Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Celebrating Completion

Over the weekend I finished up one of my biggest ever projects for Vogue.
2 patterns:  A pair of shirts and a trio with 2 tunics and a T-Shirt.  Playing with a concept I've wanted to try, the collars and sleeves on the shirts are interchangeable, and the necklines and sleeves on the knits are too.
4 Shirts
7 Tunics & T-Shirts
(plus the 'test' versions of both I made for myself)
Fabrics chosen not only for photography but to have year 'round appeal.
To be released for late fall/holiday., & I can't wait to show you!

Once the package left my hands, preparations for my upcoming Paris/Italy adventure began in earnest.  
The first step is when Katherine and I have 'the great try-on', where we audition what goes in the suitcase.  Likely candidates are pulled out of the closet, put on a rack and we spend Sunday morning giving the thumbs up/down.
I've been craving paler colors and need a couple/few pair of pants.  Into my stash and back and forth to the ArtBarn to find the right fabrics and importantly, the right shade of gray to work with my tops....there are so many tones and hues...more than 50!
Settled on a pale gray cotton/lycra stretch woven...this a sure thing and a black and white tiny check in a puckered, poly a bit on the crisp side (not so sure if this would work).

These two patterns are tried and true, chosen to work with my existing tops/jackets etc.  The 'try-on' session revealed that a narrower more pared down silhouette worked best.
When I cut, I always add 1" along the side seams in addition to the existing seam allowance for insurance.  Important for the pale gray as light colors don't look good if they are too tight.  
Important for the crisp weight check woven too so they have the right amount of ease.
I want to keep the original narrow hem width, so shape the side seam during the final fitting.
Doesn't matter that I have made each style many times, each new pant demands thinking about the fabric, cutting with care and fitting as I sew. 

Completed the 2 pair in just over 24 hours!

The Patterns
 Vogue 8859
Vogue 8859
 Vogue 8929
Vogue 8929
The Pants

This fabric is from my stash.  I made a 2" hem so the bottom can be turned up when it gets warm.

The black and white checks is called Sophia, sold out for now, but my supplier is sending a couple more bolts, watch for it to be re-posted on the website soon.  This is a 'sleeper' fabric, will be great for travel.  
Pocket detail.
I used a plain black woven for the facings and fly pieces as multi layers of the textured check would be too thick.  The fabric pressed beautifully tho.

Up Next:
A darker gray pant and a light weight linen jacket....stay tuned.
I am officially VERY excited to be leaving for Paris in just 2 weeks, so there is still time for more sewing!

I've added a new fabric category to the website showcasing the quiet mostly neutral fabrics that are wardrobe workhorses like the pants shown here.  Check this category to seek out all the essentials for pants, tops/T's, jackets/vests etc that are good for layering, travel and every day in blacks, neutrals and colors too.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Girlfriend ArtBarn Visit

Girlfriend ArtBarn Visit
A group of dear friends came out for a visit yesterday.  
We met over the years at  Design Outside the Lines retreats, which Diane is now conducting and are life changing events.  
Kate, Gayle, Lisa, Jenny and Sarah were on a girlfriend road trip from Santa Cruz to Ashland.  They are spending 2 days working with Diane Ericson in her Ashland studio, and made the trek out to visit us and do do a bit of power fabric shopping.  

It was an over the top day that unfolded like this......
I love the ritual of setting the table and even sewed a new spring tablecloth from a wonderful Japanese cotton (NOT from our collection!)
Arrival in Kate's big vehicle.  We are 1 1/2 hours from Ashland, and they had a lot of laughter and conversation coming over....and some were surprised at how 'far out' we live.
The group had hit the Tuesday market in Ashland and brought flowers, bread and salad makings.
We had a tour of my upstairs studio (no photos), then had lunch.
We started shopping in the little building where the fabric is received and photographed as a big shipment arrived over the weekend.
Jenny and Sarah checking out fabrics.
Shopping the ArtBarn
Beth and Kate
Diane and Beth

Shelley pointing out fabric to Diane
Diane liked these linens for a shirt....which one looks better? ( she went with the one on the left).
I always like what Diane has, so I wanted some too.  (I went with the one on the right)
Gayle's stack ready to cut.
Gayle has a highly recommended blog. DO sign up to be on her blog e-mail list. 
Gayle and Jenny.
Sarah is a VERY good shopper, she kept finding hidden treasures.
Kate and Sarah...& they both love green.
Lisa writes a check.
Lisa's treasures all packed up.
Katherine took care of the $$ details (thank god, she is SO good at this!).
Tour of Katherine's studio included a look at her new patterns in progress and some trying on of sample garments.
Chanin moments
We all love the Alabama Chanin book and techniques.  Beth and Roxy have been doing a lot of this kind of sewing.  Katherine took a workshop and made beautiful pillows.  I am fascinated by it.  Kate had gone to Alabama for a 5 day workshop and shared some of the pieces she purchased.  We all examined them and oohed and aahhed over them.
Persimmon dress...simple, pieced, wonderful!

Kate shows Diane F (our newest staff member) the dress up close.
Beth went up to the house and brought back Nancy Murakami's amazing Chanin dress and jacket (on loan to me to photograph).  Lisa and Sarah examine it with Beth.  Beth (an expert basket maker in her past), knows all about the stitches and threads....her pieces are stunning too.
Diane and Shelley took a close look at Nancy Murakami's jacket.  
Diane Floyd and Shelley examine Kate's simple black T. 
It is a single layer reverse appliqué done in a back stitch using embroidery thread.

The back side.
The outside.  Backstitch on the appliqué, 'fancy' stitch on the bands.
I WANT one of these....must make!
Kate wearing the basic black T.
L to R:  Kate, Diane, Marcy, Katherine, Gayle, Jenny
Sarah and Lisa went back for one more bolt of fabric.
Car packed....good thing it is a BIG vehicle!
Vasco hates shopping, but loves being part of the gang. 

Coming to Shop at the ArtBarn
If you are going to be in our remote Southern Oregon neighborhood and want to come shop, please make an appointment at least 3 weeks in advance.  Plan your visit on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday after 1.  
Please make arrangements directly with our stellar ArtBarn staff.
e-mail is best, that way we have an electronic record.
Katherine and I travel a lot, so we can't promise a visit to our studios.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fabric Buying with the Tiltons

Las Vegas/LA and Home Again
The show floor
In four action packed, fun and sometimes intense days of buying fabric, accompanied by Katherine and our 20 something nieces Madeline and Jessica Tilton, we bought a record amount of fabric both for the season ahead and some treasures to put away until fall.
Thanks to all the Facebook friends who made requests, we found almost everything you asked for (except the orange corduroy and red velvet).
Jessica, Madeline and Katherine
Jessica and Madeline are both involved in fashion pursuits.
Jessica lives in Minneapolis and works for Ina Grau, a start up company that makes hand made shoes.  She also takes sewing and fashion related classes and is considering taking a weaving class in the fall.

Madeline lives in Brooklyn, works in Manhattan, attends night classes at FIT and is interning for Maria Cornejo/Zero+ (when we did a bit of snoop shopping at Barney's we found the Zero+ line for sale, and it is beautiful)

Both Jessica and Madeline sew, have come to Paris with us and we were delighted that they wanted to join us for the show and wanted their perspective on the fabrics.  Their older sister, Marissa, just went to work for J Crew and we're hoping she'll join us too some day.
Madeline and Jessica want to come again and are planning a summer vacation with us in Oregon in our studios sewing together.
When we all sat down to look at a line of fabrics and choose, it showed up from the start that we all pretty much said 'yes' and 'no' to the same fabrics....the Tilton taste seems to cross generations.
When you buy the last of the available fabric the vendor gives you the swatch.  Madeline organized the swatches in a neat pile. I think that Maria Conjeo is lucky to have her on board as an intern!
Madeline, Marcy and Katherine choosing fabrics.  The owner of this company (in the yellow shirt) is full of enthusiasm for developing new textiles and we followed his lead in selecting new things.  Madeline and Jessica got great textile lessons from the suppliers....they all love and know fabrics and the firms are often family owned over generations.
We found some GREAT rain coating here!
Each supplier's booth is different, but in all cases, we choose the fabric from swatches, and each booth has hundreds to choose from.  
Booths look like this.  In some cases, buyers sit in the chairs and the vendor brings stacks of fabric swatches to sort through.  

Some booths have more elaborate displays.  This fabric grabbed our is a Japanese double weave cotton.  We LOVE these Japanese fabrics and so do our customers.
We bought some of this fabric too!
Marcy and Katherine choosing which Japanese cottons to buy.
 After 3 days in Las Vegas, Katherine and I said goodbye to Jessica and Madeline and headed to LA for a day for a bit more fabric buying.  Shipments are coming starting next week.

 The Fabrics
Just a glimpse of things to come...

Summer prints from France

Blue tones.  Quilted knit, French cotton, printed linen.

Digital prints in silk and cotton from France
Lovely jewel tone cotton jacquards. 
French knit, Italian silk/lycra knit, Italian denim from Cavalli 
Crinkled checks (2 strong trends in one fabric), French jacquard, burgundy stretch woven in a moire pattern from Diane von Furstenburg
Stretch jacquard denim and double sided knit
Printed French linen, crinkled check, linen gauze.
(I am having a love affair with checks this spring!)
Loving shades of purple.

Back home in the studio....
I'm working on prototypes for 2 upcoming Vogue patterns, a shirt duo and a T-shirt/tunic  pattern, fun to switch back and forth between knits and wovens.  One day I work on a shirt, then switch to a knit top.  In both patterns the sleeves and necklines or collars are interchangeable. 
....getting ready for Paris, so my prototypes are Paris-friendly!

What are YOU sewing for spring?