Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 30, with a new refashion!

For Day 30 of Me-Made May Lite, I actually put together a new refashioned dress, so I wasn't just wearing the same jean skirt I've worn again and again this month.

It started out as this floral, lacy it early 90's, that had this style? Sometime in the 80's? Anyway. Not something I'd be comfortable wearing as is.

I hemmed it 10 inches. Took out the giant shoulderpads...really, we're talking much larger than my hand! Cut off the sleeves (starting with just part of the sleeves, then going for the whole sleeve)). This left large, gaping armholes...luckily, there was enough room in the bust for me to just take in the sides a little bit from the armhole down to the waist. Then I tied some pieces of lace around the top of each sleeve area (this is one part I may modify, and just gather it with a few stitches instead.) And now...

Wow, this looks even shorter in pictures than it did on. I think I probably hemmed it too much in retrospect, especially as it winds up looking even shorter in the back, thanks to having to fit over my rear. Look at that asymmetrical hem action! I swear I cut the same amount off all around...

I'm never entirely sure what to make of short skirts like this. I don't know that I'm totally comfortable with something this short, but I'm also not sure why that is...I see plenty of girls walking around with shorter things, so it's not like I'd be standing out in an uncomfortable way. Am I uncomfortable with my thighs? I don't really think so. Maybe I just don't think someone who doesn't have very slender thighs is "supposed" to have them bare? Eh, who knows what's going on in my mind. So, normally I'd layer a dress this length over something that was around knee-length, but it was so hot, particularly in my place, which (according to a digital thermometer) had been hovering around 85-90 degrees for the past week or so, even when it was more like 70 degrees outside. This may be a long summer.

Hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day (and three-day weekend, if you have it)!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The time flies by...

Basically, this past week has been very, very busy. We had our twice-yearly sponsor week at the lab, which is always a major event. This week is when all of the companies that give money to the lab get to come and see everything exciting and cool that we've been doing recently. Which generally translates to a lot of work the week/weekend/days beforehand, making sure there ARE new exciting and cool things. It was a good, busy week, and I got the opportunity to have some interesting conversations about my work and possible future directions. A few people specifically sought me out to talk about my work after my adviser gave a presentation on different work that our group was that was pretty exciting.

I did all right with my Me-Made May pledge this week, but primarily through wearing handmade jewelry. I hadn't planned ahead for the lack of business casual clothing in my me-made/refashioned wardrobe! (granted, other students don't always dress up for sponsor week, but I tend to. Feels easier to talk with sponsors, somehow, when I look fairly professional.) Also, I definitely skimped on the taking pictures/blogging part of this week. But here are a couple of things (trying to take places in a different part of my place, as it's quite a mess right now...didn't quite work out as well)!

Monday, the last day of sponsor week preparation:

Blouse: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Skirt: refashioned from jeans
Shoes: Capezio, very old
Necklace: craft fair

Tuesday, the first day of sponsor week, so trying to do "business casual":

Shirt: H&M, thrifted
Skirt: I.N.C., thrifted
Earrings: handmade
Shoes: Liz Claiborne, thrifted

And Wednesday, I don't have a picture of my own outfit, but I do have a couple of pictures from the Imogen Heap concert that I went to right after the sponsor week dinner. It was a really beautiful show...she's an amazing performer, and it's always really interesting to see how she translates songs that are quite studio-produced on the album into a piece she can perform live. I hadn't known if I would go because of the busy-ness at the lab, but a friend who is working with Imogen got a few of us tickets. So I of course went, and stayed out till 1AM in the middle of the week when I had to be back at the lab early the next morning. It was a good decision, though!

Other things on days I didn't get pictures of-- going to the North End for dinner and enormous Italian pastries with a friend/coworker last Sunday (after spending much of the day in the lab); a picnic with a few Lab people Friday evening, on a dock on the Charles; several days this week helping my mother move (resulting in a lot of additional stuff accumulating in my place); opera design/technology meetings happening along with sponsor week meetings. Did I mention we start rehearsals for this opera in a WEEK? This summer is going to be crazy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Me-Made May 19 and 20

For Day 19, I went pretty simple. This was another day when I had to get by with just me-made jewelry, mostly because it was cold and raining and I really wanted to wear some warm clothing. This implies that I need to do some more sewing this weekend!

Jeans: Seven, thrifted.
Jewelry: me-made
Top: Banana Republic, thrifted.
Shoes: thrifted.

I've been finding it interesting to see how thrifting has allowed me to have some more "grown-up" brands in my closet... For example, I tend to really like things now from stores like Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. Back when I was doing my clothing shopping at the malls, I would only buy clothing from those stores on rare super-sale occasions, generally turning to Forever21 and Wet Seal instead (sometimes Express as well). At the dollar-a-pound I shop at now, I run into a fair amount of Banana Republic/Ann Taylor/various other more tailored/polished/adult-seeming my closet has gradually shifted. Anybody else experience this with thrift-store shopping?

Day 20: polka dots!

So there's a bit of a reason for this outfit... one of my favorite style bloggers, The Glamourai, (actually, she was one of the first style blogs I started following...) had a week of wearing multiple polka-dotted items, and encouraged others to try it as well and send her pictures. Thus, the dotted skirt paired with the tiny dots on the blouse collar and cuffs. (and I wore my trench coat with the pink/brown polka dot trim, but that was completely unintentional, I swear!)

Dotted skirt: Liz Claiborne, thrifted and refashioned.
White skirt: Forever21.
Black top with built in collar: Voice, thrifted.
Shoes: Steve Madden, thrifted.
Belt and bag: thrifted.

Anybody else glad it's almost the weekend?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another pillowcase refashion

Me-Made May Lite, Day 18 (we're already more than halfway through the month? Crazy!)

Yesterday, I decided to do the ridiculously easy pillowcase-to-top refashion that I'd been thinking about on Monday, before I detoured into skirt-making territory. I can't remember where I just read about this refashion (it's basically the same concept here, though I didn't do any of the clever measuring steps). You take your pillowcase, cut a hole in the top for your neck, cut holes in the sides for your arms, and you have a shirt/dress. Shirt, in my case, as this barely came over my thighs (and required the addition of a couple of slits up the sides in order to do so). I think this looks a little cuter in real life than in the picture...I don't think it reads quite so baggy around the waist. Maybe next time I'll put in a couple of darts, too. I also should probably finish off the neck and arms with bias tape or something.

Top: refashioned from garage-sale pillowcase.
Skirt: INC, thrifted.
Sandals: Target (I think), a million years ago.
Necklace and earrings: Ebay jewelry lots.

And...more playing catchup! Day 11:

I finally wore this skirt covered in layers of lace that I'd made last year and not quite dared to wear out of the house. I had seen some images of dresses constructed in a similar manner, with lace scraps over vintage slips, and was really inspired (in fact, I have a drawer full of pieces of lacy things for making others like this). The base to this skirt is a thrifted satin pillowcase, as I hadn't yet started to track down slips at the dollar-a-pound. But then I was a bit uncomfortable with the whiteness and lacy-ness of it (not helped by the fact that it fit like a pillowcase) and never wore it. Sad! I consider this out a Me-Made-May success in getting me to actually wear the things I make...

Here's a closeup of the skirt detail:

Skirt: me-made from upcycled components.
Top: thrifted.
Sandals: Naturalizers, thrifted.
Earrings: me-made.

Day 12 seems to have vanished into the undocumented aether, thanks to a final project due that day that required staying up till 2 replacing transistors the night before. Word to the wise: test your circuits early and often! Especially if they're being incorporated into may be crafting, but it's still a circuit. And lack of a resistive load on the control pin of your transistors will cause them to short-circuit, overheat, burn you when you touch them, and stop working completely. I'll stop my circuitry ramblings, now...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I've been a busy blogger...

Rather, I've been busy with non-blogging things, as might have been guessed by my small posting hiatus (and limited viewing/commenting elsewhere). But I turned in my master's thesis on Friday! That's now officially done, which is really exciting. Along with that, the boyfriend was in town for a few days, and I've been helping my mother get ready to move.

So, I'll be playing catchup with Me-Made-May Lite outfits for the next little bit.

Yesterday, I was being frustrated by having not made many new items to add to my me-made and refashioned pile this moth, resulting in my wearing my refashioned jean skirt approximately one million times (more pictures will come...) So, before I headed off to the lab, I looked through my stock of pillowcases to make an easy top out of one. I grabbed this pillowcase with blue flowers that I'd gotten at a garage sale, and found that I'd already unpicked one seam at some a skirt it was. I just cut a bit of length off the side opposite the original opening (to preserve the blue trim and lace as they were), folded down the top part and stitched it to make a casing, and threaded a shoelace through to serve as a drawstring. (This may be because I found a shoelace in my sewing box before I could find any elastic). And presto, a new Me-Made-May-appropriate item! I don't think it looks too much like a pillowcase now, does it? My strange pose is because I'm trying to hide my cellphone.

Top: Express
Skirt: refashioned from a pillowcase
Shoes: Predictions, thrifted
Sweater: oh wait, I didn't have one. This is no longer an option for me, as the Lab is REALLY cold most of the time.

Saturday and Sunday I did keep up with Me-Made May (jean skirt on Saturday, ginko print dress on Sunday), but didn't get pictures.

On Friday, Day 14, I worked the outfit around a dress I'd refashioned. This had started out with long sleeves, a hem near midcalf, and far too much hot pink plaid. So, some chopping and hemming later, I got this mini-dress. The hem's much longer in the back than in the front, for some reason...while I took an even amount off the bottom all around, the waistband sits much lower in the back.

Dress: Liz Claiborne, thrifted and refashioned.
Jeans: Seven, thrifted (my friend convinced me to get them at the dollar-a-pound, and I'm very glad she did!)
Boots: thrifted
Earrings: Ebay

On Thursday, Day 14, I ended up having my jewelry be the me-made item...the earrings are my own design and construction, simple chains with a leaf bead on the end and some crystals dangling along the chain.

Patterned shirt: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Sweater: Express
Jeans: Seven, thrifted
Shoes: Sketchers, I think...can't quite see them well and don't remember
Earrings: Me-made

Hope everyone's week is going well so far!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 10

This was a rather weekend-like Monday...I went into the lab for a bit in the morning, without too much to do as I still have had no word on the thesis. Then I spent the afternoon working at home on a class project (a technologically-enhanced dress with color-changing sections) with my partner for the project. We did decide to scale back our plans quite a bit, as the project is due Wednesday afternoon and we'd rather not have to sew on 18 separate copies of our that's going to be my late evening tonight, as well. But it's a pretty fun and interesting project, so that's all right.

On a semi-not-quite-related any of you have fictional characters (from books, movies, etc.) that you look up to/aspire to be like/would want to be? I was realizing that I can't think of any right now. When I was a kid, there were heroines from fantasy novels who talked to animals and went on hazardous adventures in strange worlds and flew dragons and such things...I wished for those kinds of magical talents. But now, I'm not sure what my equivalent would be. My friend and coworker suggested that's because characters our age tend to have standard jobs, maybe families, fairly straightforward lives. Instead, we, working at the Lab and coming up up with exciting new things, are leading the life of other people's fantasies. Interesting to think about...

Dress: thrifted and refashioned
Leggings: Hue
Boots: GoJane

New cheap boots, thanks to an Amazon giftcard from my father a couple of months ago. I was needing a pair of mid-length, not too high of a heel, brown, slouchy these seemed to fit the bill.

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Days 8 and 9

This was a lovely, busy weekend! My best friend/college roommate for three years/overall amazing person visited me from California. She got in Friday morning (very early!) and stayed through last night. It was just amazing to see her!

We met the first day of college, as we were assigned to be roommates...I was really lucky! We roomed together for the next three years, then next door to each other senior year.

Saturday night, we went out for a drink at a nearby restaurant, after a day that was spent mostly with me working on a class project (but it was still social...we were at my home, my partner for the project was there too, and another college friend came by for a while). Also, my mother and brother kept popping by. So I admit that most of the day I was wearing the refashioned jean skirt and a fitted t-shirt...but I took pictures of the better outfit, when we dressed up a bit to go out.

Skirt: refashioned
Patterned blouse: J Crew, thrifted
Leggings: H&M, thrifted
Pleather jacket: thrifted
Shoes: thrifted

Day 9, Sunday, we both went to the dollar-a-pound and lunch with my mother. (Happy Mother's Day to everyone, too! Lovely seeing people's "Mom" posts!) So I had a pretty casual outfit, also affected by the fact that it was suddenly back down in the 40's and I have relatively little wintery me-made/refashioned clothing.

Velvet top: Me-made
White shirt: thrifted
Jeans: Seven, thrifted
Shoes: Ann Taylor, thrifted

(You may have noticed the absence of Day 7! I wore a refashioned dress and some sandals and didn't get a picture of it because I was busy having fun with people. Oops.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Days 5 and 6, with a refashion.

For Day 5 of Me-Made May Lite, I wore a skirt I'd refashioned last weekend.

I started with this silk shirt from the dollar-a-pound. I really liked the pattern, but knew I wouldn't wear it as a blouse. On further examination, the sleeves were really stained as well.

So I cut a straight(ish) line across the top from armpit to armpit, then sewed down about an inch of that top edge to make a casing for a piece of elastic (should have done a nice edge finishing, but didn't). Measured elastic to fit my waist, threaded it through the casing, and sewed the edges together. Let the fabric gather around the elastic naturally. And...a skirt!

It's a bit short, so I wore it over a navy dress. I picked the belt and shoes to pick up on some of the colors in the skirt. I really liked this outfit, though it didn't photograph amazingly well (in the one picture I could squeeze out of my almost-dead camera batteries).The shoes, on the other hand...they were the perfect purple for this outfit, but they rubbed my feet in several places I didn't know about until I'd gotten to work. I guess this is why I have a box of bandaids in my office.

Dress: H&M, thrifted
Silk skirt: refashioned from shirt
Belt: Vintage, Ebay
Shoes: vintage, thrifted
Necklace and earrings: me-made

For Day 6, the jean skirt came out again. I suspect this may be one of my major pieces this month.

Striped top: H&M, thrifted
Jean skirt: refashioned
Necklace: craft fair
Sandals: Bandolino, thrifted

So good news and bad news about today (Friday). The good news: my college roommate arrives today! (in just an hour or so, actually.) The bad news: I am not going to be able to turn in my thesis today after all. I finally tracked down my last committee member yesterday, and he's incredibly busy and won't be able to read or approve anyone's theses until Monday at the very earliest. So...I had to get a bit of an extension on it and can hopefully get feedback and get the thesis submitted by the middle of next week. But I'm really disappointed about that; we'd all been planning to celebrate this afternoon after turning things in, and were looking forward to finally having these projects finished, but now that gets put off. And not just for me, either...actually, the two others in my group planning on turning in theses today have the same professor on their committee, so none of us get to turn in things today. Yes. Rather frustrating. But I guess this gives me time to proofread it again, right?

And a silly pose for the day. Have a lovely Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 4

So I managed to get exactly one picture of yesterday's outfit before my camera batteries died...

The dress is a thrifted piece I refashioned last year, mostly just bringing up the hemline from something awkward and mid-calf length. Of course, now the hem is potentially too high, so I tend to wear it with this petticoat-like skirt underneath. I don't know why I'm not quite comfortable wearing mid-thigh hems...I suspect because most of what I do these days is go to work, and I don't feel very professional in a short-short skirt or dress.

Dress: thrifted, refashioned
White skirt: Forever21
Tank top: Express
Necklace: garage sale
Purse: thrifted
Shoes: Naturalizers, thrifted

Speaking of work...I'm so close to finishing this thesis, it's really quite exciting. I'm just waiting for the last one of my committee members to get back to me with his suggestions (which really needs to be soon, as I have to implement any changes he wants and get him (and my adviser) to sign off on the final version before Friday). And then my best friend/college roommate will be visiting this weekend, getting in Friday morning, so I am incredibly excited about that. I'll turn in the thesis on Friday, and then can have a nice celebratory weekend! Now, back to Wednesday...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 3, and an inventory

For day 3 of Me-Made May lite, I wore my ginko-leaf print refashioned dress. More about that here. It was cooler than Sunday, but still a bit warm...and yet, very cold and air-conditioned in the lab. So this is not exactly how I wore the outfit to work; add a cardigan and some footless tights. But by the time I got home, it was MUCH too warm for those. I look so sleepy and overheated in these pictures...

Dress: refashioned
Sandals: Naturalizer

Also, I wanted to actually do an inventory of what I have that counts as me-made or refashioned. A bit less than I thought, implying the need for a few more refashions/makings in my immediate future!

I have:
7 dresses, two me-made (the solid blue and the strawberry print) and the rest refashioned.
7 skirts, three me-made (white lace, purple flower print, white with embroidery) and the rest refashioned.
1 top, me-made (my own pattern, but the fabric used to be a I guess this could count as a refashion too!)
I also have a pair of booties that used to be boots, and a whole bunch of jewelry that I've made. Accessories may have to get me through days like today, when we have important lab visitors and I need to look dressy-ish.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Start of Me-Made May Lite

I know I've been pretty absent around these parts for the last couple of thesis is due this Friday, so I've been writing and rewriting and generally being tired of my own words. But I think I'm pretty of my committee members still has to give me feedback, then I have to integrate it, but other than that I'm essentially done. I think. I will be very glad when this is printed out and turned in, though.

Also, it's now May...and thus my Me-Made-May Lite challenge kicks off! (as a reminder: I'll be wearing at least one handmade or refashioned item of clothing every day). This was yesterday's outfit; I made the strawberry print dress last summer from a thrifted sheet and bedspread. It seems to be my go-to outfit for incredibly hot days right now...I'd worn this that Wednesday a few weeks ago when it was in the 90's, and now yesterday, when it was also in the 90's. I still don't fully understand MA was 40 degrees on Wednesday, and now this. It was hard to sleep last night, it was so hot, even with a fan on me.

Dress: Me-made
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, thrifted

For the first day of May, I wore my refashioned jean skirt and handmade earrings. My boyfriend and I got up early and went to a handful of garage sales, looking for interesting things...I found a couple of pieces of costume jewelry. The big news of the day was that Boston was having a "boil water" order; the main supply pipe had broken, so the water supply was having to come from alternate reservoirs that aren't safe for drinking. I was very, very happy to live in Cambridge, which apparently has its own water I've been completely avoiding all of that hassle.

Skirt: refashioned from a pair of Joe's Jeans (interesting story...I had won a Lucky magazine contest, and gotten them for free, but they were thin fabric and wore out in the thighs within a year. So...jean skirt)
Striped top: Thrifted
Shoes: Naturalizers, thrifted
Earrings: me-made

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week!
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