Kits are finally here!
I finally have kits to sell! It’s taken a while to translate some of techniques in Creating Couture Embellishment (aka CCE, The Book) into kits. After refining a technique into a great project, I had to source quality fabrics, cords and tools, create the “enhanced” directions and photos, figure out packaging & shipping and calculate the cost per kit, but I’ve done it. I’ve also tested the kits on fellow ASDP members (Association of Sewing & Design Professionals), ASG (American Sewing Guild) and MVC-EGA members (Merrimack Valley Chapter of Embroiderers’ Guild of America).
In February, I taught three workshops, via Zoom, to some of the members of the Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan using the kits: Fanciful Feathers, Chinese Knots, Corded Quilting. We had a great time together. Each workshop was three hours long. The Feathers and Chinese Knots workshops produced completed samples. The Corded Quilting workshop established the process of corded quilting, but everyone had more sewing to do to complete their samples.
There are currently 7 kits in my “store.” The photos below are taken from The Book to illustrate which technique the kit will feature. Kit specific photos are coming soon.
Choice Chinese Knots
Clarifying Corded Quilting/Boutis Provencal- by hand sewing
Clarifying Corded Quilting/Boutis Provencal- by machine sewing
Versatile Reverse Applique
I am working on the descriptions for these kits. The descriptions need to be written with a tempting tone, which is new for me. When I teach I speak in a casual, chatty style, “ Smooch this over…” When writing Creating Couture Embellishment I learned to write in precise, academic style, “Ease this in 1/8” (.125cm)…” Now I am learning a new voice: fun, engaging, “Of course you want this…”. Happily, I do believe you want this kit. I do believe that the kits are fun and engaging.
In each kit you will find:
The kits are skill builders; by working through the kit you will learn a couture embellishment technique. Each kit takes about 3 hours to complete, except Corded Quilting, which takes longer.
Each kit costs $35.00 including taxes and shipping.
*Fanciful Feathers kits are only available as a bulk purchase, minimum order 8 kits.
My next couple of posts will have specifics about each kit; what’s in it, what you need from your workroom, etc.
If you want a kit email me directly @ email@example.com.
On November 6, 2018 I will be presenting a Power Point Presentation to the Rhode Island Sewing Network about my Embellishing Ready To Wear Shirts. I am excited to meet this group of sewists from Southern New England. Below is the article about me that appeared in their monthly newsletter announcing my talk.
November Meeting Program
November 6th, 2018
We are very excited to welcome Ellen Miller to the RISN in November. She loves to sew elegant clothing, from the simple to the ornate. She is an accomplished professional couture seamstress and experienced college-level teacher of fashion construction. Ellen’s book, Creating Couture Embellishments, was published by Laurence King Publishing, London, in late 2017. Through her company, Ellen Miller, Seamstress, established in 1983, Ms. Miller has created and altered custom garments for hundreds of sophisticated clients. She served for a decade on the faculty of the School of Fashion Design on Newbury Street in Boston, teaching a variety of construction, pattern-making, and couture techniques. In both her professional and teaching work, Ellen uses her craftsmanship and design sense to realize the designer’s concepts, treating each design as a challenge to create a wearable work of art, and in the classroom, to enable all her students to realize their designs. The personal summary: I love to sew clothes. I love taking a piece of flat paper or muslin and creating a pattern, cutting out the garment pieces in luscious fabric, pining the pieces together, sewing and pressing the seams to form a three-dimensional thing that slides over the body giving voice to wearers inner vision of herself. Creating clothes is slow, meticulous work but oh- the final product- it speaks of me: the love and care put in to it and it speaks of the wearer: bold or soft spoken, brightly colored or muted tones, bejeweled or plain- if it accurately represents the wearer- she will stand tall, feel confident, equal to anyone in the room.
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.
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.
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?
My niece once removed Alice received a child’s kimono similar to this one from her aunt/ my cousin Abby.
Alice wanted to alter the kimono by shortening the torso and sleeve lengths so she could wear it as a fun top. What a great idea! I started by taking apart the sleeve and torso hems. The more I took the kimono apart the more the dirt and stains on this lovely fabric became apparent.
Here, at the center of the photo, you can see the lines of dirt that marks the clean seam allowances that had been tucked inside the sleeve. Alice and I agreed to take apart the rest of the kimono and wash it to see if we could reduce the dirt.
Here is the same piece of fabric after washing. There is still a clear dirt/seam line, but lighter, and the entire piece is much cleaner.
These two kimonos, the one pictured on the dress form and the one Alice received, came from my grandparents. My grandparents spent several years working in Japan in the early 1960’s; when they came home they brought a kimono for each of the girl grandchildren. We wore the kimonos for special occasions, Halloween costumes and dress-up fun. I would not be surprised if Abby’s kimono was never cleaned. Dry cleaning was a luxury for us and with the wool interlining, the kimono would have been difficult to wash.
To quote Wikipedia and Liza Dalby: Kimonos are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric called a tan. Tan come in standard dimensions—about 36 centimetres wide and 11.5 metres long—and the entire bolt is used to make one kimono. The finished kimono consists of four main strips of fabric—two panels covering the body and two panels forming the sleeves—with additional smaller strips forming the narrow front panels and collar. Historically, kimonos were often taken apart for washing as separate panels and resewn by hand. Because the entire bolt remains in the finished garment without cutting, the kimono can be retailored easily to fit another person.
Once the kimono was partially sewn back together, I draped 2 different pieces of fabric to try as new collars.
I thought the light teal polyester worked better with the bright colors of this children’s kimono.
Once the kimono was the kimono and sleeves were shortened, I applied a bias strip as the collar and along the sleeve edges.
I braided some bias cord to use as fastener at the front. Alice said she wasn’t sure she wanted a fastener, so I made the braid removable by sewing some clear buttons into the kimono. The braided tie can be hung on the buttons or unbuttoned to be removed.
Here is Alice wearing her new kimono.