Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ferido Is Splendido

Okay the title is lame, I'm no jewelry maker so what do I know :))

After searching high and low for some oblong, curved shape with rhinestones in a pave setting, I decided it was time for some DIY. That's how I found Ferido Formula x1. It is super easy to use (no heat setting, just let it dry), and it can be shaped into nearly anything. And the really cool part is that you can embellish it with no additional glue. It comes in different colors, even silver, but I chose black after reading about it on a few blogs. It is very hard to make something look like real metal when it's not, and since the jacket is black it works out okay.

I have my eye on some long sterling silver beads that I might substitue for the navette crystals in the first picture, and I have shapes and sizes of Swarovski Hematite crystals to play with as well.

delaido wondered how heavy the finished jacket will be... :))
Pretty heavy. The one embellishment on the front (incl. fabric/canvas) is 3.5 oz.

Bunny asked if I could do all the beading in the flat.
I think I can do the front that way. I tested a bound buttonhole and it works fine, which means I don't need to attach the facing first. I don't think the shoulders and upper sleeves though. And not the collar unless I hand stitch it to the jacket afterwards, which I may do.

Els had a great idea to use some old nylons as cover for the shoulder pads- Thanks!
I updated my last post to include the info of the moldable felt.

Now, it's 1 day left for the Knockoff contest on PatternReview :))) Then I discovered there's a new one starting August 1: The Embellieshment Contest... Maybe I can make that one? I haven't cut the fabric yet... ;)

And about tickets to our shows Million Dollar Quartet and Baby It's You:
We no longer have house seats to give away for MDQ, which means; I have to place my own flat behind in that seat to be able to use it!)
BIY is a different matter because DH has complete control. BUT it's a very small theater and the run also benefits LA's BEST After School Program, giving a large percentage to that charity. That said, I will do my best to squeeze you in :)) My usual seat is now on the stairs in the aisle which doesn't bother me one bit- its' a hoot to have the house packet with people rockin' out! As an added bonus: You don't have to go on any celebrity sighting bus tours, plenty of 'em right here - and they're all very much ALIVE :))

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How 'Bout Them Shoulders

"... Some pads have really stiff coverings, just the thing
to have when making shoulders that will clear off
shelves in the department stores as you walk by!..."
Kenneth King, "Cool Couture"

Mr. King, now see what you've done! :)

A few days ago DH and I went to a tailoring supply store in Culver City and there I found something quite amazing. I can't recall what it's called but maybe some of my readers will know. It's a "moldable" felt and looks like thick fused batting. When heat is applied, the fibers are transformed into something very stiff and is set permanently in whatever shape you created. How cool is that!
Edited on July 29: It's called Fosshape, here is a link (this is the same store that I bought from in Culver City)

After making a quick test on a small piece, I attached a mold, made by sewing together some regular batting and stuffing it with fiber fill, to the shoulder/arm.

Next, I used a tailored pad, trimmed at sides, and inserted it, basting it down the shoulder seam.

These are SOLID pads! I think they will hold up and I will cover them with something, maybe a thin layer of batting. I may have to trim the edges but that will have to wait until after the shell is put together. The things we learn... :))

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Front Trim In Progress

One full test done, except buttonhole. If I make a regular buttonhole, the facing will have to be attached before adding the trim. Could be cumbersome (lots of manipulation needed, as I found out, only using a small swatch). Thoughts of handling a whole jacket while doing the beadwork frightens me! Especially the front because the lines have to be so straight (Monk speaking). Maybe I can do the front before attaching it to the sides? The shoulders and sleeves will have to be done after construction. OMG I can hardly wait- Ouch!!
I'm now thinking a bound buttonhole will be the easiest, bypassing the need for facing attachment.

The lines are basted for accurate placement. I will see how easily they can be removed, I used silk thread but should have increased the length. My machine only goes to 5mm; so wish it went to 7.

Below is a closer picture to show the different color pearls: The lightest and darkest gray are both 6mm Swarovski, the two medium gray I don't know, but it's very good quality.

Close look at the cross. I used the mixed bag posted last time. It works fine but I got a little carried away with the amount; the left side has too many and thereby "leaning" over the beaded outline. The sew on crystals are from Beads & More in downtown LA.

If any of my dear readers are heading my way (Los Angeles) during the month of August, let me know! Baby It's You is, if I may say so myself, pretty darn good :))

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wadding and Washers

Wouldn't you know, it feels like things are looking up. The cotton wadding arrived today, along with the second order of washers. The washers are from McMaster-Carr and do they ever ship fast! Thank you for the encouragement, I needed it, I was almost paralyzed there for a sec.

And Nancy, I didn't know about cotton wadding either, just wanted some after reading about the shoulder pad in Classic Tailoring Techniques :)) I got some on eBay and it looks and feels like something that can work for this jacket. Els was kind enough to offer some pictures of the inside of shoulder pads she has so, as always, it's all a process. (Els, I sent you an email so if you didn't receive it please let me know at bjorum at mac dot com)
The eBay seller also has a website; Below is a picture with some more info.

The washers will work great I think. The stainless steel ones are more grayish compared to the zinc plated, so mixing them up is probably a good thing. They are not heavy which is good because the pearls and stones add PLENTY of weight.

I cut another large swatch so I can test the scale and position of the cross in relation to the pearls and crystals. Gives me something to do while watching TV ;)

I updated the link to Baby It's You. It opens for previews tomorrow :))

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So Bogged Down In Details

Cause and effect: The jacket is Cause, I am the Effect!

It was bound to happen with so much detail involved. But it seems I'm encountering an unusual amount of not enough, not the right color, not the right size, etc. etc... And it's not just the trim. As I'm trying to duplicate- or somewhat duplicate- the shoulder pad from the Chanel video, just trying to track down real cotton wadding (or felt) took FOREVER. I think I got the right stuff on eBay, but it's not here yet so can't be sure. I'm thinking cotton wadding will be best because it needs to be in place, structured, and not susceptible to the weight of the trim or fabric.

And the cross: Here are tiny washers DH found at the lumberyard. The not enough comes into play here, so I'm hoping I get the same thing when the online order arrives. I also used snaps in different sizes.

I have to stop obsessing so much!!! Just make the jacket already!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And Off To Town She Went

... and shlepped around for a good five hours. Uhhhh boy, there sure are a lot of junk to sort through to get to the good stuff. I even heard a shopkeeper say to a customer, "No, we only carry the cheap stuff, all c**p." :)) And he meant it.

So for quality trim, I found only two places:

Beads & More
800 S. Maple, Suite A
Los Angeles, CA90014


Berger Specialty Co
413 E. Eight St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014

I went into Michael Levine but they have a very limited selection and nothing that could work for me.

I couldn't find a single thing to replicate that rope-pearl-beaded thing so I'm now going to let that go and use other means to achieve a similar effect. Below is a sample I did last night with rhinestones I got. The light colored pearls are not the same quality as the darker ones- no luck with Swarovski pearls downtown so I'm ordering them online. There is a HUGE difference is shine and finish, like with most things; you get what you pay for. But the sew on Swarovski crystals are simply too expensive to be used alone on all that trim so I'm playing with combinations of other elements.

The rondelles are good quality but not Swarovski and therefor less expensive. I got those at Beads & More and the owner was very helpful. The sew on rounded rectangle is from Berger Specialty Co., and again I received first rate service. I bought 1 gross (144), and they ARE expensive so I'm trying to keep the amount down. However, if I used the above combination I will need at least 2 more... So I'm playing around.

I got other trimmings as well but that will have to wait.

Off to the theater- the tech is working great (you all know theater people are night owls right? rehearsal usually don't start until the afternoon and ends around midnight :))

Thank you Els for the link to the Chanel video, that looks like a perfect way to do the shoulder pad. Now if I can only find that kind of batting, it looks like something that can be molded/stretched into shape? Any suggestions? Wish I could see it done from start to finish...

Anne, you amaze me. Thank you.

Hugs to all who read or comment on this Balmain journey, I soooo appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Lot To Contemplate

Lots more information- thanks to Nancy K and and the lovely nearly afloat Marji- my mind spinning, racing, jumping. Oh my. There's a reason we call it blissful ignorance :)) I'm about to venture downtown in a few minutes to see if I can get some of the trim, so this is just a quick post to thank you- I received the Kenneth King book, Nancy, and I'll probably get the Schaeffer one too. Marji, I wish I knew the McQueen you're talking about so I could look for the trim, but I'll most likely have to make the trip again soon so keep looking for a picture :))
And JoanneM I have not taken any classes. I use the internet A LOT, and have a personality that likes to figure out how things work :)) High interest- or passion- is, I believe, the way to learn anything, and that includes doing it, doing it, doing it :))

Baby It's You is moving along; we pushed the preview to next week due to some cast changes. Never boring, I tell you :))

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baby It's You

Yes, very much so.
What was I thinking, planning the Balmain knockoff in the middle of tech rehearsal???....

The second staging of our musical Baby It's You begins previews on July 18 so our days are looong! Lots of fun of course, but tech rehearsals can be grueling. We have added a whole bunch of goodies (movies, slides, lights, wardrobe, sound, choreography, scenes, some cast replacements...) But, as I was watching it last night, I actually cried. That's what live theater can do to you ;) We have such talent on and off the stage that every piece of hard work is priceless. It lifts you up into a state of spiritual awareness, like you're riding on some magical cloud where possibilities are endless.

Somehow I did manage to make a test shoulder pad. We'll see if it works when the jacket fabric is cut but for now it looks good. I will use a sleeve head of course, and like Nancy K mentioned, some kind of interfacing on the sleeve cap.

The main points of the shoulder/sleeve for me are:
straight line (none-sloping) shoulder
extended shoulder
slender look of shoulder
slender sleeve

The increased height of the shoulder will have quite an impact on the sleeve cap and yet I have to be careful not to add too much ease or the sleeve will be too full.

Nancy K mentioned that Kenneth King may be using mohair in the sleeve cap (she also made me get his latest book- thanks for enabling me, Nancy :)) While I'm waiting on my Amazon order I also bought some mohair on eBay. But I'm really confused... Please look at the picture and let me know if this is the kind of mohair I should be using. To me it looks like a velour or velvet, upholstery weight. My only previous connection to mohair is yarn, which always is fuzzy. This fabric seems way too substantial and overpowering for the wool crepe...

And for the stay in the back; I have no idea what I should use. Would hair canvas do the trick, and should it be on bias or straight? Any and all insight is appreciated.

Trim: The bulk pearls I ordered were not the right color/gloss :( I think my sample, which I bought at a local source, must be Swarovski crystal pearls due the the wonderful shine. I just may have to use my connections in the costume world to track down some of this trim... I don't like to take advantage of people so I'll have to come up with some kind of exchange. As long as that does NOT include sewing/mending for other people I'm willing and able :))

And Lindsay T; your idea is great if not doable :) I would have loved to be part of the NYC workshop and get hands-on help from experts. I hope you will share the experience with lots of pictures and info.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Balmain part 2: First construction thoughts

When I bought the book Classic Tailoring Techniques, by Cabrera/Meyers, some time ago I didn't have any particular project in mind. But I had been making a few jackets and was hungry for more information. Nancy K, you may remember I posted a question on the PatternReview boards about what book to buy, and your insightful answer gave me the push I needed. Thank you.
This jacket, as patsijean pointed out in her comment, will need lots of support due to all the heavy embellishments. When I found the fabric I was so relieved because it truly needs support inside and out. The double wool crepe is quite substantial and will hold up well. I picked a medium firm hair canvas as interfacing and believe it will get the job done. I may have to add an extra layer under each trim section, and will test first to be sure.

In the book there is no mention - I think- of any interfacing in the sleeve itself, which is normal, but this jacket is not normal :)) This is where couture enters the picture. In couture you have to think on your feet and constantly readjust as the project unfolds. Which is something I love to do :))

Hence; I'm not pushing for a July 31 deadline. I'm taking my time and will be enjoying it all the way.

I'm using BWOF (what else!) 02-2008-105 as a start off point. It's so well drafted I only did minimal changes (except for shoulder/sleeve of course.) I will do a separate post, maybe several, on the muslin.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Balmain part 1: Front trim placement

Before I begin, let me not forget to thank you for your support. This is a big undertaking, and I'm not expecting to finish this jacket by July 31. I will try to document the entire journey as much as possible, and, although your comments are always greatly appreciated, please do not feel you need to do so because I'll most likely be posting a whole lot :)) It will be helpful to me (as the rest of this post already has proven), and hopefully some of what I learn can be useful to others as well. Claudine and Nancy K asked for shoulder pad and sleeve construction photos and I will absolutely post on that. The muslin is not complete and the sleeve will be the last part of the construction, when the body and armhole/shoulder pad is set in stone.

The muslin bodice is at a point of a good fit, so I needed to see where the trim placement would be in relation to the length of the jacket and also the angle.

I started by measuring down 1/2" from the top edge. Each trim measures a total of 1 1/4" wide (hopefully this will work with the pearls and rhinestones). In the above picture it looks like the distance between the top trim and the second trim is less than the rest, so I went with a 1 1/4" distance there, and then 1 1/2" distance between the rest.

And here is the part about documenting being helpful :))

Studying the pictures side by side, I could see that the Balmain was slanting more, so I moved the slanting point down about 3/8". The result can be seen below.

I have tested 6mm glass pearls which work great and ordered them online in bulk :)) I have also ordered some sew-on rhinestones and rhinestone banding to test sizes. I looked up washers online and there are some small 2 and 3mm ones that might work. The one thing now seems to be the tiny pearl beaded rope. I found something at F & S Fabrics, but it wasn't the right color. I wonder maybe Int. Silks and Wools or Mood might have it. If all else fails I just have to schlep downtown... not exactly my fave thing to do. But I really want that rope! It adds a great dimension due to its raised surface.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Knock- Knock...


Okay then.

I saw a picture in LA Times on May 17. Actually, DH saw it first :)) He's very savvy that man. Soooo, I've been collecting pictures and info. Turns out there was a lot of hoopla surrounding this jacket and the celebs that wore it. It sold out on Net a Porter within 24 hours (three total at a charming $14.000 a pop).

Then MJ passed away. A lot of people likened the jacket to his trademark style, which I get. But, it's also a lot more feminine. I found a blog where the guy (yes, another savvy man) keenly observed how the shoulder pads are shaped to give the illusion of the shoulders of a very waif-like woman (in other words; runway-skinny, anorexic shoulders.) A far cry from the eighties and "Dynasty".
The muslin is taking shape, I'm using BWOF 02-2008-105 as a start-off point. The sleeve/shoulder in the Balmain collection is quite unique; here's another of his jackets on Rhianna:

I'm studying the trim as much as I can from the pictures.

Edited to add link to close-up of trim:

Looks like pearls, rhinestones and some kind of gemstone like onyx. There's also a silver chain within the twisted pearls. And a bunch of something resembling washers! I'm not sure how close I will get to all this but I'm giving it my best shot.

If you have some suggestions for the trim, I'm all ears. I can't seem to locate the silver colored tiny pearl trim you can see next to the crystals, and also those crystal-encrusted curved thingies that lie over the black gemstones. Planning to go to the hardware store to look at washers, but they may just be too heavy.

I got some superb double crepe wool which I think will work perfect. It's heavy enough yet has a natural give, which is good due to the close-fitted design. I'm using a stretch charmeuse for lining.