Lighten up, it’s just fashion.

by tatiana on June 8, 2009

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope your weekend was fab. Mine was pretty eventful. Friday, I won tickets to see Erykah Badu at Club Nokia at LA Live and it was AMAZING.


I wish my camera didn’t die, otherwise I’d have photo evidence of how even more beautiful Ms. Badu is in person. Not only is she a great singer and songwriter, but she’s a great performer as well. If she’s ever in your town, go see her! I’ve been a fan since high school, and OMG was it amazing to finally see her live. Thanks KUCI for the tix! She is most certainly an icon in the fashion world. Or at the very least, in my fashion world. She is constantly evolving, but always staying true to who she is. The outfits that she wore at her show were out there… but at the same time reflected her style really well. The first outfit she wore was a beautiful silk black asian inspired dress with a pink floral robe over it and a shiny silver outer-space/1920’s inspired cap. Like I said, it was OUT THERE, but it worked. Sometimes it pays to just have fun with your ensemble.

Alas! As it is Sunday, I have a nice little dress that I’ve spruced up to make it more modern and young. I didn’t really make much of a tutorial today, mostly a little photographic journey from beginning to end. So here we go:


This little dress story begins with this copper and black hounds tooth number that I found at le thrift store. It is clearly a 1990s style jumper of sorts with a lot of potential. The fabric caught my eye, and I knew it would be an easy fix.


I started by trying on the dress and taking in about 2″ from the top. In doing this, I was able to heighten the waistline without having to deconstruct anything. Score!


So after sewing both straps, I cut the excess, ironed it down and top stitched it up to make it look schnazy.


Next, I tried it on again just to make sure everything was going according to plan, and it was! I then pinched and pinned the sides all the way down to where the pockets began to fit properly. I sewed that up on both sides using a straight stitch.


Once that was finished, I tried on the dress once again to figure out how short I wanted the dress to be. I ended up cutting it about 7 inches shorter. Luckily because of the geometric lines provided by the print of this fabric it was easy to measure and cut.


Lastly, I ironed and pressed a hem around 3/4″ around the bottom and double stitched that baby up. Because the fabric is nice and sturdy and hounds tooth-y a machine stitched hem does not look bad.


And there we have it! A pretty simple fixer upper, but I am really digging this dress. It’ll be nice for hot summer weather, and perfect for the winter worn with a nice pair of black tights and a black cardigan. Voila! Another successful Upcycle Sunday, if I do say so myself. (Raises the roof). Have a great week my lovelies.


Topsy Turvy!

by tatiana on May 27, 2009

Man oh man. So many things to say in one post, I like to try to keep them focused on one or two topics, but not this time! This will be my circus/variety show-type post.


First of all, remember a long time ago when I wrote about Burda Style? And how awesome I thought they were because they provided open source patterns? Well, yesterday I received an email from them, as I usually do since I am on their mailing list, and I see this lovely pattern:


Unfortunately, you have to purchase it. Now, I’m all for paying for patterns. That’s fine. But when you advertise your company as “Open Source Sewing,” I feel that it is misleading to do so and charge for a pattern. The term “Open Source” derives from the free software movement, so the implications of this term are “FREE.” I mean, $3.50 is a bargain compared to some of the patterns out there for $18.95, but that is besides the point. I just feel a bit disappointed.

In other news, for all of you embroiderers out there, this fine lady (who’s blog is AMAZING, by the way) has uploaded a free embroidery pattern. And it’s super cute! I might actually try it myself… we’ll see what happens.


Moving on. Last night I got home and while going through my junkmail I found an advertisement for THIS. I think god loves me this month. Either that or Elvis Crespo was reading my mind and knew that I have ALWAYS wanted to see him live. SUAVE!

This is seriously the cheesiest music video, probably of all time. You gotta love the costume changes. I like to call it “The many faces of Crespo.”

Lastly, I recently joined Indiepublic. So far I’m digging it. It’s a nice way to network with other independent crafters, artists and designers all over the world. And everyone is super friendly! I spent about an hour on their site the other day and became really inspired and excited about adding more items to my etsy shop. Good stuff.

Alright kiddies! That concludes my Topsy Turvy post. Don’t forget to check out KUCI Nights at the Yost Theater this Thursday! Only $8! It’s a bargain to experience some new music. I’ll also be HERE on Friday. Yay Lykke Li! I’ve never seen her live, nor have I been to the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. Should be fun. I’ll try to take blog-worthy pics for you beauties!


This week’s Upcycle Sundays was inspired by the beautiful, sharp and colorful Frida Kahlo.


I love this woman. You know that question that people always ask at icebreakers? When you have to name the people dead or alive who you’d want to have dinner with? One of my picks would definitely be Frida. Her resilience, tough spirit and talent are absolutely wonderful and empowering.

So! I have this red cotton jersey fabric that has been in my possession for over a year now that I have not used, so I decided to make this dress:


I also had a wrap skirt that I got over a year ago at a clothing swap party. I fell in love with the print, but the skirt was a tad too small, so I thought I’d hang onto it for a project. Today was finally my opportunity to turn this neglected skirt into something shiny and new!

“I’m just keeping you honest, panzon.” – Frida

This dress was pretty time consuming. Cutting the fabric, dyeing my white jersey tan to match the print and look less costumey, gathering the fabric for the peasant skirt look. Oy. It took a while, but I am REALLY happy with the result.


And the pockets are rad. I’m so proud of myself for not screwing them up! Sorry for the iPhone photo, I think I left my camera at work. Anyway, this is the first of many (hopefully) handmade summer dresses! Here’s to the beginning of summer, wonderful weather and a great, relaxing, and productive Memorial Day weekend!



Upcycle Sundays!

by tatiana on May 10, 2009

Hello lovelies! I hope everyone is having a happy Mother’s Day. We strategically celebrated with my mom last night in efforts to enjoy a Mother’s Day dinner sans the crowds. It was delish and the evening continued with a viewing of our guilty pleasure flick: Twilight.

So! Today I decided that I should head over to my favorite thrift store and see what treasures I could find. This lead me to the idea of creating this new segment for Tatiana Supports the Arts that I shall call Upcycle Sundays. Every Sunday I will bring you visuals or the occasional tutorial showing how you too can help reduce your carbon footprint and reduce waste by reusing and upcycling materials that already exist. Why buy brand new for $30+ when you can make it yourself for less than $5. I’ll show you how my dears.

In this segment of Upcycle Sundays, I bring you a very very simple (and my first ever) tutorial. I don’t always alter or sew by the book, so please don’t take my suggestions as gospel. Here we go… in this tutorial we will take an XL man’s cotton t-shirt purchased from my local thrift store for $1.50, and reconstruct it into a cute, light summer blouse.


The first step to this t-shirt reconstruction project is cutting off the collar and the sleeves. Try to cut as neatly as possible to make your life easier in later steps.


The next thing you want to do is try on the shirt. We are making a v-neck so you want to measure and mark how deep you would like your v-neck to dip. Mark the v-neck path with pins.


Go ahead and fold your shirt in half so you can cut the V in one swoop; think back to kindergarten Valentine’s day cards… folding the paper in half to make a heart. Same idea, different shape.


This next step is not entirely necessary, but I like to do this to keep things neat and polished. Fold a hem around the front and back of the freshly cut neck of your shirt at 1/4″ and iron.


Take that to your trusty sewing machine and sew that baby up, and make sure your hem looks good! I used a straight stitch here. Now, try your shirt on again and measure up the side; pinch and pin! You can also use your dress form for measuring, but sometimes I feel like things fit better when I just fit it directly to my body.


After you’ve pinned, sew it up! I used a zig zag stitch here. Go ahead and try on the shirt again to make any additional alterations. Once everything looks peachy, I like to make an additinal zig zag stitch up each side just to be safe.


And voila! Since summer is quickly approaching, I decided to veto sleeves for this shirt. It looks cute and breezy without them. Enjoy!


Ode to a 90 Degree November

by tatiana on November 20, 2008

So the other day I felt the need to Spring Clean. Then, another other day I felt the need to go tan outside. My mind and body have been so confused by the wackadoodle weather lately. Why is it still 90 degrees in the afternoon? Why am I still sweaty? Oh me, oh my.

Anyway, like I was saying, I was Spring Cleaning the other day and realized I had a bunch of half-completed projects laying around. I hate it when that happens. I feel guilt for neglecting projects that should be loved. One of which was completed but forgotten about, so here’s that one. (The bag, not the dress).

Now listed over on etsy…

And then one that was half finished and then put aside while I worked on something else. This one was a custom order from my cousin. But good news for her! Her birthday is this Saturday, so her custom order has turned into her birthday present! Voila!

Shot #1

Shot #2

In other news, I’ve been really motivated to make some new clothes. Currently I’m working on a sleeveless variation of this pattern (the blouse on the right):

Built by Wendy Simplicity #4111

…. and a really cool (hopefully) lined vest that I started a year ago. I’ll post photos when finished.

Oh yeah! KUCI is having a Program Design Contest, so I’ll be working out a couple of design ideas in the next week or so to submit. How fun. I’ll be sure to post those as well. OH RAIN! OH COLD WEATHER! Where the heck are you?


My 4-Spooled Dreams

by tatiana on September 9, 2008

I seem to have misinformed myself. I hate it when that happens. For over a year I’ve been putting off getting a serger (also known as an overlock machine) because of my misconception that the average machine would put me out about a thousand big ones. Turns out, this was a pretty inaccurate estimate.

This is a serger.

I found this little guy on sale for $269.99 on the Joanns website. And hey! Is that Martha Stewart I see smiling there on the page endorsing this machine? I think it is. Am I sold? Not quite yet. I currently have a Singer sewing machine, and my mom has my Babunia’s ancient Singer sewing machine from the old days. I still think we should take that thing to Antiques Roadshow. That would be so much fun. But anyway, that was a little beside my point. I’m a pretty loyal Singer customer, as my machine has done me well for the past 3 years. (Knocks on wood). The crazy old ladies in my sewing class last year seemed to have issues about my machine, saying that their Husqvarna and Bernina machines were superior. But my stance is this: the tools you use don’t matter as much as what you are able to create with them. And frankly, their crap was not any better than my crap. So there you go.

I’m going to be moving soon, so I think I will get a little more serious about this purchase in a month or so.

In other news, and in anticipation of moving, I have been giving more thought to the current decoration scheme in my apartment. Which is totally a joke because there is none. (Enter pre-recorded studio audience laughter here). In efforts to make my apartment a place I love to be (more than I already do), I think I’m going to fill my share of the space with photography by my two favorite Etsy photographers:

sixhours Photography
sixhours Photography
she hit pause studios
she hit pause studios

Check em out. Support independent artists. Support etsy sellers in general.


You are an obsession, You’re my obsession

by tatiana on August 13, 2008

Recently, the Fair was in Orange County, and of course I had to go and eat my share of things that are bad for me. Apart from that indulgence, I was treated to a visual array of eye candy. No, I’m not talking about boys. Well maybe I am, as I was accompanied by a rather cute one. But no. I am referring to, naturally, the arts and crafts contests. And more specifically… the table settings contest. It was neat. Some of them were beyond bad, but this contest in junction with my daily dose of DesignSponge have been brainwashing me into caring more about what my living space looks like. This being said, I have been constantly brainstorming ideas for place mats. I know, it sounds lame, but I’m excited to make some. Kinda like these I found on…
In case you don’t know what a placemat is.
except mine will be different/cuter and I’m thinking of incorporating some rick rack, because I’m old school like that.

Of course, I cannot talk about the OC Fair without mentioning that my roommate, the amazing KENDRA, won 1st place in the memorabilia contest! You go girl! I’m such a proud roomie. As the description says (photo to be added later), she has collected over 100 Vivien Leigh items. That’s a lot of old stuff… and a lot of hard earned cash spent on that old stuff. Homegirl is going to be able to fill a museum soon. We should start charging when people come over to visit.

In other news, in addition to my ongoing attempts to finish reading the legendary Harry Potter series (I’m still on book 5), I am reading Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants by Jill Soloway
the book i am reading.
At first, when reading through her 3 introductions, I got kind of annoyed with her cocky tone. A friend of mine got me this book for my birthday via my amazon wish list. I think I added it to my wish list because at the time I was really into reading as much feminist-y stuff as possible. I think the beginning of the book frustrated me because I felt like Jill was one of those feminists who give feminists a bad name, in my opinion. They think they know everything, and they think everyone who disagrees with them are inferior. Which, you know, is kind of lame. BUT. I continued reading and soon realized that I am actually really liking this book. It reminds me of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. So if you liked that book, you’d most likely enjoy this one. Anyway, I have about 50 pages to go. Oh, I’m on Goodreads, and highly recommend it if you like to keep track of what you’ve read, and/or like to see what your friends are reading.


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by tatiana on August 4, 2008

It’s kind of appropriate, I think, for change to occur during the summertime. Year after year throughout adolescence we are conditioned to expect and anticipate change during the summer season because of graduations, friends moving on to bigger and better things, and of course the inevitable bridal wave. Every summer I think, “wow, so much is changing.” But I think this summer has taken the prize. Two friends got married. New job. The new apartment come September. My little sisters growing up to be intelligent young women, who are way cooler than I am (I think they’re already smarter than me too). And the list goes on.

On a less sentimental note, I’ve been working on a lot of projects for a lot of people, all at the same time… so I feel like it’s taking me long to finish them. I just need to keep focused. I’ve been listening to a lot of Crystal Castles and the Ting Tings, which is helping. I have a pile of aprons in my closet that I need to photograph and get up on Etsy asap.

In other news… the second Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie comes out on Wednesday! You better believe I will be there. Omg. I recently finished the third book. So good. Oh, and I still need to see The Wackness, with Mary Kate Olson, and that documentary American Teen. Looks like I will be donating a lot of my hard earned money to Hollywood this week.
American Teen


Open Source Sewing

by tatiana on May 7, 2008

I am all about open source. From open source code, to creative commons, you name it. I think it’s great. Recently I’ve stumbled upon this amazing website.
If you haven’t visited it already, DO IT NOW! is a great way to obtain patterns for FREE. Yes, free. Amazing. You can search for patterns based on difficulty level (Very Easy to Hard) or by garment type. All you need to do is register and own a printer (or have a generous friend who owns a printer), and you’re making your own stuff for close to nothing! As in, ZERO DOLLARS. I’m all about saving the moola.

Speaking of saving moola, if you’re interested in reading how you can become a more conscious consumer visit this lady’s blog for some nifty ideas: You Might As Well Burn $5!

Also, in recent weeks I have become more motivated about supporting local agriculture, and basically just trying to maintain a healthier diet. I have joined my roommate in purchasing all of our produce (fruits and veggies) from our local CSA (ours is but you can find out which CSA is most local to you and more info here). I say give it a whirl. I think it’s great so far. Granted, the baskets come with some really weird stuff. Alien-like plants/vegetables that look like they might eat me before I eat them (ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but kohlrabi is intimidating). Anyway, figuring out how to cook with new things is always a great learning experience. Mmmm and a yummy one. Go check it out.

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This weekend was an amazing weekend for two reasons:
1.) I went to the Getty with two of my favorite people.
2.) Joann’s was having an AMAZING sale on Simplicity patterns… 5 for $5! What up.

My good friend Marissa ventured down from the splendid North (Rohnert Park, CA to be exact) to hang out and bond. Marissa and I discovered a tradition that we have of always visiting museums when we spend time together. In the past we’ve visited the SF MOMA, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the DeYoung Museum, and the list goes on. This time, since she flew into LAX, we hopped over to the J. Paul Getty Museum. What a perfect day. The weather was beautiful, and the museum was not at all crowded. The Getty has a handful of exhibits currently running, but here are a few that I thought were worth mentioning:

The Goat’s Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide –
Cholas, White Fence, East LA, Graciela Iturbide, 1986
This exhibit showcases the photography of Graciela Iturbide, from the barrios of Los Angeles to the wide open spaces of Sonora, Mexico. She captures the in-your-face nature of the cholos and cholas from the infamous White Fence and Maravillas gangs of East LA. The subjects of her photographs are compelling and allow us a glimpse into their dynamic world.

Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love –
The Fountain of Love, Fragonard, 1875
I absolutely loved these pieces, and I loved seeing the process in making pieces of such detail. The Getty provides not only the finished paintings for our viewing pleasure, but includes some original sketches and/or drafts and variations of the pieces. Very neat experience.

Alas, my Friday spent at the Getty came and went. The two hours we spent in pre-rush hour traffic back to Huntington could have been worse. I, of course, played my Shirley Temple’s Greatest Hits CD… but soon realized that I was the only one enjoying it. Needless to say, it did not help. Luckily we talked up a storm and passed the time the best we could.

Every now and then I get an itch to create an addition to my wardrobe. Usually this itch is a result of disappointing selections at clothing stores. My quest this time is to create the perfect jumper. The jumper is something I struggle with. Why? Well, for one, it can easily look like a Muumuu. And secondly it can make one look very juvenile- and being the youngest person in my workplace, looking more juvenile than I already do is not ideal. So, I have been doing some research. Luckily for me, Joann’s had an amazing sale on Simplicity patterns yesterday. I bought 10 patterns for $10! Woo woo. So here is the pattern I am using for my jumper:

Simplicity Pattern, 4097

I basically finished it last night, save for a few details that need some hand sewing, but I still feel like it looks a bit muumuu-ish. So, after perusing the good old internet I’ve found some inspiring jumpers:
I really like this jumper by Chloe. I like the bagginess, and the way the garment is styled with the collared undershirt.
Heart Bubble Jumper Dress
I really like the way this jumper bubbles at the bottom, but not in the typical “bubble skirt” kind of way. I might utilize this technique.
Mooka Kinney
The “Maeby Jumper” by Mooka Kinney, a dress designing duo from New York. I absolutely love what they do. Totally inspiring.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress with the perfect jumper…