Wednesday, 26 August 2009

New finds

Two rather nice sites that I've come across in the last week spurred me on to write a post and pass them on to you.

The first is a beautifully designed blog/shop by Colette, her mission 'to help you create clothing that feels both beautiful and personal'. The patterns are nicely illustrated and there are several shots modelled on Colette which give a truer feel of the what the garment is going to turn out like on a 'real girl' (apologies to Pinocchio). Colette is, in fact, Sarai and she writes a more personal blog called Sweet Sassafras and both this and her Colette blog have lots of good links.

Next up is Craftapalooza (great name!) which is a lovely splash of colour and is awash with punchy prints. There are kits and all for sale and then you can hop over to the blog and see what goes on behind the scenes.

Well, that should keep us busy for another week!!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Something blue...

...and that must mean something boro'd. Boro is the Japanese word for patched or mended textiles. For too long this also meant shame and deprivation. Like the sharecroppers of America the need to use what was to hand to make your own clothes was regarded as a necessity but not one to be celebrated. Now, with our growing interest in sustainability (see my new workshop on Design & Create) we are beginning to appreciate the innovation such pieces represent. Boro fabrics used the wonderful indigo hues of the Edo and Meiji eras and you can almost imagine the intensity of having to sew these beautiful creations out of the worn and tattered clothes that were you're only possession. No wonder for many years these were held in such low regard. Memories could be painful of difficult times. Now we can appreciate them as works of art and circumstance.

The two examples above are futon covers from the early twentieth century but the nagagi or kimono at the top of the post is equally stunning. What wonderful canvases these make for the imagination and recall the works of Tracy Emin that I posted about earlier this summer.
In researching this topic I stumbled on a lovely blog devoted to creating finely tailored garments in denim and, in this case, boro. Denham Jeanmaker has created some wonderfully contemporary and modish garments in their Boro Spy Jacket.

I was interested to read that much of the best indigo-dyed denim now comes from Japan where, by using many original looms from USA, they have created truly fine fabric. The West's loss through mass-production went East and now comes back to it's roots. The Japanese often show us how to appreciate real craft.
The beautifully appliqued cut and stitched patches of the interior of the jackets are to die for. I love to think of the originators of these humble textile triumphs are to be remembered and revered.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

What a deal

I was having a lovely chat with a friend who is as crazy as I am about sewing. She also knows a deal when she sees one and this is some deal!!! A sewing machine from John (lovely) Lewis for just under £50!!! Whoa. Plus it looks the cutest little red corvette I ever did see. I believe they might try and introduce some other colours but that's not all it's charm. Perfect for the novice they say and that's just what I like to hear. The more people we can encourage to sew the better. If price and colour are good then hopefully the other tick points will follow. Easy drop-in bobbin sounds good and having nice clear, uncomplicated introduction to stitch choice rather than a confusing crowd of stitches, half of which you won't use, is definitely an advantage.

Sales have been beyond expectation and they've had to rush more out than anticipated. That tells me that people are coming back to sewing. We'll be making our entire wardrobe soon and Vivienne Westwood may not be alone in her expertise!