Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Felted Fit's First Fitting

Wow say that 10 times fast!  Well I guess its not that tricky on the tongue.

I am happy to announce that I had my very first initial fitting for A Felted Fit this week!  My good friend and former roommate Michelle is going to a Neurology Conference in Arizona at the end of the month and wants me to make her a dress.  Color me flattered.

Michelle wants the Rose Hi-Low dress in a deep eggplant color.  She stopped by the other day to try on the the Rose Hi-Low dress and I took some basic measurements.

I just had to share a photo of her in the dress, doesn't she look beautiful!

This dress fits her pretty well so I will be making some minor adjustments while making hers.  But I just love how the diamond shapes hit her perfectly along her natural waist.

It was really exciting for me to see the dress on someone else and watch her move around in it.  So thank you Michelle for my first custom order:)

Are you in the Portland area and looking for a unique custom made dress? 
Contact me and lets talk!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Outfitted: A Great Outfit Can Make All The Difference!

Lately I have really enjoyed the small reasons to leave the house and travel out into the world, but even more, I have enjoyed dressing for the occasion.

Today I had this great feeling when I left the house of feeling like ME, and a lot of it was because of my outfit!  So I wanted to share it here since I believe this is what dressing is all about, and this is what the power of clothing can do.

It felt great to be wearing an Alabama Chanin skirt I made last summer paired with the blouse for my thesis A Felted Fit.  It was a handmade winning combination.

* I accessorized with my new favorite scarf from Anthropologie, some cute textured tights, and one of my favorite pairs of boots.*

Have you had a great day because of what you were wearing, or just worn an outfit you felt really expressed who you are?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Advanced Style Video...Yes Please!

I am so excited that Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style is making a film of all the wonderful Advance Style Ladies!  I am so inspired every time I watch one of these videos, or read a new blog post!

These women inspire me to not only dress each day for myself, but also help inspire me to create unique one-of-a-kind garments.

If you haven't already go check out the blog, it is amazing.

Here is a teaser trailer, enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bad Girl...

It has taken me way too long to post about my final garments for my thesis.  I created several garments made to fit me that expressed my own individuality as a person, using natural materials and ancient surface design techniques such as felting and shibori.  Clothing should be comfortable and express who you are as a person.  This was my attempt to test out a way to make unique clothing for people using techniques that I fell in love with throughout my time in graduate school.
All of these garments were created using a seamless felting technique to join fabrics and seams without the use of sewing.

If you have any questions about these garments, or are interested in having a custom garment made for you, please do not hesitate to contact me!  I love hearing from people:)

So without further ado, here they are!

Here they all are in our show space in downtown Portland.

I created this dress from two rectangles of fabric, one a silk chiffon, and the other a silk crepe.  This dress was hand felted around the waist and neckline creating a seamlessly felted garment that closes with buttons in the back.  The dress was then garment dyed using the Arashi Shibori technique (which is the process of wrapping the fabric around a pole and scrunching it down and securing it before dyeing) in indigo.  I think this dress is my favorite, if I had to choose one:)

This is the reverse side of the dress
The reverse side of this dress is just as beautiful as the right side.  I created shank buttons for this dress to make it possible to be worn either way.
Button Detail
The buttons have been covered in the same silk fabric and dyed in indigo.  There are also two button closures at the waist.

These two photos show the results of the arashi resist technique.  I love how the resist came out on the hemline, and the neckline shows such a clear resist from where I secured the dress to the pole with a cotton cord.

The Park Skirt, detail
This is a detail shot of the grey blouse and skirt ensemble.  The hand embroidery details were added before dyeing and after felting.  Then the skirt was overdyed in grey and the bottom half was dipped in green.  I just love how the transition of green to grey came out.  I spent a lot of time mixing colors to get the perfect grey and green colors, and am happy I did as they turned out exactly as I had envisioned!  I have actually worn this skirt a lot this summer, it has proven to be a great piece that can be dressed up or down.

Grey Blouse, side closure detail
 This is the blouse that was dipped in the same grey color as the skirt and love how well they went together even though they were two very different types of silk. The top has the sheen of the crepe while the skirt has a more matte finish on the silk dobby.

High-Low Dress, hem detail
This is the dress I wore to my graduation, I loved how the color looked with my bright red hair:)  This dress was done in the same fashion as the other, but with some changes in the neckline, waist and hemline.  For this dress I did an all over ombre dye and then pole wrapped just the hemline.

High-Low Dress, closure detail
For this dress I used some vintage glass buttons I had and just love how they look with the softness of this coral color.

I am really excited about how they all came out, and am now getting started on creating some new garments in my new home studio:)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Dyed It!

Last week I finally decided to dye my first felted skirt.  I dyed the whole skirt in a light silver grey, then used shibori techniques of folding, rolling and wrapping to create the diagonal lines of blue.  I really like how it came out, but for some reason it still felt unfinished, like it needed another dip or another color, or just...something.

 At the risk of going too far I decided to hold off on doing anything else to it.

Today I thought it would be a good idea to wear it and see how I felt about it.

I think I am going to have to wear it a few more times in order to know whether it is finished or not.  And the great thing is I can always go back and dye it again:)

I have been thinking a lot lately about what a classifies a garment as being "finished" is it perfectly rolled hems, straight un-frayed edges, adding color or being dyed?  This skirt will be a good test for that very question.

Lately I am in love with the organically shaped edges that felting creates and the beautiful slightly frayed edges of the silk.  

What do you think classifies a garment as being finished?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's All About The Duct Tape Bodice...

A few weeks ago I asked some fellow Applied Craft and Design classmates (and good friends) to duct tape my body.  That's right, I asked them to wrap me in duct tape:)

Lately I have been thinking about another way to express the struggle and conflict that we as people have between wanting to fit in and wanting to express our individuality.  This concept being at the core of my practicum project.  I was longing to make something more artistic, less wearable, and free myself from the confines of making a garment.

The idea is still brewing but so far it requires a replica of my bodice from my neck to my hips, which led to making a duct tape bodice!  Thanks to a couple of friends, 2 rolls of duct tape, some saran wrap and a camera, it made for a good time and a lot of laughs.  And thanks to the camera I can share the silliness with you:)

Saran Wrap layer done, time for duct tape.
"Does this look as ridiculous as it feels?"

A little groping never hurt anyone:)
The result.

If you want to see how I got out of this predicament, check out my facebook page for "the cutting" phase, and some more silly photos from this process. 

Stay tuned, next time I will be giving an update on my latest garments, yay!
And of course I will be sharing more about what kind of project requires a duct tape bodice:)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth!

Detail of the hand embroidery on one of my latest skirts.

Just thought I would give you a teaser photo of one of my latest skirts in process.  I will be posting an update soon of all my latest garments, but until then I have a little side story to share:)

Oh Facebook.   Although it can be a complete time suck for me at times, there are other times when I stumble upon things that are really interesting or inspirational to what I am working on.  I enjoy searching Facebook for these tiny tidbits of the world I would have otherwise never seen or known about.  Even though it may take many, many, many hours of procrastination and dilly dallying to find them.

Just the other week Facebook paid off.  Big Time!
Someone just happened to post a video of a woman talking about how she packs.  I decided to watch it, because, well, I just had the time to watch a few minutes of a video, and no one else was posting anything more interesting. 

After watching the video for about a minute my interest was peaked.  This woman Tziporah Salamon, was talking about "dressing" and how she loved to "dress" everyday.  And described an outfit like a piece of art work.  She compared her clothing, hats and accessories as paints, and the act of putting an outfit together as painting.  This lady is speaking my language!!  After watching the video 3 more times I decided to find out where this video came from and who this woman was, I needed to know her:)

My search led me to Advanced Style, a blog by Ari Seth Cohen where he photographs and interviews "advanced" (older) men and women about their personal style and the difference between fashion and style.  WHAT!?  I was in LOVE instantly!  I soon found my way to all the other amazing videos Ari Seth Cohen has on Advanced Style and was completely smitten;)  These women were talking about the very thing I have been trying to tell everyone here in the program.

"Clothing matters, and it has an impact on everyone you encounter." 
"You can have fun with your clothes." 
"Don't let fashion magazines and trendy stores tell you what you should wear or what you should look like." 
"Everyone can find their own personal style with a little help." 
"Clothing is fun!". 

I feel like I have been trying to articulate these thoughts and feelings for the past year and a half and it was so liberating and inspiring to hear all of these amazing women (they are indeed amazing, you too will fall in love with them after watching the videos) speaking about the very things I was so passionate about.

Although I adore all of these women, I think that Illona Smithkin, and Lynn Dell are my favorites.  Illona is a now, 91 year old woman who makes her own eyelashes from her very own vibrant hair!  Lynn Dell has one of my favorite quotes from all of the videos..."Fashion says me too, style says only me."  She just took those words right out of my mouth, I could not have said it better myself.  This quote will be shared for many years to come, and is at the heart of my practicum project.

If you are curious about why exactly I am making these garments and what my project is all about, check out these two Advanced Style videos I've posted below.  They should be a good introduction into the concept for my garments.

And if this post has peaked your interest I strongly urge you to head over to Advanced Style to meet some of these amazing women, and admire the work of Ari Seth Cohen.  He has a book coming out this May, that is available for pre-order on amazon.

Till next time! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All Dyed Up!

Felted blouse in the dye pot.
I was really excited to dye my blouse, I was actually beginning not to like it much and was sceptical it was because it was lacking in color.  It just felt blah.  So into the dye pot it went and now I love it again:)  I really am a sucker for color.
I think it turned out magnificent!

Shoulder/Sleeve Detail, Love!

I was also really excited that I was able to mix a color and match it to the color palette I was looking at, recognize this beautiful periwinkle color from a certain photo below?

And since I can never just dye one thing, I did a little more mixing of colors and threw a few more things in dye pots:)
This first one is a piece of scrap cotton gauze with a few pieces of scrap silk felted into it.  That's one piece of fabric with 3 different fibers in it, which means when I throw it in the dye pot, you get 3 different colors, I love that!

felted cotton and silk yardage fabric
And this was the result.  The cotton stayed white since I was using acid dyes, so only the silk and wool reacted and took the dye, a very cool result.
full piece of fabric right out of the dye pot

the white sections are the cotton gauze, the maroon cranberry color is the wool, and the brown is the silk

Love the contrast in colors and textures!
If I had used natural dyes all of the fibers would have taken up the dye and the resulting colors would have all been different.  Amazing!

I also tried a little Shibori.  I did the Arashi pole wrapping method (which has become one of my favorite Shibori techniques) with a large piece of silk chiffon, ooooohhhh la la.

There is something so magical about using Shibori techniques with dyeing.  You have a general idea of what will come out, but you just never know till you unwrap it.  Needless to say it is always a beautiful result.

Here is the finished result draped on the dress form.  Looks like this piece will be turning into a lovely skirt.
Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blouse Continued + Shibori and Color Inspiration

She has a waist!
Now that I have the side seams and front mostly felted on my first blouse, its coming together quite nicely!
So far the fit seems good at the waist and front, so now I have to figure out the back and how to make that come together for a nice fit all the way around the waist.

Below is an upside down shot of the back now.  I love the way it looks as is, but am not really sure how it will look once its felted.  I kind of like how the silk looks all bunched and gathered but dont think I can keep that aesthetic with the felting.  Guess we'll see!

Shibori and Color Inspiration:
Yep it's time to start thinking COLOR, my favorite part!  I was doing an image search for Shibori the other day looking for some inspiration and found these beauties.

Shibori Borealis- by Margo

I found this lovely piece on the blog Her Majesty Margo who does some really amazing surface design with felt and fabric!
I love how the colors all blend and flow into each other, very reminiscent of water colors.  I am also really attracted to those shades of green lately, so beautiful!

Folded Currents - by Holly Brackmann

This piece really caught my eye, I wasn't even certain it was fabric.  I found this amazing piece from Holly Brackmann's website, make sure to check out the detail shot, incredible!

Although both pieces seem quite different, they both use similar colors to the color palettes I have been looking at lately for my practicum project.  I found these babies off of pintrest and just cant stop starring at them!

Love these for bursts of bright accents!
And I love these for neutrals!

It's almost time for me to throw the blouse in the dye pot...wonder which of these colors it will come out looking like...?
Guess you'll just have to stay tuned to find out:)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making Garments

*Haven't been here for awhile, no excuses, no apologies, just getting back on the train*

Making Garments - that is what my practicum is all about.

My goal is to make beautiful feminine garments using silk, cotton, and wool.  Using the wool fibers and the laminate felting process to join fabrics and seams, I will be sewing very little of the garments together, and using up all of the fabric without any left over scraps.

After working on some swatches last week, tonight was my first go at making a blouse using these techniques and restrictions.  And I must say I am extremely happy with the results!  The blouse is by no means finished, I have only fitted and felted the shoulders and sleeves, but I will be finishing the design of the blouse tomorrow morning.

Here are some photos of the process and what I've got so far...

This is the rectangle of fabric I started with and cut a diamond shape out of the center to create the front and back neck-line.

This is the beginning of the sleeve.

I first needle felt the wool fibers into the layers of silk I want to join.  This is to help get the felting started, and to lessen the amount of time I need to wet felt the garment.

This is what it looked like after being needle felted, but before being wet felted.

Detail of the sleeve before wet felting.

Sleeve Detail

Ready for wet felting!

Here is the result after wet felting, I am so excited it turned out exactly as I have envisioned it in my head.  A great feeling of accomplishment!
Here it is all wet felted! 

Sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

 Now my head is swimming with ideas of how to finish the blouse!  Is the closure on the side, or the front? A nice invisible zipper?  Does one side come over and cross in the front with a nice hook and eye or button?  How do I close up the side seams?  Keep them symmetrical, or go crazy?  How will I ever decide!

How would you finish this garment, how do you see it in its final design?  I would love to hear what you think in the comments below:)