Poiret Preview

Today I am proud to preview my latest experiment–a recreation of a 1923 Poiret Cocoon Coat! I have yet to get the button closure on it, but I am terribly excited about where this is going… I have longed to do something elegant and drapey like this for a long time, and think that my floral painting might look really good on it, especially around the hem up to the sleeves. This was made out of black velveteen using a pattern: Folkwear #503.

Front

Front

There are some adjustments that I would like to make to the pattern, as well as some alterations and piecing that I would like to do… I am not thrilled about using someone else’s pattern for things–I’d like to adapt it to my own, so I’ve got some thinking to do… If you had your druthers, what would you do? I’m thinking there is a way to make it more contemporary. Just haven’t hit on it yet. : )

Side

Side

But here it is, sans center front closure. I would love to have some feedback if you’re willing… Perhaps some vertical panels in the front and one in the back? Hmm…

Sleeve

Sleeve

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

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How I Sew, Part 1

Hey, gang!  I figured I’d let you in on some “trade secrets” regarding how I put together a lot of what I work on.  A lot of my process is influenced by my background in theatrical design and construction.  I learned a particular way of sewing that is kind of an offshoot of the regular kind of home sewing one does with a store-bought commercial pattern (like Vogue or Simplicity or Butterick, for example).
I use a method called “line-to-line” sewing.  In a nutshell, instead of cutting out a pattern with an automatic 5/8ths inch seam allowance, I literally draw each line on the fabric and sew the lines together.  Most costumes shops cut around each of their hand-made patterns with an inch of seam allowance (to allow for fitting adjustments and use on other actors in the future) but end up trimming away what they don’t need.  The biggest difference is sewing on a line instead of sewing a certain distance from the edge.

Hey, gang!  I figured I’d let you in on some “trade secrets” regarding how I put together a lot of what I work on.  A lot of my process is influenced by my background in theatrical design and construction.  I learned a particular way of sewing that is kind of an offshoot of the regular kind of home sewing one does with a store-bought commercial pattern (like Vogue or Simplicity or Butterick, for example).

I use a method called “line-to-line” sewing.  In a nutshell, instead of cutting out a pattern with an automatic 5/8ths inch seam allowance, I literally draw each line on the fabric and sew the lines together.  Most costumes shops cut around each of their hand-made patterns with an inch of seam allowance (to allow for fitting adjustments and use on other actors in the future) but end up trimming away what they don’t need.  The biggest difference is sewing on a line instead of sewing a certain distance from the edge.

ToolsGreen

Various Patterning Tools I Use

So to develop the pattern for my coat, I used a size 12 “sloper” (available in stores) and adjusted it to what I needed.  A sloper is a basic pattern for a specific set of standardized measurements common to various sized bodies.  I simply traced the commercial pattern along the seam allowances marked onto a piece of kraft paper, then adjusted it to what I needed.

Pattern alteration is an art in itself, and people get paid big bucks to do it in the manufacturing industry.

Knowing that all my fabric was just 8″ wide, and that I had very very little to work with, I used each piece that I had to it’s maximum potential, and adjusted the pattern to what I needed.  Coat like, curvy pieces for interest, no real shaping involved.  Notching all the pattern pieces for markings on the fabric to line up (so the curves fit accurately) was a time consuming process.  I developed a collar pattern, and adjusted the sleeves for a little more room in the arm.

GreainandSA

Differences in Seam Allowance

Reassembling all the pieces after cutting them out, I re-adjusted the pattern so I could cut out the coat’s lining pieces, which don’t have the curves in them.

Patternlines

The Coat's Specific Wavy Pattern Lines

And voila!  The beginning of a most unusual coat!

Patternlines2

The Same Specific Wavy Pattern Lines in the Coat Itself

As I move forward on different projects, I’ll share more of how I put things together.  Until then, live life with Relish!

Purchasing Fabric Online, Wholesale Dreaming, and New Projects!

WavypreviewsidebackI recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.
This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.
There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.
In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!
Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).
And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (pieces is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…
Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

I recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.

This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.

There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.

In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!

Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).

Caramelswirlfrontb

And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (piecing is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…

Poiretkel55nwopftlsy Wavypreviewsideback Wavypreviewsidefront

Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

“Autumn Relish” Preview

Tonight, I started on my next project.  It dawned on me that I didn’t tell you all about my previous one…

I am expanding out of the realm of roses… hehe…  I tried some autumn leaves this time on some beautiful auburn velvet.  It’s a short jacket, sz. 20, without a lining.  Since it’s velvet, it’s just a shmata, really, but the collar is a bit heavier so it will provide a tad bit of warmth around the shoulders.  It’s not completed yet, but here’s a few pics.  The leaves cascade down in curls to the hem, and they look rather muted straight on.  But viewed from an angle, the color really pops.  Rich oranges, reds, golds, and metallics make the leaves rich and bright!

I also decided to start putting a “pseudo-watermark” on all the pics, just in case.  Since I haven’t found anything like this, and I’m sure the idea will get lifted eventually by someone, I’d rather not make it too easy for ’em.  Haha!  : )

Next up, a vintage recreation of a 1950’s women’s coat.  Grey velvet with some abstracted designs around the hem, ala Van Gogh, but not quite…  I’ll find an artist that does similar stuff to it between now and when I get the preview pics up.

Until then, live life with relish!

AutumnPreview1wm

Autumpreview2wm

Autumpreview3wm

Dress Forms Arrive!

Well, the dress forms are here!  I ordered, according to the shipping invoice, a size 8 cover for a medium form, and a size 12 cover for a medium-large form.

What I got was two of the (apparently) same size forms, and two covers labeled size 8 and 12.  The 8 was way too small for one of the forms, and the 12 was way too big.  So I took in the 12 and let out the 8.

Now I have two dress forms of exactly the same size.  <groan>  Both have identical measurements of 45 bust, 36 waist, and 45 hips.  Now how on EARTH are either of those even approaching a size 8 or a size 12??  They’re both size 20.

<sigh>

This isn’t bad.  Frankly, I’m gonna hold on to them because I want them, and making clothes for women who didn’t have model figures was something I want to do, so it’s not a bad investment.  I’m just a tad… Frustrated.  Either those foam forms are supposed to squeeze down to within an inch of their lives, or they actually have no idea what it is they’ve sent.   Or they do know.  They just don’t care.  Regardless, I will be ordering some smaller forms in the future, just not right now.  I have to worry about an iron first…  I can crush down the forms with wide elastic and sports bandages, so I’m not worried too much.  I need to get an iron first, but after that I’ll invest in a new dress form that’s a tad smaller.

On a side note, the average women’s size in America is 14.  I’m sorry, but I guess I don’t know many women that fit into a size 14.  I look at that dress form and think it looks normal.  But seeing as how I’m used to fitting women at the university for the last 10 years that were size 2 and 4, I guess my eye is a bit askew.  Regardless, they’re here!

And the upside is that now I can take some pictures on forms, which I have provided.  Whew!  More where they came from coming soon!

Life life with relish!

Midnighttrellisfront

RoseyWarmthFront

RoseyWarmthBack

RoseogoldBack

RoseoGold3Q

YellowRoseFront

YellowRoseBack

YellowRoseButtondetail

“Golden Rose” Coat and Purse

Well, here are some pics of the newest stuff. Coat is Sz. 18, forest green satin lining, genuine bone buttons!  The purse is loosely structured, with a magnetic clasp in the center to keep it closed.

Next, I’ll be working on a new coat with some lighter velvet instead of velour, so we’ll see how that works out!  Woohoo!

Still no word from the State, but I have no doubt it will come eventually.  My dress forms were ordered 4 days ago, and they’re coming UPS Ground, so it’ll be sometime next week (hopefully).  I’m still scouring the internet for more interesting goodies, and found another blog that I was really intrigued by.  Hopefully, you will be, too!  It has some really cute stuff, but most of all it’s about “beginning” crafters sort of like me.  It’s very validating!  Enjoy!

Indie House

Until next time, live life with relish!

YellowRoseFront

YelllowRoseBack

YellowRosePurse1

YellowRosePurse2

A Body of Work

So I’m sitting in my Garage/Studio sewing some satin lining into the velour wrap I’m working on.  I’m listening to a podcast that’s talking about how many pieces is appropriate for an exhibition/show.  The host of the podcast is very smart, and says it depends.  But she mentions that regardless, when we feel we have accumulated enough pieces around a theme or technique, we will know when that body of work is ready to show.

And that got me thinking about bodies of work.  And samples.  And just exactly what it is that I need to have prepared.

I was wasting time late last night wandering through Etsy and Artfire, and looking for other sites that were similar (which I found: Winkelf and Shophandmade) and started to discover just how many pieces each vendor had for sale on these sights…  They range from single pieces to sometimes hundreds.  There were some that I thought didn’t qualify for “hand made” items (like this one company in China with over 100 employees that posted it’s stuff on Etsy) and thus had more than a hundred completely different garments for sale.  None of the items came across to me as particularly reflective of individual creativity, and certainly none of them looked like they had been “manufactured” with an artistic sensibility.  It was yet another clothing line, and the company was just using Etsy as a storefront.

But that got me to thinking–my “body of work” will have certain pieces that will be individual, unable to completely reproduce ever again.  I like that.  That’s what makes them unique.  I can not mass produce these items in any large scale any more than an oil painter can reproduce hundreds of the same still life.  Yes, it’s possible, but none of them will be exactly alike.  And I’m thinking they shouldn’t be, frankly…

So today I finished my first piece–a heavy velour winter cape with black satin lining, embellished with hand-painted garlands of roses along the hem.  A black satin band running around the neck and center front provides an oriental feel, but the overall feel is rather Spanish.  I’m quite proud of it.  It’s the first in my “body of work.”  I’m calling it “Rosey Warmth No.1”, I think.  : )  Here’s pics!

RoseyWarmthFront

RoseyWarmthBack

Until later, live life with relish!