Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Links!

I wanted to provide a brief introduction to the new links I've posted on our side bar.

The crowning jewel is "Vintage Sewing" Somebody is taking the time to scan vintage sewing books and post them. Please give these people money, books, your first born, what ever you think might help create an extensive data base of sewing information. The world of sewing can only profit from a population of well educated people. They have information on patterning, sewing, washing, glove making, millinery, and much more. They have many books from The Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences.

Next up we have infomat which is a hub for fashion links including trends and careers. It is slightly unsatisfying in the amount of hard information that it provides but a good link hub.

Massive Change is the brain child of Bruce Mau and in dedicated to all the intricacies of how design can better our world and environment. Their reading list is one of the best compilations of awesome nonfiction I have encountered. Feel free to educate yourself, get involve, or just peruse. These people have inspire hope in me. I think there is a chance that we don't have to destroy ourselves.

I will end with the NW Links For Raw Materials. This is sight for the Oregon/Washington/Idaho area who either have or want industrial raw materials. This includes barrels of wool, pounds of garment leather scraps, fifty gallon drums of beany babies, and all sorts of things you never knew you wanted.

Have fun surfing, I hope that there is useful info in there for everyone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jacket for Carly

I saw this on the Sartorialist the other day and thought of you Carly. That volume in the back, the silhouette in general - I can so easily imagine you in this.

Menswear Inspiration

Last season I posted some pictures from Junya Watanabe's menswear show. Again this season I love a lot of the pieces, (although I have to say, the addition of some yellows and metallics were a little off the deep end) and, after looking through some of the Sartorialist's menswear photos for, I've realized just how influenced by menswear I am right now. It suits the world mood (with the exception of Obama-jubulence) to wear androgynous wool plaids and work boots and worn-in canvas instead of my closet full of vintage dresses.

My favorite from JW's collection.

Distressed and destroyed only really works if it's genuine. None of that pre-washed whiskered crap. Luckily I have quite an easy time staining, tearing and generally ruining things on my own.

I love the tab detail on the waistband of his jacket.

Alright, so this guy's a little too far into steampunk territory, but I really like all the pieces serparately, and I've been wanting a hat like that one for ages...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A little Winter sun

This last week end I got to go to Astoria OR, (this is where the movie Goonies was filmed for those of you that don't know.) It was still so cold that there was frost in the all the shadows but so sunny that people were out in shorts.

The Astoria Bridge

The 4.21 mile long Astoria Bridge opened in 1966. It is the longest continuous truss span bridge in the world. It had a $1.50 toll until 1994, when the bridge was paid for and the toll was removed. The bridge has more than 200 feet of clearance on the Oregon side so the huge ships can pass beneath it in the shipping channel. It is 150 feet more to the top of the span.

Click here for more info on Astoria

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Senior Collection

I meant to post these a long time ago, but I have been very busy, just like most of you! I told you all about the beginning of this process, when I was working on designing these pieces, and laying them out with their respective fashion figures. Well, lets skip a few months ahead. Now these designs have actually materialized a bit. (no pun intended) This process is broken up into three classes, the first being concept and design development, the second being patternmaking and prototypes, and the third being the final product which will be walking down the AI runway in June. Overall, I was most anticipating the patternmaking and fitting to be the most stressful and time consuming. And having accomplished that portion last quarter, I am now feeling at ease and looking forward to sitting down and sewing the final garments. I considered posting the photos of my prototypes, but it takes an ambitious imagination to ignore the "muslins" I chose to sew them out of. Seeing as I will begin sewing the finals next week, I will try to post them as I go. I've calculated that sewing one design a week will get me done it time.

Thanks for looking!

Pattern Weights IV

I apologize for the delay in my response to this subject. Nonetheless, here they are. There are six of the round ones, two in each size. They are essentially big heavy washers. On the bottom, they have plastic covers with three slits extending to the edge, where you can insert a flat thumbtack. I found these in my Mom's old sewing kit, and begged her for them. This was before I even understood exactly how valuable they would be to me. I love them.

I have seen the yellow ones that were posted in a previous entry, and they are designed to function similarly as mine. However, I don't believe that the spikes can be removed. Also, they aren't quite as simplified. The plastic is a hard case with a weight inside, which is kind of loose and rattly. Also, they have little ridges built into the top so that they can accommodate each other's spikes when stacked. All of this seemed a little excessive to me. However, all and all, they do seem like a good option compared to the other kinds of weights that are readily available.

I also recently purchased this iron from goodwill. It is seven pounds, but pretty small. It is great to have around to really anchor something down. I plan to get more as I see them. They are perfect as pattern weights. They are also readily available and inexpensive.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Instructional design

I have discovered a new affection for instructional design. By this I mean designs that instruct like your ikea manual as opposed to designing instruction like the Montessori school. I have a couple links for others that might be interested but I would mostly like any information that people might have about particularly cool diagrams or books. I would like to learn more about how to make useful diagrams but also just want to collect beautiful ones as well. I have an exceptional weakness for the exploded diagrams.

Wurlinton paper workshop

Open Here


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Holiday festivities

Over the Christmas season we got the most snow in Portland that we have had since the early sixties. We rarely get more than a light dusting any given year so we are completely incapable of dealing with it. The city owns very few snow plows and we are much too environmental to salt the streets. People here not only don't know how to drive in the snow they don't even know how to put chains on their cars. Don't miss understand me. I am not complaining. I love how the city shuts down. The streets are empty and you don't have to go to work or school. The city transformes and gets that weird quiet that snow brings. Here are some pictures.

This is the intersection of 12th and Burside (usually a major interesection) at 2 in the afternoon.

This is my family on christmas.

I also went to a uni-suit (any sort of one piece outfit that isn't a dress) themed new years party that was quite fun. It was a house full of people, shoulder to shoulder, dancing all night long. I didn't get as many pictures as I should have. I was too busy dancing. Here is Emily and I. I helped her make that orange jumpsuit. She looked great in it.

This one was pretty good. The guy in the background is dressed like batman.

Pattern weights III

Since I nobody sent me pictures I can't post the wide range of pattern weights that I had hoped however I can post my collection as well as what we use at work.

These are what I use at home.
Starting from left to right on top;
1. a weight I bought off a furniture renovation shop that was going out of business, the man who sold it to me said that people use to cary these in their saddle bags and then when they got somewhere they would take it out and tie their horse to it. I have no idea if that is true or not.
2. This is a gear cluster from a motorcycle that my aunt gave me when we were cleaning out her goat shed.
3. Standard scale weight
Left to right on bottom now;
4. Some part of the brake system for a large vehicle that my mechanic gave me.
5. The same part for a smaller vehicle with a large ball bering in it for extra weight.
6. Again the same part without the ball bering
7. A triangular piece of lead with a leather cover that has been carefully hand stitched around the edge. This was made as a paper weight by Bob Beckle at the place that Hannah and I use to work.
8. This is just a large chunk of steel I stole from our scrap pile at work. I wire brushed it to get all the rust off, then lightly oiled it with WD-40. Then made sure that it was perfectly clean before I put it on my fabric.

On a side note, for cool weights I had a lot of luck typing "antique weight" into ebay.

These are the ones we use at work. Note the pen for a sense of scale. These where made by boss. They are steel flat bar with welded handle made in-house. They were powder coated white.

I was wondering if anybody has used either of these kinds of weights?



Friday, January 2, 2009

Another Knowledge Gap

I discovered a few days ago, much to my horror, that I have been balancing skirts and dresses wrong. To my credit, my roommate, who apprenticed at the same patternmaking studio that I did, claims that she also did not learn this valuable piece of information until after she left the apprenticeship. So I feel a little better....
I have always been under the impression that garments - all garments -- should be balanced in such a way that they are bigger in the front than the back by 1/4 to 3/8" per side. It turns out that while that is the case with the bodice, once you get to the hips it should be reversed. I admit, this makes a whole lot of sense and if I had thought about it, I would've realized right away that the bodice is bigger in front to accommodate the bust and the skirt is bigger in the back to accommodate the hips and the curvier the fit model, the bigger the difference between the front and back to insure a straight side seam. The general consensus seems to be that the two are blended to zero somewhere between waist and high hip, depending on the shape of your fit model.
I think I was confused partly because I know that pants generally have side seams set back about 1/2" because that makes the butt look smaller -- and if you look at patterns for pants designed for folks from cultures that appreciate bigger butts, like Latinas, you'll find that the side seams aren't moved back at all. This is what I've been told anyway.
Now for those of you who use blocks instead of draping, are your blocks already balanced in this way so that you don't have to think about it? That would take so much fractional math out of my life....

Pattern Weights II

Here's a photo of what I called the "nice industrial" pattern weights. They're about 4 lbs., 10 inches long, and cost between $10 and $15 apiece. I got mine for pennies when my roommate went to a huge warehouse liquidation sale. We also aquired two gravity feed irons, tons of pattern hooks and an industrial Juki machine that I can't wait to try out.

My boss has some pattern weights like these below as well. I hate them. It seems like weights should be very stable -- you want no movement at all, right? So why on earth would anyone design a weight that, when filled, bulges out into an almost spherical shape, and rolls with the tiniest nudge?

Also, when I took my very first classes from Sharon Blair in Portland Oregon, she used massive washers from the hardware store (I'm not posting a picture of this. You all know what washers look like). I like them a lot, and only have two complaints. First, it seems no one needs massive washers in NYC. I can't find them anywhere. Also, they don't have handles like the industrial ones, and I like the handles even if they're not entirely necessary.