Tomorrow is my first popup shop in the studio! Terribly last minute, it was last weekend the I realized the month was almost done a we hadn’t done our monthly popup. After a quick check to see if anyone else was interested, Ed and I landed on tomorrow (March 25) as the day. Needless to say I have spent the last week frantically trying to build some amount of stock to have on had and forgot to properly advertise.
Here hoping I’m not the only one there.
(for the record the address is 980 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, Ca – Building 4, studio 55)
Hang-ten coverup set up for photography need for the Brook Knoll Elementary Auction
Finally have my machines moved in
Studio split with chalkboard
Bookcase from my lovely former studio neighbour waiting to be painted
Sewing area with Lynn’s stencilled table
Future drafting area once I get a table
The directory! There weren’t enough letter to spell my whole name
Building 4, aka The Quonset Hut, aka the Q-Hut
Today I finally moved my sewing machines into the studio. Now it feels like I’m really moved in.
It has taken a lot of work to get this far. When I first called about the space and they said it had no roof I went to see it totally expecting not to take it. Although I was happy to find that it wasn’t open to the elements, it was dark, dirty and neglected. I could tell though with a little work it could be really good and after some deliberation ended up taking it. (My landlord promising to install new lights and make modifications, helped my decision).
The artist in the space before me was a welder and primarily used the space for storage since he did all his welding outside for fire safety reasons, hence the neglect. In fact he never even put his name on the door, merely covering over the previous tenants name with painters tape. He did kindly leave some nice flower pots and such behind making our little courtyard even nicer. The artist before him used the space as a gallery and installed the wall, originally a T shape. One of her painting tags is still taped to the closets wall, I think I’ll likely keep it there.
After moving in I painted all but the back and exterior wall (due to water damage), cleaned (they changed colour when I did) and painted the floor. I built the clothing rack out of plumbing parts from Ace using this tutorial. I added chalkboard paint to the edge of the divider wall for note taking and added the head on the door. My lovely neighbour Lynn moved out in February and left me a bookcase and a hand stencilled table. Slowly the space has come together though there are always projects to do.
Exciting things to come! This year I moved into my our studio space at the 17 Avenue Studios in Santa Cruz. Building 4, the Q-hut, will be having pop-up open studio shops monthly so many new projects are on their way!
I am making progress! Even if I haven’t managed to get my tutorial out yet (just need to finish testing). The next set of patterns are graded and are staring testing so here is a sneak peek at the Parkette Top and Mini Me Parkette Top.
The Parkette Top is based on the Park Top but with shorter sleeves and clean finish neckline and the Mini Me version will fit sizes 3 months to kids size 8.
So with out further ado, a quick pic of the first sample.
I am working on some new stuff! First up is a Two in One Dress/Skirt tutorial, perfect for warm weather. I am also expanding the Park Top family with two new styles; Parkette and Angel Wing Parkette. Based on the Park Top they share the same fit but with shorter sleeves. To make it even more fun I’m releasing Mini Me versions for kids too.
Hoping to get the tutorial out this week! (Sneak peek at the new top then too!)
I am sporadic at best in posting but I did want to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.
A quick update: The last few months have been very busy full of birthdays, holidays, and family visits. Most recently we have begun to prepare for a 2 week trip home for Christmas at the same time packing and getting ready to move house starting the day after we return. The studio is already packed so all I’ve been able to work on is my knitting. The move will hopefully help me get more done as the wee girl has been preventing me from spending much time in my studio due to her joy of playing with my machines. Needless to say I spend most of the time stopping her and not getting much done. Our new layout will hopefully help some of this.
Here’s looking forward to productive new year! Cheers!
To start thing off right/wrong this is not the post I thought I was going to make. It was going to be a short and sweet post about the new patterns I was working on and their inspiration but in the end it didn’t turn out that way. In fact not a lot turn out the way I was expecting. I will warn that this is a long winded post but there will be pictures.
So this is how thing started…
On my last visit home I found my current favourite dress at Joe Fresh. It is a black knit tank dress with a racer back and double layer front (one is lower cut then the other). I would love another one since I wear it all the time, problem being, the nearest store is about 1,500 km away and the summer stock is gone. So I decided to make my own version but with a twist, literally. Enter one of favourite pattern drafting books, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi. I have been wanting to try some of the techniques in this book since I got it and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
One of the techniques is called “Nejiri” (meaning torque in Japanese) and involves skewing the pattern so that the fabric will be twisted on the body but still sitting were it should. (i.e. side seams are still straight). I thought this would be a great variation for the front of my dress. The drafting was fun and it went quickly once I got my head around how to create the twist. While I was looking through the book I thought the Kakurenbo (meaning hide and seek) technique of concealing flare in curves would be really cute on a little girls sun-dress. Once again the drafting was fun and went quickly one I got my head around then instructions.
That’s where I was going to end the post along with some pictures of the samples. Well things didn’t continue that’s smoothly.
For starters on my way to Kinkos to pick up the pattern I realized that the outer front pattern piece wasn’t modified enough to achieve the affect I wanted. Doh! I got ready to cut an realized what fabric hogs both patterns were, so I didn’t have enough of my planed fabric. Doh! In the end both patterns didn’t turn out quite as expected or hoped. Doh!
“Failure is Always an Option”
One of Adam Savage’s better know quotes, he has often talked about this concept be it on Mythbusters or other venues like the Makers Fair in 2009. (His TED talk on Obsession is also really interesting.) I thought of this as I realized that the day wasn’t ending with me propelling fabric across rooms or into walls. I didn’t even have the urge to do that. I decided I think I learn too much.
It is amazing how much the right psychology can completely change a situation. Instead of being terribly frustrated I was excited at what I had learned and eager to try again.
I often draft in my head; try and figure out how I want to draft something long before I put pen to paper (or stylus to tablet as the case may be.) It can be very helpful in finding errors before they are made. In fact this is why I knew the pattern wasn’t done before I picked it up. But I couldn’t do that this time, the concepts were too new so I had no frame of reference for how it would turn out. I love that sort of thing though. Novelty, challenge and something to learn. The sort of thing that you can either know or get.
What I learned:
Nejiri – I ended up making two versions, the printed dress with the twist on both sides and the pink dress with just the outer front layer twisted (the original design).
1 – The twist isn’t big enough to be very noticeable, you can hardly see it in the photos or person. It would also help if the twist was more focused around the waist. As it is, it gets lost on the skirt.
2 – The twist needs tension work. It is fine on the pink dress as the back and under layer control things but this isn’t the case for the printed one. You can kind of see in the photo the side seams uncoiling at the hem since the hem has no tension on it. (This dress was generally cut looser so the whole thing tends to want to unwind.)
Kakurenbo – Pink dress for Mina. The proportion was off some how…
1 – Like with the Nejiri, the effect wasn’t drastic enough. The skirt still has some wave to it but when using such a drapey fabric I think there needed to be more. I may try it in a woven fabric and see how it fits.
2 – This kids knit dress was one of the hardest things I’ve sewn in a while! It did go smoother if I sewed with the skirt on the bottom and bodice on the top.
After all that, even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted I have a much better understanding of how these patterns work. I am starting to get it not just know it, something that wouldn’t have happened if everything went right. In retrospect failure was the best option.
So despite my lack of posting I have been quite busy with projects.
As alluded too in my Coffee Cup Sleeve Tutorial post I have children’s pyjamas in the works. As well there are tights, t-shirts, panties/bloomers and a dress. All are ready or nearly ready for grading. On the adult front I’m working on some dresses (halter dress, sun dress and wrap dress), a halter top and of course I’m still working on the Sunrise hoodie. All the patterns are in various states of drafting and/or correcting. One would think this wouldn’t be the best time to add yet another project but but I really wanted a new bikini…
After not finding what I wanted in stores I decided to make myself a new bikini. I had some great fabric I could use and some not so great fabric I could sample with so I gave it a shot.
First up was the drafting. Although I had a bathing suit block from school it would have to be graded and adjusted before I could use it so I decided it would be easier to start from scratch. Using instructions from Pattern School.com I made patterns for low riding bikini bottoms, bandeau top and two styles of triangle tops (fitted and gathered). After sampling, correcting and sampling I was ready to start the final bikini.
With some careful cutting I was able to easily match the print on the back of the bottoms and bandeau top during construction. Aside from having tension issues on my coverstictch machine and agonizing over the placement of the print it was a relatively quick project over all.
I must admit, this is my favourite bathing suit I own and plan to make more. I also plan on making it my next release! I am aiming for the end of July.