Wednesday, January 29, 2014
It's hard to believe that anything this detailed and textured is part of a costume, but it seems that the costumes from "Game of Thrones" are rich with embellished details by Michele Carragher, an English textile artist who has transformed clean and elegant costumes with her rich and vibrant needle craft.
This gown is just one examples. There are many more gorgeous photos on the "Smatterist" by "Leaves of Ivy" that you really need to see to believe. I personally am in love with the embellished and jeweled insects that Ms. Carragher created for several costumes. Each one is a work of art.
Monday, January 27, 2014
The recent Feb/March 2014 issue of "Sew News" magazine features several vintage dresses from my collection. I was contacted by the magazine this past summer, and finally the feature has appeared. The topic is under lining and inside construction technigues, and the three dresses shown have beautiful examples of this construction technique.
I thought it might be interesting to show a bit more of these dresses, so you can see some of their distinct details. The chiffon dress above features a lovely draped cowl neckline in back. This is attached online at the shoulders, so it can be lifted up to show the dress neckline in back.
The shoulders are pleated, which allows for a large length of fabric to be draped in back.
The blue dress featured in the article has a Japanese influence, with little 'kimono' sleeves, a wide 'obi' midriff waistline and "V" neckline that has many pleats converging into the center front.
An close-up view of this bodice shows these details, while the back view is very plain.
The third dress, in ice blue satin, is influenced by Victorian fashion. While it appears to be a narrow sheath from the front view, the back view has a draped 'bustle' panel cut in a wide half circle. The sleeves and dropped waistline add to the romantic look. This is a princess seamed bodice, with a waistline accent that drops in back to feature the flared skirt there.
The neckline, sleeves and waistline are edged in a fine piping. The sleeve shape and wide neckline are strongly influenced by bodices from the mid-1800's. The semi-circle skirt panel at center back is held in place by a narrow skirt lining. This keeps the front smooth.
These are the three dresses you will find in the magazine article. Inside views of the three are seen in that issue. I hope you are able to get your own copy of the current "Sew News" magazine. It has many other articles (bra making!) that make for an interesting read.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
This super glam gold jumpsuit was made by "Ceeb of Miami", and probably dates from the late 1950's.
It was recently sold by my friend Holly at her "French Laundry Co." shop on Etsy. But before it left her shop, I was able to get to see it up close, and thought I would share what I found with you.
This bustier plus capri pant combo is made from a very stretch lame fabric. The lame fabric is stiff, yet flexible, with stretch in the cross-wise grain. The capri pants are simple, with traditional darting and slits at the ankles. It has a deep metal zipper with inside placket up the center back seamline.
The bustier is sewn with all-over sequin trim in a serpentine pattern. The bodice shaping is princess seamlines, with a back zipper.
The bustier is constructed with a full bra sewn into the top. There are small removeable stays at the sides of the built in bra to keep it 'up'.
The sequin design was applied after the bodice was sewn, using a chain stitch machine. It appears that the bodice front was sewn to the pant front across the waistline seam first. At this point the sequins were applied. After that the side seams were sewn.
The center back zipper is a strong metal type. This slide shows that zipper, both open to expose that fly fabric, and zipped up. A heavy snap secures the top edge.
Overall, this jumpsuit has a surprisingly simple pattern design and uses construction methods that are not difficult. The type of boning and lining that we often expect to see in a bustier is not present here. Perhaps this is because most women would be wearing their own strapless bra, often in a 'long line' design to the waist. This would then mean that the garment does not need to provide support or 'molded' bustline shaping.
The garment label lists this as a size 12 / 34.
Bust: 34 inches
Waist 28 inches
Hips: 42 inches
Inseam crotch to hem: 25 inches
Underarm to waist: 8 inches
If you want to sew a glam jumpsuit like this for yourself, I think it would not be difficult. By working with a good pant pattern to start, a princess seamline bustier can be sewn to that around the waistline.
Pants: try Butterick B5895, a pant with 'high' waistline and back zipper (omit the pockets), or Vogue pant fitting pattern, V1003, a classic pant that has all the right darts.
Bustier: Butterick B5419, a long line bustier that can be altered to stop at the waistline. The bodice for McCalls M6646, is perfect.
On the Ceeb website they state that they have been in business since 1942 in southern Florida. Their main product is swimwear, I'm also interested in finding out more about jumpsuits of this type from the "Ceeb" label. Feel free to share what you know in the comment section.
Friday, January 10, 2014
This 1960's Bonnie Cashin coat for Sills was found recently by Miss A who shared it with me in an excited text message. My respose: So when do I get to see it in person!. For me, coming across a Cashin coat in a vintage or thrift store is like finding a colorful sea shell on a wide sandy beach. Eureka!
This coat has that classic Cashin silhouette: kimono sleeves attached in one with the body. This allows that bold plaid check to continue out onto the sleeves without breaking up the graphic look.
But what stops the show here is a great, dramatic cape like collar. On closer study, it seems to have been inspired by a triangle shawl shape. Imagine folding a large square wool shawl into a triangle then draping it around your shoulders, over a coat. This has that same effect.
What pushes it over the top is that this shawl collar is cut from a wildly colored double cloth: fuzzy amber, orange and red colors on the outer mohair textured side with a blinding magenta pink and red on the other smooth surfaced side. That contrast is used to its advantage with this collar design since how its worn or draped can effect whether that contrast is seen or not.
Narrow suede trim binds off all edges. The coat is not lined, so that bright pink and red side is clearly seen when worn. Like so many Cashin wool coats, this one has roomy pockets in the side seams. It was designed with a very wide hook fastening at the neckline that at one time were covered in suede. The center front would hang loose and unfastened.
I will share the inner workings of this design and the technologies she used to create the look in my next post on this great coat.
If you are interested in seeing more designs from Bonnie Cashin, you will want to check out the links below:
Bonnie Cashin Online Resource, UCLA, Biography with Photo Archive
Bonnie Cashin, my Pinterest Board (a growing collection of images)
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Now that the holidays are over and we can get back to what we were doing about a month ago, I find myself spending my morning coffee with a great little book that was given to me at Christmas, "Style Book II: Pattern and Print". This recent fashion publication is different from many of the other chunky photo collections in that it is centered on design inspirations and influences for fashion and textiles.
In some ways, this is like sitting down with a talented design student's clipping files, and going over each category or style. The book is grouped into nine subject areas where patterns are related. Visual groups on international textiles, florals, graphics, plaids, dots and more are packed between the covers. The images are both recent and date back in time, providing a well rounded view of fashion inspirations during the 20th century and before.
At times it is possible to see a photo of an 'original' design influence on one page, and a more current fashion influenced by that on the other page. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. But overall, it's a fun way to re-think how we see and value fashion. It is also a reminder that when we dress, we are usually inspired by an earlier version or an original version of that fashion.
This book has little to say about each photo, and I am OK with this since it really is a picture book, not a research document. The author, Elizabeth Walker, projects a very British point of view in her choice of images and comments. Her written notes are fine most of the time, but her POV does carry some examples of subjective commenting when objectivity would be more scholarly. Most of the photos in the text are from Getty Images, which probably made the process of assembling works with permission to publish alot easier to accomplish.
I would recommend this book to any design student or those who are interesting in textile design. It will also appeal to readers with a visual bent who want to learn more about the source of fashion design and how inspirations are utilized as fashion evolves.