Update: February!

Hello all my lovely ladies and gentlemen!  It’s better late than never, right? (Had planned beginning of the month updates on the first of the month but I think I’ll be more fluid and change it to by the 5th hehe).

To be honest, not to terribly much has happened yet.  January was filled with a lot of stress between both of my part-time jobs, finding work-life balance, and a lot of other stuff.  I have, however, gotten to a point where I may have more structure between the two so I can spend more time making stuff for my shop.  (If you think about it, I technically have 4 jobs.  Two outside part-times, one for my parents and their business, and then my own business x_X No wonder I’m so stressed!).

My eldest brother was also teaching me some fun stuff that I can do with Excel to start trying to use it for inventory management and keeping track of items so when I only have bits of time that I can dedicate to CSE, I’ve been working on those.  In some ways, it’s kind of fun to work with spreadsheets, but on the other hand it can be frustrating because I know I want to do a particular thing, but I just don’t know how to program the functions to do said particular thing.  Thank god for pre-made templates!  (Thank you internet for your lovely search capabilities that I don’t think I could live without like my parents).

Other than inventory management, I’ve also been finally working on some items for KitsuneKon.  I haven’t gotten very far, but I’ve at least started.  I made most of the pattern pieces on Monday and just have to make two more.  Also, one day I’ll have a more legit space than our dinning room/office/craft room/reading room/whatever-we-need-except-actually-eating.


Any mess you see here is my doing.  I am the terror that usually undoes any sort of cleanliness (I think mom wasted all the organization on my other brother because I’ve got nothing…I can never find anything when it’s put away….)

Goals for February:

  • Make at least two size runs of tutus (sizes S~XL)
  • Work on Sarah’s Death Jester cosplay (one of those situations where I have to do x before I do y before I do z right now though….)
  • Work on inventory management
    • At least get one of the 3 (so far) sheets completed with exact count, when to reorder, etc etc
    • Also complete at least one sheet that details amount of materials used for project
  • Don’t forget to pamper self (whether that means just sleeping in until 9 guilt-free once, or a date with the boyfriend and not do work for a day)
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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Updates


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Monthly Round-Up of Articles: January

February 2, 2015

So I’m 2 days late of posting this from when I wanted to but oh well!

Every month, at the end of the month, I will be featuring some links to interesting articles.  Primary topics will be Fashion, Fashion Shows, and Textiles, but I will also attempt to remember to include all the other random nifty things that I come across throughout the month.  (I subscribe to 3 google alerts, hence the topics covered haha).  If you stumble across some nifty articles you think would be awesome in my list, please feel free to contact me and I will definitely include it 🙂


MISC Articles:


January 3, 2015


January 9


January 17


January 24th

January 31

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Round-Up Articles


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January 29th, 2015

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen for Part III!  I apologize for the delay, but unfortunately life is still kind of hectic for me! (That and I procrastinate sometimes T_T)


In this post I will be explaining what are croquis, how (ish) to make them, and what can you use them for.



Origin of CROQUIS krō-ˈkē

French, from croquer to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch

First Known Use: 1805

(Thank you Merriam-Webster dictionary for awesome stuff)


In the art world, it’s basically a loose drawing, just enough to get an idea onto paper that you can flesh out later.  They’re also good for practicing basic art skills and loosening oneself up in prep for an art session of any kind. (I don’t honestly do them myself, as I use templates, but I should probably get into the habit of doodling and sketching again….I lose my art skills quite rapidly if I don’t use them for a length of time).

For instance, this drawing, pulled from deviantART user EsbenLash is a great example of an art croquis.  (Honestly, they have some pretty damn awesome artwork besides.  Go check them out ❤ )  You basically get the idea that this person is leaping, or dancing, or whatever.  It’s not finished, but you get the jist and can work on it later.

Line Drawing

In the fashion realm (and more often than not if you google “croquis”) croquis just means a body template.  Typically used for anything from drawing clothing lines to flats (the technical term for digitized fashion designs like you see on the back of a sewing pattern). As a side note, flats can be useful to see a more technical approach to your designs once you’ve narrowed them down (but I’m getting ahead of myself here).


At the end of this How-To, in the Resources LIst, I added a ton of handy Fashion Illustration books that you may want to look into.  I have many of them myself and it doesn’t hurt to have several different kinds to reference depending on how you learn/what style you like.


OKAY! AWESOME!  We have a basic idea of what a croquis is.  Now what do we do with them and how do we use them?


First: we’re going to need a few supplies, depending on your drawing habits:

  • Paper (sketch pad, printer paper, scraps, whatever)
  • Templates (optional; will discuss later)
  • Tracing Paper (optional)
  • Pencils (Mechanical or regular drawing; I prefer a 2H when not using a mechanical)
  • Mood board you worked on earlier or other inspirational pieces you’ve gathered


A note on templates: This are easy to acquire or make yourself.  There are several templates you can source from deviantART, Pinterest, Google, or other search engines.

  • For old fashioned paper method- it is good to have tracing paper handy once you print out some templates (or if you’ve drawn your own), that way you don’t have to worry so much about how your figure looks and get down to drawing the clothing right away.
  • For digital art: if you create your template (or trace/modify a template you find online), I suggest making the outlines a light blue and do several per sheet.  This way, if you’d rather do the clothing drawing by hand, you’ll have a lighter line to draw atop of rather than getting confused with a solid black line.

Example of using a croquis found online. Croquis source: P.S. She has quite a few books that look to be very useful resources. I provided links to buy her books in my Resource List. ❤


Example of hand drawing croquis. They aren’t pretty, but they’re functional. Also, notice all my note scribbles next to each design.

Second: Find a comfy place, and draw!

Sometimes I find going to youtube and searching “inspirational video game/movie score music” gets me into the grove.  Especially with my scale maille.  Depending on the desired amount that you’d like for your collection, it is usually best to draw twice that. For instance, draw 12 or more pieces at least if you’re planning on a 6 piece collection (Honestly, I’d do at least 15~20.  Nice good round numbers haha). The reasoning behind this is so you can get obvious ideas out of the way in order to get to the more creative, original designs floating about in your brain waiting to be drawn.

Also as a reminder, make sure you have that mood board/inspiration page handy! It is very easy to go off track.  While it isn’t terrible that you go off track (sometimes you come up with some pretty awesome designs for future/other collections), it’s always nice to have it near you to refresh your mind what it is you’re trying to build your collection around.

Note: As things like possible fabrics/accessories/things not easily drawn pop into your mind on a particular outfit, make sure to note it somewhere near the garment, using arrows or contrasting colors when necessary.  It’ll help in the long run, especially when you get to the fabrication portion.  You wont have to go “OKay…now -what- was the fabric I was thinking of for this??”


Third: Take Breaks, and ask for feedback.

You may not think of it, but taking breaks is actually a decent idea.  It refreshes the mind, and lets you not have to focus on the task at hand (It can get quite daunting.  Believe me.)  This way, you’ll be able to look at your collection with fresh set of eyes and maybe see combinations you didn’t initially think about.

Once you think you’ve exhausted every possible outcome, either take another break, or ask close friends and families what they think.  You don’t have to listen to everything they say (as they may not understand the purpose of your collection to begin with), but the feedback is important.  It’ll help narrow all the designs down to your chosen amount, whether it’s still the same as original thought, or more.


FINALIZING: IT’S TIME TO D-D-D-D-Decide! (You thought I was going to say “Duel” didn’t you)


Now that you have the feedback you need and all your drawings in front of you, it’s time to narrow the designs down.  This is a moment you have to be realistic with yourself.  You may end up wanting to do a 20 piece collection now that you have all these spiffy ideas, but do you really have the time to do it?  This is especially true if it’s your first collection.  You can always reuse ideas in another way for different collections, so never scrap them!


Again, it may be helpful to run by choices with friends and family.  If you explain your theme and ideas, it’ll both help solidify the idea in your mind, as well as help you figure out the best way to write about your collection when it comes time to show them (whether it’s in a show, a fashion spread, etc).


When it is all said and done, you should have a pretty good idea of what the collection is going to look like right now.  For me, personally, at this stage is where I like to start making a few flats for my collection.  It helps me further visualize the collection and I can start messing with colors and other various ideas.  Adobe Illustrator is a good vector-based program to use.







(Resources used in the post noted by an * )



    • *Tahmasebi, Sha. Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators.  ISBN: 978-1438070490
    • *Watanabe, Naoki.  Contemporary Fashion Illustration Techniques.  ISBN: 978-1592535569
    • *Hagen, Kathryn. Fashion Illustration for Designers (2nd Edition).  ISBN: 978-0135015575
    • *Szkutnicka, Basia.  Flats: Technical Drawing for Fashion (Portfolio Skills: Fashion & Textiles).  ISBN: 978-1856696180
    • *Drudi, Elisabetta; Paci, Tiziana.  Figure Drawing for Fashion Design.  ISBN: 978-9054961505
    • *Park, Aeran.  Workbook for the Fashion Designer.  The Complete Guide to Fashion Illustration.  ISBN:978-0132675819
    • *Tinli, Basak. Complete Fashion Designer’s Guide: Themes, Templates and Illustrations. Buy Here
    • *Tinli, Basak. Fashion Designer’s Guide: 50 Themes, Templates & Illustration Ideas: 20th Century Fashion, Historical Costumes, Sub-Culture Clothing, Categories. Buy Here
    • *Tinli, Basak. Fashion Designer’s Guide: 50 More Themes, Templates & Illustration Ideas: Sports and Activities, Dance Costumes, World Cultures, Sci-fi & Fantasy.  Buy Here
    • Calderin, Jay. The Fashion Design Reference Specification Book: Everything Fashion Designers Need to Know Every Day  ISBN: 978-1-59253-850-8
    • Tortora, Phyllis G.  Survey of Historic Costume A History of Western Dress.  ISBN: 978-1563678066
    • Leach, Robert.  The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design.  ISBN: 978-0500290354
    • Volpintesta, Laura.  The Language of Fashion Design: 26 Principles Every Fashion Designer Should Know.  ISBN: 978-1592538218
    • Martin, Marcarena.  Field Guide: How to be a Fashion Designer.  ISBN: 978-1592534913
    • Genova, Aneta.  Accessory Design.  ISBN: 978-1563679261
    • Steen, Camille; Lee, Jaeil.  Technical Sourcebook for Designers.  ISBN: 978-1609018566
    • Armstrong, Hellen Joseph.  Patternmaking for Fashion Design (5th Edition).  ISBN: 978-0136069348
    • Armstrong, Hellen Joseph.  Draping for Apparel Design.  ISBN: 978-1609012403
    • Amaden-Crawford, Connie. The Art of Fashion Draping.  ISBN: 978-1609012274
    • Kershaw, Gareth.  Pattern Cutting for Menswear.  ISBN: 978-1780673196
    • Kiisel, Karolyn.  Draping: The Complete Course.  ISBN: 978-1780672861
    • Kim, Injoo.  Patternmaking for Menswear: Classic to Contemporary.  ISBN: 978-1609019440
    • Knowles, Lori A.  Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Juniors, Misses and Women.  ISBN: 978-1563673283
    • Knowles, Lori A.  Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Menswear.  ISBN: 978-1563673290
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in How-To


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Almost Level 24

(LoZ Item Get never gets old)

Tomorrow is my birthday, and in many ways, this year is pretty “Meh” celebration wise (which I’m okay with).  I have to work both jobs, and I have to work early Monday so that means no party-hardying for me (that’s okay…I’ll make it up to myself next year for my 25th since it’ll be my golden ;D).

goals for 2015

Earlier this month I did goals for myself as a business.  In lieu of my b-day, I’m going to write down 24 goals for myself personally for the year.

  1. Time management.  Seriously, I have a ton of issues with this. D:  I’m hoping to fix that this year.
  2. Work + Life balance.  Will play into time management.  Right now I technically work 4 jobs (Vandervest, JoAnns, my parents, and myself).  I literally have no structure week to week and my system is completely screwed up.  I’m hoping by at least June I have stuff figured out.  I need routine.
  3. Find an exercise regime that works for me.  I recently discovered hooping so…I hope that sticks (I have to rest another day or two from it though.  They really aren’t kidding when they say you get bruises D: ).  I can’t walk a gajillion miles on end at the mall (or even around town) like my brother does…unless I go with him.  It is just not satisfying to me and becomes a reeeeaaal big hassle (not to mention back to #2 where I have like…no routine)
  4. Make healthier food choices.  Even though it’ll be a bit more expensive in some ways….I really gotta crack down on this.  This includes remembering to take my supplements regularly (which I don’t right now).
  5. Finish Sarah’s Death Jester Cosplay.  Hoping time management can help with this one because I still have a shit-ton to do.  T__T Augh (stressing already)
  6. Find a different outlet for stress other than crying.  I get stressed out.  I cry.  I get really frustrated.  I cry.  I need to find a more creative/productive outlet.
  7. Stay on track for paying off my loans.  Want these babies paid off.  A lot.
  8. Have at least 1 photoshoot for my business.
  9. Create a collection for said photoshoot.  Hopefully by Fall.
  10. As always, lose weight/or rather lose fat and gain muscle.  With a lot of stress since the end of 2013, (being much amplified this past fall), I gained a bunch of weight.  Hoping goals 3 and 4 will help with this.
  11. Learn to say no.  I’m better than I was, but I could still use some help.
  12. Keep up this blog.  I have a blog content plan planned through February (fully) and partially through the end of the year.  (Constants being the first of the month is a business update post, the 15th is an influential designer, and the end of the month will be a round-up of articles on Textiles, Fashion, and Fashion shows or other fun articles I come across outside those categories).
  13. Organize.  If you saw my room, you’d understand the need for this.
  14. Create a website.  May have to hire a friend to do the layout and such for me because I’m terrible with code. T_T  I can do fun photoshop/illustrator stuff but can’t make it into a webpage D:
  15. Help mom get our sewing/crafting room up and running.  It’ll make both of our lives easier once we have that.
  16. Gain better self confidence.  I can be quite good at faking it, but I have absolute terrible self-esteem.  This is a never-ending process at the moment.  Hopefully one day I can take this off my list.
  17. Start thinking about long-term life planning.  Don’t have to plan anything now, but I need to at least start getting it in my head that one of these days I wont be living with my parents and I’ll need to learn how to do stuff.
  18. Continue making connections, no matter how big or small.  Now that I have a different setting of a job at the dealership, I’ll get to meet all kinds of new people and experiences.  I’m actually very excited for this.
  19. Don’t be afraid to take some risks.  Right now I’m really conservative when it comes to money and taking risks.  I fear that if I stay this way, I wont be able to grow my business.  What’s holding me back, though, is my crippling debt from college and that is constantly in the back of my mind.
  20. Work on my art skills.  Hopefully, starting in February (when things have calmed down a bit), I will try to find time, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, to try and sketch.  Anything and everything.
  21. Use up some of the fabric downstairs and try to lessen the amount of impulse buying.  Mom keeps yelling at me for bringing more home.  I can’t help it ;__; (I’ve at least gotten smart enough to start labeling the fabric with what my intended use for it so when I finally get to it, I remember why I bought it)
  22. Make an epic pattern/design for fabric.  Idk what that will be yet, but I want something that I designed and then make it into something.
  23. Delve into papermaking and dying fabric.  They look really awesome, and very much potential black holes
  24. Make it to 25.  Only have about 366 days to go.

Okay.  I’m done pestering you with weird goals.  I’ll hopefully have part III of Making a Collection done this next week.

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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Postpone on Part III of Collection How-To

Hello my lovely readers!  For those of you waiting anxiously for Part III: Croquis and Sketches, unfortunately, I have to move it to next week as….I know I will definitely not finish it for this week haha.  I haven’t had a chance to create my own sketches that I’ll be using as examples.  As part of a New Year’s Resolution, I thought I would try to have more time management, but right now it’s still pretty difficult for me to manage.  It’s really tough to juggle two part time jobs and try to develop Crimson Star Emporium at the same time.  Just not enough hours in a week! T_T

In the mean time, I will have a few shorter posts out this week in order to compensate for that. ❤

Also, if you are looking for some fun Wisconsin conventions to check into this year, definitely look at KitsuneKon and NoBrandCon.  They’re smaller conventions, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any fun!  I’ll be vending at both of them too~  A little info about both of them:

KitsuneKon: (

  • March 20-22, 2015
  • Held at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, WI
  • $30 Pre Reg until 2/28/15, or $40 at the door
  • Last year’s attendance was around 2200 (I think.  I know we maxed out the hotel, and unfortunately we had to turn some people away.  Luckily we have a muuuuuch higher cap at the KI Convention Center, hence the move from Appleton).

NoBrandCon: (

  • April 24-26
  • Held at The Plaza Hotel and Suites in Eau Claire, WI
  • $30 Pre Reg until 3/24/15, or $35 at the door
  • I’m not entirely sure what last year’s attendance was.  I think it was also around 2k.

Hope to see you guys there 🙂

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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Influential Designers: Alexander McQueen

January 15th, 2015

Every 15th of the month, I will feature a designer that I find fascinating and influential.  I may end up going back later and editing some of the posts (especially in the “Why Influential” section because sometimes I just can’t really put into words why someone is just awesome <3)




March 17th, 1969 – February 11th, 2010


(Pulled, in part, from

Alexander McQueen was born in London, March 17th. 1969 – he was the youngest of six children.  At age 16, he left school and was offered an apprenticeship at the traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Shephard, and then at neighbouring Gieves and Hawkes – both of which were masters in the technical construction of clothing.

After his apprenticeship, he mastered 6 methods of pattern cutting from theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans, ranging from the melodramatic 16th Century to the razor sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature.  At the age of 20, he was employed by designer Koji Tatsuno, another who had roots in British tailoring.  A year later, McQueen travelled to Milan where he was employed as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant.  On his return to London, he was completed a Masters degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martin’s.  He showed his MA collection in 1992, which was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow.

Alexander McQueen shows are known for their emotional power and raw energy, as well as the romantic, but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections.  Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, fluidity and severity.  An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realized with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition.  Alexander’s collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of the bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier, and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing,


I can’t say when I actually started to follow some of McQueen’s work.  I know it was before I started Mount Mary in 2011 because I was proud to know at least one designer.  (Yes…I was a design student who didn’t really know much about design.  I went in with the purpose of pattern making due to love of Cosplay…but I digress).  All I know is that I was drawn into his beautiful work.

I think it was the allure of pushing boundaries, and such interesting pieces that adorned the models.  It wasn’t just the garments, but it was the headdresses, the shoes, the over-the-top feel for some of his collections.  I feel a lot of his collections I feel most closely with are the dark, mysterious ones – the ones where he creates these images of beautiful, almost macabre pieces.  They aren’t always of a dark color, but even the light colored ones have this strange quality to them.



*It gets buggy if I try to include a caption, so “McQueen Fall/Winter 2014/15”  Taken from:

McQueen Spring/Summer 2011

Fall 2009….Not going to lie, I’m not entirely sure if I like this one or not (Clothing is fun but…not sold on the faces D: )

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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Influential Designers


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