Sunday, February 28, 2010

good start...

Okay, I silk screen printer all day saturday and I think the dresses are going to be successful! I'm excited for this collection. My friend Judith is helping me sew (thank god!) So it'll make finishing it time a lot more....possible. I'm not sure it was before, it think it may be now.

This week will be spent hunched over the sewing machine like a gremlin. I haven't told you about my shows yet! Okay, the first one (the one that I'm struggling to finish for) is called 'In touch' and its a charity fund raiser for In From the Cold which is a charity that helps homeless families. There's a runway portion and an installation portion. The installation is a collaboration with an artist (I'm working with my friend Kenzie) and there are 5 artist/designer pairs creating installations through out the space. Kenzie and I are making an abstract boudoir. There will be flowers and fabric and antique bottles and other weird things. Kenzie and I don't even have to buy too much for it because we're both pack rats and have lots of things that will work. We're making her a gown out of mops. Yep that's right, mops! I'm not sure how just yet, but I think it'll be pretty cool. I've had this idea for a long time but haven't had a reason to make it. This seems perfect, I thought it would be kinda an interesting play on classism to make an aristocratic garment out of mops- kind of tongue in cheek. She's going to wear the mops dress and encourage people to leave there dirty secrets in her box (she's making a beautiful box to hold the secrets) At the end of the event we're going to auction off the box for charity. I hope people leave secrets....maybe I'll just fill the box with my own. I have a few....although I'm not very secretive. Anyways, I think it should be a good show. They've dropped ticket prices to $85 from $125. It's a lot of money, but its catered, and its for charity, so I hope people come.

Now on to more important things. Why didn't Celine Dion sing at the Olympics? I mean, I'm not the Biggest celine fan, I stopped liking her when I was 14 in the 90's like everyone else, but still, she is CELINE arguably the most famous Canadian singer. Neither her nor Shania Twain sang. Although Shania has been mostly retired for a while, Celine is still singing in her palace in vegas, so what the hell? no national pride. grr. I will say, the olympics really got to me. I'm not really a sporty person, and in truth wasnt overly excited about the whole thing, but after our country won 14 gold metals, the most in history for one country....that felt pretty friggin awesome. and what about that figure skater who's mom suddenly died,- and then she went on to win the bronze, after having to skate less than 72 hours after her mothers death?!

I also suddenly lost my mother last year, I can't imagine IMAGINE what that girl went through to do what she did. The heart. I was debilitated when my mom died. I still randomly burst out crying and its been a year and a half. To win an Olympic metal....makes me so proud of her...of us. We can do anything! yeah! I'm such a geek. forgive me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It's funny, the days I work at my job and then come home and sew seem much more productive than the days I have off. Why is that? Maybe it's because I expect less so it seems like more. I should try to expect less of myself when I have the whole day, I might be more pleased with the results. Anyways,.

Friggin purple dress is basically done. Just working on sewing toole together for underneath to help make it big and poofy. I like poofy, I've noticed. If I were a girl, I think I would wear poofy things.

Yesterday I worked all afternoon putting the zipper in the dress. Seriously, it took me like 3 hours. I tediously hand sewed the lining to the dress and everything. I had cut the top of the zipper off because it was too long (Zippers have stops at the top and bottom when you buy them so the zip part doesn't come off the teeth) I proclaimed 'finished!!!' after working on it forever and zipped the zipper closed to admire my work. It zipped right off the top and off the teeth because I cut the stop off.

I screamed into a pillow.

I think the people that live below me still heard me- I heard them mumbling. I was furious, the hairs on the back on my neck were on end. I thought I might explode. I definitely cried. I've done it before in the past and wasn't able to fix it-it meant me taking out the zipper all together, buying a new one, and putting it in. The thought of doing that with this dress made me .. well it made me momentarily go crazy.

But then I thought about it for a second. Seamstresses can fix zippers without replacing the whole thing, why can't I? there must be a way. I googled and found out that I could open the zip with pliers and put it back on the tracks. I did have to open a couple seems but it was no big deal compared to taking the whole thing out.
all is well. I felt silly for being so upset.

I think that this is as good of point as any to mention that I've never been taught how to sew. How to draft patterns. How to put in ZIPPERS, this is all just stuff that I've figured out through trial and error. I do have a BFA in textiles, but strangely enough we never learned how to sew. That's a common misconception about the program at acad.
I learned how to treat fabric in the same way a painter learns how to treat paint. Conceptually I could write an essay on linen and the signifires that pertain to it. I could tell you how its made, what people see in it from years of various uses, that it's stronger when it's wet (Which is why sails on sail boats are linen) I can dye it, silk screen print on it, devore it, make it into a linen sculpture with chicken wire and leather boots and call it 'the drunken sailor feels her wrath' or some other nonsensical title, and get an A in a textile class. I can do all of these things with linen except sew it into a wearable garment, that I can't do. Or at least I couldn't with my formal education. I can now...but who wants a linen skirt? the point is moot.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

okay, calm

Yesterday was productive. sorta. I made half a purple dress. Today I shall make the rest of it....and three more dresses. It's good to set realistic goals. In addition to making 3 and a half dresses I shall also build a bridge, and learn a foreign language. Realistic goals realistic goals

I was thinking about getting the word 'focus' tattooed on the inside of my wrist. Seriously, with pretty writing. . . maybe it'll help me ...well, focus.

I went to yoga today. I know what you're all thinking, 'what?! you're so busy and you still went to yoga?" and I know it seems foolish, but I'm much more productive when I do yoga. If I don't my spine gets all curled at my sewing machine for days and I look like a colossal raptor. It's not pretty. Being 6'2' isn't all its cracked up to be. Its a slippery slope towards a hunchback and pants that are way to short if I'm not careful. We tall people have such a hard time finding pants, but I digress, back to sewing.

You know what sucks? when you cut yourself with your rotary cutter and think 'ouchy' and then do nothing and keep working....moments later your puzzled by the fact that all your fabric is covered in red and you turn your hand over to discover that the tiniest nic is gushing all over everything and in your haste to stop the bleeding from ruining your fabric you cut yourself again. I experienced this yesterday.

luckily it was purple taffeta. Not white silk. I'll just rub it in. Blood dries kinda purple right?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Purple Dress

Purple dress oh purple dress, how you are so very purple. ALL who wear you shall resemble grapes, and in turn fashion makes. Oh purple dress oh purple dress I have now run out of purple fabric...

I went to Chintz and company to buy more of this crazy purple fabric. It's so pretty, it kinda has a blueish shine. Anyways, anyways, I went there and they were all out. But I thought, hey no big deal, just order some from another store. (I know the system there because I worked there one summer...albeit briefly. I hated working there. Smile, cut fabric, smile, do nothing, slit your wrists.) Anyways when we looked in the extensive catalog of swatches to find the damn stuff it didn't even seem to exist. We searched and searched and found something similar (for $30 a meter as opposed to $15) but its still not the same, and freakin expensive. Anyways, I'm not sure if i have enough fabric to make this purple dress. I'm going to try and do it with what I've got. I may be doomed. Maybe the dress could be completely backless! like no back at a paper dress you lie flat on paper dolls. I'll do that with the model. 'Hold still while I attach this lovely dress front. What to you mean you're not wearing panties? we're screwed."

Remember paper dolls. SO fun. not that I played with dolls..*shifty eyes* only action figures. which ones you ask? design man... and Stiletto lantern. Yes, they're real, just unpopular.

Okay, today I'm going to make the entire purple dress, as of this week I have to make three looks. that's looks, not pieces, a week. I'm so screwed. No wait! I can do it, positive positive positive. What would Captain Interior Design Man do?! PREVAIL!

Monday, February 22, 2010

We're back

Panic panic panic panic panic calm. panic panic panic. nap. panic snack. panic.

That moment of calm was in yoga. A serious lapse in judgment. Panic is the was to go. I've just discovered that I clench my teeth at night, and need a $1000 mouth retainer thing to wear at night to make sure that I don't grind my teeth away. Maybe I'll get a gold jaw implant like that cool guy in the lady gaga bad romance video. Has anyone watched the lady gaga lord gaga spoof? SO funny, here's the link. Oh, right, i was saying. Panic. I got off track.

The show is 3 weeks away. 3 . 3 weeks. panic. K wait, I can do this, I just need to focus. I have a magazine interview tomorrow for a new fashion magazine here in Calgary. I also found out some very exciting news....about my work.....and where it's gong to be featured....but I'm sworn to secrecy so I can't tell anyone's so hard to keep secrets... .k, I must, it's a big one.

SO anyways Geoff and I had a lovely weekend. . . there were a few hiccups though. We went to a spa in Invermere and got three treatments each, a massage, facial and pedicure. Over the phone the receptionist and I talked for a long time, I told her our budgets and we worked it all out- or so I thought. I told her that I didn't want to spend more than $200 dollars each, and she said no problem, the three treatments come to $190 each. I thought perfect! less than i thought it would be, but that's awesome, and we can afford that. We got there, had a lovely afternoon together, had all three treatments, and when we went to pay it was $600. I told her that I was quoted $190 each and that if we knew it was going to be $300 dollars each we would have only got two treatments-keeping it within our budget. She called the owner, and the owner pretty much said 'sucks to be them' and that was it, there was no compromise or anything. I would have settled with her agreeing to split the difference, but she wouldn't offer anything. Its not like we can give back a massage, so we really had no choice. The girls that work there get paid on contract so if we didn't pay-they wouldn't get paid, and we didn't want that so Geoff just paid it because we didn't want to argue anymore. It just sucked because the treatments were worth it, all the staff was awesome, and wanted to do something for us, but the bitch of an owner wouldn't do anything for us by way of customer service. In my opinion, it was her error, she should pay her employees for the third treatment, her was her front desk staff error, not mine. grrrrr. anyways, the manager assured me (I went back when I was less mad, and without Geoff) and talked to her and told her that if they didn't at least give us $100 worth of product or SOMETHING to make up some of their error, I would never be back. She's going to do her best to get the owner to budge, so we'll see what happens. If I get skin cream in the mail, I'll keep you posted, otherwise, they shall feel my wrath.

If you were told your haircut was going to cost $50 and you got it, and it was the best haircut of your life, and you get to the counter to pay and the stylist was like $300'd be pissed right? Am I wrong here? I mean, yes, the service was great, I have no complaints . . its just I wouldn't have gotten all of it... It's a good thing my boyfriend has lots of money. He didn't seem too upset about it, I know it's not going to break us...but it's the principal. I'm clearly still mad. You shouldn't leave a spa mad. It negates going to a spa.

Geoff and I still had a good time, lots and lots of way too delicious food, and drinks, and desserts, and .. man I need to get to the gym. dear god.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I want to go outside and play

Not stay inside sewing. Why is it so hard to do something that you love so much? because it's still work, I suppose. I have the day off! I was sure I had to work today. Apparently not. I got to work on that top I vowed to finish yesterday...i didn't finish it, I talked on facebook instead. tricky facebook. So, it's almost done now, I need to go to fabric land and got a few things. I wish I had assistants to do my errands, and clean my house.
I spent the morning cleaning, it was very necessary. There is thread everywhere in here. Every time I get up to go to the bathroom there are three spools of thread following me. As soon as I turn around I'm hopelessly tangled - the thread has won again- but no more! I shall persevere, clean my space and save valuable time NOT angrily wading through fabric and patterns and dishes and thread.

Sigh. I wonder how much a maid costs? Not too much surly. I shall name her Gladys, and she can also make me pancakes when I request. Maybe you're not allowed to name your maids...i suppose they are different then pets...they already come with names... oh well, you can't have everything. Geoff and I are leaving for Invermere tomorrow morning. I'm excited. I hope it goes okay, sometimes I get antsy when I try to relax...trapped out in the fabric store, no starbucks, no 12 friends to have coffee with. Just my boyfriend. sigh. I'm just kidding, I'm sure we'll have fun. Y'know how when you see someone a lot you run out of things to talk about? That's more my concern. I hope he has a good time. Believe it or not this is our first get away (just the two of us) in the 4 years we've been together! I know, it is silly. We're just both really really busy. Right now Geoff is working at an oil and gas company doing accounting....or something, i dunno. He's also a personal assistant to a psychologist, and he's a full time student. Between us things like couple time and cleaning kinda take a back seat. This weekend we will recharge, it'll be lovely.

I want to make hats for my collection, but I don't really know how... I think I'm just gonna have to wing it (thats what I usually do) I need something like a thin mesh (like screen door mesh) thats kinda bendy and holds it shape... does anyone know of anything like that? maybe I'll go to home depot and see what I can find. Anyways, ta

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a new day

Okay, so officially this is the last day to sew this week, I work all day tomorrow and Friday Geoff and I leave for Invermere where I shall go to the hot springs and spa and get tones of pampering. Its not the best timing, but its all booked so whatever, I just need to be resolved with going, not stress about the collection and really time manage when i get back. I had a good talk about the creative process with my friend Jen yesterday and how you're more successful when there are 15 ideas in your head and you sort of act on all of them at once and there overlaps become the successful pieces you create. It's so true. Having one idea and moving from point A to B from the single idea- to manifestation- is never very successful, i find anyways. Without the wealth of ideas (and the struggle to work through them on your path) Things tend to fall flat. It's good to struggle. .. . i think it means you're on to something... i hope. Anyways, i bought more fabric yesterday and it has inspired me to continue. I find so much inspiration in just fabric itself. Fabric can tell you what to do. I find I can have no ideas at all, none what so ever, then I'll find a specific fabric that is just screaming at me "I need to become a fabulous one shoulder gown with sequence and feathers and platform stilettos!!!! right now bitch." and then i have an idea... the fabric told me what to do.

Sometimes the fabric asks me to make it into something that I have no idea how to put together constructional wise. Thats the challenge I suppose. How the fuck do i make this thing in my head into a beautifully tailored lined garment with a zipper so that you can get it on. I hate closures, incidentally. Fuck. Zippers. I'm getting betting at putting them in but it sure took a while. I should just make ponchos. many ponchos. I shall sell them with complimentary salsa, they will be a huge success. Everyone likes to say salsa. Salsa!

You may have guessed that I am procrastinating. I am very versed in procrastination techniques. I find the most amazing excuses as to why I should go shopping, have endless coffee dates with friends, lie around the house blogging.....but isn't blogging important?! I need to inspire others. Reassure them that they're not the only ones going through creative ups and downs. That we can persevere together!!

see I told you I was good at procrastinating. Doesn't that all sound very valid? imperative almost. Okay, to work!!! I shall sew a blouse before work. I have two hours. GO!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

still fustrated

Well, I stayed up until 3 last night again. I worked all day yesterday, but produced very little. I did lots of draping. That seemed to help a bit I came up with some new ideas to help tie some elements together. Normally what I do is drap and then take photos so that I can reference them later. I do draw, but I get more inspired by the materials and how they will hang on the body, then by my own 2D drawings.

Does anyone read these? On day when I'm famous, everybody will want to read them I'm sure. I took several breaks to watch Mad Men last night, which I realize isn't sewing, but hey, its a good show. I've started on my 4th piece. 4 of 10. 4 weeks. I can do it. I just have to focus, and stay calm. Yes, calm. calm calm calm. Panic! no wait, calm.

In my experience, pieces I've really really loved, I've hated at some point in the process. and that's very true. Things that came very easily were often less successful in the end. Resolved, but not amazing- contrived at best. This is my chance to create something really really incredible. and I know this because I'm so worried about everything and pretty much hate it all right now.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sleep on it.

Okay, so today is a new day and I have no interest in finishing the carousel horse dress, at least not right now. I've decided that it will make it into the collection, I just have to figure out what context to put it in. I'm pretty sure that with the right styling, and other garments that are similar- but sexier, it will be okay.

I sent a long email to my friend who's in Toronto right now telling her of my woes. She's not exactly an artist, but she does have a great eye, and is excellent at bouncing ideas off of. It's good to have someone in your life that you can do that with, in any profession. I think it's imperative in the arts. You can get really tunnel visioned sometimes, its hard to tell if what you're doing has gone way off track. Anyways, i have the day off so I'm going to work really hard on something else and see if I can create something new....and fantastic. Wish me luck!

The first of many entries, presumable.

Let me first start be saying, I love spell check. Did our generation ever learn how to spell anything?. Maybe we did, and I just wasn't listening. I was probably doodling a dress with poofy sleeves on the side of my English homework.

I did that once, in grade five. I drew a pretty girl in a dress with poofy sleeves like Cinderellas. A boy named Devin made fun of me forever, said it looked like she had great big tits (which it did, but that was never my intention) To counter act that drawing, I decided it would be more masculine to draw a scull and cross bones like on a pirates hat. The girl who sat in front of me, Sarah, pointed out that the bones were supposed to be under the scull, and that skulls weren't shaped like potatoes. I failed at being a boy before I even began, but, i digress, this blog is supposed to be about fashion

I am a fashion designer/bartender/sales clerk at a mediocre woman's clothing store. I have a degree in textiles from a fairly reputable school, and a lot of passion for art. It started at a very early age. I always loved clothes. I loved woman in clothes. Not like that you perverts, I loved how beautiful they looked, so inspiring like moving art. My mom, like every good gay boy, I suppose, was my hero. She was really really pretty. She was also disabled. She had an accident before I was born that left her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. The only thing she ever felt like she had to fall back on was her beauty, and me- not necessarily in that order....although sometimes... anyways.

I find myself in a bit of limbo at present. I have received relative local success, not that I'm making much money, but people seem to know who I am at least. I am currently designing a collection for two shows in March (which is terrifyingly close) The first is a charity event for in from the cold...I'm not getting paid anything, but I'm not paying to be a part of it either, - and it is for charity. The other is Alberta fashion week, whom have sponsored me, I assume because they liked my last collection (the first one I've ever done) so much.

Its not coming along very well. I've made one beautiful lapse in judgment that has already sold. I say that because it is not at all like anything I've ever made before, and although lovely, I have found it very difficult to conceptualize a collection based on this piece alone. I've just discovered the joy of painting on fabric with fabric paint, and happen to be quite an excellent painter (if i do say so myself) So I thought that drawing on garments would be lovely. I made a pink silk dress based on a 50's Vouge pattern. I left off the dated sleeves (after foolishly making them of course)and removed an unsightly center seem from the front bodice. I shortened it to just above the knee and it was still pretty plain, so i thought why not paint on it? I've had this ides of painting carousel horses for a while now, and so I painted them in an elaborate formation with roses and other pretty filler alone the bottom of the dress. I was unsure at first, but the more i painted the prettier it got! So I kept going and going until it occurred to me that I had made a beautiful work of art! -that is for a five year old girl.

What the fuck was i thinking? pink satin, puffy skirt, and carousel horses? that is the definition of the perfect little girl dress. I have one month less two days to make an entire collection. At present I have one beautiful dress that has nothing to do with me as a designer. a purple skirt, that I like. and a lovely pink monstrosity that will cost a zillion dollars if someone actually wanted to buy it because it has a 10 hour painting of horses on it. practical. To make matters worse, I fully planned on painting on most of my collection, so I kept my designs simple. Now I have to rethink everything. Should I just go with it and see what happens...give the model some sexy shoes and hope that they negate what she's actually wearing? God I have no idea. Wish me luck.