Saturday, September 1, 2012

Giveaway Winners and Design Outside the Lines Prep

Wow! This giveaway really drew out some of the lurkers! I intentionally did not advertise this giveaway anywhere, so the prizes would go to legitimate readers. The drawing is closed and the winners names have been drawn!

The winner of the signed copy of Lynda Maynard's The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques: Essential Step-by-Step Techniques for Professional Sandy in CA.

The winner of Pattern Making (Portfolio Skills)is isaspacey of As I Said....

The winner of the Palmer Pletsch sewing DVD, Sewing . . . Good to Great: It's in the Detailsis Rebecca (from the Bay Area).

Congratulations to each of you! Please contact me at the email address listed in my profile so I can figure out where to mail them.

I was surprised to see how little I have accomplished over the last month, sewing wise. Work continues to feature prominently in life, leaving little energy to sew in the evenings. September is shaping up to be my busiest month of the year, with Design Outside the Lines, and launching DD1 to college. I am very excited about all of the activities, but feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Prepping for Design Outside the Lines

And speaking of DOL...

I have been using my limited free time trying to prep for Design Outside the Lines.

This is *hard*!

I've been analyzing my anxieties and have realized that my biggest fear is that I'm doing it wrong. I've heard the stories of folks who filled their suitcases with patterns and materials that they never touched. I've heard about folks who have shipped boxes and then didn't need them.

Since I am flying out, I have limited space and zero desire (at the moment) to ship anything. Part of me wants to leave patterns behind (I'm not taking a sewing machine) and take a black knit and a black woven or two, maybe some muslin, and then focus on findings and embellishments. Pare it down to the basics.

But I'm not sure I have enough chutzpah for the minimalist approach.

It is suggested that we bring 6 or so images to use as inspiration. I spent hours finding my images and then realized I made two mistakes. One, most of them are too low resolution to print out (which is recommended), and two, I focused exclusively on non-clothing-related images, things like landscapes with amazing colors/shapes, walls/gates/locks, and other textures.

For some reason I have been inexplicably drawn to mushrooms. I have no idea why, and I sure can't envision how a mushroom or two might inform my work, though I just love the textures, shapes, colors. I mean, how can one not love these? (All of these fabulous images are too low res to print as an 8x10. If I knew where to purchase them at higher res, and they didn't cost an arm and a leg, I just might.)

I even ordered a picture book of Georgia O'Keeffe's work as additional inspiration - I have been told that the colors in her paintings really capture the unusual colors in Taos, which is very cool to think about.

See?!? Do you see my dilemma?!

I can envision myself sitting in a workroom in Taos, desperately clutching images of fungus and brightly colored birds and butterflies, and staring at my black fabrics, fun zippers, and bag of denim threads, and desperately thinking, NOW WHAT?!?!? The feeling is not unlike the nightmare where you show up for an exam, naked. This is a special (possibly once in a lifetime) opportunity, and I don' Images of Diane Ericson and Marcy, smiling and shaking their heads, comes to mind, "Oh dear, what was that Shams thinking?"

Now, both Marcy and Diane would say, "Trust the process." That is what you tell a person who is about to jump out of a plane, her mind desperately hoping that her chute will open and that she won't break her legs, or find herself dangling upside down like a giant ornament on a sycamore tree. That doesn't make it easy advice to follow. ;)

On another note. I just received Style Arc's September mailing and they have a couple patterns I am loving. First, a very cool pair of pants that reminds me of the Au Bonheur jeans I made with the knee "gussets", the Cassie Stretch Woven Pant (click the picture to go to their site):

I am "over" most waterfall cardigans, but I am really loving the look of this one, the Nina Cardigan (click the picture to to go their site):

And, finally: Today I am meeting up with Elizabeth of Sewn, who is in town for the long weekend. She, I, and a few others, will be meeting at Stone Mountain and Daughter at 1pm. We may then proceed to Piedmont Fabrics. If you are around, come join us! I will be the one staring at the purse handles and yarn, wondering if I might need these at DOL.


  1. Oh Shams. Try not to worry about DOL too much. I went in '05, and DEFINITELY felt like I was the least artistic, least creative person there at the beginning. But it is the kind of experience that you cannot do wrong. It will start something in you that will take you on a journey. All that you gain will not be revealed during your week at the seminar. But you will look back in 5 or 10 years and realize it was the start of something for you. So don't worry about what you accomplish or learn during the 5 days. Be open. Meet new friends. Experiment. Enjoy!

    Best wishes!

  2. Have a great day with Elizabeth and tell her I said hey!

  3. I'm with Maris. Although I haven't attended DOL, I think you'll do fine. Just keep an open mind and let yourself absorb it. I love your pictures and think they're great inspirations. You will also find inspiration from O'Keeffe and her contemporaries, as well as just being there! Enjoy!

  4. I think you are on the right track in preparing for your experience at DOL. I gathered tons of inspiring visuals and then looked for commonalities. There is no right way, only your way. :-)

  5. Shams, if you're taking your laptop, then can't you just use it for the pics of mushrooms and other things you need, without having to print them? Have fun in Taos, looking forward to hearing all about it!

  6. Shams, you can probably just go ahead and jump. After all, in this case if the chute doesn't open, you won't die, or even be injured. And think of the view on the way down!(BTW, the only way I'd jump out of a plane is like this, metaphorically.)

  7. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  8. You have assembled some gorgeous images, Sharon. One of the techniques Lois Ericson taught was to take a miniature cutout shape of a garment (a "window") and place it over images that appeal to you to get ideas for pattern placement, piecing, etc. You may be surprised at how your images are used. Perhaps listening to evocative music, even dancing, while viewing your images may spark something. You have so much to offer others, Sharon, (including receptivity) I know you will be a treasured member of the class.

  9. Listen to Maris.

    Bring along a FEW projects, just to relieve the anxiety.

    You will find a million other things to try.

    If you need something, one of your new best friends will have exactly what you need. They will just come by and toss it at you.

    Watch your step on those cobblestone paths at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house.

    Make sure to have someone show you the private bath in the Solarium room. Open the window.

    Say hi to Marcy and Diane for me. I sure wish I was going to Taos this year.

  10. #1 - what a delight running into you this morning!

    #2 - Congrats to the giveaway winners!

    #3 - Ahhh, the old "doing it right/wrong" voices in the head - I know them well ;-) Isn't it interesting how they tend to disappear when you finally get lost in the creative process? Either that or you just beat them into submission when you show them your latest creative awesomeness. I think you should leave a little room in your suitcase and then leave it open right before you leave so that those last minute goodies can jump on in while you're not looking. Oh yea, & keep a sledgehammer nearby to whack those voices ;-D

    #4 - Love love LOVE BIGLOVE your images!!! Every one of them!

    1. It was so serendipitous to run into you today, Jillian! And I'm glad Elizabeth and Stephanie had a chance to meet you. AND you were wearing your fabulous SW Nikko jacket! So beautiful! I am sorry we didn't take pics.

  11. Beautiful pictures. Very serene.

  12. You don't need to print the photos! You have them on your phone or iPad! They are beautiful. The notes probably written before these devices were widely available. How about just grabbing some similar color fabrics if you have them so you can play with them when you are there? Remember to just have fun. Lucky you.

  13. "..and I sure can't envision how a mushroom or two might inform my work, though I just love the textures, shapes, colors."

    heeheeeheee, it is just *perfection* how the spiny shrooms' texture matches that on the piece you bought at piedmont today. i think the sewing fairies thought, "hmmm, this lady could use an answer Right Away."

    it was really fun meeting you and Jilly and Elizabeth@@ and Piedmont Fabrix is a real find (it'll be even more of a find once i find that bag of money ;) I hope you have a great rest of the weekend!!!! hugs, steph

    1. Steph, it was SO great to meet you today!! To be honest, I ended up not buying that fabric, but what a great observation!!! You can see I love me some texture. :)

  14. I agree about the waterfall cardigans, but that one is not shapeless and I think it will be more flattering for most women. I like that one enough to make it my first Style arc pattern.

  15. Hi Shams! I am a long term lurker. I didn't like to post on the giveaway thread so here I am saying Congratulations! And thank you for all the inspiration. I was showing my partner your blog this morning, she doesn't sew but has very similar body proportions to you. She was blown away by the inspiration you offer and how it IS possible to look fantastic. Of course, now I have a new sewing list). On looking at all your reviews together, I was struck again by how creative your use of fabric and texture is. There's nothing like someone saying 'be Creative ' is for inspiring panic - a bit like when your doctor says 'relax'. You'll be awesome. Can't wait to hear about it!

    1. I love hearing this, Lyndle!! Your partner is SO lucky to have you sew for her! And thanks for unlurking. :D

  16. It was so fun meeting you today! I really enjoyed talking shop. :)

    1. So great to meet you today, Elizabeth!! I can't wait to see you sew up your "feather fur" fabric. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  17. I agree with the concept of a relaxed attitude for DOL. The black fabrics you're taking are a good idea. Blank slates. How about embroidery thread/floss? I'm not sure how many materials Marcy and Diane take to Taos, but if you have a chance to paint, go for it!
    When I think of Taos, I think of color. Lots of rusty brown soil and clear blue sky. And turquoise jewelry. A magical place!

  18. Just relax, have fun and play! Try not to over-think or over-pack. Personally, I never do my best work in a class but it's what I take home with me in my head that really matters. Lucky you, to have this opportunity to play with such inspirational instructors, Shams!

    BTW, is it just me or are the diagonal seams above the knee gusset on the Cassie pants drawn the opposite way on the Front View illustration?

  19. I too was clueless about what to take to Taos DOL. I live within driving distance, so I packed way too much. You could show up with NOTHING and still go home with a head crammed full of ideas! And that is very invigorating. Take the low res pictures, they will generate ideas for you and for others. You will find plenty to "do."

  20. Your post made me think of a book I recently read, How Georia Became O'Keefe. It's a blended genre-self help and biography. Toward the end of the book, the author writes about the Dodge house, and it was interesting to me. I stayed there in June for an Alabama Chanin retreat.

  21. Beautiful pictures! As long as you're taking black and white fabric, what about printing the pictures in black and white...would that work?

    I'm going to buy those 2 Style Arc patterns too (first ones)...thanks!

  22. Shams,
    Print and then scan those pics at a higher resolution that will give you the ability to print them larger. Trust he process - it may be the colors, the textures, or something else entirely that you are needing.

  23. I just read your blog for the first time..Sharon K who does my website told me about meeting you in Carmel and said what fun you are. Bravo for saying how you really feel about going to DOL.I am sure I would feel exactly the same's the little child in us that doesnt want to do anything wrong! I know Marcy and Diane will make you feel at ease but we can't help putting up this defensive
    " say I am not good enough"LOL! I would love to meet you are welcome to come visit me in my sewing studio in Walnut Creek I used to teach for Suzanne at Stone Mt. Now I just teach here in Walnut Creek and my Sewing retreats at Asilomar twice a year. I too will look forward to hearing all about this adventure.Best Wishes

  24. Hi Shams,
    I'm Rebecca from the Bay Area!
    I sent you an email, hopefully to the correct address. Please reply here if you did not receive it.
    Thanks so much!

  25. Hi, Shams, I read this post over the long weekend and finally I have time to respond. I think that it's really great that you are prepping for the DOL workshops now. It's great that you are allowing yourself a lot of time to think about and work through what inspires you and what you find interesting.

    I think that creativity is a talent like music or dance or painting or mathematics or athleticism or other skills. People can be born creative, but in order to be great at it, people need to practice at it (like any skill). The learning process includes 1) learning how to recognize what is right/what fits and 2) learning how to deal with stuff that is not-right and what doesn't fit (e.g. Tim Gunn's saying "Make it work!"). A lot of art is the result of being constrained (poems and sonnets work within a certain structure) and sometimes great scientific progress is the result of a bad situation (alexander fleming working in a dusty laboratory and discovering penicillin).

    I know that *you *are creative enough to make things work--I can pull many examples from your blog postings. I think that you are very very far from messing things up--I understand the fear of messing up--I've seen you combine materials in unique ways. I've seen you modify garments and construction details so that they suit you and they are not exactly like the pattern envelope, or anything else out there on the web. I'm confident in you and I'm looking forward to reading more about your creative ventures.

    Rose (the cheerleader) in SV

  26. Shams! I cannot believe that I won that book! I never win giveaways, especially not for things I really, really want. Thank you. I sent you my mailing address. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I only have internet access at work (shhhh!) because someone's fixing up my sad home computer. Thanks again for offering up these gems!