Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Draping

Gyah, do I miss draping. I miss just about anything that has to do with time-intensive aspects of design and construction. I was going through the ridiculous number of pictures on my phone, and found these old beauties.

This is one inch wide bias strips draped over one another, alternating between the right and the left. Hours of work. Hours. But such a beautiful effect when it was finished. This gown would up being one of the most beautiful in the collection for Anne Bowen, named JFK Rosas. I still adore it to this day.


Bias-cut silk organza (2-3 layers) at the top of the bodice, draped in a criss-cross pattern again. This one was just having fun to see how it would look.

The following two are with the same pieces of organza, but with the bias length of fabric at the waist instead of at the top of the bust.

I love the flowery nature of this drape.


This one looks like it should have continued up and into a flowing length of organza or chiffon coming from the shoulder.

You've gotta love bias grain for making fabric work in amazing ways without needing much in the way of seaming!

And for the extent of what can be done with draping, take a look at the finale piece from my graduate collection at university:



I'm looking forward to Christmas being the time when I get to do some work of my own in design - details soon to come!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baldwin Bride wins Seamstress Suit

Gotta love the nice bit of alliteration in the title, eh?

Judge awards nearly $1500 after bridal gown unravels

I don't know about you guys, but reading this article made me spitting mad. It was mentioned on FB by News12, and as of this point there are just under 500 comments on the FB page.

So I'm not quite sure what's more upsetting; that people just don't understand what goes into correctly constructing and fitting garments, or that they're just unwilling to pay for good quality work. Because of that, I had to put in my two cents, as follows:
"First things first, bridal gowns are expensive. And good seamstresses have been well trained in how to fit and alter gowns. For this to have happened shows sloppy workmanship. And as for the comments about how expensive alterations are - how much are you willing to pay for a custom piece of artwork? Realize that just because there are many skilled creative artisans out there, it doesn't mean they don't deserve to get well paid for utilizing their talents. It's a complete insult to the person doing the work for a customer to expect to get something for less than its value or for free.

In this case, the bride deserves to get the money back. However, looking at the design of the dress, being unable to use the bathroom is a bogus charge from what I can see. The gown flares at the hips. She should have gotten help from her bridesmaids and had the gown raised up.

And, unless other readers think I'm speaking out of no knowledge - I am a designer and seamstress with three degrees in my field, all of which included an extensive knowledge of sewing and alterations."

 
 So let's expand on my mini-rant. Good seamstresses can be found. I can list a dozen or so off the top of my head, and those aren't working for salons or tailors. However, where there is good, there's bad too. So, in some cases, you are taking a risk asking someone to work on something as precious as a wedding gown. This is why you ask to see examples of their work, and if you know nothing about sewing - bring along someone who does! Plain and simple. Besides, if nothing else, as women we know what looks good, just from looking at clothes on the rack.

And yes, alterations cost. But so does having your bathroom re-tiled, your couches re-upholstered, your car's engine rebuilt. Want to know why? For these to be done, and done well, the person(s) doing them have been trained. And that costs money. And, there are expenses included in any estimate and final tally that as customers you may not realize. I include thread, pattern-making materials, and a whole host of other items etc, into my estimates. What I don't include (currently) is fabric costs. Because I want to go with the person I'm working with to select something that both they and I love.

It amazes me (and not in a good way) that there are so many people who are willing to take advantage of a creative person's talents. People expect professional photos for free from friends who are photographers; any little alterations from seamstresses or designers, artwork from artists. This doesn't make sense, because there's no way I could go up to a lawyer friend and say, "Hey, I need a lawyer in traffic court, would you do it for me as a favor?" And an accountant wouldn't prepare my taxes without charging me for his work.

It's simple math. Time plus work equals pay.


As far as this bride's remarks about being unable to use the bathroom for six hours; that's crap in my opinion. If you need to go that badly, you'll figure out a way. As a bride, it means the handicapped restroom, the help of one or more bridesmaids, the loss of a bit of modesty, and the realisation of who your true friends are, because they're willing to help you hold a hugely heavy white dress above the toilet for you. So there's my take on that.

The other extreme irk from those FB comments were the one's about the bride gaining weight. Zippers don't close if the gown is too small. They don't unravel from the body of the gown because the bride gained weight. Anyone who has ever tried to fit into an old pair of skinny jeans knows exactly what I'm referring too.

For avoiding those issues (I'm talking to the chronicly shy here), go with a simpler gown. There are loose, empire waisted gowns that look stunning on just about every body type, and that won't weight twenty pounds.


So yeah, that's my take on all of this. I'm pretty sure that just about every gainfully employed artist would agree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Introducing me...

Hey guys,

So I'm obviously new at the whole blogging thing, but I'm giving it my best shot. Here's a bit about me, my background etc, and what qualifies me to be the person  brides go to for any and all wedding dress woes.

I'm a native Long Islander, who found out in high school that a love of sewing translated into a talent for design. I attended NCC and graduated with an A.A.S. in Apparel Design, then moved overseas to London where I studied at the London College of Fashion and received my FdA in Fashion Design Technology: Designer Pattern Cutter, and my B.A. (Hons) in Fashion Design and Technology.

I worked for couture bridal designer Ian Stuart at the International Bridal Design Fair in Battersea Park, West London, and interned for Anne Bowen Bridal in New York City.



Since then, I've completely redesigned, fitted and re-constructed a good friend's wedding gown (pictures and story to follow!), and done minor tucks and alterations on an international friend's reception gown. Currently, I've been commissioned for a third bridal re-design, and am in the beginning stages of changing this gown from a woe to a wow.

All this inbetween regular alterations and seamstress work.

Busy, busy sewing-bee.

Best,

Shannon


P.S. Thanks to http://visualmvmt.com/ for posting the Jamaica shoot online. :)