The River Tunic-

Sat, Jul 23 2016 10:47
I knew when I couldn't stop making and wearing these....I had to share it with you! You can download it in my online store, or order up a hardcopy to arrive on your doorstep. Either way, I am looking forward to hearing about The River Tunics you make.
Some of the best things we create start from what's around us and a function we need to satisfy. This design started with the realization that, although I love the fabrics...I only wear 1/2 of the scarves in my collection. Scarves seem to be like socks in winter...often times an impulsive buy. Surveying my scarf collection recently, I thought about wearing some of those light-weight fabrics as a garment. Shrugs have happened... but I loved the idea of a tunic that could just be a longer, summer layer.
Check your scarf stash for one to transform into a River Tunic-
It starts with a simple length (scarf or fabric) that gets folded in 2 directions then cut.
So here are some of the ones I have made. I do enjoy tweeking the design and adding details as I go.
Look for the next batch of tunics in future blogs.


Sheer Japanese Cottons are a beautiful choice for the River Tunic. This one from marcytilton.com

Opening this River Tunic down the back, leaves a slit for airflow and a vintage button at the top. I added some single layer strips of sheer mesh at the neck and sleeve ends. Folding the front edge gave the neck edge an asymmetrical line.

hand stitching on the sleeve edges
There can never be to much hand stitching! I like the way the contrasting embroidery thread ties in with the design.
Successful simple garment shapes are ALL ABOUT THE FABRIC & THE SILHOUETTE.
Imagine your new version: Linens and cottons or knits, organzas and sheers....the fabrics you are called to work with define your garment style.
How much Ease do you want? One of the ways to ensure a successful fit is to determine the amount of ease (at the hips and bust) you want for comfort. Measuring the clothes you wear can give a range of ease to work with.
An overall concept to keep in mind when considering volume in garments is: The taller/larger person can wear more fabric (and not look swallowed up). The more petite you are, less fabric is usually more to scale. 

Design Play that will change each tunic you create:
• Cut the hem in an asymmetrical shape.
• Make the armholes deeper and shaped.
• Use hand-printed and accent fabrics for bindings & trim.  
• Create a different neckline or add a collar piece.
• Make a piece of fabric first, then cut out your tunic
• Add patch pockets in contrasting or embroidered fabrics    (vintage tea towels are great for this!)
• Pleat the fabric first, then cut out the tunic
Create your own style by making a collaged piece of fabric for The River Tunic 
BINDING-
Accent bindings and pocket fabric is one of the ideas shared in the pattern instructions. The closeup below is the grey sleeveless tunic version on the pattern cover shown at the top of this blog. Adding bold, contrasting fabric gives it a nice edge.
hand-printed fabric used for binding and pockets-

A neck edge shaped by folding then hand stitched with embroidery floss-
Shaped Neck Edge Tucks & Folds- Cutting a slightly wider neck opening gives the option to add a variety of folds across the shoulder and garment front for design.

WINTER LAYERING Versions- I know I will be sharing some lightweight washed wool versions of this tunic as I create my winter wardrobe. Washed wool, slightly crinkled has a casual appeal and will fit well with leggings and boots this fall.

This green and grey dot version is getting lots of wear....it's the perfect summer dressing with my sheer textured leggings and cropped pants.

Enjoy your summer sewing!  Diane



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CURVES & ANGLES are in VOGUE-

Mon, Jun 13 2016 10:13



My new article, Curves & Angles: Designing with Art Fabrics, is in the current issue of the Vogue Pattern Magazine (June/July '16).  I am intrigued and constantly exploring new, creative ways to approach garment sewing.
June/July 2016 issue
Changing the sequence of construction can be key to having a new experience and that premise infuses my current design work. 1 pattern, 2 ways, is the focus of this article. In it, I explore how to create more dimension in the garment silhouette using Katherine Tilton's Butterick Pattern #6138.
 Miles fabrics are playful & exuberant with lots of bold strokes and details- perfect for different parts of the garment.
•  •  •  •  •
Working with 2 pieces with hand painted fabric by artist Miles Frode,  the inspiration for garment began with the flavor of each painted fabric: One with more curved designs and one with more angled shapes. I often write about collaboration and I want to encourage that experience for you. It is always a delight to share the creative adventure with my son, Miles!
The back of the tunic
CURVES-Starting into a project that with a challenge in mind keeps me attentive to the process. I like the workout... reaching for the feeling of being tapping into a deeper reservoir and not just sliding along the surface. This project gave me that experience.
The necklines on both garments were designed  to reflect favorite areas in the painted fabrics.
I enjoyed combining this painted linen with more solid white linen and 2 commercial fabrics with dots.

• • • • •

ANGLES- For this version, everything from selecting fabrics to changing the pattern pieces started with this first piece of hand-painted cotton/linen fabric.
What compliments a great piece of art fabric?

Each of the shaped pattern pieces were copied then angles added at the original curved edges-For more details, see the Vogue article.
Accent, basting thread is used to make reference lines like center front, shoulder lines etc.
The original curves and darts in the pattern pieces were changed to angles.
The printed shapes on the side became part of the pocket design.
Painting and drawn fabric by Miles Frode,  Dress by Diane
Design is an action verb...there is always something new around the corner to explore!
Enjoy the process, Diane
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Spring Color: PINK

Tue, May 3 2016 07:12
           Diana Vreeland said "Pink is the navy blue of India!"
   
WHO can resist the full glory of this pink!?!?!?!? Inspiration is everywhere in Ashland…especially Lithia Park where I just took this shot of blooming rhododendrons. 
As I roll out my favorite spring materials….Pink is a part of the collection. Consider some shade or tint of pink as a part of your spring color combination.

REMAKING in PINK-
Stenciling is a great way to explore spring color combinations. This sleeveless rayon dress, with shell buttons is enhanced by a bit of iridescent white fabric paint printed with the Wrought Iron Stencil. With delicate shapes in the this stencil design, it gives the feel of lace.
Spring Silk Dress-
My stencil designs begin with images I have drawn. The Wrought Iron Stencil Design (in 2 sizes) was inspired by this fencing around a Victorian home in the historic district here in Ashland. 
I detailed this linen shirt with the versatile Wrought Iron Stencil, some tucks and new buttons.
COMBINING VINTAGE LINENS-
Textile artist, Marta Marthas used her vintage linens in pink & white for a hand-stitched version of the Ashland Vest Pattern.
Marta sewed her linens together then brushed her new fabric with Silver & Pewter Jacquard Paints. 
Overlapping all the seams gives this garment a fluid shape as it moves...beautiful details & stitching Marta.
TRANSFORMATION= A SPRING SHIRT

This project started with a linen skirt with great lines...and a pink silk organza for the sleeves.
A full bias, skirt in linen...transformed into a fluid spring shirt. 
The original skirt & sleeve fabric-
Taking advantage of the beautiful seaming in skirt, and the texture of the organza worked well in this project. I 'checked in' with a shirt pattern for the armholes and sleeve shapes.

sleeves in organza-
To hold the wrinkles in the organza, I added some lightweight strips of fusible interfacing  across the sleeve head. The hem is a raw edge. 
A Magnolia Tree ready to pop with pink & white buds.

EXPLORE YOUR INSPIRATIONS:
More shapes and beautiful color combinations are unfolding everyday....time for another walk!
































                                         Enjoy your Spring Sewing, Diane




















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Getting at New Work-

Tue, Mar 8 2016 05:07

We ALL  have one of these……lets call it ‘The Parts Department’.  Sometimes it is hiding in a UFO (unfinished projects) stash. Lets look at how it might serve you better and actual INSPIRE some new projects. 
My Parts Department is full of elements that have been combined and worked a bit. SOme of them are in the photo above.
Here is a way you may want to view those UFO's in your life: At this stage, sometimes the idea just doesn’t seem as great as it did when we started…so we abandon them and move on to something new with more potential for success. I firmly believe not everything we start is meant to be finished. If you are committed to growing your work, look at what you gained from the partially finished piece and be ready to move on. Each project offers us something different.  Once you have gained the pivotal experience of the project, (without the goal being another finished piece) you are free to move on! 

Consider separating the parts of these UFO projects you like and create new ways of displaying them or storing them. Some of my favorite parts are living in old button jars, baskets exploding with trims….and cigar boxes of odd bits of hardware and wire....but something changes everytime I create new displays. 


  
The big question is:  How do we create a way to see more possibility in all these treasures we can’t let go of?  What are you seeing?

The Power of Arrangement- If you can't see it..will you even remember you have it?

As spring comes on, I want to work with lighter, softer colors. Faded, distressed fabrics feel compatible with the warmth of wood details: like these hand-carved buttons on the upper left. 

Placement and display in pleasing arrangements always give us opportunity to see things in a  fresh light. It can be new everytime. My eye continues to enjoy the boards I change regularly...There is something new there. What are you looking at?


I’ve been making Aprons these past few week in preparation for the spring retreat here in Ashland………A favorite hanger and apron piece was a re-combination of elements that had lost their fizz. This combination has an appeal with clean basic shapes highlighted by a small collection of 'jewelry-like' elements and snap-tape rubbed with fabric paints


Suggestion:  Find a format that is appealing to you and stay with it for multiple projects...let your voice unfold and explore your design eye in a deeper way. This experience will open fresh ways to apply your sewing skills with other textile methods you love. 
I will be making lots of Apron Layers in the coming months...you will see them pop up in this blog now and then. 
the next one will have more 3-dimensional elements that I am exploring in my clothing design.


The hardware store, across the street from my studio, is a favorite place to shop for unexpected 'parts'.


I took apart the orange work suspenders and sewed them into this work apron for straps!


The Parts Dept. in my studio was a great resource for these first pieces in a series of layering garments for this spring season-

                                                                 Enjoy Setting up your own Parts Department!! 
                                                                                                                                              DIANE

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Jilli Blackwood at The Design Outside the Lines Retreat-

Sun, Feb 21 2016 07:08
We stepped into the studio of Jilli Blackwood in Glasgow, Scotland, as she unfolded her life in a powerpoint at our retreat in Santa Barbara, California 
Jilli Blackwood sharing one of her fiber techniques for creating elements at our retreat-
We were all captivated and truly inspired by Jilli. She shared her philosophy and the true spirit of her work with us. 
Jilli is tapped into the deep recesses of her creativity and is passionate about sharing it. She reminded us that learning a technique is one thing…and deepening it can open unlimited opportunities to explore. 
Her work is clearly an example  of what Jilli refers to as ‘The Wizard Stroke= that last, brilliant mark that renders a piece finished. Ahhhh!