Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Miss Vivienne Joins the Circle + A Blog Hop

Good evening, kittens! As you read this, I'm dashing away to the far reaches of the world. 

Or, rather, Sam and I are en route to Georgia. He's attending an academic conference at his graduate alma mater and I'm going to eat chicken and waffles, fabric shop, and visit the zoo. Like you do. 

Before embarking on this great southern adventure, however, I thought I'd share two of my newest projects. Last week, the professor and I made a deal. We would watch one terribly scary, seasonally appropriate horror movie, then follow it up with some atmospheric period romance of my choosing. Our movie night choices? The pithy and terrifying, Slither, followed by Chocolat. While Slither did have the added bonus of Nathan Fillion, Chocolat is what inspired the garments in this post. Throughout the movie, Juliette Binoche's character wears the most glorious outfits. In scene after scene, she appears in tastefully plunging v-neck sweaters, swirling circle skirts, and bright, vibrant colors. Though I was tempted to knock off her iconic red cape, my eye instead fell on the circle skirts. 

Over the last year, I've felt in an odd place, style wise. Though I retain my affinity for florals and feminine silhouettes, I've longed for more glamour. At 29, my wardrobe needs are evolving, a fact which shows in my recent garments. There are now more solids, richer colors, and daring shapes filling my wardrobe. The combination of cleavage-enhancing sweaters with swirling, classic skirts fit that niche nicely. 

And, so, I made a few. These are just two of the four circle skirts I've cut out recently, with many more to follow. It seemed fitting to pair these together in a post, as they are both directly inspired by sewing friends. The first is made of a lightweight denim that the lovely Jenny brought me back from her biking adventures in Asia. It has a gorgeous pastel floral swirling across it, in a vintage pattern that is right up my alley! She is one fantastic sewing buddy, right?
The second skirt, in a darker blue, was actually my first completed version of this pattern. Made up in a bright floral pique, from Fabric Mart, this is a rip off of the gorgeous Tanya's Betsy skirt. Not five minutes after reading that post, I snatched some of this fabric for my own. Originally, I'd also planned to do a pencil skirt, but that seemed a bit too copycatty for my taste. The circle skirt impulse was a stroke of fortune!

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that these aren't full circle skirts. Though it goes against the acknowledged wisdom that circle skirts are universally flattering, I hate them on me. They're fine attached to a dress bodice, but set on their own with waistbands? Ugh. They don't emphasize my waist so much as make my hips looks gigantic.* 

Yet, a half-circle skirt doesn't have those glamorous, dramatic folds. The solution is, of course, the mystical three-quarter circle skirt. It's still twirly and full of body at the hem, but it doesn't drape so emphatically over my hips. 

To make the pattern for this, I relied on Patty's excellent tutorial and creative fabric placement. Once everything is cut out, these are absurdly simple. Sew up the sides, add a straight waistband, pop in an invisible zipper, and you're done! On the first one, I also did the laborious task of hand-stitching the hem, which is the worst. So much stitching! For the second skirt, I made a "design decision" and top-stitched the hem. So quick, so easy. The end!

*Big, big hips! Yes...I did just make a Pixies joke. It's been a long day.

Almost the end, anyhow. Though, I don't have many project details to share, I do have something else to chat about! Last week, I was tagged by two of my favorite bloggers, one near and one far, in the creative blog hop that's been going around. While I'm not normally a hop type of person, I've adored the posts in this series. Learning about the writing styles and processes of others is fascinating.
To begin, let's talk about the lovely women who tagged me. The first was Nicole, of the blog Pudge and Nico, whom I finally met in person just last week! She lives in Austin, as do so many amazing bloggers, and we've been chatting on Instagram about meeting up for eons. It turns out, she's even more wonderful in person. Nicole has fantastic taste in food, is great fun to chat with, and has such a way with novelty prints! You will never look at deviled eggs the same way, after reading her blog. 

The other lovely lady who tagged me is one whose blog I've long stalked, Amanda of Bimble and Pimble. Not only does Amanda make gorgeous clothes, but she's absolutely hilarious. You cannot read the garment battles that happen at Bimble and Pimble without smiling, I promise you. Plus, she does roller derby, which is the most badass thing ever, we can agree.
Thanks again for tagging me, y'all!

Now, onto the blog hopping! I’m going to state the obvious with this one. These questions, while they’ve been sweeping the Sewing Blog-o-sphere for a few weeks, were obviously not intended for our kind. These are questions about writing and process, not fabrics and fripperies. That being said, I am a writer, so I’m going with it.
Why do you write?  
I write, because I can’t help myself. As a creative millennial, not only have I grown up with the internet, I’ve grown up spewing my innermost thoughts onto said internet. My blogging adventures actually began over a decade ago, when my high school self chattered about crushes and my intense thoughts regarding Spring Awakening on a Xanga account. Originally, I wrote solely as an emotional outlet, but somewhere in my early twenties I decided writing meant more to me. It meant a potential career. It meant writing whole books about girl detectives and feisty aviatrixes.
As you may have noticed, I have no aspirations toward becoming a professional blogger. This is a conscious decision. My true writing, the work I'm actively building a career on, is fiction. I don’t want to muddy the waters with professionalizing a blog. However, deciding to write novels bled over into the rest of my life. All those feminist conversations over tea with my friends? Share them with the internet! All those dresses I decided to sew? Review them on a blog!
I started Idle Fancy a mere six months after beginning to sew seriously, a product of my own sewing blog obsession. I was making things and desperately wanted to chat about them with other sewers. My real life friends kept getting antsy, when I'd wax rhapsodic about top-stitching.  At the end of the day, if I feel passionately about something—whether it’s the latest shirtdress pattern or gender wage gaps—it’s natural to put those feelings into words. Not only is every blog post a chance to hone my craft and keep my voice fresh, but an opportunity to connect with likeminded souls from across the globe. The internet age is a wonder.
How do you write?
Before writing any Idle Fancy post, I take garment photos. I can’t write a blog post, then take pictures, and drop them in wherever. For me, the whole thing is a cohesive story waiting to be told.  That’s actually pretty hilarious, if you consider how unprofessional my photos are. I’ve gotten to the point where they’re respectable, but they’re never going to be the thoughtful, styled shoots of fashion bloggers. Let’s be honest, we’re lucky that I’ve moved on from having my younger sister stand on a couch and take “flattering” shots from above with a point-and-shoot. Now, I have a real camera, a tripod, and favor the golden hour before sunset. That’s as many hoots as I’m capable of giving about blog photography, y’all. You have all my hoots.
The actual writing part is the most fun, of course. Writing about sewing is such a blast! There are no characters to voice or plots to think about, just describing a hobby I adore, garments I gleefully wear, and making witty asides. I do take care with my posts, aiming to balance both entertainment and information. At the end of the day, people read sewing blogs for inspiration and helpful hints. I’m not an expert seamstress yet, but I try to include everything that might make sewing easier for my readers. That means my posts are pretty long, taking about an hour-and-a-half to write, on average, and covering everything from pattern technicalities to techniques that helped me along the way. They’re also usually chock full of pop culture references, blatant honesty, and snark, because that’s how I roll.
How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
I’m inclined to say that it doesn’t differ, but that’s ridiculous. If there’s anything that writing has taught me, it’s that every person brings a unique perspective and voice to their work. If all sewing bloggers made the same pattern one week, you’d get wildly different looks, because people are wildly different. Personally, I think Idle Fancy brings a couple of fun things to the table. It’s a combination of entertaining writing, pretty fabrics, and frank talk about body image. While that’s admittedly an odd mix, it works for me. I hope people come for the floral dresses, but stay for the honesty and laughs.
What’s are you working on next?
Shirtdresses. So many shirtdresses. I’m in the throes of planning The Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses, which means making a few more versions of my own beloved McCall’s 6696. There will be plaids and sleeve plackets and velvets, oh my. There are also quite a few selfless sewing projects that have become backlogged. When we get back from Atlanta, those are first in the queue. Guilty pangs, I am having you!
 As for my non-sewing writing, I’m actually putting the finishing touches on a few projects that will release next year. If you’d like to read more from me than shirtdress tutorials, get excited! More news on that front, when the time comes. For now, cue the mysterious music…  
The lovely Lauren, of Rosie Wednesday, Jenny, and I in shirtdresses, of course!
Now, to tag the next stop on this blog hop! It will come has no surprise to you that I’m tagging my sewing lady crush and the giver of beautiful fabrics, Jenny of Cashmerette. Not only is Jenny ace at picking out fabrics, but she’s one of the most delightful women I know. There’s nothing she can’t do, from making gorgeous coats to kicking ass in graduate school. Check out her post next week on all things blogging!
In the meantime, happy sewing!


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