Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Lost Art of Dress

 Imagine yourself going to the mailbox on any ordinary day, and pulling out a package you had not ordered containing a lovely hardbound book. Slipped inside the front cover was a nice letter addressed to you from the publisher sharing an overview of the book and announcing that it was an "advance" copy. This book was not even for sale yet!

This is what happened to me last week. The book, titled "The Lost Art of Dress" by Linda Przybyszewski, provided no clues. Who did I know that would send me this book? I didn't have the time, but for now- let's forget the reading time factor- would this book be of interest?

Thumbing through the pages I found the photo of Mary Brooks Picken, the woman who founded Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences. I know this woman. She began teaching in the early half of the twentieth century and wrote many books on sewing, and was considered an expert on dress. Many of her books are available to read or download here: https://archive.org

 This, of course, really piqued my interest so I decided to look up the author on the internet. I found out that she goes by the name Professor Pski, and is an Historian of Law, Culture and Dress. Teaching at the University of Notre Dame, she is most well known for her class titled "A Nation of Slobs." She also loves vintage fashions and is a dressmaker herself. Gotta love a woman like that!

Now- I understand the point this book is trying to get across, and I decide to send her a note to introduce myself and thank her for the gift that mysteriously landed in my mailbox. She writes back "I know exactly what you do...." ...which makes me feel kind of silly and spooked all at the same time. She mentions that she is about to post a blog about one of my patterns.  The focus is on Fifth Avenue and what the "Dress Doctors"- those considered expert in dress- would say about it:


This book is exactly my kind of reading, and this lovely gift provides great incentive to find some time for it this summer. If this is your kind of book too, you can now get it everywhere online such as ebay or Amazon of course, and also at Target, or please order it from your local bookstore. If you can get through it before I do, I'd love to know what you think!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skirts with Bows

I love this dress! I don't know why, but it feels like Paris Fashion and Audrey Hepburn all rolled into one. The style is classic yet original, and there is no getting lost in a sea of look-a-likes cause you'll never see another one quite like it. Let me introduce you to Myrtlewood, # 7401, the very first pattern I published, plucked from the many styles in my Gowns by Laura collection for the Audrey/Parisian Fashionista!

No doubt, this style makes a bold statement. You likely find yourself with a strong reaction to that bow, but the dress would be nothing without it. Think of this dress with only a flat band. BORING. A slightly smaller bow might be okay, but would it really sell the style? With design, I can sometimes feel it's best to "go big or go home."  No statement can be worse than boring. I decided to look up this idea of skirts and bows and found them everywhere! Take a look:

Pauline Alice (who happens to be from FRANCE!), now a pattern company, made this custom skirt that sold on Etsy. (For patterns, see http://www.paulinealice.com/)
I found this skirt with a big bow on Burdastyle.com.

There are a whole lot of big bows going on in the Ready-to-Wear world also. See the line up below:

This is the beauty of sewing: YOU decide how big the bow should be. Happy Bow Making! See more photos and get your Myrtlewood pattern here: http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/myrtlewood.html

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Expos and Sewing Competition Update

I have failed. My New Years resolution to post every week has gone by the way side, and thus my ability to stay on my posting theme and schedule. I guess when it comes to priorities, blog posts are definitely below travel schedules, good customer service, and getting shipments out on time. On the plus side, I'm still here and will post as I can- so I guess that means back to my usual. That's not so bad, is it?

This Spring has been very busy with the Sewing and Stitchery Expo and International Textile Expos right on top of each other. Last year I brought all of my gowns, so there wasn't room for decoration, so this year I went all out to fancify (is that a word?) my Expo booth, setting up with mannequins and risers and such. My car was packed to the gills with all this stuff.
A few weeks after this show, I went to Las Vegas, NV for ITE. At this wholesale market, we IPCA members put on a fashion show, making our patterns with vendor fabrics. It was exhilarating to be back to the fashion runway!
This is Constance in Rayon Challis from Mike Canetty Textiles

The Spin Skirt and Victory Jacket is so adorable in this Embroidered Gingham from Richlin Fabrics.
Other designs were made from fabrics from C&C's  http://www.candcfabrics.com/, and Mond Tex International http://www.mondtex.com/.

Now it's time to think about the IPCA Sewing and Design Challenge called "Party Like a Rock Star." I used to compete in design competitions, so this challenge is near and dear to my heart. I enjoyed them so much, not because I am competitive, but because they would make me stretch my skills and really think about the potential of my idea. In fact, Fifth Avenue was a prize winner in one such competition.

To enter, all you need do is choose a pattern from any of the IPCA members' pattern collections (mine included) and make something that could be interpreted as "PARTY"...and I mean any kind of party- up to, and including rock and roll. You need to provide two photos of your design, one full length and one close up, along with your entry form and a small entry fee by May 1, 2014. Each company will choose 3 semi-finalists, and request garments to be mailed in for evaluation. Photos will be placed on Facebook to be crowned "peoples choice" by number of "like" votes, winning $100 in product from the associated pattern company. Each of those winners then go on to compete against each other for the grand prizes as mentioned in the image above.

To learn about the companies involved, visit http://patterncompanies.com/
To download the rules, entry form, or pay the entry fee, visit http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/
home page, lower left hand side you will find the links.

On behalf of the IPCA, we would like to thank all of the sponsoring companies who support our sewing and design challenge with the donations of really great prizes. Because we are all small independently owned pattern companies, mathematically speaking, YOU have really great odds of winning them!