Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some serious sewing is happening around here...

since I have enough muslin fabric to last me a lifetime!

We drove to a fabric outlet store on the outskirts of Gothenburg last weekend and picked these babies up for a mere $10 total. Quite an accomplishment in the land of the overpriced everything that is Sweden.
My bounty
As upholstery fabric, the cotton is a bit on the thick side (not to mention on the BRIGHT side) but should nevertheless allow me to estimate the basic fit of any pattern... using the reverse side if need be to minimize distractions. Lol.

Happy sewing everyone!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fashion Sketchbook Inspiration

In line with my recent posts about sketching your design ideas, I've been looking for inspiration on creative ways to fill the pages of my Fashionary. I hope you will find the following as inspiring as I do!

The colour palette of these sketches was was caught my eye here.
Huge weakness for the geometry of these sketches by Thomas Tait.

The monkey sketch bellow shows this process of thinking through drawing pretty well. The designer started with the idea of the monkey, then pushed it as far as she could go, ending up with this fur coat.

I love Madalynne's post-modern collages!

Oooh, look at the clean lines of these sketches by Adrian Alphona...

This is Karl Lagerfeld's fashion sketchbook. Interesting to see the thought process of the greats, no?

A sketch from the designers at Forever 21:

Some Yves Saint-Laurent sketches, which remind me Marimekko for some reason.

I always loves line drawings like this one. Not a fashion sketch per se but no less inspiring to me.

There is more to fashion sketches than sketching actual clothes:

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope today's post was able to inspire you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finished: Tracy Reese Vogue 1314

If you're at all familiar with Vogue 1314, you're probably like "whaaaaat?". The dress is pretty far from the original pattern. Lol. But it's the same pattern as my beloved Beyoncé Dress.

Fabric: jersey blend, with fairly high spandex content, purchased on Queen West this winter in Toronto for 11$/meter.

I originally intended to make an exact replica of the Beyoncé, minus the midsection rushing. However, once sewn up, it felt that it emphasized my pear figure too much. (Lucky you, I documented this earlier version for you bellow.) Looking at the pictures now, I feel that I was probably over-reacting. I mean, it doesn't look THAT BAD and I could have easily worn this dress with a nice little cardigan or cropped jacket, for example. 

But change it I did. The idea was to add some vertical lines at the bottom to break up the silhouette and create an illusion of length. I think it kind of achieved that. Now, am I happy with this dress? Mmmm, not sure... It might grow on me, but right now it's channeling "Avril Lavigne circa 2002". Not great.
Matching lines: So I was a bit apprehensive about the idea of matching the stripes for every seam. It turned out to be quite alright, and just involved more careful pinning. That said, the sleeve cap insertion did give me a hard time. It took about 30 minutes to pin the first one, only to realize I was complete off, so I unpicked it and reinserted it again, only to discover that it was even worst, so I just gave up and set in the second sleeve without giving a f**k and, you guessed it, that one turned out perfect.

Have the sewing gods been humouring you too, lately?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Conclusion: Good old paper still wins

I enjoyed reading about the different ways that you record your design ideas!

It turns out that....
- 86% of you had a preference for recording your ideas on paper.
- Of these, 50% (or 43% of the total) owned a Fashionary and used it to some extent.
- Only one person said that they did not record their design ideas, because they hardly had enough time to sew as it was.

It's funny, I really would have thought that digital sketches would have been more popular, with everyone owning smartphones nowadays.

What struck me as well is that most of you expressed WANTING to put more energy and effort into recording your design ideas and making pretty sketchbooks.

Monday, July 22, 2013

How to make a tie-dye jeans jacket

We've seen this denim jacket a lot around here! It's really the perfect summer jacket and I wear it almost every day. I thought I would show you how you can make your own.

- Bleach
- Used denim jacket
- Plastic bucket
- Old spoon or kitchen utensil
- Latex gloves to protect your hands (optional)

1) The easiest way to find a used denim jacket is to head to your local second-hand shop. Since we're going to be changing the colour, focus on finding the right fit. 

2) In the plastic bucket, make a solution of 1/5 bleach with 4/5 water. The idea is really not to have too much solution, but just enough to submerge your jacket. It's a good thing if your jacket is all bunched up and twisted. Let this soak for about two hours, checking periodically for the colour. When you're a few shades before your desired colour, move on to step 3.
3) For the tie-dye look you see bellow, simply pour 3 to 4 cups more bleach over the solution without mixing it in. Gently poke your jacket here and there with the spoon, moving it around very slightly. You want to have a solution that is not uniformly mixed, because this is what will create the tie-dye effect. Let it soak, keeping an eye on it, until you obtain the desired effect.

4) Rinse the jacket several times in water using the plastic gloves. Then wash a couple time in the washing machine to make sure all the bleach is gone. It's also not a bad idea to use softner at this point because the bleach will make the denim pretty rough.
5) Enjoy your brand new jeans jacket!

This method could of course be applied to any other denim garment -- and even non-denim items. Imagine how amazing this would be for jeans!

Make sure to leave a link to your finished projects in the comment section.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Friday, July 19, 2013

What do you use to record your design ideas?

I'm sure you've heard about the Fashionary, that fashion sketchbook everyone has been raving about. Well, I too, succumbed to the hype, and I even forked out a few extra dollars for the special red version. Lol.
Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn is probably to blame for this, as her lovely sketches have been populating my Blog reader for months and probably also populating my subconscious.

Anywhoo, it got me thinking about what you guys use to record your design ideas. Previous to this, I was sketching on my iPhone using Adobe Ideas. It wasn't bad at all.
Of course, some people are doing a much better job at filling the pages of their Fashionary, but I'm slowly becoming more comfortable with it. Something about getting over Art School trauma.

Tell me! What do you use to record your design ideas?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AS+AS is three!

When I created All Style and All Substance in July 2010, I was pretty nervous and unsure of myself. Why would anyone care about my sewing? Am I going to have the discipline and focus to maintain a blog and post regularly? Do I deserve to have “a voice”? 

Yes, yes, and YES! My passion for sewing and my desire to share this passion with others are what made me take the plunge and I’m just so glad I did!

Looking back on my early blogging days, I think of the Seven-Week Challenge and have such good memories. This challenge was intended to help me power through my fabric stash before moving to the UK. I committed to making eight garments in seven weeks: an ambitious plan for a very busy time in my life. I remember that, when I came home from work, I would go straight to my sewing machine and pretty much stay glued to it until as late as 2AM some nights. It wasn’t rare that I would go to work on four hours of sleep. Lol. In spite of this, I’ve never felt so energized in my life.

I look back on these weeks with extreme fondness. This was probably one of the best periods of my life. I was about to do this very bold thing which was to quit this very stable and permanent job to embark on this exciting adventure. There was so much to look forward to, it felt, and the world was mine.

But beyond my then-upcoming move, this period was amazing because I was sewing ALL THE TIME. Seriously. My weekends were a total sewing marathon. I was probably sewing 40 hours a week. If there is one thing I must never forget is that sewing makes me happy. And the more I sew, the happier I am.

In light of this fact, and in an effort to recapture the spirit of my early blogging days and to celebrate my third blogiversary, I’m going to set myself another Eight-Weeks challenge. Only this time, it will be the Never Stop Sewing Challenge. (More about it in a separate post.)

In the meanwhile, I think you'll agree that AS+AS has matured a lot since 2010. My sewing has improved SO MUCH. I’ve made new friends, learnt pattern-drafting and had people contact me made-to-measure garments. I really, really hope that I’ve inspired at least one person to sew and to start their own sewing blog.

Thank you SO MUCH for being here with me and reading these past three years. Thank your for all your comments and your words of encouragement. Most of all, thank you for being here to share my successes, such as this one... three years of blogging!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Workspace Visit

Today, I'd like to take you on a little tour of my sewing space...
I try to keep my blogging calendar in plain view these days (above) to stay on top of things!
My sewing space right now is actually a corner of our living room, which has given me an excuse to introduce sewing-related details into our decor. This hand-embroidered cushion was made by my aunt.
My partner made room for me in his book shelves, and we bought some Ikea boxes to make it look more orderly. But the bookshelf section still feels somewhat incomplete and we are looking for a nice piece to fill all that empty space.

If my sewing productivity goes according to plan, there should be none of this fabric left by the end of the year. I'll then be allowed to bring fabric back from Canada. ;-)

My patterns, organized in boxes and more or less grouped in similar type. 
The view over our neighbourhood park and the river... Sometimes, we see ships pass by and they stand bigger and taller than the buildings around.
This is where I sew! Thank you for coming along today and I hope you've enjoyed visiting my workspace.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Lobster Dress Revisited

My Lobster Dress remains to this day one of my favourite makes. Judging by the amount of traffic, you also seem to like it. OR you're just fascinated in horror.

My new home of Gothenburg, Sweden feels like the perfect setting for a Lobster Dress. This city is really about the sea: the archipelago, swimming, waking up to the sound of seagulls... I am told there is even a crayfish festival coming up... a CRAYFISH FESTIVAL! My lobster dress certainly won't look as surrealist in this environment!

The original inspiration for this dress was this wonderful skirt from the Horrockses show at the London Fashion and Textile Museum. Since then, lobsters have been multiplying over the sewing blogosphere...

Mikki made a lobster dress at around the same time I made mine; Mela made a lovely skirt; Karen made a Hazel dress; while Roisin made the most fun, Dali-esque Elisalex dress.

What is more, further lobster off-springs appear to still be in gestation... Will they ever see the light of day?

Now in case you're stricken by a desire to make your very own Lobster Dress -- everyone needs their own Lobster Dress, right? -- I got the fabric from RandK Fabrics stall at Leeds' Market, UK. Others have found it at London's Goldhawk Road and online.

Happy sewing everyone!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Marimekko, with love

I had the opportunity to see a Marimekko show at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto this Spring -- a sort of retrospective of the Finnish fashion house with fascinating archival footage. 

Archival photo of Marimekko "atelier" back in the days when the fabrics were all hand-printed.
Who wouldn't want THAT space as a sewing studio!?

The clarity of Armi Ratia's design vision and the depth of her creative philosophy was probably what impressed me the most. Ratia introduced bold and cheerful colours into the sombre post world-war environment, and only worked with natural materials such as wool and cotton at a time where polyester and synthetics were the norm. 

What is more, the fashion in those years was all about tight, tailored clothes that emphasized the female figure, but she came in and provided an alternative "anti-fashion" that was about comfort and simple lines. Did you know that Marimekko simply means "Mary's dress" in Finnish? Her vision of the "Mari girl" was an independent, intelligent woman.

Also, from a entrepreneurial point of view, that woman single-handedly built an empire, and did so at a time where women were really not accepted into the business world yet!
Fast-forward four weeks later, and I land in Helsinki, Finland... land of Marimekko. Top of my list is a visit at the Marimekko outlet store. After renting the cutest cruiser bicycles, off we go to the suburbs, in search of Marimekko headquarters.
Feast for the eyes, I kid you not!

You're probably burning to know... Did I buy anything?? Well, I had to pratice restraint, but I did purchase five meters of a lovely printed cotton sateen on mega sale for 6 euros/yard. It was one of the tamest, most classic prints in the store: a two-tone print, where part of the fabric is solid brown and the other part is solid navy, a bit like the yellow and blue dress above.

Yes, in my element
On a side note, I was completely enchanted with Helsinki as a city. I was expecting "just another Nordic capital" but was quite surprised by it's Eastern European flair. It actually reminded me of Budapest a lot.

I leave you with a lovely Armi Ratia quote, that encapsulates so well the romantic spirit of Marimekko:

There is only one responsibility -- beauty.
There is only one reality -- a dream.
There is only one strength -- love.

--  Armi Ratia
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