Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fashion Flackage

No, not flack jackets as fashion statement.  Flackage is Kevin Roderick's term for the practice of PR flack/flak.  Sometimes, all it takes for me to see something is to give a name to it.

Remember the infamous piece about first lady and partner in human rights atrocities Asma al-Assad in Vogue? (Link goes to a thorough article in the Atlantic about the back story.)  Click through to read about how the piece was 'placed' by PR operatives working for Assad.

This month, Harper's Bazaar has a splashy spread about Melania Trump, the immigrant wife of the nativist running for the US presidency.  Actually, I think that the Donald is quite a bit more than a nativist, but I need to step away from the keyboard now.

In other PR flackage news, Charlotte Rampling's PR flaks earned their pay trying to rescue their client from a disastrous interview and non-apology with a story in the NY Times about her style.  When you can't say anything nice about the person, talk about her clothes...

Let's talk about nice things. Did you see this Preen dress in the Guardian's London Fashion Week coverage?  I have nowhere to wear a silk chiffon dress, but I love it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Four Candidates

I bought this slightly sheer deep Prussian blue and black rayon/lycra jersey to make a self-lined dress for myself. But, DD exclaimed that it was fantastic and claimed it for herself. I am an indulgent mother. (I got the ~5 yard piece at SAS Fabrics by the pound so I may be able to get dresses for both of us out of it if I use another fabric for the lining.)

DD and her team are heading to the California State Academic Decathlon Championships again.  The 2016 schedule is not up yet, but you can look at the 2015 competition schedule.  The on-line schedule does not mention the Saturday night dance for competitors.

Suppose you were making a dress for a 15-year-old to wear to the dance (and in her regular wardrobe.)  What do you think she'd like?  And would be age-appropriate?

If you go to the AcaDec site, you can learn about how AcaDec started in CA (actually, LA).  If you took the top 100 teams in the nation, a majority would be from CA--mostly SoCal.  So now, only 2 teams from each state get to go to the National Championships.  Rhode Island sent 2 of their 3 teams to nationals last year.  But, CA also sent 2 out of their hundreds of teams.

The season for most kids in CA ends on Saturday night.  They worked hard and want to let off steam with other nerds.  I want my kid to have a nice new outfit for that.

I have a heavy post coming up about the Oscars and fairness.  The situation infuriates me, but I'm still carefully thinking through what I want to say and how to support it.

In the mean time, please help me select a pattern for DD's dress.
  1. McCalls 5974 (faux wrap)
  2. Simplicity 1018 (might not be appropriate for such l/w knit)
  3. Simplicity 1102 (cold shoulder, shorter length, raise neckline)
  4. Simplicity 1653 (faux wrap)
BTW, did you catch the NPR story (might have ran on Weekend Edition or All Things Considered on Feb 6, 2016) about DD's all-girl AcaDec team? AcaDec is dominated by boys. But, this year, all 9 of her school's A-team members are girls. Actually, all 9 of the B-team are also girls. The teacher selected the 18 highest-scoring students and they all happened to be girls.

DD thought beforehand about what she should say for radio and gave a great sound-bite.

UPDATE: 1102 it is!  Cold shoulder, knee length, raised neckline.

She also said that the dance last year was gross and she is going to hang around the hotel with her friends instead.  Whew!  This relieves the deadline pressure.

Friday, February 19, 2016

America is...

Have you seen the gun photo tweeted by Jeb Bush along with "America"? WTF does that mean? I'm not even going to link to it because I find it so frighteningly awful.

Instead, I'll link to Brian Bilston's poem, America is a Gun.


My America wouldn't allow students to carry guns to class. See campuscarry.utexas.edu. And this elaboration of the policy that states:
Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus. I agree with the working group that a classroom exclusion would have this effect.
My America includes me helping (via email) three high school students do an independent study project about salinity changes near the Greenland ice sheet*.

Their teacher contacted me last week to ask where we should point them. This week, the students contacted me as they explored the data. Their names indicate Indian, Chinese and Turkish ethnicity. This is what I believe makes America America.

What makes your America America?

* Did you know that the sea level is rising in the mid-Atlantic states due to a change in the path of the Gulf Stream (GS), possibly related to a slow-down in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)? The warmer water of the GS bulges up. If the GS hugs closer to shore, sea level will rise there.

So now you know why you should care about the salinity and the thermohaline structure near Greenland.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Speed Sewing 3

I hope you are not tired of shirt refashions.

Remember how I shortened sleeves for Bad Dad in Speed Sewing 2? The upper arms of smaller shirts are too tapered for that technique. For my shirts, I need to use a bias self-band or a contrast band.

I used a scrap of ponte in a coordinating color.

I stitched the band on, serge-finished the seam allowance, and then top-stitched it down for flatten it.

Another thrifted shirt turned into a wardrobe staple.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The ecology of the NFL stadium

Our future is hotter and drier.  Our population is growing.
 In Los Angeles, and most of the western United States, we need to use our water more wisely.  That means capturing rainfall, using it to naturally irrigate landscaping, and storing the excess underground for future use.

The proposed stadium plan is about as ecologically and hydrologically dumb as you can get.

Proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood, CA.

As I wrote in Did someone mention a lake? for LA Observed:
No one asked, but this scientist wants to put in her two cents.

The LAT showed some beautiful photography of the existing site. This picture doesn't look like an empty lot to me. I see permeable surfaces, water and wildlife. The birds see a home.

Put it in context of the surrounding neighborhoods. This area has a surfeit of asphalt. It would be a textbook case of the urban heat island effect EXCEPT for the cooling effect of the greenery and the water of the former Hollywood Park race track.
The site of the proposed stadium as it looked in Jan 2016. Photo credit, Mark Boster, LAT.
I also appeal to environmental justice. The mostly white, mostly affluent kids of Manhattan Beach enjoy Polliwog Park while their peers in Redondo Beach enjoy (and even camp overnight) at Hopkins Wilderness Park. Percolation Ponds can be beautiful community assets. The mostly dark-skinned and less affluent children of Inglewood deserve better than this NFL stadium plan.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Vogue 9951 Redux

This was my most-worn skirt last year.  Vogue 9951, linen, cotton (waistband) and rayon (lining).  Deets here and more photos here.


When I read The Lost Art of Dress and Art in Everyday Life, I understood why.
  1. Pockets
  2. A-line
  3. Pleats in FRONT provide striding room 
  4. Waistband that acts like a hinge when sitting
So I made another one using this stretch twill border print that I found at SAS.

The stretch goes selvedge to selvedge, perpendicular to the print.  This may have been why the fabric was available so cheaply at an odd-jobber.  The yardage photo shows the color most accurately.

I used Vogue 9951 View A, as before.  But, I made slant instead of in-seam pockets this time.

Back zip, two back darts, no lining.

It bells out nicely. The side seams of my first skirt pulled towards the front. I thought that meant that I need more belly room and added 1" at the CF. But, it might have been from sticking my hands in the pocket because it's a tad too loose. If I had more patience, I would take the waistband off and ease the skirt into a shorter waistband.

Or, I might just eat dessert more often.