Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Inspiration

The Wall Street Journal puts out a wonderful magazine. Fortunately, my husband reads the Wall Street Journal so it's delivered right to my door step. In this recent edition of the magazine, they did a very interesting spread. Along with the description of each gown, they included the amount of hours that it took to construct each piece. We all enjoy looking at these beautiful creations and we can only imagine the amount of labor that went into them. Now we can have a much better idea.
Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci
Thirty-eight yards of satin and 480 hours of construction time. Embroidered with pearls, crystals and finished with punk-tinged touch of metal zips.
Valentino Haute Couture
Five artisans and 1,200 hours of labor.
The first piece sold the morning after the show to a young Brazilian client.
Dior Haute Couture
The hours are not included for this gown. What's made note of though is the meticulous, perfect hand stitching that gives this sheer confection body.
The detail on the sleeve.
 The stitching detail on the collar.
The black embroidery stands out on this gown. The hand stitching, the true work, fades away.
Armani Prive
The jacket is a completely covered in Swarovki crystal paillettes and took nearly four weeks to complete. Two hundred and fifty hours were spent on the construction of the bias-cut gown.
Giambattista Valli Haute Couture
The fluid beauty of this poet-sleeve gown lies in the three layers of ivory fabric, two of mousseline and one of crepe georgette, totaling 39 yards. The gown conceals a bustier.
Atelier Versace
Four tailors and one head seamstress collaborated for 150 hours to create this gown. It's embroidered with tiny, diamond-shaped Swarovski crystals.
Gaultier Paris
A deconstructed shantung trench coat and lace and organza gown, which the designer gave the fanciful name "Lyrics." It took two artisans 100 hours to create this gown.
Elie Saab Haute Couture
The intricate embroidery of sequins, beads and rhinestones on this tulle and crepe georgette gown is the work of eight artisans: the construction required three seamstresses, totalling 250 hours.
The gown is a part of this collection.
So there you have it. Beauty takes time, lots of it!
Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Night Reflections

Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.

                                                     Yves St. Laurent

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Guiding Light Lantern Sleeve
Before we get started, I just want to let you all know that I will be posting yesterday's Fabulous Free Pattern tomorrow, Sunday. I decided to wait as so many of you commented on how you would like to see me in the French jacket (pictures of me in the jacket will come after the fashion show which is May 6th). So rather than posting this week's piece on the form, I thought I would put it on and take some shots.
Today's sleeve is a very graceful sleeve. It looks fabulous on a jacket, dress or t-shirt, and with just a little imagination, there are a multitude of things you can do with it.
It hangs from the top of the arm, angels out and then tapers back to the wrist. A word to the wise, please do a muslin of your basic sleeve before drafting this sleeve as you need to know exactly where you want your sleeve to end at your wrist.

Start with your basic sleeve. Make sure you have made a muslin so you know where you want the sleeve to end as there is no hem on this sleeve. Measure your fist. Make a fist with you hand and measure around it. This measurement will give you the amount of room you will need to put your hand through the end of the sleeve.
Using that fist measurement, taper the sleeve. My fist measurement is 9", so I measured over 4 1/2" on either side of the center of my sleeve.
Once the sleeve has been tapered, decided where you would like the seam for your lantern to be. Draw a line at this point.
At the wrist, divide the sleeve into 8 equal segments. Now draw lines in to the top of your sleeve. The lines will be angled as you see above. Be sure to number you segments so if any piece is separated, you will know where it belongs.
Before you separate the bottom from the top, draw in notches so is will be easier to reconnect the top of your sleeve to the bottom. Cut the bottom portion away from the top of the sleeve and put aside for now.
 Beginning at the bottom of the sleeve, cut on the drawn in lines. Draw a line on your paper. the 4th and 5th segment will be spread equally on either side of the line. Now spread the remaining pieces. I spread the back more than the front. It gives a more graceful look to the sleeve. For my sleeve, I spread the back pieces 2" apart, the middle sections were spread 1 1/2" apart and the front sections were spread 1" apart.
In the above picture you can see that the back flairs out more than the front.
In the above picture, you can see a dashed line. In the center of the back portion of your sleeve, come down 1/2". Taper this back to the side seam and back to the center of the sleeve.  
The final pattern. Make sure to transfer all notches as well as the grainline. Also, be sure to add seam allowance to the bottom of the sleeve. I added 1/4". With only a 1/4" seam, I will not have to trim the seam once it has been sewn.
Now for the bottom portion of the sleeve. Cut on the lines from the top to the wrist but not through the wrist. Spread your sections exactly as you did the top part of your sleeve. If you don't, the 2 pieces will never go back together.
 The final pattern. Again, be sure and transfer all notches and the grainline. Add seam allowance to the top of the curve as well as the wrist. You will need to cut 4 of these for your garment. Two for the outside and two for the inside facing.
The sleeve is very easy to do. The trick is to do the muslin before you begin the drafting so the sleeve will end exactly where you would like on your wrist.
How about that skirt?!!!! Would you like to see a tutorial on how to draft the skirt? I will do this later this summer, I promise. It is a rather dramatic skirt.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pattern Give Away Winner

On Tuesday I announced that I would be giving away this pattern today April 27, 2012. Only four people commented on the post so the drawing was easy. All four names were placed in a bag and Ruthie, you lucky duck!!!!!
Congratulations Ruthie. I know you will enjoy the pattern.
I'll return later today with Fabulous Free Pattern Friday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Channeling Chanel, Part 2

A year ago this June, Susan Khalje came to Chicago and taught her Couture Sewing Class. In this class, you are welcome to work on whatever project you would like. I really wanted to get a taste of what goes in to making the French jacket.
After a week of working very diligently, I left with my jacket looking like this. You can see my original post about this jacket here. There is a LOT of work involved in this jacket.
So, best laid plans, I had every intention of getting it finished right away, but as you know, life gets in the way and other projects take center stage. The poor jacket remained folded up in a bag, just waiting. Well, nothing like being pushed to get something done. The Haute Couture fashion show is quickly approaching and we will have a segment where our French jackets are showcased.
The finished jacket!! I just love it.
The trim is a mix of two different materials. I was in San Francisco last year and I thought I would have no problem finding a trim for this fabric. No such luck. A little thinking outside of the box, and I came up with the silk ribbon, but it needed a little something more. They are so helpful at Britex. The woman who helped me took one look at what I wanted to do and lead me directly to the crystal trim that is running down the center of the ribbon. Perfect. It picks up the crystal thread that runs through the fabric.
While at Britex, I bought some lovely buttons. They are glass and they pick up on the crystal theme of the fabric, but once I got the jacket together, I wanted a little something more. A friend of mine had given me the buttons you see in the above picture. There were eight, so I could put three on each sleeve and have two pockets rather than the typical four. Fine by me. The buttons have pearls in the center and are surrounded by rhinestones. What a wonderful gift! These buttons would have cost a small, and maybe a large fortune at Britex.
If you do decide to make one of these jackets, I highly recommend two things, take the time to sew in a chain at the hem, and buy the chain from Susan. She really takes the time to find the most perfect chain that she can. You can find her website here. I think the chain is just about my favorite part of the entire jacket. It is such a lovely chain and it made such a difference once it was sewn in. The jacket stands out so nicely and holds it's shape so well.
A peek at the quilted lining. I found the silk at Vogue here in Chicago. I feel like I was really lucky because the blue of the jacket is not an easy color to match. I really love the lining fabric. It's such a happy lining!
In this picture you can see the hooks sewn along the center front edge.
A little steaming and the jacket will be ready to go. I can't wait to wear it. Why did I wait so long to finish it????? Now on to the next project, a blouse and a skirt to wear with it.
By the way, I just saw this morning that Claire Shaeffer has a new French jacket pattern on the market.
You can see the information here.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fun In Canada and a New Surprise!

Back in February I showed you this pattern,
and the coat that I made using the pattern. 
It's a very interesting coat, rather strange in how it goes together.
The back is interesting, but again rather different. I ended up top stitching all of my seams with a zigzag stitch. It turned out rather well. The coat is very nice for throwing on when I'm running out and need a little something to keep me warm, which is almost always.
The coat is nice, but I knew I would not make it again, so rather than just keep the pattern, I decided to give it away. I received a note from Donna who lives in Canada, north of Fargo, North Dakota. I can't even imagine how cold it must get, but she said that like many of us on this side of the world, they were having a rather mild winter and she thought that this would be perfect for spring. I asked her to send pictures once she got the coat made...
and she did!!!! She looks wonderful! Donna loves the pattern, although she did do a few alterations to the back, cutting off the extra length, but she plans to make it again and leave the extra length in tact.
As I said, the pattern is a little weird in how it goes together. I had to look at the instructions a couple of times as I thought I wasn't putting it together correctly. Donna had the same issues, she said that you look at the pattern and it should be so simple, it is, but it takes a little thought.
Donna also changed the button position which I think turned out beautifully. The collar has a lovely vintage look to it now. She also made the little matching hat. Just perfect. Job well done!!!
In case you are wondering, I did get Donna's permission to share the pictures.
Donna sent a slew of fun pictures, I've only shared a few. Her mother took all of the pictures and I think she did a fabulous job. Donna also included this picture of her mother which I absolutely love. Isn't she lovely? Donna and her mom, a great team! Thank you ladies for the wonderful surprise I had when I opened the email and saw all of the pictures. You made my day!
Because I love to see smiling faces, I have a new little surprise....
I'm giving away another little pattern!!! This pattern is really nice. It's not that I don't like it, I just think, hope, it will make someone's day to win it. As you can see, the pattern is quite old. It's a size 14 with a 34" bust. The jacket is very loose fitting, so it would fit someone a little larger without any alterations.
 Here's a version I made a few years ago. Another great jacket to easily throw on. Every time I wear this jacket, I am amazed by all of the compliments.
The sleeve is cut on the bias so if you use a fabric that has a stripe, or pseudo stripe as above, it makes for a very interesting detail.
The back is pleated so it is full but doesn't stand away from the body.
So here's the deal,
Comment on this blog is you would like to have the pattern.
If you win the pattern, please do not sell the pattern. If at some point you decide that you no longer want it, please be generous and give it away.
Once you get it made, send pictures. I love seeing your creations, but I'll only post the pictures if you give me permission to do so.
You'll have until Thursday, April 26, 2012, midnight (central standard time) to comment on this blog if you would like the pattern, and you must be a follower of the blog. 
I'll announce the winner on Friday, April 27, 2012. 
Good luck and a special thanks to Donna's mom for the wonderful pictures!