Sunday, June 5, 2016

Poncho for Paris, Hunger Games, and More


Poncho for Paris

Another piece for Paris! (Or should I say, potentially for Paris... The final cut will be determined just before the trip.)

Margy gave me the idea of creating another layering to wear over the Minoru. Anne Whalley gave me the idea of using this particular pattern, out-of-print Burda 7313, view D. I tracked it down on ebay but, to be honest, it's a rectangle with a neck cut-out, so a pattern isn't strictly needed—you can find tutorials via Pinterest.

On two separate occasions I purchased some soft, drapey, heathered sweater knit: teal from Emma One Sock, and indigo from Stone Mountain. At first I was planning to finish the teal with a black knit binding, when it occurred to me that the indigo might be a better choice.

It's a very simple pattern. You cut out the poncho and finish the raw edges. Anne favors fold over elastic (FOE), but I prefer a fat knit binding. For the poncho, you want a fabric that looks good from both sides. This knit is brushed on the right side, but the back side is also acceptable.

I cut 10 yards from the indigo knit on the cross grain, in 2-1/2" strips, and joined the strips on the diagonal to reduce bulk. I pressed the final strip, wrong sides together, matching the raw edges. I sewed the raw edges of the strip to the right side of the poncho with a 1/4" seam. I then wrapped the folded edge to the wrong side and stitched it by hand. This creates a fat, 4-layer binding that makes my heart go pitter patter.

It took awhile to finish the hand sewing. I think that, in the end, I used 9 yards of the binding.

I like the finished poncho...

But would it work over the Minoru? I wasn't sure that it would...

But I think it does!

I love these Tagua nut earrings. I purchased them 5 or 6 years ago at one of my favorite boutiques (Emily Lee) which has, sadly, closed.

And speaking of the Minoru... Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns, who created the Minoru, has sold her business to a brick-and-mortar fabric store. You can read about it on her blog. This is causing consternation and speculation in the sewing community (particularly on Pattern Review and GOMI), but it sounds like they plan to continue selling Sewaholic's current patterns and to create new designs.

The Hunger Games Exhibition (and Costumes!)

I had heard about the Hunger Games Exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts months ago. It is being held in the space that used to house the Exploratorium—the building is now called the Innovation Hangar). I couldn't get over there at the time, and then it slipped my mind. I remembered about it last week and wondered if it was still open.

It is.

I don't know a single soul who has seen this exhibit, but I decided to check out the costumes from the movies. The clothing is a central feature of this series.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the exhibit—the website is high on glitz and low on specifics. But what they've done is create a meandering experience where you move through a succession of rooms, roughly in the order that you see them in the movies. You start in the Hob, the economically depressed part of District 12 where Katniss lives, and you eventually reach the Capitol, with its excessive wealth, and President Snow, who might be called a president, but is actually a dictator. The exhibit ends in a room showcasing Katniss' most flamboyant dresses, including the wedding-dress-that-wasn't (though it's not on fire ;) ). Each room features costumes, props, still photos, and videos. There are even a few interactive activities.

For the most part, I focused on the costumes, though there was one green screen exhibit that I tried. When you come to the room with the chariot that Katniss and Peeta rode to the games, they have a green screen room. You stand behind a line and follow the stage directions instructing you when to wave, when to throw a kiss, when to look angry. They use the material to create a video and several still images (which you can buy). You can't see the result until later. It's a bit hokey, but you can see why I have no future in acting:

Luckily, I am not easily embarrassed. ;)

So, on to the costumes!

I found it interesting how much the costume designers pulled from contemporary fashion, especially for Katniss' clothing. For example, look at this asymmetric combination of a cowl and a vest—one of my favorite pieces.

They sell a "toned down" version of this cowl-vest in their gift shop, in oatmeal-colored acrylic, for $129. I suspected that there would be renditions of this on Ravelry. I searched when I got home and, sure enough, "Katniss Cowl" yields a number of interpretations.

I was alone as I went through the exhibit—it's not well advertised or well attended. Here's a peek at the "train" room:

The men's costumes are particularly interesting, featuring unusual shapes and details. I like some of the men's costumes better than the women's! The following jacket, worn by Peeta, features cargo pockets, with flaps, below welt pockets:

I particularly loved the shaped shawl collar/lapel combo on Haymitch's jacket:

This outfit, worn by Katniss, is very contemporary in its draping, layering, and combination of textiles:

The top of the raglan sleeves are made from gold leather (or faux leather)

The under sleeves are made from knit fabric

Textured pleather leggings. Excuse my hand—I didn't notice that it appeared in the reflection of the glass, and right at crotch level!

I definitely didn't remember that Peeta's duster-length dinner jacket was made from sheer organza! (I didn't see these movies in a theater. I "watched" them on TV, which I rarely really watch. Usually the TV is on while I'm sewing, or surfing the internet, so I miss visuals.)

The lapels and pocket flaps use a contrasting solid black fabric

It ends below his knees

An interesting neckline and cutaway silhouette on this dinner jacket, worn by Haymitch:

Sketches for the "girl on fire" dress:

Sketches for the wedding dress:

Outfits worn by Katniss and Cinna (her dress designer, played by Lenny Kravitz):

One room was dedicated to the games and included weaponry used by the contestants. I can't remember who wore this costume. Maybe Rue?

The final room:

This is a sampling of my photos. Effie's and President Snow's costumes were also featured, along with a Peacekeeper uniform. If you want to see these in person, the exhibit is in San Francisco through September. It started in New York, then moved San Francisco. It moves on to other cities in this "global tour", though I couldn't find a listing of cities and dates.

Caeser, the talking head (Stanley Tucci)
Another pic from the green screen session

I intentionally arrived early to the Palace of Fine Arts so I could spend some time wandering around. I hadn't been there since doing a photo shoot with my kids and their cousins several years ago. I arrived at 8am on Saturday, a chilly, overcast San Francisco morning. Several photo shoots were in process—engaged couples, shivering in the cold, memorializing their love against beautiful backdrops.

A napping swan family

Love and Friendship - The Movie

Have you heard of the new movie, Love and Friendship? Starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, it's an adaption of an early story written by Jane Austen in the form of letters. I'd heard really great things about it—one of my young, male colleagues spoke very highly of it.

In fact, I heard it was hilarious.

I like hilarity, and I love Jane Austen. I was into Jane Austen back before she was "in". In fact, since first reading Pride & Prejudice in 1975, I re-read it every year for many years. Now I periodically re-watch the BBC version.

The movie was playing at my new favorite San Francisco Theatre, The Landmark. I went to see it Friday after work.

I was left wanting.

It wasn't bad. I mean, any Jane Austen is better than most other things. But the adaptation from the letters to screenplay wasn't adeptly handled. There isn't much action in the film but there is sure a lot of talking. Lots and lots of talking. We weren't shown why Lady Susan's daughter was so upset and troubled. We weren't shown a lot of things that were hinted at. And the ending was quite abrupt.

I didn't laugh at all. I smiled, yes, but that's not what I'd call a hilarious reaction. Maybe my expectations were too high.

The costumes were nice.

Afterwards I wandered around the Embarcadero. The weather was unbelievable—it was one of those rare evenings where you don't need a coat. I wandered along the bay. I didn't want to go inside!

Updated: French Sewing Glossary

In late March, I received an email from Bessie Crocker, a member of Stitcher's Guild. She had some feedback on my French Sewing Glossary post from 2009. As a result of our discussion, I updated the glossary. At the same time, I was preparing for a retreat, so I neglected to mention here that it's been updated.

Thanks so much for your feedback, Bessie!

If you have expertise in French and sewing and notice anything I should include or correct, please let me know!

There is lots going on Chez Shams, including more sewing, so I'm not sure I'll get another blog post out next weekend, but I'll try.

Have a great week!

Enjoying my computer monitor glasses—teal on the sides!