I dropped by Dressew this morning to pick up some needles and bobbins and emerged a couple of hours later with three new projects in my bag. The first one is this cute double zipped pouch that I plan on using as a (temporary?) replacement for the heavy wallet I’ve been lugging around. I removed the cash and cards that I use most often and have been carrying them around in a pocket for the last three weeks and haven’t missed the extra stuff or weight at all.
While I’ll take credit for the sewing, I won’t take credit for the pattern. If you’d like to put your own double zipped pouch, you can find great details on how to do that at japanesesewingbooks.com.
I’ve never been one to separate my personal life too much from work. I’m a big fan of camaraderie in the workplace, which has led me down some interesting paths in the past.
One of the more recent paths I took led me to the desk of Renee Cheung, at that point searching online for a simple skirt she could wear with a corset for her wedding reception. I heard the famous (never) last words come out of my mouth once again “I could make that for you.”
Perhaps slightly overconfident and not fully realizing what I committed to, we shopped around town for some ideas with little luck. Jumping back online we found three dresses that formed the base of the outfit, and used our imagination for the rest. The sketches morphed the cut a few times, and the design continued to evolve even after we bought the fabric. This resulted in a few extra trips to Fabricana with some personal purchases since I was already there 😉
With the knowledge I gained from Mulierose, and the help of a pro pattern maker friend (thanks Victoria!) I set myself up with the bride’s measurements, a roll of kraft paper, a few good rulers and some good music. Because I was sewing for someone else, I actually did the right thing and made a mockup out of cotton. Because we work together, the handicap stall in the bathroom at work was now my studio where I fitted the mockup with safety pins and explained to unexpecting coworkers why we were doing, well, what we were doing.
The real deal was fitted in my home, with homemade apple pie pockets being served in between. With Renee watching in the full length mirror, I felt a little like the mice and birds in Cinderella as I trimmed the hem and bustled the fabric to reveal the bottom layer.
The end result was a 5 piece outfit, footwear excluded, in which I created 3 of the pieces: A three layered taffeta gown with red under layer framed by a front bustle and ruffle, a reversible silk cropped, hooded vest, and a pair of lace gauntlet gloves. The bride bought a complimentary chocolate brown laced corset and got her craft on with a steampunk inspired fascinator to complete the look.
I saw an orange batwing top over a year ago on Etsy and pinned it to my ever growing clothing I could make myself board. I bought the fabric to make it closer to the time I pinned it, but only recently found the time to make it. It’s super comfortable and can be worn a a mini dress, folded up for a shirt, and I may have slept in it more than once as well. I think it helps that it’s a high quality bamboo fabric.
Not too long after I happened to be at a Our Social Fabric sale and picked up a remnant of black with mustard fleck. It wasn’t home nearly as long as the orange was before it was cut and waiting on the sew pile for a rainy day. Luckily summer’s coming to an end and rainy days are more frequent.
I can’t take all of the credit for the creation on this one though. I found a simple DIY pattern on the Morning by Morning Productions blog and with a few mods to measurements ended up with what you see above.
I hung out with a good friend and talented artist tonight by the name of Mary Craig. She’s been in the biz for a while selling her gorgeous works of art under the name Clutch Jewels at trade shows around the Vancouver area and we’re going to be working together in the upcoming month to get her jewels on Etsy for the world to see. In the meantime I’m going to brag a little about this divine little piece of body jewelry she made me.
I had a great time grooving to Lorde’s song Royals while I snapped these super low quality photos of me with photobooth on my mac. (I’ve got all this high tech around me and I still just use what’s the easiest and at my fingertips.)
Since grade 7, I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer. One of the first collections I remember is one from Dolce and Gabbana where they used a slick metalic plastic fabric, and all the models had black lipstick. I covered all four walls and my ceiling in a grid of fashion magazine ads during highschool. In my twelfth year of highschool I applied for an got accepted into Senecca College in Toronto, paid my deposits on tuition and residence, and then quietly backed away from my dream. Comments ranging from “you’ll never get a job making clothes, nobody makes clothes”, to “you’ll never survive in Toronto, you’re not a city girl” coupled with stats like only 5% of fashion students survive in the fashion world 5 years after graduation, scared me enough not to try.
I entered and promptly failed my code class in the first semester of computer programming at Algonquin College in Ottawa. I spent three years earning a Graphic Design diploma with honours at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. I worked for 4 years in the print design industry before going back to school to retrain. The whole time I sketched clothing, designed and constructed my own clothing, and dreamed of a day when I could own my own business.
Looking for something more but not knowing what it was (a little bit of fashion no doubt) I attended Vancouver Film School for a year in the Digital Design program where I met an abundance of talented people in every field. I introduced myself to the game designers on campus, met some sound designers, makeup artists, producers, and chatted up the guys down in resources on the film campus. I got a game design job that I love (and I’m not leaving any time soon) at Microsoft a few months after I graduated through one of my past instructors at VFS. I’ve co-produced two films, worked on some probono projects, and lucky for me, had a great time in the process.
near the end of my student career, one of my contacts in resources asked me if I wanted to interview models, hair stylists, makeup artists and fashion designers at Vancouver Fashion Week. It was during my final project at VFS, and I took 4 nights off to do it. It was the best 4 nights out of that year I spent at VFS. Any and all of my passion for fashion and everything that comes with it came to the surface. I was on an eternal high, cloud 9, and nothing could have brought me down.
One of the things that had kept me from ever wanting to enter the fashion industry was the diva’s and the elitists of the fashion world that I had continuously seen on TV. But Vancouver fashion isn’t like that. The designers I interviewed were down to earth. They just loved their craft. The models were real girls, volunteering their time to strut down the runway in cool clothing. The whole venue had a wonderfully creative and youthful energy about it that I’d never felt before.
I’ve slowly been formulating an idea about selling my fashion wares ever since. I recently decided on a name – Mulierose – which means fond of woman. I’m fond of womanly shapes, feminine colour palettes, romantic words, and vintage pieces. Mulierose was an adjective used for little more than 20 years in the 1870’s, and I loved the idea of recycling it and making it new again. I’ve been collecting larger sized dress shirts with the intention of cutting them into sun dresses for the summer, and cutting scrapes of satin and fashioning them into flowers.
I originally wanted to work it all up and present it online in one big, scissor cutting the ribbon moment. But then I read the book Running Lean, which told me what I already knew in graphic design, but failed to implement in trying to start my own business: find a problem worth solving, before defining a solution. I’ve been trying to work out details here and there without fully determining or understanding my target audience.
So here I am. Putting my idea out there, on the interweb, never to be taken back or hidden away again. I’d like to ask a favour and request your feedback, suggestions for improvement, and to forward this article along to interested friends. I’m interested in why people buy what they do, and plan on writing a survey to send out soon to ask the right questions. For now, this is my first baby step. Testing the ice to see if it’s safe to walk on before putting my full weight on it. Feel free to leave comments on my blog (They’ll be pending moderator approval and make take a bit of time to show up) or email me directly at amanda (at) mulierose (dot) ca. Thanks in advance for your support.
I’ve grown up in a society that puts a stress on recycling and composting, and not putting so much in landfills. I don’t have a beef with recycling at all, but what I do have a problem with is the lack or resources to accommodate the first two R’s: Reduce, and Reuse. Although Fergie’s dress is probably made of never-been-played-with lego’s, I still think it’s pretty innovative and inspirational in it’s own right. As a lover of fashion, individuality, and saving the world, I see this as one more little step to linking them all together. I have some more ideas on that, that I’ll be blogging about in the future.