Friday, October 24, 2014

The Paris Coat

As usual, I've been collecting random photos of Paris windows.
The French call window shopping, 'leche vitrine', which translates to 'window licking'.
The Paris Coat is the theme that emerged, so here goes, in loose groupings, hope you get some sewing and design ideas!

Double Weave Cashmere 
In the window at Max Mara.
Impeccable sewing, the coats are fully reversible.
Pale pink and cream.
Notice the edges.  Traditionally this would be done by hand.  The double weave is separated at the edges and at the seams, then folded under and slipstitched invisibly.
I am guessing that there is a machine that does this, but still it involves a LOT of hand manipulation

The orange and pink version.
Orange is a big color trend this season

At Kenzo, a bit bizarre, but interesting...zippers and an open portion shows what is worn underneath.
Orange at Chanel with a printed silk lining.
Melton cashmere in 3 color ways.  
The French love fur at all levels, the real thing and the frankly fake.
Fake....I like this one, it is in the windows of a chain shop and I stop to admire when we walk past.
Katherine winces!
Tres 'Madame'
....very ladylike.


The Chic Fashion Army Coat
One of the hot trend items for several seasons, available at high and low prices.  I see this everywhere on the street, men, women, children.  We checked one out at Zara for 130 euros, complete with removable lining.
I like it!
Lined with real fox fur.
Lined with frankly fake fur.

Chanel and Chanel-esque
Yohji Yamamoto does Chanel

Small French designer does Chanel
Bona fide Chanel 
Real Chanel
Real Deal
Cool sleeve....note the matching/co-ordinating blouse.
The Moto Jacket
....versions of this are everywhere and at all prices and qualities for women, men, children.
Here a couple of versions that have grown into coats

At Gaultier (who has a small boutique)
At Zara
Herringbone Poncho

Beautiful Tailoring

The Trench
I like this version with leather sleeves and details
THE coat of the season
is collarless, very simple, seeing it at all prices, qualities, fabrications
At Longchamps.
This odd color green is very new and forward this season

At Zara

The Artful Coat
My personal favorite at Balenciaga with insets of color and a red zipper pocket

At Valentino, a masterpiece of design and construction

Each piece is inset

It is impeccable, but not perfect, you can see the variations in the cloth.
At Gautier, a sleeveless tailored vest.
The sweatshirt underneath is a classic gray sweatshirt which is machine stitched in the drawing of a face.

Our first Paris tour group is arriving.  Today some of them are at a cooking class, and tomorrow the week begins officially, so blogging may slow down a bit...the days are packed with activities!
I am posting NEW FABRICS nearly every day, so check the site.
The fabulous ArtBarn team is on hand to ship orders and woman the phone lines back home.

continues with new postings every day to the end

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sewn Paris Wardrobe

The Paris Coat
Sewing for Paris is a semi-annual ritual.
It always starts with the coat.  
The other pieces must work with and layer under the coat.
For Paris, in spring and fall, it must be a raincoat, that folds flat and can be stuffed in the backpack or tote in case the weather changes....which it does all the time.
Vogue 9070 is the coat I took to Paris last spring and brought with me again this fall.
This was the first prototype I made for the pattern, where I start from square one, figure out the order of construction, which sewing techniques to use and tweak the fit.  I used a sample cut from my stash,  a black lightly crinkled nylon/poly blend rainwear.
I love this coat!  It is smooth, so slides on and off easily, roomy enough so a sweater or jacket slides on under it, it is not too long, so it does not catch when going up steps, works well buttoned or unbuttoned, has a collar that can be worn open or buttoned up and has space for a scarf.  
Wearing the coat in Paris last spring.

Buttoned up, the coat forms soft folds
Pocket details.  VERY cool instructions for a perfect patch pocket are included in the pattern and will be featured in an article in the upcoming Vogue Pattern magazine.
The photo is lightened to show the details and fabric texture.
The drawstring at the hem makes  a sculptural bell shape.
The Jacket
I cobbled together this jacket from a self drafted pattern using details from out of print patterns, unrecognizable elements from future patterns and bits from favorite no pattern is available for this one, it was my birthday present to myself, could not repeat it.  A  reminder of why I love to sew! This was go-slo designing and sewing, I put it together making it up as I went along, just for the pleasure seeing what would happen, with no attachment to the outcome.  This time it worked, taking a few wrong turns along the way....had to re-do the collar twice.

Did you know that when you are flying in an airplane, the plane is going in the wrong direction 90% of the time?  The pilot uses a gizmo called a trim tab (also found on sailboats), that make regular small corrections to get back on track.
Sewing is like that.
This jacket was like that!
Thanks to Katherine for her invaluable help in making design corrections during this project.
Thus far, the Paris weather is so warm, wearing the jacket is out of the question, so I am hoping for cool fall weather soon! 
The fabric is our Patently Dotty Wool Blend, back in stock, I ordered the last remaining yardage from the supplier. This is one of those oddball new textiles and I described it this way on the site:
Fabulous black on black double weave matte/satin suiting from an Italian mill. The face/right side is a heather black/dark charcoal with evenly spaced ⅝" woven in dots reversing to pure black silky patent leather light lining weight with matte wool dots so you can use both sides and the reverse can act as a lining. The fabric is a double weave connected together at the dots; the face is a lightweight wool challis, the reverse is a china silk/lining weight....together the result has a lightly airy drape. The weight is perfect for a jacket, coat or vest which you would not have to line as the back side is smooth and silky. In a word...fabulous! 
18% wool, 42% poly, 40% acrylic 

I used the collar from out of print shirt pattern Vogue 8709.
Sewing tip:  the collar should measure the same as the neck, measuring along the seam line, a general rule that is helpful in plugging a collar in from another pattern.
I made the first collar too high, basted it in, tore it out, cut another that was a better scale.
The collar as shown on the original pattern

The Tunic T-Shirts
I made a batch of Tunic-y T-shirty tops to layer under the jacket, using Vogue 9057

Versions 1, 2 & 3 use view D/E
These versions nest under the jacket, work with the pants AND work well with skirt, Vogue 9060
Version #1  In our Black on Black Herringbone Printed Ponte 
This is a light weight ponte, printed in a slightly over-scaled black herringbone, so the effect is subtle, adding a touch of texture. The base fabric has a smooth, cool, dry hand and lovely drape.  
Super easy to work with!

The fabric has a bit of loft, so I went with that and made the neckband a double layer wraparound neckband....4 layers of fabric in the neck.
Version #2 in our Gray Houndstooth Ponte

Mid toned steel gray ponte printed in black houndstooth check. Light/mid weight double knit ponte has a supple drape and cool dry soft hand, crosswise stretch (and a bit of lengthwise stretch too), and no rolling at the cut edge.  Not too heavy, not too light, very easy to sew.
Accented with our Violet and Gray Stripe Knit
because I am craving these oddball off tones and shades of purple this fall, having fun combining prints and patterns....bought purple boots yesterday.

I pieced together the neckband using a wraparound neck binding, wanted just a shot of color at the neck, but to keep the neckline plain to nest under the jacket, vests and sweaters.
The hem edge is faced with the stripe so it can be rolled up. 
When the sleeve is full length it looks like this, just a bit of the stripe shows.
 Version #3:  
Plain basic black in our Prime Time Black Rayon/Lycra Jersey
The website describes it this way:  Basic black jersey in a superb quality from an upscale southern Ca designer. The mid weight has a liquid drape and buttery soft hand with a 4 way stretch and hardly any rolling at the cut edge. Just the weight, hand and quality I seek for my own basic black T's and tunics. 

The binding is twisted, with the twists placed asymmetrically.
Instructions are in the pattern
Version #4 
uses View C in a black on black from my stash. 
This was my very first prototype of the pattern.

The neckband is a single layer of contrast knit using the selvedge edge.

The Pants:  Vogue 8859
My favorite go-to pants pattern.  Once the fitting tweaks are done, the sewing is fast.
  I must have 10 pair, could wear these every day.
For this trip I made 2 pair.  The photo is so-so, but the pants are very good!
The fabrics:
On the left, Boss Velvety Houndstooth, from Hugo Boss, a fabulous beefy black ponte printed with black velvet houndstooth. Soft to the touch, yet stable, with crosswise stretch, just a bit of lengthwise stretch, perfect for this pant.  On the right, a blend called Black 3007, part of a small collection of black stretch wovens from a renowned SF designer just posted in New Fabrics.  All are great quality from Japanese and Italian mills. 

More reports coming from Paris soon, stay tuned......
Celebrating the cool weather that just arrived here this morning, I've added a fabulous grouping of French and Italian wools to our FALL SALE, which, like all good things, will come to an end soon.