Monday, April 18, 2011

Fashion Show Garment 8

The final garment that I had in the show has quite a twist to it. As I said, the theme of our show was Hooray For Hollywood. For one of our challenges, we were to find an Oscar winning movie and make a garment inspired by that movie. I saw the movie, No Country For Old Men which starred Javier Bardem. What a dark movie. This is not the type of movie that I usually watch, but for some reason, I was intrigued with it. I had started the suede jacket some time ago and had just not been inspired to finish it.
For some reason, I found Javier Bardem's character very inspiring and decided to finish the jacket. The sleeves are big poet sleeves that taper to a very tight wrist. The challenge that I faced was that I don't know what happened to the suede so I had to come up with a creative way to finish the edges. I had a piece of faux leather that I knew would be great for a pair of pants, so why not bind the edges of the jacket with the same fabric?
The lining is a bit unconventional. Let me do a little explaining first. My birthday is December 12th, the same day that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego. It's really such a beautiful story. So the legend goes, she appeared as a half breed, half Indian and half Spanish. It's said that she appeared in this manner to show compassion for the people who had been so persecuted, primarily by the Spanish.

Some years ago I was taking a Spanish class. The teacher found out that my birthday is December 12th and it was such a big deal to her. She told me that a child born to a Latin family on the 12th of December is considered quite an honor, and a blessing. I had no idea. With that knowledge, I decided to find out more. I now feel that it is truly an honor and I wear a ring of Our Lady of Guadalupe at all times. Because of my research, I have come to understand and I guess in some ways embrace many of the traditions of the Latin people, like wearing the ring. I love the celebration of The Day of The Dead. Here in Chicago we have a wonderful Mexican Museum of Art. Every year they have a spectacular display of alters that are built to honor friends and family members who have died. A tour of the exhibit is something that I enjoy doing every year. The Day of the Dead is a time when family and friends come together to remember, celebrate and pray for those who have died. Some who don't understand the tradition feel that it is a very dark celebration, but really it is quite lovely.

The fabric that I used for the lining is Day of the Dead fabric. Yes there are skulls, but there are roses and green vines as well. I really love this fabric.

A side view of the jacket. The center back is gathered, forming a very full skirt and it is longer in the back. When I have the jacket on you can see just a hint of the lining.
To fasten the jacket, I put large grommets on the right side. I then took a cording and made knots and kept the ends long so that I could make loops. The loops then go through the grommet and then loop over the knots.
At the wrists I attached smaller grommets and then put an elastic cord through the holes and I sewed it into place on the back side.
At first I was going to wear a white shirt with the outfit, but once I got the jacket and pants together, I knew I needed a black top. I felt that the lining would be a little more dramatic against an all black background. In keeping with the full sleeves of the jacket, I designed this draped and pleated sleeve for my top.
Black boots would have been fine with this outfit, but these were just a little too perfect. They are actually rain boots. They are definitely an unexpected twist.
So I went from an ultra feminine garment like the pink, black and white outfit to a black suede jacket and faux leather pants with skulls on the lining!! I look at it this way, celebrate the many sides of being a woman.

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Fashion Show Garment 7

This jacket has been in my wardrobe for quite a long time. Fishman's fabrics had purchased a great lot of Prada fabrics. When I saw this I fell in love. There was a coordinating fabric, silk, that had pink poodles and I think the Eiffel Tower in the print. I loved the blouse and wore it so much that I wore it out. Like I said about the 1920's shoes that I love so much, wear what you have. Don't save anything. The joy that comes from using it is far greater than the joy of it just hanging or sitting in your closet. I found this beautiful piece of pink, black and white silk at vogue a few years ago. The moment I saw the fabric, I immediately thought of this jacket and new that it would give it a whole new life. The pattern I used for the jacket is just a basic boxy jacket. I wanted to update it without taking it apart. A friend gave me these beautiful buttons. They are mother of pearl. Really beautiful. As I was thinking about what to do to the jacket, I came across the buttons. They pick up the opalescence in the jacket and work well with the plaid. Rather than make buttonholes, I covered some snaps and attached them under the buttons.
I kept the design of the two-piece dress rather simple, a straight skirt and a simple neckline that works well with jewelry. The two pieces are underlined in silk. It's amazing how well a garment wears when it is underlined. The top has a side zipper.

I've been on a mission to use what I have. I found this piece of pink silk charmuse, perfect. The bad thing that happens once you start lining your garments in silk charmuse is that it becomes almost impossible to settle for anything less.
The back of the top has a very elegant and feminine drape.
The jacket makes the outfit something that I can wear in cooler weather and the skirt and top can easily stand alone during the warmer summer months.
I wanted a hat to go with this outfit so I took the fabric over to John Koch and this is what he created. Simply beautiful. Take a close look at the roses and the leaves. He makes them out of silk! John is probably the most creative and talented person I know. What a blessing to have him as a friend. He does give classes by the way. Taking a class from John is a wonderful experience. Your head will go home spinning with the wealth of information he will give you. He can be reached at his studio, Montrose Studio, (773)275-4151. He is willing to do private classes as well as group classes.

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Fashion Show Garment 5 and 6

I'm combining these two garments into one post because I have written so much about them in previous posts. Please overlook the wrinkles. The first garment you can read about in the March post of this year, Weaving Memories. This has become a great addition to my wardrobe. Since the wedding in February, I have worn it twice. Well worth the work that went into it.

The second garment I talked about in length in a December post, Celtic Dreams. The best part of this outfit is that the pieces are great with so many other outfits.

I always like to have a little fun with my things and an unexpected lining is always great. I found this great Lipstick fabric to line the skirt. Too much fun!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fashion Show Garment 4

My favorite dress of all. If you've been reading my blog, you may remember that I wrote about making this dress last summer to wear to a party at Lincoln Park Zoo. If you would like to read about how I put it together, go to July and it is under the post, The Mouse That Made Cinderella's Dress. When I wore the dress last summer, I did not wear gloves with it,but for the show I thought they would make a nice touch.

A close up of the hip detail.
There is an attached bustier in the dress. There's probably enough boning in it to build a bridge. The most wonderful thing about all the boning is that once the dress is on, it is so secure that I never once think about the dress. So no yanking on the top of my dress all evening long. The boning came from Susan Khaljie. It is a must for a strapless dress. You can go to her website and order it. I just can't say enough positive things about this boning.
The hat came from John Kock. He was in a recent issue of Threads Magazine and the article was all about how to create hats. He is a master. I always love what he comes up with. This hat was not originally meant for me. He had made it for a client in Florida. Oh how I wanted the hat. After all, it was perfect with my dress. At first we thought that he could recreate it for me but we weren't able to find the elongated pearls that he had used for the stamens of the flowers. Luckily, his client didn't like the hat and sent it back. It was mine. Meant to be.

For a favorite dress, you need a favorite pair of shoes and by far these are my favorite pair of shoes. They are from the 1920's. Simply spectacular. The black is satin and the gold and silver is leather. They are not saved. I wear them. When they wear out, they'll just wear out. The joy that they give me when I wear them is worth so much more to me than any joy I would get from just looking at them on the shelf.

I've decided to make a fur collar like the one I donated to the raffle for the show. I think a black faux fur collar would look wonderful with this dress and I know to what event I will wear the outfit. I can't wait. Sweet anticipation.

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Fashion Show Garment 3

The theme of this year's fashion show was Hooray For Hollywood. I bought the wool I used for the coat quite a long time ago. It was actually a remnant that I found at Vogue. One of the segments was Out of Africa. I found the faux fur while I was in Novi last September. At that point I knew exactlly what I wanted to do. Sadly, the pictures that my husband took at the show, are a little difficult to see, but at least you get an idea.
Before I took this picture I should have given a quick steam to my coat. After the show I was exhausted and left everything in the garments bags for a week. The coat is really quite nice, although, I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to make a winter white coat while I own two black dogs.
The pattern was a lucky find on Ebay.
I wasn't able to make buttonholes as I am waiting on two more buttons to arrive. This button I bought while we were skiing in Taos, New Mexico a few years ago. I found it in a knit shop. It's actually the very bottom section of an elk antler. When I decided to make the coat, I knew I wanted to use this button, but I had bought only one. So the search was on. I finally found a guy in Montana who makes beads and buttons from antlers. The buttons should arrive soon. For the time being, I sewed a large snap under the button and called it a day.

The faux fur that I used on the collar has the same design as the giraffe print I used for the lining. When I saw the fur I knew I just had to find a giraffe print lining. Thanks to High Fashion Fabrics in Houston, I was able to find exactly what I wanted. The skirt is made from a faux suede home dec fabric. I doesn't wrinkle!! It's just wonderful.

The top is one of my designs. The pattern is a little weird. The right side of the pattern is completely different from the left side. I also made the necklace. The beads are a natural stone. I can't remember the name of the stone. I had them on the other day. I was freezing, as usual. The beads somehow held my body heat and felt great around my neck. Now I'll have to see how they react during the summer. I may feel like I have a ring of fire around my neck.

And finally, the shoes. I'm a firm believer that you can find great looking shoes anywhere if you just look. I was in Walmart, yes, Walmart. I have to admit that I was a little shocked myself. Here were these great embossed leather, yes leather shoes. Oh happy day! They look fantastic with the skirt. I really love the outfit.

I've already worn the skirt and top. Even though we are just at the end of a very long winter, I can't wait for a nice cold day so I can wear my coat. I probably shouldn't let anyone know that or they may have my head.

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Fashion Show Garment 2,

A Little Girl Power/A Little Flower Power. I love mixing patterns. On one side of the dress the fabric has women walking in funky little 60's outfits. The other side is a field of daises. The fabric for this dress was found at Vogue Fabrics. When I saw the fabric, I immediately thought about doing this dress and mixing the two. The dress is one of my patterns. It's a great wrap and because of the extra draping over the bust, no pin is needed to hold the front together like the traditional Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress. I found the hat at a garden store here in Chicago, Gethsemane. They have the most wonderful plants and they also have a great gift shop. They had the hat with the brim turned up for working in the garden. I gave it a try and with the brim turned down it has a bit of an Audrey Hepburn look. I just love the hat. I do not wear it to garden. When I went through my shoes, I had these red patent leather shoes and I knew this was just perfect. The red pulls out the red in the dress and really makes everything pop. I think I will wear this for Easter. Great color after the long Chicago winter we have had. Sadly, I don't have a picture of me in the dress. I'll get one on Easter.

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Fashion Show Update 1

Just a quick picture to let you know what the Sewing Workshop San Deigo Jacket outfit looks like on me rather than the fitting form. You can see the entire garment if you go to the post, A Walking Quilt, A Mattress, and a Fashion Show.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Note Of Thanks Is Overdue

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. When I was in the fourth grade, I had to go to school early as my parents left for work and I couldn't be home alone. For those of us who arrived early, the school had someone to watch us on the play ground as long as the weather permitted. If it was too cold or raining, we could come in to the gym, but we weren't allowed to play. We were to quietly work on our homework. I always did my homework the night before so I had nothing to do. Rather than get in trouble for talking, I decided to write a book. I was no Anne Frank! I decided that my book would be about a little girl and her adventures. Of course the little girl was me, but her adventures were from my dreams. I loved the mornings when we were in the gym. I would write and write, lost in a world that only existed in my head. After so many pages, I decided that I had done enough for a chapter and on I would go to the next. I had no idea of how to structure a book, four or five pages of notebook paper seemed like enough for a chapter. Sadly, all those pages filled with adventure were thrown away when we prepared for our next move. What I wouldn't give to just have a peek at what I wrote so long ago. After so many years, I am writing once again. What a joy it is for me, and how grateful I am to all of you who read and send the most wonderful notes to me. I think the notes that I receive are my favorite part of writing this blog. You inspire me. Just recently I found out that my blog had been in one of the Threads emails. You can see the article if you go to www.threadsmagazine.com/item/17646/when-the-ground-is-white-youve-got-time-to-write. In the article they tell you how you can submit a potential article to Threads Magazine. I received an email from a follower in Houston,TX who is the newsletter editor for the Greater Houston ASG. She had put the information about my blog in thier newsletter. Quite an honor. And thanks to another follower, I found out about http://www.artisanssquare.com/. If you type in my name in the search area you will see all the conversation that has gone on about the Spin Around Top. One of the ladies has made a pile of them. Incredible. Two of my friends here in Chicago are working on the jacket pattern that I sent out to a number of you. One is doing the jacket in the most beautiful red silk from China. The other is doing her jacket in a wonderful piece of felted wool. I saw it last Sunday. I wanted to keep it! This same friend decided to make the rectangle skirt that I posted a while back. She walked in to the luncheon and fashion show wearing her skirt and looking like a million bucks. Doesn't she look great?!! This picture I just had to include. I love meeting Rhondas. There aren't a lot of us out there. Rhonda is on the right. She won the faux fur collar I made and donated to the raffle for the Haute Couture Fashion show. I had no idea who won it until I walked out in my first garment and saw Rhonda sitting there wearing the collar. I received a message today that she wore it the entire afternoon. This is a great collar and very easy to do. It was a free download from Haberman's Fabrics which is in Michigan. The address for the collar is www.habermanfabrics.com/proj_furcollar.html. It can be worn in a number of ways, and I think it's just a fun item to add to your wardrobe. Between a broken computer and just having a little too much on my plate, I have let me little series of Rectangles, Squares and Circles slide. I am coming back to it and I have some great things in store. Thank you all again for following and for your wonderful messages and emails. As I said, you all inspire me.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Walking Quilt, A Mattress and A Fashion Show

I'm reading a book entitled, "The Quilt That Walked to Golden." It's a true story about a family that moved from the east to Colorado in search of a better life. Because the wagon was so full of "necessary" things, the husband told his wife that she could only take the clothes that were on her back. As the story goes, she just couldn't part with her precious garments and proceeded to layer on as many of her things as possible. After they arrived in Golden, Colorado, she made a quilt out of her dresses. This is a woman after my own heart. I don't know that I would have the fortitude to walk all those miles with layer upon layer on my body, but I guess that when there's a will, there's a way.

My great-great grandmother walked from Florida to Texas. She was born in Texas, married and then followed her husband to Florida. In Florida she had four children. When my great grandmother was about twelve, her father died. It's very hard to believe, but a woman could not own land in the state of Florida at that time. So my great-great grandmother packed her wagon, tied her cow to the back and set out on the journey back to Texas with her four children. At that time a woman could own land in Texas as long as she was not married. Once she married, the land would then belong to her husband. Kind of a rotten deal. Thankfully, at least from a woman's perspective, things have changed. I am amazed by her courage, setting out on a trip like that, alone with four children.

Now my great grandmother had all the fortitude and courage of her mother. At seventeen, she married my great grandfather who already had five children. His first wife had died. The oldest child was twelve, so not a vast age difference between my great grandmother and the oldest of her now stepchildren. She went on to have eight children of her own. She was truly incredible. She was a wonderful cook, she made the quilts for her family, made clothes for her daughters, kept her home, never missed a Sunday church service, and after my great grandfather died, she ran the farm. Not only did she make the quilts, she made the mattresses as well. They were incredible, big fluffy feather mattresses that were made from the feathers of her geese. I can remember going for a visit and sleeping on those wonderful beds. Getting into bed was a bit of a shock as there was no heat in the bedrooms, so the sheets were icy cold, but by morning I was as warm as I could be nestled in the feathers with heaps of quilts over me. The only thing that could pull me from that bed was the smell of breakfast poking at my nose.

As I worked on the shirt pictured below, I couldn't help but think of my great grandmother and those incredible feather mattresses. The fabric (pictured above) looks so much like the ticking fabric she would use. I made the shirt to go with a jacket that I made for our upcoming fashion show. Linda Lee of The Sewing Workshop gave the Haute Couture Club fifty patterns of her San Diego jacket. A few years ago we started doing a type of group project. We choose a pattern and then everyone makes it up however they wish. The audience loves this as it's fun for them to see so many versions of the same pattern. This year is extremely special as Linda Lee will be attending our show.

For my shirt, I used an older Isabel Toledo pattern. I really love this shirt. It's crisp and clean, but yet has a wonderful flair with the structured peplum.

Linda Lee said that we could do anything with the pattern that we chose to do.

The jacket was originally done in the 80's so it has a tremendous amount of ease in it. I did the extra small. Rather than do a shirt version, I decided to make mine into a jacket. I lengthened it a good bit, added a yoke to the back and then redrafted the back to give it a swing.

I made openings in the side seams to put my belt through. The fabric is who knows what. I think it is probably rayon with lycra as it does have a stretch. For the show we are calling it a stretch denim tweed.

The lining is rather fun. I found this fabric on Ebay. There's a woman in Montana that gets some of the most interesting fabric. I'll look up her store and give you the link in another post. The fabric has women walking in great little outfits.

The pants are just skinny, straight leg pants.This is one of eight garments that I will have in the show. Thankfully, I'll have someone to help me change. Stay tuned, I'll try to post all of the garments this week.

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