Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking for a Hidden Treasure

Quoted from “Created to be His Help Meet” by Debi Pearl. Copyright © 2004. Used with permission.

Dear Mr. Pearl,

I am a 24-year-old male and looking for a wife. It is not as easy as it seems to find a decent girl. I want one who not only says she is decent, but LOOKS as though she is.

A friend of mine married one of the girls of the church. She wasn’t the most chaste dresser, but he was sure that once they were married she would sober up. She says she does not feel convicted about how she dresses, and he can only push her so far to change her.

I avoid him since he married, because I got aroused the whole time I was around them due to the way his wife dresses. It leaves me disgusted, frustrated and angry that a stupid, silly girl can cause so much trouble. Sometimes I feel my own body betrays me, but I know I am a normal male with a normal need, and the problem lies with females dressing so godless. Talk about dishonoring a man, all the rest of the younger females in church dress as bad or worse.

I had rather not get married than end up with a silly wife like her. Seeing Jacob embarrassed by his wife scared the rest of us unmarried men, because, as much as we want to get married, we sure do not want to end up being dishonored as he has been.

I want a girl who has not encouraged a thousand other guys to commit sight adultery with her by how she dresses. I want a woman I can be proud to call MY OWN little hidden treasure. How could a man ever trust a woman who, before she got married, “let it all hang out” for everyone to see?

I guess the big question for me is, how do we single men find chaste girls to marry, girls who are not interested in how sexy they can dress?

James G.


Dear James,

The Bible asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” The question implies, “Not an easy find.” It will be worth the search to find a chaste, virtuous girl. Until then, here is your letter advertising your concerns. I pray that the married ladies and mamas raising girls who read your letter will know and care how you godly men are thinking. I wish I had room to print 25 more letters like this, but one will have to do.

She who has ears…LET her hear!

Debi

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shirt Portfolio 1


A reader introduced me to Annie Lantz, a classy Australian women's label. Finding their website www.annielantz.com.au and these pictures felt like discovering a treasure trove. Aren't they gorgeous? The regular price is beyond most people, but their sales give hugely reduced discounts, so I'll be very happy when their website is completed -- it's currently under construction. You can view the pictures there but the prices (possibly the stock as well) aren't current.







Have these pictures inspired you? Perhaps they've given you ideas for shirts you can create for yourself or others? That's what a portfolio is for. Why not start your own?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Petrel Satin Skirt and Blouse























I found this blouse at Farmers Department Store for an end-of-season discount. (EziBuy* is offering the same style this season in black and magenta.) It comes with a tie belt at the waist. I jettisoned this, and readjusted the sleeve buttons so the sleeves didn’t gape. I also unpicked a portion of the hem so I could realign the side seams for a better fit over my hips. My being “hipless” means overblouses poke out at strange, empty angles from me where most women have fill. These small tailoring details can make a big difference to the neatness of your outfit.

This skirt is not, contrary to appearance, in existence yet. What you see is just a classy drape pinned on a mannequin. I am still working on the pattern to create that classy drape. However, once it’s been cut and stitched, you can be sure I’ll post a photo of the completed article and how I did it. The fabric is a heavy satin jacquard used for upholstery. I’ve set the grain on the cross which allows the fabric to catch the light, bringing the leafy design into relief.

* www.EziBuy.co.nz or www.EziBuy.com.au

Blue Trouser Suit with Fringed Shawl
























This suit will be for sale once it is photographically recorded. I intended the tunic to be size 10 but the KwikSew sizing and crinkle cotton (which I neglected to pre-wash) disagreed with me about this, so it's really a size 8. There is a white cotton shift to go underneath the tunic. The low-waisted, loose-fitting pants are women's size 10, but the waistband can be easily let out to size 12 or could be taken in to size 8. The shawl is hand-fringed with pearl beading.

You'll see these details and more when I get my camera team, and I’ll measure the garments properly to confirm the sizes for international ratings.

Click on the images to enlarge.





















Floral Cotton Dress with Criss-Cross Side Ties

This floral Indian cotton has served me faithfully for years, a practical, pretty, multi-season outfit. When new it was probably twice the colour intensity you see here. I had to retire the dress this past winter so I could get a photograph of it before it disintegrated entirely.

I saw the style on a girl at a student convention, determined to make myself one like it, and went hunting for the pattern. She had contrasting side ties, but I doubt she had the trouble I had in making them. I used a chunky cord, which was not a wise choice. Flat, self-fabric ties would have been far easier to insert into the small width of the darts that form the only shaping feature of the dress. Even with careful tacking, it took multiple tries before I got the ties and the tie loops all at the same angle within the dart.

However, I like this side-tie feature very much (and would make it again) because it allowed me to adjust the dress to the most comfortable shape each time I put it on. If you are prone to gaining or losing weight suddenly, you like extra room after you've eaten, or you’re pregnant, this is an ideal design for you.


Click on the picture to enlarge.

Please be aware that pattern styles move through the stores as speedily as garments do, so while Simplicity may not stock this number any more, you may be able to find something similar by browsing their website or any of the other brands at www.SewingPatterns.com.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Creating Your Own Picture Portfolio

The concept has acquired the inelegant title of Scrapbooking. I prefer to create notebooks, albums, and portfolios.


In case you're wondering what an odd-looking shelf this is, I've tipped the photo sideways so you can read the labels without getting a crick in your neck. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I started my first picture album when I was 10. It began with a Gemtime catalogue posted in our letterbox. I loved the glowing colours of the rings, my introduction to rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. It would have been a travesty to throw those pretty pictures in the fire. I cut and glued into a lined exercise book whose initial pages told the tale of “Daddy’s Birthday Card”.

The next chapter in this notebook (after the tale of Lancelot Panther the Rascal, co-authored by my brother) was thanks to a pattern book discarded by the local fabric shop once the winter season was over. My mother bought this heavy tome for cut and paste projects. I began to explore this mammoth and my scissors were attracted to a section offering wardrobe options for Cabbage Patch dolls. I didn’t like the dolls, but I sure was interested in their sweet little costumes, some of which had matching garments for the girlish owner.

Before I dipped again into this ocean of interesting pictures, I was in the fabric shop with Mum and found a pile of give-away pamphlets on the counter – a McCalls advertisement titled “A Wedding Album”. The pamphlet was filled with photographs of the most gorgeous dresses I’d ever seen, bridal whites and maiden pastels in pink, blue, and apricot. I carried one home in a daze of joy and wonder. Thus was born my fascination with picture hoarding and dress dreaming.


I still have that notebook, and have created many more like it, finding that I didn’t have to hope for cheap paper gleanings from ‘junk mail’ or that some kind lady would discard her EziBuy catalogue at my home. I found out how to get my own EziBuy picture books and that the public library stocked bridal magazines from which I could photocopy significant pages at home or even get colour copies made at the stationery store. Out of respect for these beautiful images, I moved from exercise books to clear-file folders, 10 pages, 20 pages… These rapidly filled and overflowed, so it was on to 40 pages, then 100-page boxed albums.

Until recently I felt slightly guilty about this hobby. It seemed pointless and a waste of time, money, and shelf space. I remember telling God this, asking Him why I had such a passion when there was no earthly (or heavenly) use for it except my personal enjoyment.

But in 2006 when I worked with a designer to create a modest concert gown for me to perform in, the Lord began to show me a reason for my interest. Further light dawned at the birth of Boutique Narelle.

Studying is a means by which we learn. I have studied pictures of female clothing and appearance since I was a child. I have albums full of dress style examples and can quickly flick through the pages when I need an idea or an illustration. It has helped me define what I like (or don’t like!), to discover what looks good and what doesn’t.

And as I did with my wedding album to help a betrothed couple decide what approach they wanted for their wedding photography, I know these clothing portfolios will help me in creating my own and others’ wardrobe requirements. I have a store of knowledge from which I can serve nutritious meals to style-hungry girls. = )

I have a hairstyle portfolio, too. This portion of my picture passion proved useful when I went to the hairdresser this year, two printed pictures in hand, photographs I’d found on a red-carpet celebrity website. These pictures enabled my hairdresser to render a look I was entirely satisfied with, a process that would have been far more difficult and perhaps impossible without those pictures. It’s not very often that you get a client with descriptive verbal skills (that’s certainly not me) combined with an auditory learner who can recreate your images in her head or on her drawing board.

So I recommend that you begin your own picture portfolio. Collect pictures of clothing you like (or any other aspect of a girl’s appearance). You will then be able to show a seamstress the sort of thing you’re looking for, or create in one garment a compilation of designs you like.

When browsing the internet, if you see a picture you like, right click on it and save it to your picture folder.

Website/s to help you get started:

www.Sewingpatterns.com – the original online store for all of the latest sewing patterns from your favorite brands. They offer the widest selection anywhere from the most popular pattern makers. If you don’t live in the USA, your nearest fabric store will probably offer you a better price, but by browsing online for the styles you like, noting the pattern numbers, and ordering them at the fabric store, you will save yourself the inconvenience and discomfort that comes with browsing the pattern books in-store. Some pattern information is not available online, but even so I find this website greatly valuable.

Also see other Boutique Narelle Portfolio posts.

Swimwear SALE!

Oyez! Oyez! www.WholesomeWear.com has an end-of-season sale with 25 to 30% discounts!

Of course, in the southern hemisphere this provides us with modest beachwear to start our summer with! There's 4 styles to choose from, in a range of colours and sizes. Jump in while the water's warm, girls! = )

And to help with your shopping, here's a currency calculator:
http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html
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