About Me

My photo
Birmingham, AL, United States
Working hard on becoming a Craft Superhero, one leap at a time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

first prototype: skirt

After a few tweaks and resizings, here it is: the finished beach skirt prototype. I designed this to be easy, but chic. As everyday as a t-shirt, but elevated. Yes, I know it is a cliche, but it is the ultimate in fashionable function.

The woman I design for needs this. Here I am at the park. I just finished a workout at the gym, and then threw this on over my tights so I could take the kids to the botanical garden next door and feed the ducks. You want to look cute, not sweaty. And no matter how fit you are, there are some looks which are only acceptable at the gym. Outside, I prefer a little modesty. (Not too much, obviously, because it is sheer!)

I threw it in my gym bag, partially unsure of how cute it REALLY was outside the comfort of my home, and gave myself no other options. A true test run. I was so happy and comfortable at the park. We hiked, danced, rolled around in grass. And I felt like I looked both fabulous and sporty. A renaissance Mom.

The next day, I threw it in the beach bag and wore it over a bathing suit. Super cute. When I got out of the water and was leaving, I didn't want to get my shirt wet so I pulled it up across my chest like a babydoll dress and it was pretty cute like that, too. (This was only for the walk from the lake back to my friends house the next block over, see previous post on the appropriate usage of see through clothing!)

I wish I took better pictures, but here are a few angles, I hope you catch the gist of the design. Please add any comments, for I have not yet started the "production line." There is still time for a few more tweaks. I have a few special orders to complete, and a good many more prototypes to build, logo t-shirts to order, tanks and tees to applique, and a photographer to find. Oh, then there's building the website. Hopefully, I will find a Dr. soon who will write me a prescription for ritalin or whatever it is the kids are taking these days to get their heads in gear.

Tune in here for more updates on my adventure to Craft SuperHeroism!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a thing for tutus

I have a thing for tutus, and I don't care to limit them to only the young, but also the young old farts. It seems with my expansion of "Stars and Robots" into "Union Britt" I have been working predominantly on women's clothing and accesories.

But wait, I still make all these groovy stuffed pillows and things for kids! Hmmm... How to link the two?

So my new direction came to me late lastnight, and I've decided that my mission is:

Taking Mother/Daughter Wear to the Inspirational Edge.

Yes, that's it. So instead of making a smaller duplicate of the same item, I am going to take the fabrics and make something for Mom, something for babygirl, but not a twin set. For instance, I have this beautiful multicolor patterned vintage fabric, sheer as lace. For Mom, I am making a beach skirt which is stretch jersey in black on the top and the sheer fabric for the skirt. For baby, the sheer fabric will be the tutu ruffles on an acid wash denim base. Oh yes, that is what's happening.

Here are some fabrics:

I do still want to continue making clothing for adults, and a lot of the time, that's all I want to do. Not just for moms, but women, girls, men, dudes, chicas, whatever. But give up my Stars and my Robots, which started this whole love affair with etsy and craft fairs, blogging and tweeting, and opened the door to so much more? Naw. No, no way. The Polyfil in me runs deeeeep.

Monday, May 16, 2011

a note about see through skirts

I finished the first prototype for a skirt I designed for my new line. It is a see through skirt, black waistband with a blue, green, pink and purple printed vintage fabric which is completely see through. (whooo!)

This skirt is what I envision the skater girl or rollerderby queen would wear to the beach. Appropriate under garments for this item should include a bathing suit (while at the beach or pool, not while shopping), dancewear (great for throwing on after class), or leggings or tights.

Union Britt will in no way endorse the wearing of this item, or any see through item over a thong, panty or egads, nothing at all.

Ladies, I am not one to stifle someone's creative expression through clothing, but there needs to be a line drawn between sexy (good, go for it, yay! be hot!) and skanky (a "Starlet or Streetwalker" sighting on Fashion Police should not be your goal for your 15 minutes of fame.)

Remember, in regards to revealing too much, dressing for attention will not make you precious. Don't you want someone to find you precious? So keep it classy out there ladies! It's okay to have a sexy sexy dress on with high heels, but lets keep it to one super revealing zone at a time. Nothing should have anyone asking you if you work at a strip club, even if you do.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to be a Muse

In fashion, you often hear about a designer using a collection to "tell a story." They should make this collection for a particular woman and her lifestyle. What does this woman do? Where is she going? Everyone should want to be her. I am of course basing this in depth knowledge of the fashion world on my extensive study of Project Runway, some podcasts and blogs, and The Fashion Police. I am obviously well schooled, so you should consider any information given here to be amazingly accurate.

Designers have also been known to find a muse. a particular woman, usually a model, who embodies the properties of this fantasy woman whom we would all like to be. And thus begins my tale of how I found my muse. (Facebook, of course)

I majored in Theatre Arts at ECU, then moved to Wilmington, NC to pursue acting using a stage name. I moved out to Hawaii for a bit then ended up in South Carolina. I now am a mother of two in Alabama. Living the dream. I never made it to LA or NY, but via Facebook, I found an old friend who did.

Christy and I did every musical together. She was the coolest girl I knew, and we were super BFFey. Of all the friends I lost touch with, she was the most sorely missed. (Kids, there used to not be email or social networking sites, it was a cold dark terrifying time)

Fast forward fill-in-the-blank years, and I found her on facebook. Yay! It was a beautiful reunion, phone call and all, and I vow never to lose touch again. So Christy moved to New York after graduation, where she held down such exotic jobs as hostess at Planet Hollywood and waitress/performer on a dinner cruise ship. She now lives in LA (actually, on Venice Beach or some beach) where she is an official failed actress (she went on real auditions for years sent out by a real agent and really got called back and almost got a bunch of parts) and has settled into her life as a professional dogwalker http://www.walkindoggies.com/. She works out at Gold's Gym, is covered in tatoos with her cute never ending array of awesome hairdos (yay! that never changed!) and is a Lindy-hopping, karaoke singing fool.

This my friends, is what I personally call "making it." If you don't want to be this girl, then my clothes are not for you. I immediately got a haircut (they only gave me half of what I wanted, I guess they wanted to babystep me from Soccer Mom to awesome fashion designer, grr.) made a meeting with a good friend to help me with a business plan, designed an awesome logo then paid a guy to make it purty, and bought some domain names and started designing my new collection to launch my line.

I have a houseful of fabric and am starting the first pieces. I am hoping to do a live launch party to coincide with a website launch. I am spending my life savings and have no idea what I am doing, but I am thrilled to finally be doing something that lives up to my last known whereabouts according to Christy and my other Theatre-alum long losties. Whenever asked "What ever happend to Brittany?" For all these years all they had to go on was "Last I heard, she changed her name to Winifred and moved to Hawaii." Awesome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A morning treasure surprise

You know what is considered a nice thing to wake up to, from a crafter's perspective?

Having one of your handmade items chosen to display in a treasury by a complete stranger who appreciated looking at your work.

Treasuries are collections gathered from items found on etsy to convey a particular theme, color scheme, or mood. It is a real feather in your cap to be featured, as they are usually put together by someone you've never met and who isn't otherwise familiar with your shop. It also brings traffic to your shop since people who like to look at treasuries might see your item in a different way.

So here, featured in a beautiful collection of sea related beachy items in colors of blue and green, is my Barracuda Beach Towel. A Stars and Robots original, naturally. Ahh, its great to be famous. (Just quoting the towel, I'd never say that about myself, far too humble.) ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

to the Limit!

There comes a time when we should all test the boundaries of our comfort zone. Think about the amazing things humans have accomplished. Empires have been built.

Me? Pretty comfortable, not going to lie. That is a personal call to immediate action, there is nothing worse than boredom!

My theatre head in college used to tell us that if you want to be proud of something and do something great, you must try to do something really hard and then accomplish it.

So I hope you like these

and these

and I hope you are ready for this

Enough with the interesting stuff, I actually have to go put my creativity on a (prominent, easily viewed) shelf and get to work! Goodbye life savings, hello Scary Awesome World!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Here is my finished project for my high school reunion auction. (20 years, EGADS!) I was always trying so hard to be one of those students who was too cool to have school pride. (No, I didn't make cheerleading) Yet, I didn't have the guts to actually hang out with the smoking section kids (I wasn't nearly that cool.) I floated somewhere in between.
Yet, when approached about making an item for our auction, I swelled with pride as I designed this cardinal, complete with our graduation year on a deck of cards (another image our yearbook staff used to have fun with.) With my perfect vision hindsight, I must admit: I am proud to be a Jacksonville Cardinal. Super Proud!



You can buy this item or one of my yellow submarines at our auction page here. If they sell out, I will be making more to put on my etsy site, just add a message or convo me!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cardinals and Submarines

I am DEEEEEEEP in procrastination mode with a project I promised a month or so ago. my high school reunion is having our (20th) reunion this summer, and they are doing a fundraiser, for which I am donating a Yellow Submarine..(The absolute most time consuming item in my shop, made to order) and a red cardinal with the year 1991 on it, which I have yet to design, but must look awesome.

I went fabric shopping (oh, 2 weeks ago?) and came up nil, deciding I had what I needed at home. (Ok, I did pick up some on sale fabric and recover a bench seat, since that was much more prudent use of my time.) Today, I am finally gathering my supplies and cutting out submarine pieces. Right after a quick. blog. break...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My First Purse

Here's a quick project if you need to sew a gift for a little girl. My friend has two little girls who have the same birthday, and turned 2 and 4. I had just made them some cute tutus for Christmas, and didn't really have time to hit the fabric store, so I used the materials I had on hand to make some super quick little purses. I love fleece and usually have a ton of it on hand in every color! It is a fantastic fabric for the beginning sewer or for an easy project. No hemming, bright colors, cozy, washable, etc... Go getcha some fleece.

Here are the purses, I just freehanded the shape and cut it double per purse, then made a long oval shape to be the band across the bottom and sides. I cut out a flower shape, then a circle for the center. I only sewed the circle down so that the flower would be floppy. Then I cut leaves and sewed them on down the center to make a vein. Sewed the pieces together, made a strap, and viola! instant little girl 'satisfashion!' I filled them with stickers, so the purses were pretty much instantly tossed aside as everyone in the house (including the dogs) was directly embellished in fairies, princesses, and hamsters holding hearts. Thank Heaven for Little Girls!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The last of the jacket, or "Last Jacket Standing"

One more post, and I will stop it with the jacket already. The awesomeness that is my upcycled futon cover, denim Aztec and/or Navajo-printed, biker jacket of greatness made it's debut lastnight at the Stardome Comedy club.

I went out with another couple for a long overdue date night to see the Comediennes of Chelsea Lately: Loni Love and Natasha Legerro. (Yeaaaahhh!!!) First, when we arrived I told them that I already had reservations for a table, but they bumped us up to the very front row, right at the stage! Of course, it must have been due to them wanting only quite fashionable people in the front row, like at Fashion Week. See, my jacket has magical powers, already opening doors.

Then, after the MC opened the show, there was another comedian opening for the girls: one Roy Wood Jr., of the Birmingham Wood Jrs. Maybe you have seen him on the television, almost winning last Comic Standing. I was totally starstruck, I was a huge fan of him on the show, so just because I decided to wear my multicolored jacket of questionable fabric descent with it's magic making abilities, we get another A-List comic on the bill! (You're welcome, sold out house.)

As if that were not enough, when we leave the theatre after the absolute best comedy show I have ever seen, there stands Roy, looking dapper in his off the rack jacket. My friend Vicky and I, neither of us wallflowers, go right up and slime our super-fanness all over him, right in front of our husbands. I am sure we looked amazing. And what did he do? Offered us tickets to his show the next time he is in town! (GO JACKET GO! GO JACKET GO!) then we became friends on facebook, because obviously, we are now thick as thieves as he probably never gets fans coming up to him and talking his ear off after a show, going on and on about how fun it is to be out without the kids. Honestly, the excitement was almost unbearable, surely for all parties involved.

I have to give a shout out to the ladies as well, since they were so amazingly funny. Natasha was wearing a fabulous ensemble she described perfectly as "a homeless person that robbed a rich person." So obviously, her aesthetic is right on the money. She had a great bit about how her family said "You know Tasha, you used to talk like us too," to which she replied, "Don't you know who I think I am?" Love her. She was hysterical and my husband now has a new #1 celebrity crush, because he has great taste, naturally.

Loni Love. I have to pause and close my eyes for a second. Ok. She was perhaps the funniest woman I have ever heard on the face of this earth. Her impression of "George Washington: Gangster" had me needing a change of underpants. Not only was she ridiculously funny, but she had a real warm uplifing and inspirational tone. She told us all that anything was possible and to go out and do your dream, it can happen; in a way that only Loni Love could. I was already a huge fan, but I got all deep about it, knowing she was talking about me and my jacket and if I keep up the good work, I can be on Project Runway one day.

All in all, a fantastic night out, me and my jacket. I do have to concede to the rationality that as it is true that they seat the most FASHIONABLE people in the front row at a FASHION show, I was actually at a COMEDY show. That's okay with me. If my jacket wants to get me front row seats, it will take them how it can get them. Here is a horrible picture of me, my friend Vicky, and the magic jacket, framing a great looking picture of Roy Wood Jr. Please go out and support your local comics, bands, artists, and future designers!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jacketo Completo!

I finally finished my jacket, and I think it is pretty awesome. I am trying hard to be humble. I even gave myself a little pep-talk on humility before I wrote this post, but. It really is kind of cute.

I think I am just amazed that I finished, it was a big challenge, and it took a good amount of work. (There I go, I really am gloating.) I sewed on the sleeve cuffs by hand, that was through really thick layers, and they had to be sewn in several 'rounds.' (Ha Ha, get it? I sewed them around and around.) I am a little too deep in the head on this jacket, I've gone looney. I finished sewing on the sleeve cuffs over four hours of tv lastnight, all intent on blogging, but instead I watched "The Fashion Show" and then went to bed. I gotta admit, they didn't do a bad job on that show. It will NEVER replace Project Runway, but it sure beats 'the pants' off of that other PR wannabe show whose title I've already forgotten. Listen to me, I guess I am using a little Ross Matthews humor. (LOVE him! If you twitter, he's a good one: @helloross) You might know him from Chelsea lately, the red carpet, or from Leno as Ross the intern.

Anyways, I am delirious, here's my jacket. I am not a photographer, all my pictures are quickies from my iphone, and I could really have glammed it up a bit with some nicer clothes, a lil powder and some washed hair. The workout clothes are really setting off the look. Nevertheless, it is a denim biker navajo marvel with gold lining. Yes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fashion Geeks Only: Thread Tracing How-To

I have accomplished much on the jacket today. All pieces that can be assembled before I press any seams are done, so my next step will be to have a press conference with my iron. Once you do all that pattern cutting, sewing on stabilizer, and tracing markings, you really start flying. Phew.

In my last post, someone asked about how I did thread tracing so I thought I would do a pictoral tutorial. I really despise all the tedious markings you have to transfer from your pattern pieces, and I never get the pieces sewn before the dissapearing ink evaporates or I brush away all the chalk. So I usually use a sharpie, I have a rainbow of options, yet there are still times when it can decimate the professional look of your work. I happened upon a class on iTunesU about how to do markings with thread while sewing a jacket and picked up this neato trick, which was just in time as I started my jacket the next day and it is a rainbow of colors. I chose to use a rubber duck yellow so I could see my thread!

Here is a daunting looking pattern peice, cut out in double, ready to be marked!

line the pieces up as perfectly as possible, and pin or weigh the stack down ( I use some heavy old shower hooks, they are the best pattern weights ever!)

Insert your needle through the pattern marking, through all layers. Use a contrasting thread so you can see your markings.

bring the needle back up through and down again, making a loop.

put your finger in the loop to keep the slack and bring the thread back up through one more time. If you are going through four layers, make sure to make the loop even bigger to give yourself more slack to work with.

trim the thread length longer than the loop length.

Pull the pattern pieces taut. (in this photo, there are two pattern markings showing. It is easiest to do all your markings on the piece at once, then cut them apart, for marking consistency with the pattern spacing.)
Snip the thread between layers, leaving enough slack on both sides of fabric that it won't pull through when you are moving your pattern pieces. No need to go crazy, you don't need a tail, just enough to see, a quarter inch aughta do it.)

See the final markings below. Note that the bottom layer will have just a stitch of thread showing, unless you want to pull more slack through to make it furry like the rest!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh Jacket, how deep have I gone?

Here are some more progress shots of my jacket under construction. My Crafty Goddess is feeling small, so small. Not defeated, but rather, like a first year intern who probably gets yelled at a lot. She will pick herself up, stiff upper lip and all as she goes to her tiny abode and eats ramen noodles to a tv with bunny ears. (Can you even still use those?)

In real life, I have a husband feeding me at regular intervals and kids needing things at more regular intervals, so I can give that baby Goddess a pretty good pep talk from the real world I am living in. Obviously I am delirious, but here are some project pictures. The first shot is an extremely cleaned up look at my work station. The fabrics might seem insane, but the gold and leopard are only for the inner lining, a bit of a peekaboo when I take off the jacket. Ha.
A jacket is really the majors. I may not quite be ready for Project Runway auditions, but I am definitely in a good training camp!

So far, I have spent a week cutting out pieces, thread tracing pattern markings, and ironing on stabilizer. Now I get to pull out the sewing machine.

I now have 52 steps of sewing, and I have officially completed step one. So, 51 to go! I hope I finish before it gets warm, but it snowed today, so that's something. Here's to a jacket for this season!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a few words, a bunch of project shots

It's me! In blue pin cushion form.

Jacket pattern

Wow, I'm looking really good. I must have been doubling up on the situps.

Fitting a pattern, so big league, right?

Just a few pictures of what I am up to. It's going to be a cute jacket, I swear. I spent most of the free part of my day adjusting my dummy to fit my size and then adding padding (aka socks: they stuff a bra, they square a shoulder, they're not just for breakfast anymore! )

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Fashion Education

For my Birthday, my Brother called me to tell me he was giving me the gift of Education. His gift included a twenty minute informative schpiel on the amazing world he has discovered on iTunesU. College courses, for free! He is more of the finance and real estate type, unless there are classes on deep sea fishing or something, but I decided to delve into the offerings they might have in the world of fashion and dressmaking. See about putting that new dressmaking form to some good use.

I ended up watching an hour guest lecture at California College of the Arts by a woman who started out upcycling t shirts (um...that's me!) and turned it into a cottage industry selling to Barney's, Fred Segal... among other big dogs with items in the $100-$4000 range. (that is NOT me! ...yet, he he he:) She was amazing and informative, talking about her business, her philosophy and her life, and she was about the most charming thing ever. I was so inspired I was actually taking notes.

Lo and behold, she is actually based right here in Sweet Home Alabama. Their items are "grown and sewn in the USA." Watching her share her passion as if it was just the most ordinary thing gave me a real moment of understanding that if you really know who you are, anything is possible.

The woman's name is Natalie Chanin and her company is Alabama Chanin.
To see this amazing handiwork (100% of her items are done by hand, no machines) check out her website here: AlabamaChanin.com

Please share if there have been any pieces of inspiration crossing your path lately!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pushing 40 with gusto!

Being 38 is knowing I am 2 years from the big 40, and as I approach, I feel excited. I remember when Madonna (back when I still swooned at her awesomosity) turned 40 and it redefined how I thought about aging. If that was 40, that is where I wanted to be! Not at that moment, I was glad to take my alloted time to get there, but I saw and still see it as a point of arrival.

I'll probably be married (check)
have kids (check)
know what I want to do with my life (check)
and be a lot more confident (check!)

Now I feel as if I have two more years to fine tune myself for my arrival at 40, Look at me, I can do anything and I don't worry what you might think! I may be even closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a craft superhero. I think I'm doing pretty good so far. So here is a photo of me tonight, on my 38th Birthday, no touch ups, no makeup, not much sleep, and no apologies. What you see is what you get and I like what I see and where I am headed. Everyone have a great day and a Great 11!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Then and Now

My most recent sewing has been done at the speed of light. I was so busy leading up to and during Christmas and Thanksgiving, that when my necesssary projects were complete, all those odd and end things that were piled up got ripped through because as I told a few of my friends, my sewing machine gets cold and lonely when it's not running! I will get to those projects in some future posts, but for now, here is my most absolutely recent project (completed yesterday during the kids nap.) Bella's bed.

Oh, yes of course, this is the old Bella's bed. As you can see, she has slept in this bed her entire eight year doggy life, and it had reached a level of disgustedness that I had to remove from toddler hands and public view. It has been in the garage since about the time this photo was taken (hilighting in full color that it needed immediate removal from the house.) Poor, poor, Bella. Almost a year and no where to call her own. Bad Mommy. So I went into Joanne fabric, and in the super discount pile in the back, they had a big bolt of outerwear fabric in my absolute favorite color; plaid! Fast Forward to as fast as a machine can sew (I used canvas for the underside) and viola, my (furry) baby girl finally has her spot to roost. Happy dog ears and all!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Peek A Boo

My Oh My it has been about 13 months since my last post. Guess how old my baby girl is? Yep. exactly. I've posted mentally a million times, and all my fabulous pictures are on my iphone, I never could get the app to work. (If anyone has tips on that, I'd be grateful to hear them in comments!)

I will be posting things from the past year to warm up my blogging skills, I have made some really really cool stuff this year, from 2 foot stuffed yellow submarines to adult Christmas tutus. And everything in between. I even did my first celebrity custom order! HOW COOL IS THAT??? And guess what I got for Christmas? A dress form! My life is about to change!

Happy New Year :)