Friday, April 3, 2020

The Weirdo Dress- inspiration from an artist

When my sister told us all about her solo art show some time last year I knew that I wanted to make a special garment for her, The velvet jacket and of course one for me! You can read all about her jacket in this post and construction details in this post.

For my outfit, I knew that I wanted to wear the jacket that I made using one of her designs that I had custom printed on fabric at Spoonflower. You can read all about the jacket and the original outfit HERE. From 2016.

For this special event I really wanted to create a dress that was fully inspired by my sister’s creative mind and her artwork. I spent some time going through my fabric collection to pick a fabric that would work with the jacket. At the same time, I worked on sketching out ideas in Procreate on my iPad using My Body Model Croquis. Here you can see the original design that I sketched out and used for a guide in creating my dress.

I used my princess sheath dress pattern as a starter and made new front panel and back panels to try out the idea. With the muslin on I then placed the straps to create the upper design element. With this done I drew and then cut out the motifs at the bottom. To create the shapes, I used the shapes from the print on the jacket run under the main green shape.

With the muslin done and me being happy with the design I finalized the pattern pieces and got to work on the garment. The fashion fabric is a beautiful wool/linen tweed from with blue and green yarns that I purchased from Michael Fabrics/ A Fabric Place in Baltimore. I underlined these pieces with off white silk organza and lined with a blue silk.


If you look closely at the back neckline you can see that the left and right sides are slightly different. This is because of the princess seams at the front being asymmetrical up to the shoulder. I did my best to create a similar shape on each side and moved forward. I could have purposefully done something asymmetrical on the back neckline as well but I thought that from a design perspective it was too much.

To create the cutouts around the bottom hem I first made sure that the hem was deep enough so that the inside was wide enough to cover the entire cutout area and used a lightweight fusible interfacing throughout the entire hem area. It was helpful to have the muslin so that I could carefully plan where the shapes would be placed so that they looked even and did not interfere with the kick pleat.

From the front, on the hemline I stitched an organza patch, cut out the center, pulled it through to create a window and then secured the organza on the inside using super fine Japanese fusi-web and tiny catch stitches. Then when the hem was folded up I basted around each shape and then very carefully cut out the shapes leaving about ¼ inch and carefully snipped and folded these under and slip stitched the back to the front along the window edge. If interested more in the window technique Gail Patrice Yellen has a book called It’s all about Embellishment! that has more information on this.

The only ‘issue’ that I had with this garment was that my bra wanted to keep peeking out of the cutout in the corner. To fix this I just put the bra on with the least amount of show- and also happened to be one of my older bras- I marked it with a frixion pen to where it was showing and then since it was a foam cup I could easily just cut away the area and no more peeking! I also made bra strap keepers to keep everything in place.

The day of the event we got to the museum early before the opening and my daughter played photographer. It was so MUCH fun to have my garment photographed with the artwork that inspired it!!! You will have to forgive the wrinkles – I did have to sit in the car to get to the museum and this fabric has just enough linen to wrinkle. It shows its character!!

PS - in case anyone was wondering why I have called this my Weirdo dress- as my sister was creating many of her art pieces she would refer to them as her weirdos or her weirdo army or weirdo friends. So, I felt right at home in that ‘space’. Hence the name – Weirdo Dress!


Happy Sewing and please Stay Safe and Stay Home!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Debut of the Velvet Jacket and The Misfit Children Gallery Opening!

So very much has happened so quickly in the world over the past couple of weeks that I am now just catching my breath and adjusting to all the changes. Of course, just when I think I have it figured out and I am OK with it, something else crazy happens. We all have our own stories to tell and our own feelings to feel so no need for me to expand. You all know exactly what I am talking about! And by all, I mean every single person on the planet! (which is, by the way, hard to wrap my mind around!!)

I wanted to share with everyone the debut of the navy silk velvet jacket that I made for my sister! I am giving myself a big pat on the back and an even bigger sigh of relief- it FIT and my sister looked amazing and comfortable and confident in it.  You can read the post on construction HERE.
My sister, Jen Torres, and myself at the Gallery talk of her show.
Same picture below excepted lightened up so you can see the details of her beautiful outfit better.

Just as a reminder I only ever did a fitting for in muslin and not in the actual fashion fabric. SO once it was completed and wrapped so very carefully in tissue and mailed off to her I did not get to see her in it until the day of the Gallery talk for her show Misfit Children - landscapes & creatures from the mind of Jen Torres.

The opening Gallery Talk was only done with a much smaller group of people than originally planned. This was the very start of the Covid19 pandemic hitting the United States. So the talk was just the family, minus my brother from the Netherlands due to flight restrictions from Europe, and a couple great friends. The Museum - The Tennessee Valley Museum of Arts did a great job of an on the fly live streaming of the gallery talk on Facebook!  I may be a little biased but I think it was an excellent artist gallery talk. I suspect that it is partly because my sister is AWESOME and partly because she is a college professor. You can find the talk HERE! (Don't worry only the first few minutes are sideways!)

I have always loved my sisters art. This collection is one of my favorites!  I love the colors and the details, the changes in scale and all the varied aspects of the pieces. It is sooooo hard to pic my favorites. If you check the links above there are many more pics on the museums website and in the Gallery talk on Facebook.

Here are some more candid photos of Jen in in her beautiful Jacket during her gallery talk. She is vey passionate about her work and as you can see from the photo's she likes to talk with her hands.

 Congratulations to my sister on her show and her grace in dealing with the every quickly changing environment in dealing with Covid19. Grace under pressure!
Family and friends gathered together to celebrate Jen!
(minus the princess... she was off running around somewhere!)
My immediate family is spread out all across the United States and the world. Illinois, Mississippi, Delaware, New Jersey and the Netherlands. We don't always get the time to all be together and it was so nice for most of us to get to spend a lovely weekend together. Celebrating my sister, eating, drinking, singing and just having some good old family fun together! It was nice to give big hugs and hold each other as we said our goodbyes and headed back to our respective homes and into the uncertainty that we are facing with this COvid19 pandemic.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Well!! And a big THANK YOU to all of the essential workers out there keeping our society safe and working!!
Happy Sewing!
One last parting shot of the Princess enjoying her Great Aunt Jen's artwork!


Friday, February 28, 2020

How many projects can you have going on at once???

Apparently in my sewing room ALOT!

Before I go any further.... I just want to let you all know that I have FIXED the commenting on the blog. Apparently it was sending all the comments to deep black hole in cyberspace. EEK!

I'm not quite sure how I got into this state of so many things happening at once (well, I have a little idea) but it is a bit crazy up in here.

The Sew Chicago ASG Neighborhood group is doing an almost year long challenge for our annual fashion show in October. This year we are doing coats or jackets and my co-leader, Wendy, put together an awesome worksheet which has monthly goals. Every month we have check in goals to share with the group. We have a blog page about the challenge located HERE.  This means that this is a slow sewing project and will overlap with everything else I am doing.
The cover of the challenge worksheet

Samples of my fabric, a double sided cashmere, a silk print for lining and the underlining. Still need to decide on interfacing.

The vintage pattern that I choose. Love it!!

I have chosen to make V1227, an Issey Miyake Coat. So far I have the muslin made and the pattern pieces all cut out. Now I need to cut out the fashion fabrics and interfacing and underling and lining and so on and so forth!

I copied and enlarged the drawing to play with the color blocking options. I'm going with Pink on top and yellow on bottom.

TWO and THREE and more...
I am also getting ready to attend Camp Wardrobe Week given by Camp Workroom Social at Frost Valley YMCA this April. It has been so much fun working with Jennifer and the Camp Workroom Social Staff to get ready. They have been sending weekly updates, inspiration,  printables and so much more! I feel a bit like a little kid dreaming of summer camp and excited to try something new and meet lots of new sewing people!

So far I have 2 projects ready to go. One is all cutout and ready to be sewn, the Sorrento Skirt by Style Arc. The second is a tunic top also by Style Arc, the Daisy Tunic. This one I made a muslin of and made all the necessary adjustments and I also have the fashion fabric cutout and ready to be sewn up.

Left side- muslin sewn from the envelope.
Right side- adjustments made and ready to go.

Left side- muslin sewn from the envelope.
Right side- adjustments made and ready to go.

Tunic pieces cut out of this cool linen I have had in my collection for many years!

I am still deciding on the rest of the projects that I want to work on! I have a pile of fabrics. I'm 90% sure that I will make a muslin of a pair of jeans for fitting. Thinking Cashmerette Ames Jeans or the Ginger Jeans. For these I will take advantage of the fitting help at Camp to tweak. And I also think I will bring some activewear. I really need a new workout bra and top and this could be a fun place to work on that. SO many ideas!!
SO many decisions to make!!

I am working on a new dress to wear to my fabulous sister's art show where she will be giving a gallery talk. No pictures of this yet since the dress is inspired by her art and I want it to be a surprise!
The Show will be held at the Tennessee Valley Art Museum- you can see the page HERE.
All of the family is coming in for the Gallery talk, even my little brother from the Netherlands. :) always a happy time when my siblings and I are all together!

I am playing with some fabric that is part of the ASG Chicago Chapter fabric challenge. I received a yard of this blue satiny fabric. Definitely polyester or polyester blend. I decided to break out my embroidery machine, clear out the dust from it and give it a whirl! I created 4 different designs and randomly used them to create an all over look. It probably took a little over 9 hours of time to embroider the piece. I looked at it as an experiment and I think it came out pretty good so far. I still have to trim all the interfacing away and give it a good press. Or as good a press as you can get on a poly satin! I plan to pair this with a black fabric most likely the deepest black which is a fine corduroy and make a jacket. Still pondering.
9 hours of embroidery time. Luckily for me this is an embroidery only machine so it does not interfere with my regular sewing!

All over embroidered fabric ready to become something cool! I hope....

Plus, believe it or not, there are 2 other projects that are in the sort of formulating idea phase. Those will have to wait for another time!

Happy Sewing!!

In other News....
We welcomed a new member of the family. Meet Arya, a long haired mini-dachshund. The Princess is delighted and so full of love for her new puppy!