Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Girlfriend Sewing Weekend
I've been saving these buttons (found in Paris): Space Aliens at the Eiffel Tower.....just the right quirky oddball note on the gray linen vest.
Alex came down from Portland for the weekend.
We sewed. She made a dress for herself, a dress and nightgown for her granddaughter. I made an outfit to wear in Paris.
We talked & talked about life and......
3 Sewing Days, 3 Pieces These 3 pieces are the next evolution of my travel wardrobe, I want to add layers and pieces that will work with what already exists in my wardrobe....LOTS of black. Wanted to pull in paler shades of gray in lighter fabric. I'll be 3 weeks in Paris, then 5 days in the south of France, so the weather could be cool/wet or warm/sunny. The shades of gray had to work with my shoes and bag which are silvery metallic, and also to layer under the coat as well as to work with other pieces.
Starting point for the vest is V8709, which I did as a vest in another fabrication earlier this spring. I used our Gray Double Sided Linen: tossed it in the washer/dryer first. The resulting washed linen is really nice, was able to press it and it still retains the soft overall wrinkle which will be good for travel.
The T-Shirt is our Rue Lafitte stripe knit jersey. I wanted to experiment with diagonal effects I've seen in RTW. It was a fun experiment, making it up as I went along...
The pant uses our Greige Stretch Woven in a skinny pant (sorry, can't show you the pattern, it will be released later this summer).
I started with a basic plain neck T. Copied off the front and back pattern pieces to make the diagonal pieces, so the whole front and back on this T are double. Had to figure out the angle and how much coverage to build in so the pieces lap without showing. All the edges are raw and the bottom edge of the shirt base is slightly shorter than the lower piece. Kind of like shingling a roof, worked from bottom to top. LOTS of trial and error, but it worked even in this lightweight knit and is really flattering and comfortable to wear.
My spin on the classic French striped 'mariner' T.
Greige Stretch Woven - was $18 now $12
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Dear friend and design guru, Carrie Marie Tasman, introduced me to the work of Carolyne Quartermaine via her timeless book, Carolyne Quqrtermaine Revealed (see below for link), and I have always loved her work. Last week, Carrie Marie passed on a link to this video, and I wanted to share it with you. I especially love her description of how she savors the physical act of making her mark.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I do...I have watched it over and over. I recommend the book too, it is an ongoing source of inspiration.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I have always had a love affair with linen. Love working with it...it is the ideal starter fabric for a beginner, and love wearing it. I've ordered a lot of linens for this spring/summer, new fabrics arriving every day. (Yesterday a group of European linens from Italy). I do the photography for the website in the kitchen close to the washer/dryer, and have run a few tests on some of the new fabrics.
Most of the time, when a fabric is tossed in the washer/dryer it does not change substantially. It may shrink, but the overall look stays pretty much the same. Linen can be an exception to this rule, and below are some of my kitchen tested examples.
In the photo at right is Beth's new dress version of V8709 done in our Linen Chinoiserie in the lavender tone. This linen blend comes pre-washed (and over dyed too). Designers have the option of having their linen sent out to be washed to get that soft overall wrinkle on large quantities of fabric. Last spring I found upholstery linen for a pair of armchairs which the supplier sent out to be washed and it came back beautifully softened and lightly wrinkled.
From a Paris custom tailor shop...and there are a surprising number of these all over town, who make both men and women's jackets.
It is always a red letter day when I pack up and send off the sample garments and completed instructions and pattern to Vogue. The release date is nearly a year off, and while I cannot share the garments, I CAN share some of concepts and techniques I used.
I've been re-visiting my life long love affair with tailoring. I don't indulge in the act of making a hand tailored garment these days, but I do use the techniques in every garment, and for the past week or so as I worked with wool, could hear the voices of some of my past teachers whispering in my ear as I worked.
The year I opened the Sewing Workshop, I took a class from a German tailor and his wife they held in the basement of their home. He had worked for years in a Sutter Street custom tailor shop and she had directed the alterations department at Saks, so together they embodied the parallel paths of sewing: dressmaking and tailoring, two very different approaches to making beautiful garments for men and women. I would take my projects to show him, and he would smile and say, 'this is the way they taught us in school, now let me show you the way they did it in the shop.' I treasured his feedback and learned a lot from him. A short time later, his wife died, and he would arrive at my tailoring class, just standing in the background observing, but every once in a while he would step in and take over, and it was pure pleasure to watch his hands sculpt the cloth and work with an iron.
Tailoring Book Two different covers, but these are the same book, a great reference for any sewist's library. I worked on this book, and it contains the material covered in an 8 week tailoring class I used to teach at the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. While the photos are a bit dated, the information is still current. I still refer to this book when making a buttonhole pocket, and for bound buttonholes (the info on both is from French couture).
If you EVER have an opportunity to take a tailoring class, do it!
thin, thin, thin......
One of the basic tailoring principles to use in any garment, any fabric is to trim and layer and press enclosed seams so they are FLAT & THIN.
ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL is a pointer clapper. Use the pointer part to press open tiny trimmed seams (collar, the front edge of a garment...), and the hardwood clapper to lightly pound (or simply rest on the fabric) after pressing. Especially important with wool which can have a tendency to bounce back after pressing. It took me all day yesterday to work around all the edges and hems on a wool coat....press, use the clapper, let the fabric cool down and dry out from the steam, then move on.....
Here the trimmed seam pressed open. The wood flattens wool but won't harm other fabrics. I use the same technique on a coating or a fine silk.
If a seam crosses an enclosed seam, trim it away. Use common sense on how close you trim. Just this little bit makes a difference when the enclosed seam is turned and pressed.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
For the past year or more, I‚Äôve become intrigued (obsessed?) with dresses. Never mind that I mostly live in pants, somehow the IDEA of a dress keeps percolating. This spring I made my Vogue shirt pattern 8709 into a dress and I'm loving wearing it....yesterday Beth came in wearing her version in our Chinoiserie linen. I've even bought a few dresses (waiting for warmer weather), but this weekend I went over to Ashland for a day and found a new book called 100 Unforgettable Dresses which I am savoring and wholeheartedly recommend. Discovered it at Prize , one of my favorite Ashland shops. Hope you enjoy it as much as you do!
Visit to the Denim Factory As a maker of things I love to see how things are made. Found this video yesterday and was enchanted. Roy is a San Francisco designer who makes custom blue jeans, the slow old fashioned way. Now Cone Mills is making denim fabric the old fashioned way just for Roy. Denim made in America for a small scale entrepreneur. The entire concept is pretty darn cool. Love the music too.