Monday, October 24, 2011

...Because Portland Has No Winter and Fashion Knows No Season.

My favorite trend lately is winter shorts.  I know we've all teased someone for wearing clothes that are completely season inappropriate but I've got to say, this trend is growing on me.  Now before all of you fashion defiant hippies get too excited, there are some rules to make this work.
  1. Sorry boys, this is only for girls (young and older)
  2. Look for shorts in fall/winter appropriate fabrics like wools, tweeds, velvet, cable knit (not sweats!) leather, and denim (lined is extra cozy too)
  3. Go short but not too short! Try a more modest length but not quite bermudas. (be comfortable but don't be afraid to show off those legs) They don't have to be tight either.
  4. Make sure your jacket does not go below the length of your shorts or you will look like a hooker.
  5. You've gotta wear tights/leggings or you will freeze (legwarmers and boots are a must too)
  6. Balance the summery separate with fall-themed tops and like a blazer, sweater, or poncho 
  7. Accessorize!  Legwarmers, boots, scarves, statement jewelry, hats. Bring it on!  This look is all about showing off your legs, and showcasing your great collection of accessories or top.

I probably should have done this first but here's why I love this trend

  1. I can't fit into skinny jeans or look good in them for the life of me but I've been so jealous of all the beautiful boots and accessories available that are catered to the "skinnies" wearers.  If I layer on the tights (Spanx), leggings, legwarmers, and cute socks, and high top boots or booties my legs look amazing and very comfy and cozy!
  2. It's a great transitional piece to cope with the inevitable denial that we all face when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.
  3. Suspenders... who knew? 
  4. Little girls can rock it too! SOOOO CUTE! (my nieces (ages 5/6) have done this and don't know how trendy they are)

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Creamy Pink Perfection

    No, I'm not going to share my latest culinary success or any baby news but I would like to share my latest fabric dyeing adventures. I know it's not as exciting as what you thought it would be, but I hope you like it anyways.

    So, in less then two weeks, I have to arrive at my Senior 2 class ready to cut my fabric out for my senior collection. To save money and to do my fair share of recycling/up-cycling for the year, I have decided to snag the dozen or so wedding dresses that were donated to my school and use the fabric for my collection. Only problem is, I don’t want an all white collection, so I got to work on my dyeing skills. People have said dyeing is easy as long as you use the right dye for the right fiber content, and follow the directions on the box. It takes a little more finesse than that, especially if you want a particular color.

    Mixing colors on paper with paints and markers have never been very difficult for me and I’ve had lots of practice, so I thought “no problem, I can do this”; but ruining a 2 cent piece of paper vs. a $200 piece of fabric (or $2000 dress) is a little different so I’m doing lots and lots of test swatches! Of course I tried to make things really difficult for myself by drawing/ coloring my fashion illustrations in particularly hard to find colors. Most of the colors I want are light Spring-like neutrals like champagne, lavender, ivory and light peach. I’ve seen them a lot on runways and they look absolutely ethereal! Vera Wang, J. Mendel, Chloe and Marchesa are my inspirations of the moment. I particularly love this photo-shoot from Vogue January 2011. I never want to see Black Swan in its entirety because I hate horror films, but I could look at the costumes all day! (and anything inspired by them)

    First attempts...

    I have heard that Kool-Aid can work very well as a dye on natural fibers and it's very cheap so I thought I'd give it a whirl. (you can use it as an ammonia free hair dye too btw!) I even found this handy dandy color chart.------->

     I attempted a recipe for a light pink peach color which said 2/3 pink lemonade and 1/3 lemonade Kool-aid.  I tested all the types of white or cream natural fabric I had: satin-faced chiffon, organza, cotton muslin, wool yarn, and (what I thought was) silk duchess satin.
    Two issues arose.

    1. the color was way too bright!  (more bubblegum pink than ballet/blush pink)
    2. It was too blotchy for my taste.

    After doing further research I found out that less dye and more water will give me lighter colors and less blotchyness.  I have yet to try this but I'm becoming more and more inclined to buy acid dyes from Dharma Trading Company. (supposedly the best for protein fibers: silk, and wool)

    Second attempt...

    I've been curious about the brand Idye for a dyes and similar products, so I thought I'd try it. (it's fairly cheap and I don't have to special order it)  I particularly am interested in the  Idye color remover and its ability to fade colors as well as remove them completely without bleach (which eats up silk apparently).
    A friend of mine was very gracious and sold me a 5 yard length of the most heavenly crinkle silk chiffon (for very cheap).  The only problem was, it's a bright coral red: not the ugliest color by any means but not what I needed. So my idea was to try use the color remover to get the perfect light peach.

    and the results....

    (playing with what one of the dresses will look like)

                                                                                                               And AFTER in a lovely rose.

     Hopefully this fabric can be used for my Princess Dress if I have enough.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011


    So it’s a lazy day and I’m looking for interesting blog material.   I thought I’d look up Snoopy Fashion just for fun to see what came up.  I mean after all snoopy is the the master of imagination, showmanship, philosophy, and not being afraid to be wise and act like you're five at the same time.  He's pretty much my hero!  Not too mention he's quite a fashionista himself and knows how to rock out so why wouldn't you want to be his friend?

    I actually found a fashion show from 2008 where various designers were supposed to make outfits that were inspired by the cartoon to benefit Dress for Success. Unfortunately there were a few incidents similar to Lady Gaga’s
    Kermit the frog or hello kittydresses but there were some definite concerted efforts to be INSPIRED by a cartoon without being too literal.  A lot of them missed the mark in my opinion (just check out Flintstones girl down there) but it was still fun to watch and that sounds like a fun challenge.

    These last few photos are from another fashion show where famous designers were asked to create a look for Snoopy and Belle (the girl snoopy) dolls.  It was displayed at Japan's fashion week.  My personal favorite is GVGV's retro rocker outfits.  I want that dress in my size!  Also that Bill Blass polka dot dress is awesome! Check out this blog for more pics
    If It's Hip It's Here Blog

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Fit for a Princess

    This term I get to design my own collection which is really exciting but a lot of work at the same time.  I’ve decided to share my progress in making my dresses for this collection, and whatever else I decide to work on.  The first dress I’m making I named “Annabelle”.  It reminds me of a fairytale princess dress the likes of Rapunzel, Giselle (from Enchanted), or Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty) but my original inspiration for the collection in general is the ballet.  First of all, I'd just like to say that I am obsessed with Disney's interpretation of Rapunzel in Tangled.  I love that she's spunky, strong willed, and insanely creative!  If I had nowhere to go and all those supplies to play with all the time, I'd probably be the same way and my wall would look the same :-)  Of course Flynn is awesome too, mostly cuz Zachary Levi is amazing and hilarious! I just wish I could hang out  in his circle of friends... of course there is that language barrier with not knowing Star Wars.... Anyways....If you haven't seen Tangled yet, DO IT! ... NOW! and here's a preview to help convince you and b/c I love that I can embed videos. :-)

    So About my work :-)

    This dress one in particular would be displayed best if the wearer were ballroom dancing (then I would add some more sparkles of course :-)It is going to be made mostly from silk chiffon, which overlays silk satin and a tulle petticoat.  The portion above the bustier is going to be very sheer.  The same fabric will be used to weave a covering for the bustier. Also, because of the sheerness, you will be able to see the boning beneath it. The skirt will also be chiffon, covering satin, over a petticoat.  What I am most excited about it that I will be using the fabric and embellishments from old wedding dresses to make my entire collection.  I'm hoping there is some silk in there so I can more easily dye it and make it even more couture looking.  I just found out that one of the wedding dresses I was given (well my school was given and then to me) is a Monique Lhuillier silk chiffon gown.  One of my friends just about cried when i said I was going to cut it up but seriously what else I am I going to do with it? Donate it to a museum? Sell it to a celebrity?  I think I'm just giving it another life.  After all, the zipper is broken and the chiffon is torn in several places.  So don't judge me! It will be gorgeous just you wait! ;-)

    First Attempt....

    I Tried to drape poly chiffon on the dress form for the sheer underlayer. Sounds fun right? NOT!
    especially when its on the bias! These are some
    pics of my first attempt.

    Well, more to come!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011


    Every time I go shopping at all the big mall stores to see what’s new, I am always sorely dissapointed.  There is a severe lack of creativity in the price points I can afford.  Now I realize, some designs must be dumbed down a little to be able to sold for less but quite honestly that’s no excuse.  You can change a neckline,  add a ruffle where you wouldn’t except it, or even have a really cool color or print.  This is about the point when I start sketching my own designs but realize, “oh wait, I’m in school! I don’t have time to make anything for myself!)  But that doesn’t stop me from being inspired.  :-)  I’m so excited this term because I get to actually make my own collection for a real live fashion show!  I can use whatever fabrics, silhouettes and details I want! 

    This week, I want to focus on what’s been inspiring me as of late.  This may be an ongoing theme depending on how well it’s received and what I feel like writing about on any given day.

    This last week I got to see the movie Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.  The movie itself was pretty cool.  I didn’t think it would be as intense of a drama but I was still entranced by the magic of the circus and of course the costumes. I am now officially obsessed with the fashion of the 1930’s. Combine that with the magic and drama of the circus… and all the gorgeous animals and I might be in love!  After doing some research I found out about the costume designer for the movie (Jacqueline West) and found some gorgeous sketches of the costumes! They are very reminiscent of one of my favorite 30’s designers who revolutionized the way women dressed, Madeleine Vionnet.  I found some pics of each so enjoy!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    The Beginning...

    Today I am starting a new adventure.  I'm a little scared because I hate to write, but if there's anything I've learned, besides the fact that cliches will never cease to be applicable, it's that you should finish what you start, learn to face your fears and try something new everyday.  So here we go. Hope you enjoy my random ramblings.  You can expect anything from fashion advice, to movie reviews, recipes, sewing tutorials, art, craft projects, etc.

    First of all, since this is blog number one, I should explain the title.  "Dancing Bears and Painted Wings" are lyrics from a song from Anastasia (one of my favorite movies by the way).  I love the scene where this song is played.  Anastasia is poking around this old castle that sparks memories of her long forgotten past and has the most gorgeous day dream.  I wish I had a dream like that.  It makes me want to be a little girl again, dress up in princess clothes, with a tiara in my hair, and dance around in my mothers shoes.... At the same time, I want to be Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" as the sophisticated women.  Then again maybe it's my life goal to be a little bit of both. :-)