#33 – Threads Gift Guide

#33 – Threads Gift Guide

November’s Threads Magazine features their annual Gift & Goodies Guide – For the stitchers in your life.

Cover of Threads magazine, novemeber 2018, featuring their annual gift guide

Cover of Novemeber 2108 Threads

Creating Couture Embellishment is among the 16 fabulous items they selected this year. “I’m chuffed!” as the English say. Or as New Englanders say, “I’m wicked pleased!”

one of four books picked for the gift guide is Creating Couture Embellishment

Threads recommendation of Creating Couture Embellishment

Need I say more?

Ellen with a gleam in her eye

Wicked Cool!

#31 – Embellished Shirts

Hello everyone! I have been absent from the Blog-sphere for a while, but I’m back – finally! I had some minor health issues that have been resolved and my sewing has returned! Yippee!

In January (!) I created a series of embellished white shirts for an article in Notions, the magazine for American Sewing Guild. Here is the introduction for that article:

Embellishing Ready To Wear White Shirts

A well-fitted white shirt has been declared an essential item in today’s wardrobe. We have been told that we can dress up the white shirt by adding a suit jacket and look “professional” for any occasion. That’s all well and good, but why settle for a plain white shirt when you can embellish the shirt in a few hours to make a unique garment? By adding ribbon, lace, some cords or Seminole Patchwork you can create a beautiful shirt with original details.

I bought some white shirts from a local discount clothing store and embellished each with a different technique. Using fabrics and trims from my stash, I used a number of techniques to embellish each shirt differently. Inspiration is sure to strike after seeing these beautifully embellished white shirts.

 

a four strand brand sewn to the cuffs and collar of a RTW white shirt

Four Strand Braid RTW Shirt

 

Blue lace replaces the lower sleeve on a RTW white shirt. A lace flower is pinned to the collar

Lace Sleeves on a RTW Shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organza ribbon sewn to the sleeves and front placket of a RTW white shirt

Organza Ribbon on the Sleeves and Front Placket

 

 

 

Seminole Patchwork sewn to the cuffs and pocket of a RTW white shirt

Seminole Patchwork Cuffs and Pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will post the directions for one or two of the embellished shirts in a future post; I promise.

Since my sewing mojo has returned I created a new shirt that I hope will interest quilters: a Tumbling Blocks embellished shirt. I know several quilters who would like to show off their quilting skills, but you can’t exactly wear a quilt to work, can you? The Tumbling Blocks shirt uses a plain white shirt, with a set of blocks sewn onto one shoulder. Then several single blocks tumble down the front of the shirt, ready to join some mates at the bottom of the shirt.

 

Tumbling Blocks quilt pattern spread across a RTW white shirt

Tumbling Blocks on a Shirt

 

I think the Tumbling Blocks work well enough and are fun enough that I’m now playing with the Spool of Thread pattern. What do think? Do these variations on quilt work interest you?

 

 

 

SFD Distinguished Alumna Award

# 30 – Distinguished Alumna Award

Distinguished Alumna Award

On Friday, May 11, 2018 I was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award by the School of Fashion Design in Boston, MA.

SFD Distinguished Alumna Award

SFD Distinguished Alumna Award

{For those who don’t know the School of Fashion Design in Boston it is a small school that only teaches Fashion Design and related classes: sewing construction, pattern making, draping, sketching, CAD for pattern making, Photoshop & Illustrator, fashion photography, couture details, 2 and 3-D design, fashion history, hand-bag design & construction, shoe design, and so on. All the classes are limited to 15 or so students, with most classes being much smaller. I love the student: teacher ratio; in every class the teacher has time to check in with every student making sure each student has understood and has successfully completed the lesson/homework assignment from the last class. Located in downtown Boston, it has day, evening and weekend classes.}  http://schooloffashiondesign.org/ 

I graduated from the School of Fashion Design (SFD) in 1998, with a Certificate in Clothing Construction and Pattern Making. (SFD only awards Certificates, not degrees.) I started teaching a Level 1 Construction class the following year.  By the time I took a leave of absence from SFD 10 years later, I had taught Construction and Pattern making levels 1 and 2, Construction levels 3 & 4, and Couture Details. I really love teaching, and I’m good at it, if I do say so myself. I love seeing how each student learns: some students need to read a book, some students need to see a demonstration and some students need to do the project themselves. Of course, we all learn best by using a combination of all 3 methods: reading, watching and doing.

My book, Creating Couture Embellishment, came from teaching the Couture Details class, with some bits and pieces from other classes thrown in, too.

As the Distinguished Alumna, I had two duties: helping to select the garments that would be in the annual Fashion Show and giving a graduation speech. The garment selection process is called “Judging”. As in “Is your dress ready for Judging?” “Oh, no. I still need to hem to my dress and add the hook & eye at the top of the zipper on my skirt!” I was one of six judges; all of us are professional fashion people. We were shown over 100 garments and we loved most of them!

The Fashion Show was held a week later, and it was stunning.

Fashion Show program, front cover

Fashion Show program, front cover

Fashion Show program, back cover

Fashion Show program, back cover

Graduation was the following day. The six members of the graduating class listened to three speakers: Dr. Denise Hammon, the current head of the school. Denise, who is retiring, will be sorely missed. She kept tearing up during the ceremony as she said good bye to the graduating class and to the staff at SFD. I spoke next—the text of my speech is below. Olivia Spence, the recipient of the Isobel Sinesi Lifetime Achievement in Fashion Award, spoke next. Olivia told us of her experiences in Saudi Arabia in the late 1970’s as the co-designer of hundreds of outfits for the Saudi royal families’ wedding season. Each woman needed several outfits for each wedding ; there were many women and many weddings. Now, whenever Olivia is unsettled by an upcoming event or project, she tells herself, “If you can manage the royal Saudi wedding parties, you can mange anything!” It was a great speech and wonderful reminder that we can conquer just about anything we set our minds to. Finally the graduates were handed their Certificates and a rose. All in all the graduation ceremony lasted about an hour, just the right length if you ask me!

 

Graduation program, front cover

Graduation program, front cover

Graduation program

Graduation program

Here is my speech. I was quite nervous. I tried not to speak too quickly. I was so pleased when the audience laughed. I have added <laughs> where the audience laughed. Everyone liked my speech. Olivia and I agreed that if we had planned our speeches together we couldn’t have gotten them to compliment each other any better. Hooray!

Good Morning.                  I started to write a speech telling you about the 5 years I spent writing my book, Creating Couture Embellishment and about the 10 years before that, that I spent teaching at SFD and the 20 years before that, that I spent working in the theater. Several people said this would be interesting to you. Two pages into this reminiscence I was bored to tears. <laugh>

I thought about my SFD graduation day – well really all I remember about that day was that on my way up to the podium to receive my diploma from Mrs. Cushing I tripped. <laugh>

I thought about what would I like someone to tell me on graduation day.

Your work should be something that makes you happy.    

It is work so there will be times when it’s really, really hard: when you pin and baste the left sleeve into the right armhole, when rip out every seam you sew, and when press in creases where they don’t belong.     There will be times when you would rather not bother: when you would rather stay in bed and watch Netflix, or be outside in the sunshine. <laugh>     And then there will be times when everything goes right: when the zipper goes in on the first try, when the pockets match, left and right, and the piping goes right around the corner without bunching or pulling. Those are the times that make all the other hours worth struggling through.   And you can say,  “Yeess! I do know what I’m doing!”

Whatever it is that you do: give it your all.

The prime example of this is hemming a gown: the hem you know you should sew by hand, but you really want to sew it by machine because it’s a really full skirt, and it’s way down there on the ground and who’s going to look down there, because if people are looking down there, then your client isn’t very interesting is …  <laugh>  But you know you should sew it by hand because the rest of the garment is really great and to skimp here… This is when you have to step up and give it your all.  Put on some really good music, or an audio book and sew the hem by hand because you know it will be worth the trouble. When you’re done you’ll be able say, Yeesss! It was worth it!

Don’t worry that you don’t know everything.

It’s true, you will never know everything- that’s impossible. There’s always something new to learn- My sister is a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealer in Wyoming. She taught me that Harley Davidson Motor Clothes have extra long sleeves. That’s so that when you’re riding your motorcycle with your arms outstretched, your sleeves will still cover your wrists. Yeess! You have learned something new today! <laugh>

However, you know a tremendous amount. For example, you know about pivoting a dart, adding seam allowance, sewing in a sleeve, a hundred ways to hem a dress.  You know how to design a line of clothes and how to present that line of clothes with hand drawn sketches and computer graphics.  You know the difference between cotton and silk, underlining versus interfacing, 2 way stretch versus 4 way stretch, woven versus braided elastic, wearing ease and something that’s just too big. And you know how to take-in that too big garment to make it fit.  You know how to drape a skirt, a blouse, a dress and a gown. You know how to thread a sewing machine in your sleep and how to model a garment on the runway. And it’s very clear that you know how to create a beautiful, original, custom made white dress for this graduation. So, Yeess! You do know a tremendous amount!

You’re graduating from this “wicked hard”  program at the School of Fashion Design. Congratulations! you’re amazing!

After all of this we trooped off to a delicious Brunch at Post 360.

Brunch Invitation

Brunch Invitation

#19- The SFD Apron- Seminole Patchwork

#19 – The SFD Apron- Seminole Patchwork

The School of Fashion Design in Boston, where I went to school and later taught, has added a December couture detail garment auction to its annual calendar. This year’s garment to be embellished is an apron. I was asked to make an apron for the auction; the apron is due December 1, 2017  for the auction on December 12, 2017.

SFD Apron Flyer

SFD Apron Flyer

Here is rumpled flyer; it’s been through the USPS to get to me.

As I have mentioned before designing is not my strong suit, so I set up a Pinterest board about Aprons. https://www.pinterest.com/coutureellen/apron/ I wanted my apron to be useful: machine washable & dryer-able.On the Pinterest board were photos of apron made from shirts.  My husband recently cleaned out his closet and a bag of his shirts was waiting to go to the thrift store.  There is a standing joke in our house: which blue & white striped shirt will he wear today? Blue & white stripes and Seminole patchwork could work!

The shirts on the table

The shirts on the table

First step: cut the shirts into 2” (5 cm) wide strips. Second step: create an order for the strips. Did I create an easy to replicate repeating order? No, of course not.

The first set of strips

The first set of strips

 

Cut into strips

Cut into angled strips

Third step: cut the strips into angled strips on a 45° angle.

Sew the angled strips together

Sew the angled strips together

Fourth and fifth steps: Offset the strips by one block and sew them together to make the “new fabric.”

Working on the base shirt: I cut away parts of the yellow and blue checked base shirt leaving the fronts shaped into apron-like pieces with the collar. I opened up the collar stitching from the edge of the button placket around through the back neck and forward to the other front placket. I also opened up the stitching on the buttonhole placket that attached it to the shirt front.

Sixth step: Place the strips on the base shirt. When I made the set of strips for the right hand side I had to cut all the strips in reverse to get the diagonal pattern to mirror the left hand side. All good. But when I laid the strips out and sewed them together I saw that I had added an extra set of narrow blue striped blocks into the pattern. I took apart the blocks around the narrow blue stripes, laid it out again and the pattern still didn’t work. I asked my husband to come help. His verdict: I was missing the narrow blue striped blocks. Argh! We placed all the blocks in the correct order and I pinned them into place. Then I took photograph below.

Laying the new fabric on the base shirt

Laying out the new fabric

This photograph shows the missing pieces on the right hand side, as you look at the photograph.

 

Close up of the missing pieces with numbers

Close up of the missing pieces with numbers

After looking at the photograph I decided I could still get mixed up so I numbered all the pieces to be added: the strips/columns (vertical) were labeled 1-11 and additions were numbered A-D using bits of masking tape. Columns 1 and 3 just got numbers as they were complete. All the other columns got numbered and lettered A through D as they needed pieces added. I didn’t think to take a photograph of this, but I labeled the photo in Photoshop; I hope the numbering is visible. Column 11 didn’t exist, so I hadn’t screwed up that piecing!

The next steps have no photographs.

I placed the “new fabric” on top of the shirt fronts and aligned the diamond pattern, vertically and horizontally. The raw edge on the right side at center front got tucked into the buttonhole placket and then I re-sewed the placket seam. The raw edge on the left side at center front was folded under ¼” (6mm) and top stitched down to the base shirt, right next to the buttons.

Working across the fronts I matched the vertical seams of the new fabric to a blue stripe in my base shirt, every 3” (5.5mm). These lines were then top stitched/ machine quilted to keep the two fabrics together. There are a few places where my attention wandered while I was top stitching and my stitching line went astray; I left these bobbles as it shows the garment was made “by hand” rather than by machine. OK- I was too lazy to undo the stitching.

Step one hundred: I cut away the extra new fabric around the outside edges of my apron base. Now it really looks like an apron! I stitched all around the edges of the apron at 1/4″ ( 6mm) to hold it all the raw edges together. Bias binding made from a shirting remnant was sewn around the outside edges and made into apron strings. The apron strings were stitched onto the sides in big Xs. Finally the collar was re-sewn catching the top edge of the apron and closing the back neck. DONE!

The completed apron on the table

The completed apron on the table

What I thought would be a one day project was a 2+ day project.

The completed apron belted on a dress form

The completed apron belted

 

The completed apron tied in back on a dress form

The completed apron tied in back

 

I’ll let you know how the auction goes!

#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.

#16 – ASG’s Notions: Book Beat Review

#16 – American Sewing Guild’s Notions: Book Beat Review

In the Winter 2017 edition of Notions is a review of Creating Couture Embellishment.  Since the review is available to ASG members, but not the general public,  I’m posting it below.

ASG Notions Review of Creating Couture Embellishment

ASG- Notions Review

#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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#13 – Wedding Day!

Today my son is marring an amazing woman!  We are so excited and pleased. We love our in-law family, but especially we love the BRIDE!

I did finish the Mother of the Groom dress; it’s far from Eddi’s design, but I am very comfortable in it.  There are no photos as my camera has gone off to the repair shop.  (After 6000+ photos for The Book it needed some TLC.) There will be photos later today, taken by the wedding photographer, so I will post some of those to show you the dress.

The sun is out, my dress is pressed – ready, set….