Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Studio

Since I'm super famous and go swimming in my money on the weekends (pretty much like Scrooge McDuck)... I live at home with my parents and work out of the dining room, well i've kinda spread into the living room and kitchen... oops. I'm so lucky that my parents let me take over their house with my mess of fabrics, papers, tools, and other random stuff. They never complain and are always supportive. My dad has even added another chore to his nightly routine when he comes home from work: vacuuming up threads... but he did get himself a handheld Dyson that looks like an alien gun from Stargate to accomplish this nightly mission, so that makes him happy I guess. Anyway. Everyday I have my computer on the kitchen table ready to respond to e-mails and work on any photo retouching and graphics stuff, and there is always a coffee cup next to it as well as a mound of paperwork that will later be "filed" onto the bench next to where I sit so we can eat dinner. I do need to work on a better way to keep my papers organized, but thats for another day.

The dining room is where i spend the majority of my time. Again, being ├╝ber supportive, my mom emptied out her china cabinet while i was in college so i could put my fabrics in there. Every inch of the dining room is utilized. A super duty clothing rack in one corner holds all my samples, malina patterns, muslins for upcoming fittings, alterations, and some of my dad's shirts that my mom ironed and forgot about. In the opposite corner are two shelving units to hold supplies, boxes of notions, lace, and tulle, as well as more fabric that didn't make it into the china cabinet. The table is a great table, even though its a little low, it has a pad on it which makes it really easy to pattern-make and trace clothing etc. the available working area tends to get smaller and smaller until i organize and it begins again. You'd think that i loose things and am very unorganized from this photo, but i am surprisingly good at remembering where i put things and when i cover it up with stuff... nothing is ever lost in the "studio" its just temporarily misplaced.

The cleanest area of the dining room is the wall that faces the backyard. Against the window are two tables, one with my sewing machine on it and the other holds the serger. This area stays very organized, most likely due to the fact that i simply cannot store anything in my fish tank.

Finally there is my iron and ironing board... which I love! This is were i've oozed into the living room. It was a little cramped in the dining room with the ironing board in there. I have also taken over the shelving unit behind the ironing board with books, books and more books.

Even though i've set up a great space to work in, again thanks to my parents, its really hard to get motivated. When i'm home all day, all alone, its really hard to start another pattern at 3:00, when what i really want to do it take a nap. I get a lot of good ideas laying on the couch... does that count as working?? I'm not complaining, i'm just venting since I had one of those days today. A day when i work at a great speed for 4 hours and hit a wall... I feel like crap and i have plenty of work to keep me busy, i know i have to do it, but all i can think about is taking a nap. Today, i caved and took a nap for about 45min. I did come up with a great design for my aunt's new top... but i still feel bad about it. On days like today its just a non-stop battle with me and myself and its draining. I wish I had a better way of dealing with it, but so far no luck. I've gotten a little better at time management in terms of when to turn on the tv (no earlier than 3:30), when to go the fabric store, and when to go visit grandma and grandpa for some soup and company. I've very grateful that I have this opportunity to have such a great free workspace (with a fridge full of food nearby)... but at times I kinda wish I had a boss to push me a little harder and a time schedule that i had to stick too.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Very Rare Custom Dirndln


Whats better than a new dirndl... a new dirndl that is one-of-a-kind. I am always willing to go the extra mile for someone who would prefer something that is made just for them, which make them... Very Rare!

I received a message from a relative of mine a few weeks back asking if i would be interested in making custom dirndls for her granddaughters, Elizabeth and Olivia. I became immediately excited about the project... one problem, they live in Tomball Texas, so there would be no fitting. Even though I would be unable to have them try them on to make sure they fit, I was ready for the challenge. I had also never made children's clothing so i didn't have a pattern to work off of. So i started from scratch with their measurements and referred to my good ol' pattern making book. I made a new block from their measurements and it went surprisingly smooth and surprisingly fast... probably because they're little. :)

The other step was choosing the fabrics. "They are into princes, barbie and fairies... Elizabeth's new favorite colors are teal and magenta... Olivia's new favorite colors are pink and purple" So i went to my fav fabric store, Vogue in Evanston and went fabric scouting. I brought home some samples, scanned them, and sent them to Helen, the grandmother, for approval. Once the fabrics were chosen i sketched them out and began working. It was so fun to work with bright colors and poofy, frilly, and girly in mind. Another great part, "They both judge their dresses based on twirliness"... just like I did when I was little!


After completing the dirndls i had extra fabric left over and I thought about when I was that age... I loved my dolls. After i brought it up to Helen and got the go ahead, I went right into the attic to look for Kirsten... my sister's American Girl doll. Making a pattern for the doll was surprisingly easy. Kirsten was a great model, didn't complain, was always available for a fitting, and her weight won't fluctuate! Make the doll dresses were not quite like making dresses for people... they are so darn small! I used different techniques and used nearly every scrap of fabric i could and they turned out just as cute as the regular sized ones.


Once I shipped them off to Texas, I couldn't wait to see some pictures! When I did, I was more than ecstatic to see the girls in their dirndls! I love my job!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Photo Shoot

I had the photo shoot planned to the minute. Hair stylist arrives at 8am to start setting up, Makeup artist arrives at 8:30 as well as the 1st model. While the 1st model finishes with hair the 2nd model arrives at 9 and goes into hair while the 1st gets her makeup done. The 3rd model arrives at 9:30 to start hair while the 1st model starts shooting for the blouses and at 10:45 we all leave for Friendship Park Conservatory to meet the Photographer..... well that didn't happen.

Due to circumstances outside of my control, Nikki Bappert (hair dresser extraordinar) and Kat Rally (up and coming makeup artist) arrived on time, but no model. At 8:45 the 2nd model arrived early and so Nikki got started on her. I called the 1st model who accidentally overslept and we decided to schedule another time for her to come over and model for the shots of just the blouses. At about 9:45, Kat started her makeup and at 10:30... with only one model (the 3rd being a no show), we loaded up the car to leave for the conservatory. I was very proud of myself for keeping my composure the whole time, when everything seemed to be going wrong. I kept hearing my mother in the back of my head saying "no use getting upset over something you can't change". I just wanted to get the conservatory and get started... the sooner we start, hopefully, Maggie (2nd model) could get through all of the garments. Vanessa Buholzer, the photographer met us there right on time and so it was time to begin. The staff member at the conservatory was super nice and let us use one of their small banquet halls to do the dressing. This worked out so great. We had room to change, touch up the hair and makeup as well and a place to sit and relax (but there was none of that).

Once Vanessa was all set up we began shooting. The shots looked great! Just what i wanted, a darker, eerie background with the model and the garment looking fabulous. I was so excited. By 2:30 we were finished with all the garments and headed home. Although we were on location longer than i had hoped, for only having 1 model for 11 garments in a short time period, we did great. I'm so proud of my whole team and I can't wait to see all the shots and get them up onto the website.