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Traveling Girl Checking In: New Zealand

trulyclaire

A view of the Lake Region of the South Island. Much more beautiful than imaged here.

A view of the Lake Region of the South Island. Much more beautiful than imaged here.

From New Zealand, Hello everyone! I wanted to check in with you and let you know that I am having a great time on this lovely vacation. Though I regret I only have two more nights here before heading home I am excited to see the faces of everyone else I love and be back in my own bed. I wish I could have sent more updates but my internet here is spotty. If you want to see more of my travels I've been posting them on Instagram @offcultured. This country is breathtaking and its people generous and kind. I will come back one day so that I can experience more of it.

Until I'm back Stateside take care!

Truly,
Claire

Traveling to New Zealand: Autumn Wardrobe

trulyclaire

It's Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet right now and I'll have to dress accordingly when I arrive in New Zealand this Friday/Saturday depending on which side of the international date line you reside. To prevent me turning into a Clarice-cicle as my friends would say in their 45°F average fall temps I went down to the Goodwill and picked out a bevy of sweaters. I have sweaters but not very many, certainly not enough for a twelve day trip where I may not be able to wash my clothes that often. I also found a nice winter coat and an infinity scarf that I was assured would be necessary both for warmth and comfort on the long plane ride over. I ordered boots from DSW but I'm not holding my breath that they'll get here on time (I ordered them on the 2nd of this month and they still haven't shipped yet...all that for another post perhaps.) and I pulled my winter clothing I do have out of storage. 

It's taken a long time for me to be able to pack in a spatially economical way for a trip of any duration. I think I've done okay this time around (save for the some 13 sweaters I've managed to shove in my suitcase) and I wanted to share with you some of the pieces I'll be bringing. Without further ado:

I'm not sure when I'll be able to update the blog but you can follow my trip with me on instagram @offcultured. I'll see you all again soon!

Truly,
Claire


 

Wedding Guest Dress Update V: Nearly There

trulyclaire

I'll be inserting side seam pockets later which is why you see a gap in the seam if you look closely at the right of the picture.

I'll be inserting side seam pockets later which is why you see a gap in the seam if you look closely at the right of the picture.

Over the weekend I was able to cut all the pieces for the dress out of the final fabric. Everything got sewed up except for attaching the skirt. In these pictures I have it pinned to the bodice. I allowed it to hang like this overnight to allow the bias in the skirt to fall and this evening I'll finish it up by attaching it and balancing and finishing the hem. The skirt was also a reminder to me not to cut fabric when I'm tired as I forgot to divide the front waist circumference in half while I was marking the fabric. I ended up with a front piece that was much too wide. Luckily, I cut it this way instead of too narrow and was able to correct it without wasting much fabric.

I decided to ditch the dressmaker bows at the neckline. I just think it looks much more elegant without them, but I think I may attach single bows at the sleeve hem. We'll see. I've been playing around with different size bows and think I've found one I like best. Tomorrow, I plan to sew the petticoat and hopefully by Wednesday I can show you a finished project.

Wishing everyone a happy Monday!

Truly,
Claire

Wedding Guest Dress Update IV: Second Mock Up

trulyclaire

Dropping the front neckline down to make it more alluring

Dropping the front neckline down to make it more alluring

I can already see the finish line. Just a little ways left to go. So, I decided to not add a gusset because widening the bicep and altering the armhole was enough to get the effect I wanted. I still feel that I could drop the neckline a bit more in the front. This last mock-up just finesses the smaller details. I'll have to:

  • take up the shoulder seams at the neck to have the back lie flat
  • let out the front darts just a bit to give a bit more ease at the waistline and possibly shorten them
  • take in a bit more from the back darts to smooth out fullness just under the shoulder blade
  • taper the sleeve from the under arm seam for a more refined look
Taking up the shoulder seam at the neckline to have the back neckline lie flat

Taking up the shoulder seam at the neckline to have the back neckline lie flat

It's really not a whole lot more to do and I won't have to re-cut the muslin to do it. I can make all the changes on the sewing machine for a test fit and mark the pattern accordingly. I expect to have this dress finished by Sunday evening at the latest. I'll draft the facings, pockets, and skirt tomorrow and cut out the pieces in the final fabric to sew up that evening.

Taking in the back darts and dropping back neckline. For test fits I don't worry about making the zipper perfect as long as the open seam measures 1"

Taking in the back darts and dropping back neckline. For test fits I don't worry about making the zipper perfect as long as the open seam measures 1"

Tulle fabric for the petticoat in a contrasting bright aubergine.

Tulle fabric for the petticoat in a contrasting bright aubergine.

Lastly, I had to change the color of the petticoat. It will be an aubergine color instead of a teal or navy. I just couldn't find a teal that I was satisfied with. I also need to pick up organza to line it with and ribbon to pretty up the edges but it's not a priority right now.

Overall I'm pleased with the progress and am eager to see the final result. Just so you know I fit these to myself and then put them on the dress form to mark and record. Though my measurements are close to the form we are shaped much differently.

I'll see you in the next post and hopefully will have a close to finished piece to share with you!

Truly,
Claire
 

Wedding Guest Dress Update III: First Mock Up

trulyclaire

This is the first mock up of the bodice and from just a quick test fit there is going to be a bit of tweaking that needs to be done. I'm long all over and I was using a standard bodice block that I drafted ages ago. I have one that I drafted to my own measurements but it's somewhere... To make this pattern fit better I'll have to:

  • modify the sleeve cap and add more room
  • lengthen the torso so that the waist hits at my waistline which is about an inch and some longer than my bodice block
  • seam the darts since I hate hate flappy darts
You can see how the back neckline lifts. It's an invisible dart that didn't quite get pivoted all the way into the neckline. The front neckline will lay flat once back neckline is corrected. At the moment they're each duking it out out for prime real estate.

You can see how the back neckline lifts. It's an invisible dart that didn't quite get pivoted all the way into the neckline. The front neckline will lay flat once back neckline is corrected. At the moment they're each duking it out out for prime real estate.

Tomorrow I'll cut this bad boy apart and add and take away where needed. I think I'll add gussets to the sleeve to make it more comfortable and then tweak the neckline so it's a bit more alluring. Fitting, for me, is the most frustrating yet mentally stimulating and rewarding part of the whole design process. One day I'll have a dress form with exactly my measurements and curvature and drape with wild abandon. Until that day comes I'll have to do many more test fits than I care to or I could, if I like myself enough, just draft a new set of bodice blocks from this pattern once I finish making the tweaks; aside from the neckline it is almost exactly a basic bodice. That would be the intelligent thing to do and I do like myself quite a lot.

Wishing you a happy Monday!

Truly,
Claire

P.S
If you're wondering why I didn't do the skirt it's not necessary right now since I'll be drafting it from the final measurements of the bodice . Plus, a circle skirt is about the easiest thing in the world to do and I'd rather spend my time fiddling with getting the sleeves and neckline just right.

 

Yellow Plaid Dress

trulyclaire

What I decide to wear each day usually revolves around shoes. Without a doubt the shoe is my favorite article of clothing because it is a sculptural and functional little piece of wearable art. An outfit can be elevated or deflated by a choice of footwear. That said the main reason why I'm making this dress is to have something to wear with this particular pair:

                                                             Seychelles "Under The Influence" Pump

                                                             Seychelles "Under The Influence" Pump

These pumps came out in 2007. They came in a beautiful navy blue, but at the time I was a poor college student and couldn't justify the price. A few months later I found a green pair in Ross for about $15.00 and though green wasn't my first choice I scooped them up because I loved the silhouette so much. Since then I've worn them exactly once.

This dress is a part of my personal challenge to whittle away at my fabric collection (read: hoard). I had five yards of it, gave away two, and the rest will be turned into this dress designed specifically for these shoes. I've given myself a year to complete the challenge...I started last year in the summer so I've already failed that part, but I'm keeping at it anyway. I hope to reduce my stash by at least half and I'll elaborate on the whole challenge in another post.

See you in the next post!
 

Truly,
Claire

P.S
I decided to try and do "real" illustrations for the blog instead of throwing up my quick sketches. Give you a little eye candy. It goes without saying that I'm terrible at rendering plaid cut on the bias but you'll forgive that because I believe you get the gist of it.

Wedding Guest Dress Update II: Fabric Found

trulyclaire

                                1. plum bengaline   2. basic bleached muslin   3. yellow plaid wool blend

                                1. plum bengaline   2. basic bleached muslin   3. yellow plaid wool blend

This past week kind of got away from me due to bad weather (flooded car) and family highs (birthdays and successful surgeries) and lows (deaths and bad attitudes). I only got as far as finding the fabric for the Wedding Guest Dress. Luckily, I didn't have to order it online. I found the perfect plum at Joanne's in the suiting section. It's a poly-blend bengaline that has a bit of spandex for stretch and a bit of rayon for a smooth hand. It was $9.99 USD a yard and I bought four yards of it. I  also had a coupon and saved a little moolah which is always nice. Later in the week I picked up ten yards of muslin as I was completely out and I was able to get that at a discount too; only paid $26 USD for the whole bolt. The yellow-plaid is a wool-poly blend I've had for years and it's the fabric for the second dress I mentioned in the last post. 

I'm hoping, if there are no surprises, I'll be able to sew a mock-up of at least the plum dress by tomorrow. My trip is in two weeks and I know how quickly that can sneak up on me so I want to get the dress done by the end of the week at the latest and finish its petticoat that weekend. For now it will have to go unlined but I plan on lining it with some fun printed habotai later when I have the time. It'd be nice if I can find the time (and the habotai I want) before the trip, but I won't hold my breath.

I hope your week has been pleasant and that you're enjoying a beautiful weekend.

Truly,
Claire

Wedding Guest Dress Progress I

trulyclaire

I finally went looking  for plum fabric and the selection was severely anemic. No surprise there seeing as how it's Spring and I don't live near a fashion district. Most everything was the right kind but wrong color or vice versa.  I found some fabrics that could work at fabric.com and I may order swatches today. The reason I'm on the fence is because I'm mulling over this one ponte knit fabric I found that would work and would work very well save for one irritating factor: most ponte knits attract lint, dust, and dander like a neodymium super magnet and this one was no exception. However,  ponte knit is great for this project because it's fullness is perfect for this design, it's great for travel thanks to minimal wrinkling, it's usually warmer than gabardine, and it's readily available meaning I could make up my mind today and have a few yards of it ready to go in a project drawer. In the mean time I've completed the first bodice and sleeve draft (pictured above).

Also, in order to start this new project I had to take another project off my dress form.  It's another dress which happens to be very similar to this one in that they both have circle skirts (I just decided) and that they are fall garments. I'll make a sketch of the other and add it to the Current Projects list so you can follow along for that one too. They'll both need petticoats so I'll work on them in tandem.  If we're lucky and I can make a decision on the fabric sooner rather than later we can have at least one new dress by the end of the month and one on the way.