Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smith and Bybee

A while back I had the opportunity to do a work trade with my friend Nate. Nataniel Shapiro does odd jobs for my company. He has a furniture design degree from RISD and does all kinds of beautiful sculpture and fabrication. For a while he was teaching me welding and metal working and I was teaching him how to make men's dress shirts. Through this collaboration Smith and Bybee was born. Smith and Bybee is name of our new menswear line. We will be showing our first collection at "The Forecast" a Mercury fashion event. The Mercury being our local weekly rag. The event will take place on April 26th at the Portland Center Stage/Gerding Theater/the Armory at 128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR. I believe that it will be taking place in the smaller event space, lobby area as opposed to the actual stage itself. The press for the event is still to come and I'm sure it will involve more specifics like time, price, and all that good stuff. I'm not totally sure who all is going to be showing but it will involve some if not all of the usual portland suspects, Adam Arnold, Emily Katz, Seaplane, etc. They are also interested in featuring a small collection of "budding" designers, being people that haven't done many public events. Each "budding" designer would have one look and then those designers would be shown together as part of the show. If anybody is interested I can put you in touch with the mercury. I know that there will be a 25$ application fee but no participation fee.

Our collection is inspired by the textiles and details of classic American work wear. It will be six looks over all. I'm not sure how many looks other people are doing but we had rather short notice about this and settled on six as a do-able number. This will be my first real show and I'm so ridiculously excited about it. I hope everybody comes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wolf dressform? I think not.

Okay. I purchased this dress form off of Craigslist by someone who claimed it was Wolf brand. The price that I purchased it at was very reasonable, compared to a new Wolf. I called and asked if she would hold it for me and she did. I was so fricking excited that I was getting this thing, that I wasn't thinking very clearly. Anyhow, I didn't see "Wolf" printed on it anywhere in the pictures. But I thought, why would she lie, I'm sure Wolf makes some that do not have their name on it. I got to her house and it was in very good condition, so I bought it. Anyway, now I have it and YES it is very nice. I am still ecstatic. But I had to get to the bottom of this "Wolf" thing. The other thing I noticed once I got home, was that she has very broad shoulders, and an exceptionally long distance between her bust level and her neck point. I work on all kinds of forms at school and they vary greatly, so this doesn't concern me too much. However, it does say a size 8, which it is not. Again, this doesn't concern me. It's more like a ready-to-wear 8, or a size 10 form. More than anything, I just want to know more about it. 

So I called Wolf, and the woman was extremely patient and helpful. She looked
up at the history of the forms they made in 1995, and did not find a number that matched the one written on the bottom of the form. As you can see, she has some shaping in the bum area, and some definition in the front leg area as well. This led the woman at Wolf to believe that maybe it was a cocktail or strapless version. Either way, the measurements did not match theirs for an eight, it doesn't say Wolf anywhere (which the woman said some people will request if they're using it for display purposes), and the work order number doesn't match. 

Regardless, I do love the form and am ecstatic to have one, especially at this price. However, I do regret not asking the woman I purchased it
 from, where she got it. The measurements are so inconsistent and odd (an extremely wide shoulder width), that I almost think it was a custom form that the woman had made for herself. It is definitely very similar to her body type! I am wondering if anyone has had an experience with this type of form, or knows who made it? The name of the individual who made it is written on the bottom by hand, "Fior 7/28/95", along with the bust, hip, and about six other measurements, and an order number.

One other question, maybe a silly one.  I've always used the ones at school that have legs, so you can pull pants and skirts on from the bottom.  Several of my designs are pencil shaped at the bottom and won't fit over the bust.  This was a funny initial conundrum that I encountered immediately: How the hell do I get this thing on here?!  I tried sleeving the form off of the stand, but it just got higher and higher.  The ceiling in my studio isn't even high enough for me to sleeve it off all the way.  I could pull the skirt over the wheels, but we're talking about some expensive wool that I generally avoid putting on the floor. I find it hard to believe that you can't make a pencil skirt for this thing, so I look to you guys to divulge the industry secrets!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Half-Scale Dressforms

Well, I am looking at finally adding a dress form to my studio, and ran across some half-scale ones. I've heard of these, and find the concept pretty fascinating. First of all, they're fricking cute! Second of all, if you have one of these hanging out in your studio, you're looking pretty cool in my book. And third of all, can it really be possible to drape on one of these, simply double the size of the pattern, and presto... accurately fitting garment? I know they are used for many reasons, primarily for education and demonstrations, but a site I looked at suggested that it could be used to make a real, working pattern. As high quality as the dress form may be, I would imagine you would have to be an extremely meticulous stitcher and patternmaker in order for this to work. Any miniscule mistake you made in the pattern would then become twice the size! I'm curious if anyone has worked on one of these, and if they have any feedback. Cuz...I kinda like the idea! Imagine the amount muslin you would save!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What do you want?

In the midst of my fashion mayham I'm helping my friend Nate learn more about the construction of garments. All of his questions have got me thinking about the information that I have had trouble finding. If I could make all that info readily available it would make me happy but there is only so much time in a day. So I'm wondering what tutorials would be the most use to others.
I could do one on how to copy your favorite jeans,
How to copy and sew flat felled seams,
Shirt detailing back vents/facing/fancy cuffs,
Drafting and sewing button plackets on the center front or cuff,
Real flies (not Mock Flies) on pants,
Sewing and patterning seams that are an arc joined to a strait line,
At home seam taping for raincoat and dry bags,
Or anything else that you want that I know how to do. So leave a comment, vote, and I'll try to do two tutorials in May.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News Especially for Carly

After a break from fashion, it appears that your darling Jil Sander is going back to work, and she's going to be designing for Uniqlo! I don't remember for sure, but I think we visited Uniqlo when you were in NYC....It's a Japanese brand of basics - T-shirts and jeans and cashmere sweaters - all pretty damn cheap and fairly high quality despite the cheapness. Sooo...although there's no Uniqlo in Portland, and I don't think they do mail order, you are a tad bit closer to being able to own some Jil Sander designed duds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Stuff!

I'm sorry I haven't been posting lately. I'm gearing up for a fashion show at the end of april. Although I'm waiting to hash out a few more detail before I divulge all the info. I just wanted to draw your attention to a couple new links. The coolest website I have found in quite some time is the E-Workers site. Its all in japanese but it has detail shots of all kinds of old-school work wear. I highly recommend checking it out. Next up is Context clothing which not only is a good retailer for high end men's wear and denim but posts the actual size of the garments. And last but not least we have The Bra Maker Supply which is a good place to source all kinds of hard to source items.
Happy browsing!