#25- London!

#25- London!
I am in London, England with my husband for a week! We are staying at the Rembrandt Hotel,    www.sarova-rembrandthotel.com  across the street from the Victoria and Albert Museum   https://www.vam.ac.uk/.   We bought a membership to the V&A, which allows us access to the museum and the special exhibits as often as we like. We’ve been 3 times since we arrived 4 days ago.

Kate & Ellen smiling

Kate & Ellen

On our first day in London we met Kate of Fabricated   http://fabrickated.com/ . Kate is charming, generous and fascinating to talk to. Kate told us about her day job and we compared notes about difficulties of buying a home, apartment/condo/coop in a large city like London or Boston without parental help or a 7-figure salary. We also talked about Kate’s book project, and I think we talked about blogging and making clothes but jet-lag fog has obscured that part of my memory. It was lovely to meet Kate in person; she’s extraordinary.

After a cup of tea and piece of cake Kate, my husband and I wandered through the jewelry exhibit while trying to find the William Morris textiles. That’s the thing about a large museum like the V&A: on the way to one exhibit you pass through another exhibit that’s fascinating!

necklace made of buttons & gold wire

Button Necklace

Here’s a photo of a necklace made by Rowena Gough in 1999, of mother of pearl button and gold wire. I love this! I want to know what kind of gold wire is strong enough to support all of those buttons.  Any ideas?

My husband and I saw the Balenciaga exhibit, also at the V&A, which was beautiful. I took some photos in this exhibit- technical sewing things that caught my eye.

Hem with pleated support

Hem with pleated support

Here is a photo of the train of a long gown, which is supported by a heavily pleated underskirt or maybe a pleated facing.

Feathers & Beads on a gown

Feathers & Beads

This photo of a feathered and beaded dress is supposed to show that the feathers are beaded and the dress itself is beaded. It makes sense to bead both the feathers and dress under the feathers in scattered patterns: lots of varying sparkles from the many layers, which move differently in the room’s air currents.

We have also been to Kensington Palace, where I took some photos of Queen Victoria’s and Princess Diana’s dresses but they will have to wait for the next post—coming soon.

 

 

#18- ITAA Conference

ITAA 2017

Last week I went to the ITAA Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. ITAA stands for International Textile and Apparel Association, a mouthful in initials or spelled out. http://itaaonline.org/event/2017Conference

My editor at Laurence King Publishing, Anne, always liked going to this conference, but could not attend this year. Anastasia, also from LKP, encouraged me to join here there. Kara and Helen completed the team from LKP attending the conference.

My Wednesday afternoon trip to St. Petersburg was easy. After I checked into the Hyatt Hotel where I was staying, I ran to the Hilton Hotel where the ITAA conference was being held. I found the ballroom where the 6-8pm Fairchild Publications cocktail party was winding up, as it was 7:45 pm. I quickly put my purse down next to a woman who was eating and said, “I’ll be right back — with some food.” She replied, ”Pile your plate up, they’re shutting down the buffet very soon.” My kind of woman! Deborah Vandermar, the Executive Director of the Makers Coalition, and I quickly found many things to talk about. We were soon joined by Dyanne Marte of American River College, who had just arrived from Sacramento CA, and the three of us found even more to talk about. Eventually, the hotel staff turned on all the fluorescent lights in the ballroom and Deborah, Dyanne and I reluctantly wrapped up our conversation and said good night to one other; this scene was repeated all over the ballroom: small groups of attendees talking animatedly about fashion and related fields, and reluctantly concluding their conversations, but agreeing to meet up again tomorrow.

Meeting Deborah and Dyanne, having a long conversation with them about fashion and fashion production was great. These women were like me, and they liked me. This conference was going to be fun!

On Thursday, I met Anastasia, Kara and Helen in the Exhibitor’s Hall, where they were presiding over at two tables of LKP books. They were very welcoming. When I blew up my inflate-able mannequin and dressed her in the feather bodice that’s shown on the cover of Creating Couture Embellishment they were impressed. Kara took photos of me holding my book next to the feather bodice; I will add that photo here when I get a copy from Kara.

After a bit of chit-chat with Kara, Helen and Anstasia I went off to my first Breakout Session. All the sessions are 1 hour and 15 minutes long; four papers are presented and there’s a little bit of time for Q & A. Of all of the presentations I heard, the paper that caught my imagination the most was Shifting the Basic Pattern Block into a New Framework to Fit the Demands of Post Double Mastectomy Women. The team of researchers asked if women who are Living Flat (women who can’t tolerate implants or prosthetics, or don’t want to) would they be willing to buy new clothes to fit their new shape? The majority of respondents said they would like new clothes that fit their new shape, and would pay for them. What caught my attention was the next step: what do these clothes look like? Do they have 2 waist darts that taper the fabric from the shoulder to the waist? Or shaped side seams? The paper’s authors made 2 muslins showing both versions: they preferred the waist dart solution.

My questions went beyond the basic pattern: Do the tops have bulky fabric manipulations (e.g. a cowl neckline) to camouflage the flatness? Or ornamentation to proclaim a woman’s successful battle against cancer? Or just flat, subtle clothing that doesn’t hide, but doesn’t shout “Flat” either?

Thursday’s luncheon speaker, Chris Lane of 3dMD, spoke about using 3-D scanners to gauge how clothing fits bodies. http://www.3dmd.com/  Actually, he talked about a lot more than that, but that’s the part captured my attention the most. The images of men jumping up and down and watching the clothing move with them, or not, and of women bending over and seeing how far the seat of the pants needed to stretch while the waistband stayed at the waist were amazing.

2 photos of women in workout wear

3dMD photo

 

I know that Harley Davidson™ motorcycle clothes come with extra long sleeves so that when you ride with your arms outstretched your wrists are still covered, but when you’re not riding there’s a lot of extra fabric at the wrist that I always fold up into an awkward cuff. Another scenario, having baggy knees in your pants after you sit for a long time, which comes from stretching the straight leg of your pants around the curve of your knee, is also not great. Getting fabrics to look good relaxed or stretched, straight or curved is still an issue- even with lycra.

 

To cap off the day Claire Shaeffer presented a collection of Chanel and St. Laurent garments.

 

Claire Shaeffer

Claire Shaeffer

Many of the garments had been opened up so we could compare the interfacings and construction methods. Claire had cotton gloves for everyone to wear so we could handle the garments while she explained how they differed from one another and the purpose of each couture technique. Claire couldn’t have been nicer. What a marvelous opportunity to meet and talk to an idol of mine! And she asked me to autograph a copy of my book for her!!!!

Friday morning there was a Book Signing for me in the Exhibition Hall starting at 9 am. I brought 3 more inflate-able forms and the bodices from the Tucks, Lace Trim and Passementerie chapters to show.

Table with Tuck, Lace Trim, Passementerie and Feather bodices. Also books

Ready to sign books

Here is the table all set up: imagine me standing in the space between the Passementerie and Feathers bodices, smiling and ready to sign your copy of the book. Someday I will master enough of Photoshop to be able to add me into a photo like this.

2 tables with books and bodices for Laurence King Publishing

The Laurence King Publishing tables

The book signing was scheduled from 9-10 am but went on until 12 noon as women kept stopping to look at the book and chat. At 12 noon I signed the last of the 16 copies LKP had shipped to St. Petersburg. WooHoo!

Although the conference continued for a few more days, I was done. I met so many remarkable women at the ITAA conference. (There were very few men there.) Often I was greeted with a chilly “hello” because my name tag didn’t say “University of…” but when I said “textbook about sewing” everyone smiled and wanted see the book.

I am eager for my next adventure publicizing Creating Couture Embellishment.  I’m still thinking about women who are Living Flat and what their new clothes could look like. Any design ideas?

#17- Lace Presentation at the Boston ASG meeting

#17- Lace Presentation at the Boston ASG meeting

On Saturday, November 4th,  I spoke to about 35 members of the Boston chapter of the American Sewing Guild about Lace and Lace Trim. I had made a Power Point presentation based on the Lace and Lace Trim chapters in Creating Couture Embellishment- my first ever Power Point presentation. I think the presentation was OK, not great, as I was nervous; I know I rushed through the information at the beginning too quickly. I think the middle and end were better, as I slowed down, but I think I relied on information from the book too much and the topic didn’t catch fire in everyone’s imaginations.  Afterwards I overheard someone say, “Well, she certainly knows her subject…” Damning with faint praise.

Because I was nervous, I forgot to take photos at the event–again.   I recreated the display and photographed it in my workroom so you can see what I brought for Show and Tell.

Three shirts and eight sleeves with lace and lace trim on a table

Lace and Lace Trim display

Top row: a new shirt with Lace Appliques going over the shoulder, the Lace bodice, and the Lace Trim bodice from Creating Couture Embellishment.

Bottom row: Sleeves: metallic lace with beads and feathers, lace in a plain seam, lace applique, lace motif, lace around a curve, lace mitered at the corner, lace eyelet insertion, adding lace to beading and lace beading from Creating Couture Embellishment.

 

I started the talk by explaining the structure of lace; I definitely went through this bit too quickly. Then as I talked about how to sew with lace, I passed around some of the flat samples made for the book. Later the bodices and sleeves pictured above were passed around the room too.

Since most of the women in this group are not interested in making an entire garment out of lace, I wanted to show these ASG members that they could easily add a little lace to an existing garment, creating something striking and unique. One of lace’s endearing qualities is that it doesn’t ravel, making it ideal to use for appliques. One of lace’s drawbacks is that the net background that lace is woven onto can be very delicate and can rip, which is why a used wedding gown often has rips near the hem where the train of the gown has caught on something. Often the rips can be mended using a narrow zigzag stitch. But the delicate net background also folds down to nothing, so you can bunch up the net or push the net under the more solid motifs, when appliqueing lace.

I bought 2 shirts at a local discount store: a blue and white striped shirt and a plain blue shirt. The blue and white shirt is a casual shirt. I wanted to maintain the that easy going feeling, but make the shirt unique; I added some cream colored Alençon lace on one shoulder.

Blue & white shirt with lace

Blue & white shirt with lace

Piecing lace for an applique like this is a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle; you move the motifs around until the pieces fit together nicely.

Pocket close up to show lace coming out the pocket

Pocket close up

On this shirt I started the lace coming out of the chest pocket and continuing over the shoulder. On the shirt’s back I pieced a fleur de lis and two large flowers to the lace that came from the front. Once I had the motifs pinned in place I trimmed away the net fabric and the extra bits until I had a single layer of lace motifs.

Blue & white shirt back

Blue & white shirt back

Alençon lace is good to use as an applique because the heavy cordonette that outlines the motifs provide solid outline edges to sew to the garment. The appliques can be sewn to the garment by hand or by machine; in this case I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew the pieces of lace to the shirt. I also used some tear-away interfacing on the wrong side of the shirt to prevent tunneling by the zigzag stitch.

For a more formal look you could use some blue lace, but I love the way the cream Alençon lace makes this shirt “a little bit country”.

The other shirt I embellished is a blue button down shirt. I wanted the embellishments on this shirt to be more formal and subtle, so the shirt could be worn under a jacket to an office.

Blue shirt with lace embellishment

Blue shirt with lace

This size M shirt doesn’t show very well on my size 4 inflate-able (!) form; she’s listing to the back a bit. The inflate-able forms are wonderful for traveling Show and Tells.

Blue shirt collar close up

Blue shirt collar close up

I added 2 rows of a lightweight, polyester edging trim to the collar. The trim is placed with the footsides next to each other so the decorative headside edges are visible. (The footside of a trim is the sturdier edge of the trim, designed to be sewn to fabric. The headside is the decorative edge of the trim.) Because this a demonstration garment the footside edges of the trim are spaced 1/16” apart from one another so that you can tell it’s two rows of trim, sewn to the garment with line of straight stitches through the footsides.  If I were making this for a client I might butt the two rows of trim together and sew them to the collar with a single line of zigzag stitches catching both pieces of trim. Part of the stitching method decision requires thinking about the look of the under collar: do you want two rows of straight stitches or one row of zigzag stitches on the under collar?  Of course you could sew the trim on by hand catching only the upper collar with your stitches.

Blue shirt arm close up, side view

Blue shirt arm side view

On each sleeve I added a strip of allover black lace. To insert the lace I unpicked the shoulder seams and the cuff seams part way. Next I cut a slot along the straight grain of the sleeve. Then I added a strip of lace to fill the slot, sewing the two fabrics together length-wise, with a ¼” seam. I tucked the ends of the lace into the shoulder and cuff and re-sewed those seams shut. Finally I topstitched the long seams to keep the seam allowances from showing and from raveling. The lace strips aren’t visible  if you are wearing a jacket, so you could wear this shirt to a business meeting. Take off your jacket and you’re ready for a more casual setting.

I’m really pleased with lace additions to blue shirt: it changes up the shirt from one of thousands to one of a kind.

#15 – The Book Launch Party

#15- Book Launch Party

Thursday was a very busy: from 10 am – 1:30 pm I was in Salem, MA with Jess McDougall getting professional Head Shots (photographs.) From 3 pm – 8 pm I was at the School of Fashion of Design preparing for, enjoying and then dismantling, the Creating Couture Embellishment Book Launch Party. It was terrific but a long day.

The School of Fashion Design www.schooloffashiondesign.org is where I learned about Couture Embellishments and later taught a course about Couture Embellishments; it seemed right to have the book launch party at the school. Dr. Denise Hammon and Jennifer LeClerc arranged everything: Evite, mannequins for displaying the bodices, snacks, bartender and wine… What more could I ask for?

 

I drove to The School of Fashion Design (SFD) directly from my photo shoot( see post #14)  with Jess McDougall www.jessmcdougallcreative.com still wearing my hair and make up as done by Shannon Rouvel www.shannonrouvel.com. (Clever me to have booked the dates on the same day!) I got a parking space in front of the school, which was a blessing as I had a lot to carry in: bodices and skirts, sleeves filled with new muslin arms, a clothes steamer, a box of books, a large poster of the book’s cover, a bag of assorted junk and dress-up clothes for me.

window showing the SFD logo on Newbury St.

SFD window

 

I dressed the 6 mannequins in bodices and skirts, laid out the sleeves filled with their new muslin arms, put up my 24” x 36” poster of the book’s cover. I used the steamer to un-wrinkled the bodices and skirts, which have been in storage for quite a while. Jennifer LeClerc had already set up table with lots copies of Creating Couture Embellishment, waiting to sold and signed. Ready, set…

GO: by 5:15 pm there was a line of people waiting to buy Creating Couture Embellishment!

people waiting in line to buy copies of Creating Couture Embellishment

A line of people waiting to buy books

There were some alumni, some current faculty, some current students and some good friends – all standing in line to buy my book and get it signed! WooHoo!

 

Me bent over to sign a book and Martha using my phone & Square to sell the books.

Me -signing books, Martha with the Square.

My friend Martha used my Square™ to sell the books while I signed them.

Ellen & Denise Hammond seated & smilling

Q & A with Denise Hammon

At 6:15 pm Dr. Denise Hammon, the director of SFD, and I sat down for a Q & A session.

We had a good time: Denise asking questions and me answering.  I explained  the pitfalls of making and photographing embellishment samples,  how the samples came to be the colors they are, why “writing” Creating Couture Embellishment took so long. If you want to hear the naswers to these questions you’ll have to come to an event.  (See  Master Classes  on the bar at the top of the page.)

After the Q & A there was time to mingle and be photographed.  Jay Calderin took the pictures seen here.  Jay is a teacher at SFD,  a designer, an author, a photographer and more…. calderin3.com . Thank you Jay!

Ellen & Denise Hammon smiling

Ellen & Denise Hammon

Ellen & Denise: the beauty shot.

Jane Conway Caspe & Denise Hammon

Jane Conway Caspe & Denise Hammon

Jane Conway-Caspe, Board member at SFD,  with Dr. Denise Hammon.

I’m sorry there are no pictures of the mannequins dressed in their couture embellished finery. Note to self: take photos of the mannequins and sleeves or whatever at future events.

A family photo

A family photo.

By 7 pm it was time to undress the mannequins and pack up back into the car.  To cap off this long day there was  family was waiting to take me out for dinner.  A great ending to a great day!

 

 

 

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#14 – Head Shots

Head Shots

Thursday was a very busy: from 10 am – 1:30 pm I was in Salem, MA with Jess McDougall getting professional Head Shots (photographs.) From 3 pm – 8 pm I was at the School of Fashion of Design preparing for, enjoying and then dismantling, the Creating Couture Embellishment Book Launch Party. It was a long day but terrific!

The Photo Shoot

White Blouse on me

Head Shot- White Blouse

Jess McDougall www.jessmcdougallcreative.com in Salem is a professional photographer who specializes in Boudoir and Fitness photographs; she also does Head Shots  to use for websites and publicity pieces. I wanted new Head Shot photos as the photos I have been using were fairly informal photos that are at least 5 years old. It’s true that those photos look pretty close to how I look now but Jess’s session included full hair and make-up done by her colleague Shannon Rouvel www.shannonrouvel.com which I’ve never done before! As a child of the 1960’s I was brought up to believe that looks mattered less than what was in your head; while this is still true, what’s in your head matters tremendously, looks do matter and trying to live as thought they don’t matter is foolish. (This is a topic for another day’s blog post.) Long story short, this photo session was a HUGE gift to myself and was really fun.

 

After Shannon and I talked for a few minutes Shannon used a curling iron to curl the renegade sections of my hair that don’t curl as much as the other sections. All went along swimmingly except for one lock of hair, on the top of my head, which only curled up and would not join the other locks. Shannon curled it the down, left, to the right, … Finally it sorted of joined the rest of the crowd. I was impressed with Shannon’s unperturbed manner in dealing with ornery lock- and that this stuff happened to her too! On to make-up: unfortunately I had my eyes closed for a lot the make-up application and I can’t tell what she did. I do know that I looked amazing when she was done. Not too different, just polished and with great eyes & lip color. I need to book a make up lesson with Shannon.

Jess has a small but wonderfully light and airy  studio in downtown Salem. The small space made the session less intimidating; it was just Jess and me, casual and intimate. On Jess’s instructions, I brought 4 different shirts that were different colors and have different necklines. I did not feel self conscious or worry about anything, as Jess was clearly catching every detail in each photo. She was clear in her directions: “head forward, chin down- not so much”, “look there, now here,” “tilt your shoulders to the left.” Jess took photos of me in each of the 4 shirts and we were done!  After Jess downloaded the photos into PhotoShop, she had me choose my favorites. I chose 18 favorite photos. Jess and I looked the 18 photos together and quickly whittled the 18 down to 6 based on Jess’s comments.  So fun and easy!

Head Shot- Red Shirt

 

Me in the purple blouse

Head Shot Purple Blouse

Here are the three most formal of the photos.  Which one do you like best?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#12 – The Burgundy Top

The Burgundy Top

As you know from a previous post my friend and sleeve designer Eddi Phillips designed some clothes for me to wear while on The Book Tour. I am so lucky to know such a talented designer and have him design clothes just for me!

Eddi designed 10 outfits and we picked 6 of them to make; Eddi helped me chose the fabrics and trims for each outfit- or at least the general idea of fabrics and trims. This top included gathering fabric to one side seam, then layering lace and appliques on top of the gathered section.

Sketch showing a long sleeve blouse with lace and applique on one side

Lace & Applique Top

 

There were 2 stumbling blocks in my iteration of this design: the lace addition just added bulk to my non-existent waist and the applique didn’t work the way I envisioned it. I didn’t take pictures of the top with the lace and applique, but the basic top with the gathered fabric had a great deal of appeal to me. Hmmm…

Burgundy top front pinned to dress form with a few rows of gathering stitches on the right

Shirring idea

 

I decided to shirr the entire half circle area and add beads. Can you see it?

Close up of the shirred and beaded part on the wrong side

The wrong side

This is the wrong side of the top, showing the shirring and the bead work. The shirring was sewn by machine; the rows are ½” apart. You read about this in detail in Creating Couture Embellishments, page 95.

 

I sewed the beads on with FireLine™ Smoke, size B, with the thread doubled. I suppose I could have used size D, single thread, but I had the size B on my work table already. I knotted the thread after each bead so if one bead got pulled off the rest would stay on. After all the beads in place I covered the shirred area with fusible interfacing to protect the knots of the shirring and beading, and covered the interfacing with a layer of lining to keep the entire garment slippery.

The top on the dress form sowing the shirred and beaded section

Shirred and beaded

Here is the garment finished except for the hem.

The burgundy blouse with shirring and gold tone pearls on me.

Burgundy Blouse

The finished top on me. Jess McDougall of Salem, MA took this photo of me.

I think the next iteration of this top will have more rows of shirring and be 3″ longer.  And there will be more iterations of this top!

Have you got other wader saves?            Please share!

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#11 – Mother of the Groom Dress

Mother of the Groom Dress

My son is getting married in a couple of weeks. We are all very excited as we love my future daughter in law and her family. The entire event will be outside, from 4 – 10 pm in Massachusetts. The weather could be chilly and rainy or could be warm and sunny; what to wear?

Over the summer I asked my friend Eddi Phillps to design some clothes for me to wear on a book tour (still in the planning stages.) Eddi sketched 10 beautiful designs; we selected 6 for me make.  Eddi also helped me choose fabrics from my stash to use in this project.

Sketch of green princess line dress with swatches of fabric and trim

Green Dress Sketch

I chose this dress design for my Mother of the Groom dress.

I started by adapting my muslin from the shirtwaist dress pattern (in post #3) to a shoulder princess line dress. I sewed the bodice pieces to their corresponding skirt pieces and fiddled with vertical seams until the pieces laid flat on the worktable.

The center back seam opened so the pieces can lay flat.

The center back seam opened so the pieces can lay flat.

Here is a close-up of the back panel showing how the center back seam had to be opened up to accommodate the pattern changes. (The fabric peaking out from behind the muslin along is the lining layer.)

 

All the pieces laid out in order on the worktable.

All the pieces laid out in order.

I cut out the dress in a lovely dark teal that I bought from Zimman’s Fabrics in Lynn, MA. http://www.zimmans.com/

I cut out the lining in a dark Bemburg rayon; I love the feel of the Bemburg against my skin and it sews up beautifully.

After sewing the dress and lining I put the dress on my dress form and started to pin the trims in place. The trims are from Daytona Trimmings Co. in New York City; they don’t have a web site.

Trim pinned to the back of the dress.

Trim pinned to the back of the dress.

Designing is not my well developed area. The change from lace and rat tail in Eddi’s design to this flat, rectangular trim and rat tail trim has thrown me for a loop. I can execute a design, but making something up isn’t something I can do. I have fiddled and diddled with the trim for the better of two days and this still doesn’t look anywhere near what Eddi designed.  Argh…

Time to re-group…

 

 

 

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#10 – The Montana Antique Mall

An unexpected trip to Missoula, MT afforded an opportunity to go to the Montana Antique Mall. https://www.montanaantiquemall.com/

Several of the dealers had antique clothes for sale; here are some photos of some of the pretty clothes I drooled over.  The Montana Antique Mall isn’t a museum technically but it inspires me the way a museum would.

I’m sorry the pictures in this post are blurry.

A White Dress:

antique, white wedding dress againsta green door.

This lovely white dress was embellished with rows of taffeta, pinked on both edges and gathered into ruffles. Four rows of ruffles cover the sleeves. Another four rows of ruffles are placed at an angle, encircling the hips. Three large loops of taffeta are gathered and sewn to the side seam to form a bow at the waist. I think this was a wedding dress; can’t you just see the bride holding a bouquet of roses?

 

a close up of the white dress: the ruffles along the hip line and the big bow at the waist

Close up of ruffles and bow.

Close up of the ruffled sleeve.

Close up of the ruffled sleeve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pink Coat:

A soft pink wool coat

This lovely wool pink coat is decorated only on the ¾ length sleeves’ cuffs.

The pink cuff embellsihed with off white crochet work, cyrstals and tiny nailheads.

The embellished cuff

There is central crotcheted motif of a daisy like flower, encircled by smaller flowers. Scattered further afield are smaller flowers and single leaves. All of the crocheted elements are held onto the cuff by small, prong-held, pale blue crystals and tiny silver nailheads. Imagine the ¾ length sleeves, with its wide sleeves and embellished cuffs meeting a long, shapely evening glove. The Opera, anyone?

A Salmon Dress:

A salmon colored flapper dress embellsihed with crystals.

 

This lovely salmon dress is embellished with crystals, a gathered skirt and a handkerchief hem.

I love the pattern of crystals following the lowered waistline and then flaring up into the bodice, going to either side of the breast mound, with one group of crystals continuing all the way up and over the shoulder.

a close up of the gathering of the skirt and the crystals.

Close up of the gathering and crystals.

 

The fullness in the skirt is controlled with gathers that peek out in a small arched section where vertical lines of crystals blossom. I’m ready to wear this dress out dancing! If only it fit me…

 

 

 

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#9- My work room

My work room is in my home. We have recently moved into this house (10 months ago!)  so my work room is still a work in progress. I have to think: where did I put those duck billed scissors? Or the fabric markers? Still it is lovely space: filled with light and beautiful fabrics.

At the top of the stairs from the front hall is large loft-like space; this is my workroom. Along the far wall of my room are west-facing windows that look out over the river near us.

The view from my work room at high tide

I have 2 industrial sewing machines positioned along the north wall: a straight stitch and a zizgzag machine. On the south wall I have a bamboo counter that holds a small ironing board and my industrial iron. The north and south walls also have shelves starting at 5’ off the floor and continuing up to 10’. On one set of shelves are my books of Fashion History and inspiration. On the other set of shelves are boxes of fabric that I hope to use soon.

Ellen, wearing a pin-tucked, green, corduroy shirt showing some ribbon flowers

 At my work table with some ribbon flowers

In the center of the room I have a custom made table that is 38” high and is 47.5” wide by 66” long with a dropped leaf to extend the table to 92” long. The table is topped by a large cutting mat as I prefer cutting fabric with a rotary cutter. As I work on a project I’m very good at covering every flat surface in my workroom with bits and bobs, so I try to start with all the flat surfaces cleaned off.

All of my tools and supplies have a home in a drawer or a labeled box. It makes me crazy to not be able to find something, so everything has a place to live—in theory. Of course there are a couple of boxes that have all the odd things thrown together: rhinestone setter, grommet setter, electric knife for cutting foam and a bead spinner are in one box.

I made the switch to an industrial iron and sewing machine many years ago. I was exasperated by my home sewing machine needing to be repaired all the time; I needed something sturdier. With the industrial straight stitch machine I can sew fine chiffons or thick wools with just a few adjustments of the tension discs and the stitch length. The zigzag machine is a little more complicated than the straight stich machine so I need to spend more getting the stitches just right. I also have a 3-4 thread serger. I dream of owning a cover stitch machine.

Last but not least I have a stereo in my workroom. I listen to the music, the news, audio books while working. I find the tempo of the music keeps me moving forward: Loreena McKinnett or Jesse Cook are good when working on complicated pattern changes, while Bruno Mars, Beyonce or Adele are good when working on more straight forward things.

The view from my work room at low tide

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