Saturday, August 16, 2014

New York, New York

Pleasure + Business;  A Fantastic Week in NYC

It has been years since I've been to New York, and with the excuse of a wholesale fabric show, family to visit and the Charles James show at the Met, Katherine and I packed up our black summer clothes and off we went.
So GOOD, such fun, SO much great fabric...we'll be back!

Where we stayed:  The William
Finding a place to stay can be daunting, but thanks to our friend Mathew, we discovered The William, once the club of Williams College, a double brownstone on 39th & Madison that was a perfect location, could walk to the garment district and easy to get uptown or downtown.  Small, and designed as an extended stay, so the room was spacious and had a kitchen.  I'd stay there again.
Family: we all love to shop
Our nieces are interested in fashion too and spent the day with us at the fabric show, helping in our selections, here we are buying Japanese cottons which will be available for early Spring.
Marissa on the far left, is a financial whiz, works for J Crew, and Madeline on the far right works for Blue Hill Restaurant, interns for Maria Conjeo Zero+ and is starting FIT in January.
They are both coming to Paris with us in November!
Walking the Garment District
Madeline took us on a tour of the garment district...she has gotten to know it via her internship.
Botani is the place for all things notions and findings.  
Chain for your Chanel jacket in all sizes and metal finishes.
Zippers in any color, weight, teeth color, pull tab, both in stock and to order.
Black dye by the vat.
Buttons galore.
We fell in love with the snap setting machines and the amazing sizes and designs of the snaps.

World Trade Center Memorial
Hard to put the feeling of this place into words.
It was an island of sober calm in the midst of the chaos of the city.
Walking the High Line

Dinner @ Blue Hill
Thanks to Madeline who works at Blue Hill, we had the VIP treatment and the meal of a lifetime.  Truly the best meal I have ever had, and I am picky picky picky.
Tucked in a side street in Greenwich Village, quietly elegant but not pretentious, it is all about the food and service and farm to table concept.  

ABC Kitchen
Another great meal was in one of the two restaurants on the ground floor of the big ABC Carpet and Home store.  I'd wanted to see this store, so it was perfect synchrony to spend an hour wandering the 5 floors and then have an early dinner.  Wonderful food and ambiance.
Snoop Shopping @ Kirna Zabete
Kirna Zabete, down in Soho has piqued my curiosity.  A concept clothing store owned by two women, it has a cutting edge fashion reputation, featuring upper end clothes by a curated stable of designers.  Fun to look.
Trends we spotted:  leopard and wild cat prints, mixing prints and patterns, sweat shirts.
Many of the designers had their version of sweat shirts....and for me, these were the best designed and most wearable garments in the store,  but at prices from $600 - $1000, not in the financial picture!
Studio visit to Maria Conjeo Zero +
Tucked away on a side street is the Zero + Maria Conjeo boutique which we visited, and Madeline had arranged for a studio visit a few doors down and up the stairs.
NYC real estate, the studio is small and packed to the gills.
I've been a long time fan of Maria Conjeo, and it was a thrill to see the studio.
Known as a designer's designer, Maria Conjeo produces her line in New York.  Her clients are artists, architects and women in design and business who appreciate her pared down minimalist aesthetic.
Mr Wong is the head sample maker.  Madeline says he is the best sewer in the world, that he can make anything.  He was sewing at warp speed but paused to give us a smile and a wave.
Mr. Wong's design table.
Madeline says that no one except Mr. Wong is allowed to put anything on his table!
The second design table in the studio with muslin mock ups and patterns in the background.
The space is small, but the company is growing and they had just leased more space next door.
Charles James Show
This magical show closed on August 10, so we just made it under the wire.
More thoughts and musings in a future blog.
This simple quote spoke to me.
Look who we ran into!
I noticed this pair from behind because of their great clothes, then realized it was blogger and sewist extraordinaire Peter Lappin from Male Pattern Boldness who introduced me to fellow blogger Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace blog.
Her sundress combined 2 prints in a masterful way, and his jacket was sewn from a vintage bed sheet.  We had a fun chat, then ran into them at lunch.
Visit to Vogue/McCall/Butterick Patterns
Here I am with the talented and wonderful Kathy Marrone, editor of Vogue Pattern Magazine.  More on our visit in a future blog.
We found such beautiful fabrics!
Wool coatings, denim, knits, panel prints, fall cottons, sweater-y knits, pant fabrics.
I am having a love affair with certain plaids and checks.
Colors, neutrals, a bazillion shades of gray.
Some very cool rainwear.
Know that I only buy fabrics I would work with myself.
Shipments coming every day.
I'm posting NEW FABRICS almost every day, keep checking the website.

In my studio I've just started sewing a dress prototype for a spring 2015 pattern which I am already loving even in a half finished state, a good thing!
Gwen Spencer is coming next week to work with me on samples for the pattern itself.
A little sewing and studio time makes me very happy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chic & Slouchy Pant: Vogue 9035

Vogue 9035:  The Pant
Straight leg pant, with center front and back seams, no side seams, has a shaping dart at the side where a side seam would be placed.  
Flat and smooth fitting at the waist & hip, with a shaped yoke and shaped waistband & fly front zipper.
The straight leg is nipped in at the hem with a clever origami fold.
The fold can be lightly pressed in for a soft effect, or firmly pressed and topstitched for a more crisp look.

The pant on the left is a soft poly crepe, with soft origami pleat.
The pant on the right is a worsted men's suiting with a crisp origami pleat.
On the left, soft pressed in pleat, on the right, the pleat is stitched down.
The fabric and your mood will dictate which to use.  
Line Drawings show stitched down pleats and soft pleats at the hem.
Topstitching is optional.
The center front and back seams are fitting seams.
If you alter the CF/CB seams, you'll need to alter the yoke and waistband too.

Stitched down pleats work well in crisp fabrics.
Soft pleats are good for softer fabrics.
My photos of the pants made for the pattern envelope.
Made especially for the photo on the pattern, these are cut 3-4 inches longer than the actual pattern because the models are so tall.
Lengthened in both crotch and leg.
A little secret worth knowing.
The taupe crepe pant.
Taupe crepe pant:
Detail showing the front yoke, waistband, fly zipper and topstitching.
Taupe crepe pant:
Detail showing the soft pleat.  
Gray menswear wool pant
Gray menswear wool pant origami detail...note that the pleat is stitched down.

Vogue 9035 Fitting & Construction Tips: 
I wrote the following instructions to go in the directions for this pattern, but the guidelines are good for any pant you might sew.
  • Tissue fit the pant, adding so the pant is large enough to go around.
  • I use just the main pieces (front, back & side) for tissue to get an estimate, though you can pin in the yoke and waistband if you want. 
  • Determine the best finished length...this is a good time to practice the origami fold.
  • I recommend waiting to cut the yoke and waistband until the final fit of the pant is determined.  That way if you add or subtract you can make the adjustment on the yoke/waistband to fit precisely.
  • I recommend machine basting the pant (or even just one side/ohe half of the pant) and try it on before you nail down all the seams.  I do this on every pair as the fabric can change the fit.
  • When once you are sure of the final fit, cut the yoke/waist band and sew.

If tissue fitting is not part of your design repertoire, I encourage you to start now and begin to become comfortable with this technique. This can be one of the most practical, time saving and creative parts of the design process. The results are instantaneous once you get it down. You can see what the finished garment will look like and visualize how it will look when worn with other pieces already in your wardrobe, and it’s a great time saver to recognize from the tissue version when you do NOT want to go any farther with a pattern.  Many/most fitting issues can be resolved by adjusting the pattern and doing a careful tissue fitting, then making the necessary adjustments AND continuing the fitting process as the garment is sewn.  Make changes in the pattern as you go, and keep notes of what you are doing.  Tissue fitting is simple to master. You’ll need a full length mirror, good lighting and time to  play and create.

WEARING EASE is the minimum amount of ease needed to go around the body so you can move and breathe. This is the amount given on the pattern measurement chart and on the basic pattern fitting sloper. 
DESIGN EASE is the amount added to give the garment its styling. You can analyze the amount of design ease in a garment by measuring the pattern at bust and hip, and comparing with the measurements for that size. Flat Pattern Measuring reveals this crucial info. 

Flat Pattern Measuring... 
is done in preparation for tissue fitting. Trim the pattern pieces along the cutting line.  You can leave some excess tissue at the waist and hip areas if you think you will need to add here.  Place the pattern pieces on the table as they will be sewn…side seams side by side etc. Measure the pattern pieces in your chosen size to make sure the pattern is large enough to go around at the hip and is a good length to your figure.  I use exiting pants in my wardrobe to compare the measurements at the waist, hip and length.

Using a tape measure, measure the main pattern pieces to check the amount of ease and to compare your measurements with the pattern. Do not include seam allowances,in these measurements. Measure for the hip at your fullest point from the waist. 

For example, If you are using a size 12 pattern, and your hip is 40”, the measurement for the pattern is 38”, a difference of 2”. You will need to add 2” of ease to get the fit and styling the designer intended. 
You can figure out how much ease is built into the pattern by measuring the pattern at the hip. If the pattern measures 44”, and the size 12 pattern hip is 38”, there is 6” of ease. If your hip measures 40”, you will want the finished garment to measure 46”. Some patterns mark the finished bust and hip measurements right on the pattern pieces. 

If you need to add extra width at the hip or waist, or lengthen or shorten, do so now.  I use scrap pattern tissue so the pattern is a similar weight.  

Place clear tape over the crotch curve on the tissue pattern and clip in the curved area every 1/2’ or so, up to the seam line so you don't tear the pattern when you try it on.  

Pin the altered pattern together
  • Make any pattern alterations you need so the pattern tissue is large enough to go around, is close to the correct crotch length and is close to the correct pant length.  
  • You want to get close to the fit and length you want before tissue fitting.  
  • Length is crucial on this pattern, can't be adjusted once the pant is cut. 
  • I use scrap pattern tissue to add width or length as it is the same weight as the pattern tissue and makes the tissue fitting process easier.
  • Pin the origami pleat at the hem in place.
  • Place pins along the seamline and with the seams and darts to the outside, facing out.  
  • Pin the entire pant together, including the waistband and yoke.  
Try on the pinned together tissue
  • Place a piece of elastic around your waist so you can see your waist placement line. 
  • Carefully try on the pinned together pattern over undergarments.  It is not a good idea to wear panty hose or tights as this changes the fit of the pant.  
  • Using a full length mirror and large hand mirror, assess the fit.
  • Make any necessary changes, then try again.  This can be an on/off operation, be patient!
  • Get as close as possible to a good fit, then cut.
Cutting/Fitting/Sewing Tips
  • Use 1” seam allowances on the back seam, ‘just in case’, making this your primary fitting seam.
  • As there is no side seam, on this design, it is recommended that you wait to cut the waistband and yoke until you have made any fitting refinements during sewing.  .
  • Wait to topstitch until you are sure the pant fits.
  • To assure that the fit is on target, machine baste the main pant pieces together (front/side/back), but NOT the yoke with the origami pleat in place.  This can be ½ of the pant or the entire thing.  I could get a good read on the fit without sewing in the yoke.  Basting makes it easy to alter, and if everything is right, you can simply stitch right over the basting with a regular length stitch and proceed as per the directions.  
The Origami Pleat
Form bottom pleat first:  See photos below
Transfer pleat markings to the front of the garment.  I use silk thread because it is quick and accurate, shows up clearly and is easy to remove.  
  • Follow the pleat diagram (I suggest practicing and working it out in paper as a test sample).  
  • The folds follow origami terminology, ‘mountain’ fold means an outward fold, and ‘valley’ fold means an inward fold.  
  • Press the mountain folds in place first, then press to match the corresponding lines and the valley folds will form themselves. 
  • Working from the right side, press the pleats in place, pressing each pleat so the two finish in a point as shown.  
  • Placing a pin into the ham at the point of the pleat holds the fabric in place while pressing.  
  • The valley folds will form naturally as the mountain folds are pressed into place.
  • I work over a ham because it raises up the section and is helpful in isolating the area to press.  Place the pleats into position and baste in place and continue with the construction of the pants.
Practice the folds in paper first.  
Mark the lines with silk thread so they show on the right side.
This little trick takes about 10 minutes and makes the pressing much easier.
Shows the markings using different color thread for the various lines.

Press the mountain folds in first
Working on a ham makes it easier.
Press to the point on these two mountain folds
Fold lines will meet in a V and look like this
A pin holds the fabric in place for touch up pressing.
Bring the fold over to the corresponding matching line.
Once all the folds are in pinned place as shown here, machine baste along the seam edges to secure.
The finished origami pleat looks like this.  

Marcy's Versions
Version #1
I made my first prototype using our mid weight  Vince Olive Stretch Cotton which worked well...and I know I'll wear olive drab pants forever.  I can wear it with the jacket as shown below, but these pants on their own are my equivalent of a jean...and I like this color worn with a black T, sweater or jacket ...of which I have many.
Read all about the jacket in my previous blog.

Version #2
This pattern was released in mid July with the Fall collection, but I wanted to experiment with making a cropped version for hot weather and for my upcoming NYC trip.
I used a gray/black printed cotton broadcloth,  our High Line, (sold out) to wear with the jacket in our Captain Midnight black linen.  
I wanted to try the pant in a cropped version with an elasticize pull on waist, eliminating the fly zipper, yoke and waistband by combining the two pattern pieces into one and cutting the front piece on the fold.  (see photos below)
I used a double layer of knit, our Tom Hanks Stripe for the yoke/waistband, chosen because the gray/black stripe is a good match for the woven fabric and because it has good stretch and recovery.  The 2 layers  of knit just seemed like a good idea, to give a bit more support.
To crop the pant, I shortened it by 5 inches just above the origami pleat.
It all worked!  I had to to a bit of pfutzing to make the yoke/waistband fit, so I tried it again in another fabric, see photos and notes below.  

Version #3
The second cropped version in our Pleatz fabric.  This is a poly microfiber that is permanently pleated, very smooth/silky and worked really well too.
I used a stretch woven, our Black Typewriter, for the yoke/waistband as it is the right weight and has a good stretch.   See yoke detail below.

Pattern Alterations to make a pull-on elastic waist pant

My prototype pattern has no seam allowances, but from this photo you can get the idea of how to cut the yoke pieces.  Center front and back are cut on the fold. I guessed at how much to add at the top based on the width of my elastic plus a little extra. 
Once the pants are finished, try them on.  I put 1" wide elastic fastened around my waist, then put on the pant and adjust the hang and yoke/waistband so it is way I want it, using the elastic to hold things in place.  
Use chalk to mark the bottom of the elastic.  
This is where the bottom of the elastic on the finished pant will sit.
In the photo above I am trimming to an even width before attaching the elastic.  The width of the elastic determines this width.

Click here to see the tutorial on my elastic waist technique.
Hidden Pockets
This pant does not have inseam pockets, but the pattern does include these hidden easy to make pockets which hang from the waistband and are sewn in place with the final stitching on the waistband

Made from a thin lining fabric, the pockets are invisible from the outside.
Hidden pockets on the inside of the pant.
Suggested Fabrics:
The pattern envelope lists linen, crepe and gabardine, but you could use other fabrics too;  stretch wovens, ponte & stable knits quilting cottons, denim.  The fabric should have some drape but not be too stiff.  
Anything in our Pant Fabrics website category.  
A natural in black:

Coming soon...
a collection of Italian stretch bengaline fabrics in fall dark colors that are perfect for either the pant or the jacket in this pattern.  
My new pants and linen jacket are in the suitcase and Katherine and I are off to Manhattan next week for fabric, family and fun.  
Follow our adventures on Facebook.
  Our Summer Sale is still in progress!
Shelley, Beth, Roxy and Diane are taking care of our wonderful customers and filling orders in the ArtBarn.

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Happy Summer, Happy Sewing from my studio to yours!