Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here's the newest design

The holiday season is coming up and my best friend, Coy, tells me I don't have a "little black dress" among my designs. I told her, "You know if I make anything it's going to be short". She pursed her lips, rolled her eyes and said "fine". So I proceeded to visualize something pretty, short, drippy and trendy. The latest fashion trend is definitely ruffles and I loved the opportunity to make a ruffle dress! So here it is.

It's made with a dripping spandex knit in black with gold specks on it. This gives it an overall liquid bronze appearance. Imagine this with some black fishnets and the highest black heel you've got in your closet! Beautiful!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I'm working on now.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Denim, the jeans fabric[/caption]

As always, this time of year is my busiest.  I have orders out the wazoo.  Leather. Clothes. Custom orders. And new designs in the work. Of course I'm always excited about a new design. Somethings don't sell as well as others and after a certain amount of time passes I just discontinue it and move on. Gotta be flexible in this business. Any business.

One of my best sellers is my leggings. I can't make enough of them, fast enough. But do try. I know there are sellers out there that offer custom stuff in a myriad of colors and it's never-ending, but I don't work like that. With me everything has a limit. I eventually like to move on to a new style, or at least, a new color. So I buy my fabrics in bulk, and when some of them run out, I just move on to a new color. I think that's more like what you'd find at a boutique than to offer the same colors over and over.

I also sell a lot of linen item, but most of these are custom listing on Etsy. I love it. Linen is one of my most favorite fabrics to work with and you can do just about anything with it. Linen is so visually intriguing. Right now I'm working on my design for linen skinny jeans. Why not? Everybody has denim jeans. Mine will be linen. Right now I'm working on a pair of aqua and a pair of navy blue jeans. This is going to take some time as jeans are very complicated to make. While I'm creating them, I also have to create the pattern so that I'll be able to make them again later. Just part of the whole design process. So I'll have to take my time and do it right.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Simply Must Have It - SweetMillieP's cake

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]True Blood (season 2)[/caption]

I was recently added to a treasury collection on Etsy featuring Sookie Stackhouse and that's where I was introduced to SweetMillieP's shop. For those of you not familiar, Sookie is the main character in a series of books by Charlaine Harris. I've been reading the books about vampires in Bon Temp, Louisiana for years and then about 3 years ago HBO turned the books into a drama series called "True Blood". I was a Sookie fan long before the HBO show. The show really isn't as good as  the books (they never are), nor does HBO stay dead on track with the books. Nevertheless, the "True Blood" series is a lot of fun and now has a cult following all its own. I love it! It gave faces and personalities to some of my most favorite vampire characters.

What does SweetMillieP's Etsy shop have to do with Sookie Stackhouse, you ask? Well Ms Millie make a Sookie Stackhouse cake that you would have to see to believe. Obviously, Ms Millie is a Sookie Stackhouse fan like me, because she's got a few other "True Blood" items listed in her shop as well. Being a consumate  dinner and party thrower during the holiday season, I would love to have any one of these items gracing my table. Okay so I'm a show off! Sue me.

Unfortuanely, there is bad news in all this. Ms MillieP doesn't ship most of these item. It's always the things you can't have that you want the most. If you're lucky enough to be in the Orlando, Florida area, she does deliver.

Sookie Stackhouse Cake

I have died and gone to True Blood heaven!!!!


Pink Silk Cupcakes

[caption id="attachment_630" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="Twisted Sister Cake"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_652" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="Pound Cake"][/caption]

Fortunately, she does ship the Lemon Pound Cake, so that's what I'll have to get and cry over all the other stuff in her shop that I can't get. However, I am in the process of talking her into moving to Houston, TX. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Houston Fashion Week and What I've Learned About the Industry So Far

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Official seal of Houston[/caption]

Houston Fashion Week has started and true to form, it's coinciding with Fashion Weeks all over the country and world. Paris, New York and a few others are also beginning their own fashion weeks.  I was invited to take part in the first ever Houston Fashion Week, but I had to decline.

I've taken part in two fashion show. One was quite large, held at the Hilton and came with big name people. I've turned down at least ten fashion shows in the last 4 months. I doubt if I will have time to partake in anymore this year and won't be available until February of next year. I have agreed to consider doing one hosted by Denim Down Jeans at that time. Oh, let me be honest. Probably not.

The Bushes at HFW

The former president and his wonderful wife are present at Houston Fashion Week to attend the launch of their granddaughters' Lauren Bush's new clothing line. With such big names behind her, her success  is a done deal. Lucky girl!

Very nice casual collection. Houston Fashion Week promises to launch one designer's collection. Put them in contact with cut and sew shops and retail stores to sell in. This is every designers dream. It's the reason we do fashion shows. Like actors and actresses, it's like we're taking any job (or fashion show) that we can get in for the exposure. All in hopes that we will be discovered.

Other designs

Very interesting design

I love those pants!!!

Ahhhh Haute Cotour!

The problem that I have with fashion shows is that there aren't usually any industry people in attendance. HFW will have some if the Bush's are involved, but if not for a former president and his first lady being in attendance, I seriously doubt there would have been much exposure. So you could say HFW really lucked out in have Lauren Bush's participation. Fashion shows are extremely expensive, with little or no return. I would participate in more of them if shop owners and design houses took part, but they only go to the Paris, Milan and New York shows. They go where everyone wants to be seen. They go there to be seen, not to buy anything. And those women that attend local fashion shows... same thing. They go there to be seen, not to buy anything. I have received not one single sale from a fashion show and many other designers I've spoken to haven't either. Sure, there's some exposure, but it's to the wrong people. (Not including the Bushes and all that come with that set.)

This is how it works. An organization will decide to host a fashion show, sell tickets, and make money. They will invite designers to take part. Fashion designers will take part in hopes of exposure and discovery. They are expected to pay for everything, get their own models, hair stylist and makeup artist. Oh, and lets not forget, provided their designs. It cost each designer $500 to take part in Houston Fashion Week, so you can imagine the additional cost that can be incurred during an entire week of fashion functions. And all of this was to take place during our busiest time of the year. For me, this is the time to pull my business out of the red and a whole lot of retailers are gearing up for the holiday season. This was the reason why I didn't take part in Houston Fashion Week. Another reason is that most designers will be featuring haute couture gowns and formal wear. I just had to be honest. That's not what I design. I would have felt obligated to come up with more formal wear to suit the occasion and I just didn't have time.  Sadly many of the designers that participate in any fashion show will walk away a few thousand dollars broker and nothing to show for it.

Here's another industry secret. Most fashion models work for free. (Obviously, not the Naomi Campbells and Christi Brinkley's of the industry.) Yep, they are exploited. Photographers, hoping to make a name for themselves will ask a model to work "tfp" (time of print = free). He takes the pictures, she gets some copies for her portfolio and the photographer may be able to sell some of the pictures to magazines and such. Or maybe not. Both the model and the photographer will ask designers, people like me, to borrow clothes to take those pictures in. What does the designer get? Once again tfp, so we'd get some of the pictures. Maybe. Hair stylist. Makeup artist. Same crap! Everyone is asked to work for free to gain exposure and hopefully be discovered. Sad, isn't it? I am invited to do a fashion show at least once a week. I am asked to loan out my clothes every couple of weeks. Photographers are the nastiest because they really think their doing me a favor. It didn't take long being in this business to find out how things really work. I now tell photographers and models alike that my designs are for sale, give them a link to my shop and tell them to have at it with their Visa card in hand. Oh, and lets not forget these online magazines and fashion shops that will feature your designs for a small fee. Or the fashion reviewers with Facebook and blog followers that will review your stuff if you send them some free items. Never to be heard from again.

Yes folks, this is the ugly truth behind the fashion industry. I am not talking about the big names. Small fries. People like me, trying to make it in the industry. We are surrounded by people who will use us and give us nothing in return while they manage to make a few dollars for themselves. Hence, I turn down most fashion shows, I find my models on the street and I take my own damn pictures. Everyone wants something for nothing. Don't you? I certainly do.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Aunt and the San Fransciso Bus Station


[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...[/caption]


As most of you know, there was a death in the family. My aunt died. Funeral was yesterday and it still hasn't stopped hurting. Funerals aren't always the closures we hope for. No it didn't make me feel one bit better. My sister wouldn't stop crying and that made me cry. My brother just broke down. People I didn't even know were boo hooing all over the place. But that doesn't surprise me. My aunt was the sunshine in a lot of people's' lives.

During the expression part of the funeral service that took place at the church, I got up and said a few words and told a story about my Aunt Arvis' trip with us to San Francisco.  Everyone got a laugh, though only briefly. Here's the story...

We love to travel and so I decided to try San Francisco. Alcatraz. Golden Gate Bridge. Bubba Gump Seafood. Monterrey. Street cars. Plenty to see in that part of California. But I couldn't get my aunt on a plane this time. She had traveled a few times with me to other parts of the country and those times we always caught a plane and she hated it. So this time she decided she would catch the bus.

So we got the Gray Hound ticket to San Francisco, which was all of 6 ft long with destination stubs. We took her to the station, saw her off and went home. Two days later, my son Chase and I caught our flight and landed in Oakland about 5 hours later. We get the rental car, drive across the Oakland Bay Bridge to go find the bus station in San Francisco. Needless to say, I had no idea where it was and where I was going. So after we crossed the big bridge, we stopped at the first building we saw, parked and asked a cop..."Officer, where is the Gray Hound bus station?" He said he didn't know. A cop!?! So we looked around and found the next best thing. A bum! (Want to know where the local bus station is, who better to ask than a bum?) So we asked, and he drunkenly said, "Lady, just go around to the front!" Yes folks! Our very first stop after we crossed over into San Francisco was the bus station. You just couldn't tell from the side we were parked on. What surprised me the most was that the cop didn't know.

We drive around to the front of the building and lo and behold, it is the bus station. We go in, looking for my precious Aunt Arvis. She still hadn't made it in.  So we left, found our hotel, checked in and picked her up a few hours later. She was just fine. Ultimately, we had a great vacation, doing 3 days in San Francisco and 3 days in Monterrey. But we actually traveled by car all over that part of California. We got to see Los Angeles, San Diego. A tour of the Redwood Forest. Train ride to the San Jose Boardwalk. The steep streets of San Francisco. I could go on and on. We were all over the place.

When it was time to leave, we dropped our aunt off at the bus station and caught our plan back to Houston. Two days later, we go to Gray Hound bus station and pick her up. She was fine.

My Aunt Arvis was a wonderful person who just loved to get out and have fun. She love to traveled. She loved her casinos. She loved life. She was much-loved. She will be missed.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recent leather project

A customer recently ask me to redo a leather chair for her. She wanted it in the same LV leather that she had me make pillows for her.  It was one of those chairs where she sent me the leather off of it and I had to recreate the pieces that go back on the metal frame. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to without the frame with me for trial and error fitting. Here is the finished project, sent back to her, and placed on the frame.

Black Leather Chair using LV leather

Here are the leather pillows that I created for her.

Red & Black Leather Pillows

I used to work with leather more often but have since moved to clothing design so I don't do nearly as much.  Lately I've been making a few leather fashion accessories for my clothing shop. Right now I'm working on a hair on tiger print double wrap belt. I'm not using this project for a leather sewing leather because I'm using quite a few advance techniques. Instead of using lambskin, I'm using a thick cowhide. I'm also adding studs and that requires a leather punch to make the holes. Plus I'm using the leather punch to make the belt holes and adding a buckle. So not a beginner project. Actually it could very well be a beginner's project, but it would be questionable as to whether a regular home sewing machine would be powerful enough to sew through the cowhide.  It would have to be able to sew through heavy cowhide and vinyl because I added a that to the back of it.  The maker would also have to have a leather punch kit and a stud /grommet punch. As soon as I finish the project, I'll take a picture and place it on here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Hell of a Week - Update

First off I want to let everyone know that we had a death in the family. My aunt, whom I was very closed to passed away after a long battle to stay alive. She'd been in the hospital for weeks. She fought so hard. We would go visit her and her fist would be clenched. She didn't want to die, but she was called home anyway. And I miss her so much. Okay enough of that... I'll start crying again.

Club activities have kept me busy. And designing, of course. Yesterday I finally created my first leather belt project, but I'm not too pleased with it. I was going to embellish it later with silver studs. I can't find my studs.

Teal Tassel Belt

I took detailed pictures of how to do the belt. I love the color and I love the tassel. I also like how I made it long enough to wrap around twice.  Very simple to make.  What I don't like are the pictures. I didn't have any jeans to put on Amanda, so the color of the clothes on her above, don't do the teal color any justice. Anyway the belt is fun and easy to do. Can be done on a regular sewing machine. When I compile it all together into a lesson, I will offer a giveaway to the first person who comments on my blog, enough d-rings to do this project.

I am working on another belt, but it would definitely be considered an advanced project. It's with hair on cowhide leather and many of the home sewing machines couldn't handle it. A heavy duty could handle some cowhide, if it's not too thick and if you use a leather sewing needle. Unfortunately, for this project, I'm using hair on cowhide leather (That stuff is always thick, has to be to hold the hair in), backed by vinyl. I'm adding a plastic tortoise shell buckle and I'm using special leather punches to create the holes. So I can't teach this one. I rarely ever work with lambskin so I don't have much of it on hand. I prefer cowhide because it is thick and you don't have to use a stabilizer to stiffen it.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Surfside Model Shoot - More Pic!!!

Since we actually took hundreds of pictures at Surfside, I figured I'd share a few more.

[caption id="attachment_518" align="aligncenter" width="270" caption="Lunar 3 Handbag - Lipstick Red"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_523" align="aligncenter" width="685" caption=" Wrap It Up Eyelash Knit Short Hoodie - Black"][/caption]

I know I've shown this picture twice, but that's because it's my favorite. Jennifer looks so mysterious! Modelish! LOL! I love it. She doesn't smile much, but she still manages to pull off an air of mystery. I'll be working with her again in the next couple of weeks for a few more item for the holiday season. She's quickly become my favorite model!

[caption id="attachment_520" align="alignright" width="195" caption="Grecian Box Tie Maxi Dress - Black"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_519" align="alignleft" width="300" caption=" Leaf Motif Black Leather - Scalloped Lace Shrug"][/caption]

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Model Shoot at Surfside

[caption id="attachment_498" align="alignleft" width="730" caption="South Beach Mini Tank Dress - Vertigo"][/caption]

Yesterday was a really busy day. Got up early, gathered up the model, makeup artist and a friend of mine who is a modeling coach and fashion show coordinator, and off we went to Surfside Beach. Surfside is a coastal community about 65 miles from Houston. Usually I take the pictures myself but Jesus (friend & modeling expert extraordinaire) agreed to take them. I no longer deal with photographers because they take forever to get the pictures back to you after they take them. So I bought myself a fancy schmancy camera with all the bells and whistles and I've been learning to take great photos on my own. Now that was one very wise decision.

The model, Jennifer Cook, is one that I've used before. She's the sweetest girl I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and that's what made me decide to use her again. She's not a professional full time model, so she doesn't come with any of the inherent problems that come with working with one. LOL! (I won't go into it.) Her sister Cathy Cook served as makeup artist. Me. I was the designer on site.

[caption id="attachment_496" align="alignleft" width="685" caption="Cape Cod Batwing Top"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_508" align="alignleft" width="685" caption="Tiered Mocha Chiffon Skirt"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cape Cod Batwing Top - Evergreen"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_500" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Grecian Box Tie Dress - Avocado"][/caption]

Like I said the pictures came out awesome and I would have to give all of the credit to Jesus Lewis for pulling the best out of Jennifer and turning the entire photo shoot into a memorable occasion. I consider him a great friend. He has a lot of personal experience as a model and even more experience as a modeling coach.

To see some of the new listing I've managed to post, just click on the picture. I'm still working on getting the rest of them posted, but it might be a couple of days before I finish.