Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

"Valentine" jammy set
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2010 is kind to us all, and brings you happiness and comfort.
Speaking of the old and the new, here is my newest concept, sweet matching sets of tops and bloomers to wear as PJs or lounge around the house in. i wanted to try this idea out a while ago when I found some pink plaid in the fabric shop. Unfortunately, every time I went back and looked at the pink fabric I liked it less and less. So I waited until this cute black/white/red plaid came in and looked at it for a few weeks to make sure I still liked it before I bought it. In the end, I am glad I waited. Looking at the pink stuff now I just don't like it at all!
Included in my model portrait of these cute PJs is Velvee, my beloved velveteen rabbit toy that was a gift from my father for Christmas when I was about 6. That bunny has been through a lot of tough times with me, and is almost entirely made out of mending stitches now. As well as my mother's no-nonsense whip stitches and my grandmother's nurse-perfect cross stitches, this rabbit is a study in my own sewing progression. From my first clumsy stitches over a torn seam when I was about 8 to my invisible reattachment of an ear when I was in college. I slept with this bunny every night until I was married (at which point my husband and his two cats took up most of the bed) and to me he's probably the most precious thing I own.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Side projects

Rarity bottle necklace
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
We're closing in on holidays, here, and my proverbial sewing dance card is full, full, full. I just got a custom order today for a jacket that needs to be in Southern CA for Christmas! I went out and stood in the rain for an hour (waiting for a bus) to get the fabric. I washed it when I got home to pre-shrink it and it is now drip-drying in my bathroom. I sure hope it dries out quickly so I can start on it tomorrow!

On the side I made this little necklace pendant out of a tiny glass bottle charm, seven faceted diamonds, and a hummingbird feather. I was going to sell it but realized that no one else would think it's as cool as I do.
Here's the story:
I found a hummingbird feather on the feeder one day, and as I had never seen one before I was pretty delighted. I put it in this tiny bottle for safe-keeping until I could think of something to do with it. I decided to leave it there and the only thing I could think of that would be as tiny and precious as the little feather was loose diamonds. I robbed the stones out of a ring I had bought myself many years ago that broke not long after I began wearing it (razzafrakin'!).
getting the diamonds out was WAY harder than I thought it would be. I ended up breaking one (oops) and one popped out and got lost somewhere on the workroom floor (I guess I will just vacuum that up some day. There is something so opulent about vacuuming diamonds off the carpet). I couldn't get the last two stones out of the ring, but I managed to get out about .36ct total.
The feather is almost certainly from an Anna's hummingbird (year round residents of the trees around my midtown apartment) and looks grey most of the time but flashes a brilliant metallic green if you turn it to the light just right.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fox so Cunning and Free

Matador shrug
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
I've been pretty slow off the mark lately with my design projects. But this week I made one complete project and I am almost finished with another! This little jacket (I know I keep making shrugs but they are so much fun!) was actually a bit of a pain to make. It went through several muslins (or "mock-ups", trial garments made from a cheap fabric to perfect the fit) before I was happy with the pattern I had drafted. After the pattern had been settled on I decided that to make the cuffs soft and comfy to wear meant stitching the lining together almost entirely by hand, even around the set-in puff sleeves!

The fabric for this is a lovely pink, grey, and silver brocade that is bold and textural. I have rarely seen anything like it, the last time I encountered a similar style of fabric it was when I was working on costumes for Hairspray! the musical. I bought the fabric not knowing exactly what I was going to do with it and ended up with so much left over I might even be able to make something else out of it. Maybe a matching corset?
Anyhow, this is going to be my offering for Cyber Monday, as we streak into the holiday shopping season at full tilt. Next week there will be another new listing on Etsy, inspired, as this was, by watching WAY too much Zorro lately.
Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Auld lang syne

Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
I am almost done with a design project that will be up on Etsy for Cyber Monday, but I've been very slow at my work lately, and easy to distract!
I started an art project recently, using French postcards (early erotica, I mean, grainy black and white images of ladies from the 1890s) and took my inspiration from a paper doll I had made myself when I was a child. She was cut from a magazine and glued to cardstock and her clothes were all made from images in magazines and old calendars. Click through to my Flikr page to see the doll and more of the outfits. The clothes are all pretty indicative of how old I was when I made them (maybe 9-10?) and are pretty retro to look at now (wow, do you remember the fashion of 1990? Because now you will!)
I loved paper dolls as a girl, and have a pretty imposing collection of them as an adult. I have always loved making them. Is it any wonder that I became a fashion designer?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Look at this fabulous store I just discovered today online! They make gorgeous decorative dress forms as well as selling vintage forms. I would love to have this amazing corseted form in my studio to inspire me!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

my friend, fashion is danger

"Aurora" shrug back
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
Just a quick note to let everyone know that if you are looking for I Will Fly on Facebook the page is here!
I've just completed a new shrug, this one was made using a lovely 100% linen fabric that my mother (whom I have written about before) hand dyed. The colors and pattern reminded me of the ocean, or the northern lights. What does it remind you of?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Autumn falling

Irene capelet
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
We're hoping to break away from the craziness of everyday life next week and visit our favorite piece of coastal redwoods. In honor of those cool breezy days with the mist in your hair (and of course the upcoming change of seasons! I can't wait to say goodbye to 100*+ days!) I created this capelet from wool herringbone.
This is one of those designs that came about because of a certain fabric. In this case the inspirational fabric was the dark chocolate brown plaid cotton I used as a trim. As soon as I saw it at the fabric shop I knew I wanted to make a Sherlock Holmes inspired cape. It took me over a year to decide what fabric I wanted to pair it with, though! After a lot of searching and some serious consultation with my in-home design consultant (my husband) I chose this lovely wool herringbone shot with subtle colored threads.
To draft the pattern for this capelet I started by draping the design on a half-scale dress form (I didn't have quite enough spare fabric to drape it on a full size form) and then scaled it up using the grid method to enlarge the design. I made a mock-up from an old table cloth I had around to see how it would turn out and I was pleasantly surprised! I liked it much more than I had thought I would, I even liked it in the musty old red tablecloth fabric with big 70's patterns all over it! I've decided to make more of these in the future, I like it so much. I am thinking maybe try it out in velvet? Maybe some more lovely wools? Lots of possibilities to work with here.
I impressed myself by mitering (a special way of turning corners so they form a pretty little point) the trim at all the corners, which turned out really nicely and looks very slick and tailored. I am always glad to pat myself on the back after a job well done ;P

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mix n' Match: Wedding Bells

I'm having too much fun mixing and matching fabulous handmade and vintage fashions! This time I decided to try a wedding addition using my Grace lace shrug but there were too many options to choose from!

For a sweet Spring look, how about this adorable sundress, paired with these wear-them-anywhere and anyway sandals?
And don't forget the most important part, this unusual ring is really something!

For the more traditional look, this eco-friendly silk and hemp gown is a simple stunner.
These vintage shoes are really awesome, check them out!
And for the ring? I can't help it, I'm still not traditional enough for a big faceted diamond, but these raw diamond rings are amazing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mix 'n Match: Shades of Autumn

I love "window shopping" online when I have a moment to spare, imagining ways to combine interesting pieces I find. I thought I would try creating a few mix and match ideas using items from my shop and other great handmade and vintage treasures. Check it out! Edition one: Fall colors for the Irma retro ruffle dress. A client I made a custom dress for in this style suggested wearing it with a belt and boots, and so I looked for other awesome accessories that could be used to accent the look or create different takes on it.

These fabulous vintage boots would look amazing with opaque tights.
For a different look, I always say you can't go far wrong with a good pair of wedge sandals to wear with anything.
A wide wrap belt could substitute for the tie-backs if you want a more defined waistline.
The fabulous hat in the photo is my favorite hat of all time and was handmade by the lovely (and friendly) Hat People. I usually wait for them to come to a local festival, but you can buy them online, too!
Or try this amazing cloche for a dressier look.
There are so many great earrings on Etsy, but we can keep it simple with these coral and wood earrings, that match the fabric in the dress so nicely.
Cold outside? This amazing vintage coat would look fabulous over your fancy new ensemble.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

there's a mirror in heaven, there's a window on Earth

Hummering bird
Originally uploaded by djinrain
Our little dude-man humming bird, who lives in our last surviving tree, and defends our feeder with all his tiny might.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the benefits of walking everywhere

Here's my first new item to get listed on Etsy in at least a month!
Continuing the theme of reuse and recycling, this cuff features a big focal piece made from washers picked up along side the road and distressed ("previously loved"!) vintage buttons.
I'd been saving up the washers for a year or two and trying to decide what to do with them. This interesting woven wool fabric caught my eye and the combination seemed to call out for something a little different. I hadn't made a cuff in a long time and had been waiting for inspiration to strike.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

random projects

glass beach earrings
Originally uploaded by djinrain
Because my hands hurt all the time I'm not really in the mood for much extracurricular sewing. But watching TV is boring, you know?
Here's a random project I just made for myself.
The post earrings my top piercings were made with had recently lost the ugly little pink rhinestones that were prong set into them. It seemed a real waste to throw them out, they are real gold and have locking backs so they can be worn all the time without falling off, which is nice.
My husband suggested I put beach glass in them the next time we went to the coast which reminded me of another broken piece of jewelry I owned. The tiny glass bottle necklace pendant I had filled with beach glass and pottery last year had recently fallen to it's demise on the linoleum floor! So, a little careful bending with a pair of pliers, and a little dab of high-strength glue and ta-da!
New earrings from old broken jewelry!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where have you been?

After about 5 or 6 years of struggling with a repetitive motion disorder (probably carpal tunnel syndrome) in my wrists it has gotten so bad that I'm having a hard time keeping up with my work load, especially over the summer when I work 16+ hours a week doing (mostly hand) sewing for the local musical theater.

It's a real shame and is really incredibly frustrating as well. Telling me not to sew is like saying I can't breathe. It's not just a thing I do or even a thing I love doing. I love archery but I only do it once a year or so. I love camping but I only do it four days in September, you know? Sewing is an absolutely essential part of how I see myself. An integral part of my self image. Not being able to do the dishes is bad, not being able to use a spoon is no fun, but not being able to sew is tortuous.

right now I'm on all sorts of medications and seeing a physical therapist. After theater season I will probably be having surgery. Until then, expect my productivity to drop somewhat. I won't be posting new items quite as often as I usually do and my custom work is going to have to be cut down as well. I am still open to custom orders, but they will probably take me much longer than my usual half-the-quoted-time turn over. Shipments will still go out in quick time and I will still keep my turn over times posted for custom sized shop items like bras and skirts.

I'm pretty determined to get this over with as soon as possible and return to my life with as little pain (and attendant mental breakdowny-ness) as I can.
Keep tuned for updates!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finished... OMG

Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
You remember how I said that sometimes projects just seem to go on FOREVER? This was one of those.
My original design couldn't actually be realized with the single yard of Alencon bridal lace that I found as a remnant in a fabric shop, so Changes Had To Be Made.
For a long time I really struggled with not liking this corset and how it was turning out, but I think, now that I have the finished piece in my hands I actually do like it and think it's much cuter than I had anticipated. I ended up beading the front lace panel in tiny faux pearls and lacing the back with a wide pink satin ribbon, and those little touches, I feel, add a lot to the final piece. A lot of the other issues I had with it were resolved through trial and error and endless revisions. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but the lace curves very gently downward at the bottom edge, to soften the line and give it a more figure-flattering look. That was done by hand in a super secret way that only fashion designers know (in other words, I made it up).
The seaming on this style is slightly different than most of my cinchers, and the cut is slightly longer in the hip as well. I worked both of those ideas out with the interfacing fabric before the fashion fabric (the black satin and lace) was cut.
Anyhow, another Endless Project is done, and I am so happy! (I would also like to point out the lovely pearl choker I am wearing in these photographs. It was custom made for me by Etsy's TinyStorm, who was sweet and lovely to work with and created a quality piece that I am sure I will cherish for years to come. Check her out here: )

Monday, May 4, 2009

Long time passing...

Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
I haven't posted (or listed!) anything in what seems like ages!
I have been busy trying to clean house for guests and getting myself and my husband ready for his little sister's wedding.
I've also been taking motorcycle lessons (yep, almost there! I am going to buy a scooter now! Exciting!), and working at the fabric shop a little more than I would like to.
I am sewing, though, I promise! I am working on a corset right now that has become one of those never-ending projects. It just never stops! At a certain point I'm just going to have to call it good and stop messing with it!
Anyhow, I had planned on posting this cute yellow top that I made several months back but couldn't find it anywhere. I was afraid that maybe I had thrown it away on accident. Yesterday, though, when I was getting my dress shoes out of the closet for the wedding I found it! It had just fallen off it's hanger and dropped onto my shoe boxes. Of course, I had searched the closet time and again for it, I just never looked down!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a tutorial in the design process

There's an image most people have of fashion designers. Sitting hunched over a draft table sketching skinny models in outrageous designs all day. Most of the time I don't even bother to draw my designs out before I execute them. Once in a while, though, I know there will be a bit of lag time between concept and execution so I have to jot something down quickly to remind myself of what I was thinking about later on. A lot of those ideas don't get made, I'm afraid. And I'm even more sorry to say that, while I used to sit down and do a detailed sketch of the garment in mind and make sure it looked really fabulous in the end, now I just sort of throw it down on the paper well enough that I get the idea when I am looking back on it.
Here is a good example of a design I actually sketched. As you can see, I didn't spend much time making it a lovely drawing! Off to the side I wrote suggestions for fabrics (wool flannel and peacock blue"china silk" brand lining) and when I found a fabric I was particularly enamoured of I added that to the page to remind myself.
To the right you see the actual garment, which is closer to the drawing than many of my designs end up. In the end I didn't use wool flannel because it would have been prohibitively expensive (I used wool crepe instead and underlined it with cotton/poly poplin for weight) and switched from a solid satin lining to a striped cotton lining (I saw it in the shop and it just seemed so perfect to me!). But otherwise it's pretty true to the concept.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I think I love making my customers happy more than anything. I especially love photographic evidence of them working it in my designs! This week my Roberta bloomers were blogged about here and the post just fills me with joy. many thanks to Kandace and to all the lovely people who commented as well!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

thinking outside the box

Often, the design process involves more than a little thinking outside the proverbial box. Here's an exercise in creative thinking for you.
I found these interesting sequined appliques at the local fabric shop the other day (okay, month. I have had them on hold since then. Anyway.) Above you see what the applique looks like in the manufacturer's packaging, right way up. Hmm. Interesting. Maybe a little Egyptian. Okay, yes. Fine. But what do you DO with something like that? Here was my solution:

Wings! Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty crazy for anything wing-related. Angel wings and fairy wings and what have you. Just look at the name of my shop! I have several shirts with wings on the shoulders. I have often considered getting a wing tattoo but I'm too chicken. So, anyhow, with a few careful snips with my embroidery scissors and a quick flip-over this interesting if not terribly useful applique became something I could actually USE. The back of a jacket, maybe? Or the sides of something? How about attached to hair pins for a smashing nineteen twenties look? I haven't actually decided yet.
What other fabulous ways could you recreate the world around you from the pieces you are given?

Friday, February 20, 2009

I could give an inspiring speech, but I won't

Just a quick note to mention that Desert Sunset has been selected for the Carnivalesque Etsy poll! I am not sure why, exactly, and dang that peacock blue dress I'm up against is HOT, but I thought I would drop a line and let you vote for your favorite party item (*ahem*cough*ahem*)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Long time no post

I've been a little slow about my blogging, lately. I think I sort of ODed on craft show. And then I got caught up in myriad family and home issues and before I knew it life was happening. Luckily I have been able to keep up with my posting to Etsy (actually I had so much extra stock I had been hoarding before the craft show that I've been able to double my Etsy posting) so there are lots of new and exciting things to check out there. I've also been designing away and have great new plans for a cute nautical dress, a hooded wool vest, and some other projects TBA.

Anyway! Happy 75% off chocolate week (I just got two boxes of Russell Stover's for two bucks each. Sweet!)!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Table for IndieSacramento

I'm back from my first craft show!
I met a few friendly faces, saw some interesting artwork, twinkled at the cute vendor across from me, and learned a lot about the whole craft show experience. All in all I am glad I did it, it was an experiment and a challenge and it crosses something off my list of New Year's resolutions!

Here you can see a picture of my table (and just the very edge of the clothing rack, to the right) with everything set out before the doors opened. I'm pretty happy with the way it looked, though I would love a bigger sign!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This Saturday!

Just a reminder to everyone that I Will Fly will have a booth at the IndieSacramento craft show this Saturday from 10am-3pm! They will give you cupcakes if you come, apparently, and how can you beat that?
As for me personally I will have new never before seen items for sale, plus discounts on stuff. that is right, ladies and gents, I am selling stockings for a sale price, some of my new items at less than the online price will be, AND I'll pay your sales taxes for you. Yep! I really will!
That, my friends, is a sweet dang deal.
It looks like the fashion show there were rumours of isn't going to happen. But just think of the opportunity that leaves you to eat cupcakes and drink cocoa and browse fabulous crafter's tables distraction free!

The entire Etsy shop is going to be on hiatus while I am at the craft show, and some things may sell there and never be seen again. Just a word to the wise ;)

See you there!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

sew sew sew!

new and improved!
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
Sew... I mean SO, I am busy getting ready for the craft show in February! I made a little sign for my table, and some business cards and buttons. I borrowed baskets and clothes racks from friends and family, I found two whole models for the possible fashion show, bought and stamped shopping bags for customers, and now I need to actually sew some things to sell!
Psh! Boring! I'd rather work on my table!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows

rainbow dress
Originally uploaded by I Will Fly design
I'm now in official "freak out because I need a bunch of stuff for the craft show" mode. But before I embark on my daily freak out, here's a sneak peak at one of the designs that will undoubtedly be making an appearance at the show.
When this burgundy and rainbow striped fabric came into the fabric store recently I knew it had to be in the line. I didn't know what I would make with it, but it HAD to come home with me.
I love rainbows. As a 5 year old I named everything (including myself) Rainbow. I have a deep child-of-the-80's love for the rainbow in all it's forms.
I'm also spending a chunk of my time these days studying for my motorcycle license (!) so that I can get a Vespa and scoot around town like a hep young thing circa 1964. So here is my nod to mod skirt lengths (18" below the waist. Not the scant 13" I wore back in college, but SO much more flattering) and colorblocking mixed with a healthy dose of Rainbow Brite.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Adventure and excitement

Guess what guys? I just got word that I will be at this craft show on the first Saturday in February! I am a little frightened now, but I've been working on a few things to bring along just in case I got accepted so I should have some fun things to bring out!
I'll be premiering some new colors and prints in stockings and panties, some never-before seen shrugs and accessories, and I'll even have an amazing section of super-duper discounted garments! Check it out!
There are rumors that they are trying to set up a fashion show as well, but I don't think I'll have any time to sew for that. So, unless someone volunteers to model for me who can wear the sample clothes I designed for myself, I'll be out of luck, there!