Sunday, February 7, 2016

Haute Couture Societe


TOC:

Haute Couture Societe

Have you heard of the Haute Couture Société? Haute Couture (HC) is a sewing guild based in Stockton, California. I have several friends who are members of HC, so I have, over the years, heard about their great programs.

Last summer they contacted me and asked if I would be willing to give a talk in the coming year, and perhaps a workshop. They've had a slew of good speakers in the past, such as contestants from Project Runway, and sewing luminaries, like Kenneth King, so I was flattered to be asked. In January, the guest speaker was Linda Lee.

Noooo, that wasn't a hard act to follow. ;)

I agreed to do a trunk show. At first, I wasn't going to do a workshop, then I was (on unusual pockets), then I wasn't again. It really takes a long time to prep for these things, and I'm short on free time these days.

I brought 44 garments to show

The truth is that I have a lot more self made garments than that!

By the way, I was planning on wearing a skirt and leggings with my Trippens, but in my rush to get to Lodi, I neglected to pack those. So I wore my Trippens with my jeans. Oh well.

The talk took place yesterday and it great fun! Do you remember Ann Smith and Barbara V? They are both longtime members of HC.

Dorothy K, Ann Smith, and Barbara V, taken at Artistry in Fashion last fall

It was great to see Ann and Barbara! And I got to see Dorothy, too! She had called Ann on Facetime, not realizing that Ann was at the meeting, or that I was about to speak. Since she was on a video call, she hung around and watched my entire talk. I was greatly amused by a clever use of technology. And how handy that Ann's phone was charged up!

Dorothy watching my talk

Barbara very kindly took many photos of my talk. She really went the extra mile! Last night I uploaded to pics to see the results of her work and I had to laugh out loud! She had an incredibly difficult task: I hop around like a rabbit and am very expressive. In many of the pics I have a ridiculous grimace on my face.

I found it so amusing that I created a montage.

Thanks so much for taking a plethora of pics, Barbara!

And if you live near Stockton, CA, you should definitely check out Haute Couture! They have a fashion show coming up soon that sounds like a fun event.


Artistry of Marlene

Jonelle and Marlene

I have two other friends in Haute Couture, as well. I've been friends with Marlene for several years and had briefly met her daughter, Jonelle, several times, including twice at Puyallup. Marlene graciously offered to put me up at her house the night before the Haute Couture meeting. After almost 3-1/2 hours of commute traffic on a Friday afternoon (a less-than-2-hour drive in non-traffic conditions), it was wonderful to reach Marlene's home in Lodi where I relaxed in her creative sanctuary. Besides sewing clothing, Marlene also makes jewelry and purses.

I just had to share her artistry and one of her great ideas on how to display her jewelry. Yes, she gave me permission. :)

Marlene decorated the hallway near her bedroom with these lucite displays that hold some of the necklaces she has made. She rotates the necklaces as she makes new pieces, or just feels like a change.

Marlene had the lucite cut in the 8-sided shapes at Tap Plastics. She also had the large diameter plastic tubing cut into lengths. One end is cut straight, and the other end is cut at an angle. She then glued the angled end of the tubing to the lucite, and mounted them on the wall.

Don't they make a great display?

More of her beautiful work

Marlene also likes to make jewelry from bits of paper that she laminates. These are particularly good for travel, as they are extremely durable and lightweight. And that woman likes to travel! She just planned another trip to China—she's been so many times she's lost count.

Here are a couple of her laminated pieces:

She cut out these models based on the colors of their outfits, and embellished their clothing with a metallic silver marker, before applying the laminating sheets.

I particularly liked this abstract piece!

Marlene recently published an article with Threads magazine on making jewelry by fusing fabric and cutting it into leaf shapes. You might have seen that!

Marlene had also just finished two purses. And what beautiful pieces!

Purse #1: side 1 (above) and side 2 (below)

Purse #2: side 1 (above) and side 2 (below)

Marlene painted a plain wooden bead and glued the seed beads to it

I love this pic of Jonelle and Marlene laughing!
(I told them to act like they like each other.)
Also note that Marlene is wearing another of her beautiful pieces.

Thanks so much for hosting me in Lodi, Marlene!

Last Bits

I've already acknowledged Marlene's and Barbara's help, but let me also mention Jonelle! Wow, what a lifesaver she was for me! She had come to her mother's house to drive her to the meeting. I was going to follow in my van. But Jonelle noticed that my van had developed a flat tire. It was blocking Marlene's garage door, so we would have been stuck.

Jonelle immediately emptied the trunk of her car so we could load up my 44 garments. Once we arrived at the meeting place, she ran interference for me as I unloaded the clothes and prepared. She then got on the phone and figured out where to have my van towed after the meeting to fix/replace the tire, and she made an appointment. She kept me supplied with drinks and, during my presentation, she helped manage all of my clothes.

My clothes shoved into Jonelle's trunk

My helper, Jonelle

After the meeting, she drove me back to Marlene's where we met with the tow truck. (Thank goodness for AAA!) She then drove me to the tire repair shop and wouldn't leave until we knew if the tire could be repaired. (It turns out that my van has a weird tire size. If they hadn't been able to repair it, I wouldn't have been able to get new tires until Monday.)

Flat tire!

A MILLION thanks, Jonelle! I felt so taken care of!

One last thing. The meeting was held in a very unusual church—I'm told that this is not their normal venue. It was designed to resemble a whale! (At first, I thought it looked like a dinosaur, but Jonah and the Whale is a more likely inspiration...)

It looks something like a stegosaurus, amiright?

Looking up through the "ribs". In the belly of the whale, as it were.

I hope you are having a great weekend! I spent many weeks preparing for this presentation. Now that it's over, I'm happy to turn my attention back to sewing, and to preparing my Paris wardrobe.

I don't care much about football, but I will enjoy having the Superbowl on while I putter around. Having Superbowl City near my San Francisco office was very interesting! I took a break from work on Thursday to check out the Puppy Bowl, which is pretty silly, but it's cute to watch a passel of puppies in the middle of a work day! (The Channel 5 camera man kept getting in my way!)

And finally, Xīnnián kuàilè! (Happy Chinese New Year!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Miscellany


TOC:


New Tilton Craftsy Class

Have you heard?

Katherine and Marcy Tilton have released a new class on Craftsy, The Artful T-Shirt!

Marcy and Katherine posted about it yesterday on Facebook and provided a link where you can get $25 off. I hopped like a bunny to Craftsy and bought the class. I started watching it after work and, thanks to a night of insomnia, I saw the entire class before the next morning!

Obviously, I wasn't sewing along. ;)

This is a great follow-up class to their last class, The Ultimate T. Covered topics include how to mix fabrics, how to sew different kinds of knits, which are easier to sew and which are more challenging. They spend a lot of time on various necklines - raw edge, selvedge edge, twisted, cowl, and twisted cowl. They cover how to draft a split cuff.

That's not a complete list of everything covered in the class, but it's a taste. I had learned the twisted neckline from Marcy when she was teaching at Design Outside the Lines three years ago, so it's nice that this technique has been caught on video for those who never had that opportunity.

The class also comes with one of Marcy's Vogue patterns, so the discounted price for the class and the pattern is quite reasonable.

I highly recommend!


Button Pattern Weights

I saw these cute ceramic buttons on Instagram, so I tracked them down at Style Maker Fabrics. While they are being sold as pattern weights, I wonder if they might originally have been created as coasters. They have rubber discs on the bottom to protect surfaces, though the button holes would allow condensation to drip through...

But who cares? They are brilliant as pattern weights!


Oscar de la Renta Exhibit

I want to make sure that the word gets out.

The de Young Museum in San Francisco is having a retrospective exhibit of Oscar de la Renta from March 12th to May 30th of this year. If you are planning a visit to San Francisco, make sure you don't miss it!


I finished sewing the faux fur, but haven't had a chance to take photos. We'll see if I can get that done this weekend—if the weather cooperates. We've been having loads of rain and it's been SO NICE. I love my Minoru jacket, but I've been wearing other coats, too. Today I wore my "wormy" poncho crocheted by Ping Wu. My New York cape was perfect topper over that.

Bring on the rain!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Comedy of Errors - Butterick 5893


Two posts in one weekend?! That's a lot for me. Thanks for your suggestions and feedback on my Seattle recap! I'm returning to Seattle in February, en route to Whistler in British Colombia. I won't have enough time to tour on that trip, but I expect to see more of Seattle in the future.

TOC:

Butterick Pants 5893

I made these pants last November. I'd been wanting to try this pattern for awhile. View B is a straight-legged pant, intended for border prints, so the instructions tell you to cut the fabric across the grain, which makes sense if you have a border print. The rust-colored, linen-look fabric with kanji characters was from a local sewing meetup. (Thanks, Irene!) Along with that came a beautiful cross-dye lavender cotton that coordinates with the kanji characters—I lined the pants with the cotton.

I made a size medium, without any alterations. I added a special pocket to these pants, using my own pattern. I drafted the pocket to fit my new cell phone, a Nexus 5X, which is bigger than my previous iPhone 5c. (Yup, I've finally jumped ship from Apple to Android.)

I used the lavender cotton to face the pocket, using the facing to create a faux piping.

These pants are a quick sew, so why did I wait several months to blog about them?

Good question! You see, I wanted to make an eggplant colored top, using the Presto pattern, to go with these pants.

I ordered some rayon/jersey (11oz in merlot) from Emma One Sock. The Presto top pattern says that, for my size, you need 1-5/8 yards (58.5") of a 60" wide fabric, so I ordered 1.5 yards (54"). Yes, that is a tiny bit short, but I didn't think it would be a problem.

I started cutting out the top when I realized that I did not have enough fabric. Not even close. Another 4.5 inches would not have been enough.

Shoot! I ordered another yard from Emma One Sock.

When it came, I was involved with other projects, so it sat. And sat.

This weekend, I finished cutting and sewing the eggplant-colored Presto top.

This morning, I put the outfit on.

I like the top, but NOT with the pants!

Sooo... here are the pants with my trusty black jacket.

What do I think of these pants?

They're.... ok. They are certainly comfy, but the lack of shaping is not that flattering. I do think they would make a great pair of pajama bottoms! I will wear these because I love the fabric and I think they're fine, but the pattern is just ok on me, I think.

I will definitely wear the Presto top, just not with these pants.

Butterick 5893, view B


Handmade Jewelry from Sandi

Sandi

I met Sandi last October at Design Outside the Lines in Ashland. We were corner mates and often worked late in the studio together. She's lovely and very creative in that quiet way that some artists are. Sandi also makes jewelry. One of the techniques she uses is metal folding, which I tried, with dubious results, last year.

After DOL, Sandi sent me a touching gift; she had made me a beautiful pair of copper earrings and a stunning pendant. These pieces are wonderful. I really wanted to wear this necklace with this particular outfit, so there was quite a delay in blogging about it.

Sandi's pendant and earrings

She used a torch on the copper to change it's color. (I found this video on "flame painting" with copper.)

Thanks so much for these amazing pieces, Sandi! I truly enjoy wearing them!


Fabric of Vision Closing

I was so sad to recently learn that Fabric of Vision in Ashland is closing this month. This was a great little fabric store, located on the main drag in Ashland, across the street from where Diane Ericson holds her Design Outside the Lines retreats. Visiting Fabric of Vision was a favorite part of my visits to Ashland.

This store will be missed.


Fin

I've been collecting fabrics for my Paris wardrobe, and it's not red and black! (I love red and black, but Margy will be wearing red and black. ;) ) I'm eager to get started sewing my new fabrics, but it may not be for several weeks. To be honest, I'm not sure that I can finish everything in time—I have a lot less time and energy to sew than I used to.

Right now, I'm sewing some fake fur. By hand. I'd like to have it done for Whistler, which shouldn't be a problem.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seattle Recap


I recently spent several days in Seattle. I was there for work, but extended my stay to include a weekend. I love Seattle and was happy to have a couple days to check out the sights. So, I have a museum and shopping report!

And yes, this is a long, photo-filled, post!

TOC:

Counter Couture Exhibit at the Bellevue Museum

I had heard about the Counter Couture exhibit in Bellevue (near Seattle), but it closed on January 10th, so I thought it unlikely that I would be able to see it. When it turned out that I would be in Seattle on its last weekend, I was thrilled. Claire, a local sewing pal, offered to pick me up from the airport and take me to the exhibit, and then to Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle. Yay!

What a fascinating exhibit, featuring hippie clothing from the 60s and 70s, largely originating from Haight Ashbury. I had to wonder why a San Francisco museum (hello, de Young?) has never had a similar exhibit.

The exhibit featured handmade garments, shoes, and jewelry that was painted, embroidered, crocheted, and covered with studs. It reminded me how handwork was prized in my youth (in the 70s), when creative ideas were "out there", and colors were exuberantly expressed. Some of the displayed clothing was "every day", some was created as performance wear, and some was worn by cult members. It was fun to see the early work of many wearable artists that I recognize: Yvonne Porcella, Candace Kling, Jean Cacicedo, Laurel Burch. I especially loved the studded garments by Billy Shire.

I'll share a few of my many photos.

One of Wavy Gravy's outfits, made entirely from doilies

Crochet jacket by Jean Cacicedo. You may recall that I recently made a coat using the newly released Jean Cacicedo pattern.

A painted leather jacket. (I didn't note the maker on this one.)

A painted dress

A necklace by Laurel Burch

Embroidered jacket for Merl Saunders by Nina Jean Carisi

Chrysalis Collar Eye Necklace by Alex and Lee

Denim jacket by Billy Shire, winner of the Levi denim art contest in 1973. That center piece is a car ash tray—the lid slides back and forth. That must have been a hit at a party.

The front of the jacket features a desk bell.

Detail of Billy Shire's jacket

More work by Billy Shire

Dresses by Yvonne Porcella

Whimsical shoes by "Apple Cobbler" (Mickey McGowan)

Boots and more boots by Apple Cobbler

An entire room was dedicated to the wonderful, whimsical crochet by "100% Birgitta" (Birgitta Bjerke)


Claire's Issey Miyake Coat

I also want to mention Claire, my gracious tour guide, who was sporting a piece of wearable art herself! Claire attended Design Outside the Lines in Fall 2014, the first time that Carol Lee Shanks was Diane Ericson's guest teacher. She started this coat at the retreat, using an Issey Miyake pattern. I think she used Vogue 2182, though she tells me that she had to modify it quite a bit. She finished the coat recently, just in time for this winter. She included some wonderful details, such as gathered organza trim and contrasting boucle details.

I love it!

Thanks to the museum staff, who offered to take a pic after admiring Claire's coat

Claire recommended that we lunch at The Mediterranean Kitchen and I loved their felafel plate, which is more like a felafel salad! After lunch, we drove into Seattle, heading towards a fabric store I have been wanting to visit. On the way to the Queen Anne district, Claire wanted to show me one of the best lookout points in Seattle, just above Kerry Park.

As we approached the street above Kerry Park, we saw this:

It turns out that there had just been a shooting in the park. (Pic from this story.)

So I guess I'll have to save this sight for a future visit.

Bye bye and thank you, Claire!


Seattle Fabric Shopping

Nancy's Sewing Basket

Claire and I ended our outing with a visit to Nancy's Sewing Basket. An independent fabric store in the Queen Anne district, you may have seen their booth at Puyallup. Nancy's carries a very nicely curated selection of fabrics. Here are a few fabrics that caught my eye:

Wool
They also have a nice selection of knits and sweater knits

I didn't buy anything, but Claire found a couple beautiful Japanese cottons


Stitches

On Sunday, as I was taking a long walk from the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, I stumbled across a small independent fabric store, Stitches. A cute little store, with a mix of quilting, garment, and costume fabrics, as well as a limited selection of yarn.

I would support this little store if I lived in the area. I didn't see any fabric or yarn that I needed, but I did buy some cute gift hang tags.



pirkko

Once I arrived in the area near Pike Place Market, I wanted to check out a number of shops. One of them was pirkko, Seattle's Marimekko store. They have bolts of Marimekko fabrics in the back. Nothing tempted me, but it's good to know about another resource.


District Fabric

I've mentioned visiting District Fabric in the Fremont district here and here. This store carries a nice selection of garment fabrics and is two blocks from my Seattle office, so I generally stop by when I'm in town. However, I wasn't able to visit this trip: I worked on Monday and Tuesday, and District is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Oh well, next time!

Have I seen all of the fabric stores in Seattle? Have I missed anything? What about great yarn stores?


Shopping Shopping

When visiting another city, I love to search out shops that sell interesting garments and accessories. Seattle did not disappoint!

All of these shops were in the area surrounding Pike Place Market, a shopping mecca.

Totokaelo

My first stop was a Margy recommendation, Totokaelo. This store sells gorgeous, high end clothing, shoes, and accessories, from designers like Issey Miyake, Dries Van Noten, and Commes des Garcon. I didn't stay long enough to see everything, but I saw an R13 cape that I keep thinking about.

This beautiful green and teal Issey Miyake bag was on sale, though still a bit out of my budget at $800.

Sandylew

For years now I've been following Sandylew's blog. This compact store carries brands like Comfy USA, Itemz, Spirit House, Transparente, Ronen Chen, and Stella Carakasi. Like most of the stores I visited, they were having a big January sale. I had a lot of fun trying things on, chatting with Sandy and her sales people, and enabling other customers. I ended up buying a bracelet and a pair of tattoo leggings, both of which will make an appearance at some point.


Maggie's Shoes

Next, I headed for Maggie's Shoes, Seattle's purveyor of Trippens and other European brands. Even though I was there well within their Sunday shopping hours, they were closed, with a suggestion to ring the bell. I rang the bell several times, and waited around, but finally had to move on.


Baby and Co

I came across Baby and Co as I was searching the internet for Seattle shopping places. This store carries interesting designers, like Rundholz (a favorite) and Kenzo. They are, very conveniently, directly across the street from Maggie's Shoes. By the time I arrived, it was nearing sunset. I'd walked for miles and was losing steam, but I still bought myself a hat, on sale, of course.

Did I miss any great clothing stores? I'd love to hear about it. :)


Chihuly Museum

I feel like I've saved the best for last! I put this last because it has nothing to do with sewing or wearables, but I've been wanting to go to the Chihuly Museum for ages. Many people seem to confuse the Chihuly Garden and Glass with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, but they are quite different. I saw the Tacoma museum last year when attending Puyallup Sew Expo. It's a nice museum—my favorite exhibits were the glass sculptures made from children's drawings.

The Chihuly museum is located at the base of Seattle's Space Needle. Last year, I went to the top of the Space Needle and I got an aerial view of Chihuly's glass garden and the hall with massive windows. I had seen the Chihuly exhibit at the de Young Museum in 2008 and it was amazing. The Seattle museum is similar to that, but larger and more impressive.

The museum opens at 11am on Sunday and it was a perfect time to go. It just so happened that this was also during a big Seahawks vs. Cardinals game (leading up to the Superbowl), so the streets, and the museum, were deserted! What a treat to visit this museum with only a handful of other tourists! It was also a blazingly sunny weekend (really unusual at this time of year), which makes the glass glow.

Enjoy some pics!

Looking directly up at the ceiling

Looking up at the Space Needle

Who doesn't love museum gift shops? I gravitated to the children's section in the Chihuly gift shop. I was enamored with the Snooter Doots. After much dithering, I selected the Washington Cherries. Here they are, packed for the trip home.

And here they are, keeping me company in my office. They make me happy!

Finale

I wore my new Minoru every day while in Seattle. It was chilly and rained two of the four days. I love this coat! I received countless compliments on it. In fact, as I was walking along 1st Street, a group of 4 young men wearing droopy jeans, hoodies, and knit caps, passed me, going the other direction. Just as they passed, a voice emerged from the group, "Nice jacket, ma'am." It almost didn't register. I stopped, turned around and said, "THANK YOU!" One of the young men stopped, turned around, and smiled shyly.

It made my day!

In fact, I am planning on making the Minoru again for my Paris travel wardrobe.

If you've hung around this far, here are a few more pics that didn't fit up above.

Near the Chihuly Museum

Maybe it's easy to tell - I'm wearing a Marcy Tilton wide-legged pant from a long OOP pattern.

Pic taken at an outdoor grocer at Pikes Place Market. I love how the produce resembles Chihuly glass!