Monday, January 26, 2015

A Pause from Sewing to Think about Colors

Have you ever had your colors read?  I did once back in highschool, and the only thing I remember is that she said that I would look horrible in orange. It was rather amusing since my hair likely was some shade of orange at the time.  Perhaps, she was commenting on my choice of a funky color rather than really what I would look good in or not.  On and off, I've been wanting to have my colors read, as when I try to read them myself, I tend to waffle between the different seasons.  If you have no idea what I am talking about-

Way back in 1978 Bernice Ketner wrote a book Color me a Season, which divided all colors into the four seasons- winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Winter and summer are considered cool seasons with summer being more muted than winter, whereas spring and fall are warm seasons with fall being more muted than spring.  Some point later- each season was split based on 'intensity'.  To learn more you can totally check out wikipedia and this blog.  Now, my issue is that when I take the tests I don't fit into a season easily.  Reading about other color theories, I have come up with two reasons- either I am neutral or I am olive with both cool and warm undertones.  I think my issue is that I have pink (cool) in my cheeks, but I tan (warm) quite easily, and my eyes are green with a blue outer ring and a yellow inner ring (both?).  

I decided to try out the theory that some colors wash you out, while others make you 'glow'.  I tried to be scientific about it, so that the only variable was the color of the fabric.  I took all these photos earlier today, when it was pitch black out.  Yay winter!  I used my Ott-lite as supplemental lighting, and a bright white back wall.  All the photos were taken on my Canon EOS7D, at ISO 400, with a shutter speed of 1/20 and an aperture of 5.  In photoshop, I cropped to the same size square (you can see I moved a tiny bit), then using the levels tool for highlights- I ran them to make the white background white.  Some of the colors aren't perfect (the hot pink reads red), but most of them are right on.

Here is the first round white versus off white:

The off white looks a little blown out by the exposure- not necessarily the color.  I do see some more pink in my cheeks in the off white one.  What do you think?  Can you tell a difference- if there is one beyond the off white being blown out?  Next is black:
I can't tell if it's any different than the other ones.  Hmm, carrying on.  On the left is a warm yellow, on the right is a warm orange, but in the middle is cool gold, can you really have a cool gold, but it looks cool next to the yellow right?  Or am I reading into this much?  Can you tell, that my photography minor was just a minor- I never took color theory.

Ha, so far what I have learned is that I'm crap at reading colors.  The middle one brings out the pink in my cheeks, but you know, I like the super 70s warm yellow on the left, it looks a lot better than I thought it would, yeah?

Now here is one that I can actually tell the difference- I tried a warm gray and a cool gray.  I'll let you guess which one looks better.

The warm gray on the left looks better against my skin, right?  Or am I being fooled by the slight smile?  Which is opposite of the above, where the cooler gold looked slightly better.  Interesting.  Now onto pinks.

I'm going to leave this one up to you guys!  I can't really tell the difference between the three.  Maybe the one to the far left is slightly better?  But none of them look washed out to me.  Urgh, moving on:

Browny, the one on the left is more a browny-olive, the right more a light brown.  Similar, but maybe the one on the olive looks a bit better? But maybe it's because it's similar to my eyes?  How about more obvious greens?

Cool is on the left, neutral is in the middle, super warm is on the right.  I think the neutral green looks best, but none look terrible.  I think maybe I was expecting a color to really make me look terrible.  Maybe it's because all these fabrics are from my stash, so I bought them thinking they would look good.

Here is an interesting one- both turquoise, the one on the left is much deeper, but muted, the one on the right is super bright and clear- I think the one on the right is a spring- which is the only Season that I can successfully rule out.  I don't like the one on the right.  Luckily it's a lining fabric, so it never has to be seen.

Now, here are some of my favorite colors- blue.  We go from light muted blue (summer I've been told), to a muted navy, to a true navy, to a bright blue (winter).  I hate to admit it, because I wear bright blue a lot, and love it, and feel great in it, the lighter blue looks better.  Do you agree?  The two navies look the same to me.  Here is the very last set- lavender.  I wear a decent amount of it, and it is one of my favorite colors as well.

The one in the middle is not my lavender- it is way too warm, and makes me look slightly lavender.  The warmer on the left makes me look warmer, and the one on the right makes me look rosier.  I would be fine wearing either of those.

So after all that- all I have learned is that I do not like bright pastel-y turquoise and muted warm lavender.  I like warmer gray, but cooler other colors.  There wasn't a whole lot of difference between most of the pictures.  I have a acquaintance here who actually is a trained color season reader, so I think I might go to her and have her do a legitimate reading.  Other than that- at least I can say that most fabrics I pick out look at least decent, right?  Anyway, let me know what you think, have you had your colors read, do you have a power color?  Do you have a legitimate season? There are people out there who do, I noticed a friend today is a textbook winter.  Anyway, back to sewing, until next time!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Retaking Photos!

Hey there, quick post while some paint dries.  I made my older son go outside and take some new pictures.  First was of the jacket I just made, B6105.  Here's a reminder of what the picture looked like.

And then here it is, when taken in adequate lighting and my son took his time to make sure the camera focused.  What a difference!
Here it is from the side:


It also might have made a difference that I wasn't rushing after working all day, so I had time to put my hair up and toss on some lipstick.  Which perfectly matches the pink!  I might have to wear them together in real life.

The other pictures I retook was B6109, which is also another pattern by Gertie.  You can only guess why I'm re-taking pictures- something perhaps to do with a contest to win 100 bolts of fabric?  Here was the original picture.  Not terrible, but definitely not 100 percent in focus and the photograph darkens to the bottom, due to all the lighting being overhead.  The same thing happened in the above photos.  I really should set up a better lighting system in the apartment.  I have an ott-lite, it would probably help? 

And here are the retaken photos- there are a bunch, as most of them turned out nicely!

What a difference, right?  

And last but not least, we took some newer profile shots.

Ha, you actually can tell that my eyes are green.  All of these were taken at noon, which normally wouldn't be a great time to take photos, but as it was snowing, the lighting was really soft.  (If you look closely you can see snowflakes in the photos.)  I think it really makes a difference.  Likely, as it is still winter here, the pictures won't be awesome if they're taken during the week, but I'll try and rig up some better lighting so they come out a little bit better.  Until next time happy sewing!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Whole New Outfit

As promised, I have a new outfit today.  I didn't get to take pictures until I got home (I planned on doing it at lunch in the park across the street from work, but I couldn't find the piece that attaches my camera to my tripod).  I will be honest, I am not thrilled with these pictures.  The lighting in my apartment kind of sucks, and it doesn't look as good as it did it real life.  It's a bummer when the pictures don't turn out well, because it just doesn't make me want to write. 
How I feel about these pictures, my elder son took them very unwillingly, and I think purposely took bad ones.
Anyway, let's get to the nitty gritty.  The jacket is B6105 which is a pattern by Gertie, the button down is a heavily modified Bellini by Capital Chic patterns, and the skirt is self drafted with curve help from Victory Patterns Nicola.
See- the face is slightly out of focus.  This was after I asked him to slow down to make sure the pictures were in focus.  I really need to get a new tripod.
The fabric- you might recognize the plaid as the same as my failed Colette Dahlia (blogged here).  For the skirt I used the meter of fabric I bought to fix the dress, and for the jacket, I used scraps from making the dress and the actual dress.  The black pinstripe fabric is a wool that was bought last year in Nizhny Novrogord, I had 45 inches of it, so I had to use a different sleeve pattern (Simplicity 2449 I think). For the Bellini I used a shirting cotton I bought from Mood Fabrics late last year.
This is after a day of wear, which explains most of the wrinkles.  I also did not muslin the jacket.
For the skirt- it is just two rectangles sewn together.  I cut my piece of fabric in half; I'm pretty sure that I did this vertically because it was wider than long.  The plaid looks square, but is actually rectangular.  I didn't worry about pattern matching too much on the skirt.  I think I ended up with three black and yellow stripes instead of the needed two.

More evidence of my son not wanting to take photos.  Is that a smile? Grimace?
One of the major things I did with the jacket was take off the ties and change them to button holes.  Conveniently, I was able to use the waist seam to do so.  Inconveniently- I don't think any of the black buttons I used actually match any of the other black buttons.  Luckily they're black, so you can't really tell unless you're looking closely.  Due to the lack of fabric, the sleeves are bracelet length, but I think it works, right?

Ugh, I really apologize about these pictures.  I swear the shirt does not look this bad in real life.  I think part of it was that it was at the end of the day, and it had been smushed under the jacket all day.  I made several changes to the Bellini- first, I used a different pattern for the collar, Burda, I think.  I wanted a collar that had a collar stand to go with it.  Due to the addition of the collar stand, I no longer needed the facing, so I turned it into a fold over placket.  The placket is a little too wide, but it's a wearable muslin right?  I heavily starched the shirt to make it, it will probably photograph better after a wash?  I used french seams throughout, so it's a well made wearable muslin.  The buttons are white with a metal edging- I'm pretty sure I got them in Bueno Aires.

Oh I forgot to mention about the skirt, the waistband- it's leather.  I love this waistband.  I cut a piece of leather 3 inches wide and a piece of coutil to match it.  Have you ever sewn with coutil before?  It's mainly for corsets, but I think it's a great alternative to interfacing a waistband.  It pretty heavy duty.  The skirt is held together by snaps.
Here finally is a better picture- just not on me.  I walked into the kitchen this morning, and my husband named checked Alicia Silverstone specifically her character from Clueless.  The outfit definitely has a 80s/90s - ish vibe to it.  It kind of reminds me of some of the outfits from Heathers, without the giant shoulder pads.  Do the 80's and 90's count as retro, or is it just dated?  I really liked the outfit, and got loads of compliments today. 

Everything is fully lined.  And brightly too!  For the jacket, the yellow is poly-satin cheapo worst fabric ever, but it matched color-wise (bought here in Kyiv in December).  The upper sleeve, is also poly-satin cheapo not as terrible fabric (bought in Sao Paulo May/Juneish).  The pinks were slightly different so I didn't want them next to each other.
The skirt is lined with polka-dotted something or other.  It's been in my stash since August of last year.  I bought it in Kansas City.  If you've been keeping track, the plaid fabric and yellow lining are from Kyiv, Ukraine, the pinstripe is from Nizhny Novrogorod, Russia, pink/black polka dots Sao Paulo, Brazil, white/black polka dots, white cotton, leather, and coutil, the United States, and buttons from Bueno Aires, Argentina. This outfit really shows my willingness to lug fabric around the world.  It has all been in my stash for sometime or another, so I am happy that it's is now clothing!

Here are the remainder of the shots.  Just a couple of last thoughts- it was fun trying to figure out how to make this out of remnants of fabric, I really had fun thinking on how I was going to squeeze it out. The not pattern matching on the jacket turned out better than I expected.  Unless you look really closely you can't tell that one lapel is on the straight grain and the other is on the cross grain.  This is how I learned that the squares are really rectangles.  Also, the yellow poly-satin is terrible- it would shred if I unpicked it, I had to interface a couple of places that I had messed up.

The only place where it's obvious I didn't pattern match, but no-one should be seeing that!

Button hole!

Sleeve vent, not perfect, but not the worst I've done.

Non-matching pattern- hopefully not that noticeable.

Anyway, that's that! I definitely love this outfit, even if it's a little bit Clueless-y or Heathers-y.  It reminds me of my younger wilder days, when I would mix plaids and pinstripes more often.  However, this is much more work appropriate.  Now I just have to get started on my next project.  Until we meet again, happy sewing!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Almost Something to Show

Just checking in. I had planned to post an outfit tomorrow, but as I was falling asleep last night, I came up with an idea for a jacket to go with the skirt.  So I spent the day making the jacket. Well that, going to the river so my husband could do the Epiphany day jump (theoretically it cleansed him of his sins), going to visit a couple of museums and a church, and of course playing with the baby. 

I did make it pretty far, the black pinstripe outer shell is done, the longing is cut and about a third assembled. It took me forever to cut as I was using scraps and my Dahlia dress. 

What do you think? I have a white Bellini button down 90% done to go with it. Let me know!  Hopefully I can show the final on Thursday. Until the happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Resewlution, Resolution

I have been thinking for the last couple of weeks if this year I wanted to have any resolutions, as last year went so poorly.  I wasn't planning on it, but then today, it came to me.  I was cleaning up my sewing room, as I had left it in a state before going on my vacation.  I ran out of manila envelopes for patterns, and realized- I don't need any more.  I don't need any more fabric.  I have enough.  So here is my resolution for 2015-

I, Nicole, will not buy any new patterns (I am allowing myself 1 pattern for the Marine Ball), nor will I buy any fabric except in the following situations- I can spend $100 on fabric whilst on vacation, fabric for the charity aprons, linings, and my Marine Ball gown.  Non sewing related- I will exercise more days than not.

It seems pretty reasonable right?  I have at least 200 patterns, and probably close to 100 yards of fabric.  This will also force me to make everything that is rumbling around in my head.  First off- the Bellini by Capital Chic Patterns.  I just printed it, cut it out, and now need to cut out the fabric.  It will be a plain white top, but it's a working muslin for my next dress which is inspired by this: