Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2012 Couture Collection Tuesday, Jan 31 2012 

Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2012 Couture Collection

Oh, Inspiration!

Let me count the ways!

Blue hair!  To be more specific, the hair is a personal favorite because I have my hair navy blue right now and I just love it.  I like the mod take on a retro style updo, too.  I have read that Gaultier was inspired by Amy Winehouse for the collection and I can see it here.

Just a bit businessy, underbust corset and white cotton flare!

Bit of lace to take it up a notch!



Straight man’s guide to…Wedding Tuxes Monday, Jan 30 2012 

Wedding Tuxes | Guest Post by Jason Gasper

Guys, lets be honest.  The majority of us haven’t spent years dreaming and fanticising about our wedding.  Odds are we’ve considered it a necessary evil to get a life with that woman we love so much, if we’ve given it any thought at all.  On the other hand, your fiance has likely put more thought into this than you have about your favorite sports team.  Point being, this isn’t your day.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an opinion on what you are going to wear.

If your bride-to-be has chosen any of the dresses from this website or a similar non-traditional, non-“off the rack” dress then you can’t sit back and choose the first tuxedo you see at the corner rent-a-suit.  You also owe it to her and yourself to not let her choose your tux for you. Show her that you care by taking the time to do it right yourself.

There are seven components to a full suit tuxedo.  Shoes, socks, slacks, undershirt, jacket, tie, and vest/cummerbund. Pay attention to each one.  Silly socks, while funny to you, will completely throw off the outfit, let alone your bride and guests.  If the two of you haven’t discussed (and agreed on!) a comedy themed wedding leave those at home.  Stick to the theme and color palette your beloved has chosen.

Now look at the dress your wife-to-be has chosen.  If she chose the Romantic Gown (left) then you are going high fashion.  Look to wing-tip shoes and a coat with tails.  Take a look at Fred Astaire.  (If you haven’t seen Fred in a tux you are in worse fashion shape than I thought.  Google him.)

If she chooses a dress like thr Duchess Dress (right) then we are going for a different flavor of high fashion, less raw money and more nobility.  Look for a “Morning Suit” style tuxedo with an unadorned shoe.  If you can I’d go for an ankle-height or even a full boot.  NOT A COWBOY BOOT!  A plain black workman’s boot would work in a pinch, as long as it has a thin sole, but any place that has the suit you are looking for can probably hook you up with the shoes as well.

Point being, if she has taken the trouble to chose a custom dress then you should take the effort to chose a complementary tuxedo.  Now, closing tip: the tie needs to complement not only the suit itself but the choice of cummerbund or vest.  A bow tie can complement either a vest or cummerbund, but never wear a straight tie with a cummerbund.

Remember, just because you are straight doesn’t mean you can’t care about looking good. And at the end of the day, that is what fashion is all about.

Tiaras Thursday, Jan 26 2012

Favorite TiarasStraight out of a fairy tale, but these are the real deal.  I love this blog for following royal families and showing in one place photos of their real jewels.  The history of the jewels is a history of the families themelves, and is presented beautifully.

Ever wonder how much these tiaras weigh?  Or how on earth they are secured to your hair?  The answers are in this blog!

Buttons that fall off- the fix! Tuesday, Mar 30 2010 

Have that button that always pops off?  You know the one.  Whether it is on a pair of pants, on a shirt, or most often on a coat- buttons tend to loosen and fall off.  Sometimes this is because the edge of a button is rough or slightly sharp.  The edge of the inside of the button wears down the thread.  Sometimes buttons fall off because strain is put on the fabric and the thread gives way, or even pulls a hole in the fabric.


Use two buttons.  Putting a thin, flat button on the opposite side of the fabric can solve this problem beautifully.  When you sew them on, the thread goes through the outside button, then through the fabric, then through the inside button and back again.  When the outside button pulls the thread, the thread then pulls not at the fabric, but at the back button, anchoring it nicely.

Give the button a shank.  If the button on the coat is sewn very thoroughly and tightly, it can be so tight that there isn’t room enough to button it.  A winter coat can be thick and you will need to accommodate for that bulk when sewing on the button.  To do this, leave some give in the thread as you sew on the button.  When you are ready to finish, wrap your thread around the give, and that will make the button stand out a bit from the fabric.  Then, knot your thread as usual and you are ready to go!

Another fix:  Is the button sharp or rough on the inside?  A light coating of clear nail polish can smooth rough spots without plugging the holes in the button or making it look too weird.  Paint on the back side of the button.

Did the button pull a hole in the garment?

The fix:

Find a small bit of similar fabric, the size of a quarter will do, and put it behind the hole.  If possible, nest the new fabric piece between the outer fabric, and the lining.  Then with a small machine stitch and a thread that matches the garment, sew row after row of small stitches over the hole.  Think of it like overdoing quilting, but in a very small space.  The stitches you are putting in will show, so cover the whole and the fraying fabric, but try not to make a big enough sewing area that the button wouldn’t cover most of it.  What you are doing is making a very strong patch!  You can then sew the button in the original spot, where the hole used to be.

Side note:  The patching method works amazingly well with holes in jeans if you get the right fabric for the patch and use the exact right thread color and stitch length.  Properly done your patched area will be as strong or stronger than the original!

What the Costumer Sees: The Brothers Grimm Wednesday, Mar 24 2010 

This is one of my favorite movies about a dress.  I went to see it in the theater- the dress I mean.

So as to be copyright kind, here is a link to the movie on the IMDB:

A google image search is a good idea if you want to see more of the dress.

The movie- I remember pretty vaguely, but the dress!  Oh yes, I remember it clearly, and even made a replica to wear to a risque costume party the following New Year’s Eve.

The beauty of this movie is that it gives us a variety of takes on the same dress.  The gown shown in most of the photos is the deep red crushed velvet.  The film also shows us the same dress, but as a wedding gown in white.  And, even more of a challenge, it shows us the same gown with years of distressing.  The crown is shown several ways as well- including a rather fantastical version with two quilted gown protruding Medieval cones coming out of it.  Love!

I am of the fervent opinion that costumes have an obligation to inspire.   I love a film that inspires us to reach father, think broader and move forward.  This dress fits all of those bills!

We have:

Fit and Construction-

The fit of such a crazy as this dress is key.  The Actress needs to wear 3 versions of it, and move and fight in it, and it is very broadly low cut.  Before the embellishments go on, and the sparkles start there is a well made foundation constructed.  It is the fit of the dress that sets the stage, and this appears to be done very very well.

The construction is  detailed.  Look at the number of different fabrics that went into the dress.  Each fabric had to be found, purchased, and in one version aged considerably.  That is three times each, not just one pretty dress worth.  Fit is a big concern, too.  So many novice seamstresses think that boning a garment is the same as properly fitting it- so untrue.  This dress has a bodice fit so well that the front can be unlaced to the waist!  More impressively, the under dress is cut down to the waist, has pleated sleeves that flare but don’t cover her hands, and a collar.  Not just a regular collar, this is a self standing spiked collar of embellished sheer fabric that stands up- even while the entire front of the shirt has no closures whatsoever.  An open front to the shirt means that the fit of the armseyes and the back of the dress had to be close enough to hold the collar of the separate shirt in place.  Now, that is fit!  It takes skill to know that how the armseyes fit will effect how a collar stands- color me inspired.

The top of the sleeves particularly fascinate me.  Those are open beaded!  When I tried my hand at it I didn’t have a fitting assistant, so I strung beads onto elastic thread and attached it across the top of the sleeve.  It was a pale comparison to the original, and I have been sewing professionally for over 20 years.   If the size is wrong on the top of a sleeve you can’t raise your arms- so I give full respect for the fit of the sleeves when it is made of openwork beading like that.

Then there is the crown- the several different versions of it.  It is a bold choice to not go for pretty- and instead take a design element and push it, then push it farther and then continue pushing.  The versions of the crown totally embody that design bravado.

It all adds up to a dress that fulfills the obligation to inspire!

What the Costumer sees Friday, Mar 19 2010 

For years I have engaged in lively conversations about how sometimes I am watching a movie about a dress.  Oh, because I do!  Yes, yes I do.
I see clothing in a totally different way than my sweetheart does.  I see fit, construction, appropriateness to the situation, over-design, under-design, and a wide variety of things.  I can find an absolutely horrible movie completely fascinating and divine if the costumes are good.  Heck, if the set decoration is good!  (I should post about the movie with the flowers)  He sees the weaponry, the fight choreography and a wide variety of other things that I don’t perceive.  Even more fun, get a room full of costumers together to watch a movie.  We will cry out in unison at the more ridiculous clothing choices, and have the ability to thoroughly enjoy discussing what each person sees in the subtleties.

I am of the fervent opinion that costumes have an obligation to inspire.  The wording for my long held belief was given to me in an article about the (then upcoming) second Matrix Movie, in I think Newsweek, but I am not certain now.  The designers said specifically that after the reception of the first movie that in the following films they felt they had an “obligation to inspire”.  Hooray for that!  I love a film that inspires us to reach father, think broader and move forward.  I am extremely disappointed when I feel that a film misses a chance to do that.

If a  costume is easy to replicate, boring,  overly simple or doesn’t fit well?  It is pretty likely to piss me off!  If there are many in a film like that?  There is a good chance I won’t like the movie- or at the very least it will be mocked accordingly.

gaps between the buttons- the fix! Friday, Sep 4 2009 

With a needle and thread you can make button down shirts wearable!

The buttons and button holes on a standard shirt can spread open when you move, right in that area:

Solution?  Close up that area!  There are a variety of ways to do that.  Generally what I see is a snap or hook and eye added halfway between each button.

My preference is to try on the shirt, and find where it gaps- then sew that portion of the shirt closed.  Turning the shirt inside out, you can take a needle and thread and very lightly do a whip stitch on the overlap.  It doesn’t need to be tightly or evenly sewn to work.   I only sew the gapping part closed, leaving the rest of the buttons and button holes to behave normally.  Tada!  Magically a button down shirt that fits across the bust line, worry free!

Whip stitch:

Added bonus?  Your shirt will be easier to iron over that area.

Hair Inspiration! Friday, Jun 5 2009 

Ok, fun scrunchies made 🙂 They are made with 6-7 inch long strips of bias cut (with pinking sheers) black on black stripe cotton as the base. If I wear them often, or it seems worth it, I will make more.

and added to my little Etsy page…

I think I have finally found something to do with all of the scrap fabric I have laying around, lol. I wonder though, as 90% of my scrap fabric is white or ivory!

Corsets and Hips Monday, Jun 1 2009 

Talking with my friend Solan this morning, the subject of corsetry came up- no surprise there!

The point we were discussing was how very very flat a lot of the corsets being produced are! Hardly any curve whatsoever!

My theories on why this happens:

1. People want the corset to make them smaller all over.

In my opinionated opinion, corsets are for smoothing the figure, molding the figure into shape, and making specific areas smaller. Specifically the waist! When a corset is “made to slim all over” what you really get is a garment that is too small all over. The result? Muffining over the top and digging in at the hips. Attempts to pull the corset laces in to slim the waist a bit more just make the entire garment more uncomfortable as your flesh is squeezed out the top and bottom.

Realistic solution- Have your corset made to slim the waist, and in the silhouette you desire- but NOT too small at the bust and hips. You will then have the curvy look of a proper corset, without it digging in at the armpits, muffining at the top and cutting in at the hips. Extra room at the hips will also mean you can wear a skirt under it more comfortably, and not have a muffin effect on your hips too! Fantastic!

2. People think that a smaller waist makes their hips look bigger.

Realistic solution- a smaller wait gives your body CURVES, which is the entire point. A woman walks by in a curvy corset and the reaction is not going to be about her hips being big. It is going to be about those wonderful curves. Without the curves she would be a tube.

3. But what if I really do want something to make my hips/butt smaller?

Realistic solution- to slim the hip area, low tummy included, you might notice that corsets don’t go down that far. Why? Because it is good to be able to sit down. For that area, you need an undergarment that is superflexible. Slimming the upper thigh, hips, belly? Try the firm foundation garments available! Want it to be sexy? Go for the see through black lace versions and use the garter attachments- think Pin Up girls and go for it!

4. Muffin tops? But I have to get it that tight to look like I am busty!

Realistic solution- padding. Take a look at Nicole Kidman in her movie roles. She is wearing padding, and then her own bust looks fuller and her natural cleavage shows. Just wearing your garments super tight creates muffining all the way around- not ideal.

Realistic solution- underbust corset. With an underbust, you will have WAY more flexibility with what you wear under the corset, and you will avoid concerns with your upper arms showing. Also with an underbust corset, your blouse can be full and your bra can be padded, to give you as much bust as you like. Yay! I have also found in over 15 years of wearing corsets that underbust are far more comfortable in terms of being able to put them on myself, reach into the back seat of the car, and most importantly- wear them with the most different outfits.

Silks and Velvets Blog Monday, Jun 1 2009 

Hopefully educational, certainly opinionated clothing and costume posts forthcoming!  –Yosa