Thursday, August 30, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part VIII

Templates, Part 3

This is the last of template mini-series! While this last group is technically not a template, it still serves the same purpose: to provide an accurate, consistent image every time the template is used. Here are the last of the templates, the rubber stamps for embossing the velvet:

Yes, those are hand carved. I purchase blocks at Michael's craft store that are intended to be carved for block printing or stamping. Before any carving is done, I decide how I want the final image to look. For example, if I carved away everything but the flower (which I did), I end up with a flower stamp. If I carved away the flower, but left the surrounding portion of the stamp, I'd end up with a negative image of a flower, with a stamped solid border around it. To emboss velvet, you need a stamp that has a raised image, so I carved away everything but the flower or leaf.

To begin, I use tracing paper to transfer the traced image to the block:

Once the image is transferred, the carving can begin. The carving begins with carving around the outline with a narrow blade. All the carving is done with a linoleum cutter. The one I have has interchangeable blades so that I can make fine cuts or wide cuts. After carving the outline, I switch to a wider blade and carve away everything but the flower. Once the excess rubber block is removed from around the image, I use a fine blade to carve in details. I then trim the stamp to roughly the shape of the stamp - this helps with positioning it when actually using it.

Below, you'll see some samples of embossing made with my new stamps. I'm still using that sample piece of velvet, so they're not the greatest. It is good enough for me to see if the details of the stamps are sharp enough.

Now, if the silk would get here and I could find the right navy blue velvet, I'd be set. I think I've found a few online sources for the velvet. I'm looking for rayon/acetate in navy blue. From what I've seen and read, the rayon/acetate works really well for stamping. I've got to check one more source I just thought of, and then make a decision as to what to purchase. It's not an easy decision at $20.00+ per yard, especially when I need 5 yards.

Parting Shot: Unexpected surprise! A while ago, Patsijean emailed me and wanted to know if I'd like some back issues of Quilting Arts. I just started a subscription last year, and don't have any of the back issues. She's been doing the "reduce, reuse, recycle" thing and has gifted them to me. What I didn't expect in the box was the extra fabrics she sent me as well! The plaid taffetas are really wonderful - those nice ones are getting harder to find! There's also a stripe and piece of lacey fabric with stars. The larger gold piece is a crinkly with a really interesting texture. I already have some plans for that gold. There's not enough for a vintage dress, but there is enough for a bodice! I have had this stuff for a week, but haven't shared it because I got backlogged with the starting of school, so I apologize for not posting it sooner. Thank you so much, Patsijean!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part VII

Templates, Part 2

Before we get to today's templates, I thought of one important thing about using the freezer paper applique templates. Always trace them from the original using a pencil. This is important because if you use a Sharpie marker or ink of any kind it may bleed onto the fabric when using the template to make the applique piece. I've had this happen, and of course it was on a light yellow colored fabric!

Today's template is a metal template. Why in the world would I use a metal template? Most of the fiber artists that I know don't use metal ones. If they do, they are the miniature brass stencil sort of templates. I need metal templates to get consistent pieces when cutting motifs out of synthetics with a wood burning tool. For obvious reason, paper or template plastic isn't going to work!

To make templates, I bought a roll of aluminum flashing from the home improvement store. It can be found on the aisle with all the roofing supplies. I only paid about $5.00 for this piece, and since there's 10 feet of it, it will last me quite a long time, or I'll be able to make a long border for a full skirt (that's another project!).

I then make paper templates from the original artwork, and trace those onto the metal with a fine point Sharpie marker. Notice I'm working with a small piece here - there's no way I'm going to wrangle a 10 foot piece of aluminum!

Once the templates have been traced, I cut the pieces out of the metal. I use an old pair of scissors, but tin snips would probably work fine, too. The aluminum is pretty thin, so it cuts easily. Just because it's thin, doesn't mean it's not sharp. It is. I'd advise being cautious and wearing gloves. For once, I don't have personal experience, but now that I've posted this the next piece of metal I pick up will slice me!

After the pieces are cut out, they will need to have the edges sanded a bit so that they aren't sharp. This will dull the edges so that they won't cut skin or snag fabric.

You can see the templates below, ready to use. This sort of template, like the paper templates, will have less detail when used. It's not as bad as the paper template, but something to be aware of.
I also decided to make a larger flower template. This was easily done, using a photocopier to enlarge the original artwork. Today I photocopied the flower in 5% increments from 125% to 155%. I then decided which one was the best size and used that to make the template. Photocopiers are great for enlarging or reducing artwork without have to redraw it. You know you'll never get the artwork exactly like the original, and you don't have to try with access to a good photocopier!

Parting Shot: The annual book covering party. My daughter brought home 5 books to cover, and there's probably a few more, so good old mom sat down to help her get them done. Notice I'm covering the books, and she's taking the picture.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part VI

Templates, Part 1

[Editor's note: Q/A is being moved to near the end of the post, right before the Parting Shot. Keep reading, it's down there.]

Templates are wonderful things! I use templates a lot in my work for all sorts of things. I mostly use them to make sure that all artwork is consistently sized and shaped. In every day sewing there are many applications for templates. They can make topstitching or decorative stitching easier by making sure the placement is perfect for two different pieces. They can also make sure that two pieces are exactly a like, such as pockets and pocket flaps. For Midnight Garden, I will be using 4 or so templates, some of which will be made in different materials.

As we take a look at the templates, we'll take a look at what they're made of and how they're made. First, let's look at the templates for traditional turned edge applique. These templates are made from freezer paper. The freezer paper is see-through, sturdy, can be reused many times, and has the ability to be ironed directly to the fabric and be removed without harming the fabric. (I'll explain in a future post how I use the templates for applique.)

I start by finding my best image from the sheet of images that I'm working from. I outline the image with a Sharpie marker so that I can clearly see the outline. I then trace that image off onto the freezer paper and cut it out carefully.

There are few important things to remember when you're making freezer paper templates for applique. When tracing a template for applique, any inward cuts or curves need to be deeper and any outward curves a bit more severe. When wrapping the fabric around the template, some of those sharp details are lost, so you need to compensate for that.

The finished applique pieces will also be slightly larger than the template. If spacing is extremely important, cut the template 1/16 to 1/8" smaller that the size desired for the finished piece.

When actually using freezer template pieces, it will be ironed the piece to the wrong side of the fabric. This results in all the images being mirrored. In other words, if something is pointing left in the original drawing it will be pointing right when the piece is ready to be appliqued. In the picture below you can see that I flipped the original over and because it was outlined in Sharpie marker, I traced the mirror image. In this case, it's nice to have leaves that are pointing left and right for variety.

It is important to label all the pieces at this point, too. Some artwork is intricate and needs a numbering system to indicate order of applique. This artwork is fairly simple in that I can place leaf A, B or C anywhere and it will look good. The other nice thing about this artwork is that there is only one flower and it doesn't matter if it's mirrored imaged or which way is turned to the top.

This week, I'll show you the other types of templates that I'm using. I am going to order up navy blue silk duiponi today, so I should have it in the next few weeks to start construction. In the meantime, I need to finish all the templates, start making all the flowers, and make a skirt muslin. I need 50 to 60 flowers for the hand applique alone, I have no idea how many leaves I'll need, so I have plenty to keep me busy!

Q/A: I moved this portion because it seems like you get the read the title and then the Q/A interrupts that thought before you read/see the rest of the post. Thanks you all for you the compliments on the blouse - I'm excited to wear it now (with a camisole, of course!). Cherie wanted to know, "did you change the armscye as several others did?" I did not change it, it's a bit dropped shouldered but doesn't both me. I did notice that the shoulder seam was wider that what I'm accustomed to seeing. Since BWOF fits me perfectly (except for sleeve/body length), I figured it was designed that way. If you take a look at the photograph of the model in the white version, you'll see a sizeable wrinkle on her left shoulder (on the right if you're looking at it) between the neck and shoulder and the armscye then seems to be where we'd expect it. Just an observation.

Parting Shot: After my son saw all the things I made my daughter from BWOF, he wanted something from BWOF, too. I let him pick out a pair of trousers, and told him he'd have to help. Here he is, helping to trace his pattern pieces.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part V

Artwork Complete!

At least, I think it's complete. I might still tweak it a bit, but the moment it's done. Once I get into actual construction, I'll know if it still needs work. Here it is for the front and back:

I did make a few changes as far as spacing/number of flowers and leaves with the flowers. The really important and obvious change is the leaves at the end of the vines and how they interact with the next vine. I wanted the vine sections to relate to one another, so I had to bridge that gap between them with some more leaves. Below is what I came up with. The first picture is the center front at the waist; the same motif is repeated at center back. The second picture is at the side seam - I needed something a bit smaller there because the curve on the back was a bit sharper, leaving less space to work with.

Tomorrow after work, I'll stop at another JoAnn's that's fairly close looking for navy blue Fidelio velvet. I've had good luck with working with it in the past, so I'm fairly certain if I can find the right color, I can get it at a good price (coupon plus my discount).

Parting Shot: I was working in the studio, and heard a weird clucking noise behind me. Sure enough, the wild turkeys were in the front yard. Note that Pix is completely mesmerized by the sight of the birds less than 10 feet from the window.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

[Editor's Note: I apologize for the font size previously viewed in this post! Don't adjust your monitors or glasses - it was my fault! I'm not sure what happened, but it's fixed.]

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part IV

The Moment of Truth . . . .

Wow, I didn't know that refashioning that skirt would elicit so many comments! I'm glad all you like it as much as I do. I'll consider it a success with all the great compliments.

I have a few Q/A's for the day to start the post. First, after seeing my daughter's birthday present ensemble Tamara wanted to know where I purchased my knit fabrics. Well, once in a while, I get lucky and find something decent (not too thin or with poor recovery) at JoAnn's. The striped fabric happened to be one in clearance that was one of the better ones. For online purchases geared more toward the younger set, try Wazoodle, Casual Fabrics, Sewzanne's, and Lucy's Fabrics. For some really nice "adult" type knits, try Emma One Sock.

I also had Beth ask how it took me to refashion the plaid skirt. It only took me a few days, because this one was a really easy one, actually. Because the skirt had so much fabric, I cut off the waistband, removed the zipper and side seam and hems and ironed the fabric flat. I then proceeded to cut out the new pattern as if I had bought yardage. It was a little tricky planning out where all the plaid pieces should meet and getting all the bias pieces to fit. There was no going back to the store to pick up an extra 1/2 yard! I do love a plaid-matching-just-enough-fabric challenge, though.

Now, the moment of truth. Since I'm still sort of in the planning stages, with no active construction on Midnight Garden, I had to know if I had enough navy blue fabric for the suit. Well, not just one suit, but two since the whole thing is reversible.

Yeah, you guessed it, even with getting to eliminate front facings, collar, and sleeve cuffs, I don't have enough. I have enough for one side, but not for another. I only have four yards of fabric. Four yards isn't enough. Why? Well, when you quilt and manipulate fabric, it does shrink it up a bit. The more stitching, the more it shrinks. Every quilted piece is rough cut about 2" larger than the finished piece all around to allow for shrinkage during quilting. In addition to that, I need extra fabric for the purse and hat.

That means it's time for plan B, C and possibly D. I know I'm not going to find matching fabric. That's just plain reality. I can do one side in one fabric and the other in something different. I did think about one side blue, one side silvery grey, but that's not going to work for me. You'll always see a bit of the other side no matter what happens, and another color would be distracting. Another reason it won't work for me is that I happen to look like a corpse in silvery and dove greys. I can wear any other color in the rainbow - avocado green, rust, even yellow, but lights greys, I can't do. If I have to model this ensemble, I have to look good, and at the very least, alive.

That leaves me with blue, not a problem. Now, what sort of fabric. The side without the applique was going to have some sort of dimensional surface treatment and some trapunto. This lead me to some experiments with satin and velvet. There were so many options to try that I finally made a list and after a few experiments, it became pretty obvious that certain techniques don't play nice with certain fabrics. One example is trapunto on velvet. It sounds like it would be gorgeous, but since it's already a fabric with a lush pile, it doesn't pop the way it does on smooth fabric. Quilting gets lost in the pile, too. You can see from the sample below, I've been trying all sorts of things; there's some quilting, embossing, cording, and trapunto all going on in that sample. It is a bit dark - it's hard to photograph velvet, and I did lighten the photo up a bit.

I went down to Manchester today to Fabric Fix and Martin's House of Cloth looking for companion fabrics. I discovered that my navy fabric is very dark - almost but not quite black. This means I have less of a chance of coordinating it with anything. Any navy fabric paired with it makes it look black. I did find the right kind of navy velvet, which is a plus. Right now, I have to think about what I'm going to do. I may just save the navy I have for another project or give it to MIL for a suit or something, and buy different fabric. I still need to finish up a bit of artwork - maybe by tomorrow I'll be able to show you that.

While this is a small change in plans from the original, it's not the end of the world - you must be flexible to realize these things will happen and it may open the door for a better final product. Besides, how could I do a midnight theme without a deep blue velvet?

Parting Shot: I couldn't go to Martin's without raiding their bin of discontinued patterns at 4 for $1.00. Here's today's haul, including 3 designer Vogues, a Claire Schaeffer and an odd assortment of other Vogue patterns (not that I'll ever make them, but I couldn't pass them up at 4 for $1.00!):

Friday, August 17, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part III

More Artwork

Well, I was supposed to post yesterday, but went hiking instead. More on that later.

Today's Q/A comes from designdreamer: "Did you just come up with the opening shape, or was it based on the opening of the "other" pattern. Also, do you actually measure (in degrees) how much you spread each slash?"

I came up with the opening shape for the back peplum myself. I just drew some curves on the muslin until I was happy with the shape of the curve and the area under the curve. (Oh - "area under the curve" I haven't heard that phrase since college calculus class!) I do actually measure in degrees how much I spread each slash. I think one of the photos of the drafting process had a protractor in it a few posts ago.

At this point, I think I've completed all the fitting/design changes to the muslin. I needed to do that because the artwork on one side (there is different artwork on both sides; thus the jacket is reversible) is dependent on where the hems, waist, and collar are actually positioned.

The changes include:
  • taking 2" total out of the neck to waist length; 1" was removed from above the waist, the other one was removed from below; this keeps the front scalloped edge fairly even. This is also more proportionate to my body size and keeps me from looking like I'm playing dress-up with grandma's old suit.
  • enlarging the undercollar piece to actually become a full collar piece so that the collar (which won't be made of the blue silk) can be attached and turned to either side of the jacket. It looks exactly like it does now, just the pattern pieces are different; I won't need the front facings anymore, either.
  • taking 1 1/2" or so out of the sleeve length - this is not definite yet, but any changes won't hurt the artwork.
  • replacing the bound buttonholes with loops that extend from the edge of the front. Normally, I would do bound buttonholes, but with two different designs on either side of the buttonhole, I didn't want to break up with designs with a buttonhole. Furthermore, the closure must work and look good for both sides. I will probably cover buttons to match the fabric underneath them so that they're not obtrusive.
  • shortened the pocket opening by 1"; this is partly due the hem being raised by 1" and partly because I really don't need such a huge opening for my small hand!
Here's some of the artwork. It's been cleaned up a bit and will probably go through a little more refining as the design process goes forward. The first photo is a reverse image of the whole motif that I've also traced off, so that I can position it as desired to create larger or smaller arcs. You can see how that works in the following three photos.

I traced a whole new front piece with all the changes incorporated so that I could then start positioning the artwork according the curve of the front edge. So far, this is what I have. Nothing is definite yet, and I'll let it sit on the work table and look at it every now again for a few more days and change a bit here or there. Sometimes it's good to get away from the artwork and get a fresh look at it after a few days. I used to do that with college papers, too. I'd write them, shelve them for a few days and then edit them to death.

New front, no art:
New front, art penciled in; you can also see the collar piece in the upper right of the paper. I was checking to see that the collar did not cover the artwork.
Right now, I need to finish up the artwork on both the front and back so that I can actually start the hand applique process. This process takes time. A lot of time. That's why it's best to start it as early as possible in the project. I can also work on it anywhere (remember buswork?) or anytime and not have to be in the studio at a machine. I will work on the jacket as far as I can for either side and if the applique isn't done, I'll move on to the skirt or other ensemble piece, and work on the applique as I can.

Parting Shot: Yesterday I hiked Mt. Hale with my son. It is another 4000 footer, but a smaller one at only 4054ft. (The term "4000 footer" refers to any peak over 4000 feet in my state; many are over 5,000 with Mt. Washington over 6,000. Yes, I already hiked Washington!) This is one of the easier ones, but one I hadn't done yet, so I figured he'd be able to hike it. He did a great job and we made really good time on the trail. Here I am on the summit cairn. In the second shot you can see the whole summit area; there used to be a fire tower where my son is standing, but it was removed as it was no longer needed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Midnight Garden - Q/A

A Question and Answer Day!

I was going to do another post on Midnight Garden fitting/drafting/artwork, but I wanted to answer a few questions and realized it would probably just be better to do a Q/A post.

Designdreamer wanted to know: "What kind of silk are you using?" It has a crepe sort of feel to it, so it isn't smooth and shiny. It is drapey, but once it is quilted, some of that will go away. That mostly depends on the type of batting and how much stitching is involved. The stiffer the batting and more stitching equals less drapey.

Suzy wanted to know: "When you design these Art to Wear garments, are you always the model? Or do these shows have other women (or men) who would be the model in your stead?" At this point, I make the garments to fit me. I don't always travel to the show to model the garment if there actually is a fashion show included in the quilt show. It is so much fun, though, to model your own piece! Most of the time the entry form will ask for the size, and I usually indicate the garment's size in RTW sizing and suggest that they find a young, small teen to wear my clothes. This avoids problems such as at Paducah this year when an entrant said the garments were a size 10, but were too small for a model who was a size 6 RTW. If I ever enter Bernina's contest (Check out the garments! Unbelievable!), they do specify what size to make the garments as the garments go on world tour for a year and are modeled by many different people.

Finally from Dawn, a drafting question. "To get more ruffle in the center back, though, did you slash just to the right of the center back fold and spread it to the left?" Yes, exactly. Actually for v. 1.1, I slashed 1/2" to the right of CB, and spread the pieces 50 degrees. That was too much, with that much fabric so close to CB on both sides. For v. 2.0, I slashed 1" from the CB line (and then every 2" after that towards the sides), and spread 50 degrees. That seemed to work better for my vision of the peplum. It's well worth it to do a little trial and error to see what looks best.

Parting Shot: Well, there's one more Q/A! Vicki wanted to know: "Have you listed your conquests on your hiking pants?" Actually yes, but only the 4000+ footers. The small stuff isn't on the pants. I just write the name of each mountain as I complete the hikes with a fabric dye pen. I need to add a section for 2007 with Waumbek on it. There should be enough room on the pants for all 48 names.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Midnight Garden - Jacket - Part I

Fitting, Design Changes and Artwork

But first, yes, you know, it's another Q/A, this time from Carolyn (be sure to check out the fab vintage buttons she just got!):

"Summerset ~ is this new project part of a contest entry or are you just working on it because you can? And does most of your sewing consist of contest entries?"

I'm going to answer that last one first. About 50% of my sewing consists of wardrobe items for my family. Last week I made 4 pair of capri's for my daughter and a dress for myself. Three of those were from BWOF. The rest of my sewing is divided evenly between alterations/custom work and then the contest entries/artwork. As far as the other two questions, Midnight Garden is a artwork ensemble that will probably be entered into many contests/shows. (I have a list of shows that garments get entered into during the course of a year, when done, they are "off the circuit" and are available for trunk shows, etc.) I do work on these projects because I can, but more importantly because I love to. I love the whole process from the seed of the idea, down to the last knot of the last hand stitch. Not that it's not frustrating or even maddening at times, but there is something about the whole process of creating something from an idea and finding the right materials, patterns and techniques and then finishing it in the best way possible (usually couture-like in style) that I love and appeals to me. Maybe I'm just a control freak. Who knows?
Most of my blog entries do revolve around large artwork projects, but that's because there is so much detail and behind the scenes stuff; by contrast there's not much exciting about a pair of elastic waist pull-on cropped pants with 2 whole patterns pieces to work with (if you recall, I didn't even post a picture of those!).

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. It's hard to separate the fitting, design changes and artwork in a garment like this. One depends on the other. The artwork is custom designed to fit in the garment sections, so even though the basics of the artwork are done, I can't finish it until the fitting and design changes are done.

Today, let's look at the back of the jacket. The back is pretty much what you'd expect for a garment of this age and type - either a 3 part back with a center panel and 2 side panels or a 1 part back shaped at the neck and waist with darts. This is a 3 part back. Not terribly exciting.

Not terribly exciting is the problem. When designing a garment like this, there must be a wow factor from the back as well as the front. So often in these type of garments, there is a lot going on with the front and nothing with the back or the same thing on the front and back, but nothing different or interesting. What this jacket needed was a flouncy style peplum. Sort of like this:

I was going to just insert a flounce on the lower part of the center back panel, but that wasn't interesting enough for me. Instead, I decided to make the opening a curved opening and insert the flounce in there. Pretty, but how do you draft a pattern piece for that?!? Consider that a regular flounce (some people call these "circular ruffles") is made from a circle of fabric that looks like a doughnut with a hole that has been slashed to the center and the inside edge placed in a straight line. Dawn has a great post on this topic, check it out and you'll see what I mean. That works great if you're attaching it to a straight edge. This isn't.

I have in my sewing library a book called The Art of Manipulating Fabric, by Colette Wolff. In the section on flounces there is a picture of a flounce attached to a curved edge and instructions on how to make a flounce fit any edge. This is a great book to have, even if you don't do fabric embellishments - it covers all style of pleats, darts, ruffles, and a host of other things. It is not a project based book, but a technique book and purposely shows only samples of the techniques and how to make them, not how it could be used in a garment or whatever.

So, first I drew the lines of the original opening and then divided it up on only one half of the piece at this point, if I made a mistake I could try it again on the other side! I then opened up the slashed areas by 50 degrees (could be whatever you want, but the bigger the opening the bigger the ripples) and taped it in place. This is where the old protractor comes in handy. Remember those things from high school geometry? Come on now, you know you do whether you want to admit or not.
After connecting all the black lines again and smoothing out the curves a bit, here's the resulting pattern piece, designed to be placed on the fold. Notice the very strange curves - sometimes pattern pieces don't look like what they will in the finished product.

Here's the resulting flounce, I call it Flounce 1.0:
It wasn't quite what I wanted, there's a flat spot in the middle. I wanted more ripples, so here's Flounce 1.1:
Too many ripples! It was back to drafting for Flounce 2.0, and this time I got the spacing just right and now have a pattern piece I'm happy with. I realize it doesn't look much better than 1.0, but it is. Trust me.

This is just the right thing for the back of the garment to keep it different and interesting. When the garment is modeled and the model turns for the back view - you get a surprise. This effect is well worth a little time drafting and experimenting. Now I can finish the artwork for the back and tackle the other fit issues.

Parting Shots: Where was I yesterday? Hiking. It finally worked out to where I had both children occupied from very early in the day for all day. I called up my hiking partner and we set off for Mt. Waumbek. It isn't the most scenic or exciting mountain, but it is one of the 48 4,000ft. plus mountains in NH, and since I'm going to hike all 48 eventually (so is my partner - she's done more of the list than me but has grown children!), it was a good opportunity to cross one off the list. Here I am at the summit - there's no views, only trees and this cairn - no glamour, either, just out in the woods and sweaty. The last shot is a view of the trail on the way up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Midnight Garden - Introduction - Part II

Artwork Intro

For all of my art garments, I do all of my own original drawings/artwork. This saves me the headache of copyright issues, etc. I definitely look at a variety of sources/photos, but then sit down and do my own thing. Here's the worksheet for MG:

You can see that there are lot of ideas and motifs all jumbled together there, plus another sheet with just the cricket. Isn't he cute? The idea behind him is that at night during the summer sometimes you hear crickets chirping. There are also quite a few flowers that I worked on, a lily, an allium and a forget-me-not. Not all these ideas made the final cut, as you'll see below.

Remember that we've just recently learned that more is not always better. Because this ensemble is petite in size, and not full length where I might have I plenty of room to play, I've decided to pare it down to two motifs, the forget-me-not and the cricket. The other flowers may be used in another project - I never throw away artwork. By using one major motif, I can concentrate on different ways to interpret it, which again I'll explain as we get into the construction. For the moment, do be aware that I will doing trapunto, hand applique, fusible applique, free motion embroidery appliques and then embellishing with beads and rhinestones these two motifs.

Below you can see some of the things I've come up with so far, but of course, these are not final and subject to change before final construction. The artwork is actually in progress, so it will need some cleaning up and I'll show you the final design and the process behind it in another post.

If you look closely at the last picture, you'll see the cricket peeking out from behind a flower. There will be several crickets throughout the entire ensemble, peeking out from behind flowers or in unexpected places. Of course if I told you where they'd be, it would be no fun looking for them in the final photos or real life!

Parting Shot: You know your train set it big enough when . . . .
it covers almost the entire living room floor!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Midnight Garden - Introduction

As promised, today I'll introduce a new large project. As I stated yesterday in the Q/A, I usually percolate on ideas about 4 to 6 months in advance of actually beginning the project. I've been working on this one for about 8 months or so now. During this time, I also start collecting items I feel will be useful for the project. I go through my entire studio and pull out everything that might work, plus buy items and put them in a bin for future use. Not every item will be used and many may possibly be discarded later because they doesn't work for the project, but there's no harm in having them available and maybe gleaning a usable idea.

Midnight Garden is an early 1950's skirt suit ensemble, consisting of a jacket, skirt, blouse, hat, and handbag. Here's the suit pattern I'm starting with; I will be making a few design changes as we go along:
This is the blouse pattern, notice the scallop edges coordinate nicely with the suit's scalloped edges:
As far as accessories, I showed you the hat form a while ago as a Parting Shot and I have yet to find a vintage handbag pattern from the late 40's to the mid 50's that I'm happy with and willing to pay the price for. I think I've found navy vintage 50's shoes on eBay, but I'm not in a big hurry to get those. My husband's aunt, for whom I do alterations, gave me not only the jewelry that you saw earlier this week for Diamonds, but she just sent over two pair of gloves that she found. Take a look at these, they're perfect:
I'll still need to come up with some jewelry, but I'll work on that later, once I see how the ensemble looks on my body.

The main fabric I'll be working with for the suit is a dark navy silk shown below. [Note to Marji: Now you know why I wanted that silk. Thank you for getting it for me!]
The additional embellishment fabrics will include a variety of silvers, blues and silvery blue tones, all of which are synthetic. Now, I know that's a bit weird to embellish in all synthetics when the body of the suit is silk, but I do have a very specific reason for that which shall be explained in due time.
Where am I with the project at the moment? I've started the artwork drafting, and a jacket muslin to start the design changes. Keep watching this space and I'll show you everything that's going on, plus probably a lot you didn't want to know about how these wearable art garments are put together. As with American Beauty and Diamonds, you'll get to see it all from design process to final product.

Parting Shot: Here's Pixie enjoying the sunshine. I can't be certain that laying like that on the window sill is entirely comfortable, but somehow she manages even with that ridge in the middle of her body.