Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blog sick leave and Happy Holidays!

Dear readers, my family is down with a flu and I am having a second one in a row, so please forgive me for light posting over these couple of weeks. While I will be uploading a couple of posts I have planned, I will resume regular schedule after the holidays.


Thank you for being part of my life this year 
and 
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday inspiration: Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum



Words are redundant  for this post, dear readers. This is Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum:



The best thing is you can download the entire museum and explore the exhibit with a cup of tea or coffee and chocolate pralines until you are completely exhausted  of this beauty and craftsmanship!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Strapless guipure dress: hidden details / Part 1

I promised you, dear readers, the innards of my guipure dress! Below, I am posting an image of a work-in-progress shell. This is pretty much how this dress left the workroom after the Couture Sewing School in Baltimore.What's missing and will be featured in another post is an inner foundation (corselet) and lining. Here, I wanted you to see details hidden in a finished dress.

If you click on the image you will see it somewhat larger - I had to keep the file reasonably small for the web.
I know some of you wanted to know more about the engineering of such a dress. I planned an in-detail post first, but then I thought I may as well let you speak - I truly enjoy the interaction with you and believe that sometimes it is more fun to change the how-to post format and make it more like a conversation.

So, this time it is your call - ask me any questions about the shell, lace, underlining - whatever you want to be explained on this image. I will then compile a Q&A in a new post. How does it sound?

 And, of course, follow-up posts on the corselet and the final assembly are in making!


Monday, December 12, 2011

(U).F.O. Party: Week 4... & last week's links!

Friends, here is this week's button to link up to your (U).F.O. posts! For newcomers, explanations are here.


Now, let's have a look at last week's accomplishments and we will start with a new star trooper on our starship, Lavender of threadsquare! She made her first pair of jeans - read more about it on her blog. By the way, while you are doing it, add her blog to your blogroll - Lavender is a(nother) Downton Abbey fan and is currently planning to test some early 20th century patterns. I am so looking forward for her updates on it!


Now, let's proceed to our starship commanding officer Devra of Puu's Door of Time. Yay, readers, I am not the only procrastinating sewer here! Look at her flying saucers! Not sure she has finished those two, but right now she is agonizing about Colette's Meringue skirt and Pastille dress, ha!

And yes, she is also a Downton Abbey fan! Now, I got to check Downton Abbey - if it is really so good there is a hope for my UFO pile! I just found out, actually, that as an Amazon Prime member I can watch Season 1 for free. I just need to finish watching first Law & Order episodes, and then...

Ok, fast forward to Rachel of House of Pinheiro, of course! Guess what, she has UFOs as well. I thought she finsihes everything she starts, but no, readers, this one is a good old UFO as we like them. Her initial post about this Chanel-style jacket dates back to September.


Sorry, Rachel, now you got to prove you can finish this one. Her deadline is this week, so let's see whether she can make it!

what about myself, readers? hmmm, I spent most of the week volunteering at my daughter's school, building gingerbread houses, and preparing the house for the upcoming holidays, cleaning, baking, de-cluttering... I don't know how about you, but I cannot sew in a cluttered environment - it just makes me nervous and inefficient.

enough of it, anyway! Good luck and productive sewing week, everyone! I am now off for a good night sleep! Tomorrow, tune in for the innards of my guipure lace dress - I got a game for you!

Winners of the "How much Fabric?" reference cards!

Dear readers, my children's school obligations and holiday preparations kept me from blogging and sewing last week. But here what I have for you today! Two lucky winners are getting the great 'How much fabric?' cards, offered by Gwen to the readers of Frabjous Couture. Congratulations, Isis and Joen! To claim your prize, please send an e-mail to Gwen at gwynhug(at)gmail(dot)com!


It was interesting to see that most of the commenters (and myself) tend to overbuy fabric to be on the safe side. I personally tend to round up to a full yard. Isis was one of the few who asks staff members or checks information in pattern books.

Isis: "I discuss it with someone who work in the store. They usually know pretty well how much fabric that is needed. Or flip through one of the patterns books and look for a similar model. I would love to have set 2."

Joen: "I generally buy 3 yards for a jacket (used to buy 2 but found I never had enough!!) 2 yards for pants or a dress. More yardage is added if the fabric is a narrower width the above usually works but I have been disappointed many time so the guide would be great to win!!! I would need Set 1 if I was the lucky winner."

In any case, I think these cards can help save some money (for extra fabric) or time!  A wise investment in the long run!

Thank you everyone for participating and if you want to treat yourself to these cards just in time for the holiday season, visit Gwen's website here

Finally, the random name picker to document all the entries:


Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lace matching at Louis Vuitton: Yay or Nay?

What do you feel when someone tells you: "You did a great job! It looks like a store-bought or ready-to-wear garment." I mean, is it really a compliment?

What we often see in many stores is whipped up by designers in a minimum amount of time. The final product is a combination of the season's trends and frugal production. Not that ready-to-wear construction techniques are bad. What makes difference is the balance between the quality and the cost.

Why am I bringing this up? I loved this spring show by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton! The colors, the use of lace, colors, layers of sheer fabrics in different textures. I even picked a dress as an inspiration for a guipure dress I started making in Baltimore with Susan Khalje's Couture Camp. Vuitton Dress is beautiful... I thought!


But have a closer look:


Yes - lace matching. You don't have to be a couture aficionado or a sewing nerd to notice it, really! Flowers are off in all directions, there is neither vertical nor horizontal alignment.  It looks like a mess to me, readers. What do you think? I just thought that for a dress that will probably sell for couple of thousand dollars, it should not be a big deal to match the pattern at least along the center seam. If you look on other garments in this collection you will see similar problems. Ok, forget small patterns, but this one is very prominent, won't you agree? This is a luxury brand after all.

But I don't want to be completely negative. I thought there were a few very smart construction details in this garment! Lingerie straps, for example. They are relatively inconspicuous, but at the same time reinforce a lingerie look and feel,  sheer layers, and(!) save the cost of creating inner foundation (corselet and boning).

Finally, another smart detail: a horizontal fold (=dart) on center front helps create shaping on the organza (?) dress without breast or any other darts, which would disturb the repetitive pattern created by the horizontal folds on the skirt part of the dress!

My verdict: this dress is cleverly designed by a very good designer, but the execution is poor. Would I buy it, if I had money? No.

What about you, readers? What do you think about the dress? 

Does your sewing experience make you more critical with regard to RTW construction? And when it comes to the execution of a garment, do you find a lot of inspiring or innovative ideas in RTW?

Monday, December 5, 2011

(U).F.O. Party / Week 3... and last week's links!

More (U).F.O. goodness, readers! Before we have a look at the last week's projects let's link to new ones here:


Now, let's have a look at completed projects! And I am starting with F.O. Champion, Rachel from House of Pinheiro!


She wipped up a Cynthia Rowley Tulip Skirt 2512 in an hour and bragged about it here! Congratulations, Rachel, and thanks for contributing your project! Our (U).F.O. party does need your energy!

Next, the Puu's Door of Time and an insight into her obsession with this pattern, and why it has created a pile of U.F.O. s! (check out the side seam waist gathers, readers!)


Renaissance Bombshell is linking to her U.F.O. challenge: inserting a zipper on a doubleknit dress.


Head over to her blog to help with some tips! She started unpicking the dress, but the further fate of it is unknown!

Finally, my own failure to finish my Clover pants this week, readers! But I have a good excuse and some WIP revelation for you, readers, and more about it tomorrow! It's about holiday sewing, of course!

Now, if you do want to join the (U).F.O. party, post your link above.


Grab the code below to display the badge on your blog:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Google to kill Google Friend Connect for non-Blogger blogs; Feedburner issues

Attention, all non-Blogger bloggers! Google is killing Friends Connect for all non-blogger sites.

 

That means, I understand, that you won't be able to use the widget that displays your following, unless you have a blog on Blogger! Here is the quote by Urs Hölzle, Google Senior Vice-President, Operations from the Google official blog:
Google Friend Connect—Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We're retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.
I don't think it's fair, readers! It seems, Google is trying to stop exodus to Wordpress and other platforms... Independent Fashion Bloggers Community writes more about it. By the way, join this site - you will always be up-to-date on important developments.

Meanwhile, Google seems to be clumsily tinkering on other products as well. If you are using Feedburner by Google, you will notice that your Feedburner widget shows 0 subscribers today! No panic, all your subscribers still receive their feeds, but you should go your Feedburner page and switch to a new Beta version, you subscribers number will re-appear. As for the widget, I haven't heard of any solutions on this one. Let us wait... (Actually, Google has become extremely user-unfriendly! They just cannot handle issues in a transparent and timely manner!)

Back to Google Friend Connect, Blogger sites won't be affected!  However, if you have a non-blogger blog you still have three months to promote other options and let your GFC followers  know about them! Good luck!

Sorry for a non-sewing post - but it affects all of us! What do you think about this move by Google, readers?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gadgetmania by Maris Olsen: KAI Scissors

Readers, I am so delighted to introduce to you another lovely Gadgetmania Blogger, Maris Olsen of Sew Maris.
Sew Maris works and teaches in her home studio in Bellevue,Washington. No wonder she is passionate about fabrics, notions, patterns, sewing books and tools. She attends sewing workshops and conferences and takes classes whenever she has a chance. By the way, tomorrow, her first(!) granddaughter is due, and Maris is now on her way to New York to spend some time with her family - so, let’s wish them all the best! And, thank you, Maris, for finding time to write this great post! 

(By the way, sorry for the absence of images, as KAI Scissors is very strict about linking to their website, even if it constitutes fair use, such as this review. Just follow the links below to learn more.)


Hi! My name is Maris Olsen, and I am a full-time sewing nerd and part-time instructor in Bellevue, WA. When Marina asked for guest bloggers to write a post about their favorite tools, it was a no-brainer for me. I LOVE KAI scissors!

OK. First order of business – a little description. Kai scissors are made of Japanese steel and vanadium. Van-ah-di-what? I will spare you all the scientific mumbo-jumbo – what you care about is vanadium makes the steel harder. Which means it retains a sharp edge longer. That is goodness for people like me who want to cut fabric into all hours of the night and hate, hate, hate dull blades slowing them down. They also have awesome-ly ergonomic handles. Also, more goodness for prolific sewers, and people who might be developing a little arthritis in their hands. Not because they are old or anything, but just because. ;-)

Kai has several different lines of scissors and tools to suit a variety of uses and budgets. Kai makes 17 different scissor styles in their Standard line – all of which are part of the 5100 series. I own one of these babies – the Kai 5135C 5 1/2 inch Curved Blade Scissors. I use them every day. I love how the curved blade makes grading seam allowances a little easier. I also use them to trim threads when I can’t lay my hands on one of my 4 pairs of the little yellow handled 4 inch craft scissors. Which also, BTW, do an AMAZINGLY fast job of snipping thru a seam I need to unpick.

I also own two pairs from their Professional line – the Kai 7250 10 inch Professional Shears and the Kai 7240-AS 10 inch Serrated Edge Shears.
These are both part of the 7100 series, and are they ever sweet. They cut like budd-ah. The action on both these shears is just a dream, and every time I use them I am happy. I wish, wish, wish I had owned the serrated ones when I was cutting out yards of silk charmeuse for my daughter’s wedding dress.

If you would like to do yourself a favor and own a fantastic cutting tool, high-tail it on over to Kai Scissors and place an online order. You are not likely to regret anything you buy from this fine brand. Hmmm, maybe I should try out one of their universal rotary cutters – works both right or left-handed – sounds like another tool I need!

Maris Olsen
http://sewmaris.com


I hope you enjoyed the post as much as I did! I heard great reviews of KAI Scissors and will try them  once I will need a replacement for mine.


By the way, if you also want to contribute a guest post, write me an email at mvk(dot)fashion(at)gmail(dot)com. For more details, visit the original Gadgetmania post (http://frabjous-fashion.blogspot.com/2011/11/gadgetmania-revival-guest-bloggers.html).

What scissors do you own, readers? Share your experience and links!

Master of Couture Embroidery Dies at 82

François Lesage,  a world master of couture embroidery, died this Thursday in Versailles, France, at age of 82. I won't bore you with an obituary since you can check this great article in New York Times yesterday. One thing I wanted to mention though is that I hope that the knowledge and wealth of experience possessed by world-class artisans, Such as Lesage himself will become more available and more appreciated with the time. I think Lesage made a great move in this direction by setting up this unique couture embroidery school, offering a variety of classes, both, long and short term.

I wanted to learn embroidery with tambour hook for a while. There are quite a few resources available on the net, but I have never thought I would be able to learn the techniques from the legendary embroidery house. But see what I discovered! Apparently, if you have a chance to visit Paris, call Lesage atelier and get a copy of this wonderful book that brings Lesage school to your home by teaching  some of the greatest techniques of the house. Thank you, François Lesage! Thank you, Chanel!



As someone who is very inspired by his work, I would like to pay tribute to him by posting links to these two videos featuring the work of his atelier for Chanel.



And this Le Monde web documentary, which features Lesage and other artisans behind Chanel. It's in French, but I think you will enjoy it without words.

What about you, readers? Have you ever tried some of the couture crafts and techniques beyond sewing? Working with feathers? Making your own accessories, hats, buttons, belts... If yes, share!





Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Alert: The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos

There is a potentially great book coming soon: The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos.

Here is what the publisher says about the book:

The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos is your must-have guide to learning to shoot better photos, with tips and advice written specifically with artists and crafters in mind. Amidst the sea of handmade jewelry, apparel, housewares, art, and other crafts that populate blogs, websites, and online marketplaces, you need to make your items stand out. The key is great photography. Beautiful hand-crafted garments, jewelry, artwork, textiles, and home accessories can all be undermined by poor or uninspired photos that fail to represent the detail, color, and artistry of your creations.

With The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos you'll learn that you don't need expensive equipment and a professional photo studio to get quality results. Heidi Adnum teaches you how to achieve high quality results with instruction on how to make your own lightbox, use natural lighting, and properly capture the detail. Broken down into specific craft areas, you'll find tips on how to best generate eye-catching images that will help showcase and sell your items.

Look at the Table of Contents below - I got most interested in  DIY Accessories (Making a light tent or mini studio) Photo fundamentals for Fashion and Fabrics, and Post-production (editing fundamentals). This book is so needed, I would say! My images are really not up to standards!

Introduction
Getting started
    Camera basics
    How to tell your story
    DIY accessories
Photo fundamentals
Equipment advice, Camera settings, Composition & styling, Common problems & FAQs, Practitioner spotlight
    Fashion & fabrics
    Bags, purses & accessories
    Knitting & needlecraft
    Jewelry
    Dolls & toys
    Ceramics & pottery
    Art
    Books, magazines & stationery
    Home accessories
Finishing up & getting it out there
    Postproduction
    Image storage & backup
    Business advice


Check out the preview here. I hope the rest of the book is as great as this sneak peek, and so, I have already pre-ordered my copy on Amazon (it's $10 less than the price directly from the publisher).

Are you happy with images of your creations? What is the most challenging part about your images? Do you have any great resources to recommend?


Thursday Inspiration: Hermes Scarves

This craftsmanship doesn't need introduction: the making of a rolled hem on a Hermes Scarf. A unique video by Hermes shows the technique in detail!


Enjoy and share comments!

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