stories from my red thread life

Fabric Gymnastics 101

When I first made the transition from sewing for the love of it to starting a business, I had a lot to learn about production sewing: planning for the best use of precious fabric with minimal wastage, ideal pattern layout, and sewing as efficiently as possible without losing any attention to detail. Because I love to use beautiful, high quality (therefore expensive) fabrics, pattern layout is of special interest to me. Ideally, to maximize yield, fabric should be non-directional so the pattern pieces can lie both up and down, and the print should be consistent throughout. Breaking all of these rules in the name of beauty over function, I recently fell in love with this fabric from Japan. This fabric would certainly make beautiful curtains, but how could I use it for clothing? The answer was instantly clear to me, and it determined the design of two of my new pieces for Fall: As you can see, the skirt is cut from the upper section of the fabric with its soaring birds in a woodblock-print style, simple and elegant. The dress is cut from the lower section, centering the birds on the chest regardless of pattern size. The lowest section [...]

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Welcoming Fall with Open Arms

For as long as I can remember, I’ve cared very little for fashion (and yes, designing clothing for a living I am well aware of the irony). Living in Toronto with its climactic extremes, I’ve spent most of my life seeking comfort over beauty: keeping warm and dry during the long chilly winters and cool and protected during the scorching summers. But my interest always turns to fashion in the fall, my favourite season, with its cool days, beautiful transformation of trees and the resulting carpet of leaves underfoot, and more relaxing pace after trying to squeeze every drop out of our too-short summers. Throughout my childhood our family rented cottages every August, and it was then that I developed my interest in tweed, wool, and all things Fall. My mother bought an array of August fashion magazines (the only month she bought them) and on rainy days I pored over the images of stunning models decked out in beautiful fabrics that I coveted. The rich, earthy colours and natural textures had me in a thrall. This year I was very fortunate to find exquisite fabrics for my Fall season that put me in a similar state of joy, and [...]

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