Monday, January 15, 2018

We all need to get "Schooled" once in a while...

I hope that I'm never too old learn.  I'm 70, and even though I got my BA when I was 47, I still have daydreams about going back to school. God knows, it would be a challenge the way my brain is working these days. I've been sewing for 60 some years and you would think that I know just about all there is to know about sewing, designing and making wardrobes. You would be wrong.

Today I saw the cutest top on Instagram made by a gifted designer and I was immediately smitten.  It was made using a technique that many sewists have employed - patchwork. You take all your scraps and sew them together and make a unique design.  Over the years I've seen jackets, tops and dresses using this particular technique...always thought that my Ikat scraps would make a cool garment. And it's Sunday and I have nothing else better to do.

So in my haste to let inspiration run away with me, I asked if I might "copy" it - the designer (thinking that I was smarter than I am) said yes. And so off I ran. However, somewhere in the midst of posting a picture of what I intended to do, we both realized that my drawing looked very similar to the design I saw. I was never intending to copy the exact piece, but it was a little too close for comfort for both of us.

Dang. Lesson learned.  Read the IG background profile, Laurel.  If I had done this FIRST, I would have realized that the sewist was actually a designer and sold the garments under their own label...thus, I probably never would have even asked, or at least made it clear I had no intention to copy it exactly. The "yes" was a qualified yes - be inspired by all means but please don't actually copy. As sewists, we imitate other designs and ready-to-wear all the time.  We buy the same patterns, the same fabrics and try to make them uniquely "ours". A case in point, Chanel is very protective of their jacket stylings, but we all copy them, and call them "Little French Jackets".

It's a lot different for fledgling businesses, as I am well aware. The designer was very kind in the "schooling" process, but I felt horrible. (At least I DID ask, so I thought I was cool.) I used to make one-of-a-kind jewelry, and when Charming Charlie came to town, they were making "my stuff" as far as I was concerned, albeit cheaper, and my little cottage industry closed shop. They were not copying my designs, as they didn't know me from a hole in the ground, but I was pretty sure my customers would think I was copying them.

Hence, to complete my Sunday project, I was sent back to the drawing table post haste, confident that my garment would not resemble the designer's...just perhaps capture the spirit of the patchwork/piecing idea. I chose a pattern that I have used twice before - The Sointu Kimono Tee by Named Clothing.

Oh, and yes, sewists do pattern hacks all the time...I changed the neckline to a "boat neck".


 When I say "hack", I mean it.  I chopped my pattern into little squares and strips. 


I picked fabrics out of my scrap stash.  I even used a fabric that was already cut out in a skirt pattern.  The polka dots were never going to be cute as a skirt - what was I thinking?


So even after the pattern hacking, my design changed several times (more hacking my own design) 
as I switched around the fabrics.


By the time I finished, my sewing studio looked like a cyclone touched down.  Did I mention that I still love my new wood floors - perfect for cutting.


In the end, it was a great project for the holiday today.  I think it says me.  It actually reminds me of a dress that I made back in the 80's using this piecing technique.  I wish I had a photo of it, as I loved wearing it.

Put a turtleneck under this puppy and some leggings and call it a day.


Now all that remains is to clean up the mess.

Laurel. Considering myself Schooled.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Godfather's Lament...or mine?



Image result for godfather 3 quotes just when i thought i was out"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in"... Of course Michael was talking about getting out of organized crime and finally operating only legitimate businesses, so though my 2018 lament is hardly comparable to killing and mayhem, I am regrettably and forever tied to social media.

Last year in a heroic effort to cut myself off from all the political mudslinging, the never-ending barrage of memes and the bazillion Tasty food posts, I drastically cut back my Facebook involvement, opting to only follow family members.  I rarely posted myself and I was marginally successful in curtailing my two dozen or so daily peaks into the app, limiting myself to one or two peaks a day.

But social media is an insidious parasite, feeding upon your starved ego and regularly clamoring for your attention.  So as much as I would love to say I'm "over it", I'd be lying. It seems that all I really did was substitute one habit (Facebook) for another (Instagram).  And it really doesn't matter how you try to rationalize that Instagram is "so much better" than FB, it still hooks you.

As I began evaluating my life (as one always pretends to do on January 1 of any year) I realized the things that I wanted to change and or continue doing are tied to social media.  Perhaps I am being to hard on myself (as is my custom) as we are in the tech age and it's not going away. I'll never be tweeting like the Donald, but Facebook and Instagram are powerful tools that I can use to further my personal goals.  It's not like my brain will atrophy if I'm on my "devices" a few hours a day...or that I won't pay attention to my hubby or forget to cook dinner or even bathe. Besides, there are some very positive things happening in my little corner of the cyberspace.

For instance, I am halfway through my fourth year of collaborating with Suzan Steinberg, owner of Stonemountain- this week I will be making our 200th garment.  Our hard work that we have invested in the Fabric Lady blog is really paying off - women are coming back to sewing their own clothes, all because we have made sewing a wardrobe popular. I'm always amazed that people recognize me in the store and talk about how we have inspired them to sew again. We rely on our social media connections to inspire, communicate and teach.

Fabriclady:  http:fabriclady3.blogspot.com

In January I joined an Instagram challenge sponsored by Sarah Gunn to refrain from buying any ready to wear clothing in 2018. Sounds like a tall order, since I love me some Nordstrom's.  But I am an impulse buyer anyway and granted, I do make most of my clothes, so I thought I'd give it a go. One whole year! There are over 1,000 women participating in this challenge and we can track each others successes within a private Facebook group. (I should mention that there are regular prizes and giveaways during the year and if I hadn't been on FB I would never have WON the first giveaway of the year!!! A $100 gift certificate to Mood Fabrics in New York City!!

Image result for mood fabrics

I feel like I'm cheating on Stonemountain, but I have always wanted to go to Mood, ever since I started watching Project Runway.  So for my gift card I will have to settle for online shopping.

I also track some five or six hundred women on Instagram.  It's sound excessive, but most of them are sewists and designers.  IG is a wonderful way to see what other people are working on and to see their completed projects.  Another plus is that they have a "live" element that you can just scroll through and not not have to "click" on anything. No hands peeping.

I also joined a group of sewists on Instagram who sponsored a "secret Santa" kind of thing in December, where we would make a particular pattern and send it to another sewist as a Christmas gift.  It was an international group, so I made this Linden Sweatshirt (that was the pattern we were all to use) by Grainline Studios and sent it off to the UK to Charlotte (aka the English Girl at Home)
 

And finally, I am reminded of how much I love to write, just by seeing my old blog posts pop up in my FB memories.  I should be writing more. Maybe even journaling...it keeps my head straight, so to speak. I hope to revive this blog in 2018 (do I say that every January?) and try to capture some of that wit and humor that I used to have on my blog and not take myself so seriously. I'm 70 afterall, and we're supposed to do and say what we want. This isn't one of those witty posts, but at least it's a start.

I look forward to seeing more creativity, seeing more beauty in the world and hearing about your me-made garments, and of course sharing my own stuff.  So here's to a great Social media year - 2018!!!

Laurel. I'm back.

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