Sunday, January 31, 2010

Industrial Sewing Inspiration

I have many visual obsessions. Home decor being one. While I have a decent workable sewing space, sometimes I dream about renting an urban loft with exposed industrial elements, and housing some sort of creative business there. Of course the space must be visually inspiring.

While searching sources of vintage iron radiator grilles this evening for a renovation project, I found Urban Remains in Chicago. Maybe we'll swing by there tomorrow. Meanwhile, a website journey renewed my dream of an industrial loft space.

Imagine exposed brick walls, beams and ducts like in this photo from Apartment Therapy:

With large plate glass windows overlooking a Chicago city view such as this painting by Kathleen Patrick:

To outfit the space, I loved these industrial objects on the Urban Remains website for an inspirational sewing space. These all feel like strong, stable and simple backdrops to the visual cacophony of all the tools, notions, fabrics, and pattern pieces when undergoing sewing projects. (Never mind these are all pricey, this is a dream where money grows on trees.)

I like this old 1930s cart for wheeling notions around to where they're needed:

This 1940s factory table for cutting.

Another factory table for cutting or just piling sewing stuff as I tend to do.

A sewing and fashion inspiration board would lean on this 1920s easel:

This theater spotlight would bring some illumination:

This stool looks like it almost has a smile on the back, in addition to its fun color:

Because I'm petite, there must always be a stepstool within reach:

First aid should always be available for scissor and needle mishaps:

The most dilapidated dress form would stand for decoration only at the entrance, just to remind of where you are and why you're here:

This steel basket unit would hold fabrics. WOW! Love it!

In keeping with the vintage industrial theme, isn't this overhead trolley cool for a gravity fed iron. It will hold up to 1500 lbs. That's a lot of water for a lot of steam, ha.

A rack for hanging sewn clothing is essential:

A wall decoration. Because sewing eventually leads to laundry.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stylin' Series Tibetan & French Influence

When we were in Sikkim -- a land tucked between Nepal and Tibet -- last year, I saw many pieces like this Silver Prayer Wheel Pendant, available online from Garuda Trading. I love the antique carnelian beads at that site, but they are expensive and I'm not sure I should be taking such rare things from other lands anyway. So I would string this Silver Prayer Wheel Pendant with new carnelian beads from Fire Mountain Gems. And layer that necklace with the strung beads of the Mother of Pearl Mala from Garuda Trading.

And then sew a Chanel-style jacket to wear with the beads, where worlds and cultures can meet:

Light coral boucle from Fine Fabrics, sewn into Vogue 8369 Chanel-style jacket. Keep it simple with basic trim (maybe fringe) and no front closures.

Worn over a luxurious ruched silk habutai top from Bluefly. And basic brown trousers from Nordstrom.

Turquoise leather handbag from etsy seller morelle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Have You Disposed of Zippers in the Trash Lately?

My obsessions and inspirations run far and wide. I am both a cat person and a dog person. I love old stone farmhouses and I mourn never seeing Metropolitan Home again. A few days ago it was the silks and jewels of India. Today it is the metal and edge of zippers.

Everyone from Balmain to etsy shops find creative ways to use zippers ...

Discussed at Outsapop, Balmain zipper jacket:

Snails, oops I mean zippers, shown on Outsapop. The point of this is the power of exaggerated multiples:

And zippers as decorative trim rather than function:

High end zipper jewelry from etsy seller katecusack. This elegant cuff doesn't read as zippers at first glance. Also check out her blog for zipper eye candy. Who'd believe there could be "zipper eye candy?" Believe it. She creates it.

Oh my goodness. A shrug. Made entirely with zippers. From Sohung Designs. Wow wow wow. I could do this. And wear it over something frilly. You can apply the techniques shown here to line up zippers and make a similar shrug.

You need a zipper jar to store your notions, from etsy seller AmaliaVersaci:

What to do with all the zipper pulls from the above projects? A Valentine idea from AmaliaVersaci:

Also from AmaliaVersaci -- can you tell these are zipper pulls too?

This headband is a sweet style from etsy seller louandlee:

Is this made from zippers?

Yes. Yes it is, according to The Crafty Crow.

Going full circle to where this momentary visual obsession started, back to Outsapop, check out the Outsapop post about zipper jewelry at Etsy. She gathers the best of the best. I love everything there and would wind up copying the whole post here! Not cool. But the jewelry, so cool. Take a look.

There is no reason to ever dispose of a zipper in the trash again ...

Oh, and if you don't want your zippers as DIY project, I love unusual use of zippers like these Sergio Rossi boots at Zappos:

Get a similar effect for much less $$$ by wrapping your own zippers around boots, an idea shown at Outsapop:

Add interest to a simple knit top. What a great idea! This is also shown on Outsapop. To see all the zipper inspiration there, simply click on the "Zipper" topic.

Geez, I thought it was a wild idea (for me) to think about sewing nonfunctional gold RiRi zipper tape on the outside of the Simplicity Cynthia Rowley jacket, discussed in this post. After seeing all this, wild no more!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obsessed About India, the Richest Visual Inspiration

My husband is in India right now. How I wish I could be there too. I'm missing 2 weddings and 3 cities: Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. But a few weeks of vacation per year must be parceled out, and this late-breaking trip didn't fit. I've been to India 4 times now, and someday hope I can say there were 40 trips. 400 trips may be wishing too much, but it's not too much for me.

Some inspiration here. Some is Indian and some is more appropriately "Indian fusion" with other influences. Like the Indian-Chinese fusion restaurant we like to visit. Bring the best of both with fantastic result.

How about a corset with sari trim.
I love the shape of the corset.
Could wear it with a full gauzy layered skirt.

Here I like the undergarment with the square shapes.
I imagine it as a long summer skirt with T, belt and sandals.

This could be an evening gown at a dressy event, anywhere.

Here I like the subtle pattern and colors.
I'd like a summer sweater in these patterns and colors.
Or silk tunic over flowy beige pants.

I just love the whole of this. Proportions, everything.
It would be way overwhelming on my 5' frame though.
But it gives me an idea.
I love the swish of long silk skirts. Could belt them with scarf.

Another long over long but slimmer.
Love the color combo.

Salmon, lavender and beige.
Never would have thought of it.

I like the flared tunic over leggings.
Would never wear it myself but OK to see on others.

I am a sucker for paisley. Simple as that. Beautiful paisley.

Lest the above is too much of India, here is more Ritu Kumar on the runway shown at, very different style. Easily, details here could be incorporated into things we sew. Mix of fabrics, embroidery and zari, a hemline, layers:

I had the occasion once in Chennai to score a Ritu Kumar piece. But I did not bite. Next time, next time. After taking so liberally from this designer's site for our viewing pleasure, I should inform you, you can buy online. For example, the silk dress below is US$114. Oh, love ...

Check out the matching belt:

I love the mix of blue and browns. This could absolutely be worn anywhere in the U.S. without feeling a conspicuous out-of-place influence. Even to work, under a jacket or belted cardigan.

On trip #5, sometime not too far away, I will be a fierce huntress in India. Hunting for fabric. And I am hungry. Very very hungry. To find fabrics with the more subdued colors in the Ritu Kumar runway above, better for my very fair skin.

So I can create, and sew, with inspiration from India ...
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