Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wishing you a Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year

My Christmas Tree
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Wishing you a Christmas that's full of Joy, Peace and Happiness.
May 2010 be the year your dreams come true.

See you in the New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

MFDC Shoe Design Competition - I've been shortlisted!

What a lovely Christmas surprise!
I've been shortlisted for the finals of the Malaysian Footwear Design Competition (MFDC) 2010, organised by the Perak Footwear Association.

Design teacher, Jasmi, helped me to focus and fine-tune my design for the leisure shoe category.

So Jasmi, a BIG "thank you" to you!

Finalists will take part in a fashion show to be held in 2010.
Next step is to get the shoe design made up.
The folks at the Perak Footwear Association have offered to help source an interested manufacturer.

This is sooooo exciting.......

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I feel a new hobby coming on.......

Limhwa Half Elf
photo credit: needoll @ flickr

My original purpose was to get a ball-jointed doll to practise draping/pattern-making and design sampling.
After doing my research on what's available out there dolly-wise, I'm hooked and well on the way to joining the ranks of all the ball-jointed doll addicts out there.

I've made my first purchase: a 57cm Limhwa half-elf.

I requested red hair and green eyes as she's going to be an Irish elf-princess.
I'll get additional wigs and eyes later on for different looks. And I'm going to be doing the face-up for her.....apparently, all it takes is some practise......

I ordered from their US-based international site, http://www.limhwa.com/ , and had some queries which were answered promptly by 2 very helpful ladies, Catrina and Joan.

There are so many dolls out there and deciding which one to get is a real headache. It was a good thing I found the Den of Angels Forum, as they have discussions going on for all the various types of dolls.

Thanks to the discussions at Den of Angels, I realised I needed to get the optional high-heel feet as well as the normal feet and I was able to make the order together with the doll, saving me additional international courier fees.

There is also a thread comparing the poseability of the dolls, which is an important factor for me as I intend to use the doll as a photo model for my design samples. And the biggest bonus? some helpful person measured up her Limhwa elf and now I have a full set of measurements which means I can get some new clothes ready for her. The poor thing comes naked.

I also found the Flickr Ball-Jointed Dolls' groups to contain tons of photo's of the various dolls, which is great as I could see the dolls in various angles and different poses.

Here are some of the groups I looked at.

Be warned though......

photo credit:  Sⓘndy @ Flickr

How can you  resist these?
..........which is why I'm my way to the Latidoll site......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ever wanted to try drafting your own dress patterns?

Pattern Drafts
image from wkdesigner.wordpress.com

Welcome back Don Morin (aka Weekend Designer)!
Yes, it's true and it says so on his Wkdesigner blog.

Folks, this is the place to go if you've ever wanted to try drafting your own patterns.

The Weekend Designer has 100 posts giving pattern drafting lessons from belts to evening gowns.

here's the link:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends: Corsets / Bustiers

Spring 2010 Trends: Corsets
images from style.com

Designers continue the trend for corsets / bustiers into Spring 2010.

A new development: peplums.
I like Lanvin's elegant flowing cocktail number and Karl Lagerfeld's chic top which looks great paired with a short skirt or shorts.

Victor and Rolf's ruffled corset is perfect for Spring 2010's  lighter mood.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fall 2009: Bustiers and/or Corsets

Fall 2009 Corsets
Images from Style.com

There's something about a corset that makes me feel all dressed-up, whether I'm pairing it with a pair of jeans, loose evening trousers or over a full skirt.

note: Some people may refer to the above-type corsets as bustiers to distinguish between lingerie and well, not lingerie. So what do you call a bustier with a built-in bra?
A Cortier?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Personal Style: Dr Porntip Rojanasunan

Dr Porntip Rojanasunan
images from Dr Porntip Rojanasunan Fans Club Facebook

For someone known as “Dr. Death”, Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan, widely accepted as the best forensic pathologist in Thailand,  is not what you expect and certainly not someone you easily forget.

The 50-something Dr. Porntip has her own personal style which I can only describe as glam-punk with spiky, multi-coloured hair paired with trendy, fashionable outfits. And she looks great!

But she’s more than just a pretty face.

She’s been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers worldwide and has a Facebook fan club, for her work in fighting for justice for those who can no longer speak for themselves.

Dr. Pornthip is an outspoken human rights activist, using her skills in forensics to find evidence of police abuse. Despite harassment, threats and lawsuits, she frequently challenges suspect autopsy findings by police, pointing out cases of abuse.

Criminal forensics was directly under police control until, due to Dr. Porntip’s efforts, the Central Forensic Science Institute was set up, reporting directly to the Ministry of Justice.

Dr. Porntip is the current Director of the institute and has introduced DNA evidence to Thailand.
Her next goal is to set up a national missing persons institute, to record the many cases of unexplained disappearances and deaths in Thailand.
After the 2004 Tsunami, she headed efforts to identify victims in Southern Thailand, and assisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

The energetic Dr. Porntip is the author of several crime books and a frequent crime commentator on the news.

On a personal level, Dr. Pornthip has successfully undergone treatment for 2 cases of cancer. She relaxes by spending time with her family and cooking.

Explaining her unique personal style, she says she had wanted to be an interior designer. She chose forensics over conventional medicine because she liked solving puzzles and because,

“As a doctor, I can’t wear whatever I want. I suppose I express my creative side through my dressing. And the dead do not complain about the way I look.” *

* source: the star publication

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Textile Design Competition

photo credit: qusic at Flickr.com 

Ever wished you could try your hand at Textile Design?

Well, now you can, at Textile Republic, an interactive community for designers from around the world.

There's an ongoing design competition on their website, where winning designs and logos are used to create a line of fabrics, clothing, wallpaper, stationery, and other merchandise.

Winners receive $1,000 cash and a 5% royalty from profits generated from sales of their design. Designs are selected for production every 2-3 months.

Visit their website to see the winning designs, browse the fabrics and keep a look out for the next competition submission date.

Here's the link:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musings

Image credit: wikipedia.org

It’s that time of the year when we think of peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind, putting the Christmas tree up, getting Christmas shopping done, planning the Christmas menu and worrying about what to wear for Christmas dinner.

It’s also that time of the year when I wait expectantly to see if the Great Goat of Gavle, Sweden, will survive another arson attack.

Since 1966, when the Great Goat was first erected, it has survived Christmas only 10 times. It was burnt down almost every year, with the following exceptions:

1972: sabotaged and collapsed
1976: run over by a car
1978: kicked to bits
1983: legs were cut off
1997: attacked by fireworks

In 2005, “Santa Claus” and the “Gingerbread Man” shot flaming arrows at the goat which burnt down.

The goat has, in past years, been guarded by a 6.5 ft fence, by Securitas, Police, Homeguards, the Gavle Infantry, volunteers and a web-cam. It has been fire-proofed and soaked in flame retardant.

The arsonists weren’t just locals. A Norwegian was arrested for attempted arson in 1998 and in 2001, an American, Lawrence Jones, set fire to the goat on 23rd dec. Jones was arrested, spent ½ a month in the slammer and fined 100,000 kroners (though apparently the fine is still outstanding).

His cigarette lighter was also confiscated.

Said Goat was treated with flame retardant in 2006 and it escaped with just a smoldering foot.

But in 2008, the Goat Committee of Gavle decided to leave the goat untreated upon complaints that the retardant made the goat “look like a terrier”.  It burnt down on 27th Dec.

This event has been blogged about, has its own fan site and is featured on the town’s website where Goat Fans can read about the history of the goat, watch a film of the goat being erected, keep up with goat news through the blog, and help keep a watch on the goat through 2 webcams.

English bookmakers have been taking bets on the survival or demise of the goat since 1988.

Current odds are 6:4 arsonists to authorities.

Watch Christmas lights on the Goat through webcam at the Gavle website below:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to make your own Ball Jointed Doll

Obitsu Doll: Model Gretel
Photo credit: parabox.jp

Collector’s dolls make a wonderful Christmas present for someone special. If you can sew, you can make your own doll parts, construct your own custom doll and sew period costumes for it. I’ve posted the link to a doll-making lesson below.

For those of us who like working with draping, dolls are really useful for trying out new designs like Vionnet did. She would drape fabric on a 24” doll while working out the patterns for her draped garments.

I’ve been thinking of getting a doll for some time but it was hard to find one suitable for the purpose. Then I discovered Japanese dolls. After doing some research and lurking on doll making/collecting forums, I’ve settled on Obitsu, who make a ball-jointed doll with a soft torso, which makes it easy to move around and pose.

Proportions are 1/6 to 1/3 of human proportions which is ideal for experimenting. I was really excited to find the 1/3 version is 60cm, the same height as the one Vionnet used!

These collector’s dolls are pricey, and one could easily spend up to USD600 for a fully-finished smaller model constructed from Obitsu parts and hand-painted in the US.

So I wavered for quite some time on the pro’s and con’s of getting a (much cheaper) 27cm model vs a 60cm model. I’ve decided to go for it and get the 60cm Gretel model (shown above) from http://parabox.jp/eng/index.html, which comes with assembled body and head; and add on a doll's wig and a doll's stand which I will need if I'm going to use the doll as a draping model.

This will cost around USD400, which is more expensive than what I paid for Sandy and Mandy, my dress forms! But hey, it's Christmas after all!

How to make Ball Jointed Dolls:

The easy way is to buy the doll parts, assemble them, paint on the face (or purchase a ready-painted doll's head) and add a dolly wig. There are loads of doll making resources on the internet, and doll parts on eBay.

However, to make your own doll parts, read on.......

Dollhouse Noah from Japan, who makes and sells dolls, has generously posted a step by step lesson on how to make and construct your own ball-jointed doll parts using styroform, sawdust and a bonding agent. You then string the parts together, do the finishing and add a doll’s wig.

Her instructions are in English and very easy to understand. So if you’re interested in trying your hand at doll-making, you'll end up with a 100% custom-made collector’s doll!

Take a look at a couple of the dolls she made below. Aren't they beautiful?

Here’s the link: http://www2d.biglobe.ne.jp/~dhnoah/make_00.htm

Photo credit: Dollhouse Noah

Make a Fashion Statement this Christmas: The Bib Necklace

images from style.com

The accessory statement this season is the bib necklace.
Seen everywhere on the catwalks, they range from Dries Van Noten’s understated braided collar to Vera Wang’s beaded and diamanted extravaganza’s.

Or add a Victorian touch with these beaded bib necklaces featured on trendhunter:

images from trendhunter.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

Smoothing out the Lumps and Bumps

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

I call these my “investments”*lol*.

They pay multiple dividends in saving clothes which I would have dumped into the bin, and works a treat to smooth out those lumps and bumps. Now, even wearing body-hugging lycra is no longer a challenge for me. Bring 'em on, gals!

In the 50’s, Mum and all her friend wore them and they looked great with their wasp-like waists and smooth bodylines. Mum looked fantastic in her form-fitting cheongsams way into her mid-60’s.

Corsets have come a long way comfort-wise. Unlike Mum, I don’t have to squeeze myself into something obviously too small for me in an effort to obtain the requisite hourglass figure. I can breathe and eat full-sized portions at dinner parties.

What works best for me when buying corsets, is to find one that fits well, feels comfortable but smooths out the body line. By having a sleeker figure, I automatically look slimmer anyway.

for the latest lingerie trends, take a look at the lingerie trend report in my previous post HERE

The new Fashion Accessory?

With the outbreak of H1N1, you see people wearing them everywhere.

But why wear a boring white surgical mask when you can wear these?

Yoriko Yoshida is a Japanese illustrator who has put a silver lining into the H1N1 scare and turned swine flu surgical masks into colorful and witty fashion statements.

There are lots more designs on Yoriko Yoshida’s website. Here's the link:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free pattern for Junya Watanabe party dress from Show Studio

photo credits: showstudio

Designed by Junya Watanabe, this dress is perfect for the upcoming party season with a camisole top and 50's inspired skirt. Make it in one colour or sew up a plain coloured top with a print or plaid skirt as shown in the pic above.

You can download the printable pattern from the Showstudio site HERE

Note: the pattern is given in one size only

Fashion School: What I am doing now

photo credit: Si1very at Flickr.com

Researching spiders.

I don't particularly like the creatures, but I'm looking for something original for my design project, for which the final result would be a small collection for the end of course fashion show.

As budding designers, we have to be creative and original.
We can't just look at other designers' work and add A sleeves to B collar to C bodice and D skirt.

Jasmi is tough and he'll make us re-work our assignments until we get something original (This is my 3rd attempt at this assignment). But that's a good thing as he challenges me to expand my limited mental horizons.

At the same time, having been a left brained techy for most of my life, I'm having a lot of difficulty changing brain gears and finding an original theme without Jasmi saying "that's been done before."

"Is there anything someone hasn't done before?" I asked petulantly.

"You can have an original viewpoint, a fresh take on an existing subject." said Jasmi. There was just the slightest hint of exasperation in his tone.

He has repeated himself so many times to so many of us, he is almost hoarse. All the students apparently go through this process of trying to cut a new path through the creative wilderness only to find that someone else has gone before them and built a highway.


A fresh take on Spiders.

I may be jumping ahead of myself but I'm already imagining this would be good inspiration for some Goth stuff with a hint of Yamamoto minimalism, a bit of decaying Victorian grandeur a la Miss Havisham of Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations" and a touch of Anne Rice.

But don't tell Jasmi.
I'm supposed to go through the design process step by step.
And researching spiders is step1.

btw, did you know that the hogna helluo consumes the male after mating?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Madeleine Vionnet: Exhibition at the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs

The Musee  Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris has one of the biggest collections of decorative arts in France covering the period from the middle ages to the present day, housed in 10 "period" rooms.

The Vionnet exhibition runs until 31st January 2010, so if you happen to be in Paris.......

If not, you can still browse through photo's of some of the exhibits, read commentaries on Vionnet's work and download a catalogue (with photo's of her garments) on the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs' website HERE.

What I am reading now: The Collection of the Kyoto Institute: Fashion

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

This is without a doubt, my absolutely most favorite book on fashion!

If you're like me and love Fashion History, you'll positively covet this book.

I ordered it online some time back together with a ton of other books and chose the courier option.

When I opened the door, the poor DHL guy was perspiring profusely and panting from lugging the two large boxes up a couple of flights of stairs!

This contributed to most of the weight!
It came in a boxed set of 2 large books with beautiful photography and is a fantastic resource on fashions from the 18th to 20th century, which makes this a real bargain at under USD70.

I especially liked the close-up photos of the embellishments and garment details.

Vol. 1 covers the 18th and 19th centuries and Vol 2 is dedicated to the 20th century.

Here's a peek at some of the beautiful photography:

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Little Black Dress (2)

images from style.com

Here are some of my other favorites from the Fall Winter 2009 collections.

I like Devi Kroll's lace over blue satin, Malandrino's retro look, Elie Saab's sequins with cut-out, Erdem's waisted sheer sleeves with embroidered sequined skirt, and the edgy urban Proenza Schouler number.

Since The Little Black Dress does not actually have to be black these days, I have LBD’s in black, dark chocolate and a satiny taupe which takes me through all occasions all year round.

I love my LBD’s.
By mixing and matching them with different accessories – shoes, bags, scarfs, ear-rings and necklaces, and by doing my hair differently I can get different looks.

The original Little Black Dress is the one designed by Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. You could wear it today and still look to the minute ……the hallmark of a true classic.

You can see it HERE

The Little Black Dress (1)

Jil Sander
images from style.com

Not sure what to wear to the office party, to the opening of the new art gallery, to meet his family ?

You can always fall back on that classic standby:
the Little Black Dress.

This season, look no further than Jil Sander for the modern LBD: minimalist classic with an edge.