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Archive for October, 2008

Ribbony Needle Roundup



Halloween is creeping up very fast and I still have not decided on a costume to make! I’ve been helping everyone around me with his or her costumes, so hopefully when I’m finished, I’ll think of something clever to throw together! The other day I was working on my sister’s Halloween costume (she and her boyfriend are going to be Wilma and Fred Flintstone), and I got frustrated because I could not find any of my hand sewing needles. When I don’t need them, I always mistake them for pins in my pincushion and when I do need them, I can’t find them anywhere! So after I picked all of them out of my pincushion and off the floor, I came up with a really easy way to keep track of them. I cut off a piece of ribbon and tied it in a bow, leaving one leg of the bow really long. Then, I just stuck my needles through the ribbon and tacked the bow on the wall in front of my sewing machine. Now they are out of the way and I know exactly where they are when I need them. It’s so simple I don’t know why I never thought of it before! Wish me luck on my costume!


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Fall Reading

The One HundredI just picked up a new book, perusing the shelves at my local Barnes & Noble, looking for something fashion minded and an easy read. Here’s what I ended up with…..”The One Hundred” is the new book by Nina Garcia, of Project Runway and Elle magazine fame. With the subtitle: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, I figured I had better get the scoop on what these pieces are, and see how many of them (if any!) I already had in my wardrobe. Even if you don’t read & take to heart Nina’s fashion insight and advice, just the illustrations alone from illustrator Ruben Toledo are entertaining and fun.

To my surprise (and relief) I did have a few of the must have’s on the list in my closet, but I am definitely lacking in several areas. I guess it is time for some revamping on my part, and a good excuse to do some Fall shopping. The Fashion 101 sidebars sprinkled throughout the book give you a bit of fashion history and industry background, tidbits that may help you out the next time you hit that fashion category at Trivia night.

Pretty soon it will be getting cold here, and curling up with a good light read like this one will be a welcome treat. And, be sure to check out the interview we did with Anna Maria Horner that we uploaded on Saturday. Her new book “Seams to Me” is a cute spin from her already super cute fabric line. Find it on the shelves this month, as it makes it’s debut. Congrats Anna….it’s fantastic!

Seams to Me


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New York Minute: Allyce

Fashion District

I traveled to so many places this summer…it has been exciting and inspiring, getting ideas for my Senior Collection. My favorite place of them all would have to be New York City. The last week of my summer break I took a nine day trip to visit the big city. I had a few goals in mind for the trip. Here is my list”

1.) Shop for senior collection fabric in the garment district.

2.) Have a great meeting with McCalls.

3.) Use what I have learned in my Pre-20th Century Costume class to identify garments on display at the MET museum.

4.) Learn the subway system enough so I will ride it on my own.

5.) Add to my collection of 500 inspiration pictures that was assigned for my senior year (that has not been a huge challenge especially being in so many different places).

Boy was I in for a wild ride. First of all, I stayed with some amazing girlfriends (love ya Julie & Danielle!) who love the fashion industry and were so great about teaching me about the city. My adventure began at the MET museum. It had been recommended by Kathy (at McCall’s) to be sure to see the Super Heros exhibit. It was a very interesting presentation of garments that were inspired by the super hero movies. These were the actual costumes used in the movies. The experience didn’t stop there. I ended up walking around the MET for six hours pointing out to my friend the name of every garment from the Egyptian period through the 19th century that they had on display. I had just finished taking a summer class in the history of costume, and it was really incredible to see in person what we had been studying in books. A few of my favorites: seeing a sheath dress from the Egyptian period completely constructed out of beads, a Greek Ionic Chiton (modern day tunic) and himations (a large cloth used as a wrap) carved out of stone into amazing statues. You may think I’m crazy but I had fun hunting down 3000 B.C. fibulas (the world’s first ever safety pin–before people even sewed clothing together). I also got to view a few of my favorite painter’s works. I love Andy Warhol and Roy Linchenstein, and seeing their work in person was really cool. One down, four more goals to go.



Next I spent two whole days shopping for fabric in the garment district. The first day was discouraging at first because I didn’t have good direction except that I was looking for knit prints. We went to a ton of stores on 37th and 38th street between 7th and 8th avenue. They were small “hole in the wall” type stores. It was great to get a lot of good swatches so that I could go back for what I wanted if I needed it for my collection. Towards the end of the day I fell in love with this one piece. Picture this: dusty rose pink tulle with embroidery that totally covered it in sage green, lavender, and dusty rose. Then the piece is covered in black and brown feathers with a natural color bead at the top of each feather. It was an exquisite piece! Feathers are so hot this season and I plan to design a cocktail dress…….this would be perfect. I thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere in these small independent stores but I did, and I bargained with the guy to get a great price. One main collection piece, more to go! After that I went to Mood Fabrics. There I found some notions that could be used on my garments as well as my mood boards for school. I bought a piece of leather that was a pink embossed alligator with a pearlized finish. I plan on using it for the cocktail dress bodice piece or small accent pieces. The next day that I spent in the garment district was with great success. I went to B&J Fabrics and found a great but pricey silk charmeuse print that made my day. It was the perfect color palette and the look I was going for. On this shopping trip I also was able to find my chocolate brown wool coating fabric for my tailored coat.

B&J Fabrics

Fabric Rolls

My next goal was not too hard to achieve. For my senior collection we were assigned to take pictures that would inspire us for our garments. It could be anything from architecture to nature to garments. Walking the streets of New York gave me lots of photo opps. The window displays were incredible. My favorite was Dior’s window! It had a carriage in the window with suits and dresses on display. Being a visual merchandiser would be fun but hard work! I also always get inspiration from Betsey Johnson, so I had to go to her store off of Madison Ave.  I almost camped out on their doorstep for the rest of the trip once I found out that she just lives right around the corner from her store! That would have been too cool to meet her.

Betsy J

Designers Way

I was super excited for our McCalls meeting. I felt like I had been preparing for the meeting for weeks. I prepared boards, sketched, and bought some supportive sample garments. I was so excited how my boards turned out and the great samples I found, I even found some great swatches of the fabric that I thought would be perfect for the garments we were proposing. Everyone seemed pleased with McCall’s decisions, so look forward to more great DIYStyle designs for 2009! Thanks to McCall’s hard work to making our dreams come to life! Only one more goal to achieve!

Julie & Danielle had explained the subway the first day that I arrived, so I was able to take the subway the whole trip. The girls live in the East Village so it was good practice taking the subway all over the city instead of taking cabs. I feel like being in New York for that amount of time helped me to prepare to be a better designer. Through inspiration, great fabrics, seeing in person a history of garments, and working in the offices of McCalls for a day really has helped my creativity and motivation as a design major. I will definitely be back in NYC soon!


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Fashion is in the Cards

RejectamentaWow. I have been just engulfed by design projects from the moment I stepped back in the door at Stephens. This is my senior year, and boy do they have us off and running! I just completed this Rejectamenta project, and thought you would like to take a peek. The challenge is to make a garment from all recycled materials, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Our garments will be judged by a jury and some will go on display at the Komen Foundation annual conference.

My theme is “Don’t gamble with your life….get regular mammograms”. Unfortunately the pic does not do it justice, it looks way cooler on a model with the headpiece, necklace and train that makes it all come together. When we get some professional model pics done I’ll be sure to post one.

For now I’m onto finishing a tailored and lined wool coat, and matching dress that is due shortly, sketching hundreds of illustrations for my upcoming Senior Collection, and sewing my heart out at every turn. I’ll try to come up for air once in a while to give everyone a quick up date, but for now just send me lots of positive energy………it’s going to be one challenging and exciting year in fashion design school!


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DIYStyle guest blogger: Amy Butler

Amy Butler, Image #1

Amy Butler is a fab friend of DIYStyle. See what she has been up to…….she’s one busy (and talented) lady!


From Amy:

It’s been an incredible summer! The season has been full of many exciting launches and loads of new product development. This is one of my favorite times of year! My gardens explode and I love watching the drama unfold before my eyes, it brings me so much joy, I love hanging in the garden in the evening at the end of a long day. The Lotus bog is soothing and if feels wonderful to be surrounded by lush plants in bloom. All the hard work in the spring nurturing the beds really pays off! I was able to extend my “August experience” this year with the launch of my newest home decor collection of prints for Rowan…. “August Fields”.

The collection is made up of four diverse color stories celebrating the inspiration of gardens and wild fields in high season. Everything peaks in August! Poetic combinations of elegant natural prints and modern textures make it easy to mix and match designs for your next home dec or fashion project. Here’s a sneak peak below with some fun shots of my AF photo shoot last weekend at my friend Brian’s house! I’m using AF for everything! Bedding, pillows, bags, ( of course right?! ) and clothing. My friends here at DIY Style will appreciate the fashion focus with this collection! I’ve made tons of beautiful garments. Check out some of the shots.

In the first shot above my friend Andrew captures Jesse in one of my new dress designs! And his beautiful shots follow!

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Drenda is wearing on original necklace made by my dear friend Kim Mettee. You have to check out her Etsy shop…… amazing, crazy cool jewelry. She uses rare materials and gems to create her organic and spirited masterpieces. Thank you Kim! I love to work alongside my friends and loved ones, it makes the creative process even more thrilling and rewarding.

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Here’s Mr. Butler caught red handed in one of my sets! We had an incredible day of shooting. Just the night before he had a rock and roll show with his band the Black Owls! I don’t know how he looks so rested…….. he’s my Dave!

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Here are my friends Christina and Nichole shot by Mr. Butler just a few minutes later. The girls are wearing my new apron design made out of August Fields!

Here’s the props room with all the details and goodies to embellish my girlfriends.

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I’ve staged all of the props and accessories by color stories….. of course! Everything on hand to style my ladies!

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The details in and of themselves tell a beautiful story! Color explosions everywhere! I love it!!

Another long awaited addition to my fabric mix has also launched this summer! Amy Butler Solids. The material is beautifully woven with a gorgeous feel, my solids come in both home dec and quilting weights to coordinate with all of my print collections with Rowan. The pretty colors will enhance and compliment any project and are sure to stir your creative passions! I have a fun mix of projects on my web site that feature both the home dec and quilting weight collections. I also have a great free quilt pattern you can try……. I named the quilt after my friend Thea, she’s a wild creative fire! I just love her. You can grab the project as a download under my “free patterns” section on the site.

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This month I will be introducing my newest quilting and fashion weight collection for Rowan. The line is called Daisy Chain and it is embellished with artistic flourishes that give a nod to our free spirited past! Daisy Chain is filled with earthy chic prints with a modern folk feel that harmonize in the four zen like color palettes. These romantic prints are perfect for fashion, home dec or quilting projects. I had a blast creating several fashion pieces to show off the range! It’s the best when all of my worlds collide…… color, prints and fashion. Building the story with my style shoots is one of my favorite things to do. This shoot we invited our friend Andrew Baasch to take some pics with Dave. The results are amazing! You’ll have to check back on my web site soon to see all the gorgeous inspirado! Enjoy!!

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Drenda above models my Angel Dress and Christina is styling in her Daisy Chain head scarf, lounging on my new Daisy Chain quilt. The quilt will be a FREE pattern on my web site soon! I can’t get over the color of her eyes and how she blends so beautifully with the navy DC palette! These shots were captured by Dave…….. gorgeous Mr. B!

One of my most recent product launches featured my new GIFTWRAP GREEN collection with the Giftwrap Company. The line is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and is printed with soy inks. The line includes gift wrap, bags, and giftcard boxes. I’m very proud of this partnership with the Giftwrap Company, we worked very hard to create an ecologically sound line. It’s incredible to be able to offer a green alternative to gift giving and entertaining.

Alongside the gift wrap & bags, we’ve developed an eco line of paper tableware (plates, napkins & guest towels) that coordinate. The plates and napkins are printed with 100% soy ink, plus the plates use a water-soluble coating so that they can be rinsed and recycled too! I had my family for the 4th of July and it was great to rinse the plates and then toss them in the recycle bin. The plates are very sturdy as well as stylish! The perfect combo!

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I told ya I have a lot of fun Projects and books releasing this season! I love my new Little Stitches sewing book! It’s lavishly illustrated and inside you’ll find charming and contemporary projects for the nursery, baby wear, soft toys, and many more surprises! The projects are designed for babies 0-12 months and their mothers, featuring beautiful photos of the finished designs by our friend Colin McGuire. It was fun to produce these little treasures, and I think you’ll find many projects in here for all the wee ones in your world.

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Here are a couple of my favorite projects……. the Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag and the Sleepy Snail with removable Shell Pillow. The other detail I love about the book is that I rated the projects by difficulty level so you can ease right into a project that’s perfect for you. This is a keeper! A great book to keep on hand for gift giving!

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I wanted to give you a little peek at my upcoming December launch of Midwest Modern 2! This small release includes brand new prints to compliment Midwest Mod 1. Here are a few shots from my camera that I took during our shoot at Brian’s. Luscious and floral inspired! You also get a peek at my new apron pattern for Fall!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together. I sure have……. thanks for spending a piece of your day with me and my dear friends at DIY Style! DIY Gals……….Keep doing what you’re doing and sharing all of your lovely inspiration and ideas. What a fun, creative and loving community we work in! Thank you everyone!
XO Amy

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Thanks for hanging in there with us……..we had some glitches yesterday that prevented us from uploading our new season DIYStyle vodcasts……sorry! We think we have it all covered now, and they are uploaded and ready to view. And, I’ll be posting Amy Butler’s fab blog later this evening. You’ll want to read and see all the gorgeous pics she sent to all of our DIYStyle creative chicks :)


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