Friday, July 25, 2014

Susan Khalje class July 2014

I had the pleasure of taking a class, The Couture Sewing School, with Susan Khalje recently at The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco.  
For six days each of us worked on a couture level project of our choice under Susan's guidance. It was a pleasure to work side by side with such a talented group.  As Susan instructed a group member we often all crowded around to hear what was recommended or demonstrated.
Here is the course description:

"The Couture Sewing School

At the Couture Sewing School, six intensive days are devoted to creating your garment—it can be sophisticated day wear, evening wear, a wedding gown, the little black dress—the choice is yours. It can be for yourself, for a friend, or it can be a sample. You’ll be incorporating into your project the couture techniques and details that go into Susan Khalje’s exquisite garments. You’ll prepare a muslin ahead of time, and after Susan perfects the fit, you’ll begin working on your garment.

Students Will

  • Fine-tune the fit of the muslin and adapt it for project use
  • Choose and work with appropriate underlinings and linings
  • Learn expert techniques for difficult fabrics
  • Learn about boning, inner structure, and engineering
  • Take a close look at a number of Susan Khalje’s garments, including many from her articles in Threads Magazine
  • Spend an evening discussing business issues, including advertising, pricing, public relations, business growth, and related professional organizations
  • And most importantly of all, construct your garment using couture techniques, under Susan Khalje’s close supervision
  • Anyone with solid sewing skills and a passion for learning will benefit from the class, and from the camaraderie of working with fellow enthusiastic sewers. Classes are small to allow for individual attention."
Couture sewing is the equivalent of fixing the finest of gourmet meals with the finest ingredients, in this case with a master chef's guidance.  Torture for some, heaven for me.

My garment, Vogue Vintage Pattern 2934, while seemingly simple is likely to take 60+ hours to complete. No, I am not making it in red (this time.)

If this level of sewing intrigues you consider purchasing Susan's book Bridal Couture. The hardcopy is out of print and currently selling on Amazon used for about $100 (a reflection of Susan's respected expertise).  Susan does sell a CD copy of Bridal Couture on her website.
Even better, Susan has a class on that covers everything we learned, which comes with lifetime access.  Watching the class on Craftsy inspired me to take the workshop with Susan in person.
More details about my garment to come.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Birthday Girl in Birthday Shirt

Here is the birthday girl, Patti, in her new shirt.  It looks great on her!!  We both really like the pop of color with yellow on grey.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Birthday blouse complete!

The blouse is complete! 
The yellow highlights are from a t-shirt.  Patti requested some asymmetrical features so I framed one sleeve with yellow and ran up the opposite side of the bodice.  
The flounce/bow is removable.
In the back you can see the higher part of the waist is a sleeve cuff with the sleeve hanging down below.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Altered men's shirt to woman's blouse

I'm making a birthday present for my good friend Patti.  We found this mandarin collar men's shirt that is a good fit at Goodwill.

In our area shirts are between $6.50 and S10.00.

We found a couple complementary shirts too.

We decided we wanted to make the back longer than the front so I made a vertical cut up the center back to just in front of the side seam.

I then let the cut piece fall forward and hang.

I cut it working up parallel to the side seam

I took the bottom section of one of the other shirts and seamed it to the cut I just made.

I started to drape it towards the back just overlapping the seam on the top half of the shirt.

I took some pleats as I went to allow for movement in the back.

It is still in process.

More to come later!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thrifted to Custom by Master Shoemaker Roberto Herrera

Sometime in 2012 I found this pair of red suede pointy toe flats in a second hand store.  I fell in love.  

I have arthritic toes so can't wear heels anymore.  I like to wear dresses and skirts that would look best with pumps, but no go so... the best substitute is flats with pointy toes giving a bit of an illusion that they are pumps. 

And these were red to boot. 

My magic shoes dressed up any outfit.

I wanted to clone them.  I thought about how many pairs of shoes I've purchased and can't wear because they are too painful. 

I thought about a master shoemaker I knew with a shop next to my favorite Goodwill. 

I decided to ask him to duplicate the shoes. 

The great news was that he said yes, the bad news, he would need to take apart mine to make a pattern.  I'd be without until he was done.

 When he was ready to start I turned over my shoes. 

2 years later (yes 2) he has almost finished them (he says you cannot rush an artist.)

As you can see this pair is red too, but leather not suede. They are truly custom, with shoe lasts (the wood mold) made to match my feet.

I've always promoted people supporting artists buy purchasing directly from the artist so I am happy to show you I am walking to talk.

These are going to be expensive. 

And I say that for the amount of wear I will get from them in the end they will be the best value I've ever had from shoes. Period.
I'm told they will be here in 3 weeks or so.  

Roberto is an expert in fit so I anticipate having the happiest feet I've had in years vs.hurting almost every day.

And I have a fantasy of throwing out all of my other shoes. (size 7.5 anyone?)