Monday, June 30, 2008

Mina Perhonen

While I was in NY visiting Hannah we went to a Japanese book store that was devoted to all things Japanese. It had some pretty amazing Japanese pattern books but the highlight was discovering a series of three small books. They were the textile designs of Mina Perhonen and were divided into Woven, Print, and Embroidered, each having their respective book. I was blown away by her work. I think everybody should check it out so you can click on the title of this entry to go to her web sight, and I'm going to give you a teaser to encourage you to do so.

This one is wonderfully called licorice.

This one is titled tori-to-Hana

Friday, June 27, 2008

Odds and ends

1. I would like to point out that Hannah's last post was our 69th on this blog and her prize will be a wink, a nudge, and a heartfelt "Good Luck".

2. I would also like to note that a boutique in Brooklyn called "In God We Trust" has recently placed an order for my purse design. Its the one on the right.

3. I also have a draping question that anybody should feel free to answer. I have a dressmaker's form that's in pretty bad shape but I've gotten one side of it to closely resemble my body and am hoping to use it for draping symmetric garments. Today while I was trying to drape a cover to fit the form. I was aiming for a basic two dart, princess line shape with the cross grain level across the BP and under the arm. I was also trying to do this out of one piece of fabric that cover from CF to SS. All of this went really well but as I was pinching out the princess line dart I kept running into the issue of having the inside edge of the dart be shorter than the outside edge of the dart. Imagine the almost strait strip of fabric that runs the length of the body between the CF and the princess seam and the rather more curvy piece of fabric that's between the princess seam and the SS. This rather more curvy edge of the princess seam was longer than the strait edge. To remedy this I took a dart out at the waist from the princess seam to the SS, parallell to the floor. My question is this... Is this a common problem? Is it that my dressmaker's form is wonky, or maybe that I'm trying to drape something that is more fitted than any wearable garment? If it is common how do other people remedy this?

Ok I guess that was a few question but I would still value your input.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remember those Pattern Magic inspired shirts I made for my portfolio right before my interview with Nicolas? - Jesse, I think you have the magenta one - I was looking through a few Resort collections just now and I think Jason Wu was inspired by the same pattern exercise I was...

I do like them, even if the end result has the same "look, I'm gift-wrapped" effect mine did.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Study in Speed

This was a shirt I made for my grandmother's birthday in april. I know its a little over due but I wanted to post it anyway. Prior to her birthday she had asked me to hem a summer shirt for her. I decided to copy her shirt in a nicer fabric for her birthday present. However I only had about four hours before I had to be at her birthday dinner. I made the pattern, washed the fabric, cut, and sewed the whole shirt without being late for dinner. I definitely cut some corners but it won't fall apart and I doubt anybody but you guys would ever notice.

Notice the "Cut in one" collar stand. I've seen these on a few shirts I've liked but its crazy how much faster they are.

French seams are actually quite fast considering that serging them would require at least as many passes through a machine and a change of machines. Also note that I never waste time trimming my french seams I just sew an 1/8" seam allowance the first time and 1/4" the second.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hannah's House

I know that Hannah should be posting pictures and explainations about her house but seeing as how I was just there and have pictures I'm going to post them and she can do the explaining if she want's to. I'm sorry about how blurry these are but i was in a hurry and running out of batteries.

Yes that is a faux brick kitchen

This is her room mate Lillian, a totally rockin' woman, and their kitten. And yes they are on an astro turf covered balcony.

It's really too bad we can't do this in person

Oh my God Hannah look at these shorts. I know you have probably already seen these as they're a old Sartorialist post but I have to go off about them. Someone in the comments calls them sailor shorts but they are so wrong. Instead of opening via a flap in the front they have a row of buttons down one side and a fly for an opening. This is my favorite kind of asymmetry. There is nothing loud or non-traditional about it except the perfect way its used. I also find it extremely difficult to find shorts that are the right length. Shorts on the whole seem to be either hoochy shorts or mom shorts. These are neither. Granted she's got better than average legs which make it easier. I think though that the real key is the subtle way that the bottom edge flares and the perfect height of the waist band. This is how the female body was meant to be displayed.

Friday, June 6, 2008

grading for shrinkage

I realized that I needed to clarify about the shrinkage on the shorts Im working on. The reason that the fabric isn't shrunk before sewing up the shorts, as it is nromally in home sewing, is that we are making production samples, and as such, they have to be representative of the shorts that will be manufactured in bulk. We're doing a small run - 50 shorts in all - but that is still too much fabric to toss is a washing machine and then iron afterwards before sending them to the sample sewer. What happens instead is that the shorts are graded for shrinkage. I did a shrink test, as mentioned below, to find out how the fabric will change when it is washed, and then the shorts are enlarged to account for that shrinkage. The pattern is enlarged by a really simple grading process which involves flat patterning in the necessary amount by slashing the pattern and opening it up at strategic points --you just have to make sure that your seams will all still match up, and that the extra was added evenly thoughout the garment.
Big manufacturing houses have facilities to wash and press all of their pieces, but the place we're working with is tiny - because our first run is tiny - and she only has the ability to steam and press our shorts. That means that there will still be a fair amount of shrinkage that occurs after the shorts are purchaced by our customers - something that will have to be mentioned to everyone who comes in and tries them on. This is annoying and we have to find a way to get around it, probably just by producing bigger runs and finding a facility that can take care of the whole process.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"wood" house

It's hard to tell in the photo, but this is a stucco house, painted to look like wood grain. Really big wood grain. From a Mexican Redwood or something.
I took this picture last Christmas while in Mexico, because I thought it was the best example of trompe l'oleui I've ever seen. Lately there's been so many shirts with things like faux tuxes and ties and giant chain necklaces, and it's almost witty but--
This, however, made me happy every time I walked by it. I love the brazenness of it.

More on Waistbands

I've been working on a pair of shorts for a company called Houndstooth Menswear -- more on that at some point when I have the time to sit down and really write a post -- but I was forced to revisit the waistband dilemna of a couple months ago. After reading Kathleen Fasanella reasoning for cutting waistbands on the straight of grain instead of the crossgrain, (see below) I was convinced it was worth a try. After the first fitting, it was clear that the waistband - initially almost completely straight, had to be contoured to eliminate the little wing-like things that were happening at the side seam and center back. So now the pattern is on the straight of grain at center back, curving into a slight bias at center front.
I'm interested to see how the shorts wash up. I did a shrink test on the fabric, and it shrunk an inch along the grain over 20 inches, and only 1/4 of an inch along the cross grain over 20 inches. Which makes me think keeping the waistband on the straight of grain is a damn good idea.

New designers at Nicolas'

We are expanding our client base at Nicolas', beginning I believe with the Spring Summer 09 season - which means immediately. We're going to be working with Alexander Wang, whose pieces I like for their dark street-y feel -- although most of his work isn't along the lines of what we normally drape at Nicolas' -- upon looking though his WF08 collection I found only a handful of pieces that looked like they would be draped instead of flat patterned. Am curious if he's headed in a slightly different direction...
Here's a dress from Alexander Wang:

We'll also be working with Band of Outsiders, who I love just on principle. There are so few lines that do good menswear, and I hope that their venture into womenswear won't detract from the men's stuff...We'll be working on the women's line - Boy by Band of Outsiders. Pretty structured, and again, more flat pattern territory, so I'm curious how things will unfold.

Also word that we may work with Marc Jocobs. Which means, Marc Jacob's people. Nicolas doesn't like to work with companies that are so big that you don't get direct designer contact though, so I have a feeling that one won't end up happening.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hard at work

I made it onto the internet! This is my first fitting with Houndstooth Menswear, my amazing boss and co-collaborator Maria posted this picture on her blog.

There's so much to write about my work at Houndstooth, and all the things I'm learning as their Production Manager as well as Patternmaker....unfortunately I'm currently just taking a break from finalizing a pattern before we drop it off for our sample sewer tomorrow.
More later.

MTV Awards

I was looking for a picture of Charlize Theron wearing a Proenza Schouler bustier to the MTV Awards, and I found Anne Hathaway wearing Proenza as well, a dress from SS08 that I loved and worked on a little bit when I first started with Nicolas.

And here's Charlize, wearing a Resort 09 that we just finished - my coworker Erin was covetting this so badly, I could see her fingers itching the whole time it was in the studio.