Sunday, March 31, 2013

White Pants

There are many reasons why I should not like - why I should not wear - white pants:

  • pear-shaped body
  • high-hip fluff
  • 10 grandchildren
  • mustard, tomato sauce, black tea
  • Hotlanta
So I made two pairs.

I just love white pants. They say *spring is here* to me. They say *summer will be warm but really not that hot* to me.

One pair is white linen interlined with rayon Bemberg ambiance. They are softly wrinkled in the way that only a good linen can wrinkle.

The other pair is made with unlined canvas - maybe a heavy pique with a slight lined texture - very sturdy stuff. Sort of like white jeans. Oh, I love white jeans too.

Anyway they are both washable.

Can you tell which is which? Hint: the canvas ones have vents. Both are my beautifully fitted Vogue 7881 (thanks, Pam!).

So how many pairs of white pants do you have?

More Silk Dye Painting

random wax application
Finished my first round of classes with Hellenne. I'm beginning to develop a little stash of these pieces that I hope to work into garments soon. It is quite a process (resist, paint-dye, steam, wash) and I still have much to learn.

I have learned enough to respect the designs of others, always a good thing if you like hand-made items.

detail - random wax application
 First up, an experiment using wax. The outside temperature was running close to freezing that day, so I didn't attempt to design something. I just wanted to get experience and learn about these layers that can be achieved through repeated applications of wax-then-dye. It's counter-intuitive, as the lightest items (here, white) are from the earliest applications of wax.

Celtic cross
Next is a lesson in tracing a design and shading. I chose a Celtic knot design that I enlarged about 200%. It was supposed to be a lesson in shading black, but I couldn't help myself and added some blue, then some green. These dyes are seductive.

I've since Substituted black for the green. After several applications, part of it is really black. I learned how to remove color, and I had some fun applying salt to a few areas yielding an interesting texture and lightness.

Detail from larger piece - cloudy black
I have learned that real black is difficult to achieve especially if it is to cover a large area. It worked out fine in the small spaces on the Celtic knot, but not so much on a larger piece with great swaths of black (see detail above).  It looks pretty cloudy in these areas right now. 
Cloudy black

I haven't steam-set it yet so may do something different. I might remove some of the black and then apply blue for a navy-blue. Or I might wet it and add some salt. 

Lastly is one that I simply painted with wild abandon, blending cyan and yellow, no resist. Hellenne has encouraged us to stay with black, cyan, magenta and yellow so that we can learn how to produce our own colors. I am not proficient (at any of this) but I'm having fun learning.

It may be time to incorporate these into *something* but I want to try blending some browns now...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CFW 2013

Cho ensemble - hand painted textiles
Charleston Fashion Week 2013 is over. The emerging designers were even better than last year, though my favorite designer did not win. The winner was amazing, and the obvious winner, but not my personal choice.

Last year's winner, Hannah Goff, just happened to be my favorite. She designs her own prints and uses Spoonflower to create the fabrics. Her silhouette is H-shaped, a shape that appeals to me. The graphics have a hard edge with vibrant, sophisticated color.

Goff's looks are multi-layered, yet maintain a slim column. She is able to accomplish this, in part, with airy fabrics, sheers.

My 2013 choice is Hyemin Cho, who also designs around the H-shape. Her fabrics are hand-painted with a distinctively Korean perspective. The textiles are more structured that Goff's, almost a 60's vibe. The perfect combination of wearable and art, to this sewist.
Another look from Cho

Cho, for all her charm and artfulness, never stood a chance against Afriyie Poku. Poku, a resident of Atlanta, born in West Africa, had it all this week.

Poku designs menswear. I believe that this is the most difficult category for a number of reasons. First there are fewer degrees of freedom with men's wear.

Over-design and it becomes a costume. Add too many tiny details, and it's too feminine. Somehow, he managed to successfully avoid both of these pitfalls.

His looks are masculine, edgy, rough, and yet beautifully tailored. I would love, love, love to look at these pieces up close. The show included a big-screen video that highlighted some of these amazing tailoring details.

Afriyie Poku ensemble
He is charismatic. From the signature sculptural hair (his, not the models), to his infectious smile, and his self-effacing and happy outlook, he seems to be all set for success. It's hard to believe he is simply emerging.

2012 winner Hannah Goff
Hannah Goff look 2012
His runway show had broad and enthusiastic audience appeal. Set to 007's Skyfall, the models were perfectly paired with each distinctive look. It was no surprise when he received a standing ovation. And it was no surprise that he won both prizes - audience favorite and judges choice. I'm guessing it was nearly unanimous among the judges. The judges do have ample opportunity to look at the pieces closely.

Poku is a bit enigmatic to me. His website seems to be a placeholder. He is listed as self-taught. I would love to know more about his path to this place. And I'd like to know where he sells his pieces. Would DH care to join me in snoop-shopping. Probably not.

For now, for me, for real, I'm inspired by Cho and Goff.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vogue 8876

Another clever dress pattern from Marcy Tilton.

Vogue 8876 has an interesting shape and an unusual collar, as well as several sleeve options. I like the in-seam pockets. I like this dress. A lot. Maybe almost as much as the one I made last summer.

This one is made from linen/rayon fabric that has some nice weight and drape. I decided against the (extra) cap sleeve that is shown with these 3/4 length sleeves. But otherwise, it is pretty-much view C in size 12 straight off the tissue.

The pattern is nicely fitted through the shoulders and the arms. There is a little tuck in at the waist.

Lots of nice hip room comes from little pleats in the front and one down center back. It's a novel take on princess seams, I think. The curves are different, flattering, curvy.

It all gives the impression that I have a shape.

Per usual, I did not have sufficient fabric. So...

  • had to piece the lower sleeves - but it looks like a little cuff, I think
  • faced the yoke and the lower bands with another fabric
  • also finished the sleeve edge with a contrasting bias binding, hidden inside.

It runs a little short, hitting me just above the knee cap. I'm 5 feet 5 inches to provide some perspective. I'll be wearing leggings with it. I've been looking for an excuse to wear leggings.

I think this would make a funky and totally cool LBD too. I sort-of wish I had done that this time, as I'm off to Charleston Fashion Week with DSD, who is modeling this year. This is a way-cool dress but quite casual in this fabric. I'll be able to wear it on Saturday morning when she models in the bridal show, but I'll be wearing my standard black silk pants, top and jacket Saturday night.

neckline variation

Another neckline variation

And yet another neckline variation
Anyway - who's looking at me? I'll be looking at all the fascinating fashions and making notes on ideas to incorporate into future projects. And taking pix to post here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sewing Dress

Hannah celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday. Where does the time go?

front - can you see the pockets?

Pocket detail
Two years ago I made her this dress in a size 5. It is called the Ice Cream Dress by Oliver and S. In fact I made two from this pattern two years ago, one for each of the eldest granddaughters. H loved this dress and called it her Sewing Dress. She wore it and wore it, until her cute spindly legs were just too long for it to work as a top, even.

So this year, I made her a new one. If she enjoys it half as much, I will be very happy indeed.

I had fun matching the front pockets. I used that technique I've seen several places where you cut out extra pattern pieces for the pockets - one for each pocket. Then, with the transparent tissue still attached to the front, you layer on the pattern tissue and trace the fabric motifs. Then you remove the two pocket pattern pieces and fussy-cut them from the fabric, lining up the little motifs, here bird houses. Voila! Pockets that seem to float.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday's Silk Piece

Class with Hellenne continues - what fun!

This is another piece from the silk crepe de chine bolt, about 48 inches by 14 inches.
Free form large brush application, using mostly blue, some yellow and a drop of black in one spot.
Then salt.
Then yellow tinted corn syrup.
The salt drifted toward to the middle, creating flash effects.
The corn syrup pushes dark colors away, creating another organic look.

Next week I'll learn a bit about soy wax. Such an addictive hobby. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Atlanta Sewing Expo 2013

Mary Ray
Wonderful times seeing old friends, meeting new. So much inspiration. But, perhaps the best part, was to see so many women who are elegant, smart, creative, and encouraging of one another.

I took so many wonderful classes:

Mary Ray returned to Expo to teach and I took everything from her that I could, starting with her take on garments made from quilt store fabrics. As with all her pieces, the samples for this class were wonderful, even elegant. And her teaching style is so conversational, yet brimming with ideas I want to go straight home to try.

And of course, Mary walks the talk, looking so healthy, so put-together, so chic. So totally Mary Ray.

Sandy Miller has become another favorite teacher. She has accompanied Louise Cutting for quite a while and has always modeled those patterns to good effect. In recent years, she has begun to teach and I find that I learn much from her too.

Sandy Miller
This year, I took a course concerning the use of a single pattern to achieve many different looks. You get to keep the signature Louise Cutting details, and add a clever twist that changes the look quite dramatically.

And, like Mary, she walks the talk and looks fabulous always.

And of course, there was shopping. Patterns, fabric, notions, and an embroidered, storied story block made by impoverished women in South Africa. My favorite vendors are Louise Cutting, Laura Murray, and Vogue Fabrics.

This year, Linda Lee returned with new classes. I took an interesting wardrobe class from her. Though I don't totally agree with her take on it (exclusive use of Sewing Workshop patterns, for example), it was food for thought.

As usual, I left the Expo wanting to sew, sew, sew!

V8813, a cool weather version

This Marcy Tilton pattern is a favorite. The first one I made convinced me that I really like dresses, well some dresses. Vogue 8813 is a super pattern.

This one is made from wool, probably considered gauze though it's opaque. It's navy with a cream thread creating a checked pattern.

I added piping that I made from silk/cotton radiance. I also used a necktie from Goodwill for binding around the neckline and the armholes. Finally I added a little sashiko.

deconstructed necktie
Maybe it's too much of a rerun from the first version, but it is for a different season. I think I'm going to enjoy this one as a sort-of jumper, maybe with leggings or tights.

The little French house dress for cool weather.

The first day of spring is right around the corner, so now I'm ready to make clothes with color.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Swing Set - the pants

In her latest pattern, Louise Cutting introduces a narrow leg pull-on pants pattern. There is also a cute jacket that I cannot wait to try. But today I made a trial pair of the pants with some slightly damaged wool/lycra fabric.

My eye has adjusted to the continuing trend of skinny pants. I cannot wear skinny, but with this pattern, narrow is quite OK. I rather like them.

I do hope I don't have a penguin silhouette. That's always the danger when the look is narrow and the hips are not.

I think the bit of lycra helps with this silhouette issue. Without it, I would probably need more width in the hips. Especially if I want to sit. And I do.

These are a little long in the stride, and also a little long for narrow pants. Luckily both issues are easily fixed by removing the elastic, trimming some from the top edge, and reapplying the elastic.

I like the AIM tunic too.
This one is made out of radiance- cotton, silk.

Atlanta's Expo starts day after tomorrow and SIL arrives tomorrow afternoon. So probably no more sewing for this week. Just tons of inspiration from Louise and others.