My Personal Dress Aesthetic

4 08 2009

In thinking about establishing a clothing company, advice from someone who almost certainly knows (Kathleen Fasanella, author of  the Fashion Incubator blog and The Entrepreneurs Guide to Sewn Product Manufacture) is to first determine who you would hang with, that is, which clothing line appeals to the same person who would buy yours.

I wonder if there is another line with the same aesthetic I would have. (Don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.) Like most, I would like to make clothes for my type of person. That type of person is a 50+ woman who is militant about never accepting being irrelevant. We appreciate the traditional skills.

I thought about my favorite outfits. Every piece includes expressions of  those “archaic” skills.

My favorite summer tops are either handwoven or handknit or hand crocheted, any decoration provided by weave techniques and textured knit or crochet stitches.

The bottoms, aside from blue jeans, which I don’t plan to attempt, (I have no idea how many different designs of blue jeans I would have to provide in order for most 50+ women to find some that would flatter them.) are woven fabric with any decoration provided by hand embroidery (I am really not fond of machine embroidery. Somehow it always looks cheap to me.) some form of fabric manipulation or some form of fabric painting or dyeing (including screen printing).

My woman hates boring clothing and considers a large part of what is offered in women’s sizes boring. I have this pair of pants (trousers for those of you in the UK) that are made up of patches of bright African, South American, and South Pacific fabrics. The patches are about 5 inches square. Hardly a day passes when someone doesn’t tell me they like those pants. Those pants make me feel like myself, quirky, maybe a bit excentric (I earned my excentricity), interesting. And my customer will be the woman who would like to find a pair of pants like those for herself, and who would have the nerve to wear them as often as she likes.

So I ask you, who do I hang with? Chico’s maybe?

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Mark-Making w/ Tucks and a Book

10 07 2009

I’ve finished my double-layer skirt/shrug.  (It really is time for a photoshoot.) It is gathered, almost in cartridge pleats, by matched side-by-side tucks, and I’m going to add some decorative crochet on the edges of one of the layers. On me, it is definitely a shrug, rather than a skirt, and I think the idea will work better on a one-layer skirt, but first I’m doing another project.

It’s my first machine-knit “art fabric”.

My knitting machine is a bulky, and meant to use thicker yarns than a non-bulky knitting machine. My play with organized tucks using several threads at once has produced the Gutsy Gatsby scarf (mentioned in another post, but not yet photographed) and the cartridge-pleated double layer shrug/skirt, both of which producing decorative elements that could be easily used for cushions.

So now that I’ve got a good handle on tucks, I’m using a single thin yarn to make a very light and airy translucent fabric, so translucent that tucks can be used to “draw”, to “make marks” that will be visible from either side of the fabric. Afterwards, I plan to drape the fabric on a dressform, layering, and gathering, and tucking, and pleating a unique garment in which the tuck “marks” are a feature.

I’also gotten my hands on a marvelous book. Some time ago, I saw the book in a bookstore, thought it was a new book, and decided to ask to review it for a website with the idea that I’d get it for free. But it wasn’t a new book, and it was gone the next time I went to the store. I looked it up on the web, but I wanted to look through it again before I bought it.

Now I have, and oh, the ideas it has inspired. What can be done with plain muslim is amazing.

Alright, I’ll tell you. The book is “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” by Colette Wolff. And I can’t wait to start using the techniques to make fabulous things. I’m going to have to add a page. I just know it.