Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #5

Episode number 5 of Project Runway found the designers given the challenge of creating outfits to wear with Heidi Klum's New Balance sneakers. Teams of three designers were formed and they had to put together three separate "looks" with these stipulations:
1. Denim or suede - or both - must be used in every outfit designed. It need not be the prevalent fabric, but still must be present.
2. All pieces should work together as a collection.
3. $300.00 budget for the designers.
4. Finally, the "Make something cool!" directive from Ms. Klum herself.
Of all the crazy things, I was inspired by this fashion bra at Dollar Tree! It had the whimsical, colorful star pattern including the color turquoise as well as that "pop" of hot pink I was looking for. It would work well with the denim and shoes. After all, my client was none other than Barbie herself this time!!
(My biggest issue was coming up with sneaker-like shoes for Barbie. I had to go out to buy an I CAN BE...A BABYSITTER BARBIE just for her shoes. Apparently, Barbie even wears high heels to be a dentist, a veterinarian and any other occupation.)
Outfit #1, left, is a three piece active-wear ensemble featuring a zippered hoodie (lined in denim), a color-blocked raglan t shirt with embroidery details and capri pants.
Outfit #2, center, is a one piece denim jumpsuit cut on the bias with
additional bias-stitching side detail panels on the flared leg pants.
Outfit #3, right, is also a three piece ensemble with wrapped skirt (made from the back of the fashion bra and four snaps) and kicky denim vest.

Here we see Barbie showing off the embroidery detail on the color-block t shirt. She especially likes the shirt because of the tiny crown stitched on it - do you see it? I made the shirt from a golf logo sample pack given me several years ago.

Barbie's belt on outfit #2 is actually the front fashion bra closure with a little of the bra still attached. Shown here: the vest close-up from outfit #3 Can you see how a bra back would wrap around Barbie's body to make a skirt"? The front closure from the bra is multi purposed - here it is turned around to make a teeny top for Barbie.
For obvious reasons,
I am calling this the Give Barbie
Sports Collection.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #4

When I realized Project Runway episode #4 was going to have designers designing for a client who "knows a lot about fashion" I gulped - and gulped even more when that person turned out to be judge Nina Garcia. She has a no-nonsense approach to fashion: classic, yet fresh silhouettes with streamlining, clean, no-print tendencies. Whimsical? Never!
(Whimsical seems to be my middle name.)
She gave directives such as: (see me furiously writing these down as she dictates)
"I don't want boring."
"No pleats. Muted tones."
"I don't want a runway all in gray."

"I don't like mousy"

"I need punch." (Not the liquid reference, of course.)
"I like the combination of hard and soft."
"I hate cowls."
"Don't make it too short."
"I don't like plunging necklines."
Keeping all these requirements in mind for my "client" I headed out to find fabric. Seeing as there is no MOOD fabric store in my city neighborhood, I went to the closest place to look for fabrics - the Village Discount thrift store. Rows and rows of pre-worn garments called out for an audition, but nothing appealed to me until I found this halter top. It was olive green in color with little gold dots in linear formation. The lining could be used as well, because I decided to make a fully lined wrap dress for my client.
Here's my finished outfit for Barbie/Nina. Please note that I styled her hair just as Nina wears hers - long and straight. I made the belt out of flat beads and the buckle is a flat "black pearl" disc. The wrap dress closures are also beads of "black pearl" and echo the hues in the dotted circles of the dress fabric.
Here you can see the side closure of the wrap dress.
There's a hint of a peek-a-boo pleat on the dress side as well with a view of the coordinating lining fabric. Kind of alluring, yet tasteful. Not too much leg, but just enough.
This is what the wrap dress looks like without a Barbie body in it. The hem was cut directly from the halter, so it is nicely rolled and finished. If you look closely, you can see the bead buttons and the little loops that join the sides together.
Barbie...er Nina, can wear this to work and transition to an evening function by simply changing the handbag to a clutch, and adding dangling earrings to her lobes. I would like to call this look
Barbie Wraps Up Yet Another Exciting Day in Glamourland on a Shoestring Budget

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #3

When the #3 Project Runway episode was called "Go Big or Go Home" I wondered what on earth I was getting myself into with this self-imposed challenge! Never did I surmise that I would have to create an outfit for a Barbie wearing stilts --- or in her case chopsticks! Aside from having to create for a stilt-walker, stipulations were also to create an outfit that was "Paris Couture" but not circus looking for a "real woman." Really? A budget for the designers was set at $500.00 and they had to work in pairs. My budget is zero and I am working as a singleton. However, I have saved a very classy scarf with a Picasso print and this would be the inspiration for Barbie's dress. (Scarf shown on left.)

I cut the scarf down the center diagonally. The long ends of the scarf were gathered and placed around the skirt top, leaving two points hanging toward the skirt bottom. These two points were wrapped around the "stilt" chopsticks for Barbie as shown below. To these red chopsticks I slipped on a pair of Barbie's shoes. Note that there is a little black snap here that will later come in handy when Barbie's skirt is bustled.

Barbie's dress bodice is one shouldered, and is made of a tiny scrap of wine-colored moire taffeta. A fancy button is added to bling up the outfit on the lower right side of the dress bodice.
To better illustrate the scarf aspect of the construction, I grabbed Barbie and made her show her profile.
Here we can see Barbie with the dress all bustled up, so she can wear it to parties where there are no stilt walkers. Which means most parties she attends, right? I understand Ken is a real klutz on stilts himself.
This look is called the Just-Say-No-to-Stilts Barbie.
(As of this project, I am all caught up with the current season of Project Runway.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Such a glorious day in Chicagoland today! Wes and I decided to go to see the lovely flowers at the Botanic Garden and noticed the Kite Festival sign as we entered the garden. (Did you ever read the book THE KITE RUNNER? If so, you might remember the difficulty of flying these colorful kites, and I was thrilled to be able to witness something I had only read about before firsthand.)

What a lovely sight to see these masters-of-the-craft of kite flying! They flew their kites in teams. Music accompanied their choreographed actions. It was simply beautiful.

Three kites like airborne angelfish.
How could we not purchase a kite and go fly it with our little Miss E today? Answer: We couldn't! Our kite is the pink one right on top the dragon wings kite...Wes is flying it.
Wes practiced on the field with the others following the kite performance.
Then into the car we tumbled, kite in hand, to find Ellie waiting with her Mom right in front of their home.
With her Mommy being the most energetic runner of all, we cheered her on saying, "Go, Mommy, Go!" Ellie quickly learned the word kite
and giggled and laughed out loud at the whole experience.
My, but it is fun to be kite-flying grandparents!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #2

Episode #2 of Project Runway had an interesting challenge: to make a garment from pet store items and was called "My Pet Project." Off I went to Dollar Tree to their pet supply aisle. Though limited by the inventory, there was still a selection from which to choose: rubber chew toys, rawhide bones, collars, leashes, squeakers, frisbees, toys to catch and throw. (But no hard neck cones or "tinkle" pads as used in the show.)
My choices were the red, white and blue dog rope toy and the smallest dog collar I could find. Two dollars spent and I was set!
I knew I could use a muslin underlay for my outfit, which really helped. Here's what I did.
First I cut the rope into shorter lengths. I untwisted the three colors and put aside the red cords - only navy and ecru will be used for the outfit. Though quite tedious, I pulled the thicker cords apart to make stripes over the muslin base.
Once the stripes were placed, I secured them by sewing machine stitching to the muslin base in a scribblish sort of way.
Next the pattern piece was placed over this and cut out. I did this for front and back bodice pieces as well as the skirt. This is going to be a dress.
Voila! Here is the finished dress and the dog collar was chopped off to make a stylish belt to go with the outfit. (The dress, to me, looks like it's a zebra print. )
It goes without saying that Barbie has one tiny waist, so with the leftover collar, I styled a sassy ponytail band.
This look I am calling "Zebra Barbie Goes on a Zoo Walk with Killer Stilettos."
(It won't be a very long walk.)
Coming: #3 in which Barbie must wear stilts. Really?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Barbie + Project Runway = My Kind of Fun (#1)

Three things have inspired me lately:
1. A new season of Project Runway (Thursday nights) currently underway.
2. The exciting "find" of vintage Barbie patterns at St. Vincent's
for 25 cents each. I bought each and every one.
3. The purchase of two Barbie dolls, also at St. Vinnie's, at $2.00 each. I bought the only two that actually had non-chopped hair.Before going any further here, I should explain the premise of Project Runway to those of you who might not be followers. Heidi Klum is the host, Tim Gunn is the designer's mentor, and a panel of three judges presides over the weekly competition. Budding designers are given a weekly challenge to create a fashion outfit or ensemble using certain given items, themes or such. The first week - actually two weeks ago today - designers were awakened by Tim Gunn in the wee hours of the morning and told to not change out of their pajamas, and grab a sheet and out they went to their designing studio in New Your City!
Once there, the designers were told their outfit could use only the fabrics from their own p.j.'s and the sheet. They were allowed to use trims or dyes provided and then they were off to stitch a garment for a provided model, later to walk down a runway and be judged by the panel. One designer would be sent home. The next week, a new challenge is issued and so it goes until there is only one designer - the winner - left!
I decided to follow along with the show designers and do the challenges for Barbie. I'll follow the rules as they do, but here's the good news: I CAN NOT BE ELIMINATED! Since my blonde Barbie is the model for this week's challenge (keep in mind I'm two weeks behind schedule due to summer), I had to pretend the outfit to the left was her
pajamas. The "sheet" to the right I altered by tie-dyeing with Sharpee markers and spraying with rubbing alcohol to allow the markers to "bleed" and run.
Sometimes the designers are asked exactly who will be wearing the outfit and for what function, so I have decided to call this ensemble "Barbie Goes Barefoot in Central Park Feeling Groovy."Her hair is braided with a long, side braid and she's carefree as can be!
Her tunic is trimmed with braided vintage lace. As are her bell-bottom pants. The p.j fabric can be found in her jaunty neck scarf as well as a little peek from the bodice of the tunic for modesty sake. I cut off only the sleeves of her p.j. top so that she also has the option to wear the sleeveless top underneath the tunic for that popular layered look. And, how could a tunic NOT have bell sleeves as well when Barbie is feeling so, so groovy?
There you have it: the week #1 challenge. Done. Seeing as I have some catching up to do, come back again real soon to see how Barbie looks in an outfit made from pet supplies for week #2!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cabin Coziness (Pink Suitcase Chronicles #41)

Seems like Pink had just been put away from that fun party, when she was once again pulled out for yet another trip! Good thing she was born to travel, right?
Cozy is certainly the word to describe this time - we were 25 people (and 2 dogs) in a cabin that is roughly the size of a two-car garage! Yes, some of us slept at a motel in town, others RV camped or borrowed lodging from our peninsula neighbors. But, for the most part we were at the cabin for meals and merriment. We lucked out with wonderful weather, meaning we were outside most of the time.
Click to play this Smilebox photo album
Just a couple of pictures just wouldn't capture the "event' so I decided to try making a little slide show. Enjoy!