Sunday, September 21, 2008

Can You Say Decadent. And Art Deco.

Let's just put them together cause they belong together: Decadent Art Deco! The lushness of working the duchess silk into clean crisp lines... oh the exhilaration of it all! Can you tell I'm happy :))

So duchess silk ain't just for bridal anymore... Picture this:

Fitted dress with or without sleeves, and insertion design of your choice on sleeves, waist, hip, neckline, back... possibilities endless.

How about a coat or jacket, how stunning would that be!! And remember; the insertion does not have to be a different color. Same color/different texture is sublime as well.

So, bottom line; you gotta try this. If it's a new technique, skip the corners and practice with straight lines first. Measure everything exact, and sew exactly as measured. 
There is no trick, no expertise, just measurements and careful basting.

I think I will try rounded or circular insertions next. But I have to keep in mind that Art Deco lines work with my body, not against it, so any rounded curves will have to be kept to a minimum. But for you LauraLo, I'd recommend heading straight for the rounded shapes which will look stunning on your hourglass figure ;-)

And even though I'm presently drooling over my silk, I can see this on other textures as well. But there is something absolutely fabulous about the shine and body of duchess silk that works so well with this technique.
Anyway, here's how I'm finishing the inside of the insertion:
After pressing the seam allowances onto the insertion, I catch-stitched the seam allowance in place. I will be adding  silk organza underlining next, which will cover and shield the raw seams.

And Mardel; I didn't do all of last post in one day!! Oh my goodness, no! I had already fitted the muslin and drawn  the design way back, before I even started the Chanel jacket. And the insertion was done over a few days. I'm really really slow :))

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gucci-Inspired Skirt Using Insertion Technique

Guess I'm into couture at the moment, mostly due to my mini-wardrobe plan, and, of course, the Chanel jacket. This skirt is actually not that complicated as long as I follow my own rules: Mark all seam lines, and baste with a surgeon's precision. And most of all; do not work while tired :-) 
Here's the link to the inspiration skirt
And here's a link to my mini-wardrobe.
As you can see I switched the colors around. It's now black with light pink inserts. My dd suggested this and I actually agree. I'm also planning to make the white "Big Bird" skirt so this gives the wardrobe a little more versatility in terms of light/dark.

I didn't get much done today since I spent hours at the theater choreographing moves for the girls playing the Shirelles. But what fun that was- they are superb with fantastic personalities.
Anyway, below are pictures of the process so far. I think I will underline the skirt with silk organza when the insertion is done and still add a lining to the waist facing like the pattern calls for.


Where I'm at...

Thank you again, everyone, for all the fantastic comments you left me, both here and over on Pattern Review. I'm actually blown away by it. Speechless really. 

And I will keep my promise and make something simple. After the mini-wardrobe is complete:-)) And Lindsay asked if I'll get some wear out of the jacket, living in LA and all, and I sure hope so. There are usually plenty of days during the "winter" when temperatures drop to the point of "Okay, I'm freezing now!" In the 60's or so. I know, I know, but I had my share of cold when I resided next to Santa Claus, and I'll never do that again!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Me In Chanel On A Hot Day With Dirty Hair

As promised, but what a day to chose to do this... Please excuse the blurred photos, dirty hair and funny up-do, a combo of self-timer, scatter-brain and yes, laziness. I'm already on to my next project -the Gucci inspired skirt in my wardrobe plan- and I will post on that next. Thank you everyone for your wonderful compliments on this jacket, it truly warms my heart. And I do adore it.  And all of you :))

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog Awards

Sigrid passed these three awards on to me, and I'm very honored. Thank you, Sigrid. She summarized the rules:

1. Select 6/10 bloggers to whom you would like to give this award.

I'm quite new to blogging so I chose to go with those I'm most familiar with and whose blogs are mainly about sewing, although I'm sure they've all been awarded already.
In no particular order:

Melissa- I love reading about her sewing adventures and her family life. Having met her in person I'm also a bit influenced :)) She is so sweet and the way she communicated with my little one was quite special. Yup, she's a keeper!

Belinda- Her work speaks for itself. Always meticulous, she includes helpful info and has a large and loyal following, which now includes me :)) She may be "Sew 4 Fun", but that does not exclude a high degree of professionalism.

Lindsay- We know her as the NYC gal who's shopping all the time :)) If I ever get myself cross country, she'd be the first person I'd like to meet. She's also an excellent writer and has fun polls that make me think.

Vicky- She was one of the first to find my very obscure Mac blog and left messages, which speaks volumes. She's very dear to my heart, so- yes, I adore her. She has also raised two fabulous daughters. The three of them look like sisters.

Marji- Like so many others, this woman has inspired me tremendously. She is is a wealth of knowledge which she readily shares with anyone. Her posts are top priority, even when she writes about her other passion, sailing.

Kathleen- I'm not sure if she can post/participate in these awards on her website, but I want to award her just the same. She is brilliant, fun and so generous with her time and expertise. Her book is by my side always.

Nancy- Here I'm being partial again:)) After meeting her at LA PR weekend, I was struck by her soft natured-ness. She makes beautiful clothes and writes detailed info with pictures on her fitting and sewing. Her students are very fortunate indeed.

2. Put the award - prize on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying her/his blog.

3. Paste theses rules on your blog.

4. Write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn (for the Premio al esfuerzo personal award only.)

I'm choosing to sum things up :))
Important: Personal ethics and integrity.
Negative: Lack of the above.

5. Inform the recipients by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well, I think that's it. I still haven't gotten around to taking the pictures, but I will, promise :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chanel Jacket is Done

... But I'm too tired to wear it cause I spent most of the day cleaning my room. The posing and review will have to wait, but I thought I'd give my loyal readers a look at it on the form. The jacket is quite heavy but wearing it feels wonderful. Knowing me (and I think I do...) this jacket will probably be casual-ized. I'll wear it open, except if I want to be 'preppy'... and I'll let you know if that ever happens!

A look at the woven pink in the fabric...

Here's a close up of the front. I chose to end the chain 2" away from the opening due to the extra weight of the buttons on the left, and also the right ruffle.

And thank you both, Melissa and Nancy, it was good to hear I'm not alone. I will try and make something simple- as soon as this wardrobe is done :-))

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How Much Is Too Much?

Time... it's been on my mind lately, and Belinda's comment on my last post just illuminated it. Thank you Belinda, I needed that extra push to explore the possibilities.

Am I spending too much time on each garment I make?
I know, I know, this is very subjective, so I'm basically asking myself :)) But feel free to chime in with any thoughts you have on this subject.
After being part of the blog-world for many months now, I realize the majority of my fellow sewers are far more productive than I am (did you check out all Melissa has churned out recently???)

To find the answer I first needed to define what my sewing objectives are, and this is what it boils down to:

Becoming= Fit and design
Fit has been top priority for a while and I've reached the 'fairly capable' stage.  And, since form follows function, the designs I select are, as a result, more deliberate. What this means; fit and design comes together reasonably fast.

Unique (can't buy)= Details
The first part of this process is usually all about planning design details, which can range anywhere from simple surface design, to the more complex, e.g. making the fabric (dye/paint/felt). The second part always includes a lot of tweaking during construction, and sometimes- if I made too many wrong choices- a complete overhaul.

So comparing the two objectives,  details is the big time-gulper. No surprise of course, and there's not much I can do about it without compromising the very thing that draws me to it in the first place. But...

After taking another look... Within the details- deeply hidden, out of sight from anyone- lays the obsession factor. I don't like to admit it, but I am a perfectionist. And none of my garments are perfect and never will be- in anyone's eyes. What am I referring to is the quest for it, which steals away my time. And it's so not worth it.

So, to answer the question: Yes, I believe I'm spending too much time on each garment. And that's why I'm making an early New Years resolution:

From this day forward I will do my best to eliminate time spent on details/construction where the result will not be seen.

Only time :)) will tell if this is even possible, and whether or not it will make me more productive, but I got to at least try. Cause really, who wants to waste time?!

Thank you for lending an ear.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Sewing Chanel :-))

It's a busy time at this household. Oldest DD just left for a new boarding school and she's super excited, as she should be. Idyllwild Arts Academy offers everything an aspiring artist would crave, and I'm truly happy for her.
Youngest DD just started second grade, and she is as proud as can be :-)) She is also into performing arts and will attend her first acting class this Saturday.
As far as DH and myself; we're doing two workshops at the moment. Baby It's You, here at the Coast Theater in West Hollywood, and Million Dollar Quartet at the Goodman in Chicago. We'll be leaving for Chicago next week I believe, DH has a co-director on that production, and most of the cast has been with the show from the beginning so it's more important he spends the brunt of his time here in LA.
And as far as the jacket... I hope to take it to Chicago because it's quite warm. All that's left is the remainder of the fringe and the buttons, so it shouldn't be too hard. I added some Madeira Lana thread to the fringe on the organza because it was too black/white without it. Here are some sneak previews :-) I think, hope, pray- I will adore this jacket. 

Also, Thank you Sigrid, for providing the info on the Chanel YouTube video. It was fantastic watching it in its entirety. So inspiring. And wasn't it fascinating how they all buzz around that room, wearing lab coats! Makes me re-think my working wardrobe...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And the Chanel Journey Continues...

Getting closer but I'm taking mine time with this. The jacket fits well, and I'm now working on finishing the interior. I took a break and made the trim- just couldn't wait, too exciting! Below are some more construction pictures as well as the trim. The facing needed extra care; I had to stay stitch the shoulder/collar seam in addition to fusing the cut point. If you're making a Chanel jacket for the first time, skip anything with facings. And as little plaid/match-up as possible. Unless, of course, you're like me, and just can't be truly happy without some serious challenges :-))

First up, the facing buttonholes...

... the lining seam construction (they are all done this way) and sleeve vent...

... the fringe...

... and finally the organza (which will be the ruffled trim)...

I ended up using silk organza as interfacing for the front/collar. It turned out to be just the right 'hold' without adding stiffness. Thank you Marji for all your help, and Lindsay, if you do go ahead with that jacket, make sure to turn to Marji if you get stuck.

And if you love Chanel, be sure to check mem's comment in the previous post; a priceless story about the woman who makes the Chanel trim. Thank you, mem!