Wednesday, July 23, 2014

O My Soul

Bell bottoms: handmade/DIY ; Bralette: Spell Designs ; Flannel: Shaun White for Target

A few weeks ago I rode my bike over to Art Scraps, a little store on Saint Clair jammed pack with weird trinkets and things verging on trash. I used to go there all the time when I was very young and much more crafty, but I popped in the other day to bring in some donations, and ended up buying quite a lot of stuff. One of the things I bought was an old lace curtain for $2. It was in good condition (or so it appeared in the store) and I thought it'd be great for sewing either a maxi skirt or bell bottoms - and it was as you can see above!

Lace bell bottoms seem to be really in right now and since I cannot afford a $90 pair from Miracle Eye, much less one of Spell Designs beautiful $200 pairs, I decided to just make my own.

When I brought the curtain home, I realized that it was way dirtier than it looked in the store, and also had a few holes. After some research, I decided on what seemed like a proper way to clean the curtain - I think it had come from a smoking home, as it was pretty smelly and very very yellow. I put baking soda and detergent with OxyClean in a big vat of boiling water and then, intending to let the water cool but completely forgetting, I put the curtain in the still boiling water. I completely fried all of the elastic (as the curtain was extremely stretchy) but I think it ended up making it easier to sew as the lace melded together a little bit. I washed the lace this way two or three times and they're finally a nice creamy color, free of the terrible stains from before. I managed to cut the pattern out around any major holes and oh yeah did I mention that the curtain only cost me TWO DOLLARS?!?!?!

The bell bottoms pattern I used was an old one from the '70s (Butterick, I believe) that I bought for like 25 cents at a garage sale. I didn't have to make many adjustments to the pattern other than taking out the darts & fitted waistband to use elastic instead. The pants were also really weird in that the pattern wanted you to make both of the legs in four pieces each (?!?!?!?!) so I just taped the pattern together into two pieces for each leg. I lined the pants with little silky shorts (which was like $17/yard, unfortunately, but I made by with only a third of a yard). The shorts ended up - surprisingly - being the most difficult thing to sew. I fought with the fabric forever. Sewing the lace was surprisingly easy! I searched a little bit online and in sewing books for tips on sewing lace, but didn't find anything. I ended up using a needle for delicate fabrics and had about 24 stitches per inch (excessive, I know!), hoping not to miss any of the fabric. The seams seem very solid and I'm still amazed at how simple lace was to sew. This project would have only taken me about half an hour if it wasn't for the bastard shorts. That fabric frayed and slipped so badly! But now I have some rad bell bottoms at a fraction of the price of what you can find in stores.

I've kind of talked myself out after such a long-winded explanation of making these bells. In a meeting at work yesterday, I was talking about how I'm not good with using Twitter because nothing I say is short, I'm a very long-winded person, to which my boss smirked in agreement (you should hear the long explanations I bring to him - I have no shame!). I think it's why I do so well with blogging. I'm definitely not one of those person style bloggers who just lists what they're wearing and maybe add a witty blurb or two.

I'm sort of stuck between knowing if these bell bottoms are so totally rad, or if they're pretty horrific and I just want them to be cool because I'm weird. I have this problem a lot. One of my volunteers at work the other day mentioned a photo of me in overalls that he saw on Facebook - I can't remember if he said he liked the overalls or not, but he got this huge mocking grin on his face, obviously indicating how out of date overalls are. I grinned back at him and said, "I wear really ugly things sometimes because they make me feel beautiful." So that is why I am wearing these perhaps very terrible bell bottoms - but they make me feel as rad as ever, so who really cares?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My First Week on Instagram

I finally got a smart phone and joined Instagram, after being nagged by friends for some time now. I was thinking that I'd just use it as a blogging tool, but I've actually been enjoying capturing random bits of my life. I'm definitely not a #selfie Instagram-er (can you believe that considering how self-involved I am?!!?!?!). I think I took one selfie so far. I'm much more into cats, cars, and other random little things I'm encountering in my life. I'm training myself to keep my phone near me to snap some photos whenever I see something interesting (cars! cats! flowers! fabric!). Follow me at @chloeahlf for more updates! 

Here are some snippets from my first week on Instagram:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jungle Friday

Shirt: Ann Taylor via Arc's Value Village ; Skirt: Spell Designs ; Sandals: something from the kid's section of JC Penny's

I don't usually work my internship job on Fridays, but my supervisor asked me to come in today, so I did, making the executive decision that casual Friday called for some zebra & leopard print (do I have my animals right?). And also, apparently some major side splits! I didn't realize that the skirt had splits up the sides quite like this when I bought it at Spell Designs the other week. A little too much for work, but no regrets! Such a hot skirt and so perfect for summer. I got a bad sunburn on my upper-right thigh this past week and wearing nylon stockings was irritating it to bad. This nice flowy skirt lets the air in and is gonna be perfect for hot summer days (once they arrive).

The summer has been super mild and I have to be finding excuses to dress summery when it's overcast and barely 70 degrees. Oh, Minnesota....or oh, climate change? I definitely envisioned this summer to be only short shorts and crop tops, and that really hasn't happened yet.

So much to do, so little time. I have nothing more to say. In lieu of words, please just bow down to the glory of this skirt. xx