Dear ASDP Board
You are used to hearing the words altering or re-styling associated with new bridal gowns, but for the past 9 months another word has surfaced in my work, the word “salvage.” In the fall of 2013 I started working as a volunteer with my local YWCA to open what is now called “The Bristol Bridal Station” in an un-used section of their building. The concept was and still is to contact upscale bridal designers and salons across the country (those that carry gowns in the $3,000 and up range) asking them to donate their sample and older year gowns to us rather than marking them down to sell. It is a win-win situation, as the donor gets a tax write-off and the Bridal Station gets the gown. At present we sell the gowns at about 25% of the retail value.
The majority of the gowns arrive in pristine condition, but others arrive with stains, dirt, perspiration/ deodorant, or makeup. If the gown is made of polyester we are in luck as all of those are simply washed in the washing machine, let air dry, and then steamed. Stain problems are harder to deal with if the gown is made of silk, as are many in the price range we receive. Deodorant is especially hard on these gowns and many have deteriorated in the underarm area to such an extent that they simply cannot be worn or sold in that condition.
This shows how some of the gowns come in with buttons and loops unusable. In this case, new loops and buttons are made or are simply removed and a zipper inserted. I keep new buttons in stock to replace old buttons, but I never discard a usable button. Many companies use the same buttons on all their gowns and I can usually match buttons from ones I’ve saved. In this situation a little ingenuity comes in handy.
In the case of the Vera Wang gown shown, the silk under the arm had rotted (see red arrow pointing to the replacement on previous image. I loosened the ribbon and removed the rotted silk organza at the underarm and at the bodice top edge. I then cut a new underarm piece using the removed organza as a pattern I sewed it in place at the top edge of the bodice, tucked the edge under the petersham and topstitched the ribbon in place. By doing this I salvaged what would have been an unsaleable gown with an original retail price of over $8000.
So far all the silk gowns have come in either ivory or natural. I’ve kept scraps of silk for years and also keep in stock bolts of silk organza so matching colors has not been a problem. One gown came in with huge rotted holes in the plain A-line skirt. To my surprise, the under layer was very ornate and was supposed to ‘shadow’ through the silk organza. I simply removed the torn layer and salvaged the gown.
Several gowns from designers such as Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta have come to us with retail values of over $13,000. I simply cannot allow a gown with a value that high to be discarded because of torn or rotted fabric. In the photo below is an example. The gown is a Monique Lhuillier that had severe rotting and discoloring, not only at the underarm but throughout the entire bodice.
You will notice the gown has one puffy layer at the top of the skirt. It originally had two puffy layers. I removed one layer and used the fabric to make a new bodice. The bodice is exactly like the original. In this case the fabric was so unusual that if the gown was to be salvaged, the fabric had to come from somewhere on the gown.
This gown is one of the very few silk gowns I’ve actually washed, as it was very yellowed. In this instance, I used Ivory laundry detergent and some Oxyclean in the bathtub, gently agitating by hand. Then I rinsed it until the water was clear and hung it to dry. It was a huge risk, but in this case the gown was unsaleable the way it was.
Now we have a real showcase gown. Some gowns simply cannot be salvaged. We mark them as unsaleable in our inventory and I remove any item from them such as zippers, boning, lace, and embellishments that can be used to repair other garments. One lovely lace gown came in with the lace on one side perfect and the other side so rotted it fell apart in my hand. I salvaged all the stable lace.
I have found my volunteer work with this project to have been a great learning experience. I have stretched my imagination and skills to be able to salvage many of the gowns. To discard a gown that can, with a bit of ingenuity, be salvaged seems such a waste. All the funds raised by the Bridal Station go to help the YWCA with its many projects, mainly a top-ranked daycare center which is the only one in our region to offer sliding scale care. We also have a wonderful project to help at-risk teenage girls. So I see where all our efforts go. The Bristol Bridal Station is always looking for new shops to partner with, so if you know of any, please pass the word along to me. Please visit us on Facebook.
Written by Linda Stewart
One would think a costume shop has everything! Think again. No costume for a pregnant actress that looks authentic? When a friend of mine could not find the appropriate costume, she asked me if I would make a costume for her actress.
Because I make all of my shape wear (“Spanxlike”) I decided to use that as a foundation garment that could be “impregnated” and enabled stuffing to accommodate several stages of pregnancy.
With the help of ASDP experts Carol Kimball and Ruth Ciemnoczolowski I used my shape wear garment pattern and changed the fabrics used.
For the front I used swimsuit lining fabric and for back I used 4-ply Lycra. I raised the waistline almost to the bra line and added shoulder straps. I finished garment in same manner as my usual shape wear.
It was now fitted in back and legs and waiting to be stuffed in front. I made an insertable stuffed “baby” that could be enlarged as needed and added an elastic strap to move baby high or low. When the actress tried on her costume she looked ready to go into labor!
Written by Annie Barnes
If you’re doing bridal gown alterations for clients, at some point you’ll probably be asked to salvage a gown that someone else has already worked on. A bride called my studio at the end of July, a week before her wedding, and asked if I could see whether anything could be done to make her gown fit better. She said the gown was originally several inches too big. The bodice had been taken in, but now it was way too tight at the top while it was loose at the waist.
Here are some photos of how the gown looked when the bride brought it in, showing several issues I hoped to correct in addition to improving the fit. The “jog” along the top edge, created when the side seams were taken in, needed to be smoothed out. The gown had a layer of Alencon lace with Venise lace appliques on top, crossing the seams.
The Venise lace was sewn into the seams when the bodice sides were taken in, instead of being lifted and reapplied across the new seamlines. The satin belt was positioned 1/2” above the waist seam instead of being seated at the seam (the ruler in these photos is aligned with the waist seam). Also, the belt wasn’t extended under the buttons.
And opening things up to look inside, here is what I found:
Part of the reason the bodice was too tight at the top is that the side seams were curved inward. This may also have been the reason the top edge seam was not trued up.
I was happy to see that the Venise appliques weren’t completely cut off when the seams were trimmed.
There was just enough fabric left in the side seams to let the bodice out at the top enough to gain the amount needed for a more comfortable fit. I had to open the side seams up completely to release the Venise appliques so they could be reapplied across the seams. I straightened the bodice seams all the way up (recalling Ruth’s reminders that a bodice should be funnel shaped), and that brought things back into alignment enough to allow me to true up the top edge seam.
After taking the gown in at the waist (and altering the skirt layers to fit back on correctly), the satin belt needed to be shortened. Since I had to remove it to do that, I moved it down to align it with the waist seam. I also extended it beneath the buttons at center back.
Debra Utberg said on the Discussion List recently that our goal with alterations is for the work to be undetectable. I felt pretty good about the way this turned out, given what had already been done to the dress.
And that is what I was doing while you were all working on finishing your Threads Challenge projects!
Written by Tina Columbo
In recent days the discussion list has had “why I joined ASDP” as a topic. I love hearing why people join and hopefully stay members. I thought I would turn the discussion around a bit and write to you what I have gotten from PACC/ASDP. I became a member January 19, 1993.
I have gotten:
The most important thing I’ve gotten from ASDP is the deep and lasting friendship of so many people. Not very many organizations can say that. It is one of our strongest points and best assets. I can assure you that many question asked on the discussion list are not only answered on line, but are answered by a phone call. We pick up the phone and try to help our fellow members. We care. When one of us wins an award such as Ruth did recently, we are all there to offer our sincere congratulations. When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. Another example of our strong personal ties was watching members wait in the lobby in Philadelphia as our members arrived at the hotel. We just needed to be together.
To get all the benefits from ASDP, you have to give back. If you sit back and think things will just happen, they won’t. The more you give to the organization, the more you get. If you are on the discussion list, participate. If you are moved to write, then write an article. If you have an idea that would help the organization, let the board know. Please don’t think that just because you are new to the organization, you have nothing to offer. Not true. We want you here and we NEED you here.
I’ve had members call me ASDP’s cheerleader and I’ll take that moniker gladly. The above list is just a short example of how ASDP has affected my life. I quite simply would not be where I am today if I had not joined. And I like where I am today.
Written by Linda Stewart, ASDP Member
As part of my job responsibilities at the store I work for, I am often asked to do custom redesigns of wedding dresses. I recently had a rush job to do on a Watters Beilin bridal gown, style 7059B. At the first fit I understood that she wanted both volume and length so additional fabric was quickly ordered from Watters. I only had 2 weeks from my initial fit, really a week and a half with waiting for the fabric with a May 30th wedding. To complicate things further, the bride had to travel from New York City and I had a multitude of other wedding dresses due in May.
I knew I had to get my design idea solidified before the fabric came. My first thought was to add godets in the back seams to add length and fullness. Then I just had to figure out how to add length to the existing dress panels. I just joined ASDP last year and immediately reached out to the discussion group, figuring that they could help advise me with all of their experience. I was so excited to finally have someone else to “talk” to after working in a vacuum for most of my career. I was even happier when the responses started coming in. I received encouragement and support along with design suggestions, complete with drawings.
As the days ticked by waiting for the extra fabric to arrive, I continued communicating with the discussion board while I worked on my design. I received hints on creating the color of the ribbon on the dress. I made some muslin pieces to try with the dress.
I was still unsure about how to add volume and length to extend the existing skirt panels if we couldn’t get the right color of ribbon to match the fabric. In the end, with the encouragement of a favorite employee at the store and the confidence from my ASDP group, I forged ahead. I wasn’t sure how the bride was going to feel about it all but I had to trust my instincts.
The end result was very well received by the bride. The seaming was unnoticed and the lace edge I added was a hit! I was then given 2 days to finish it all up. I was so shocked when I was told that the mother had picked it up without a final fit, as the bride said that she was not worried, that it would be fine. I was astounded! After all the hubbub and expense of adding this custom train, it seemed to be taken as an afterthought! Go figure, sometimes the littlest wrinkle sends a girl and mother over the edge and other times nothing seems to bother them.
I cannot express strongly enough how helpful and supportive all the ASDP members on the discuss board were, with many suggestions on size and placement of the godets, tinting the grosgrain ribbon, and being sure to be paid enough. I am so happy to have been able to benefit from and contribute to this organization of ASDP.
Written by Jann Young, ASDP Member
This year at the Strategic Planning meeting, the National Board accomplished quite a bit. One of the ideas that came out of it was to bring back the Chapter of the Year award. Parameters for this will be discussed with the Chapters at a later date, but in plenty of time before the start date of October 1. I hope that all Chapters will participate, but it is not mandatory.
Unfortunately, due to the nasty winter weather this year, many of our chapters had to cancel meetings. However, they made up for it with some exciting programs and activities once the weather got better.
The Great Plains Chapter had to cancel their December, January, and February meetings due to weather.
For their March meeting, they saw the Katherine Hepburn exhibit “Dressed for Stage and Screen” at the Durham Museum in Omaha. This featured 35 costumes from 21 films she had starred in. At the Durham, they also saw an exhibit from the Omaha Community Playhouse featuring costumes from some of their productions. Following dinner, they attended that evening’s runway show for Omaha’s Fashion Week that is considered to be the fifth largest fashion event in the United States. It was a full and wonderful day especially since they had had to cancel the three previous meetings.
In April, Ruth Ciemnoczolowski presented a wonderful program for them in which she shared her experience in the Passion for Fashion contest at Novi. They were able to see her beautiful winning bridal ensemble. She also talked about her participation in the half scale competition at Novi and showed them her gorgeous Charles James inspired gown. Ruth also did a presentation on body types for them.
For their May meeting, they are planning to go to the Hillestad Gallery on the University of Nebraska campus and see a costume exhibit of Bill Blass, Geoffery Beene and Oscar De La Renta creations. This exhibit establishes the mood of American fashion in the latter half of the 20th century.
The New Jersey Chapter was happy to bid adieu to winter weather and welcome spring with open arms!
Several professional workshops were held to update patternmaking and fitting skills. Chapter member Sharon Zydiak helped members and guests draft and fit a personal moulage and then create a sloper. Another weekend found them traveling to former member Susan Kolar’s Pennsylvania studio to learn how to draft different types of sleeves for their slopers.
They also spent a busy Saturday (and many hours afterwards) altering prom gowns and tuxes for area teenagers at a local Cinderella’s Closet boutique. Being a fairy godmother (or godfather) is a very rewarding experience!! It’s great hearing about how our Chapters give back to their local communities.
They are also in the process of developing a chapter website, and appreciate the fine jobs done by the Colorado and New England Chapters!
The Wisconsin Chapter has had a busy late winter and spring! In February, they met at Sue Tenney’s for muslin fittings of the Tabula Rasa jacket by Fit for Art Patterns, which they hope to wear to Conference (can’t wait to see them!) In addition, Linda McCoy shared a technique she used to support a backless gown.
In March, members met at Denise Severson’s and viewed a fascinating video on Neapolitan tailoring.
In April, because Katherine Merkel was recovering from surgery, they met at her studio for muslin fittings of their sheath dresses for the Threads Challenge, and had a discussion on general business practices. Of course, at each meeting they also had great food and camaraderie, meaning they always left later than the planned meeting time, but time always flies when with great friends!
This from Katherine – “Our chapter members are like a family, and when we don’t meet, we get withdrawal symptoms! Some members drive from a couple of hours away, so it is no light thing for us to get together each month. But it is worth it to each of us as the support, education, and camaraderie is invaluable!”
In March, the Baltimore Chapter meeting was held at A Fabric Place fabric store. They usually hold one meeting a year there. The store is very supportive of the Chapter and ASDP and usually gives them a discount when they meet there. The program for the evening was a Project Runway-type challenge. Attendees were asked to design a cocktail dress for the Preakness. Everyone sketched a design and then looked around the store for suitable fabrics for their design. When all were finished, they showed what they had come up with. It was interesting to see the diversity of designs! And of course, most of us purchased some wonderful fabric while we were there!
At the May meeting, several members will be demonstrating some alterations techniques – shortening, tapering and adding a vent to pants; raising the armhole on a jacket; altering lace seams, etc.
The Heartland Chapter has been very busy so far in 2015. With the exception of January, they have met each month to discuss chapter business and to do some fun activities together. Earlier in the year, the chapter voted on purchasing a college level DVD class on color. They will be watching lessons throughout the year.
Their biggest activity this year was a trip that five of them took to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC in April to see the grounds and the Downton Abbey costumes. They said it was so much fun! On the front end of the trip, they took time to visit with member Judy Gross. Not only did Judy graciously open her home to their group, but she gave them the most interesting and in-depth tour of her factory. She also introduced them to an amazing restaurant in Asheville called Salsa’s, where they all had their most delicious meal! After visiting the Biltmore, they made their way to Gastonia, NC to visit Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop. It was well worth the 1.5-hour detour. Finally, they finished up their trip by swinging by member Cisa Barry’s wonderful new digs. They were all thoroughly impressed and envious of her amazing and wellorganized space.
In May, the chapter plans on visiting a docent-led exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art called, “Cutting-Edge Fashion: Recent Acquisitions.” They also have plans to continue their color lessons and will make a visit to Chicago in July.
The British Columbia Chapter, besides being hard at work planning our 2016 conference, had a variety of programs this past year. They sponsored a jacketdrafting course taught by Sabine Davis that was well attended. They hosted a draping workshop and also enjoyed a presentation by the Society for the Museum of Original Costume and hope to attend more events of this type. At the Sewing and Craft show in Abbotsford, the Chapter set up an exhibit and felt that the demos they did there were useful, as they drew people into discussion.
The Chapter recently held elections with the following results:
President – Sandy Dunn Treasurer – Marion Goosen Secretary – Carol Lees Members-at-Large – Brenda Breitenmoser and Diana Consell
Every year at their annual meeting, the New England Chapter honors their longtime members by giving certificates to those who have been a member for 5, 10, 15, or more years. This is a lovely practice that other Chapters may want to incorporate into their annual festivities. It is greatly appreciated by the recipients and is an inspiration to the newer members.
Sadly, the Appalachian Chapter will be disbanding this year. Sometimes, when Chapter members live at a distance, it is hard to maintain the energy needed to keep a chapter going. Hopefully, they will all stay in touch with each other and do things on an informal basis. The good news is we are looking forward to the birth of a new chapter in Michigan! They held their first planning meeting on April 30; we hope things will soon be rolling along for them soon. I’ll keep you posted.
Written by Debby Spence, VP of Chapter Relations
Sandra Betzina, 2015 LAA
It always amazes me when one simple encounter has a profound effect. When I was starting my alterations and custom sewing business nearly 25 years ago, I hesitated because my sewing skills were almost completely self-taught, with a few lessons from middleschool home-ec class and time spent sewing with my aunt. I had some books in my reference library: the Singer Sewing Reference Library, the Reader’s Digest Complete Sewing Book, and several Palmer Pletsch paperbacks. I resolved to take every class I could manage in order to advance my skills.
After joining PACC (as ASDP was known then) as a charter member, one of the first well-known sewing celebrity lectures I attended was with Sandra Betzina. Her enthusiasm for garment sewing was, and is, infectious. What keeps her teaching today is her drive to help sewists learn to create garments that look wonderful and fit beautifully, while truly enjoying the process of sewing.
Sandra’s path to teaching sewing also began from an encounter. She always loved to sew, but meeting a neighbor who’d worked in a couture house is what led her to teach others. She felt that other sewists would want to know the techniques her friend shared with her, to make their sewing more rewarding. That led to her decision to open her sewing school (with detours and side trips along the way), to write a sewing column for the newspaper; and to host a weekly segment on a TV news magazine. She has longrunning television shows on two different networks to her credit as well as almost 200 online sewing classes through her Power Sewing website. Five of Sandra’s books are on my shelf now, and several of them are probably on most of yours as well.
Sharing the joy she takes in sewing is what keeps her traveling, teaching groups around the country and beyond - I caught up with her by phone while she was in Calgary, BC for a seminar. Her favorite way to teach is to spend several days with her students, so she continues to offer week-long seminars for small groups at her space in San Francisco, seven or eight times a year. She laughingly told me that she was slowing down a bit, at age 71 - but from the schedule she’s keeping, I can only hope I’ll have the same kind of stamina. The message Sandra would like to pass along to those of us who spend so much timesewing for others is this: take time to make yourself something special every year - it doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be special, but it’s a way to remind yourself why you love to sew. Sew for yourself and sew with joy!
Our website describes the Lifetime Achievement Award in this way:
“The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to a person, organization, or business that has made a profound contribution to the goals that ASDP promotes: sewing, fashion, pattern making, writing, and/or education in the field of sewing and design.”
During my years as a member of the association, I’ve been privileged to meet so many of our past awardees, and to count them among the teachers who helped me along the way. I was very pleased when Debra Utberg informed me Sandra Betzina had been chosen by the board as the recipient of the 2015 ASDP Lifetime Achievement Award, because of my nomination. Sandra is thrilled to be receiving this honor, and true to her constant desire to learn, she can’t wait to hear what classes we are offering at this year’s conference. I look forward to seeing her in Minneapolis this October.
Written by Janee Connor, ASDP member
Although a blog lives on the internet, it is very different from a website, but not so easy to explain (which I learned when trying to explain the differences to a friend recently.)
Before I attempt to detail the differences, let’s start with some terms:
blog --derived from ‘weblog’--an internet site where the blog owner can post information-usually in a conversational tone.
blogger --owner and/or contributor to a blog
post --a single entry on a blog (or as a verb, to add an entry to a blog)
follow --to request to be notified each time a specific blog is updated
follower --someone who follows a blog
One way to think about blogs vs. websites is a website is more like the yellow pages and a blog is more like a journal.
Most websites are informational and don’t change very often. You typically have a page about your background, another page with photos of your work, etc. Each page is meant to be read from top to bottom.
A blog is a series of entries, the most recent usually displayed at the top. A blog changes as often as the owner posts new entries. A blog is also inherently more interactive. On most blogs, readers can post comments at the bottom of each post (think of a post as a single entry in a diary or journal), and the blogger and other readers can respond. Some blogs require the blogger to approve all comments before they are available for the public to view.
So, what’s so cool about a blog and why would I consider doing one? It is much faster and easier to post information on a blog, including links, photos and videos, than most websites. Blog software is usually WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), and provides easy access to data about your followers/readers. Blogs tend to be more conversational and less formal. And, because the blog changes each time the blogger enters a new post, people tend to either follow a blog by signing up to be notified of updates or check back on a regular basis for new content.
For creative types like us, a blog can be an excellent way to show the process we go through when working on a project. For example, each day for a week you could post photos of your progress. This way, clients can see the care and detail that goes into a garment as well as help them to understand why they can’t get that custom strapless gown in time for this weekend.
The downsides - with any public information, as professionals we need to be careful what we share with current and potential clients and business contacts.
If you choose to start a blog to promote your business, always keep in mind that anyone will be able to see what you post, forever. (No take-backs!). You may shoot yourself in the foot without realizing it.
I just got back from a trip to Europe where most of my free time was spent in fiber-related activities. I would LOVE to post photos of all the gorgeous stuff I bought, but I could risk disqualifying myself for the next challenge since I may be using some of what I bought in some of my garments. You must also be careful about photos you post - copyright laws apply to blogs as they do on websites, so unless you know the origin of the image and have permission to post it, just don’t do it.
Finally, and in this case, “do as I say, not as I do”, check your blog posts (or have someone else do it) for typos, misspellings, broken (non-functioning) links, etc. I really should be better about this since I make my living testing software, but hey, no one’s perfect.
Blog or website? This depends on your budget, your available time (or whoever you manage to trick into doing it), and your clientele. Blogs are gaining more popularity, but aren’t the best place for the type of information typically found on a website, and older users still seem to prefer websites. If you plan to have only one or the other, and don’t expect to have the time to update a blog more than once a week, stick with a standard website. Blogs are living things; and if you don’t update them often enough, folks just stop checking in. If you only want to do one and you’ve got lots to say and show, and the time to post regularly, go with a blog.
Best case in my opinion is do both. Use your website to provide practical information, galleries of your work, directions to your studio, etc., and use your blog to keep in touch with current and potential clients on a more personal level. You can post after conference about all the great new techniques you learned, remind them to bring in alterations and new projects early, before your schedule is filled with wedding gowns and prom dresses, review the latest Red Carpet fashions, etc.
Whichever you choose, always make sure your contact information is quick and easy to find--the last thing you want is an excited client who is unable to contact you right away.
Written by Juliette (Kimes) Howland
Despite the winter weather, our Chapters are managing to get together for some inspiring events, programs, and fun!
Seven members of the New England Chapter visited the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA in January. Here is what they said about their excursion:
“Artist Textiles, Picasso to Warhol” The exhibit was in two spaces, the regular special exhibit gallery and the upstairs gallery. It consisted of fabrics designed by famous (Picasso! Calder! Warhol!) and not so famous (Steinberger and others) painters of the 20th century. Some pieces were actually headscarves, most were fabric: printed woven, or painted. Picasso famously stated that his fabrics were not to be used as upholstery. It was ok to lean on his work, but not sit on it. There was only one photo of the artist (in this case, Picasso) with the artwork that was made into fabric. It would have been interesting to see some other similar photos, to see the artist’s work and how it was translated into fabric design.
Most of the fabrics really related to the era in which they were made- the big bright 60’s prints and the earthy 70’s colors. There were quite a few dresses on dress forms showing the cut and style of the era. One dress bothered us couture seamstresses; it looked like there had been no effort at all to match the fish print at the front closure, which looked strange to us. We did not know if that was a sign of the 60’s, when the dress had been made, i.e., purposely unmatched, but we did not like it! Some of the prints were, ah, interesting, others we thought could be used today; everyone had a favorite. We were sorry that the fabrics (replicas) could not be purchased in the museum shop, although there was a nice catalog of the exhibit.
We wandered into some of the permanent space where the textile exhibits continued to be fascinating... Jen Stern got the blower to work on the “feel the wind resistance” hands-on piece. We were surprised at how much resistance the sheer cotton provided. We guessed that it was because of the tight weave of the fabric.
It was a lovely and not too cold day, so we all walked to the restaurant, Fuse, which was quite close by. The food was tasty and the conversation flowed- we have no trouble talking about fabrics, techniques, family (with grandbaby photos of course), etc., etc.
The Textile Museum is always worth a visit, and though their special exhibits are small, they are worth seeing, sparking conversation and thought and, of course, it is always great to get together with the NE ASDP members! (review written by Pat Kane)
Unfortunately, the Heartland Chapter had to cancel January’s meeting “due to the rampant illnesses that are currently sweeping the Midwest.” They did get to meet before Christmas, however, and had a cookie exchange and watched the documentary, “Advanced Style.” They all enjoyed the film and highly recommend it to anyone in the fashion industry. In 2015, they will be starting a color theory DVD series that they will complete throughout the year.
The Oregon Chapter’s theme for the year is ‘A Year of Sewing Dangerously’. They have all “sewn for quite a while and need to get out of our ruts and boost our creativity”. They kicked off their year of programs with a presentation on Entering Sewing Contests by Robin Bolton, a Chapter member and winner of many awards. She presented material from multiple aspects to encourage members to participate in the many available sewing contests.
Robin began the talk by looking at some of the reasons it benefits you and your business to take part in a contest. Challenging yourself to learn something new, whether working with a new fabric or product or incorporating a new technique was top of the list. Also noted were using the experience as a talking point with potential clients, adding to your marketing material, and PRIZES! Robin made a great point that you should not be entering the contest solely to win, although winning is a great accomplishment, you gain as much by participating. Robin provided a great amount of information about the “technical” aspects of entering. A cell phone snapshot will not do your sewing any favors. Tips to create good photographs of your work: choose colors that show well, use good lighting, eliminate busy backgrounds and show garments on a dress form or a model, as opposed to flat on a hanger. She made sure to emphasize the importance of quality sewing to demonstrate your best skills.
A subject that Robin discussed, that is often not addressed, is proper “etiquette.” Acting in a professional manner during and after a contest shows respect to the planners, judges and other entrants. Being appreciative to the vendors who supplied prizes makes it more likely they will continue to be generous with their donations.
To encourage the Chapter members, Robin brought a stack of entry forms for a few different upcoming contests.
Upcoming programs for the Oregon Chapter will be a presentation “Inspired by Italian Fashion’, and a tour of the Italian Fashion Exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, and “Fitting Dangerous Curves” by Debbie Utberg and Elizabeth Miles with pattern fitting before and after the meeting. They will also be taking a field trip in July to the MaryHill Museum to visit the Theatre de la Mode exhibit. Tricia Crocket will be presenting ‘Looking Dangerously – Sewing with Leather’ in September and November’s meeting will be ‘Dangerously Feeling the power of Industrial Machines’. We all hope the Chapter survives this year of Living Dangerously! The Chapter will also get a chance to hobnob with the National Board when they host them for dinner during the Strategic Planning Meeting being held in Portland.
Other Chapters are also focusing some of their programs on this year’s Challenge. At their meeting in January, Chapter member Debby Spence demonstrated to the Baltimore Chapter how to do a full bust adjustment to a pattern for a darted bodice and a princess bodice. She suggested several ways to decide what size pattern to start with, as that is often the problem when trying to get a good fit. In preparation for this year’s Challenge, they will be fitting muslins for a sheath dress at February’s meeting. The great thing about having a well-fitted sheath is that it can essentially be a sloper to design other garments.
At January’s meeting of the Colorado Chapter, members practiced hand stitches from Claire Shaeffer’s Book, Couture Sewing Techniques. In February they are planning on showing the DVD Looking Good. It’s very comprehensive look at color analysis and garment selection will be useful education for members and a tool for applying the ideas to their clients’ projects. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur, DE, perhaps you can go with the Appalachian Chapter on Mar.16 when they tour the exhibit at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC. The Biltmore in itself is a fabulous place to tour, so the Downton Abbey exhibit will be icing on the cake! If you’d like to attend, contact Judy Gross or another Chapter member about getting tickets and for all the details. Asheville is a lovely place to visit that time of year! (Or any time for that matter.)
New Jersey Chapter members began the New Year with an inspiring show and tell of special garments created during the past year. February brings a fullday moulage/sloper class taught by Sharon Zydiak. Upcoming meetings will provide opportunities for using their slopers to create different designs. They are also hoping this month to get into Brooklyn to see Amanda Madden’s recently completed studio expansion. In March, chapter members will have the opportunity to help area teens in need at the Cinderella’s Closet Boutique, where they will be fitting and altering gowns and tuxes to help make dreams come true!
The Wisconsin Chapter held their annual Winter Workshop in January in Rockford IL. They started this event 9 years ago with just members from their Chapter but now open it to other neighboring sewing friends. The commitment is to sew only for themselves. They do fittings on one another and share ideas and techniques. They also have a fabric swap that usually includes other items such as machine parts, accessories, notions, tools, books and a lot of inspiration! This year, those in attendance were Sue Tenney, Linda McCoy, Joan Kuhry, Katherine Merkel, Noreen Hoenig, Chris Kazmerzak (all from the Wisconsin Chapter) and Cisa Kubley, Denise Liss, Tina Colombo and (former member) Beki Biesterfelt.
Besides the knowledge and inspiration you can get at a chapter meeting, the socializing and networking is a huge benefit. If you don’t belong to a chapter, perhaps you might like to start one in your area. Also, if anyone is ever travelling in an area where there is a chapter, find out if they are having a meeting while you are there. I’m sure they would love to have you as a guest, and if they aren’t meeting, members may still enjoy getting together with you.
No trip to conference with Rachel Kurland is without its side trips, be it a workshop with Natalie Chanin in Alabama, a trip to the Banta Shoe Museum in Toronto or a fabric crawl back to Vermont with stops at London Textiles in Cherry Hill, NJ and Banksville Designer Fabrics in Norwalk, CT. These side trips have added an enlightening dimension, and some serious stash, to our travels.
At Banksville, the owner introduced us to Sulky KK2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive. After watching him spray it on a $45.00/yard silk, fold it into place and reposition many times, I decided this might be a good product to have on hand. Though expensive at $15.99 for a small can, it is very concentrated and seems to go a long way.
I have used it on silk, cotton, wool and many synthetics with virtually no problems. It disappears without a trace and does not gum up needles or other surfaces. The only place the results were not acceptable was on fake fur. I thought it could be useful in holding the pile back while stitching the seams. However, it dulled the sheen of the fur. Testing, as always, is a must.
I have also found it handy to hold pattern pieces in place while doing layouts. It would be ideal for those of you who do applique and quilt work as well as for trapunto as it would stay in place for stitching yet dissipate for stuffing. I love using it to tack up hems for fittings - no pinholes in those delicate silks and chiffons - and can be repositioned easily.
Be aware that this is a lightweight, TEMPORARY, adhesive which will disappear in 2 to 5 days, or immediately under a dry iron, but is not water soluble. For a bit better adhesion, spraying on both surfaces helps.
Written by Kitty Daly, ASDP Member
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