Well, we're back with a new member, Peizi Hao as the photographer for our blog!! These are her fabulous pictures. To see her on-line portfolio, please check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimisa/.
The theme for this shoot was "Taking It To The Street," so Lynne, the stylist and art director in our team, pulled fantasy clothes for the shoot. Lynne wanted an avant-garde/boho look, so she created a mix of fabrics and styles that you might not think would work together but definitely do, and choose locations in and around Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco to get that urban edge going.
I made the top out of a tie-dyed velvet wall hanging from the 1960s. Tie-dyed silk velvet is absolutely insane fabric to work with and will "Twist and Shout" (to put it politely), but I'll discuss that in depth in the "Sewing Section" of this post. That fabric has been in my stash since the 80s (yes, seriously). But when you find the right clothing pattern, the wait can be worth it. The Russian-born designer, Erte, who mostly designed costumes and stage sets in the Art Deco style, was my inspiration for the top. Click here to see fabulous and absolutely amazing images of his work. I wanted something that was complete fantasy. For fantasy, Erte's designs are a good place to start. The top looks good worn to the front or back and can be tied in a variety of ways with the matching belt or left loose. The satin maxi skirt was a gift from my friend, Jessica, and the steampunk necklace [that Lynne keeps trying to appropriate] is by Fern Street Designs.
The Sewing Section (tech talk for those want to know)
Pattern: Vogue 1195, Badgley Mischka
Fabric: 60s tie-dyed silk velvet wall hanging [Yes, I could have gotten a chunk of change for it on Ebay, but silk velvet is for clothing], vintage fushia 80s polyester satin jaquard, "fabric from hell" (expensive silk/cotton/lurex blend in an abstract jaquard weave). The unifying theme of the three fabrics is the fact that all three have a blue undertone. The black background of the velvet is a blue black, the dark charcoal of the gold metallic lurex blend is a blue gray, and the fushia jaquard is a deep pink with blue tones.
Important Notions: Vintage embroidered rose applique from the 1970s, vintage silver sequined applique from the 1980s, seed beads for the "good luck mask amulet" on the left shoulder, Clover 3/4" bias tape maker.
Sewing Info: Anything that could possibly go wrong with a sewing project, short of the fabric catching on fire, happened. I have been sewing for a very long time, so I do have some clue of what I'm doing. This top has taught me that tie-dyed silk velvet = grainline issues. The tie dyeing process distorts the fabric, so it is impossible to cut it on grain. This is the reason that RTW garments are tie-dyed after construction. Also, the fabric was 36" wide, not wide enough for the pattern [36" wide fabric should be banned as it is an irregular width and, therefore, annoying]. I discovered this right when I was about to cut the fabric and cut the pattern irregardless.
I decided to add borders to the sides so that I would have the right width. This is when I had my encounter with the silk/cotton/lurex blend from hell. The fabric had flaws that I did not see when I bought it and had an irregular directional pattern that looked like it should match, but didn't. Fortunately, I have the very strange talent of being able to work really well with defective material. I made the borders 4 1/2 inches wide on each side. I was originally going to line the velvet with the fushia jacquard, but this proved impossible. The jaquard lining was perfectly on grain, but the velvet decided to "Twist and Shout." So, I thought about it and asked myself, "Is there really a rule that says you have to line velvet garments?" [Oh, how low I have fallen.] So, I chopped up the lining into bias binding to trim the edges of the top and pieced some of it into border facings. Then, I used the evil silk/cotton/lurex blend as a thin band on the border facings and bias trim on the neckline. Fabric that has a high lurex content does not work well as bias trim, but "Oh well."
As for the lucky amulet applique, that was my fix for the fact that the silk/cotton/lurex blend did not match at the left shoulder seam. By some absolutely bizarre fluke, I matched the right border pieces out of the "fabric from hell" that could not be matched using silk pins. Since the left shoulder seam didn't match, I made it really not match by sewing on an applique using seed beads from my stash. I also sewed bands across the back neckline to keep the garment from falling off my shoulders (this is an 80s trick for managing a double V neckline). I refer to this garment as "The Beast" because of all the technical issues. But wonky or not, it looks cool.
Resources: I highly recommend the following sites for clothing construction info: Gerties New Blog For Better Sewing, Gorgeous Things Blog, and Threads Magazine.--Annamarie