Punk: Chaos to Couture

May 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Sid Vicious, 1977, Photograph © Dennis Morris - all rights reserved; Right: Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), 2011, Vogue, March 2011, Photograph by David Sims

Sid Vicious, 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris. Daria Werbowy in Chanel, Vogue, March 2011. Photo: David Sims. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, is devoted to punk and its influence on high fashion. The show relates the punk ethos of DIY (do-it-yourself) to the custom-made garments of haute couture, devoting sections to the distinctive elements of punk’s aesthetic vocabulary: embellishments and techniques such as hardware, graffiti, and distressing. In addition to curator Andrew Bolton, the exhibition team includes Nick Knight as creative consultant and design consultant Sam Gainsbury, who was creative director of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

It seems the punk theme is presenting a challenge for some celebrities attending the Met’s Costume Institute gala on Monday. (See Eric Wilson, “Would Anna Settle for a Safety Pin?“) You can watch a live stream from the red carpet this Monday, May 6th at 7pm EDT.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture runs from May 9th to August 14th, 2013. If you can’t make it to New York this summer, the exhibition catalogue is out next week from Yale University Press.

This week, in the punk spirit of DIY, I’ll be posting about two punk-inspired patterns in my Free Designer Patterns series.

Toronto Sewing Blog Meetup

February 28, 2013 § 5 Comments

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in a Toronto sewing blog meetup, co-organized by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and Adrienne of All Style and All Substance. All together we were eighteen sewing enthusiasts—some with blogs, some without, and one who’d taken the train in from Montreal:

Who knew there were so many sewing bloggers in the GTA? We split into two groups to avoid swarming the shops:

Andi, Kristiann, Dana, Adrienne, me, and Anastasia outside Leather & Sewing Supply Depot on Vanauley St.

Vicki, Sandra, Jagoda, Chloe, Reethi, Tracy, and Debbie outside Leather & Sewing Supply Depot.

Catja brought everyone decadent cake pops that were the perfect shopping break calorie bomb (get her recipe here):

Adrienne and I enjoy our cake pops; Catja with her handiwork; Tracy and Catja. Images via All Style and All Substance.

After gathering at Le Gourmand near Queen and Spadina, we started at King Textiles, where the young SA observed, “You’re all wearing name tags.” From there we hit Leathertown (officially Leather & Sewing Supply Depot), Downtown Fabrics, and the Wool House before heading over to Tequila Bookworm for refreshments and a swap.

I wasn’t doing any shopping, but a highlight was when the owner at Downtown Fabrics produced a matchbook and lit some fabric on fire. (He was demonstrating that a fine Japanese lining was cotton with a burn test.) There’s nothing like that old-fashioned salesmanship. Kristiann, who’s the owner of local indie pattern company Victory Patterns, also shared some tips on where to find the right trim for a vintage sewing project I have in the works, which should be very helpful next time I’m in the fashion district.

Here we all are at Tequila Bookworm:

Upstairs at Tequila Bookworm.

Our amazing organizers both wore clothes they had made themselves. Adrienne wore her self-drafted Granny-smith blouse and skirt, and Gillian wore one of her versions of the Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns:

Adrienne and Gillian, organizers of the meetup

Adrienne and Gillian.

Unfortunately I hadn’t had a chance to cull anything for the swap, so I was surprised to be able to score one of Vicki’s vintage patterns in the swap’s second round-cum-free-for-all. Thanks, Vicki!

The event was such a success that there is talk of a second meetup this summer; details will be posted on Gillian’s blog. In the meantime, Reethi has put together a handy GTA blogroll, and Vicki’s sewing blogger mapping project, Map the Sewintists, helps bloggers worldwide in planning non-virtual events. Check it out, and til the next meetup!

Local Event: Textile Museum Sale

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hand-embroidered animals on a Bengali kantha at the Textile Museum of Canada

Detail of a hand-embroidered Bengali kantha at the Textile Museum of Canada.

For those of you in the GTA, next weekend is the More Than Just a Yardage Sale, the Textile Museum of Canada’s annual fundraising sale in downtown Toronto. The Museum’s volunteers will be selling lots of sewing and crafting supplies including fabric and yarn, buttons and beads. Here’s the official poster:

More Than Just a Yardage Sale poster

This is a free event. Look for the tent in the parking lot next to the museum, which is at 55 Centre Ave., near Dundas and University.

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