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I made a “real” wrap dress – Stylearc Lea

Its no secret. I love Indie Patterns and I love supporting them. Unfortunately not all the styles work for everybody and my first foray into wrap dress sewing (Vogue 8379) convinced me that it wasn’t the style for me. It made me look frumpy! I gave up on this style. Until.. I made the faux wrap dress – Wren from Colette.  And that was a game changer. I Loved this dress on me! That also led me to the conclusion that its the skirt which needs to be fitted.

So when this lovely gift from Elliot Berman Fabrics arrived at my doorstep the other day, it completely brought me out of my sewing slump and I decided to make a “Real” (as in with ties and such…) Wrap Dress. And here it is!

 

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Now based on the numerous reviews on Patternreview, I did make a few changes. But the best advice I got was from Sara Cormeny on Facebook, to add contrast ties and band. I knew I wanted to tweak the pattern anyway to add wide neckband. To use the same fabric for ties, was a brilliant idea! Thanks Sara! It breaks up the print and frames it. I absolutely love it.

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The Lea Knit Wrap Dress does not come with bands, and based on what others have said, its quite low. So I added to the front and also removed some from the back neckline to account for the 2.5″ wide bands which I cut out from my silk jersey leftovers 🙂

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It is still too revealing for me without a camisole! But whatever.

So this is how I added the bands. I tapered them down to the end for some added interest.

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After serging them on to the neckline (while stretching the bands slightly), I folded the ends in for a clean look. The photo explains it better.

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Then I simply added the ties to the end and we’re done!

Here’s a better look at the bodice on the dressform.

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Yes, I know that its left over right but I was just shooting it so its ok.

I took Lea for a test drive yesterday at the PR meetup and loved walking in it. While it does not open up too much. I will feel much better if I add about 5″ to the underlap. I’ll do that and an FBA in my next version. The ties are too long as is! I will most certainly cut them down to half next time. But overall I am so pleased with my dress.

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Me Made May Roundup

If you are not familiar with Me-Made-May, it is a month dedicated to wear and share your makes. More details here.

Even though I didn’t “officially” take the pledge this year, I decided to do it anyway. Taking photos everyday is kind of a pain but it had become a routine… I did enjoy getting dressed every morning and paying a little more attention to what I am wearing. I even wore makeup some days which is so rare for me.

Here are the things I realized…

1. I don’t like to wear pants.
2. I love making and knit wearing tops and dresses
3. Even though Dia is only in 9 out of the 31 photos, she probably wore clothes I’ve made for her 60% of the time and that makes me so happy.
4. PR Exclusive patterns are some of my favorite TNT.
5. I sewed 10 separate things in May! MMM was definitely a good motivator. As was some recent fabric acquisition.

When I look at the outfit photos they make me happy. So why then am I hanging on to some clothes which I haven’t worn in over 5 years? Time to let go of some things…

Things I need to make more of
1. Some “frosting” would be nice. i.e. some nicer, more dressier pieces.
2. Jackets and perhaps pants (who am I kidding.. I hate pants)

That said, knowing who I am I rarely follow a plan. I sew from the heart and enjoy the process. Fabric really inspires me as does looking at everyone’s outfit photos. I’ve had a blast perusing my daily feed on instagram at everyone’s me-made outfits and sharing mine. I have to admit this year, it was more fun because of miss D! she enjoys wearing her mommy-made clothes as much as I enjoy making them which is such a win-win isnt it? And most days she would jump in to the photos with me and those are the ones I will cherish forever.

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The BIG 4…0…

When I was 15 years old FORTY sounded so… well OLD! You know how it is when you’re 15 right? I was on top of the world (my own world) not a care in the world.

And here I am 25 years later turning FORTY! And guess what? I still feel on top of the world and that’s not half bad I say. Granted that this past year has been a record number of FIRSTS. Like having to jump up a size! But listen one size in 15 years is not bad at all. At least that’s what I am telling myself and I am ok with it. I also started working out, YIKES!!! Need to keep up with my VERY energetic 4 year old. <rant> And what’s up with Carbs getting a bad rap? Man I love Carbs… Unfortunately for me, they don’t love me back!!! SOB!!! </end rant>

Can I tell you what the best thing about turning 40 is? It’s the 40 years of wonderful experiences that I now have under my belt. My lovely family and fabulous friends who have been there with me and see it all. All I need to do is close my eyes and relive those memories whenever I want. I may not be in the best state of health, but I sure am in the best state of MIND!

Someone interviewed me a while ago asking me about my Goals. What’s that? Don’t ask me what I am doing in 10 years when I don’t even know what I am doing for lunch!

Does that mean I am cruising through life? Maybe so, but, I am cruising along with REALLY good company and that’s what matters the most to me.

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I believe LIFE is a PRIVILEGE. To be born and living in a FREE WORLD is something to be grateful for and I am not going to waste any minute of it. So bring on the 40s, let’s see what the fuss is all about!

And to these two wonderful people who brought me into this colorful world, I only have one thing to say. “Mom and Dad, thanks for putting up with me for the last 40 years! I LOVE YOU!”

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My Dad

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My Dad didn’t read me princess stories. He didn’t ooh and aah over my every word and accomplishment. Despite being an award winning photographer he didn’t take 1,001 pictures of his first and only daughter. He was never present at any of my school events or even award ceremonies. We didn’t go on many vacations either. He never took me shopping! Or even a movie. I don’t remember if he ever took me to school either. Heck… he wasn’t even in the hospital when my mom gave birth to me, or so I’ve been told 🙂

He was never around… At least not in the traditional way. I remember those nights when my brother and I would sit up waiting for him to come to us and perhaps read or even talk. He would come… but he would be too exhausted to keep his eyes open and my brother and I would take guesses on how long it would take him to doze off. It sort of has become a family joke now 🙂

My Brother and I (1981)

Us again… 33 years later!

While other dads were taking their daughters to plays and movies, my dad was on his scooter driving more than 100 miles in the sweltering heat to his factory… working.

Other dads would spend a nice Sunday afternoon with their children in the playground or take them for a picnic. Papa would not be there, because a phone call the previous night at 3:00 AM changed his Sunday. The furnace broke down and he needs to take the engineer to the factory to fix it, otherwise the production would get delayed.

Mumbai, 1987. One of the few vacations we took.

Mumbai, 1987. One of the few vacations we took.

Why can’t Papa ever be home?” I would ask Ma. “Why doesn’t he take us on vacations?” Mom would make excuses for him. Or try to distract us with her yummy cooking. I didn’t understand then why sometimes her eyes would get moist. She missed him too of course.  But never said anything.

1973 – Mom and Dad on their honeymoon!

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1998, My Parents' 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated at home.

1998, My Parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated at home.

 

Yes, My Father is a businessman. To most people having a business directly equates to having boat loads of money and a comfy life. Far from it! Because you see… having a business means you have to work for everything. You need to start from the bottom, even scrub toilets if need be. It means you are responsible for providing for not only your own family but the family of those who are employed by you. So we didn’t take many vacations. Because Dad had to be at his factory. In the 24 years I lived with him, I think I remember that he only took time off when he was sick. And sometimes even then he would not.

No he didn’t make a bed of roses for me. But he did teach me how to smile and survive when it gets rough.

For my 12th birthday, he gave me a gift of 100 Rupees in an envelope which had the picture of Rose on it. Dad wrote “I smile among the thorns. Can YOU?

2005 "Smile among the Thorns"

2005 “Smile among the Thorns”

He taught me how to drive a car! But how many Dads teach their daughters how to change a flat or check the oil? Mine DID!  As he was teaching me he realized that I was afraid of driving with trucks. So that’s where he taught me! “Anyone can drive fast. Show me how you can drive slow in 1st gear”  He would say. When he visits me in August in the States, I’ll return the favor by teaching HIM how to drive my car 🙂

He taught me how to appreciate and learn from our experiences. When we did go out, he made me write an essay about the place we visited! Now I blog about my travels..

2010. Dad and I took a road trip to Jaipur, India. The only way to spend time with him, was to get him in a car!

2010. Dad and I took a road trip to Jaipur, India. The only way to spend time with him, was to get him in a car!

Dad and I don’t agree on a lot of things. I always reasoned with him… He would say “I don’t have it in me to reason with my parents.” For him, his parents are everything. Guess what? I have a payback child, whose favorite question is “Why do I have to do this?” And “Because I said so” isn’t cutting it anymore 🙂

Vermont, 2004. Dad and Mom visited me in the States.

Vermont, 2004. Dad and Mom visited me in the States.

We did go on walks every once in a while, and I would say “Papa, you need to change with the times. Things are different now“. To which he would say “Dear, the world can change, but there are some things which will always remain right and others which will always be wrong.” And then he would go on to elaborate… He is a very principled man and I love that about him. And yet, he always wants to learn. He was the first in our family to embrace technology. He never bought me a dress but he did buy me  a computer so I could learn! I wrote my first computer program to help him track his inventory. I hope you’re not still using it Dad! The other day he told me “Whatsapp is great! Now I take photos of the samples in the factory and send it to my vendors“. Its never too late to learn he always says.

But the best advice he ever gave me was on the eve of my wedding. “Dear Deepu” he said. “Remember beta, respect is not something you demand. It is something which needs to be earned. And the ONLY way to do that is to GIVE respect. You are not just marrying a man. You are getting another family, and you have to embrace them as your own and love and cherish them for the rest of your life.”  I hope I’ve made you proud Papa!

March 1999 with Papa on my wedding day.

March 1999 with Papa on my wedding day.

I don’t like to talk about this but when I was 23, despite everyone else’s advice, he took a bold step and got me out of a terrible engagement which would have crushed me and my spirit completely. He faced the world for me and helped me bounce back. He. Saved. Me.

Today I am married to the most wonderful man who is my best friend.

Gagan, my husband, my soulmate and my Best Friend.

Gagan, my husband, my soulmate and my Best Friend.

I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that there are times when I wish I had more memories of “normal girl” childhood but then again, my dad is not just a normal guy. He is an extraordinary man who wants his children to be the same. Would I trade my childhood for anyone else? Never in a Million Years!

My Dad didn’t raise me to be a Princess. He raised me to be a Real Woman, who can face the world with a smile on her face. Someone who knows how to pick herself up and dust herself off. And for that Papa, I LOVE YOU. And I wouldn’t change a thing about you,  not now, not ever. You’re one in a million!

In 2009, Papa became a Dada (Grandpa) when my nephew was born. He taught me to laugh like you don’t have a care in the world.

 

2011 he became a Nana when Dia was born.

2011 he became a Nana when Dia was born.

With both Grandkids. He was present for both their births!

With both Grandkids. He was present for both their births!

And today, when I see you with Dia and Aditya, I feel blessed that you are not only my Dad but also their GRAND DAD, touching their lives just like you continue to touch mine. Love you Pops!

 

 

 

 

B Present…

It’s going to sound so lame but this is something which has stuck with me. And it came from a movie!

Rumor Has It http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398375/

Trust me I am not going to go preachy on you especially when I haven’t blogged in about 6 months! But just this morning as I was thinking about starting to write again I thought I’ll begin with this post.  I am guilty of not being “present” most of the time. Think about it. We’re either living in the past (oh those good ‘ol days) or in the anticipation or excitement of the future. But rarely ever in the present.

Gagan and I used to fight all the time when I would insist on taking photos of everything and everywhere I went. My argument “I want to be able to re-live this”. He’d say “But you’re missing it now!” Of course back then I would never agree with him but I do now 😉

And in this era of living VERY public lives (thanks to Facebook) we’re almost always living in the future when we take photos every second of the day to “share” later. In the last few events I’ve attended I’ve actually made a conscious effort to NOT do this and let me tell you it was not easy at first, but it was liberating! I didn’t care how I looked, I was just having fun with people I love. I was present. What a concept right? Then I started thinking… when am I ever present? I suppose one of the few times I am actually present is when I am spending time with my munchkin – Dia and I would not trade that for anything in this world. So I am going to end this on a positive note and go home and “BE PRESENT”

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Documenting my life – Day 4 – Your Kids Dressed UP

I didn’t forget about this. Just taking my time with this series and enjoying taking pictures. So the 4th in the series is all about KIDS and dressed up too. I am in a dilemma here. How is one supposed to select from over a thousand photos! No, I didnt take them for this blog, but I figured I have so many nice pictures of Dia (who just turned 1 btw) that I should just use those.

At her birthday party. She was an angel that day.

First Thanksgiving in a dress made by Gagan’s aunt.

First Diwali (Festival of Lights) – October – 2011

Blackberry camera phone. I just love the expressions on her face. I knit this red sweater for her.

Natural light filtering from the window in Dia’s room. It does wonders for this photo. I made this dress!

I think I am going to stop here. There are some of my favorite “dressed up” photos of Dia. At 15 months now she is super active so it’s getting harder and harder to capture her various moods and expressions but we are enjoying every single minute being parents.

Austin and SXSW Part 2

One of the other activities planned during our stay was visiting some of the awesome fabric stores which hosted our 10th anniversary party back in November last year. Benson of TexStyles even threw me a party. I was so flattered and honored. On Friday, despite the rain and chilly temps a bunch of us met at TexStyles and had a great time! This is one of the reasons I scope out local digs. I enjoy hearing the stories. The people behind the stores, restaurants and the shops. Their inspiration, their dreams and their life is what makes their store different from others. I enjoyed playing with fabric and trims at TexStyles while sampling some local chocolate and baked goods. These guye are awesome! I came home with a lot more fabric than I had planned 😉 (Thanks Benson). I enjoyed meeting so many of the wonderful PR members there. Thanks you guys! I can’t wait to sew up some of this gorgeousness.

You’d think that I’d had my full after TexStyles but there was one more stop which I had to make before heading back home. Fabricker! Such a happy place! Don’t let the strip mall fool you. This is a very well designed store with lots of open space, mirrors so you can drape fabric before buying. A really cool “Take a Pattern, Leave a Pattern” console is perfect for pattern-o-holics like myself. April has a daughter Dia’s age so she found plenty of things to keep her busy while Mommy explored 🙂 And we will give Daddy lots of credit for all this too because he is AWESOME! He was a trooper during my fabric store visits.

And here are some more photos from The Common Threads. Our visit there was brief but sweet. I wanted to take home the whole store. But instead, I bought this cute moda print (bottom right) for making a sundress for Dia. Even though the whole stack of Echino wanted to come home with me 😦

 

While we were in Austin, we ate really well at lots of local favorites. I had some of the best veggie burgers in Austin! My favorite was the beet (that’s right, beet) burger Leslie and I had at  24 Diner where I even indulged myself with some Mac and Cheese. Oh yeah, I was having fun. I had a great time with Leslie and Roseana at the Eastside Cafe and during quick lunches at the conference. Thank you to both of you for making this trip so special for all three of us.

Our last day in Austin, we decided to take turns watching Dia at the conference. Believe it or not, it was a lot of fun.  So yes, I couldn’t attend some of the sessions but who cares. Dia made a lot of friends and even collected some toys in the expo hall.

I am convinced that rain follows me wherever I go. How else can you explain 4 straight days of downpour in a state which is supposed to be in drought! And of course here at home it was beautiful and sunny while I was gone. All I can say is “You are welcome Texas!” But no, I am not moving there 🙂 And No, it’s not because you walk around with “Don’t move here” T-shirts on.

It’s because as much as I love to travel and experience other places, I am absolutely and completely in love, and at home right here in Boston.

Austin and SXSW – Part 1

I started writing this post right after I got back from SXSW, Austin, TX but… Life Happens…

 

I just got back from attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas and all I can say is WOW! South By SouthWest is a two week long festival/conference/party in the heart of Austin, a cosmopolitan city. From what I hear, over 250,000 people attend this festival every year. This was my first time in Texas so I was really looking forward to it. 7 days is a long time to be away from home and work but we wanted to make it into a mini vacation as well so we stayed a few extra days to explore Texas. I now realise that not only did we not explore Texas, when you go for a conference you shouldnt expect to see the city 🙂 Unless of course you’re twenty somethings… Cause guess what? After the sessions were over, there were parties everywhere! Complete with drinks, music, live bands and good food! Us oldies however couldn’t wait to get back to our cute little cottage to the apple of our eye. Who was a champ by he way. We had an awesome babysitter, Lauren (thanks Leslie) who looked after Dia while we were at the conference center. Was stayed in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood for the duration of our stay. So close to downtown and yet so quiet. We loved it here.

We weren't allowed in the main B&B because of Dia so they gave us this stand alone cottage instead. Worked well for us!

About the interactive conference. I didnt really go with any expectation so I was completly overwhelmed and amazed at the magnitude of it all. Just the line for picking up our badges was a couple miles long snaking all the way around the conference center. It took us two hours just to get the badges. That said, it was beautifully organized with food stalls and refreshments everywhere and since we were indoors and had good company time just flew.

We have our badges!

 

If we were a little more organized we could have picked our badges a day before and saved ourselves a little time. But we were out having fun enjoying the “Tropical” weather. Here are some photos from our day with Leslie and Scot.

Sniffing the Texas Mountain Laurels – umm.. Grape Coolaid anyone?

We all like to smell the flowers 🙂

Doves at the Zilker Park. Dia loved them!

A fun day with Leslie and Scot

Enjoying an afternoon Cuppa Joe at Dominican Joe’s.

 

While Gagan hung out at the Startup Village I was mostly at the Intercontinental which was where most of the marketing and branding panels were held. There was some excellent speakers, some of whom I’ve started stalking. Dr. Pradeep and Derek Halpern to name a few. There was even an interesting panel about why women blog which I enjoyed quite a bit. Oh, and I learned a new buzz word – “Social!”

Every single panel and seminar I attended, focused on social media and social networking and social sharing and social progamming and social partying. I get it, but wouldnt it be nice to look up from your phone every once in a while to say Hello to the person seated next to you? But then again I am OLD.

Sea of people tweeting away!

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I met a few nice people at the conference. Check out dishenvy.com, a new startup about rating dishes. (Not restaurants) Cool. At the blogging panel, there was a woman seated next to me who, did not have an iphone! It’s a miracle! She and I started talking and turns out she is also from Boston and works at the MIT Media Lab, one of the most awesome of labs I’ve ever been to.

We took a break from the conference to drive to Waco (yes, that’s the one!) to meet up with some of Gagan’s college roommates. They were driving from Dallas and Houston with their families to meet with us. Despite the crazy weather and traffic we had a great time! And since Dia was the youngest kid in the group, she got a lot of attention from the others which she absolutely loved. And we got tons of babysitters. Here’s the thing about old friends. Even if you haven’t seen them in the last 10 years, you just pick up where you left off. It was great meeting you guys and getting to know you.

I’d been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for a long time and since we were in Texas… Gagan spotted this huge boot store – Cavenders close to Temple, TX on our way back to Austin. I was blown away. I wish I had taken photos but I must have tried 20 pairs after settling on these ones. The sweet salesgirl with the cutest Texas accent was super helpful. I so adored her snakeskin boots! But for now, I am calling these mine 🙂

Wow, I’ve had a lot to say! It’s getting too long so next up. PatternReview party at TexStyles and other fabric shopping report…

 

Documenting my Life – Day 3 – Me and My Spouse

The whole point of this exercise (besides creating a photo journal) is to improve my photography skills. So I’ve been trying to step away from the “Auto” mode of my DSLR. I wanted to take some kick ass portraits yesterday for today’s post. Well, let me tell you something about my spouse. He does not like his photos taken. Nor does he like to take photos. Except of course if they involve Dia (our 1 year old). But he loves me, so he humors me every now and then. Considering these were taken outdoors with no flash at 5 pm, I think I did a pretty good job didn’t I? And just to prove my point how reluctant he is as a subject, here are some shots.

I used the A/V setting on my camera and dropped the F way down.

 

You can see the background is more in focus (not what I wanted)

 

Finally! I can't believe this handsome guy is my husband!

As for my photos, I was not feeling inspired to take self portraits so I am posting some old photos.

Gagan took this picture on the portrait setting on the DSLR. Not bad!

Documenting my life – Day 2- The Inside of my Home

Home, a 4 letter word which means different things to different people. For me, its about feeling safe and being with my loved ones. It’s a place where I can kick back, relax and not worry about anything.Tricorvar istspan4 = document.getElementById(“istspan4”);var mySpanEmpty = document.createElement(“span”);istspan4.parentNode.replaceChild(mySpanEmpty, istspan4); It is a warm place where we welcome our guests and share a meal with them. This is my home. It may not jump out from the covers of a magazine but it’s mine and I am grateful for it.

 

 

 

 

My Sewing Studio

 

 

 

 

 

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