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WITW is DIYStyle?

WITW :: Where In The World is DIYStyle?! Follow our weekly update to let all of our followers in on where we are in the world! Yes, Allyce and I have started doing a bit of traveling, getting up close and personal with our Creative Chics. So, whether we are back in our studio (slaving away on a new design or project), visiting a retailer that hosts our programs, or showing at a trade or consumer event….when you see this weekly header you can get the scoop on what’s NEW and where we get to see YOU!

In Studio-Thru October 15th

Upcoming Programs:

Haute Knits
Seminar and Hands-On Serger Program
October 17-18, 2014
Sew Vac, Ltd.
Long Beach, CA for registration details

The Way We Sew TODAY!!
Hands-On Sewing, Embroidery, and Serger Weekend Retreat
October 24-26, 2014
Presented by The Sewing and Vacuum Place
Santa Rosa, CA
Event Location-Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa for registration details

Can’t wait to meet you in person at one of our appearances. And if you have a special request for us to travel to where YOU are, please drop us a note and tell us more. Allyce and I can get in touch with a retailer or sewing dealer near you to see if they too want to host one of our events. We LOVE making new friends and serging all along the way too! Serge On!!

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Allyce in Pageantland-To Market We Will Go!

So many people have asked what I have been up to since designing for DIYStyle and McCall Pattern Company. There is a long answer and a short answer.

Short answer–I started Allyce King Swim, a swimwear line designed especially for pageant competitors (think Miss USA, Miss America, etc.) and have been busy promoting, selling, producing in the USA (yay!!) and everything that goes with starting a new fashion line.

Long answer–in starting my line right after graduating from Stephens College with a degree in Fashion Design and Product Development, I have traveled a long, hard, fun and interesting road to get where I am right now as a fashion designer. And I have met some of the most talented and successful people along the way. With that said, I am going to tell my story………..the road to Allyce King Swim or Allyce in Pageantland as this post and others will be titled!

Atlanta Apparel Mart view from inside Glass Elevator

I am going to jump in at the middle of the story, but with Atlanta Market just wrapping up I could not resist to let you in on one of my MAJOR leaps of faith and one every designer dreams of–taking their line to market. Atlanta Apparel Mart is the location for a huge Prom and Pageant market that takes place each year in August, and I was so excited to present the Allyce King Swim line to prospective boutique owners in attendance that carry pageant competition gowns, swimsuits, cocktail dresses and more. I design swimsuits that make a pageant competitor look their very best–with strategic cuts, interesting fabrics and just the right touch of glitz. Actually my debut line is called “Sparkle”.

Me with my Allyce King Swim Girls-Sydnee and Lacie!


There is a ton of prep work that goes into being ready for market with a line, and mine was no exception. Fortunately I have had several girls wear my Allyce King Swim suits on stage and girls were already winning in my suits! On both the local, state and national levels, showing them off all really nicely. Pretty much like a movie star wearing a red carpet gown at the Oscars. It promotes the gown designer….same here….winning pageant competitors showcase my brand and make Allyce King Swim look fantastic. So the rest was a lot of organization, line sheets, order forms, sales, pre-sales, promotion, emails and more emails, and getting a showroom set up for the very first time.

Allyce King Swim is on the Floor!


Outside the Allyce King Swim Showroom with Lacie!

We arrived at the Atlanta Apparel Mart and were in complete awe. Actually I cried as I was handed the keys to my showroom and opened it for the very first time (yes, I was overwhelmed-joy? terror? how did I get here?!). Fast forward to three days later, with several new stores interested in carrying the line, as well as a few of my current stores there too, market was over as quickly as it had started! It was a complete whirlwind, including my first ever market runway fashion show. All in all it made for a really exciting and rewarding experience. The perfect mix of brand exposure and selling opportunity. Yes, Atlanta Prom and Pageant Market was a success for Allyce King Swim. Whew!! :)

Sydnee and Lacie my Allyce King Swim Girls, The view from the Top, and Sydnee in the AKS Official Model Robe!


Backstage at the Atlanta Apparel Mart Fashion Show


Allyce at Apparel Mart Fashion Show

My words to young designers: Do not go to market to sell your line until you are really ready. Buyers are in a super time crunch at market and you have to be able to command their attention and then follow through. SO much needs to be in place. Thank goodness for all my training at Stephens as well as everything I have learned along the way (I will be sharing some of that in additional Allyce in Pageantland posts).

Yes, I have been VERY busy as a designer, but here’s the BEST part! I am coming full circle back to DIYStyle! With all of our experience in sewing knit fabrics, active and swimwear, as well as designing, now it’s time for me to share some of this on DIYStyle with the help of Cindy Cummins (my Mom and my biggest supporter-usually behind the scenes at DIYStyle, you will get to see more of her!). What a fun way for us to work together to show YOU how to create and design with REAL pro’s (we have some Industry Icon surprise guests)-with REAL info and REAL instruction. We can’t wait to dig in and reboot DIYStyle. So follow my posts and watch as we expand DIYStyle. Stay tuned to hear the rest of the story. It’s going to be a blast filling you all in!

Allyce in Pageantland  xoxo

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So You Wanna Be A Designer

So You Wanna Be a Designer


I wanted all of our DIYStyle fans to know about this really cool new internet show. Right now I am on my way to Chicago, as a finalist to interview for the So You Wanna Be a Designer internet reality show, sponsored by Kenmore (Sears)! Last week I got a call from a casting agency telling me about this show that Sears was doing, and they were looking for designers just like me. So, I made it through the first round and now here I am, trekking to Chicago with some of my garments, portfolio and sewing kit in tow. They were really interested in what I have done with DIYStyle and now my new swimwear line Allyce King Swim. How cool is this?!

The whole thing gets going later this month, with the challenges streaming live from Kenmore Live Studios. Yes, sounds like you get to watch us in action (is that good or bad?). Sounds really cool, and the audience (that’s YOU) gets to weigh in on everyones creations and vote for their fav designer. Winner gets $20K to start their line (of course that’s what got my attention from the start!) and a new Kenmore washer and dryer.

So, think positive thoughts for me today when I get to show off my designs and skills for the judges and casting agency. Only 6 get chosen for the show. Keeping my fingers crossed! And if I’m in I need my DIYStyle fashionista’s and Creative Chicks to vote for me. I will let you know how it all turns out. :)

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DIYStyle at Swap-O-Rama in St. Louis 4-10-10!!

Swap O Rama STL


The Swap-O-Rama has landed in St. Louis this weekend, and DIYStyle will be there! Join in the wardrobe refashion fun, and dig in to find the gems you can restyle into this season’s pick pieces. Best yet, it’s all FREE!!! The whole deal will be held at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, this Saturday, April 10th, from Noon until 4pm. Come early for the best selection, and bring a bag of your own closet misfits to add to the pile. We’ll be helping at the sewing stations and giving away some cool prizes. Stop by our table and say hello and learn more about our upcoming workshops, and the new DIYStyle Boutique. We’re really excited to be a part of this. AND Allyce just did a segement for Great Day St. Louis (KMOV 4 in STL) on wardrobe refashion  that airs today too. Fun, fun, fun……… on! 

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Project Runway 6::Behind the Sewing Machines::10.22.09

Project Runway Designers in Sewing Room


Where in the world are the PR Designers this week? Well, designing for the inspiration cities that Michael Kors chose from his years of design and travel, dubbed as “Around the World in Two Days”. Now that the designers are down to less than half than when the season started, the competition is getting more interesting. Given this type of challenge, and without any time for the designers to do background research on the city they were assigned, was a bit unfair I thought, but yielded some interesting designs.

Carol Hanna sewing dress

Carol Hanna’s finished design

Carol Hanna did a really pretty Maxi, perfect for the beach.

Christopher sewing belt

Christopher’s final design

I thought this design from Christopher was definitely uninspired. I thought he should have been booted out. Only the belt had substance.

Gordana stitching sheer dress

Gordana’s finished dress

Gordana had a really pretty take with her “necklace” dress. I really thought she would take home the win with this design.

Irina’s winning design

Irina had the best take for this challenge, at least according to the judges, and won.

Nicholas losing design

In the end Nicholas was ousted for his lack of practicality for a design for Greece. Who wear pants in Greece, much less grey menswear?! Sorry, it should have been a dress, then it could have been a real contender.

We are down to 6 designers left, and only a few more challenges to come. Wow, it’s going to start getting brutal pretty soon. So……….Brother wear in the world art thou? Nabbing these PR behind the scenes pics for us again! Thanks guys………and keep them coming :)

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New York Fashion Week::Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller-NY Fashion Week, Look 1

The Nicole Miller show is definitely one of the main fashion shows I wanted to attend at NY Fashion Week. Between the rain and loads of people, the wait was definitely worth it after all (waiting is the tough part for the shows–you have to get there super early).

If anyone can design timeless fashion it is Nicole Miller. Truely wearable clothes for all ages. Nicole Miller is one of my favorite designers that I hope to meet personally some day soon. Here were some of our favorites from the show on Friday. Notice the biker styling on tops, along with the print in piecework fashion in the dresses. Prints were in the blue/black/grey family, most looking hand dyed. Lots of slimmer pants with detail at the hip. I could wear most all of this collection…………

 Nicole Miller–NY Fashion Week, Look 2 

Exposed zip, biker style. Black everywhere in this collection.

   Nicole Miller, NY Fashion Week, Look 3

Prints laid in almost piecework style. Flowing style with the print creating a slimming illusion.

Nicole Miller, NY Fashion Week–Look 4

Pretty shine with neat design lines to break it up. Lots of sheer too for tops. Love this smoky grey top with the silver blingy skirt.

Nicole Miller, NY Fashion Week–Look 5

The tucking and origami shape defines several pieces in this collection. For more pics and the video from the runway show check out Nicole Miller Spring 2010 Collection.

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New York Fashion Week::Rosa Cha

Rosa Cha fashion swimwear–lattice work

DIYStyle’s first show at NY Fashion Week was Rosa Cha (yes I will always remember THIS show–my first runway show in Bryant Park !!). He designs some of the most amazing swimwear I have seen. For Spring 2010, they showed lots of lattice work, exposed zips on cover-ups & tops, polka dots… grey/blues, black, yellow & orange. The play of stripe with the dots, and the orange and yellow intertwined together in the weave of the lattice work on several of the swimsuits was striking. Rosa Cha certainly brings a fashion edge to beachwear. I love it !!!

Rosa Cha swim, exposed zips  

Love this back zip in this beach dress. And the contrast stitching design.

Rosa Cha fashion swimwear, polka dots 

So retro, polka dots…….

Rosa Cha fashion swimwear, stripes and black 

Stripes with black, sexy “edgy” nautical

 Check out Rosa Cha Spring 2010 collection. Swimwear’s certainly haute here!

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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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Vegas Fashion

Fashion Show Mall

I have been lucky enough to be able to travel to some popular fashion spots this summer. It was exciting to be able to go to different parts of the US to get a good view of trends for my senior collection. I have been to Portland, Las Vegas, Chicago, and will be going to New York here soon.

Just a few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for 10 whole days! This meant I could go shopping, sketch, get color ideas, and note the interesting way the designers manipulate the fabric. I went window shopping pretty much everyday. My favorite spot for this kind of “research” shopping is The Fashion Show Mall. With a fashion show that rises out of the floor (everything is a show in Las Vegas!), this place is a mecca of shops. I feel it has the most variety featuring high end to low end stores. When doing research you can’t just relay on the high end stores like Neiman Marcus or designer boutiques to get a complete picture. You have to understand where the trends are going. Whether they are widespread enough to have hit the discount stores like Target, or if they are still in designer stores. A mall like this one has it all, making my research a bit easier.

The Wynn is another fashion sleuthing haven. I found some great inspiration visiting the Chanel store there. They had done some amazing fabric detailing. Some of the sweaters on display had small chain that was woven into the knit fabric so it made the sweater completely two toned. I also tend to get a lot of inspiration from shoes! I don’t know if it’s when I look at shoes I design as if I am making an outfit to match, or if they just set a look. There were SO many garments that used large overwhelming prints combining odd florals and geometric shapes. I was really intrigued by the combination of prints in a really cool dress that had a leopard and floral combination. And animal prints have stuck around and seem to be getting larger! There was this amazing Dior belt that was really inspiring… it was made in a zebra fur print with a huge grommet with a bar and chain to hold the belt closed. Another trend that is sticking around and I feel keeps getting more and more exaggerated are garments constructed in a origami pattern. It seems to be in all the high end clothing, from pockets that look like middle school fortune tellers to interesting design lines with lots of pleats and gathering.

Las Vegas shopping has definitely inspired me to sketch a lot of garments for my senior collection and give me a good view on what trends are hot! If you get to Las Vegas, be sure to fit in some’s some of the very best around!


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Party On DIYStyle!

DIYStyle Party 5

We have had such a busy summer, including the long awaited trip to Chicago! This event was something that DIYStyle has been planning and looking forward to for months. Our very first DIYStyle party was held during the American Sewing Guild convention…..we thought it would be a great place to debut this new event.

The Chicago trip was a BLAST! At the party there were four different project stations…a panty station, where we had more material than you could have wanted (courtesy of Vogue Fabrics!) including our lingerie pattern for making the scalloped edged panties. Another station was distressing denim using sand paper and everyday objects to create an interesting look. A really popular station involved reconstructing tee’s. Digging into a huge pile of tee shirts, attendees made anything from a purse to a skirt to a tubetop. The last station was our DIYStyle eco friendly tote. Overall, people loved the day long sew-in and we personally think it was a hit with the girls our age who came.

DIYStyle Party 4

Many girls were combining supplies from different stations to be a creative as possible. We also had a great DJ (thanks Matt–we never knew you could DJ too!) that made the whole event really upbeat. And to make it even more exciting, we had two fashion shows that featured original designs from local Chicago designers. It was so much fun for us to greet people at the door and show off our DIYStyle McCalls patterns (we were wearing our own designs of course). Some at the party had never sewn in their life and they loved the experience! We hope everyone who attended had fun creating and partying. Stay posted…there may be more DIYStyle parties coming to other cities soon.

DIYStyle Party 1

The rest of the trip was good too. We even watched Pati Palmer (Melissa’s Mom) give a keynote speech to hundreds of people at the convention, where she was also inducted into the ASG Sewing Hall of Fame! All of us had a chance to do the tourist thing too, walking Michigan Avenue and around downtown Chicago. It is a really beautiful historic city and we can’t wait to go back to visit again!!

Thanks to everyone in Chicago and to the people who came to the DIYStyle Party…hope to see you all (sewing) again soon!!

Allyce & Melissa


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To Market, To Market

Alexander Henry Print 


I had so much fun at this seasons Quilt Market! I have gone to all the quilt markets (two per year) for the past few years and this one was especially interesting. It was also memorable, because I got to spend time with Melissa in her hometown. It was neat to see some “faces” (usually we’re on the phone or email from across the country!) I catch up with only at this show.

My favorite fabric designer, Phillip De Leon from Alexander Henry Fabrics, had some really great prints that were new for the upcoming season…young looking cotton prints great for a little pop in your wardrobe. I was honored to do two demos of projects from my book at Krause Publications and Brewer distributing. I showed buyers the projects from My Style, My Place and gave away signed copies. It was really cool to talk to people about the young customers that come into their stores and what they have to offer our age group.

I also got to catch up with my good friend Mark Lipinski the editor in chief of Quilter’s Home magazine. I’m not skilled at quilting but I love his magazine (if you haven’t checked it out, you should)! I was also really excited that Robert Kaufman debuted their new line of knits! I love working with knit fabric. They are a fabric company that specializes in wovens, (I even used their fabric in my book) and now they make knits too. My favorite part about market was doing my very first schoolhouse presentation! I had the opportunity to present my book to buyers, show the projects, and Melissa and I presented our McCalls patterns.

Market is a great way to connect with what’s new in sewing, and this trip was perfect for that. If you ever get a chance to attend a trade market, GO! It’s really cool to see all the new stuff that will be in the stores in the coming months, and to talk with the people who design all of it. Too cool!

Allyce   XXX, OOO

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Chicago, Chicago is my kind of town!!

Chicago Time! 

Have you started planning your trip to the Windy City, yet? While there will be tons of fun things to do at the DIY Style Party…you may want to plan a little side trip to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Illinois, which is just north of the City.

Oh, my gosh!!! I was lucky enough to visit there this past weekend and in an instant I knew I had made it to fabric/notion utopia! There were silks, woolens, cottons, knits, bridal, home décor, machines, buttons galore, trimmings, ribbons, patterns from many unique designers as well as the standards and remnants…a whole magnificent area devoted to remnants, large enough to make a garment, all organized by fiber content. Need I say more…I sure could because there was so much more! Well, I did restrain myself and only walked out with two pieces of fab, but I had to use sooo much self control!

So, pencil in our Style Party on your calendar now and treat yourself with a visit to Vogue Fabrics, as well. Then afterwards, head over to the Lake and chill! Are you diggin’ the snappy little beach towel I used? It was a piece of fab I bought at Vogue Fabrics for an “Eco-Friendly” beach tote (episode 6).

Chicago Beach

See you in the City!   Elizabeth

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A DIYStyle Party in Chicago!!

DIYStyle Party poster 


Our second season of DIYStyle vodcasts have wrapped, and we are celebrating with a DIYStyle Party in Chicago! We will be having a day long sew-in, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, right in the open area of the hotel. Join in the fun on July 10th, from noon until 8pm, and create your own DIY fashions. There will be design labs and stitch stations set up with everything you need to make your own goods. Grab your girlfriends and make some Panties from the new DIYStyle Design It Yourself pattern from McCall’s, distress some of your own Denim jeans, perform T-Shirt surgery, and make an Eco-Bag for all your shopping finds. Project Design will take the stage, showcasing Chicago indie designers and a Fall Fashion Forecast will give you the scoop on what’s hot and what’s not! Upbeat music will keep everyone in the party mood. And….here’s the best part………it’s only $20 for everything!

Watch our website for more info to come soon. And, if you live in the Chicago area and want to help us get the word out, drop us a note. We want to show everyone how much fun we can have “Designing It Yourself” with DIYStyle!

 See you in Chicago :)


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Good Morning Portland!!


We just had a fantastic week together in Portland… and boy…was it interesting! Although it was exhausting, we sure did a lot. And here’s our fantastic news: we were on LIVE TV!! On May 16 we had the awesome experience of being featured guests on AM Northwest, Portland’s ABC affiliate, KATU Channel 2. We had so much fun, and the biggest smiles on our faces all day after the show! We were invited by the AM Northwest producer to be interviewed by the host Helen Raptis about our new DIYStyle pattern line with McCall’s. Going to the show we were only told to be at the studio at a certain time and we would then be informed of when to go on. So, we brought samples from our lingerie and knit top patterns and our (out in July) Fall jacket and dress patterns. There was even a live audience, with some kids that giggled (especially the boys) when we talked about how easy it is to sew up panties and bras. And we wore our own knit tops we made from the patterns so we could show the viewers how cute the finished product is and that it REALLY can be done.

I (Allyce) got to talk a little bit about My Style, My Place and explain a few of the featured book projects on air too. Our segment ended up being fairly long, considering the other famous guests that were on the show before and after us. Can you believe we were on the same show as Time Bandit Captains Jon and Andy Hillstrand from “Deadliest Catch” (all of our guy friends thought that was pretty cool!), Dr. Stan Love, astronaut, Oregon Congressman David Wu, and Miss Oregon America?!! We were so honored to be featured on the same show as these prominent people. I (Melissa) unfortunately then had to go to class (Ally is lucky, she just finished her semester–I have a few weeks left this term), and back to reality.

with the Deadliest Catch guys

Doing a live television show can be nerve-racking, and definitely not like doing the vodcast where if/when we mess up we can get another chance, but we feel it is a big achievement after having successfully gotten through it. Be sure to check out our interview on AM Northwest’s website. We have more to tell you later about our experiences with at Quilt Market, and something we did with a high school sewing class in Oregon City! So stay posted to DIYStyle!

Allyce and Melissa XXX000

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The Big Show


We got back from the International Textiles Show in Las Vegas last week. I think I’m still exhausted. We had the big release of our DIYStyle pattern line with McCall’s Pattern Company and it went beyond our expectations! There is a mix of feelings of total excitement and joy to major relief to see all this hard work come to fruition. When you work really long and hard on something — and with a pattern, there are SO many elements, it takes 6 to 7 months for a pattern to be published and distributed to the public — it’s hard to imagine how you’ll feel when it’s completed.

But there we were at a huge trade show with tons of people, and our faces were larger than life on blow-up banners of the pattern envelope covers for the new DIYStyle “Design It Yourself” line of patterns. (Look for them around April 15th in stores, and they’ll have it online at McCall’s, too!) We also played the DIYStyle vodcasts for visitors, and talked to a lot of wonderful shop owners, textile manufacturers, designers, costumers, and other folks. It went over great, and all the hard work was totally worth it!

The second day we were in town, Melissa and I spoke on a panel with two other women in the sewing industry, Amy Stalp from Sew News mag, and Jessica Johnson from American Sewing Expos. Cindy Cummins (our head Creative Chick, and my very own mom) lead the discussion and we talked about sewing from a 20-something point of view.

Bright and early next day (our call time was 5:30am — yawn), was the BIG International Textiles Fashion Show, and we got to kick if off! It was an opportunity to showcase our pattern line in high style for everyone! We modeled the pieces from all four of our patterns (two are coming out for summer and two more for fall). Melissa and I spent a lot of time choreographing our segment of the fashion show and helping pick out the music. (I’d had great practice in this from my fashion show production class a few weeks before!) We wanted to make a statement that this pattern line is fashion forward and geared to a younger generation of hip chicks! Wait until you see the adorable lingerie we’ve done. Too cute. Everyone loved it and we had the time of our lives! I can’t wait to see the McCall’s pattern book in stores with our designs in it. Just a few more days….. eeee!

While walking the show I found wayyyy too many cool fabrics to use in projects for design school as well as for our own DIYStyle pattern line, and on the vodcasts. I spied some great cashmeres and wool blends for my critic presentation this week. Right now I am in hand-tailoring class with all the “hair canvas”. Tons of fun, right! (psst — only five more weeks to go and the school year is over.)

In our vodcast this Tuesday (same day as our patterns debut!) we’re doing a recap and special up-close view of the Textile Show. Be sure to check it out to see all the behind-the-scenes drama, and as always, we love to hear what you think, so don’t be shy!


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Back to highschool

Last week I was invited to visit a fashion design class at Kirksville High School, in Missouri. It was really exciting for me to talk with students who are interested in fashion and sewing. In my presentation I spoke about my book, “My Style My Place” and showed lots of projects. I also talked about the junior collection that I have been working on while at Stephens College. I explained the design process that we go through, from conception, to sketches, to design boards, to jury, and then creation, in order to get the final product. I also showed them the CAD project that I had created this semester. They were really interested in the new DIYStyle pattern line that Melissa and I are coming out with in April, for McCall’s. Since they had been working with patterns in their classes, they were aware of some of the designers and brands. I brought a sampling of my patterns that we draft by hand at school so they could see the difference between what I do in school (for production) and what the store bought patterns for home sewing look like.

When I asked the class how many of them wanted to work in the fashion industry, I had a few hands raised and then asked them what they wanted to do. Some wanted to work in fashion marketing; some wanted to major in fashion design. I shared with the class how I got involved with all my projects–including the DIYStyle vodcasts–and how I was able to write a book (all while going to my college classes!). My goal was to show that sewing is not something that has retired and YES, sewing can be young, fresh, stylish, and creative. It was really refreshing to see their teacher Mrs. Liebhart very excited and knowledgeable about the industry. Thank You SOOO much for letting me share my experiences about my career and school! I had a lot of fun meeting you all!

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