Normcore

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Being one to go out of my way to avoid this word, the truth is that I should start embracing it. My style probably reflects more normcore than anything else. Regardless of always wishing to be one of those women on the train with crisp blouses, skirts and heels, or structured dresses and trench coats, on their way to their finance job.. I chose comfort over gloss. Even when I sit at my desk and dream of sewing a fitted sheath or button downs, by night time I’m reaching for cozy knits to sew. I’ve been wearing the shit out of this hemlock tee turned sweater. The fabric was purchased from that time I went nuts on black friday. It’s a sweater fabric made up of acrylic and god knows what else, so I tend to hand wash and lay flat to dry.

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These are my second pair of Gingers, except they’re jeggings. There’s a mock front fly and it’s all elastic waist. These are waxy stretch which I love. Not a lot to talk about construction wise other than changing the waistband to enclose the elastic and omit the button. I didn’t include the front fly flap, and just created a mock zipper top stitch.

Tardy for the party, I wanted to recreate this Mcqueen dress for New Year’s Eve. It took me a while to get a starting point pattern and after looking at patterns for an hour I settled for Vogue 8615.

It seams (pun intended) that almost all of the vogue/mccalls/butterick dress patterns favor princess seams and I kid you not this was probably the only french dart dress on there. I semi lined the dress with a peach poly crepe that I thought was going to give me a rough time, but ended up semi alright. Whenever I’m faced with a project that I have no idea how to tackle it sits on the floor while I look at it for a while before deciding where to begin. The skirt was on the Mcqueen dress were inverted pleats all around, so since I wasn’t in the mood to do math, I cut a really long strip of fabric, pinned it to one end and started folding the pleats by 1/2 inch under and 2 inches over (if that makes sense). I didn’t want to recreate the bubble part of the skirt only because pleats and bubble hem means hell to iron out, so I turned the hem, pressed and hand stitched it all around. The tulle comes from a dress I had that I folded in half and stuck under there ha! But I really like the way Emma looked when she wore it with a tulle skirt under so.. yeah sue me.

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2015: New You; Same Bullshit!

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The inspiration for the title comes from this book I keep side-eying on my boyfriend’s shelf: Lose Weight! Get Laid! Find God! Supposedly 45% of people tend to make new year’s resolutions while only 8% of those actually stick and complete it. I don’t make resolutions, rather I’m more the person to stop and start any time of the year as seen with my drinking, running, diet, etc because I can’t really find myself committing to things long term. Surprisingly, blogging about my sewing has been something that I’ve stuck with even when I really don’t want to. I’m still not making any resolutions (even though I did get up to go to the gym today and pre-pack my lunches in advance. In fact I’m about to go for a run and then heat up my meal.. ON A FRIDAY!) but taking inspiration from Ginger‘s now defunct check the technique; I would like to lay out techniques or things that I would like to accomplish this year. Usually whenever I store seasonal clothing, I go through them and decide what to store and what gets donated. This year a large chunk of things I made I did end up donating because I wasn’t happy with the outcome, or the colors didn’t suit me, but most importantly they were rushed. Now that I know how to construct a garment, I want to take the time to perfect the insides as well.

A few Halloweens ago before I knew how to sew, I had commissioned a costume by an excellent seamstress. The costume is still hanging in my closet and I like to take a look at it every now and then. The skirt was lined (invisible zipper included) all by machine, instead of slip-stitching the lining to the zipper. I know it’s probably pretty easy but I keep on wrapping my head around that. So that’s definitely on the list. For the first time ever, I made a blouse using 90% french seams, which I never wanted to do because it took so much time. Speaking of time, I’ve realized that taking into consideration the time factor, I really am not saving more on clothing as a single garment that I had thought or expected. And that’s ok. I figure one dress that fits me perfectly with the materials that I want is worth more than the 6 dresses I would have careless bought and then donated at the end of the season or had to throw out because of signs of wear. But since I’m throwing supplies and time into the mix I figure this should be the year where I take a step back and be a bit more meticulous.

In no particular order or rush some of the things I’d like to accomplish are:

1- Active wear. I swear by under armour clothing, but I’d love to give Fehr Trade a go, especially with moisture wicking fabric from SpandexHouse

2. – Successfully installing a lapped zipper. All my previous attempts have been futile

3. – Single Welted Pockets

4. – Double welted pockets

5. – Fully lined by machine dress

6. – Make a Coat

7. – Fully commit to knitting something. A scarf, a hat, something!

8. – Tackle a Bra

9. – Make a tailored fitted button up ( Sewaholic read my mind)

10 – Draft a bodice sloper

11. – Finally accept that I now need FBAs

 

I think 11 are good for now. I don’t want to be overzealous and then not get through anything, although accepting that I now need to do FBAs (fuck you iud) is going to take a while. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Camas Camas Chameleon

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Happy New Year! New year new snow was basically what happened over the last few days. I was worried that we would have a mild winter and then summer would be scorching hot. I took a long hiatus over the holidays, went to New Jersey and spent all my days eating and drinking with the boyfriend and his parents. Before taking off I managed to make a number of new items that I had no time or desire to photograph or talk about. With it my Alexander Mcqueen knock off dress for New Years’ Eve, which I’ll get to (promise).

Speaking of New Year’s Eve.. you already know my motto “go big or go home”. Well, I went big and then I went home. As I peeled off my dress, slipped into my pajamas and crawled into bed, I had a ghastly premonition that I was going to pay for it the next day. Not only did I spend the 1st with a hangover so big, I think I had the shakes (seriously), but the next day didn’t go so well. I guess I paid my dues with the fun I had. But really, it was fantastic. We waited for the ball to drop at the place where I used to bartend, where we indulged in a few shots of whiskey and vodka. Afterwards everyone was too drunk to rebuttal when I suggested we head to Metropolitan (a gay dive bar) because it was free and almost nothing is free in NYC on NYE. So there we were, dancing and even m0ar drinking, when to my surprise a drag queen took to the stage to lip sync. Who was it? None other than Dita Ritz… what?!! I flipped a shit.. in less than 2 weeks and both by accident I manage to witness a RuPaul Drag Race contestant lip sync for her life. The other was Jiggly Caliente at Paradise in NJ.

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Anyways 2015: the year of my sobriety? Maybe. At least that’s how I have been feeling the past few days after a hangover so bad my eyeballs felt they had sand in them. Drink responsibly people. Let’s get back to the topic of things I managed to sew but then got too lazy to talk about.. what ends up happening? If you wait too long, the temperatures drop, it snows and you’re stuck debating on making a run outside or a low lit basement apartment. I opted to freeze my ass off. Mind you this was the shortest amount of time I’ve ever spent photographing. Didn’t even bother to check the shots after to see if I was in focus the whole time.

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I was really drawn to the Camas blouse when it came out because it’s usually the type of knits I wear other than tshirts, when I want to feel somewhat fancy and more grown up. I really wish I were the type of 30 year old that stopped dressing like a slob, but wrap me up in combat boots, oversized sweaters and knits and call it a day. Way back when Fabric.com had their black friday deals I purchased this Cotton rib knit (no longer available). I don’t remember what I had intended to make with it but thought that perhaps it would work with the Camas Blouse. Originally I intended to make the whole thing out of the fabric, but had some lace lying around. Not too much to make something big out of it, but just enough to use it as accent, I went ahead and cut one yolk and one set of front pieces out of it and used the cotton to back the yolk and second set of front plackets for stability.

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I want to like the shirt, but I’m still not sure. Having no white serger threads, I went with the instructions and decided to french seam about 90% of the blouse (aka everything but the sleeves), so fixing the shirt is going to be a hassle, which I don’t want to get into right now. If the material doesn’t drape enough (and this one still kinda does) then the ends tend to flare out and have wonky seams. I know one of the variations on the pattern page does have this issue, which is why I was a little hesitant to buy the pattern but I’m guessing that my blouse and that one have similar weight and hand. I have issues with my collar, which doesn’t lay flat, but I compared around and noticed the same.

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I didn’t add buttons, instead opting to fuse shut the placket. (There’s a safety pin on there for modesty’s sake). I do like Cookin & Craftin’s version a lot better than mine. Her’s tends to drape more and hang correctly instead of flaring out like an exaggerated a-line blouse. I absolutely adore the fabric, so this is something that I’ll want to salvage at some point in time when I’m not feeling so lazy. Perhaps if taking in some of the bottom flare, I’ll get something that I’ll like more.

The Sisterhood of Traveling Fabric

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love-lola-plaid-mcqueen-skirt_0002Story time: If I were to tell you back in the late 90′s that I sported hot pink hair that alternated between semi pixie and bob, you’d laugh your ass off right? I mean I would too.. It doesn’t matter what kind of music I listen to, and trust me, my taste is particularly eclectic and knowledge spans from hipster nonsense to hip/hop and soul, deep down I always go back to my teenage roots of punk and new wave. It’s no surprise if you think about it. I’m more than certain my eternal apathy and cynicism comes from entertaining lyrics like In my life, why do I give valuable time To people who don’t care if I live or die? in my teenage years.. It wasn’t just the music and fashion that I was drawn to but the IDGAF attitude.. albeit I was more counterculture than anti-establishment. Nonetheless I sported my pink hair, my DIY clothing (lots and lots of plaid of course) and a magnificent left shiner (for a few weeks) like a badge of pride that separated me from the girls that were breed to think about hair, make-up, boyfriends and dressing up. Granted that had I stayed in New York during my high school years, it wouldn’t be so freak of nature.. but imagine looking and acting like this in small town Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.. and it’s more like Kevin Bacon stepping into a town with no dancing. I recently reconnected with a friend who knew me back then, who proceeded to tell stories at my 30th birthday of me back then and everyone was in disbelief of my skin tight plaid pants and tattered shirts, and the all girl punk band I was in that covered Tsunami Bomb.

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2 decades later my dress code and attitude is a bit muted but of course my IDGAF mentality coupled with my DIY sense will always remain and keep me punk at heart.. so when I saw when this Alexander Mcqueen plaid kick pleat skirt, I knew I had to recreate it as an ode. When I first started sewing, I’d just buy fabric and create something, only to learn that my choice of fabric wasn’t working for the garment. Now, still armed with mistakes, I wait until the fabric speaks to me (cliche phrase I know). Back when Madalynne debuted her Aurora Grace skirt, I openly admired the fabric, and she was very kind to mail me the lengthy leftover yardage practically overnight. I’ve kept it in my fabric bookcase waiting to see what to make of it. At first I thought perhaps knife pleats, but I didn’t really want to end up looking too school girl. I’m glad I passed on my original plan and waited until the day I spotted Blair Eadie wearing Mcqueen’s skirt.

 

Construction wise it was pretty straight forward. I used Burdastyle’s pleated mini skirt as a base, since I lost some weight and never fixed my skirt sloper. The only differences from the pattern were to make the kick pleat start directly at the top of the skirt, and create a 2 inch waistband. I’m not a fan of skirts without waistbands for some reason. The original skirt has two back welt pockets, which were omitted because I wanted the skirt to be as simple as possible. Post construction I realized that I should’ve positioned the zipper in the back instead of on the side, like the pattern asks. Oh well.. you live, you learn. The whole time I constructed the skirt I was obviously in a new wave groove on Spotify. I think the playlist is collaborative, which you can feel free and add to .. if that’s your thing.

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PS – It was cold.

If you’re into that sort of thing.. here’s a card

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I made this for you.

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Not a lot of posting has been going on here. Once the Thanksgiving food coma sets in it usually lasts until sometime after New Years Day. There’s been some slow sewing going on in the background but sadly not enough engine power to follow through with photography and blog posts. Let’s blame it on sun going down a lot faster these days and my body never fully adjusting to getting up early in winter. Does anyone else get the Winter blues? I promise I stopped drinking but I can’t manage to get out of bed until 8:15 only to be rushed out of my house and be miserable on the train with everyone else.

I’m not recapping my year unfortunately or doing Top/Worst 5s (not my style). But I will say that I’m thankful for a handful of things mostly non-sewing related. Some of them including participating in my friend’s podcast about hobbies, where I learned that I say actually too much and then got drunk and called Lanvin a he. Taking an 11 day hiking trip with my boyfriend in Utah, in which at first I was scared we weren’t going to make it through but only brought us closer together and gave proof to the world that I can survive in the wild (here’s hoping I never have to). Lastly, learning the limits of my body and realizing that with age it’s imperative to stretch and remember posture, otherwise muscles in your butt you never knew existed start spasming and put pressure on your sciatic nerve. Oh yeah.. let’s not forget when I almost turned into a Sleepwalker from my 2 day ER stint thanks to a cat bite.

As the year ends and another begins, here’s to making mistakes twice or as many more until you learn, here’s to not taking yourself so seriously, and seeing the silver lining in everything.

Finally here’s to each and every person that has given me words of encouragement and admiration on my blog, in emails and real life. This year I’ve made more sewing friends than I can imagine and I’m so grateful that everyone is so freakin’ awesome.