Sunday, September 25, 2011

Artistry in Fashion, 2011 - Review

I'm not sure I can add much to JillyBe's excellent review of yesterday's AIF event. But it was the best one ever! This year was the 20th anniversary of Artistry in Fashion. It is "must do" event if you are anywhere in the vicinity and love to sew, and/or to wear beautiful clothing and accessories. It is like immersing yourself with a hundred kindred spirits and is a sure-fire way to jumpstart one's creative mojo.

This year Margy (Margyh on SG) drove up from southern California. She and I have talked via email, and she recently started a blog, but this was the first time we've met in person. I was also happy to meet Leslie (Lessalt on SG) and her sweet husband, who drove in from central CA. I was happy to see other friends that I have seen before, such as JillyBe and Joan (Joan71 on SG). And, of course, there were many other people whose company I enjoy and are without blogs or internet presence. ;)

It was really nice to see Lyla Messenger speak and present a trunk show of her designs. I also enjoyed both "stylist" presentations, which showcased items for sale, styled into outfits. And, for me, one of the highlights of the show is shopping. :)

Here is what I bought yesterday:

I have wanted one of these sweaters for years. Finally, this one is mine, and it's red and black! With polka dots!

I just love the simplicity of this necklace! This is a stone tumbled in the ocean.

The artist who made this scarf had a beautiful, hand painted, silk chiffon top featured in the stylist presentation. I would have bought it, but even though it was "one size fits most", it didn't fit my bust. She hand stamped this silk scarf, but she also paints and silk screens her scarves.

I bought this fabric from Lyla Messeger's booth. This interesting piece is double sided, contains lycra, and the black centers have little holes in them.

Three of us who closed down the show were in no rush to end the fun, so we decided to have dinner. JillyBe, Margy, and I headed to Redwood City and drove around until we stumbled on a restaurant. We had a great meal, sharing experiences of the day, and our favorite shopping resources. Finally, I drove them back to their cars at Cañada and we grabbed a few pictures with JillyBe's camera. But, by now, it was windy and cold! There are no pics of all three of us because we were completely alone in that parking lot.

Yes, it was cold and extremely windy, but they still look good!

Can you tell how cold and windblown we are in this pic?
A fun end to a fun day.

Color me Tickled - StyleArc's Shaza Pant!

Wow, I have never had a pattern named after me before! I'm pretty stoked!

Have you seen Style Arc's new Shaza pant yet? If you have followed my blog for long, you know I love me a good harem pant. In fact, the Alexi pant was one of the first Style Arc patterns I made:

And, if you are wondering just where the name Shaza originally came from, it's my Klingon name and I have been using it on the internet for over twenty years.

And how does one learn their Klingon name, you ask? Well, you take the first 3 letters of your first name + the first two letters of your last name. So, if your name were Shams Zackary (mine isn't, but if it were) your Klingon name would be Shaza.

So my geekery is now fully exposed to the world.

Shaza is my married Klingon name. My unmarried Klingon name would have been Shabi which, you have to admit, isn't nearly as cool. My Klingon self would never answer to that.

Here are the Klingon names of a few of my sewing friends. You will know who you are: Suskr, Heani, Sarbu, Carno, Ronch, Pegst, Marho, Marmc. (Who doesn't love Ronch!!)

This algoritm works better for some names than for others, but I say you can craft your Klingon name however you want, because no one is going to gainsay a Klingon, not unless they are a total petaQ.

Artistry in Fashion 2011

Yesterday was Artistry in Fashion and I was there for the entire day. It was that much fun. The weather gods smiled and granted us gorgeous weather.

I met several internet friends in the flesh, such as Margy (Margyh on SG) and Leslie (Lessalt on SG), which was great! I hung around with lots of fun people, which was super great. I bought a few things, which are great. I heard a lecture and saw two styling shows, which were great. I had butterscotch pudding with toffee bits and whipped cream, which was pretty orgasmic.

I did not take my camera though many pics of me were taken. One picture has already been sent to me, so here is me and Margy. I met her in the flesh yesterday and we both bought the same sweater! (And isn't she gorgeous? She just started the greatest blog, A Fool 4 Fabric.)

Not my best photographic moment, but Margy looks great! We are modeling our new sweaters. Thanks to Sarbu for this picture!

When I have more pics, I will do a full post.

Today will be a day of sewing! Artistry in Fashion never fails to inspire the mojo!! By the way, I don't have the Shaza pant yet, but you know I will get that puppy in my October order and sew it up!!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Woah! Whatta Week.

My summary of this last week:
  • A daily commute to a clock tower, where I and a dozen others were closeted, creating three certification exams.

  • The fun of choosing clothing to wear to work, as opposed to choosing attire for sitting on the sofa and maybe walking to the post office, or the coffee shop.

  • Getting up at 6am, leaving the house at 6:45, and returning somewhere between 7 and 9:30pm.

  • Sore feet, unused to wearing the same pair of shoes for 12 hours straight. Yes, even comfortable shoes.

  • Spending $160 on gas.

  • The delight of having catered, delicious meals: breakfast, lunch, snack and, on one evening, dinner. Plus endless supplies of coffee, sodas, and OJ. (My favorite day was Indian lunch day. Mmmmmmm.)

  • The mental exhaustion of non-stop intense concentration.

  • The exciting news, on the second day, that I've gotten a promotion.

  • Not one second of sewing. Barely even thought about it.

It was fun, it was challenging, and thank goodness it is over!!! I like being with people, but am ready for some alone time!

In order to avoid traffic this afternoon, after work I checked out a mall near work and a couple boutiques. The boutiques are more interesting and much more dangerous. :)

Here it is Friday night and my feet are still up. I have no idea what I will do this weekend. I may do a certain amount of finding myself standing still, staring into space, and wondering, "what next?"

Yup, that feels about right. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Thinking - the Creative Process, 9/11

Today is certainly a day of thinking for me. Lots of thinking.

First, there's the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It is hard to believe that ten years have passed already since our world changed. The event is still so fresh. The only reason I do know ten years have passed is because my kids were little back then, and they are almost adults now (well, one is an adult). They grew up in a different world than I did. That makes me think, too.

On a much lighter subject, yesterday I heard Kenneth King speak at PenWAG. I took classes from Kenneth over twenty years ago at Sewing Workshop when he lived in San Francisco. I lost track of the doings of the sewing world in those years I didn't sew. When I came back to sewing and learned he had moved to New York, I was surprised. He touched on that topic yesterday and how 9/11 factored into his decision to move to NYC.

But what was interesting, to me, was his creative process. The talk was called "DeMystifying the Creative Process" which, of course, was about his creative process. It was interesting to watch the evolution of his work and what inspired it. He was (and is) greatly inspired by architectural detail, especially architectural detail of the Belle Epoque. This shouldn't surprise someone who knows his exuberantly embellished work, but it's interesting to see how certain inspirations translated to specific pieces. He is also inspired by Art Nouveau jewelry, such as the very stylized pieces of Lalique.

It's just so interesting when a designer can absorb pieces of art, works of architecture, or sights in nature, and then re-interpret these things into their garments. I am in awe of that creative process.

How many times have you heard an artist, when speaking of his/her creative process, say, "I don't know where that came from." Kenneth says that, too, of some of his innovative pattern designs. (And I wish he'd release a pattern or two with Vogue!) It feels as if this creative process, in that phase, is a result of a connection with some higher energy.

Having worked with some of Issey Miyake's designs, it's clear that one of his influences was origami. I wonder what other things inspire him. He is able to work in the 3D space with such a unique language - it's hard to fathom what his thought processes are like. (I speak in the present tense, because he is still doing interesting work, though he has handed off his design house.)

I have often wished I could climb into Issey Miyake's brain and watch his creative process. But, then, I would no doubt be very confused and frustrated, because I don't understand Japanese. :)

I have an intense work week this next week, so I am doing some simple sewing this weekend. A few more Teagarden T's are in process. This pattern, which I have made many times now, is an Issey Miyake design, and I never cease being amazed at how this single pattern piece (plus a gusset) morphs, with various seams, into one of the best fitting garments I've ever had on my body. It's a magical process.

Have a peaceful day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tutorial - Style Arc Jacqui Pocket

Finished pocket

First, I want to thank everyone for your kind comments on my Jacqui coat!

I just love the curved pockets featured on this coat. However, I found the instructions a tad terse. What confused me most was one of the terms used. Have you ever heard of a pocket bearer? I hadn't. Once I realized that one of the pattern pieces is named the "pocket bearer", the text wasn't quite so confusing.

Out of curiosity, I googled the term. It is an industry term. Apparently, it is the term for the part of the pocket that is against the body. (Perhaps it is so-called because it bears the weight of the pocket.) The pocket lining is the part of the pocket against the garment. That is probably not the most correct description for pocket bearer, but it seems to be pretty accurate.

Empirically speaking, anyway. ;)

By the way, I'm sorry I don't have better pictures, but I took these as I went along and I was very focused on making the pockets correctly. I made the pockets last - the entire coat (sans lining) was finished, so it was a bit nerve-wracking as I could have ruined the entire coat with one fell snip.

To make this pocket you need:

  • the pocket bearer - cut from the fashion fabric (though I don't see why you couldn't use the lining fabric)
  • the pocket lining - cut from the lining fabric
  • the ribbing - cut from the hem of the cashmere sweater (in my case)
There is a pattern piece provided for each of these.

Note: it occurred to me once the pockets were well along, that it would have been prudent to reinforce the pocket area with a fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the coat fronts where the pockets would be positioned. I suggest you consider this step - I was a bit surprised at myself for not thinking of it sooner. Oh well. :)

Step 1

Oops. I thought I took a picture before I sliced into the tracing, but it wasn't in the camera.

  • Trace the pocket placement from the front pattern piece onto tracing paper. (I don't cut the slit at the time I cut the coat front for several reasons, but you can do it then if you wish.) Make sure you mark the location of the side seam on the tracing. (Ignore the wonky side seam lines on my tracing - my side seams vary from the original because of my unusual FBA.)

Step 2

  • Lay the tracing onto the coat front, exactly where you want it to be located. (Mine was 14-1/2" up from the bottom of the coat.)
  • Pin the tracing to the coat (triple check that it's in the correct location). Cut through both the tracing and the fabric, along the "split" line. Transfer the "x" mark at the end of the split to the fabric. (I used a tailors tack.)
  • Unpin the tracing and set aside. You will use this for the other pocket.

Step 3

  • Pin the "pocket bearer" to the top of the slit, right-side-to-right-side.
  • Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. Stop stitching exactly at the end of the slit - do not stitch past it or you will have trouble when you turn the pocket to the inside in Step 6.

Step 4

  • Prepare the ribbing. I was using a single thickness of ribbing, so all I needed to do was to turn under the raw edge about 1/4" and whipstitch it to itself. The other edge is secured into the side seam, so I left it raw.
  • Pin the ribbing to the bottom edge of the slit, right-side-to-right-side and raw-edge-to-raw-edge.
  • Stitch with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Sew up to, but not past, the end of the slit.

Step 5

  • Pin the pocket lining to the bottom edge of the slit, on top of the ribbing, right-side-to-right-side.
  • Sew the lining with a 1/4" seam allowance, on top of the previous stitching.

Step 6

  • Push the pocket bearer and the pocket lining through the slit to the wrong side.
  • Arrange all the pieces so they lie flat and aligned. The ribbing folds up to the outside of the coat, but the ribbing's seam allowance folds to the inside with the rest of the pocket.
  • Making sure everything is flat and aligned, pin the pocket lining to the pocket bearer.
  • Stitch around the curved pocket shape, creating the pocket bag.

Step 7

Finished pocket

  • Stitch the finished edge of the ribbing in place - this is the upper edge of the pocket. If there is any wonkiness at the end of the slit, you can probably tweak the ribbing to cover it. I hand stitch this short seam, but you can machine stitch it if desired.
  • Finally, secure the pocket and the ribbing to the side seam. I pin it and then stitch, but you can baste.

Step 8

  • Flip the tracing and place on the other front, at the same relative location. Repeat the process.


Monday, September 5, 2011

StyleArc - Jacqui Sweater Coat

More pics

Labor Day weekend is almost over. I used it to make a Style Arc coat. Yes, it was fun. :) I'd hoped to get more done this weekend, but shopping with daughter, and napping also occurred. Who says my life isn't full? :)

I bought this wool sweater knit from Fashion Fabric Club last winter. This fabric is interesting. If you look at one of the closeup pics, you will see little "white" patches. You can actually see through those areas if you hold the fabric up. In the "non-white" areas, it's pretty beefy. The knit is stable, but I knew this was one I didn't want to preshrink by tossing into the washing machine (I could tell it would felt like crazy), so I took it to my local dry cleaner to have it steamed.

Has your dry cleaner ever argued with you that it was pointless to get wool steamed? That it would "do nothing", not even shrink it? Mine did. Her English is poor, so I didn't belabor the point, other than to say that I wanted them to use LOTS of steam and for it to be single layer - no creases. I didn't measure it beforehand, but I do think it shrunk; the texture felt different afterwards. She charged me $10 for the 4 yards. Lazy me felt it was totally worth it.

I wanted wool ribbing for this coat, which, as you know, it harder than heck to find as yardage. I went to Thrift Town to see what I could find ready-made. Wow, too many people are upcycling these days, because I could find almost no wool sweaters of any kind. I looked in both the men's and women's sections and they were almost picked clean. All I could find was a black sweater and this red 100% cashmere turtleneck in a women's medium for $10. I was plenty grateful, believe me.

I mail ordered the zipper and the Bemberg lining. Sometimes it takes awhile to collect the things you need for a project.


  • 100% Wool Sweatering from Fashion Fabric Club (no longer available).
  • Black Angel Weft fusible interfacing from Apple Annie's for the front and neck facings, and for the hem.
  • Red 100% cashmere sweater from Thrift Town ($10). I harvested the ribbing from the sweater for the neck, wrists, and pockets. The sweater tag indicated that it was a Bloomingdale's brand.

  • YKK #5, 30" black, antique brass, two-way, separating zipper from ZipperStop. (I bought the 36" and had them customize it to 30" for $1.) I don't like an overly long zipper.

    Bottom of separating zipper

  • Black Ambiance Bemberg lining from Vogue Fabrics.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • I started with a size 18.
  • 3" FBA (into raglan seam) in both the front and the front lining pattern pieces. Also lengthened the front facing to match.
  • I did not use any of the ribbing pattern pieces, which are intended to be doubled. I used the single thickness ribbing from the sweater. The dimensions of my ribbing (both width and length) weren't exactly the same as the pattern.

    The collar, in process

  • Shortened the sleeves by 2".
  • Moved the shoulder "bump" at the top of the raglan sleeve inwards. The pattern is drafted for a wider shoulder than mine.
  • I tapered the side seams in about a 1/2" at the high waist. I could have fitted it even more, but I wanted this coat to have a relaxed fit.
  • Once again, I used Marcy Tilton's video instructions for inserting a separating zipper that is featured on her Inspiration Paris CD.
  • The instructions tell you to bag the lining, but I am not a fan of the bagged lining. I sewed mine in by hand.
  • I was a bit confused, at first, by the instructions for constructing the curved pocket. I took a few pictures and created a tutorial. Once I figured it out, it was not at all hard.


I really like this coat! It's not too heavy, and it will be perfect for chilly San Francisco. The fabric is a bit scratchy, so it's perfect with the lining and the cashmere at the neck and wrists. Yummmm...

Once again I am impressed by Chloe's attention to detail when she drafts her patterns.

When I went shopping with DD1 at the Thrift Store on Saturday (she needs clothes for her new job), I found this great gathered red scarf. It still had the brand-new Limited Edition tags but I got it for $13. Shams likes. :)

(In these pics, I am wearing my favorite pair of Au Bonheur pants.)

More Pictures

Partially zipped

Fully zipped

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Notes & Artistry in Fashion 2011

Oh, the deliciousness of writing Sunday notes and knowing I get one more day of sewing! :)

Apparently this mini sewcation will yield only one garment. I was hoping for more, but then I spent some time shopping/eating with DD1 on Saturday and napping today.

I am working on a Style Arc coat. The shell is complete and the lining is complete. I am going to hand sew them together, because I like the control I get by hand sewing a lining, so that will take me some time. (The pattern instructs you to bag the lining, but I am not a huge fan of the bagged lining. At least not when I sew them.)

So stay tuned for a new coat on Monday or Tuesday.

Artistry in Fashion - September 24th at Cañada College

You might have noticed that I added an Artistry in Fashion button to the blog (on the left). AIF is one of my favorite annual events - I look forward to it all year. Let me tell you why:

  • The setting, at Canada College, is just beautiful. It's up in the Redwood City hills in an almost retreat-like setting. In fact there is a monastery or nunnery somewhere in the vicinity - I've read about it. Sometimes it can be very hot on that day, by the way, but I kind of doubt it will be this year.
  • The guest speaker. This year it's Lyla Messenger, pattern designer and owner of The Sewing Place. She will be giving a lecture and fashion show in the theater. I've never heard Lyla speak, but I've heard she is good.
  • The vendors. OK, I admit it, my favorite aspect to the event is the shopping. Many of the vendors are artists who make wonderful things. There are accessories, wonderful artsy clothing, jewelry. There is usually a vendor or two that sells buttons (sometimes vintage, sometimes handmade, it varies) and possibly fabric. Lyla will no doubt have a booth selling items from her store.

    Usually this is the event where people buy wonderful accessories to complement the garments they sew. I will often admire a necklace or scarf on a friend and she'll say, "Oh, I bought this at Artistry in Fashion." They don't have a massive number of vendors, but they are carefully selected.

  • In addition to the big lecture/fashion show, there is usually one or two smaller talks given by the guest speaker in one of the classrooms. As part of the open house, impressive student work is on display and you can see the excellent facilities used for the fashion classes.
  • The social scene. It's one time of year I run into lots of sewists that I don't often see. I usually meet new people who read my blog. And many friends from the various sewing groups I attend are there: members from BABES (Pattern Review group), PenWAG, ASG.

In addition, this year they are trying something new. There are two stylists who will be selecting items from the vendors and styling them on several women. This will be happening at specified times in the outdoor amphitheater. It promises to be very interesting.

If you aren't local to the SF Bay Area, I'm sorry to taunt you. But if you are in the area, it's worth checking out!

I have many friends who teach and study in the Canada fashion program and I, myself, am an alum to this excellent program! There, full disclosure. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Opinions Needed: And the Winner is...

Linda pant front

Linda pant back

I mentioned in my Jalie Jean post that FabricMart had given me an extra 2.5 yards of the stretch cream Jones New York corduroy because it had spots. (They came out in the wash.) I decided to use the fabric whip up my fourth pair of Linda pants (from Style Arc) and do a side-by-side comparison.

So, what do you think? Do you think one pair is better than the other? One pair is sure more comfortable to wear than the other. :)

Linda on the left, Jalie on the right

Linda on the left, Jalie on the right

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, I am looking forward to a 3-day sewcation! (Term borrowed from Carolyn.) I have the supplies for several projects and we'll see how it goes. I've also made up some eggless salad and roasted some veggies, so I'm ready to go!

I am still waiting to hear from two of the giveaway winners. I plan to put in my Style Arc order on Sunday night. BBinGA, please contact me! Where are youuuuu? :)