Recently, I took the plunge and purchased a new Baby Lock Ovation serger. The Baby Lock Ovation has an exclusive “Thread Delivery System” which eliminates the daunting task of manually threading the upper and lower loopers and eliminates the inconvenience of tension adjustments.
For the last thirty plus years, I’ve been using a Bernette for Bernina Funlock. Over the years, I’ve grown quite attached to my first serger because together we have enjoyed the pleasure of constructing Halloween and dance recital costumes along with child and adult clothes. But, I’ve decided it’s time to charge ahead, in order to create and construct new garments using current technology.
At first, I was intimidated by the size of the Ovation. I removed it from the box, sat it on the dining room table and just stared at it. “What was I thinking?” I decided to take a Sewing With Knits class at Eddie’s Quilting Bee with Sally-Ann Flak.
Using a Nicole Miller graphic print fabric, I constructed the complete top with my Baby Lock Ovation serger. The fit is amazing and the fabric is beautiful.
Growing up wearing clothes designed for the chubby girl was so heart wrenching. It was difficult to find clothes that didn’t make me look matronly. I loved school, but I despised shopping for new school clothes each year. My mother would take my sister and I clothes shopping together (who was by the way, THIN). While trying on my chubbie size and her 6X (for thin little girls) in the same dressing room, I was reminded of the comparison. Of course, I didn’t resent my sister, I envied her.
I’ve kept these feelings hidden throughout the years, until now…
The NYU Costume Studies M.A. Program proudly presents their annual exhibition, BeyondMeasure: – Fashion and the Plus Size* Woman, beginning January 13-February 3, 2016. “The fashion industry as played an undeniable role in enabling the stigmatization of larger women’s bodies.” http://beyondmeasurenyu.com/
This week I needed to get a way for a day. I decided to return to the stacks at the University of California, Berkeley’s Anthropology library. During my stay as a student, I spent many hours focusing on Art History, with little regard or time for anything else. Now I have the time to explore other disciplines. I was looking forward to picking up a book I had on hold at Doe Library, Decorative Patterns Of The Ancient World, by Flinders Petrie. On my way, I captured a picture of the infamous Campanile.
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
Such a relief to relax and take in the atmosphere without worrying about the next paper or test. I headed over to the Anthropology library and ventured into the world of prehistoric textiles. Three books, Women’s Work: The First 20,000 years, Making Textiles In Pre-Roman And Roman Times, and Textile Production In Pre-Roman Italy, I was excited to discover because they support my area of interest.
My interest in textile arts began at the age of eight. Through the guidance of a 4-H leader, I walked the runway in my first sewn dress. I continued to sew through the years and decided to purchase my first weaving loom. Toting my infant daughter on my hip, I warped my loom for the first time. From weaving, I moved on to knitting, felting and dyeing yarn. Throughout the many years of developing my expertise in the textile arts, I didn’t give much thought to the people, places and identities of the individuals that came before me, until now.
On my way across campus to the parking garage, I captured a few more pictures.
After completing pattern drafting for Skirts, I decided to move forward with Moulage. With pencil and eraser nearby, I began translating my measurements onto paper, the end result would be a “mold” of my body to assist in garment construction.
First, I needed to draft a Foundation Block front and back in order to draft a custom moulage of my upper torso. Once completed, I drafted a bodice sloper of my front and back, and mounted the two on oak tag.
The text book used for class, BuildingPatterns, The Architecture of Women’s Clothing, written by Suzy Ferrer can be a bit overwhelming given the amount of technical information. A semester of instruction would definitely explain, in detail, the technical aspects of this informative book.
Here is my moulage. A few minor adjustments to the shoulders and hips were made (as pinned in the photo.)
It was an intense experience, but also rewarding. I am proud of my accomplishment.
Can another person truly appreciate the collections of another? I’ve been contemplating the answer to this question. Each time I climb the stairs to my attic, I transcend the reality of down below. Surrounded by bins full of color, texture, and print transports me to a reality all my own. Will someone else be able to share my reality or create their own?
I own three Singer sewing machines, two Bernina sewing machines and one Bernina Funlock machine. My first Singer was given to me by my parents as a Christmas gift, the second was given to me by my husband when I was expecting our daughter, and the third I bought from a co-worker who needed the money. The Bernina I purchased for myself and the second Bernina was given to me after my mother-in-law passed away. Each machine, as silly as it sounds, represents a stage in my life. They are a part of my history.
Which brings me to the reason for this post…I didn’t think I had much in common with Betty, except for her son and granddaughter, my husband and daughter. Well, that was until I inherited her sewing machine, fabric and notions.
Rarely, did I see Betty wear color, but her thread collection reflects a different story.
The Stretch and Sew pins bring back memories of the Stretch and Sew knits http://www.asg.org/files/hall/2004_Person.pdf. I can’t part with her collection of hotel sewing kits, especially the one from a hotel in Sri Lanka. Betty was a world traveler reflected by the stamps in her passports (which I’ve got for safe keeping). Her collection of silk from Thailand and India, and batiks from Bali.
I appreciate Betty’s love of travel and culture, narrated by her gifts to me.