Sleeping in Style (with Monkeys)

So, this years Christmas gifts were….wait for it……sleepwear for everybody! YIPPEE!!

Father and Son Coordinating PJs

Father and Son Coordinating PJs

Pajama bottoms, a matching camisole and nightgowns.

Run Little Mister Monkeypants Run!!

Run Little Mister Monkeypants Run!!

Green Nightgown with Coordinating Fabric (and monkey fabric yo-yo on the front)

Green Nightgown with Coordinating Fabric (and monkey fabric yo-yo on the front)

I did not make the jersey t-shirts (I’m still working on inserting sleeves as well as learning to sew with knits), so I bought T-shirts and just embellished them with monkey appliques and matching fabric appliqued on.

Little Mister Monkeypants

Little Mister Monkeypants

The green Jammies set were all based off of the Monkey fabric, so they all coordinated with camouflage patterns, shades of green and monkeys.

Pajamas and Nightgown in Coordinating Fabric

Pajamas and Nightgown in Coordinating Fabric

I also added coordinating fabric to the hems and waistbands of some of the pajama bottoms as well as to the chest pieces and straps of the nightgowns.  And note the blue monkey slippers that match with the blue linen nightgown.

Blue Linen NIghtgown with Embossed Paisley Pattern (and coordinating monkey slippers)

Blue Linen NIghtgown with Embossed Paisley Pattern (and coordinating monkey slippers)

Nightgown in Blue Linen with Embossed Paisley Pattern

Nightgown in Blue Linen with Embossed Paisley Pattern

Who doesn’t love monkeys???!!!

Matching Pajama Camisole Top and Bottoms

Matching Pajama Camisole Top and Bottoms

Coordinating Pajama Camisole Style Top and Bottoms

Coordinating Pajama Camisole Style Top and Bottoms

Red and White Stars Cotton Pajama Bottoms

Red and White Stars Cotton Pajama Bottoms

(photo courtesy of The Guardian-uk)

photo courtesy of The Guardian-uk, of a kitty sleeping in style, with a monkey.

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Easy A-Line Skirt

A Line SkirtI completed this A-Line skirt in the same way as the two rectangle skirt, only instead of rectangles, these quadrilateral shapes are actually isosceles trapezoids (to be precise).  Yes, that’s the math/science nerd in me leaking out.  It’s really one of the reasons why I love sewing and pattern making.  The geometry involved delights me to no end.  🙂

But, now that you’ve finished rolling your eyes and being embarrassed for me, here is some information about the A-Line skirt.

A Line Skirt 2

I used fabric with a one way pattern on it, so I actually had to cut it across the grain instead of with the length grain (following along the selvage) so that the pattern would go vertically up and down the skirt.  I’m not sure how much this affects the integrity of the skirt, but how else do you use these directional prints?  If you cut along the length of the grain, the pattern would be lost.

A Line Skirt Flare

A Line Skirt Flare

With respect to the A-Line, you can add as much flare at the bottom as you wish.  Basically, after you’ve made a rectangle, add another two triangles on either side of it to create a wider, flared bottom.

I also added a belt in the same fabric to disguise the elastic waistband casing.  To learn more about how to sew a fabric belt with buckle, click here.  I sewed on belt loops, also in the same fabric to hold the belt in the right place.

Fabric Belt and Belt Loops

Fabric Belt and Belt Loops

And, I bought a self cover belt buckle, where you cover the buckle with fabric of your choice.  I think it’s a good investment (and very inexpensive) as it really ties the belt in with the skirt.  With such a busy pattern, I didn’t really want the belt and buckle to stand out more than the skirt.

Fashion Illustration for Non-Illustrators (or Help Me, I Can’t Draw)

Fashion Illustration is an important part of the process in designing your own fashions and garments or even working out how to sew a pattern.  Problem is, not everybody can draw and yes, I know, I’ve taken beginner drawing classes before and they all say “everybody can draw” and that’s very true.  However, the human body including draped and folded fabric are really not the easiest subjects to begin with if you are just starting out.

I was reading a post by Tulle and Tweed, which discussed the importance of being able to sketch your fashion and sewing projects and ideas and I agree wholeheartedly.  It ignites the creative process, allows you to solidify and expand on anything you have dreamed up, or can even help to solve a problem you’ve had with putting things together.  But, I noticed from the comments that many people were afraid to attempt illustrating since they were not artists and felt they could not draw.  Present company included in this sentiment.

I’d love to be able to just quickly sketch out an idea and have it look realistic and fabulous, but, let’s face it, a wee bit of practice and instruction may be necessary for the non-artist.  I just purchased a book that has been very helpful in this regard.  It is “The Manga Artist’s Workbook” by Christopher Hart.

Drawing the Figure

Drawing the Figure

It is an instruction book, sketchbook and tracing book all in one.  And it is small enough to pack into any size bag to tote along with you, so you always have it should inspiration strike.  It is really a guide on how to draw Manga characters, but the basic techniques are the same for fashion illustration and figures.

Instructions on How to Draw Figure Head

Instructions on How to Draw Figure Head

There are sections for how to draw the head, face and hair and sections on how to draw the body in various positions and stances, including proportion and angles.

Clothing on Figure in Various Positions

Clothing on Figure

These figures are called croquis in fashion illustration.  The end of the book shows clothed characters and how to illustrate garments on your figure.

Included are blank graphed pages so that you can try your hand at what you’ve just learned, using the squares of the graph paper to help you plot out the image.  As well, Tracing paper is overlain on some pages so that you can trace the image or even use the page as a guide and draw clothing or accessories over the image.

Tracing Paper Overlay

Tracing Paper Overlay

I also customized my copy of the book.  I added copies of figures and poses and clothing from other sources on some of the blank graphed pages in order to copy these for practice and use them as a starting point for ideas.  The following illustrations were taken from The Encyclopedia of Fashion Illustration Techniques by Carol A. Nunnelly and added to the sketchbook. 

Customized Page with Added Photos of Croquis in Fashions

Customized Page with Added Clothed Croquis Drawings

Customized Page with Added Croquis in Fashions

Customized Page with Added Clothed Croquis Drawings

In addition to this, I added some tracing paper overlays to pages that did not have any, so that I could either trace the image or add my clothing ideas over top of the image.

I am much more confident now in trying my hand at fashion illustration and figure drawing with the help of this book.  I can still use it like a sketchbook to illustrate ideas but I also have all these guidelines, instructions and tools included, so that I don’t feel too intimidated to go ahead and begin drawing, sketching and illustrating.

Customized Page with Added Photos of Croquis and Added Tracing Paper Overlay

Customized Page with Added Croquis Pictures and Added Tracing Paper Overlay