Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vest #7,452

I'll write a quick post while my studio warms up this morning...I went over to start work and it was 42 degrees; a bit cold for this California girl!

I couldn't wait to start Katherine Tilton's latest pattern.  I think it is meant to be either a sleeveless dress or a vest.

I always like to see how a pattern works and fits before I use any of my favorite fabrics so for this one I used some old upholstery fabric I've had for years.  I had it thrown over our couch, shielding the it from the treacherous claws of our old cat, Natty.  This fabric took one for the team, for sure.  It's worn and a bit frayed but useable.

The fabric is so heavy it's more like a coat dress with no sleeves.  But now I know that I love the pattern.  Katherine hit one out of the park AGAIN!  It's so sculptural which is what I love most about it.

I did have to cut the collar down a lot and take more tucks and darts since it's such thick fabric but it turned out fine.

I'll wear it over all black so the black buttonholes and buttons were my choice.

The weight of the fabric really shows off the silhouette nicely.  This was fun to make and the instructions were perfect.

Since the fabric was so heavy I substituted seam binding for the armhole facing.  Check out this package!  It was either my mother's or my Grandmother's.  I felt a bit guilty opening it but my new motto is, "Somebody, someday is going to use this, it might as well be me!".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was asked to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by Wendy Franzen of West Zen Studio.  I met Wendy at last year's Ashland DOL, that's Design Outside The Lines for those of you who have not yet attended these magical sewing retreats.  Wendy was one of those people I immediately zoned in on because she just LOOKS creative...and sure enough, I was right.  Her work can be seen here.  I encourage you to start following her blog, she's really inspiring.

This blog hop thing is sort of a creativity chain mail but you only have to pass it along to one person. I'll tell you who I was lucky enough to get at the end of this post.

In the meantime, here is the info I need to cover.  This is going to be a photo packed post since I like images better than words.

#1. What am I working on?
I always work on several things at once.  I like jumping back and forth between three to five projects.  I also like finishing project fairly quickly.  I don't enjoy the feeling I get with a bunch of UFO's hanging around.

I make refashioned cashmere sweaters, hats and scarves for a gallery next to my bakery.  I just finished three sweaters and three hats.  This sweater uses three cable knit sweaters.  

I made this one entirely by hand using a double row of Pearl Cotton to attach all of the pieces.  I remember now why I don't knit anymore; keeping my head down for that long wracks my neck!

The motif in the back is made with vintage kimono scraps.  I tried cutting the back hem so that it curves up at the center but I'm not sure it looks like I envisioned.

And here's another sweater .  It always helps to look at my pieces in photos because I can see them in another light altogether.  Here I can see that I should have reversed the pocket positions.  The higher pocket would have looked better on the other side!

A little hand stitching on the back.

Another sweater, this one a pullover.

A hat made from Marcy Tilton's hat pattern.  I liked making it.  I would cut the rise a little higher next time and make it a bit smaller.

Another hat, another pattern learned in a hat class years ago.  This one is from an over-dyed argyle sweater.

Hat #3 is a beret with some do-dads I crocheted a few years ago when I thought I could choke out a few for hats.  I knew I hated crocheting and sure enough...I do.  So these are the last of the little stash I had.

Here is a canvas I'm working on.  It was inspired by a piece I saw at the Metropolitan in NYC a couple months ago.  You can see the piece  below.  The funny thing is, I didn't realize I was being inspired by this piece of art while I was painting.  I was thinking of those Chanel backpacks!  See how inspiration works?

I used a "scrumbling" technique I learned from my painting teacher Maryjo Koch

I used Jacquard paints in copper, gold, metallic red, grey, white and black.  I mixed water into them and scrumbled with a sponge.

I consider this the first layer.  I will go back in with one brighter copper and more bold blacks and whites; dripping, stenciling, silkscreening, etc.

It will be for a new handbag.  My old ones are worn out!

Here's a fun combo I worked on last month.  The vest is copied from ready to wear using a fabric I bought at a Fabmo sale.  It was so cheap I couldn't pass it up ($1 a yard!).  It is two layers of shear knit tacked together every few inches.  The bottom layer is a lighter green, you can see it at the pocket.  I could never think of what to use it for.  This worked out well.  The fabric for the top was from Marcy Tilton years ago.

And here are a couple of works in progress.  This first is from a man's jacket.  I wanted to learn from my sewing pal, Helen Papke, how she reworks men's clothes.  She is a brilliant refashioner.  She coached me through this vest.  It's a start but still has pins all over it...much to do yet.

And inverted sleeve as the big pocket.  I'm loving big pockets.

And I'm considering these buttons over the zipper.  It looked too bare without them.

Helen is also a genius at remaking men's white shirts.  Geez, I wish I could just channel her when I'm working on these.  Mine never turn out half as good.  This one is still in progress.  I think I'm going to take off one of the pockets but not sure yet.

And finally, little kantha "pillows" I made from Mieko Mintz's scraps.   I was so excited to learn that she sells little pieces of gorgeous kantha cloth left from the garments she makes.  Many of them are larger than this.  I'm planning a garment with them, too.  These will be for a necklace.  I'm going to need lots more but this is the start.

#2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Everyone's work differs!  What kind of a question is this?!  My work differs because it is from my hand as opposed to anyone else's.  I'll give you an example.  When I belonged to The Baker's Dozen, a professional bakers association, they asked everyone to make an Angel Food Cake using the same recipe.  These were professional bakers and no two cakes looked alike.

Every person has hands, a mind and spirit that are uniquely theirs.  No two are alike no matter what they are doing.

#3. Why do I create what I do?

I was lucky enough to have a mother who couldn't go a day without creating something.  There was always a table set up somewhere in the house with works in progress.  She always encouraged me in my own making, no matter how weird it was.  Hence, it became a part of my everyday fiber.  If I go too many days without making something I get cranky!

#4. How does my creating process work?

I get my inspiration from my sewing/designer pals, my sewing/design teachers, magazines, museums, Pinterest...PINTEREST!, fabric...just about anything.

Sometimes my process is quick. I see it, I do it.  Sometimes it foments, percolates and gestates until it pops out of me.  I tend to be fast, sometimes too fast...but I'm working on that.  Slowing down sometimes helps the process.

Well, I'm done with this post.  Hope you enjoyed it.  The person I found to follow my Blog Hop post is....drum roll....Shams!!  Here incredible blog is named Communing with Fabric.  I've been following it for several years.  She's one of the best sewing/design bloggers out there.  If by any chance you aren't following her now you should be.

I asked her to describe herself and here's what she said.  "Shams has been blogging for over 5 years and her blog tagline states, "Just another blog from a red haired, 50-something, uber busty, slim hipped, funky lovin' sewist!"

It doesn't begin to describe what she does in her blog.  She writes about her process in a thorough, comprehensive, well written (she's a professional writer) and highly entertaining way, sometimes inserting the best tutorials online.  I admire her creative process AND her sewing chops!!  

Thank you so much, Shams, for agreeing to do this.  I know your post next Monday will be one of the best...that's just you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dolce and Gabbana windows at Saks Fifth Avenue NYC

Let's see if you can see this short video I took with my iPhone.  I've never put a video in my blog before so this may not work.

I hope you can see and enjoy it, the windows were so magical.

Autumn in New York

There's no place like New York City.  Yeah, you've heard that before but it's so true.  A week is both not enough and plenty.  I'm exhausted like I just got back from space!

I met my husband, Joe, for a week of music, food, art and shopping.  He'd been there for a week to rehearse his musical that was having a concert reading in Queens so he was totally preoccupied for the first few days of my visit and that turned out to be a good thing.  I got most of my must see shopping out of the way without torturing him.  

I had to hit the Garment District and only went to two places. Mood first.  I have visited the Los Angeles branch twice but had never seen home base.  It was fun because it was Halloween and all the sales people had made their own costumes.  I don't want any more fabric right now but a few buttons never hurt and I got some cool black rubber ones with large holes.

Then I stopped at Botani.  I'd heard about it from Marcy Tilton.  It is worth a visit because it has a huge stock of buttons, zippers and findings.  I bought several pairs of purse findings.  I've been working on a new painted canvas creel shaped purse.  This is the first go-round.  I wore it in NYC and it worked out fine.  It turned out a little bigger than the size I need and the shape is a bit wonky so it needs some fine tuning.  My sewing pal,  Janet, thinks it looks like a frog.  After she said that I couldn't look at it any other way.

I used the handle from an old brief case.  It was brown so I stained it with Jacquard silver fabric paint.

Janet, helped me with the binding which is a stretch woven I overpainted after it was sewn on.

I made three tops for the trip.  I needed ones that were shorter than the tunics I usually make because I planned to wear this jacket by Katherine Tilton B5891 most of the time and it's too short for my usual tunics.

It worked out so well because of the pockets.  They're like two extra purses, making it really easy to grab my phone/camera and glasses.  I'm going to remember this for future travel.  They are not original to the pattern.  I learned them from Shams.

I also brought this coat and I'm glad I did, it got really cold one day.  It's Marcy Tilton's V8934.  I made it out of rainwear and lined it with a thin Polartec.

This top is from Katherine Tilton's V8817.  I cut the hem between the shorter and longer versions.  The weird thing is that I think this is the NYC skyline...or a composite of several city skylines.  But Joe's relatives immediately pointed to it which made me feel like such a tourist!  I didn't wear it again.  But it'll be fine here on the West Coast.

This top is a TNT.  I drafted it from a RTW and make it often.

It's a simple tshirt but it has an asymmetrical hem that adds so much style.  I sew several pin tucks in it to give it a little texture and makes it stand out a bit from the rest of the garment.

And this one was a no brainer because I'd already cut it out the front and back due to a major goof made on a tunic a year ago.

Once again, I'm using fabrics I have on hand.   I'm not exactly on the fabric fast thing but I'm cutting back.  I make no promises.

The wardrobe, all black and grey with touches of color in the purse, scarves and necklaces, worked out well.  The last thing I want to do when I'm on vacation is think too much about what to pick out of the closet.

Now for some pics of what I saw.  

 The lines of this coat are a bit extreme but I like the idea.

Went to The Met to see the kimono exhibit (see below) but stopped several times along the way.
Here's a sculpture by Sam Gilliam.  You know how I love painted canvas and this one is magical.

This was right next to it.  It didn't say what it is but I liked it.

We were walking past Saks Fifth Avenue on our last day and they had just put in their holiday windows.  Dolce and Gabbana created fans that all moved, swaying back and forth behind their dresses and purses.  I took several videos on my camera but for reasons (you don't need to know the details) I can't get them in this post.  I will try to send another post right after this.  In the meantime, click on this link for stills.

 I'm closing with a few images of the Kimono show.  I took photos of the descriptions but I think that's a bit TMI.

This kimono fabric design reminded me of the Matisse paper cuts we had just seen at MOMA.  If you get a chance to see that exhibit!

This is an under kimono.  They were more risqué or personal.  This one has the popular sheet music from the '20's.

This one was described as a peasant work kimono. 

I was surprised but pleased to see they included two of my favorite contemporary designers.  This is Yohji Yamamoto.

And this is Issey Miyake.

Home now with lots of inspiration.