Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sewing journey: Cupcakes and circle skirts

All you sewing pinups out there know how it begins, you walk into a fabric store, scouting the joint... then suddenly out jumps the most beautiful fabric you have ever seen. Immediately you see the garment form right in your head, like the fabric told YOU what to create!

I must mention upon further inspection of the fabric I saw it had a slight sheen to it, nice :) but also had that vinyl table cloth like backing, fortunately I could care less because it was BE-AU-TI-FUL!
The weight of it reminded me of my fave home sewn thrift find...

Fabric for circle skirts

So follow along to watch me turn that into this...

How to make a circle skirt

Anyway let me find a good tutorial... I've made a few circle skirts so far, but none as perfect as that black one. Each time I try a new approach but haven't found one I love. This method worked great!
I pretty much followed her directions until the waistband. I wanted mine thinner with the zipper closing UNDER the waistband. So after inserted the zipper in the skirt only I approached the waistband. I tried this;

I cut out a 4" long strip as wide as the fabric from my excess. I pinned my strip to the waist opening of my skirt for measuring purposes, left 3-4 inches extra and cut the rest. I fused very sturdy interfacing to both sides, since vinyl can be very stretchy.

Circle skirt waist band

Ironed my 4" strip in half to become a 2 " wide strip, then folded the raw edges and corners under and pressed to give a clean finish on all sides. Next pinned to waist, with raw edges tucked in, tried my best to align and stitched all around. This worked out ok, but I found there were a few areas it wasn't matched up perfectly, so I had to go back a redo a few spots. Since vinyl has a clean edge I skipped the hem but had to trim off about 1 1/2 inches.Added a hook and eye and it's a go!
Time spent from start to finish: from measuring to completion about 3 hours, great for me :) I'm a slowpoke. Amount of fabric: 2 yards. Here it is...

    Can't resist a twirl

Sewing a circle skirt without a pattern

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sewing Journey: Bustles and Ruffles

Elegant goth


So after falling in love with Victorian clothes I thought to myself, I must dress the part. After some thought and deciding where to start, I realize the bustle is the key element that defines this era for me. Particularly the silhouette of the late 1800's. So despite my grandmother reminding me that I don't need any extra cushion back there I NEED This! Since often times these looks tend to be a little pricey but made with cheapy fabric I decided to embark upon sewing it myself and thankfully the payoff was big :)

I found a wonderful tutorial, and worked it out. The tutorial was great, straight forward, and pretty easy. The ruffled hem was the most challenging, I wished there was a little more detail on that epic ordeal. Between sewing the bias cut pieces together and getting the ruffling just right I spent the chunk of this 30 hr or more (yes i know I'm slow) sewing project here. So when my honey and I decided to have a getaway in the Catskills I knew this house from the victorian era needed my skirt in it!

And here's a closer look!!! : )

Sewing journey, bustle and ruffles

H&M tuxedo jacket and top hat
In sitting room, paired it with H&M tuxedo jacket with leopard print lining, and mini top hat also H&M

Catskills B & B

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boop oop a doop, me as Betty Boop

I've always loved Betty Boop, as a girl I remember thinking how beautiful she was, in that weird way of hers. Especially in the late eighties,early nineties when they started making t shirts and apparel with the black versions of many cartoon favorites, maybe that was the beginning of my love for pinups.

After watching. A few YouTube videos I became inspired to play in make up and have my own Betty Boop Photo shoot .Enjoy

Betty Boop, Black Betty Boop, Betty boop makeup

Betty Boop makeup, African American Betty Boop, Betty boop

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Victorian girl, Curves, Cleavage and Couture

Hello Victorian girl, bye-bye pin up

First let me start off by saying please excuse my lack of posts, I've been having some extreme technical difficulties the past few months. At this point I just have to build a bridge and work past it, I miss blogging so much :( . So after my last entry I have been obsessed with Victorian clothing, so much so that I feel like I have been cheating on pin up styles, but there are so many girls doing her (pin up I mean) I feel like she's been cheating on me too, sharing herself with every one! *shrugs shoulders* Oh well, so I've been putting all my attention and focus on all the grandness of bustles, top hats and street elegance, which is where I think my niche lies. Of course I'm still a pin up at heart, but I'd like to delve into the beginnings a lil bit.

As with anything you have to know where you've been to know where your going, and in my eyes the conception of the pin up occurred during the Gibson Girl Era. Here's aBrown girl Victorian matched with our evolved Pin Up Mrs. Dandridge, bustles, bustles bustles!

The look was all about curves, cleavage, and couture, masked with a dutiful, demure expression!

This is that vampire-esque Mortician Adams influence, notice the sIight pin-up references? Lady-like parasols, opera length gloves, still extremely ladylike but powerful.

So to build this dream I first need some inspiration, here are some of my wardrobe dreams, eye candy and where I hope to guide my "street elegant" looks.

From Galliano's for Christian Dior spring 2010 collection

Again pin-up resemblances, very much burlesque-like with a corset, gloves and a mini top-hat but still modern with the rockachola sleeve??? This look defines what I want to look like everyday!

Soon to come my first bustle skirt project...

Corset Journey

Breaking it in

Ok so it's day six of my waist training, not counting the two weeks of breaking it in. Breaking it in was definetly the hard part, basically if you lace up your new beautiful corset too tight you run the risk of warping the boning, popping threads and ruining its body shaping potential. So I wore it for about 6-8 hours a day for two weeks .Having to sit perfectly upright on the couch???ugh!

Price and features

I wanted to start out with a reasonable priced garment, afraid of jumping out the window with a corset priced at $300 and up and realizing I didn't even like it. I decided to go with a corset story, waist training corset described as having 24 spiral steel bones, 5 layers of fabric, modesty panel yada, yada,yada. After much research I felt like it would give me the most bang for my least amount of buck especially after seeing you tube videos of the "reasonable priced" $200 and up corsets misrepresenting their quality. So the instant they had a sale I jumped on it paying around $65, it normally retails for about $90.

My garment had to be constructed and took about 6 weeks after my order to arrive, even for plain black it's a simple but beautiful piece. I wear it both under and over my clothes. When under always with a seamless tank underneath to protect my skin as advised, and when wearing over your clothes, be aware and mindful of the men onlookers, they are mesmerized!

Tight lacing

So far so good, definitely a labor of love, tightening, loosing throughout the day, I purchased a garment with quite a bit difference from my own waist which is at 30" while my corset can lace down to 24". I've been taking it slow lacing down to a 29-28 on the outside while an inch smaller on the inside. After watching a few videos online I'm inspired and ready to really start going in, I think tonight I will try to expand past my 8-10hr wear and sleep in it :/ I'll keep you updated on that. My goal is a 26 inch waist maybe tightlaced to 20 but I'll have to see, with this bottom I have it may be too extreme!!!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gibson Girls, pinup beginnings

I love history, love imagining how previous periods felt and how different, yet the same people were. When delving into the origins of pin up there is often mention of the link albeit small of First Jules Cheret, french artist and secondly the American Gibson girl, a photograph, or illustration of a high society,new renaissance victorian woman.
French artist and lithographer Jules Cheret is considered the first pin up artist, and inventor of the modern day poster. During the 1890's his artwork of frolicking women earned him the title "the father of women's liberation." It wasn't long before this new artistry inspired Americans.

Poster featuring Loïe Fuller, a dancer with burlesque beginnings at the
Folies Bergères by Jules Chéret.

In America, Charles Dana Gibson gained popularity for his illustrations of the freshly coined "Gibson Girls, " high society women depicted with a "sporty jaw," slender waist, accentuated curves, upswept curls and a look that gave she was at least equal, if not superior, to the gentlemen who called on her. Although these images were not yet called pin ups, they explored the quiet power of the new emerging woman. She was demure yet revolutionary, innocent with a knowing eye, unmistakably pin up!

Irene Langhorne Gibson wife and muse to Charles Gibson, this picture
makes me eager to star waist training!
Now this all leads down one path, I had to explore gibson girls from the butterscotch prospective, I mean surely there were black high society documented somewhere in America....right :/ ? I found some pictures out there in cyber world but feel it will require some real old school get off your a$$ and go to the the library...wait people still ACTUALLY do that? type of commitment but I have a little free time and inspiration in my heart, so we'll see... In the meanwhile I found these lovelies for you to feast on.

Brown pin ups, black Gibson girl, Gibson girl
Although her garments don't appear to be especially fashionable but her hair definitely is. Classic Gibson Girl silhouetted hair and high bun, eerily resembling our recent high, forehead like bun. I appreciate her natural texture as well being that many women black and white were starting to experiment with straightening their hair turn of the century.

Bustle, African American Victorian, black Victorian
A more fashionable version, but without the usual updo. I think its highly likely she wanted to show off her lengthy straightened hair instead, but I have been known to over think things.

Aida Overton Walker, black Victorians, African American Victorians
Aida or Ada Overton Walker a leading performer of the day with burlesque influences plan to do a post about her. Anyone else interested in Black Victorians?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Loosen that curl girl

Although we often see "pin up hair" in these ultra silky straight styles, there are many new style pin ups emerging, those of the natural persuasion, myself included of course. I love the idea of embracing my natural beauty but still portraying a very polished look and all curly girls know the challenges that can arise with that. So I wanted to highlight this wonderful new curl restructuring service be Design Essentials called Strengthening Therapy System. Here are the goods, it defines and stretches tight coiled textures while reducing frizz and all with the acidity level of a lemon! Basically it restructures and lengthens your curl, making it easier to style in its curly state or straighten with ease, staying straighter longer, and all without a chemical!

The product is bonded onto the cortex of the hair with heat so hair must be washed with sulfate free shampoo to maintain look. Best of all the entire process is reversible so no fears of over process, or overly straightened curls! I wanted to experience the product myself as a stylist before I offered it to clients and I was so pleased I wanted to blog about it. I personally LOVEDDDDD it, unfortunately the process only lasts 12 weeks. :( I was so accustomed to my easy luxurious curls when it started the reverting process around week 10 I was surprised, forgetting about my original tight curl.

As a licensed professional stylist I found the health and curl pattern of my hair uncompromised and think this is a better process than the harsh chemicals of keratin and keratin-like processes. The process alone is $200 but for $260 bucks first time out you get the 2-3 hour process (hair must be straightened and washed twice) and all the products you need to maintain at home, Sulphate free shampoo, Express conditioner, and Silk Essentials oil all by Design Essentials. Here are some real life results:

I realized I rarely wear my hair out, I can't lie I love a weave, and therefore have virtually no pictures except this one. My curl pattern is usually much tighter but this is after my installation take down.

Here's my textured curled maybe 3-5 days old after a light blow dry, and two strand twist.

Me with the beautiful Sherhara whom I met at the grand opening of the new Salon 804, curly girl pin ups owwwwww. This curl pattern was done with a light blow dry and flexi rods, the blue ones. Just in case your wondering her hair looked to be wash and go in its natural state, speculation of course.

Here is the lovely Zaianee with her original curl pattern...


Here's her after, the straightened version and her wash and wear hair.

Want more info? Check out