The Fashion Show

What a great day!  We concluded the three day workshop in Garment Construction Techniques, with a seminar in Closures, starting the morning with Bound Buttonholes, and then moving into Triangular Bound Buttonholes.  When the students took a break to sample, I saw some really lovely triangular buttonholes coming from their sewing machines. We went on to discuss many ways to close a garment.  Lots of ideas, some simple, some fun, no more excuses for outerwear with no closure!

I really loved this group!  There was a huge range of skill levels in the class, some felt like they were beginners, and others were very skilled, needing some inspiration, there was even an experienced educator looking for ways to teach these kinds of techniques.  I hope all got something from the class, and I’m looking forward to the weekend seminars.

After I packed up and brought my two 70 pound suitcases over to the dorm room, I went over to the fashion show rehearsal.  I wasn’t actually participating in this show, but I wanted to preview the garments back stage, as I will be the judge.

As it turns out, because of the scheduling, I will have to actually judge the fashion show garments after the fashion show takes place. So I requested the privilege of actually judging the fashion show garments during the fashion show.

OK, so here is the problem.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  I have judged many many fashion shows over the years, and judging a fashion show, usually means, sitting in a room, with the garments,   each one laid out in front of me, like a dead carcass on the table.  See, I am looking at a piece of fabric, more often than not handwoven, sewn into a garment, laying on the table in front of me.  I have nothing to judge the garment on but technique, suitability of weave structure, and originality of design.  That isn’t really the problem, the problem is, I’m only seeing a very small piece of what this garment is about.  A garment is designed to be worn, to be viewed on a body.  A real body.  A post menopausal female, with  graying hair, and a wonderful outlook on life. I never get to see that part of the equation, who the garment was designed for, how does it fit them, does it wear them, or do they proudly wear it?  Later, after judging, I get to view the real fashion show, and 40% of the time, I want to change my comments and my judging scores, because I find that the pieces come alive when they are filled out with the person whose hands created them.  I love when the maker wears their own garment.

So tonight, I had a chair, and a clipboard, and a list of the garments at my disposal, and I felt like Nina Garcia on Project Runway, judging the work as it came down the runway.  Wow.  I cannot say how this experience has changed the way I judge a garment.  I did get to preview the garments backstage before the show, but the garments came alive as they walked across the stage, and down the runway, I was really really blown away by some of the garments that just looked like nothing on the hangers.

I couldn’t actually take pictures of the pieces, I was too busy scribbling notes!  After the fashion show, dessert was served, and then, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Michigan League of Handweavers, a vintage garment retrospective fashion show took place.  This was so much fun.  I laughed and squealed in delight, as I recognized fashion looks from the early years of handwoven clothing.  I have been weaving clothing since the 1970’s, and this represented a history I really remember.  I did manage to snap a few shots, the first model out wore, what else, but a 1950’s handwoven apron!

vintage_3Of course every weaver remembers the horse blanket reversible poncho from handspun yarns.  And then came the 60’s cotton shift, this one had cutouts in the waist area, it even had the fringe at the hem!  And then who hasn’t made a leno skirt and shawl!  I loved the orange color of this set.

Millie Danielson, a long time member of MLH, moderated this retrospective of vintage works, and some of the pieces were actually hers.

vintage_2This very vintage ensemble of Millie’s featuring yellow hotpants, brought the house down.  The commercial decorator fringe really completed the outfit!  All that was missing were the white go-go boots!

vintage_1Millie also created this outrageous coat, woven with warp remnants tied into the structure with Ghiordes knots.  I don’t know what year she wove it, but it was a pretty impressive piece.  And the model carried the whole look off effortlessly!

The finale of the retrospective show, featured none other than our own fashion icon, Anita Mayer, who wore Ann Flora’s  contemporary felted coat and hat.anita_annflora It was a stunning piece, and she looked fabulous in it.

I of course, wore my now infamous Frosted Florals dress.  Not only did I get to sign a few autographs on page 81 of the current issue of Threads Magazine where it appeared in the Readers’ Closet pages, but the latest issue of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot has just come out on the newstands, and there were a number of copies floating around, with my new article on the Convergence Challenge project.  I’ve gotten some very kind emails so far, telling me what a wonderful piece Loretta and I created.   I got to autograph a number of those issues as well.  My friend Robyn Spady has two articles in that issue, and since she was teaching across the hall from me, there was a lot of autographing going on!

So, tomorrow I do the final judging for the show, and I will write all my comments and choose the winners.  Stay tuned…

Quiet rainy day…

I knew this summer was going to be tough, since all my teaching this year was condensed into about three months.  I was having stress attacks last spring just thinking about it.  Now that I am in the middle of it, I’m kind of enjoying the fact that I didn’t really plan anything else, just to do what I had to do between trips, and go easy on myself.  I am not trying to keep up with the yard or the house, I clean when it gets really bad, which isn’t ideal, but my sanity is more important at the moment.

So, I went on a lunch date yesterday.  You may recall I have a standing lunch date on Thursdays, during the school year, with a group of women whom I adore, all teachers from the middle and elementary schools in my town.  Years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the things I encouraged friends to do, since everyone wanted to philosophy-clubhelp in some way, was to have lunch with me.  It got me out of the house, and focusing on something other than my health issues.  Some seven years later,  we still meet during the school year, on Thursdays, even though 2 of the 5 teachers are now retired.  We call ourselves the Thursday Philosophy Club, and we talk about all kinds of global issues, literary choices, our kids, grandkids (though I’ve nothing to contribute to those conversations yet…) and anything else that comes up in a luncheon with 6 interesting women.  (These are art, music, and gifted program teachers!)

So, we all got together yesterday,  for a summer luncheon, great food, and a dip in the pool.  What a great treat, and what great friends!

I’m making progress on the book sort, today I tackled the Bobbin lace_booksLace books.  This is a tough section, because it is disproportionately huge, many of the books were my mother-in-law’s, since she was a master bobbin lace maker.  I did bobbin lace for many years, because it was her specialty, and I enjoyed that bond with her.  I have more lace pillows than I know what to do with, and I have a large shelf of Bobbin Lace books, many of them in Swedish, since she spoke that language.  I can’t part with them.  Though I know I’m moving away from lace making, it will take many years before I can even think of reducing that group of books.

One area I do need to address, is my slides.  I have binders full of my images from when I did craft fairs, in the 1980’s, and had to have 10-15 sets of duplicate slides.  I need to cull down the copies, one slide is enough, especially since there is a digital version saved in about 15 places.  But that’s for another time.  I cleared three slide carousels off the shelves, putting the slides in archival slide sheets, and I’ll dump the carousels.  No crock1need for those anymore.  (Please don’t tell me that there is an installation artist making sculptures from old slide carousels!)  🙂

I got the crock pot going again this morning.  And I found more fleece to dye in a bag in another cabinet I cleaned out.  This time I am using an olive green.

And, I started to tackle a project I’ve needed to work on for some time.  notebookMy sketch book/record book/project notebook for all the woven pieces I’ve done in the last 9 years, is in a small journal that is bulging at the seams, falling apart, and losing all the contents every time I pick it up.  I try to travel with it, because I’m always asked for drafts and details of the work I show, and I need to rely on my little journal because I can’t keep it all in my head.  When someone asks what sett I used, I can look it up!

The whole book needs to be taken apart, and carefully recreated in a larger format, with a spiral bound notebook.  And I want to be able to add the photos of what the fabric turned out to be.

white_paramentSo, I tackled the first two pages, which were for a set of paraments I did for a couple churches in the area.  The first page was for the white set where I used a doup leno technique with a gold thread.  I found the photos of the minister from one of the churches, wearing the stole, with the pulpit banner and communion table runner.  So I glued that into the new book with the fabric, draft, and notes.

The second page was for the red set of paraments, an altar cloth for one church, two stoles, and a pulpit banner and communion table runner for the other church.  These were done in plain weave 5/2 red_paramentcotton with black crosses inlaid in a Theo Moorman technique.

I am feeling encouraged by all the comments and support as I sort through, weed out, make decisions to toss stuff that doesn’t need to be in my life anymore.  And though I’m happiest when I am learning new things, I’m even happier when I’m organizing.  There is something very satisfying when I stand back and see something organized and tidy, and I can view with fresh eyes.  And I get inspired by finding stuff I didn’t know I had.  ( I’ve been looking for a copy of Anita Mayer’s I Don’t Do Guilt, and guess what I just found on my shelf?)  I’m really looking forward to some down time in the fall to just sit in my studio and make stuff, and enjoy my newly organized library!