Monday, March 26, 2012

Charleston Fashion Week 2012 - Fashion as Art

My personal fave from winning designer Hannah Goff

Lindsay, Summer and me *

Adrienne Antonson - viewers choice designer

Mychael Knight and me
Just back from a weekend full of eye-candy: Charleston Fashion Week. It was such fun to attend an event where people-watching is not only acceptable but expected. What a colorful group of people. I could not tell the designers from the mere mortals - much creativity was on display.

And the winner was Hannah Goff. I really did like her designs best, of the ones I saw. I attended Friday evening and Saturday evening, so missed seeing the designers who showed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Even with two nights, I was on inspiration overload. I can only imagine how it would have been to attend all 5 evenings. I have no idea how the judges sort through all of this wearable art.

Hannah Goff's designs are very rich in color, print, texture and layers. The layers were not so obvious from where I was sitting, but now that I have been able to review her looks at the Charleston Magazine web site, it is ever so clear why she won. I would love to know more about her process.

More information and fabulous pictures are available here:

*I worried needlessly about what I had brought with me to wear. Luckily I remembered what dear old Daddy used to say - "No one is looking at you anyway." Never was this mixed message more appropriate. I chuckled to myself, feeling much reassured that, indeed no one was looking at me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Handy felling tool

Over the past two years or so, I have had the opportunity to take a class from Pam Howard who happens to live not too far from Atlanta. Her Tailoring Boot Camp, where I made a tailored jacket, took my skills to the proverbial next level. I'll never look back. Every time I have a chance to take a class from her I do.

Unfortunately she doesn't travel so much any more so her classes tend to be offered here in Atlanta. Good for me, but maybe not good for you, if you don't live here. Good news! She has just produced a short video for Threads with two of her favorite techniques. I am particularly fond of the felling method she describes.

Check it out here:

Cuffs, too

Pockets not withstanding, these shorts belonging to DSD have clever cuffs too! I had thought that there was a little tuck under the clever pockets. But no, it's actually a clever cuff. Now I'm on a mission to replicate the cuffs AND the pockets.

Side seam with cuff peaking out

Facing from top layer sewn to the cuff

Inside seam - cuff gently curves back into hemline

Designer of these cute shorts
I'm thinking the cuff will work equally well on a sleeve or even cropped pants. They are quite cute on these shorts, but I stopped wearing short shorts in the 80's. And it's the details I love anyway.

When I am back home in my sewing space, I'll try out some muslin pieces. It looks like the top layer has a shaped facing that attaches to the top of the under layer. Nothing unusual going on with the grain, so it should be pretty straight-forward. Can't wait to try it.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I seem to be obsessed with pockets. I'm supposed to be observing cute cuffs for City Wide Couture. And making them. But everywhere I look I see interesting pockets. Check out these on DSDs brushed silk shorts. There is a tuck in the leg, under the pocket not easily seen in this picture.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TSW Icon Shirt

Buttoned so wrong side is hidden

My first version of TSW (The Sewing Workshop) Icon shirt is finished. And, as expected I learned a lot. It is far more interesting than I gathered looking at their gallery pictures and perusing the instructions. I think part of it is that I learn best in an experiential mode.

My choice of fabric made me wince more than once while I was pressing and stitching. But now that it is complete, I think I'm good with it. True, the horizontal red stripes on the back are not the best. But otherwise I think I rather like the juxtaposition of the two striped fabrics. My original thought for these was a navy striped shell with bias red stripe on the neck and armhole edges. That would have been more *me* but maybe not as interesting.
What I learned:
  • The wrong side of the fabric really does show. Note the buttons on the side panel. That is where the wrong side shows the most.
  • The most interesting aspects of this pattern are the way the pieces are partially finished and then top-stitched together. This creates a flap on the right side (where the wrong side shows) and a flap plus a pleat down the back. 
  • The least interesting aspect of this pattern would have to be the sleeve finish. Just a straight hem. Boring. I have noticed that Linda Lee wears most of her shirts with sleeves rolled up, as seen in her gallery pix of this pattern. I like a little something at the wrist so I created a facing and then a little slit. It is a cuff, sort of.
  • When you make a mistake, wait before you *fix* it. I reacted too quickly when I realized that the right side panel (under the sleeve) would be showing off its backside. I added buttonholes and buttons to hold it down. The easy solution would have been to simply top stitch it down. :(
  • Stripes are fun for little details like when a collar band peeks out, or on a bias trip. These stripes are really too much for me.
  • I was most intrigued by the *hanging* pocket described on the pattern envelope. The instructions produce an interesting pocket, but not a hanging pocket. Theirs includes a little piece than hangs off the bottom of the pocket, detached from the shirt, but it is purely decorative, not really part of the pocket. Realizing this, I chose to follow the Ericson instructions for a hanging pocket found in their ReVisions pattern *Just Pockets.* My first attempt was a lined version. This was too heavy for this light weight shirting, so I created a second unlined version. There is a mistake in their instructions where they have you sew the front pocket piece to the back pocket piece right sides together. I slaveishly followed this direction only to realized that this results in the wrong side of the back piece on the surface of the finished pocket. Oh well, certainly not the only time I used a seam ripper on this piece!
  • dreaded back view
  • I'm now pondering the back length of this shirt. I'm concerned it may *catch* on my hip fluff. 
For now, it's done and it was a fun sewing experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crazy for Color

We have early spring here, as does most of the US. I always respond to seasonal changes with a need for different colors. And spring means bright, light, cheerful color to me. This is the time of year when I start thinking I can wear red pants. Really.

This time I made DGD2 a dress out of hot pink cotton, then a matching dress for her doll. And then I used the rest (plus some from my stash) to make her a wall quilt. She's six years old today.

So I haven't made the red pants yet, but I did make a red hanging pocket using Lois Ericson's pattern *Just Pockets.* There are some really cool pockets in that little package.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coco, Expo, and American Craft

Louise's booth at Atlanta Expo

A new-to-me pattern, inspired by Sandy Miller's class

pottery by Alex Matisse

Sandy Miller teaching some interesting patch pockets
I've been out of the blogging loop for a while but I have been sewing. I'm always sewing on something. But sometimes it's hard to blog about it. Mostly I've been working on my Coco jacket (Vogue 8369). I never, ever would have guessed how many steps go into a garment like that! Quite an education for me.

The past few days have been filled with sewing inspiration and learning. It's been so much fun but I am oh so anxious to now make something and make it fast. I am in the middle of my Coco jacket which is anything but fast. Hmmm...

There were two major events figuring into all this inspiration and education. First was the annual Sewing Expo here in Atlanta. I was only able to attend on Thursday, but it was a very full day. I started with a class by Louise Cutting on one-seam pants. I am very anxious to make a pair of these. She totally empowered me!

Then I took a pockets class with Sandy Miller. She of course was also oh so inspirational. Who would have thought that patch pockets could be made so many different ways? Great opportunities to use a small piece of special fabric to ratchet an ordinary garment into an artful garment.

And of course there was Louise Cutting's booth - chocked full of inspiration and fabric calling my name.

That evening I attended another fabulous class - piping details with Cynthia Guffey.

My brain will definitely explode if I do not go ahead and sew something!

Then the next day I attended the American Craft Council's show here in Atlanta. Each year there seems to be more and more fiber art. Wow. Gorgeous work. Inspired work. Wearable work. And more than a few ideas I want to incorporate into my own sewing.

And I bought a piece of pottery from Matisse's great grandson. Other than the newspaper article on him and one of the best locations in the show, you would never know this 20 something - 30 something? I can't tell anymore :( - was related to greatness. His pottery is really lovely and quite distinctive I think. Not at all reminiscent of his great grandfather, but impressive nevertheless.

Small wonder I could not sleep last night.