Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's All Research for Artwear

First, Find the Fabric
Ah, how time flies when there are things to be done! I've been researching stores in a fifty mile radius and found some winners--an almost local source of silk doupioni and a source of silk kimono scraps. These are little bits, but perfect for stunning little insertions in piecing. Oh yes, this is a picture for you of a small portion of what I bought. The name of the store is Yasuko in Healdsburg, CA. You can have a look-see online. This is a clothing store, with an upscale look in an upscale downtown. In the window was a stunning somewhat tailored jacket with collar and lapels and pockets and all, entirely made from soft shibori-wrapped-and-dyed fabric, topping an intricately draped skirt in a striped indigo. This was not an Issey Miyake, but a product made in America. I had mom sitting in the car on a hot day so I couldn't investigate further, but the image is burned into my brain. I have to go back for another look. Meanwhile there are many kimono-style jackets in various weights, collars and sleeve bands made from old kimono fabrics. So how did I spend my time there--taking a quick look at all the baggies and even flat-fold pieces from obis and silk kimonos. These are things to dream about for future projects.

Sometimes You Have to Dye It
I finally took the time to rinse my dyeing experiment with Easter egg dyes that were then overdyed with Kool-aid. I'm afraid it's not impressive. I like them and will use them--after all, they are bits of various types of silk. But something settled on the blue samples. I had put them in water to soak and some black dots landed on the parts that were out of the water. I can scrape some off, others are in the fabric like dye. So those that remain will now be part of what I make, ugly but so it goes. Maybe I'll foil over it at some point and make it more beautiful. Since I now know that these dyes will fade and at some point I will want to paint over them, I'm just going to continue to experiment and see what happens. The rinse water got clear with the blue until I added soap and then it released more blue. Drat! I didn't want to do all the right things like use Retayne or keep rinsing, maybe with cooler water. I moved on to the other colors. They were all losing dye like crazy until I just got tired. I hung the blue pieces up to dry. Maybe I should title this one, "What's with the fabric lady, where's the food?" That's one of my regulars in front of the deer barrier. I wonder if she's the one who jumped the gate and ate the strawberry plants? The rest of the dyed colors are resting until I feel like doing this again. I must not get distracted with this experiment when it's already past time to work on the jacket or vest for Rachel's show.

Fabrications and More on Judy Dieter's Jacket
I've been chatting with Judy Dieter who made the blue and gold jacket in the last blog notes. In fact, she's the one who sent me to Healdsburg to those stores. Fabrications is a quilt shop that carries bolts of silk doupioni. Be still my heart! They also have Lonni Rossi designed fabrics (a favorite of mine), fabulous batiks, and more, like Japanese indigo cottons that suit garments as well as quilts. I was in heaven. I think the website name says something about attitude around here (big grin). In any case, Judy clarified more about her jacket. I want to tell you where to find the "propeller" manipulation.

The fabric manipulations weren't just from Rami Kim's book (see my review in archives)

She also used the origami-like ideas from Rebecca Wat's book, Fantastic Fabric Folding ISBN: 978-1-57120-085-3

I too have used those books together--they are rich in ideas! Fantastic Fabric Folding is a relatively old book and both women have published more recently, but do look for these for your bookshelf. I just checked, and Rebecca's book is still available from C&T Publishing. It includes 8 different fabric manipulations used in quilts, vests, and home decorating projects. The instructions are clear, accompanied by good photos to explain each step. I found it fun to do fabric manipulations, and had forgotten all about the Twirled Roses. Maybe I can work them into my next project.

And in Other News...

The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., is holding a seminar this fall (October 16-18) on the subject of Japanese fashion. The title is "From Kimono to Couture: The Evolution of Japanese Fashion." Thanks to Mary Marik for this information.

Ethnic Embellishment Workshop
I signed up for this one immediately. Please contact me (see profile for email address or phone 707-987-9138) and I'll get the word to Marilyn Webster. I don't want to post her personal information online. There are a few spaces left:

The Redwood Handweavers and Spinners Guild, a local fiber guild will be hosting two short workshops with Alexandra Hart in July. Alexandra is one of the founders of Folkwear patterns. These workshops will focus on handmade embellishments, including closures and edgings. Ethnic Embellishments: July 11, 1-4 pm and July 12, 9-4 p.m. (choose 1 day or 2). We will explore thinking creatively about using these techniques in ways that go beyond their use in their cultures of origin and how one might adapt the basic idea to modern fiber art uses. All are ethnically based handwork techniques with unusual elements. All materials will be provided; you bring thimbles and scissors (and an optional embroidery hoop). We will finish with a sampler to take home and written instructions for the techniques.
Location: Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol
Cost: CNCH Guild members: $29 for 7/11, $58 for 7/12. $85 for both days.
Non-guild members: $34 for 7/11, $63 for 7/12, $90 for both days. Includes materials. Maximum 15 participants.

If you can't go to Houston, there's also Long Beach!
I hadn't been focused on the International Quilt Show in Long Beach because I knew I wouldn't be able to go. I hope if you were interested, that you have already made travel arrangements. But just in case it slipped past you, I know Trudi is looking for someone to take her room on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I believe she was staying at the Hyatt which hosts the show. If you would like to take on her reservation, please contact me and I'll get the word to her. My email is in the profile or call 707-987-9138. For more details about what's going on at the show in Long Beach, go to I'm sorry to say the Bernina Fashion Show is no more and will not be appearing in Long Beach. But I have no doubt you will still have plenty to see in wearable art, in ideas posing as quilts, and in vendors booths. Half the fun is meeting so many people who speak "fabric" and share the same passions! If you go, please tell me all about it!

Mary Brown's Work
When I joined the Peninsula Wearable Art Guild in the 1990s, Mary Brown was president. She and that group were so influential in my creative life. Mary now makes and sells jewelry online. Go to: Look under the header Color History to see Mary's wearable art from years ago. Then check out to see what the ladies (and gentlemen) of Penwag are doing these days.

I just got my latest Threads magazine. This issue is another winner! I haven't read any of it yet, but see that Sandy Ericson has written another article as has Kenneth D. King, and Lois Ericson describes how she makes her pieced scarves. Looking forward to putting my feet up and checking out this one! Till we talk again, all the best from Rosalie

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Judy Dieter's Jacket, Folkwear News, and Kenneth D. King Classes

Judy Dieter used the Mt. Fuji Jacket Pattern from Brensan Studios I've used this same pattern, like its shape and large areas to do with it what you will. I too strayed from the pieced layout. If you try this pattern, compare all the pattern lengths before you cut. I can't find my notes now, but I remember finding a discrepancy. Regardless of that, it's a good pattern to have--and maybe the problem has been fixed by now.

It was just a fluke--I drove to Shelley's Quilted Treasures in Kelseyville to touch some great fabric and say hi to Brenda. I had a need to talk sewing and such. She told me the Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County were having a quilt show--so I went. I've never met this group but their website looked promising: Most quilt shows include some wearable art and this one didn't disappoint. I wanted to show and tell you about the one that interested me the most.

Judy did exemplary work (I'm sorry that my photos aren't up to the standard of her work--I took them on the fly as I marched through the exhibits). I believe all her fabric manipulations can be found in Rami Kim's book, Folded Fabric Elegance. I reviewed it in this blog on January 29, 2009, so please check the archives. I'm sure you all know that there are people who admire wearable ART and people who prefer WEARABLE art. I admit I get a bit annoyed with the latter group because I feel if you're going to make wearable art you want it to be noticed and to show that you like or make good design with your hands, not just add a bit of embellishment. On the other hand, I rather suspect that my own work belongs in the latter group because I don't have the nerve to pile on too much in the first go-round.

But what Judy Dieter shows us is how you can build in subtlety through color choices and sticking to two colors, and then adding a lot of techniques which provide both texture and interest. You should see the perfectly piped front edges! The gingko crest is gold silk doupioni that might have been fused (it's very smooth and flat) and she satin-stitched the edges. Beautiful! What might be hard to see in the photos are two areas of hand-embroidery. One strip has French knot flowers. The round strip uses beads for flower heads. Nice. See the piece that looks like blue rickrack? Those are two-fabric prairie points and their placement over hand-dyed blue fabric gives that effect. Notice too the variations on prairie points. You can see hers better than my violet ones in January. I saw a lot to like in this jacket but had very little time to stand and enjoy it, so am grateful both for being able to take the photos and for finding Judy and getting her permission to post my photos.

Message from Kate Mathews, owner of Folkwear Patterns
I'm going to assume that not everyone who reads this blog has signed up to get Kate's emails. I find them so interesting that I'm copying the latest one here, with Kate's permission.

Summer Greetings to our Folkwear Friends!
When I start pulling warm-weather clothes out of the back corners of my closet, I always think back to old favorites that I wore in summers past. For example, when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I wore lightweight cotton dresses from Mexico all summer long. They were easy to find, with colorfully embroidered yokes, and were so cool and comfortable. Now that I live in North Carolina, these happy dresses live only in my memory, so for this year I decided to make my own! I immediately thought of the Blouse in #125 Huichol Wardrobe (front and back drawings shown here).
I'll cut it to dress length and without the sleeves (just turn under and topstitch the yoke's armhole seam allowances). I love the small pleats below the yoke because, unlike gathers, they keep the finished garment from looking too blousy—which is great for maternity wear but no longer for me. I'm going to add some multicolored machine embroidery to the yoke and may also experiment with decorative stitching partway down the pleats. By the time I finish, it should be in the 90s here, so I hope to have some cool new frocks that also bring back warm memories.

What's New at Folkwear?

Elizabeth is finishing up the garment samples of the newly re-published #148 Black Forest Smock. We chose doubleweave cotton with a geometric design for the man's smock and a related but contrasting cotton for the shoulder yokes and neckband. The woman's smock is made out of lovely white-on-white embroidered cotton with sheer white sleeves. She's making a bias sash out of the sheer white cotton and adding embroidered ribbon trim that coordinates with the fabric of the man's smock. Now we're looking for models to wear them for the photo session, so you will soon see these two special garments on the web site (#148 Black Forest Smock in the Old Europe Collection).

There's inspiration everywhere!
If you need to refresh your creative energies, you won't have to go far this summer. Just look at this amazing lineup of special events—they will make you want to hit the road with your sketchbook or idea journal:

# Fashion in Film: Period Costumes for the Screen, featuring costumes from Evita, Dangerous Liaisons, Pride and Prejudice, Out of Africa, Titanic, and other movies. Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Penn., through August 9.

# Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, featuring more than 500 objects from the museum's collection of Southwest Chinese ethnic minority costumes. Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through August 16.

# Wearing Wealth and Styling Identity, featuring handwoven and embellished tapis (skirts) from Lampung, South Sumatra, Indonesia. These sumptuous garments communicate a family's global contacts, social station, and clan identity. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, through August 31.

# Indonesia and the Zone of Attraction, featuring textiles from Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and other locations. Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, opening June 26.

# Recent Acquisitions, including hats from Peru and Cameroon, a turban from India, contemporary batik from Java, grass raincoat from China, and other items acquired within the last five years. Through January 3. Also, Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery, an online "virtual" continuation of an earlier exhibition. The Textile Museum in Washington, DC.

# The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion "focuses on iconic models of the 20th century and their roles in projecting, and sometimes inspiring, the fashion of their respective eras." A virtual walk-through of the galleries can be seen on the web site. Through August 9. Also, Tibetan Arms and Armor from the permanent collection, including decorated armor and equestrian equipment from Tibet and related areas of Mongolia and China, dating from 8th to 20th century. Through fall of 2010. Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

# Unspoken Messages: The Art of the Necklace, including pieces from Chinese Miao culture, Morocco, Hawaii, and India. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, through September 13.

# Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry, featuring innovative pieces from the permanent collection, dating from 1940s to the present. Visit the web site for a good selection of images of pieces in the show. Museum of Art & Design in New York City, through July 5.

# Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles, dazzling textiles from as early as the 1500s. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, through September 6.

# 4th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design, featuring costumes from television's past and present. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, through September 6. Also, several online "virtual" shows including the 17th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition.

# Fashioning Felt, an exhibition of historic examples of felt as well as contemporary product design and applications in fashion, architecture, and home furnishings. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, through September 7.

# Sturbridge Antique Textiles and Vintage Clothing Show, a marketplace for thousands of textile lovers looking for vintage pieces and bargains. July 13 and September 7, at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center on US Route 20.

# Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out, a look at the American designer who says, "…the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside! That's the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it's done." Through September 26. Also, Fashion & Politics, an exploration of more than 200 years of politics as expressed through fashion, including flag-motif designs, a Nixon paper dress, and memorabilia from historic elections, through November 7. Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

# As the Century Turns: The World of the 1890s, an online slide show of staged tableaux with fully costumed wax-headed articulated dolls from the turn of the 20th century. Lacis Museum, Berkeley, Calif.

# Gazette du Bon Ton, an exhibition of fashion plates from the early 20th century magazine, known for its collaboration of couturiers and illustrators to promote leading edge styles, opening June 25. Also, Michael Kors Designs from the Wendy Zuckerwise Ritter Collection, celebrating the designer's 30th year in the fashion industry, through November 2. Kent State University Museum, Kent, Ohio.

# Intersections: Where Art and Fashion Meet, an exhibition pairing important works of art with significant designer fashion to celebrate the exuberance of art, fashion, and popular culture. Goldstein Museum Gallery, St. Paul, Minnesota, through November 1.

# Madeleine Vionnet: Puriste de la Mode, a retrospective celebration of the important early 20th century French designer who revolutionized women's fashion through elegant draping and use of the bias cut. Musee de la Mode and du Textile, rue de Rivoli in Paris, France, through January 31.

May your summer be filled with creative inspiration and special memories!
NOTE: Let us know if you have ideas for new patterns. We love to hear from you. Kate at

News from Kenneth King
Hello, Folks! I’m going to be visiting the ASG Atlanta Chapter on July 24-25, 2009, and it’s filling fast! To get in, go to, or or call Martha Myers, at 770-642-8985. Events will be held in Roswell, GA.

##Friday July 24, 2009, 7-9PM Lecture and Book Signing–Demystifying the Creative Process
This free-form lecture will cover Kenneth’s way of looking at the creative process. The goal is to prepare students to dive in and create in any discipline and all areas of daily life. The process includes exploration, inspiration, mistakes and misfires—all go into the finished work.
Kenneth will also be signing copies of his new book, Cool Couture.

##Saturday, July 25, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.--Pattern Drafting Workshop: Skirts
How to draft commonplace skirt silhouettes from measurements. After learning the proper way to measure, students will draft a straight skirt, an A-line skirt, and an A-line skirt with center pleat. This is the perfect introduction to those wishing to build confidence in pattern drafting. Lunch is included.
Supply List:
• white paper (banner or project paper)
• pencils & eraser, paper scissors
• long ruler and any sort of square (6” wide Olfa works for both)
• tape measure
• 3 yards of 1/4” elastic
• Scotch tape
• tracing carbon (can be typing
carbon) and tracing wheel

I Can't Resist (showing you this)
If you talk to teachers about color, they will tell you to study nature. Look at the amount of yellow in a rose and then look at all the colors that are also there. Look at the proportion of green to offset the yellow, etc etc. So I do that, I watch the indigos in the landscape and sky just after the sun has set. I also like blue and pink together. A lot of people say eww! but this is where I keep my own counsel. So imagine my delight at sunset tonight. These were the scenes from our balcony:

Till next time, Rosalie

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nine Patch Media Makes DVDs, Vogue has New Patterns

Hooray, I have something to crow about--HP sent me a replacement printer and it works! Finally I can scan again so I can do reviews of artwear books and patterns and DVDs! I had to send back the original printer but when I got to FedEx they were closed for the day (businesses close early around here, something I haven't gotten used to yet.) So I made "lemonade." I went across the street, got out my camera, and took photos of Mt. Konocti and Clear Lake, CA. Here's one for you (and yes, anything I post in my blog is copyrighted automatically.)

Making Nine Patch Media DVDs
Elizabeth Phillips, Chris Manuel, and Sharon Pederson are partners in Nine Patch Media which makes instructional DVDs. I reviewed their work when I told you about Pamela Allen's DVD. I have been wanting to review Carol Doak's DVD among others from this same company, but first I will share with you Sharon's description of what's involved in making these DVDs. Now that you've seen how Rachel Clark uses traditional quiltmaking in her garments, you might be even more interested in the DVDs.

Nine Patch Media
by Sharon Pederson (including photos from Elizabeth Phillips)

These are photos of Sharon Pederson on the DVD set.

A little over a year ago, when my pension checks started arriving, I thought it might be time to start thinking about retiring from my "job" of teaching quilting and writing quilting books. So, when I received an invitation to do a DVD from a woman I had met through a mutual friend, I thought it might just work in with my thoughts about "slowing down." I could make a DVD and then stay home but still "teach" via the DVD. Seemed like a great idea.

Fast forward 15 months or so and my schedule doesn't look the least little bit like that of a "semi-retired" person, which thrills me to death. With my two friends and partners, Elizabeth Phillips (who sent what I thought was an invitation to shoot a DVD), and Chris Manuel, we are now Nine Patch Media. Her invitation, which I misunderstood, was to form a partnership and create high quality DVDs with North American quilt teachers and wearable art teachers. Their jobs were to handle the technical and marketing ends of things, and my job was to contact the artists--many of whom were friends I had worked with. Hmm...tough job! So now I get to work with my two new friends, the highly talented Chris and Elizabeth, and with my old friends who have to come to our studio on Vancouver Island to be "shot."

Sharon on set with Barbara Olson

My participation in the project has opened my eyes to a whole new way of teaching. To be able to spend time with some of my favorite people while they are in the studio is way more fun than retirement could ever be.

Sharon on set with Barb Shapel

Sharon on set with Ionne MacCauley

Imagine my job: I meet the teacher/friend at our brand new little airport in Comox, BC, ferry her (so far it has all been women but we would love to have one of the "guys" come and do a DVD with us) to the motel (a very nice, inexpensive place about 10 minutes away from the studio), get her settled, and (here comes the hard part) take her to one of the many great restaurants for dinner. After a good night's sleep I pick her up and drive her to the studio where we go over the day's schedule, pick the quilts/garments for the backdrop, check lighting and sound levels, then dive right into filming.

Ionne MacCauley hard at work with Sharon.

Typically, the first scene consists of the artist getting used to the camera and the "artificial" feeling of talking into a lens. Usually by the second scene they are pros and we sail through the morning's takes. After a quick, nutritious lunch we're back in the studio for the afternoon's work. By five-ish we are all ready to call it a day and we're off to yet another nice restaurant in Courtenay or Comox then back to the motel for beauty sleep. Our usual shoot lasts two days (unless it's me in which case it takes days because I live here and we don't have the pressure of getting everything done before the artist has to catch a flight back home).

For me and the visiting artist the work is mostly done, but it is just starting for Chris and Elizabeth who do all of the editing and post-production work. When they are finished making it all look and sound pretty, I get to edit it for content (as does the artist) and then it goes off to be replicated.

Our reception by quilters has been phenomenal. It appears that in these troubled financial times people are looking for a way to satisfy their need to take classes without having to travel long distances to catch up with their favorite teachers. The reviews we've read all mention the luxury of having the teacher at home with the student, and her availability, day or night, to repeat the section that was a bit troublesome. The production values are superb, and the ease of finding the right chapter to watch either a repeat of the lesson or to laugh again at the outtakes is top-notch. Every production includes a trunk show and many also include a tailor-made EQ6 lesson.

Our distribution network is astonishing for a company that didn't exist until early 2008--our titles are carried by major distributors all over North America, Europe, Great Britain, and Australia, and orders are being shipped all over the world. The disks are "region free" which means they can be played on television sets or computers anywhere, unlike some movies which can be viewed only in the country where they were purchased.

We are proud of our "little company that did," and we hope that after sampling the titles we have produced, that you'll want to go out and get a copy of your favorite title for yourself. The list of fabulous teachers with finished DVDs available includes: Margaret Miller, Carol Doak, Pamela Allen, Jackie Robinson, Barbara Olson, Barbara Shapel, Lorraine Torrence, Ionne McCauley, and myself. The list of upcoming titles includes repeat visits from Margaret Miller, Lorraine Torrence, and Barbara Shapel, and first timers Marti Michell, Karla Alexander, Mimi Dietrich, and Mary Covey. (If you're not familiar with the work of Sharon Pederson, check out The DVDs are distributed through Martingale & Company ( or Nine Patch Media (

New Vogue Patterns
If you are interested in the latest Issey Miyake pattern, go look here:
However, I am thrilled by a whole bunch of new Vogue patterns that you can see at this site. (They're having a $5.99 sale online June 1-3.) Among my favorites are the Koos caftan, a Rucci top with a very interesting back (I'm probably too small and pudgy to wear those sleeves), a couple of patterns from Lynn Mizono who has her own take comparable to Issey Miyake, and a new one under the Miyake label. I like the Sandra Betzina tunic but don't want to play at adapting a pattern for knits to woven fabric. Marcy Tilton also has a t-shirt pattern, this one with side interest.

I've been in Lynn Mizono's studio and loved her small but important details that made her clothes extraordinary, so I'm delighted that she has put out patterns and I want to try them out. She works with rectangles and circles so you'd have large spaces for surface design. The garments I saw were made in white linen but I'll bet we could even piece the fabric and make it work. There are two other new designers worthy of note--I'll have to check them out more. Right now I didn't want to go to that extreme. Take a look so you'll see what I mean.

The Fashion Show on TV
Speaking of extreme, how are you doing with that new tv show, The Fashion Show? I was disappointed that they aren't running the whole series online after all. I'll have to wait for reruns, if they have them. For me there's a certain charm missing. Is it that the combination of Tim Gunn and the others holds to a more classy standard on Project Runway? The new show feels somehow uneven, clumsy, even inept. They put the designers through hell with their little quick challenges. How would you like to fix a zipper while everyone is watching and you're working against the clock? I'm glad they finally disbanded the teams. The little chats in the hallway come off catty--maybe just because of the setting. And unfortunately, I haven't gotten to know the competitors well enough either in the quality of their work or as people, to begin to care. Is the camerawork that different? Are we missing more close-ups and sewing details? I have to see all of it again to be more objective, but when I'm more interested in watching Chimps of Eden, something is wrong with The Fashion Show.

Sundyes with Karren K. Brito
Karren Brito, dyer extraordinaire, is giving classes in her Entwinements Studio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Dye small projects in a fully equipped studio, Sundays, 1-6 PM, $15 in advance, $25 at the door. Email Karren at June 7 is Dip dye a skein, June 14 is Paint a skein, and June 21 is Indigo Vat. For more details online, go to

And in additional news...
My 20 year old cockatiel, Squirt, broke his wing and can't fly, but the vet says he's fine, just very old and needs lots of TLC. I'm a caretaker already so what's another soul in my hands. I have to crochet him ladders and ramps so he can get around without falling. I thought somehow that was appropriate. I'm using jute and nylon ropes and a variety of crochet hooks to see what works best. Please speak up if you can suggest something better. Till next we meet, cheers, Rosalie