A grown-up fabric shopping guide.

        Sunbrella 





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Christmas is the DIY fashion time of year...for the die hard crafter and the newbie alike. So in the spirit of DIY, I've rounded up some of my favorite places to get fabric. You can always go to the regular ol' craft store and get a plain bolt of something flowery or shiny, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when you want to make something really great you need quality fabric. It's also nice when the fabric covers your butt..and panty line...and holds a seam the right way, if you catch my drift. 

 Here's where I enhance my stash from on the regular. 

1. Stitches imports top quality fabrics for the DIY fashionista. If you want a true French linen and a real Italian damask, get your booty down to Pike Street. They offer classes and nearby there are fifty million of the best coffee shops in the world to rest at afterward, too. I say afterward because this fabric runs between $18-$45/yd. It's worth it and it's more than nice, but DO NOT BRING YOUR COFFEE IN HERE. French linen, people. French linen. 

2. Seattle Fabrics is where you go when you are making your guy something he'll use in the outdoors. Think tote fabric, gore-tex, and those weather treated patio cushions you've been wanting. This is the real deal, including marine canvas. You'll need an industrial machine for a lot of this fabric. Made Sewing Studio in Greenwood can help you out with a rental industrial machine in their studio space. 

3. Manhattan Fabrics is a retail outlet for designer fabrics. The studios of Diane Von Furstenburg, Isaac Mizrahi, and the best international mills sell their extra bolts to these guys. The fabric is GORGE. 

4.Silk Baron started out as some guy's quarter life crisis while he was drifting through consciousness and existential thoughts in his mother's basement. One day he decided to "flip" an import of silk. (Like flipping houses, but prettier.) Now he is the largest retailer of silk in the U.S. He has great taste, a beautiful, funny newsletter, and the best quality in silk I think you can find outside of a couture studio. Maybe better. Here is where to get your party dress fabric; also, if you're planning a wedding and making bridesmaids' or bridal dresses,you won't regret getting the fabric from here. 

5. Spoonflower prints custom fabric. You can use their software to generate your own or get your graphic designer friend to make some for you. They will print it in their North Carolina headquarters on a fabric printer (this is not hand-screened stuff) and ship it to you in whatever quantity you want, minimum order requirements. They also print wallpaper and have gift sets. 

6. Etsy is a great place to get real hand - printed fabric. There are not many studios doing this now a days, but you can always find a great polka dot or shibori dyed scarf here. Search queries : silk screened, by the yard, handprinted, handpainted, and hand dyed fabric should yield good results. 

Feel free to list your favorite places to get fabric in the comments!



Seattle Garment District



Whew!

It's been a while. You know those months where work and family just take over? Fulfilling, but like....FILLING UP YOUR TIME, too, right? Slowly catching a breath over here.

I've got quite a few things done to show you, but we are super excited to introduce here on the West Coast...

A NEW GARMENT DISTRICT!

Yes, you read that right. Now, I am not sure what all this entails as far as the size of the buildings but I will tell you that we love our local production here in the Pacific Northwest, and we love our fair wages. It's a good feeling knowing that we are working towards healthier manufacturing. Those of you who have been following this blog know that I haven't been able to buy anything new for a while out of pure guilt since the Bangladesh factory collapse. (I have a lot of great gently used pieces. It's not as good as fairly made, but it's a compromise in the right direction as far as my own ethics go.)

Seattle Fashion Incubator is spearheading the project, and is partnering with the City of Seattle and the City of Renton to provide training for veterans. You can read more about what they've got going on on their website. They are prepping a couple buildings after months of searching for space, and providing not just manufacturing jobs but affordable studio space, great wholesale fabric warehousing, and mentoring and marketing connections for new designers.

 Check them out by clicking on the website:

Seattle Fashion Incubator

DIY Style: The BEST Hair Color Choice For You



Hello Friends! 

Today's post is a guest by Hello Giggles contributor and beauty expert Kate Allen. She has a beautiful blog over at Hair With Kate and will be offering some online consultations in the near future, so check back soon!

Since my readers are DIY'ers and I know a lot of you are either studio (the artists) and/or home (the moms) bound, I thought we could see about getting some DIY beauty advice! Confession: I, like most of you may do, tend to call my sister for this kind of advice. Now, you can share with her! Lol. 

 Kate's expert tips will help you keep your hair looking good, whether you decide to dye at home or if you are able to get that sitter/leave the project/somehow get everyone fed for more than two hours (ha!) and book an appointment. Maybe we'll do a beauty round up for stylists in your area! 

Today's post is on how to choose a hair color. Thank you for your generous contribution, Kate! We love it.

The BEST Hair Color Choice For You


by Kate Allen

Choosing a hair color is a huge decision. A new color can change your entire look, cause you to try new makeup or clothing trends or even just bring out your very own Sasha Fierce personality. My point is that it can change you in more ways than one.

For me, I love going red when I’m feeling more spunky and trendy. But there was a time when red was too scary for me. I was an outdoorsy, ponytail wearing girl from Idaho who wore fleece more than dresses and red seemed like way too much for me. When I got more into fashion and was less scared of what others thought of my bold choices, I switched over and the confidence it gave me was surprising. I also did a lot of research into what would work with my skin tone, maintenance level and budget, so I was prepared with the exact right shade of red for me and it was so fun to try out a new look.

I see a lot of women in my chair who are in that in between phase. They are open to trying something different, but haven’t ever gone bold with a color choice and they aren’t sure how it will look... or how it will affect their makeup choices or styling options. Well, ladies, here is your guide to choosing the BEST hair color for you!

Light Blonde- Best for women who have lighter hair to begin with, level 7 or above. Requires regular maintenance with regular touch-ups at the roots every 6-8 weeks and usually a toner each time as well. Blondes will also need regular conditioning because the lack of pigment can cause dryness. A blonde shampoo that has purple pigment is also a great idea because that will keep toning any yellow or brassiness out of the hair in between touch-ups. With light blonde hair, any level of skin color can wear it appropriately and in a flattering way, but typically someone with a more cool skin tone should stick with a cool, purple or blue based blonde and a more warm skin tone should stick with a more neutral based blonde. Those with a more olive skin tone should try out a darker blonde because the lighter blondes can really wash you out...
and I know that from experience.

The Consensus: High Maintenance (touch-ups every 6-8 weeks), Requires a budget, Must use color specific shampoo

Bronde- This is your J. Lo color, that beige color that’s not quite blonde, but also not quite brown... bronde! This is an insanely popular color choice right now because literally almost anyone can wear it. It looks best on women who are naturally a dark or medium brown and want to go lighter, but don’t want to damage their hair too much or don’t have the skin tone for light blonde.

This is also the lowest maintenance color choice because you can have the color feathered into your roots for a balayage affect and literally let it grow for months before needing a touch-up. Unfortunately, you might be fighting some orange in this phase, so it’s best to go with a cooler tone (like Khloe Kardashian’s) if you have a cooler skin tone or a neutral if you have a warmer skin tone. Definitely don’t go for a warmer color choice because chances are, it will look warmer after a couple of weeks anyways. You can use a shampoo to tone daily, but it’s not a must.

The Consensus: Low Maintenance, Looks great on everyone, Can incorporate your natural color



Dark Brown- It definitely takes the right skin tone to rock a dark brown. This can easily make you look washed out if you have a paler, pinkier skin tone or if you pair the wrong shade with your skin tone. Also, if you have naturally blonde hair, you are most likely missing the innermost layer of your hair strand (the medulla) which would allow the dark color to truly stain the strand permanently. So you’ll end up with your color washing out very quickly and that’s a huge bummer. This is ideal for anyone who’s a level 6 or below. This also requires regular touch-ups every 6-8 weeks since the roots can look really harsh against a darker color. A great thing about this color choice, however, is that it always looks so glossy and shiny. It can really make dull hair look healthy and repaired!

The Consensus: Somewhat high maintenance (regular touch-ups), can wash out easily in naturally light hair

Red- Red is one of those fun colors that almost anyone can pull off, but few are willing to try. On someone with an olive skin tone, a deep red-violet can look stunning and sophisticated. On someone with a warmer skin tone, a bright true red can be bold and beautiful. This color family is really alllll about finding the right shade and level. 

If you have naturally blonde hair, a fun copper or strawberry blonde with a red base can be gorgeous. The maintenance on this one can be very high because red has the largest molecules of any color, causing it to fade quickly. 

It can also get everywhere, so you have to be ready to trade out pillowcases and towels and to see your shade on every blazer collar. To offset the fading, you can use a pigmented shampoo every time you shampoo or literally do your own toner in the shower to keep it even brighter and glossier. Also, because most people have to lift their hair with bleach to obtain a vibrant enough hue, your hair can endure a bit of damage, so it’s important to do regular deep conditionings.

Using this color can also be really empowering, however, because there are red or orange undertones in most of our hair color already and we’re constantly fighting it. So embracing it and just rocking it for awhile with a great shade can be a really nice change.


The Consensus: Very high maintenance with regular touch-ups and glossing, needs regular deep conditioning to maintain health, can stain pillowcases and towels


For more information on shades, undertones and all things color, check out my 10 Commandments of Hair Color!

Kate Allen is an expert beauty blogger and top graduate of the Regency Beauty Institute. She manages and styles hair for productions, individuals, weddings, and fashion shoots in Colorado. Get her beauty tips and hair how-tos at Hair With Kate and her weekly column for Zooey Deschanel's HelloGiggles, Letters from Your Hairdresser. In addition she has been featured on Refinery29 and BeCultured.ca. She has great style! 

What is going on inside a person who is "Clinically Depressed?"



Hello Friends,

This is a DIY fashion blog, but style is more than skin deep. It brings a glimpse of our core being, our philosophy, and our taste from the deepest corners of our heart out into the world for everyone to see. For all the trite jokes we make about fashion being shallow, or cheap, or superficial, at its heart, fashion is about transparency.

After all, when someone is really well dressed but their clothing doesn't reflect who they really are, we know, don't we? Even those of us who aren't especially "fashionable". We can tell when someone's heart is on their sleeve, so to speak. It's intrinsic. It doesn't matter if you went to the Ivies or barely graduated high school. The truth is there for all to see, and sometimes there aren't words for it.

Not everyone speaks this language, this "style". Like some people have a taste for opera and some will only listen to pop rock, not every form of expression resonates with everyone on a conscious level.

For me, and for many reading this blog, we see fashion not only as the finished product but as a process. Just as a person's individual clothing reflects their style, and ideas, the way a society gets and makes its clothing also reflects core ideas and characteristics about that society. I feel that I can safely say, because makers are such a kind group of people, that probably many of us who read this blog have some harsh words, even if they are unspoken, for our society in light of the recent Bangladesh factory collapse, in light of where and how we glean our cotton, the water we dye our fabric with, and the living standards of everyone who makes our clothes.

You see, the clothes really do tell you about a person.

Sometimes they tell you that person is lying. Sometimes they tell you that a society posts a bill of freedom and beauty and health for all the world to see, but doesn't have the balls to stand up and say something when people have a building collapse on top of them over something as ridiculous as a bunch of T-shirts.

It's okay, Wal - Mart: I can sew my own damn T-Shirt. You really, really don't need to kill anyone over my twenty five dollars. Really. It's okay. I come from 3 generations of proud veterans, and they taught me that there are things worth dying over. An extra T-Shirt and your overstuffed bank account is not on the list.

What does this have to do with clinical depression, you ask?

Well, one, I and everyone else adored Robin Williams. I always thought Robin was sort of an enigma as an actor because while he was incredibly funny, he didn't really dress up in "style". He had those great Mrs. Doubtfire costumes. He got to be the Genie, who is arguably one of the most stylish characters ever illustrated. I mean, the Genie is an actual Fibonacci Spiral on both ends. And he is blue.

Robin was incredibly handsome (his mother was a model; how could he not be?). But he didn't have that "glam" factor that even Jimmy Fallon works hard on. Robin was often out of shape, sort of short, and didn't really do his hair. I cannot recall a single pair of fantastic shoes. Some were good; but they weren't fantastic. He looked perenially like the 80's New Yorker running to meet his friends at the diner and talk about this new thing called "computers". I'm not being vicious here; he was an unbelievably smart guy. He just didn't dress the part, and it was glaringly obvious.

Robin's most photographed style asset was the expression on his face, and the depth and kindness on that face is astounding in every photograph and will be forever. His eyes literally outshine every other object, costume, person, and line in a movie as overpacked and funny as Night at the Museum, even though they are hidden under a Teddy Roosevelt hat and everyone is waiting for some slapstick comedy.

See, Robin understood dissonance, and without meaning to speak too much into his personal life because I didn't know him, dissonance is at the heart of depression.

You know when you hear a piece of spooky or incredibly sad music, and the notes don't really "go together"? That's dissonance. It means two things that are trying to resolve, straining to reach but something has gone off course and they can't meet and it's glaringly obvious that it is some kind of accident or weird bump. Of course in published music the composers do it on purpose.

That is depression. Robin battled depression, and many artists do. Many very smart people do, because they see dissonance. They see things that should meet but don't. Our very core being desires resolution. We want the inside to match the outside. We want everything to look "the way it should". We want people to "look the most like themselves." We want the starlet to "wear the dress, not have the dress wear her".

It is the straining of those two lines of music to meet, and them not meeting. The one line being literally pushed back by some unknown force from the course it is trying to take.

Sound familiar? Enter the whole of American society. Everything about this culture pushes people somewhere. It is the same in India, where the suicide rate is the highest in the world. Push, push, push, push, push...oh wait.

We're not supposed to push that. That's outside our boundary.

And then one day, we hear the news: Someone has died. They were depressed. They had "a disease". They were "overcome with pain". They had "tunnel vision". They had "hormonal imbalance." They didn't get enough sunlight (as if sunlight were the whole reason for our existence). They didn't eat enough fish. Whatever bull crap people come up with.

Actually, they were pushed.

Maybe by themselves, maybe by the intrinsic voice of their overbearing parent whose relentless perfectionism nearly killed the both of them. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm glad. But it can be done, and it has been done many times.

Maybe they were pushed into a public persona that lied to the world about who they were. Maybe they were pushed into silence about something that quite literally crushed them. Maybe maybe maybe...the list is endless.

People are not meant to be pushed everywhere.

They are meant to be drawn.

 Drawn by all the wonderful aspects of our psyche and soul: curiosity, love, passion, desire, a willingness to win the prize, friendship, a willingness to serve, a desire to answer a question, to find the truth, to bring beauty and joy and comfort to their tribe.

People with depression have something pushing on them or pushing them towards somewhere they are not meant to go, something they are not meant to do. They are shouldering a weight, struggling to get up against expectations and demands that quite literally defy universal morality. And it is not "a hormonal imbalance" or "Parkinson's disease" or "the overwhelming pain" that comes with actual chronic physical diseases like MS or Cancer. I know this because people who want to live battle those things with a heart and soul that defies both logic and the explanations afforded to us by modern medicine. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. But damn do they fight. They are drawn toward light, or their family, or their future, or their work, and they will not be stopped by a physical disease if all the gods of past and future, and modern medicine, and the wheat grass of the entire Midwest have anything to do with it.

Depression is that actual mental and emotional push that people feel when they are going somewhere they are not drawn to go. Maybe it has physical manifestations. I'm not arguing with a lab test saying you have an absence of dopamine or tryptophan or whatever. I'm not saying your brain isn't firing low in the front galactic phalangal cortex. If it is, I am sure your doctor is telling you the truth about that. They like their maps of the brain and they care about science and being correct and ethical and everything.

But depression doesn't start with a lab test. That's the biological byproduct of wrong expectations, no rest for the truly weary, and a culture that doesn't respect the boundaries or the sacred calling of an individual.

When Robin died, and many of my friends growing up in Alaska died at their own hands, it is because they are tired, friends. Worn out. Not drawn by that spark of inspiration. Dissonant. The inside not matching the outside. The inside was dead and no longer belonged in the body.

They were pushed.



Insta-Results for the Creative Life



Welcome back to our small biz inspiration series! Today we are going to share with you two ways you can maximize the use of Instagram for your small business. Today I'm going to introduce you to two women business owners who really know how to use Instagram for business.  We're talking about using Instagram specifically for small business who create their own products. A lot of times the big Instagram accounts that people follow are by companies that are promoting a large brand or a famous person. For those companies the people in charge of the companies don't actually make the product they are selling. When you are a small business you have a lot of unique insight into the product that you make. So if you are a small business owner who makes things or creates a product of some sort, you really want to be the one in charge of that Instagram account because of your product expertise. 

So, now to the good stuff! There's a couple really expert Instagrammers who I follow who are specifically people that make what they sell. The first woman biz owner is named Ayumie Horie. She is a professional potter who sells an enormous amount of her work on Instagram as well as other internet venues. She is a professionally trained maker and has both a bachelors and a masters degree in ceramics. 

Besides making some of the most coveted functional handmade pots in the country,  she is famous for inventing a new method of using the potters' wheel. Instead of getting the clay really wet like you might expect to see, she uses it right our of the bag and carves it with her tools while the wheel is spinning. She invented this method in grad school, so just that right there lets you know that she is truly an innovative thinker! 

The way that she uses Instagram is just fantastic and entertaining and she gives talks about selling on Instagram as well as her professional pottery. She's in several important art collections around the world as well as having pots in people's homes. Without further ado, check out her writing specifically on her Instagram use, and if you have time browse her website! She's got a lot of cool marketing things going on as well as just beautiful, entertaining pots. 
Ayumi Horie Ceramics
Photo copyright Ayumie Horie. Click to view her Instagram insights!



Okay so Ayumie gives you great methods to present yourself well as a maker, right? Now what do you need?

FOLLOWERS, FRIENDS. Even if you have one hundred billion Instagrams it only benefits your business if enough of the right people see those sweet pics. 

This means that if you have 5,000 Instagram followers, but none of them are interested in what you are making, you will need not just more followers but the right ones. Nature of the biz, yo. 

Tough to do, you say? It will take forever, you say? Not so. 




Sue's online class is specifically designed to help you use Instagram for your business without adding extra time to your schedule. You can build a great following of people outside your personal social circle who are interested in seeing how you make or sell your stuff! Even if you are a rock star Instagrammer on your personal account, this class will get you going on a laser focused campaign for your business account without adding extra time to your workday. 




The Pinterest Queen | Reaching your audience visually & great customer service with Melanie Duncan



Melanie Duncan is THE Pinterest expert. She has a couple videos that are free if you are on her email list, as well as online workshops for the person who knows what they are really selling. If you sell products or services, Melanie has so many great ideas to help you attract your customers on visual interfaces, and of course her specialty is Pinterest. She is an online e-commerce expert and has been featured in major publications throughout the country. A couple of her product businesses besides her Pinterest workshop include the fabulous home goods e-tailer  Luxury Monograms and a college apparel company. (She likes embroidery, y'all! You see why I picked her for this post. The crafty personality is a profitable one, I always say.)

Check her out! She has a Power of Pinning intensive as well as an Entrepreneuress Academy.

Last but not least, the thing I love about Melanie's wisdom is that she understands not only online marketing but great customer service online. Because you often don't see the customer with online sales, even if you are a business that gives great service and has great customer relationships in real life, it takes a little innovative thinking (and research!) to learn how to do that when you can't see someone's face! Once you get it though, it's pretty easy. Enjoy! We'd love to see your original content or infographics shared on our Facebook Page! If you are a knitter, spinner, or hand dyer, we'd love to see you on Ravelry. Ciao!  ~Alexandra





More web inspiration for your online business here!              

Neon #Truthbomber Danielle LaPorte and Your Intuition As Guide

Marie Forleo Brings You Business Sense

So, How Much? | Money Values with Kate Northrup

Finding Your Sweet Spot and Getting Paid Well With Kate Byrne

"Girls have balls. They're just a little higher up, that's all." | Getting great copy for your website

“Girls have balls. They're just a little higher up, that's all.”



“Girls have balls. They're just a little higher up, that's all.”  Joan Jett

Oh, how I wish someone had told me this when I was refereeing my speedy little butt through college and being asked on the regular if "Title IX applies to people who are working in sports". Yes. That little gem will give you great dinner conversation, no? 

Answer: If you are face to face with a redhead who can run as fast as a grown man and played men's soccer throughout high school and got along with the guys better than the girls, Title IX or lack thereof is not going to help you in your quest for "equality". You should probably first go learn to play this sport you so lovingly wish to adjudicate and then get back to me. Just a thought. 

Side note: this nonsense continues in my hometown. However, my favorite Principal ever (I can say this because he personally went after the girl gang leaders who were beating up my baby sister and once, when he sensed nonsense brewing, cleaned out the entire schools lockers  for a week straight to find out who they were. He did not know me. He did this out of pure human compassion and having a "pair". He is one of my hometown heroes. He likes sports. I like sports. I don't care what your Title IX "issues" are. We are here to be badasses and take some responsibility in life, mmkay? Love that man.) did get rid of the male hockey coach "coaching" the women's team at my high school who didn't know how to play soccer (and needed four female assistant coaches who DID know how to play soccer to help him. He was widely quoted as saying that "hockey and soccer are the same game". See: Title IX not helping you if you don't know what you are talking about.) and replace him with a female coach. She, besides being awesome, was a Division I trained goalkeeper and had a posse of very cool, grown up women to chill with her as she showed these gangly high schoolers how to kick a soccer ball around and have fun and for the love of feminism, to leave it on the field and support each other already. Free therapy, yo. 

Side side note: I have had several awesome, knowledgeable men soccer coaches, as did the awesome lady who played Division I soccer and went on to share her love of the game. As did Mia Hamm and April Heinrich, who are Champions of Everything. Thanks to the Irish Posse's (my first club coaches) careful sports science and good friends, I have been free of injury for all my 15 years of playing sports, and I even play a little on the reckless side:) Know your stuff and be fair, is all I'm sayin'. 

Anyhoo, you see why this quote resonates with me. I am sure that you have something similar to compare your "balls" analogy to, sports or no. Seems balls get you in the door to everything. Well, I'm here to tell you we all have some, okay? So don't let those doors stay closed for you.

In the world of marketing, and especially marketing online, everyone needs a good copywriter. This is the person or people who use their super psychology to manipulate people into buying what you're selling. (Just Kidding. That's really not possible.)

What copywriters actually do is connect with your audience verbally. Do you need to communicate that you have a sale going on? Who do you want to reach? Do you have a bunch of customers in a certain group? A copywriter knows how to speak their language. Some copywriters have specialties. For example, you can bet that the person who wrote your Chilton's manual is not the same team who puts all those cute jokes in the Nordstrom's website. Not that they couldn't, but they probably had a person who likes technical writing do the Chilton's manual and a former fashion student turned writer turned marketer do the Nordstrom's copy. Just imagine if those two styles were switched. All hell would break loose! (And you'd never be able to fix your car.)

If you are selling online, your copy, even if it's just a tiny one-liner, communicates a lot in the words you use. People sometimes give as little as 2 seconds to a webpage before deciding if they want to read it or log on to HelloGiggles. I know, you are laughing at how long this is getting. But my research shows that my readers like lengthy, personal posts. So here you go. :) 

Copywriters, especially for the web, need to be able to understand testing to find out where and who their audience is. Some people have a natural knack for this; others might need good software (see: nerdy people like myself) to help them figure out who is reading what and when, why, and if their copy "compels" readers to actually buy what you're selling. When you find a social butterfly who writes compelling copy, you've got yourself a copy expert. My go - to copy expert and all around motivational speaker on days when I'm stuck is Ashley, and she writes amazing, entertaining words that sell herself and her clients' work. Being the visual nerd that I am, I appreciate that the front page of her website manages to look beautiful, fierce, modern, classy, and funny all at the same time:



ashley ambirge TMF Project



She has a column that is sure to lift you up if you are down with some irreverant humor. Actually most of this site is fairly irreverent, so just know that before you forward it to someone! And find someone who writes you not just good, but GREAT copy if you are selling online. Remember the 2 second rule! 

Last, but certainly not least, in business and in sports, remember to always put yourself and your dreams before some old fogey's "rules of business". They're not you, and they're not here, so they can just skedaddle out of your head. Today we're making our own "rules". Or throwing them out the window, whatever works for you and your awesome customers.

Ciao!

Alexandra

Check out the other posts in this Inspiration Series below:


Neon #Truthbomber Danielle LaPorte and Your Intuition As Guide

Marie Forleo Brings You Business Sense

So, How Much? | Money Values with Kate Northrup

Finding Your Sweet Spot and Getting Paid Well With Kate Byrne