Thursday, October 23, 2008

FREE "Scary Hannah Mask"!

Happy Halloween everyone! Here is another something frightening for you! (Sorry Hannah, I couldn't resist!)  This is my terribly inaccurate drawing of Hannah being her goofy self.

So in order to make proper use of such a rare and valuable resource, I have provided a Scary Hannah Mask. This goes out to all those Hannah admirers and costume collectors alike, who are looking to complete their collections!


Halloweens passed.

My favorite holiday is finally here! In honor of the wonderful Halloweens of yesteryear, I share with you some of my favorite memories.

Indeed an item of the past, our 2006 pumpkin rendition of the Britney and K-fed phenomenon:

Another favorite... when Rob and I dressed as bears... It was a brilliant idea, but neither of us could see through the poorly planned eyeholes in our gutted teddy bear heads.

I have yet to see what we concoct this year, but this dress has seen many a Halloween, and I may be forced to carry on that tradition.

Happy Halloween y'all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I love this sweater

For the most part I don't believe in pushing my politics. I think that what people believe in and who they vote for are entirely their business. Don't get me wrong I love talking politics I just want both people to be happy to be having a conversation. That said I love this sweater. It makes me want to fish out my massively under used yarn collection and start a fall project. If you want to check out the blog of the girl who made it click on the title. As a warning it is light on the sweaters, heavy on the politics, and drowning in kittens.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Anatomy and Kinesiology

I was just taking a peak at Adam Arnold's studio, described and photographed in the Portland Mercury blog MOD, and was struck by this photo. He has X-rays of a torso on his chalkboard! Now he could just be being cute and design-y, since X-rays are totally the kind of thing that people put up just because they're interesting, but my impression is that it's for the sake of anatomy, because being able to see exactly how the human body is constructed, as well as how it moves, is one of the important aspects to patternmaking that I think is often overlooked. Jessie? As his new intern, is that the case? Also, I'm so envious and excited for you. It looks like he has such an efficient process that he works with, and his new clothes are gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hannah's story.

If you're not gonna say it, I am. Hannah's mini life-as-a-patternmaker autobiography, How I got my start, is featured on Fashion-Incubator. Way to rock it Hannah, we are all so proud of you!

Thoughts on Lanvin and "The Economy of Cut"

At a time when, as Cathy Horyn writes in On the Runway, there is a "gloom supplied at once by the economic crisis and the expensive orgy of the [fashion] shows," it's nice to know that some designers have the economy in mind.
One of the things that surprised me most when I first arrived in NYC and started working with Nicolas was the complete lack of consideration for how much fabric a pattern would require. There were numerous circumstances where a some extravagant dress needed five yards of fabric when it could have been made with two, had a simple seamline been added in a strategic and unobtusive place. I'm sure this was because we worked on pieces for the collections, and had they been production patterns we would have worked differently. All the same, it was exciting to read a review of Lanvin by Sarah Mower on and hear that his runway pieces were patterned with a mind towards efficiency and a reduction of waste. Here's an excerpt:

"Can voluptuous fashion stay relevant in an age of austerity? Can gorgeous decoration coexist with the need for something plain and simple? Ask Alber Elbaz, a man whose recipe for reductionism and all-out gorgeousness squared the circle with a unique flourish. "Whatever's happening now," he said, "it's the end of fake. What's not real will go. What we have to do now is make life easier for women."

To him, that meant going back to the studio with scissors and fabric and working out, first, a supreme economy of cut and design. Airy shapes in poufy gazar, duchesse satin, georgette, and cloque were crafted from single shots of color in one-shouldered tops, balloon-sleeved blouses, and shifts in which the only feature is an internal drape that adds a miraculously chic fillip to the hip line."

Of course we are still talking about pieces that cost thousands of dollars. But if other fashion houses follow suit and direct part of their creative energy at diminishing the wasteful and "expensive orgy" aspect of the process, I for one will be much happier working in the world of high fashion.

Elbaz's pieces, by the way, are stunning. Here are some of my favorites:

The color combination of this one is so unexpected but pretty -- but look at the back of the other one! The front was very plain. I love designs with more going on in back, it adds an air of mystery.

This one almost looks like it's just pulled up on her thigh from static cling. I love clothes that walk that line between "is that an accident, or is it a stylistic choice...?"

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dang, Dolman.

I don't think I've mentioned yet that I will be starting my internship with Adam Arnold next Monday. Yay! I'm very excited!

Meanwhile, he's invited me to his fall open house. The invitation strongly suggests wearing Adam Arnold. Unfortunately I haven't yet had the honor of owning anything Adam. I thought in order to get in the spirit of being a designer, that I would try to crank something out for myself.

So, I came up with a lined wool dress that is very coat-like. I sketched over a dozen designs an finally decided on one. I began by sketching them as flats, and created a sheet of progressives. I actually began drafting the pattern and began to second guess myself.

I love dolman sleeves, but because I have an unusually large bust circumference, they tend to look dumpy on me. It is visually confusing, because unless my waistline is defined, I look pregnant or overweight. And most dolman sleeves are baggy in general. As I was drafting the sleeve I began to wonder about how this would look, and lost some faith in my design.

In a completely natural search for reassurance, I was drawn to do what I've been taught, and drew my garment on this fashion figure! And I feel a million times better now! I drew this in less than ten minutes, and am so glad I did it.

The bodice should be very fitted aside from the dolman (it has an overarm seam), and has some combination of a built-up neckline and a mandarin collar. The bodice ends exactly where it needs to in order to accentuate the waist and has a true waistline seam where a slight amount of fullness is added, and increases to a somewhat fuller a-lined silhouette which is pulled in by a band at the hem. I added the band in order to balance out everything that is happening at the top, and feel it's a little over-accentuated in the drawing. I'm hoping that once it is made out of the medium-weight wool, the sleeve will droop a little and not be too stiff, and that the "coat feeling" doesn't take over too much. I would love to combine it with a satiny silky shirt with a "secretary" feel, black tights and boots.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Flock and Fiber Festival

Susanna and I went to Canby OR to go to the Oregon Flock and Fiber festival. It's a large collection of all thing sheep. There were livestock pens, craft contests, spinning circles, and a parking lot full of raw fleece. The clientele ranged from good old farm folk, "crafty" middle aged women, and some of the waldorf crowd. I was especially excited about the craft exhibit but I found it a little disappointing. Most things were just what you would expect, a shawl, a sweater, a hat, but there were a couple of things that totally blew me away. One woman named Debbie New had made two knit teacups.

These are knit in the shape of a football and then inverted onto themselves to lend support. They are totally soft, there are no wires, or glue, or anything.

Even more awesome was a knit kaleidoscope that she made. Its made as a series of Styrofoam cones wrapped in knit "hats" the whole thing is operated by a hand crank.

There was someone who made the tackiest and most elaborate felted scenes. They are a perfect example of the amazing capacity of people being used for things I find totally inexplicable. Although I might pay a small fortune for this unicorn. Bear in mind that both of these are 100% wool. And yes, that's a bear catching salmon.

We also found a wonderful booth that had felted goods from Kyrgyzstan. They had some beautiful stuff. Susanna who has spent time in Mongolia studying felt told me all about how the stuff was made. Its amazing. I can't explain the amount of wool that goes into a rug or the amazing way it feels in my hand.

Taylor and Travis's wedding

Well a lot has happened since the last time I posted. First and foremost I moved into a new house. It is beautiful old portland style house with three room mates that are all pretty awesome. I am even going to have room to move my studio into the basement. I have in the past shied away from having my studio in my house because it seemed nice to get out and a little more professional to have one's studio in a different building. However the fact remains that where I had my studio was not very professional to begin with, I rarely had people over to impress, and there have been so many times that I have not worked on projects because I didn't want to take the time to get on my bike and go down there. I'm also feeling pretty cheap these days so that doesn't hurt either. Anyway this is a round about way of apologizing for not posting in such a long time.
There are two major events that have happened in the last two sewing weeks. (I say it like that so I don't have to go off on the vice presidential debates that I just watched.) The first being the wedding of Travis and Taylor and the culmination of my well documented sewing project Taylor's dress 1 Taylor's dress 2 Taylor's dress 3
The second I will get to in my next post.
Our friend Taylor worked at beckel canvas with Hannah and I and is a remarkably vivacious person. She and her husband once had a small fashion line of their own called T-Rex. For the most part Travis sewed the clothes and Taylor decorated them with a technique of cutting away a top layer of fabric to expose the under layer in spots, coupled with a lot of embroidery. On the whole they were pretty cool clothing.
To make a long story short T-Rex became the theme of their wedding. It was officiated by a friend in a dinosaur costume, they had a dinosaur themed cake, and lots more. For all of its non-tradition it was the sweetest, most honest and heartfelt weddings I have ever attended. But pictures speak a thousand words so here are some photos.

Taylor with her brides maids.

Taylor walking to the alter with her father.

Check out the beautiful trellis their friend made.

This is a good chunk of the wedding party on our bike ride to the reception. You can spot yours truly out on the end of the outcropping sporting a T-Rex made dress.

T-rex cake.

This is the groom standing in front of a 15 foot tall gold vinyl T-rex with christmas lights strung behind it.