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…

The Day Before…

Though I’m not completely packed, I’ve worked through much of my to-do list, and I’m desperately trying to keep the two conferences separate in my head.  I leave tomorrow morning, really really early, to fly to Denver and then Durango for the Intermountain Weavers Conference.  I will teach a three day class in making a jacket, moderate the informal fashion show, and then fly home on Monday, getting in sometime Monday evening.  Then I turn around, after a quick load of laundry, and a repack, and fly to Michigan for the next conference on Tuesday morning.  So, I’m trying to juggle information coming in fast and furious, making sure everything gets into the correct conference folder, and trying to pack for two conferences at once, hoping beyond all hope I don’t make a mistake!  🙂

The 62 pound box with all the handouts, monographs, and pattern paper is off to Michigan, and we noticed the shipper misspelled the address, one more thing to worry about!  🙁

There are massive thunderstorms in the area, so I’ve powered down my main desk computer, but my little puppy runs well on batteries and wireless, so I don’t have to worry so much about a power outage, which we’ve had a couple times in the last hour already.

I wanted to try blogging from my little puppy (if you haven’t been following my blogs, I just bought a new mini EeePC Netbook.)  Before I take it on the road, I wanted to make sure everything is running smoothly, I’ve already run my presentations with the projector, I just need to download the latest versions of them from the network.

I’ve cleaned the house, partly because it was really neglected and no one else was jumping to do it, and because with just a few hours turn around next Monday, I don’t want to have to be wiping toilets and counters, and sinks.pg1a1pg1b1

I also finished re-working my design journal.  I got so close to the end that I made a huge push to finish, since I couldn’t really travel with half of two separate journals.  It was a great project, and I was able to retrieve a lot of missing information, and I think it all looks readable and fun.  The first project featured here is one from 2004, called Rising Sun.  It is a sleeveless shirt woven with  HABU Textiles‘ silk and cotton yarns, and some metallic and eyelash yarns.  I wove the fabric, which was suppose to be two scarves, to match the Southwest palette from one of my Handwoven Magazine Fashion Forecasts.  My intention was to make a scarf and send it off to the magazine, but alas, I failed to take my own advice and sample first, and the scarf came out way to dense for a scarf.  Not surprising since I am pretty good at guessing the sett for garment fabric.  And to be sure, the sett for this lovely too dense scarf, was perfect for garment fabric.  What to do? Plan B… Dive into my patterns and find something from the stash that could supplement the scarf width, and make a shirt out of it.  Which I did.  And I can assure you I got a lot more use from the sleeveless shirt than another scarf!

Just had another power hit!  Fun working on my little netbook in the dark…

Have to wait for the wireless connection to find the wireless before I load in the next two images…

pg2a1pg2b1I’m back!  Wow, was that a storm…

Anyway, I wove this 8 shaft shadow weave fabric a few years ago, but sat on it for awhile.  I needed to update the pattern I use for my jacket classes, so I took advantage of this lovely graphic fabric and made a jacket just for me called Shadow Play.   Turns out it is one of my most favorite things I’ve made, and it looks great with my very NY travel wardrobe in black.  It will go into the suitcase for the class I’m teaching this weekend.

So, before the next thunderstorm rolls in, and I get even more distracted, I’m off to pack.  Hopefully I’ll get an internet connection in Durango, and I’ll be able to blog once in awhile, the evenings are full of events, Friday night is the opening of the Fiber Celebrated exhibition, I have two pieces in that, and Saturday night, the fashion show.

Stay tuned…

Comb binding mania!

I am bleary eyed…  All I’ve done for the last couple of days is laundry (smelly clothes from a week at girl scout camp) and print monographs and handouts for the Michigan conference, which is August 5-9.  This is the conference where I have a 12 hour turn around, I arrive home from Colorado late evening next Monday night, and leave Tuesday morning for a direct flight to Grand Rapids Michigan.  But that’s all happening on the 4-5 of August.  Right now we are still in July, so my mantra for the day is, “Don’t project…”

crock2The crock pot is doing its thing, I’ve done shades of bronze, olive, rose, and teal, and today we are cooking a canary yellow.  I’m enjoying this explosion of color, and I can’t wait until fall when I can really play with this wool.  I’m hoping to be inspired hanging around with all the felters for a few days in late August at the Felters Fling. I’ll be teaching a jacket making workshop, and one of my goals here is to make my own “Daryl Jacket” from my own felt…binding_handouts

So, I’ve gone through about $6-700 dollars in toner, and printed reams of paper.  The monographs are handoutsstacked, and the handouts are so big, I’ve forgotten just how big this particular handout is, that I need more 1/2″ comb bind spines.  My wonderful shopper husband is out at Staples as I write.  So I decided to take a break and blog, because I am really bored just punching chads from all this paper with the binding machine…  (Would that I could listen to a book on tape, but alas, I do have to pay attention here, I’ve punched handouts backwards and talk about awkward when you hand someone their handout and oops!)

coverI have so enjoyed reworking my design journal from the last nine years, that I’ve almost finished.  I created a cover from a collage I didn’t end up using for my website home page, but it worked well here.  I only have six projects left to redo, I’ve completed 18 of the projects, each with a two page spread.  I’ve had to dig around in the attic to find scraps of companion fabrics, when I failed to include them originally.  This notebook had mostly the weaving notes, not much was entered once the fabric was finished and I turned the fabric into a garment many years later.  So I’m reconstructing all that, which is an organizational blast, and gluing everything in place.  I took more detailed photos of two of the  projects, in case dear reader, you are interested…

This project was called Softened Edges, and was an 8 shaft deflected double weave from rayon.  I chose a pattern for a jacket that could be reversible since the fabric was two sided.  I used felled seams and bound the edges with a lovely wine colored jacquard silk.

The second project was done on a dare.  I attended the ANWG weavers conference in Pendleton Oregon back in 2003. pg1a pg1bIt was my first time at that conference, and I had been asked to give the keynote address.  It was a wonderful experience, and Pendleton is very charming, and plucked right out of the Oregon trail.  The Pendleton Mill tour ranks up there with my top fiber experiences.  They welcomed the conference attendees, and as a thank you for coming gift, we all got bales of the Pendleton blanket selvedges they cut off after fulling, before they bind the blankets.  These were huge bales, and I talked them into shipping mine home after purchasing a lot of wonderful things from their outlet store.  Some of the local weavers, sick to death of the Pendleton worms, sent theirs home with me as well…

pg2bpg2aSo the dare was to come up with some piece of clothing, since that’s what I do best, made out of the worms.  I ended up weaving a Theo Moorman inlay, where the backing was a wool combination of things in my stash  and the inlay threads a 20/2 rayon, also in my stash.  I wove in the worms, on the surface of the plain weave background, held down by the tie-down threads.  I planned the colors carefully, matching up like “worms” from my bales.  I loved the effect of the color changes, (calling the finished coat “Butterfly“), and ended up constructing the coat by cutting the worm fabric on the crosswise grain.  Since the fabric was too fat and lofty to seam in the traditional way, I cut off the seam website_success1allowances, and used a wool jersey to bind all the edges, connecting the seams together with the jersey.  It is one of the techniques I detail in my Seams and Edge Finishes Monograph.

So back I go for more endless punching of chads…  My husband has returned from Staples. All of these have to be shipped on Tuesday.  I am currently printing the last of the monographs, which is the newest one in the collection, Website Success.  I will offer it for sale on my website, once I give the presentation to those that signed up at the Michigan Conference.  I want to be able to tweak any thing that isn’t completely clear, and I won’t really know that until I give it to a room full of mixed levels of computer experience.  Stay tuned…