Friday, August 29, 2008

do not play fast and loose with my heart

In two weeks my husband and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary! This painting of a bunny rabbit wedding (or at least, I picture it as a wedding) is so achingly adorable it makes me want to get married all over again just so I can use it on my wedding invitations!
It's just one of Nakisha from bluedogrose's incredible bunny paintings. I bought an ACEO of a bunny in space from her, and it is one of the most adorable things I own. She also included some really precious postcards, which I am using to send my niece and nephew birthday greetings.
You really should check out her shop.

In other news, I think I have decided to name my sewing machine Reno Dakota. In March we went to see one of our favorite bands, the Magnetic Fields, play in San Francisco. The husband bought me a little pin-back button to pin on my purse (I have an ever-growing collection of band buttons on my purse) but for some reason I managed to break it off not once but twice. After the second heart-breaking loss and miraculous find, I decided that it was not meant to be on my purse after all. So I glued it to a magnet and stuck it to the side of my machine (do not try this at home if you own a computerized machine!) so now it proclaims it's pride in the Magnetic Fields in hot pink whenever I sit at it. Sooo... long story short, I named the machine in honor of their song "Reno Dakota". And that's all she wrote!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

FABULOUS new business opportunities

Or, if not fabulous new opportunities, at least a fabulous new store with which to hopefully clean out my sewing room a little!
I just opened a second Etsy shop, I Will Fly destash, in which to post various supplies that I have far too many of. I am always sad to throw away little leftover pieces of fabrics, so I have bags full of them that are really no use to me. And drawers full of patterns that I don't use! And tools that have been replaced by professional models! And and and...
And honestly? I was clearing out discontinued patterns at the fabric store the other day when I found a FUR SUIT pattern! I think, I think... I have to get that just to post it! Fabulous!

I also thought this would be a fun way to market my own patterns. Things I have drafted myself and would like to share with the world, or maybe I can convince my mom to make some of her gorgeous silk dye projects for me to sell?
Anyhow, the key word for this shop is FABULOUS.
So, there you go!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Garment care tips from a fashion designer

The clothing industry considers the lifetime of a garment to be one season. Not one year, mind you, one season. As in, three (3!) months. As a designer, I can't imagine someone getting that little use from my work, and hope to heavens that my own garments last longer than that! You can, of course, get an awful lot more bang for your buck if you understand how to care for your clothes. Here are my top five tips for getting longer life from your garments and keeping them looking great for the whole time you own them:

5) Machine wash your clothes in cold water on the delicate cycle. The only real use for the hot water and regular agitation cycle on your washing machine is for towels, blankets, underpants, sweaty gym clothes, and feminine hygiene products. Hot water fades the dye in your clothes, and agitation promotes shrinking as well as putting the fibers of the fabric under strain. Luckily, cotton fabric actually becomes stronger when wet. Almost everything else, however, gets weaker, and is more likely to shred when wet.

4) Stop using Woolite. When hand washing your delicate items don't use Woolite. Aside from smelling awful, it isn't recommended for many fabrics. Instead, use a gentle hair shampoo. Just make sure it doesn't contain any dyes or conditioners. Baby shampoo works great, as does almost anything in the super sale aisle at the grocery store.

3) Ditch your deodorant. Specifically, avoid antiperspirants containing aluminum. Read the label! This is incredibly important for a couple of reasons. First, it's recently been linked to breast cancer. Second, it eats your clothes. You know those yellow armpit stains? Not your sweat's fault. It's your aluminum-based deodorant. The worst part is that it can happen after only a couple of wears, and there is nothing on Earth that will remove those pit stains. Especially from your new white work shirts. Eventually the stained areas will become stiff and brittle. I cannot tell you how much longer my white clothes have been lasting since I switched to aluminum-free deodorants. I like the Adidas cotton-tech brand, though that is really hard to find around my city, so now I am using Tom's Of Maine's natural deodorant. Like I said, though, just remember to read the ingredients list on everything you buy.

2) Just say no to dry cleaners. Most traditional dry cleaners use really nasty chemicals on your clothes that are known to destroy rubber (think elastic and lycra), fade and shrink acetate (your wedding dress, perhaps?) and, alas, cause cancer. If you absolutely must dry clean a garment look for an "eco-friendly" cleaner that doesn't use carcinogenic chemicals. A note of warning, though, they are expensive.

1) And the number ONE tip for making your clothes last longer? Stop freakin' washing them so often! No, no, not everything of course. I wouldn't expect you to stop washing your underpants or t shirts or socks. But the general rule is: if it doesn't touch your sweaty parts then don't wash it every time it's worn. Blue jeans can go several wearings without washing, as can most pants and skirts (as long as you wear underpants, that is). Shirts worn with an undershirt are also okay to go a wearing or three. I have a vest and skirt that I've owned for years that haver never been washed. Unless they get dirty, I won't clean them as they are made from delicate fabrics that may not hold up well to washing. I simply wear them over other garments.
If it's dirty or has something spilled on it, wash it. If it smells funny, wash it. If it is just wrinkly? Hang it up and spray it with water and let the wrinkles pull out by themselves. It's the single most important and easiest thing you can do to have longer-lived clothing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

weekend, wow!

I have two whole days off from my day jobs! In a ROW! It's amazing. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not without my begging for it and having terribly important family obligations to attend to. So, a weekend off work without asking is pretty amazing.
Today I went shopping at the Jo-Ann's Fabrics that is closing up it's current location (we used to call it "ghetto Jo-Anns") and moving into a massive superstore complex on a much busier, much more upscale street. While I am not generally in favor of mega-chain superstore fabric shops on principle, I will admit to shopping there once in a while for things I cannot get at the locally-owned store I work for (aside from the "they'll run the little guys out of town!" feeling, honestly the shop I work for has better prices). Namely upholstery thread and steam-a-seam, as well as bra sliders and rings.
While I didn't come away from their sale with any of the things I was looking for, I did find two fabulous new fabrics that are crying out to be projects (though the husband has laid claim to the cool steampunky clock face fabric for boxers :P) Sooo, look for something awesome with metallic stripes... coming soon to an Etsy shop near you!

Here was my other task for the day, taking photos of the red hoody shrug I am posting next week. Is cute.