Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The reveal (see previous post)

Not many words, really.  Just the photos.  I'm proud of it.  It isn't mine, and I nearly tear up at the thought of having to part with it.

As detailed in my previous post, the fabric was purchased at Rosen & Chadick (double faced wool), Metro Textiles (lining), fur (NY Elegant) and zipper (Botani).  I hand sculpted this jacket.  No pattern.

Many hours, lots of sweat, tears... a bit of blood, too. I took no shortcuts, and it was commissioned by a beloved friend/client, so I hope she loves it as much as I do!

My headless dress form wears a hood...
A magical, warm lining... this jacket is for cold Michigan winters!

To carry the weight of the hood on the shoulders while keeping the fur away from the neck, I created a "rolled stand" (my own term), and made the edges of the hood angle upwards (away from the collar), so it wouldn't be too confining.)

a bound pocket

Keep warm, everyone... and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And then what happened? (Today in the district... and a project that grew from a dreamy Rosen & Chadick swatch...

Yes, we've had some silence for a bit.  I've been VERY BUSY.

I'm in a great mood right now.  A truly fantastic mood. After battling flu-like symptoms and fatigue for who knows how long now (I honestly lost track of how long I've been sick, just caught up in the daily scramble of life), but today (11/17 when I started writing this) I woke up feeling like a million bucks in every single way.

Thank God. And I mean that sincerely.

The day before yesterday, these things were said to me:

  • "Don't you dare apologize for your process.  You are amazing!" (said to me by someone who was watching me show a jacket that has taken a long time to finish to its intended wearer.) He made my day.

  • "I was calling to thank you for recommending me... I got the job!" (said to me by a former design studio coworker, whose work is UH-MAY-ZING)

  • "Remember, you gave me some advice a year ago?  I followed it!  Thank you!" (said to me by someone who confidently asked her employer for what she needed... and got it!)

  • "You should take some medicine... This will help your symptoms." (That one was said to me by my husband last night (11/16) before giving me a cup of Nyquil-type stuff that finally put a lid on this cold!)

So, here's an idea of some sewing-related things that have been going on...

Remember the "Waist Case", profiled here and pictured above? It is now, officially, the cool alternative to the fanny pack of the 80's for our family. It has become a daily necessity in my daughter's life, outperforming all purchased solutions, keeping her daily essentials accessible. So glad we devised this, and that it works.

Remember when I told you I fell in love with the double faced wool fabric (above, right)?  Well, it has since married some other things (like the wonderful, cozy fabric from Kashi at Metro Textiles on the left, above, that will become its lining), got some good, heavy, separating zippers cut to size at Botani... (It only costs $1 per zipper to have it cut, with stops perfectly reapplied while you wait, by the way.)

and got a great fake fur to frame the hood... 

It took about 10 stores to find just the right fur, but I found this at NY Elegant

and it became... see next post...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What happened to Rosen and Chadick?

Look across the street.  Above the Wasabi restaurant.  The windows?  They look dark.  The familiar white lettering on the windows is gone. No shadows of bolts of fabric, no people bustling around inside... Isn't that where Rosen & Chadick was?  Oh no!!! Wait! Where have they gone?

Well, if you go over to the entrance (as I did) and ask, the doorman will hand you a card.


Thank God.

Okay, I'm lying.  I knew they were moving, but was sworn to secrecy until the move was complete, because you know how complicated these deals can be.  

Anyway, today I visited the new Rosen & Chadick space.

They are busy unpacking and setting things up beautifully, organizing their merchandise neatly in this roomy, easily browsable environment.  This spot feels good, and it gives you a fresh perspective on familiar merchandise if you have been to their first and second store locations over the past 50 years or so. Do visit them in this new space, merely a stone's throw away from the old one.  They will be happy to greet you there! 

Big space - stretches out to the right and the left.

Fabrics are now organized by likely end use - makes browsing easier!

Stay tuned for a quick update to this post coming shortly! I'm gonna show you something made with their to-die-for fabric...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why you should NOT be a dressmaker... EVER... (which circles back to... Why you should hire a dressmaker)

As I write this, my fingertips are sensitive and raw from hours of delicate and sculptural hand sewing.  I had to start my day with stretches to relieve my shoulders, arms and hips from the aches brought on by all of my sewing contortions. Following days of limited sleep and multiple projects, I met with a client yesterday morning for whom I recently completed a dress, and she squealed "I love it!" (Thank God, because all she would need to feel is that she hates it, for my entire mood to change for a WEEK...

It need s only a hem now (by hand... I'll show you why) and it will be DONE.  Whew.

Here's why the hem must be done by hand.  The machine just won't navigate it gracefully, and no opaque edging I've considered is graceful or weighty enough to make it "float" when she walks.

I had lunch with a close friend yesterday after finishing up with my client, and when I showed her the dress, she gasped.  That was the biggest compliment I could ever get, because she's seen me make all sorts of things for a few decades now, but the gasp she emitted was completely involuntary, then silence, and then her eyes widened, and she whispered, "You made that?"

The essence of the dress...

Mostly "sculpted" by hand more than sewn by machine.

So, yeah, that's right... I was gonna tell you why you should NOT be a dressmaker.  Okay... Here's why - 

No, wait...

Back when I was feeling witty, annoyed, and snarky maybe a week or two ago, I was distracted by this brilliant tidbit from one of my favorite creatives, Wim Wenders (feel free to expand this advice to include sewing professionals):

Here's the problem with the way I was feeling when I wrote the posts preceding this one.  I was so clear on why someone should avoid this profession at all costs, and now, in a period where I am having a great time and getting great results, I can't remember why I thought I could write some humorous take on why you should NEVER become a dressmaker.  So, in a nutshell, by all means, if you love it, do it.  And don't let anyone talk you out of it.  

Keep in mind, though, that business slowdowns, problems, missteps, and unpredictable income are impossible to avoid.  Still in?  Good. 

Carry on...

If you are a dressmaker, who wishes to advertise your business on the www.findadressmaker.com site, click here for specific information.

If you are considering dressmaking as a pursuit, and wish to learn more, click here to learn about a great organization.

If you are an established dressmaker, looking to increase your professional credentials, click here to learn more about certification.

If you are looking to commission a dressmaker for a project, click here for information.

Note, I do have professional affiliations with all of the above programs, so i am absolutely biased, and will state that proudly here.

Previous post on related topics in this category: Why you should create/design your own projects which all circles back to Why You Should Hire a Dressmaker