what I had in mind except with the fish being the only thing in focus and everything else blurred out. Instead I just got a picture of my cleavage. I will be the art director and model if someone else could be the photographer. Luckily I know lots of photographers. Unfortunately that would involve even less regular blogging on my part. Oh well! off to make friends with my tripod!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gone Campin...

Morning All!

I hate to destroy my nice run of daily posts without warning but I am taking the dog camping and will be back in a couple days.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Some 1920's inspiration

I was staring at myself in the mirror while at work yesterday (vain, I know, but I work in a hair salon. I enable vanity. I am the gatekeeper to the most fabulous vintage styled hair in Chicago) And my hair has been doing this really awesome, perfect set of finger waves. And some how I thought of a 1920's vamp look. Which is very simple. Heavy on the eyes, heavy on lips and draw on the most expressive set of brows you can manage. I absolutely adore silent films so I looked up images of some of my favorite actresses of that era.

Pola Negri

Clara Bow

Alla Nazimova

Gloria Swanson

My hair actually kind of looks like Clara Bow's and Nazimova's. Then after work I bought some dark lipstick because my plan is to take some portraits of myself (again with the vanity). But that won't be happening this weekend. We are taking the dog camping.

PS. Nazimova, who has got to be one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen, was godmother to Nancy Reagan.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bias Cut

I cut my own bias tape. I wanted to make sure I had enough for my project because I didn't want to have to stop in the middle and cut and piece more together. Then I made even more because there wasn't THAT much of the fabric left and I was doing it anyway.

I may have gone overboard.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Sketchbook Project 2011

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I am proudly participating in the Sketchbook Project and I am proudly being sponsored by local design firm Faucethead Creative.

You can find out more by following the links but in a nutshell: the sketchbook project is run by an art collective in Brooklyn and involves all the participants being sent the same sketchbook and then filling it in whatever way they wish in the next 6 months. The book must remain at the original dimensions when closed and you have to do something with it, no returning a blank book. The books are then taken on tour around the US. The books are able to be checked out like a library book. The books can also be digitized and stored in an online library. Oh yea. You must choose a theme (from a provided list) for your book. My theme is inside/outside.
Faucethead creative chose 4 people to sponsor. They are paying the entrance and digitization fees as well as postage and also being a creative support for us. Be sure and check out their blog, here or to the right, as they will also be posting updates on the project and are just super cool. They have also posted links to the other sponsored participants websites, a group of very awesome artists that I can't wait to meet.

My sketchbook was sent directly to Faucethead who put together a special package for us. (Have I mentioned how much I like getting things in the mail?)

I am the proud owner of my very own faucethead. Its like a trophy. And a giant kneadable eraser. When I took drawing class I always kept one in my hand, not necessarily for mistakes but to play with. It was like meditation. it helps me think. And it is better than smoking. And glue stick. Because collage is the art I have been practicing the longest. I think they read my mind.

Be sure to stay tuned as I will be posting about the process along the way!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"In defense of happiness"

I have to link to this post by Rebecca of Girls Gone Child. it is probably the greatest, most inspiring thing I have ever read. If you have ever doubted yourself, as an artist, as a person, as a human, you should read it. And realize you can't ever be anyone except who you are. And that is a good thing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Perfect Peach...

I am in a vintage peach kind of mood lately.
With a bit of black now and then to keep it from being too innocent.
(wink wink)

And also my first time really playing with polyvore. Anyone else have issues with images they have saved to polyvore not showing up properly when they move them into a collage? This was fun but I will have to play with it a bit more. I think it is good for exploring themes where I search through their stock of items. (why does topshop have a monoply?) If I want something specific using specific images I will have to stick to photoshop or paste and paper.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sewing Karma: the apocalypse, and the 2010 project phoenix

My intention to update sewing karma from every week to every month no longer exists. I am (not so) shamefully bailing on sewing karma for a few reasons. I can rack up points for myself fairly easily but it isn't putting money in my pocket to spend those points on. That is kinda depressing. I never found a really good way to keep track of points. I kept a jar of buttons on my desk. And calculated the points on the blog but I either had to count buttons or double check the previous post to know how many points I had. That was annoying. I have been doing really well staying motivated and getting things done. And that is really good. Because of this, I feel fairly confident in adopting a new 2010 project halfway through 2010.(I am naming it Project Phoenix, because it just has a nice ring to it!)

I have been doing a bit of pattern drafting lately and I have really enjoyed it. I pulled out my pattern drafting book from college to look something up and then spent some time just flipping through it. So, in the grand tradition of blogging about working your way through a book (Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing, Bridges on the Body, Peter's current travels through a patternmaking book) I am going to work my way through Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern. (hereafter referred to as "the flat pattern book" or "the pattern book")

I have standard sized slopers from when I originally took a flat pattern class in college but I also would like to draft custom slopers from my measurements. I found a copy of How to Draft Basic Patterns (hereafter referred to as "the sloper book") at the library by the same authors as my pattern book. This book deals only with drafting slopers or basic patterns from measurements either from a dress form or a person.

The rules: I have no completion date for this. I think the end of the year is not impossible but it is unlikely. The flat pattern book is a hefty enough tome. I will skip similar patterns as needed to avoid redundancy, tedium and boredom. I don't have to go through the book in order but can skip around and pick what looks interesting to me. I can use other books and switch around between books to learn different techniques. I would also like to make up some muslins so I know that the patterns work and so I can possibly make myself some clothes and reap a reward for all my drafting efforts. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome of readers.

Some patterns I am particularly looking forward to:

Interesting use of darts, especially at necklines, is a definite draw for me. I have bookmarked several vintage patterns simply because of their interesting use of darts at the neckline.

This reminds me of the bonus project Gertie made after her full gathered skirt, the halter sundress. It has that delicious open back. I will have to try out her skirt tutorial and then draft my own halter top.

I think this one has more to do with the stripes than anything else. With Tartan and Plaid being one of my favorite colors I will definitely need lots of practice working with and matching my checks and stripes.

This one is definitely more interesting. I love how the raglan sleeve goes into the chest band. I think this would be great as a lightweight spring/summer jacket/overblouse deal. Maybe in linen.

This just screams Erte to me. He is one of my favorite designer/illustrators. I feel like it evokes a handkerchief hem without the handkerchief hem. Something similar at the hipline of a pencil skirt could either be evocative of the 40's or become very futuristic. I'm game for both scenarios.

women's land army here I come. That's all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

knowing your weaknesses...

I needed a case for my phone (since it was stupidly designed with the camera lens sticking out instead of laying flush). I really didn't want one of those ugly rubber band things. I found a few on etsy that I liked but couldn't see myself spending the $50 + shipping for the leather one that I liked the most.

I used a animal skin faux leather that I have had in my stash for a while (I made a tote and a portfolio case out of it in college and have plans for a handbag and an entire set of matching luggage.), some scraps from my fall floral shirt and a button from my button box. I ripped and re-did this like 3 times before I had to give up for the day. After sleeping on it I realized that I was going about it all wrong. On something this small you can't stitch leather right sides together and then turn. The seam allowance is too bulky. I forgot about that. I was able to salvage what I had and I simply topstitched it with the wrong sides together. No flipping right side out necessary.

I like the end result but I am never doing that again. Small accessories are not my bag, baby.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

For Da...

Happy Father's Day