#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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