Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chuppah ideas lead to all kinds of things...

I really love collaborations. I know I must say this all the time. But it's really one of my favorite parts of working on design projects. I also, really enjoy getting involved with projects that I normally don't know anything about.

Recently I've been helping a friend create a chuppah for her sister's wedding. We had lots of conversations about possibilities for the design of the sides that would be draped down around the poles that hold up the canopy, one of the options involved cutting the fabric into a vaguely organic lace-like pattern.

I started a mock up, to see how it could look and how long it might take, as we don't have that much time before the wedding. While we decided this idea won't ultimately work due to the time crunch, I liked the idea so much I came home and kept working on the first curtain.

I love the way the cut pieces hang down and the light filters through. I've decided to use my mock up as a curtain in my bedroom since I only have one window, this mock up will work quite nicely.

In the mean time, I totally want to try this for a party dress, so many ideas of what to do with this kind of texture in a dress, something with a lining....

You see way I love collaborations, such fun things comes of it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I love dresses, I often call myself a dress maker, as in, one who makes dresses.
But, I don't love tights, or more specifically, I don't love wearing tights. And with winter sneaking in, I have to admit I also love pants. In fact, from November to April it's most of what I wear. (Find me the warm tights that don't pinch my toes and I'll keep wearing dresses...)

Designing pants is not always my favorite, but after years in menswear, I have developed a love of some of the traditional touches... and the fabrics! I love the men's wear fabrics.

So every fall/winter I come back to my pants patterns and work out the ones that are good and worth making again. I make myself rough drafts, my rough drafts never have pockets. (Which drives me batty when I actually end up wearing them.) Rough drafts are exactly what they sound like, rough. I make them for fit and adjust my pattern. Getting it right is tricky. Using a fabric with Lycra does not make up for pattern-making sins. Making the perfect fitting pattern can be a slow going process. (But it's really so worth the effort.) I don't have many pants that I love. I have exactly 3 pairs of pants that I love. (the pair not shown came from Club Monaco... I don't make all of my clothes, I just want to.) My favorite winter pants (hanging on the hook in the photo above) are lined in flannel. Flannel. They are so warm and easy to wear. I need more flannel ASAP. I could have 7 pairs like this during the NY winters. The other pair, they are new, made from the narrow strip of leftover fabric sent back to our office from the factory after they made a suit. This lack of fabric demanded these pants be skinny and short. The fabric was so beautiful I knew I could find a way to make it something. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out!

Despite this week's beautiful mild weather, I have pants on the brain. Need/want always inspires me, 'I am cold, I want warm pants, with pockets. That are slimming, look good with my shoes and are cute.' This is my assignment. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with... :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Playing catch up!

It's been a crazy month! To sum up, In the last few weeks, I went home for a visit, I moved, and we've been working like mad on creating our shoe design business (coming soon!).

To start at the beginning... my trip home! There have been years when I have had to go home several times, for some happy and some sad occasions. This year, there wasn't a happy occasion, but 3! There is a new Nephew to meet, my mom bought a new condo that needed to be seen and my oldest sister and her family were home from living in South East Asia for the last year, and it was her son's 2nd birthday. So home I went.

It was lovely. It was also the first time in a very long time all 4 of us siblings have been in the same place at the same time. It's really sad no one thought to get a picture! I think we're all looking at the 4 nephews instead!

Anyway, among all the family time my sister and my mom and I went to my Aunt's Jo Ellen's store Coco and Toulouse go shopping, which also had just moved into a new home. A beautiful new space next door to her clothing boutique, Coco gets Dressed. Her stores always inspire me.. It's so fun to see the things that captured her eye and imagination when she was buying. And I always love seeing how she puts it all together. It was such a treat to get to spend some time with her!

I also got to sneak in a visit to my friend Elizabeth Dye's store, The English Dept. Her store and her dresses are also an endless well for delight and inspiration. Even if your not planning a wedding, it's really fun to see what she's been up to.

And then just like that it was time to come home to New York. My visit was way too short, there were still so many people I wanted to see and just get to know Portland again, the city itself feels like it grew up since I moved away. It was a great trip and I returned home to Brooklyn, very early in the morning, and already homesick... but really inspired!