plaid gathered skirt

by Nicole on April 22, 2014

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I don’t really know why, but I’ve always loved really preppy things like pleats and plaid, I guess because I actually really love the look of private school uniforms. (I always not-so-secretly wished I could go to private school. I had dreams of being like Max Fischer, except I’d do all the extra-curriculars AND get all A’s.) Anyway… HERE’S SOME PLAID (although no pleats, just gathers).  I know plaid is really hipstery and EVERYWHERE now, but plaid just makes me happy, so I plan to wear it forever. I especially like plaids in less common colors or patterns, which is why I just had to have this fabric when I saw it at The Fabric Shop.

The owner told me it was a silk, although I was pretty confused at first because I was like, “Huh?!? I thought silk = super crazy soft and drapey???” but then I educated myself a bit and found out there are plenty of silks that are stiffer. Still not sure what this is, maybe silk dupioni? Idunno, I still know like nothing about fabric. Anyway, I did throw it in the washer/dryer on low/cool when I first got it because I am not about dry-cleaning, and it got a lot softer, although it’s still pretty crisp. And it didn’t get ruined, whew.

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Since I’ve made fewer garments than I can count on two hands, I wanted something really simple because I didn’t feel all that confident about print-matching. So, I opted for a gathered skirt, although I really wish I would have bought more fabric, because it didn’t turn out as full as I wanted. Then, I just added a waistband, and ta-daaaaa, a skirt!

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Since this was a “serious” fabric, I wanted to do it justice. I bound all the seams (my first time), did a hand-picked zip (my usual anyway), and did a big fat blind hem by hand. It really does make me appreciate it more, and I found out that I absolutely loooooove doing hems by hand. Except I’ll save it only for the times it really counts, because it did take

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I really love this skirt! Although this is the first time seeing pictures of those shoes, and now I’m not so sure about them, ha. Maybe they’d look better with tights or leggings.

floral circle skirt

by Nicole on April 15, 2014

Oh, hi, I’m back. Let’s not talk about that whole 6+ month absence, k? Let’s talk SEWING.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE full skirts–the twirlier, the better! I wanted a simple project one afternoon, so I used By Hand London’s Circle Skirt App to generate the calculations for my skirt. I chose the full skirt in the mini length, but I added a few inches to the bottom when cutting out my fabric (a 57″ floral cotton from which had been sitting in my stash).

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Ooooh, a twirl!

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Except it’s probably not a good idea to twirl too much if you are extremely clumsy and prone to dizziness…

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LOL, what IS that face?!?!?

Anyway…I also used BHL’s waistband tutorial, except that I added some interfacing too. Probably not the correct weight, as my waistband is still really flimsy and stretches out too easily. I’m also still not quite sure about the best waistband height for me either…This one was a little thinner than I meant to make, but I think it looks good still.

I swapped the recommended invisible zipper for a hand-picked zip, because I honestly enjoy hand-sewing and I think a hand-picked zip looks so pretty. For finishing, I just zig-zagged the (few) seams. I hemmed my skirt using miles and miles of bias tape, which is pretty much my favorite method for hemming skirts.

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I made the skirt over a month ago, so I don’t remember what waist size I actually used…I think 37 inches? But sadly, it’s already too big! I’ve been losing weight since October (about 25 pounds now), and I still want to lose more, so this will continue to be an issue for me. It sucks, because I really want to make cute clothes NOW, but I’m also kind of dismayed about having to either alter the clothes or get rid of them once they no longer fit. For this skirt, I’ll eventually have to take off the waistband and re-cut the pieces for a smaller waist size. But for now, I’ve just been pinning the sides with a safety pin, and I feel like it’s not too noticeable since the skirt is so swishy and foldy anyway. (Although you can totally tell in my twirly photo above.)

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I’ve found the circle skirt really easy to wear. It works well with wedges and a fitted tank top, or also even super comfy/casual with flats and a t-shirt. I really need to make more circle skirts, but sadly, most of the fabric in my stash is 45″, and because of my measurements, I need 60″-ish for a full skirt. But there will be more one day!

Fantastic Fest 2013

by Darius on September 29, 2013

8 days of no work and mostly movies. As amazing as that sounds, it did get a bit exhausting by the end. We are pretty introverted and mostly enjoy the comfort of home. But just like that, our second year of the festival is already over and already can’t wait until next year.


This year introduced a new ticketing system that let us pick our next day’s choices by priority. This caused us to get split up in some of the timeslots. (D=Darius only, N=Nicole only). Favorited movies are *starred.

Machete Kills (D) - This movie is bonkers. Really fun characters and action setups but the movie as a whole is kinda forgettable.

Coherence- One of my overall favorites. I think the less you know about it, the better. There was no script and even the actors didn’t know the full story while filming.

Proxy - One my least favorites. Roughly half of this movie I really enjoyed, and the other half seemed like a Lifetime movie but with better music and cinematography.

Almost Human - Low budget, but great effects. Homage to John Carpenter and 80′s monster movies.

Eega* - Bollywood films are often able to somehow package every fucking genre into one goddamn movie and in the best way possible! A man is reincarnated as a fly and begins a savage and unrelenting campaign to torment and ruin the man that killed him in a jealous rage. Seriously, so fun.

Halley (N)

The Fake (N)

The Devils (D) - The hype-machine before seeing this one made me anticipate leaving the theater with brains dripping out of my ears. Although that didn’t happen I can see why at least the 1970′s version of society would feel the need to ban this movie. Seeing nuns douche themselves with boiling liquid to cure their demonic possessions is something you don’t see much. Beyond all that, I enjoyed the actual story and visual style.

Grand Piano (D) - The obvious description seems to be “remember that Phone Booth movie, its like that but with a guy playing a concert piano”.

Rigor Mortis - I actually mostly remember having a headache and being super-tired during this one (sorry Rigor Mortis filmmakers that read my blog!). Despite that, almost everything in this ghost story felt so unique and visually interesting.

Drawn & Quartered Animated Shorts – Animated shorts

Fantastic Shorts

LFO- Another one of my overall favorites. A guy develops a method of using sound to hypnotize and control his neighbors. Where it goes from there is simply awesome.

O’Apostolo - Mix Henry Selick and Guillermo Del Toro. I thought the overall story was a bit lackluster but I couldn’t stop looking at every handmade object or detail in the background.

Short Fuse – Horror/Thiller shorts

Love Eternal - In the intro for this one they described it briefly as a “necrophilia love story” which we kept being heard repeated during the festival by people unable provide their own commentary. The actual necrophilia part is such a tiny aspect to the overall story of a chronically depressed man’s ability to find and lose love.

Nothing Bad Can Happen- Perhaps my favorite of the festival. A wandering self-labeled “Jesus Freak” in desperate need of a family is slowly mentally and physically tortured by a non-believing family that takes him in. Honest and fucking brutal.

Resurrection of a Bastard- This one kept being described as “Cohen-esque”, though I found it be less focused on plot and more on character then a typical Cohen bros. movie, whatever that really means…

Ragnarok - So many people kept mentioning this as one of their favorites of the festival and I don’t understand why exactly. The trailer beforehand didn’t provide many answers so throughout I kept waiting for it to rattle itself free of obvious genre tropes or attempt to subvert them. But that didn’t happen. It was a simple and fun adventure that seemed to borrow heavily from others like National Treasure, Jurassic Park, etc.

The Congress - I might be the most torn on this one. The setup is flawless imho and poetically drives home the many metaphors and parallels between the character of Robin Wright and the real human Robin Wright.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place (N)

Mirage Men (D) - Ever wonder what it would feel like being catfished by the government regarding UFOs?

A Field in England - This feels like a movie that is not designed to be favorited or gushed about on purpose. A morality tale in a time of alchemists and dick warts.

Mood Indigo- There is a tiny pessimist inside of me that was afraid that this movie was all charm and whimsy and little else. Luckily this whimsy is purposeful and every silly quirk or visual gag is used to magnify the real seemingly magical

Blue Ruin* - One of my favorites. Very little dialogue and realistic revenge story.

Witching & Bitching - The sound got out of sync with roughly 10 minutes left so we didn’t get to the see the ending. Pretty entertaining but we both agreed that the sexist undertones (women = bitches = witches) could have been omitted or used to actually subvert those common stereotypes. I doubt it, but the ending could have redeemed itself I guess…

Afflicted - Mixes two things that don’t typically excite me: modern super-powered vampires & found footage. However, this was pretty fun and was the best real horror movie we saw all festival.


- I can’t wait to play Samurai Gunn when it comes out!
-  ”Play it cool” – Darius, “I just want to touch him” – Nicole when standing next to Elijah Wood
- As dumb as it feels, sometimes you just want to eat kid’s chicken strips for most meals!
- We traded tickets with Michael Stephenson (aka Joshua from Troll 2) and Nicole didn’t even recognize him even though he commented on the fact she was wearing her Troll 2 shirt at the time
- Sometimes you just gotta go poop at HEB away from all the people
- Ahhhh, I missed the VIP parking space again!!! – No Brakes Valet
- Having to convince Nicole to walk through the “dark space” in a tunnel we found under the road