Craft & Consumption

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Le Smoking

Le Smoking, Yve Saint Laurent's 1966 tuxedo suit design, styled with a frilly blouse and an oh-so-chic and smooth pixie cut. This image defines the look with a late night Parisian aura, and shows how important styling truly is. The location, make-up, hair style, lighting, and pose can transform a work of design into a legendary style. Menswear never looked so sexy, and this was 43 years ago!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Silkscreening HOW TO: Handmade Invitations

I like to make things. And I really adore sending letters in the mail. So it's no surprise that I take great pride in making invitations for my annual birthday celebration and mailing them out to all of my lovely friends. The fine print on this years edition, which is a silk screened print for each guest, reads "come visit (poolside)" with the relevant time and place.

Below are some photographs of the silk screening process. I used Diazo Speedball Photo Emulsion to make the screen. It's super easy, you just apply this light sensitive paint to a piece of raw silk that is stretched onto your frame & let it dry overnight. Next you print the design from your computer (black and white only) onto a transparency. You then lay the transparency on top of the dried photo sensitive screen and place a bulb on top (12"-16" away) for 20 minutes. After rinsing it out with the garden hose, you have your screen ready for printing!

This is a photo of me placing the colorful invite down on the "registration marks" before screening (In case you're wondering what's behind the blue paper, I used an old pottery barn catalog instead of newspaper to protect my table, I know, kind of random).

Apply paint and use squeegee.

Wa la, hand printed invites on perforated postcard paper. Way easier to distribute than cutting each by hand! Below is my mess of materials for addressing each postcard. More than half have already been mailed! I hope everyone likes them!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sewing my (rough draft) maxi dress

I posted a few weeks ago about a maxi dress I had some interest in making from scratch (no pattern, mom!). I sewed the preliminary grey dress (with $1/yard fabric) as a test before working on my more expensive black silk (by expensive I mean $8/yard). Below are images bearing the fruits of my labor and some things  I found along the way.

I made an error in this preliminary dress in that I sewed the elastic at the empire waist before I did the elastic at the very top of the bust. This was a mistake because I ended up with a bust of ill proportion, in other words, the fabric from the empire waist to the top of the dress ended up being uneven. If I had sewn the top elastic first, I could've measured down from there, and then any inconsistencies or errors in measuring could've been made up for in the hem down below. I'll do it the right way for the real black silk dress, and hopefully won't end up with uneven boob-age.

Oh, and in case there are any sewers out there who are wondering about how I sewed the elastic exactly, I made a casing for the top, but the elastic at the empire waist was sewn directly to the fabric. I used 1/2" elastic, I simply threaded the elastic through the casing with a safety pin on the end and then tacked it in place on the seams. I'll try to take more detailed pics of the black dress when I make it to explain!

The book above, The Dressmaker's Technique Bible, ended up being a great find that helped me in the process of making this dress without a pattern. It gives detailed info on constructing different parts of clothing, from sleeve cuffs to elastic bands. It's a little more advanced than your traditional DIY Sewing books, which I liked. It's very to the point and shows detailed drawings to help you "reason out" the process on your own. 

More to come as I work on the real black silk dress! No progress shall be made until after my return from Europe!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jewel Toned Living Spaces and Striped Seats

I stumbled upon this beautiful living room over at Elle Decor a few weeks ago & was just reminded of it today while couch shopping. The photo above is from the home of Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos in Washington D.C. I love the rich use of color in the living room and the striped chairs. I just found the couch below over at Wisteria and was reminded of this beautiful living room. More amazing printed furniture to come (in all price ranges!)

Wisteria Swedish Stripe Curved Sofa ($1400)

Bright Interiors

While browsing for couches online today I was reminded of these beautiful interiors that I found a while back over at Apartment Therapy. I especially love the bright chartreuse and blue colors mixed with the gilded legs. I should start a blog about gold leafing. I love all things gilded. Anyway- the light in these rooms is phenomenal of course, but the decor is just the right mix of eccentric and clean, don't you think?

Paris - Flea Market Highlight

I'm so excited to leave for Paris next week! I haven't done as much research yet as I should on places to go and things to do, but I have been scoping out the flea market scene. I can't wait to give a first hand report on the Porte de Clignancourt (Les Puces) flea market next week! Here are some pics from Paris Perfect to tie us over...  

If any of you have suggestions on Paris shops/bakeries/general shenanigans that I simply must experience, please advise!