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...



"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...