But settled in they have, and we get bopping heads, laughter, a few tears, and standing ovations. I still plan to interview our costume designer, but in the meantime, check out the video to see some of the costumes :))
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Pasadena Playhouse has posted a preview video of "Baby It's You!", which has been extended by the way :)) The audience response has been amazing and the playhouse is seeing a wealth of new patrons, many of which have never been to a theater before. We got some very mixed reviews after opening night, and I can't blame the critics. The show was not ready; we had sound issues, and the performers needed time to settle into this new- and very big- space. Like DH said in one interview, "This show has a lot of moving parts..."
Friday, November 13, 2009
The day of Opening Night...
It's been a long and winding road getting here, but- and I know this sounds cliche, but it's the truth, nonetheless- it has been worth every twist and turn. We began readings of this show many years ago, in a small 33 seat "hole in the wall" theater called the Empty Stage. We would invite friends and business colleagues and eventually, investors. DH began his career as a stage actor, but then spent more than thirty years writing, directing and producing movies, so the whole concept of live theater and "how it's done" was new, and- very often, full of misinformation.
One thing I should mention is that DH is not your typical "artist". He is an extremely smart business man as well; something he learned the hard way. Hollywood is ruthless, it's either sink or swim. The fact that we are here today, with a show that went from a workshop at a 99 seat theater straight to a 650 seat, is greatly due to his ability to combine art and commerce. One rarely survive without the other. And as long as you keep your head on straight and don't loose your integrity, it's doable and highly rewarding.
This past month has been an outstanding experience. Sheldon Epps (Artistic Director) and Stephen Eich (Executive Director) along with staff and crew, are a unique bunch of people, I tell you! The smooth, collaborative spirit that has prevailed this entire production is astounding and I feel so fortunate to be part of it.
And to all my loyal blogger friends: Thank you for still stopping by in spite of a very off-topic period of posts. I miss being able to get into the sewing projects I have planned, but hopefully it won't be much longer. The only sewing related aspects of my life recently has been collaborating with our fantastic costume designer, Lizz Wolf. Maybe I should do an interview with her? You all will LOVE the costumes- out of this world fabulous!
I'm leaving you with a few links in case you're interested to know more about the production:
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tech week is past half-time, and I'm pretty exhausted. Me and everyone else. The high octane mind power paired with stop and go motion is an experience like nothing else I've done. This is a big show in a big theater; projections, set, sound, costume, everything is big, and DH and I are doing our best to ensure the story and performers are equally big.
There is nothing I rather be doing in this world, theater is magical, and so are the people. Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director, Sheldon Epps, is fantastic. He has created a home-away-from-home for us, and the collaboration within all departments is second to none.
Tech rehearsal- bring a flashlight :)
So, not much sewing going on. We've been staying at a hotel for the past few days to avoid the 45 minute schlep back and forth, a major deal when you work 12 hour shifts. I did get a LBD nearly finished but it still needs buttons and hemming. Maybe I'll get that done in time for the preview opening this Friday. The Balmain jacket has to wait, I just can't wrap my head around anything complicated right now.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunset at Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach
We're back from a wonderful- way too short- trip to Laguna Beach. We all love that place so much it's always hard to say goodbye. This time, however, we had urgent matters to attend to so no time to dwell on paradise lost:
The news broke today so I can happily announce that our musical, "Baby It's You", is going to the Pasadena Playhouse.
Here are some links to press releases from today:
We will have the first performance on November 6th, with the official press opening on November 13. This is just so cool :)) That theater is awesome, the most beautiful theater in Los Angeles. And the stage is HUGE; I'm so excited to be working with a Broadway set designer, possibilities are endless and my mind is swirling with ideas. Better watch out or I'll get dizzy!
Also, our costume designer is fah-bu-lous!!! Lizz Wolff did both our shows at the Coast Playhouse, and she and I clicked the moment we met. She has a perfect sense of color, texture, glamour, time period, and she's only done TV and movies before which actually was a big plus. Sometimes it's better not to know everything about theater because you can easily become entrenched in how it is "supposed" to be done versus having that freedom that comes with a bit of blissful ignorance :)) You all know what I mean right? Kinda like sewing isn't it!
And finally, thank you for all your well wishes and for your kind comments on the shirt. I will still be sewing (can't keep my sanity if I don't) and am presently working on a Chanel jacket for oldest DD. Cindy, if I don't get around to signing up for the Chanel sew-along just know that you inspired me, so thank you. I did my Chanel jacket last year, and, just like now, it got started when I returned form Laguna. It's something about that ocean air I think :))
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Another break. But I AM working on the Balmain it's just so darn hot here right now. This blouse was made in a couple of days and I love it. So easy and soft to wear yet it has some structure which my body sorely needs. If you are a rectangle I think you should make it right now ;)
A few pictures of the inside. It is very easy to make just be sure to mark all the lines and info on the pattern for the hidden button placket so you can refer back during construction. I used the magnifier I wrote about in my last post to clearly see the close stitching I had to do (matching the stitching line on the tuck exactly over the pleat stitching.)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
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 :))
Sunday, July 26, 2009
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.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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; UpholsteryTradeSupplies.com. 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 ;)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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
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
slender look of shoulder
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, March 9, 2009
Thank you to Lori, Sigrid, Ann, and Dana for nominating me for the Sisterhood Award, I will do a separate post on that. It's been really busy in my life lately...
Still very excited about my grainboard :)) I've been putting it to use the last couple of days. First to trace and cut patterns, then to cut a muslin, and finally for pintucks.
Found a picture here:
Here are a few more followups to questions about the grainboard:
Joanne asks : But where to store it? On top of the cutting table? On top of the cutting mat that sits on the cutting table? No accidental cuts on the grain muslin?
And Sew A Beginner asks: Can you use rotary cutters on the grainboard?
I've been storing the grainboard on the cutting table, but when I need to move it, it will easily lean up against the wall. I have a cutting mat to use with the rotary cutter- which I only use to cut quilt blocks and bias. I never use a rotary cutter for anything else. With scissors you have complete control, which is a must in couture. The scissors will not cut into the grainboard because the surface is pulled very tight, but you can not use a rotary cutter on the grainboard. I don't quilt much, and now I will use the grainboard for bias strips as well, so the rotary cutter and mat won't be of much use.
And thank you Katy for alerting me to the faulty Baby It's You link. The website is under construction and will hopefully be up and running soon.
Ann said: I have a spaceboard (51"x33")which I bought years ago. I love mine too and always use it.I also use mine to draft patterns on, and to trace patterns. If you use a tracing wheel to trace, it perforates the paper underneath nicely and you just follow this to cut out your pattern pieces.
Found a picture here:
Thank you Ann for the info on your spaceboard. I have a question for you: Is it a hard surface or can you pin into it? I usually trace patterns with a marker- I buy large rolls of the cheap tracing paper from the art supply store and just place it over the pattern.
Edit to update:
Ann answered; yes, you can pin into the spaceboard, and she included a link to photos of how she uses it. I thought this to be so helpful, I asked if I could post the link here. She kindly agreed. Thanks Ann!
So in conclusion; if you don't have the time/space/interest- fill in the rest:)- for a grainboard, a spaceboard is a great alternative.
Okay time for the pintucks part :))
Here's my inspiration coat. This is a bad picture, go to yoox where you can zoom in : Christian Dior Coat.
And this is the pattern I'm using, BWOF 1-2009-115
As it turns out I like the pattern so much I think I'm keeping most of the details and then add the pintuck section, pockets, belt/cuff straps and the button spacing. I might add pintucks on the yoke as well as inside on the upper facing and the under collar. The double collar is really cool- you can flip one up. I also like that it's very relaxed, not so fitted. I mostly wear my jackets and coats open. Here's the muslin.
Okay the pintucks. I need them to be really even and straight and the grainboard is FABULOUS for this. My new gravity feed iron doesn't hurt either :)) I'm using the walking foot and 3mm stitch length. The fabric is a silk shantung (at least that was what the label said), but it's really soft and drapey. I fuse-interfaced for the pintucks but think I'll use silk organza underlining for the coat.
Friday, January 9, 2009
... and buttons and sleeves...
This has been a long process with numerous interruptions. Really don't care though, because it's such a joy returning to this lovely fabric.
Changes so far:
No pocket flap, no in-seam pockets, and no collar. Instead I added patch pockets with fringe, silk piping, and silk bound buttonholes. Bias seams, hems and vent are fuse-stabilized. The two-piece sleeve is now a three-piece, split down the grain from top of shoulder, and a vent added.
Thumbelina and O'Malley have been very supportive throughout this process, always insisting on aiding in any way they can...
I want to welcome Berry back to the world of sewing and blogging- I truly missed you!
I want to welcome Berry back to the world of sewing and blogging- I truly missed you!
Cidell, You are not too old for the dress- you would look fabulistic in an outfit like that!!!
I want to thank Cindy Lou for finding me and then top it off with an award! Since I already have received this award, I will link to that post here.
All you wonderful people are inspiring and enrich my life on a daily basis. I thank you. And so does DH. We would like to extend an open invitation to all of you faithful readers:
If you are visiting or live in Chicago, we will get you tickets to our musical Million Dollar Quartet free of charge. We are also planning to open our musical Baby It's You in a big theater here in Los Angeles in the spring, and when that happens, the same will apply.
Thank you for reading my blog!
Monday, October 20, 2008
5 yards/60 wide to be exact, and in one piece. It's gorgeous... coral pink, flesh, off-white, tan, gray, gold metallic... and deep, dark brown. That's right. Brown.
I bought it on Ebay and the description said Black. I don't wear brown. I like brown, just don't have anything in my wardrobe... shoes, tops, purses, belts you name it... Everything goes with black. It was advertised as a Chanel fabric, but who knows if that is true or not. To me it didn't matter, I just like it and it has the 'look' of Chanel. I think the content is mostly wool. It needs a dry cleaning cause it has a slightly musty smell as if it had been stored away for a while.
This fantastic piece (which I originally planned to use for my Chanel jacket) needs to find a new home. I had thought to make a long, Chanel-esque coat- think it would look stunning and the yardage is there, but a suit would be fab of course.
If you like Chanel and the colors suit your taste/style/preference, let me know, and I'll pay the shipping as well. I'm just not a stash-kinda-girl and would rather have it out of my home and into yours if you really want to make something out of it. If more than one would like it I'll draw from a hat :)) Let's make the deadline Sunday October 26, and I'll post on Monday October 27.
And thank you for all the well-wishes on "Million Dollar Quartet". It's going strong with sold-out houses, and moves to the Apollo on October 31. We also had our very first preview of "Baby It's You", at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood yesterday. A fantastic experience. My little DD is now singing Shirelles day and night, with a few Chuck Jackson and The Isley Brothers thrown in for good measure...
Our girls, from left to right...
Berlando Drake, Crystal Starr Knighton, Natalie Wachen, Paulette Ivory
Thursday, September 18, 2008
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 :-)Construction...
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!!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
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...
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Lindsay T asked what "Million Dollar Quartet" is all about...
It's our musical about Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, and the one night they all got together at Sam's house; Sun Records. We've already done two workshops; one in Daytona Beach, FL, in 06, and last year in Issaquah and Everett, WA. We had sold out performances every time, and this will be our last workshop, at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
We're also getting ready to do a workshop on another show, "Baby It's You", here in Los Angeles. This show is about The Shirelles, the first all-girl rock group, and Florence Greenberg, the most powerful woman in the golden era of Rock 'n Roll.
Here's a link to DH's page describing all the shows we are planning
We're leaving Tuesday to do a few days of casting in Chicago- equity rules. I'll keep you posted!