Friday, May 11, 2018

A coat for the Princess- Kestrel Coat by Clever Charlotte

Sometimes I do actually sew up things for other people! Especially for my Princess!

I had enough coating fabric leftover form my polka-dot cape (blogged about HERE) to make a fancier winter coat for my granddaughter, known as Princess Victoria, more commonly known as V.

YAY for pockets!!

I picked up this pattern at JoAnn's! I was so surprised to see it there and it is just so adorable and unlike some of the big 4 children's patterns this comes in a large size range. From 2T all the way up to a size 8. Winner in my book.

 This pattern from the children's pattern designer Clever Charlotte is well drafted, has good instructions and went together quite easily with a very unique and charming look to it. A nice addition for a young ladies wardrobe for her 'Sunday Best'. There is also an alternative simpler neckline addition that is available as a free download on the website.

Front of the coat

Back of the coat

Inside of the coat

I used the same outer fashion fabric and the same cotton lining as in my cape and even used big snaps for the closure.

If you are wondering if it is your eyes... or are those snaps not in a straight line. Well it is NOT your eyes! The area of the felting is very thick and hard to hand sew through. The beauty of snaps is that when the coat is snapped up you never even see them :)

I ordered reflective piping from Seattle Fabrics as an extra safety precaution. They have quite a variety that you can find HERE. The pattern has several great horizontal seams that I was able to add the piping to as well as in the side seams and on the sleeve. I also underlined the coat in a light cotton flannel and of course added patch pockets. She LOVES her pockets! All kinds of treasures can be found in her pockets.

I left extra length in the sleeves so that as she grows they can be let down and grow along with her.

The weather in Chicago is warming up so this coat will go into the closet to wait for the fall. However, she did get good use of it on a recent trip to Gdansk, Poland to meet her Great Grandparents on her dad's side. This coat was perfect for the weather and she looks quite fancy in it!

V and her daddy both writing in their travel journals!

As you can imagine getting a 3 1/2 year old to model for pictures is pretty impossible! However, I think you get a good idea of how it looks on her.

Friday, April 27, 2018

In The Sketchbook-April 2018

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.

This month brings us the double breasted garments. This specific style always has me thinking of the 1980's with a double breasted jacket and super wide shoulders and big hair ladies or of pea coats worn by the US Navy. Not really the look I am going for!

Double breasted details have always interested me and eluded me, so I took some time while at the Design II workshop to sketch out several different ideas.

The first one is a bit rough, I have a double sided wool of hot pink and bright yellow and I was just playing with the idea of using a double sided fabric. I started with the top or in this case a jacket. It was intended to have sleeves I just never got around to sketching them in since this was just playing to see what would happen.

I decided quite quickly that the look of a traditional double breasted was not doing it for me and I tried to make it more interesting with adding a skirt (or it could just be the detail at the bottom of a long coat) that echoed the idea of the double breast and showing the reverse color.

Then after some discussion the points of the turn back portion were elongated and slightly softened to keep it from looking harsh and not quite so 80's punk looking.

I also tried a pair of pants and this look is just funny!

The next idea was an idea that I could use for work wear. A softened double breasted jacket that has an asymmetric collar with a pencil skirt. I like this, I think the shape and proportions would look good on me.

I also sketched out a back side of this garment and I decided to echo the double breasted detail with a double back vent and button detail for the walking vent on the skirt. Since I can go crazy with color on work clothes, I am finding that adding in extra details is a nice way to express myself.

The last in the group this month  was to take that same idea and make the entire look more asymmetric. I know that for the high side of an asymmetric skirt I can not go any higher than sketched. Or else I begin to look indecent for work purposes! In order to keep the proportions correct on my body I had to make the jacket a bit shorter than the original one drawn up above. The asymmetry of the jacket and the skirt now echo each other and the proportions on my body look much nicer. With the jacket at the original length I was cut right in half.

If all else fails I can always revert back to the original inspiration!

Make sure to stop by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor to see what lovely sketches and ideas she is working on. Please feel free to share your sketches and ideas with us.

Happy Sketching!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Exploring Fashion Design II- a workshop with Sarah Veblen: Part Two

This is Part 2 of 2 on Exploring Fashion Design II, a workshop with Sarah Veblen
To read Part one go HERE.

Day 3 continued. 
Playing with the flowers sort of acted like a palette cleanser for my brain and got me ready to push on with more work!
In the afternoon we started out with an exercise with our croquis to deliberately play with hem lengths and figure out what we could wear for different types of skirts/dresses and then take that into asymmetrical work. When I took design I, I was initially skeptical about how the sketching on the croquis would translate into my designs. For instance, were the lengths or designs that I liked on the croquis going to work on my actual body. I spent several months after Design I playing with this and for the most part it is quite true. Things that I like on my croquis match to what works on me. Having almost 2 years to play with this between design I and design II have been very good for me to process many of the ideas.  What does that all boil down to? It means that I now trust the relationship of what I sketch on my croquis and how that translates directly to my garments and my body.

Everyone hard at work in the workroom! We each had a 4 foot table space to our own and boy did we need it... being creative really makes a big mess :)

The rest of the day was spent doing individual work and working with Sarah to discuss fabrics and trims that we may have brought with us. I brought a couple lengths of fabrics that I really like but was not sure what to do with. Sometimes it helps to get others opinions just to shake some ideas loose in your brain.
I had several good discussions with Sarah that afternoon. One was how to recreate this deconstructed Chanel look that has always captured my interest. We discussed and before I knew it she had a scrap of boucle in my hands for me to play with and test my idea out!
Top photos are of my Chanel inspiration
Bottom photos are of my test piece of fabric. I learned it is doable and I will just need to teat on different swatches of boucle before making a decision on the garment. It will certainly be a slow, slow, slow sewing project!

The other discussion was around one of the fabrics that I brought with me. It is a panel fabric of silk taffeta plaid and an area along each panel that has yarn woven across the grain. I decided to purchase the silver/grey cotton and purple wool crepe.

Sarah playing with the fabric to see what it would look like in the cross grain versus lengthwise grain. On the right are swatches of the companion fabrics that I purchased at A Fabric Place to go with it. A silver/grey cotton and a purple wool crepe.

Day 4: Trip to: A Fabric Place!!
A Fabric Place has become one of my favorite places to shop for fabrics!

Before we headed out to A Fabric Place Sarah gave each of us our assignments. We would spend the morning working on our exercises, have a well needed lunch break and discussion and then head back to A Fabric Place for additional assignments and of course fabric shopping.

The fabric exercises are comprised solely of gathering swatches. Sarah walks around armed with scissors to cut fabric swatches. There are also the employees at the shop who also will cut fabric swatches for you as needed. At the end of the day I ended up with something around 50 or more swatches.

Each attendee is given different assignments based on what you have been working on during the week and on what Sarah believes will help you to grow and discover.

My assignments were:
  1. Develop a traditional palette of Navy and make sure to have some companion fabrics to spice it up. As you can see in the photo I ended up takin gmy navy palette and pushing it inot the realm of purples. Very nice exercise and one that I would not normally do. 
  2.  Develop 2 palettes of Teal and Orange, one for work and one for non-work life! in the photo below the top portion is the work collection (i'm not mad about the print on the left but I left it in anyway...) The bottom half of the photo is a collection for non-work life, It was nice to see that there are a couple of overlaps between the two.

  3.  Using a princess sheath dress that I sketched and called ‘Mix Princess Dress’ find the following combinations:
    1. menswear and chiffon... this was super fun!! So much fun that I bought the left side swatches.
    2. hard and edgy- picked a couple swatches but didn't get a photo
    3. sweet and girly- this never even happened
I also had several of my own fabrics that I wanted to find companions for! So much to do and so much amazing fabric to choose from!
Had to grab a photo of Jonathan from A Fabric Place
Here I am with 2 of my fabrics that I shared with the group.

We wrapped up the day back at Sarah’s showing each other the fabrics that we purchased. Good thing I left lots of room in my suitcase! My suitcase ended up clocking in at 49 pounds! Whew!!

Wendy purchases a beautiful beaded navy fabric for sleeves, Mary is all smiles with her purchases, 3 of us all purchased the same brocade fabric! so beautiful!! Liz purchased a lovely silk chiffon.

Day 5 and our last day of the workshop
Hard to believe how quickly the days pass when you are so engrossed with learning and exploring! We started the morning off with sharing the results of our fabric exercises with each other. Always fun to show what you thought does and does not work and always someone else will whip out a swatch from their pile and go ohhh, what about this one? This process is fun and you learn so much about color and texture and how and why things work together and all of this is done in such a natural way. This is a great learning style for me and it exposes me to color pallets and combinations that I just don’t normally work with because they are not what I like for me.

We also had some very good discussion on how to take a sketch and move it into a pattern. This of course, can be quite subjective and you really need a very good master/base/block pattern to start with.
It also includes making muslins or making several or just a muslin of an area. For example, if you are just changing up a collar design or a sleeve design you can construct the body of the garment and then just make a muslin of the collar or sleeve and work with that.
I know many people don’t like to make muslins or may find them to be time consuming. However, I think they are an invaluable tool in finalizing a design and they give your hands time to play with the design before cutting into expensive fashion fabric.

Sarah showing us different was to manipulate patterns and how to move from sketch and design into pattern work.

The afternoon was spent doing whatever work that you wanted, along with some individual time with Sarah. I used this time to discuss several of my designs and to get some ideas on the trickier aspects of construction and pattern work. It is also very good to bounce ideas off of her, she has so much experience and I find that as my own experiences become stronger and stronger that sometimes I am just checking myself to see if my thought process is going in the right direction or if there are things that I never even thought of!

At the end of the day we took a few minutes to gather as a group and have a wrap up discussion before we packed up all our belongings.Sarah wanted to hear from each of us on one or two things that we learned or that we felt was an important part of the workshop.

I highly recommend this course to anyone who has gone to the Design I workshop and wants to take their design skills to the next level.

Happy Sewing!!