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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A Book Signing Party

We had a Book Signing Party!

Cat Burkey, Jane Levin, Ellen Miller, Tracy Aiguier, Martha Palaza, Eddi Phillips and Roseanna Ansaldi seated around a table, all holding copies of Creating Couture Embellishment.

Everyone has a copy of Creating Couture Embellishment!

from left to right: Catherine Burkey, Jane Levin, Ellen Miller, Tracy Aiguier,  Martha Palaza,  Eddi Phillips, Roseanna Ansaldi.

Over the seven years of creating the book I had many collaborators, many with more than one job.  Anne Townley was my editor at Laurence King Publishing, although “editor”. Amy Ozay designed the spectacular bodices shown at the start of each chapter. Very early on Anne and Amy insisted, rightly, that each chapter have a consistent color theme running through it, and thus elevated the tone of the entire book. Neither Amy nor Anne could attend the book signing party and we missed them!

Martha Palaza helped with the pattern making: creating the basic pattern and muslin for Faith, our mannequin for the bodices.  Martha also stepped into the breach whenever my pattern making skills faltered and gently set me on the right course.  Roseanna Ansaldi helped me master pleats, tucks and spiral flounces.  Roseanna and I tried many fabrics for the sample for these chapters (linen, plain cotton, striped cotton, cotton polyester blends) before settling on a fine wool, notable for it’s ability to hold a crease. Jane Levin created all of the line drawings in the book, working until each drawing showed a precise moment in the sewing process with utmost clarity.   Eddi Phillips designed nearly all of the amazing sleeves featured in the circles at the top of each technique.  Eddi also helped choose the appropriate fabrics and trims for each sleeve, ensuring the sleeves were couture quality. Catherine Burkey designed some of the more picturesque sleeves, and worked with me day after day until all the sleeves were perfectly sewn, creating a comprehensive library of the techniques. Tracy Aiguier photographed all the bodices and sleeves, leaving me speechless with the beauty of the photographs. I could not have “written” this book without their invaluable help.

Laurence King Publishing spent two years “editing” Creating Couture Embellishments: book design, layout, color correction of my photos, copy editing and text-photo matching, checking the colors of the “actions” lines in Pleats, Tucks and so forth. All the work by Laurence King Publishing transformed my Word documents into a beautiful book. But it had been two years since many of us had gotten together, and some of the collaborators had never met each other. The release of Creating Couture Embellishments was the perfect reason to have a party together.

My husband and I made Swiss Chard Spanakopita and a big salad. We had wine, beer & ice tea. For dessert we had cake & ice cream.  In between the main course and dessert my fellow artisans and I sat at one table to sign books. You would think that our spouses/partners would cheer us on as we signed books—you would be wrong! They ignored us and carried on with own conversations that had nothing to do with fashion. Luckily, my niece Alice (of Kimono blog fame) was suitable impressed by all of us and took pictures to commemorate the occasion. We tried to stretch dessert so we could talk for hours but we had to disband about 10 pm as everyone had a long drive home and work the next morning. It was a wonderful party to celebrate a unique event: Signing Creating Couture Embellishments!

 

 

 

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