Friday, October 19, 2012

Who is afraid of the Crater Sleeve?

I think I can already reveal a small detail of my Burdastyle Couture Challenge project before the entire post goes up on their site next week. While you know that I wanted to focus on the sleeve of this top, I haven't mentioned that one of my intentions was to try the Crater Sleeve from Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic.


It didn't quite work.

I tried six muslin sleeves and one in the fashion fabric. I increased ease, reduced ease, made in on straight grain and on bias grain, until it has become clear that the sleeve drafted as in Nakamichi's book would only work with loosely woven spongy fabric. I was working in wool satin, which turned out to be as challenging as wool gabardine - difficult to press and difficult to manipulate.

It was just the top portion of the sleeve that would not fold in properly. I will be posting photographs later, because I want to get try this sleeve in another fabric. I spent two full days redrafting the sleeve, each time better then before, but it was still not perfect. Susan Khalje helped me with improvements during the last week's couture class in Baltimore and I think we were going in the right direction. Finally, having time constraints and another project to work on, I decided to draft and make a different sleeve. It looks similar to the crater sleeve but is easier to make. I like the look, and next week I will blog about the result here and on Burdastyle sharing some how-to tips.

As for the crater sleeve, let me know if you have seen any successful attempts to recreate it - I would love to see what fabric was used and how the sleeve 'crater' was stabilized at the cap.  Maybe you want to try it yourself?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Finished project: Paisley Jacket

When I entered Mood few weeks ago I knew I wanted to make a tailored skirt. Quick look in tweeds and suitings, and I found a perfect match for the style. But so it happens that I can never just buy fabric without exploring the store, in the quest for those one-of-a-kind designer pieces you probably won't find anywhere else. I really hoped this time there was nothing that would distruct me from that perfect skirt I conceived in my mind...

When one of the Mood employees asked me whether he could help me with anything, I mumbled 'Er, paisley?' Why did I say paisley? I have no idea. Maybe it was Fall 2012 collection by Etro that I loved? Or the earlier Etro collections?
..."We have something," I was told. "Possibly, Etro." Here - my skirt dreams, fading away, rapidly. Fifteen minutes later and I was walking out of Mood as a proud owner of three yards of this gorgeous fabric.

I was not sure what I was going to make with it. It is a medium to heavy weight and is perfectly suitable for jackets or coats. The large-scale pattern itself is quite prominent, so it was important to keep the style as simple as possible, with minimum design elements. At the end I decided to make a simple cropped jacket with a three-quarters sleeve.

I am quite happy with the outcome. Matching and tailoring took longer than expected, but at the end I had my perfect wardrobe staple that I could wear with my favorite black pants or jeans.

By the way, couple of days ago I passed by Mood again and saw the bolt with my paisley fabric. I thought it would actually make a great winter stole, lined with silk, or contrasting wool...

This project was made using my Mood Sewing Network allowance. The fabric was purchased at the NYC store. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sleeves, glorious sleeves!

There is no better way to end a (forced) blog quarantine than with a healthy dose of trends, readers. And the predominating topic of this month's posts will be sleeves, so I plan.

Now, New York Times' Ruth La Ferla claims that sleeves are experiencing a serious comeback as documented in major designers spring collections.
"From the look of the spring shows last month, fashion has had a wake-up call. Designers who routinely cater to stringy adolescents, or parade arm-baring sheaths that only Michelle Obama could love, suddenly seemed to get that their most devoted clients — women well over 40 with upscale tastes and incomes to match — view the first lady’s biceps with serious pangs of envy."
I am not well over 40, but starting to realize that Madame Obama's biceps are indeed an enviable exception. So, whether it's the influence of sleeve-sporting Duchess of Cambridge or the 'Homeland' heroine - I don't care. At some point, we all know the advantage of it. Long live the sleeve!

And since, as we know, a picture is worth a thousand words, let's have a quick glimpse at some of the featured styles:

Altuzarra's hybrid cape-and-sleeve trench coat
sleeves draped and fitted at the wrist at Celine
casual rolled-up sleeve at Dries van Noten
Mod sleeves at Louis Vuitton
There is much more, here: skinny sleeves, half sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, bell sleeves, trumpet sleeves, cap sleeves, quilted sleeves, appliqué sleeves, lace sleeves - you name it. The type is not important, but the mere prevalence of the sleeve as such. Just in time for some hard core sleeve drafting

I swear, I could feel that! My most recent Burdastyle project features an interesting specimen of the sleeve family, but more about it later ;) ...all I can say now is 'Cardin'.


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