I BOUGHT A FASHION MAGAZINE

Over the years I’ve bought a lot of fashion magazines, starting with Teen Vogue when I was 15 – 17, to proper Vogue later on. And then at one point I stopped. They were full of information that seemed a bit worthless and also they pretty much say the same thing over and over again.

Since then I’ve only bought fashion magazines (read: not cosmopolitan) when I get on flights to kill time. I recently did that and I believe it’s time to stop that as well.

For a change, on this flight, I had a good look at what makes a Marie Claire, Vogue or InStyle. Here are my findings:

1. Half , yes half, the magazine pages are just ads! I knew there were a lot of adverts and promotions but didn’t realize that half the magazine was dedicated to them

2. 70-80% of “women” shown are models, skinny, white, young and photoshopped. I am ok with using attractive women, finding the perfect time to photograph in the “right” light, but if we get to a point when wrinkles start looking abnormal, it’s not ok.

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3. A 3 – 4 page section on “@ work” in Marie Claire was a refreshing change from my teen years of reading the magazine

4. The only time the magazine talks about “world” events is to talk about the terrible (it’s always down-right terrible) condition of women in Africa (it considers it one place), Afganistan, south east asian countries etc – basically anything outside of the US and Europe. I understand that this is not a political, news magazine and I am not looking for The Economist, but an over-whelming number of times it showcases women in dire conditions who happen to make up the majority of non-white faces in the magazine. Note that this is followed by rape, stalking, abuse etc. happening to a women (featured) in Europe and US and how they overcame it.

5. It tells you to love yourself the way you are, and then in the next page it gives you advice on how to loose 20 pounds / kilos in 20 days, followed by a ridiculous diet plan to try, followed by terrible recipes (which are neither low-cal nor quite healthy)

6. Obviously the main content of the magazine should be fashion (for women) as that’s what they claim to be – but is actually shopping for fashion and how to look like the models in their magazine, with a smattering of other “womanly” things (work, love, sex, home decor, low-cal/diet food, travel) thrown in. On a side note someone should tell them women are much more than that.

Where is the fashion? I’m talking about what makes a skirt or bag worth $2,000? Where’s the hard work that goes in to it? Why is there no “fashion” from different parts of the world – unless it has been toned down to an “aztec” print and is “in”? Where’s the handiwork? Where are the artists? It doesn’t have to be about high-end couture fashion. How about an idea of how clothes are made? How they reach the Gaps of the world? How about how trends are defined and decided? How about why crop tops have made it (other than the fact that simultaneously all the “top” fashion houses were showcasing them) vs some other trend? What about why certain fabrics feel nicer than others? How about showcasing (with 2 – 3 pages vs 4 lines) upcoming designers and why they’re good? How about talking about the schools of fashion? History of fashion?

I really am not interested in reading about the celebrity/model life from the cover page. We are all aware that they’ve all really struggled and overcome great hurdles but still manage to be humble and generous people. Plus, please tell me what the life of celebrities has anything to do with fashion – apart from them wearing more expensive clothes than average Jane?

I could go on and on, but will stop for now. If anyone has got through till here and knows of a great fashion magazine, which does not contain the above, do let me know. Thanks in advance.

PLUSHIES FOR A DARLING LITTLE GIRL

2 of them which are named, Cebu, the bear and Manila, the elephant! I made them using felt I found in Taiwan for 40 TWD. I made the bag using soft white cotton / muslin-ish and added a nice bright yellow cord for some colour. The elephant legs and trunk took some pushing and probing to come out but in the end they did.

Will post a photo of her playing with them when I get one.

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PS: The plushies are copied made based on saracarr’s designs

SHORTS AND SHORTS

I’ve always had a hard time finding simple pyjama shorts. By simple I mean anything that does not have hearts, teddy bears, pink, polka dots, juicy or VS on the bum, frilly and/or hello kitty (whew!), because women might actually want to wear something other than that?

One of the best things about knowing how to sew (even basic sewing) is that there are some things I can now just make on my own. Like pajama shorts. I made my shorts using this free pattern and they turned out just as I wanted them to. The only change I made was sewing the two front pieces and the two back pieces together in the beginning, then the inside leg seam (crotch area, as I like to call it) and finally the side seams. The put-one-leg-inside-other part (step 8) is too complicated.

Here are the results. I now have 2 more pyjama shorts. What more can I ask for?

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JOINING THE PRAISE ARCHER GROUP

The second time I bought a pattern was also from Grainline Studio, after (almost) making a shirt at my sewing class. There are two main reasons why I am going to leave that unfinished – terrible pattern and terrible pattern. But, the archer looked so nice on the bazillion bloggers who have made it and I love a nice shirt. If you could have a look at what I wear regularly, you would see a lot of shirts. I think I have a good sense of what my style is like and while I do step out of the comfort zone every once in a while, I like to stick to the styles I love. Anyway, so I was really excited to make the archer but then I had to be home in Ahmedabad without my Brother or even the industrial juki from class in Manila and all that I had was this vintage beauty owned by our cook, who bought it for Rs. 500! Thankfully he lent it to me as it was laying unused for ~10 years!

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There was also no fusing available in the city, or if it is available, it is definitely called something else. I decided to just use the fabric as fusing and off I went. I am probably a size 0 on top and 2 in the hips, but I like things to be a little loose and so went with size 2 overall. Here are the results.

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I loved making the first one so much, I made an archer shirt dress as well. The main change I made for the shirt dress was extending the length by 11″. I extended below the waist (?)  notch because I didn’t want to alter the shoulder to waist bit. I also skipped the cuff as I knew I would wear the sleeves folded up, so just made a “hem” on the sleeve by folding it up 1/2″, then 1″ and topstitching. You can tell I am fluent in sewing language.

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In the photos the fabric looks plain black, but it’s a great shade of navy with small round embroidery. Also, the hem looks wonky bit it’s actually not too shabby!

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Fabric: 2m of bright yellow printed rayon at Rs. 200 per metre for the shirt. 2.5 – 3m of navy blue fabric with self-embroidery at Rs. 100 per metre for the shirt dress. Both fabric are from my favourite Mangaldas / Crawford market.

Notions: Buttons were Rs. 50 for both shirts, probably less. Mum bought them from a local shop in Ahmedabad. Grannys threads, which she got along with her when she got married about 60 or so years ago!

Time: 5 – 6 hours for the shirt and 5 – 6 hours for the shirtdress (with french seams all over!)

I’m definitely going to make another archer in the future, but I would like the shoulders to be not so droopy so will make some changes there. Maybe will also grade from 0 on top to 2 at the bottom. Anyway, I’m pleased for now. Thank you Jen (Grainline) for the fantastic pattern.

SELF DRAFTED DRESS PATTERN

So, below the dashed line is the draft (almost complete) of the dress I made but then I found a Vogue pattern 1288 which is similar and think they will have proper instructions and a graded pattern from a professional pattern maker, unlike yours truly who basically is a “pattern winger”.

V1288

This pattern is slightly different than mine. Mainly, it has an invisible zip at the back while mine has elastic at the waist and can be pulled over the head. Second, it does not have those nice pleats in the front which gives a bit of tulip shape to the skirt.

I found the pattern randomly on Very Purple Person’s blog and she lays out her steps of attaching the bodice to the lining, which resolved my issue mentioned in my draft at the bottom! Basically sew side seams of bodice and lining, then bodice to neck at arms and neck leaving a little gap at shoulder. Understitch. Then sew shoulder of bodice and dress and then slip stitch lining to bodice at shoulder seams. Not that difficult at all.

—-To document the steps for my own log, here’s the draft of instructions before getting a chance to put the pattern up here ———

I want to document my first ever self drafted garment. Actually that’s a lie, it’s based on an existing dress I had. I guess it should be first dress made without a ready pattern, which I can now make again and again.

Fabric: 2m main self fabric, 2m lining, 1/4 – 1/2″ elastic

Instructions:

0. Cut fabric according to the “pattern” below. These measurements are for a size xs (bust:32″, waist: 27″, hips: 34″)

1. Sew the top front lining to the top front around arm holes, neck and shoulder seams. Press. Repeat for the back. Turn inside out.

2. Pin and sew, front + back lining and front + back self, right sides together, along the side seams. Finish seams as desired.Press.

3. Attach the front and back pieces along the shoulder seams using french seams. Press.

4. Hem or serge the bottom for self top. Set aside.

5. Starting with the centre pleat, sew all the pleats in the skirt self, by stitching along the fold (to make the pleat) 1.5″ down, then across the width of the pleat. There are 8 pleats in all, 4 on each side.

6. Baste across all pleats within the 1/2″ seam allowance

7. Make 2, 1″ pleats on the lining. The width of the lining should now match the skirt. Pin and sew the skirt and lining along the waist, wrong sides together, using 1″ seam allowance. Press

8. Attach the bodice to the skirt. Pin and sew the skirt and bodice lining matching all side and centre seams, right sides together, using 1″ seam allowance. Press.

9. Fold 1/4″ seam allowance of skirt and bodice inside and press. Now pin and topstitch this to the skirt using 1/8″ seam allowance but do not sew all around. Leave a 2″ gap for the elastic.

10. Put the elastic in all the way around, zigzag stitch to make the elastic loop and then sew the remaining 2″ gap shut.

11. Hem the bottom of the skirt and hem/serge the bottom of the skirt lining. Press. Thats it! It’s done.

PS: In the original dress, the lining was stitched to the self and understitched all the way round which I couldn’t figure out how to do. Also, there was no visible seam at the shoulder when joining the front top with front back, which also I couldn’t work out.

I’VE MADE A DRESS

I’m feeling quite proud of myself! I made this dress based on a dress I own. It has gorgeous tulip-ish pleats, is fully lined with a fun swingy crop top. I will try and put up the pattern / instructions in another post.

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Fabric: 2m printed rayon from Crawford Market for Rs. 200 per metre; and 1.5 – 2m buttercrepe fabric from a matching centre in Ahmedabad for Rs. 50 per metre.

Total cost: Rs. 500 – Rs. 600 (including 0.75m 1/2″ elastic and thread from grandmum)

Total time: ~ 7 – 8 hours including drafting the pattern

This is addictive and I love it!