Personal Projects Update

Okay, so a while back I posted a list of personal sewing projects that I wanted to complete… someday. And then, a slightly more recent while back, I posted an update. And now, here is an update to the update! So, here is the list, less the things that were completed as of the last update:

  • Jacket to wear over (completed!) corset – I have blueish purple silk dupioni for this, and superb inspiration for the style. UPDATE: Not even remotely started. Continue to think about it from time to time, mainly when I open the fabric cabinet and drool over dupioni.
  • Alterations to a dress I made a few years ago but now hate, to turn it into a simple skirt (with pockets!) to complete the above ensemble. UPDATE: I have actually spent about five minutes thinking about this one – does that count? Pretty much decided not to ever do this. Would rather start from scratch and make a new skirt because I just know so much more about all relevant sewing techniques now. However, may still do this only because I will never find this fabric again and I love it.
  • Corset for Julia that she has been begging me to make for the last two years. UPDATE: Uh uh. Not done. Reasonably certain I have not even thought about it since I posted the last update… sorry love!

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  • New pajama pants. Mine all have holes. (Lots of them, in unfortunate places.) I have awesome Flinstones-esque dark teal with black tiger stripe fabric. They will be so much fun to wear. UPDATE: Not at all done. But the growing number and size of holes in my pajama pants has moved this to the top of the priority list. DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE! Aren’t they amazing/terrible?? I love them. I have a whole coordinating pajama outfit now.
  • The aforementioned Great T-Shirt Project of 2010. You guys, in 2010 we bought 30 pounds of jersey so that we could both expand our sad, sad collection of ill-fitting t-shirts. (I have a long torso, so basically every t-shirt ever manufactured shows an inch or two of stomach, which I’d prefer stayed out of sight and warm.) UPDATE: Let’s jut admit there is no way this will happen before 2013 2014.
  • I have silky, stretchy, clingy, shiny teal fabric for a drape-y dress shirt. UPDATE: I still have it! It’s still folded neatly among all the other pretty things in our fabric stash… untouched.
  • I am determined to never purchase jeans again and start making my own, because there are no pants in the universe that fit me properly. (And the ones I have are dangerously close to being to worn to wear in public.) UPDATE: I still believe this firmly. It may even happen soon-ish. SO DONE! And working on a second pair! And on patterns, generally, so custom jeans can be offered to YOU! Pictures will be forthcoming when I write a whole post about them!
  • On that note, I need some dressier-than-jeans but not as fancy as wedding attire to wear to my clients’ rehearsals. As well as some more wedding attire to wear to their weddings. I know I’m getting sick of my same two outfits, and if you started looking at photos of me on fancy occasions, you’d be sick of them too. UPDATE: Zero progress. I have bought some fabrics and imagined some ideas.
  • I also have two pairs of corduroy pants in progress that need finishing. UPDATE: These remain untouched, but now that I have a functional jeans pattern, there is a decent chance of the pair I didn’t start cutting yet getting made soon.
  • And cranberry corduroy for a winter skirt. UPDATE: I thought about it last week because fall is here and this would be a great time to wear it. You know, if it had been designed/sewn already. I did this a while ago! Maybe a year? And I have been wearing it all the time. I will probably make another one or two in different fabrics.
  • Make my own swimsuit for the summer! (Long torso is a big problem in this department as well.) UPDATE: Maybe next this year.

And there you have it. I have crossed one personal project off the list since May, and that pretty much only happened because I had a really good deadline.

 

Do you need a wedding planning support group?

Cool! We’ve got one! The full scoop is below, but right now we want to let you know that you, our awesome friends and fans, can use the promo code “FAN” to get FREE admission to our first Planning Party! There is one little catch – you have to register by the end of the day on Friday. So get on it! And please spread the word – the more, the merrier!!

Wedding planning stressing you out?
Need a little advice from the pros on how to make the wedding you’ve been planning in your head a reality?
Grab your fiancé(e) and join us at

The Planning Party

A monthly gathering for couples just like you. Grab a drink and a snack, sit back, and relax while you get all your burning questions answered. Each Party will feature a different vendor giving you the inside scoop on their specialty and dishing out all the answers you need. Plus, ask the wedding planners at Crafty Broads absolutely anything!

Our inaugural party on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 will feature Emilia Schobeiri of Emilia Jane Photography

$15 per person / $25 per couple. Takes place on the first Tuesday of each month from 7-9pm at the Crafty Broads Studio, 1329 W. Loyola Avenue, Suite G-1 in Rogers Park. Refreshments will be provided. 

Shauna and Mike’s Rainy Day Beer Garden Wedding | Chicago, Illinois | Day-of-Coordination

Continuing to play catch up on things we did many moons ago…

Shauna and Mike had a great plan for a fun and casual wedding – head to an Irish pub, get hitched the beer garden, spend the evening alternating breaks on the grass with spins on the dance floor. After all, what is a summer night in Chicago, if not spent on a patio seat with a cold brew in hand?

Sometimes, the weather does not quite cooperate with our delightfully imagined plans. It rained in the early afternoon. As we were setting up chairs outside, the clouds gathered and threatened to unleash a torrent. Shortly before the ceremony was set to begin, the downpour started. And that is why we make back up plans!

Shauna and Mike, along with their guests, were great sports as we quickly rearranged the schedule, moving everyone into the pub for a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. That gave the rain enough time to stop (almost as soon as it had started), and gave us enough time to quickly towel dry the chairs.

The ceremony, though slightly delayed, was absolutely lovely, with a stunning couple and some gorgeous post-rain light. Shauna wore her mother’s wedding dress, which she’d had restyled to better suit her tastes, for the ceremony. We really love it when heirlooms can be passed down and re-imagined this way! And rather than the traditional wedding party, these two chose to have their families walk down the aisle instead.

Thankfully, that was the end of the precipitation, and guests were able to enjoy the beer garden for the duration! Congratulations Shauna & Mike!

VENDORS
Photographer: Emilia Jane Photography
Florist: Ashland-Addison Florist
Cupcakes: Bittersweet
Photo Booth: Photo Booth Express
Venue & Catering: Chief O’Neill’s Pub

All photos were taken by Emilia Jane Photography and are reposted here the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are not available for reproduction, redistribution, or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

And the Winners Are…

Thanks for joining us at the Finally Forever Wedding Expo!

Without further ado, we’d like  to announce the giveaway winners:

Congratulations to Samuel Green! He and his future spouse have won their choice of a Budget Strategy Session, registration for two to our Wedding Planning 101 Workshop, or having the design fee waived on a Custom Wedding Garment. They’ve also won free admission to The Planning Party on April 1st.

Three additional couples have won admission to The Planning Party – Congratulations to:
Angela & Nicole Bolding
Stephen Lutes
Maribel Arroyo

We had a wonderful time meeting all of you, and we hope you got some great ideas and resources to plan a fantastic wedding! Don’t forget about our Marriage Equality Discount, valid for all wedding planning services booked by March 31st for weddings taking place in 2014.

What is this Planning Party thing?

If you are stressed out with wedding planning and you need a little bit of expert help and/or a big glass of wine, then it might be just the party for you! The Planning Party is a casual get together where couples are invited to ask us absolutely anything about planning their weddings. We’ll be featuring a different vendor each month to talk about their specialty and answer questions as well. At our inaugural Party on Tuesday April 1st, our guest will be Emilia Schobeiri of Emilia Jane Photography. (You may remember her lovely photos of Sarah’s wedding dress and winter coat or James and Liz’s wedding.) And, of course, refreshments will be provided. Follow the link above to register or get more information.

Kate | Custom Pink Silk Dupioni Wedding Gown

Concept

When you’re over 6′ tall, it can be pretty difficult to find anything that fits off the rack. If you’re on the hunt for a wedding gown, you’d like to have straps, you don’t want a pouffy princess ballgown, and you don’t even want it to be white, it’s damn near impossible. And that’s why Kate came to see us.

She was looking for something classy and fitted through the torso with a trumpet flare at the bottom. She wanted her dress to have lots of texture to it. Of the design options we presented, Kate’s top choice was our “starburst” design, featuring seamed panels of fabric angling outwards in all directions from a central point of the dress.

Concept Sketch for Kate's Wedding Dress © Crafty Broads

Concept Sketch for Kate’s Wedding Dress © Crafty Broads

Work-in-Progress & Challenges

We often use padding to make a dress form into the same shape as a client so that we can drape our design on it; however there are some limitations. While you can add material to make a dress form wider, there’s no good way to make one taller in any area except the legs. And though many tall people are tall because they have super long legs, Kate is tall in every aspect – long legs, long torso, she is even long from shoulder to bustline. So for this project we chose to use a flat-patterning method – taking Kate’s exact measurements and using a computer and a lot of very specific math to create a paper patter that we could work from. It worked out very well and needed surprisingly little adjustment at our mockup fitting.

Seamed bodice in progress, as seen on a not-quite-proportional dress form! Photo © Crafty Broads

Seamed bodice in progress, as seen on a not-quite-proportional dress form! Photo © Crafty Broads

Finished Garment

We selected silk dupioni for the seamed portion of the dress from the knees up, and a 4-ply silk crepe to create a flowing skirt on the bottom, both in a blushy pink shade. This was our first time working with the silk crepe, and it was delightful to cut and sew. It has a nice medium weight to it, which made the whole garment hang nicely. The seamed dupioni portion of the dress created a lot of visual texture, and turned out beautifully!

Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. They are not available for reproduction, redistribution, or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Join us at the Finally Forever wedding expo!

We are thrilled that marriage equality has finally come to Illinois, and even more so that a recent ruling has put the new law into immediate effect.

Finally Forever wedding expo

Please join us in celebrating and get started planning your wedding at the Finally Forever wedding show this Sunday, March 9th! The Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is bringing together all kinds of vendors, including us, to help you get started on planning your big day. DJs will be spinning, caterers will be giving out samples, and we’re told the wine will be flowing! Over at the Crafty Broads table, we’ll be giving away a free budget strategy session to one lucky couple – so stop by and chat with us!

This event is FREE and open to ALL couples, because equality is for everyone. Click here to register.

Meghan + Stephan | Lakeside Inn | Lakeside, Michigan | Day-of-Coordination

Continuing with our recap of weddings and projects, today I’d like to take you on a short trip to Michigan for Meghan and Stephan’s cozy lakeside celebration!

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We met these two at the Indie Wed show waaaaay back in the winter of 2012, which makes sense because their wedding was in the fall of 2012, which means, yes, I’ve been holding onto their stories and photos for a year and a half without sharing. Sorry. I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait.

Meghan and Stephan rented out the quaint Lakeside Inn for a weekend of celebration. (Note: if one of your priorities is spending quality time with all of your guests, hosting them all for a cozy long weekend is a sure way to make that happen!)

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They planned an outdoor ceremony on the grounds behind the Inn, with the reception following inside. Unfortunately mother nature had other plans, and after setting up the chairs, taking down the chairs, and setting them up again, we had to make the call to move the whole party indoors due to rain.

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BUT. It wasn’t so bad, because we ended up staging the ceremony in front of the Inn’s lovely stone fireplace. With candles lining the aisle and their lovingly handmade details featured behind them, it was one of the warmest and most romantic settings you could dream up for a wedding.

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One of my favorite parts of this wedding was the inclusion of a few traditions from Stephan’s Ukrainian heritage. During the ceremony, there was a part similar to a handfasting, during which the officiant wrapped their hands in a traditional cloth, beautifully embroidered by Stephan’s mother. They took a walk three times around the altar to signify that marriage is a never-ending journey. At the start of the reception, they had some private moments with each other and their immediate families, where they broke a traditional korovai bread and shared it together.

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Custom spilled over onto the dance floor with a few traditional Ukrainian songs and dances. These two had one of the most rockin’ dance parties I have ever seen! Virtually every guest was on the dance floor, and most of them stayed there all night long.

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I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier couple or nicer friends and family to spend a weekend in the woods with. Congratulations Meghan and Stephan!

VENDORS
Venue: Lakeside Inn
Catering: Cravings Catering
Officiant: Rev. Carol Munroe Mosley
Photographer: Amanda Megan Miller Photography (follow the link for more photos!)
Florist: Asrai Garden
Cake: Bit of Swiss Bakery
DJ: Rachel of Toast and Jam DJs

All photos were taken by Amanda Megan Miller Photography and are reposted here the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are not available for reproduction, redistribution, or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Hayley | Custom 1950s-Style Wedding Dress

Concept

Hayley came to us in search of a full-skirted, fifties-style knee-length dress, and we pretty quickly settle on idea of a structured dress in silk dupioni with a shelf bust in glossy silk charmeuse.

Concept sketch for Hayley's 1950s-style wedding dress

Concept sketch for Hayley’s 1950s-style wedding dress

Work-in-Progress & Challenges

This was our first time making a shelf bust, and we really had a learning curve on it. The charmeuse was fussy and didn’t like to be pleated. We went through a good bit of trial and error to get it just right. Other than that, it was a fairly straightforward garment. Silk dupioni is a dream to work with, and we found a lovely lightweight silk to line it with too!

Final version of the bust shelf! Photo © Crafty Broads

Final version of the bust shelf! Photo © Crafty Broads

Finished Garment

Hayley decided on a gorgeous color for her dress – somewhere in between gold an ivory. The difference in texture between the dupioni (main body of the dress) and the charmeuse (in the ruched bust section) creates a striking contrast, even though the two fabrics are the same color.

Doesn’t Hayley look stunning? We absolutely loved how her dress turned out! Congratulations Hayley and Scott!

Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are used with permission. They are not available for reposting or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Two New Wedding Planning Services from Crafty Broads

Checking on the guest list at our wedding. Photo © Starbelly Studios

Wedding season is upon us once again, and this year we are pleased to roll out some brand new services! Without further ado, here’s what we’ve cooked up for you:

Wedding Planning 101 – $75 per couple

Did you recently get engaged, and have no idea where to start when it comes to wedding planning? Stop stressing out, and come get the basics figured out with us. In this 2-hour workshop, we will help you determine your wedding priorities and create your wedding mission statement; establish an overall wedding budget and get a handle on typical wedding costs; and get started planning a celebration that truly reflects the two of you! Couples will take away their own planning binder, including Crafty Broads’ wedding to do list, sample wedding budgets and timelines, and our list of the best wedding vendors in town.

2014 sessions will be held on: Sunday, March 16th at 1pm; Tuesday, April 22nd at 6pm; and Thursday, May 8th at 6pm. Sessions are approximately two hours long and are limited to 6 couples. Click here to register.

Day-of-Coordination (DOC) Bootcamp – $375 per couple

No room in your budget for a professional day-of-coordinator? Get all your wedding ducks in a row with our DOC Bootcamp! At this session, we’ll go over your plans and contracts, and provide you with the organizational documents we personally use for each wedding we coordinate. We’ll make sure you’ve the right amount of time for each part of the big day, and identify places where you may need additional help. We’ll also train your volunteer day-of-coordinator on how to run your wedding smoothly, including dealing with the most common situations that arise at weddings. Bring all your questions, and we’ll give you our secrets!

2014 sessions will be held on: Sunday, April 13th at 1pm; Tuesday, June 3rd at 7pm; and Thursday, August 7th at 7pm. Sessions are approximately 3 hours long and are limited to 3 couples and their volunteer coordinators. Click here to register.

Pet Peeves: Why is Plus-Sized Clothing so Damn Ugly?

A while back, some lovely people helped us open up our shop, and we offered some perks in return. One of them was a chance to tell us about their pet peeve related to mass-produced clothing. Today’s pet peeve comes from Deb.

The Pet Peeve

Deb asks a question I know many of us have pondered: Why is plus-sized clothing so damn ugly?

Need I explain? I think we’ve all seen so-called “clothing” that bears more resemblance to a tent or a blanket fort than something anyone would want to wear.

Why It Exists

If you ask me (and I suppose, you did), the answer is nothing more than laziness on the part of designers and manufacturers. In order for a garment to “fit”, according to the industry, it needs to be large enough to not be too tight in any one spot on the body. A small-sized lady doesn’t have a lot of fat, so when smaller sizes are designed, they are basically accommodating average-sized bones and not much else. A larger lady, on the other hand, has non-bony curves! Some of us have most of it in our boobs; some around our bellies; some on our hips and in our thighs… which makes it harder work for those clothing creators. Because if it’s the right shape for someone with a well-endowed bosom and an average waist, it will be way too big around the bustline of another lady of the same “size” (we should talk about arbitrary sizing bullshit another day) who happens to carry most of her weight below the belt. So to make sure it “fits” everyone in a particular “size” (if only you all could see how I am rolling my eyes as I type this), they design it to be big enough to not be tight in any area of a person wearing the size, no matter how their fat is distributed. And so, we have baggy, tent-like, “fits” everyone but flatters no one plus-size fashion.

What Can You Do About It?

Much like our previous conundrum, other than create a riot of some kind demanding change from the apparel industry, I’m not sure what we can do to get this problem to stop existing. I would personally like to see clothing designers (for all sizes!) start designing for SHAPES instead of sizes. For example, you wouldn’t be a size 18; you’d be a size 18: pear or apple or triangle or hourglass or whatever. And within each size, they’d have the pattern for different shapes. That would be super awesome. (To do this at Crafty Broads one day would make me unbelievably happy.)

For now, though, you can look critically at the things you try on, and evaluate whether the style is more or less flattering on you before you buy it because it “fits”. You can also have just about any garment tailored to fit you better (don’t forget to budget for this when shopping) or you can learn to alter things on your own. 

Questions? Rants? Speak up in the comments!