|When Things Go Badly
Proof positive that it happens to the best....just look at the expressions on all the faces in this famous photo. Not happy. Supposedly, Mademoiselle Chanel ripped out the sleeve 27 times on one garment just to get it right.
And we complain when OUR projects go through difficult times.
I'll bet Mademoiselle had the same feeling when that sleeve finally reached the 'aha' moment.
Recently in my studio I have had an uphill battle with a handbag pattern prototype, (kept telling myself this is my idea!) --- a solid week of experiments gone wrong, disappointment and things just not working.
Interesting that my handbag patterns for Vogue have a longer shelf life and often outsell the garments in the long run, so I am paying attention to that segment of the sewing population. A bag can take more time to put together than a garment. All those pockets, figuring out the closure, working with different thicknesses. A bag is a small object, less room for error, and small glitches can stand out. The choice of materials is key---'noble' materials work better than so-so ones. Practice practice practice pays off. After 3+ weeks, the prototypes are nearly ready to send off to Vogue. The pattern will be released next fall. I feel a small and gratifying sense of satisfaction. This is the second bag pattern I've done in the past 2 months, with a 3rd coming up next.
I am off to Paris for the month of November. Shelley will be in the ArtBarn office, aided by Beth, so the fabric shopping can continue. You can keep up with our Paris adventures on our new Facebook business site. See the link below to take you there.
Happy Autumn from my studio to yours,
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|We're On Facebook!
This is the place to check for daily posts from the studio, see current projects first and, for the month of November, hear the ParisTilton Report.
Pardon my learning curve, this is a new and fun frontier to explore. My inner sewing and computer nerds join forces.....
Click on the opposite icon to transport you to the marcytilton.com Facebook home page.
Tutorials and Marcy's Closet
|The images are a link to the TUTORIALS page, where you can see step by step how to make the pieced strip collar. |
|The image/s is a link. Click to see more details on Marcy's own interpretation of this cool, fun to make and easy to sew jacket.|
|NEW ON THE WEBSITE|
|Link To All NEW Fabrics|
|In Praise of Tailoring|
|Three indispensable tools for ANY sewing. A tailor's ham (the old fashioned kind, filled with sawdust, mine is ancient), a pointer/clapper and a sleeve board. |
Tailoring is part art, part skill, part practice. While I no longer teach tailoring classes, nor do I make hand tailored jackets, I use the skills I acquired and the principles in everything I sew, from a silk shirt to a knit T to a handbag.
If you want to jump-start your sewing skills, I recommend studying tailoring. Taking a class is the best way to learn...kind of like learning yoga, it is helpful to have a teacher who can give you direct feedback.
Tailoring (book on the left below), is a step by step rendition of the tailoring class I taught for many years. It is still my primary reference. (I did all the research).
Classic Tailoring Techniques is another excellent reference I used in my classes.
|Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing
Check out this blog to see how Gertie is using her passion for tailoring. See her pad stitch, make a roll line and much more. Informative and entertaining!
|English Cut: Saville Row Tailor
Thomas Mahon is a young Saville Row tailor with a very cool and educational blog. Click on the link above for a peek into this rarified yet earthy world, see a gorgeous $3000 custom suit, learn to customize an off the rack suit with a bespoke touch---the loop at the back of the buttonhole/buttoniere to hold a flower in place on a gentleman's lapel and learn the secrets of a truly incredible tuxedo.
Where Did You Get That Jacket? CD
|Link to Marcy's Virtual CD Workshop on Jackets|
Sewing handbags has some very different aspects from garments. Here is a trick I developed out of desperation. First, let me say that sewing handbags can be really fun, and sometimes challenging! One of the challenges is finding the right zippers, clasps etc. Many are horrible. Not much is available. The internet helps, but still.....
|So, I got myself to my local JoAnn's store and bought up a bunch of 'purse' zippers. The weight was right, the colors OK, and they are a step up from using ordinary sewing zips. (Still, I pine for the quality I see in ready-mades....) |
|But they were so shiny. One too shiny gold, the other silver.
Not in a good way.
So, I took a black sharpie to the zipper teeth and the pull tab. Here are the results.
|Here is the finished zipper. You have to work the tip of the sharpie into the teeth of the zipper, closed and opened. A bit might wear off, but it will look like patina. A good thing.
Sorry, can't show the finished bags.
The pattern will be released in Fall 2011.
|Tips on Sewing With Leather|
- Cut using a rotary cutter and weights.
- Leather and a light-mid weight fusible interfacing are compatible. TEST TEST TEST to see which weight is most compatible with your skin, and to test for the best heat setting on your iron.
- As a rule, it is not a good idea to use steam which can cause the skin to pucker and get hard.
- I test my iron with scraps of the leather/suede to see just how hot the iron can be....at what temperature does the heat distort the skin so I know which is the best setting.
- Use a slightly longer stitch length: 3mm is a good starting point. Tiny stitches can perforate the skin causing it to tear.
- Use a jeans/sharp needle rather than a leather needle. Why? Because the jeans needle makes a clean sharp hole. The leather needle makes a diamond shaped hole---which can lead to perforations and tearing. This tip came to me from a woman who had been producing a line of suede & leather clothing for years using her home sewing machine.
- Use good quality polyester thread.
- Test using various feet on your machine: a roller foot, a teflon foot, a walking foot, and a leather/wheel foot are all good to make the job easier and to keep the skin moving smoothly and evenly as you sew.
|Roller Foot Magic|
- I LOVE using the Bernina #55 roller foot, it worked for all the seams, zippers and topstitching sewing on this bag.
- Pins are not always the best way to hold things together. Test to see if pins mar your skin. If so, test using double stick tape or hemostats or clips to hold seams. I used narrow strips of masking tape to hold the zipper in place for topstitching.
- 505 Adhesive Spray worked beautifully to hold seams flat and to hold the straps together for topstitching.
|The roller foot in action. I've used narrow strips of masking tape to hold the zipper in place as I stitch. The combo of a #18/sharp needle and the roller foot sews along like a hot knife through butter.|
|Stripes are My Favorite Print
Stripes are one of the secret ingredients used by fashion and interior designers. Boldly used, stripes can add drama (think of a circus tent), or in small doses, stripes can add an outline or pop a detail---to say nothing of the illusion created by vertical stripes (also known as 'stripes going the right way').
|Come As You Are Fabrics
Easy as jeans and a worn in cashmere sweater, only these are the everyday clothes you whip up yourself.
Cozy. Comfortable. Durable.
Distinctive, with your own style, favorite colors and creative details. Here is a grouping of fabrics I selected with just this kind of everyday lifestyle in mind. Think pants with plenty of pockets that you can wipe your hands on, your own rendition of the barn or Levi jacket, personalized t-shirts, a soft cardigan to toss on when you need a warm layer. I call my renditions my 'amish' clothes: plain but well thought out and made with love.
|Pant and Jacket Basics|
|T-Shirt & Tops Basics|
|Drama Queen Fabrics
...for those times when you want to stand out from the crowd, or have a strong focal point.
Fall/Winter is reading season. I now do a lot of reading on my iPad, a bit on my iPhone (waiting in lines mostly), but there are still stacks of books all around the house and studio. I love the electronic books---one advantage is that I now have a record of what I have been reading. Here are some current recommendations.
Thanks to design diva/maven Lois Ericson for her recommendation of Etcetera by Sibella Court, and to Mary Koons for her gift of Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, the two books I carry all over the house and absorb slowly and with great pleasure like dense dark chocolate. Natural Fashion is pure visual delight. Pattern Magic is one of my favorite look books even though I have never tried any of the pattern magic myself. And, last, but NOT least, the brand new 1000 Clever...etc book from Pattern Review's maven, Deepika Prakash is like tapping into the world wide sewing collective mind. Really fun to read no matter what your sewing skill or experience---I learned new things in the first few pages.
|DESIGN OUTSIDE THE LINES
Creativity, Fiber and Sewing Retreats
with Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson
Dates & Locations
|The word is out, our Design Outside the Lines events are selling out. Santa Barbara is nearly full, and the other two are well on their way. Our theme for 2011 is, LIVING THE CREATIVE LIFE. Diane and I invite you to join us at one of the retreats in 2011. All skill levels are welcome. Our work changes and grows with each retreat, and so will yours.
For information and registration during the month of November, please contact Diane Ericson directly.
Diane's e-mail is: email@example.com, her studio phone is 541-227-8680.
- February 6-10, 2011: La Casa de Maria, Santa Barbara, California
- May 15-19, 2011: 5Pine Lodge, Sisters, Oregon
- September 25-29, 2011: Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico
|Design Outside the Lines Info|
|Coming in December 2010....
Power Sewing Toolbox, Volumes 1 & 2
|Sandra Betzina has done it again! Her legacy to people who love to sew is a double volume book with a DVD tucked in each one. Filled to the brim with Sandra's signature sewing techniques and style. Photos of Sandra and friends, real people wearing beautiful hand made clothes. I learned some new things in each volume, trust me, you will want both---and both are designed to use in your sewing studio, though I curled up and read them cover to cover.
The new books will arrive December 1 and each will cost 23.95 with a deal of 39.95 for both books. They are hardback with enclosed spiral, and included is a DVD with techniques.
|Link to Sandra's Website|
Thanks to all of you who pass on interesting links. Here are recent discoveries that I've enjoyed.
San Francisco designer Babette designs clothes with edgy AND classic styling. I buy pieces to fill in my own hand sewn wardrobe. The pleated collection is perfect for travel and wardrobe building, the raincoats are the very best (I just got a double layer one in their Santa Fe store), and she uses the kinds of fabrics sewists covet. I check their collections for wardrobing inspiration and enjoy 'Babette's Journal', as well as her occasional Facebook postings. Babette's website is beautiful and worth an in depth look. Once you have a Babette piece in your wardrobe, you'll want more!
|Issey Miyake's Latest Creations
Issey Miyake has supposedly retired, but he keeps his creative sword sharp in various collaborations with other artists, do click on this link to see an amazing garment.
Off to the City of Lights.
With Gratitude, from my studio to yours,