Thursday, April 12, 2012

She's Got The Look

Sarah Brown, creator of Mouse Trap Vintage, and co-owner of Squid Whale Designs, has a very specific look. 

Never mind she's the Good Twin. She's also picture perfect. Her smoky blue eyes, Angelic. Her specialized style, borderline Amish. 

Today Sarah, aka the Good Twin, changed our blog banner. 

Isn't it pretty!

I Love it! It's great. But she changed it without asking. This is our blog. I probably would have chosen this picture. 

It really nails the "good twin bad twin" thing we're going for. Although it's also perpetuating a "which one of you is which" attitude. I've blogged about it before: identifying one's personality trait as a twin as well as an individual is challenging. So to simplify things...she's got the "good" look and I've got it "bad." 

I've got some pertinent information for you all. Sarah has an evil side and I actually am really quite nice. 

For example I have an extra iPhone charger. I leave it at my mom's house as a resident charger. Everyone  uses it when we're there. When I was at home a couple of weeks ago I took out my personal charger to use because someone was already plugged into the resident charger. When I was packing up to head back to Boston I realized I didn't have my charger. The resident charger was still there but mine wasn't. I called Sarah and she actually sounded hurt when I asked her if she may have taken mine. She denied and denied. I apologized and figured I had already packed it and just couldn't find it. When I got back to Boston I still couldn't find it. Luckily I grabbed the resident charger brought it home with me.

About a week later...I got a package in the mail. Please note my doting mother's use of a sharpie. Her packaging can't be beat. There's always a heart around your name and a special note inside...

Here's the kicker. 

Inside that package was an iPhone charger and a note explaining it all...thank you Mommy, you are a great judge of character;)

There you have it! Evidence of the "Good Twin's" BAD behavior. 

She has no idea that Mom sent me her charger. She's reading it here with you all for the first time. 
heheheh (evil laugh)

x o x o x
T h e   B a d   T w i n (?)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Starting at noon today, all of the items in both of my shops will be marked down 15% through Sunday, April 15th ... otherwise known as TAX DAY (*gulp*).


{some new spring items from the Trap}


{some nautical goodness from the old sea shanty that is SquidWhale}

Oh! And, if you haven't seen the new banner design over at SquidWhale Designs, I suggest you check it out. Beth did a FANTASTIC job! It's just a tiny hint of what's to come at SquidWhale later this spring and summer...

Hope you got a big tax refund!

The Good Twin

Monday, April 9, 2012


Back on March 24th & 25th, I spent the whole weekend at SquidWhale H.Q. learning how to sew a dress from a commercial pattern with Maggie, the Bad Twin, Lindsey, the little sis, Mom, a.k.a. Record Lady, and Beth, my SquidWhale buddy. This was my first attempt at making a garment. It took quite a long time, there was some frustrating moments, but it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I found that sewing doesn't require talent really, just time and lots of patience. And when you're done, you get to enjoy the unique satisfaction of wearing something you made. Here's the story of making my first dress at the inaugural DAMN SEWFISTICATED event... 

Our fuel:

{cheese & crackers, citrus & berries & apple cake}

{french press, a bit of the bubbly and sugar from a whale planter}

The girls: 

{The Bad Twin trouble shooting the bust of her 1940s dress}

{Lindsey pressing the skinny straps of her adorable patchwork plaid dress}

{The two faces of my beautiful mom, Cindy, at her very first sewing machine from the 70s}


{still-life with in-progress dress, my pattern directions and Enhabiten pincushion}

{admiring my seams, just before I realized I f*cked up and had to rip them all out}

{ripping seams; a frustrating end to day 1}

A little vintage mouse mascot Maggie brought me sat atop my sewing machine for luck. Here he is wishing us a good night as we left for the evening: 

We made our way on foot up Broad St. from South Philly to the Ritz-Carlton - classy! :)

{view from our hotel window, Chestnut St. 18 stores below} 

{exhausted mom on a cot in our room} 

{even though we were exhausted, we went down for one drink in the hotel lobby (above)}

To make a long story slightly shorter, day 2 of Damn Sewfisticated was kind of a bust. We barely got any sleep because we were buzzing on coffee and stayed up super late giggling in the hotel. We put in a pretty long day, but none of us were near finished. Beth and I came in for a third day and I got so close!:

But, it took a fourth day at my mom's working alongside Maggie to get to finish my dress. There I made my first button holes, put on the buttons and hand-sewed the hem. Here's the finished dress!:

As soon as Maggie finished, we did a little photoshoot in my mom's backyard in front of her beautiful forsythia bushes. Brian was an excellent photographer! It was nearly impossible to not smile with him behind the camera (iphone):

{dress by me, vtg linen blouse, bandana by Last Prize, tights & belt by J. Crew, vtg boots by Cole Haan} 

{we're in love with our dresses and each other!}

{See!? She's the bad one.}

Life after Damn Sewfisticated... Well, I pretty much wear my dress almost every day and planning on making a few more as soon as possible! This has pretty much been my view:


{With new fabric from Spool, my new favorite store! It's a dance party all the time there! (At least when we're there...)} 

{At a transfer fair at Delaware Community College} 

Now all I want to do is SEW! In addition to a few more dresses, I am working on these right now:

 {tank pattern, also from Spool}

{The fabric I bought from Spool to make tanks. I am so adventurous, non?}

{first tank pocket in progress}

{tank in progress with antique ticking fabric pockets & button placket}

{Some fabric I bought to make another dress, hilariously identical to the shirt I was wearing at the time} 

Stay tune tuned for more sewing posts. I expect my mom, Lindsey and Beth to finish their dresses soon! 

Happy Monday!

The Good Twin

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Memories

Last weekend the ladies of my family got together and made memories. 

I drove in from Boston. My mom aka Record Lady closed her store til Monday. My little sister Lindsey had a well deserved break after completing Nursing School. My twin sister Sarah and her studio partner Beth set up workstations in their studio, Squid Whale Designs, with a refreshment table; there was apple cake, cheese, crackers, bubbly water and grapefruit juice. This was no ordinary gathering we had a mission. To make dresses. We planned a summit so we could have a sort of marathon crash course on dress making and support each other through the process. For my sisters and Beth this was their first time sewing an article of clothing. My mom had done this many times but it'd been years since she took on a project. I just started to make clothes. To date I've made three dresses, a blouse, a skirt and a sweatshirt!

Saturday morning we started all fresh and gung-ho! We sewed all day and into the night. We took an early dinner and went back to the studio and kept the midnight oil burning. Sleepy eyed we walked from the studio uptown to the Ritz Carlton. Yeah, I said the Ritz! You gotta treat yourself! We clinked cocktail glasses having a night cap in the amazing lounge and giggled until we passed out cold. Early to rise we marched back to our stations and sat at our sewing machines and a second day just flew by. Now that was Sunday and by Wednesday night my twin sister and I were wearing our dresses to my sister's Nursing School graduation! 

Congratulations Lindsey! 
Not to gloat but she was the Salutatorian, in National Honor Society and VP of her class. 

So here's the making of my dress. Thank god it's now a pleasant memory because at the time it was a really big frustrating pain in the ass. 

I saved a picture of a dress I saw in Bazaar magazine last year. It was a 40's styled Miu Miu dress. It was gorgeous. Orange and silk and white flowers.

Looking for a pattern I couldn't find what I wanted. I had too many specifications. Then I had two occasions were the answer was put in front of me. Talking to Lindsey she said she bought a pattern that was a mix and match. Also on a trip to Martha's Vineyard Bea of Bea's Fabrics boasted she could sew anything. She talked about a Frankenstein kind of dress where she took the individual pattern pieces she liked and pieced them together to make a custom dress.

Here's my Frankenstein:

Anne Weed had this darling formal gown from the 40's in her Etsy shop. It was expensive but I though it was worth it.

Oh! look at the sweetheart neckline! And it has some gathering details like the Miu Miu dress.

Anne has excellent customer service, answering my question about shipping the same day and sent it out in no time I received it days ahead. She made me look like I was prepared for this marathon sewing!
Same goes for Sarah Jayne at Goldmine Trash. She was both attentive and fast to ship. I also bought this pattern for the interesting gather detail. The picture doesn't show very well that the hip detail had both pleats and gathering. I also love the center of the skirt, its a rad T shaped piece.

I had this pattern at my house and I used the sleeve as inspiration.

Let the sewing begin! 

My first problem I ran into was big. Really BIG. The pattern is a size 12. But it's from the 40s so you have to compare measurements to get an accurate fit. I did that. This pattern measured 30, 26, 33. I'll admit my ass is a little wider but the other measurements match right up. 

I got the bodice together and I had my first fitting. The bust may have been 30" but the cup size was outrageous! Did they have fake boobs in the 40's? Frustrated and knowing adjustments had to be made, and I had no idea, and my Mom was there and even she had no idea, so...I put that aside and worked on the skirt.

That sounds very rational. But I asure you I was not rational. I was down right hopeless, I didn't believe I could alter the pattern to fit me. Sewing is a brain teaser, all inside out and backwards! 

My first inclination was to reduce the boob pockets by lowering the neckline and reducing the gathering. See above. That was NOT the right thing to do. But without that mistake I would never had figured out all I had to do was to narrow the bodice. See below. I f-ing did it! (and it fits) ((like a glove)).

So I'm skipping a couple of steps here...just to get to the big reveal. 

But my big reveal was stalled when I only had three slide closures and when closed they left a gaping hole at the side entry. So! Sarah sewed me in! Sewed in tight! Here she is, cute as a button, and trying not to stab me with the needle. 


I'm in love. I may actually hang this dress up after I wear it. 
Now that's a custom made memory. 

OH! I don't want to forget the awesome Colorado Finds! Another great Etsy shop! The week before our Sewing Bee I was undecided about my project. I bought this amazing swing jacket pattern that I was going to pair with a pencil skirt to make a proper suit for myself. Patti was super sweet and shipped this out ahead of her other shipments along with a personal note wishing me luck with the project. That project will not be abandoned and I will share it all with you here.

Thanks so much Patti and Sarah Jayne and Anne! And a  special thanks to SquidWhale Designs for letting us takeover their studio space.

x o x o x o
B A D   T W I N