Monday, March 31, 2008

Bobbi Clothes

I went to a fun fashion show tonight -- my dear friend Susanna's soon to be siser in law Barbara has a line called Bobbi Clothes, and she showed her newest pieces in a gallery in the meatpaking district. I've been a little bored with the fashion I've seen lately, I think partly because of over-exposure, but also perhaps because everything seems so derivative -- with the economy the way it is, everyone is playing it safe.
Barbara's clothes -- or more accurately, her textiles, which she creates herself, were a welcome change. Everything was hand-dyed, in washy, tie-dyed variations, in a wide-ranging but still very cohesive palette -- a combination of deep intense earthy and jewel tones. Printed on top of that were designs in lighter and brighter colors. The designs were all at once nintendo/cross-stitch/cave painting/various other things, which, although it sounds crazy, worked brilliantly with the tie-dyed base.
It made me think a lot about context. In Portland the show would have been downright hippie. I probably even would have been a little annoyed by it. But here, it was amazing. It was fresh and a little punky and had a sort of grit to it that only comes from people living in a place that isn't easy.
More to come on that. Now I must sleep.

Yes, those are hyenas.

My rommate Lillian and have been talking a lot about Mad Max-ish style lately. We love it. These photos by Pieter Hugo have that same feeling that I love, but Holy Shit!! Nigerian men in a post-apocalyptic landscape with hyenas! I think they speak for themselves.

waistband followup

Yesterday i was roaming around on one of my favorite sites, the fashion incubator, and found a whole tutorial on waistbands. I am beginning to think that the site is magical. Every time i need some very specific patternmaking information, it just floats my way on the fashion incubator -- like when i was having camel-toe problems with the jeans i was patterning, and then poof! there was a full three part tutorial on how to fix camel-toe! And it worked..

Anyway. According to Kathleen Fasanella, the reason waistbands are traditionally cut cross grain, is that it is practical for the industry -- it can be fed in long strips, whereas if it were cut on the straight of grain, it would have to be cut across the bolt, and it would be impossible to have long continuous strips to cut from later. Sometimes they even leave the fabric in a roll, and just slice it jelly-roll style -- hundreds of yards of continuous waistband to use as needed.

The problem this causes however, is that the crossgrain and the straight of grain behave differently -- or course the crossgrain have more give, which is why it is situated horizontally on our bodies, but also, the staight of grain shrinks at a rate of 3 to 1 -- obvious when you have jeans that may not get tighter, but do get shorter over time with many washings. When waistbands are cut on the crossgrain, they tend to shrink dispropotionately to the rest of the pant, which distorts the fit of jeans over time. I've experienced this so many times, but it wasn't until reading this blog entry yesterday that it began to make sense.

Apparently the couture way of making pants always involves waistbands cut ongrain. Also, there was a lot of discussion about whether bias or contoured waistbands were better for lower waisted pants -- as mentioned in the comments from the previous post. I made a couple pairs of highwaisted pants last fall, where the waistband was at least 3 inches thick, and found that contouring the waistband with the CF and CB on the straight of grain and the sides on a semi-bias worked nicely.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Does everyone out there already know that the grain on a waistband goes the opposite way? Because somehow i missed that valuable bit of information...especially horrifying when i remember how many pairs of jeans i made last fall...oh, the little gaps.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Vintage (please click here)

These posts are a little over due seeing as how they were purchased some time ago. I went on a small streak of craving embroidered cowboy boots. I had spent way too much time looking at full color spreads of classic western fashion and had started coveting all sorts of inapropriate things. I recommend a book called "How the West Was Worn" if you want in on it. So anyhow I found these boots at a cute vintage store near my house called Xtabay. She had them marked at thirty eight dollars. I offered her thirty and she promptly upped the price to fourty dollars. The moral of this story is don't haggle over things this cool.

Then just recently I found an original White Stage jacket from the fourties. I love the very idea women's camping gear that still makes you look like a woman. I also found this at Xtabay also for thirty eight dollars. Apparently that is my magic number. I'm thinking of copying it, but turning it into a pair of black canvas coveralls for working in the shop at Terrazign.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Christmas in March

I have a new prized possesion: My lovely roommate Lillian wrangeled up two dress forms this weekend -- one for each of us -- for the ridiculous price of 100 dollars each. They're top-of-the-line, 5 times that price new, and virtually new still as all they were used as were display mannequins. They've got collapseable shoulders and a cage bottom and are size 6, a good middle ground. I'm planning on trying to create a fat suit of sorts to pad it out to my size -- something that's removeable, like a stuffed dress, that morphs the form into my exact shape. I want so badly to be able to drape my own clothes, especially sun dresses in the summertime.

Motorcyle jackets and zippers

I met a guy this weekend with a double-zippered coat that struck me as brilliant. It was a leather motorcyle jacket, with the traditional off-set side zipper, but where there normally is only one running up the side, there were two, about an inch and a half to two inches apart. I asked him about it, thinking maybe it was just a design feature -- the coat was one of those garments that are full of details that are ambiguous as to whether they're just design features or have some practical application -- but he told me no, it was so that when you wear a thick sweater, the coat can be a bit looser to accomidate the extra bulk.
Having sat and thought about this for a minute, I realize that despite the amount of time I've spent chatting about motorcycle jackets, between Den and his love of motorcycles and Carly and her job at Langlitz, I haven't ever really investigated the zippers on the jackets. Is the double zip a common thing?
Either way it seems like a great solution to the "buy it big enough for a sweater" dilemna that Scott Schumann writes about in The Sartorialist: "...put an end to a dreaded sentence heard in shopping malls all across America. 'buy it one size bigger so you can wear a sweater under it!' I loath that sentence."