All posts filed under: Fashion

How to Make a Chinese Frog Button (Video!)

Guess what?! I just made my very first video tutorial!  It was strange talking to the camera by myself, but I got over it, and i think it turned out pretty well. ^_^ I hope you like this Chinese Frog Closure Tutorial.  Subscribe to me on YouTube, and I’ll have more videos to come! Please like & share:

How To Knock Off a Garment Using Painter’s Tape

I am back from vacation and back on track.  The hot weather had me thinking that I could use a couple more pairs of shorts, so I decided to knock off my favorite pair.  It’s no secret that garment knock off is a common practice in the fashion industry.  Usually, garments from higher price points are copied by more affordable brands for it’s design and silhouette.  I’ve done so many while working full time as a patternmaker; I can practically do them with my eyes closed. 😀 This quick method I am sharing with you today is something I learned back in school for Intermediate Construction class.  It’s so fast and easy, that I can’t believe I didn’t remember to use it at my last job.  Here is what you’ll need: – One roll of ~ 1” wide blue painter’s tape – One roll of ~2” wide blue painter’s tape – Measuring tape – Scissors – Clear ruler (for patternmaking) – Pencil – Marker paper (or any other paper you feel comfortable using for patterns) …

Summer Jumper and How To Draft It

Jumpers are great to have in your closet for the days that you just don’t know what to wear, or doesn’t have time (or too lazy) to pick out a top AND a bottom.  Slip it on and voila, instant outfit! This jumper was inspired by a pair of pants that I bought in France a few years ago.  French women are not afraid to rock a pair of dropped-crotch harem pants, and you shouldn’t be either.  The general rule to styling these type of pants is that if you’re going to go for loose on the bottom, then go fitted on top.  There are exceptions, of course, but it’s a good place to start.  I styled my jumper with a fitted black cropped jacket that happens to hit right at my natural waist.  Paired with a belt and some heels, this outfit creates a very flattering proportion on me. This garment is so easy to make.  I have drawn up diagrams for a quick and dirty way to draft the pattern.  No need for …

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Bunka Style Sloper Review and Pattern Magic Fun

Throughout my schooling and career, the patternmaking bible has always been Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design*.  This is the book that we followed in classes, and this is the book that I regularly flip through for references.  In patternmaking, the sloper is a basic bodice from which one can develop different designs.  In Armstrong’s book, the sloper is drafted from approximately twenty different measurements, so imagine my curiosity when the magical internet tells me that there’s a way to draft a bodice sloper with only three measurements! The patternmaker in me decides that this must be explored. As it turns out, the answer was in my storage, and I didn’t even know it.  More than six years ago, I came across a book in San Francisco’s Japan town that captured my interest.  The book, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi* was written entirely in Japanese, and even though I couldn’t read a word of it, I still bought it without hesitation.  I was attracted to the photos and ideas in the book, and kept …

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Spring Dress with Sewing Tips and Tricks

Is it still Spring?  The weather has been gloomy in the Bay Area for the past two weeks, and it hardly feels like June is coming.  No matter, I found this electrifying scuba knit fabric at Britex in San Francisco, and the colors alone make me feel like the flowers are blooming.  We attended a wedding reception over the labor day weekend, and I used that as a deadline to make myself a fun party dress.  If you sew, keep scrolling for some tips and tricks on cutting and sewing. I can’t take credit for the intricate design of the style lines.  It is a modified Vogue pattern (this one).  I’ve only used commercial patterns twice before (one of which was a bag), because I didn’t sew prior to going to school for Fashion Design, and it’s was a big no-no (or maybe it was just frowned upon) to use them in college.  This pattern was on sale so I thought I’d give it a try, since the dress is for me to wear, and …

Project Update: Muslin Gown

I have been working on this design recently, and wanted to post an update on it.  I’ve had the idea to do an asymmetrical paneled skirt for a long time, but have been putting it off because I knew it would be a lot of work.  This muslin was sewn up to test the fit and structure.  I have not decide on what fabric to use for the final gown yet.  I would love to hear your suggestions in the comment section. 🙂 I wanted to make a visually interesting bodice to go with the big skirt, so I started to play with my bias tape on the dress form.  The resulting pieces fit together quite nicely, and I’m happy with the result. The skirt is made up of 16 gores, 16 panels, and will potentially have 16 ruffles, or maybe 32 to give it more body.  I experimented with sewing up half the panels without interfacing, but they were floppy and didn’t hold up very well, so I added interfacing to the other half …

How To Prevent Your Bra Straps From Showing

One of the most irritating things is constantly having to fidget with your top in order to prevent your bra strap from showing.  Some tops just need extra help to make sure it isn’t slipping off your shoulder. A trick I learned when I was working for designer Lily Samii is to sew bra strap guards inside the shoulders of tops and blouses, so that bra straps can be buckled in and secured when worn. In high end designer tops and dresses, bra strap guards are made up of ¼” bias tubes that match the lining of the garment.  They are hand sewn in, and snapped in place with small snap buttons.  I found this to be a lot of work if I needed a quick fix for a store bought top, so I devised my own version of a quick sew-in strap guard. Materials needed: – 1/8” wide elastic braids (about 5 inches total) – 3/8” size flat buttons (one for each side, do not use shank buttons) – Thread – Needle – Scissors …

Casual Chic with Pencil Skirt

I’ve never bought a pencil skirt because every time I thought I might be able to rock it, I couldn’t.  They just look bizarre on me!  The reason they were unflattering on me is because they are not usually made for someone with my proportions.  My hips are very narrow (because I’m Chinese) and I am very top heavy (probably not because I’m Chinese).  I am also only 5’3″, whereas most skirts off the rack are made for the proportions of a 5’7″ fit model.  So for the longest time, I avoided them without much thought. I decided to make a skirt for myself because it was a good starting point to ease back into making patterns by hand.  After doing patterns on the computer for while, hand patterning was starting to feel tedious. The skirt pattern was one of the first things that we learned to draft back in school, so it was a perfect project in which to dip my toes. After trying on the muslin, a few adjustments were made to move …

Inside My Studio

Since the blog is launching, it would be a good to take you inside my studio for a look: I’ve been doing some silk painting since earlier this year.  Silk painting is a lot of fun!  I will post a tutorial on it in the future.  You can find them on my Etsy store, Zilosophy. I’m in the middle of this silk chiffon drape top.  I took out the back piece in order to fix the hem, so it will have to be sewn back on.  I sketched out a collection inspired by water and ripples, and this is the first piece from this collection.  I will be posting updates and progress photos as I work on each piece. Whenever I’m in the middle of a project or two, my studio becomes a hot mess.  I’m working on organizing it in a way that’s friendly and easy enough for me to clean up after myself.  These photos was of course taken after a major clean-up session.  Though I scattered some tools around to make it …

Inpiration — A Hike to High Style at the Legion of Honor

I am always thrilled when fashion-related exhibitions come to the museums around San Francisco Bay Area.  The most recent one, High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, arrived at the Legion of Honor on March 14th and will be here until July 19th. I visited the exhibition with a few ladies from the hiking meetup group, which I recently joined.  We walked from the stunning Sutro Baths ruins, along the Lands End coastal trail, and through the Lincoln Park Golf Course to arrive at the Palace of the Legion of Honor.  There is also a shortcut that leads to the museum if you look for the “Legion of Honor” sign and stairs on your right that lead uphill. I was fortunate enough to catch Charles James: Beyond Fashion, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last May in New York.  It was such a spectacular showcase of his work, that I would have loved to revisit it.  Upon learning that The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection is showing in San Francisco, I immediately looked to see if …