Wednesday, July 28, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Puffing

Puffing is an heirloom technique used to add visual interest and texture to a garment without the additional costs of fine laces and embroideries.  Puffing strips can be sewn in straight rows in a garment. 

This can easily be done by tearing, not cutting, the fabric (suggest lightweight cottons) strip for puffing.  The width of the strip should be 1/2" wider on each side for the seam allowance and the lengths should be 2 1/2-3" times longer than the desired finished length. 

Insert one edge of the flat fabric strip under the gathering foot and place the needle 1/2" in from the cute edge.  Sew down one long side, creating soft gathers.

Follow the same step for the other side of the fabric strip.
Note: It is important that you begin your gathering from the same end each time to avoid diagonal gathering.

Gently pull on the right and left side of the gathered strip.  The gathers wil straighten and become more horizontal.  Pin the puffing strip to an ironing surface, steam-press, and allow to dry in the pinned position. 
Attach the finished strip as desired.

Tip: Tearing the batiste strip will assure that the fabric is on grain essential for straight, even puffing.

Source: Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques by Nancy Bednar and JoAnn Pugh-Gannon

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- The Trend in 1400 B.C.

Around 1400 B.C. fashion decreed that heads should have an elongated shape, and princesses actually polished their heads to enhance the elegance of their profile.  This fashion was reputed to have been launched by Nefertiti's six daughters, of whom it was said that witch doctors had elongated and narrowed their heads during birth, so as to spare their mother the worst pains of labour.
The ultimate refinement for the most fashionable women (and men too) was to place at the top of their heads a cone of scented grease, which would slowly melt with the heat of the body and the warm atmosphere, so that head and shoulders would slowly become bathed in rare perfumes, the skin growing oily and glistening, the clothes clinging to the body revealing it's shape.

Think of what the Fashionistas of the future will say about our current trends, (yikes!)?! 

Source- Fashion, from ancient Egypt to the present day. by Mila Contini, Picture: Torso, supposedly of Nefertiti, wearing finely pleated tunic.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Night I....

....attended this GREAT event!

I'm excited to say that Albuquerque is rapidly growing when it comes to Fashion Show events, every other week someone is hosting a fashion show of sorts.   I was quite thrilled to attend this one in which I had a few friends participating, and like a proud parent, I cheered them on!

"CLASH COUTURE is Albuquerque’s only live, ultramodern makeup, hair, and fashion competition that reveals what happens behind the runway and showcases designs from creation to completion.
Eight design teams, consisting of one makeup artist, one hairstylist, and a fashion designer competed in a timed competition to create the most original, stunning, couture, avant-garde designs". 

 The Make-up Artist had 5 minutes to apply make-up, Hair stylist- 10 minutes, and the Designer had 20 minutes to design using whatever supplies were in the boxes given to them! 
Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated!!

 The event, created by Josh Talamante, is produced in collaboration with:
Art in the School
Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy (formerly Urban Academy)
The Art Center Design College

Stef Promotions

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-No Fabric Allowed!

Over the last few months we've had students or interns design our window displays, the challenge- to use materials other than fabric to create a garment.  So far we've had a Magazine Dress, A "Mouth watering" food ad's dress, and the latest has been a "Futuristic techno" dress made of aluminum foil and clear plastic cups.  This has posed quite a challenge and we've stirred a bit of excitement and anticipation in what each Designer will come up with next! 

In 1966 Paco Rabanne made his haute couture debut.  He overturned the common belief that clothes had to use thread and fabric, and shocked many with his use of new materials like plastic as fabric. 
The inorganic, metal "fabric" makes a striking contrast against the skin.  In the 1960's, the metallic glimmer of silver was the center of attention in a variety of fields, such as art and films.

Top Dress- Mini-dress of chrome-plated plastic and steel disks linked by stainless steel rings, Spring/Summer 1969
Middle Top- Pink and white plastic disks and white beads linked by stainless steel rings, c1969
Bottom Dress- Mini-dress made of aluminum plates and bras wire, c1967

If you (or someone you know) would like to participate in this fun little challenge, send an email to  We will put a picture of you and your fabulous design, along with a brief bio about you in the newsletter!

Source- The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, Fashion- A History from the 18th to the 20th Century, Taschen publications.

Friday, July 9, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-Tea Stained

These days it's hard to find a nice vintage lace, not to tattered, but just "old looking" enough.  Tea staining is one way of achieving that vintage look.  Boil the tea as you would normally for a cup of tea, fill a bowl with the tea and submerse the entire lace into the bowl and let it soak for 15-30 minutes depending on how dark you'd like the lace to be.  I would suggest testing different laces in different teas to see the change in color.  Black teas are the best for changing bright white lace into a slightly more tan color.  This technique is also great for eyelet laces as well.
The lace shown above was made with my "Fall in Love" Tea from Paris, and it worked! I fell in love....♥

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day- Silhouette

If you are a big fan of Project Runway, you've heard the term Silhouette; many students have asked what it means when the judges refer to "the silhouette" when discussing a particular garment. 
Silhouette shapes are defined by the way in which garments hang or drape on the human body. 
Generally a silhouette develops slowly from decade to decade and there are many external factors that affect the change.  It is only with the knowledge of what has happened in the past that we can begin to create something new.

Source-The Fashion Designer's Directory of Shape and Style, by Simon Travers-Spencer and Zarida Zaman

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

✂-Designer's Tip of The Day-Lost Art of Embroidery

Hand Embroidery was once considered a "granny" thing to do, but with the resergence of sewing, crafting and the popularity of DIY, embroidery has made it's way back into the hands of a younger generation. 
Embroidery is a great way to add a little something to a garment or an accessory!  You no longer need to use the patterns of yesteryear (little ducks and bunnies), there are some really good, modern patterns out there- Sublime Stitching by Jenny Hart is a great place to start.  This rose is from an old pattern, but I've embroidered it onto a new skirt!
Happy Stitching!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

✂- Designer's Tip of The Day- Origin of the Miniskirt

Pierre Cardin, mini dresses, 1968

One of the greatest fashion revolutions of the 20th century is based on a traditional garment originally worn by ancient Greeks and Romans-the tunic. For centuries men wore this together with leggings or tights as their working garb. In the 1950's, however, when it appeared as women's wear in the exciting shape of the miniskirt- it was seen as an outrage because it exposed the female thigh. (oh my!)
The British Designer Mary Quant started sewing clothes out of frustration over the stuffy teenage fashions of the 1950's. She created comfortable, loose smocks without bodices, petticoats, or frills. In 1958 she designed her first super-short shift dresses which seemed more like children's clothes than for adults.
This English "child's" dress was adopted in a very different manner in France. Pierre Carin, one of the most avant-garde fashion designers at that time, created mini-length, angularly cut shift dresses that, instead, had something robot-like about them. His miniskirts- still by no means generally accepted-sometimes resembeled medieval surcoats, held up in the center front by straps.

I just think they're cute!

Source- Icons of Fashion, The 20th Century, Prestel