Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pin tucks and special buttons

Nancy - Pin-tucks for Embellishment
Nancy demonstrated her lovely, puffy pin-tucks that we all admired on her shell.  A pretty way to add a couture detail to your garments.

Susan -- Stacking Buttons for a Unique Look
Susan brought a supply of buttons to play with while the group discussed the key points to a successful pairing of buttons.  Stacked buttons (or buttons and beads) add an extra dimension that can make that jacket, vest or cuff "sing".

Ginny -- Chanel buttons -- Metal buttons with fabric "Piping"
Ginny demonstrated how to create buttons that exactly match your jacket by "upholstering" a metal button with your jacket fabric, lining or accent fabric.

See pictures from show 'n' tell via Flickr at right.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Special Hand-crafted Gifts

Plush Bear
bag from jacket sleeve

Tatting and pintucks

checkbook clutch

card holder from tie

So many ideas, so little time. City-wide Couture provided us with so much inspiring sewing of little gifts for very special friends and family. Included here are a cleverly woven coaster, holiday napkin that folds into a tree, a plush bear, a bag made from a blazer sleeve, chrysanthmum omiyage bag, card holder made from a silk tie, felted wool wrist pin cushion, tatting and pin-tucked artwork, tatting ornament, checkbook clutch, sashiko Christmas stocking and a sashiko glasses case.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Collars with Collar Bands

VIP tools and book
VIP sewing of the collar band for perfect results
Insert the finished collar into the top of the band - MAGIC!
Lorraine led us through a very thorough tutorial on best practices for collars and collar stands. She makes all of her husband's shirts and it shows! Her skill is something I can aspire to. Her instructions make it look so easy, I now believe I might be able to do this too.

Her handouts, samples, descriptions and step-by-step instructions were wonderful. Thanks, Lorraine!

David Coffin wrote THE book on shirt-making (see picture above). Others have adopted and adapted his techniques. Some of the important aspects of perfecting this include

  • choice of needles
  • stitch length
  • order of construction - insert collar into band after attaching band to the shirt
  • choice of fabrics
  • careful trimming combined with proper stitch length
PS - I'm sorry but I will not be able to post more pictures due to operator error (maybe the flash was off?). There were some fabulous show 'n' tell items, including kimonos from Hellenne's recent class for us. I might try to post these later but then everyone at CWC may insist that I remove them all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Martina: Drafting and Grafting Collars

At our most recent neighborhood group meeting, Martina gave a presentation on the subject of drafting and grafting collars. First she went over the technical aspects of adapting a collar from one pattern onto another. Then she dazzled us with some of her trim collection - lots of inspiration there. Thanks so much, Martina. You are a talented teacher!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

ASG Atlanta Events July, August, & September 2011

Mary Ray in a Couture Quilted Jacket
In our meeting today, I mentioned three upcoming events you may want to attend:

Mary Ray's Lecture: Friday, July 29, 7 PM, St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, Atlanta ($15)
Mary Ray's Workshop: Sunday, July 31, 1-7 PM, also at St. Dunstan's ($60 price includes Friday's lecture)

***See examples of Mary's work at Mary Ray Designs.

Sample Kimono by Hellenne Vermillion

Hellenne Vermillion's Oh, Kimono!: Saturday, August 20, 9:30 am - 3 pm, Trinity Lutheran, Lillburn ($50)

***See examples of Hellenne's work at Vermillion Art. Be sure to check out the silk piece that sold recently.

Fashion Show: Saturday, September 3, 2 PM, St. Aidan's Episcopal Church; Deadline to enter your piece in the show is August 1. Send pictures and descriptions to Martha. NOTE: let me know if you do not wish to model your piece. We can hang it for people to peruse OR I can find someone else to model it.

BTW, I will post pictures from today's fabulous lecture on collars by Martina as soon as I receive them from Shirley.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Croquis References and Notes from June meeting

Good References for Making and Using a Croquis
Martha and Ginny’s Class for Sew Incredibles, August and September 2009
Jenny's Class for City-Wide Couture,  June 2011

  • Discover the Best Proportions and Styles for You.  Nancy Shriber. Threads Magazine:  June/July 2006, pp 51-55.
  • Fantastic Fit for Everybody.  Rodale Press, by Gale Grigg Hazen, 1998. pp 15 – 27.
  • Test Style and Fit Before You Sew.  Gale Grigg Hazen. Threads Magazine; June/July 1996, pp 52-56.
  • Fashion Sketching for Untrained Artists.   Jennifer Sauer.  Threads Magazine; February/March 2003, pp 54-55.
  • Flatter Your Figure. Prentice Hall Press, by Jan Larkey, 1991.
  • Figure Flattery.  Jan Larkey.  Threads Magazine:  April/May 1991, pp 44-47.
  • The Long and Short of Flattering Neckline Choices. Jan Larkey. Threads Magazine: December 1993 /January 1994, pp 44-47.
  • The Golden Rule of Proportions.  Sandra Ericson.  Threads Magazine:  February/March 2009,  pp 37 – 41.
  • The Triumph of Individual Style.  Timeless Editions, by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor, 1993.

Make a Terrific Croquis! It’s Your Personal Fashion Tool
Notes from Jenny

Your croquis is a terrific sewing tool allowing you to see how the proportions of a pattern fit and flatter your body before you ever sew a seam. To get good results when shooting your picture for a croquis, here are a few tips.

Croquis Do’s
Croquis Don’t
Wear close fitting clothes that don’t alter your shape.
Avoid shape wear, panty lines, panty hose and other clothing that compress your body.
Wear a scoop neck top and pull long hair up so you can clearly see your neck and shoulders.
Avoid obscuring any part of your body or masking your true proportions.
Use a white background to create contrast behind you and underneath your feet.
Avoid anything in the background that will make it difficult to copy and trace your silhouette.
Put a tape mark parallel to your vertical backdrop on the floor, align your heels to it and keep your body parallel to the camera.
Don’t lead with your dominant side. It makes you look heavier on one side.
Hold your arms away from your body so you can clearly see a space between your torso and arms.
Don’t hold your arms too close to your body. It makes tracing your image much more difficult.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
Don’t stand with your heels too close together or you will lose insight into your leg proportions.
Mind your posture!
Don’t slouch or stand stiffly erect.
Smile! In this day and age of digital images, you’ll be able to have a higher resolution croquis if you choose.
Let how much you hate having your picture taken in your underwear show. You want to be attracted to your croquis so you can get the most value out of it.
Put a mirror across the room when you shoot your croquis so you can see your pose.

Check your lighting so you don’t get shadows around your body. Light from the top, sides and back if you can.
Don’t add visual pounds by allowing shadows to creep into your picture.
Shoot several shots so you can choose the best one.
Don’t try to get it right in one take. If you can view your images on a computer after you shoot them, you’ll be able to make adjustments for the best croquis.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh, Kimono!

Oh, Kimono!
with Hellenne Vermillion
Sat, August 20, 2011 9:30AM—3:00 PM
Trinity Lutheran Church
 1826 Killian Hill Road
Lilburn, GA  30047

Our own fabulous artist, Hellenne Vermillion, is teaching a kimono class for ASG Atlanta. Learn kimono history and authentic sashiko, as well as excellent construction techniques. Registration is now available online here:

The above pictures show Hellenne's samples for the class. Aren't they gorgeous?! And of course the sashiko is lovely. In class, we will be using the following pattern from Folkwear patterns: Japanese Field Clothing, Hippari.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dressform Original Art Photo Bag!

My artist friend Cathy Cooper took this photo in Paris and transferred them onto a canvas bag. She's selling them for only $15, and if you're interested contact me and I'll get them to you. hellenne at live dot com
Click on photo to enlarge view

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Schedule

March 26th -- Closures with Cords - Martha Myers
April 23rd - CANCELLED
May 28th - Hand Stitches:  Rolled Hem and Buttonhole -- Need teachers!!!!
June 25th Using Your Croquis - Jenny Troutman (date changed)
July 23rd - Drafting and Grafting Collars - Martina Gibboney (date changed)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beware of Rayon with Steam!

During show and tell at the January 22 CWC meeting, Lorraine talked about the Louise Cutting blouse, "A Subtle Twist", that she made for her sister Jan in a pink and coral rayon batik. Although the techniques were not couture, Lorraine wanted to share her insight into working with the fabric after hemming the garment in three different ways before it was acceptable. Lorraine's problem stemmed from using a steam iron, which swells the fabric and distorts the techniques being used. Had she referenced Sandra Betzina's book, "More Fabric Savvy" (vs. "Fabric Savvy" in which she recommended using steam), she would have saved herself lots of work. The latest version of Betzina's book indicates that only a dry iron should be used.

The photo is of Lorraine in a raw silk version of the blouse and her sister Jan in the rayon batik version. Both are beautiful, aren't they?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sloper Point and Counterpoint

Ginny presented the *pro* sloper perspective to us, describing the intense effort required to create a proper sloper. A sloper is a method useful in creating new garment designs around your personal measurements. With a set of slopers (bodice front, bodice back, sleeve, etc), you can rotate darts, add collars, and create your own garments without a commercial pattern. It's really fun for the recovering engineers among us. Many stayed for a lesson in constructing a front bodice sloper.

Ruta presented the *anti* sloper perspective to us. Here she shows us her half-height dress form used to drape and design clothes in her studio. When sewing for herself, she likes to start with a commercial pattern. She has some standard changes she makes to the tissue first. Then she pin fits the tissue to her body. Next she constructs a muslin and tweaks it as needed. Last she uses the muslin to cut and construct the garment from her fashion fabric.

With both techniques, Ginny and Ruta stressed the need for a muslin (or toile or prototype) garment using inexpensive fabric. Save the expensive fabric for after tweaking the prototype version. This version may then become your pattern. Toile-construction is especially important when making a fitted garment.

There were a record 29 members present for this first meeting of 2011. Each shared her sewing challenge for 2011. These ranged from using up the stash to creating a Chanel-style jacket to completing a SWAP.

As is typical at City-wide Couture, there was much inspiration presented by the members present. At right Jeanine and Barbara model two of Jeanine's creations. Many other inspirational items were circulated during the meeting.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January through April 2011 Program for City Wide Couture

The Personal Challenge - In January members can declare their personal garment challenge. We will report back to the group through Show and Tell and our blog to share our work in progress and our completed garments.
January 22 - Two Methods to Develop a New Pattern that Really Fits -- Experienced sewers can use several methods for a new pattern design. A perfectly fitted sloper can be used to draft new patterns, or a new commercial pattern can be drape fitted for every garment. A portfolio of well-fitted patterns can be transformed by grafting new elements on to these tried and true patterns. Ginny and Ruta will present the methods with their pros and cons - You pick the best method for yourself.
Afternoon Special: Making a sloper – After class workshop to draft and fit a bodice sloper
February 26 - Darts -- Adding a dart to a bodice can make a garment hang beautifully, making you look slimmer and more attractive. See a demo on adding a side dart to any pattern. A dart will often look better or be a cool design element if it is rotated into a new position. This demo with hands on practice will get you comfortable with rotating your darts to new and flattering locations. Bring scissors, tape and an awl. Leader: Karen
Emergency Hand Sewing Skills – Volunteers will stay for a hands-on program offered to St. Dunstan’s parishioners. This is a “thank you” class for their hospitality and part of our community service.
March 26 - Ties and other closures using cord. At least three techniques for making/creatively using ties and cords to close a garment will be demonstrated. Lois Ericson’s buttonhole edge was a highly ranked item from our ballot. Samples of construction process and garments using the techniques can add to the fun. Martha will lead this program. Who else would like to participate?
After our meeting, the six lucky ones will continue with their second class with Pam Howard on drape fitting their sheath.
April 23 -- Meeting Cancelled
May 28 -- Hand Stitches:  Rolled Hem and Buttonhole
June 25: Using a Croquis to Improve Your Results -- This demonstration with lots of hands on practice will get you used to using a croquis to design an outfit, work out pattern selection, details, and proportions. This is a fun way to solve problems, try out new silhouettes, and improve your results. Bring your croquis (if you don’t have one we will have samples), pencils, sketchbook, tracing paper, and colored pencils. Leader – Jenny
Part II - After program session to shoot the photography for individual croquis.