Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dressing Beautifully, Creatively, for Ourselves!

My Sewing for the Family Wedding
For my niece's wedding I really stepped out of the box! Some time back, I showed you the results of the class I took with Julian Roberts. So many people encouraged me to wear that dress for the wedding, that I just had to make it again.

In an attempt to control where two fabrics would appear together, I sewed the pieces together differently and totally outwitted myself. I still wasn't familiar with the twists that come with the first cuts, and so I ended up with all one fabric in front, and all the other fabric in back. Oops! Meanwhile I was struggling to finish the wedding presents and mom's wedding outfit. So I hung the dress on my dressform and studied it from afar as I worked on other things.

I just wasn't ready for more surprises—I knew the look I wanted, so I abandoned Julian's technique at the last minute, after the first set of holes.

I loved the draping back which reminded me of 1800's fashion. I had tucked in the pointed center which had made it look like something from Issey Miyake. I made a lining that was much shorter than the dress. then I stitched the hem of the dress to that lining. This created an asymmetrical hem that wasn't planned but happened because I didn't stitch the entire hem evenly to the entire lining. I was sewing at the eleventh hour so this had to be quick and dirty. It also created a balloon hem which I rather liked. Voila, a gown for the wedding.
Watching the reactions of people to the real thing, it has more going for it than I thought. Those who don't like or aren't used to the avant garde, don't like this dress. But I've discovered that most people are taken by it.
I'm not going to show you the dress with me in it. I looked like a windblown floral barrel after racing for three hours to get to this wedding. Apologies for photographing without pressing the dress again. My dog Paloma loves the feel of the rayon challis and likes to sleep on it. But mainly you'll see how I combined two fabrics.

Mom's Ensemble
I had made mom a silk ensemble.
She had a hand-painted silk charmeuse blouse I customized to what she wanted. I used a Connie Crawford blouse pattern (Butterick patterns) and as usual it fit perfectly right out of the package, just like it always does for me too. The skirt was purple silk noil, long, narrow, one seam and gathered at the top. The "blender" was a hand-dyed silk chiffon scarf where the dye had been treated with salt (gives a texture to the dye). The scarf was emerald green with royal blue spots. The blouse underneath echoed those colors but also had some orange and purple added. I just walked into Thai Silks, saw the chiffon on the sale rack and built the rest of the fabrics around it.

Pacific International Quilt Festival this Weekend
I hope I get to see many of you at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. I plan to be there Friday and maybe Saturday (birds will be at home alone so I'll need to dash off). First I photograph the wearable art exhibits. I still owe you the photos from last year, taken just before life fell apart. Then I take turns shopping and looking at quilt exhibits. I must visit Cherrywood Fabrics. I edited the Sweet Clover Canyon quilt pattern, Marmalade & Jam, last fall, and the Cherrywood version should be on display at this show. John Marshall will be in the Bohemian Element booth. He's bringing gold and metallic threads from Japan—I have to see these! If you go to you can see their list of vendors and exhibits. Kayla Kennington will be appearing in the fashion show Friday night and to me she's likely to be the star of the show, next to host, Karen Boutte, who always steals the show. Afterwards we usually retire to the bar in the hotel and discuss wearable art for awhile, so come on by and join us.

Rose of Sharon Blocks and Sharon Pederson
Sharon Pederson will be teaching quilt classes at PIQF. She has just compiled a book and DVD based on winning blocks in the Rose of Sharon EQ6 Block Challenge and these are also an exhibit at the show. With so many roses in these blocks, I was planning to select ideas to applique on various jackets. But in fact, now that I've skimmed the CD, I'm enchanted! Remember the Polish jacket I was making before my husband died? I had drawn my own design and was going to applique the back. Lo and behold, the very idea was very similar to one of the winning blocks in this quilt. The design and Sharon's great instructions on how to do applique with freezer paper or fusibles has just saved me from reinventing the wheel! Go here to order, or look for it at PIQF!

Lorraine Torrence Pattern
I must talk about Lorraine Torrence's Grainline Gear pattern that I described here some time back, the Noren Ensemble #1522.
I went to her booth in Long Beach and saw the pattern made up. What I didn't know was the meaning of Noren which is the curtain over the door when you go to a Japanese restaurant. What I had missed entirely is that the back on the coat or jacket hangs loose like that curtain. In the drawing I thought it was a line across the hips that wasn't too flattering. But indeed, this is an overlay with a very interesting effect. I liked it much better once I saw the real thing. Lorraine will be at PIQF this coming weekend, so come see the coat for yourself.

I also hadn't yet told you about her book of pamphlets about various embellishments. For example, how to enhance your garment with your choice of button or buttons. These pamphlets are also the basis of Lorraine's new DVD. There's something special about having the designer explain what she's doing. Even if you've heard it or read it before, there's a subtle added layer of information that comes from watching her. I will review these further another time, but please make sure you stop by her booth and see what I'm talking about. I also bought her wool felt for creating appliques on felted pieces. She has a sample garment and instructions.

Advanced Fashion from Advanced Style Videos
It's been an incredible morning online. Much creativity is blooming everywhere and people are sharing sources through Facebook. Today I first discovered Tzimora Salamon. There is no quick and easy way to describe Tzimora or her friend Debra and others. I will give you the url to go see for yourself. Tzimora explains so well how to "dress." She wears ethnic clothing that I covet. But it's also how she puts it all together—she's amazing—she says it's like doing a painting. When you finish watching the video of Tzimora, watch those of Debra and others which should be listed next to the video. I had a kick out of watching Debra shopping at a second-hand store.

Advanced Style Blog
I then read through the blog Advanced Style. It's a blog with great photos and more videos. I think you will love these as much as I do. You will also see the connection to wearable art. We need this sense of style, of having a certain panache, and of showing confidence, to wear some of the things we make. And also, seeing what Ilona Royce Smithkin and others wear will show you that you can be a work of art just with how you put together colors. These are senior citizens dressed beautifully.

Are You Dressing Creatively?
These seniors have just given me a whole new mindset about dressing. Somewhere in those pages I read that people seem to dress better as they age. Well, here I am heading toward that side of life. I look at my Vogue patterns and wonder where I would wear these things, to my trips to Wal-mart and Safeway? And then it dawned on me that I should be dressing for myself, not for the people around me. Yes, I can wear Lynn Mizono's coat to grocery shopping. I would feel that much more confident if I finally made that Issey Miyake jacket and just wore it anywhere. Somehow becoming a widow has freed me in my fashion restrictions. My husband was conservative in dress (though not in thought) and if I wore an asymmetrical hem he would bend over and wonder aloud if he should help me trim my hem so it was even all around. I find it strange, but apparently some restrictive bonds have been cut because I am being more adventurous in what I'm making and wearing these days. It's a happy result! Till next time, Rosalie