Sunday, September 16, 2007

The most flattering skirt pattern

This cut of skirt has been the most flattering for me over a range of 6 or 7 sizes, from this knee-length to floor length, and in fabrics from this light batik to heavy denim or velveteen. And I discovered it by accident while making this skirt, because I wanted to use the border print at the hem. As you can see, that didn't work perfectly, but the cut of the skirt turned out really well. (It is a weird number of gores, like 5 or 7, because of how much fabric I had. And it is cut across the fabric, because of the border print, which ran down both selvedges.)

Basically this cut is:

Twice your waist measurement, plus seam allowances for each gore, gathered, pleated, or elastic-gathered down to waist size.

Four times your waist, plus seam allowances for each gore, at the hem. That is, each gore is twice the width at the hem that it is cut at the waist, then the waist is gathered to 1/4 the hem width.

This cut of skirt, with at least this much flare, is flattering and fun to wear. Especially in the longer lengths, it flows around my ankles as I walk. For a good long skirt, I figure at least 120 inches hem circumference. You will find this type of skirt moves very differently from a straight-cut, gathered-at-the-waist dirndl skirt, which is unflattering on almost anyone. The gathers or pleats or elastic at the waist makes this more forgiving to wear than a simpler fitted at the waist, flared skirt.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gorgeous dresses everywhere

I had to look at the Fashion Week shows for spring 2008 for a textiles class. And there are, dresses everywhere, hooray. These costumy Mermaids-in-the-waves are by Zac Posen. What gorgeous hand-painted fabrics! is a good place to check them all out. There's a discussion over at Dressaday about some beautiful and wearable dresses by Derek Lam.

But lots of other designers are showing dresses this season, many in great patterned fabrics, others solids including a beautiful indigo.

Take a look at Donna Karan, DKNY, Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein . . . and lots of others. I'll add more names as I find them.

(This picture, unlike all others on this blog, is not mine. Maybe I'll replace it with a drawing soon.)

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Photoshop Fun

This is Dovey, the black cat, in tall bluegrass, with the delicate seedheads showing. Dovey, and her brother Lovey, were feral kittens, trapped when they were several months old. Because Lovey was petted as a kitten at the feeding station, he is much tamer; he loves to be petted & combed, and to hop up on my lap. Dovey wrecked the vet's office, and bit him. She does like to be petted now, but only on the feeding table, at mealtimes. And she comes when she is called, if she's not busy. Otherwise, she is still pretty feral.

The original photo has been changed in Photoshop to this high-contrast image, using a filter. Photos that work best for this technique have good contrast, with variations in texture. Choose your background and foreground colors, then try out the filters, especially the artistic & sketch ones, to see which work best. For different images, different filters will be better.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

My Summer

I did a lot of new things this summer.

Two days a week, I left the house before 5:00am to walk to the bus stop for a 5:40 bus, to take a class down in Rocklin. At first, the sky was light, with only a few stars left, and the birds started singing by 5:10. By the last few weeks of class, it was full dark, with all the stars out, when I left the house, and still dark with no birds when the bus left. Before class started, once I realised what the bus schedule had to be, I was saying "I'm not really going to do this am I? No, I'm not going to do it." But as soon as I did it, I loved the early morning walks.

I started walking on other mornings too, though not quite so early. The trail along the irrigation ditch down the hill is a lovely place to walk, shady & partly through woods, or if I go early enough, (as late as 9:00 on Sundays), I can explore back streets and sleeping neighborhoods, and see almost no one (a little white dog, a woman in her garden wearing her nightgown).

I worked at the college library all four days, until closing time at 7:00. And the days I worked in the evening after leaving the house before 5:00, and getting back in town at 3:00, and then finally climbing the hill from the bus stop at 7:30, were long days. And I did it. I survived and enjoyed it.

I went for walks in the woods on Saturdays with a friend I met in the library; the first time in all the years I've lived here that I've had the chance to enjoy being so close to the mountains. And we went to lots of lovely trails and lakes.

The class I took was a sewing class, in the fashion design department. It's been nice to start sewing again, after years when I did mostly dyeing instead. And to start working on some patterns to use up the many beautiful batik and hand-dyed fabrics I've collected during those years.

And oh yes, falling in love. With the guy I've been going for walks in the woods with. For the first time in decades.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Turkeys Are Back

They were here again this afternoon: more than a dozen large feathered hunter-gatherers in my yard. I hadn't seen any for some time. Then last summer semester, while I was up late finishing a project for class, there was a giant rustling noise around the house for a long time, out in the dark. When I saw them twice in one day on the weekend, I was glad I hadn't tried to scare off the rustlers.

These are the wild turkeys that Ben Franklin praised. Look at those long legs for scratching. They seem quite clever and well-adapted, unlike the rumors about the overbred farmed ones. When they go away, though, I'm never sure if they've just left, or if the coyotes down the hill have gotten them.

My hunting cats are fascinated by them. I first noticed them, on my way out for an early morning walk, because the tabby was staring at them. And both times, after they left, there was Dovey the black cat, sitting where they had been. What do you suppose she thinks she would do with a turkey?

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