Monday, August 26, 2013

Fake Ikat in Fashion!

A quick post to show you some fake ikat. Check out the photo from 1931 on that page & you'll see another thing I love about textiles: simple technology often produces amazing art. 

I posted recently about real ikat, & that post includes an amazing time-lapse video of a fiber artist, if you'd like to see how it's done.

This bag is made from fabric printed to look like it's been woven in the ikat method!  This bag is from Bungalow; saw it in a shop window in Charlottesville & had to run in & inspect. They have many fabric options for the bag, only a few are ikat-like.

I've noticed such printed (vs. woven) ikat elsewhere, too, lately.   Here are some bed linens from West Elm, for example.  

And shoes from DKNY here

And an iPhone cover here.

Notice I'm not even including pics from places like World Market or Pier One, or Ten Thousand Villages...where you would expect to see ethnic textiles used on products! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Speaking of Style...Style Icons Sly & the Family Stone

Sly & the Family Stone has a new boxed set coming out, and NPR has a story about it.  I can tell you, if you don't know, that their music is well and truly amazing.  Just try to sit still while listening!  Just try!

But the band's clothing is also well and truly wonderful.  Definitely stylish.  Check out the photo here, and see what I mean. 

And here are a few of the Family Stone's songs to help you have a good day (there are a zillion more)!  And believe me, the videos are worth watching for the great style ideas. 

Remember...all we need is a drummer!  

If You Want Me To Stay 
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)
I Want to Take You Higher
Dance To the Music

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Old Maps for New Patterns: A Recycling Story

Guess why this map was recycled!
I work in a library where we have lots of maps. Recently the maps librarian decided to get rid of all the out-of-date maps, and there were stacks of them.  

So I asked if I could have them, and the Roommate came by and picked me up and we took many of them home. Now I'm using them to trace patterns onto, if I am changing a pattern, or just don't want to cut one up.  

I learned a technique in the Copy Your Clothes class I took at Bits of Thread DC.  It works best if you have a nice cutting board (mine is large and made of cardboard).  Put the map down (or the tracing paper), put the pattern on top, and start poking a straight pin through the pattern lines.  It's a good idea to put a few pins down at the four corners to keep the pattern in place while you're marking.  

When you're done poking, fold up the original tissue pattern piece (good luck with that), connect the dots you've made on the map or tracing paper and be careful not to forget dots or other pattern markings, like grain lines.   

And viola! you've got a sturdy pattern piece that you will hopefully remember you made the next time you need it.  (I put a post-it on the front of the original pattern packet, and keep all these large pattern pieces rolled up together.  Though as I get more and more a real system may have to be invented.)

In addition, the Roommate will take many of these old maps to school for his students to make posters or draw on, or just cut up and glue.  Speaking of the Roommate and maps and his collection of fun shirts, here's what he's wearing today:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Standing While...Well, Just Standing More

You may have noticed that my sewing machine is up on a milk crate now....and I've got a standing desk at work, too. I thought I'd provide a few links about why I'm a convert, and also about where to get a standing desk and additional information, if you're interested.

What is screen apnea? This quotation really got me: "The computer becomes animated and we become less animated." Scary!

There are zillions of articles out there (and journal articles too, if you are so inclined) about how you increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, etc., if you sit a lot.  Here's one from February 2013 from the Independent. 

My legs were really tired the first week after work.  After the 2nd day, I had to buy an anti-fatigue pad.  I can walk miles, but standing (like in museums) is hard on my lower back...the pad really helps.  (You can see I'm standing on it in the photo above.)

I also have to admit I really look forward to meetings ('cause I'll get to sit!) and to working at the Reference Desk...again, because it's mostly sitting.  

And some people even have walking desks!  I would love this, but can't figure out how I'd get it at work, and I don't think it would work sewing--too much jumping on & off to iron, cut, try on, etc.  Here's Susan Orlean at her walking desk.  And here's a her article in the New Yorker.  (You'll have to subscribe to read it, though.)  

Work While Walking is full of great ideas & links, more about treadmill desks, but also about standing while working.  

And there are lots of sewists out there who stand while sewing (google "standing while sewing"), most of them seem to have started due to back problems.  That is not my issue, though; I just found a standing desk & decided to try it because it's supposed to be healthier. 

Geek Desk has desks that can be raised or lowered you can easily sit or stand.  

And an article about posture...along with a helpful video.

Music?!  How about Stand? Amazing music & fashion from Sly & the Family Stone! And today is my 29th wedding anniversary...and the Roommate loves Sly.  Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Next Up: McCall's 8841

Here's an old pattern (1997) that I'm going to try out w/ some "designer" rayon I got at G Street Fabrics recently.

I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to recreate clothes I've left behind...and wish I hadn't!  How pathetic is that?!  Anyway, I had 2 dresses made in China that I loved, they were cotton prints, indigo-dyed*. They got left behind when we headed south because we knew we wouldn't need work clothes for a while.  But I miss them.  

I usually work with cotton, so will be curious to see what happens when I try to sew with a slippery fabric.  I've already got my ballpoint needles at the ready!  

Because of the fabric, this will be a bit dressier, so we'll see how it turns out.  If I like the pattern I may make a few of them.  A simple summer dress--I always need more of those!

*The dye wasn't set!  (After a hot & muggy day in Hong Kong, the blue dye was crawling up my neck & down my arms! I had to go to a grocery store, buy a box of salt, and soak them overnight in salty water in the hotel room sink!.  That set the dye, and I got a lot of use out of them when we lived in Taipei.)  If you have fabric & the dye isn't set, try fairly liberal w/ the salt--there are probably guidelines somewhere on the innerweb--but don't soak it more than a few hours or overnight as salt is fairly corrosive and weakens fabric.  You'll see them using salt in the dying workshop in Indonesia in the batik video I linked to recently.