Sunday, September 28, 2014

Copying a Coat

My aunt's friend has entrusted me with copying her favourite coat. A Max Mara. Very well-worn.
I hope I'm up to the task - because now all she has is a half coat.
...and lots of pieces from which I'll trace a pattern.
I tried tracing the coat pattern without ripping it but I'm glad now that my friend recommended this move because I had traced the arm-sleeve at the wrong angle. See how the sleeve and the main body of the coat are the one piece?
The fabric is wool cashmere.
I've preserved the buttons, pockets and shoulder pads.
Local shops here in Ireland only got in their winter stock a week or so ago. I was surprised. I had hoped to get this project started much earlier in the Summer. Even the lining has proved tricky to replace. The original lining had the Max Mara brand name printed in it

I had searched online but couldn't trust myself to buy such expensive fabrics without touching them, and even when I got samples, I wasn't fully satisfied. But all is well now, Murphy Sheehy had the stock to fit the bill.
A lovely lining, with pattern but still all black:
And lovely soft wool cashmere (which I hope will be warm enough when sewn up):
Let the challenge begin in earnest! I have a marvellous propensity to take on projects and tasks that are just one or two rungs on the ladder higher than the level I'm at myself!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sewing patterns for sale!

I've signed up to my second pattern-drafting course. And now I feel confident enough to get rid of my commercial sewing patterns. Foolish perhaps but certainly spontaneous.
Or as spontaneous as inputting the details for 17 products on a webshop could be. I was put off by Etsy and the fact that they take a fee for each item + a percentage of the sale.

There's some Colette Patterns, Sewaholic, Anna Maria Horner as well as Simplicity and Burda, some old patterns from my granny's collection (she was particularly into smocking for girls dresses, i.e. for me when I was little!)
I've priced most of them at €3 each (or less). Check them out on "Miscellaneous Rogue

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Julie Feeney's Clocks Dress

Julie Feeney is a singer, songwriter, composer, orchestrator, entertainer, performer, musician... from Ireland.
She's very supportive of fellow creative Irish people. She's familiar to people as "the singer who wore the hat on her head on the Late Late" but she's becoming a household name what with appearance on TV shows like The Hit and sell-out concerts in the National Concert Hall, in lovely sometimes remote, varied locations all over Ireland as well as New York and other places in USA and who knows where else... I digress...
I contacted Julie Feeney because I was interested in her forthcoming opera, BIRD. Maybe I could be somehow involved, especially with the costumes.
But at the time of my phonecall, she discussed with me a dress that she'd like made to go with her latest album, Clocks. She's had a "pages" dress designed and made for her pages album. Here's a pic of it that I stole from her website
So I took on the challenge. Here's my sketch drawing and finished product #1
See the beautiful buttons I used on the back of the blouse and at the cuffs. It goes with my 'design philosophy' of scale. A garment needs to be appreciated by the wearer, the fit, the comfort, small details, usefulness of pockets, warmth etc. Then the garment is to have an effect on other people: what they see, what it communicates about the wearer, the colour, the shape and style. And in the case of costumes, what does it look like from the stage, what does the audience see.
Here I am, leaving my apartment before Christmas with the dress, petticoat and shoes to drop them over to Julie Feeney. It was bad timing because it was such a busy period, we didn't have time to fit it and take a picture of her in it with me so this one will have to make do ;)
I added the gold cummerbund. And gathered the hemline to give it a ruched effect. These were design changes which consider the view of the audience member. The wonderful clockwork patterns on the fabric of the blouse and hem was ordered from
The petticoat pokes out from under this ruched hem. Kind of like the clockwork of a dress. A little peep into the inner workings of a skirt! Just like you'd take a look at the inner workings of a clock. (Me and my notions!)
And the shoes... I blogged about the process of making them previously.
I chose them for the solid chunky heel but they aren't platforms. There's bits of clocks glued on to them. They do sparkle. But silly me, Julie doesn't ordinarily wear peeptoe.
The whole project has been such a steep learning curve. Julie hired me as her PA for a while because of the relationship we were building up around the dress. That was hugely fun and challenging. Other projects have come my way and I feel better equipped to tackle them because of this experience.
I hope to post a picture of Julie in the dress soon; of the two of us; or of Julie at a concert, performing and wearing my... nay, HER Clocks dress!