category: updates

update & studio setup

It’s been a while since my last post, so here’s an update: I’ve refined my focus and have nailed down a concept for type of clothing I’ll be designing. It stems from my earlier post about activewear, but is evolving into more of a “fashion meets function and vice versa” type of thing. Basically the idea is to deliver the performance of activewear into fashionable everyday clothing, and conversely give style to more activewear type gear. In theory, you could go straight from work to the gym if you wanted to. My hope is that my clothes won’t prohibit you from going on a long, brisk walk during your lunch break. And of course, I’ll be expressing my style ideas through my designs. I love that I can incorporate many of my favorite things into this idea as inspirations: anime, sci-fi, video game character designs, etc. So I have been working on sketches and sewing “prototypes”, which is why I’ve been absent from the blog for a bit. There just isn’t enough time in the day anymore!

I’ve embraced stretch and knit fabrics and have been experimenting endlessly (and will continue to) with different types of jersey, wickaway fabric, interlock and sweater fleece. I’ve even got a stash of really cool “power mesh” which is basically stretchy, supportive mesh that I’m planning to use for insets and cool design details here and there.

I also realized that I really needed more table space. It’s really important not to let stretch fabric hang off the table as you cut into it, and with the huge pieces of fabric I’ve been getting, it was becoming tedious to move everything off my table just so I could cut something. Also, my old cutting mat was smaller than a lot of the pieces I was working with, and I was going crazy shifting things around. So I bought a new HUGE cutting mat, and a new table to extend my workspace – I love it!

One other addition to the studio is a Bernina coverstitch machine! I am still mastering it, but it is capable of producing really professional looking hems on knits/stretch fabric. Like all my machines, it was a hand-me-down from my amazing Mom, and I’m so thankful! As requested, here are some picsĀ of my new studio setup:

new coverstitch machine (front left) and new table (foreground)

my old table is how free to house the new 42" x 30" cutting mat

sewing machine and serger live in front of my inspiration area & misc tools

pattern weights

I followed this online tutorial from Five Green Acres to make some pattern weights for my knit fabric sewing projects. I can’t believe how expensive it is to buy similar weights at sewing supply stores. It was quick and fun to make these, and they turned out so cute I may make some as bean bags for the little kids I know. Another thought: I could add a little tail and stuff them with catnip to make toys for MIDI the cat!

update: new designs

I’m taking my new idea (fashion meets active wear and vice versa) and running with it. I’ve got a cover-stitch machine en route to me as I type this (thanks completely to my mom & dad – the most supportive and positive parents anyone could hope to have – I’m so lucky!) and I’m rearranging my studio into a workhorse setup so that I can design and produce items efficiently. Yesterday I made some pattern weights (since a lot of knits react badly to pinning), I’ll post about those later. I’m so happy to finally have a concept I can really refine and build on. I’ve been doing a ton of research and designing on paper, some examples below.

inspiration board: balenciaga, marco de vincenzo, vera wang, marchesa, etc

inspiration board: lulu lemon, stella mccartney for adidas, hussein chayalan for puma, alexander mcqueen, alexander mcqueen for puma, dolce & gabbana etc.

design for cropped shrug with elizabethan-inspired pleated collar, layered tank and roomy crops

design for gathered sleeve hoodie w/ kanga pocket & contoured coloring

design for contoured top with puff sleeves and stand up collar and contoured shorts

design for hand painted shading on sleeveless hip-length crewneck

design for flutter sleeve cover-up tunic with stretch-mesh victorian inspired collar

recent sketches

I’ve been trying to generate some ideas lately, I’m sketching almost everyday. Here are some sketches I’ve been working on:

Queen of Hearts – update

Sometimes the hardest thing to do (and the right thing to do) is change course. After scrambling to put a skirt together for the Queen of Hearts project, I realized that I was making something I didn’t really like just to get it done. I really want to make sure that this project is something I can be happy with when it’s complete, so I’ve decided to give myself more time to finish it the right way.

I finished the bodice – it has princess seams, which I know is not period accurate as far as Elizabethan costume goes, but I am not being that stuffy about these things. The inside is all lined, and I made a corset type closure in the back. It doesn’t close properly on my dressform, but it fits me well. I added boning to the bodice where I could to make it more structural and clean.

Now I’m working on the ruff – which I realize now was the whole reason I wanted to do this project! The ruffles are intoxicatingly swirly. It’s a bit floppy now, but today I am going to dip the whole thing in stiffener and mold it into shape as it dries.

It will be done when it’s done, and it will be what I consider “right”. And that’s what matters for a project like this.

and now, i need to breathe

With all that I’ve had going on lately, designing and launching this blog, working on (and ultimately pausing on) my victorian project, making serious progress on my Queen of Hearts (QoH) project and starting my first real “commissioned” project, I am feeling a little out of gas. This weekend, I plan to really recharge my batteries… while continuing to work on my QoH dress… because I’ve only got a week left.