Saturday, May 29, 2010

Antique Cutwork Lace Wedding Dress, Part 3

In real time I am almost done with the dress.  (I expect to be done by Sunday the 30th,  tomorrow-barring any massive changes /adjustments or fits of complete anality which don't belong in this project!) Anyhow, I know its now a dress. Rather than a bodice and skirt or even a semi-attached…whatever…

But since I started to do this in actual segments, in blog time,   I'm sticking to that!  You've seen the rough layout, but I will refresh you: 

custom made wedding dress cutwork lace front
This is just the front panel, the lace will wrap around to the sides.  I plan to make use of some of the oval edges as well as the motif edges. Just not sure which ones or where at this point.

The lace is carefully back stitched down to the layer of twill and silk.  not too close to the edges, since the sides need to be stitched on later.  I've cut the straps in one piece on the lace layer.  I want the motif as continuous as possible. The basting line 3/4" inside the cut edge is the finished edge I've drafted for.  Parts of this are likely to change since fit was done on muslin and the finished piece entails several layers and will be thicker so we'll see…

custom made wedding dress cutwork lace detailcustom made wedding dress cutwork lace detail
Thread is wrapped around needle, for portage.  (I watched "In Cold Blood" while doing the handwork- Great movie!  It took far too long for me to get to...)
custom made wedding dress cutwork lace stitched

From the front, stitched in a mocha/taupe along edges of cutwork- I was very lucky to have an old,
old spool of thread that was a perfect match to the embroidery! 

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Special on Custom Made Leather Pants

Custom-made leather pant orders placed for Fall 2010 & confirmed with a deposit between now and Monday,  July 12th, (or until we are booked solid, whichever comes first!) will be discounted 20% from the regular custom-made price.  This applies to any regular custom-made men's pants, in a selection of our very best selling black and brown cowhides.
  Limited Specialty treatments will also be offered during this special,  prices vary accordingly.

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custom made pinstripe leather pants 
& Ladies, womens custom-made Italian Lambskin pants (in our classic clean cuts only) will also be 20% off any orders confirmed with a deposit by July 12th.  A range of colors is available in our Italian Lambskin.

So, avoid the Fall crunch and plan ahead. 
Please call for an appointment or email us for more information.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Custom Made Wedding Bodice-part 2

First the fun part  of re-doing the front foundation.  (PITA) I go back to the drawing board to my first instinctual direction (doh!)

Re-cut and re-trace one front panel and trace all the boning points.  Using a piece of the stretch silk I apply it to the twill along the boning marks.  Because of the stretch I don't need to worry about adding room- or perfect stitching.   I use a rough cut piece & trim it later.

Because of the chiffon I do have to worry about the fabric shredding if boning isn't pushed through carefully.  This stuff is sharp!  I lightly melt the edges of the boning,  being very careful not to allow carbon buildup.  Which has potential to be ugly & messy at all times.  (At least no bleeding yet,  which is a given.  I don"t think it counts if you don't bleed on it at some point!)

Then the crossways boning, using what is really the wrong size twill tape (because its here) I make casings over the applied boning- it will be inside, under several layers.  Slip in the boning & trim.  This layer is the lining,  as well as the foundation.

 I'm a little off here,  but it ain't leather - I have not worked in fabric in years- not like this!
 Now no puckering or buckling inside when curving with the body.

Sew the straps to the front bodice:

And layout the lace:

Here I am using a medallion from the center of the tablecloth.  Centering & mirroring as well as possible,  the cloth is not symmetrical,  at all.   Overall it is several inches off.  Still amazing  being entirely stitched by hand and washed a bunch.   I eye it.

The center of the cloth was the most stained.  I cut around this where possible,  not too concerned.  The stains add to the depth of the cloth,  I may spray parts of it with some tea when it is done. Depends.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Buying Status or Luxury?

The other day I was up on 47th street and there was a little crowd knotted up on the street. I worked my way through the group, almost all guys, with their cameras out. 

And there it was; the most amazing apple-green,  iridescent,  two-tone Lamborghini.  The color was out-of-this-world.  I wondered where it was headed,  it had non-resident 20 day temporary tags on it. (Who knew there were such things?  I rarely drive & never in the city any more, so I am well out of the loop here.) It was funny to see it parked in a crowded business district in the middle of the morning, very incongruous,  leaving the impression at it wanted to get into a traffic jam really fast!  (It certainly was creating one very quickly!)

A beautiful vehicle,  fast - and always limited edition, since Lamborghini makes well under 3000 cars in a year.  I do hope it's going somewhere it can cut loose a little!

This is luxury & status,  with that color-bumping it up even more!  A very precision crafted, finely designed, hand-assembled & finished and renowned for  speed & performance.  Each one is test driven on real roads when completed.
So,  if you are able to buy one of these,  you are certainly getting what you pay for….

Then there's fashion.
Unfortunately, all too often the luxury/status/designer/label thing has become just another term for for big marketing & big manufacturing.

Case in point: Here is a used fabric Chanel Camellia.  Just a plain fabric one.  A bit beat. "Pre-owned".

It sold for $249.00.   I don't believe this variation of a Chanel camellia goes for much more than $300.00 new.  It's the tweed and raffia ones that run up to $600.00. Those need to be hand-stitched, at least to some extent.  This one - not so much.  Probably hundreds, if not thousands of these get made. 
There are flower makers here in NYC who do beautiful work of this sort,  mostly by hand & at a much higher caliber than this particular flower,  but they could never demand the price.  Meanwhile the real French flower specialists do work like this:

Needless to say these were not priced like Chanel,  having no "label",  just impeccable quality.

I realize this may not be the best comparison,  Chanel does have a resale value!  There are many "status" companies who market very, very mass produced items as status/exclusive/luxury when the only thing status/exclusive/luxury about them is the price… 

It's unfortunate that in fashion, particularly,  marketing of the label  has become so very confused with the actual quality & exclusivity,  and at the same time it sort of nurtures insecurity…this came into scary clear focus with this article on fashion bloggers,  and the keeping up with the jones-es pressure...Ugh!  I am hopeful that we are starting to move away from this, with so many choices and so many talented, independent creators now easily able to reach their audience.  The dynamic is evolving! 


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Custom- Made Wedding Bodice, part 1

OK. a little delayed in this, but still going to set this up in increments...

Bodice number 2 wins! It suits not only the overall feeling of the fabric, but it also allows for wonderful usage of the medallions.  Number 1 would become a nightmare, especially given my time frame and the very limited hours I have (and want!) to put into this project. I am also a sucker for historical periods & costumes and this is a bit of a Titania variation.

So, for the foundation, I found a nice brushed twill weave cotton that matched the linen beautifully, then I saw a great nude-beige denim that looked incredible under the cut-work, but it was way to heavy weight so I go for the twill.

Back in the studio I re-think this,  I have to find something in that color,  but much lighter in weight. Back out I go & this is my solution:

You can see the subtle contrast between the linen over the twill by itself vs. with a layer of  taupe-y-nude silk chiffon in between the two at the top.  So this is what I'm doing.

The silk-chiffon gets basted to the twill,  this silk has some stretch in it,  (not what I wanted or needed but for the color I will deal. ) It must be handled carefully because the stretch could pucker between the layers if not carefully basted down.

For the front and back panels the twill is cut in two layers one for the outside, which will have the silk & linen over it and one as the foundation layer.  Side panels will be single layer (with silk overlay) & twill is bias cut, for a little extra give & cling.  Here I use the stretch in the silk. (Side panel is shown from the  inside.)

All the basting includes stitching and reference marks.  Silk is trimmed down later.

I had planned on stitching the boning directly to the inside foundation.  This is how that worked out:
Looks OK from the inner side that will be facing the bodice layer (on left), but like hell on the side that will be facing the body. Its not so visible in the photo on the right, but when the foundation is curved as it will be when on the body,  all sorts of puckering appears.  The boning itself is not the good English ridgiline, (is that even made anymore?) but a Chinese version which is a bit less pliable and flexible and will not take on any curve at all when pressed - none of which helps here.

This part gets a re-do.  I had actually thought about doing this a different way at first, then  spaced on it.  So, this goes back to the initial plan.  End of first installment.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Now for something completely... not leather!

Over the next few weeks or so I've decided to attempt to chronicle the design & creation of something completely different here, my wedding dress.

(& Danny, don't look at the pictures!)

I have been wanting to focus on the custom-made process for some time now, and have collected photos, and started writing, but time gets quite crunched during projects and I have many starts to many projects, but it's almost overwhelming for me to put them together, especially since time only permits me to do it when a project is done and out of the studio at which point I 'm kinda done with it and off the the next thing!

I do hope to compile a lot of this ( focused on the leather) once the whole blog gets it's scheduled work over starting next month.  Maybe I'll even get some help to do it… But right now, since it gets a bit quieter going into the summer and I am actually able to spend a little time each day on this and this is the type of work I have not done in ages, I thought it would be a good way to start working out a way to present "the process"… & forgive me if it winds up being in dribs & drabs. I am going to try and do it as it happens.

Ok, the start of this dress is the fabric. (Yes, you read that right- not leather, a rooftop party in high summer is just not the place!)

I am starting with a large rectangular antique cutwork linen tablecloth. The linen is a very tight smooth weave, nothing like it exists on the market today as far as I can tell, the closest thing out there is true Irish Linen & it is not even close.  The cloth is very heavily embroidered, by hand probably in China, probably over 50 years ago. It is almost entirely cutwork, very little solid linen remains and I won't be using much of it. The tablecloth belonged to Danny's Mom. It was very much used and has been washed - a lot.  It's really wonderful.

Ok, now design.  I was completely perplexed.  For myself,  I always tend to go for comfort first, but at the same time, heck,  it's my wedding!  And since I'm making it I want to show off a bit.  I also want it to be sexy and fun and most of all unique.  Also at this point I am still not quite sure of using that table I play around.

So fiddling with the rectangle of the cloth, I get this... very sloppy, but wanted to see the way it hangs.
I like the points. The gathering will have to be figured out. May or may not work. 

I couldn't quite get a handle on what I wanted for the bodice, probably because it's for me ,since I never have this problem when creating for other people.  Again my first instinct is for  comfort.
So I do this:

Not too bad, but what the heck am I gonna do with that lace? And all those seams? And trying to match the embroidery as well?  Since this will need some actual fabric added to make it work. Yikes!

Next: Switch gears, comfort be damned!  Plus this give me a place to work with the medallions in the lace that run through the center of the cloth,  the Elizabethan corseted bodice has a nice clean flat area to play with.

Still, me,  I'm confused (still wanting comfort - D. wants sexy, btw.)  so I send this pix to some girfriends. (crowd sourcing a wedding dress?)  Guess Which?  I'm kinda excited now.


Dissappointed, Angry & Disgusted...

I am so absolutely sickened by the news that just continues to get worse and worse surrounding the oil spill.  It makes my head spin and my gut go cold.  Reading today,  how the government agency that was supposed to police and approve permits,  instead just enables & allows outright the outright flaunting of any and all regulations and allows drilling without proper approval & permits - ignoring and abusing their own scientists' research and recommendations to set it up so we...all Americans,  get it up right 
the rear for the sake of oil. 

Then some dumbA Alaskan Senatornamed Lisa Murkowski blocks the bill to raise the liability 
cap on the oil companies clean up bill...
To borrow the other dumbA's  (What the heck is it with Alaska?) phrase,  perhaps a truly deserving  "target" list should be set up to encompass the oil companies, the oil rig owners, Haliburtan, Transocean,  the M.M.S. (which sounds like it should be shut down and investigated immediately.) and bozos like Lisa Murkowski.

Sorry for the rant,  but when the heck are we gonna revolt???

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