Monday, May 24, 2010

Ready to Wear for cats!

During our team projects for Old Navy, I found out that Old Navy has a accessory and clothing line for dogs...OK, that sounds normal, we are somehow use to dogs wearing a kind of "sweater", "jacket" and even Halloween costume. So, I decided to check what is available for cats; I found a Japanese apparel company - "United Bamboo"- that just came out with its 2010 Ready to Wear for Cats! For extra information, you should know that Tokyo is the most important feline fashion center and harbors the busiest cat modeling agency in the world.

Personally, as a cat owner, I know the temperament of kitties...this cat apparel will turn into pieces in a matter of minutes!

Resources and photos:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Homage to Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly was one of my favorite American actresses. "Rear Window" was the first movie I watched where she played the leading role; the director of the movie was Alfred Hitchcock.

The 1950's is the period of time Grace Kelly lived; and she was impeccable with her fashion statements...The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is featuring this month the fashion exhibition: "Grace Kelly: Style Icon"...I wish I could be there.

Enjoy the photo images of this great star:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The evil side of straight pins...

Straight pins: such a little tool that can create such a havoc...

During the manufacturing process, pins are placed in a rack to exposed them to the process of electroplating with a solution of nickel sulfate; this creates a strong bond between the steel of the pins and the plating solution. But there is a major setback: the electroplating bath produces a toxic waste extremely dangerous for the environment.

In the United States of America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has very strict regulations. Unfortunately, most pins are produced overseas (Asia) where environmental regulations are not as strict; and as a result, the manufacturers take advantage of the lack of control creating an ecological disaster!

Keep track of your pins! The less we consume pins, the more we help our home the Earth :).

Image from:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A brief comment on Isaac Singer and the Statue of Liberty...

The story of Isaac Merritt Singer is long and colorful! So, just a few surprising facts:

-Singer perfected the sewing machine that was produced by Orson C. Phelps of Boston (a familiar last name...I wonder!) in 11 days, and at a cost of forty dollars (1850).

-Singer had 22 children (oficially...but who knows if there were more...)

-He died in 1875 and left 14,000,000 pounds, a tremendous fortune in that, the family sued each other in order to get the money...nasty business...

-Singer's last wife Isabella Eugenie Boyer -a French model who married Singer when she was 22 and he was 52- apparently was the model for the Statue of Liberty made by the sculptor Bartholdi. By the way, she was the one who at the end, received all the money left by Singer!

-The name of the first lightweight domestic machine was "Grasshopper" (1858), the name of most advanced home sewing machine is "Quantum XL-5000" (2001).

Image credits:

The painting is of Isaac Singer by the painter Edward Harrison May.
The portrait photograph is of Singer's last wife Isabella, do you think she looks like the Statue of Liberty?
The photograph of a seamstress at her home sewing machine I found in:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And this is for the boys...

I always complain that men's clothing are in general...SO BORING...! But today I realized, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel:
Josephus Thimister is the name of the designer from Belgium that has changed my mind about creating interesting looks for men. Thimister who assisted Karl Lagerfeld and was the creative director at Balenciaga, is back with his own label. He presented a haute couture Spring/Summer 2010 collection entitle: "Bloodshed and Opulence" (military influence from the 1915 Bolshevik's movement), for men and women...
To pay homage to the guys, I am only posting photos of the men's my opinion: the best in this show.

Photos from:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The tale of the seam-ripper...a true horror story!

This story begins at midnight in a poor lighted room: while working on my second ensemble for my Fashion 130 project, and after three different solutions for the back closure of my dress (first attempt: snaps, second attempt: hook and eyes, third attempt: snap tape; non of these to my satisfaction), I decided to use a zipper.
Very diligently, I began to open the center back seam a bit more to accommodate the zipper, when suddenly I heard the noise...: riiiiiiiip... I was paralyzed and a chill came down my spine, could it be possible? Was this really happening? Maybe it was just my nerves acting out. I took a deep breath and checked the right panel of the back skirt; I did the unmentionable: I ripped the seam and part of the skirt panel, a huge slash about three inches long! When the cursing words came out of my mouth with severe intensity, my husband, daughter and cat flew out of the room to take refuge in the living room! It was impossible for me to get some sleep that night, so I waited for the morning to arrive.

A bit more calm, but still upset about the events of the previous night, I re-cut the back skirt section again, removed the damage part (this time with neurotic care and lots of light in the room!), sew the new piece; and finally, put on the invisible zipper (took me about 3 hours)...I was happy again, and my family could safely approach me.

What is the moral of this tale? Besides working with excellent light at all times, never get to close to a fashionista when upset: they have sharp tools in hand!

These photos show the end result of this tale of horror...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Marcelo Senra, designer from Argentina...

The video from this link is very unusual, but the designs by Marcelo Senra are fantastic. I stumble upon this designer while checking the Ethical Fashion Show runway videos (held in Paris); this venue is for fashion designers who follow an ethical philosophy of production. Also, you might want to check Senra's web site:

Images from:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prehistoric fashion...

I came across this interesting information: Researchers from Harvard University, Israel and Georgia have discovered the oldest fibers in a Georgian cave, about 34,000 years old (carbon dating). These prehistoric fibers were twisted as thread (perhaps some sewing was happening then!) and others were knotted; thus, archaeologists have concluded that these flax fibers were weaved into cloth (linen). Moreover, the fibers have been colored with black, gray, turquoise and pink: nice color scheme! it makes you wonder how old is the human desire for ornamentation!

The first photograph is one of the fibers they found, and the second photograph is the Dzudzuana cave in Georgia were the fibers were found. Photos courtesy of Science/AAAS (cave photo) and Eliso Kvavadze (fiber photo) from the site (very good source of information).

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fire-proof dresses!!

On April 1st, I started my Fashion128g class: historical reproductions. The assignment is to recreate a Victorian bodice; thus, there is a lot of research to do. I decided to search for the fashion magazines of that era, and I found "Godey's Lady's Book" published by Louis A. Godey and his editor Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale (yes...a woman!). This magazine is full of great plates, information about trends of this era (colors used, textiles, hair styles, etc.), technological advances within the fashion industry and health industry; also, gives advice in social behavior and manners and provides an outlet for literature in the form of poems and stories.

One of the paragraphs that caught my eye is the one about the Fire-proof dresses; so, quoting this book:

"Fire-Proof Dresses.- Scarcely a week passes but we read sad accounts of young ladies being burnt to death, owing to their light muslin garments catching fire. It ought to be generally known that the light dresses may be made fire-proof at a mere nominal cost, by steeping them, or the linen or cotton used in making them, in a dilute solution of chloride of zinc."

Wow!, you think on the glorious Victorian gowns, but our modern minds forget the dangers of that time...

In 1859, it was proposed in England, that an Act of Parliament should be pass to regulate the sale of petticoats and they should be labeled "Dangerous". They even proposed to create a "Crinoline Insurance Company" to deal with the many accidents by fire. According to this article (Punch, January 8th, 1859), a proper lady should own her own fire-engine!! and they should fill in the tubing or hoops of the crinoline with water in order to extinguish any possible fire...

This Punch 1859 article and photo was found at; and, the information is from the book: "Mr. godey's Ladies, being a mosaic ;of fashion and fancies" edited by Robert Kunciow, The Pyne Press, Princeton, 1971. (Borrowed from Los Angeles City Library).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some cool facts about Tencel...

A good alternative to silk is Tencel: it drapes beautifully, it is fluid and so soft. Moreover, I found some interesting facts about Tencel...
- It is made from the cellulose found in the pulp of wood; the production of it is ecofriendly and Tencel is biodegradable.
-It can have many types of "looks" (twill, plain weave, peach skin) .
-It absorbs more moisture than cotton; so, it has antibacterial properties (no water-moisture means no bacteria growth).
-It is chemical free; thus, it is irritation free. Excellent for sensitive skin people (that is me!!).
-Because its water absorption properties, it regulates body temperature: great for hot days!
-It is shrink- resistant and does not wrinkle easily.

I have sewn a pair of pants and a sleeveless top with Tencel, and it was so easy to handle. It is not as expensive as silk charmeuse...and I can wash it at home! I bought my Tencel fabric for $10.99 per yard in downtown Los Angeles (Michael Levine).

Check leader in manufacturing Tencel and other cellulose fibers. Great information about textile production.

The above photos are from You can see the difference between the fibers of (in order of apparence) Tencel, Wool and Cotton...Tencel is so smooth...

Friday, March 19, 2010


The film "Onegin" (1999) directed by Martha Fiennes (sister of Ralph Fiennes: he plays the main character Eugene Onegin), has amazing costume design! The film is based on the Russian writer Alexander Pushkin novel "Eugene Onegin"; the costumes are design by Clhoe Obolensky (Greek designer, studied in England and France, she has lots of work in theater and opera productions) and John Bright (who owns Cosprop. and worked in "The White Countess", "Sense and Sensibility" and "A room with a view" among others).

The movie is a bit slow, but the photography is incredible. It was filmed mostly in England and there are some beautiful shots of St. Petersburg (Russia), where part of the plot takes place. Towards the end, there is a scene where you can see Onegin dressing up, and you can see how he is wearing a male corset! The recreation and tailoring of the costumes are wonderful: layers and layers of clothing...the undergarments, the shirts, cravats, vests, undercoats, coats, jewelry, hats, shoes, the ladies day dresses, evening dresses and!

You can watch this movie in Netflix using "watch instantly"...I watched the last scene several times (and ends with great music as well: Beethoven's Fidelio voice quartet...): heartbreaking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beads, beads, and more beads...what was I thinking??!!

Today I learned a lesson: beading is a wonderful technique, just make sure you have lots of time to give to it. On my Fashion 130 collection, I propose to bead the neckline of one of my designs...Well, I came to class at 9:00 am with my dress constructed and ready to be finished with the beads and details. By 10:00 am, I had accomplished only one 11:40 I had the second armhole ready...Then, I decided to take a lunch break for about 30 minutes...(I had to run to get a coffee, since I been taking medication for my sore throat and I needed a caffeine shot). At, 12:45 I decided to move on to the buttonholes (six handmade fan buttonholes)...that took my time until around 2:00 pm...I sew the handmade embroidered buttons I made a few weeks ago...and then more beads...about 3:20pm, finally, I finished the neckline...aaaahhhh...No wonder Haute Couture is so expensive...the amount of labor is immense and expensive!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cats and dressforms...not a good combination!

Back in December Santa Claus surprised me with a new dressform...yeaaahh! I named my dressform "Maggie". Maggie and my tortie cat "Peperonni" ("Pepe" for short) have had a tumultuos relationship lately...Pepe loves to climb Maggie; and, takes out the pins from the dressform! Poor Maggie, she is beginning to look like she had Chicken Pox (holes everywhere). So, Maggie cannot come out of the closet, when not in use...Peperonni is trying very hard to open the door by hanging herself from the door nob! It has been a difficult task to keep Pepe away from Maggie...I have to be like a vigilante :o.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eco friendly is the way to go!!!

Jason Neve is the Graphic Designer for this company...he explains the process of producing custom eco apparel, great tour of the fabric and their processes...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Great sites to buy linen and silk...

I found a couple of very nice sites to buy linen and silk: - They provide free swatches and the service is great! On my first purchase they sent a 7% off coupon and a swatch card with over 30 different types of linen :) - Really good site for silks, handmade dupioni, silk velvets, chiffon. They have a great selection on dupioni (all the colors of the rainbow). Andrew Bloom, the owner, works with you personally; very reliable...check it out.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Color dying using urine!!

While watching a very interesting BBC program about Greek myths (specifically Jason and the Argonauts), I learned that human urine was used in antiquity (and modern times as well!) in the dying industry.

Urine removes oils and dirt: it prepares wool for dying and leaves it extra soft to the touch. Also, urine is an extracting agent that will give you an incredible pigmentation; and, it serves as a fixative.

Some said that fresh urine is the best; although, you will need a huge amount to dye fabric for any given garment :0!