Friday, October 10, 2014

Project Rainway

So many episodes to catch up on!  I got to check out another Project Runway today.  This was an avant-garde challenge all about innovation.  Instead of a traditional runway for the models to walk, they went off-site to a runway covered in rain!  They had set up a sprinkler-like system over the runway so the models had to actually walk in the rain.  The designers were supposed to use waterproof materials since the looks would be getting wet.

I had to use two different pages in my notebook since I have layers that I want to show.

She's wearing a neoprene jumpsuit with thigh-high galoshes.  I want to have some movement in the balloon sleeves, so I don't really know what to use as a material for those.  The boots will probably be vinyl.  I hadn't decided yet if they would be black, white, or another shade of green.

This is her raincoat!  I would use clear vinyl and paint it pink.  This would give the streaky look and let you see in to the green jumpsuit.  There is an oversized hood that is actually detachable.  The scallops around the collarbone area conceal snaps.  By undoing the snaps, the long part of the coat comes off, leaving her with the hood and shoulder cover.  Note:  there are no arm holes in the coat!

I was inspired by the idea of the rain and this girl who loves to be out in it.  That led me to flowers and how they may not bloom in the rain, but they still love it.  So this look is loosely based on a closed up flower enjoying the rain, but waiting to open up when the sun comes out again.

Jeweled Runway

I'm finally catching up on my DVR-ed Project Runway episodes!  I'm still pretty far behind, but I'm having fun sketching with them again!

Episode 7 was a jewelry challenge.  Designers were able to chose a set of Chopard jewelry to inspire the design of their gala gown (and for their models to wear with the gown).  I was immediately drawn to a large-scale necklace with diamonds and sapphires.  This also happened to be the first set chosen.  Here is my design:

Here is a better picture of the jewelry itself.

So the dress is pretty simple, but the twist -- did you catch it?  That's right!  She's wearing the necklace backwards!  I thought it would showcase better and give a little innovation while staying classy that way.  It's hard to see, but there are silver sparkles on the skirt that get more dense towards the bottom for a shimmer-ombre effect.  

I'm not sure what I would use for the silver accents.  I would just find whatever inspires me at Mood!  I would even consider appliquéing some silvery lace.  It wouldn't have to be beads or sequins.  

Once I watched the rest of the episode, I saw the back of the necklace.  There is actually another sapphire dangle hanging from the clasp, so I would switch up the neckline to let that be seen.

So there you have it!  I think the dress is too simple to make a big impact on the Project Runway judges, but I could see someone actually wearing this to a fancy State dinner or something.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Runway Wedding

This week's Project Runway challenge is to create an unconventional wedding dress and a corresponding reception look for the bride.  There were no crazy restrictions, just that it needed to be unconventional, yet still appropriate for a bride and not costume-y.  Here is what I came up with:

What we have here is a pretty cliche "unconventional" color scheme for a wedding, but I love it and that's why I went with it.  If I were actually on the show, I would pick different colors, because I can just see Nina and Zac telling me all about how they both went to weddings where the bride was wearing this dress.  I think in more surprising colors it would be harder to say that.  This is for me though, and if I ever make any of these looks, I would want it to be black and red (or "bred" as the sneakerheads say).

The wedding dress itself is a black strapless minidress with a see-through overlay with lots of volume.  I would probably need some kind of framing support around the hips to create the birdcage shape but still keep the peek-a-boo effect.  I like the idea of having a satin headband/wrap to kind of flip the traditional wedding garb upside down.  Traditionally, the bride wears a see-through veil over her head/face, and a satin dress.  I've flipped it here so that the satin is over the head/face, and the dress is the see-through part.

My corresponding reception look has a bodice very similar to the dress, but I added a halter neckline so she can dance without worrying about "wardrobe malfunctions!"  It's a pretty basic circle skirt design with lots of tulle volume underneath.  We're not talking cupcake dress here, just enough so that if she twirls, there's great movement in the skirt without showing anything that a newly married woman shouldn't show!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Red Carpet Runway

New episode of Project Runway = New fashion sketch from my favorite designer, me!

This week's challenge is to create a red carpet look for Heidi Klum.  Like the designers on the show, I took inspiration from her prior red carpet looks as well as my own aesthetic and current trends.  Here is my preliminary sketch (mirroring the 30 minutes the competitors have before they go fabric shopping):

Basically what I want to do is a form-fitting bodice down to a slim-look skirt that actually uses a bustle effect to still give fullness to the skirt as she walks. I found a black lace on Mood's website that I liked for the overlay.  It would be solid across the bodice, sleeves and back.  Then I would cut the lace and appliqué it down the back to create an ombre black to blue dress.

I like the idea of leaving the bottom half of the front of the dress blue with no appliqué… that was not a "time"-based decision.  I believe that is the best way to aid the slim-fit illusion while the rest of the dress does have that fullness.

I don't know if I could actually pull it off in one day, and I don't know if Heidi would like it, but I would totally wear it to the Emmy's!  What would I say when E! asks who I'm wearing? "Myself"? That seems a little awkward...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Project Runway time!

About halfway through season 12 of Project Runway I decided to start sketching out what I think I would do if I were a competitor on the show for each challenge.  When season 13 started, I was pretty excited to start at the beginning.  Eventually, the plan is to actually make the pieces I design during the week between episodes.  I don't think I'll be able to do that with this season, but maybe the next one!

Episode 1 involved each designer receiving a box of random fabric.  The challenge: make anything that  represents your aesthetic from this box.  I didn't feel like I could really do anything with that one unless I had someone go buy 12 yards of fabric for me.

Episode 2 was an unconventional materials challenge.  I tried sketching one of those last season, but sketches don't really show well for that challenge.   You really have to have materials to manipulate to try things.

Finally, episode 3 has a challenge I can sketch with!  Here's my process:  I watch the beginning of the episode until the designers get their challenge and are sent away to sketch.  I pause the show and do my own sketch.  Then I finish watching and reflect on my design.

The challenge this week was to take inspiration from the past, especially the first few issues of Marie Claire (1994) and create a look that might be featured in the pages of Marie Claire magazine in the year 2034 (20 years from now).

I took inspiration from the looks that keep coming back even though everyone was glad when they were gone.  Voila!  The sweatshirt and stirrup pants of the 2030's!

I went the next step from the long shirt and leggings that are in fashion now up to a form fitting one-sleeved shirt with an asymmetrical hemline and draped fabric strips.  My initial idea was strips and braids in at least 3 colors (green, black, and grey) to give some variety and texture.  As I took some time to reflect before finishing the episode, I decided that I would like some chain in different weights in the draping also.

I didn't sketch them in, but I would have given my model black pumps with an ankle cuff to match the black from the leggings.  I think I would use a soft leather for the leggings, but that would all depend on what I could find at Mood!

After finishing the episode, I think that I would have been safe, but not in the top.  That could all have come down to how well I translated my ideas into the finished product.  Maybe this will be my next project after my geometric-print circle skirt!

Note about this season of Project Runway so far: **Spoiler Alert** I don't really understand the judges.  I think I remember this happening at the beginning of last season too.  I haven't liked anything Sandhya has made, but she's won 2 out of 3 challenges!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Laundry-Avoiders Anonymous

Hi, my name's Kim and I'm a laundry-avoider.

I avoid doing laundry often enough that my family asks me what's clean before they decide what to wear.  (We've had too many planned outfits ruined by one piece or another still lingering in the dirty clothes hamper.)  I also avoid putting laundry away--so much so that we have thought shirts and shorts to be lost forever, only to realize months later that they were under a stack of folded clothes the whole time.

About 3 weeks ago, after another episode of the needed clothes being lost, I had an intervention for myself.  I decided that enough was enough.  I needed to get my attitude and my laundry room under control.  I embarked on a Spring Cleaning-esque mission to make my laundry room a nice place to be.  I quickly found that unless we also cleaned out the closet, there just wasn't enough room to put away all the clothes that were cluttering up the laundry room.

What started out as a one-room tidy up project became a small home-improvement endeavor complete with furniture demolition, shelf installation, and total re-organization.

Step one was to clean out and organize the closet.  Behold, the before and after:

 We got rid of 4 large garbage bags worth of clothes, and a medium box full of shoes.  We can actually walk in the walk-in closet now!  The dilapidated dresser is gone--the drawers went into the trash, but the outer cabinet seemed pretty sturdy so we kept it and are now using it in the garage.  The hanging "shelves" now house everything that had been in the dresser plus undershirts and sweaters.

The next hurdle on the path to a clean laundry room was the linen closet in the master bathroom.  Step two was to organize that closet to make room for all the towels and socks that we found!

I didn't really get an accurate "before" picture, so this is essentially a "during and after" picture instead.  I don't think HGTV is going to give me my own home organization show based on this project, but it's at least better!

Finally, we have actually made it to the laundry room.  I decided very early in this process that in order to keep any kind of system working I needed a table and another hanging rack.  I had been using Oakley's doggie bed/tent as a holding area, which was just a bad idea all around.  Here is the before/after of that area:

 I have to admit, I chose that angle for effect. You really get the out-of-control feeling that had taken over the room. Oakley's den is still there, it's just under the table now instead of under a mess of clothes.  I just used our old card table and a tablecloth that's been sitting in a drawer for years.  The card table actually fit the space better than any of the tables I was considering purchasing.

Another angle:

Now you can also see the new shelf I put up!  Rex at Lowe's was very helpful in cutting the shelf to my  strange length and in getting me set up with all the right hardware so that this shelf matches the other one in the room.  I wanted them to look like they had all been installed together, not like one was an afterthought.

A better shot of the shelf.  (What can I say?  I'm proud of my work!)

The final piece to the puzzle was the top of the washer and dryer.  They had become pseudo-folding tables and catch-all's to the point of things falling off and getting lost in the abyss.  I didn't really do much here other than put everything away, but the organizing that happened before this made it possible!


This view is the first thing I see when I walk into the laundry room.  It is now a much nicer place to be, and doing a load of laundry doesn't seem as daunting.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the steps I've taken.  I finished everything about a week ago, but the after pictures were taken this morning.  The organizational system has held up that long, at least!  I'm hoping that I've got everything set up now so that the place can stay tidy like it is now for the long-term.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mother's Day in July!

I work in a restaurant where Mother's Day brunch is the busiest meal of the year.  In other words, NO ONE gets the day off.  After being close to tears the whole shift last year seeing mothers with their babies and feeling like I was missing out on an important part of motherhood, my amazing husband had a genius idea for this year: celebrate on your own day!

Why should we celebrate the bond between mother and child on the second Sunday in May?  Why not the second Monday in July?  Because that's when Hallmark tells us we should?  I recently learned from the Kansas City Star (though the sources through the whole article are not well-cited) that the woman who founded Mother's Day and lobbied for it to be a national holiday, Anna Jarvis, actually hated what Hallmark did to it.

Anna, I stand with you in your disdain for Hallmark and greeting card companies in general.  So in the spirit of celebrating your life the way you see fit, I got my Mother's Day today!

My daughter and me.  She turns 2 next month.

Today was all about me.  We took a leisurely morning around the house and then went out shopping!  My husband sponsored a wardrobe refresh that happened mostly at the Gap, but some at the Nike outlet store.  I got some new shoes (see pic below), jeans that actually fit, a bunch of cute tops to mix and match, and some chunky necklaces to start accessorizing!

Overall, I got to spend an great day with my amazing family!  Mother's Day doesn't get any better than that!  

For the record, I have nothing against the people who decide to celebrate their maternal relationships on the second Sunday in May.  I actually make a good amount of money from those people during the traditional Mother's Day brunch.  This year, because of my awesome husband, I got to enjoy watching family celebrations in May with no animosity towards my job because I knew that I wasn't actually missing out on anything.