Thanks so much you guys, and I hope to see you this Friday!
08 April 2013
Thanks so much you guys, and I hope to see you this Friday!
17 January 2013
Did you see my other post about Discarded to Divine? Did you? Did you? Huh?
I haven't settled on a finalized design for the gown, although I'm pretty sure about the coat. But I do know that I'll be utilizing cartridge pleats, which were used extensively in historical costuming from the 16th century onwards.
Cartridge pleats are fabulous for creating fit and then volume. For instance, the seafoam faille that I am using is 49.5" wide. When I gathered it with 3/8" deep pleats, that amount compresses down to 5". So approximately every 10" of flat fabric pleats down into 1". This means that if you have a fitted waistline of 25", and you do 3/8" pleats, you will have 250" of fabric, which is 6.9 yards. So thank goodness I have a ton of this stuff.
You must determine how big you want your pleats. You can do all the math before beginning, but I personally prefer to create a sample, measure that, and then go from there.
The most common method used for creating cartridge pleats (the only method that I found for numerous online tutorials as well as in my my fabric manipulation book) involves applying two or more rows of evenly spaced gathering stitches, which look like this:
I made the marks with a pencil because my white wax crayon doesn't show up well enough on either the muslin or the faille. This means that the marks are permanant and must go on the underside of the work. See how the stitches are evenly spaced front and back? They run on one side for 3/8" and then on the other side for 3/8".
Here you can clearly see how the gathering threads sit directly in the center of the pleats once compressed.
This was my first sample. I was experimenting with different pleat depths. It is 1/2" on the left side and 1" deep on the right side.
The problem was that it was difficult to handle once the pleats were created. They were shifty, and I felt like I needed to stabilize the fronts and backs.
There are certainly good reasons for creating your pleats with this method. Check out this statement necklace that I found on Pinterest. In this case you can see that the folds of the pleats need to be loose.
I've been imagining creating trims for this project that are exactly like this. The beaded trim that I made a long time ago also has this fan shape with the central spheres.
What I really like about this is that the chunky pearls look to be the same size as the pearl earring in the painting. Now I just need to find chunky pearls this big and in a grey to match the lace or a seafoam to match the faille.
I had been considering doing the cartridge pleats on the coat with a very similar method as well, thinking that this would be a beautiful detail near the sleeve hem and where the body of the jacket attaches to the yoke, but I didn't care much for the way the sample came out. Maybe I'd like it better if I had multiple pleats between each bead instead of a 1:1 separation.
Back to basic cartridge pleats. This is the other way to do it, where the gathering stitches run close to the foldline of the pleat. I work with 2 threaded needles at once instead of doing the first row of gathers and then the second. Long thin beading needles pierce the fabric more easily than my regular needles. They slip right between the weft threads of the faille.
Working with 2 needles like this as opposed to working your stitches around the entire piece of fabric (which is probably huge since it compresses so much in the end) makes it easy to pleat as you go. Your thread length is more manageable this way too.
When the pleats are gathered at the edge, that edge is more stable and easier to stitch to whatever you end up stitching it to.
The back side of the pleats are unsecured, but if you really want to be psycho, you can run gathering threads through the back of your pleats too. Even so, I still find this method more stable than the other way.
As you pleat, this is what it looks like on the right side--the side that will show on the outside.
22 December 2012
This year I'll be participating in the Discarded to Divine charity event! Put on by the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the event will be hosted by the de Young Museum, where there will be an exhibit of the entries on April 12, 2013. This year's inspirational theme is Girl With a Pearl Earring, which will also be on display at the museum as part of the Vermeer exhibit.
Yesterday I picked up my fabric from the SVDP Wellness Center, which will be the recipient of the event's fundraising.
"The Ozanam Wellness Center began in 2009 to more effectively and compassionately meet the needs of the most vulnerable individuals in our City who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. By combining the "best practices" of spirituality and clinical methods, we are addressing the whole person who is suffering, and empowering our guests to make positive changes for ongoing recovery. The overarching vision of the Wellness Center is to foster right relationship: justice, love and peace among all who pass through our doors, with a special focus on those who are struggling with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and mental health issues."
I ended up choosing this pale seafoam faille, and was thrilled to get about 15 yards of it along with at least the same amount of vibrant chlorophyll green shantung silk. The donor was an event planner who used them to decorate spaces, hence the extravagant amounts. This will allow me to do something really spectacular, since I can't generally afford to buy nice fabrics in those amounts.
The faille looks a little bluer than it actually is--has a more minty tone in real life.
I don't want to create a fully historical garment or interpret the theme too literally though. The look I'm going for is late 1950's early 1960's vintage--very tailored dressmaking with the hair up in a twist, opera gloves, and some kind of beaded clutch.
At first I thought I'd do something similar to this--double breasted with a stand away neckline, but full length. The lining would have been the emerald silk, and I considered doing an emerald gown underneath. I wanted to do emerald beading all over the front of the coat and over one of the shoulders.
But then I decided that I wanted to do something extreme with tons of volume.
This golden YSL opera coat from the collection of Mrs. Thomas L. Kempner already looks like it could have been inspired by the painting. It's quite similar to what I am imagining for the outerwear.
Except I think I'm going to do it with 3/4 length sleeves that are very loose at the hem, as opposed to fitting closely around the forearm. The fullness will be created using cartridge pleats, since that's what's on the back of her garment in the painting.
The Procuress. Then the look would be more mid-late sixties.
Wait...is he grabbing her boob? Ooh. Well yes, apparently he is--Wikipedia tells me that this is a brothel scene. And I learned that there are not one but two women in this painting.
Who knew that Discarded to Divine would lead an education on the popularity of Dutch Bordeeltjes in 17th century? Here's a particularly creepy German example from the 15th century.
Here are some rough sketches that I have so far.
You want to know something crazy? I made this beaded trim ages ago, and I bought the lace to go with it, but I never figure out exactly what to use it for. Having this on hand makes me feel ahead of the game. Unfortunately this is a terrible terrible photo. I'll have to take one with the good camera.
Here's a cartridge pleat sample that I did last night.
And an experiment for the cowl on the coat
If you can't tell, I'm super excited about this project, and since the semester just ended, I'll be able to devote the kind of attention to it that it deserves.
But the best part? If you're a designer anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area, you can do it too! They have some really awesome donations of fabric and clothing just waiting to be turned into something fabulous. Because it's still early in the process, it isn't all picked over. There's a bolt of orange cotton velvet, a bolt of something striped like a pink seersucker but heavier and without the bubbling, huge bags of fleece scraps in several different colors, and much more.
Sally Rosen is the contact person (415-552-5561 X306), and you'll need to call her and make an appointment to go search through what they have set aside for the event. I know I posted the link already at the top, but here it is again. Hours of the wellness center (Howard between 7th and 8th in the city) are 9am-4pm Monday through Friday. Do it for a great cause!!!
27 September 2012
Accepting the fact that my website is perpetually under construction, I felt it prudent to create a post showcasing some of my more exciting work.
My strongest professional capabilities are in bridal and eveningwear. I enjoy the level of diligence and extravagance allowed by the category.
This made-to-measure gown was created completely from concept for Marilee Talkington, a fiery actress with a singular vision for her black-box theater wedding. The skirt texture, inspired by tropical leaves and flowers, was created from 8 yards of silk organza stitched onto tulle and layered over crepeback satin. The fully boned bodice is the same satin ruched onto panels of cotton drill.
My other great love is dance costuming. I find that ballet and bellydance present the most opportunities for creating finely detailed works of art.
This fully wired and strung classical tutu is made for the professional lead ballerina. Basque and bodice are satin covered coutil. English cotton bobbinnette knickers support 12 layers of point cut hand pleated tutu net (not tulle) ruffles. Corset and top-skirt feature black chantilly lace, black point d'esprit, hundreds of black diamond rhinestones, and vintage glass buttons. You can see and read about the tutu in progress in this post, which I was recently surprised to find has more than 3900 views as of yet!
One of the highlights of my career was designing and creating several key looks for Cari Borja's runway show on the Gala Night of 2006 San Francisco Fashion Week. The Gala Night celebration also featured runway shows by bay area couturiers Lily Samii and Colleen Quen. Cari's unorthodox construction methods turn "proper" sewing on it's head and, over the course of my time with her, was a liberating experience in terms of technique. This gown was created with several circular layers of point d'esprit and printed peau de soie.
Here's another look from the same runway show but at a different venue.
This trumpet silhouette illusion gown was created for a traditional coastal North Carolina ceremony. The cotton/rayon bengaline gown features beaded lace hand applied to netting and finished with a silk satin sash. All crinoline and support layers are built into the gown.
Of course, my portfolio is in no way complete without showing at least a detail one of my bedlahs, the matching bra and belt sets for bellydancers.
Bra and belt bases are first covered with silk dupioni and then lavishly adorned with trims and hand-beaded fringes. Precious stones, czech glass, delicate beads, and Swarovski rhinestones catch the light, accentuate shimmies, and give extra impact to pops and locks.
If you, or someone you know is looking for something truly spectacular please feel free to pass along the link to this post.
Resume and references are available upon request.
05 September 2012
|Alencon example by Jim Hjelm|
|Both chantilly examples are by Rosa Clara|
(Gee pee oor...I think...)
*Edit* according to my friend, it is pronounced guy-pure
Additionally, if you google schiffli lace, you will see lots of references to something called chemical lace, and you will see photos of what looks like venise lace. Chemical lace is created by embroidering with one type of fiber onto a fabric of another type of fiber. Then the fabric background is chemically disolved leaving only the embroidery behind.
"The lace bodice design was handmade using a technique that originated in Ireland in the 1820s called Carrickmacross, which involved cutting out rose detailing (symbolising England), thistles (Scotland), daffodils (Wales), and shamrocks (Ireland), individually applying them to the ivory silk tulle." --Wikipedia
You might also want to have a look at my post on Bridal Necklines.