Saturday, February 24, 2018

Apprenticeships, mentors... what a delight to see opportunities for young people to explore the backstage crafts industry!

Just a quick note to say...

There is a program, run by the Roundabout Theater Company, that invites high school seniors to study, FOR FREE, while being paid a STIPEND, the crafts of the backstage artists.

Link here

Oh, yeah... and when the kids are done with the program, they help them get JOBS!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The perpetual shirt - rest in peace, Jerry Lewis

(8/21/17) RIP Jerry Lewis


*Updated 3/8/15*
and again... 6/3/16... and still wearin' the shirt 1/31/18

Note: *On the evening of May 20 of this year (2016), I laid out my perpetual shirt to wear on May 21st.  On May 21st, I got up, got dressed, and forgot to put it on... Now, it is labelled JUL 01 16, and I had to give it an alarm on my calendar, so I will remember this time! Ha!

A exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York takes this idea in a completely different, more conceptual, fascinating direction.

Originally posted 4/1/13

You may already know that I love humor in my clothing. 

One particular piece I just made was inspired by Jerry Lewis.  He was rumored to have never worn a pair of socks more than once, and I was struck by the sheer impracticality and wastefulness of that choice.  Unless, of course, he had a sock endorsement deal, and a free lifetime supply of new socks, which could then be laundered and donated to charity monthly.  Then, that kinda cleans it up. Right?

Every now and then I get truly obsessed with a clothing-related idea, and, when that happens, I feel the need to talk it out. With anyone who will listen. So, I told some friends I was designing a "perpetual" shirt.  Every time I explained it, it generated at least 10 follow-up questions, most of them starting with "But... how would you..." or "Why would anyone ever..." No one really understood why this idea was important or funny to me.

But guess what...

When you make your own stuff, the only person who needs to like it or understand it is you.

So there.

I've learned by watching cartoons, that when people or animated characters get an idea, they often experience that moment beneath a single, illuminated light bulb. Well, not in this case.

My idea hit me like this...


This image in my head helped me sort out a way to make this work.  Look at my other blog for sewing info, if you care.

Okay, so yes, I know what today's date is, and no, this isn't an "April Fool" idea.  Really now, why would you even say that to me?

(*clearing throat) Moving on...

So, since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here it is.

The "perpetual shirt". It only looks impractical... 


Cotton stretch fabric from NY Elegant. Why that store?  Because I am only making this shirt once, I want it to last a long time, and their quality and variety when it comes to fashion stretch fabrics is stellar.

Velcro by the yard from Daytona Trimming. Why that store?  Because I know they sell it by the yard, the prices are wonderfully reasonable, I find the store very easy to navigate, and getting quick, courteous assistance is easy there.

Silver fusible letters from Jonathan Embroidery.  Why that store?  I happened to notice just the letters I wanted when I wandered in for another reason recently.  Easy, and they had what I needed. For something as simple as letters, I'm well aware that there are other great choices in the district too, though.

Background fabric for letters from an unused fancy black table linen given to me by my son's occupational therapist some years ago, because she "knew I sewed, and could use anything"... how random is that? And, how true is that??? Ha!

And, hey, if that isn't true about Jerry Lewis, don't tell me.  It's far more fun to believe it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3-D printed shoes? Can it be done? - A teen's perspective

 Of course it can!  But while 3-D printed shoes sound like a great, new ages thing, we can't forget that SHOES are still SHOES, not merely foot coverings.

Directly from my daughter, I received this fun video, full of promise for a distinctly original shoe-like product.  What I really have a problem with... and watch the video before you draw your own conclusion... is that shoes are PERFORMANCE items.  You have to traverse weather, terrain, movement, surfaces... they should all be considered, and any shoes that cannot withstand the challenge of a few days' wear ARE NOT SHOES.  They are well on their way to being shoes, though.  I think the needed consultant is the person who can actually make shoes by hand.  A cobbler knows what to consider, and what can't be ignored.

What does my daughter (16) think?  She LOVES the idea, and is fascinated. She loves the artistic possibilities, which I also appreciate, but cannot see as anything but a final touch to an otherwise sturdy product.

My most recent trip to the garment district

Look around.  

If you've been in the district lately, no doubt you will have noticed it too... Things are changing rapidly.  Every time I go to the district now, another business has vanished or changed considerably.  In business, i understand that profitability is always a consideration, landlords aren't charities, and that people who sew for small businesses, themselves, or artistic reasons aren't a reliable source of income for these heavily invested district businesses. Because of that, we may not always be warmly greeted or serviced in many of the district businesses, which have, frankly, bigger fish to fry.

Having said that, though, there are still fantastic places to shop, if you know where to find them.

I have refocused and revised my map offerings to cater to the questions I've been receiving lately, and what I think you readers are looking for.  I am also going to repost (redate) some of the winning businesses, so you will know to visit them as you start to THINK SPRING!

New maps:

Bargain hunting in the district?  Here are the places that will be kind to your wallet:

Bargain hunters' map ($12)





Oh, and..... drumroll please...


May 11, 2018 Speakeasy tour ($75)


This garment district fabric and notions shopping tour will lead you to places you'll love, likely have not heard of, and didn't know existed. 10AM - 3PM with lunch! 


Regarding cancellations:

 If you have paid and wish to cancel 7 days or more before tour date - 100% refund
 If you don't come on the scheduled date or cancel within 24 hours or less - you will forfeit your refund, but can switch reservation to a future tour date.

 If I cancel a tour for any reasons not related to newsworthy acts of God or other newsworthy unforeseen major local or wider range emergencies, you are entitled to your choice of a full refund, or a future tour.



Note: you do not need to have a Paypal account to pay using Paypal. This tour is $75. Wanna come?  Click below. No payments will be accepted on tour date. Are there cheaper ways to do it?  Of course!  Better?  I don't think so...

Quality

**Repost**

"The things we make have one supreme quality; they live longer than us. We perish, they survive. We have one life, they have many lives. And in each life, they can mean different things; which means that while we all have one biography, they have many."
-Niel MacGregor, Director of the British Museum

*For the complete talk, visit the TED website, where he presents a fascinating talk on one particular 2600 year old piece of art.

I invite you to chime in to tell me if I'm alone on this one, but I love to visit fashion and clothing exhibits here in New York City, and have spent many hours over the years, gazing at the lovely, carefully crafted creations of many designers and needle-smiths. One thing I have often wondered, especially when looking at something old and beautifully simple, is "How did the creator of this piece trust his/her own talent enough to know that they needed to work with such high quality materials?" I have often found myself paralyzed with fear before cutting into my never-find-anything-like-this-again fabrics, worrying that one wrong move can send hundreds of dollars worth of fabric to the back of my closet, or bottom of my trash can. How do you know it is worth the effort?

As I wander through exhibits, more often than not, the materials lists on the description placards include words like "silk tulle", or "silk velvet", fabrics with real staying power, and the ability to hold beautifully vibrant colors for years beyond the lifespan of the person for whom they were made. These fabrics are pricier than the rest.

Are they worth it? Well, they sure can be. Who cares? You do... and although I can't promise anyone else will value it as much, a lesser fabric will certainly shorten its lifespan.

Recent experiences with clients are telling me that there is a sincere appreciation for quality. In my dressmaking life, I am seeing more and more brides who want to redesign their own mothers' or grandmothers' gowns, based on the quality, age, and tactile experience of the fabric. Often sewn by hands you have neither met not heard of, these garments resonate, and they still hold a magic that reaches into the future.

So, I say all of this to say, there is enormous value in shopping at the stores where the staff is knowledgeable about the quality, origin and description of the goods they have to offer.

When the occasion is very special, and the budget permits, consider the following stores for wonderful quality...

B&J Fabrics (chiffons, silks, and so much more)



(a fabulous whisper-light metallic sequined fabric from B&J)


(and the top that fabric eventually became)

Rosen & Chadick (also, check out their 126" wide silk tulle! and many other wonderful specialty fabrics)


(a wonderful silk from Rosen and Chadick)


(silk organza from Rosen and Chadick - raw edges)

NY Elegant (silks)


(above fabric - lovely 4 ply silk from NY Elegant)

Lace Star (laces and more - see previous post)


Solstiss (French laces - by appointment only - only for the VERY serious...)

Now, I don't expect my pieces to end up in museums anywhere... but a girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Body: Fashion and Physique (FIT exhibit)




The Museum at FIT
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street (corner)
Closed Sunday, Monday and legal holidays
otherwise, 10AM-8PM (5PM on Saturday)


This exhibit was absolute MAGIC, assuming you have the time and patience to really think it through.  Brilliantly curated by Emma McClendon, this exhibit is about so much more than clothing.  My words won't drive the points home nearly as well as a visit to the exhibit will.


If you can get here while the exhibit is still open (which is quite a while), don't miss it.  It is free, quiet, near some great fabric and notions shopping, and delicious restaurants.  You NEED to see it, but particularly for its academic and social messages and impact, more than it's visual one.

Seriously, can we talk about corsets and 18" waists? This false information has been repeated and repeated... while only simple measurements of old corsets will tell you the truth.  why do we subscribe to notions of how we should be shaped, or what we should like, based on what the clothing available to us looks like?

I was really amazed by the custom dress made for the comedienne Leslie Jones.  The beauty of it was just breath-taking.  Why did it take Christian Siriano to make the "brave" step of offering to make her a gown?

The industry has opened up to a growing cross section of people, and certain designers have embraced a diverse view...

-from the exhibition pamphlet


Just go see it.   Feel free to ask questions, to yourself, to each other... but open up, and think about what should be, and what CAN be.  Get inspired!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New posts on the way soon...

Been very busy and very involved in many things - and you will get a full blast of it in the coming days...