Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tribal Fest 2015!!

Ive been sewing like a mofo all month and beyond for this great event! I'll have Bessie Skirts and assorted Bessie daywear and accessories as well as KCCC Sampants, dresses, vestaleros, skirts, hooded boleros - all kinds of things! A few garments still need buttons, but there are always lulls in the storm for that sort of thing. We'll be there for 6 days, so I dont need to put it all out at once anyhow. Keeps it fresh. :)

Come see us!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slow Fashion and the birth of The Bessie Design Studio and Boutique

Ive been busy lately helping to set up a new sewing/design studio over at the FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. studio in San Francisco! I'll be working on my KCCC projects over here in the Crockett studio and *mostly* working on the Bessie line of clothing and accessories over in the city. So sorry to anyone who has attempted to contact me and didnt get an answer back.........Ive literally been pretty overwhelmed with juggling commitments and projects!

 We now call the whole FCBD studio "Studio SF". It houses the FatChanceBellyDance studio and store, the Nakarali Jewelry Company, and the Bessie Design Studio and Boutique. Carolena Nericcio- Bohlman has completely redecorated the whole place = including swanky new fixtures and office! The dressing room is wonderful! Its coming along nicely!
 Its pretty exciting!!
 Despite the commute, I am liking this arrangement and I'm having a lot of fun! Not only am I seeing new and familiar faces again, it has been awesome for me to get out into the world - now I feel that I have the best of both!!!! (and my favorite fabric suppliers are right down the street!!!!! How I and my wallet have missed them so!)

At the moment, Carolena and I are learning how to master a new little  coverstitch machine that may very well be a game-changer in our Slow-Fashion production. After we did some research, she ordered the Janome Coverpro900. We're working with that slinky drapey cotton/lycra jersey and while Ive previously avoided it like The Plague, there is no denying that it makes a fine, wearable garment that is economical to produce. We have a cute little top that would benefit by a good coverstitched hem and neckline and we've got quite a learning curve. We will both be taking classes in how to use her. And the reviews and tutorials in the PatternReview.com website are invaluable.  So in true Gemini spirit, I am again in two places that suit the many facets of my personality and skills. One always feeds off the other. The New Baby:
 Every day we are rearranging and expanding our space - and making it work.  And when we've got it a bit more under control and flowing smoothly, we will expand to include a class or workshop or two....we have a lot of great ideas that I think will be fun to share!  For now, we are focusing on fullfilling orders, getting our stock up, and getting ready for vending at Cues And Tattoos in Seattle and then, of course, Tribal Fest! I see us expanding into other sectors...but baby steps. It IS Slow Fashion after all. We are right on trend.

For ordering/shopping for your Bessie Design items, go HERE!! You can, of course, find out all about American Tribal Style Belly Dance and see what classes and workshops are offered!

Monday, February 23, 2015

It was a Celtic Affair

Erin Langley had me make this green plaid peplos (shift dress) before her trip to Ireland last year. Wool plaid with a matching belt adorned with a self covered vintage belt buckle - a piece that I happened to have found in my stash of things.........

Not only did she have a blast, but I keep seeing pictures of her in it pop up in my Facebook feed. Gotta love it when you see someone getting a lot of use out of something you made!

 She's pretty awesome.

A Successful 2015 ATS Homecoming Event

I seriously have a hard time describing the ATS Homecoming event that was held this January.........what an endeavor! Week long classes and workshops. Three days of Vending. I put on a  vendor fashion show and there were more performances than one could imagine. All American Tribal Style. All the time. Kudos to Carolena Nericcio- Bohlman and Terri Allred for putting this together and pulling it off! I was asking poor Terri questions constantly and her replies came faster than any promoter Ive ever worked with.

For those who may not understand what ATS Belly dance is, it is actually called American Tribal Style Belly Dance and is a style initiated and perfected by the troupe FatChanceBellyDance under the direction of Carolena who I mentioned above. I have been affiliated with these ladies in one way or another for a good 20 years. This was the first event of its kind that was completely 100% geared towards this dance style. Women came from all around the globe to attend. It was truly a homecoming...........

There was some down time during all the workshops, and we had a lot of time to hang out and catch up with each other - and then we would be swamped with either selling or catching up with our friends and customers - or both - and that's how these things work. Salomes' Suitcase came together once again to sell our unique and locally made artisan wares.

I threw together a fun little vendor fashion show on Friday night which brought attention to the vendors and I think everyone benefited from it nicely! And I got to know some of the vendors that I might not ordinarily have talked to as much. I made new friends - always a nice thing to experience......here is Cyndi Elliot working her Bessie as Carolena MCs in her Bessie...........

The Bessie line that Ive been working on was featured and sold at the FatChanceBellyDance booth - and pretty nearly sold out! The Bessie skirts were being worn everywhere and that was so rewarding to see!

 That was Bethany Maxwell showing off her skirt. She was stage manager and worked the skirt during the duration of most of the event!

Michyo Salsbury showed me an iPhone cover that her husband made of her wearing her Bessie Skirt! That is the cutest thing ever...........
The tears they were falling like rain at the end of the event as the participants went home. There was so much bonding that week that it was hard for many to leave. I don't often see that. So we are all excited to participate again next year at the Hilton - a much better venue.Thank you, Carolena!!
Get your Bessie skirt here!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The brainchild of Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman, ATS Homecoming is a new three day convention for ATS (American Tribal Style) Belly Dancers and lovers of this dance style. This first of its kind event will be held at the San Francisco Marriott from Thursday January 8th - 11th. I will be vending along with many other amazing designers and artisans. I hope to see some or all of you there!

I am also organizing a little Vendor Fashion Show on Friday evening, January 9th so that we can each show you a sample of our clothing/adornments on a live body - and some ways you can coordinate your wardrobe with our fashionable offerings! Its going to be fun! If you plan on attending and would like to be a model - you can email me at kc.costumecouture@gmail.com.

The Bessie Line of clothing will be at the FatChanceBellyDance booth. I will be vending my KathleenCrowleyCouture wares with Salome's Suitcase for your shopping pleasure!!!

You can go HERE for more information and directions on how to get to the venue!!!

Studio SF

Well, Happy New Year everyone! 2014 was pretty good to me and I hope it was for you as well! And on that note, 2015 is coming in with a bang for me!! I will be spending a great deal of time at the newly renovated FatChanceBellyDance studio in San Francisco where I will be working closely with Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman on our growing Bessie Line of clothing and adornments!

 Carolena and I have known each other for a very long time now and we are melding our ever-growing love of fashion that is flattering, easy to wear, and makes you feel awesome at any age. But with our naturally maturing minds and bodies, we are gravitating to wanting older women to be able to feel as awesome as we did when we were younger. We do not strive to be invisible. You can still be fun and faithful to living outside the box. You can still feel alive and vital in your clothes! And that is our mission. We don't like what is being offered to us and so we will make it for ourselves and for you. Being dancers and of the dance world, we know how your clothing needs to make you feel and fit...........................

So I introduce Studio SF:
Stay tuned!!! And Happy 2015!!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Free Shipping For USA customers!!!!

I'm offering free shipping within the United States through Christmas!  Ive been up to my eyeballs in private custom projects and don't have a lot of new things in my Etsy shop yet, but maybe free shipping will help you out if you have been on the fence about investing in one of those adorable vests or slip dresses!  I don't really do the Christmas retail thing. The stress is not pretty. I cant handle the buyer's remorse and the trouble that this causes me. And it ONLY happens at this time of the year. I would love you to buy me out, but I cant do all that pressure thing. Its ugly. Use discount code FREESHIPPING at checkout when you make your purchase!! Its always lovely to know you are wearing my creations!

What have I been up to?? I was commissioned to make a pretty little Alice in Wonderland dress for a sweet young thing who always has to wear costumes on stage that are falling apart. Chris March sent me the lovely baby blue moire taffeta and the ideas and I whipped her up a cute little ensemble. He provided her with the apron, petticoat, shoes, and stockings. Lucky, lucky lady! I hear she is over the moon!

Ive been making a couple corsets and doing lots of alterations and vintage repair. Hand beading, moving and replacing zippers on delicate fabrics. The things that I really enjoy doing...........I am a total clothing doctor, no doubt. I need a doctor's bag and a smock!

But I indeed did make myself a bit of a linen smock dress, actually. I am so in love with the linen right now. Total love affair going on! So easy to throw on and not be too hot or cold.  Its perfect to meet clients in or go fabric shopping. I just love it more than ever!
Ive been making a new robe for Joan Crawford to wear in Christmas With The Crawfords. Go see it if you are in the NYC area this holiday season! I made the little blouses in this flyer. LOL
And now I am working on making new merchandise and a fashion show for ATS Homecoming in January. More to be announced about that soon. Oh - so much more to be announced...........


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let It Go

Guess what I got to make.......... Elsa, I'm afraid!  But it was fun. My son finally decided to dress up with Ivy this year, so I, of course, was happy to throw something together for them.  It was pretty easy as the Halloween stores have everything you could possibly need for just about anything. Wigs, gloves, shoes.....why reinvent the wheel........but I had to make her a sparkly dress.  She loved her costume, and Haydn got into the spirit by playing Kristof. I'm glad he let me renew our old tradition of making him something to wear. :) He's such a good daddy. And a good sport!

And while they were out trick-or-treating, I reached into my closet, threw on a wig, and headed out to Old Town Napa to go door to door with cocktails in hand with my sister and niece, and all the other parents. We screamed and serenaded all the little Elsa's with Let It Go..... I never saw such droves of Halloween children and adults in all my born days! Such a wonderful community effort that I knew nothing about! Just like the old days............or what I imagined them to be at any rate!! Hope yours was spooky and fun too!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Pressure Is On

Winter is fast approaching and as I pull out my cold weather coats and clothing, I am reminded of all the designs that I am furiously trying to get patterned, sampled,  and made up into wearable clothing! Some of you may or may not know, but I have teamed up with  Carolena E Nericcio-Bohlman of FatChanceBellyDance to sustainably produce clothing that looks amazing on everyone and that we, ourselves would like to wear!  We call this the Bessie Line - named after Carolena's  mother, and my favorite name for dependable vehicles and sewing machines.............a pretty and vintage sounding  name that speaks for our line of clothing! We have so many ideas that stem from what we personally want to be wearing - things we cant find in the stores - inspiration from the dance world, history, other cultures, our busy lifestyles and the need for quality garments to enhance our bodies and wardrobes! And what better way to show you how awesome these designs look on a real body than to wear them for you to see! Right now - today - I am finishing up specs for the Bessie Vest so that this first run can go online HERE!!!!!

And here is Carolena, in the middle ,wearing her Bessie Vest! And also in this photo are Terri Allred on the left and Yours Truly on the Right - all of us wearing our Bessie Skirts. All shapes and sizes looking great! :)

The Bessie Vest is such a great piece. It works with the Bessie Skirt in mind, yet will coordinate with just about any woman's wardrobe. Every design that we have been working on comes from a place of necessity and function. Every design strives to be elegant and work within one's wardrobe. Would we both wear it is always the question.

While we do our best to keep costs down, our pieces are not designed for mass production in mind, and the prices will reflect being locally made *hopefully* at a living wage for all involved in production. We are going back to good old fashioned ethics. You know the ones......if you cant afford it and want it, you save up for it - and take care of and treasure it. Maybe you would wear more of a few well made, well thought out garments and create a signature look for yourself. You take those basics to build a wardrobe that will last a while and embellish it with the tidbits from the cheaper garment outlets. We ALL love the cheaper clothing outlets - yet we have created an environmental and unsustainable toxic monster with our rampant importation of throw away clothing made overseas for pennies on the dollar. We are paying for this practice dearly. Now is the time to start purchasing more thoughtfully!

I am always hunting for reasonably priced fabrics to make comfortable and stylish clothing ! This can be simply exhausting these days - and I mainly want to be focusing on making things!!! So we are going to have basic designs in small runs for now. Fabrics will change to keep things fresh. The line will grow and evolve as time, budgets, and tastes, allow. Prices will reflect originality, versatility, elegance, quality, and sustainability!

Many new and exciting events and happenings are on the horizon! 2015 is going to be a life -changing year for many of us!! Stay Tuned!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just In Time For Autumn

I had to grab this fabric when I saw it - total love at first sight! It put me right into the holiday spirit! Perfect for Halloween and the Autumn season (although I would wear this all year round - OF COURSE!!)

Bias cut slip dresses: sweet, frothy, and sexy! Perfect with some awesome shoes and a little bolero for Indian summer nights, or layered with a tshirt and pants or a skirt - use your imagination and play with your personal style!

 Created with  vintage detail and styling - yet with a modern edge: Ive made a very limited run - one in each size from Small to Extra Large, so email me with questions or convo me on Etsy! Bias cut clothing draped dramatically on the body in a way that clothing cut on the grain cannot do!!

Go HERE to do some shopping!! X

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Christmas With The Crawfords

 Once upon a time, a long time ago, back in the 1990's, I was commissioned to make a long silver evening gown for a fun little holiday show in San Francisco called Christmas With The Crawfords. My friend Chris March was in the show and I was hired  to make a bunch of the costumes that he designed. I love working with Chris - we just click - I get what he's trying to tell me, and I understand the scale of oversize that he is famous for. I pretty much discovered this while working on the show with him back in those days. We worked together at the famous Beach Blanket Babylon,  hit it off right away, and he has been throwing fun work at me ever since. I also get a bit of leeway with design if this is appropriate and it always works out.

So I got the call with "do you still have that Joan Crawford evening gown pattern that you made?" Well...............I actually, miraculously  had part of it. And the rest was from memory and about 2 measurements. Really. My height - a guess at a bust and waist from former projects - and it had to be fitted. With super stretchy  fabric. Oh my.

But it turned out perfect as you can see. This is Joey Arias as Joan Crawford for the upcoming show. Perfectly stunning as stunning can be. As always.

Go see the show if you are in or around NYC this holiday season! You will laugh and be charmed!!